This sermon is number 21 in a series of 24
Ezekiel - Part 21
by David Legge | Copyright © 2001 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com
We're turning to Ezekiel chapter 38, Ezekiel chapter 38, and we're looking at chapter 39 also tonight - but we'll take time to read a few of the introductory verses of chapter 38. You can see some of these visuals up here on the platform - or I hope you can see some of these visuals! If you're too far back feel free to move up to the front if you want to see them, I'm sorry if you can't make them out but it's the best that I can do at the moment, and I just want to help you a little in your understanding of the word of God this evening. Now bear with me, it's a very complicated two chapters of the word of God, but God willing we'll get through it tonight and you'll be a little enlightened about the events that are beginning to take place in our world today, and events that will take place at a later date.
Verse 1 of chapter 38: "And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them. After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? Hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? To carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil? Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. Thus saith the Lord GOD; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them? And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD".
The theme of chapter 38 and chapter 39 is the northern invaders that will come down, as prophecy teaches in the word of God, to invade God's land of Israel. These two chapters are two of the most difficult passages of Scripture in the whole of the Bible. They are difficult, they are much debated with theologians and with prophetic scholars - but nevertheless they are two of the most important chapters in the word of God in the whole of prophetic studies, and it's important for us to take time out tonight to look at the detail held within them. Now let me just say before I begin: many, many people disagree - even pre-millennial pre-tribulation scholars that we would be, they all disagree in little intricacies within these two chapters of Scripture. But one thing is clear, and this must be made clear at the very beginning of our study this evening: as we have been going through the book of Ezekiel there are a few foundational truths that we've had to lay when we come to prophetic study.
The first thing is this: we have learnt that God has a plan for the nation of Israel. Let me say that again: God has a plan for the nation of Israel. There are some scholars that would tell us that Israel now in these chapters, chapter 38 and 39 and right up to the end of 48 at the end of this book, 'Israel' is a spiritual term signifying God's people today which is the church of Jesus Christ. Now we have learnt right throughout this book that 'Israel' has been speaking about national Israel, the judgement that God pronounced over Israel was upon national Israel and was realised upon national Israel - and that is a historical fact this evening. Now you can't move the goalposts halfway along and decide that it's no longer national Israel - it is national Israel. That is the first foundation stone that we must lay. The second thing is, not just that God has a plan for national Israel, but God has a plan also for Israel's enemies. We're going to see that in even more detail this evening, but we've seen it in recent weeks - how the enemies of Israel historically are still the enemies of Israel this very evening, and that God will judge them, He has a plan for them also - the second foundation stone. Then there is the third and the final that I want to leave with you in introduction this evening: none of these Scriptures that we are dealing with this evening have ever been fulfilled, none of them fit into any fulfilment. There are some partial fulfilments in Ezekiel's prophecy, some have already been fulfilled and will be further fulfilled in a more literal and complete sense in another day, but these chapters do not fit into that category - none of these passages or verses have ever been fulfilled in the history of national Israel.
We believe that the Lord Jesus is coming back very soon. None of us know the day or the hour, but He is coming sooner today than He has ever done - and in these two remarkable chapters Ezekiel describes for us an invasion into Palestine by a wicked nation of the north in the latter days, in the days that are approaching very soon. Let's look first of all at the invader's identity, the first point on your study sheet. The invader's identity is called Gog and Magog. Gog seems to be referring to the leader of this people, or this nation, Magog. So Gog is the leader and Magog is the nation and the people. Therefore the first question that raises out of these passages is: who is Magog? What is the identity of this northern nation that will come and invade Israel one day?
Now, we cannot be dogmatic about a great deal of the things that we will share together in this evening about these matters, but it would appear that we can identify this nation from the north. There are three main stepping-stones of evidence and proof that we believe we have in order to identify this nation 'Magog'. The first is geographical evidence. In three distinct places Ezekiel tells us that the invading nation will come from the north. In verse 6 of chapter 38, in verse 15, and in verse 2 of chapter 39, he tells us that this invader will be from the north. Now in the Hebrew language literally it can be translated like this: 'the uttermost part of the north'. Now what you must remember in prophetic Scriptures, and especially where the prophets - whether the major or minor prophets - are prophesying, you've got to remember that all of the geographical directions are from their standpoint. When they're talking about the north they're not standing at Portrush looking into the Atlantic Ocean! They're standing in Palestine, they're standing in Israel, and they're looking around their geographical scene as it is then.
