Are You Concerned About the Future?

Ezekiel 38-39

Introduction

    We are in the middle of a fascinating study on End Times prophecy

o      We have been having a great time here on Sunday nights

o      Pastor Rob will be back next week

    In his absence, he has asked me to teach out of Ezekiel 38-39

o      Why dont you open to that passage and when it you get it, lets stand together. just verses 1-2

I want to divide up our study tonight into four parts, four questions that I hope we can answer as we go through the text

    Why are we studying this tonight?

    What is going to happen?

    Why does God allow this to take place?

    What should our response be to it?

o      Lets take the first one.

Why are we study this passage tonight?

    one reason I believe this passage is so important for us to get a handle on, is it very well maybe the next major development in Biblical prophecy to take place

o      in the High school group on Sunday Mornings we are looking at the book of Revelation

o      It is really fun to discover all these different things

       But for all intents and purposes we will never see them come to pass

I plan on being in heaven when Anti-Christ is ruling fire coming down in judgment

But that may not be the case for the events that we are going to study tonight.

    As pastor Rob shared last week, it is very probable the next two things that will happen on earth, that we have been told about in prophecy is the Rapture, and the battle of Ezekiel 38-39

o      In fact what the world may use as a reason to explain away the rapture may be found in the passage we are about to cover.

So, #1 We are studying this passage because it may be the next major event to happen on planet earth

    making it very applicable to us and interesting to study

And #2 It is the Word of the Lord

    What we are looking at tonight is much more than mans opinion or ideas

o      It is much more important than history books or books of poetry we may read

       I know your respect and reverence for this book will increase tonight

God has spoken these events and they will come to pass

    How can I be so sure???

o      Simply because of what precedes these chapters

o      This is critical to understand as we get into our study

    Ezekiel 38-39 are preceded by Ezekiel 36-37

o      That is usually the way it works

    But Ezekiel 36-37 contain an amazing prophecy which sets up our study tonight

o      It is your grandparents or great grandparents prophecy

o      It speaks of the rebirth of the nation of Israel.

       God calls the dry bones and bring life to them again

       God for saw this amazing event long before it took place.

Long after Ezekiel wrote Ezekiel, Israel was destroyed as a nation

    70 AD Titus Vespagen rolls into Jerusalem and conquers the city

o      Israel is destroyed as a nation just as Jesus said would happen.

o      And the Jews spread all over the world

       In fact more Jews living in New York city than in the Middle East at the beginning of last century

       Their language was all but forgotten and their homeland over run by others

Scholars would look at the passages in Ezekiel 36-37 and others like it, and laugh

    No nation has ever come back from extinction

o      It has never happened before, how could this be true

But on May 14th, 19948 the Nation of Israel was reborn. David Ben Gurion, quoting this passage, spoke of God bringing back the bones that were dead to life

    And when you look at it the passage goes even further than to speak of simply the rebirth of the nation of Israel

o      It speaks of fruit growing like wild in the land

o      And that too was a ridiculous prophecy when Israel first moved back in

       The nation was a barren wasteland

    But through rebuilding, reforestation projects

o      We see it how it is today a nation only 1/3 the size of San Bernardino County and yet it is the 4th largest exporter of fruit in the world

Ezekiel 36-37 was fulfilled amazing How did Ezekiel know???

    How did he figure out something that would happen 2,500 years after he would die??

The reason is this book we have here

    is more than mans thoughts and wisdom

o      This is the Word of the Lord

    And just as the things in Ezekiel 36-37 have come to pass

o      So will the event we will study tonight

It is the word of the Lord

    This is more than mans ideas or wisdom

o      This is what God wants to say to us tonight on February 10th, 2002

        And thought it is a lesson in Biblical prophecy it is much more than that

       It is Gods heart toward you and me

o      So lets give this passage special attention

    I know your respect and reverence for this book will increase tonight

So that is why we are studying this, next

What does the passage say? verses 1-4

    We are first introduced to the villain, the enemy

o      It is identified as Gog of the land of Magog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal

o      Now who is the world is this???

