GOD SETTING THE STAGE TO LURE RUSSIA INTO BATTLE WITH ISRAEL
PROPHECY UNFOLDING, RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES
Today, I was reflecting on prophecy and thinking how fortunate I am to see Bible prophecy in my time, unfolding right before my very eyes. How exciting it is to see God working behind the scenes and we are witnesses to all of this today. How God is setting the stage for this conflict to occur between Russia, her allies, and Israel.
A conflict is coming unlike any other in world history. It’s the war of Gog and Magog. The prophet Ezekiel recorded some 2,500 years ago, and in great detail, one of the most horrific battles in biblical history and today God is laying out the groundwork for this battle – prophecy unfolding right before our eyes. This supernatural war is going to be one of God’s great interventions in human history. God is going to magnify Himself in the sight of the nations, and Ezekiel 39:7 declares: “I will make known my Holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my Holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the Lord am the Holy One in Israel.”
All the things we see happening in Syria with Russia, Iran and Turkey involved, etc. is sufficient evidence provided for anybody: believer or unbeliever alike who is willing to look at it. Look, God not only exists but He is in control of the future. He has told us about the future in His book – the Bible. How else do we explain the book Ezekiel written some 2,500 years ago talking about the end time and here we are today in those early days of Ezekiel 38 as mentioned in Scripture, telling us all of this that is taking place right in front of our own eyes. Isn’t it just amazing how Ezekiel 2,500 years ago had forecast so accurately the rise of Russia to its current military might and its direct and obvious designs upon the Middle East. Yes, the stage is being set perfectly for this conflict to take place. This is not a coincidence. The God of the Bible exists. He is running the show and He is today laying out the groundwork for the buildup to the war of Gog and Magog. This future battle will happen in God’s perfect timing just as it has been prophesied some 2500 years ago.
From a biblical, prophetic angle, it’s exciting to see what’s happening in Syria today – God’s stage setting for the coming war of Gog and Magog where Russia and her allies will attack Israel. How was this possible only a number of years ago years ago but look at where we are today? Russia has now expanded to a major naval facility in Tartus, Syria where some of the Russian Navy including nuclear-powered vessels are now located. This is less than 175 miles from the Israeli border and approximately 250 miles from Jerusalem. The deal struck with Syria allows the Russians to use the naval facility free of charge for 49 years and gives the Kremlin sovereign jurisdiction over the base. Meanwhile, Russia is also increasing its military presence at a second location in Syria, the Hmeimim airbase in the coastal province of Latakia. This base presents a strategically valuable airfield outside of Russia that can support broader military activities, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Also in the news is that Russia has taken over another base that was recently abandoned by the United States in northern Syria near Ragga. Syria has been crucial to the return of Russia’s great power status, at least on the basis of military power and influence in the Middle East region.
Some 2,500 years ago the prophet Ezekiel even gave us the names of the countries that would align with Russia in attacking Israel. Now, what’s really remarkable about this prophecy is that Israel had not existed as a nation for some 1900 years. In A.D. 70, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans and the Jewish people were taken captive and dispersed throughout Europe and Russia and it wasn’t until May 1948 that the state of Israel was re-established, fulfilling Ezekiel’s prophecy. “For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land (Ezekiel 36:24).”
Now, according to Scripture, the nations aligning with Russia for this military endeavor are Persia (modern-day Iran), Ethiopia, Put (modern-day Sudan), Cush (modern-day Libya), Gomer (modern-day Turkey), countries north of the Caspian Sea (the 5 Stan’s) and Beth Togarmah (another portion of modern-day Turkey bordering Syria or possibly Syria). Remarkably, even 20 or 10 years ago you could not see where this was possible with Turkey being a NATO country but in the last few years the Turkish government has swung dramatically away from the West, towards Russia and Iran. Russia is now Turkey’s second largest trading partner. Turkey’s tyrannical leader Erdogan is taking his country out of the Western modern camp, into the Iranian, Islamism more radical camp. In a similar way to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Erdogan is kind of working to become Sultan of a revived Turkish Empire.
