First-off I have to say that there is a lot of truth these gentlemen teach, and I am all for truth! These men teach Dispensationalism, and to the extent that Dispensationalism follows, and harmonizes Scripture I am with them! I do recommend their teaching, but you must be a Berean and compare what they say to Scripture, as you will see that is what I am doing below;
This is one of the strengths of Dispensationalism, that historically teachers of this form of Eschatology have allowed the Scriptures to modify their position. Unfortunately there seems to be a somewhat hardening of views among some otherwise good teachers, who refuse to modify their views when new Scriptural insights come to light.
A case in point: Mr. Hindson says that the Rapture could happen at any time, and that there is nothing prophetically speaking, that needs to occur before it happens. I believe this is also Andy Woods position on this subject as well. In fact it is the dominant view among Dispensationalists, but it is in error. Amir and I agree that the Gog/Magog war is a late-Church-age/pre-Rapture event, but he thinks the Psalm 83 war is over, and I believe it is coming soon.
The main objection I have is that Jesus actually said there would be signs before the beginning of the Tribulaion. Just because he said “no man knows the day nor the hour” does not mean that there will not be signs before the Rapture of the Church. There will be!
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. Matthew 24:4-6
Most prophecy teachers take the phrase “wars and rumours of wars” to simply mean “the same as it ever was”, and thus turn a sign into a non-sign! They take the fact that there has been no peace on earth since the time of Christ to mean that “wars and rumours of wars” is just a continuation of everyday life, until the Rapture.
They thus ignore the fact that Jesus was always pointing people back to the Scriptures! Always!
When He said “wars and rumours of wars” he was actually pointing to biblicly prophesied wars as being signs of imminent rapture!
When we study prophecy we very often have to look at the implications of even very small words. It was no accident when Jesus said “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4
Every word, and not just the general thoughts are important. Paraphrase just doesn’t cut it!
So lets do some prophetical math, shall we?
Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; 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. 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
So the “nation not desired” is Israel. They are not desired in Heaven because they are still in unbelief. Now, in verses 1 and 2 we see that Israel will be gathered together BEFORE the Tribulation period begins! Before the “fierce anger of the Lord” comes upon them! This is “the day of the Lord’s anger”.
The Jews are not strangers to Scripture, They know that the “time of Jacob’s trouble” or “the day of the Lord’s anger” will be a terrible time, and many of them don’t want to be anywhere near Israel when it occurs. So, the Lord will allow them to be deceived, that they have actually missed the Tribulation. He won’t deceive them Himself; He will allow them to deceive themselves, through their false teachers, along with the teachings of some false teachers among Christians as well!
This is the role the Gog-Magog war will play. It will be so bad it will be considered World War 3, and God Himself will intervene to save Israel. When it is over the Israelites around the world will believe that they have escaped the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, and so they will think it is safe to return to Israel!
There will be deceived, professing Christians who will also be telling them “It is safe to go back, because the Tribulation is over”!
Now read this passage from Ezekiel 39, which takes place at the end of the Gog-Magog war;
25 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; 26 After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. 27 When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; 28 Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. 29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God. Ezekiel 39:25-29
God doesn’t show His mercy on them by lifting them up to rule the world, at this time. This time He shows His mercy by revealing Himself as Jesus of Nazareth! This is the time that He unveils their eyes and they see Him for what He did on the cross! This is the time the 144,000 Jewish evangelists get saved and begin their ministry. This is Israel’s time to shine!
So, if that is the case, and the Tribulation is about to begin, where is the rapture? I’ll show you;
Here is a passage from Isaiah 27, which describes the same time-frame as Ezekiel 39:25
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.
Here God is “beating off” the enemies of Israel from the Euphrates (the channel of the river) to the Nile (the stream of Egypt). The enemies beaten-off here are the same enemies who attacked during the Gog-Magog war. How do I know? Ezekiel 39:28, AFTER it is over, says that “I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.” At the end of the Gog/Magog war the last remnants of the nation of Israel will return home! These two passages are speaking of the same event.
By the way, there are a lot of Jews in the Arab nations. Most of them are Muslims today, as was predicted by the prophets, but God knows who they are, and they will return to Judaism and to Israel when HE shows them that the God of the Qur’an can’t help them! He can only do that with a major international defeat of Islam.
Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not shew you favour. Jeremiah 16:13
You see, God predicted that Israel would serve false gods after He had cast them out of their land. So several lines of Israelites converted to Islam 1,400 years ago, but He is still able to bring them back to the land as he promised their forefathers, and He will convince them that He is the one true God!
