Prelude to “Gog and Magog”
Typically when we think about the Gog and Magog incident we picture a great Russia hoard in coalition with various Arab nations coming together to do battle against Israel, but is this correct, is this truly what is going to take place or have we simply jumped to this conclusion without first thoroughly examining all the facts.
Ezek 38 and Psa 83 one in the same or two entirely different events?
“It has been noted by many that the Ezekiel context portrays an alliance of seven or eight nations that will come against Israel “from the north parts.” While the modern identities of these nations are problematic, one thing seems clear-none of them are of Semitic origin. Thus, they do not represent Arab powers, nearly all of whom are Semitic.
In marked contrast, Psa 83 describes a coalition of some ten to eleven nations who come against Israel with a common purpose, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation” In this coalition all of the names, except one, are Semitic and ancestors of present-day sworn enemies of Israel. The lone exception is the Philistines, a Hamitic people who are considered by many to be the ancestors of present day Palestinians.
These two sets of Scriptures then do not seem to refer to the same event. One describes an invasion of Arab peoples; the other an invasion of non-Arab countries.
Which comes first? Inasmuch as the “peace and safety” precondition for the Ezekiel battle is not laid down in the Psalms reference, the natural assumption is that the Psalms prophecy is fulfilled first.”
Let us take another look at the Ezekiel’s account for a moment and note closely a few of these preconditions which must be met before the great battle of Gog and Magog can take place.
“Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops—many people are with you.
“Prepare yourself and be ready, you and all your companies that are gathered about you; and be a guard for them. After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely. You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you.”
‘Thus says the Lord God: “On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan: You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates’— to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you, ‘Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder?’”
“Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, ‘thus says the Lord God: “On that day when my people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it? Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army. You will come up against my people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes.” Thus says the Lord God: “Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against them?” (Ezek 38:1-17)
“The texts above indicate that at the time of this battle Israel would be a land:
* Brought back from the sword
* Dwelling safely
* Of unwalled villages
* Having neither bars nor gates.
Any observer of world conditions during the past 40 years finds these conditions difficult to imagine. From the time that Israel became a nation in 1948 until the present they have been living constantly either under attack or in fear of imminent attack. Surrounded by enemies without, and disrupted by foes within, it is little wonder that Israel has armed itself to the teeth. With one of the most modern armies in the world and rumored to have nuclear weaponry, they are confident of taking on all opponents.
Strong lobbies in the United States and other world capitals seek to insure agreements to add to their defense capabilities. As a result, this threatened nation has moved from an importer of arms to one of the chief exporters of military technology.
The above is hardly descriptive of “a nation brought back from war” “living with neither bars nor gates” What scenario will bring about this dramatic change of condition?
Rather than being a country “brought back from the sword,” Israel today is a land dwelling “under the sword.”
Excerpts were taken from, “Israel, Iraq and the Gulf Crisis, A Land Brought Back from the Sword”, by Carl Hagensick
Thus it becomes apparent that before looking for the invasion of Gog from the land of Magog we should first look for this Arab invasion which is to precede it.
What say the Scriptures in this respect?
“Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold your peace, and do not be still, O God! For behold, your enemies make an uproar; and those who hate you (Compare Ezek 25:15) have exalted themselves. They have taken crafty counsel against your people, and consulted together against your sheltered ones. They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” For they have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy (an alliance or league) against you: The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelite’s; Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre, Assyria (Russia) also has joined with them; they have helped the children of Lot (Lot’s descendants, the Arabs).” (Psa 83:1-8)
“Psalm 83 appears to describe an ongoing conflict between Israel and the Arabs that will climax in a final war in which Israel will win a decisive victory over the Arabs. Psalm 83 is a prayer in which Israel asked the Lord for deliverance from a group of nations that Verses 3-5 show are united in a confederacy or league for one purpose — the destruction of the nation of Israel. In 1945 an Arab League was actually formed. It united the Arab nations after 1948 for the very purpose of the destruction of Israel — as predicted in Psalm 83.
Verse 6 mentions some of these nations. Bible scholars and historians agree that ancient Israel was never confronted by such an elaborate alliance of nations, namely, Ishmaelite’s, Edom, Ammon, Amalek, Hagarenes, Gebal and the Philistines. Therefore, this prophecy must have an end-time fulfillment. These Old Testament territories are in modern times the nations of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.
Obviously the Philistines are the Palestinians. Edom, Moab, and Ammon occupied what is the modern state of Jordan. Gebal is Lebanon (Josh 13:5, 6) Iraq was populated by the Hagarenes or Hagarites that dwelt east of Gilead in the wilderness of the River Euphrates (1 Chron 5:1,9,10) The Ishmaelite’s settled what is today Saudi Arabia and Ishmael’s eldest son, Nabajoth, is identified with Syria. Lebanon (Gebal) and Tyre play a prominent role in Psalm 83.
“Assyria also is joined with them; they have helped the children of Lot.” Verse 8 ASV. Assyria could refer to Iraq; however, Verse 6 identified the Hagarenes as symbolizing Iraq. Assyria is used in many Israel end-time prophecies to symbolize Russia, for example, Micah 5:5, and Zech 10:10.
The Hebrew word for helped literally means strong arm, which could symbolize military help. When Russia was a super-power vying with the US for world supremacy it supplied the Arab nations with military hardware. Why? So the Arabs could defeat Israel, the US ally, leaving Russia the dominant force in the oil rich Middle East. It is noteworthy that literal Assyria, (Iraq) never supplied the other Arab nations with military equipment — again showing the modern day fulfillment of this Psalm.
In the early 1990s, Russia on the verge of bankruptcy toppled as a world power. Economics have changed Russia once again is aspiring to attain world supremacy. Russia is not only arming Iran but in fulfillment of Psalm 83 is once again the strong arm of other Arab nations, notably of recent Syria.”
It is presumed based upon other scriptures which we have noted specifically those found in Ezek 38 that in this upcoming conflict Israel will totally defeat this group of Arab nations. Finally, their prayer of Psalm 83 will be answered by the Lord. Israel will take back any land given up. Additionally, she will acquire parts of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and ALL of Gaza. See Isa 11:14; Zep 2:3-10; Zech 10:10; Obadiah 19-20 (NIV).”
Many Bible students and televangelists are heralding the invasion of Gog, Ezek 38, as the next prophetic step in the Middle East. But the Scriptures indicate that a decisive Israeli-Arab war must be fought before Gog’s invasion. Israel will then enjoy a short period of peace and security as shown in Ezek 38:11. After this the battle of Gog and Magog will occur — an invasion by Russia allied with a group of nations including Iran (Persia). Iran never seems to give up, but Iran will finally learn its lesson, not to oppose Israel.”
For all the rhetoric we here coming out of Iran these days with respects to their desire for the demise of Israel it nevertheless appears that Iran (as a nation, militarily) will not play a predominate role in the first invasion, accept as it employs Hezbollah to do its dirty work. Iran’s more physically active role will come in the second confrontation, when it joins forces with Gog.
As far as this Arab invasion is concern I don’t see any hint of it yet. Accept for Iran’s rantings and posturing’s the principle participants in this Arab war, viz. Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria don’t give any evidence that they are conspiring together to make war with Israel. Perhaps following a preemptive strike by Israel on Iran’s nuclear facilities with a lot of collateral damage the old hatreds’ might be inflamed once again.
Excerpts taken from “O God, Do Not Be Silent!” New Brunswick Newsletters, October 2006
Continued with next post.