Ezekiel 39: 1-6, a slaughter on the mountains of Israel. Part 1.

Having looked, extensively, at Ezekiel 38, we now turn to chapter 39. Once again, we see God compelling Ezekiel, to turn his face toward Gog, and say, Behold, I am against you. Ah, but who is God really against? But, the entire idea of looking at Ezekiel 38, 39 is this idea of God sending fire down from heaven to stop a war. We are about to get into that; but, first, a quick recap.

The person, Gog, only shows up once in scripture, and there we find that he is a descendant of Reuben. Sadly Reuben’s claim to fame is that he had sexual relations with one of his father’s wives.

1Chronicles 5:4 The sons of Joel were Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son,

This name does not show up again until Ezekiel begins to prophesy against him years later. With the Exodus beginning around 1446 B.C, it is probable that Gog predates the Exodus. Ezekiel does not come on the scene until approximately 593 B.C. That makes Gog well over 1000 years old if he is still alive, and you know that did not happen.

So who is Gog?
If you do your homework and look the word Gog up, you will find that:
Gog can be depicted as a person (a man,) a people group, or, a nation. We also know that Gog is a leader, that directs his multinational army against Israel. They are of such a large number that they are described as clouds covering the earth. And, the majority of these troops and their leader are killed by God on the mountains of Israel, as a sign to the nations of His Holiness.

One last piece of information: At the end of the millennial reign, Gog, once again leads deceived forces against Israel and the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, in an attempt to kill God; and there, once again, God kills them all with fire from heaven.

Most “Christians” will read this episode from Ezekiel, and not see the severe and deadly nature of Gog’s actions, nor what God will do here, mainly in the Megiddo valley.

I believe there are distinct aspects that define Gog, such as Gog and the majority of his troops die on the hills of Israel. How is that possible without some casualties among the citizens of Israel. Just the fact that Gog has made it in inside the borders means that infrastructure will be damaged.

The point I am trying to make here, is that you need, frequently, to put flesh and blood on the biblical characters. People are going to die.

Having been asked, will the church go through tribulation? My response, and even more so now, is, as of this date 07/10/18 Nigeria has now become the deadliest nation in the world for “Christians” as they are being slaughtered because of their beliefs.

So, are we going through tribulations? Absolutely, but keep in mind that trials and the wrath of God being poured out upon the earth and the nations, is an entirely different matter altogether; and NO, we, as followers of Christ, are NOT subject to God’s wrath. Tribulations, on the other hand, as Jesus noted, are always going to be a part of our lives.

Since an event of this magnitude – the firestorm that kills so many troops will cause most to cower in fear, I think it is safe to say that God is trying to get them to look at Him more appropriately, instead of the habitual disdain nations have for the God they have refused to know.

And now we find ourselves at the 39th chapter of Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 39:1 NASB “And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal;

A translation I am growing fond of is the Complete Jewish Bible, and it reads like this.

(CJB) “So you, human being, prophesy against Gog; say that Adonai Elohim says: ‘I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshekh and Tuval.

Odd how there is no mention of Rosh in the Jewish version. Perhaps, Rosh inappropriately causes us to focus on another world leader, like Putin.

After all my years of being in the church, I have concluded, that well-minded souls have repeatedly misdirected us. To some, this is not a problem as they are not going to do the background study that would lead them to the truth, and so they remain within the framework of their church traditions. Someone opposing the church traditions fuels their twisted fears, but all the while they continually try to get us to see the Pope as the Antichrist.

This scenario is what we call false teaching. Not everyone means to deceive you, but it happens because we are not willing to do our homework and cling to tradition over truth.

Ezekiel 39:2 ISV I’m going to turn you around, drag you along to your destruction, and bring you up from the farthest parts of the north, and carry you to the mountains of Israel.

Note how the ISV uses some rather graphic words in this second verse.
I’m going to turn you around,”

Large-scale leaders are not entirely insane; there is some thought applied, and costs are often counted. I suspect Gog is no different, and yet, God is, going to turn him around. You might think attacking Israel is not the wisest thing to do, but hatred seems to motivate and drive far too many people.

In looking at Ezekiel 38, we see another interesting aspect of Gog’s attack on Israel. It is God, who puts the thought in his mind. This idea to attack Israel is not just some casual thought that you can easily ignore; it drives him.

“drag you along to your destruction,” 

When Captain Jean Luc Picard, of the ‘Starship Enterprise, encountered the Borg, we repeatedly heard a phrase; resistance is futile. I realize that this idea seems to throw the idea of free will out the window, or does it. Perhaps God has factored free will into His equation already. This problem with free will becomes evident to me as I think about a conversation I had with my Thursday morning group. We have recently been reading the Eugene Peterson book on Prayer. Having read several of Peterson’s books already, I was not looking forward to it. However, I have been pleasantly surprised, as he looks at prayer from many directions, some of which are often less than religious, and I can appreciate that.

Recently, during a portrayal on Peterson’s part, of how adamantly Jesus prayed in the garden setting, I thought about how I once pounded on my steering wheel as I demanded that God honor his word and give me the trophy wife I wanted (Yes, she was pretty but deadly.) I got what I wanted, but dear Lord, I did not need what I got. In jest I said to someone, I think I heard God say, how’s that working for you? By-the-way, I don’t tell God how to run things anymore. I do, however, believe that the trophy wife, was a part of God’s plan in the overall scheme of things, along with the associated pain. And, no, I struggle with the uncomfortable stuff just as you do; and yet, I must believe that it is all part of HIS plan, no matter how things look.

“and bring you up from the farthest parts of the north, and carry you to the mountains of Israel.”

How many times do we do things, thinking that it was our great idea? For myself, I am reminded of a night I got to thinking about something else and missed my turn to get on the freeway. Insistent upon using the highway it took another minute and a half to get back to the on-ramp. Up the hill I went; what I found as I crested the hill was a cataclysmic accident. Most likely I would have been a part of the crash had I not missed my turn.
So, God hooks this man, plants the idea in his head, and drags him and his troops to the mountains of Israel. Rather impressive, and Gog thinks it is all him.

Ezekiel 39:3 MSG Then I’ll knock your bow out of your left hand and your arrows from your right hand.

This idea of knocking your bow out of one hand, and your arrows out of another, cannot be literal, for, in today’s warfare, you will die quickly, unless of course, you are a ninja. Seriously, a whole battlefield of ninjas, that is not going to happen. So it is an analogy, which demonstrates how futile, on the overall, that this war of Gog, is going to be. Again, I remind you, that Jews will die, but in comparison to the intent, the effect will be minimal.

Ezekiel 39:4-5 NASB “You will fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you as food to every kind of predatory bird and beast of the field. 5) “You will fall on the open field; for it is I who have spoken,” declares the Lord GOD.

Note how the NASB tells us that Gog, and his troops, will fall on the mountains of Israel; and, they will fall in the open field. Now, look at how the Message reads.

Ezekiel 39:4-5 MSG On the mountains of Israel you’ll be slaughtered, you and all your troops and the people with you. I’ll serve you up as a meal to carrion birds and scavenging animals. 5) You’ll be killed in the open field. I’ve given my word. Decree of GOD, the Master.’

In reading this literally, the first thing I see is Gog and his slaughtered troops on the mountains. Holding tightly to a literal read would then leave no one to “kill” in the open field, and yet, there they are. So the NASB, it seems, gives a more appropriate read of the upcoming play by play.

Another thing I always think about when I read scripture. Having read statements where the Old Testament tells a story and everyone was there. One of the places we see this is in Daniel, where King Nebuchadnezzar has ordered a statue of himself built, and everyone must bow to it; the obvious factor, if you know the story, is that some created this scenario as an attempt at Jewish genocide. Now everyone, we are told was there, but we primarily see the three Hebrew’s that worked in Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Since you know the story, then you also know they did not bow and were thrown into the fiery furnace, and, walked out of that same furnace untouched by the smell of smoke. Where was Daniel? While the absence of Daniel seems insignificant, it proves that not everyone was there. Examples like this, but on a larger scale, are all throughout the O.T.

So, here is the current scorecard.
Gog and his armies – killed on the hills of Israel, and killed in the Megiddo valley.
But watch what happens next.

Ezekiel 39:6 NET. I will send fire on Magog and those who live securely in the coastlands; then they will know that I am the LORD.

The typical “Christian” might read Ezekiel 38, 39, and because they are lead about so easily by false teachers, will believe that Russia is the sole army coming down from the North and attacking Israel. But, we are told this person, the leader of Magog is coming, and they will be killed. If Gog and his troops have been killed, who then, are all these people in the coastlands, and why are they getting punished?

So what do we know for sure?

  • Ezekiel 38:3 Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. It is easy to visualize Meshech and Tubal, but there are allies of Gog coming to this fight.
  • These people were descendants of Reuben, and Gog was most likely born in Egypt. By the time God’s people were led out of Egypt, they were fully immersed as Egyptians, hence the law. Oral history was the only thing they had. Thankfully, some remembered the stories tied to Abraham and their forefathers, or they would have been Egyptians to the soul. Since Reuben was intentionally disinherited, his anger and disdain may have carried with his descendants.
  • We know that Gog traveled north to the region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and, we know that Russia had a heavy hand in this same region for years. Turkey now plays the heavy hand across the majority of Asia Minor.
  • These people were also integrated into what was known as the Scythians. A violent people group that were feared because they were excellent equestrians that excelled at warfare from horseback. People from Egypt, Iran, Russia, and Siberia were associated with the Scythians. Even Genghis Khan has Scythian blood as part of his ancestry.
  • Ezekiel 38:5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Put are with them, all of them with shields and helmets.

Persia = Modern day Iran. However, Persia has always had an association with Assyria, just as Nineveh did. So tuned your thinking toward those associated with Assyria (Babylon.)

Ethiopia is easy enough to picture, as its name is modernized here. However, many call this Cush. Smith’s Bible Dictionary tells us that Cush is “The name of a son of Ham, apparently the eldest, and of a territory or territories occupied by his descendants. The Cushites appear to have spread along tracts, extending from the higher Nile to the Euphrates and Tigris. History affords many traces of this relation of Babylonia, Arabia, and Ethiopia.”

Put = Also a son of Ham. Put can be thought of as Libya, or the northern African continent. If it is the North African continent, then what nation has consistently been in the news lately? Nigeria, as they, under the auspices of Boko Haran (the African version of Islam,) go about killing off Christians.

So, what is the common thread? Islamic nations.
One of the things you should note is that places like Tarshish cannot be found on a map, and Sheba and Dedan seem to be allies.

As of 07/12/18 Putin of Russia, is now working closely with Libya to strengthen their fighting abilities.

Integration by Russia, to that level, tends to put Russia into this mix, albeit as a technical advisor.

We seem to be on the verge of a massive and deadly event, that may carry long- term nuclear significance.

Posted in Assyrians, bible study, End times, Ezekiel, Gog, Gog, invasion, Islam, Jews, Magog, Magog, Millennium, Rosh, Thoughts on scripture, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Have you come to capture spoil? Ezekiel 38:13 – 23, part 4.

When I write I know that there will be those who have not, nor will not open their bibles or pursue my previous blogs, and therefore, I give you all, a little lead into the story. I also wanted to reiterate that I have friends that encourage me, as they tell me, you make the Bible understandable. In thinking about that aspect, I merely write the way I talk; mind you I clean up the language a bit and grammar check extensively. Perhaps this is my way of apologizing if this seems like I am going to slowly. It is, after all, how I learn.

Gog was a descendant of Reuben. Now, since NO ONE (with two exceptions) escaped death, then we can understand that this original person or entity (regarding a people group,) has long since died. It is possible, because it frequently happened throughout history, that someone else now has the name Gog. But TODAY, it is possible that we are dealing with a people group or nation filled with descendants of Gog, that have the same oppressive mentality. In trying to find background information on Gog I see a strong association with the Scythians – violent, nomadic, horseman, who excelled at mounted attacks. Ezekiel may, or may not, have known any of this, and therefore makes the prophecy ever more appropriate.

When we last saw Gog, he decided that he would “go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates, to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.” [Ezekiel 38:11,12.]

