Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Look at Ezekiel 38 and 39

This was previously posted on my old (deleted) "Render Unto Christ" blog. I am posting it again because it is relevant to end-times prophesy, because what I wrote I still believe is well Spiritually discerned, and because I haven't posted in three months!

Pre-tribber John Hagee seems to think this prophecy, the "God-Magog War", is a key event in the set of end-times prophecies, and one he expounded on in such a way as to glaring expose his errors. As stated previously, he gets Gog's allies wrong--he claims Ethiopia is Saudi Arabia and the Arab countries south and east of Israel, and he gets Tarshish and his "young lions" wrong; Tarshish is NOT Britain and the "young lions" are not its former colonies America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (Hagee, of course, being the Bushian he is, only mentioned America by name). Tarshish is actually a port city on the Mediterranean in Palestine. Another serious error--and all he'd have to do is read Revelation 20 to figure this one out--is that he claims the Gog-Magog War occurs during the Great Tribulation, probably as the battle of Armegeddon on the Plain of Meggido in Israel. Revelation 20, however, puts this war AFTER the millennial reign of Christ on Earth! Now, unless Hagee is a "post millennial rapture-ist" in disguise, he is mixing up his time periods. In the KJV it says:

"And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison (the bottomless pit--DL)...And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea...(Mr. Hagee--there is even a REFERENCE to Ezekiel 38 here!!! Can't you see that?! Maybe not, since you aren't using a KJV)...And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city (Jerusalem--DL): and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them (ANOTHER REFERENCE to Ezekiel 38!) [Revelation 20:7-9]


Now lets see what Mr. Hagee--who, during his televised sermon series called "Prophecy for the 21st Century" filmed at his Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, discusses this for nearly a half-hour with his congregation, even having them read with him out of their Bibles--claims to back up his assertion. I am not going to get into the business about who Ethiopia is (as far as I'm concerned, he is talking about the lands right below Egypt, which include Sudan or as it was know then, Nubia), because while I think Hagee is in error, it is not a very serious error compared to the error of timing. Hagee read:

"And the word of the Lord came unto me (Ezekiel--DL), saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: and I will turn thee back, and put hooks into they jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armor, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ehtiopia, and Libya (NRSV-Put) with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee." [Ezekiel 38:1-6]

Hagee then, I believe, skipped a few verses, then began reading again (as his congregation read along with him):

"Thus saith the Lord God; It shall come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into they mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: and thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages (Israel--DL); I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, to take a spoil, and to take a prey (the reference here mean to enslave them); to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, art thou come to take spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take great spoil? Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, thus saith the Lord God; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou now know it? and thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them rding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: and thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes." [Ezekiel 38: 10-16]

It could be that Hagee did not leave out verse 8, which is a very key verse...I do not have the tape Hagee is selling with this message, and I didn't record it with my VCR, and thus my memory is not that keen on this. The thing is, while I was watching this show (on Daystar Network), I missed verse 8, or at least the implication of it, which through my own study and guidance by the Holy Spirit (which I prayed for), I now understand. Ezekiel 38:8 says:

"After many days thou (Gog-Magog--DL) shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is BROUGHT BACK FROM THE SWORD (emphasis mine), and is GATHERED OUT OF MANY PEOPLE (emphasis mine), against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them."

BROUGHT BACK FROM THE SWORD means brought back from war, which in this case might mean brought back from Armeggedon (Rev. 16:14-21), the final battle of the Great Tribulation when God defeats the beast and the false prophet, saves remnant Israel and (perhaps--I need to study this more) "raptures" the faithful (the "remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony (gospel) of Jesus Christ" Rev. 12:17--the remnant here being Christians, which are grafted onto remnant Israel--you don't have to be a "Branch Davidian" to see this!). Now, if what Hagee says is true, then "brought back from the sword" means that Israel was involved in a war prior to the final battle Armeggedon, but nothing such is mentioned in the Bible...but it is mentioned in Tim LeHaye's "Left Behind" book. (I didn't read the book and don't plan to. But I did see the movie.) In the book (and movie), Israel is attacked right at the beginning by jets from Russian-sponsored Arab nations, but all the jets are blown apart by God. Right after that, the "rapture" happens in the book. The thing is, it isn't Biblical.

There are many places in the prophecies, the epistles, the gospels, and Revelation that use the phrase "gathered out of many peoples", but while the Bible never uses the word "rapture", it does use the word "gathering" or "gathered" or "gathered out of".

Since I wrote this originally, Hagee has put out his "Jerusalem Countdown" book where he explains this more fully, but it doesn't matter. His timeline is still wrong.

What's really wrong, of course, is that this preacher is calling for annihilation of all Islam, and any Christians and Jews who just happen to be in the way. I wonder if Hillary "obliterate Iran" Clinton will try seeking his endorsement? But she'd be wasting her time, since apparently Hagee only endorses Republicans.

Deborah Lagarde