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Ezekiel 38-39 & Gog & Magog,

and the Fight for Jerusalem

Jesus explained world events would be tied to Jerusalem in Matthew 24, where Jesus also saw a Jewish Temple rebuilt and part of the Tribulation events.

So for this to Temple to be built (that Paul, John, and Daniel also saw prophetically, with Christ), something must happen during the “times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24). That may be what we are seeing happening all around us in the world events touching upon the Nation of Israel.

Are we Living for Heaven Today?

As He taught on the End of Days, Jesus revealed that all of the magnificent buildings of Herod would become rubble. . . and that nothing on earth ever lasts; but Jesus came to His disciples with an offer of something they could become a part of that never ends.

Open to Luke 21:36 with me to see Christ’s application on prophecy, this is before we even look at our study tonight.

“Watch therefore, and pray always…” (Luke 21:36)

Pray is the word for beg, implore and beseech, it is an intense word! It was used after the chapter filled with prophecy and end times. Jesus was asking us:

What are you intensely asking (begging) God to be doing through your life that will last forever? That is what should most be on our hearts as we study an prophecy. Not whether our view is perfect and every detail is what will happen, it is whether we are living for what really matters!

One of our chllenges as students of the Bible is to study & search the Scriptures, seek to come to Biblical conclusions, and then wait.

We are called to do what the Lord left us to do, and not to spend all of our time speculating about what every possible news events has to do with the prophecies.

God is watching over His Word, He will perform it, and we are to be found faithfully doing what He left us to do!

Turn with me to Psalm 83.

Tonight we start with the Confederacy of Hate , a group of nations that seek Israel, but that never existed contemporaneously, ever in history. Yet God’s Word says they together seek to destroy Israel and end up like whirling dust.

The Confederacy of Hate

PSALM 83:1-18
New King James Version (NKJV)
A Song. A Psalm of Asaph.
83 Do not keep silent, O God!
Do not hold Your peace,
And do not be still, O God!
2 For behold, Your enemies make a tumult;
And those who hate You have lifted up their head.
3 They have taken crafty counsel against Your people,
And consulted together against Your sheltered ones.
4 They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation,
That the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”
5 For they have consulted together with one consent;
They form a confederacy against You:
6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites;
Moab and the Hagrites;
7 Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek;
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8 Assyria also has joined with them;
They have helped the children of Lot. Selah
9 Deal with them as with Midian,
As with Sisera,
As with Jabin at the Brook Kishon,
10 Who perished at En Dor,
Who became as refuse on the earth.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and like Zeeb,
Yes, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 Who said, “Let us take for ourselves
The pastures of God for a possession.”
13 O my God, make them like the whirling dust,
Like the chaff before the wind!
14 As the fire burns the woods,
And as the flame sets the mountains on fire,
15 So pursue them with Your tempest,
And frighten them with Your storm.
16 Fill their faces with shame,
That they may seek Your name, O LORD.
17 Let them be confounded and dismayed forever;
Yes, let them be put to shame and perish,
18 That they may know that You, whose name alone is the LORD,
Are the Most High over all the earth.

The End of Days is Marked by a Confederacy of Hate for Israel

We know from Matthew 24 and Luke 21 that when Christ Returns there is the Complete Encirclement of Israel by Mortal Enemies. In other words, God the last days, Israel would be surrounded by enemy Nations.

So who exactly is this passage speaking of? Who are these undesirable neighbors? While in some cases there is slight disagreement about who is the modern day representative of each ancient name. Most people believe and agree that it is referring to Israel’s immediate neighbors.

The nations where the ten ancient people groups and tribes mentioned in Psalm 83 live today, are Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian territories within Israel.

Others  believe that while some of these nations are easy to trace, others are more speculative. ‘We do know that Assyria is the same as modern-day Iraq. And that the Ishmaelites, descended from Abraham and Hagar, were the progenitors of the Arabs. We know the Edomites and the Amalekites were descendents of Esau, and the Moabites and Ammonites from Lot, but to trace them today is well-nigh impossible. The Philistines inhabited the area now known as the Gaza Strip. The city of Tyre was located in what is now Lebanon. Gebal is the same as ancient Gubla or Byblos, located in Phoenica. Some sources list the Hagarites as descendents of Hagar, and therefore a segment of Ishmaelites, but the identification is not positive.

God goes on to say that He will allow a vast coalition to come against Israel, and describes them over 3,000 years ago in terms that we can understand today. These verses have never been fulfilled according to nearly every commentator of all eschatological views.