Now, if he is taking his bearings from the homeland, a quick glance at any world map will show that there is only one place that can fulfil that prophecy of 'the uttermost part of the north', which is the literal Hebrew. Now look at this map here for a moment - I know things are very hard to see, but all I want you to see this evening is this: that little red label is Israel, the nation of Israel; that little red label is Moscow. If you go directly north to the uttermost north part above Israel, you will find Russia - and if you go any further you will find the Arctic. OK? Now, unless Ezekiel is talking about polar bears, he has to be speaking about Russia - geographically speaking. It's the only country that this possibly can be. Before we go into linguistics, people often will cry - amillennialists - saying: 'Oh, you're turning things upside-down, you're reading into things in linguistics and in the Hebrew and all sorts of things' - by this very one definition it has to be Russia. There is no other country north of Israel at the uttermost part of the globe.
That is the geographical evidence. The second part of evidence is the historical evidence. Now, if you turn with me to Genesis chapter 10 verse 2 for a moment - you remember a few weeks ago we were tracing the origins of some of the nations that are mentioned surrounding around the nation of Palestine. We're going to do that a little bit this evening - we don't have time to go into everything, but in Genesis chapter 10 and verse 1 you find the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: 'And unto them were sons born after the flood', verse 2 says, 'The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras', and it continues. But you see from verse 2 that Magog, mentioned in Ezekiel, is the second son of Japheth, the son of Noah. So he is the grandson of Noah. You see Tubal and Meshech mentioned, they are the fifth and the sixth sons of Japheth.
Now there is the origin of these people, and we find that when Noah came out of the ark after the flood he, and his sons, and his sons sons, were the people who populated the earth. We are all in the lineage of Noah. Now Josephus, the first century AD historian and scholar, assures us that the descendants of Magog migrated to an area north of Palestine - historical records, he wasn't a believer, he wasn't a prophetic scholar, but he records that the descendants of Magog migrated north of Palestine. Even before Josephus wrote those words, the famous Greek historian Herodotus in the fifth century BC writes that Meshech's descendants settled north of Palestine. So there you have two records: one of Josephus, and one of the famous Greek historian Herodotus. Then you have Jerome, who was an early Church Father, a prominent leader from AD 345 to AD 420, and he too declared that Magog was located north of the Caucasus Mountains - that's the Caucasian Mountains that we know in Russia. Now let me show you where they are. If you look at this, this is a similar map to this one here but it's a little bit closer in, there you have Palestine again, there you have Moscow - so there is Russia, and Russia spans all the way over here as you can see on the other map. But those mountains that we've just spoken of go right across here, from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea. These historians - Jerome, the Church Father, is saying that Magog migrated from down here in Palestine right over these mountains, the Caucasian Mountains, and settled somewhere north of those mountains.
So, there are three historic records that tell us that the nation or the people of Magog, descended from Noah and Japheth, settled north of the Caucasian Mountains - just on that little bridge between Palestine and Asia and Russia. Josephus and other Greek writers also associate Magog with the Scythian race - the major group of the Scythian race lived also, it's recorded, in the vicinity of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea just around these mountains, in fact above those mountains. You see, it's all coming together, and they all seem to be agreeing. So it appears then, and we're concluding now tonight, that the land of Magog was located near the Black Sea, near the Caspian Sea, over the Caucasian Mountains, north of Palestine - and really what that means is, as you can see from this map and the other map, it is the lower part of what we have known in the 20th-century to be the nation of Russia. We see it geographically, we see it historically, and it's very interesting to note this evening that 'Caucasus' - which is where we get the Caucasian Mountains from - literally means 'Gog's Fort' - Gog's Fort.
