The Gog Magog Invasion

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The Creation Concept

Ezekiel's Mountains

Prophecy and God's plan

Gog and Magog and the camp of the saints

The war of Gog and Magog and the saints’ rest

Patrick Fairbairn on Gog and Magog

Frederic Gardiner on Gog and Magog

Horses in Ezekiel 38

Cleansing the land

Burying Gog and Magog, and the serpent’s flood

How the world learns of God

Ezekiel and the thousand year reign

Walvoord's king of the north

Walvoord on Gog and Magog

Ezekiel's Seven Years

Ernest L. Martin on Gog and Magog

Gog and Magog

Mountains in Prophecy

The Thousand Years

Ezekiel's Seven Years

Dispensationalist Chuck Missler wrote of Daniel 9:26: [1]

Verse 26 deals with an interval that lies between v. 25 and v. 27. Verse 25 deals with the first 69 weeks of years. Verse 27 deals with the last week of years, also called "the Seventieth Week of Daniel." Between which is verse 26, which notes things that happen in the interval. We know that at least 38 years happened in the interval because it notes that the Messiah will be cut off and the city and sanctuary destroyed (which happened in A.D. 70). Perhaps, more like 1900 years as we are still in this gap.

The Church happens in this gap. Paul tells us in Ephesians 3 and Romans 11 (also seen in Matthew 13) that the Church was hidden from view. In Revelation 12:5-6 the same gap appears.

Classical dispensationalism claims the alleged 'gap' between the 69th and the 70th week is a "parenthesis" in God's plan. Supporters of that theory believe that prophecy mainly concerns ethnic Jews. According to them, the 'gap' is a time when little or no prophecy applies, and they say the church was not known to the prophets of the Old Testament. By such claims they oppose and contradict the teaching of the apostle Peter, in 1 Peter 1:9-12. Peter said the apostles ministered "unto us," that is, the church. They wrote about the gospel, and they wrote "by the spirit of Christ which was in them."

Missler's claim that there is a 'gap' or interval in the 70 weeks is incorrect. It opposed to Daniel 9:27, which refers to the 70th week. This verse says "in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease." That occurred in 70 AD, and therefore the events of 70 AD must have occurred in the midst of the final week. It is evident that Missler has erred. He has been misled John N. Darby, C. I. Scofield, and others.

Missler's comment about Revelation 12:5-6 is also flawed. The 1,260 days mentioned here allude to the last half of the 70th week, which is not a literal three and a half years, but a symbol of age of the church, since the first century. In the 70th week, Christ confirms his covenant with his saints. The final half-week of the 70th week is symbolic, and represents the time in which the gospel goes to the world, the age of the church.

Because of their theory of a gap, dispensationalists have claimed there is no prophecy about the church age, which they call a "parenthesis" in the Divine plan, which, according to them, is primarily about Jews. They apply most of Revelation, between chapters 4 and 19, to the seven year tribulation after the rapture of the church.

When interpreting the prophecy of Ezekiel 38-39, dispensationalists have a dilemma. They resist saying any of it applies to "gap" between the 69th and 70th week, as that gap and the complete absence of prophecies about the church age, is one of the main principles of their doctrine. If it can be shown that prophecy does in fact apply to the church age, then of course there is no gap, and their whole theory collapses.

But the prophecy of Daniel refers to the destruction of the city and the sanctuary, and says "he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease." This prophecy is usually understood to be referring to the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the temple. Were not those events in the church age? Of course, but evidently they are blind to that!

The prophecy of Ezekiel gives dispensationalism trouble, because it mentions a period of seven years, in which the weapons of the invaders are to be burned. These weapons are swords, bows and arrows, spears, shields, and bucklers, that are evidently made of wood, and so are flammable, and can provide fuel in place of wood.

Dispensationalists have multiple dilemmas here. First they want to take everything literally. But those weapons are no longer used. John F. Walvoord, however, pointed out that bows and arrows were used in the war in Vietnam. He wrote: [2]

Ezekiel 39:1-6. In repeating aspects of the prophecy of their destruction, God noted again that the invasion of the land was caused by God bringing them into this conflict, "I will turn you around and drag you along. I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel" (v. 2). The geographic origination of the invasion was again said to be "the far north" (v. 2).

God further declared, "Then I will strike your bow from your left hand and make your arrows drop from your right hand" (v. 3). Earlier he had mentioned other weapons, but this passage for the first time mentioned bows and arrows which were standard weapons in the time Ezekiel lived. Though bows and arrows are usually characterized as primitive weapons, they actually have played a part in modern warfare and were used extensively, for instance, in the war in Vietnam. Because an arrow going through the air did not give away the location of the one who shot the arrow, it therefore was good for use in jungle situations. No final answer can be given why the weapons described were primitive.

It is futile to say weapons such as bows and arrows were used in recent conflicts, as they had only a limited use. Most of the deaths in that war were caused by modern weapons. One can see that Walvoord has no clear answer for the question why a large force of invaders would come in the "latter days" with wooden weapons.

But the true answer can be seen, when the scripture is allowed to interpret Ezekiel's prophecy. David wrote:

Psalm 64:2-4
Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity:
Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words:
That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not.

The swords, and bows and arrows, represent "bitter words." They are the false teachings, the rhetoric against the message of the prophets, and against the teachings of Jesus. The misinterpretation of the prophecies of Daniel and Ezekiel dispensationalists like Walvoord is included!

Walvoord continues:

Because of the various judgments of God mentioned earlier, God declared that the invading army will fall on the mountains of Israel (v. 4) God stated, "'I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals. You will fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord" (vv. 4-5). From these Scriptures it is clear that the entire invading army will be wiped out. In the KJV Ezekiel 39:2 was translated, "And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee." This translation is inaccurate, and from the NIV it is clear that the entire invading force will be wiped out as indicated in the expression, "All your troops and the nations with you" (v. 4).

