Bible Prophecy Insights Ep2: Signs of Jesus’ Return

February 14, 2012

Purpose

Welcome to the second “Bible Prophecy Insights” video, where you get an awesome insight into God’s prophetic word — in just one minute! These specially produced computer animated videos hosted by Nathan Jones of Lamb & Ministries are designed to be shared all over the Internet, drawing people to the outright amazing promises God has for us all. Our hope is that you’ll learn from, enjoy, and pass these messages on to family, friends and acquaintances so that they too may know the spiritual richness of Bible prophecy.

Enjoy and God bless!

Bible Prophecy Insight

Jesus promised He would return.

While we cannot know the day or hour, Jesus did give us some signs to look out for. They’d come more frequent and intense — like birth pains — the closer He got. Deadly natural disasters, crumbling morality, spiritual apostasy, world wars, technological breakthroughs, and the greatest sign of all — Israel would become a nation again. After almost 1,900 years of the Jews living in exile, it happened in 1948.

Wow! We are truly living in the season of Jesus’ return.

Are you ready?

Learn more by reading 50 Reasons Why We Are Living in the End Times!

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Understanding Gog and Magog (Part 7 of 7)

Final Analysis

I will conclude by analyzing the various timing views and then state when I believe the Gog-Magog Battle will take place.

Let me go on the record, though, by stating that I am not dogmatic about this end time topic, nor should anyone be. The study of the end times (Eschatology) is a non-primary doctrine. Since God has given mankind merely an overview of His future plans, He has left us with nothing concrete enough to pinpoint the exact timing, probably so that we Christians will not just sit quietly by, but get out there and witness with all our energy until the Lord’s return. The study and debate over when the Gog-Magog Battle will take place should never divide the brethren.

Analyzing the Views

Each of the Gog-Magog Battle timing views appears to revolve around dealing with two yet-to-be fulfilled key prerequisites:

  1. Israel is in a state of unsuspecting peace before the invasion (Ezekiel 38:11).
  2. Israel has seven months to bury the dead invaders’ bodies and seven whole years to expend the leftover fuel and weapons (Ezekiel 39:9,12-16).

Walking backward through the list, the three views that time the Gog-Magog Battle in relation to the Millennial Kingdom do great justice to the first prerequisite in putting Israel at a time of peace due to Jesus’ victory and reign, but cannot overcome the obstacles of the second prerequisite. With Jesus having subjected all of His enemies before the start of the Millennial Kingdom, there would be no more invaders left to organize another invasion. With no invaders, there are no bodies to bury nor weapons to burn.

The best of the three Millennial Kingdom views is the one placing the timing at the end of the thousand years, which Revelation describes as an uprising of unbelievers born during that era who are led by Satan and share in his final defeat (Revelation 20:7-8). While there are some similarities to Ezekiel’s account of the Gog-Magog Battle, the dissimilarities prove Ezekiel is talking about a different Gog-Magog Battle than the battle the Apostle John described. I agree that John’s use of “Gog” and “Magog” in Revelation 20 is more likely to draw a comparison between Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog Battle as a type of what the battle will be like at the end of the Millennial Kingdom.

For the two views that place the timing during the Tribulation, both wrestle with the same prerequisites. While similarities exist between Gog-Magog and Armageddon, their differences far outweigh their similarities. Also, placing the battle at the end of the Tribulation violates the first prerequisite that Israel is living in peace, a condition which would be impossible under the intense persecution by the Antichrist and Israel’s subsequent flight into the desert.

Placing the timing at the beginning, but not by the middle, of the Tribulation gives Israel the seven months to bury the dead invaders and the full seven years to burn the fuel, should they have a reserve stored where they flee. This view would then need to settle the peaceful precondition of Israel by resting it on either a Psalm 83 subjugation of Israel’s surrounding hostile neighbors or the peace covenant made with the Antichrist (Psalm 83; Daniel 9:27).

