The Ezekiel 38-39 timing debate

During the week of Feb 19-25 I got into a bit of a debate on the Raptureintheairnow.com blog, about the timing of the Psalm 83 war and the Ezekiel 38-39 war, in relation to the Tribulation period.

One of the posters noted that Dr. Walvoord, and the staff of Dallas Theological Seminary believe that the Gog and Magog war, of Ezekiel 38-39 will occur at around the 4 year point of the Tribulation period.  The implication being that I must be wrong, because I disagree with such a group of eminent scholars.  I have somewhat of a disagreement with Dr. Walvoord, and the staff of DTS.  It could be that the scholars are wrong.

If the Gog and Magog war occurs approximately 4 years into the Tribulation, we have the problem of the fuel of the enemy armies being burned for 7 years. This would mean that Israel would be burning the fuel well into the millennial reign of Christ. (Eze. 39:9)

Since Jesus is going to restore Garden of Eden conditions at his return, I find it difficult to imagine that Israel will need to continue burning that fuel during the millennial reign.

Since Israel will be forced to flee to the wilderness around the mid point in the Tribulation, when the Antichrist sets up the abomination of desolation, there is the problem of who will be burying the soldiers of the enemy armies for seven months? (Eze. 39:11-12) Are the exiles of Israel going to come back from the wilderness to bury the dead, and then go back into hiding? This speaks of a war that will be over long before the Tribulation begins.

Are these people going to carry great quantities of fuel with them as they rush off, to get away from the Antichrist’s soldiers? Jesus said they would not even have time to go home to gather clothes! (Matt 24:17)

15 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.” (Matthew 24:15-18)

Is the burning of that fuel going to be interrupted by their flight, and then resumed when they return? Wouldn’t the Antichrist’s soldiers take advantge of fuel they find lying around in Israel? Of course they would! The only answer that make sense of all the facts regarding this conflict, is that it must occur during the last few days of the Church Age, shortly before the rapture of the Church.

If Walvoord is correct, that the Gog-Magog war will be at the 4 year point, then Israel will already be in hiding before it starts, since the abomination of desolation occurs at around the 3 1/2 year point. No, the seven years of burning the fuel will be over by the mid-point of the Tribulation.

The best answer for the timing of the Ezekiel 38-39 war, is that it precedes the Tribulation by at least 3 1/2 years. This war will cause the people of the world to expect the millennial reign of Christ, because they think they had just witnessed Armageddon. This interpretation will be a part of Satan’s deception.

While I have great respect for the effort that goes into obtaining degrees at DTS, they are dead wrong on this one. When you try to force events into your predetermined ideas you are bound to make mistakes.

Something else that few notice, is the fact of the placement of the people of Israel during the Gog-Magog war.  In Ezekiel 38:8 we are told that Israel has returned from all over the world, at the beginning of the war.

8 After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, 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.

In 39:25, however, we are told that NOW Israel will return from the nations, where they were sent; “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name;

At first glance this could look like a contradiction, but it isn’t.  In fact, the situation is rather much like that which we see in Israel today.  Since 1948 Jews have come from all over the world, back to Israel, but they haven’t all come back.  In fact there are more Israelites abroad today than there are at home in Israel.

I refer to “Israelites” because, while all Jews are Israelites, Jews come primarily from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, there are other Israelites from the remaining tribes who are still in the millions, in other parts of the world.  I examined just who they are and where they are today, in The Spirit of Prophecy.  They will come back in time for the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble”.  When the bible speaks of  the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” it is referring to the whole family of Jacob, not just three of his tribes.  The others will not miss it, as is often implied by scholars today.  They will return in time for the Tribulation!

Zechariah 10:10 states that when they do return, there will not be enough room for them in Israel, or Gilead (aka the Golan), and some of them will have to go to Lebanon!  Well, Hezbollah won’t let them into Lebanon today, but after the Psalm 83 war, Hezbollah will no longer be a factor.  In fact Zechariah 11:1-2 tells us that Lebanon will burn, and this will then make room for the Israelites who are coming back!

There is a trumpet that is associated with the final return of the Israelites back to the land.  It is found in Isaiah 27:12-13

12 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. 13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.

I believe this is a very important trumpet, for it does double duty!  Israel has already begun to return, but this is the final trumpet call for the Israelites to come back to the land.  I believe this is the same trumpet that Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians 15:52;

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Yes, I believe this is the same trumpet.  Paul had no knowledge of the book of Revelation,  which was written several years after his death.  If Paul had any knowledge of the trumpet judgments of that book, we would see him write of them, but he did not, in all of his writings.  Therefore we know that the trumpet he was referring to was an Old Testament trumpet.

