Monday, November 21, 2011

It's the end of the world as we know it (again): Ezekiel 38 any day now?

***Disclaimer: Though i do my best to be accurate, and ask for God's leading, please don't accept everything i say as truth. I'm just some dummy with a little Bible knowledge and a blog. Rather, go and search the scriptures (Acts 17:10 and 11) to see for yourself what the truth is. My knowledge of Bible prophecy is far from expert level

Please let this bring you closer to Jesus. Be a stepping stone, and not a stumbling block. I don't care if I'm right or wrong, so long as it leads you to search the Bible, and get closer to Jesus Christ, our Messiah.

So, with Palestine seeking statehood, and the mideast seemingly about to erupt in chaos, Iran allegedly making nukes and Israel about to do something about it. Many folks, "prophecy experts", are warning that we're about to see not only the rapture, but the unfolding of the great tribulation and the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38, etc.

But are we?

The world seems pretty much against Israel, true, and there are signs protesting Israel in the most unlikely of places-like New York and London. Someone wrote "avenue Jew" on a wall in New York. Folks are believing the protocols of zion again. A libelous work promoted by Henry Ford (anti-semite, freemason) and disproved LONG, LONG ago.

So, there's a general climate check.

I'm going to get into wild speculation here, probably much of it based on the works of others, but i will do the best to share my own understanding.

First, i do believe there is still much Biblical prophecy to be fulfilled. I believe Lord Jesus Messiah will be returning soon (in the sense that He can come in ten minutes, or ten more years). I have studied Bible prophecy, loosely, for about 15 years and have believed that I will see the end times. I also believe that Revelation and the Bible have somethings yet to fulfill.

That said, the more i see current events, the more i see that Biblical prophecy IS unfolding. Of course i also become more confused on what i think i know, especially given the output of so-called "prophecy experts." Nothing against them mind you. They too see through the same glass darkly, and i believe their contributions are valuable. The belief in prophecy and Christ's imminent return is what helped bring me back from a major backslide. So here's my very crude, and ill researched attempt to unravel what i think is a hot and convoluted topic. Ezekiel 37, 38 and 39, and is it on the horizon.

Regardless, we must always be ready to stand before Jesus Christ, whether it be at His return, or our death.

The reason i bring this up is that Ezekiel 38 comes up alot in prophecy circles, and it sometimes seems that some think this is the very next thing on God's clock. Some speculate that chapter 37 is fulfilled already with the Jews arriving in the homeland.

This is actually a really old story, about Prime Minister Netanyahu declaring 37 fulfilled. I've heard it elsewhere, but this blog summarizes it nicely.

It's interesting to note that if Netanyahu really believed that, then he shouldn't be worried by threats of attack on Israel, because as I understand these 3 chapters, God keeps Israel safe anyways. Note also, that he points out that the key is a strong, militarized Israel, and not reliance on God's power. Reliance upon God (in my mind) might be a more secure option. And when did a prime minister become an expert on Bible prophecy?

At any rate let's see if Ezekiel 37 is actually fulfilled and if so, is Ezekiel 38 and 39 on the way?

Enough of my prattle. Here's the passages...thanks to Blue Letter Bible. You guys rock!

Ezekiel 36 - 38

Ezekiel 36 (for context)

Also, thou son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD:

Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession:

Therefore prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because they have made [you] desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession unto the residue of the heathen, and ye are taken up in the lips of talkers, and [are] an infamy of the people:

Therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen that [are] round about;

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all [their] heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey.

Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the heathen:

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the heathen that [are] about you, they shall bear their shame.

But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come.

For, behold, I [am] for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown:

And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, [even] all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded:

And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better [unto you] than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.

Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, [even] my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them [of men].

Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because they say unto you, Thou [land] devourest up men, and hast bereaved thy nations;

Therefore thou shalt devour men no more, neither bereave thy nations any more, saith the Lord GOD.

Neither will I cause [men] to hear in thee the shame of the heathen any more, neither shalt thou bear the reproach of the people any more, neither shalt thou cause thy nations to fall any more, saith the Lord GOD.

Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman.

Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols [wherewith] they had polluted it:

And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them.

And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These [are] the people of the LORD, and are gone forth out of his land.

But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.

Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not [this] for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.

And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I [am] the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.

For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do [them].

And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.

And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.

Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that [were] not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.

Not for your sakes do I [this], saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.

Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause [you] to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded.

And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by.
And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities [are become] fenced, [and] are inhabited.

Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined [places, and] plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken [it], and I will do [it].

Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet [for] this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do [it] for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.

As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.

End Ezekiel 36

Ezekiel 37
The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which [was] full of bones,

And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, [there were] very many in the open valley; and, lo, [they were] very dry.

And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.

Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.

Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:

And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.

So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.

And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but [there was] no breath in them.

Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.

So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.

Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

And ye shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,

And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken [it], and performed [it], saith the LORD.

The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,

Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and [for] all the house of Israel his companions:

And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.

And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou [meanest] by these?

Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which [is] in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, [even] with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.

And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.

And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:

And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:

Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.

And David my servant [shall be] king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.

And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, [even] they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David [shall be] their prince for ever.

Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.

My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

***End Ezekiel 37***

So, i don't have huge problems with 36 or 37 EXCEPT the part where it says God's will have a new spirit. The Jewish people, at this time, and by my understanding, do not yet have this new Spirit, which i believe to be a reference to God, the Holy Spirit.

We Christians do, and we are God's people by adoption (Romans 11) but as I understand Romans 11, tells us that we gentiles have access to salvation (to become God's people) through Jesus Christ. And that ALL OF ISRAEL will one day be saved (v 25 and 26) after the fulness of the gentiles.

So, Jews, at the moment, do not have this Spirit yet, and won't until all of us alloted gentiles are saved. Then, when they become saved, i believe that God will give them His Spirit, and also write His laws upon their hearts.

Netanyu says 37 is fulfilled because the Jews are back in the homeland. He's on the right track. The Jews are there, but not all of the Jews certainly. And as i understand it, the government of Israel is secular, so not even close to having a new Spirit.

Also note the last verse. The heathen (that's you and i and others) will acknowledge that God, has set Israel apart. I don't know abou you, but I don't see this right now, in fact the opposite is the more prevalent viewpoint. Some want to wipe Israel off the map.

Despite this lack of complete fulfillment of 37, i do recognize Israel's right to exist as a country, and believe that God may be moving them towards this fulfillment.

Now to the meat.


Ezekiel 38

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,

And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:

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:

Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:

Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: [and] many people with thee.

Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.

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.

Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.

Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, [that] at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:

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,

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.

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?

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]?

And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army:

And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.

Thus saith the Lord GOD; [Art] thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days [many] years that I would bring thee against them?

And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, [that] my fury shall come up in my face.

For in my jealousy [and] in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;

So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that [are] upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.

And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother.

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.

Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.

***End Ezekiel 38***

Revelation 20

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection.

Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom [is] as the sand of the sea.

And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [are], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

***End Revelation 20***

I'm speculating here. Some folks say that Ezekiel 38 isn't fulfilled until AFTER the Millenial reign of Christ. I think this makes sense, especially since (unless i'm taking things out of context) Revelation 20 seems to parallel Ezekiel 38.

This would make sense if Revelation outlines the Great Tribulation, which most of us Christians think we'll escape through the Rapture and that the Tribulation will lead the Jews to accept Jesus as Messiah.

Again, this is all my understanding, based on the work of others, and what i understand from God's Word.

Of course, some good evidence is out there that Psalm 83 is a prophesy, and that it precedes the whole Ezekiel situation. I could buy that, but haven't done much homework there.

For those who are interested, Chuck Missler recently had a series that outlines all this. We're more or less on the same page, though i really think i need to go back into it all again and double check.

So, based on my understanding of the famous Ezekiel prophecies, i don't believe they are on the horizon. Ezekiel 38, in my understanding of scripture is after the Millenial Rule of Christ. Even 37 isn't fulfilled as there are a number of things missing.

One theory i have, is that "They" or Satan want people to think Ezekiel 38 is coming up, and then after the dust settles, "They" will present their false messiah, the Mahdi and or the Antichrist. This is a scenario, IMO.

Whatever the case, events are heating up, and I think there is going to be some acceleration of events, and we may see some prophetic events unfold.

Whatever the case, we need to have urgency in sharing the Gospel, and we need to do our best to get right with God and submit ourselves to Him. We need to be ready to meet Him in the Rapture (soon? Or later on?) or if we meet an unfortunate event and see Him much sooner.

No matter what happens prophetically or not in current events, we will still need to give an account of ourselves before Christ. He saved us, if we accept it, but did we do everything we could to share the Good news with others?

Update 11-23-2011

So, along these lines, Chris White of Revelations Radio just addressed this as well. And there was no collusion between us. He does take a similar stance to me, but I would have linked it even if he disagreed with me. So here it is, a better summary of what I said above. It's about halfway through the show.

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