Now, Contending for the Faith. In this regular feature, Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call. Here’s this week’s question:
“Dear Dave and Tom: My question has to do with Ezekiel:38:8,11. They talk about the invaders (Gog and others) coming against a peaceful people, who dwell safely in unwalled villages. How can these people be living in safety at the end of the Great Tribulation when the entire world has been devastated by plagues and judgments and Antichrist’s true demonic character has been revealed for at least three and a half years? Don’t these verses argue against the case for Armageddon taking place at the end of the Tribulation and support an earlier invasion, even before the peace treaty with the Antichrist? Or couldn’t it be that the invasion begins at the mid-Tribulation point and escalates through the rest of the Tribulation, ending at Armageddon and Christ’s intervention?
Tom: Dave, I’m going to let you go for this one. You seem to be the eye of controversy over this issue wherever we go, Dave.
Dave: First of all, I think we have such compelling reasons why this is Armageddon that we’re going to have to fit any other questions into that framework. Why do I say that? Well, Gog and Magog—we read of Gog and Magog in Revelation:20:8: “And shall go out to deceive the nations,” that is, Satan has just been released from his thousand years, “shall go out to deceive the nations which are the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog.”
So I’m taking that, in Ezekiel 38, when we have that, to mean all the nations of the world. And we get that in Zechariah 14—God says, “I’m going to bring all the nations against Jerusalem to punish them.”
We get that in Joel:3:2—God says, “I am going to punish all the nations of this earth for what they’ve done to my people,” and so forth. So there’s one reason why I think this is all the nations coming against Israel, but there’s no question in the verses that were just cited. Ezekiel:38:8 talks about the latter years. Ezekiel:38:11 says, “It’s a people that are at rest that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls and having neither bars nor gates.”
And then Ezekiel:38:12 says these are the people that are gathered out of the nations. So it’s in the latter days, it’s after the Jews have been brought back into their land from where they have been scattered in God’s judgment.
Tom: Not just Egypt, because of the replacement theologians’ claim.
Dave: Right. And Ezekiel:38:16, we get it again: “It shall be in the latter days, I will bring thee against my land that the heathen may know me.” Okay?
Now why do I say this is Armageddon? Well, it can’t be anything else. Tom, I wish we had more time, but we don’t. But when you get to v. 19, God says, “In that day there will be a shaking in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea, the fowls of the heaven, every creeping thing…” is going to tremble like leaves in the storm. Just tremble. And the middle of verse 20 says, “They will shake at my presence.” So God Himself is coming back to this earth.
Verse 23: “I will be known in the eyes of many nations.” They will know that “I am the Lord.” Okay?
So God is coming to this earth. He’s going to manifest Himself, prove who He is. But who are we talking about here? Well, Zechariah:12:10, “They will look on me…” God says, “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they will mourn because of him.”
Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.” So Christ is returning in the midst of Armageddon to rescue His people, and it’s the destruction of all these nations.
But notice Ezekiel:39:7: “So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel,” now it turns to Israel, “will not let them pollute my holy name any more.” See, this shaking of everything on this earth, this is not a preliminary war like many people say—most of them say, in fact; I’m in the minority. It’s the grand finale, obviously. And Israel, from that time on, will never pollute His holy name again.
Go down to Ezekiel:39:22: “The house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day and forward.”
Go down to v. 29: “I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel.” This is the redemption of Israel. This can’t be a preliminary war. Israel will never be attacked again, so no matter what other objections or questions we raise, we know this is Armageddon, okay? Now, Armageddon takes place at the end of the Great Tribulation, so the questioner says, “How could that be? The world is practically destroyed. How could Israel be dwelling in safety?”
Well, Tom, I don’t understand that part. But if we go back into Exodus, it tells us that when the plagues were being poured out upon Egypt and—what is the judgment upon this earth? God is punishing this earth during the Great Tribulation; it’s the wrath of God. So in Egypt when the plagues were poured out upon Egypt, there were no plagues in Goshen, the place where the Jews, where the Israelis, were confined. So the only thing I can suggest is I think it could very well be that [while] the rest of the world is being devastated, Israel is still secure; they’re dwelling safely. No wrath of God has poured out upon them, at least in that form, and that, of course, could be another reason why the nations of the world are angry. You remember in the Black Death of the Middle Ages, and so forth, the plagues that came, and they didn’t touch the Jewish communities because they followed the laws of Moses as far as sanitation was concerned. And the nations attacked them and said, “Look, they’re putting it on us. They’re the cause of this. They don’t have it, but we get it.”
So this could, of course, arouse the anger of the nations further.
Tom, I don’t know, but there is so much that is so clear that this is Armageddon that I’m going to have to fit everything else into that frame work. Tom, you’re making sign language to me about this is the time of Jacob’s trouble and two-thirds of all Jews on the earth will be killed. That’s true. These are Jews outside of Israel, and then the judgment of God is coming upon Israel when all the nations attack them. But at the same time, there seems to be a bubble in which they are protected, at least for that time until all the nations come against them.