Not only this, but since Daniel’s 70th week marks the return of God’s Old Testament dealing with the nations through Israel, then it makes sense that the trumpet that calls Israel home to the land, is the same trumpet that calls the Church home.

Joel 3:1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.

The Tribulation is about all of Israel, not merely the southern kingdom.  The 144,000 witnesses of Revelation 7 come from all the tribes of Israel, not merely Judah, Benjamin, and Levi.  Yes it is true that there are some from the other tribes in Israel today, but the bible is clear that this is the time that Israel will be reunited and they will all go through the Time of Jacob’s trouble together.

You can find more information on the timing of the Psalm 83 war, the Ezekiel 38-39 war, and the rapture of the Church in “The Spirit of Prophecy”, by Daniel Knezacek.

Check out my former post for more on the timing of these wars in relation to the rapture of the Church.

This subject is related to the subject of imminence.

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About dknezacek

An average, ordinary guy. Author, husband, father, pilot, aircraft builder, test pilot, machinist, artist, just ordinary stuff that lots of people do. Don't forget bible student. Dan's passion is bible study, especially including the End Times prophecies.
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10 Responses to The Ezekiel 38-39 timing debate

  1. lucian says:

    Hello Bro Dan,
    First i want to thank you for your work and study in the Scriptures and for your efforts to share your viewpoints and light you received regarding the End-Time Prophecies.
    Some of your ideas i found awesome, almost convinced me about the Church to be kept ‘from’ the hour of temptation… (why not being kept ‘from’ still here)
    I’m not a ‘pro’ in the understanding and handling the Holy Scripture (BIBLE not Quran), i was at the times almost convinced of any of the pre-trib, post-trib, pre-wrath, (not mid and multiple) rapture of the Holly-ones in the present realms of Satan, after he will be kicked down to Earth, i’m also convinced about the muslim sword to be the one who will cut the heads of the saints during Tribulation, when the Dragon will go to make war against them, the Woman being protected by that 7 yrs peace treaty (the earth helped the woman) but who are those saints which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ ? (the First Beast – it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them). I’m completely confused. Those who will be left behind, and will not worship the beast, were not qualified for the rapture now turned into saints ?
    Regarding the FUEL problem you stated in this article, i think they will burn it in the new millennium, not a problem at all, it will take a while to build and reconstruct the whole earth, to build a civilization even for only a thousand yrs is not so easy, schools, houses, some industry maybe, transportation, agriculture, food, people in charge with Many Things…

    Please answer to my questions above, Thanks,
    Luc, Romania

    PS: please watch these links:

    • dknezacek says:

      Hello Luc,

      Thanks for your comments. I’ll try to answer your questions as best I can.

      First, let me say that those who kill the saints during the Tribulation are all the false religionists of the world, but they will have Muslims with them. This group will include professing Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Animists, Unitarians, and any other religion you can name.

      How could the Muslims join with the other religions? After two major defeats of Islam, during the Psalm 83 war and then the Ezekiel 38-39 war, the Muslims left alive will be quite willing to join the rest of the world’s religions in ecumenical unity! I think you will find that this united world religion will choose Babylon, Iraq, as its headquarters, and it will ultimately be destroyed by the Antichrist himself when he is ready to proclaim himself as God!

      Daniel 11:37 says “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.” As I have shown in The Spirit of Prophecy, the evidence is that the Antichrist will be from a closely related family (Arab) to Israel. These people are mostly Muslim today, so it follows that the “God of his fathers” is likely the God of the Qur’an.

      At the same time, this man, the Antichrist, will not regard, or care about, the God of his fathers, but instead will ultimately proclaim himself as God. He will take his time in doing this, so that by the time he is ready to do it, most Muslims, and indeed everybody else, will be ready to follow him.

      As for the fuel problem, there is still the problem of Israel fleeing to the wilderness at the mid-point of the Tribulation. What will happen to that fuel while Israel is not there using it?

      The other problem is that the bible tells us that the Mountains will fall at the return of Christ. Ezekiel 38:20 says the mountains will fall at the presence of the Lord. I am not certain if this will happen during the Gog-Magog war or if the prophet is skipping forward in time, here. Isaiah 40:4 says that the mountains will fall at His (Jesus) presence. If this is the same time as the Gog-Magog war then that would time this war at the very end of the Tribulation period.