So when the Lord is gathering them “one by one” in the event of Isaiah 27:12, this means that there are only a few of them left there, then this is the same event as Ezekiel 39:28, the last gathering of the Children of Israel! According to Zephaniah, this is still at a time before the Tribulation, so what is the event that starts the Tribulation?
This is “the great trumpet”that is blown in verse 13.
How many “great trumpets” are there? According to the little word “the”, there is only one great trumpet, and this is it!
So what about the “last trumpet” that Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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.
The “Great Trumpet” IS the “Last Trumpet”! This is the same trumpet of Isaiah 27:13! It does not only call Israel back to the land, but it also calls the Church to meet their Saviour in the clouds; the Rapture! This is the exact end of the Church-age, and the beginning of the last seven years of the age of Israel!
It is a precise moment, and I can’t give you a day, nor an hour, but only the sign!
This is the last sign of the imminent Rapture of the Church, and closely related to it is the revelation of the Antichrist! The Church will be here for the first revelation of the Beast, but that sign is a subject for another time.
Another, earlier sign, is the Psalm 83 war.
The Psalm 83 war is not the same as the Gog-Magog war because the nations that protest the Gog-Magog war are all a part of the earlier war. Sheba, Dedan, and Tarshish are all Arab entities, and their protest “Art thou come to take a spoil?” makes all the difference.
Some prophecy scholars, such as Amir Tsarfati and Andy Woods, identify Tarshish as England, but the little word “come” indicates that the invading armies must come through the territories of these three entities to get to Israel. In other words they are geographically close to Israel, like right next door!
Tarshish is the Syrian port of Tartus, which will become the capital of Syria after Damascus is destroyed during the Psalm 83 war. The devastation will be so complete that the Syrians will have to move their capital to Tartus.
As the invading Turkish and European armies come down through the Bosphorus, and along the coastline of the Mediterranean, they will come through the territory of Syria, and Syria’s capital Tartus will only be able to register a protest, because they will have been disarmed in the aftermath of the Psalm 83 war!
The UK is a long way away from Israel, so there is no way the invading armies would have any need to go through their territory. This little fact eliminates the possibility that England could be Tarshish.
Another fact that destroys the idea that the UK is Tarshish is the fact that the UK is made up of descendants of Gomer. The English are a Germanic tribe, descendants of Gomer’s son Ashkenaz. The Irish, Scots, and Welsh are descendants of Gomer’s son Riphath, although the Scots are also mixed with Magog, another attacking nation. When Ezekiel says “Gomer and all his bands” (Eze. 38:6) it means all the armies of the descendants of Gomer, will be involved in the attacking forces. England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales will be a part of the Gog/Magog armies coming against Israel!
The sequence of these two wars, then, is first the Psalm 83 war, and after the Arabs are defeated, and sue for peace with Israel, then the next war will be the Ezekiel 38-39 war, which will result in the end of western dominance in world politics!
These are two of the signs that Jesus was speaking of when he said “wars and rumours of wars”. These wars will both occur before the Rapture of the Church. In other words, if you have not died by then, you will be here for these wars!
No doubt the Apostle Paul felt that he might still be alive when the Rapture occurred. This is evident in I Thessalonians 4:17 “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” The fact that Paul died is evidence that it was not God’s plan to stage the Rapture at that time. God always had a specific date in mind for the Rapture, but He chose not to reveal it to Paul, or to any other prophet.
In fact He is still revealing His End Time plan, bit by bit, to those who will listen! Please don’t think that I am saying that there are new revelations that trump Scripture. On the contrary, everything we need for this age is in Scripture, but He chose to hide things from the understanding of past generations, because His purpose in those days was to spread the gospel for the Church-Age. God always wanted every generation to live as if they could meet God today. Now, however, as the end of the age draws near, he is revealing his End Times plan, more fully, to men who will listen, at the same time as the majority in the Church are growing hard-hearted, and many refuse to listen!
Here’s the thing; the Lord, when He was inspiring prophets to write Scripture, did not overpower the prophet, but worked with the man’s intellect. Thus there are statements in Scripture that are from the author, and there are also statements made by God.
Solomon wrote that “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.” (Ecclesiastes 1:4) Now this is a statement that is demonstrably false. Scripture confirms that the earth will end after the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ, but this is what Solomon actually thought, and God had not yet revealed his plan for the destruction of the earth at the end of the Millennial reign. So the bible accurately records the thoughts of its authors, even the incorrect ones!
It is possible to differentiate between the thoughts of men and the teachings of God, however, all one needs to do is compare Scripture with Scripture, and trust the Holy Spirit to lead you to the truth! When you think you know it all, keep on seeking, because there will be something you have missed! And, don’t get discouraged, but keep on trusting the Lord to lead you into all truth!