Israel will be wealthy and at peace
In brief, I believe the Bible, in Ezekiel 38-39, in the context of the pretribulation rapture, teaches that Israel will become wealthy and dwell in peace before they are massively attacked by their enemies from the north (Russia & Arab nations) at the start of the tribulation and when the rapture happens. This peace and prosperity for Israel cannot be fulfilled during the millennium, because this peace is followed by an attack, and there is no war during the millennium. For this prophecy of the peace and wealth of Israel to be fulfilled, it must be fulfilled before the end time comes, in our day, and it appears as if Israel’s Arab enemies must be temporarily vanquished. Before the terrorist attacks on America, I was unsure how Israel’s enemies might be conquered. In today’s world, Israel does not appear to be living in peace as described in Ezekiel 38. Before the Attack on America, it looked like Israel could never experience peace, since they remain under constant attack and threat of attack from the Arab world. And thus, I was slightly unsure that I should understand Ezekiel 38 so literally. But now, it looks like the start of World War III, with even Russia and China making statements against the terrorist attacks that originated from religious Islamic fundamentalism. I don’t think these suicide terrorists were a radical crazy cowards, I believe they were being true to the words of their holy book, the Koran.
“Those who say the Lord of mercy has begotten a Son preach a monstrous falsehood, at which the very heavens might crack, the earth break asunder, and the mountains crumble to dust. That they should ascribe a Son to the merciful, when it did not become Him to beget on” Koran 19:88
“Those that make war against Allah and his apostle and spread disorders in the land shall be put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the country.” Koran 5:33
“It is not for any prophet to have prisoners until he has made wide slaughter in the land” Koran 8:68
“Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal sternly with them. Hell shall be their home, evil their fate” Koran 66:9
Now may well be the beginning of the world’s fight against the Muslim/Islamic/Arab nations, whose Holy Jihad against the Jews and Christians must be restrained in order for Israel to live in the peace and safety that the Holy Bible says must come before the end.
11 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,
12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.
13 Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?
14 Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it?
How will Israel ever be at peace, and "dwelleth safely" (prior to being attacked in the battle that starts the Day of the Lord) unless her enemies today are destroyed, or at least intimidated enough so that they would stop their Jihad long enough for Ezekiel 38 to be fulfilled?
The following New Testament verse of "peace and safety" has been quoted often. Some interpreteres note they are only "saying" peace and safety, and thus, actual peace and safety may not be a precursor just before the end. Nevertheless, I do not believe Paul was inventing doctrine in 1 Thessalonians, I believe he was preaching out of the Old Testament, as was his manner, as recorded in Acts 17:2. Further, Paul notes "for you yourselves know perfectly". I think the only thing they could "know perfectly" is something found in their Hebrew Scriptures. Note, in Ezekiel 38, they are also "saying" peace and safety. And if Paul did not have Ezekiel 38 in view, then what other Old Testament passage is he talking about?
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
Before I get into the details of these prophecies, I want to address the subject of death.
Christians should not cry over those who have died in Christ; there is the hope of the resurrection.
Acts 24:15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
1 Thessalonians 4:13:18
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
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.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
I have spent years examining this event of the resurrection and rapture "catching up" (1 Thess 4:17) of the righteous, examining who it will include and when it will happen, and in what context and purpose. This site gives hundreds of Bible verses in many articles showing that this event of the rapture will happen at the start of the seven year tribulation; this is a basic prophetic belief that is central to many Christian fundamentalists.
The timing of the event in Ezekiel 38 is less agreed upon than the timing of the rapture, which is also much debated. However, I would estimate that about 50% of people who believe in the pretribulation rapture, would also agree that the timing of the Gog, Magog war of Ezekiel 38 is most likely the beginning of the tribulation, at the same time as the rapture. Some people place the events of Ezekiel 38 as taking place during the first part of the tribulation, when the antichrist makes a peace treaty with Israel (Dan 9:27, Isaiah 28:15,18), and thus identify the peace described in Ezekiel 38 as that peace with the antichrist. It appears as if this "peace = peace" identification is the only reason to place the timing of Ezekiel 38 during the tribulation. But I believe it makes far more logical sense to place the events of Ezekiel 38 right at the start of the tribulation, happening at the same time as the rapture, and there are many reasons, and more compelling reasons, to do so.