Geographical evidence, historical evidence, but thirdly there is also - not that we need it - there is linguistic evidence. Classical Greek writers used to say that the people called 'Meshech' in our passage here are the Muschoi. The Assyrian records in history refer to them as the 'Mushki', and the old Russian name for Russia was the Muscovy - and you can see the similarities in these linguistic terms. Again these people were said, historically, to have migrated and to have settled in the area of Armenia. Now the area of Armenia - you see this middle bit, you're getting used to it now - it's just a wee spot, a wee tiny country, see that pink bit? That is Armenia, and you will note that Armenia is on the border of Turkey, on the border of Iran, and on the border of Russia. It's very significant strategically.
Also Greek writers have told us that Tubal was located in the central part of Turkey - look again around the same area, there you have Turkey - Tubal, historically, is in the central part of Turkey, immediately west of what we read in Ezekiel of being Togarmah. Now let me say this: linguistically it seems also that this passage indicates that Russia is the northern invader that will come down into the land of Israel. Let me quote you Dr John Walvoord, a prophetic scholar, he says: 'In Ezekiel 38 Gog is described in the American Standard Version and in the Revised Version of the Scriptures as the Prince of Rosh'. Now let me digress from Dr Walvoord for a moment: usually 'Rosh' in the Hebrew language means 'head' or means 'chief'. Over 600 times in the Hebrew Scriptures it means 'head' or it means 'chief', and that's why in the Authorised Version he's described as the chief of this particular nation - it doesn't say 'the Prince of Rosh'. The American Standard Version and the Revised Version have changed it to mean 'the Prince of Rosh' - it reads like this: 'Son of man, set thy face toward Gog, the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal'. Apparently this is a more literal rendering of the Hebrew. In other words, in the context of the language, speaking of geographical places, it would seem that it's better at this point to translate 'Rosh' not as 'chief', not as 'head', but as a people just like Meshech and Tubal.
Dr Walvoord goes on to say: 'Rosh may be the root of the modern term 'Russia'. In the study of how ancient words come into modern languages, it's quite common for the consonants to remain the same and the vowels to be changed. In the word 'Rosh' if the vowel 'o' is changed to 'u' it becomes the root of the modern word 'Russia''. In other words, the word itself seems to be an early form of the word from which the modern word 'Russia' comes from. A man called Gesenius who was a famous lexicographer studying words, and ancient words, and the origins of words, gives the assurance that this is a proper identification - that is that 'Rosh' is the early form of the word from which we get 'Russia'. The two terms also in this passage 'Meshech and Tubal' also, Dr Walvoord says, correspond to some prominent words in Russian. The term 'Meshech' is similar to the modern name 'Moscow', the term 'Tubal' is obviously similar to the name of one of the most prominent Asiatic provinces of Russia up there in north Siberia, 'Tobolsk'. He concludes that when the evidence is put together it points to the conclusion that these terms are early references to portions of Russia. Therefore we conclude the geographical argument, the historical argument, and the linguistic argument all come together to reinforce and to support the idea that this northern invading force is the nation of Russia.
Now, people say: 'Ah, pastors in the Iron Hall have preached on this before, prophetic scholars have preached on this before - but then your bubble was burst when the USSR crumbled, when the Berlin Wall fell, when communism was made extinct! What do you make of all this prophecy about Russia invading Israel now? You have to be so careful!'. Well, you do have to be so careful. Where does that leave prophecy now? Is it all up in the air? Let me say: it does not matter, it doesn't matter one iota! First of all: because God's word endures forever. We are not interpreting God's word by the historical circumstances around the world today. What God's word says will endure, and if the political and geographical situation today doesn't lend itself to fulfilling prophecy - one day it will!
The point I want to make to you this evening is that the things that God is concerned with are not the modern borders of our world today. It doesn't matter to God if a border changes here or there, it doesn't matter if a map changes from what it was 10 or 20 years ago! What God is concerned with is the ethnic people, the origin of the people who have populated these nations today. God is concerned with the ethnic descent of these nations, not what their name is, not what their map looks like, not where their border is - that's what God is speaking of. No matter whether you call it Russia, no matter whether you look at the word 'Rosh' or not, or 'Tubal' as Tobolsk, or Moscow as 'Meshech' in its original word - it doesn't matter. The fact remains that these people who were Magog, the grandson of Noah, they all migrated over the Caucasian Mountains and they are situated - whether they are in part of Turkey, whether they are over here in the Ukraine, whether they're here at the bottom of Russia, whether they're in Armenia, it doesn't matter - that ethnic people that is Magog reside there today.
