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Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Mystery of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38) - Part II

As we begin the second part of this teaching, I mentioned that Islam is a key component that for years has been neglected by many prophecy scholars and students. It was not logical to do this, because the medieval Church saw the correlation, and thankfully some prophecy teachers are starting to rediscover this "missing link" in their studies. It only makes sense, as after Christianity Islam is the 2nd largest of the world's religions and therefore it must be concluded that it is no accident it has become what it is. There is, for instance, a little-known piece of information that revolutionizes our take on some prophecies concerning the future Antichrist, and it involves an Islamic "messiah" called the Mahdi. This Mahdi has a doctrine surrounding him that roughly resembles what we Christians believe about the Second Coming of Christ, but unfortunately, the parallels he has more resemble the Biblical Antichrist. I will save that teaching for another time, but if you want to read more about this, my good friend and prophecy teacher Perry Stone has written a book called Unleashing the Beast which is devoted to that very subject. If you are interested, you can get the book at www.voe.org, which is the website of Perry Stone's ministry. The Mahdi is one aspect of this whole thing that should be considered, but at this point I want to talk more about a specific alliance between two Islamic powers that may happen in the future.

Let us now look at Daniel 11: 5-6:

The King of the South shall grow strong, but one of his princes shall grow stronger still and govern a domain greater than his. After some years they shall become allies; the DAUGHTER of the King of the South shall come to the King of the North, in the interest of peace.

Reading this, I firmly believe there is an allegorical reference to some sort of bond between the Arabs and Turks, and that the "daughter" of the King of the South it speaks of denotes a religion, or church, as is often the case with feminine references in Scripture. The one "daughter" of the King of the South (the Arab world, in this case) when you look at it in that perspective can only be one thing - the religion of Islam. Islam began in Arabia, via some demonic influence that the enemy asserted over an apparently illiterate camel trader from Mecca by the name of Mohammed. And, it is today the one thing the Arabs and Turks share in common, as both peoples are largely (not totally, as both have some strong Christian minorities among them as well that will never be affected by these prophecies because they are part of Christ's kingdom now and not Satan's) Muslim and they are among the most influential Muslim powers in today's world, much as they were centuries ago. Preceding verse 11, we see a war between the North and South, and the North prevailing in this war in verse 15. Looking back into history, although the Turks and Arabs are both Islamic, the Turks from the North eventually overcame and subjugated the Arabs in the South, and from the 1200's on the Turks basically called the shots in the Islamic world - I see that as one fulfillment of this prophecy. However, backtracking to verse 11, we see a future alliance between them again. A running thread through all of this is the personage of the future Antichrist, described as a "despicable person" in verse 21 who arises by stealth and fraud. By a series of manipulations, he orchestrates the union between the North and South in order to create a force to destroy Israel. Now, there is a mystery to consider concerning all this. First, although it is not a big mystery concerning the animosity between Ishmael (the Arabs) and Israel (the Jews) - see Genesis 21: 3 and 16, v. 10-12, and Galatians 4:21-31, the last also being the subject of a future teaching - why then the Turks, who have had little conflict or hostility with the Jews?? Despite that last fact though, Ezekiel 38:14-16 predicts a future invasion of Israel by these same Turks with whom they have gotten along so beautifully for centuries. Let's note a few things about this conflict, traditionally known as the War of Gog of Magog:

1. They are mounted on horses, a great horde and mighty army (38:15a)
2. They will originate from a homeland in the recesses of the North (38:15a and 39:2)
3. They shall come against Israel like a mighty cloud covering the land (38:16)

Though seemingly impossible now (although becoming more possible by the day as things unfold) a cursory look at world events will show us a few things. First, it doesn't take rocket science - only an ability to read a daily newspaper - to see that radical Islam is on the rise and is affecting both Turkey and the Arab nations. This radical Islam is violently anti-Israel - their goal is to "drive the Jews into the sea," as their own harangues have plainly said, and wipe the nation of Israel off the face of the earth - and they call for a "holy jihad" against both Israel (and by extension, the world's Jewish population) and Christianity. It is no mere coincidence that Islam is the phenomenon it is today, as practically every nation that is to play a prophetic role is officially Islamic, and all of them have extremely radical factions that are exerting growing influence on the populations of these nations. My personal theory is that the "King of the South" of Daniel 11 and "Gog, Prince of Magog" of Ezekiel 38-39 will both be radical Islamic strongmen (some say the future Antichrist will also be a radically Islamic, or Islamic-originating person as well, possibly the Islamic Mahdi) and both will have a rabid, obsessive thirst for the destruction of Israel. There is another dimension to all this, however, that is often overlooked but can be found in Isaiah 19:23-25:

On that day there shall be a highway out of Egypt into Assyria, and the Assyrians shall enter Egypt, and the Egyptians Assyria, and Egypt will serve Assyria. On that day Israel shall be a third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land. When the Lord of Hosts blesses it "Blessed be my people Egypt, the work of my hands Assyria, and mine heritage Israel."

Note also Isaiah 29:17:

But in a very little while, and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard, and the orchard shall be regarded as a forest.