1. The Gog / Magog war in Ezekiel 38 is followed by a period of burning weapons for seven years.
Ezekiel 39:9 And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years:
If we are locating this event in time based on matching up similar events, such as "this peace must be that peace", then such type of reasoning should also support the idea that "this seven years of burning weapons must be that seven years of the tribulation". Matching up the two periods of seven years makes far more sense, in that you would first have a time of peace, broken by the Gog & Magog war of Ezekiel 38 at the start of the tribulation, a war which begins and ends suddenly, followed by the peace deal with the antichrist.
2. The Gog & Magog war ends with the fire of God consuming Israel’s enemies.
Ezekiel 38:22 And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
Ezekiel 39:6 And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
The supernatural destruction at the end of the Magog war could easily appear to the world as the destruction of the wicked at Armageddon. Even in scripture, it is difficult to tell the two events apart as they are worded nearly the same, and many scholars believe that this event is Armageddon. But there is a key difference. In Ezekiel 38:3-7, 15, this war involves specific nations, the Arab nations and Russia, or the people of the north, but in Armageddon, the "whole world" is gathered together, Rev 16:14.
The key point is that this Gog, Magog war appears as Armageddon. The antichrist will need this similarity as a point of deception to be able to credibly tell people that the end of the world has just gone by, and that he is God, come back to rule the world. Most of the entire world is aware that the destruction of Armageddon is coming as God returns. Nobody would believe Satan’s claims to be God unless it was in a "post-Armageddon" setting. This is why there needs to be a conflict that appears to be Armageddon at the start of the tribulation.
One of Satan’s, or the antichrist’s, or beast’s, wonders is the power to make fire come down from heaven.
Revelation 13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
Why would it be necessary for Satan to demonstrate this power? To be able to deceive men. Satan has to be able to convincingly lie and claim responsibility for the fire of God which just devoured Israel’s enemies at the start of the tribulation.
2 Thessalonians 2:9 "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,"
There are more reasons why the Gog / Magog war will most likely and most appropriately take place at the start of the tribulation, and those reasons are listed in my article on the end times deception.
Getting back to current events, and attempting to understand the current Attack on America. The Bible in Ezekiel 38 clearly says that Israel will at one time be at peace, and will be wealthy enough to cause the nations of the north to want to attack her to take a spoil. Today, Israel is NOT living in peace, and does not appear to be nearly wealthy enough to inspire the Gog, Magog attack. It appears that a World War III, where the Islamic nations suffer a major defeat, could change the conditions of today so that conditions line up with those described in Ezekiel 38.
The Bible clearly predicts the utter ruin of Islamic strongholds. I’m much less sure of when the following scriptures will be fulfilled; whether these will come before the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38, or after it, or as a part of the supernatural destruction from God.
Isaiah 17:1 The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.
Ezekiel 29:9 And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the LORD: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it.
Ezekiel 29:10 Behold, therefore I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia.
Joel 3:19 Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.
The other main reason why I feel that the Islamic nations will soon suffer a smashing defeat, is that in the end times, Christians and Jews will be persecuted by the world.
Rev 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Rev 13:7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
Although many people feel that the world today is already attacking fundamentalist Christians and that the world wants to drive Israel into the sea, I don’t think things are nearly as bad for Christians as they are going to get. I just don’t see the possibility of waking up tomorrow and finding my American neighbors wanting to behead me (Revelation 20:4 "...beheaded for the witness of Jesus..."), nor do I see them ready to do this within the next 3-7 years. I don’t think the world is bloodthirsty enough for that yet, nor yet deceived enough to think that beheading Christian fundamentalists would be doing the work of God.
John 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
America is really in a strange place right now concerning her Christian identity. As long as America is so confused about its Christian identity, it is hard to imagine the majority of Americans desiring to kill Christian fundamentalists. We Christians may be losing the culture war, but we have not lost it yet.
