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The final nail in the coffin of our current civilization happens here.
In the previous two chapters, we talked about what the Bible says about this takeover by the Antichrist, and it’s pretty disturbing. Not just because the Man of Lawlessness is so awful, but also because of how damaged our world will be when the Antichrist begins to take power. Catastrophe and cataclysm barely seem strong enough words to describe what the world will be like when the Son of Perdition rises.
Here are some of the interesting things that we'll talk about in this chapter:
The Lost Ten Tribes are not lost.
Common errors people make about Ezekiel 38 and 39.
Why Gog and Magog cannot be the Battle of Armageddon.
The impact of declining oil production.
A dramatically weakened or destroyed America.
The Great Earthquake.
The nova event of Seal Six in Revelation 6.
Again, a global catastrophe of unimaginable proportions will afflict the world long before the Antichrist comes. Few of our pastors and Bible teachers see this, so it’s time to get this right. Think of it as a test of our ability to understand the words of the prophets. But, before getting into that, we need to lay the groundwork for Ezekiel 38 and 39.
Ezekiel 36 and 37
The biggest reason for why Gog and Magog come, is found in Ezekiel 36 and 37. Those two chapters talk about something that we have been looking forward to, for two thousand years:
The Return of Jacob
The amount of material in the Bible that describes this return is huge. Every part of the Bible points to it. It will be the biggest social and spiritual earthquake since the coming of Jesus. Nothing during the past two thousand years will compare to it. And, the best place to start talking about this massive event, is Ezekiel 36.
That chapter lays out all the conditions that must be in place, for this Return to occur. They must have physically returned to the land of Israel. The land must be an awful place before it is transformed into a place of beauty and prosperity. And, the people must be refugees, fleeing their exile, desperate for a place of safety, no matter how tenuous.
That portion of Ezekiel 36 has been fulfilled.
Ezekiel 37 describes the spiritual condition of Israel – the dead, dry bones. They lie in spiritual graves, with their only hope being the promise made by God that He would breathe life into them and bring them back to Himself. And He does, but chapter 37 adds one other interesting thought.
The Lost Ten Tribes Are Not Lost
Please pay attention here, because it’s vital and important for you to see this. In chapter 37, God combines all the tribes of Israel into one: Yehuda – The Jews. I am truly amazed that so few seem to remember this verse:
say unto them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his companions; and I will put them with it, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in my hand.
– Ezekiel 37:19 (ASV)
With so many chasing around the world, searching for the Lost Ten Tribes, we forgot the one place that God promised to put them:
In the Tribe of Judah
The confusion over this, is visible proof that people need to read the Bible more. The proof of where the ‘lost’ ten tribes are, is right in Ezekiel. Yes, I know that it’s important to bring back the Kaiphong Jews, the Ethiopian Jews and all the other Asian Jews. It’s important, and it’s money well spent. Bringing the Jews home is a good thing. But, it’s NOT good to be so ignorant of what the Bible says.
If you want to find the Lost Tribes of Israel, just go to the eastern shoreline of the Mediterranean Sea. Yafo, Tel Aviv, Caesaria, Netanya, Jerusalem, Hebron… they’re all there. The Lost Ten Tribes are not lost. God knows who and where they are.
So, mark this prophecy as fulfilled.
After looking at what the rest of the Bible says about the Salvation of Israel, there is just no way that anyone, in their right mind, can avoid seeing what God has planned for Jacob. However, chapters 36 and 37 speak in very general terms of how Jacob would return to God. What’s missing is the central moment in time, the key event that acts as a catalyst for the Return of Jacob. And that’s where Ezekiel 38 and 39 come in.
The Catalyst For The Return Of Jacob
That catalyst, that ‘key event’ is one of the reasons why this book was written. I have been looking forward to Jacob's Return for almost all of my Christian life, and my first instinct was to talk about that exclusively. But, that was before I realized just how many of us were in danger of losing our lives when this happened. That's why the book, When Jacob Returns actually turned into When Gog Comes.
Once I realized that Ezekiel’s Fire could kill five billion people, I had to shift focus. As much as I wanted to reflect upon the glorious return of Israel to God, I just could not do that while knowing the danger that our brothers and sisters were in. Those who know that Gog and Magog are coming will have a greater opportunity to survive than those who do not.
You REALLY need to be ready for Ezekiel’s Fire.
Common Errors About Ezekiel 38 and 39
Now that we have established the central point, we should start our discussion of Ezekiel 38 with a look at some common errors that people have made about Ezekiel 38 and 39. We will see how both chapters are a single vision and that they connect directly to Ezekiel 36 and 37. We will look at why the Gog and Magog of Ezekiel is not the same Gog and Magog of Revelation 20. We'll look at the incredible size of the military alliance of Gog and Magog – as well as who is NOT in this alliance. And, we will look at who God was actually speaking to in chapters 38 and 39.
Ezekiel 38 And Ezekiel 39 Are One Chapter
Now, notice something important:
Ezekiel 38 and Ezekiel 39 are one chapter.
There is nothing in the original Hebrew that indicates that these are separate chapters. Remember that chapters did not exist in the Bible until Stephen Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury put them there in 1227, about 800 years ago. So, we should never assume that the division between two chapters is natural, unless we have proof that it is. And, we have proof in the wording that chapters 38 and 39 are a single chapter.
This is important because Ezekiel 39 gives us three vital verses:
So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel.
– Ezekiel 39:7 (NKJV)
So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day forward.
– Ezekiel 39:22 (NKJV)
And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord God.”
– Ezekiel 39:29 (NKJV)
That’s the salvation of Israel, the Return of Jacob to God. And, they show a direct connection to this important verse:
Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations.
