Ezekiel 38:10-11 “…and you will devise an evil scheme and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages.”
It’s often more intuitive to focus on the minutiae and miss the big picture of significant events. The October 2023 Israel carnage is an example.
The world is caught up in all facets of the current Middle East conflict. Is this really Israel’s land? What about the Palestinian’s rights? Is Iran behind Hamas? How can these horrors ever be justified? Is there a man-made solution?
From a Biblical perspective, everything has already been scripted. It is now being played out.
Spoiler alert: God is in control!
God’s Chosen People
God chose the Jewish people to serve as a light unto the nations. This was discussed earlier in my post on the Covenants, which are reproduced in part below.
As a result of Adam’s sin, which passes to all of humanity according to Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned,” God establishes the Abrahamic Covenant as His plan to save both the Jews and the Gentiles and restore all things through a promise of many descendants and nations that would come through Abraham.
1) In Genesis 12:2, God promises Abraham, “I will make you a great nation….”
As a sovereign God, Abraham and the Jews were chosen to be used by God.
2) He continues in Genesis 12:2, “I will bless you and make your name great.”
Throughout history, nations have come and gone, but Israel, despite persistent persecution, remains.
3) In Genesis 12:2, “You will be a blessing” for others.
This blessing is through the ultimate heir of Abraham, Jesus Christ, as confirmed in Matthew 1:1, where He is called “…the son of Abraham.”
4) In Genesis 12:3, God warns, “I will bless those who bless you, and him that dishonors you I will curse…”
It is fascinating to recognize the persecution of the Jews now and throughout history and to know that God will repay them.
5) In Genesis 12:3, God finally reiterates, “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
This is confirmed in Galatians 3:7-9 where Paul promises, “Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations will be blessed in you.’ So those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.”
Not all Israel is Israel
Although Israel was God’s chosen people, Paul in Romans 9:6 remarks, “…they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.” What Paul means is simply that salvation is still by faith alone. Israel was chosen to be a witness as Isaiah 43:10 states,” ‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am He. Before Me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after Me.’” Salvation is still by faith and not through national heritage. The Jews were to both accept this and spread the good news.
Yet Romans 11:25-26 states, “…a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved…” To understand this, you must recognize that the Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah. As such, God hardened their hearts, just as He did Pharaoh during the Exodus, and through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross at Calvary, ushered in the current church age.
The promise “and all Israel will be saved” refers to the prophecy of Zechariah 13:8-9 that states, “In the whole land, declares the Lord, two-thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one-third shall be left alive. And I will put this third into the fire and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”
Israel currently is certainly not a Christian nation. However, there will come a time when the Jews finally realize that they are responsible for killing their Messiah and mourn as Zechariah 12:10 states, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy when they look on me, on Him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over Him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”
Ultimately, one-third of the Jews will believe in Christ and be saved. But, several events will have to occur first.
Wars Prophesied in the Bible
In 70 A.D., with the destruction of Jerusalem, the Roman General Titus Flavius Vespasianus scattered the Jews to the four winds, never to return until Israel was established as an independent state on May 14, 1948, when the British Mandate for Palestine expired, and Israel declared its independence.
Post-1948, the following wars are prophesized in the Bible.
The 1948 Arab-Israeli War – Psalm 83
From the beginning, Israel faced conflict. Psalm 83:4 warned, “They say, ‘Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!’”
Psalm 83:4 is attributed to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. This war occurred immediately following the declaration of Israel’s independence on May 14, 1948, and arose between Israel and the neighboring Arab states of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq.
Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States, played a significant role in the events leading up to and during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
Truman supported the establishment of a Jewish state, and the U.S. was the first country to recognize Israel just eleven minutes after it declared independence on May 14, 1948. Truman’s decision faced opposition from certain members of his administration and the State Department, but he prevailed. His support also proved influential during the Arab-Israeli war, in which the United States provided Israel with political, diplomatic, and minor military assistance. However, it did not directly participate in the conflict.
Although the “let us wipe them out as a nation” attitude persists today, Psalm 83:4 is explicitly attributed to the 1948 conflicts for several reasons, not the least of which is that this war depicts multiple countries attacking Israel (versus, currently, Iran and its proxies). After the Jews were scattered in 70 A.D., the name “Israel” disappeared from history until its establishment as a nation in 1948.
The Battle of Gog from Magog – Ezekiel 38
The conflict described in Ezekiel 38 is often called the “War of Gog and Magog.” and represents a future military alliance that will come against Israel from the north.