The two views that place the timing of the Gog-Magog Battle squarely before the Tribulation perfectly grants the full seven years’ time needed to burn the weapons. Even if the Jewish people must flee into the wilderness at the midpoint of the Tribulation, they could have already stored the fuel in the location where they end up fleeing. Or, there could be a gap of three-and-a-half years or so between the Gog-Magog Battle and the beginning of the Tribulation so that the fuel expires by the middle of the Tribulation just as the Jews flee. Since the Tribulation begins with the peace covenant forged between the Antichrist and Israel, the only viable scenario for a peaceful prerequisite would be a Psalm 83 subjugation of Israel’s hostile bordering neighbors or to take Ezekiel’s description of Israel being at peace to mean militarily secure, which as one of the most powerful militaries in the world today, could certainly provide a false sense of security.

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Understanding Gog and Magog (Part 6 of 7)

In Relation to the Millennial Kingdom

Three views exist that place the Gog-Magog Battle in relation to Jesus Christ’s thousand-year reign on earth, often called the Kingdom of Christ or the Millennial Kingdom.

Between the Tribulation and the Millennium

This least popular view places the events of Ezekiel 38 and 39 into an interlude period between the Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom.

Pros:

1. This is a consistent argument with the view that an interlude period could exist between the Rapture and the Tribulation.

2. The fifth general timing clue that requires Israel living unsuspecting and in peace before the Gog-Magog Battle could easily be attained after Christ’s Second Coming (Ezekiel 38:11).

3. An interlude time could be any length of time, granting the seven years given to Israel to burn the invading enemy’s weapons for fuel (Ezekiel 39:9).

Cons:

1. With Jesus having defeated all of the armies of the world at Armageddon, no army would be left to invade Israel so soon (Revelation 19:19).

2. With Jesus Christ’s return at the Second Coming, no Gog-Magog invasion would be needed to lead Israel to again acknowledge God (Ezekiel 39:22,29).

3. Only one interlude period is given in the Futurist prophetic timeline as it relates to the Tribulation. Daniel reveals, “Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days” (Daniel 12:12 NKJV). Revelation also explains that the Gentiles “will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months” (Revelation 11:2 NKJV). Revelation continues, “And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth” (Revelation 11:3 NKJV). The difference between these two accounts is 75 days. The 75 days will most likely be used by Jesus to judge the world in the Sheep-Goat Judgment and rebuild the planet after the seven-year Tribulation (Matthew 25:31-46).

4. The interlude time limited to 75 days does not give Israel the seven months they need to bury the dead invaders’ bodies from the Gog-Magog Battle (Ezekiel 39:12).

5. With Jesus present to provide everyone’s needs, the curse partially lifted, and the earth reformatted by earthquakes, there would be no need for Israel to have to burn any weapons for fuel into the Millennium (Isaiah 11:8Revelation 6:12-1416:17-21).

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Understanding Gog and Magog (Part 5 of 7)

During the Tribulation

The following timings place the Gog-Magog Battle during the Tribulation. The pros and cons of each timing viewpoint will continue to be addressed.

In the First Half or Middle of the Tribulation

Supporters of this view are John Walvoord, J. Dwight Pentecost, Charles Ryrie, Herman Hoyt, Charles Dyer, and Mark Hitchcock. As Pentecost explains, “To place the events in the middle of the week is the only position consistent with the chronology of these extended passages (Isaiah 30-35 and Joel 2-3).”43

Pros:

1. The fifth general timing clue that requires Israel living unsuspecting and in peace before the Gog-Magog Battle could easily be attained by the peace covenant the Antichrist makes with Israel that starts the seven-year countdown of the Tribulation (Ezekiel 38:11Daniel 9:27).44

2. With the more Christianized nations in tatters due to a Pre-Tribulation Rapture and the Islamic world in ruins from the Gog-Magog Battle, the remaining European world power could fill the vacuum in the Middle East. By making a peace treaty with Israel and easily conquering the lands of the once Middle-Eastern Islamic countries, the Roman Empire could truly be revived once more as Daniel 2 and 7 prophesy. The only remaining world powers would be East-Asian, and the Bible records their continued existence, though under the control of the Antichrist, rising at the very end of the Tribulation (Revelation 16:12).