Ezekiel 39:9-10. The extent of the destruction was indicated by the amount of weapons that will be accumulated from the victory over the invading army. They will be used for fuel and include "'the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears. For seven years they will use them for fuel. They will not need to gather wood from the fields or cut it from the forests, because they will use the weapons for fuel. And they will plunder those who plundered them and loot those who looted them,' declares the Sovereign Lord" (vv. 9-10).

Here the seven years is introduced. If all the people of Israel burn the weapons for seven years, how can the invasion itself fit within the final 70th week? This is the second dilemma for dispensationalism. One can see how Walvoord struggles with this issue in the paragraphs below:

The theory that these weapons were simply figurative and not representing real weapons of wood was countered by the fact that they will be used for fuel, indicating that the weapons will be actually as described. Also, the fuel will be of such large amount that they will be able to use if for seven years for their fires.

The figure of seven years introduces some problems as it affects the location of this war in the end-time events because it pictures Israel at peace and in safety (38:8; 39:6). The burning of the fuel is not a prophetic event but only a statement of the amount of debris. A number of expositors have located this war in the first half of the last seven years leading up to the Second Coming. The first half of the seven years will be a period of peace because of the covenant entered into between Israel and the Gentile ruler of that period (Dan. 9:27). The problem of the fuel lasting seven years, however, is not a real prophetic problem because even after the Lord returns they will still need fuel for fires in the millennial kingdom as life goes on. Accordingly, the seven-year figure should not be considered an obstacle to placing the war somewhere in the middle of the last seven years with the possibility that it may occur earlier in the seven-years period and justify the approximate figure of seven years.

Walvoord considers the idea that the weapons are figurative, but resorting to a figurative interpretation undermines another fundamental principle of dispensationalism. So he is reluctant to adopt a figurative approach to the wooden weapons. So what does he do? He discounts the significance of the seven years! He says, "The burning of the fuel is not a prophetic event but only a statement of the amount of debris." The suggestion that it is "not a prophetic event" seems to minimize the time period, suggesting it simply means there were a whole lot of weapons. And since he puts the whole invasion within the 70th week, he supposes that the burning of weapons continues after the return of Christ. But the seven years is indeed "a prophetic event;" it simply does not assimilate with the scheme of dispensationalism.

The seven years is the same time period as the 70th week, the period in which Christ confirms his covenant with his saints. Jesus said, "I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?" [Luke 12:49] This is the fire of the gospel, that destroys all false dogmas and flawed interpretations. They are the tares that are to be gathered out of Christ's kingdom at the end of the age.

Matthew 13:40-42
As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Walvood's dispensationalism is among the tares!

Another dilemma for dispensationalism is the stark contrast that is presented by Ezekiel's picture of Israelites happily burning the weapons of their enemies for fuel for seven years, and all the other events that dispensationalists imagine must be crammed into the last seven years.

Mark Hitchcock follows Walvoord by saying the Gog and Magog invasion and the burning of weapons occurs in the 70th week. He wrote:  [3]

THE BURNING OF THE WEAPONS (Seven years) (Ezek. 39:9-10) Since this event occurs at the midpoint of the Tribulation, the Israelites will continue to burn these weapons for the final three and a half years of the Tribulation and on into the kingdom for another three and a half years.

OTOH, Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins say the invasion of Gog and Magog occurs three and a half years before the start of the 70th week. They wrote: [4]

This seven-year period prophesied for the burning of Russian weapons is the reason why in Left Behind we placed Russia's attack on Israel some three and a half years before the beginning of the Tribulation. Scripture teaches that in the second half of the seven-year Tribulation, Israel once more will be forced out of her homeland; therefore, if she is to spend seven years burning these weapons, the Russian invasion must take place at least three and a half years before that time.

Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson point out the difficulty for dispensationalism, because according to them, while the weapons are being buried, "the majority of the earth's inhabitants are fleeing into the wilderness or being wiped out by one plague after another." They wrote: [5]

The other views for the timing of the invasion described in Ezekiel 38-39 are not without problems. One view places the invasion during the first half of the Tribulation. While this might better explain Israel's feeling of "safety" in the land (due to its peace covenant with the Antichrist), it doesn't account for the seven years of burning the enemies' weapons, which would have to occur during the most horrendous period of the Tribulation, when the majority of the earth's inhabitants are fleeing into the wilderness or being wiped out by one plague after another. In addition, the burning process would also have to continue on into the millennial kingdom for a few years in order to complete the full seven- year period of time required to burn the weapons.

So the theory of dispensationalism has difficulty explaining the seven years of Ezekiel's prophecy. But they are easily explained if taken as figurative, and equivalent to the 70th week, which itself is symbolic of the time in which Christ confirms his covenant with his saints. I suggest the "seven years" alludes to the time for which Jacob laboured to earn the right to marry his bride, Rachel, in Genesis. In this story, Jacob stands as a figure for Christ, and Rachel represents the church.

References

1. Missler, Chuck. Supplemental Notes on Matthew

2. Walvoord, John F. Every Prophecy of the Bible (David C. Cook, 1999) pp. 195-197.

3. Hitchcock, Mark. The Complete Book of Bible Prophecy (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1999.) p. 112.

4. LaHaye, Tim & Jerry B. Jenkins. Are We Living in the End Times? (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2000) p. 89.

5. LaHaye, Tim & Ed Hindson. [Global Warning: Are We on the Brink of World War III? (Harvest House Publishers, 2008.) p. 137.

Copyright © 2010, 2014 by Douglas E. Cox
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