Folks, it’s happening, God is setting the stage for this end time battle described in Ezekiel 38 & 39. When does this war take place? Let’s see what Scripture has to say.
TIMING –WAR OF GOG AND MAGOG
There are many good preachers who have different ideas as to the timing of this because even though the Bible gives us the “big picture” in prophecy regarding this war, there are some details that it does not reveal, and timing is one of them.
Yes, there are different views on the timing, and I will come to that, but I believe that the timing of the war of Gog and Magog will occur right after the Rapture when God’s body of believers, the Church, is taken up to heaven by Christ Jesus (1 Thess. 4: 16-17). Can you imagine, the world will be in great turmoil, chaos, and confusion with the possibility of hundreds of millions of people suddenly gone, vanishing, bringing everything in the world to a standstill – commerce, stock markets, policing, schooling, hospitals, governments, the military, air traffic and motor vehicle traffic coming to a complete halt, etc. Why? There are Christians in every profession, job, and occupation throughout the world.
Let me briefly give you a couple of scenarios. Take all motor vehicles, cars, trucks, buses, etc. and suddenly a number of these vehicles going driverless when the rapture occurs, and the drivers are suddenly gone. Cars begin veering off the road or crashing into other cars, crashing into buildings or people on the street. Imagine what this would be like on the freeways near towns and cities throughout the world leading to multiple pileups and highway disasters that would have traffic deadlocked for miles outside these towns or cities – an indescribable tangled mass of freeway traffic mayhem. It would be complete pandemonium on the roads and freeways that would cause catastrophic loss of life leading to millions being dead or injured. Emergency crews and first responders would be unable to reach these casualties. Now, looking up in the air, there would be all kinds of planes and helicopters falling from the sky when the rapture occurs due to the fact that the Christian pilots are suddenly gone. This is just an example of two scenarios among many.
I believe there is a time interval between the rapture and the start of the 7-year Tribulation period. The Antichrist is not revealed the instant the church is taken to heaven. No, there will be a lot of political manoeuvring going on between the various levels of world governments before the Antichrist finally consolidates his power and becomes the end time world leader (dictator). People have to remember that all governments will have to relinquish their sovereignty to the Antichrist. This process could take a number of months, a half-year or more before the Antichrist enters the world stage and the tribulation starts. But when he does, I’m sure one of the Antichrist’s first priorities will be to sign a peace treaty with Israel which initiates the start of the 7-year Tribulation period.
I know there are some who believe that the war of Gog and Magog will start sometime during the tribulation, somewhere closer to the midpoint, 3 to 3 ½ years into the tribulation. I don’t believe this. Why? Because Ezekiel 39 indicates that after the supernatural destruction of Israel’s enemies, the people of Israel gather up and burn the weapons of their enemies for 7 years. Yet when we look carefully at the writings of the prophet Daniel and the book of Revelation, we see that 3 ½ years into the 7-year Tribulation, the Antichrist will invade Israel, also known as, “the beautiful land (Daniel 11:16; 41-45)” and set up his throne there and desecrate the Third Temple. Scripture tells us in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 that, “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” There is no way that the Jewish Israelis will be burning weapons of their enemies and cleansing the land if the country is being invaded by the Antichrist. Thus, since the burning of the weapons occur for 7 years, it would make sense that the war of Gog and Magog would likely occur just prior to the Antichrist consolidating his power and coming on the world scene and the start of the 7-year Tribulation period.
I believe the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39 precedes the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week, which precedes all the seal judgements. The 70th week cannot begin until Israel officially recognizes God’s involvement in her affairs, which happens in Ezekiel 39:21-22 at the end of Ezekiel’s battle. “I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay upon them (Gog and Magog). From that day forward the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God.” So, the invasion must take place before the revealing of the secular world dictator – the Antichrist. Placing the invasion before the 70th week allows Israel 7-years to burn the weapons and cleanse the land before they start to suffer in the Great Tribulation under the beast (Jacob’s trouble – Jeremiah 30:7). So, the invasion probably occurs around the time of the rapture of the true church – either before or just after. I believe it will be just after the rapture when the world will be in total turmoil, chaos, and confusion with the possibility of hundreds of millions of people instantly disappearing off the face of the earth.