– Ezekiel 36:31 (NKJV)
For many of us who come to Christ, it can take some truly agonizing events to bring us to the point where we realize that there’s no way out, except through Jesus. And, for the Children of Jacob, those ‘agonizing events’ will be found in Ezekiel 38 and 39, as well as Zechariah 12 and 13. God will take Israel to a point where all of their self-deceptions are stripped away. They will be brought to the place where it is no longer possible to resist acknowledging Jesus as their Messiah, their Lord and Savior.
Then, they will see their sins and loathe themselves.
That is exactly how you and I came to salvation. We saw our sins and loathed ourselves. Then we sought the forgiveness of God and the way of salvation through faith in Christ. The Israelis will do that also and become our spiritual brothers and sisters.
I worry about those who are not sickened by their sins and their capacity to sin. Those who do not see this are in danger of falling away, since we are all awful. All of us. You. Me. Everyone. And, it is only by the grace of a merciful God that we are not destined for Hell. But, I will assume that you understand all this and move on…
Not The Gog And Magog In Revelation
One question that I routinely get, is this one:
Isn’t the Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39 the same Gog and Magog described in Revelation 20?
I have received countless versions of that question over the years, and I completely understand why this question is asked. So, let’s read what Revelation 20 says about the Gog and Magog at the end of the Millennium:
7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.
– Revelation 20:7-9 (NKJV)
Of course, we can see some superficial similarities between this account in Revelation 20 and Ezekiel 38 and 39. For instance, we have the inclusion of these rather unique names, Gog and Magog. And, we have fire coming down upon them, which resembles some of what we see in Ezekiel 39. However, the similarities actually aren’t important. It’s the differences that we need to look for.
FIRST, the account in Revelation 20 is at the END of the Millennium – AFTER Jesus has come and ruled the world for a thousand years.
How much time is there between the end of the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment?
After the coming of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39, we’ll see that there is quite a bit of time described after this army is destroyed. Years of time.
Is the army in Revelation 20 the same as the army in Ezekiel 38?
No they are NOT the same. The army in Revelation 20 is everyone. The army in Ezekiel 38 is drawn from a select number of Asian nations – and a couple African ones.
THIRD, Revelation 20:9 says ‘camp of the saints’. Well, in Ezekiel 38 and 39, Jerusalem doesn’t become the ‘camp of the saints’ until AFTER Gog and Magog happens. You just can't have a 'camp of the saints' without being saved first.
FOURTH, Gog and Magog is about the return of Jacob and the glorification of God. God draws Gog down to demonstrate His power to the world and bring a chosen people back to Himself. That's Ezekiel 38 and 39. What happens in the Revelation 20 is the complete end of all creation that will be followed by the judgment of humanity and the creation of a new heaven and a new earth. That’s a dramatic difference.
It is disturbing that so many have been taken in by the idea that the events in Ezekiel 38 and 39 are the same as Revelation 20 – just because they see the words Gog and Magog in both places. Far too many have stumbled over this, and I sincerely hope that you are not caught by their error.
A Misunderstood Table Of Nations
There is another error that is swirling around, trying to gain some ascendancy. It’s this idea that the nations in the alliance created by Gog, come from a small area of the world. It's as if they claim that the sons of Noah never got much farther than Anatolia – modern day Turkey. It's as if they are claiming that this prophecy is about physical geography instead of physical descendants.
Yes, God speaks to Ezekiel of geography. There’s no question about that. But, the identity of this vast army created by Gog is described as coming from certain descendants of Japheth and Ham – wherever they may be right now. It does not matter about where these descendants were during the time of Ezekiel. What matters is their location, when Gog and Magog gather their alliance.
However, even if we wanted to claim that this was all about geography at the time of Ezekiel, we’d still be in a completely ridiculous position. By the time that Ezekiel made his first prophecies, the sons and grandsons of Shem, Ham and Japheth had spread to the ends of the world. The tribes of Japheth had already migrated to every point in Europe and West Asia. The descendants of Ham had already settled Africa, India, Oceania – along with East and Southeast Asia. China had already established its first dynasty almost 1500 years before Ezekiel was even born.
Let me repeat that last bit again:
The Xia dynasty of China began almost 1500 years before the birth of Ezekiel.
That should tell you that mankind had already spread far and wide by the time that this prophecy was given. Trying to claim that Gog and Magog is basically Turkey+ is really foolish.
Unfortunately, too many theologians are unable to grasp this idea that mankind had spread so far, so quickly. And, this inability is why you will see so many ‘Gog and Magog maps’ with most of the sons of Japheth shoved into the immediate vicinity of Turkey.
We really need to be a little more careful about making confident claims in areas of scripture that are not clear. Yes, I believe that Turkey is probably involved, but it’s pretty clear that more than just Turkey is involved.
…why do people want to claim that Gog and Magog are Turkey?
Because they want to say that Gog is the Antichrist.
If you look carefully at all the arguments Bible teachers make about the Last Days, they are all – almost without exception – claiming that Gog is the Antichrist. And, since the Antichrist must come from one of the kingdoms of Alexander the Great, they’ve chosen Turkey to be the Land of Magog.
Those who claim that the Land of Magog is Russia, probably don’t realize that they have destroyed the idea that Gog is the Antichrist. Of course, you knew that already, because we have clearly proven that Gog isn’t the Antichrist and…
…Gog and Magog must come BEFORE the Antichrist.
Having said all that, if Gog turns out to be the president of Turkey, that’s fine. My objection is about making false claims with fake evidence. Being a follower of Christ, is about truth and not fables.
A Misunderstood Purpose of Ezekiel 36-39
Another common problem is that, for many who examine prophecy, there is an improper perspective. They don’t understand that prophecies are often messages to people who would live thousands of years after they were given.
