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Jesus warned of a counterfeit Christ who would one day in the future stand in a rebuilt Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Then a few years later, the Apostle Paul predicted the same thing, an Antichrist, the man of sin would stand and be worshiped in a Temple inJerusalem. About 40 years after Jesus predicted this event; the Romans systematically destroyed the magnificent Temple ofHerod.

For 2000 years there has been no way this could ever happen. There was no temple in Jerusalem. There was no Israel to build a temple. It was as hopeless as a valley of dry bones. But God began to work a series of incredible situations that ended with there being a free nation of Israel by May of 1948 for the first time in 2,600 years! But no temple. There were over 100 million fierce enemies, armed to the teeth in the way. But Jesus said a temple was coming, Daniel said so, Paul said the same and John saw it in Revelation. So how do we get from today to that temple?

There is an event coming on the horizon that could make a way for the Jews to build their temple in Jerusalem. If a coalition of Moslems and Arabs joined the Russians in attacking Israel. And if that attack was repulsed in such a devastating way that 80% of the armies were destroyed, Israel would be confident enough to start to rebuild. This morning we need to examine Ezekiel’s report of a future battle on the hills of Israel. Some say it is at the end of the Millennium, others at the end of the Tribulation. But, what if it happened sooner? There is really no reason that Russia couldn’t invade as soon as today!

There have been few times God has directly intervened in human history. This morning we are going to study one of the more dramatic moments in human history. The great northern confederacy is poised to strike. The tiny and totally surrounded target is Israel. The entire world (UN General Assembly) is united against this little nation. The armies of the Moslem and Russian lands are united and the goal is annihilation!

Join me as we turn to Ezekiel 38:1-6 and 18-23. Now watch as the events of these chapters unfolds before your eyes.

Three Truths We Need to Hold On To:

  1. The Scene in Ezekiel 37-39
  2. The Sequence inDaniel 9:20-27
  3. The Savior inRevelation 19:10

The Scene in Ezekiel 37-39  

Chapter 37 describes the rebirth of Israel from the Diaspora. AsIsrael is re-gathered there is a reoccurring theme. Note v. 6 “Then you shall know”. This repeated in 37:13, 37:14,  38:23, 39:6, 7

Chapters 38-39 describe the deliverance of Israel.

First, whom are we really talking about in modern terms? If you took some time to read the Table of Nations in Genesis 10, there would be a name that would catch your attention. It is a name we hear about in Revelation and Ezekiel, it is Magog. As long ago as the 7th Century BC there were writers who called Magog after identifiable names. In the writings of a Greek named Hesiod Magog is called by the tribal name of Scythians who lived in what is now southern Russia. Hesiod actually lived at the same time as our prophet in God’s Word called Ezekiel.

By the 5th Century another Greek historian by the name of Herodotus (now known as the Father of History) wrote of the Magog dwellers as Scythians, which was their name in Greek. This is even what a Jewish historian we remember as Flavius Josephus also called them. So in the 1st Century, the times of the New Testament, people identified Magog with the southern part of modern Russia.

These tribes known as Scythians were fierce warriors who lived the life of nomadic raiders. They are remembered as incredible horsemen who could ride at a gallop, shooting their bows at enemies pursuing them, with hairbreadth accuracy. As hunters their reputation was that they could shoot a bird in flight from their horses at a full gallop, either right or left handed. By the 8thCentury their conquests extended to China where the Great Wall was referred to as the “Rampart of Gog and Magog”.

Well, who does God say will come against His chosen people? Listen to the list in Ezekiel 38:5-6. It is actually quite amazing, almost like this mornings newspaper. Here are the players in one of the greatest conflicts of all time:

  • PERSIA or Iran as we call it today. In the Bible this is the family of Elam, the first born of Shem. Remember that Abraham comes through the third born son (Genesis 10:22) Arphaxad, not Elam.
  • Cush this is modern black Africa which originated in the ancient world between the 2nd and 3rd cataracts of the Nile.
  • Put or what we call today North Africa comes through this third son of Ham. Modern Libya used to be called the Putites. This would include theAlgerians, Tunisians, Moroccans and Mauritanians.
  • gomer or the Cimmerians are easily identified by looking at the Babylonians Talmud (written during the exile of the Jews to Babylon and then Persia in Daniel”s time and after) where they are called Germania, or Germany. These tribes settled and flourished between the Rhine and Danube River Valleys.
  • Togarmah is the next group and these are the tribes of Turkeynamely modern Armenia and Turkey.
  • Meshech is the 6th son of Japheth (Genesis 10:2). Assyrian inscriptions locate this group as dwelling in Phrygia and Anatolia (which is modern Turkey). Herodotus the Greek historian calls these same tribes the Mushki, and says they came down from the Black Sea mountains which is NE of Turkey. Josephus in the 1st Century says that  Meshech dwells in Eastern Turkey.
  • Tubal is the 5th son of Japheth whose descendents migrated to the same general area. In the war records of the Assyrians these tribes are called Tibareni and Moschi and locate them on the SE shores of the Black Sea. Again all in southern modern day Russia.
  • Sheba and dedan are the grandsons of Abraham in Genesis 25:2 by his 3rd wife Keturah. These are not from Ishmael but a separate line. These may be the classic Arabic desert dwellers. They are seen in Ezekiel 38:13 as watching from the sidelines.
  • Tarshish was the grandson of Japhath, the 2nd son of JavanGenesis 10:2 the father of Greece.

What happens?  Note the details of Ezekiel 39

The weapons burn for 7 years? (39:9-10) that is the usable life of atomic weapons. There are atomic sites all over Israel that could use this material!

The burial takes 7 months (39:11-16) and is down wind east of theDead Sea? Sounds like quarantine, hazardous cleanup and radioactive contamination procedures!

There are three lines of interpretation for when this battle takes place:

  • After the Millennium (this is the Revelation 20 battle).
  • Part of Armageddon (this is the Daniel 11 battle).
  • Or before the 70th week of Daniel 9:27.

The condition is ‘dwelling securely’ which is used 160 times in the Old Testament (Heb. Word betach) and means peace of mind 130 times.

The Sequence in Daniel 9:20-27

Is the temple the church? Revelation 11 takes us to a Temple inJerusalem. There are Jews carrying on Old Testament sacrifices just like Jesus, Daniel, Paul and now John promised it would be. If this is the church and it is one in Christ why are Jews and Gentiles segregated? And how is it that  the worldwide church is localized toJerusalem? And why are we back to a Temple and altar? No, it is a yet future event as Chapter 11 opens in Jerusalem. Something has happened that would start a World War if it happened this week.

  • Daniel said so: Open with me to Daniel 9!

The Book of Daniel is actually one of the most authenticated books of the Old Testament, historically and archaeologically, but this is a convenient short-cut for our purposes here. It is critical to realize that the Book of Daniel existed in documented form almost five centuries before Christ was born.

Daniel, originally deported as a teenager (now near the end of the Babylonian captivity), was reading in the Book of Jeremiah. He understood that the seventy years of servitude were almost over and he began to pray for his people. The Angel Gabriel interrupted Daniel’s prayer and gave him a four-verse prophecy that is unquestionably the most remarkable passage in the entire Bible:Daniel 9:24-27. These four verses include the following segments:

  • 9:24 The Scope of the entire prophecy;
  • 9:25 The 69 Weeks;
  • 9:26 An Interval between the 69th and 70th Week;
  • 9:27 The 70th Week.

The Scope

9:24: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy Place.”

The idiom of a “week” of years was common in Israel as a “sabbath for the land,” in which the land was to lie fallow every seventh year.[1] It was their failure to obey these laws that led to God sending them into captivity under the Babylonians[2]. When did the Messiah present Himself as a King? On one specific day, Jesus arranges it! Note that the focus of this passage is upon “thy people and upon thy holy city,” that is, upon Israel and Jerusalem. (It is not directed to the church.) The scope of this prophecy includes a broad list of things which clearly have yet to be completed.