However, if the "so-called self-professed Christian" United States brutally smashes the Arab nations with Israel’s assistance so that Israel is able to live in peace and become abundantly wealthy, that could well create a world wide backlash against Christianity and Judaism so that these two religions become as hated as the Nazis... Thus, a world war upon the Arab world could be the exact thing to set up the scenario for the end times.
The Holy Scriptures teach that the nations, who war against Jerusalem, will be destroyed. (Zech 12:9, see below.) Prior to the Attack on America, it was more difficult to see when these nations would see their demise, whether their demise would happen as a part of the 7 year tribulation, before it, or at the end of it.
Zechariah 12:2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
Zechariah 12:6 In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.
Zechariah 12:9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
Perhaps God allowed the attack on America to happen ito seek to destroy Israel’s enemies, by dragging us into the conflict. The entire point of Daniel chapter 4, which is repeated three times, is that God rules in the kingdoms of men, and raises up nations (to do his battles).
Daniel 4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.
Daniel 4:25 That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:
35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
There is one last issue I would like comment on:
We have the God-given right and obligation to defend ourselves.
Ex 22:2 If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him.
Mat 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Luke 22:36 Then said He unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
Luke 22:38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.
1Tim 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
I assume that to "provide for his own" would include providing for self defense, as that was what was expected of the Jewish people, and Jesus’ disciples when he was led away to his death.
See also the book of Esther. The Jewish people defended themselves against a law that said they could be attacked.
The passengers on the airplanes that were hijacked should have been able to take more personal responsibility to fight onboard against the terrorists. The passengers of the plane which was downed in Philadelphia fought back, and are heroes, but everyone should be capable of such heroics. I think banning weapons in the sky is absolutely the wrong approach to the problem of terrorism. More passengers, or all passengers, should be armed with guns or short swords so that terrorists cannot take us hostage in the air. Searching luggage is not the answer. In prison, the most controlled population imaginable, inmates still have access to knives, or they can make their own. A terrorist on a plane could still hide a shank in his boot sole or belt buckle. And knives, anyway, are not needed to take control... could the average person successfully defeat in hand-to-hand combat someone who is 6’6", a muscular 230 lbs., and has already dispatched a pilot or two with a deadly martial arts move? Probably not. Should we ban big and strong looking men? Of course not!!! Weapons are the great equalizer for battle, and there’s a reason why the colt .45 was called the "peacemaker".
It’s just basic common sense, and fully in accord with Biblical principles to defend yourself, and there’s no reason to give in to terrorism in the first place, by creating a situation where everyone is disarmed and afraid and/or unable to act in self defense. I say, let the crazies get on the plane, but let them die as hundreds of heroic Americans rush upon them with weapons the moment they threaten the first stewardess. There would be no need for sky marshals or luggage checks (which violate the 4th amendment against unreasonable searches) and gun/knife bans (which violate the second amendment) if people took responsibility for their own safety and self defense, and did not delegate this responsibility the the airlines and government.
I would love to see a private airline issue a statement that it would not do luggage checks and weapon bans. They might be able to get away with this if, for example, their ticket contained a contract that said that the passenger would RETAIN their right and responsibility for their own self defense. I would feel much safer onboard a plane with my fellow Americans who were armed to the teeth than I would among people who had been disarmed and searched and made to feel helpless, and rendered helpless. Unfortunately, the government has not protected us, it has emasculated us and weakened us with their insane regulations. Gun control does not work to stop crime, and it has never worked to stop crime, and it never will work.
Gun free zones in schools are also a problem for the same reason. The would-be killer knows he has a better chance at a school where nobody else is armed. If anything, teachers should be carrying guns, and know how to use them. That would deter school shootings, and it HAS stopped school shootings. Arming the teachers was the exact approach which was taken in Israel, when they had problems with terrorists in their schools in the 1970’s, and it worked.
They say the price of freedom is vigilance. And it’s not the vigilance to do luggage checks, it the determination to never give up the freedom that God has given us in the first place!
The Bible teaches us that God will bless those who bless the Jews. Long live Israel! Pray for the Peace of Israel!
Genesis 12:3: below, was written to Abraham, the father of Isaac who inherited this blessing, the father of Israel who inherited this blessing:
Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.