Chapters like Ezekiel 36, 37, 38 and 39 were NOT written for those who were living at the time that the prophet was writing – at least, not primarily. Yes, people 2500 years ago needed to know that Jacob would one day return to the Land of Israel and to God. This would have been of great value, and would have given comfort to the righteous. But, the people that God was most concerned with, would have been – and still are – those who would live during the fulfillment of these prophesies.
You and Me.
(or, maybe our children and grandchildren)
These prophecies aren’t just demonstrations of God’s power and will. They are vital warnings for God’s people who would live during the time being spoken of. Think of these prophecies as personal letters, from God, to those who needed to prepare – us.
So, let’s look at what God is telling us about Gog and Magog, in Ezekiel 38.
Gog And Magog In Ezekiel 38
Here are the first six verses:
1 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, 3 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. 4 I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. 5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6 Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops—many people are with you.
– Ezekiel 38:1-6 (NKJV)
Who Are These People?
Is this all the world?
Nope. Not even close.
We can’t be completely certain who all these people are, but it’s clear that this list does not include everyone. Our understanding of Eurasian and African ethnic groups is better than it was a hundred years ago. Some of them are Turks, but only some.
Why This Is So Important
I know that I'm repeating myself, but the identity of those who are in the Gog and Magog alliance is important because it proves a vital point:
Gog and Magog cannot be the Battle of Armageddon.
The specificity of those first six verses is one way for God to explain to us that only a certain part of the world is involved. In the Battle of Armageddon in Revelation 16, all the nations of the world are involved. None are left out. Revelation also includes a group called ‘The Kings of the East’, and I suspect that China and other East Asian countries are part of those ‘Kings’. Yet, in Ezekiel 38, we only see a smaller part of the world take part. Furthermore, in addition to all the other reasons…
It also proves that Gog and Magog cannot be the first invasion of Israel by the Antichrist.
I said this previously, but theologians for two hundred years have been trying to claim that Gog is the Antichrist. And it’s just not possible. So, I think that it’s time for the current batch of theologians to stop corrupting our view of the Bible and take up a more useful occupation.
Also remember that modern theologians are basing many of their views upon commentaries written during the time of the Ottoman Empire. Therefore, it would have been natural for commentary writers to assume that the region of Anatolia (modern day Turkey) is the main villain of the story.
Okay, all of that has brought us to the end of verse six. That was a lot, but we still have important information to get to in the rest of chapter 38. So, let’s continue with verse seven:
7 “Prepare yourself and be ready, you and all your companies that are gathered about you; and be a guard for them.
– Ezekiel 38:7 (NKJV)
Hmmm… Gog is a ‘guard’.
Maybe Gog is able to block the UN Security Council from agreeing to do anything about this invasion?
I have made the point in the past that Russia seems to be the Land of Magog, with Gog being the ruler. If that is true (and it might not be), there are lots of other ways that Russia could act as a ‘guard’ to this great army. They could use the threat of their nuclear weapons to keep other nations from attacking this army. They could also provide advanced aircraft and superior anti-air defenses. They might be the biggest supplier of the weapons that this army would carry. (Russia sells a LOT of weapons.)
The point is that Gog occupies a unique position. He is able to provide protection for this vast army, that the others cannot. Gog also appears to be a ‘unifier’, able to bring people together – people that would normally try to kill each other. And, we are starting to see Russia playing the role of peacemaker and advisor in the Middle East and Africa. All of these clues seem to point to Russia as Magog and the leader of Russia as Gog.
Having said that, I am NOT proclaiming Russia to be the Land of Magog. Even though secular evidence seems to point to that, I am more than willing to entertain any other reasonable interpretation.
Matching Ezekiel 38 With Ezekiel 36
Now, compare this next verse with what Ezekiel 36 says:
8 After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely.
– Ezekiel 38:8 (NKJV)
Notice the language here. Let’s compare that verse with what we see in Ezekiel 36.
Ezekiel 38 says:
…gathered from many people
Ezekiel 36 says:
24 For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.
– Ezekiel 36:24 (NKJV)
That’s a match, so let’s keep going.
Ezekiel 38 says:
…on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate
Ezekiel 36 says:
4 therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God to the mountains, the hills, the rivers, the valleys, the desolate wastes, and the cities that have been forsaken, which became plunder and mockery to the rest of the nations all around—
– Ezekiel 36:4 (NKJV)
That is ALSO a match. So, let’s look at a third possible match.
Israel Lives Securely
However, that last word in verse eight has caused some people to claim that we are far away from Gog and Magog. They say that Israel does not live ‘safely’.
They are incorrect because the word in Hebrew is not ‘safely’. It’s actually ‘securely’ – בטח, pronounced beh-tach (ch as in Bach). It also means certainly. In Israel, if someone asked me if I could help them, I would say, “!בטח” “Certainly!” – assuming that I was enthusiastic about being able to do so. But, maybe you aren’t as certain as I am. You might not have lived in Israel for the years that I have. You might not have seen the confidence with which Israel handles violence and threats. So, let’s talk about how we define safely/securely/certainly.
If we interpret Ezekiel 38:8 as describing an Israel that lives confidently, without worrying about threats to her existence, then I think that Israel currently fits that description. They certainly DO live confidently, right now. In fact, they live more confidently now, than I have ever seen them. If anything, they are too confident. Some Israelis might even be accused of hubris. The only real threat to their existence – right now – is Iran. And that threat is somewhat theoretical at the moment. The military and political leadership of Israel believe that they can defeat any threat from Iran.