The First 69 Weeks

A very specific prediction occurs in 9:25: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” This includes a mathematical prophecy. The Jewish (and Babylonian) calendars used a 360-day year;[3] 69 weeks of 360-day years totals 173,880 days. In effect, Gabriel told Daniel that the interval between the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem until the presentation of the Messiah as King would be 173,880 days. The “Messiah the Prince” in the King James translation is actually the Meshiach Nagid, “The Messiah the King.” (Nagid is first used of King Saul.)

A Prophetic Bull’s Eye!

The commandment to restore and build Jerusalem was given by Artaxerxes Longimanus on March 14, 445 BC[4].  (The emphasis in the verse on “the street” and “the wall” was to avoid confusion with other earlier mandates confined to rebuilding the Temple.) But when did the Messiah present Himself as a King? During the ministry of Jesus Christ there were several occasions in which the people attempted to promote Him as king, but He carefully avoided it. “Mine hour is not yet come.” (John 6:15)

The timely Triumphal Entry:

Then one day He meticulously arranges it.7 On this particular day he rode into the city of Jerusalem riding on a donkey, deliberately fulfilling a prophecy by Zechariah that the Messiah would present Himself as king in just that way: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”  Zechariah 9:9.  Whenever we might easily miss the significance of what was going on, the Pharisees come to our rescue. They felt that the overzealous crowd was blaspheming, proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah the King. (Luke 19:39) However, Jesus endorsed it!

“I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” Luke 19:40 This is the only occasion that Jesus presented Himself as King. It occurred on April 6, 32 AD[5]

The Divine Precision of Prophecy

When we examine the period between March 14, 445 b.c. and April 6, 32 AD, and correct for leap years, we discover that it is 173,880 days exactly, to the very day! How could Daniel have known this in advance? How could anyone have contrived to have this detailed prediction documented over three centuries in advance? But there’s more.

69 x 7 (weeks)  x 360 (of years) = 173,880 days

April 6th, 32 AD – March 14th, 445 BC  173, 880 days

The Interval

There appears to be a gap between the 69th week (verse 25) and the 70th week (verse 27): 9:26: “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” The sixty-two “weeks” follow the initial seven, so verse 26 deals with events after 69th week, but before the 70th. These events include the Messiah being killed and the city and sanctuary being destroyed. There is a remaining seven-year period to be fulfilled. Revelation 6-19 is essentially a detailing of that climactic period. As Jesus approached the city on the donkey, He also predicted the destruction of Jerusalem: For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.Luke 19:43-44

The Messiah was, of course, executed at the Crucifixion. “But not for Himself.” The city and the sanctuary were destroyed 38 years later when the Roman legions under Titus Vespasian leveled the city of Jerusalem in 70 a.d., precisely as Daniel and Jesus had predicted. In fact, as one carefully examines Jesus’ specific words, it appears that He held them accountable to know this astonishing prophecy in Daniel 9! “Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”

The 70th Week

There is a remaining seven-year period to be fulfilled. This period is the most documented period in the entire Bible. The Book of Revelation, Chapters 6 through 19, is essentially a detailing of that climactic period. The interval between the 69th and 70th week continues, but it is increasingly apparent that it may soon be over. The more one is familiar with the numerous climactic themes of “end-time” prophecy, the more it seems that Daniel’s 70th Week is on our horizon. Have you done your homework? Are you and your family prepared?[6]

  • Christ said so: Matthew 24:15-16  “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
  • Paul said so:  2 Thessalonians 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

This Temple they spoke of is coming and that is why Jerusalem is such a hot piece of real estate to God and to Satan. Scholars of prophecy do not agree on all the details of future events. But the following summary is a fair representation of what many prophetic scholars believe as to the order of events:

  • The Rapture of the church (1 Cor. 15:51-581 Thes. 4:13-18). This can occur at any time.
  • The leader of the ten European nations makes a seven-year agreement with Israel (Dan. 9:26–27).
  • After three-and-one-half years, he breaks the agreement (Dan. 9:27).
  • He moves to Jerusalem and sets up his image in the temple (2 Thes. 2:3–4; Rev. 13).
  • The Antichrist begins to control the world and forces all people to worship and obey him. At this time God sends great tribulation upon the earth (Matt. 24:21).
  • The nations gather at Armageddon to fight the Antichrist and Israel, but see the sign of Christ’s coming and unite to fight Him (Zech. 12; Rev. 13:13–14; 19:11ff).
  • Jesus returns to the earth, defeats His enemies, is received by the Jews, and establishes His kingdom on earth (Rev. 19:11ff; Zech. 12:7–13:1). He will reign on earth for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:1–5).

