Israel will be invaded as the Fourth Reich begins its rise, with an irresistible geopolitical figure emerging with answers to the great fears of the masses. They will have witnessed millions of people disappearing—including, we are convinced, every child below the age of accountability alive at the time of Rapture.
Soon thereafter, the red horse of the Apocalypse foretold in Revelation 6 will gallop onto the scene. We believe the ignition point of the war will likely be centered around Mt. Moriah—the Temple Mount. All the hatreds within Islam will burst forth at that time.
One primary reason things will go totally out of control is because the Holy Spirit, as Restrainer, will remove from His restraining office (as prophesied in 2 Thessalonians 2). Man, with all his hatreds and war-making, malicious desires will rage as never before.
Israel, still possessing thermonuclear weaponry, will possibly use some of its arsenal to launch against those planning to try to destroy the Jewish state. This will be, perhaps, when the ancient city of Damascus will be destroyed in a single day, as the prophet Isaiah declared: “The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap” (Isaiah 17:1).
Today, Syria, whose capital is Damascus, is the incubator of much of the hatred against God’s chosen people. Many of the world’s most heinous terrorist organizations are given harbor in Damascus while they plot their evil not only against Israel, but against all the world that will not conform to Islam.
Hal Lindsey, author of The Late, Great, Planet Earth, writes the following:
One nation that does not seem to be listed [in the Gog-Magog attack] is Syria. I believe this is the result of actions it is now taking against Israel. Isaiahs prophecy about Damascus in the last days is going to be soon fulfilled.
Twenty-seven hundred years ago, Isaiah warned, An oracle concerning Damascus: See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins In that day the glory of Jacob will fade; the fat of his body will waste away. (Isaiah 17:1, 4, NIV)
To establish the time of this event, look at these factors:
First, Damascus is one of the oldest continuously populated cities on earth. It has never been totally destroyed—yet.
Second, it is in a context of events that lead up to the catastrophes that precede the Lord Jesus Second Coming.
Third, it is far enough away from that event that Jacob (Israel) is enduring terrible circumstances.
Fourth, Syria and the tribal name of its forefathers are not mentioned in the Russian-led Muslim Confederacy that launches Armageddon in the middle of the Tribulation.
All of this leads me to believe that Damascus will be destroyed before the Tribulation begins. I believe that Damascus is about to so threaten Israel’s existence, by either launching or furnishing bio-chemical weapons or radioactive dirty bombs, that Israel will nuke them. Israel has sworn that it will implement the Samson-Option against any nation that attacks them with any form of weapons of mass destruction. That means a thermonuclear strike. This may soon happen to Syria. This, in turn, will so terrify the world that it will be ripe to embrace the Antichrist when he is unveiled. And that could be very, very soon.[i]
Some prophecy teachers believe the destruction of Damascus will likely take place before the Rapture. While this is a valid speculation, we are of the opinion that anything so intense as destroying this five-thousand-year-old city—the oldest, longest-surviving city on earth—would’ve been so convulsing to the world as to take it out of the time Jesus foretold.
The Lord prophesied as part of the Olivet Discourse that things would be going along pretty much as usual when He returns for the Rapture (read Matthew 24:36–42 and Luke 17:26–30.) That time will be just like in the days of Noah and of Lot, prior to the judgments that fell upon those cultures and societies.
People at that time will be buying, selling, building, planting, and marrying, etc. It will be business as usual. It might even be business even better than usual.
Jesus said that the time He is “revealed”—seen by the whole world—judgment will decimate the world of rebels. It will be just like in Lot’s day when Lot and his family were removed to Zoar and to safety (Genesis 19). That very day, judgment fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed them all, Jesus said. So, again, we infer that such a cataclysmic action as the (likely) nuclear destruction of that ancient city would take the world out of the time of “business as usual,” as Jesus, we believe, indicates.
Then what about the coronavirus and all the things going on economically? Can the Rapture not happen while an economically terrible time such as this disease has wrought is in effect?
Despite what the so-called experts are saying about COVID-19, people in America and around the world are still buying, selling, planting, marrying, and doing all the other things of which Jesus spoke. Things are not as they were months ago, but they haven’t changed catastrophically, as they will in the Rapture. And there might yet be a rebound of significant dimension from the effects of the pandemic.
So Damascus will be destroyed and the red horse of war will run rampant. The rising globalist powers will step in, no doubt, when the nuclear exchanges begin. From that consortium will come the charismatic geopolitician with a message that can calm the fears of the people of earth—and of the cabal of elitist internationalists from which he emerges.
The one who will be adored by most for calming their fears and for his brilliant plans to bring the world out of chaos will doubtless produce a significant degree of prosperity for a time. As we looked at earlier, Daniel prophesied that he will “cause craft to prosper.” This most likely means that he will bring about an economic boom of sorts. It could also mean that his “craftiness”—nefarious activities—will run rampant amongst those who assist him in his governmental impositions.