I suspect that many see Gog has having a preeminent role in world leadership, but verse 13 makes it sound as though not everybody is on board with his plans. If this is the Muslim world, it is obvious, from scripture, that not everyone agrees with Gog’s leadership.

Ezekiel 38:13 NASB “,Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish with all its villages will say to you, ‘Have you come to capture spoil? Have you assembled your company to seize plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to capture great spoil?'”‘

Sheba and Dedan, it seems, were within Saudi Arabia. Tarshish is the same town to which the Prophet Jonah tried to flee. I could not find Tarshish on any of my maps, and several commentators agreed that Tarshish, based upon information that is no longer accessible, was on the coast of Spain.

There are many ways to take this statement, “Have you come to capture spoil? Have you assembled your company to seize plunder,” as those talking could be aligned with Gog, greedy, or in disagreement.

Matthew Henry conveys a similar idea.

“Sheba and Dedan, the Arabians and the Edomites, and the merchants of Tarshish, of Tyre and Sidon and other maritime cities, they and their young lions that are greedy of spoil and live upon it, shall say, Hast thou come to take the spoil of this land?” Yes, he has; and therefore they wish him success. Or perhaps they envy him or grudge it to him. “Hast thou come for riches who art thyself so rich already?” Or, knowing that God was on Israel’s side, they thus ridicule his attempts, foreseeing that they would be baffled and that he would be disappointed of the prey he promised himself. Or, if he comes to take the prey, they will come and join with him, and add to his forces.”

Whatever verse 13 means, it seems the Lord directly moves on, as he again tells Ezekiel to prophesy. In spite of what Dr. David Reagan thinks, the Lord considers Israel land that is NOW living securely.

Ezekiel 38:14,15
NET. “Therefore, prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog: ‘This is what the sovereign LORD says: On that day when my people Israel are living securely, you will take notice 15) and come from your place, from the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a vast army.

We have already, in my previous post, discussed Gog. We know he is a leader, but of what country or nation?

Ezekiel 38:2 ISV “Son of Man, turn your attention toward Gog, from the land of Magog, the chief noble of Meshech, and Tubal. Prophesy this against him:

Meshech and Magog are in the region of land that some call the “stan” nations. This region of the world is currently under Turkish control, and it lies in the southern regions between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Russia, for a period, retained control over these nations but eventually relinquished their public grasp. Wiser men would tell you to keep your eyes on Recep Erdoğan, the “leader” of Turkey.

  • all of them riding on horses.”

    I did an internet search to find out what nations still have mounted equestrian Calvary units. It turns out that India has one of the largest. After that comes Chile and then Germany (Strangely, under the leadership of Angela Merkel, Germany seems to be giving itself over entirely to Islamic rule.) None of these seem to fit the requirements of a mounted equestrian group that would potentially come from the north in such mass numbers.

    The word for mounted soldiers is Calvary. However, that can mean almost any form of mobilized units anymore.

So, the truth is, I have no clear idea how Ezekiel 38:15 is going to play out. However, we may have to keep a closer eye on India, and perhaps Germany now.

Ezekiel 38:16 ISV “You’ll come up to invade my people Israel like a storm cloud to cover the land. In the last days, Gog, I’ll bring you up to invade my land so that the world will learn to know me when I show them how holy I am before their very eyes.”

  • You’ll come up to invade my people Israel like a storm cloud to cover the land.”

    This may seem simplistic, but consider how storm clouds come; some are tall and ominous, and can bring lightning, hail, and tornadoes; while others, bringing rain can be scattered and welcome after a hot dry season – that will not be the case here; and then, there are those that cover the sky from end to end – these remove the bright light from the day, bring rain, and often destruction. The descriptive we given through Ezekiel has no good in it; and, like the destructive storms, you know many are going to get hurt.

  • Gog, I’ll bring you up to invade my land so that the world will learn to know me when I show them how holy I am before their very eyes.”

    I have come to realize that nothing happens outside of God’s will. That includes the good and the bad. Do I understand the bad and appreciate it, hardly, but I must accept and understand that God does. In this case, we are told that God intends to show the world that He is Holy, through His actions He is about to take with Gog and his armies.

One last thing I want you to think about. Since Gog can be a person or a people group from the region of Turkey, then let’s assume this is the Turkish leader leading the attack. Since we all know he is a Muslim, then we can presume that the majority of those who follow Gog into battle are Muslims as well. If all Muslims believe in this created god Allah, and, everything they understand from the Quran is in opposition to God, then wouldn’t God killing practically all of them on the mountains of Israel, just make sense. It is the manner in which God kills them should garner the most attention, and, have the potential to restore God to the place of honor He deserves. (The reality of this, is that there will be no significant restoration of God’s honor in the mind of the Muslim, nor the world in general. However, it is going to happen.)

Again, the message is repeated. Keep in mind that prophesy to the Jewish mind is repeated patterns, and so God does just that.

Ezekiel 38:17 NET. ” ‘This is what the sovereign LORD says: Are you the one of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days that I would bring you against them?

  • …of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days that I would bring you against them?”

I tried to find the names of the prophets “who prophesied in those days that I would bring you against them.” But in direct reference to Gog, there is only one mention of that name prior to Ezekiel’s prophesy, and that is found 1 Chronicles 5:4. Everything else is in reference to the utter destruction of large groups such as Moab, the Assyrians, the sons of Sheth, and the Amalekites.

Lacking a direct reference to Gog, Psalm 110:5-6 is one.

Isaiah 34 sounds very much like the complete destruction of a fighting force

Isaiah 34:2-6 NET. For the LORD is angry at all the nations and furious with all their armies. He will annihilate them and slaughter them. 3) Their slain will be left unburied, their corpses will stink; the hills will soak up their blood. 4) All the stars in the sky will fade away, the sky will roll up like a scroll; all its stars will wither, like a leaf withers and falls from a vine or a fig withers and falls from a tree. 5) He says, “Indeed, my sword has slaughtered heavenly powers. Look, it now descends on Edom, on the people I will annihilate in judgment.” 6) The LORD’s sword is dripping with blood, it is covered with fat; it drips with the blood of young rams and goats and is covered with the fat of rams’ kidneys. For the LORD is holding a sacrifice in Bozrah, a bloody slaughter in the land of Edom.

Ezekiel ends much like the grand finale at a fireworks show, with repeated themes and impressive descriptives that include the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all who live on the face of the earth, shaking at the presence of the Lord.

Ezekiel 38:18-23 NET. On that day, when Gog invades the land of Israel, declares the sovereign LORD, my rage will mount up in my anger. 19) In my zeal, in the fire of my fury, I declare that on that day there will be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20) The fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the wild beasts, all the things that creep on the ground, and all people who live on the face of the earth will shake at my presence. The mountains will topple, the cliffs will fall, and every wall will fall to the ground. 21) I will call for a sword to attack Gog on all my mountains, declares the sovereign LORD; every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22) I will judge him with plague and bloodshed. I will rain down on him, his troops and the many peoples who are with him a torrential downpour, hailstones, fire, and brimstone. 23) I will exalt and magnify myself; I will reveal myself before many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’

When He says, “every man’s sword will be against his brother,” it sounds very much like a description of Ismael’s descendants.

Genesis 16:11-12 NASB The angel of the LORD said to her further, “Behold, you are with child, And you will bear a son; And you shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has given heed to your affliction. 12) “He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers.”

I find myself looking at videos that demonstrate justice being served, and maybe that is why this statement, “I will exalt and magnify myself; I will reveal myself before many nations,” appeals to me, because I grow weary of my God being attacked; and, I grow weary of those following after Christ being slaughtered in the name of some imaginary god. I, like David, cry out,

Lord, how long will You look on? Rescue my soul from their ravages, My only life from the lions. Psalms 35:17 NASB

And not only my soul Lord, but the souls of all those who call upon your name.




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Ezekiel 38:12 – trying to understand Gog, part 3.

In effect, this is where we ended the last post on Ezekiel.

“This is what the Lord GOD says: ‘This is what’s going to happen on the very day that you begin your invasion: You’ll be thinking, making evil plans, and boasting, “I’m going to invade a land comprised of open country that is at rest, its people living confidently, all of whose inhabitants will be living securely, with neither fortification nor bars on their doors. Ezekiel 38:10-11 ISV

Having read this passage on several occasions, I have asked myself the same question many have asked, how can you possibly call Israel a country that is at rest? Are the people living confidently and securely? Dr. David Reagan, writing in the September 2009 LAMPLIGHTER magazine article entitled, The Wars of the End Times, said,

First, there is a condition for the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39 that has not been met. Three times in Ezekiel 38 — in verses 8, 11, and 14 — it states that the war described in that chapter will not occur until the people of Israel are living “securely” in “unwalled villages.” Israel is not living in security today. It is bombarded daily by missiles from Gaza, and it is constantly under the threat of missile attacks from Hezbollah in Lebanon. There is also the ever-present threat of terrorist attacks, a threat that has forced Israel to construct a 400-mile long wall down the center of the country. In short, it is laughable today to even think of the Jewish people of Israel as living “securely” in “unwalled villages.”

I don’t know how to explain what Gog says, short of it being in direct opposition to a previous condition. We see that previous condition when we read the words of, as a friend pointed out, Nehemiah the Prophet.

Nehemiah 1:3 NASB They said to me, “The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.”

The walls were broken down, and its gate burned with fire. Is that the end of the story? Obviously not, for Nehemiah led a team that rebuilt those same walls and gates. However, those walls and gates were destroyed once again. So, if Israel is a city without walls, what is one of the primary structures conspicuous in Israeli news? The fence along the Southern border with Gaza. Perhaps then our understanding is much to narrow and restrictive, especially, if we can only see things as Dr. David Reagan does. Maybe we are looking at the small picture while God is concerned with the bigger one. This Gog character views Israel as a people living securely in unwalled cities; all of which is in fulfillment of prophecy, and that, is all that matters.

With Israel looking vulnerable our journey continues, as we find Gog saying,

Ezekiel 38:11-12 NASB … I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates, 12) to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.’

Odd, how the majority of Western centered thinking struggles to see Israel as pictured in the statement above, and yet, Gog understands very well the purpose of Israel and why. Get something defined in your thinking; Gog is NOT the Antichrist. In this case, he’s more of a hothead who only sees utter destruction as the answer. (By the way, Muslims continually make this cry for a total extermination of those outside of Islam.) The Antichrist, in comparison, is found in Daniel crying out for peace. The logical side of me only sees this cry for peace happening after this war.

Daniel 9:27 NASB “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

Contract, peace treaty or a ceasefire, call it what you may, the effect is the same, as Israel gains a few quick years of peace. And, if you are paying attention, this verse says nothing about him making a peace treaty with Israel.

Daniel, in a vision, had seen a ram with two horns and a shaggy goat with one horn between its eyes. The angel Gabriel came and explained what this vision meant. It is a vision of the end of time; a period that takes about seven years. (I say about as many of these things, things that make it all happen, are happening around us now, and are not a direct part of the seven-years of God’s wrath.)

Daniel 8:16-17 NASB And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, “Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision.” 17) So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end.”

Many translations read like this: “Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end.”

The problem I have with this terminology is that it places Ezekiel 38, 39 within the seven-year period when I am not so sure we should perceive it as such. Can Ezekiel’s prophecy be something that overlaps into the seven-years? Certainly, and since there will be one crying out for peace (although false,) he – the Antichrist will only be exposed to the world after the church is removed. [You can ascertain this information by a careful study of 2Thessalonians 2, particularly verse 8.]

Daniel 8:20 NASB “The ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia.

We have already seen the advent of the kings of Media and Persia, as they overthrew and succeeded Nebuchadnezzar’s reign.

Daniel 8:21 NASB “The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

This was Alexander the Great.

Daniel 8:22 ERV That horn broke off and four horns grew in its place. The four horns are four kingdoms. Those four kingdoms will come from the nation of the first king, but they will not be as strong as the first king.