      Biblical prophecies often contain skips, where context switches in the middle of a passage, to a time several years removed. This is one of the difficulties in studying biblical prophecy. I’m not sure we have one of those skips in Eze. 38:20. The passage prophesies a great earthquake at this time, but it isn’t the final earthquake. While the mountains tremble at His presence, and this is indeed the cause of this earthquake, I don’t think this is His return just yet.

      When Jesus does return the mountains will indeed fall. I’m talking about the Himalayas, and the Andes, and the Rockies, etc. Why? Jesus is going to make the earth as it was in the Garden of Eden. He is going to increase the amount of useable land so the whole earth can be inhabited during the millennium. He does not need the believers to do this for Him! They will be held aloft by angels as He does this below them, in their sight. (Matthew 24:31) They will be witnesses to this power of God, and while some of their children will become unbelievers, this generation will follow the Lord all their lives.

      Psalm 50:3 states that a fire will clear the earth before Jesus, at His return. Isaiah 47:14 also confirms that the inhabitants of earth shall be destroyed by fire at the return of the Lord. The only survivors will be those who are held above the flames by angels, as stated in Mat. 24:31. The infrastructure of the earth will be destroyed by this fire, including all the pornography, on all the hard drives, of all the earth’s computers, and all the stored fuel will go up in flames as well, I am convinced. Therefore it is impossible for the fuel left over from the Gog-Magog war to survive into the millennial reign of Christ.

      This gives us a timing of that war to at least 3 1/2 years before the Tribulation begins.

      As for your videos. I had to remove the last three, they wouldn’t run in WordPress, for some reason. The one left is interesting because of his mention of Afghanistan. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan have large numbers of the tribes of Israel living among them. You can’t see them today because they have converted to Islam. After the defeats of Islam, during the Psalm 83 and Ezekiel wars, the world will see these Muslims convert back to Judaism and return to the land of their fathers. There are so many of them that when it happens there will not be enough room for them in Israel, and some of them will have to go to Lebanon! See Zechariah 10:10

      Sorry this reply has been so long. This is a very big subject, and there is still much more we could discuss. I would recommend that you get a copy of The Spirit of Prophecy, these subjects are covered in much more detail there.

      Daniel Knezacek

  2. luc says:

    Hello Dan,
    Thank you so much for your answer, we are certainly living on great times (some would call it terrible) but for those who are called out of this world, who are keeping the commandments in a personal relationship with the one who gave them, Jesus Christ, and overcome sin in their lives, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, these are great times. If we want to be part of the Ekklesia, if we want to be kept from the hour of temptation, we must test ourself if we are in the faith, if we have found the narrow way, and this is simple: the process of cleansing ourselves MUST BE ACTIVE, then we may hope into resurrection, into the rapture, and this is possible only through the Holly Spirit. There is a verse in Proverbs19 which is more valid than ever: ‘He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, but he who is careless of his ways will die.’
    I just ordered The Spirit of Prophecy to Amazon, actually i have landed on your topic searching web for this very concept which is the Testimony of Jesus Christ in Rev19. Will come with feedback after i have read it. Thank you again and may the Lord Bless you. Luc, RO.

  3. Pingback: Protests in Turkey | housetops

  4. ICA says:

    Good day brothers/sisters, here are my two cents. As is noted in an article titled “What Is The War Of Gog-Magog“, God Himself declares in Ezekiel 39:8, ”Behold, it is come, and it is done … this [is] the day whereof I have spoken.” He has revealed Himself to both Israel and to the nations at Gog-Magog. How can God say “It is done” when, according to many teachers today, it is not done until years later at Armageddon? Moreover, if God had declared that He spoke of any “pre-Armageddon” battle before, where is it mentioned in Scripture? Certainly, it cannot be “Psalm 83” which is a prayer, not a prophetic oracle. Even if Psalm 83 is describing a future war, any answer to the prayer can only be observed at the conclusion of Israel’s final battle, brought to a decisive and irrefutable end through Divine intervention at the Second Coming of Messiah. Obviously, Israel’s enemies cannot be “confounded and dismayed forever” (83:17) and know that the God of Israel is God (83:18) if they are involved in yet another war several years later only to be confounded and dismayed forever yet again and learn that the God of Israel is God, yet again (cf. Ezek 39:3-7).

    The only day in the eschaton that the Lord and the prophets spoke of previously is the Day of the Lord. According to Scripture, the Day of the Lord is Armageddon (not a “7-year-tribulation” as many often suggest). With respect to Gog-Magog, the view that many of today’s teachers support suggests that all of the Magog nations that Christ destroys — nations that the text tells us in no uncertain terms will know from that point forward that the God of Israel is God (Ezekiel 38:16, 23; 39:7, 21, 23) — suddenly and conveniently all develop a case of collective amnesia to yet again form another coalition in order to yet again gather against Jerusalem, only to be destroyed yet again by Christ a few short years later. Such a position is a highly tenuous, to say the least.