       And why use such wired names

    The reasons God had Ezekiel use such weird names is not, (as some would think) so you wouldnt be able to understand the passage

o      But that so many for many generations would be able to understand what God was trying to say

Names change we change the name of stuff all the time

    The city of Petrograd, was renamed St. Petersburg, then it was changed to Leningrad, then they changed it back to St. Petersburg again

o      Byzantium changed to Constantinople, now its know as Istanbul

o      Who knows what the artists formally know as Prince is named now

We change the name of things

    but we dont change the name of our ancestors

o      and so the Lord here in Ezekiel is using ancient names for nations and people we will know in the end times

    So who is Magog, Meshech, and Tubal

o      One of the worlds earliest historian Hesid identifies Magog as the father of the Scythians

o      Josephus a Jewish Historian living around the time of Christ, back this up as he writes..

Magog founded the Magogians, who were by the Greeks called Scythians. Who settled north of the Caucus Mountains

    Encyclopedia Britannica refers to the Scythians as the forbearers of the Russian people

o      North of the Caucus mountains is the area known today as Russia

The Great Wall of China was once called Sud Yagog et Mog the rampart of Gog and Magog it was built to keep those from Magog out.

    Later in the passage we are studying, it will refers to these people as those who are from the far north

o      Now if you take a ruler and look far north of Israel, you dont come to Europe or South America you end up in the former Soviet Union

Other evidence comes from the words Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal

     Rosh from the same root as Rus (also spelled Ros) which is the name of the indigenous Slavs of the southern part of what is today Russia in fact Russia took her name from this root (Ros)

     The tribes of Meshech and Tubal eventually settle in what is today Turkey, but their some of them may have settled and give their name to major Russian cities of Moscow and Tubolsk

o       Our evidence is not based on this, but the previous info

The Best scholarship points to Magog being what is now known as Russia

    This is not a new interpretation of this passage

o      Walter Scott wrote in 1888

Russia is evidently destined to become the master of Asia, her frontier line will grow to 5,000 miles in length. It would seem as though the Russian policy will be one of steady aggression, not only in Europe but also in Asia. She will become the most ambitious and grasping of modern kingdoms, the most faithless of in public honor and treaty engagements. This is the character described to her in these prophetic scriptures! Coupled with her frequent outbreaks of undisputed and disastrous hostility to the things of God and in the more awful future exhibit, Russia is cast in a most unfavorable light scriptually.

    these things were written not by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, but by Walter Scott in the 1880s when Russia was a farming power in the north parts of Asia.

o      So I believe we are on solid ground as interpret Magog to be what is today Russia

And the Bible says that this nation will be drawn into a conflict with Israel

    They come to battle for a reason, they will be drawn into it

o      As Ezekiel says, they will have hooks in their jaws

o      What those hooks will be we will look at in a minute

    But I want you to understand they are coming!

o      And I also want you to see they are not coming alone

Verse 5 6

    We will not go into as much detail with the supporting cast of nations

o      If you are interested Chuck Missler has a book The Magog Invasion this is a well researched and documented book

So who are these other nations?

    Persia = Iran

o      Iran was called Persia well into last century

o      Not until WWII was in known as Iran officially

       Easy enough

    Cush or your Bible might say Ethiopia

o      Cush was known as the region settled south of Egypt what is now Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia

o      I find the Sudan part of that area very interesting

    Put or Libya in some translations

o      The area settled in North Africa

o      Libya is a good translation for today

    Gormer

o      Babylonian Talmud states Gormer is the father of those in Germania

       Not is the sense of this Germany but those group of people who used to make up the Germanic Tribes

       A nation somewhere in Eastern Europe

    Togarmah

o      Armenians still refer to themselves as the house of Togarmah

o      These Old tribes settled in what is today Turkey

       Which is also probably the best historical understanding to Meshech and Tubal as well

