By Nathan Jones
What has to happen first before the Gog & Magog War can begin?
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Calvary Chapel Aventura located in the Miami, Florida area and I will begin our study of the Gog-Magog War found in Ezekiel 38-39.
Assembling the Jigsaw Puzzle
Vic Batista: We are going to begin our study of Ezekiel 38-39. Ezekiel 38-39 prophesies a great battle or war.
There are a number of views concerning when that event will take place. You and I agreed that we as Christians shouldn't be divided over these certain views, right, Nathan?
Nathan Jones: Exactly. Different people have different points of views when it comes to Bible prophecy, and that's fine. We are all brothers in Christ and we should get along. Now, if we had divisions over the essential doctrines of the Church such as Jesus is both God and man, that He was born of a virgin, that He died on the cross for our sins and was resurrected, those are the essential primary doctrines and those we need to stick to our guns. But, when it comes to Bible prophecy, it's like having a 100 piece puzzle. God so far has only given us 75 pieces. We have to kind of fill in the other 25 so we can keep getting a more complete view of end time events. We can disagree on those non-essentials.
As long as we stick to a literal interpretation of the Bible and let the Bible speak for itself, we can all come up with the best possible interpretation. Again, we won't know totally the complete picture until these events play out. Then we'll go, "Oh yeah, that's what that meant!" God will reveal to us what and when certain end time events mean in His own timing.
Vic Batista: Absolutely. You are right. Bible prophecy is a jig-saw puzzle of different end times topics and themes. We have a lot of great teachers out there to guide us and lead us to a better understanding, but even then there are still different views and opinions by some. But again, the main thing is that we do all agree on the foundational doctrines and that in the secondaries where we vary, sometimes we just have to agree to disagree, right?
Nathan Jones: Exactly. Some people draw the line in the sand over every single topic in the Bible. That again is important for primary doctrine, but for biblical interpretation about Bible prophecy, there is room for disagreement.
I feel like I'm being set up, though, Pastor Vic. Are you about to disagree with me on something?
Vic Batista: No. Not at all. That is the good thing Nathan, Lamb & Lion Ministry actually lines up almost perfectly with our views in Calvary Chapel.
Nathan Jones: I've always been impressed with Calvary Chapel's views on end times and its teaching. Very few churches nowadays want to even touch the topic of Bible prophecy. They just think Bible prophecy is impractical and that it has nothing to do with today, and yet it has everything to do with today. I just love that Calvary Chapel gets out there and preaches the Gospel & #8212; the whole Gospel & #8212; so they don't leave Bible prophecy out. Nearly 31% of the Bible is Bible prophecy, which means we just can't leave it out of our teachings.
Vic Batista: Absolutely, and that's why it is really neat to line up with you and Dr. Reagan because our views are so similar. There may be some little variations, but for the most part it's neat when talking about the subject matter in Ezekiel 38-39, we actually line up almost perfectly on that subject.
The Valley of Dry Bones
Vic Batista: Nathan, maybe someone is new to the subject of the Gog-Magog War. What exactly is going on here in Ezekiel 38-39? Take us back a few chapters prior and then move forward in talking to us about this subject.
Nathan Jones: The prophet Ezekiel lived some 2,600 years ago. He was alive during the time when the Jews were first exiled out of the land of Israel and were forced to live in Babylon, which is present-day Iraq. God provided Ezekiel some prophetic hope because he was running low that there was any hope that Israel had a future. And so, God gave Ezekiel a prophecy in Ezekiel 36 & 37 about Israel becoming a nation once more. That's not just referring to one more return to Israel, but Israel becoming a nation of its own after a second regathering. Ezekiel lived during the first expulsion. Then in 70 AD the Romans dispersed the Jews again to the four corners of the earth.
The Jews today can look back on that prophecy and they can see what is called "The Valley of Dry Bones." This vision was given to Ezekiel by God who showed him all of these bones that had dried out and were dead in the middle of a great valley. All of the sudden, the bones were brought back together and they were given life. The bones became encompassed by the sinews, and the tendons, and the muscles and the skin. The reconstituted bones reform into a whole nation, which Ezekiel calls an army. It's a nation that has come back to life again.
True to this prophecy, Israel became a nation again. It's one of the most amazing prophecies in all the Bible because we are seeing it being fulfilled in our day. The dead bones of Israel reconstituted into a living nation once more in 1948. After nearly 1,900 years of not existing, Israel is now back on the world stage as a nation once more.
Naming the War
Nathan Jones: That background set us up for the discussion of following prophecy foretold in Ezekiel 38-39. It involves a tremendous battle where Israel has to stand against some tremendous forces. As a matter of fact, this battle is the most detailed end time Bible prophecy in the entire Bible, even more detailed than Armageddon. We are given two whole chapters dedicated to describing this great war that Israel must face in likely the near future.
Vic Batista: I love details because details really help us to put the prophetic puzzle pieces together. That's why I find that individuals become Bible prophecy students, because there is so much in the Bible for them to learn. Sadly, some people think they could never grasp the topic of Bible prophecy, or they just can't understand it, but that's not true, right?
Nathan Jones: Yes, and there is some difficulty in the study because Bible prophecy tends to be littered throughout the Bible. You have to go and collect it. It's kind of like going to the market and picking up different vegetables. You gather and put the vegetables together with a little meat and then you cook make a meal.
That is kind of what you have to do with Bible prophecy. Prophecies are littered throughout the Bible, so you have to get into the text and collect them and organize them and see what the Bible is saying about them. Then you can kind of visualize what the end product will be, or what the meal will be finally, so to speak. But, with Ezekiel 38-39, we get the full course meal already detailed and ready made.
The Valley of Dry Bones sets us up to understand that after Israel is reborn, there will follow a tremendous war that Israel is going to have to face. This regathering as a nation again we have seen in our age, so we are living right now in that time period where Ezekiel 38-39 could break out.
As we discuss these chapters, I think more prophecy will be revealed. Even now we are seeing different alliances in the world being formed that were never there before, and those set up the prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39.
I am going to give this prophetic war the title of the Gog & Magog War. There is no name for it in the Bible, but it is generally called by biblical scholars the Gog & Magog War. So, let's give the war the title of the Gog & Magog War for easy reference sake.
Vic Batista: Yes, I really appreciate that.
In the second segment of our study of the Gog & Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, Vic and I will look at the timing clues and players found in Ezekiel 38:1-6.