These verses may give us an outline of that next war as a coalition of:

* Saudi Arabia; * Jordan; * Palestinians; * Lebanon; * Iraq/Syria; * But not Egypt

They will attack Israel and seek to take over Jerusalem.

All Arabs tried in 1948 to stop the rebirth; all tried in 1967 to wipe out Israel; only some joined in 1973; but this time Egypt will sit out most likely because of the Aswan High Dam. The largest military target in the region would send a wall of water down the Nile Valley that would kill millions of Egyptians. So the biggest army bordering Israel sits out, so that leaves the Syria/Iraq alliance.

What happens? It appears from Isaiah 17 that Damascus is melted in a whirlwind (Isaiah 17:17 and Psalm 83:13 both have whirlwinds, one of the by products of an atomic blast).

Also Jeremiah 49 says Damascus burns.

Now, to pick up where we left off last week. Please turn back to Ezekiel 36 where we first saw that we are to:

Trust The God Who Promised Israel Would Return

In Ezekiel 36-37 the God who rules tells us that Israel will one day be reborn as a modern country, that Jews will pour back into the Holy Land after centuries of exile, that Jews will rebuild the “ancient ruins” and make the deserts bloom, that Israel will develop a vast and powerful military, and that Israel will become remarkably wealthy (Ezekiel 38:12-13).

Last time we saw the predictions found in Ezekiel 36-37 that have already come true.

These are the famous prophetic chapters that foretell the future of Israel as a nation, that were written almost 600 years before Christ’s birth!

God was watching over His Word to fulfill it!

Now we turn onward to the equally fascinating words of Ezekiel 38-39

Trust The God Who Describes Russia As The Leader Of The Anti-Israeli Coalition Described In Ezekiel 38-39

Twenty six hundred years ago, the prophet Ezekiel predicted clues to identify when this would happen,

Ezekiel 38:8 (NKJV) 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.

Note this would happen in “the latter years” after
the Israelites were scattered throughout the world and the land of Israel became a desolation for a long time. History is witness to all of this. But who does God predict will come against Israel?

Who Is Coming Against Israel?

In Ezekiel 38:1-6, the Hebrew prophet gives a list of obscure names that will form a united coalition. After I read these six verses listen to the historic records, geographic locations, and modern day countries that reside in those exact places described—and how they are all slowly aligning themselves against Israel.

Ezekiel 38:1-6 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, 3 “and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. 4 “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. 5 “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6 “Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops—many people are with you.

Now listen  to how the historic records, geographic locations, and modern day countries that reside in those exact places described—and how they are all slowly aligning themselves against Israel.

The list in Ezekiel 38:5-6. It is actually quite amazing, almost like this mornings newspaper. Here are the players in one of the greatest conflicts of all time:

1.    Gog is described as being “of the land of Magog” and as the “prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.” Most Bible scholars believe Gog is not a name but a title, like Pharoah or Czar. He is a dictator who will hatch an “evil plan” (38:10).

2.    Magog according to the first century historian Josephus wrote in his classic work, Antiquities of the Jews, that the “Magogites” are the people that the Greeks refer to as “Scythians.” Study the history of the ancient Scythians  and you will quickly discover that these were a brutal and bloodthirsty people that settled north of the Black Sea in the area we now call Russia and the former Soviet republics. In Moscow the State Historical Museum on Red Square has numerous Scythian artifacts prominently displayed. Russia is proud of its Scythian tradition, and this helps us pinpoint Russia as the modern country to which Ezekiel was referring.

3.    Rosh is probably Russia. True, Ezekiel never uses the word Russia. Instead, he says a dictator referred to as “Gog” will arise in the land of “Magog,” and will be the “prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.” Other Bible scholars note that when Ezekiel mentions “Rosh” he is using the root word for Russia. Others believe “Meshech” refers to Moscow and “Tubal” refers to the Tubal River in Siberia and the Siberian city of Tobolsk.  Numerous leading Bible scholars agree that Russia will certainly be the leader of the anti-Israel coalition in what Ezekiel describes as “the last days.”

4.    Meshech is possibly as some Bible scholars say is Moscow, but others believe it refers to Turkey; MESHECH is the 6th son of Japheth (Genesis 10:2). Assyrian inscriptions locate this group as dwelling in Phrygia and Anatolia (which is modern Turkey). Herodotus the Greek historian calls these same tribes the Mushki, and says they came down from the Black Sea mountains which is NE of Turkey. Josephus in the 1st Century says that  Meshech dwells in Eastern Turkey.