Now, that is the invader's identity - I hope that's clear enough for you. The second thing is the invader's allies - it's not just Russia on her own, there's more to it in this passage of Scripture. If you look at verses 5 and 6 you will see that there are five nations who will join the Northern Confederacy during this massive invasion of Israel. They're identified in verses 5 and 6 as Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, and all the bands of the house of Togarmah. There you have them, the names as they were in Ezekiel's time, and I believe that we today can actually equate these names - somewhat uncertainly I must say, but we can round about work out where these places are by following present-day nations as we speak.
Look at the first: Persia. Persia would seem tonight to be modern Iran - and there's modern Iran there in the orange. It, tonight, is ruled by Islamic fundamentalists. It's building a significant military power as we speak, which includes the development of nuclear weapons - and of course, please don't forget that it has openly declared its commitment to the annihilation of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. Persia - Iran. The second nation in verse 5 is Ethiopia. Now, we tend to think of Ethiopia in Africa - and it may well be in Africa, but it's not the Ethiopia that there was a famine in in the 1980s. Biblical Ethiopia is a different nation, but it can mean the black North African nations - that could be what it is meaning. 'Cush' and 'Put' in Old Testament language can also correspond to Ethiopia. If we wanted to pick a country for it it would be the Sudan, about the middle of Africa, that would correlate to Ethiopia in the Old Testament Scriptures. Tonight, now at this very moment, Sudan in Africa is dominated by an Islamic fundamentalist government that is using brutal means - including the crucifixion of Christians - to try and establish a pure Islamic state, as we speak.
The third nation is Libya. We would know Libya - there's Egypt, and Libya is right beside Egypt, the Western neighbour of Egypt. It is also an Islamic country today. It's strongly anti-Western, it doesn't want anything to do with America, anything to do with Britain. It's also anti-Israeli, which seems to come together with anti-American and anti-United Kingdom. Western intelligence has informed us that Libya has hired ex-Soviet and Eastern European military scientists to aid its development of her military power.
Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, and then there is Gomer. Now the nation of Gomer is a little bit less distinct in understanding who she is. The Jewish Talmud would tell us that Gomer equates to our modern day Germany, and especially East Germany. Originally, if we go far back, we find again that Gomer is also a people that migrated over these Caucasian Mountains into the part north of Palestine. So, who is Gomer? It may be that Gomer is Germany, it may be that Gomer is a part of this little southern tip of Russia, it may also be that by Ezekiel's time Gomer correlates to the central part of Turkey - just round about here beside the Black Sea and beside the Caucasian mountains - and that would fit in with everything that we're reading in the book of Ezekiel. But it may be the German race, and it may be that Gomer migrated over these mountains, through Turkey, and eventually did settle - as the Talmud said - in the nation of Germany as we know it tonight.
Then in verse 6 the final people is 'all the bands of the house of Togarmah'. Again this corresponds to southern Russia, it corresponds to the Cossacks and probably also Turkey - the rest of Turkey apart from that central part. Josephus identified it as the Phrygians who settled in Cappadocia, which is now Eastern Turkey. I hope you see it's all coming together - we can't say certainly, but we can think that these nations will be involved as Ezekiel said, and we can almost pinpoint them, this evening, to modern day nations. We can say that modern Iran will be involved in this northern invasion, some black African nations will be involved, Libya will be involved, Gomer will be involved - whether it be Germany or Turkey - Togarmah, certainly Turkey will be involved in one way or another. As we speak, the present government of Turkey is threatened by Islamic fundamentalists who are wanting to make Turkey into a nation like Iran. If this comes about, that the Islamic fundamentalists come to government in Turkey, it means that every single nation that we have listed in this passage will be led by Islamic fundamentalists that hate Israel to the core!