    Naturally, when two or more witnesses describe the same event, they will sometimes express certain aspects of the event differently, or emphasize and delineate specific details over others. And the same is true with Biblical prophets. When the sum of all details are considered, however, there are too many astounding similarities between the battle of Gog-Magog and the battle of Armageddon to ignore, and any “differences” that some try to point out between Gog-Magog and Armageddon are easily resolved once the whole of Scripture is compared hermeneutically using not just the book of Revelation, but Isaiah, Daniel, Joel and Zechariah as well (see link above).

    The description as outlined by the prophet Ezekiel provides is a broader overview of a conflict that simply leads up to and ends at Armageddon, not simply “Armageddon” itself per se when the armies of the surrounding Islamic nations gather themselves in the “valley of decision” in a final effort to destroy Israel once and for all. It is a broader view of a conflict that comes to a definitive conclusion at Armageddon when Christ Himself destroys the surrounding armies directly, enemies who will have already been fighting against Israel and waging wars for a certain amount of time. Without any doubt in my mind, the battle of Gog-Magog and the battle of Armageddon are therefore essentially separate descriptions of the same event.

    • dknezacek says:

      Tim,

      I appreciate your comments, but I respectfully have to disagree. I have answered your objections in The Spirit of Prophecy and I don’t want to rewrite the book, but I will address a couple of your points.

      For one, you are reading “the kings of the east” into it when the text does not say they are involved. Every nation listed, is Muslim today, with the exception of Russia.
      When it occurs I believe Malaysia and Indonesia may well join, because of their large Muslim populations, and they will be interpreted as being the kings of the East.

      The problem is that “the kings of the east” is actually a reference to “the rising sun”, which is Japan and none other, though it may include China. If Japan and China are not involved then you know it is not Armageddon.

      There are a lot of nations in existence that are not Muslim which are not named. God would have a reason for not naming the non-Muslim nations: They are not involved in this conflict. The only other possibility is that the whole world will become Muslim before this occurs, and I just doubt that is possible.

      The 83rd Psalm is indeed a prayer, as you have noted; It is a prayer made by the prophet Asaph, after he was given a prophetic vision of an attack on Israel. Do you think the prophet Ezekiel just forgot to mention any of the nations in Psalm 83 in his account? Since those nations have a long history of animosity with Israel, it is surprising that none of them are listed.

      The Sunni-Shiite divide, combined with the Psalm 83 war, goes a long way to answering the question of why those nations are not involved in Ezekiel’s war. They will have made peace with Israel years before. Mark my words!

      Israel will be burning the weapons of the Ezekiel war for seven years. Now if the Lord returns and restores Garden of Eden conditions on the earth, it seems odd that they will be burning those weapons into the Millennial reign. This is especially so, considering the whole world will be burning during this time. Surely those weapons and their fuel would catch fire as the Lord sends “a flame before Him”! Psalm 50:3, Joel 2:3

      Do you think He’s going to burn the rest of the world, but leave those weapons for Israel to burn themselves?

      I think God is setting a trap, not only for Israel but also for the false Church. Those who want to set up the kingdom of God on earth, themselves. This is what is going on in both the Psalm 83, and the Ezekiel 38-39 wars.

      God is going to allow Satan to produce the illusion of a Tribulation, so that those people will think it is over.

      This is why Ezekiel 39:25 speaks of the last remnants of Israel returning AFTER this war. Like you, they will believe that the Tribulation is over and now it is safe for them to go home.

      Your interpretation would have a bunch of Israelites safe among the Gentiles while their brothers are going through the Tribulation, only to return safe and sound after it is all over. Jesus told us, in Matthew 24, that they will already be IN Israel before the Tribulation starts, and will have to flee to the wilderness from there.

      Another thing you are missing; Just because they know the Lord is God, it does not mean that they are saved! It doesn’t mean that they Know the Lord, nor He them! There is something else that has to go on in your heart before you get saved. Lots of deists believe in God and are still lost. Israel will return, believing in God, and knowing that He has restored the nation, and has saved them from their enemies, but their hearts still won’t be changed! That will only occur during the Tribulation period which will follow Ezekiel’s war!