5.    Tubal as some Bible scholars say this refers to the city/region of Tobolsk in Russia along the Tobol River; others say it refers to a section of modern-day Turkey. (Interestingly, in 1964, massive reserves of oil and gas were discovered in the Tobolsk region of Siberia and people now refer to the region as the “energy center of Russia.”) Tubal is the 5th son of Japheth whose descendents migrated to the same general area. In the war records of the Assyrians these tribes are called Tibareni and Moschi and locate them on the SE shores of the Black Sea. Again all in southern modern day Russia.

6.    Persia was the official name of Iran until 1935; so PERSIA or Iran as we call it today. In the Bible this is the family of Elam, the first born of Shem. Remember that Abraham comes through the third born son (Genesis 10:22) Arphaxad, not Elam.

7.    Cush is Sudan and Ethiopia; CUSH this is modern black Africa which originated in the ancient world between the 2nd and 3rd cataracts of the Nile.

8.    Put is modern Libya, as they used to be called the Putites. This would include the Algerians, Tunisians, Moroccans and Mauritanians or what we call today North Africa. They all come through this third son of Ham, named Put in Genesis 10:6.

9.    Gomer could be Turkey, but also possibly Germany and Austria GOMER or the Cimmerians are identified in the Babylonians Talmud (written during the exile of the Jews to Babylon and then Persia in Daniel’s time and after) where they are called Germania, or Germany. These tribes settled and flourished between the Rhine and Danube River Valleys.

10.    Beth-togarmah is Armenia and the Turkic-speaking peoples of Central Asia; TOGARMAH is the next group and these are the tribes of Turkey namely modern Armenia and Turkey.

11.    SHEBA and DEDAN are the grandsons of Abraham in Genesis 25:2 by his 3rd wife Keturah. These are not from Ishmael but a separate line. These may be the classic Arabic desert dwellers. They are seen in Ezekiel 38:13 as watching from the sidelines.

12.    TARSHISH was the grandson of Japhath, the 2nd son of Javan Genesis 10:2 the father of Greece.

Trust The God Who Declares The Destruction Of The Entire Russian, Iranian, Syria, Lebanese And Other Islamic Military Forces Will Come “Like A Storm” Against Israel

Ezekiel 38:5,9, 18-22 “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 9 “You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you.” 18 “And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” says the Lord God, “that My fury will show in My face. 19 “For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: ‘Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel, 20 ‘so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.’ 21 “I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains,” says the Lord God. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22 “And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.

God was watching over His Word to fulfill it!

What happens?

Note the details of Ezekiel 39

The weapons burn for 7 years? (39:9-10) that is the usable life of atomic weapons. There are atomic sites all over Israel that could use this material!

The burial takes 7 months (39:11-16) and is down wind east of the Dead Sea? Sounds like quarantine, hazardous cleanup and radioactive contamination procedures!

There are three lines of interpretation for when this battle takes place:

1.    After the Millennium (this is the Revelation 20 battle).
2.    Part of Armageddon (this is the Daniel 11 battle).
3.    Or before the 70th week of Daniel 9:27.

How Did Jesus Tell us to Apply Prophetic Studies?

Turn back again to Luke 21. When Jesus explained the entire scope of end times events, He paused and concluded with two commands in v. 36 for us who listen to Him. We can learn what Jesus said were our responsibilities as believers (Luke 21:29–38)

“Watch therefore, and pray always…” (Luke 21:36) Pray is the word for beg, implore and beseech, it is an intense word!

Jesus revealed that all of the magnificent buildings of Herod would become rubble. . . and that nothing on earth ever lasts; but Jesus came to His disciples with an offer of something they could become a part of that never ends.

What are you intensely asking (begging) God to be doing through your life that will last forever?

Christ said here is something anyone in my family can do! Here is what you do that I love, and I make your investments in these areas last forever. Jesus said:

•    I collect all of your prayers – PRAY!     Revelation 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints. (KJV)

•    I multiply sacrificial gifts – GIVE!     Mark 12:41-44 (NKJV) Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”
•    I count souls you lead to me – WIN!     Daniel 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.     Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. 1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. (KJV) 1st Thessalonians 2.19

•    I remember humble service – SERVE!     Mark 14:3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. (KJV) do rest

•    I love believers that do outreach – GO!     Matthew 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. (KJV)

Prophecy Encourages us to Love, Follow & Serve God NOW

To obey Jesus we must “watch and pray”.

That is how we can resist the temptations that lure us.

Then we will be ready when our Lord returns.


Check Out All The Sermons In The Series

You can find all the sermons and short clips from this series, Elements Of Biblical Interpretation here.

Looking To Study The Bible Like Dr. Barnett?

Dr. Barnett has curated an Amazon page with a large collection of resources he uses in his study of God’s Word. You can check it out here.