06 Sep Does Bible really predict Russian invasion of Israel?
WND: Joel Richardson: If you are a student of Bible prophecy, I have some shocking news. I want to shatter a very popular prophecy myth.
Russia is not about to invade the land of Israel. In fact, Russia is never even spoken of in Biblical prophecy. Despite all of the hype and discussion that has been devoted in recent years to casting Russia as the leader of a soon-coming invasion of Israel, the Bible simply doesn’t substantiate this.
By writing this article, I’ll probably upset some of my colleagues. I may even get a few e-mails accusing me of secretly working for Vladimir Putin himself. But I am called to teach what the Bible teaches, not what is popularly held among my contemporaries.
For those who are not familiar with the argument, a very common belief among many Bible prophecy buffs is that Ezekiel 38 and 39, popularly referred to as “the Battle of Gog and Magog,” portrays a Russian-led invasion of Israel. Many believe that this invasion is just over the horizon. Dozens of books have been written under this premise.
Before we look at the actual text, allow me to lay some groundwork. One of the easiest mistakes when attempting to understand what the Bible teaches with regard to the last days is to “miss the forest for the trees.” It’s easy to get too caught up in the over-analysis of certain passages in isolation while missing the grand narrative that all the prophets proclaim.
What exactly is that big story? It’s actually fairly simple:
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At the end of the age, the nation of Israel will enter into a comprehensive peace treaty or “covenant” with the surrounding nations. This covenant will be mediated by the man whom Christians call “the Antichrist.” The result will be a false sense of peace and security for the Jewish nation. But three and a half years after this peace treaty is established, the Antichrist will violate the treaty and invade the land of Israel. He will be successful, and Israel’s power will be shattered. But out of the darkest night comes the brightest light: God Himself, through the Messiah, will intervene and save His people. Then the Messiah will re-establish the throne of King David on Mt. Zion and rule the nations with “a rod of iron.” Righteousness will fill the earth. The Messianic reign that follows is called the Millennium.
So that’s the big picture. This prophetic story is told and retold over and over again throughout the Bible. All of the prophets were ultimately speaking about and looking toward this time.
Now, lets look at Ezekiel 38 and 39. Portrayed in this passage is a large end-time coalition of nations joining together to invade the land of Israel. The leader of this coalition is called “Gog.” The invasion concludes with God present in Israel and the armies of Antichrist utterly defeated. Identical to the story above, right?
Yet despite the obvious commonalities Ezekiel 38-39 shares with the larger end-time narrative, many believe instead teach that Gog is a different evil end-time world leader other than the Antichrist; Gog’s massive multi-nation army is a different multi-nation army other than the army of the Antichrist; the massive invasion of Israel is a different invasion than the invasion to be led by the Antichrist; the defeat and judgment of this invading hoard is a different defeat and judgment than the judgment that will fall on the Antichrist’s invading hoard; the great feast that the animals are invited to enjoy as they devour Gog’s armies is a different great feast than the animals will also enjoy when the Antichrist and his armies are slain (even though the Book of Revelation 19 quotes almost verbatim from Ezekiel). You get the idea.
But here’s the kicker: God Himself directly addresses Gog. And speaking to Gog, God says that he is the same evil invader that all of the former prophets spoke about:
This is what Yahweh the Sovereign says: Are you (Gog) not the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel? At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them (Ezekiel 38:17).
So here’s my question: If Gog is Russia, and if all of the former prophets spoke about Russia, then why is there not one single passage anywhere in the Bible that speaks about Russia? In fact, I challenge anyone who teaches that Gog is Russia to come forth with a single verse to prove me wrong. And although I am no prophet myself, I can confidently predict that no one will rise to the challenge, simply because there are none.
But there are more portions of the passage that are also insurmountable for those who claim that Gog precedes the Antichrist.
Consider this: After the destruction of the Gog Magog armies, from that day forward, all of Israel will turn wholly to God:
So the house of Israel shall know that I am Yahweh their God from that day forward (Ezekiel 39:22).
And not just Israel; literally the whole world will know that Yahweh alone is God:
They that dwell carelessly in the isles Šthey shall know that I am Yahweh. Šthe nations shall know that I am Yahweh, the Holy One in Israel (Ezekiel 39:6-7).
But even more crucially, after this time, God’s name would no longer be profaned:
I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I Yahweh am the Holy One in Israel (Ezekiel 39:7).
If these events take place a few years before the emergence of the Antichrist, then how could God say that His name would no longer be profaned? The Antichrist will be the leader of the greatest and most blasphemous religious movement that the world will ever see.
[He] will say unheard-of things against the God of gods (Daniel 11:36).
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Again, how could God say that His name would no longer be profaned if this passage precedes the coming of the Antichrist who will literally spend three and a half years openly blaspheming God’s name? How does this make any sense at all?
So, is Ezekiel speaking about a minor run up to the “Great and Terrible Day of the Lord” as so many today widely teach? Nyet. This is simply not what the passage says. Rather it is the very Day; the same “Day of the Lord” that all the prophets speak about:
It is coming! It will surely take place, declares Yahweh the Sovereign. This is the day I have spoken of (Ezekiel 39:8).
Could it be any clearer? Everything about the events and language in this passage indicate that this war is no mere opening act to the Great Tribulation, but is rather the glorious capstone of that period.
Now, if you are a student of prophecy, I’m sure that you are brimming with objections. Again, this is merely an article, not a book. Many will surely point to the fact that Russia has been doing things such as arming Iran and Syria and other rouge and anti-Semitic nations. I agree. But didn’t the United States also virtually create and put Saddam Hussein in place? Didn’t the United States also fund the rise of the Taliban? Don’t we prop up the Saudis despite the fact that they are the premi鳥 source of funding for jihad throughout the earth? Ah-hem. So the point is not about whatever highly objectionable things Russia is doing. The only point here is what the Bible says. And on the subject of Russia, the Bible is silent. What nation, then, is Ezekiel speaking about? From what nation does Gog come from? As I explain in “Islamic Antichrist,” and in my “Islam & The End Times” DVDs, Gog comes from Turkey ֠but that discussion is for another time.
Suffice it to say that if you are a Russian, you may now breathe a sigh of relief: The Bible has not cast you as the soon coming object of His wrath. Mr. Putin, you may wire my payment directly into my secret bank account, or if you wish, I also have a Google Checkout Account set up.