3. By placing the timing of the Gog-Magog Battle early in the Tribulation, the defeat and disillusionment of Muslims worldwide would destroy the strength of Islam. With the Church removed in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, Christianity would also be removed. The resulting polytheistic and pantheistic religions would integrate well into the apostate one-world religion that the False Prophet promotes (Revelation 13:11-15). The only monotheistic religions left to reject the Antichrist would be Judaism and the newly growing Jesus movement, both of which the Antichrist persecutes greatly during the second half of the Tribulation (Revelation 6:11).

Cons:

1. Ezekiel describes Israel burning the invading enemy’s weapons for seven years (Ezekiel 39:9). Placing the Gog-Magog Battle at any time during the Tribulation would push the burning right into the Millennial Kingdom. With Jesus then present to provide everyone’s needs, the curse partially lifted, and the earth reformatted by earthquakes, there would be no need for Israel to have to burn any weapons for fuel (Isaiah 11:8Revelation 6:12-1416:17-21).

2. The tremendous persecution of the Jews during the second half of the Tribulation would not grant them the freedom to bury the invaders’ dead bodies for seven months unless the Gog-Magog Battle occurred earlier than the mid-point (Ezekiel 39:12).

3. If the Gog-Magog Battle happened closer to the mid-point, the question is raised as to why God would rescue Israel so dramatically from the Gog-Magog nations only to hand Israel immediately over to the intense persecution by the Antichrist.

At the End of the Tribulation (Armageddon)

Supporters of this view, such as Louis Bauman and Charles Feinberg, believe the Gog-Magog Battle and the final battle of Armageddon are one and the same.45

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Understanding Gog and Magog (Part 4 of 7)

Before the Tribulation

The following timing views are founded on the Premillennial interpretation of Scriptures as they relate to the order of future events. Premillennialism was the dominant view during the first three centuries of Church history and was later reinstated by German Calvinist theologian Johann Heinrich Alsted in his book The Beloved City (1627).39 The first two timings rest heavily on the Pre-Tribulation Rapture viewpoint, which sees the Church removed from the earth before God pours out His wrath during a seven-year Tribulation period.

Before Both the Rapture and the Tribulation

Some theologians believe the Gog-Magog Battle will occur before both the Rapture of the Church and the seven-year Tribulation. A few of the supporters of this view are Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins of the popular Left Behind series of books, and Joel Rosenberg who wrote Epicenter. Another supporter, David Cooper, noted with confidence back in 1940, years before Israel had even become a nation again, that “there will be a time between now and the beginning of the Tribulation when the Jews will be dwelling in the Land in unwalled cities and will be at rest” after the Church has been raptured.40 The pros and cons of this timing viewpoint are as follows:

Pros:

1. Israel burning the invader’s weapons takes seven years, equal to the seven-year length of the Tribulation (Ezekiel 39:9Daniel 9:27).

2. With Islam’s severe defeat and her coalition nations lying in ruin, many a Muslim’s faith in Allah would be shattered. The Islamic world would no longer impede the Jewish people from removing the Dome of the Rock off of the Temple Mount and begin rebuilding the Third Temple in its place, the very Temple which the Antichrist is prophesied to desecrate during the Tribulation (Daniel 9:272 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

3. God revealing Himself to the world so dynamically is in character with His willingness to warn before implementing global judgment and to call people to repentance. A resulting great multitude, therefore, may come to then know Christ and be included in the Rapture and avoid God’s wrath during the Tribulation.

Cons:

1. Placing the invasion before the Rapture could contradict the first general time clue of the terms “latter years” and “last days,” that is if this “time of Jacob’s trouble” is reserved only for the seven-year Tribulation (Jeremiah 30:7Ezekiel 38:8,16 NKJV).

2. Placing the invasion before the Rapture would contradict the fifth general time clue which tells of Israel living unsuspecting and in peace before the attack. Unless peace is derived by Israel subjugating its surrounding neighbors or by the peace covenant made with the Antichrist which starts the seven-year countdown, Israel yet to have attained that peaceful precondition (Daniel 9:27).

3. The New Testament indicates that no prophetic event has to occur before the Rapture, which is called imminency. Imminency precludes such prophetic events such as the Gog-Magog Battle happening before the Rapture.

