By Dr. Jeffrey Johnson
Dr. Jeffrey Johnson is a humanitarian, author, and sought-after lecturer on Jewish roots and Bible Prophecy. He was a pastor for over 17 years and received his Master’s Degree from Moody Bible Institute and his Doctorate from Louisiana Baptist University. He is a member of the American Society of Church History as well as Evangelical Theological Society. He has authored several books including God Was There, Childhood of Jesus, and Life After Death: What Happens Next? His latest book, The Moses Papers, will be released this fall. For more information visit www.IsraelTodayMinistries.org.
The Arab Spring turns out to be not so “springy.” To bring democracy to basically a nomadic world will be challenging at best. Israel is the only stable democracy in the region.
Let’s look at the facts: you have Hezbollah (Lebanon) in the north with 50,000 rockets aimed at Israel; Hamas (Gaza) launching several thousand rockets into Israel’s border cities in the last few years; Syria, who does not recognize Israel, killing over 100,000 of their own people and just waiting to blame Israel for their problems; Iran, with their evolving nuclear program would use rockets to eradicate the Jewish State; Egypt, whose peace treaty with Israel is faltering; Jordan, also holding a treaty with Israel, is struggling to care for the thousands of refugees fleeing Syria. Then you have Russia, empowering Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah. Quite a mess!
So what does the Bible have to say about all this?
The Prophet Ezekiel gives us a daunting presage of a military campaign. The military advance is set within the context of the prophet foretelling Israel’s rebirth as a nation within the purview of the final years before the cosmic transforming Messianic Kingdom unfolds.
Much of Israel’s rebirth is attested in Ezekiel 36 & 37, and then in 38:1-39:16 the seer describes a coalition that has evil intentions. The first nation listed in the coalition is Persia, 38:5. The first nation listed is always the most influential of the group. Persia is modern-day Iran. The nations in the list are Muslim – and the leader of the coalition comes from the north, “far north” of Israel, Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, 38:2,15. Many theologians today believe this to be a description of Russia.
Motivated by the great power from the “far north,” Persia (Iran) will develop a league of nations to attack Israel, 38:1-7. As you read the prophet’s words you wade through horrible carnage stemmed from natural and supernatural venues. The earth will quake, 38:19; disease and blood, 38:22; fire and brimstone will fall from the sky, 38:22; beasts will eat human bloodied mangled flesh, 39:4; bones, flesh, and special detachments of people to bury bodies and body parts, 39:11-16. The carnage of this war is so terrible that Israel will create a city-sized cemetery, 39:15,16. Sounds to me like the launching of a limited nuclear & chemical war. Israel survives, but at great cost.
From 38:17 to chapter 48 in Ezekiel, you have global peace beginning to unfurl as Messiah comes at the dawn of the Messianic Kingdom. Isaiah’s profoundly hopeful words will begin: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore”(Isaiah 2:4).
Isaiah elaborates on the Kingdom of Messiah, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (11:6, 9). According to the prophet, the Arab-Israeli conflict will finally come to an end.
In fact, Isaiah’s trajectory gives the world an infusion of deep hope. “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. And all those who despised you shall fall prostrate…and they shall call you The City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel” (60:1, 3, 14).
The prophet is saying that nations will be at peace; political, tribal, racial and religious hatred will cease, and the world will call Jerusalem the City of the Lord. The Apostle Paul, echoing Isaiah’s words, stated, “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God…that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Romans 14:11; Isaiah 45:22; Philippians 2:11).
When looking at prophetic themes, one must always look for the hope, the goal, and end result. God always brings hope to the table – at times it seems a long way off – nonetheless, hope arrives.
Are today’s events the beginning of the Sage’s prophecy? Let the readers judge, meanwhile Christians should pray for peace – and when praying be sure to pray as Jesus taught, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.”
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