Land of Unwalled Villages
In over 100 places in the Scriptures we read the phrase, “it shall come to pass”. In the context of the Scriptures, many of those things have already come to pass, but many are yet to be fulfilled. In other places, it is written, concerning Israel, what should “befall” them “in the latter years” (Genesis 49:1, Deuteronomy 31:29, Daniel 10:14). Some of these have already been fulfilled, some have been partially fulfilled, while others seem to be right on the doorstep.
The Bible is the only 100% accurate record of history past, present and future. The prophets of the Bible have been proven by their short-range, local prophecies, which were fulfilled in their generation, guaranteeing that those prophecies that were marked out for the “latter years”, that they too would most certainly come to pass. In this article we would like to look at some of those things that have already “come to pass” and what appears to be on the threshold to “befall” Israel, and the whole world for that matter.
One of the major themes throughout the Old Testament is the coming Messianic Kingdom which is yet to be fulfilled at the Second Coming of Christ. At that time, all of Israel will be gathered back into their homeland, their enemies shall be subjugated, they shall be brought under the New Covenant, they shall find salvation in the Lord, they shall be the head of all nations, none shall make them afraid, and they shall dwell in safety.
In the land of Israel, if you ask a Jew today, How will you recognize the Messiah when He comes? They will assuredly answer, He shall bring peace and safety to the land of Israel. And this is rightly so, for many of the Scriptures testify that when Messiah comes, Israel shall indeed dwell in safety.
Jer 23:5-6 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Jer 32:37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:
Jer 33:16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.
Eze 28:26 And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God.
Eze 34:25 And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.
Eze 34:28 And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.
Ps 72:7 In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.
This will be the Day when Jesus Christ returns to rule on the throne of David where we are told, “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:7)
When the Messiah comes the Second time, He will not come to be born of a virgin and grow up as a tender plant and present Himself to His people Israel, No! This He did at His first coming. When He comes the Second time, the heavens shall open and every eye shall see Him (Revelation 1:7; 19:1). When He returns, He will be coming in the clouds, returning with all His saints (1 Thessalonians 3:13), to save Israel, to destroy His enemies, and set His dominion over all the earth.
It will not be a humble entry, when in the days of His flesh, He took upon Him the form of a servant. No! When He returns, He shall sit upon the throne of His glory and every knee shall bow to Him. When He came the first time He came to save His enemies from their sin and to die and rise again for them, but when He comes the second time He shall judge those who will be His enemies. By this time their sins will have reached unto heaven, as they refused to repent. The days of His longsuffering will be over, and now He “shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” (Psalm 2:9)
Now in the last days, there shall be false prophets who shall deny the promise of His coming (2 Peter 3:4). Others will deny His glorious return and say He is already here somewhere on earth. Jesus said, “there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets... Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:24-27)
It shall be the Antichrist who shall rise up out of the sea of humanity (Revelation 13:1-2). But when Christ ascended into heaven, “he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight”. His apostles were then told, “this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)
False Christs and prophets are nothing new. Throughout the history of Israel there were false prophets among the people who proclaimed peace and safety, as in the days of Ezekiel and Jeremiah. Those were the days when the Chaldean army was about to take Jerusalem and carry its inhabitants away captive. Many were duped into believing that peace and safety would endure, but in the end, there was no peace, rather sudden destruction came upon them. (Jeremiah 6:9-17; 23:9-32, Ezekiel 13:1-16)
There have also been periods in the past when Israel dwelt safely in the land and had rest from their enemies, as in the reign of Joshua (Joshua 22:43-45) and under the reign of king Solomon (1 Kings 4:24-25).
In this article however, we would like to focus on the future prophecy found in Ezekiel chapter 38, concerning Israel prior to the Lord's return. The Lord is here speaking to Gog, who appears to be the leader of the land that Russia now occupies, in the “north parts”. “After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.” (Ezekiel 38:8).
The Lord has said through His prophets that in the latter years He would bring the children of Israel back to their ancient homeland. They shall be gathered out of many people and nations where they were scattered and come back to the land that He gave to their forefathers. But when they would return, they would find a land that was left desolate and waste.
Many throughout history have visited the land of Israel and testified that it was a desolate wilderness, its villages abandon and derelict, depopulated of most its inhabitants, its landscape denuded of trees, and given over to thorns and rocks and desert. http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~peters/depopulated.html
This was foretold by the prophet Isaiah. When the Messiah came to His own, they had eyes and ears, yet they were blind and they did not understand, nor did they perceive the times. The question was then asked, “Lord, how long” would it be before they would hear and see, and understand with their heart and be converted and be healed? And the reply came back, “Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land” (Isaiah 6:8-13).
And when they would be brought back to the land, this is how it would be found, desolate and waste. But not for long, for it would soon be cultivated and drained and turned into a productive land, the inhabitants thereof enjoying the fruits in their seasons.