So we have Iran, Sudan or one those nations directly south of Egypt, Libya, a Eastern European or Baltic nation, as well as Turkey led by mother Russia in an invasion of poor little Israel

    well we will see what happens in a minute

o      but did you notice these not only are these nations supplied by Russia currently

o      But this is a genuine Islamic coalition

It may be that Russias former satellite countries who are nuclear armed and very Islamic might be the hooks in the Jaws, that draws, as well as the benefit of oil, Russia into a conflict it might not really want

    I find it interesting that not to long ago, seeing America as a friend of Israel, the PLO going to Putin for help.

o      The stage is being set, the time is near

Verses 7-13

    We see in these verses the stage being set

o      Verse seven talking about a process of time, bringing this to pass

It is amazing to me to look out at the world today and see God setting the scene for these events

    For many years critics have wondered what could possible influence the Soviet Union so huge, so powerful how could they be drawn into anything

o      Now we have seen the fall of the Soviet Union, and a nation in shambles, being led about in many various directions

    We see the unrest with between Israel, the PLO, and all of the Islamic world wanting to deal with the Jewish problem

o      Even going to Russia for help

    We see Turkey as a nation wanting so bad to leave its Islamic roots behind and become secular

o      But then being rejected by the EEC to be a member nation

o      And the resurge there of Islamic control

God is setting the scene

    in verse 8 we read it is during the latter years

o      this is not a prophecy that has been fulfilled by the Romans this is prophecy for the end time

    In verse 9 we read it happens when Israel is back in the land

o      This prophecy could not have taken place in 1948

God is setting the scene

    In verse 11 we see these nations come against un-walled villages

o      Something uncommon in Ezekiels day, but today in our time there are very few walled cities

    Also in verse 11 and again in verse 14, it speaks of Israel at this time, dwelling safely

o      Understand this is speaking about a frame of mind

o      Israel today thinks it can handle itself

God is setting the scene

    even to the point of who is not involved mentioned in verse 13

o      Sheba and Dedan Merchants of Tarshish these nations are not involved but instead say, no, no what are you doing, is wrong but do nothing about it

    Who are these people???

o      Sheba and Dedan are those who settled in modern day Saudi Arabia

o      Tarshish without going into much detail is most of Western Europe Maybe even specially Great Britain

       One of the main things we know about Tarshish from history is it was an excellent source of tin. Just as with England, Great Britain

       Which brings up interesting sidelines of who are the young lions of Tarshish. Is that a reference to United States, Canada, and or Australia I dont know have fun!!!

Now think about that

    2,500 years ago, Ezekiel looks out into the future and sees this invasion of Israel and in just who he mentions isnt involved is amazing

 

Saudi Arabia the one middle eastern nation friendly to the west is not involved

Western Europe and those that came from her strangely not involved

    I also find it is interesting Egypt is not involved with their current treaties with Israel not to attack if not attacked

    I find it interesting the Iraq, ancient Babylon is not mentioned

o      Though they could be lumped in with Persia (Iran) what if they are off the scene or politically different minded as you read the current newspaper will we do to them what was done in Afghanistan I dont know???

I find it interesting who is not at war with Israel

    God looks into the future and sees modern day treaties

o      He sees the nations that would come together under jihad or holy war

o      He sees those that would choose not to be involved

    I dont know why it would surprise me this is the Word of the Lord

o      And it will come to pass

God is simply right now setting the scene bringing the pieces together.

    and as it all comes together before our eyes

o      there will come a day, as it says in verse 10 these nations will think up an evil plan

o      Lets destroy the Jewish people

    It was the evil thought given to Greek commander Antiochus Epiphyses as he march on Jerusalem

o      And he failed

    It was the evil thought that plagued Hitler

o      And he failed

And so will this army lets see what happens

Verses 14-17

    These nations come down from the far north

o      Another picture of Russia

    They are ridding on horses

o      Now the Hebrew word means leaper and though it is usually translated horse it is also translated chariot rider or we would say tank

    Those it is possible, dont be too quick to discount horses

o      Did you know that Russia has the largest cavalry in the world I thought that was Costa Mesa no not Calvary, cavalry

       As in horses 200,000 trained horses

o      No body used horses anymore yes they do

       In Korean war 5,000 troops were carried by horse to avoid radar contact

       They are still considered the most valuable way to transport troops by Military strategist through mountainous and rocky terrain.