4. The removal of “he who now restrains” coincides with the Antichrist emerging on the world scene (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 NKJV). Because the Church is the temple of the Holy Spirit and so, therefore, could be identified as the Restrainer, the Rapture would have to happen before the Antichrist is revealed (1 Corinthians 3:16). Should the peaceful precondition be tied to the Antichrist’s peace covenant, then the Gog-Magog Battle follows both the Rapture and the onset of the Tribulation.

5. A timing problem exists for Israel in that midway through the Tribulation the Antichrist’s abomination in the newly built Temple will cause the Jews to flee into the desert (Matthew 24:15-16). Some argue the Jews would no longer then have access to the Gog-Magog invader’s weapons to burn. And so, the seven years of Tribulation no longer matches the seven years of burning the weapons.

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Understanding Gog and Magog (Part 3 of 7)

In Part 1, we began to get a handle on exactly what nations are involved in the prophetic Gog-Magog War as revealed in Ezekiel 38-39. Now we will identify the general timing clues the prophet left us. Continue on in this academic presentation made by evangelist Nathan E. Jones!

General Timing

While there is much debate over the specific timing of the Gog-Magog Battle, the student of the Bible can be positive about the general timing. General timing is clearly spelled out in Ezekiel’s account as events that must happen to set the stage for the battle.

1. The first general timing clue is Ezekiel’s use of the terms “latter years” and “last days” (Ezekiel 38:8,16 NKJV). The Gog-Magog Battle must happen in the prophetic scheme of the end times as it relates to the nation of Israel. The key verse which unlocks the understanding as to what these terms mean can be found in Deuteronomy: “When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice” (Deuteronomy 4:30 NKJV). “Distress” is also translated as “Tribulation.” It is the Tribulation, also called Daniel’s Seventieth Week prophecy (Daniel 9:20-27), that brings the Jewish people as a nation back to a belief in Yahweh and later to accept Yeshua as their Messiah. The Tribulation leading up to the Millennial reign of Christ is what the Old Testament prophets consistently and repeatedly taught. And so, these key phrases point to the Gog-Magog Battle happening in relation to the Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom.

2. The second general timing clue rejects the claim that the battle has already happened in history. Never in the history of the Middle East have the nations described in the coalition been united in a concerted attack against Israel. In no time has such a specific group of nations been destroyed by inclement weather. And, in no time in history has Israel named a valley Hamon Gog, nor has the adjoining town called Hamonah, existed where the Jews buried their invaders’ dead bodies (Ezekiel 39:11-12,16). Lack of historical support leaves only a future timing for the battle to occur.

3. The third general timing clue is given in Ezekiel 36 and 37 and involves the regathering of the Jewish people back into their homeland “from out of all countries” of the world (Ezekiel 36:24 NKJV). Like the valley of dry bones reanimated into a living person that Ezekiel envisioned, Israel did indeed become a nation once again. Out of the 14.5 million Jewish people in the world today, 47% reside in Israel, making up 6,841,000 (74%) of the population dwelling in the Holy Land.34 And, the Jews must have control of “the mountains of Israel,” which they gained when they took control of the mountains from the Jordanians during the Six Day War (Ezekiel 38:8 NKJV).35

4. The fourth general timing clue involves the developments nationally that have to occur to make the nations of the coalition unite in an invasion of Israel. Two factors have made this coalition possible today. The first is the religion of Islam uniting these nations in satanic hatred of the Jewish people. The second is the economic bounty that Israel now has with its revitalized land and newly discovered gas deposits.36 The coalition nations now see a viable motivation to unite for the singular purpose of plundering Israel’s wealth.

5. The fifth general timing clue reads, “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’” (Ezekiel 38:11 NKJV). Israel must be living without walls, peacefully, and unsuspecting of an attack. Israel today lives in constant fear of attack and is always prepared for an invasion by the 60-plus million hostile Muslims surrounding their borders. Because of this turbulent climate, this part of the prophecy can be argued to have yet to be fulfilled.