This would be the result of their hard work, through the marvel of drip irrigation, desalinization, and much innovation. Although some of the land is now producing an abundance of crops, it is quite limited (the Negev desert, a mountainous rocky desert wilderness in the south, covers about half of modern day Israel) compared to what is to come when the Lord restores the early and latter rain (Joel 2:21-27). It takes an enormous amount of work and energy to irrigate just one acre of land, and the Lord can do this in just minutes by opening up one cloud to give the land an ample drink.
We do a little small scale farming, and I have seen firsthand what the Lord can do with one cloud, in just minutes, to a parched land with gapping cracks. He can precisely aim those clouds too, so that one section of land gets watered, and another does not. A neighbor was lamenting that he was getting too much rain and that he could not get His crop off. I asked him, did you remember to pray? He said, that is what I pay the priest for. And this was the problem with Israel. Their trust was in the priest and the blind rabbis, even until this day.
God is in control of the weather, “and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.” (Amos 4:7) In the Millennial Kingdom we read, “And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.” (Zechariah 14:17)
He “called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.” (Haggai 1:11) But, “it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.” (Joel 3:18). “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.” (Amos 9:13) God is in control of the weather, and in Israel, I believe, we have not seen anything yet as many of the mountains are still quite barren and rocky, especially the southern half of Israel.
He can open the heavens and stop the clouds, but even though we do not deserve His showers of blessing, my how the Lord is gracious for, “he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). He “left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17) But when He dries up the land, you can rest assured that He is trying to get our attention for some very special reason.
Now the Lord said He would gather Israel back to a barren and waste land. These would be the days when the Lord would visit the land, He would visit Gog, and He would visit His people once again. When Jesus came unto His own the first time, He said, “thou knowest not the time of thy visitation” (Luke 19:44). He came unto His own and His own received Him not. They recognized not Him who was their Maker, the one nation who should have known, who was given the Law and the Prophets and the Oracles of God, which none of the other nations had. And because of this, they were of men most inexcusable.
When Jesus beheld Jerusalem He wept over it saying, “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” (Luke 19:42-44)
“If thou hadst known”. They could have known the time of their “visitation” as the exact day was clearly spelled out for them in Daniel's prophecy of the coming Messiah (Daniel 9:25-26). They should have known, because in that day, they would also witness the destruction of “the city and the sanctuary” (Daniel 9:26) with not “one stone left upon another”. This was their “day”. Jesus said, “in this thy day”, they should have known.
The Prince of Peace was knocking on their very door, fulfilling hundreds of prophecies before their very eyes, but they did not know “the things which belong unto thy peace”, the things that could have brought true and everlasting peace to Jerusalem, namely their Messiah. That was the problem then, and it is the problem that persists today. It was the oft repeated lament throughout the history of Israel, “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know” (Isaiah 1:3), “they have not known me” (Jeremiah 4:22).
Because Israel knew not the time of their visitation, and the things that belonged to their peace, Jesus went on to say, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). Daniel could not have been more clear, the “Messiah shall be cut off.... and the city and the sanctuary destroyed” (Daniel 9:26) Daniel went on to say, “and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined” (v. 26b).
The Messiah had come, but they “killed Him” (Luke 20:14-16). God therefore “was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city” (Matthew 22:7). God sent forth His army, the Roman army, using it as a rod to chastise the nation Israel, and the end thereof was like a “flood” overflowing the land which destroyed His enemies. They burned up the beloved city Jerusalem and destroyed the temple leaving them in ruins, all which was foretold by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.
The historian Josephus said, “the number of those who perished ... [was]... one million one hundred thousand” (Works of Josephus), and this, by the Roman sword. Tens of thousands were also taken captive into the nations of the world where they were scattered. And the sword, since that time, has followed them there.
History has a way of oft repeating itself, as in the days of Israel's Babylonian captivity. The Lord said, “And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and an hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them: Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 29:18-19)
But in the latter years, we are told they would be “brought back from the sword”, they would be gathered out of the nations back to their ancient homeland Israel where they “shall dwell safely all of them”.
The Jews went into captivity among the nations nearly 2000 years ago, but the Lord had promised, “And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.” (Deuteronomy 30:1-5)
Among the nations they would remember the Lord, though not regenerated, and He would have compassion upon them and bring them back from their captivity (Read Ezekiel 37). Ezekiel spoke to Gog saying, “thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land which is brought back from the sword”. In the nations, the children of Israel would find no peace nor safety. The sword had followed them everywhere they went. In the nations they would only find persecution and anti-Semitism, especially among the Muslim nations. Many of these nations today have not a single Jew. They have either been killed or have fled from the persecution, and in these days, having no other place to go, have returned back to their ancient homeland now reborn.