There are also some who believe that the Gog and Magog war is the same as the Battle of Armageddon and takes place at the end of the Tribulation period. I want to say that there are many differences between the Gog and Magog war and the Battle of Armageddon. Here are some differences: Gog and Magog war will take place in the mountains of Israel while Armageddon will be in the valley of Megiddo. Armageddon involves all world nations while Gog and Magog involves only selected nations led by Russia. China is not in the Gog and Magog war but in the Armageddon battle. The Antichrist is taking part in the Armageddon battle but not mentioned in the Gog and Magog war. Jesus Christ stands on the Mount of Olives at the end of Armageddon battle, but nowhere do we see Jesus Christ appearing physically to the world in the Gog and Magog war. Yes, Gog and Magog war and the Battle of Armageddon are completely two different conflicts.
Here is another common misunderstanding: The reference in Revelation 20:8 to Gog and Magog must not be confused with the Gog and Magog references in Ezekiel 38 and 39. There Magog is a great land north of Israel, and Gog is its ruler. In the book of Revelation, the words Gog and Magog are referred to the nations of the world in general and are symbolic names for the worldwide enemies of Christ. When Christ’s 1000-year reign on earth has expired, Satan will be released from confinement, and will go out to the four corners of the earth in order to deceive the nations that are hostile to Christ, here called Gog and Magog.
CONDITIONS FOR THE WAR TO OCCUR ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE
(1) Israel Has To Be In The Land (v. 8). – This prophecy was fulfilled on May 14, 1948 when Israel became a nation. The greatest miracle of the last 1900 years. land, government, army, postal service, stamps, flag, currency, etc. – it all happened in one day just as Isaiah prophesied 2500 years ago. “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such a thing?….. Or shall a nation be born at once (Isaiah 66:8).”
(2) Israel Must Be Dwelling In Safety (v.8,11). – First, it should be noted that Ezekiel does not describe Israel having “peace.” Rather, twice Israel is described as “living securely.” Secondly, the Hebrew word used in verses 8 and 11 for “safety” is “betach” which has the idea of security being in place to defend the people from their enemies. Does this condition exist today? Absolutely! In fact, I would say that the Jewish people in Israel are living more securely today than they ever have since the Babylonian captivity going back some 2,700 years ago and probably much longer. The consensus within Israel shows that they do feel secure and confident in the strength of their defense forces and their advanced defensive technology.
Today, Israel has the world’s fourth most powerful Air Force and possesses more tanks than any other nation except the United States, Russia, and China. Militarily, they are ranked sixth or seventh in the world and they have nuclear weapons even though they won’t admit it. No doubt about it, their sovereignty and their security are intact.
(3) Israel Must Be In A Time Of Tremendous Prosperity (v.11-13). – Up until 1948 Israel was desolate but now they are very prosperous. Economically, GDP per capita, Israel is ranked 19th in the world. Israel’s standard of living is significantly higher than all the other countries in the region and equal to Western European countries. Education ranks second among OECD countries. In 2019, Israel was ranked the world’s fifth most innovative country. Israel is home to major players in pharmaceuticals, high-tech industry, and has one of the world’s most technologically literate populations. Israel is becoming a powerhouse of technological innovation.
Israel is known to be the food basket for Europe. She is a major exporter of fresh produce due to the diversity of the land and climate and is able to grow a wide range of crops. Israel possesses productive farmlands and orchards, robust industries, rich mineral deposits in the Dead Sea, a newly discovered major gas field on her coast, and recently oil has been discovered in the Golan Heights which some think may be as great a find as any of the other discoveries of oil in the Middle East.