This does not mean that Israel is happy with Iran’s nuclear program, or the missiles that Iran has given Hezbollah. Israel is actively engaged in trying to slow down and stop this program with a fair amount of success. Iran has had a surprising amount of difficultly in getting to the point where they could produce nuclear warheads. There have been numerous (ahem!) accidents. Yes… (ahem!) …accidents. It’s funny how those (ahem!) accidents seem to happen to the Iranian nuclear program. How (ahem!) unfortunate.
Yes… (ahem!) …very.
However, if we claim that Ezekiel 38:8 refers to a people that do not need to maintain a standing army and does not suffer from a threat of terrorism, then the answer is no. If things continue the way that they are, right now, Israel will need her army for quite some time, and there will always be a threat of terrorism. As long as Islam is being followed in our world, there will ALWAYS be a threat of terrorism and war against Israel. In fact, Islam will be a threat to EVERYONE until the Lord returns. Just look at the makeup of Gog and Magog. That army is FULL of Muslim countries. And, that leads me to believe that maybe the threat of terrorism and war shouldn’t be a part of our consideration.
Furthermore, having lived for quite some time in Israel, I can offer some insight into what Israel faces. Terrorism is a terrible thing, but – if you look at it carefully – it’s really just a different form of crime. And, it is fought with some of the same methods that the police use to fight criminal activity – although, with a LOT more intensity.
Back in the late '90s, I got a chance to see how Israel fights terrorism, by working for a civilian company that had been formed around an Israeli military intelligence unit. That unit had developed software that hunted for terrorist communications and then turned their expertise into customer service application that helped businesses respond to the email that you send them. I helped write the documentation for the programming interface for this software, and the artificial intelligence behind it eventually became a part of IBM's efforts in AI. The point is that, even though the military was involved in the suppression of terrorist attacks, it was still just police work - not a lot different than what the NYPD, LAPD or Scotland Yard are engaged in.
Later, I lived through the Second Intifada in Jerusalem, and several bombs blew up near where I worked and lived. My neighborhood was shot up for a year by Arafat’s Tanzim militia. The emotional and physical scars are real. And, Israel worked very, very hard to stop this terrorism.
But, you know what is more dangerous than terrorism or even war, in Israel?
More Israelis have been injured and killed in traffic accidents than in all the wars and terrorism suffered by Israel. In fact, soldiers are more likely to be killed when they are driving home from their base, than at any other time of their military service.
So, I personally believe that we can say that Israel lives securely, even though there is still a threat of terrorism, Iranian nuclear weapons and Hezbollah rockets. At the very least, I think that we should consider that Israel may have enough security right now, to fulfill the ‘requirement’ of verse eight. Oh, and if you follow the standard interpretation of ‘securely’ given to us by most theologians, ancient Israel was never secure. Think about how ridiculous that is.
In fact, was there EVER a time in which Israel's neighbors weren't plotting Israel's destruction?
There is an additional point to consider about Israel living securely, and we aren't used to thinking about this:
The first five seals in Revelation 6 will do terrible damage to Israel's enemies.
As the traditional adversaries of Israel fall apart and collapse, Israel's need for military defenses will also shrink. In fact, Israel might even need to reduce her military for economic and financial reasons. If you read what I have been writing for the past decade, you'll understand the kinds of events that we face when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride.
Gog And Magog Will Be A Surprise Attack
Then, verse nine tells us a little about the character of Gog’s invasion of Israel:
9 You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you.”
– Ezekiel 38:9 (NKJV)
This will be a quick and sharp surprise attack. This makes me wonder if there will be any warning. That bothers me, because I would like to have enough time to make final preparations before this attack begins. Once Gog and Magog starts, we may have very little time before Ezekiel’s Fire.
(Remember that Ezekiel’s Fire is what we are concerned about!)
Watch Iran. When you see the Iranian army training with the Russian army – or any other really big army – then, you know that the time is getting close.
Unfortunately, recent events in Syria indicate that Iran is ALREADY training with Russia – on the battlefield. We also see Russia growing more and more involved in Africa, sending special forces unites under the guise of Private Military Companies (PMCs). So, a lot of training and coordination experience is already happening, right now. Furthermore, China and Russia have been training with Iran in the Indian Ocean.
Of course, this Gog and Magog alliance will need to become far more visible before we start getting really worried. (I hope.)
Why Gog And Magog Come
Then, the next four verses name some of those who are NOT in this alliance, as well as a possible reason for why Gog is attacking Israel:
10 ‘Thus says the Lord God: “On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan: 11 You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates’— 12 to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land. 13 Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you, ‘Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder?’ ” ’
– Ezekiel 38:10-13 (NKJV)
TRANSLATION NOTE: About ‘young lions’. Some translations claim that the Hebrew word כפריה (pronounced kah-fee-rey-ha) is ‘villages’ or even ‘rulers’. Ezekiel had already used versions of that word before in Ezekiel 19 and Ezekiel 32 and Ezekiel 41. All of those uses are clearly ‘young lion’. Worse, nowhere in the Bible does the word כפר (pronounced kah-far) appear with the meaning ‘village’. Modern Hebrew describes a village as a k'phar, but the ancient Hebrew in the Bible does not.
I am horrified by how poorly educated Bible translators are. This is shameful.
Okay, this shows us some people who are not a part of this huge army:
Merchants of Tarshish
Sheba and Dedan are grandsons of Cush, which make them great-grandsons of Ham. There are indications that the kingdom of Saba was Sheba. And, they seem to have existed south of Egypt and in southwest Arabia. Josephus claims that the Meroe civilization was originally called Saba. We also know that Sheba traded with Tyre (Ezek 27:22). Ezekiel’s reference to Raamah might actually be Dedan. So, it might be safe to assume that Sheba and Dedan are southern Arabia and/or northeast Africa.