They would not be reckoned among the nations. They would not assimilate or integrate. They would not fit in. They could not hide their identity, rather they would be sorted out and put into ghettos or kept together in their own communities, not intermarrying with the nations, which was forbidden in the Law. They would keep their language and thereby their identity and would be marked out as a “Jew”, often deported and banished from various lands, hence the term, “the wandering Jew”. As Jesus said, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations” (Matthew 24:9). Anti-Semitism would hound them wherever they would go and they would be a prey to the heathen. Pogroms and holocaust would follow them all the days of their lives. They would “become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations” (Deuteronomy 28:37).
The sword would overtake them, but the Lord said, “Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries. And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations. And they shall know that I am the LORD, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.” (Ezekiel 6:8-10)
A “remnant” would “escape the sword among the nations” and be gathered back into the land. I repeat, in God's amazing Word, we are told, “After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.” (Ezekiel 38:8)
It is quite clear. Some would “escape the sword among the nations”, they would be “brought back from the sword”, they would “come into the land”, “gathered out of many people”, “out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.” In the nations they would have no safe dwelling, but in the latter years, when they shall come back into the land, Gog finds them dwelling safely.
It is a fact of the matter, that we are living in the latter years. Israel as a nation has been reborn, and they are at least partially gathered back into her ancient homeland. As of May 14, 1948, she has been declared a nation, after being dispersed among the nations for nearly 2000 years. From that time, many more Jews are returning to the land, mainly because they can find no safety among the nations. Anti-Semitism seems to be growing every day, and among the nations, Jews are singled out for attack on a daily basis.
From the time that the Roman armies plundered Jerusalem, and they were “led away captive into all nations” (Luke 21:24), the land was turned into a barren waste. But now that they have returned, much of the land is now populated, cultivated, irrigated and blossoming as a rose.
Ezekiel also said, when they are “brought back from the sword”, when they are gathered back into the land, “they shall dwell safely all of them”. Now since Israel returned to the Promised Land, and declared to be a sovereign nation, they have had five major wars against them. Nevertheless, against overwhelming odds, their enemies were not able to overcome them as in other lands.
The Lord said that when Israel is gathered back into the land, they shall never again be plucked out of the land (Amos 9:14-15). “And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.” Is this not what we are seeing today?
And today, with their military prowess, and their numbers multiplying daily, they have become a nation that is no longer an easy prey for her enemies. They are no longer a scattered flock. Today, with a refined army, with every citizen required to do a tour of duty, and with state of the art weaponry, none of their enemies are too quick to attack. At best, some cowardly obsolete missiles are shot at them from outside their territory, but are quickly taken out by their Iron Dome.
In ancient times, most cities and villages had high and thick walls to protect them from their enemies without. Now that Israel is gathered back, they have built the waste cities, but they are no longer walled as they are sprawling and ever expanding. Many new villages are also springing up, all without walls and fences, inhabited by the influx of migrants who are performing Aliyah.
This does not mean that there are absolutely no walls in Israel. There is a wall whose construction is ongoing, that began in 2000, which is around the West Bank to keep out terrorists. Also, the borders of Israel are fenced around its perimeter. Nonetheless, according to Amir Sarfati, a major in the Israeli military and believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, says, “Israel has never been safer”. It has a military second to none. Even Isis has stated that of all the nations, the one nation it fears most is Israel.
Should we expect then, that within Israel there will not be a village, a community, that will not have walls or bars or gates? Within the borders of Israel we will find “gated communities”. This is a phenomenon that exists around the world within most cities, but we would not consider them to be fortified, and able to withstand an attack by their enemies. Should we expect the inhabitants of any existing village to break down their walls, and smash their bars and gates? Should we expect the wall around the old city Jerusalem to be torn down? I think not.
When Gog says, “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”, I think the emphasis is that they have found safety from their enemies, who for the most part, are the nations round about them, from whence they fled back from the sword, to their homeland, the place where they can find relative security in their own communities. While their communities or villages within her borders may have walls or bars and gates, they are not of any significance that would keep any enemy out who is intent on entering in to kill and destroy and to take a spoil. It is like the lock on the door of your house, it is to keep the honest people honest, but any thief who is intent on getting in, he just kicks the door down.
And to this the Scriptures agree for the Lord said earlier, “...I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.” (Ezekiel 36:33-35)
But let us understand one thing. At the moment, Israel's present safety is dependent on the arm of his flesh and does not rest in God. Nationalistically speaking, they have not yet recognized the things that belong to their peace. Covenants and treaties and peace accords and the giving up of land will never bring peace, for it is impossible to have peace with the enemies of God. Peace and security is impossible without trust in the Prince of Peace, who alone could be their rock and strength, their fortress and high tower in times of trouble.