So they come it tanks Maybe

    Horses maybe

o      The point is they come against the little nation

o      This whole collation against this small people

       All hope would be lost except God steps in

Verses 18-23

    God is going to show His fury

o      He is one person I would not want mad

o      Like when you were a little kid, the last person I wanted mad was my Mom. My sister, people at school maybe But not my Mom because she could bring it

    Now I cant even imagine God mad

o      But He is, and He judges these nation in 3 ways

 

#1 Judgment from the earth

    A great earth quake occurs

o      There are three areas know as danger zones in the world for eminent large quakes

       San Francisco needs one

       Tokyo

       Israel a 250 percent increase.

    Well it going to happen

o      And when it does confusion breaks out in the armies and the next judgment comes upon the invading nations as we read in the verses

#2 Judgment from within

    When things are halted by a huge earthquake, these countries start fighting each other

o      It is very similar to what happened in the Book of Judges to the Midianites

o      They outnumbered Israel 450 to 1. And yet God commanded these 300 to take torches and put them under clay pots, and then break the pots and shout

       As they did the Midianties thought they were out numbered and they started to hack away at anything in sight, themselves

       God had the victory

    So too this will happen again

# 3- Judgment from the sky

    flooding rain, hail fire, brimstone

o      the sky is latterly going to be falling for this invading army

o      As God intervenes and causes the greatest upset in Military history

 

 

 

 

God amplifies what is going to happen in chapter 39, just few verses from this chapter

Verses 1-16

    God destroys Magog and her allies

o      With earthquake, internal fighting, and fire from the sky

    Then Israel takes the weapons that Magog has used and the use them for power for seven years

Now some people have problems with the passage we have just read

#1 are these people really fighting with bows and arrows

    I mean I can kind of see why they would use horses if Ezekiel isnt speaking of tanks

o      But it is a little hard for me to believe that modern military men would use bows and arrows

    I understand and I think though it may not be true with the word referring to the horses, when it comes to these weapons of warfare mentioned in verse 9, we need to look closer at their meanings

The word translated sword is Keh-rev

    it literally means destructive instrument

o      a sword is a destructive instrument and the translation is great in 1611 when the KJV was translated

o      But today any thing that is a destructive instrument could be put in its place

The word translated arrow is khayts

    it literally means a piercing weapon

o      arrow is great for King James, bullet or missile would be fine today

The word translated bow is key-sheth

    literally weapon launcher

o      it is what is used to launch this piercing weapons

So we see that these weapons they are using could be the modern weapons of warfare we have today.

    but the next question that we should have is how are they able to burn the weapons and have power for 7 years

o      I throw out two ideas for you to think about tonight

#1 An obvious answer is they have nuclear weapons

    That when not detonated can be converted into usable energy with today technology

#2 Another idea I just read about I thought was very interesting

    Terr Apple 20 years ago he developed a substance known as Lingo Stone

o      It is 20 layers of compressed wood

       Stronger and lighter than steel

       Yet very flexible

    This lingo stone can be burned at high temperatures

o      And when it does it gives off more energy than coal

    And Russia is the main investor in this new product

So God provides for His people for 7 years

    by the way this is one of the reason we believe this battle happens before the start of the great Tribulation

o      it seems ridiculous that the nation of Israel would need to rely on burning weapons during the Millennium

o      However we know the Tribulation is seven years long

       Interesting they burn these weapons for 7 years

    When the world is in complete chaos

o      The Jews are taken care of again by God

 