After Alexander’s death, in the prime of life and in the height of his conquests, his brother and two sons were all murdered; and the kingdom was divided among four of his generals: (1) Seleucus, who had Syria and Babylon; (2) Lysimachus, who had Asia Minor; (3) Ptolemy, who had Egypt; and (4) Cassander, who had Greece.” The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury

This is just as Daniel described when he detailed the dream of a statue with a head of gold.

  • Nebuchadnezzar was identified as the head of gold;

  • Media and Persia were the chest and arms made of silver;

  • its stomach and thighs of bronze were the Grecian empires,

  • The legs and feet primarily being made of Iron, are empire Seleucus and Ptolemy and what becomes of those two empires. This is detailed in Daniel 11.

    Contrary to what many believe, these were not the Roman empire but remnants of the Grecian empire. When it comes to the toes which are a blended mess of iron and clay, the Hebrew word used to describe the mix is arab.

Daniel 11 is such a precise history of the intrigue and overthrow of governing bodies that happens toward the end of the Seleucid and Ptolemaic reigns, that many suspect it was written after the events took place. All these events play into the scenario described by Ezekiel and Daniel, and should not be ignored.

Daniel 8:23 NIrV “Toward the end of their rule, those who refuse to obey God will become completely evil. Then another king will appear. He will have a mean-looking face. He will be a master at making clever plans.

The Amplified Bible translates this passage in this manner, “when the transgressors [the apostate Jews] have reached the fullness [of their wickedness, taxing the limits of God’s mercy], a king of fierce countenance and understanding dark trickery and craftiness shall stand up.”

This is the same person that we see in Ezekiel 38,39.

Two questions.

  1. Until the day God pulls the plug and sends His wrath upon the nations and Israel, will there ever be a time when Israel is done transgressing?

    I cannot imagine it, and that is why we have allusions to them reaching their fullness or becoming completely evil.

  2. When you look at a world ruler today, do you say, there is a mean-looking man?

    I don’t either unless I am looking at Principe Erdoğan, the President of Turkey. Who, by the way, is a Muslim.

    • A king will arise, Insolent and skilled in intrigue.” (NASB)

      What does that mean?

      Insolent is the Hebrew word ‘az and means strong, vehement, harsh. This could be the description of several totalitarian world leaders.

      Intrigue, the Hebrew is chı̂ydâh and means a trick, conundrum, sententious maxim: – dark saying (sentence, speech), hard question, proverb, riddle.

      Webster’s dictionary defines intrigue as “A plot or scheme of a complicated nature, intended to effect some purpose by secret artifices. An intrigue may be formed and prosecuted by an individual, and we often hear of the intrigues of a minister or a courtier, but often several projectors are concerned in an intrigue. The word is usually applied to affairs of love or of government.”

When I think about the intrigue that went on behind the scenes with the Clinton administration and then the Obama presidency, it turns my stomach. President Obama made secret deals with the Iranians, giving them pallets of cash while requiring little in return. How many deals have been made with the Turkish government? And what is going on behind our backs as we speak? We may never know until it’s too late.

Can I definitely say who this character is? No, as there are so many that fit the characteristics. I just know the end times are like a great puzzle, and the pieces are fitting together as we watch the news.

Daniel 8:25 KJV And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes, but he shall be broken without hand.

  • The NASB tells us, His power will be mighty, but not by his own power,

    Where else do we find this idea of someone or something receiving power, but not his own?

    Revelation 13:2 NASB And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.

So it is not an uncommon idea that a demonic entity – a fallen angel, can and will give it’s power and authority to a human. Another highly visible place we see this is when Satan led Jesus up to a high place and showed him all the kingdoms of the world.

Luke 4:6 NASB And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.

  • and by peace shall destroy many.”

    The BBE conveys this imagery, “in his heart he will make himself great, and send destruction on numbers who are living unconscious of their danger;” It seems this could only happen if you believed you were safe. The Israeli Prime minister proclaims frequently, that Israel can protect itself.

    Again, we have little that tells us of this peace process he initiates. The largest piece of evidence for peace comes from Daniel 9:27, as I pointed out earlier in the text.

  • he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes;”

    Far too many try to face off against God, with no success. It is a pointless and fruitless effort. And, it makes little to no sense when you look at this in terms of a conventional war. The statement itself implies that there is an acceptance of a God that holds order over everything, even if you don’t know his name. And you, O’ Gog, have the audacity to stand against him, the Prince of Princes. Those of us in the Christian community understand this Prince to be Jesus Christ the Messiah. Odd how so many in the world refuse to see that.

  • but he shall be broken without hand.”

    We have not arrived at that point yet, but God sends a firestorm upon those attacking Israel, and Gog is given a burial place on the hills of Israel. This event almost sounds like the weapons, used by God, could be nuclear. I say this based the details we see as people mark the dead and then teams come to dispose of the bodies.

We are told that God does all this to demonstrate his power to the nations – those standing by and watching. Sadly, none of this seems to make a difference as approximately 1260 days later, Israel is attacked once again.

Let me reiterate, we are looking at Ezekiel 38:12 where a vicious, militaristic leader attacks Israel for the purpose of destroying God. That, of course, will not succeed as God himself sends a firestorm upon Gog and his troops, killing them on the hills of Israel, and we will get to that as we progress.

I was asked, a couple of years ago, if we, the church will suffer tribulations. I think the obvious answer is YES. All you need to do is pay attention to what is happening to the church around the world. China is rounding them up and imprisoning the participants; in Northern Africa, in one week alone, estimates are that over 200 have been killed by Boko Haran, and Egyptian Muslims are killing the Coptic Christians in their churches and as they leave. These are all Muslim nations, but do the tribulations only come to those in Muslim nations? No, and the day is coming that here in America it will find you. And, all of this is prior to the wrath of God being poured out upon the earth.

I feel I spent far too much time including excerpts from Daniel 8 but I wanted you to understand how integrated the end times story in this Bible of ours. Some read their Bibles, believing that the New Testament is the only place you should focus your attention. However, you will find detailed information about end times events in Matthew’s gospel; Paul’s writings to the Thessalonian church; Peter’s writings; Jude, and of course The Revelation. So the end times story is all around you. Understanding that God is on your side and wants to save you from the horrors that are to come, perhaps you should avail yourself of His love and accept Jesus Christ, His son.

Posted in Assyrians, bible study, Daniel, End times, Ezekiel, Gog, Gog, invasion, Islam, Jews, Magog, Magog, Matthew's gospel, Nebuchadnezzar's statue, Peace, Prophetic, Revelation, Rosh, Thoughts on scripture, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ezekiel 38: 5-12. Part 2 – I am against you Gog.

Having addressed who or what Gog could be in my previous post, we now look at the directive given to Ezekiel to prophecy against Gog (from a great distance, and through time,) about what God’s plan is, for the last days.

Ezekiel 38:3 NASB and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.

Eugene Peterson’s “The Message” gives us this, “Be warned, Gog. I am against you.

Ezekiel 38:4 CJB I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all completely equipped, a great horde with breastplates and shields, all wielding swords.

Why would verse four be immensely significant in the Jewish mind?

If you think back to the story of Jonah you remember that Jonah was asked to prophesy against Nineveh and tell them their days were numbered. While that might seem appropriate, especially if you had an intense hatred for the Ninevehites and wanted them dead because they were sadistically cruel and bloody people.

But Jonah also knew something about God that most of us miss, and that was that God’s nature was one of mercy. The other thing that Jonah understood was that the Ninevehites were a part of the Assyrian nation, just as Gog is, and they had the nasty habit of dragging their victims back to their lands by putting hooks in their mouths, among other places.

  • I will turn you around.”

Another piece of insight for you. Having recently gone to the beach to be with family, I took an ice chest of cold drinks. I dragged that chest from the car, across the beach sand, and now, later in the day, I was dragging it back again. By the time I got to the stairs that lead up to the car, I was exhausted. I could feel the full weight of the ice chest as I went up the first step. Suddenly it got lighter. I actually thought I was going to turn around and see an angel. What I saw was the long-haired young man whom I had just passed carrying a skateboard. My wife, who was about 22 meters behind me, saw the skateboarder and internally had said, Lord, that would be great if that young man helped my husband. With that, the young man stopped, turned, and began to help me without saying a word. You see, God has ways of his will without a word being exchanged; and, the young man, he probably thought it was his great idea.

  • and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all completely equipped, a great horde with breastplates and shields, all wielding swords.”

In one of my posts on Ezekiel 38, I went into great detail about the people of that region, the Scythians. One of their claims to fame is that they were skillful horsemen and deadly with weapons as they rode. Would Ezekiel have known that? It is highly possible as the line of descendants that produced these people existed long before Ezekiel did and he would have learned this through oral history.

At this point, I only wish to say, that someone attempted to challenge my previous assertions about Gog, saying, Gog was Satan. Based upon verse four alone is that probable?

Not likely seeing as 1Chronicles 5:4 shows us the lineage of a man named Gog, a descendant of Reuben – the disinherited son of Jacob, but then, Ezekiel’s prophecy and the actual occurrence of these events spans well over two thousand years and no one lives that long. The only other thing that has credence is a demonic spirit/ fallen angel that carries that name.

In this battle coming against Israel, who are the players?

Ezekiel 38:5-6 NASB Persia, Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6) Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops-many peoples with you.

  • Persia – Modern day Iran

  • Ethiopia – At one time Ethiopia was known as Cush.

  • Put – Put is the Libyans. While Qaddafi may have been a wild man, since his removal the nation has turned into a violent Muslim nation.

  • Gomer – Sits squarely in modern day Turkey.

  • Beth-togarmah – This was territory from which the Medes emanated. It is the region in which the Armenians resided. At one point in time, the Assyrian nations bordered Beth-togarmah, and it is the Caucasus region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. While Russia has dominated these people at times they seem to be independent of Russia while maintaining civil war amongst themselves.

    There is a strong clue embedded within the verse that says, in the far reaches of the north, with all its troops-many peoples are with you.” Again, this is the Scythian region and one of their claims to fame was Genghis Khan.

Ezekiel 38:7 CJB Prepare yourself, get ready, you and all your crowd gathered around you; and take charge of them.

Consider something here. Ezekiel is writing this while he is in Babylonian captivity; which for him, began around 570 B.C. Now, over 2570 years later, God is finally bringing this collection of assailants together for a horrendous battle. A battle, that for Israel, will look impossible.

Many will add another war in here, the Psalm 83 war. Some even insert it before the events that Ezekiel lays out before us.

Psalms 83:3-8 ISV They plot against your people and conspire against your cherished ones. 4) They say, “Let us go and erase them as a nation so the name of Israel will not be remembered anymore.” 5) Indeed, they shrewdly planned together, forming an alliance against you— 6) the tents of Edom, the Ishmaelites, Moab, the Hagrites, 7) Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia, and the inhabitants of Tyre. 8) Even Assyria joined them to strengthen the descendants of Lot. Interlude.

Psalm 83 has similarities to what we see in Ezekiel 38 and 39, but what I don’t see is Cush, and Put – Egypt and Libya. I am not sure those nations can be excluded as the descendants traveled extensively.

Ezekiel 38:8 CJB After many days have passed, you will be mustered for service; in later years you will invade the land which has been brought back from the sword, gathered out of many peoples, the mountains of Isra’el. They had been lying in ruins for a long time, but now Isra’el has been extracted from the peoples and all of them are living there securely.

  • After many days have passed,”

    Far too many read this and think it merely means weeks later. This phrase, like “the prince that shall come,” that is defined for us in Daniel 9:26, has several encroachments into history. The problem is, these intrusions are spread across thousands of years.

Many is the Hebrew word rab meaning much, many, numerous, and abundance, among others.

Verse eight is clearly a description of Israel.

Ezekiel 38:9 CJB You will come up like a storm, you will be like a cloud covering the land—you and all your troops, and many other peoples with you.’

  • You will come up like a storm,”

    Sudden and overwhelming. Are all storms sudden? No, in many cases people will say, this is storm weather and it always starts like this. So, the implication is that we have a strong probability of knowing when this will come. Just today (6/29/2018), through the MEMRI website, I learned of a Middle Eastern newspaper that leans heavily toward Erdoğan, publishing an article calling for the Muslim of the world to gather in Jihad against Israel (this article was published in Dec of 2017 – not that long ago. An aspect of the article was a map which showed Israel surrounded on every side with army tanks. Surrounded on every side sounds very much like Ezekiel’s words.

