Thursday, May 8, 2014

Does what's going on with Russia and Ukraine have anything to do with Bible prophecy? - Part 2

Brown: Russia. Green: Ukraine. Black: Crimean Peninsula
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Found on Wikipedia
On Tuesday, in Part 1, we briefly reviewed the beginnings of this conflict occurring with Russia in Ukraine.

You might remember on April 17, 2014, news reached the US of a leaflet handed to Jews leaving their synagogue in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk telling them they had to register with the government and list their property. An eerie echo of Nazi regimes from the past, the leaflet was immediately condemned by national leaders. While the leaflet claimed a connection to Denis Pushilin, a man who was identified as the chairman of "Donetsk's temporary government," he claimed he had nothing to do with it.

You can find more information in this article on USA Today: "Leaflet tells Jews to register in East Ukraine." 

While we watch what is going on in Ukraine, many Bible prophecy geeks think of the prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled which tells us Israel will be attacked by nations to her north. Bible prophecy geeks like me also believe this prophecy will be fulfilled as part of the "End Times," or the times leading up to the last seven years of the Tribulation.

This prophecy is found in Ezekiel 38. (Tweet that!) Here is part of that prophecy. God is speaking (through His prophet Ezekiel):
The word of the Lord came to me: 2 "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshek and Tubal; prophesy against him and say: 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshek and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army—your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you. 
7 "'Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land.'"  (Ezekiel 38:1-9)

My favorite Bible that I own is The NIV Study Bible from 1985. The notes in this Bible have taught me so much, I just love them. So I often share what I learn from them.

I found helpful information in the notes section of The NIV Study Bible, which says,
"Gog" is "apparently a leader or king whose name appears only here and in Rev. 20:8… Possibly the name is purposely vague, standing for a mysterious, as yet undisclosed, enemy of God's people."*

The phrase "of the land of Magog" takes us back to the times of Noah. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Before the great flood that covered the earth, eight people entered the ark: Noah and his wife, and their three sons and their wives (Genesis 7:13). (By the way, this was depicted much differently in the recent movie Noah, so don't be confused by that. In the true story, each of Noah's three sons had wives and they all entered the ark.) (Tweet that!)

Because everyone else in the world died in the flood, all the nations of today's world descended from these three sons of Noah (Genesis 9:18-19).

Noah's son Japheth had seven sons. They are listed in Genesis 10:2. Compare these names to the names in the Ezekiel 38 passage above:
The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. (Genesis 10:2)

Here is more information on "Gog" and "Magog" from the The NIV Study Bible. (Tweet that!) Please note the reference to the "future coalition" which means the prophecy of what is to happen in our future:

 …since the Hebrew prefix ma- can mean "place of," Magog may here simply mean "land of Gog." Israel had long experienced the hostility of the Hamites and other Semitic peoples; the future coalition here envisioned will include—and in fact be led by—peoples descended from Japheth.*

Regarding "chief prince," the The NIV Study Bible note gives this information:

Military commander-in-chief. The NIV text note gives the possible translation "prince of Rosh," and if it is correct, Rosh is probably the name of an unknown people or place. Identification with Russia is unlikely, and in any case cannot be proven.*

I've heard many times that "Rosh" may indeed be Russia. The previous note says that is "unlikely," but gives no reason for that statement.

Regarding "Meshech and Tubal," the The NIV Study Bible note says this:

These sons of Japheth…are probably located in eastern Asia Minor… They are peoples and territories to the north of Israel… As in the days of the Assyrians and Babylonians, the major attack will come from the north.*

So if you have ever heard that Bible prophecy predicts Israel will be attacked from the north in the End Times, this is where that prophecy comes from. (Tweet that!)

For my next post I'm preparing information about the other names listed in Ezekiel 38:5-6 shown above and what those nations are called today.

In the last post we watched an interview of Avi Lipkin by Gary Stearman. There is much more to that interview. Here is part 2, which aired March 5, 2014. It runs about 13 minutes.

Gary Stearman of Prophecy in the News interviews Avi Lipkin about Russia and Ukraine. 
Part 2 aired March 5, 2014.

Related article: 

*NIV Study Bible (Zondervan Bible Publishers, Grand Rapids, MI, 1985), 1280. Notes on Ezekiel 38:2.

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