While his rise to ultimate power continues, there will continue to be great chaos created by the Rapture and the brief nuclear exchanges and conventional military actions at some points around the world. Not all peoples of the world will enjoy the recovery that will likely be taking place within the great leader’s sphere of influence.
We believe the Middle East and places to Israel’s north will be in economic upheaval as well as in other sorts of turmoil, much as that region is today. One thing that might add to the turmoil is the situation with regard to petroleum. Oil has been the source of economic stability in Russia, Iran, Turkey, and the many Arab nations of regions above and surrounding modern-day Israel.
Recently, in conjunction with the tremendous carnage caused by the coronavirus, the petroleum industry has suffered immensely. Russia and the nations that make up much of the Muslim populations have been hit particularly hard. Even Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest producer, has had to make adjustments, often involving hostilities developing in the region.
Gog’s Evil Thought
With the Western world recovering from the chaos and even beginning to prosper, perhaps, the oil revenue-dependent nations to Israel’s north will still likely be in economic meltdown, with their people in an increasingly out-of-control demeanor. We’ve already seen from history that the peoples of some of these areas are among the most restless and volatile on the planet.
And this situation—oil and the economic ramifications that flow from its decline as a revenue producer—seems to be at the heart of setting the stage for one of the most profound occurrences next on God’s prophetic timeline.
To what degree the United States will have been affected by the aftermath of the Rapture is uncertain. That is a whole other matter to explore another time. But, suffice it to say, we believe its power and influence will decline greatly. America will most likely meld with Europe in some way to assure security and economic stability as much as possible. Europe and the Western alliances will be in dynamic rearrangements, and the globalists-elite’s long-wished desires will be achieved. They will at last garner America’s great assets—including its nuclear arsenal—to add to their blueprint for constructing their One-World Order. And the great leader still on the rise in Western Europe will be there to guide and shape all of this at every point of their machinations.
Israel’s leaders at this time, in our scenario based on Bible prophecy, will be on edge. America, their greatest ally with the nuclear bludgeon to threaten Israel’s enemies set on attacking, will be diminished to become a part of the European alliance. Europe, Israeli leadership will know, has never supported their nation, except as pressured to do so by America’s power and influence. They will be in near panic.
They still have their own considerable, formidable nuclear arsenal. They are on hair-trigger edge at this point and will likely use that capability (in fact, they might have already done so in destroying Damascus).
Either way, the newly formed Western alliance looks warily at the Mideast situation. It is quite likely that the great leader steps even more forward than he already is and takes personal charge. He, with great, satanic empowerment, uses his charm and persuasive rhetoric to convince Israel that he’ll provide even greater promise of protection than did America before the event that caused millions to vanish from the planet. After all, the Euro-centered world power now has all of America and Europe’s nuclear and conventional military assets. No one would dare oppose that great power. The leader will promise absolute protection from all of Israel’s surrounding enemies. Any attack on that tiny nation, he assures, will bring immediate and total retaliation even more sure than America promised at its most protective.
The only stipulations—or the primary stipulations for their protection—will be that:
- Israel must give up its own nuclear arsenal to the European consortium to prevent a regional nuclear engagement apart from the European alliance’s control.
- Israel must sign a covenant along with all other nations the alliance will approach. It will be a seven-year guarantee of peace and safety for all who sign.
In return for Israel’s agreement to these stipulations, the leader will personally assure that the Jews can rebuild their long-sought-after Temple atop Mt. Moriah, and can worship freely as they wish.
Israel’s leadership, knowing that to say no would put the nation at risk of being totally alone on the world scene, will, no doubt, readily agree to the great leader’s generous offer.
The leadership of Israel’s enemies—particularly the Russian leader—watches as Israel agrees to, then gives, all of its military assets to the Western power. He is facing increasing hostility from his economically depressed victims. The dictator begins to think on the tremendous oil and natural gas resources, as well as other economic assets that Israel possesses. We see the possibility of this scenario in the following from the prophet Ezekiel:
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 nowinhabited, 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. (Ezekiel 38:10–12)
The Russian leader Ezekiel calls Gog begins to gather the forces of those under his nation’s banner—those of Iran, Turkey, and a number of nations with Muslim dictatorships who hate Israel and have longed to destroy the Jewish state since its rebirth into modernity in 1948.
Satellite and ground intelligence will no doubt alert the Western alliance that these forces are gathering to attack. Western leaders will almost certainly contact Gog to determine his plans.
The Russian despot will probably give the reason that Israel is stealing gas and petroleum revenue from them and other false accusations. And, maybe Gog will tell the Western leadership that they won’t use nuclear weaponry, because Israel has none. But, they will use them if anyone from the West tries to interfere with the assault.
