Gog/Magog debate

One of the fun things concerning eschatology is to debate with others.  Sometimes it can get a bit aggressive, but if everyone maintains a godly attitude, it can be fun.  The fun part is that when it comes to eschatology, there is a certain amount of extrapolation that occurs.  Some things cannot be known for sure.  Hence, you have to not take yourself quite as seriously when it comes to this subject.  I had a debate with Zelma on a prophecy board that is closed except to member, otherwise I would post a link to it.  Zelma’s blog is not closed, so I will refer you to her blog for her view which she posted on the board, then I will post my response.  I only responded to a couple of the issues which she raised, so if you want to read her entire post, you’ll have to go to her blog.  Here is the link.  See the post dated February 14, 2007.
 
 
Zelma is a godly woman with quite a bit of schooling, so her positions on scripture are usually well thought out.  That is why I was surprised that she had the views she had on Ezekiel 38 and 39.  To Zelma’s credit, I had asked her a couple of questions regarding a thread we had going.  Zelma took the time to formulate this entire study based on my questions to her.  Zelma stated up front that she was not interested in debating the issue back and forth.  I can respect that, so I simply posted a response showing the differences in my views of the scriptures beside hers.  In my response, I stuck to my original intent.  So, with all humility, here is my response to her, some of which has sparked the previous posts concerning Ezekiel 38 and 39 that some of you have been reading.
 

Zelma-

Thank you very much for taking the time to type up your views on the passage in question.

>>> For this study I will be using only the King James Bible and verses out of this. This study is my opinion and the research will be mine and mine alone. I will not be using any other material other than my own mind.

And my responses are mine alone as well.

>>> I do not care to debate the issue at all, so this is why I say this is my opinion.

And that is fine. I am simply going to type up a response to certain portions of your study so that others may see the views side by side. This will allow students of the word to focus on the strengths and weaknesses of both views. The difficulty would be if there were some type of misunderstanding that I have of your view. If you choose not to respond, that’s fine.

> EZEKIEL 38, 39

> "THE COMING WAR"

> I. NECESSARY PRE-EXISTING FACTORS.

> A. Israel had to become a nation again.

> 1. God began giving details about this in chapter 34.

> 2. Chapter 36, he speaks of the agricultural developments.

> "The desolate area has become like the garden of Eden."

> 3. Chapter 37, valley of dry bones and two sticks.

> B. There were to be forests again. 34: 25 / 39: 10

> 1. The Turks in their long occupation denuded the land.

> 2. The Israelis in one of the first major projects began planting trees.

> 3. Millions of trees now planted – they proudly point out their forests.

While I agree that national Israel had to become a nation or at least some type of province before these prophecies would be fulfilled, I don’t believe the reforestation is the fulfillment of Ezekiel 36:35. Firstly, this is after 36:26 where Israel receives a new heart. Secondly, the mention of the garden of Eden would remind us of Genesis 2:6, 10 which shows us that no planting, cultivating, or watering was necessary in the garden of Eden. These plants grew simply by the power of God manifested through nature. That is why I see Ezekiel 36:35 to be fulfilled millennially.

Also note that Ezekiel 24:25 in context is at the same time that David is ruling over God’s people as a prince. Whether you believe this to be vicariously fulfilled through the Christ or if you believe that David will be resurrected from the dead to rule in the Millennial Kingdom, either way we are speaking of a time after the great tribulation.

> III. THE PROMISES. Ezekiel 39: 29

> A. God’s time clock has been standing still.

> 1. Daniel 9 – seventy sevens determined on the Nation Israel to finish transgression – to make an end of sins – to make reconciliation for iniquity – to bring in everlasting righteousness – to seal up the visions and prophecies – to anoint the most holy.

> 2. These 70 seven year cycles were to begin with the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.

> 3. After 69 seven year cycles, or 483 years, the Messiah would come.

> 4. The Messiah would be cut off and receive nothing for Himself.

> 5. Jerusalem would subsequently be destroyed, and the people dispersed.

> 6. That part was all fulfilled.

> 7. We still have one more seven year cycle determined for the nation of Israel.

> a. It will surely begin when God once more puts His Spirit on the nation.