These verses, I have come to believe, represent a counter-balance and resistance against these two rabidly Islamic kings because they represent nations of the Remnant! All of those mentioned above have modern descendants who are predominantly Christian peoples who have undergone much persecution for centuries under Islam, and one day, I feel they will say "enough is enough!" and will rise up against Islam. And, due to Israel's mention in the verses, I feel that in the day it talks about is when Israel shall know Jesus as its Messiah as a nation, and it will begin to assist, ally itself with, and mutually support the indigenous Christian peoples of the land. In case you wonder who those are, today there are around 12 million Assyrian/Chaldean/Suryoyo Christians who speak Aramaic in the Middle East and the rest of the world (80,000 or more live in the US actually). I would guess-timate that another 12 million Coptic Christians - these are the descendants of the ancient Egyptians who became Christian very soon after the close of the New Testament period - and around 8 or 9 million Syriac-Maronites, blood descendants of the Canaanite-Phoenicians of Lebanon who like the Assyrian Christians speak Aramaic as a mother language (as a matter of fact, they were evangelized by Assyrian Christians and one monk, St. Maron, gave his name to their Church, of which I am also validly chrismated into as a Christian myself). This uprising, I feel, will especially be against "Gog of Magog" for an important reason - the Muslim Turks have brutally persecuted Christians for centuries in the Middle East, as attested by the fact that millions of Armenian, Greek, and Syriac-speaking Christians were martyred by the Ottomans over the time they dominated the region, and the current Turkish government has really done little better. Arabs have been less ambivalent towards non-Arabic and Arab Christian populations, but there have been some fundamentalist Islamic leaders who have mercilessly persecuted them and I fear this may grow in frequency in coming years because often native Christian populations are seen as "collaborating" with the "Crusaders," as they call the West, not to mention that since Islam has asserted itself over the region, much like the Borg on "Star Trek" they have attempted to assimilate, Arabize, and Islamize every person and group under their control. Since the early 1900's though, many of these Christian minorities have had growing nationalistic movements of their own to throw off the oppression of their Islamic overlords, and the scenario I see playing out in the future is that these minorities may be used of God, along with Israel, to bring defeat to these satanic powers that dominate the Islamic world. Should Israel eventually support the national aspirations of these minorities (I see it as a strong strategic possibility) the events to follow could lead to an increase in hostilities between Israel and Turkey, thus culminating in the "Gog of Magog' war of Ezekiel. Radically Islamic Arabs would be quick to form an alliance with their Turkish co-religionists if that were the case, as these Christian insurgents and the nation of Israel would be designated by Islamic law as the Dar-el-Harb ("house of war") and thus provide justification of a fatwa (an Islamic clerical decree) of jihad against these Christians and the nation of Israel. We've seen a taste of this in the late 1970's into the early 1990's when Israel did form an alliance with the South Lebanon Army, a courageous group of Syro-Maronite Christian militias, to combat Hezbollah and other Islamic extremists, as well as Syria, in regard to Syria's invasion of Lebanon. Another nationalistic move among some minorities in the Middle East - the Gulf Wars have emboldened Assyrian Christian nationalists for one thing - could be the spark to ignite this war. It would beneficial for us to take some of these details, often denied by both the secular press (which is increasingly pro-Islamic) and even a number of Christian leaders, more seriously, as I personally feel this is the likely scenario for what is to come.

Getting back to the Turks specifically, you will note earlier that some ancient visionaries talked of the invading Turk/Mongol tribes in the early 11th century as "Archers," and I want to talk about that for a bit. Some years ago, I subscribed and received a very good set of history books published by Time-Life called Time Frame. I used material dealing with the origin of the Turks for this study to provide a background, because there are a couple of significant things that sort of stood out. For one, Ezekiel 39:3 talks about the invading forces of Magog having a prowess with using bows and arrows in battle. Then, we have medieval visionaries, Jews and Christians, talking about these invading forces of "Archers." Interestingly, the Turks were noted for their extraordinary skill with archery, and the ancient tribesmen of the Turks taught their young boys from an early age to shoot arrows with astonishing accuracy from a variety of unusual positions (TimeFrame 1000-1100: Light in the East, p. 48). One such position was known as the "Parthian shot," in which an arrow was shot over the horse's tail by the rider. That calls to mind Armenian visionary Agat'on's prophecies of the minions of Gog of Magog being the "Archers" (Thomson, 38). Again, this in no way could refer to either medieval or modern Russia, as the Russians were never noted for their prowess with the bow and arrow. But, the Turks were, and to this day Turkic tribes in central Asia still are master archers.

I will not elaborate on the war of Gog of Magog here except to say the outcome is predictable - God Almighty wins, and Prince Gog loses, and badly! The whole premise of this teaching was to reveal who I personally feel the true identity of Magog is, and I have concluded that the evidence overwhelmingly points to a confederation of Turkic peoples. I also believe that the prophetic Scriptures make much more sense when seen from this perspective because the old mantra of Gog of Magog being identified with Russia is terribly outdated and the data doesn't support it. Therefore, here is our summary of the key points:

1. Magog refers to a region made up of many tribes and/or states - Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Beth-Togarmah, all of which are historically believed to be on the Black Sea coast of Asia Minor.

2. Gog is a person, not a land, and is the prince - chief or "Rosh," in Hebrew - of Magog.

3. The peoples of Magog originally come from the "recesses" (open, barren lands) of the north, which indicates the ancient land of Transoxiana in what is now the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan.

4. The army of this Prince Gog is a great horde of many who apparently excel in the practice of archery.

5. The attack against Israel by a future "Gog" will be sudden, and without warning or provocation.

6. Gog will be defeated by divine intervention and destroyed.

7. Gog will be in alliance with a "King of the South" (possibly an Arab Muslim coalition led by Saudi Arabia).

All of these facts establish a good case for a Turkic origin to this nation Magog mentioned in Ezekiel 38 and 39. That being said, please stay with me for some future teachings of events and subject matter related to this, as this topic is very controversial and multi-faceted. God bless and be with you all.