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Dr. Jack Van Impe, a top prophecy scholar and teacher for many years, gave the following description of this threat to Israel’s north:
How can anyone be sure that Ezekiel’s prophecy has anything to do with modern nations when the words used in his description of this conflict are so unfamiliar to today’s Bible reader?
Who is Gog? Where is the land of Magog? Where would one look on a map to find the cities of Meshech and Tubal? To what nations did Ezekiel refer when he wrote of Gomer and Togarmah?
Unless these questions can be answered satisfactorily, there is good reason to question the conclusions being so widely accepted and promoted in our time.
Let us begin at the beginning. A table of nations is given in Genesis 10. At the opening of this important chapter, we are confronted with the key names in Ezekiel’s prophecy: “Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras” (Genesis 10:1, 2).
These key verses describe the repopulating of the earth after the flood. It was the custom in ancient times for the descendeats of a man to adopt his name for their tribe. Understanding this, historians and Bible students have been able to trace the movements of some of the tribes and know where their descendants can be found today. Using this system, the editors of the Scofield Reference Bible have furnished the following information about the names that concern us in the table of nations:
Magog—“From Magog are descended the ancient Scythians or Tarters, whose descendants predominate in modern Russia.”
Tubal—“Tubal’s descendants peopled the region south of the Black Sea from whence they spread north and south. It is probable that Tobolsk perpetuates the tribal name.”
Meshech—“Progenitor of a race mentioned in connection with Tubal, Magog, and other northern nations. Broadly speaking, Russia, excluding the conquests of Peter the Great and his successors, is the modern land of Magog, Tubal, and Meshech.”
The Scofield Reference Bible was published in 1909. These notes alone let us know that the identification of Russia as the main aggressor in Ezekiel’s end-time battle is not the conclusion of prophetic opportunists. But there is more.
In the orient al tongue, the name of the Caucasus Mountains that run through Russia means “Fort of Gog” or “Gog’s last stand.” If you were to ask a Russian what he calls the heights of the Caucasus Mountains, he would say, “the Gogh.”
The evidence builds.
The word that is translated “chief” in Ezekiel 38:3 is “Rosh” in the Hebrew language. For centuries prophetic scholars have generally agreed that the word “Rosh” is a proper name. Allowing this long-accepted conclusion in the translation of this verse would make it read, “And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the Rosh prince of Meshech and Tubal.”
But who is Rosh?
“Rosh” was the name of the tribe dwelling in the area of the Volga. And “Rosh” is the word for “Russia” today in some languages of the world. In Belgium and Holland it is “Rus.” Here, abbreviated, it’s “Russ,” and often appears in that form in the headlines of newspapers. An understanding of this truth moved Robert Lowth, Bishop of London two hundred years ago, to write: “Rosh, taken as a proper name in Ezekiel signifies the inhabitants of Scythia from whom the modern Russians derive their modern name. The name ‘Russia’ dates only from the seventeenth century and was formed from the ancient name ‘Russ.’”
It is clear then that Ezekiel was delivering a warning to the Russian prince (leader) of Meshech and Tubal.
We have already seen from Scofield’s notes of 1909 that Tubal is the root of the name Tobolsk, but what about Meshech? In his note on Ezekiel 38:2, Scofield continues his work of identification, stating: “That the primary reference is to the northern European powers headed by Russia, all agree.… Gog is the prince, Magog his land, the reference to Meshech and Tubal (Moscow and Tobolsk) is a clear mark of identification.”
As has been already shown, Dr. Scofield was by no means the first to come to this conclusion. In 1890, Arno C. Gaebelein wrote a book on Ezekiel. Commenting on chapters 38 and 39, he declared: “This is Russia, Moscow, and Tobolsk.”
Another important voice of the past is that of Josephus. In Book I, Chapter VI of his work, this historian who lived almost two thousand years ago stated that the Scythians were called Magogites by the Greeks. Why is that important? The Scythians populated Russia.
It is little wonder then that the weight of prophetic scholarship has gone with the conclusion that Russia is the chief aggressor named by Ezekiel in this end-time war with Israel. The allies of Russia in that fierce conflict will be Persia (Iran and Iraq), Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer (Eastern Germany and Slovakia), and Togarmah (Turkey).
It is interesting that Daniel adds Egypt to the names of nations coming against Israel and the final world dictator, so that the invasion includes attacks from the north and the south, as well as the prospect of trouble from the east (see Dan. 11:40–44).[ii]
If this is the scenario that develops—and we fully acknowledge it is all speculative, although based strongly on what the Bible foretells—the Western nations will turn to their up-and-coming great leader. The one who God calls “the man of sin” knows Bible prophecy. He knows God cannot lie. He knows, from satanically empowered knowledge, how this attack by the Gog-Magog force will end. The great leader just smiles slyly and informs his governmental and military leaders that they will do nothing but observe the action.