  • you will be like a cloud covering the land.” – Clouds are formed by thousands of drops of water. We are told that the number seems innumerable.

  • you and all your troops, and many other peoples with you.” – These are people of a like mind – Muslims may not be unified in “religion” but they all seem to understand the idea of Jihad.

Ezekiel 38:10-12 CJB “Adonai Elohim says: ‘When that day comes, thoughts will well up in your mind, and you will devise a sinister scheme. 11) You will say, “I am going to invade this land of unwalled villages; I will take by surprise these people who are at peace, living securely, all in places without walls, bars or gates. 12) I will seize the spoil and take the plunder.” You will attack the former ruins that are now inhabited and come against the people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and other wealth and are living in the central parts of the land.

  • When that day comes,” – Question, does God do anything at random? The answer is NO, as everything is part of a precise and well thought out plan; a plan which includes giving man a free will and the opportunity to choose life or death.

    Deuteronomy 30:19 CJB “I call on heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have presented you with life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life, so that you will live, you and your descendants,

    Regardless of the optional qualities, the plan is still in place and intact. So, is it possible that God would leave the option for Gog to design and plan out “his” own destiny? Not a chance and verse ten is no different, as “that day” is entirely in God’s hands, and, a part of God’s plan.

    Psalms 33:11 NET. The LORD’s decisions stand forever; his plans abide throughout the ages.

    Another consideration is the terminology “that day.” The phrase is attributed to several events; one of which is the return of Jesus as the warring and conquering Messiah, who also fights a bloody battle in the Jezreel Valley; there is the great white throne judgment and the entirety of the seven-years of God’s wrath upon the earth.
    Are any of those events what we are looking at here? I do not believe so as there are always other events associated, which we do not see here.

  • thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan,” – 

    The Hebrew word for thoughts is dāḇār and literally means words. I could read this when that day comes, words will pop into your head, you are going to think this is your sinister scheme, but in reality, you will be doing what I have planned all along.

    Mind is the Hebrew word lēḇāḇ and also means heart. In God’s understanding, the heart and the mind are one in the same.

    Devise is from the Hebrew word châshab and means to weave, fabricate, or plot.

    Proverbs 15:28 NASB The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

  • You will say, “I am going to invade this land of unwalled villages; I will take by surprise these people who are at peace, living securely, all in places without walls, bars or gates. 12) I will seize the spoil and take the plunder.”

    The context of Deuteronomy 3:5 is applied to Israel’s conquer of Og, the King of Bashan. Having destroyed Og’s fortified cities they were never rebuilt by Israel. It also demonstrates that cities were typically fortresses; this is not what you see in Israel today.

    Deuteronomy 3:3-6 NASB “All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates, and bars, besides a great many unwalled towns.

    Zechariah 2:4 NASB and said to him, “Run, speak to that young man, saying, ‘Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle within it.

I like the way the ISV version translates Ezekiel 38:12, “the people … who live at the center of the world’s attention.” Currently, all the world seems to be looking at Israel, once again. Whether Israel is at the center of the world or not is debatable, but God is making that nation the center of attention.

And, although we have not covered the verse yet, it sums up the reason behind all this tumult.

Ezekiel 38:16 ERV…I will bring you to fight against my land. Then, Gog, the nations will learn how powerful I am! They will learn to respect me and know that I am holy.

Posted in Thoughts on scripture | 4 Comments

Ezekiel 38:2; answering a rebuttal.

I wrote about the Gog/Magog war on a previous occasion, but it was painfully long and some time ago. Since that time a brother in Christ, whom I sit with frequently, and loves Eschatology as much as I do, recently brought up Ezekiel 38,39, as it appears to be the preeminent war on the horizon. That quiet conversation caused me to think, I need to be more skillful and knowledgeable about the Word of God and end times subjects. With this fresh motivation, I recently published An extensive look at Ezekiel 38/39 part one. One of the places I post appears to be occupied with legalistic religious types, who like big words. This inclination toward abusive interactions was not detailed in the site’s description, but it quickly became evident. Pharisees, I am told, were purists; they demanded a precise rendering of the Torah and Talmud in their discussions, but anytime you see Jesus in a confrontational situation it is with religious leaders and their legalism.

So, two days later I looked to see if I had any comments about part one. I did, and I want to show you the first three lines of their extensive reply to my post. I, by the way, did not reply to this person as all respondents so far, have, with one exception, proven to be combative and not open to discussion. As this is a typical response, I find it easy to assume that they don’t read their bibles for themselves and are willing to let others be their guides.

My wife asks me when I would come back from the Monday morning study, “why do you go there?” I would search my brain for a logical response, and say, for the fellowship I suppose. (Fellowship apparently does not mean the close congregation of fools.) I do obtain when I go to these fiascoes, is a generalized idea of what most “church” people understand or believe; and I have to tell you, we are in sad shape. It is no wonder few of us can stand our ground against the false and cultist teachings of the world. This post is an attempt at disseminating one persons scrambled Theology.

I have italicized and bulleted this person’s response for clarity.

  • First of all Ezekiel is speaking to Satan [Called Gog]”

So, what does the scripture say?

Ezekiel 38:2 NET. “Son of man, turn toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him

The Bible is only a mystery to those who do not want to see or understand. I think this is true because the Word of God is filled with truth that slaps you upside the head and challenges you to change, and people don’t want to change. Keep in mind that Ezekiel (a priest and captive in Babylon.) was writing not only to, but about known persons, places, and things; things that not only he understood, but his readers would have understood as well.

If, Gog in this instance, was Satan, is it possible the character would have been given a more descriptive name than “the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.”

Another method of Bible study is to let scripture assist you in defining what you are reading. Note how1Chronicles 5:4 NASB tells us that Gog was a person.

The sons of Joel were Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son,

Consider how Revelation 12:9 refers to Satan as “the huge dragon;” “the ancient serpent;” “Satan,” and, “the devil.” The logic in having Ezekiel say these things much like a taunt to Satan escapes me, especially when we (the church) have this for example.

Jude 1:9 GNB Not even the chief angel Michael did this. In his quarrel with the Devil, when they argued about who would have the body of Moses, Michael did not dare condemn the Devil with insulting words, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Another translation, the Good News Bible, reads like this, “Mortal man,” he said, “denounce Gog, chief ruler of the nations of Meshech and Tubal in the land of Magog. Denounce him and tell him that I, the Sovereign LORD, am his enemy.” I do not think there is any doubt in Satan’s mind where he stands with God.

One last thing, in the post about Ezekiel 38/39 part one, I detailed how these descendants (from Noah) had gone north to the Caucasus mountain ranges of what is now northern Turkey, and banded together under the title of Scythians.

So, NO, Ezekiel is not speaking to Satan, and NO, this person is not going to live for over two thousand years. So, for this be fulfilled in our present day there has to be someone else to whom this title is ascribed, and he comes from the region of Turkey. The astute will pick up one other strong possibility, in that Ezekiel can also be speaking toward a demonic/fallen angel named Gog. For others to obtain that title across history, should be a good indicator that we are dealing with the demonic. An example of this might come from the probability that Principe Erdoğan of Turkey may well take on the role of Gog, the obvious factor is that Gog is not his name. Therefore Gog is clearly symbolic.

  • It is Satan who will muster the forces that will attack Israel in the future …. the entire effort will fail.”

A friend of mine is quick to respond to outlandish statements with, show me that in scripture! I feel the same way about this incredulous statement. What the respondent has done is combine multiple events into one.

At the end of the thousand-years does Satan deceive the nations and rally them for an attempt at killing God? Yes, he does, and this fails miserably with everyone gathering for war being burned to death. But what we see here in Ezekiel 38 is not that event, nor is at the end of time. This battle is mere minutes away, and we are watching the players gather in Syria as I write this.

Does scripture tell us who it is that draws Gog to the mountains of Israel? Yes, it does.

Ezekiel 38:3-4 NET. and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Look, I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 4) I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them fully armed, a great company with shields of different types, all of them armed with swords.

Ezekiel 38:16 NASB and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog.”

This is fairly distinct, “It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me.” There is no Satan involved in this process directly. The chronology of events will happen so fast as the Antichrist persona cries out “peace peace.”

2Thessalonians tells us

2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 GNB Yet there is something that keeps this from happening now, and you know what it is. At the proper time, then, the Wicked One will appear. 7) The Mysterious Wickedness is already at work, but what is going to happen will not happen until the one who holds it back is taken out of the way. 8) Then the Wicked One will be revealed, but when the Lord Jesus comes, he will kill him with the breath from his mouth and destroy him with his dazzling presence.

There is no reason to cry peace unless there is a war, and, you are losing.

  • This war will take place at the end of the coming tribulation period …. the battle of Armageddon.”

Revelation 19 paints a picture of Christ coming back to earth as the warring Messiah that Israel longed for, and in some cases, is looking for.

Revelation 19:15 NASB From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.

It tells us that He will strike down the nations. Is this all people, for if it is then how do we have anything but the Jews and the church in the millennial reign, and where do the nations come from when Satan deceives so many of them at the end of time? Certainly, this describes a war, as does Joel 3:11,12.

Joel 3:11-12 NASB Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, And gather yourselves there. Bring down, O LORD, Your mighty ones. 12) Let the nations be aroused And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, For there I will sit to judge All the surrounding nations.

This next set of passages can apply to the battle at the end of the seven-years, or it can apply to the final battle where the deceived nations are burned to death. Why it may even apply to both seeing as God likes to use the same scenario to describe several events. For example the desecration of the temple. Without a doubt, this has happened, and yet we know it will happen again.

Revelation 16:13-16 NASB 13) And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; 14) for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. 15) (“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”) 16) And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon.

As you read this passage there is a huge clue embedded within it, “I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs.” Since we know that the false prophet does not do his damage until 1260 days into the seven-period, then we also know that the armies being gathered would either apply to an immediate onslaught against Israel, or they apply to the time when the Messiah returns. Again, we have a tremendous clue when it says, “gather them together for the war of the great day of God.” Those not paying attention will miss this because it says the great of God and not the Messiah specifically. This is not a problem because we know that Jesus is God.

Armageddon. i.e. hill of slaughter, *S# G717. i.e. Mount of Decision or Sentence (Lange). Valley, a symbol of defeat; and, the hill, of victory.

A simplistic answer as to whether this battle, we see in Ezekiel 38, is the battle of Armageddon, is that many Ezdecisive battles have happened in the Jezreel Valley; and, at this time, we understand that there will be at least three more; one of which includes the battle against the deceived nations at the end of time.

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Ezekiel 38 and 39, a detailed look at the prophecy against Gog. Part 1

I was asked by my pastor why I study eschatology (end times events.) Ignoring the negativity of a challenge like this, I find that “end times events” are tied in with almost everything I read in scripture. Ezekiel 38 and 39 is such an event, as it speaks of a horrific situation that may happen at any minute.

Try opening a conversation about what you find in Ezekiel 38 and 39 and the eyes of your audience will glaze over and you can watch them begin to look at their watches, wondering if there isn’t somewhere else they need to go. There are reasons behind this lack of interest, and they stem from confusion; a lack of understanding; the inability of the speaker to put flesh and blood on the characters; and, the worst part is that there is a veil over the eyes and ears of the hearer so that they cannot comprehend. Along with those factors, there is a multitude of answers as to who the players are and when this event will take place. Ambiguity plays a role in the disinterest because an honest dissertation of an end-times scenario will typically put you in the ballpark, perhaps even provide the audience with the team name, but at this point, I am not sure we specifically say who the main characters are. Furthermore, two simple sentences can inspire books of commentary. I am going to try and condense but still give you an understanding of this prophecy.

An introduction to Ezekiel:

He was a priest, the son of a priest, and he was taken captive into Babylon. Already, you should be thinking, odds are not in his favor. Ezekiel was one of the few that give us precise dates.

