Bible Warns of Apostasy and Persecution: Birth Pang 4A
In our previous post in this series – Bible Warns of Apostasy and Persecution: Birth Pang 3 – we dealt with the unification of Jerusalem that occurred following the Six-Day War in 1967. Though this particular war was not highlighted in Scripture, we noted that the results of it likely are since the Bible speaks of a future time when the final “man of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2), otherwise known as the Antichrist, will walk into the rebuilt Jewish Temple that will be standing during the coming time of the seven-year Tribulation. There, he will imitate what predecessor Antiochus Epiphanes IV did in 168 BC. This was when Epiphanes not only desecrated the Holy of Holies (and the entirety of the Jewish Temple because of it), but part of this sacrilege came from claiming to be god.
During the coming Tribulation period that we are most certainly heading toward, the future Antichrist will do something very similar to what Antiochus Epiphanes IV did a few thousand years ago. The goal is to pull the wool over the eyes of Jewish leaders of Israel in order to gain their trust (Daniel 9:27). Once the Antichrist accomplishes this, he will destroy that trust halfway through the final “week” of the seven-year Tribulation and will declare himself before the entire world to be God.
As noted in our last segment, the first three Birth Pangs have occurred (see chart included in this article). There is some disagreement regarding the next Birth Pang listed on the chart, as number four. Some believe this Birth Pang is actually the same as Armageddon, the war that is to occur at the end of the Tribulation. Others, like myself believe that the conflict highlighted as Birth Pang #4 will occur prior to the beginning of the Tribulation.
I’d like to point out the text on the very bottom of the included chart, based on Revelation 3:14-22, which is seen as increasing apostasy as the world moves toward the Tribulation. Paul speaks of a “great falling away” (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3) that we’ve discussed in this series as well as elsewhere. What is the world falling away from? In short, truth. This falling away from truth is what will bring about a one-world system of government headed up by Antichrist.
Today, there is a terrible rejection of truth because the world has been inundated with Cultural Marxism (political correctness or emotional virtue). People often make decisions today based on how they feel about things, not about what God says about a subject. Too often, the Bible is simply questioned or even laughed at as being severely outmoded or antiquated.
Instead, everyone has their own source of truth, some authority for determining what they see as truth for them. For Christians, to some extent at least, the Bible has always been that authority. But over the past several decades, we’ve seen even that authority slip away, with new “translations” of God’s Word coming to the fore and behavioral psychology finding its way into churches because of Postmodernism or the Emergent Church. These movements have stripped away the truth of God’s Word (which still remains true except in the minds of those who have rejected it), making it fashionable to determine their own truth through “questions” and “discussion” instead of through a pastor who teaches the unerring truth of God’s Word. In fact, today it is expected and even seen as mature and broadminded to question the veracity of the Bible. This has all been predicted in the Bible in many places.
All of this has been adding to the increase of apostasy, even among churches and Christians, that will lead the world to the Tribulation period where an alternative “truth” will be installed, one that has been brought about because of political correctness. This has been pervading society and is making things very easy for the Antichrist to appear on the scene. When he does, the world will be ready for him as someone who can play to the world’s growing disenchantment with God, His Word, and Christians in general.
Before we delve too deeply into that area, I want to say that I personally believe the Bible teaches that another conflict will occur in the Middle East, involving Israel. I would like to say at the outset that I could very well be wrong about this particular event occurring prior to the Tribulation. The Bible is very clear that it will happen at some point (as it has not yet occurred in history), but the when remains uncertain. While I believe my understanding of Scripture related to this event is certainly supportable, by no means am I dogmatic about it because of the fact that I can find nothing in Scripture that is dogmatic regarding when it will occur.
Be that as it may, the event I’m referring to is known as the Russian and Allied Invasion of Israel, also known as the Northern Invasion. Some commentators do not believe that the main player in this coming conflict is Russia, but quite possibly could be Turkey. The key is that the leader (Gog) and the country or area (Magog) is not 100% known right now. We know that whoever it is and from whatever area of the world the leader will hail from will be north of Israel.
Once again, as we’ve done with previous Birth Pangs, we turn to Ezekiel. For this Birth Pang, we look to Ezekiel 38:1 – 39:16. Space does not allow us to reprint this entire section of Scripture, so I would highly recommend that readers stop for a few moments and read that section straight through several times before moving on.
As can be readily seen, God is speaking to the prophet Ezekiel (whom the Lord calls “son of man”). In the opening verses of chapter 38, God tells Ezekiel of a scenario that will unfold with a man with a title “Gog” being used by God to come against Israel.
1 I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them fully armed, a great company with shields of different types, all of them armed with swords. 5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Put are with them, all of them with shields and helmets. 6 They are joined by Gomer with all its troops, and by Beth Togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops—many peoples are with you, (Ezekiel 38:1-6, NET).
As you’ll note, whether it’s Russia (and the leader of Russia) is up for debate because the area known as Russia is not specified, but simply “the land of Magog” (v. 2). Scholar are not agreed on where this land is exactly. Of course, Persia is today’s Iran. The area that was Put is generally considered to be the northern area of Africa, where Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria are now located. It should be of interest to know that the so-called “Arab Spring” occurred in these three areas, along with Egypt. Cush of old included Ethiopia and Sudan. Is all this been in preparation for what’s coming? I believe so.
I don’t necessarily believe that the individual leading this invasion (Gog) will also the Antichrist. Whoever Gog turns out to be, he will have great – though limited – military power in that part of the world for a very short time. Conversely, it seems that the Antichrist will do most of his conquering politically (as the 1st Seal of the Tribulation), not necessarily using military force, though he certainly does this at the end of the Tribulation with Armageddon.
The point is that at some time in the future, God will take a leader that turns out to be the leader of a northern group of nations (but will also include nations south of Israel (like Ethiopia) and around Israel and God will use this leader for His purposes. Notice that even though God is going to “put hooks into (Gog’s) jaws” and will “bring you out with all your army…” etc., to Gog, it will feel as though it’s his idea.
10…On that day thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil plan. 11 You will say, “I will invade a land of unwalled towns; I will advance against those living quietly in security—all of them living without walls and barred gates— 12 to loot and plunder, to attack the inhabited ruins and the people gathered from the nations, who are acquiring cattle and goods, who live at the center of the earth.” (Ezekiel 38:10b-12, NET).
Fascinating, isn’t it? This is God’s idea, but Gog will think it to be his idea. How does God do that? How does he use someone while still allowing them their “free will”? This is one place in Scripture that answers the question, if you are able to see it. It’s there.
Ezekiel 38:12-18 points out just how big this invasion will be. God provides many details for us, including which countries/nations join forces with Gog, what Israel looks like at the time, and even why Gog decides at that specific point to attack Israel in the first place. It’s all there.
Remember, to Gog, this will seem like it’s his idea. He’s been wanting to go after Israel for a while and he will have his chance. God says “bring it on!” and then we’ll see the fireworks. Why does God allow this or direct Gog to do what he will do where Israel is concerned? There are several reasons for it and there are several reasons why I believe this invasion will occur prior to the Tribulation.
We’ll continue this next time, so please join me then. Before we come back to it, please read this section of Scripture several more times, all right?
Entry filed under: christianity, Cultural Marxism, Emotional virtue, eternity, israel, Judaism, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, temple mount. Tags: ethiopia, gog, israel, magog, persia, put, russia, turkey.