Having said that, south and southeast Asia are FULL of the descendants of the grandchildren of Cush. Southern Arabia and northeast Africa would only have been initial settlements as they spread around the globe.
Unfortunately, we are clueless about the ‘Merchants of Tarshish’. Tarshish was a son of Javan and the grandson of Japheth. And, as I said before, Javan is the Hebrew name for Greece. We know that Jonah tried to flee to Tarshish. We just don’t know WHERE Tarshish is. All that we have are speculations. There IS a Tarsus on the southern coast of Turkey, and we know that this is where the Apostle Paul came from. And, it sounds a bit like Tarshish. But, some have speculated that Tarshish was in Spain. Some have even thought that Tarshish was on the southern coast of Britain – which is very doubtful.
Again, all that we have are speculations, which are prone to error.
The only other clue that we have are the words ‘merchants of’. Part of the criticism of this invasion will come from cities or nations that are heavily involved in international trade.
Who are these merchants?
These are obviously nations that are directly involved in the global shipment of raw materials and manufactured items. But, when you look at the largest ports or the largest shipping companies, you don’t find anything that looks like ‘Tarshish’. So, we’ll have to wait and see.
We have a better idea of what the term ‘young lions’ means. It is a pretty safe assumption to say that these are the ‘younger nations’. The ones that sprung up the most recently. They will also be nations that are vigorous. You might even claim that they have strong militaries. And, the only places that seem to fit this description are North and South America – along with Australia and New Zealand. Of all the countries of the world, none are younger – or, in some cases, more fierce. I don’t think that any other group of people would fit the description of ‘young lion’.
Furthermore, when the Gog and Magog alliance comes down to attack Israel, they will be accused of coming for the purpose of plunder.
What would it be that they could hope to capture?
Unless the situation in the Middle East changes – and it might – there is really only one thing that we can think of:
Oil and natural gas.
You have undoubtedly noticed what’s happened to Syria. Part of the Syrian conflict is due to a natural gas pipeline that Russia wanted to build from Iran, through Iraq and Syria, to the Mediterranean Sea. America, Turkey and the Persian Gulf Arabs wanted to lay a different pipeline to a different destination.
You may also have noticed, that Israel has discovered massive undersea natural gas reserves. If and when Israel starts selling that natural gas to Europe, Russia could feel damaged by this and attack Israel to stop it. However, as of this writing, delivering natural gas to Europe has become a difficult challenge for Israel.
By the way, Turkey wants a piece of the action. They have also been pushing for a more-than-fair share of the natural gas under the Mediterranean Sea. Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Egypt have not been interested in complying with Turkish demands.
The Strategic Position Of Israel
Israel is also the linchpin of the Middle East, and is at the strategic core of an area of the Middle East called The Levant. And The Levant is key for anyone who wants to dominate Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf. If Russia – or any other Eurasian entity – wants to take control of Middle East oil production, they will need to capture The Levant and destroy Israel.
And, what do the nations of the world do when this great army comes down?
Hang back and whine in shock and dismay – while doing nothing.
It’s what every other country in the world did, when the Arabs attacked Israel. The only exception has been the United States. Unfortunately, it seems that this time America really does do nothing – or… can do nothing.
The Decline In World Oil Production
Now, let me add one more bit of information about a disaster that is already here, but hard to see because few are reporting on it:
The Decline In Oil Production
As I write this in early 2022, global oil production is right about 100 million barrels a day. Many trumpet this figure as proof that the future is bright, and we have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
Every year, it is becoming harder and harder for oil producing countries to increase oil production. The cost per barrel to extract oil is going up. And, the easy-to-produce conventional reserves are declining. And, there will come a moment in time in which we will hit the absolute global peak in oil. When that happens, it will be a death-blow to our way of life, one that I have been warning about since 2011. It will be the scariest era of human history:
Not just permanent decline in oil production – permanent decline in the global economy. This decline actually started in 2005, but the effects were papered over by financial trickery.
We knew that conventional oil production would start falling in 2005, and it did. The subsequent rise in the price of oil was one of the reasons why we had The Great Recession in 2007/08. Then, we started throwing lots of money at companies producing oil through hydraulic fracturing – also known as fracking. And, after more than a decade of this, we know that it doesn’t really work.
Yes, fracking produces oil. And, America has produced lots of it. The problem is that no one has been able to do it and remain financially viable. The only way that fracking companies have been able to stay alive, is by telling big stories of future wealth and borrowing more and More and MORE money. And, people have been lending them that money because they believed the stories about the price of oil growing to the sky and allowing frackers to turn a profit.
Unfortunately, frackers didn’t make money, even when the price of oil was really high. And, no first-world country can survive a really high price of oil - at least, not in the way that our civilization is currently organized. And since no civilization has ever survived a decline in energy production, this will turn into the worst disaster since the Great Flood.
When will this disaster become obvious?
Making predictions is a chancy game, but look at what happens when interest rates are forced to rise. We have had artificially low interest rates for a very long time, and that has made the junk bonds issued by frackers look really appealing. But, once the artificially low interest rates stop being artificially low, fracking companies will not be able to keep borrowing money.
To a certain degree, this is already happening, since bond investors have begun to wake up to the impossibility of fracking as a financially profitable industry. So, fracking companies have reduced borrowing, which has caused a reduction in the number of wells that they have been drilling. When drilling slows, within months oil production will begin to fall. And, like I said, there will come a point in time in which we will have passed the peak in oil production.
This will become a catastrophic problem, since oil runs everything. When you have less of it, you have less of everything. Yes, there are substitutes to oil, but those alternatives are far, far less beneficial and also suffer some of the same problems that oil is experiencing. So, get ready for a reduction in everything.