According to Dr. John Gill’s commentary, chapter 38 gives an account of an enemy of the Jews, under the name of Gog, that shall invade their land, and disturb their peace after they are settled in it;

J. Vernon McGee, in his commentary, demonstrates some classic old-school thinking as he tells us the theme of Ezekiel 38 is Russia’s invasion of Israel. McGee is making his case for Gog to be Russia.

I happen to think McGee’s assessment is wrong and we should not be focused on the Russian President Putin. You have to keep in mind what was going on in the world that would have inspired the McGee’s particular emphasis on Russia in his commentary. For example, The United States was deeply entrenched in the Korean war; the Vietnam conflict, with the cold war with Russia waiting just around the corner. I too assumed that Russia would be one of the major players (and no doubt they are, but we are trying to think biblically while paying attention to the context.) as we lived with the verified threat of Russian missiles 90 miles off our coast in Cuba – a Russian ally, as children.

The Summarized Bible commentary conveys that “God does not only see those who are now the enemies of His people, but foresees those who will be so in the last days, and lets them know by His Word that He is against them, and will make their movements to serve His own purposes.”

I know, every generation has had those that have said, “we are in the last days,” and I would tell you that they were right.

Now how would I come to the understanding that every generation comprehended that we are in the last days?

  • Daniel chapter 9, spells out a seventy-week decree against Israel. Sixty-nine of those weeks have been fulfilled. The seventieth week of years (7years) has been on hold for over 2000 years. Therefore, we, the church, have been in the last days for over 2000 years.

  • Peter, on the day of Pentecost, filled with Holy Spirit, preached to the thousands milling about the streets of Jerusalem that day. An aspect of what Peter said came from Joel chapter 2 which speaks about the time of God’s wrath which the seventieth year portrays. However, within that period, people are acting out in the power of the Holy Spirit as the prophets of old did. Peter said this part of Joel’s prophecy had been fulfilled in your hearing.

What did he say? We are living in the last days.

Since the last days seems to be very focused on the seven-years of wrath, are we, at the moment, living in the seventieth week? No, and that will not come until the church is removed from the earth. 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8

The NASB opens our look into Ezekiel 38 with:

Prophecy Against Gog

Ezekiel 38:1-2 NASB And the word of the LORD came to me saying, 2) “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him

Note how the passage provided has no appropriate punctuation at the end. That is because the thought continues and we will pursue that shortly. But for the moment let’s dissect the verses.

  • Son of man,”

    Is there any question as to whom the Lord is talking? The answer is Ezekiel.

  • set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him,”

Okay, what just happened? Ezekiel was told to prophesy against two entities:

        • Gog;

          this person also happens to be the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.

        • And, the land of Magog;

If Ezekiel is told to prophesy against him, and “him” includes the land, then we should be considering the possibility that this is:

  • A nation?

  • A people group?

  • A demonic operation that controls a people group?

As I try to understand, I turn my attention to my concordances and look up the word Gog.

BDB Definition: Gog = “mountain” –

  1. A Reubenite, the son of Shemaiah (1 Ch 5:4)

  2. The prophetic prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and Magog (Read Ezekiel 32)

Strong’s concordance merely adds Gog, the name of an Israelite. The KJC keeps us in Ezekiel with one exception:

1 Chronicles 5:1-4 MKJV And the sons of Reuben, the first-born of Israel (for he was the first-born; but since he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel, and the genealogy is not to be counted according to the birthright; 2) For Judah prevailed among his brothers, and from him came the chief ruler, but the birthright was Joseph’s); 3) the sons of Reuben the first-born of Israel: Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 4) The sons of Joel: Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, and Shimei, his son.

The dishonor carried by the family due to Reuben’s indiscretion, which excluded them from any rights of birth, surely plays a role in all of this.

The Word Study Dictionary tells us this about Gog:

  • He is pictured as a great enemy against God’s people.

    Ezekiel 38:9 NASB “You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you.”

  • He is from the land of Magog or possibly “from the land of Gog.”

    Gog. i.e., mountain, in reference to the Caucasus mountains, the chief seat of the Scythian people. Note: Rather, “Gog (the prince) of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.” The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury

  • The Lord sets Himself against Gog (Eze_38:2).

  • Gog will lead a coalition of nations against God’s people who are then dwelling securely in the land of Israel (Eze_38:14-16).

    With the addition of the words, God’s people who are then dwelling securely in …Israel. They have turned this so that we are looking at the church and not Israel, which is incorrect.

  • But God, in fact, will bring Gog forth and will destroy him and his people.

    Ezekiel 39:1-2; Ezekiel 38:19-23

  • The Lord spoke about this through other prophets (Eze_38:17-18).

    Ezekiel 38:17 MKJV So says the Lord Jehovah: Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days, by the hand of My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days and years that I would bring you against them?

  • The multitudes of Gog will be buried in the Valley of Hamon Gog, that is, “multitudes of Gog” (Eze_39:11),

    Ezekiel 39:11 CJB ” ‘When that day comes, I will give Gog a place there in Isra’el for graves, the Travelers’ Valley, east of the sea; and it will block the travelers’ passage. There they will bury Gog and all his horde, and they will rename it the Valley of Hamon-Gog [horde of Gog].

The Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature informs us that:

They are the name of a mixed race dwelling in the extreme north, comprehended by the Greeks under the name of the Scythians; (2.) to the center and representative of their race, i.e. their king (Ezekiel 38:39). Gog comes forth from the distant north (Eze_38:15-23; Eze_39:2), … And, if you are stickler for history – Interpreters have given very different explanations of the terms Gog and Magog; but they have generally understood them as symbolical expressions for the heathen nations of Asia, or more particularly for the Scythians, a vague knowledge of whom seems to have reached the Jews in Palestine about that period. Thus Josephus (Ant. 1:6, 3) has dropped the Hebrew word Magog, and rendered it by Σκύθαι;

Classic Bible Maps

Of the maps, I looked at to better understand this ancient classic version shows me more and divergent details than any other map, as it points out Gog and Magog, and where they were located. I have also provided a link to Wikipedia which continues to fill in the blanks in understanding and prophecy with highly detailed information about the Scythians. Because of the quantity of information found there, which all seems important, I am only going to suggest that the interested pursue that there. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scythians]

As you read the information, consider where Gog might come from. It may help you to understand more clearly how the Turkish “president” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan might best fill the role of Gog.

Just for the fun of it, I searched the internet to find out if Genghis Khan could have been a Scythian. The Headline read, “Not Just Genghis Khan – Scythians Show Genetic Blending With Europe 2,000 Years Ago.” http://www.science20.com/news_articles/not_just_genghis_khan_scythians_show_genetic_blending_europe_2000_years_ago-96314

Here is was I gather so far.

Gog, from the disinherited family line of Reuben, moves North and becomes a nomadic, mounted, a warring nation known as the Scythians. They ranged into China, Siberia, Egypt, Asia Minor and as far south as the Northern African nations, however, they seem to be centrally located around Turkey and the Caspian Sea. They are heavily influenced and integrated by the surrounding nations such as Persia, Syria, and the Caucasus regions. They conquered Nineveh, the Assyrians, and the Medes. Having relations as violent as Genghis Khan one can assume that slaughter was their general theme. This is the people that God sees as one of Israel’s few remaining thorns in the flesh.

Posted in 70 weeks, Assyrians, bible study, Daniel, End times, enemies, Ezekiel, false teaching, gentiles, Gog, Islam, Jews, Magog, Prophetic, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

To people who are feeling guilty and condemned. I John 2:1-2

I opened the Bible program on my computer this morning, and this is the first thing I see, the headline leading into 1John chapter 2:1-2.

To people who are feeling guilty and condemned,

It goes on to say, John (the disciple and revelator) offers reassurance.

Why, after all these years, do I still struggle with guilt and condemnation? Perhaps you do as well.

I sat down one day with my Pastor and talked openly and honestly about things going on around me; things like family members that moved back in and live with us, and how they do not seem to understand what the word boundary means; or, what it means to take care of your dogs. That might seem trivial to some, especially when they are firebombing the church you go to or torturing you for your beliefs in a God other than Allah; but I can assure you it feels real to me.

We are told in scripture to confess our sins one to another, and maybe how I feel could fall under this idea of confessing our sins, especially when “sin” is merely missing the mark – up to and including, some substantially ugly stuff. In truth, I am not even sure what this idea of confessing our SINS looks like, as there are people that you should NOT reveal any of your secrets too. I suppose this idea of confession requires that you spend some time with random people to find out how trustworthy they are.

In recovery there is a constant barrage of instructions that goes something like this, what is said here, stays here!

That is what you would hope you find in the real world as well. I can tell you from experience, that even with such counsel your so-called friends will walk up to your wife, right in front of you, and ask, “are the things he says about you in the group, true?”

James 5:16 CJB Therefore, openly acknowledge your sins to one another, and pray for each other, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

I suppose in a way, confession is what I did when I talked with the pastor, but I was not looking for a verbal beating. What I wanted was a compassionate and hearing heart; what I got was, “I can’t believe that you, being a follower of Christ for all these years, would feel this way.” My internal reaction was, are you kidding me; you didn’t just say that to me?

What does scripture tell us?

Galatians 6:1 MSG Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out.

When you consider that SIN is merely the missing of the small center of the target, then we all sin daily.

But what happens when someone falls into sin?

Translations vary from the word sin to the sad reality of being caught in and overtaken in a fault. At least with phrases like being caught in sin and overtaken in sin, you immediately can tell that there is much more than a gentle push from the wind while trying to hit a target. The phrases can imply being too casual about the problem, or a non-caring attitude because you think you can handle whatever it is; unfortunately, sin can be deadly.

To be overtaken is the Greek word prolambanō and means to take in advance, that is, (literally) eat before others have an opportunity; (figuratively) to anticipate, surprise (Strong’s concordance)

The words that the Greek conveys cause me some grief, for how do I understand this idea of being captive when the strongest implication comes from the phrase, to take in advance? If I were to collect my earnings before payday, it would either be by permission (most employers would look at you warily from that point on,) or, you stole the money thinking they owed you anyway. None-the-less, you took it in advance. The second option being theft. If what I am trying to understand is this idea of being caught in sin, then perhaps some of the other words available make more sense; such as to “have an opportunity,” or to “surprise.Having an opportunity indicates some thought has been applied, quite possibly for some time, while the word surprise alludes to something that is suddenly before you. A car crash on the motorway can undoubtedly be a surprise, but the result can be a terrible chain of events, with appalling consequences, all of which contribute to the idea of being taken in a snare.

John MacArthur’s commentary tells us that to be overtaken is literally to be “caught,” which may imply the person was seen sinning or that he was caught or snared by the sin itself.

A fault is the Greek word paraptōma and means a sideslip (lapse or deviation), that is, (unintentional) error or (willful) transgression: – fall, fault, offense, sin, trespass.

Paul goes on to say,

Galatians 6:2-3 ERV Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. 3) If you think you are too important to do this, you are only fooling yourself.

We should, at this point, understand that the potential for help and comfort is there. The guest speaker at our church sat and talked with me, saying, we the church should be the place where we can go, take our hurts, and be accepted. I laughed as I said, sadly, that is not reality.

But, what if your guilt and condemnation have been drilled into you through parents, caretakers, childhood, bullies: (many times these can look like church leaders.)

1 John 2:1-2 NASB My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2) and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Note the words, “if anyone sins.” Of course, we are going to sin; it’s built into us.

But 1 John 2:1-2 gives us hope, for:

  • we have an Advocate with the Father,”

    Advocate – paraklētos – An intercessor, consoler: – advocate, comforter.

  • Jesus Christ the righteous;”

    What gave Jesus His ability and right to stand on our behalf? One, you should understand that He is God, and two, His willingness to pay the price on the cross. He repurchased us, and, He bought our redemption. At one point, He told the disciples and those listening, that this same advocate would come in His place if He went back to the Father, and He did. Therefore, the comforter/advocate has come.

John 16:7 NASB “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

  • and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins;”

    Propitiation – hilasmos atonement, that is, (concretely) an expiator: – propitiation.