      How many times did Israel claim to believe in God and yet still disobey Him? It is the same with the professing Church. The Church is full of unbelievers, many of whom are in positions of leadership! But they all believe in God! God is going to bring judgment on them, but Satan will try to convince them that they were left behind to create the Kingdom of God on earth, and that those taken in the rapture were taken in judgment! (among other lies)

      As I have said, this is about Satan creating the illusion of a Tribulation, so that he can produce his Antichrist just at the time when the world is looking for a Saviour! It is also about the fact that not only will God allow Satan to do this, He is actually using Satan to accomplish His goals!

  5. ICA says:

    dknezacek, “I appreciate your comments, but I respectfully have to disagree.”

    That’s ok brother, if everybody always agreed on everything then nobody would be thinking enough. 🙂

    dknezacek, “you are reading ‘the kings of the east’ into it when the text does not say they are involved. Every nation listed, is Muslim today”

    In our modern vernacular we usually think of nations like China and Japan when we think of “kings of the east”, but in Scripture this is likely not referring to these countries and is instead referring to the known world east of the Euphrates in Iraq, Iran, southern Afghanistan, Pakistan and those in and around that vicinity.

    dknezacek, “with the exception of Russia.”

    I’m not convinced that Russia is directly mentioned in the Gog-Magog war of Ezekiel 38 and 39. The word that many often point to in an effort to suggest that Russia is mentioned specifically here is the word “rosh” (H7218) in 38:2, but this word simply means “chief” or “head”, as in Rosh Hashanah (Head of the Year). Nowhere in the whole of Scripture has “rosh” ever referred to Russia.

    If we consider Gog-Magog and the “known world” from Ezekiel’s time and perspective, however, the far north would likely bring us all the way up to the Black Sea and the northern shores of modern day Turkey to areas northeast of Turkey, even to northern Iran and northern Afghanistan and beyond where we find other former Soviet Republics. It is my view that we are likely looking at northern nations/peoples/fighters from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Dagestan and possibly even Chechnya, and across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan. In these areas, Islam is the dominant religion. This does not mean that Russia will not be involved, however. After all, there are “many people” or “nations” with Gog according to 38:6 (including Malaysia and Indonesia), and Russia could be one of them in some way, shape or form. But Russia is definitely not mentioned by name specifically at all in the text.

    dknezacek, “There are a lot of nations in existence that are not Muslim which are not named. God would have a reason for not naming the non-Muslim nations: They are not involved in this conflict.”

    According to what I see in Scripture, there is no indication that non-Muslims nations are directly involved at Armageddon, either. Please bear with me on and take a moment consider the following. Many will point to certain verses and take from those specific verses the idea that Antichrist rules the entire literal earth. For example:

    Rev 13:8,All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.”

    Zechariah 14:2, “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity…”

    But are the verses above referring to literally every single person upon the earth, and to literally all nations in the world? To answer this question we must first take a closer look at Scripture to determine whether “all” should always be understood in a literal, universal sense. To begin, let us carefully consider the following:

    Luke 2:1-3, “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that ALL the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And ALL went to be taxed, every one into his own city.”

    Mark 1:5, “And there went out unto him ALL the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were ALL baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.”

    Daniel 2:36-38, “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them ALL. You are that head of gold.”

    Ezra 1:2, “Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD Elohim of heaven hath given me ALL the kingdoms of the earth

    Romans 10:18, “But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into ALL the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”

    Using a bit of common sense we already know the answers to the following questions, but in light of the verses above let’s ask the obvious: Did Caesar literally tax the whole world? Did every last man, woman and child in Judea and Jerusalem get baptized in the Jordan River? Did Nebuchadnezzar or Cyrus literally rule over the entire earth, ruling over the native Indians in North and South America? Was the Gospel preached to the whole literal earth during the lives of the disciples? We know that the answer to each of these questions is “No” because these verses are obvious examples of a figure of speech known as a synecdoche. It is like saying “the whole world watched the Super Bowl on Sunday.” We read something similar in Colossians 1:23, which says, “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.” We know that Paul did not preach to crickets, frogs and polar bears, which sounds silly to say, but would be the logical conclusion we’d have to draw if one threw out common sense and read such a verse in a strictly wooden, literal sense. Such statements are never intended to be understood literally and are synecdochical expressions that use a part for the whole, or the whole for a part. This figure of speech is often found in Scripture, especially when we read about kings and their kingdoms, and the end-of-days “man of lawlessness” that many identify as Antichrist will be no different.