> b. It will culminate with the return of Jesus Christ in power and glory.

> B. Another prophet foretold God’s pouring out of His Spirit on Israel after their re-gathering in the land. (Joel Chapter 2.)

> 1. Drive far off from you the northern army – vs. 20.

> 2. Restoration in the land – vs. 25.

> 3. Acknowledgment of God – vs. 27.

> 4. God’s Spirit poured out – vs. 28, 29.

> 5. Followed by events of great tribulation, culminating in the great and terrible(awesome) day of the Lord’s Coming – vs. 30, 31.

While I agree that there is a future seven year period, I do not agree that the seven year period begins with the Spirit being poured out on Israel. You cite Joel 2:28-32 which mentions the darkening of the sun and moon. When we come to New Testament passages like Matthew 24:29-31 and Mark 13:24-27, we see that the darkening of the sun and moon happens AFTER the great tribulation. So if we have an event (the pouring out of the Spirit) which happens at the same time as the darkening of the sun and moon, and the darkening of the sun and moon happens after the great tribulation (and just before the day of the LORD) then we can fully expect that the pouring out of the Spirit will happen after the great tribulation as well.

> Now to Discuss – Ezekiel 38 & 39 My first question here would be – are we living in this time now?

I would answer "yes", but that is not the question. The question is "what order will the events happen in?" Will the slaughter of the multitude of Gog happen at the beginning of Daniel’s seventieth week, or is this part of the slaughter of Armageddon when the beast along with all the kings of the earth come against Jerusalem, Zechariah 14:2???

>>> Why is all of this happening, it is not Armageddon, as verse 23 answers the question for us – "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. If the heathen were all going to die, why would God magnify Himself, in their eyes. God at this time, is still dealing with people to repent and come to Him.

Here is a serious issue. Is it in God’s plan to cause all the heathen to die at the battle of Armageddon? Or is Armageddon actually God’s way of saving the heathen?

Note that God’s plan has always been to bless all nations of the earth through Abraham, Genesis 12:3. Isaiah especially prophesied of the meek and mild servant who would not exert His authority, 42:1-4, but would bring forth judgement to the Gentiles. Matthew 12:15-21 brings out the deeper meaning of this by saying, "In Him shall the Gentiles trust". It has always been God’s plan not to destroy the heathen, but to save them. Isaiah 49 deserves a special study as well.

James quotation of Amos in Acts 15:13-18 is quite insightful of God’s plan for the heathen/Gentiles. He quotes "After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called".

Which begs the question, "How could there be Gentiles called by the name of the Lord when He returns to rebuild the tabernacle of David?" God knew in advance that He would save the Gentiles during this dispensation, and when He returned there would be a people called to Himself (and who call on His name) from the heathen. That’s why James gives God the glory in saying "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world."

>>> Chapter 39: 2 – 6 In the beginning we see 5/6 of this army wiped out. How is it wiped out? Does Israel fire a shot? Nope, But God does this – Verse 3 -"I will smite the bow out of the left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand." Verse 4 – Then God smites them all and gives them over to the beast and the Ravenous birds of the field. I believe that this is the beginning of the tribulation period, when the horses begin to ride, for at this time, one fourth of mankind will be killed.

The better connection to make would be with Armageddon since we know that the birds of the air are supernaturally summoned to devour their flesh. If we are here in the tribulation as you suggest, the deaths represented here at the fourth seal are those who are being slaughtered by the antichrist for their faith in the LORD Jesus Christ, not those who are dying from the LORD directly slaughtering them. And since the fourth seal is after the first seal, and the first seal shows us the antichrist riding forth, we are well into the tribulation period.

>>> (Rev. 6: 8). God said they would fall on the open field. Amazing, what an awesome God we serve!

Revelation 6:8 tells of death by various means, by hunger, by the beasts of the earth, and by the sword (war). Ezekiel 39:5 is simply God striking them dead. I don’t see the correlation.

>>> Eze 39:29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD. Also see Romans 11: 26 & 27!