    This atonement is what I spoke of when I said, “He gave His life on that cross.” Jesus, we are told, poured out His own blood on the heavenly altar, just as the priest would. In so doing He became our high priest. And, God raised Him up and seated Him at the Father’s right hand.

  • and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

    His atonement covered, not only those of us who believe but everyone – the whole world. This blanket forgiveness seems to be the hardest thing for the religious to understand. This lack of belief or understanding is proven out by comments indicating how everyone caught in sin is going to hell. Logic would ask, what sins, seeing as sins have been forgiven. Taking this idea one step further, what then condemns the world? A lack of belief in Jesus Christ.

There it is, this Jesus has taken all the guilt and condemnation onto Himself. He purchased us back from the debt WE owed. (If you are a movie fan, then the movie adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, tells this story, as Aslan had to make the secluded deal with the witch, as they met in the tent. Aslan, a symbol of Jesus, gave His own life in place of Peter’s. And, just as Aslan did, Jesus rose from the dead, with great power, and, He was unstoppable.

What is required of me? Faith.

Can I believe that someone, namely Jesus, would do that for me? Yes, and I did, and so can you.

What’s to keep the entire world from accepting such salvation? Nothing, as He simply asks us, in this age of grace, to believe.

Back to this problem of me, struggling with “sins” after so many years in the Lord.

An aspect of what makes me work is the voices in my head. No, I am not nuts, we all have voices in our heads. To some, they sound like a drill sergeant; to others, like me, they sound like my dad or mother; often they sound like some moral authority, especially when acting moral is very inconvenient.

Fortunately, after all these years, I can definitely say that one of those voices belongs to God/Holy Spirit. While I just admitted that I hear from God, I also argue with Him, and that bothers me. Recently I heard Him tell me to go to another fast food stand instead of the one we typically go to on Tuesdays because I was going to have trouble there. Now, in my defense, He did not explain why I would have trouble, but I think I knew why and I saw an image of them. My foolish, manly response was that I could handle problems. It turns out I couldn’t and just about had the police called on me – I sound like a large bear when I get that angry. And yes, I let anger and rage get the best of me. Having spent some time in recovery because of the anger, I have come to the determination that, like the alcoholic, I will fight with this for the rest of my life. (This understanding is really the sanest approach. I like to call it honesty.)

At this point in life, my conclusions are that I (just like all of you) have built-in damage that tries to motivate me to live out of my self-motivated desires; and, I have sustained damage from others that have wounds deep enough to be an active cause of my griefThere is, unfortunately, the third cause of troubles in our lives and that is the enemy, Satan.

Paul speaks to this idea of being snagged by the enemy.

2 Timothy 2:25-26 NASB with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26) and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

Were you aware that people were caught in snares set by the devil, at his will?

It sounds like a hopeless situation and would be if Christ had not purchased our redemption, and that is why we have the freedom of confession (one to another;) an advocate – Jesus Christ; The Word of God, and Galatians 6:1 which admonishes our brothers and sisters in Christ to come to our aid.

Galatians 6:1 NASB Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself so that you too will not be tempted.

This passage came up after the leader of the Monday morning group said, “I believe that if you have fleshly thoughts when the rapture comes, that you will have trouble making it through the pearly gates.” This unsubstantiated statement was his attempt at not adding to scripture, and he informed us so right before he said it. What it shows is this man’s grievous lack of understanding about God’s: word, character, and nature – as the group leader, in effect, is condemning all who sin, to hell. Do you see Christ’s paying the penalty and doing away with the handwriting that was against us, in this leader’s statement? NO.

Moments after making these statements the 92-year-old co-leader asked me directly what I thought about what the leader said; it became a habit with this guy to challenge people in the group by saying, “do you have a problem with that?” I can tell you that he is not looking for a correct answer, he is merely siding with the leader and looking to humiliate someone; this time it was me. I paused to think about this for a moment, and this man called my name out once again. With that, I said, “an alcoholic, if they are honest, will admit that they are an alcoholic and will be for the rest of their life. So, when it comes to human reasoning, I can’t perceive of “fleshly” thoughts any differently than the alcoholic, as I will deal with, in my case, anger, for the rest of my life.

How does one not have human thoughts?
How does a preacher deal with the scantily clad ladies that come to church? Do they only look at the ceiling lights as they are preaching or teaching in order to avoid such “fleshly thoughts?  
And what of the hellfire and brimstone television preacher Jimmy Swaggart (whom many of these men adore) who sinned, multiple times? We only know of his sins because he got arrested.

And yes, once again, in my response to this guy, I let my anger get the best of me. No, I did not cuss, I merely pushed this sacred cow called Jimmy Swaggart down and effectively kicked it in the head.

I was, as I expected, accosted for my statements. However, another pastor in the group brought up Galatians 6:1. He did this because there was no kindness or gentleness in the leader’s response to me.

So, what have I/we learned? That we, as followers of Christ, have an advocate, as does Jimmy Swaggart, and, so does the false teacher of our group.

1 John 2:1-2 NASB My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2) and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Posted in 1 John, advocate, bible study, caught, comfort, condemnation, false teaching, forgive, Freedom from sin, Galatians, God's character, grace, guilt, Hope, Jesus, Law of liberty, Mercy, overtaken, recovery, restore, strongholds, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The man of lawlessness and what it means to me. 2Thess 2:7-12

I ended the last post with this verse –

2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 WNT 7) For lawlessness is already at work in secret; but only until the man who is now exercising a restraining influence is removed, 8) and then the Lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will sweep away with the tempest of His anger, and utterly overwhelm by the awful splendor of His Coming.

I keep running these concepts through my mind, and, when possible, talk with my wife or a few close friends about what I think I see. Recently we had finished eating, and once again I brought up 2Thessalonians 2:3 where it says

2 Thessalonians 2:3 NASB “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,”

I find myself breathing a heavy sigh as I read this passage. For me, the heaviness comes out of a sincere desire for the church body to be firmly grounded in an understanding of end times events and how those events will fall into place, but it also comes out of the reality that all these years later we are no more confident in our faith and comprehension that they were all those years ago. During a fifteen year period, I attended three churches, and I can tell that it is rare to find anyone that has a firm grasp on what Paul is saying here in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. When you begin talking to them about Paul words here, some respond with confused or distorted views of “the day,” while others seem to feel that you have challenged their long-held beliefs and therefore attack with a loud and caustic defense that demonstrates no logic, that they do not read for themselves, or that they choose not to think.

The other side of Paul’s teaching, not spoken of in verse three, is “hope.” Our comprehension that Jesus is coming back for His church is a part of this anchor we call hope. Since hope is integrated into our faith in Jesus’ words that He will come back for us, wouldn’t it be beneficial to understand why we have this hope, and where we place our assurance?

John 14:3 WNT And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me, that where I am you also may be.

[In case you did not notice, Jesus did go already]

I primarily use the NASB and it refers to this man that is to come, as the man of lawlessness. Since verses three and eight have a common thread, the man of lawlessness, let’s ponder this person for a few moments.

The man of lawlessness

He is also known as the son of perdition; the man who separates himself from Torah; the man of sin; the man of evil; the son of destruction; the wicked one. One last example comes from the Weymouth New Testament, a translation that, in this case, gives much more definition.

Thayer’s definition of lawless: Greek anomos 1) destitute of (the Mosaic) law; 2) departing from the law, a violator of the law, lawless, wicked

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 WNT 3) Let no one in any way deceive you, for that day cannot come without the coming of the apostasy first, and the appearing of the man of sin, the son of perdition, who sets himself against, 4) and exalts himself above, every so-called ‘god’ or object of worship, and goes the length of taking his seat in the very temple of God, giving it out that he himself is God.

What do I know about this guy?

  • the appearing of the man of sin, the son of perdition.”

    This is merely an explanation and a title at this point; however, he will fulfill every aspect and detail of Biblical prophecy about himself in time.

  • who sets himself against, and exalts himself above, every so-called ‘god’ or object of worship,”

    To set oneself against God doesn’t seem so bad, and yet we do it all the time. We do it with our money; vehicles; homes, and for some, trophy wives. First off you need to understand that EVERY thing in this world works in opposition to God. And yes, that includes religion. So what we are doing is committing adultery with the world. This guy takes it to the extreme as he exalts himself above God, and, every so-called ‘god’ or object of worship. Not even the Catholic church does that; there is, however, an ideology that does, and it is called Islam. Every nation in the world where Islam exists, the Muslim’s that live there are under a mandate to infiltrate and put that nation under the Islamic laws of Sharia. Islam’s ‘god,’ invented by Mohamed, is called Allah.

  • goes the length of taking his seat in the very temple of God, giving it out that he himself is God.”

    This idea of someone taking a seat in the temple, has, since 70 A.D., been difficult to grasp as there is no temple. At the time Paul wrote this letter the destruction of the temple was at least 20 years away. Short of a revelation by the Holy Spirit, Paul would not have known this.

    In May of 2018, the Israeli Prime Minister spoke openly that the temple would be rebuilt. As you can imagine, at the time of this writing, this borders on impossible, and if it were restored, the rioting would be horrendous. And yet, scripture tells us it will happen.

    What an absurdity it is to know that this man of sin will exalt himself above God and place himself in the most Holy seat, all the while decreeing himself to be God?

Still under the heading of what we know about the man of lawlessness, comes the Islamic prophecies. Here is just a portion of what they expect to happen.

The ten major signs known as alamatu’s-sa’ah al-kubra (the major signs of the end).[note 56] They are as follows:

    1. The false messiah—anti-Christ, Masih ad-Dajjal—shall appear with great powers as a one-eyed man with his right eye blind and deformed like a grape. Although believers will not be deceived, he will claim to be God, to hold the keys to heaven and hell, and will lead many astray.[35] In reality, his heaven is hell, and his hell is heaven. The Dajjal will be followed by seventy thousand Jews of Isfahan wearing Persian shawls.[note 57]
    2. The return of Isa (Jesus), from the fourth sky, to kill Dajjal.[36]
    3. Ya’joo and Ma’jooj (Gog and Magog), a Japhetic tribe of vicious beings who had been imprisoned by Dhul-Qarnayn, will break out. They will ravage the earth, drink all the water of Lake Tiberias, and kill all believers in their way. Isa, Imam Al-Mahdi, and the believers with them will go to the top of a mountain and pray for the destruction of Gog and Magog. God eventually will send disease and worms to wipe them out.[note 58][37]

This information comes from Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_eschatology

What do Islam prophecies and what Muslims believe, mean to me?

Since we know from scripture that the plan of redemption was written long before Mohamed had this message about Allah delivered to him in a cave, is it possible that this information, much like everything else Satan has done, is a fraudulent and intentional misrepresentation of truth?

While we are aware that someone, in the role of the Anti-Christ, will come, but that is not who Paul spoke of when he used the phrase, the man of lawlessness. We should also be aware that one we know as the false prophet, will show up, but not until the mid-point of the seven years of tribulation. According to Islam, both of these are known to them. The man of lawlessness to us, is the return of Isa ibn Mariam, the Islamic Jesus. This is the information I presented above as the first and second points of their major prophecies.

I will add that Islam believes this man, will be a Jew; a descendant from Aaron and therefore have a legitimate right to the priesthood; that he will pledge his allegiance to the Mahdi (I believe that this Mahdi person fulfills the role of Anti-Christ); he will perform great signs and wonders (Sadly, this will cause many to follow him. In other words, he causes many to also give their allegiance to Islam.) And, this Isa bin Mariam will be the enforcer of Sharia.

What does this last aspect concerning Sharia mean to any of us?

As followers of Christ, the Church will be caught up to meet Him in the air. Now many believe, such as the man who leads our Monday morning Bible study group, that everyone in that room will be able to bypass the wrath that will be poured out upon the earth. Sorry, but that is not necessarily true. I know this because of the parable of the ten virgins. This parable was an aspect of Jesus response when the disciples asked, “when will these things happen and what will the sign of your coming?”