Now look at verse 10 of chapter 38: 'Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages', that is Israel, 'I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates'. Russia will think an evil thought, they will believe that it's very straightforward: 'Israel is at peace, there's no walls around the city protecting her. So we will just go in and we will plunder'. Now as we read down this passage we will find, verse 13, that there are nations that will rise up and will oppose Russia's invading of Israel. Sheba, verse 13, Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish - they will aggravate and antagonise the northern peoples coming down to invade. In other words, they will befriend the Jews, they will make an alliance with the Jewish people.
Now we ask the question: who is Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish? Well, we think that Sheba and Dedan are probably Arab peoples who are not sympathetic with the rest of the Arab nations, but for some reason - we don't know why - become sympathetic to the Israeli cause. But this is very interesting: who are the merchants of Tarshish? For, as we look at this word 'Tarshish' we find that in Scripture it is identified as far West Europe. It includes the nation of Spain, part of the nation of Spain, but as we look into history and we look into etymology - which is the study of words - we find that 'Tarshish' also signifies, believe it or not, the British Isles! You might think that's astounding, but we know from Phoenician records that they obtained tin from Tarshish. The Latin name 'Britannia' means 'the land of tin'. It would all fit very cosily together, wouldn't it? Although Britain, their history has not be squeaky clean with regards to Israel, they have been sympathetic and they had a hand in the independence of Israel the state in 1948. All these things would seem to mirror the events that are taking place even today.
So there you have the invader's allies. Thirdly you have in this passage the invader's intentions. You might ask the question: 'Why?'. It appears quite clearly that Russia will lead this future invasion of northern nations into Israel that is foretold in these two chapters, but why would Russia want to do this? Now there are a number of reasons, and you should jot these down if you have pen and paper with you this evening. The first reason is anti-semitism. You may not know this, but before communism Russia was notorious for severe persecution of the Jews. Now, while communism was in the Soviet Union it sort of had an iron grip upon the people by the government and by the establishment and the nation, and it suppressed the outward expression of hatred for the Jews. But today, as we speak, that communism has fallen, it has lost its grip - at least for a while that is, it may come back one day. But at this moment anti-semitism is being allowed in Russia and is raising its ugly head again. I read today that there are some members of a group called 'Pamyat', which is a strongly anti-Semitic organisation that wants to get rid of all Jews out of Russia - in fact it blames Jews for all the nation's problems. Some have even accused the Jews of being the source of AIDS! As a result of these ominous trends and echoes of Nazi Germany, a mass exodus of Jews have left Russia and are in Palestine this evening - right from 1990 to today, the majority of Jews have left Russia. Anti-semitism.
Another reason why they would want to invade Palestine is the desire for status. When the USSR had fallen and collapsed, they are now striving in the world with every opportunity to have status, to be a superpower, to be seen as strong in the world today. According to the Independent Intelligence Agency, officers of Armed Forces of the former Soviet Union believe that Russia can still have a superpower status - even without communism. The reason they believe it can happen - now listen carefully to this - is: if Russia will ally itself with Islamic nations against Israel. Now, maybe you don't believe that. Well, in the early history that we know of we learn that the Russian government representative in the 1990s stated that young people in their schools are being required to learn Arabic as their second language - the reason given: 'Because this government has concluded that the future of their nation lies with the Islamic nations of the world'. Is that plain enough?
Anti-semitism, getting status whatever way they can, then there is cashing in on Palestine's riches. We see this in verse 12, because the prophet speaks of these northern nations wanting to take a spoil, to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places. You see that 'taking a spoil'? If you look at our map tonight - whether it's that map or this map on the right - you will see that if Russia comes down to Israel it will have a waterway into the Mediterranean and into the Western world, it will also have a waterway across the Arabian desert, into the Persian Gulf, and right across Asia. That is one of the spoils it will have: a waterway. Then we don't need to mention oil, for when it gets into Israel it can get into the rest of the Arab nations - and it wants oil, it wants to be self-sufficient. Then, if you want to take Israel specifically, you have the Dead Sea. I don't know whether you know this, but the Dead Sea is full of mineral deposits - to such a great extent that in monetary terms it cannot be valued in today's market! It is priceless! It is saturated with chemicals, the water has untold wealth within it. It's estimated that the Dead Sea contains two billion tonnes of potassium chloride, which is potash, which you sweep along ground that is barren and it sweetens it, it enriches it, it makes it fertile soil, it makes fruit grow lavishly again. Two billion tonnes of potassium! Twenty-two billion tonnes of magnesium chloride, twelve billion tonnes of sodium chloride, six billion tonnes of calcium chloride, and in addition to all of that it has cerium, cobalt, manganese, and even gold in the Dead Sea!