I view Romans 11:26-27 to be at toward the end of Daniel’s seventieth week. The OT passage being quoted here is Isaiah 59:20-21 which states "the Redeemer shall come to Zion". Here we have a mention of the physical return of the Redeemer. It is at this time that ungodliness is turned away from Jacob. Here is the time when the New Covenant allows Israel’s sins to be taken away. And if you notice, in 59:21, this is the time when God mentions "my spirit that is upon thee… shall not depart".

>>> If this is after the tribulation and God has set up the Milllineum Kingdom, why does he say what he says in verse 21?

I must clarify my view here. This is after the Great Tribulation, but there is a period in time known as the Day of the LORD which stands squarely between the Great Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom. The LORD cuts short the Great Tribulation with His return and begins to pour out His wrath in various ways until His wrath is complete. Armageddon is the final phase of His wrath just before the Millennial Kingdom.

>>>Why does He want the Heathens to know that He is God and also the House of Israel, if there were no time left for the plan of salvation, to all mankind still going on?

I’m not sure where it is written that there will be no time left in the plan of salvation. I see the restoration of Israel not to be doom for the Gentiles, but actually to be life from the dead for the Gentiles, if you read Romans 11:11-15 the way I do.

>>>Much to question oneself about! Can’t get a metaphor, simile or symbolic nature in these verses, Can You?

I’ve never thought there were any metaphors, similes, or symbolic nature in these verses. God will literally display His power at the battle of Armageddon in order to bring glory to His name. God will deal with all the armies gathered together against Him in order to save the meek of the earth. Not every single Gentile will gather together against Jerusalem for the battle of the end. The kings of the earth and their armies will gather, He will speak, they will die.

>>>The final rest of the chapter, deals which what I believe, will happen to Israel during the final tribulation period. The blinders will be removed and Israel will have to flee to Petra. Revelation 12: 10-17 & Romans 18.

Zechariah 13:8-9 tells us that Israel will not call on the name of the LORD until after they have been brought through the fire. Two thirds will die as they are refined, then at the end of this refinement, they call on the name of the LORD.

Amos 9:9-10 tells us that those who are sinners of God’s people will die by the sword as the house of Israel is sifted like corn in a sieve. Then after that we have the passage whereby the LORD returns to rebuild the tabernacle of David.

But Zephaniah 3 gives the clearest indication of the order of events for the purpose of our study here. Verse 8 tells of God’s determination to gather the nations that He may pour out His wrath. Surely this is speaking of Armageddon. It is only after this gathering of the nations whereby He my pour out His wrath that we see a purifying of the language in order that all may call upon the LORD. A poor people will be left and they shall trust on the name of the LORD. It is only at this time that the remnant of Israel will not do iniquity. It is at this time that the LORD will have cast out the enemy. It is at this time that the LORD will be in the midst of them.

And I must mention Revelation 6-7. I view the fifth seal as being the great tribulation as it mentions the martyrs slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. The SIXTH SEAL is where we see the sealing of the Israelite remnant, the 144,000. So the time when God begins to use Israel as a nation again is the sixth seal. This does not mean that God has not been dealing with Israel in order to bring her back to Himself earlier in Daniel’s seventieth week, this is only specifying the time when Israel is restored as that light to the nations.

>>>> Now as we start the following Chapters 40 thru 48, we see the third temple being rebuilt which I believe will be the covenant that the antichrist will make with Israel, in the first part of the Tribulation period. I believe that this is the temple that Jesus Christ will rule out of, during the Millenium – Ezekiel 48: 35 I was round about 18,000 measures, that the name of the city, from that day shall be "The Lord is There" ( Jehovah Shammah ), this Temple will be cleansed, by the Lord, Jesus Christ, The Messiah & He will Rule & Reign from there.

I agree that this is the Millennial temple, but there is no mention in the text of 40-48 of the covenant that antichrist will make with Israel, or the first part of the tribulation period. I think if we view Ezekiel 39 to be speaking of Armageddon, then we have a better chronological basis for viewing the temple of 40-48 to be the Millennial temple.

> As I have already stated I do not care to debate this. I have given to you the best that I have to offer.  Jesus Christ is my Lord & my Saviour!

> Agape

> Zelma

And I appreciate that, Zelma. May the LORD richly bless you in your studies. And may all who read these posts know that we are simply God’s servants studying His word.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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