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Understanding Gog and Magog (Part 2 of 7)

In Part 1, we began to get a handle on exactly what nations are involved in the prophetic Gog-Magog War as revealed in Ezekiel 38-39. Now we will attempt to prove that ancient Rosh is modern-day Russia. Continue on in this academic presentation made by evangelist Nathan E. Jones!

Identifying Rosh

The final nation to be explored in Ezekiel’s list is Rosh. Could it be modern-day Russia? As one author queried, “Will the old Russian Bear come out of its quarter-century hibernation and again sound a roar that shakes the world?”26 Properly identifying Rosh is important for identifying the timing of the Gog-Magog Battle.

The Translations

The word “Rosh” or “Ros” appears noticeably absent from the list of nations provided by Ezekiel 38:3 in the King James Version, the New International Version, the English Standard Version, and others. Rosh can be found in Ezekiel’s list of nations in the New King James Version, the New American Standard Version, the Amplified Version, the Darby Translation, and others. Why the difference in translations?

The difference is the challenge for the translators to either interpret the Hebrew word “Rosh” as a noun indicating an actual landmass, or as an adjective that according to the Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible means “an exalted one” such as a king, sheik, captain, chief, or prince.27 The NAS translators chose the noun form of “Rosh,” while the NIV translators chose the adjective form. Translations based on the Greek Septuagint (LXX) follow the noun form, while those based on the Latin Vulgate follow the adjective form.

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Understanding Gog and Magog (Part 1 of 7)

When will the Ezekiel 38-39 war be fulfilled? Get a more secure handle on exactly what nations are involved in Ezekiel 38-39 and when the Gog-Magog Battle will occur in this academic presentation made by evangelist Nathan E. Jones!

Understanding Gog and Magog (Part 1 of 7)

Understanding Gog and Magog
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When will the Ezekiel 38-39 war be fulfilled? Get a more secure handle on exactly what nations are involved in Ezekiel 38-39 and when the Gog-Magog Battle will occur in this academic presentation made by evangelist Nathan E. Jones!

Video Presentation

 

Introduction

“If biblical prophecy teaches us anything, it is that God is in complete control of human history and its culmination.”1

That quote by Dr. Ron Rhodes highlights one of the greatest benefits of studying God’s prophetic word—fulfilled Bible prophecy provides an indisputable apologetic for the existence of God. “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21 NKJV). Intertwined with that apologetic is an evangelistic message that effectively proclaims the triune God of the Bible alone stands apart the one true God, and only as revealed in Scriptures.

While Bible prophecy constitutes a whopping 27% of the Bible, God’s overall plan for the ages appears to be rather like a 100 piece puzzle, and so far, He has only provided 75 pieces. One can definitely make out the outline of a picture, but until certain events unfold, which then adds another new piece to the puzzle, the picture remains incomplete.

These absent proverbial puzzle pieces have been a stumbling block for the apologist wielding Bible prophecy as an evangelistic tool and those to whom they are witnessing, causing both to not properly see the big picture of God’s redemptive plan for mankind. And so, to use Bible prophecy as an effective apologetic in one’s evangelistic efforts, the student of the Bible must dive into the complete Word and utilize that one dirty word so missing in much of today’s “newspaper exegesis” so unfortunately equated with the field of Eschatology—study. The proclaimer of God’s Word must be able to study a particular biblical prophecy, and much like a diamond, carefully examine the many glistening facets in order to discern exactly what revelations the Bible desires to impart.

One such “incomplete” prophecy can be found in Ezekiel chapters 38-39 which concerns what is called the Gog-Magog Battle or the War of Gog and Magog. At first read, as one theologian so colorfully commented, the book of Ezekiel can appear as if a “perplexing maze of incoherent visions—a kaleidoscope of whirling wheels and dry bones that defy interpretation,” causing readers to “shy away from studying the book and to miss one of the great literary and spiritual portions of the Old Testament.”2 And, he would be right.

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John 21:1-14 King James Version

21 After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.

There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.

Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.

Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.

And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.

And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.

As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.

10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.

11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.

12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.

13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.

14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.

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Mark 8:1-8 King James Version

In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them,

I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat:

And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far.

And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?

And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven.

And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.

And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them.

So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.

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