Now can you understand why they'd want to invade Israel? Even more, verse 4 of chapter 38, God says: 'I will turn thee back', speaking to Russia, 'and put hooks into thy jaws'. What's that? A bait! What is the bait that God is using to bring this northern nation into His God-given nation? It is the bait of the riches and the wealth of Israel. Then another reason is to control the Middle East. You can study your history books and you will find that ancient conquerors have always known that if they could conquer Palestine they could have control into Europe, into Asia, and into Africa. That little part of your map, as you look at it tonight, that is called the 'Middle East Bridge'. Do you see the way it just bridges all of the known world? It is the very centre of the world itself, it brings together three continents - Europe, Asia, and Africa. If a conqueror could get his hands on that, he's got his hands on the world!
Then finally, prophetically speaking, the northern kingdom will want to invade Israel to challenge the authority of the antichrist. In Daniel chapter 11 verses 40 to 41 we read this: 'At the time of the end shall the king of the south', that is Egypt, 'push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind', that is Russia, 'with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over'. It is speaking toward the antichrist, they will come to threaten the reign of the antichrist! That is the invader's intentions.
Now, that takes us to our final point, the invader's impending doom. Before we enter into the judgement of God upon this northern people, we need to ask the question: when is this going to happen? This is perhaps the most difficult question of all - the most difficult question is not 'Who are these invaders?', if it is Russia, but 'When will this take place?'. Now some very reputable scholars believe that this will happen at the end of this age. If you look over your sheet at the diagram of end time events, I'll be able to describe that a bit better to you. Some people believe that this will happen just before number 4 on your chart, which is the rapture of the church - it will happen before the church is taken out of this scene of time. Some people believe it will happen at the beginning of the tribulation, just there at number 6 on your diagram. Others believe it will happen at number 8, at the end of the tribulation period. Others believe that this is the same battle that you find at number 11, Revelation 19 also speaks of a battle of Gog and Magog - and people believe that this is the same battle.
Now, you can see tonight that it's a very complicated subject, and it's very hard to know with any certainty when it is. But there's one clue that I believe would lead us a bit closer to when this will take place. Verses 11 and 12 of chapter 38 tell us that Israel will be an unwalled city, she will be sitting in peace, there will be no threat, Israel will be living in security - whether it's a real security or only an imagined security in their mind, they will be safe as far as they are concerned. Now, that rules out the millennial reign of Christ, because these northern invaders come in - and the millennium is a peace time, there is no war that is allowed to come into the millennial reign of Christ. Micah 4 verse 3 tells us: 'Neither shall they learn war any more'. Also, look at verse 16: 'Thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days' - Russia will come and invade in the latter days. Now, in biblical terms, that is a technical phrase referring to the tribulation period - that's the period between number 6 and number 8 on your diagram. The seven years where God will pour His wrath upon this earth, and He will judge the earth for its sin.
Now, here's the big question, here's the question that may solve this problem for us: is there any time between now, this very moment, and the return of Christ to establish His reign in the millennium - number 8 on your diagram - is there any time in between those two time periods when Israel will be at peace? Well, the answer is that there is. If you look at number 7 on your diagram you will see there that that is halfway through Daniel's 70th week. There will be a peace pact between antichrist, who will be the leader of the revived Roman Empire in Western Europe, he will make a peace pact with Israel. He will swear to them that there will be peace in Israel, he will take charge of their security - and that is the only way in which Israel can feel secure. He will promise them security. So it would seem to be that the only possible time that this battle can take place is just before number 7 on your diagram, the middle of the tribulation period - just before a great war, a great bloodshed, a great torment, and really all hell is let loose on earth.