You will have less.
It will cost more.
It will hurt.
In fact, the damage to the global economy will be so great that the world will go to war. We will start killing each other because we are unable to accept the reality of a life with less and less energy. As weak nations get weaker, strong countries will seek to expand their control. As the average person is forced to pay more for less and less, anger and violence will become normal in our streets. And, as scarcity bites even deeper, people will be reduced to working hard to have less-than-enough food to eat. Since famine and starvation leave people vulnerable to disease, pandemics and plagues will sweep those areas that were affected the most. And, if that sounds familiar...
That is exactly what the ride of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse looks like.
History shows that such catastrophes provide opportunities for the strongest to expand their territory. Because the Byzantine and Persian empires had been weakened by war and plague, a relatively small number of Arab marauders were able to invade and defeat both empires - resulting in an Islamic empire that stretched from central Asia into southern Europe and North Africa. Alexander the Great took advantage of a similar situation, conquering Persia and Egypt in just a handful of years.
All of that will be a big reason for Gog and Magog.
Again, if that sounds exactly like the events of Revelation 6, you'd be right. We’ll talk about this a little later in this chapter, but you can read even more here:
The Seven Seals Of Revelation
The US Dramatically Weakened Or Destroyed
For those of you living in North America, there’s another cause for deep, deep concern. The fact that no one is able or willing to stop Gog and Magog tells us a lot about the condition of the US, and her allies. The Middle East is vital to America's interests in ways that would take a book to completely describe. American and European leaders have understood this exceptionally well, expending trillions of dollars and killing millions of people to maintain control of the Middle East. And, they would be more than willing to use nuclear weapons if their interests in the Middle East were threatened. So, there is no way that this attack could happen if America had operational nuclear weapons and a willingness to use them.
When Gog and Magog come, either America has been destroyed, or is so morally weakened that she is unwilling to protect her own interests or defend Israel from genocide. And, this would have nothing to do with any negative feelings toward Israel.
Even the most antisemitic politician would threaten the use of nukes to stop such an invasion, because such an invasion would threaten the economy and financial power of the US. Even if the American economy collapsed to levels that did not allow her to fund the military, the United States should still be able to hold on to her nuclear weapons and the ability to launch them. And, we have the Soviet Union as an example.
When the USSR broke into pieces, Russia never lost her nuclear deterrent. She never lost the ability to launch nuclear missiles at the US, or anyone else.
Does this mean that the United States falls harder than even the Soviet Union did?
Believe it or not, there has been talk for decades, of the US breaking apart. And, as the Left pushes harder and harder for power and influence, the socio-political cracks and chasms in America grow larger and wider.
Is it possible that Washington loses control of the nuclear silos located in the middle of the US?
It would take something like a civil war, but such a thing has become more and more likely as political corruption and the Left continue on the path that they are leading Americans down. This is a scary thought to contemplate, but we Americans have been on this course since World War II – if not before.
However, I believe that it is also likely that America’s enemies will take steps to neutralize the US by more direct means. Most do not know that just three evenly spaced nuclear explosions, a couple hundred miles above the US, would destroy all national and local power grids, along with electronic systems across the country. And it has been projected that within a year, up to 90% of the American population would be dead if this happened. And, the thought of an EMP attack on the US leaves me with a feeling of dread.
Whatever happens, at some point in the all-too-near future, America will no longer be able to stand in the way of this invasion. That should make all of us think hard about preparing for something truly catastrophic.
What About Israel’s Nuclear Weapons?
However, we haven’t talked about Israel’s purported cache of nuclear weapons. There has always been something of a question mark over that stockpile.
Do they actually HAVE any?
We don’t really know for sure. The evidence that we have of Israel’s nuclear program is extremely circumstantial and may only be a very clever ruse to make us think that they DO have nuclear weapons.
Remember that the THREAT of nuclear weapons is as useful as HAVING nuclear weapons. To put it another way, a threat is much cheaper than the weapon, itself – especially if your ethics would never allow you to use such weapons.
‘To save a life’ is a core principle of Israeli culture, and even though the government of Israel is very secular – they are still influenced by this ethic. The western media never report on the soul-searching that goes on when Israelis are forced to kill Arabs in self-defense. The biggest critics of Israel have always been Israelis themselves. But, let’s assume that Israel actually has nuclear warheads for their Jericho III missiles.
How might Israel lose its nuclear weapons capability?
By using it.
If Israel used a nuclear weapon against… say …Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the rest of the world would demand that Israel give up her nukes. Of course, Israel would NOT give up her nuclear weapons without security guarantees.
America might offer those guarantees in the form of a large military presence in the Middle East – in Israel, Jordan and even Lebanon and Syria. Or, Russia might actually offer those guarantees – and eventually break them.
The other possibility is that Israel’s nuclear weapons are taken out by nuclear strikes. We will read Zechariah's account of two thirds of everyone in the Land of Israel being cut off and dying. I believe that the death toll will be mostly due to the gigantic earthquake that happens, but a nuclear attack could account for some of those casualties.
These are horrifying thoughts, but as I always say in such situations:
(But, I’m not sure that I want to.)
Gog Attacks Because Israel Is Vulnerable
Let’s continue with verse fourteen:
14 “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it?
– Ezekiel 38:14 (NKJV)
So, Israel is both secure and certain, when Gog and Magog attacks. And then, the attack happens in the next verse:
15 Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army. 16 You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes.”
– Ezekiel 38:15-16 (NKJV)
The interesting thing about all this, is that God is the one who brings Gog down.
Do you remember those hooks in verse four?
Here’s that verse again:
I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords.