    Many of us will often recognize this figure of speech in Scripture but then insist that any references to Antichrist could never be synecdochical, despite the fact that numerous other verses in Scripture in the context of this eschatonic Antichrist demonstrate it forcefully. For instance, Antichrist cannot have dominion over the whole literal planet if wars are being waged against other nations. Antichrist cannot have dominion over the whole literal planet if even one nation is able to “escape his hand.” Antichrist cannot have dominion over the whole planet when other resistor nations are themselves waging war against Antichrist right up until the end (Dan 11:39-45). Regardless, such logic or way of thinking just doesn’t fit with what many have always been taught by many Christian teachers and prophecy experts.

    Many will insist that Scripture does not allow a synecdocical understanding when it comes to Antichrist, instinctively pointing to verses that speak of the whole “earth” such as Revelation 13:3-4, 13:8, 13:12, 13:17 and 17:8 as “proof.” In each and every single one of these verses, however, the word for “earth” is the Greek word “ge“, which will often be referring to “a country, land enclosed within fixed boundaries, a tract of land, territory, region”. But if this is the intended meaning, how can we know? One clue is found for us in the second part of Revelation 13:8 and 17:8 when John writes that those who worship the Beast are those “whose names are not written in the book of life.” Here, John directs us to an understanding that it will not be literally all that dwell upon the earth that will worship the Beast. It is, rather, a certain group only. Moreover, if the Spirit’s intent were to convey the whole literal planet, John would have likely been inspired to use a much better word such as “kosmos” (cf Acts 17:24) to convey such a meaning. This should also be quite obvious to us when considering the undeniable fact that a great multitude “which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” will come out of Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:9,14). If they come out of Great Tribulation, they had to be in it, and while they were in it they did not worship Antichrist.

    Significantly, even the Old Testament prophets themselves allude to a geographical limitation of this eschatonic Antichrist with some very specific details of their own. In describing the armies that come up against Israel at Armageddon, the prophets Zechariah, Joel and Ezekiel all show us that the hegemony of Antichrist’s reign is limited geographically by telling us that the surrounding nations or neighbors are those who will be gathered against Jerusalem, not every nation of the earth universal. But what about Zechariah 14:2, you ask? Doesn’t this show us all the nations in the world coming up against Jerusalem?

    Zechariah 14:2, “For I will gather ALL nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity…”

    Who are all the nations? The Hebrew text says “goy cabiyb” and this can very easily also mean the surrounding Gentiles or the Gentiles round about. This is yet another example of a synecdoche, not to mention the fact that Zechariah had just described all of these nations two chapters earlier as the surrounding nations. Contextually, “all nations” in Zechariah 14:2 is simply referring to all of the “surrounding” nations spoken of in chapter 12:

    Zechariah 12:2, “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem.”

    And Zechariah refers to the surrounding nations yet again just a few short verses after 14:2, writing:

    Zechariah 14:14, “Judah also will fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered, gold and silver and garments in great abundance.”

    The Prophet Joel himself also prophesied:

    Joel 3:11-12, “Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, And gather yourselves there. Bring down, O LORD, Your mighty ones. Let the nations be aroused And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, For there I will sit to judge All the surrounding nations.”

    As did the Prophet Ezekiel:

    Ezekiel 28:24-26, “‘No longer will the people of Israel have malicious neighbors who are painful briers and sharp thorns. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign LORD. ” ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will show myself holy among them in the sight of the nations. Then they will live in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob. They will live there in safety and will build houses and plant vineyards; they will live in safety when I inflict punishment on all their neighbors who maligned against them. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God.’”

    Zechariah would not have been referring to literally all nations on the planet in Zechariah 14:2, only to then turn around and say just the surrounding nations in verse 14:14, not to mention 12:2. Logistically, it wouldn’t even be possible for literally every nation on earth to amass troops, tanks, aircraft, personnel carriers, etc. etc. etc. in one Israeli valley. In the context of Zechariah 14:2 it is quite apparent that Zechariah is referring only to the surrounding nations, as he had already wrote about previously in 12:2 and then again later in 14:14. The prophets Joel and Ezekiel confirm this as well.

    Although Antichrist will seek to rule the whole literal earth and force the political and religious ideology of the Beast upon every government and upon every man, woman and child on the planet, Antichrist’s efforts will not succeed — an increasingly evident fact to which the whole of the prophetic texts testify. When Christ returns in power and great glory Scripture lists the nations that He fights against by name, and every nation that is identified in Scripture is today an Islamic nation. In light of the whole counsel of Scripture, the Antichrist’s dominion and political-religious control will be relegated primarily to the whole Muslim world — the nations that today surround Israel — but not the world as a whole.

    dknezacek, “Israel will be burning the weapons of the Ezekiel war for seven years. Now if the Lord returns and restores Garden of Eden conditions on the earth, it seems odd that they will be burning those weapons into the Millennial reign.”