What happens to get this Temple in place and not destroy the Earth? Ezekiel 38-39 may have the clue!

Should these names be connected with the Soviet Union? One must first identify the areas against which Ezekiel prophesied and then determine the countries that occupy those land areas today. Ezekiel’s roµÕsû does not point to ”Russia“ merely because the words sound similar. Neither should one identify ”Meshech“ with ”Moscow“ or ”Tubal“ with ”Tobolsk.“ Ezekiel had historical places in mind (not modern-day names) and these areas must be located in Ezekiel’s time. However, while one must avoid dogmatic assertions, three reasons suggest including the Soviet Union within Ezekiel’s prophecy:

(1)   Some of the countries named by Ezekiel were located in what is now Russia.

(2)   The armies are said to come ”from the far north“ (Ezek. 38:6,15; 39:2). This probably includes the land bridge between the Black and Caspian Seas, now part of the Soviet Union.

(3)   Ezekiel spoke of a coalition of several nations, many of whom are today aligned with or under the influence of the Soviet Union. These include Iran (”Persia“), Sudan and northern Ethiopia(”Cush“), Libya (”Put“), and Turkey (”Meshech,“ ”Tubal,“ ”Gomer,“ and ”Beth Togarmah“). All these nations (see 38:2-3, 5-6), possibly led by the Soviet Union, will unite to attack Israel.

Ezekiel was describing a battle that will involve Israel’s remotest neighbors. They will sense their opportunity to attack when Israelfeels secure under the false protection of her covenant with the Antichrist sometime at the beginning of the seven-year period. The nations involved in the attack will include the Soviet Union, Turkey,Iran, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Libya. Ezekiel first pictured the invasion by Gog and his allies (38:1-16), and then described the judgment of Gog and his allies (38:17-39:29)[7].

The Savior in Revelation 19:10  

What does God want us to do about Biblical Prophecy? Since we are not unsaved Jews, or part of the 144,000 and so we will not be a part of the Tribulation Missions Team, what is all this revealed for? In Revelation and his First Epistle, John tells us the reason, it is so we worship Jesus.

Here is our call to live for Jesus now:

Our Coming Savior offers us His ASSURANCE LINKING US to heaven (2:28)  And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.

  • We long for Him.
  • We are looking for our Beloved’s soon return for us His Bride!

Our Coming Savior offers us His LIFESTYLE living like citizens of Heaven (2:29) If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

  • When we love Jesus, His holiness becomes our way of life.
  • His righteous ways we seek to live out by habit.

Our Coming Savior offers us His LOVE leading us to Heaven (3:1) Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

  • We are secured in the hope that God has first loved us and sent His Son while we were still dead in our sins.

Our Coming Savior offers us His LIKENESS preparing us for Heaven (3:2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear,we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

  • Jesus has promised us when He comes we will be finished in our likeness to Him.
  • Until then while we wait His Word slowly is shaping us!

Our Coming Savior offers us His LIMITS keeping us for Heaven (3:3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

  • Because He is coming we act differently.

We know His love and that love constrains us and makes us long to please Him!

[1] Leviticus 25; 26; Deut. 15.

[2] II Chronicles 36:20-21 2 Chronicles 36:20 And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia,21 to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.

[3] Genesis 7:24

[4] Sir Robert Anderson’s Coming Prince 1st noted this astounding number in 1894.

[5] Tiberius Luke 3:1 appointed in AD14, 15th year AD 29; the 4th Passover AD 32.

[6] Adapted from Missler.

[7] Bible Knowledge Commentary.

 
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