– Ezekiel 38:4 (NKJV)
Ouch. That has got to be painful. And, it tells us that Gog doesn’t have a choice in the matter. They are forced to come down against Israel. And, since there are hooks, there is more than one reason for Gog to come against Israel.
Now, part of the reason why I’m writing all of this is to help people see that the next big event is NOT the Antichrist. The fact that there is so much hysteria over the coming of the Antichrist, means that there is an acknowledgment that we’re close to that time.
So, ask yourself this:
Doesn’t God always give a warning?
Doesn’t He give people a chance to acknowledge Him – and to repent – before judgment comes?
God says that He is going to use this opportunity to proclaim Himself to the world, and it will be clear that the world will be without excuse, when they reject God and turn towards the Antichrist. My hope is that all who chose to follow foolish theories will know that they were wrong, and repent.
If they survive.
Let’s continue with the next verse:
17 Thus says the Lord God: “Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days by My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against them?
– Ezekiel 38:17 (NKJV)
Many prophets have written about this moment in time, even though none of them have gone as far as to mention the names ‘Gog’ and ‘Magog’. And when this vast army invades Israel, the world will know that the prophets were right, and that God spoke through them.
The Great Earthquake
Verses 18 through 20 bring us our first mention of the great earthquake that everyone will suffer, as a result of this invasion:
18 “And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” says the Lord God, “that My fury will show in My face. 19 For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: ‘Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel, 20 so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.’
– Ezekiel 38:18-20 (NKJV)
There will be a titanic earthquake and EVERYTHING will fall down. EVERYTHING. And, I believe that this gigantic earthquake is the number one reason why two thirds of everyone in the Land of Israel is killed - and why every city around the world will probably be destroyed. If every wall falls to the ground, then everyone in buildings of any size will die. Even the smallest building might kill you.
Later we will examine these two verses from Isaiah 30:
25 There will be on every high mountain
And on every high hill
Rivers and streams of waters,
In the day of the great slaughter,
When the towers fall.
26 Moreover the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun,
And the light of the sun will be sevenfold,
As the light of seven days,
In the day that the Lord binds up the bruise of His people
And heals the stroke of their wound.
– Isaiah 30:25-26 (NKJV)
The day of Israel’s salvation will be marked by an earthquake so big that every tall building will fall. Walls will fall, and people will be crushed. It will be a day of great slaughter.
The problem is that this earthquake won’t be limited to just Israel. Yes, Ezekiel says Land of Israel, and I would love to believe that this earthquake will be limited to just the Middle East. Unfortunately, the driver of this great earthquake will be our sun.
We have already seen a direct connection between earthquakes and solar events. And, when the biggest solar event in 5000 years happens, it will also be the biggest, most global earthquake in 5000 years. I call it Ezekiel’s Fire, and you need to be ready for the destruction of every city on earth. And, there will be no one to free the people trapped under the rubble, repair broken pipes or fight the fires that spring up and consume what's left.
The Nova Event Of The Sixth Seal
But, where else do we see a great earthquake that is also associated with the salvation of the Children of Jacob?
That’s right, it’s here, during the sixth seal:
12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. 14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. 15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
– Revelation 6:12-17 (NKJV)
That is not the only thing that happens during the Sixth Seal. All of Revelation 7 is included in the Sixth Seal, and Revelation 7 CONFIRMS the salvation of the Children of Jacob. But, not just salvation, but also their growth in spiritual maturity to the point where they bear the signature of God in their foreheads.
Then, notice the absolute proof that this is a nova event caused by God:
…Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up…
I never understood that sentence, until I saw what can happen during certain kinds of nova events. In a certain kind of small nova, the outermost shell of a star explodes outward and dumps a truly massive amount of material outward, into the space around it. Initially, this material will glow brightly, for hours. But then, the expanding shell will begin to cool and become a fine dust.
This is what the last part of Revelation 6 appears to describe. The outer shell of our sun will explode, generating a lot of light. As this outer shell expands out into the solar system, it will stop glowing as it cools - becoming like an expanding sphere of dust. As the leading edge of this cloud of dust races past earth and outward into the Solar System, the sun will become ‘black like sackcloth’ and the moon will become ‘like blood’. Some of that dust will have clumped together, and some of those 'clumps' will hit and burn up in earth's atmosphere and look like ‘stars falling to Earth’. Furthermore, as this cloud of Solar dust continues outward past earth, the night sky will look like it is ‘rolling up’ – just like when a storm front moves through at night.
Oh, and how long does the Sixth Seal last?
Well, we know that the other seals take time to fulfill, and I believe that it’s clear that at least years pass for each seal. But, Revelation 7 says this:
2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:
– Revelation 7:2-4 (NKJV)
(Again, go here for a deeper look at the Seven Seals.)
God will wait until 144 thousand Israeli men reach a sufficient level of spiritual maturity to become servants of God – and then be sealed in their foreheads. This will take years. Maybe, even decades. I would not want to put a time limit on this.
I’ve spent most of my life lumping Seal Six in with all the other fantastic events of Revelation, thinking of it as just another miracle that we could never understand. Now we have a reasonably good explanation for this, even though it is no less fantastic. And, it gives us the ability to firmly place Gog and Magog and the salvation of Israel into the Book of Revelation.
For the first time in my life, Seal Six makes perfect sense.
This Will Be A Test
Back to this earthquake, if I was in Israel and saw evidence that this army was getting ready to come down, I would yell at the top of my lungs 24/7, to warn as many Israelis as possible to stay outside. Those who do, will live. Those who do not, won’t. And, maybe this will be a kind of test, to see who will listen to the Christians that are warning their neighbors of what is coming. Maybe this would be a test of the Christians themselves, whether THEY would believe what is about to happen. And, as I said, this will NOT be limited to just Israel.