    Why would that be odd? Is it not true that after Armageddon, like Gog-Magog, weapons of war will be destroyed? The prophet Isaiah even tells us that after Armageddon, “He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4). Ezekiel simply adds additional detail and tells us that Israel is destroying the weapons for seven years.

    dknezacek, “the whole world will be burning during this time… Do you think He’s going to burn the rest of the world”

    If God burns the rest of the world during this time, then why does Scripture tell us without a doubt that there will be Gentile nations who survive and enter into the Millennial Kingdom?

    Isaiah 2:2-4, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. AND HE SHALL JUDGE AMONG THE NATIONS, AND SHALL REBUKE MANY PEOPLE: AND THEY SHALL BEAT THEIR SWORDS INTO PLOWSHARES, AND THEIR SPEARS INTO PRUNINGHOOKS: NATION SHALL NOT LIFT UP SWORD AGAINST NATION, NEITHER SHALL THEY LEARN WAR ANY MORE.”

    Isaiah is obviously talking about nations of the Earth that are not destroyed either during the Great Tribulation or after the Second Coming of Christ.

    Isaiah 14:1-2, “For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob. AND THE PEOPLE SHALL TAKE THEM, AND BRING THEM TO THEIR PLACE: AND THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL SHALL POSSESS THEM IN THE LAND OF THE LORD FOR SERVANTS AND HANDMAIDS: AND THEY SHALL TAKE THEM CAPTIVE, WHOSE CAPTIVES THEY WERE; AND THEY SHALL RULE OVER THEIR OPPRESSORS”

    Again, these verses wouldn’t make any sense unless it referred specifically to surviving Gentile nations.

    Zechariah 14:9,16-19, “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one … AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS, THAT EVERY ONE THAT IS LEFT OF ALL THE NATIONS WHICH CAME UP AGAINST JERUSALEM shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of ALL NATIONS that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.”

    Ezekiel 36:24-28,36, “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God…. THEN THE HEATHEN THAT ARE LEFT ROUND ABOUT YOU shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.”

    Why are there so many Gentile survivors after the wrath of God on the Day of the Lord? God could destroy literally every last non-Christian or non-Jew on the planet if He wanted to. But He doesn’t. And I think the last portion of this verse is why many will live:

    Habakkuk 3:2, “O LORD, I have heard Your speech [and] was afraid; O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make [it] known; In wrath remember mercy.

    After the post-trib rapture, there are many who will be alive after the Second Coming to repopulate the Earth, and these are they who did not worship Antichrist but are permitted to enter the Millennial Kingdom after the Sheep and Goat judgment. Scripture leaves no doubt about it.

    dknezacek, “this is about Satan creating the illusion of a Tribulation, so that he can produce his Antichrist just at the time when the world is looking for a Saviour!”

    Consider the following. Some believe that Antichrist may not be an actual man at all, but rather something entirely different. In Revelation 13, the Beast is a kingdom or empire or system, yet is often described as a “him” or “he” anthropomorphically in many translations:

    Revelation 13:4-6, “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who [is] like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’ And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.” (NKJV)

    However, from a textual standpoint, this need not be the case at all according to the Greek. The translators of the ESV understood this and rendered the verses accordingly:

    Revelation 13:4-6, “One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?’ And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.” (ESV)

    Many who now view Biblical eschatology from the perspective of an Islamic End-Time paradigm are of the opinion that the “him” who receives the mortal “head wound” is not a person, but rather was likely the power and might of the Islamic Empire that ceased with the abolition of the Caliphate in 1924. Today, however, we are beginning to witness a reawakening of Islamism in the Muslim world, essentially imitating the sort of power and influence that one would expect during the induction of a “Neo-Ottoman” Islamic Empire. We are beginning to witness a “healing” as it were of the Islamic Caliphate that received its mortal “head wound.”

    As a system, Islam is itself fully and completely Antichrist to the core (1 John 2:22; 4:3; 2 John 1:7). We should not discount the possibility that the “man of sin” may not be pointing to one single person as it were, though the general consensus is precisely that, but could instead be pointing to one single entity or system. The Ekklesia of God is comprised of a great multitude of believing Messianic Jews and Christ-believing Gentiles created as “one new man” in Jesus who are marked by God (Eph. 2:15, Rev. 14:1) and described by John in Revelation 7 as the “multitude of the lamb”, ie, Jesus Christ. Conversely, the “man of sin” (2 Thess 2:3) could therefore be its direct antithesis comprised of those who have the Mark of the Beast and described by John in Revelation 13 as the “multitude of a man”, ie, the “prophet Mohammed”. If this is the case, then we may be even closer to the cusp of prophetic fulfillment than many of us realize.

