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.