This is what the leader that will be Antichrist knows:
Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, 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 leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God. (Ezekiel 39:1–5)
The Western leader’s apparent foreknowledge, in holding back these forces to defend Israel, will only further enhance his image. He will almost certainly be praised as one with omniscience and who, somehow, even caused the totally destructive fate to befall the Russians, Iranians, Turks and all others of the Gog-Magog force—all without losing a single troop of the Western alliance.
His satanic, evil wisdom will do one thing more: clear the way for him to march into Jerusalem unopposed. He will then, at some point, go into and desecrate the Third Temple. He will declare himself to be God and demand worship.
The Antichrist’s Final Solution will have begun in earnest!
The religious leader—the second beast, or False Prophet—as we’ve seen earlier, will point the whole world to the image of Antichrist and will, eventually, cause all who won’t worship the image of the beast to be killed. Most will die by beheading, the prophecy states.
Although the leader who will be Antichrist will likely claim that he somehow defended Israel in the Gog-Magog attack, it will be the Lord God of Heaven who will decimate all but one-sixth of the enemy forces who attack His chosen nation.
Developments of recent vintage in the region from which Gog will launch his assault are interesting, to say the least. President Donald Trump announced in 2019 that America would withdraw active military participation in areas hotly contested by Turkey, Syria, and the people known as the Kurds. Contention for the territories involved has been hot and heavy for many years.
Regions directly north of Jerusalem are being stirred to turmoil by the whirlwinds of prophetic destiny. Therefore, it is the responsibility of “watchmen on the wall” to closely examine all things powerfully affecting that area so concentric to Bible prophecy yet to be fulfilled.
The specific prophecy, of course, involves the one given about the Gog-Magog battle in Ezekiel 38 and 39. We’ve been watching the scenario develop for some time. Russia (which we believe to be Rosh), Iran (the greatest part of which is almost certainly Persia), and Turkey (which we believe to be a reference to most of what was ancient Togarmah) have been coalescing to Israel’s north for quite some time. This alone can be seen as nothing short of astonishing. Now, with the whole region directly to Israel’s north lighting up with what looks to be prophetic pyrotechnics, the spiritually attuned discerner’s observational powers should be fully turned on and in focus.
We have some from the Christian media community making declarations of what developments mean. One Christian TV host said: “I am absolutely appalled that the United States is going to betray those Democratic forces in northern Syria, that we possibly are going to allow the Turkish to come in against the Kurds.” He offered further: “The President of the United States is in danger of losing the mandate of Heaven if he permits this to happen.”[iii]
While we can’t and don’t wish to be able to claim such “word of knowledge” ability to pontificate, we are concerned about, but not necessarily against, the president’s decision. We certainly don’t believe his decision to withdraw America from the immediate region of hostilities will doom the him to loss in a presidential election.
It might just be that the move is by the very hand of God. We can know for sure that America withdrawing in such a manner has in no way slipped up on the Creator; it hasn’t escaped His omniscience.
Turkey invading northern Syria to get at rebels of the region is a serious matter. The Kurdish people are in danger. Many among them are Christians, and that is one reason for many concerns among we who pray for our brothers and sisters there. But we should also pray for all who face death and destruction in this or any military incursion. So, we don’t view all this lightly.
We do, however, consider these matters from a particularly focused perspective. Things taking place in that part of the world at this late hour in this fleeting Age of Grace must be critically important. In view of all other converging signs we’re discerning, any such apparent stage-setting should light up the eschatological radar screens.
We know that America isn’t mentioned by name in Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog prophecy, just as the nation isn’t mentioned by name in any prophecy. Here is what we do know God’s Word says about the nations observing that attack from the sidelines—the attackers we believe to be led by Russia, Iran, and Turkey:
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? (Ezekiel 38:13)
Our scenario-pondering is wrapped up in the following (again, we claim no “word of knowledge”):
With America removed from that region of interminable conflict, the other nations that presently comprise NATO and all other countries of combatant-loaning sorts might not be willing to intervene against the assault. Most consider Israel as the problem in the world. Think about the UN being almost totally against Israel on every issue.
If America isn’t there at the time of the Gog-Magog assault, these nations will almost without question not seek to oppose the coalition, led by a powerful Russia.
The removal of America at this time from this theater of future war is most interesting to contemplate. God tells in this prophecy that He, alone, will save His chosen nation. There will be no doubt about who does the rescue.
America’s military might won’t do so. That’s for sure.
UP NEXT: Temple Defiled in Midst of Week
[i] Hal Lindsey, “Russia-Syrian-Iranian Axis,” Magog Update, first published in September 2006 Personal Update News Journal.
[ii] Dr. Jack Van Impe, “A Message of Hope, The Coming War with Russia,” Jack Van Impe Ministries.