    The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 that the “man of sin” or “lawlessness” — whom we often refer to as Antichrist — “takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” It is important to note, however, that the Greek word for “in” is the word “eis” (G1519), but it does not only mean “in.” It is also translated dozens of times as “against” in Scripture. For example:

    Matthew 10:21, “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.”

    Matthew 18:21, “Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’”

    Mark 14:55, “Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none.”

    In the context of 2 Thessalonians 2:4 the Apostle Paul made a reference to the “temple of God.” The natural assumption on the part of the translators would have therefore been to interpret “eis” to mean in. But in light of the full canvas of Scripture we now understand that according to the New Testament we should no longer defined the temple of God in terms of one that was made of stone, but rather as one made of people — the Ekklesia of God (the Church):

    1 Corinthians 3:17, “If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”

    1 Peter 2:5, “And now God is building you, as living stones, into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are God’s holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please him because of Jesus Christ.” (NLT)

    Ephesians 2:19-22, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner[stone], in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

    In this light, the Holy Spirit could very well have been referring to the “man of sin” or “lawlessness” as the Ummah of Islam (the “Islamic” church, if you will) which stands against the temple of God (the Church of Christ), essentially displaying itself as God by usurping the Divine title/office/way of Salvation in claiming that salvation is only found in “Allah and His Messenger” and not in YHWH and His Messiah. And, sure enough, the Ummah of Islam stands against the temple of God and does this very thing today, blaspheming the God of our Salvation and boastfully declaring that “Jews and the Christians are enemies of the [Islamic] believers” who are “cursed” because “adhering to Islam is the only path to enter heaven, and escape hellfire”. If Antichrist is a system and not a man per se, then we may indeed be even closer to the cusp of prophetic fulfillment than many of us realize.

  6. Jim says:

    Could it be possible that since there is an indeterminate time between the Rapture & the start of the Trib (initiated by the treaty) that the seven years of burning arms could be post Rapture to mid-Trib & this formerly indeterminate period of time is in actuallity 3.5 years long? This preserves the imminency of the Rapture, gives Israel a clear path & time to rebuild their Temple on the Temple site, allows for the construction & growth of a literal Babylon & allows for the time for the conversion of the 144,000 through the ministry of the two witnesses?

    • dknezacek says:

      Jim,

      Thanks for writing. I used to believe in this indeterminate time period, but there are problems with it. For one, which program would God be running at the time? If the Church has been raptured, and Israel’s last seven years has not yet started, then what age is it anyway?

      As I researched for The Spirit of Prophecy I came to the realization that Dispensationalists have been wrong about the imminency of the rapture.

      Jesus said that He would be gone a long time (Luke 20:9), and it could hardly be called a long time if he had returned immediately after His ascension.

      Not only this but Hosea 5:15 – 6:3 seems to indicate that He would be gone for at least 2,000 years.

      The simplest way to understand it is to compare Zephaniah 2:1-3 with Ezekiel 39:25

      “Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired;*n1 2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you. 3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.” Zephaniah 2:1-3

      Clearly, apart from being a clear pre-Trib rapture passage, this also says that Israel must come together before the Tribulation period begins. There are millions of people with a Hebrew/Israelite background, living in other places beside Israel today. Not only are there millions of Jews in the USA, but there are also millions of Israelites in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      The Taliban has large numbers of Israelites within its ranks! Something must happen for them to change their minds about Islam, and return to the God of their fathers, as well as to the land of Israel. That something will be the Psalm 83 war as well as the Gog/Magog war of Ezekiel 38-39.

      In verse 25 of Ezekiel 39 we have the last remnants of Israel returning. If they are still returning at that time, then the Tribulation cannot have started yet. In fact it will start shortly after, as Israel thinks the worst is over!

      “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name;”

      When God makes statements like this you need to understand that not all of these things need to happen at the same time. His mercy will be directed toward the one third who turn to Jesus, but He will be jealous for his Holy name with all of Israel, even with the unbelievers! The one third will become the whole house of Israel after the two thirds die during the Tribulation. (Zechariah 13:8-9)

      I think the literal Babylon will take its place probably between the Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39 wars. he Psalm 83 war will be the end of ISIS, but even then the whole End Times scenario will not be quite ready to take place.

      Will the 144,000 be saved through the ministry of the two witnesses? I can’t think where it says that. It could be that they are called by a direct call from the Lord.

  7. Pingback: The Chronological Place of the Gog Magog war | housetops

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