Ezekiel 38:10-12 portrays this war, saying, “Thus says the Lord God: On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates’ to seize spoil and carry off plunder…”
According to the prophecy, a leader (Gog) from the land of Magog (Russia and former Soviet republics) will lead an alliance of nations against Israel. The countries mentioned include Persia (modern-day Iran), Cush (possibly Ethiopia or Sudan), Put (perhaps Libya), Gomer, and Beth-Togarmah (regions in modern-day Turkey). In this conflict, Gog intends to plunder and take spoils from Israel (most probably oil).
We appear to be witnessing the beginning of a Russian, Iranian, and Turkish alliance, and the current conflict may foreshadow this prophecy; however, not all the pieces are yet in place.
Ezekiel prophesies that God will intervene when Gog and this alliance attack Israel and bring about their downfall. This divine intervention will display God’s power and will be witnessed by all the world’s nations, causing them to recognize and acknowledge God’s sovereignty.
The Battle of Armageddon – Revelation 16:16
Revelation 16:16 discusses a war at the end of the Tribulation, “And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.”
This is detailed in Revelation 19:11-21 as follows, “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True [Jesus Christ], and in righteousness, He judges and makes war… And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses…He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty…And I saw the beast [Anti Christ] and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against Him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it, the false prophet who, in its presence, had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.”
Satan’s Final Battle – Revelation 20:7-10
The Bible prophesies one final battle. This is at the end of the Thousand-year Millennium when Satan is released one last time to gather those who reject Christ and war against God.
Revelation 20:7-10 details this final battle. “And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
The Biblical Sequence of Events
To put all this in perspective, reviewing my post on the Book of Revelation here may be helpful.
For purposes of this article, the future as prophesized by the Bible includes the following sequence of events:
- The Rapture – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 (see my post here)
- I believe we underestimate the Rapture’s impact on the world order’s normality. Because the U.S. has a higher proportion of Christians, its impact may be even more severe. I don’t deny that there are many false Christians, but non-Christian religions much more dominate other countries. For example, 78% of India identifies as Hindu, and 99.6% of Iran identify as Islam.
- If we assume, through God’s grace and mercy, that all children under the age of reason, those mentally incapacitated, and even babies in the womb are included in the Rapture, this alone would have a worldwide devastating impact.
- My point is that the Rapture will undoubtedly cause great anxiety and chaos for the entire world and possibly even more so for the United States.
- The Tribulation – Matthew 24:21
- Although the Tribulation follows the Rapture, the Bible does not explicitly say how much time passes between these two events.
- If the Gog-Magog war were to occur during this interim period, it would lay the groundwork for the Anti-Christ and the Tribulation because of the following:
- As alluded to above, the U.S. could be devastated to the extent that they would be compromised in military support – a significant ally for Israel out of the picture.
- Many of the Muslim fighting population will be destroyed when God wins this battle. Perhaps this could account for the Antichrist’s quick success in restoring peace and even allowing for the reinstitution of Jewish sacrifices on the Temple Mount, singularly an issue that would otherwise ignite all of Islam.
- Please know that God’s ways are above ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), and I am only speculating to try to make sense of future events.
- The Battle of Armageddon, detailed in Revelation 19:11-21 occurs at the end of the seven-year Tribulation.
- The Millennium – Revelation 20:104
- God releases Satan at the end of the Millennium to gather those who continue, despite His very presence, to reject Jesus Christ only to be destroyed as Revelation 20:9 states, “and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.” Satan then is bound forever in the Lake of Fire.
- This also occurs as Revelation 20:9 shows at “the beloved city” – Jerusalem.
- The Eternal Kingdom – New Heaven, New Earth, and New Jerusalem – Revelation 21:1-2
- Christ’s Kingdom is finally realized, forever.
The idea that the end of the world has already been predetermined and that God is in complete control can be either unsettling or comforting, depending on one’s beliefs.
For those who reject the existence of God and view the Bible as a mere myth, the potential for a looming conflict like World War III is undeniably problematic.
However, if the Bible is accurate, choosing to dismiss its teachings places individuals in a precarious position, facing the wrath and judgment of an all-powerful God.
On the other hand, for believers, the next significant event on the horizon is the church’s Rapture. This event promises the transformation of believers and an eternal unity with the Lord Jesus, wholly removed from even the very presence of sin.
As believers, our responsibility is to continue sharing the message of salvation and offering hope to others.
We eagerly await the coming of the Lord Jesus – Maranatha.