We read about it in Matthew 24, that men and women in Palestine will flee to the mountains. Israel's security only lasts to the middle of the tribulation period - three and a half years. It would appear, therefore, that this battle begins right in the middle. So it's not the battle of Armageddon at number 8, at the end of the tribulation; it's not the final rebellion of Satan at number 11, at the end of the millennial reign of Christ - but it's something different. It's when the Jews are in safety, 'the latter days' speaks of the tribulation period - the only time in the latter days when the Jews are safe is the first half of the tribulation period, so it must be right at the middle.
After we're gone, brethren, things will move swiftly. Things are moving rapidly as we speak, but that revived Roman Empire headed by antichrist will make this peace pact with the Jews, and it will seem - after Gog and Magog is destroyed - that the antichrist will have a free reign, and he'll want to rush right down into Jerusalem, he'll want to keep his covenant with Israel. He'll discover that Gog and Magog are no more a threat to him, and he will set up himself in the Jewish temple as God, as the world dictator, and that is the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Chapter 39 tells us that that defeat of Gog and Magog is effected by the following events, and God causes them - antichrist doesn't cause them, God causes them. Verses 19 to 20 of chapter 38 tell us that there will be a mighty earthquake. Verse 21 of chapter 38 tells us that there will be a mutiny among the Russian troops, they will fight one another, in the confusion they will turn against one another - and it may be because the Russian Federation takes such a number of little lands and ethnic groups that there will be a civil war between the Russian army. Verse 22 of chapter 38 tells us that there will be a plague among the troops. Verse 22 again tells us that there will be floods, great hailstones, fire and brimstone like that on Sodom and Gomorrah. The result of the invasion is found in verse 2 of chapter 39, it says that five-sixths - in other words 83% - of the Russian soldiers will be destroyed. Verse 4 and verses 17 to 20 say that those corpses will lie all around the mountains of Palestine, and God will begin a grisly feast as the birds of the air and the animals come and eat of that carrion.
It's similar to what will take place at Armageddon, and this battle may even lead right through - I don't know - to Armageddon. But the thing that the word of God would teach us is this: seven years will be spent burning the weapons of war, seven months will be spent burying the dead Russians - seven months burying them, seven years destroying their weapons! If this does take place right at the middle of the tribulation, that means that the destruction of these weapons will run right into the millennial reign of Christ! Where they will hammer their weapons into ploughshares. If this invasion takes place I believe, my friend, that it must take place then - I wouldn't be dogmatic about it, but that's what I feel from my studies.
Out of all of this we must not miss that God's purpose is to glorify Himself before His own people, Israel, and before the nations of the world. He says it in chapter 38 verse 16, verse 23, verse 7 of chapter 39, verse 13, verse 21 to 22 - look at them all! He says 'That they, the nations of the world, my people, and the heathen may know that I am the Lord'. Joseph Stalin said these immortal words: 'We have deposed the tsars of the earth, and we shall now dethrone the God of heaven'. Whereas God declares to him and his descendants, and to every nation of this world, in chapter 39 and verse 7 - listen to this verse: 'I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am Yahweh, the Holy One in Israel'.
Let's bow our heads together. Now, I have to say to you: if you're listening to the tape, or maybe if you're here tonight, and you're not converted - do these events not speak to your heart? Does what's going on in our world, that is pushing, pushing, pushing, toward these events - does it not speak to you? Is it not time that you sought the Saviour and were converted?
Our Father, we thank Thee for our Lord Jesus - our Saviour who will save us from the wrath of God that is to be poured out upon this world. We thank Thee that one day, when all of Israel's enemies will surround her, that He will come and His feet will stand upon Olivet's Mount, and He will reign where'er the sun doth it's successive journeys run. He will reign in righteousness, our Father, and we long for that day when sin and sorrow will be no more, and when Jesus will reign. Lord, we pray as Thy people before He comes, that He may reign in our hearts, and that others may look and see within us the kingdom of God that one day will be consummated upon the earth - but they may see it in us, and they may be converted. Take us now to our homes in safety we pray, for Christ's sake. Amen.
Preach The Word
This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the twenty first tape in his Ezekiel series, titled "Northern Invaders" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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