You can certainly say that Israel now has wealth that the horde from the north (v.15) would like to plunder. Also, Russia has a major economic motive for attacking Israel – it’s called the East-Med Gas Pipeline. On December 20, 2018, the Prime Ministers of Israel, Cyprus, and Greece met in the Israeli city of Beersheba and all three parties signed a high-level agreement concerning one of the longest and deepest underwater gas pipelines in the world that will deliver natural gas to the European Union. The EU is keen to support the project and to diversify its natural gas imports away from the heavily sanctioned Russian Federation. Israel’s natural gas discovery in December 2010 makes the Jewish state a net exporter of energy and this threatens Russian dominance in supplying energy to Europe. Oil is Russia’s biggest export and money maker, and if they lose the European gas market to Israel this could financially bankrupt Russia.
GOD IS BEHIND THE INVASION
Interestingly, the passage (Ezekiel 38:4) says God will lead the aggressors. “I will put hooks into your jaws and lead you and your armies…… into Israel.” In fact, God asserts, “I will bring you against My people Israel, against My land (v. 16).”
People need to understand that it is God who is behind the invasion. It is God who is luring Russia and her allies into this war. God clearly wants to destroy Russia and her allies. God will supernaturally place the desire to invade Israel in Gog’s mind according to verse four. This is a reminder that God is ultimately in charge of nations and their leaders.
God wants to display His glory by defeating the enemies with supernatural power. In fact, the Sovereign Almighty God gets angry, and you can see this in verses 18 through 23. “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. For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken:…there shall be a great earthquake… and all men… shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down… And I will bring him to judgement with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops… flooding rain, great hailstorms, fire, and brimstone. Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.”
This clearly shows that God lures the enemy in to purposely destroy them. God wants to display His glory by defeating the enemies with supernatural power. We also know that God is setting the stage, working behind the scenes, for the entrance of the Antichrist. In fact, God will help the Antichrist to solidify his power in Europe by taking all-powerful Russia out of the equation. Why? You simply can’t have the Antichrist playing second fiddle to his larger European rival Russia who militarily possesses the world’s largest nuclear warhead stockpile, and now with its overhauled and upgraded nuclear might, is at its highest point militarily since the Cold War and unquestionably the second most powerful nation in the world.
Look, we already know that Putin wants no part of the current Great Reset whose goal is a one world socialistic government promoted by the World Economic Form. There is no way that Putin will hand over Russia’s sovereignty to the Antichrist. But, once Russia and her enemies are destroyed by God, before the Tribulation period, there will be no military force large enough to oppose the Revived Roman Empire of the Antichrist. Russia needs to be eliminated for the Antichrist to come on the scene. There was no way that the Antichrist could go up against the second most powerful nuclear nation militarily and so quite simply the Sovereign Almighty God will eliminate Russia and her allies and pave the way for the Antichrist’s rise as world dictator. This is why when you read the book of Revelation and all that is taking place during the time of the Tribulation period, there is no mention of the nuclear superpower Russia. Why? Because God has already dealt with Russia before the start of the Tribulation period. This is what we read happening to Russia in Ezekiel 38 and 39 where God supernaturally destroys Russia and her allies.
IS PUTIN THE PRINCE OF ROSH, MESHECH, AND TUBAL?
We do know that Vladimir Putin is a man consumed with restoring the “glory of Mother Russia.” He may or may not be the Gog referenced 11 times, but he certainly is “Gogesque” in the establishment of his Czar-like position. Vladimir Putin will be 69 in October so he could possibly be the prince mentioned in Ezekiel 38. If not him it would have to be his successor and I see no second such strong man in Russia today besides, it takes years upon years to consolidate the power that he has. To guarantee his stronghold and power base he has eliminated his rivals by jailing them or poisoning them, as we have seen over the last number of years.