Matthew 25:1-13 NASB “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2) “Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3) “For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4) but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5) “Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6) “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7) “Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8) “The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps, are going out.’ 9) “But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10) “And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 11) “Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ 12) “But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13) “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

Notice, how all the virgins got the same invitation, and, all got ready, but there is an exception, for five of them merely grabbed their lamps off the shelf, while the others took the time to refill their lamps and take extra oil. This oil or the act of taking extra seems to play a critical role in this equation. Sadly, I cannot tell you with precision what that oil represents. It may be in the preparation, as it demonstrates looking intently for Him to come; while for others, it may mean study; and still, others, seem to emphasize desire. My experiences have included a pastor that told me NOT to study eschatology and another brother in Christ who called me a firebrand that momentarily excites people; He went on to say, “besides that, we have been looking for Jesus to return for over two-thousand years.” I suppose that pastor who told me not to study, and that brother in Christ feel as though Jesus will not come back for perhaps another forty plus years. May I say that I believe He is riding upon the winds as we speak. I have seen this imagery in my spirit, and I can hear the sound of the trumpets in the distance (not the phony Haarp sounds the governments are playing with.)

Know this, this man, whatever you wish to call him, will be NOT be announced as the man of lawlessness. Because he is a Jew and will have access to the Holiest of Holies within the temple, he will probably be a high priest, and he probably a well-respected man right now. We are there!

but only until the man who is now exercising a restraining influence is removed, and then the Lawless one will be revealed,” (WNT)

This statement above is an excerpt from 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8. When I read this, there is an intense clarity about the timing in which the church; the restraining force that is removed; and “the man of lawlessness” that will be revealed. Since there is no doubt in my mind that the restraining influence is the Church, then the emphasis, therefore, is on the removal of the church before to God’s wrath is poured out. Because of this information, I cannot for the life of me figure out how people can assert that the time of wrath upon the earth is something that the church must go through.

How do I rationalize verse 3 and verse 8 as they both indicate that this man will be revealed?

As I pointed out, verse three seems to be our introduction to the man, although it will not be as “the man of … .” In a sense, he will be quite normal. Since we understand that he will be a Jew that turns his back on the Law of God, then we can better understand why Jesus would say that “he” will cause the best of them to be deceived, and He meant the Jewish leadership.

2 Thessalonians 2:9 GNB The Wicked One will come with the power of Satan and perform all kinds of false miracles and wonders,

In general, I can safely say that the church will not see unleashing of Satan’s power, because all this is designed to happen 1240 days into the time of wrath.

2 Thessalonians 2:10 CJB He (the adversary/Satan) will enable him to deceive, in all kinds of wicked ways, those who are headed for destruction because they would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them.

This statement “those who are headed for destruction because they would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them,” is primarily speaking to the Jews. Could I apply it to the nations? Indeed, for many of them would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 NASB 11) For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,

Imagine a gathering of Pharisees, like Paul so intensely trained in the laws of God, that God must send a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false. Suddenly, it seems like this is all God’s fault, is that the case? Hardly, as they turned their backs on when He sent a steady stream of mercies coming to their direction. Israel, since Egypt, has been entrenched in the idolatrous ways of the nations around them, and verse 12 proves that out.

2 Thessalonians 2:12 NASB 12) in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in wickedness.

Posted in 2 Thessalonians, Apostasy, Assyrians, bible study, Deception, deception, End times, false teaching, gentiles, God's character, Gog, Hope, Islam, Jerusalem, Jesus, judgment, Magog, Matthew's gospel, Millennium, parables, Prophetic, Thoughts, wrath. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In his time he will be revealed. 2Thessalonians 2:5-8

I started writing this blog in 2014. I am writing this because I woke up one morning, years ago, and began listening to the late J. Vernon McGee talking on the radio about this very passage. If I heard him correctly, he implied that 2 Thessalonians 2:5-6 was talking about the removal of the church, an event that allows for the man of sin to be revealed. If this is true, and I want it to be, the things that Paul was saying in this letter to the Thessalonian’s make so much more sense to me. Without that understanding is the possibility that the man of perdition can and will show up just before the church leaves the earth. That, of course, opens the door to a world of hurt coming.

As you should already know, Paul opens the second chapter by restating what he had already told the church in Thessalonica on a previous occasion. There will be a point in time, in which we will all be gathered together, as we meet Him in the air, but that has not happened yet. And, Paul seemed to be aware that this event, though it could happen any minute, was for the distant future. I happen to believe that we are living in that “distant future” now.

Paul goes on to admonish the church at Thessalonica that false information should not easily shake them, whether it be from a spirit(??), or a spoken word or letter represented as coming, in this case, from Paul. This admonition causes me to think. Since the only words we have from Paul are embedded in scripture, where might false information come from today?

Paul’s instructions to this church body are, don’t let anyone deceive you, in any manner, “For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed.” (What day? In verse three, Paul is specifically talking about the time when Jesus returns to the earth as the Warring Messiah. This time frame is proved out by the terminology used, terminology which becomes more apparent when you see it in the Complete Jewish Bible.)

As you move into the next few verses, you come to understand that something is restraining this man that fulfills every job requirement of the false prophet we know is coming.

2 Thessalonians 2:3,4 CJB Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed, the one destined for doom. 4.)He will oppose himself to everything that people call a god or make an object of worship; he will put himself above them all so that he will sit in the Temple of God and proclaim that he himself is God.

So, there are two requirements for that day to come.

  • The revealing of the man of lawlessness.

I opened this post by telling you that J. Vernon McGee implied that this information applied to the removal of the church. However, verses three and four do not sustain that theory, as the events, described by Paul, primarily happen at the midpoint of the seven-years of wrath.

There is an exception if this phrase “and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed,” means that the man of lawlessness will be revealed before the church is caught away. Even then the majority of us will not recognize who this man is because we are all looking for him to come from Rome; that or, we think he will pop on the scene moments before his introduction to the world.

Get serious; this is just like cooking a lobster. We are all in the stewing pot with the heat being turned up slowly, and most of us don’t realize it. Having a better comprehension is why I give you the Complete Jewish Bible translation, as it spells out clearly, that the guy we are looking for (to fill the role of the false prophet) will be a Jewish priest that will have access to the new temple.

Just recently 05/28/2018, a headline from a Jewish news source, quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as saying, “the temple will be rebuilt.” That’s interesting, but where and when. Knowing that the plans are in place for a tilt-up temple, wouldn’t the plans be in place for a high priest to preside over that temple? Israel has a high priest even now, is he the man?

  • And the apostasy must take place.

Apostasy simply means:

An abandonment of what one has professed; a total desertion, or departure from one’s faith or religion. The desertion from a party to which one has adhered. (Webster’s)

Since what we profess can be taken several ways, including our freedoms, ask yourself, have we lost or given up those freedoms? California, along with several other states, have, or are in the midst of passing laws against “books” and the usage of such, if they advocate or enforce gender change (The implications are that freedom of speech is gone.) So, a school district can force your child and you to endure their attempts at advocating gender identity change, but you cannot stand against them. Sadly, much of this came out modern-day exorcisms, where the person in question is taken a hostage in an attempt to regain or enforce their original gender identity.

There is no doubt about it, we are neck deep in apostasy, and it’s getting deeper.

About “the day”.

I find that, like many of you, I am continually stopping as I try to figure out which day is being referenced. Just off the top of my head, I can think of four clear points in time, each of them being referenced in some way, to “the day.”

Some of the many examples of “the day” are found in:

Ezekiel 30:3 NASB Even the day of the LORD is near; …, A time of doom for the nations.

The Jewish understanding knew it was a day of punishment, but for the nations, and not for them. Why would this be a time of doom? Because, for the most part, the nations will be those rising up against the Lord in battle. Those who choose to fight will cease to breathe in short order. Ah, but what of those who do not fight? They will endure mandatory obeisance throughout the 1000 years. But let’s say, with the veil lifted, they come to acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus. We can only assume that they will be able to partake of the leaves of the tree of life and obtain eternal salvation. I could go on with this for several pages and I prefer not to right now.

Matthew 12:36 NASB “they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.

Jesus, speaking to a Jewish audience, spoke of a time of accounting. While the audience related what he said to the nations, He was talking to Israel as well.

Luke 17:30 NASB “It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.

When will Christ be revealed? At the end of the seven-years of wrath.

1 Corinthians 5:5 NASB so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Paul, speaking about a “Christian” who decided to return to his debauchery, talks like this man has an eternal salvation with God, but is still subject to the pains of this earth.

Ephesians 4:30 NASB by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Since Paul is speaking to the church, albeit a church with the majority being Jewish converts, he would have brought them to the understanding that, for the church, the day of redemption would be the catching away. Outside of the church redemption can only come when the Lord resurrects the martyred saints at the end of the seven years.

1 Thessalonians 5:4 NASB are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief;

Again, Paul is speaking to the church. The modern church will tell you that we are in darkness, not having a clue when Christ will return for the church, but that is not what this says, is it? Although we may not know the precise timing, we can indeed be in the ballpark. This ability to understand the times and seasons will give us the advantage as we put wisdom to work and speak intelligently about what is going on in the world around us. While this can be taken two ways my first logical assumption would the catching away of the church. Lacking that understanding, then I would have to be looking for Jesus to come back as the conquering Messiah at the end of the seven years.

2 Peter 3:10 NASB the day of the Lord will come,… the heavens will pass away … the elements will be destroyed … and the earth and its works will be burned up.

And this too will be a day.

1 Corinthians 15:52 NASB 52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

The point of writing this was to comprehend what is going on in 2Thessalonians 2:5-8, so let’s continue our pursuit of understanding.

2 Thessalonians 2:5-6 NASB 5) Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6) And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.

The Greek word for restrain is katechō and means to hold down (fast), in various applications (literally or figuratively): – have, hold (fast), keep (in memory), let, make toward, possess, retain, seize on, stay, take, withhold.

  • “And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.”

What restrains him is the church, plain and simple. Remove the church and the onslaught is unleashed. What do I mean by the onslaught? While God’s wrath is being poured out upon the earth, so is the wrath of mankind.

Daniel 12:1 NASB “… And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; …

Why would any of this be the least bit important to any of us?

  1. We need, now more than ever, to understand the importance of our prayers and actions. In other words, we need to be proactive in our opposition toward the enemies actions.
    But, it also tells us that, based upon verse six, there is a time in which nothing will restrain the man of lawlessness/the man who separates himself from the Torah.
    Should that information cause us to stop resisting? Not unless you have no breath in you.
    You must understand that God has a plan and nothing will stop it. His plan and intent all along were that all things would be redeemed and restored and that the church would resist the enemy.

  2. The second reason this is important is that there is so much confusion.
    I know this because I sit with men who have been involved with religion for fifty plus years, and they are no less confused than the person on the street who has no religious comprehension. Why would that be, because they have allowed themselves to be shaken by a spirit or a message? We, as a Bible study group, get this perverted teaching every week. When Paul instructed them to not “be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us,” what were the chances that someone would show up 2000 years later, with a new letter from Paul, stating something in opposition? Not likely, so what do we hear constantly?
    “Now what Paul is saying it this.” That’s odd since Paul’s words, (which may not make much sense to our Gentile ears with their Western mentality,) are printed right there on the page. Having listened to many of these, when they say, now what this is saying, I start voraciously looking up words in my concordance, and find that the speaker has frequently skewed those words to make their point. So, the “teacher” is presenting their interpretation, as though it is Paul’s heart.
    For the angry skeptic, not all teachers are false teachers, but if I feel something is amiss, I check it out, as I will not accept anything as though correct unless you can back it with the Word of God. Even then, I will examine the context of the scripture they used.

If I wanted a passage that spoke powerfully about an entity holding back the man of lawlessness, it would be this one.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 NASB 7) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.

You have eyes allowing you to see that the world is falling apart and lawlessness is taking control. How long any of us live in civilized nations, is hard to say, but I can see the anarchy coming. Sadly, the methods of control will turn each nation into a police state under martial law. The obvious thing is that no one person is restraining the enemy. The Murdock translation puts it this way.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 (Murdock) For the mystery of the evil One already, begins to be operative: and only, if that which now hinders shall be taken from the midst;

Simply put, whether we read of the ones doing the restraining as “he” or “that” there will be a point at which the hinderer will be taken from the midst; this is a direct association with the snatching away we call the rapture.
For the next couple of verses, I am going to use the
Complete Jewish Bible. There is a strong reason for that, and I will explain momentarily. I include verse seven because it uses the terminology “For already this separating from the Torah is at work secretly.”

