With middle east peace talks becoming the headlines of world news over the last few weeks the world’s focus on the state of Israel is renewed. With the recent push for a Palestinian state at recent UN meetings we see the words of Bible prophecy slowly being fulfilled.
A year ago world leaders condemned Israel for their attack on a Turkish “aid” Flotilla headed for Gaza, which left 12 people dead. This looked to be an obvious first step in the fulfillment of one of the most important prophecies yet to be fulfilled in the bible. This prophecy is found in Ezekiel 38 – a prophecy that documents the events prior to the return of Christ. Ezekiel 38 speaks of a confederacy of nations let by a leader named Gog, who is of the land of Magog. While these names sound odd and almost fictional, ancient maps and historians such as Josephus position the places listed in Ezekiel 38 as the inhabitants north of the black sea. Maps dating back to the 1600’s mark Magog in the area above Mongolia. The Christadelphians have always viewed this land of Magog as Russia and some of the joining territory.
The prophecy begins:
1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, 3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: 4 And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: 5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: 6 Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.
We see from these few verses that Gog and his allies are unified in battle. These allies are “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya” along with Gomer which forms the area of Turkey and Togarmah refers to the area above the black sea (modern Russia). But who are they attacking?
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.
There can be no mistaking that the ‘Gogian’ confederacy is invading modern Israel in this prophecy. The statement “gathered out of many nations” is one that can only be used of modern Israel, as it’s jewish inhabitants were scattered throughout the entire world for 2000 years before returning to the land after the second world war.
But what is very interesting is the reference to the nation dwelling in peace and safety. This idea “peace and safety” occurs in verses 8 as well as verse 11 which says “And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates”. Israel is of course a land of bars and gates. It remains to be seen how these will be removed for this prophecy to be fulfilled.
The title for this article is “God’s purpose with Israel” and so often God’s plan eludes mans thought. As the UN tries to put together their idea of what the land of Israel should look like, and debate over who owns it they oblivious to the words of scripture which indicate that the land of Israel is God’s land. However they are without excuse because outside of the UN offices in New York there is a statute of a man beating a sword to form it into a plow. The caption under the statute says, “We shall beat our swords into plowshares”, meaning that one day man will have no use for weaponry and will instead convert the implements of war into tools suitable for agriculture. This phrase that sits below the sculpture is taken from the book of Isaiah, chapter 2. However few who attend the UN conferences are aware of the context of this phrase. The context to this phrase is God’s plan with Israel, it reads:
2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’ house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3 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. 4 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.
While we realize that mankind is working to solve the “Israel problem” and bring peace to the middle east, they are but pawns in the hand of God as he works out his purpose with his people Israel. While they have more hardships to face (as seen in our brief look of Ezekiel 38), God has an eternal plan with this special place – which we see unfolding in the news each day.