We can clearly see that Vladimir Putin is moving Russia towards regaining superpower status as a new dictatorship. We see Vladimir Putin showing himself to be very strong in the Middle East today after getting involved and helping Syria. We know Russia has strategic ties to regional Islamic countries and is actively aiding Iran in building nuclear power plants that will give Iran nuclear material for nuclear weapons. Under Putin Russia invaded Ukraine and took Crimea and has gone into Syria to support Assad’s regime. Could Vladimir Putin be the Gog? Possibly – only time will tell. One thing we do know is that Vladimir Putin is gaining power all the time as he has specifically stated that his primary goal is to return Russia to a world superpower status.
CONCLUSION TO THE WAR OF GOG AND MAGOG
Scripture tells us that God will directly intervene in the defense of Israel, unleashing several natural disasters on the invaders from the north. In the end, with God’s divine intervention, the stricken pagan nations will turn on themselves in confusion and panic. Russia and her Islamic allies will be completely destroyed by God.
It tells us in verses 11 through 16 of chapter 39, “That 7 months will be required to give proper burial to the corpses of the dead enemies in order for the land to be cleansed.” Ezekiel also says, “Those who dwell in the cities of Israel will burn the weapons of their invaders for 7 years.” Interesting. The only sense I can make out of this is that Ezekiel’s war will involve a nuclear exchange. I believe Ezekiel 39 alludes to certain cleansing procedures mentioned in verses 11 to 16, possibly due to a nuclear contamination.
Now, after having read this, it stands to reason that this battle takes place immediately prior to the 7-year Tribulation period. Why? If this battle is to occur mid-trib or post-trib, as some suggest, then the burning of the weapons and cleansing of the land from nuclear contamination would need to continue for 3 ½ years or in the case of post-trib 7 years into the Millennium, where Christ Jesus rules and reigns on earth for a thousand years. We know this is not going to happen. So, we know that the war takes place either before the rapture or just after the rapture. In either case its before the seven-year Tribulation period. I believe the battle of Ezekiel precedes the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week. As I said before, the 70th week cannot begin until Israel officially recognizes God’s involvement in her affairs, which happens at the end of Ezekiel’s battle (v. 28, 29). It is written: “Then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their own land… And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel.”
The final outcome of the war of Gog and Magog: God will destroy Russia and her allies and exalt Himself (v.22). Israel will return to God and glorify Him (v. 28, 29). Israel will not only survive the war of Gog and Magog but will succeed and become the strongest nation in the world under the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Millennium.
In closing, what we see happening in the Middle East today, the alliance being built with Russia, Turkey, Iran, and other nations shows us that this is building up to what will eventually lead to the Gog Magog war after we, the church, has been CAUGHT UP (raptured) and taken to heaven. As it is written: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an Archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be CAUGHT UP together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
BIBLE IN ONE HAND – THE NEWSPAPER IN THE OTHER HAND
I find this so exciting because I can see the groundwork being laid out and what’s happening, as we speak, right before our own eyes – God setting the stage for this end time conflict to occur.
On one hand you can read the newspaper and see what’s happening and on the other hand you can read God’s word and what He wrote thousands of years ago telling us this was going to happen. Today, it’s all unfolding before our very eyes and coming upon us shortly just as God has stated. Only God knows the future and He’s laid it all out for us in His book called the “Bible.” God revealing the future not to scare us, but to prepare us for what is coming.
– Just think for a moment how incredible a thing we are witnessing here unfolding before our own eyes. How remarkably Ezekiel 2500 years ago had forecast so accurately the rise of Russia to its current military might and its direct and obvious designs upon the Middle East.
What is taking place today in the Middle East with Russia, Turkey, Iran, Syria, and other nations, strikingly foreshadow the prophecy of the battle of Gog and Magog. All the necessary conditions for the fulfilment of this prophecy are in place or are moving in that direction.
The prophet Ezekiel lived 2500 years ago, and yet he writes as though he was a correspondent for one of our daily newspapers and living in our present time. The remarkable correspondence between world events and what Ezekiel predicted is another indication that the coming of the Lord in the air for His body of believers could be soon – the Rapture