 

What do I believe?? Is it nuclear weapons or lingo stone

    I believe there are nuclear weapons involved

o      At least in the conflict part of the battle

    God sends first down from heaven

o      That might be real God fire, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah

o      Or is might be and Old Testament reference to a Nuclear Exchange

I believe Nuclear weapons are involved somehow because of the description we read about the clean up after the battle

    Clean up obstructs travel

o      It brings the need to cleanse the land

    They used men of regular employment, which is NKJ for professionals to do the clean up

o      They only do the process after seven months, they mark the bones and wait for the professionals to dispose of them

This must have seem strange to people in Ezekiels day

    why would you go through this whole process of clean up

o      even in the not to distant past this seems to be a passage hard to understand

o      But if you have ever read anything on the process to clean up after a nuclear exchange. (I have seen it on the discovery channel.) This passage is right out of the manual

This again amazes me

    God has set this whole seen

o      The alliance of nations

o      Israel back in the land with nuclear missiles and the stomach to use them

    He writes 2,500 years ago these things we see in the Newspaper today

 

So lets wrap this up

    We have seen why we should study this

o      It should be the next major event in Biblical prophecy to take place

    We have seen what happens

o      A collation of what are now Islamic nations, lead by a nation from the North (most say Russia)

o      Come against little Israel and are defeated, not by them, but by the Lord

        Earthquake, internal fighting and fire from the sky

But before we go I want us to ask ourselves two questions

#1 - Why would God allow this to happen

    I think two main reasons

One It is to judge godless nations who have turned their back on him

    Russia has long been an enemy of God, the Islamic religion mocks the God of the Bible and the Christian faith

o      And they have turned in rebellion and we see graphically illustrated for us on the hills of Israel the results of such decisions and life style

    Rebellion against God results in your total destruction

o      You can go your own way for a time, you can do your own thing, make your own plans

o      But eventually you will be destroyed

Two To wake the other nations and primarily Israel to the fact that Yahweh is one true powerful God

    Many nations and Israel in particular is resting on themselves to carry the load of life

o      They have done well in battles of late

       The six day war the Yom Kippur war

o      And now they are pretty confident

You saw it in the tour guide who was here

    The reason Saddam didnt shoot missiles with gas in them at us, was because we have the bomb.

o      That isnt why its because Gods hand of protection is on you!!!

o      And they dont see that many dont see that

So God allows these things to take place as well as the rest of the Great Tribulation for the reason as God says in verse 16 of chapter 38

that the nations may know me.

And again in verse 23 of the same chapter

Then they will know that I am the Lord.

    God is going to wake some people up to realize that trusting in themselves isnt going to cut it

o      They need the Lord God and they need a loving personal relationship with Him

So finally tonight the last question

What should our response be?

    If you are a believer here tonight I hope you are as amazed at the God you serve as I am

o      He knows the future in advance, He has been setting the scene, and the day is coming soon

Jesus speaking to His disciples said, Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.

    When you begin to see the end times events coming together

o      As a believer you are instructed to look up, lift up your head

    As Christians we spend so much time

o      Looking around wow the world

o      Looking down my life is so horrible

It is time we look up, lift up our heads

    my redeemer lives and He is coming to take me home

o      you can keep this world give me Jesus

o      I am going to heaven.

As believer we need to rejoice, and get our eyes off ourselves and our problems

    realize the Lord is coming soon

o      and what can I do to please my master!!!

 

If you are not a believer, if you have not committed your life to Christ

    you need to see this is real

o      that God tells us future in advance

       the nation of Israel back in the land

       This will come to pass too

    You need to see this is real, you need to see the consequences of living for yourself

o      Total destruction The Bible says the effects of sin is death!!!

o      And you know that to be true right now!!!

But the good news

    the gift of God is eternal life though Jesus Christ our Lord

o      God is offering you the gift of salvation

o      You need to wake up see He has been trying to get a hold of your heart and submit to Him