2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 CJB For already this separating from Torah is at work secretly, but it will be secretly only until he who is restraining is out of the way. 8) Then the one who embodies separation from Torah will be revealed, the one whom the Lord Yeshua will slay with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the glory of his coming.

Try to grasp the complexity of what is being said here. Everyday life goes on, while in the background, this horrific, Satanic plan, is already happening.

I always assume that I have new readers, and, that they have not read anything like what I am about to say. Consider that we are talking about a somewhat unified, global entity. The explanation of what is to come was defined as, a kingdom, but it is a kingdom that is not like any other. Is the Islamic empire like a standard kingdom? NO, it is more like a chain of department stores, in which there are independent managers; most of whom don’t even like each other. History has demonstrated that the Ottoman Empire most closely fulfills almost every definition of this last beast/kingdom. The Ottoman Empire lasted the longest, only to be stopped to the point that many presumed its demise. Founded in the 1300’s the Caliphate was effectively abolished on March 3, 1924. Unfortunately, it rose again. In previous posts, I have mentioned that Islam has its own set of prophecies, one of which includes a man who is a descendant of Aaron and will function in the temple. This man will turn his allegiance away from Jehovah to Allah. It also informs us that this man will do powerful miracles, signs, and wonders and that he will become the ENFORCER of Sharia. Many followers of Jesus Christ will die because of this man.

Revelation 13:12 NASB He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.

In Daniel 7:17-27 we see that Daniel desired to understand what he saw, and the explanation came. ‘These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth.

The standard explanation for the fourth kingdom typically points to the Roman Empire; however, that does not work. Daniel desired to know the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head and the other horn which came up. A part of the explanation concerning the last horn was that it had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts.

What was described to Daniel parallels Revelation 13:5 NASB

There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.”

That horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them.

Revelation 13:7 NASB It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.

Under the leadership of the horn with a mouth, the saints were being killed in horrific numbers until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.

Daniel 12:1 NASB “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.

Revelation 11:18 NASB “And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”

The explanation continued, ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. ‘As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. ‘He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.” Daniel 7:24,25.
The idea of making alterations in times and law, come out of Islamic Sharia law. Islam has only one desire that the world submits to Allah and Sharia Law, this, of course, means that we all run on the Islamic calendar. ‘But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever.

Revelation 19:20 NASB And the beast was seized, and with him, the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. ‘Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’

Posted in 2 Thessalonians, antichrist, Apostle Paul, bible study, Daniel, Deception, deception, End times, false teaching, Islam, Jesus, Jews, judgment, Our being caught up, Revelation, the fourth kingdom, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture, wrath. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Questions and challenges: Revelation 20 and the Great White Throne.

Questions and challenges: Revelation 20 and the Great White Throne.

The premise, posed far too many times, is that God sends everyone appearing before this throne to the lake of fire and it’s eternal hell.

Question: If all you used for your argument was Revelation 20 verse 15, could you find God showing anyone mercy there?
The mercy is there, but you have to look for it, and you have to take in the entire context of an aspect of God’s conversation that he is having with John, as he describes the judgment taking place there.

Before we dive in, there are some considerations to keep in mind.

  • The entirety of the Revelation is about Jesus Christ.

Revelation 1:1 KJV The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

  • This reference to a Great White Throne is only found here in the Revelation.

However, you can find references to, the throne of His kingdom; a great throne of ivory, covered over in gold (1Kings 10:18); the Lord’s throne (Psalm 11:4); His Holy throne (Psalm 47:8); Isaiah 66:1 says, Heaven is My throne; Jeremiah 17:12 calls it a glorious throne, and, Matthew 25:31 which declares that He will sit on His Glorious Throne.

  • This throne represents judgment.

Isn’t that odd, our introduction to Matthew 25:31 is presented by the translators of the NASB as the throne of judgment as well, and that idea is seen here in Psalm 9:7.

Psalm 9:7 But the LORD abides forever; He has established His throne for judgment,
In opposition to the throne of judgment, Psalm 76:9 tells us that His purpose is to save the humble of the earth.

To the Jews he said,

Jeremiah 2:35 Yet you said, ‘I am innocent; Surely His anger is turned away from me.’ Behold, I will enter into judgment with you Because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’

Ezekiel 20:35 and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face.

Ezekiel 39:21 “And I will set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them.

But to those who have placed their hopes and lives into His hands, He says,

John 5:24 NASB “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Jesus, as recorded in John 5:25-27, tells us the same thing we see in Revelation 20. There is, however, a difference as he says, “when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” Perhaps this can explain how the dead are now standing before the throne.

John 5:25-27 NASB “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26) “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27) and He gave Him authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of Man.

Note how many of the aspects of this statement from 1 Corinthians parallels Matthew 25:31

1 Corinthians 4:5 NASB Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.

One last thing I want to consider as I ponder the potential for mercy in Revelation 20:15, is that all judgment has been given to Jesus and that all punishment for sins was placed upon Him, on the cross.

The evidence for this statement comes from several locations throughout the Bible; here are just a few.

Ezekiel 16:62-63 NASB “Thus I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD, 63) so that you may remember and be ashamed and never open your mouth anymore because of your humiliation, when I have forgiven you for all that you have done,” the Lord GOD declares.

Jesus declared and established this new covenant when He ate the last supper, with the disciples. For us, the cross was sealed with the blood of that covenant, His blood.

Colossians 1:20 NASB and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

To reconcile is to bring a thing back into harmony. Did that happen that day on the cross? Without a doubt. I know this because Colossians 1:20 tells me it happened through the blood of His cross.

Colossians 2:13-14 NASB 13) When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14) having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

So, with all that being said, what then are these people being judged for, as they are brought before the “Great White Throne”?

Perhaps the answer to that could easily be summed up with a verse or two.

John 12:44 NASB And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me.

Believe in Jesus and believe in the Father who sent Him. While there is always more to such a simplistic statement, the premise is just that simple. Here is a bit more depth.

John 14:10-13 NASB “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11) “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 12) “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13) “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Romans 4:21-25 NASB and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22) Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 23) Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24) but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25) He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.

Your belief in Jesus is tied in with your faith in the Father. That Father is Jehovah, Elohim, not Allah.

Occasionally, our men’s study leader takes a few weeks off and switches topics, but eventually, the judgmentalism creeps back in. When it does most of the men that attend the study, side with the leader and demand that all before that Great White Throne are sent to hell. While there is no doubt that some in that crowd get sent to hell, but it is only because they have chosen, in their arrogance, to go there.

2 Peter 3:9 NASB The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

As you can see from above, that God is not looking for reasons to punish anyone; and, He is certainly not going to penalize us merely because we currently have this built-in ability to create and participate in iniquity. I understand this based on the passages I have already shown you. If your actions include breaking the laws of man, then there is a prescribed punishment met out here on earth, and it often includes jail time. But God has set all sin aside, by putting the sentence and payment upon Jesus. Since that time God is looking for one thing, did you, in any way, act in the nature and character of God who created you?

Revelation 20:15 – We will start this dissemination here, with the KJV, as that was shoved in my face recently.

Revelation 20:15 KJV And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

As I have pondered these words a bit more, I can see that the KJV is not so ominous and that it does demonstrate some variability.

The phrase, “and whosoever was not found,” indicates that there was a serious look, in this case, into the Book of Life. Obviously, there were some who did not have their names written in that book. There is nothing about the phrase that indicates an all-encompassing number. It does, however, open the door to some quantity that was found there.

As I have talked about this Great White Throne scenario with a few open-minded people, I pointed out how this becomes little more than a cruel joke when you bring people before this throne of judgment, with the possibility that you might gain entrance into the kingdom of God; only to find that God knew all along that there was no hope for you. What I have described in this paragraph, is in complete opposition to who God is and how He acts. God already knows whether your name is there or not, and some of these people are found in God’s books. Look at this interaction between God and Moses.

Exodus 32:32-33 KJV Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. 33) And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

Without the assurance of salvation which we obtain in Jesus Christ, how did Moses understand that his name was written in God’s book? And then, God’s response, whosoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. The implications are that we are erased, not written in.

How did King David know that his name was already in the book?

Psalms 139:16 CJB Your eyes could see me as an embryo, but in your book, all my days were already written; my days had been shaped before any of them existed.

When I was challenged about Revelation 20:15, it was an attempt to draw me into an ongoing argument with my father and another bible screamer who was a part of the dinner crowd that night. My dad pushed his phone at me, which was the KJV and said read it. I responded by bringing up the NASB and thrust it at him and said the same thing. My version reads, “if anyone.” This phrase takes no effort on my part to see that it is a variable. I used see statements like this in math. The variable is that He does look for their names and finds many.

I believe that what we see here in Revelation 20:15 is the same story as Matthew 25:31, only from a different perspective. The major differences are,

  • The Revelation focuses on Jesus as God, while the story in Matthew 25 focuses on Jesus as a gentle shepherd.

  • In Matthew’s account, it merely says that all the nations shall be gathered before him, while the Revelation tells us that all the dead are brought before Him.

How do you rectify the differences between the two versions? Walk through the known factors.

  • The church was caught up, and the dead in Christ rose first.

    This act, on God’s part, eliminates the church from the equation.

  • After the rapture, the wrath of God is now being poured out upon the earth, and people are being slaughtered for the testimony which they held. There is little to protect these people from 100-pound hailstones, and the other onslaughts being poured out and are therefore killed by God’s wrath and the wrath of humankind.

Those who die for their testimony are resurrected at the end of the seven-years and reign with Christ throughout the thousand years. So, they are not included among the nations or the dead we see before this throne.

So, who is left?

Keep in mind that since Christ formed the church, there have only been three people groups in the world: the Jews; the nations, and the Church. Since the church has been caught up, leaving only the Jews and the nations those who’ have not accepted God’s leadership, then you are left to fall under the category of the nations – those outside of a relationship with God. We know from the Revelation that the number of people who come to a relationship with Jesus Christ is innumerable.

From the beginning of time there have always been those outside of relationship with the Father, and these are the focus here at the Great White Throne, but the assumption is that you have to be alive to stand there, and that is not what we see in Revelation 20:12 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.”

The next question you have to ask is, do we ever really die? The answer is no. God then, brings in all those who have previously ceased to breathe, and, have no standard religious form of salvation, as the church requires. Some would argue that NO ONE comes to the Father except through Jesus and their path through the religious form would prove their acceptance into the kingdom.

Isaiah 26:19 KJV Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

Again Matthew’s gospel recorded one of Jesus responses which we find in Matthew 25:1-13. Here Jesus told us about the ten virgins, all receiving the same invitation to the wedding. However, half were not prepared and therefore missed the entry. If this is an allusion to the church, then next time you sit among your congregation look around, for half are not prepared and will prove their allegiance to the Father, during the time of wrath, with their lives.

Since the book of Revelation is the revealing of Jesus, then this is none other than Jesus sitting upon this great throne. Should they obtain mercy, then yes, they are only coming to the Father through Jesus, and the dilemma is solved.

Matthew 25 speaks only of the nations being brought before his throne of glory. I point this out in contrast to Revelation 20 where we only see the dead being brought before the throne. Once again, the church was taken out of the way, and the martyred saints were resurrected to reign with Christ, leaving only the Jews and the nations. This throne of judgment is set up at the end of the thousand-year reign, immediately after the mass deception where the nations have risen against God and the Holy City. Here, all those deceived are killed (caused to no longer breath.) While this number makes up a vast portion of those standing before the throne, there will be others and may include some Jews and pretend church people.

Since we can’t tell who the pretenders are most of the time, perhaps the best approach is to educate them on and in, God’s word.


Posted in bible study, End times, false teaching, gentiles, God's character, Jerusalem, Jesus, Jews, judgment, Matthew's gospel, Mercy, Our being caught up, Revelation, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment