Russian President Dmitry Medvedev today began an historic Middle East tour. He is meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders in the West Bank. Then he will meet with King Abdullah and other Jordanian leaders in Amman. While he canceled his scheduled visit to Israel, Medvedev did speak by phone with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday. The two are taking steps to deepen the alliance between their two countries and coordinate their Mideast policies. “Russia is ready for all cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Medvedev. Israeli officials, reportedly, are particularly concerned that Russian leaders may unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state, as a series of Latin American countries have recently done.
Are recent trendlines — including the latest news reports out of Moscow and Tehran — consistent with the Bible prophecies found in Ezekiel 36-39 and the coming “War of Gog and Magog”? We will examine this question in detail at the 2011 Epicenter Conference and during The Joshua Fund Prayer & Vision tour of Israel in May. Please come with us and study these prophecies and current events for yourself. For now, consider the following:
· According to the Hebrew Prophet Ezekiel, writing more than 2,500 years ago, Israel will be reborn as a country in “the last days.” Jews will return to the Holy Land after centuries of exile, and the Jews will rebuild the “ancient ruins” and make the deserts bloom. This, of course, has already happened, beginning in the late 19th century, accelerating on May 14, 1948, and continuing to the present.
· The prophecy then indicates that Israel will become prosperous in the last days, before the “War of Gog and Magog.” Interestingly, in 2010, Israel’s economy grew 4.5% and is the fastest growing economy in the industrialized world at the moment. What’s more, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange is at record heights. Now massive amounts of natural gas have been discovered, potentially making Israel even more prosperous over the next few years.
· The prophecy also indicates that Israelis will be “living securely in the land,” even as new, existential threats rise over the horizon. Last November, Israel’s outgoing military intelligence chief, Major General Amos Yadlin, indicated that Israel was more secure than at any other time in its modern history. “The recent security calm is unprecedented,” Yadlin told a parliamentary committee. Despite emerging and serious threats from Iran and her Radical Islamic allies, for the moment Israel is enjoying a period of remarkable calm in light of the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, almost no terrorism emanating out of the West Bank, relative calm in Gaza in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, relatively calm borders for the last four years with Lebanon and Syria, and a regime change in Iraq that led to a nascent but improving democracy. “Israel’s deterrence is very strong but the lull [in regional violence] shouldn’t mislead anyone, the opposite is true. Our enemies are strengthening and arming,” Yadlin added.
· Then the prophecy says a dictator (described in the prophecy as “Gog”) will rise in Russia (described in the prophecy as “Magog”) in the “last days” and will form an alliance Iran (”Persia”). This Russian-Iranian alliance will then form alliances with Turkey (”Gomer”), Libya (”Put”), Sudan (”Cush”) and a group of other Middle Eastern countries to attack and takeover Israel. That’s what makes today’s reports particularly interesting. “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev agreed to boost ties between their countries, in a a telephone conversation, state media reported on Monday,” according to Agence France Presse. “The call came after Russia snubbed Iran’s invitation to visit two atomic sites in the Islamic republic that were thrown open to a group of foreign diplomats on Saturday and Sunday. Iran and Russia must always be “friends and colleagues,” state television quoted Ahmadinejad as telling Medvedev. ‘The Islamic republic of Iran welcomes an increase of ties in all areas between the two countries.’ Its website said Medvedev echoed the Iranian hardliner’s views….”
· As the Russian-Iranian-led alliance comes against Israel, the Jewish State will find herself internationally isolated. The prophecy indicates that not a single country will come to Israel’s defense. Sadly, this is precisely where the trend lines are now heading. U.S.-Israeli relations are at their weakest point in 62 years. Meanwhile, most of the nations of the world are turning against Israel, or at least showing little interest. There are notable exceptions, of course. Canada and Greece are particularly warm allies of Israel right now. But consider these facts from an article in the Jerusalem Post this morning: “80 percent of all 2010 General Assembly resolutions criticizing specific countries for human rights violations were directed at the Jewish state. Only six of the remaining 191 UN member states faced human rights criticism at all, one of which was the US. And now half of the country-specific condemnatory resolutions and decisions ever adopted by the UN Human Rights Council target Israel.”
· Ezekiel indicates that at the last moment, when it seems all hope is lost, the God of Israel will supernaturally intervene and rescue Israel. A terrible judgment will come upon Israel’s enemies at that time. Fire will fall from heaven. A giant earthquake and terrible diseases will also ravage Israel’s enemies. The Lord says that He will then pour out His Spirit on the house of Israel and not hide His face from His people or the world any longer. In other words, not only will Israel be physically rescued but spiritually blessed beyond measure as well. The eyes of many in the epicenter will be supernaturally opened to the Lord’s love, His grace, His mercy, His power, and many will enter a personal relationship with Him.
We cannot say definitively that the prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39 [show/hide]Ezekiel 38-39
Prophecy Against Gog
[38:1]The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords. Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all his hordes; Beth-togarmah from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes--many peoples are with you.
"Be ready and keep ready, you and all your hosts that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them. After many days you will be mustered. In the latter years you will go against the land that is restored from war, the land whose people were gathered from many peoples upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste. Its people were brought out from the peoples and now dwell securely, all of them. You will advance, coming on like a storm. You will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your hordes, and many peoples with you.
"Thus says the Lord GOD: On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme and say, 'I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates,' to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth. Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all its leaders will say to you, 'Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hosts to carry off plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to seize great spoil?'
"Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say to Gog, Thus says the Lord GOD: On that day when my people Israel are dwelling securely, will you not know it? You will come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great host, a mighty army. You will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land. In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.
"Thus says the Lord GOD: Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them? But on that day, the day that Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord GOD, my wrath will be roused in my anger. For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence. And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground. I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Lord GOD. Every man's sword will be against his brother. With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur. So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.
[39:1]"And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. And I will turn you about and drive you forward, and bring you up from the uttermost parts of the north, and lead you against the mountains of Israel. Then I will strike your bow from your left hand, and will make your arrows drop out of your right hand. You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples who are with you. I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. You shall fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Lord GOD. I will send fire on Magog and on those who dwell securely in the coastlands, and they shall know that I am the LORD.
"And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. Behold, it is coming and it will be brought about, declares the Lord GOD. That is the day of which I have spoken.
"Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and make fires of the weapons and burn them, shields and bucklers, bow and arrows, clubs and spears; and they will make fires of them for seven years, so that they will not need to take wood out of the field or cut down any out of the forests, for they will make their fires of the weapons. They will seize the spoil of those who despoiled them, and plunder those who plundered them, declares the Lord GOD.
"On that day I will give to Gog a place for burial in Israel, the Valley of the Travelers, east of the sea. It will block the travelers, for there Gog and all his multitude will be buried. It will be called the Valley of Hamon-gog. For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. All the people of the land will bury them, and it will bring them renown on the day that I show my glory, declares the Lord GOD. They will set apart men to travel through the land regularly and bury those travelers remaining on the face of the land, so as to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make their search. And when these travel through the land and anyone sees a human bone, then he shall set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon-gog. (Hamonah is also the name of the city.) Thus shall they cleanse the land.
"As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD: Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field, 'Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth--of rams, of lambs, and of he-goats, of bulls, all of them fat beasts of Bashan. And you shall eat fat till you are filled, and drink blood till you are drunk, at the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you. And you shall be filled at my table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all kinds of warriors,' declares the Lord GOD.
"And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. The house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God, from that day forward. And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt so treacherously with me that I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword. I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them.
The LORD Will Restore Israel
"Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for my holy name. They shall forget their shame and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they dwell securely in their land with none to make them afraid, when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies' lands, and through them have vindicated my holiness in the sight of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD." (ESV)
are coming to fulfillment right away, or even that the “War of Gog and Magog” will happen in our lifetime. But there is no question that events and trends in the Middle East are strikingly consistent with the prophecies, and suggest that it is possible that these events could be closer at hand than most people realize. This week’s developments certainly underscore that assessment.
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