Wherever you are in the world, when you see a huge army that looks like what we’re talking about… when they look ready to invade Israel… get out of your house and stay out. Go camping. And, tell everyone about what is going to happen.
The Soldiers Of Gog And Magog Kill Each Other
Then, as we continue with the next verse in Ezekiel 38, the soldiers in this great alliance of Gog and Magog turn and start killing each other:
21 I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains,” says the Lord God. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother.
– Ezekiel 38:21 (NKJV)
There will be more than one reason why this army will start to turn on each other. A big one lies with the next verse:
22 And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
– Ezekiel 38:22 (NKJV)
This will terrify that massive army, and they will try to run away. And when a massive group like that starts running away, the better word to use would be stampede. And, stampedes are mindless.
Think about the individual soldiers involved. They will be terrified and pushing their vehicles to their maximum, driving too fast, having flat tires, thrown treads, running into each other, etc. Very quickly, their over-stressed vehicles will break down.
What happens when a vehicle breaks down, during a rush like this?
Vehicles behind them are forced to stop.
It will be the biggest military traffic jam ever.
Unfortunately, just because traffic has stopped, the feelings of terror won’t. If you thought road rage during rush hour was bad, this will be a million times worse.
What happens to people when they are terrified, desperately fleeing the battlefield, and run smack-dab into a blockage that keeps them from escaping what they consider to be certain death?
They panic. They go berserk.
What happens when someone THAT upset has a gun?
They use the gun to unblock the way out.
What happens if the people you are shooting at also have guns and are really upset?
They shoot back.
And… on …and on.
They will literally kill each other, and the survivors will die of disease. It will be… awful. Add to this the fact of multiple factions, nationalities and ethnicities in this army, and it will be easy to see these groups turning on each other.
Let me also add one more twist to this story.
What do you think would happen when Ezekiel’s Fire lights up the sky?
They might know (or have been told) that their vehicles would stop working within a VERY short amount of time – since the most dangerous part of this nova event will be the CME, or Coronal Mass Ejection, which would arrive hours AFTER this solar event begins. Anyone who understands the danger would immediately turn around and try to get home as fast as possible – and shoot ANYONE who gets in the way. But whether or not they know about what is coming, one thing is certain. Flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone would terrify anyone.
Volcanoes – Big Ones
Oh, that word, ‘brimstone’ from verse 22. We should look a little more carefully at that.
A large part of Gog’s army looks like it will be destroyed in or around the Golan Heights. In fact, I would venture to say that they would be STUCK on the Golan Heights.
For those of you who have never been to the Golan, it’s made up of volcanoes that are merely dormant. If you walk around the Golan and places nearby, you’ll see lots of dark, volcanic rock and many ancient buildings that have been made with it. The Jerusalem hills have no such volcanic rock. All of that evidence, plus the mention of ‘fire and brimstone’ in verse 22, points to the volcanoes in the Golan Heights blowing up in a spectacular fashion, and taking a big part of this massive army with it.
God Will Be Glorified
This brings us to the last verse of chapter 38:
23 Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.” ’
– Ezekiel 38:23 (NKJV)
In the process of all this… because it will happen in the exact way that the Lord describes here …God will be glorified. Because it will happen exactly as described, people will be unable to claim that these events were mere coincidence.
My hope is that you will have prepared for all this and be able to survive Ezekiel’s Fire and the incredible destruction that follows in its wake. It's why I wrote this book.
Comparing The Armies
Okay, now what we’ve been through chapter 38 and have had our first real look at the coming of Gog and Magog, let’s try and compare this invasion with the Army of the Antichrist.
How do they compare?
Well, it’s pretty clear that Ezekiel 38 is not about the Antichrist.
When the Antichrist rises, his army won’t blow up on the Golan Heights. In fact, the Antichrist invades Israel multiple times and is not stopped until years later, in the Jezreel Valley at Armageddon. Moreover, if we are right about the location of Magog (and, we might not be), that would be another reason why this cannot be the coming of the Antichrist, since the Antichrist must rise from the area that Alexander the Great conquered. Another argument is that many nations object to what Gog and Magog does - but the Antichrist doesn't seem to face that kind of opposition.
Also, Ezekiel 38 does NOT fit with the description of Armageddon. Armageddon includes all the nations of the world. Gog and Magog encompasses a select number, especially when we think of the ‘Kings of the East’.
Is Gog The Antichrist?
As much as I would love for Gog to be the Antichrist, Ezekiel 38 proves that he isn't:
- According to Ezekiel 38, Gog’s influence is over only part of the world, while the Antichrist rules all of it.
- Then, there are those hooks in the jaws of Gog. In Revelation, God speaks of drawing all nations to Armageddon, but in chapter 38, the hooks are in Gog. That’s not a strong argument, but worth keeping in mind.
- And, in Ezekiel 39, we’ll see that Gog is buried in the valley of Hamon Gog, while the Antichrist is not buried at all and is cast alive into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20)
We’re not done yet, but just from this chapter it's hard to see how anyone could claim that the Antichrist is Gog. You would need to distort both history and the Bible to make it happen, and such distortion is wrong. But, for those who remain unconvinced…
Whoever Iran makes an alliance with, will probably be Gog. And, right now, that alliance is with Russia and not Turkey.
I’m not going to say ‘case closed’ here, but I think that we’ve established a lot of evidence that is hard to ignore. However, there is more to look at than just Ezekiel 38, and we owe it to ourselves to examine all the evidence before making firm conclusions.
© 2022 John Little. All rights reserved.
May God preserve the words that are true
and cast away those that are not.