For now, Israel is yet the enemy of God, being “alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works” (Colossians 1:21, Romans 11:26). They have not yet found “peace through the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:20). They have not yet believed on Him who died for their sins and rose from the dead, whereby they might be “justified by faith... [and] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
Ezekiel had spoken of the gathering of Israel out of the nations “in the latter years”, that they would be “brought back from the sword”, and be found at rest, dwelling safely in their ancient homeland. However, we find that their security will be interrupted by Gog, of the land of Magog, leading a host of nations, out of the north.
“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 now inhabited, 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 38:11-12)
Today Israel is being gathered out of the nations and are now dwelling in the midst of the land. After five major wars against them by their neighbors, they are now relatively at rest and dwelling safely, and my how they have gotten “cattle and goods”.
Some believe that Israel's rest and safety at that time is because the Antichrist, will have confirmed a seven year covenant, not only with Israel, but with “many” (Daniel 9:27). If this is so, the church would have already been raptured, for it is the church that is withholding the revealing of Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:1-10). The Antichrist cannot be revealed until the church is raptured, and the man who confirms a seven year covenant, which makes way for Israel to rebuild their temple and resume their sacrifice and oblation, that man shall be the Antichrist.
Perhaps at this time, Israel is at rest and dwelling safely because Antichrist enforces this covenant, but let me suggest another possible scenario. The Antichrist has not yet been revealed. Israel is at rest, dwelling in safety in their own land because she now has the means to defend herself. Her enemies have seen what happens when they collectively try to make Israel cease from being a nation. Repeatedly faced with overwhelming defeat, they are forced to seek other means to annihilate Israel, even befriending her if they must, while they lie in wait to deceive and destroy at the right opportunity.
At this time, Gog has a hook in his jaw. He thinks an evil thought to go down to Israel to take a spoil of a very prosperous Israel, recently gathered back to her ancient homeland, which has now become an economic superpower. Now he does not go it alone. Rather, he assembles a consortium of nations, even Iran, Turkey, Ethiopia (modern Sudan), and Libya and many others, to form a great company and a mighty army. Why? Perhaps because Gog knows that Israel is not an easy push over. They are not weak and defenceless. They are now a nation with a military of reputation, proven by five major wars against them, and are now a power to be reckoned with. Their military muscle even extends beyond her borders for if they see any potential threats abroad, they send out their covert operations to seek and destroy these potential threats with great precision.
Now when the nations around Israel see that Gog of the land of Magog (Russia) is ready to be their commander-in-chief and to lead them against Israel, “out of the north parts” (Ezekiel 38:15), “with all sorts of armour” (Ezekiel 38:4) and to be “a guard unto them” (Ezekiel 38:7), they are more than happy to seize upon this opportunity to join in this attack against Israel.
This may be where Psalm 83 comes into place, where the nations immediately surrounding Israel say, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee” (Psalm 83:4-5). It appears that Gog is looking on Israel primarily to take a spoil, while those immediately surrounding Israel, which are all Muslim nations, are more intent on annihilating Israel from being a nation. In their minds, uniting together with Gog will help accomplish both their schemes.
However, the end of this campaign is that 5/6 of this combined military confederation of nations is miraculously destroyed. The plea of the Psalmist is, “Do unto them as unto the Midianites” (Psalm 83:9) wherein the “Lord set every man's sword against his fellow throughout the host” (Judges 7:22), and this is what we read in Ezekiel, “And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother” (Ezekiel 38:21).
Perhaps it is at this time, that Antichrist steps onto the scene to “confirm the covenant with many” (Daniel 9:27). We might ask, who are the “many” (Heb: rab)? Well, when Gog attacks Israel we are told, “Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many (Heb: rab) people with thee” (Ezekiel 38:9). Now, when Gog and his hoards are humiliated with defeat, like any other war, there is often certain terms of surrender, a peace treaty signed with assured conditions. Well, maybe these terms, which are negotiated and mediated by Antichrist, is that Israel can build their temple and resume their daily sacrifice on the Temple Mount.
He will be a great politician, a great negotiator and a mediator. “And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many...” (Daniel 8:25). This is the kind of peace that the Antichrist brings forth, a peace that leads to sudden destruction, “by peace [he] shall destroy many”. This is how the Day of the Lord will begin, “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3)
Now when the covenant is confirmed, it also marks the beginning of Daniel's Sevenieth Week. At this time, God's Two Witnesses (Revelation 11) are placed on the scene and they begin their 3 ½ year prophetic ministry in Jerusalem, tormenting the nations with plagues as often as they will. Israel believes they have finally found peace with their neighbors, being allowed to rebuild their Temple, which they believe “Messiah” will do (BRANCH; Zechariah 6:2), but in the midst of the seven year covenant, sudden destruction comes upon Israel.
At this time, Antichrist “shall make war against [the Two Witnesses], and shall overcome them, and kill them” (Revelation 11:7). He then stops the daily sacrifice and erects an image of himself in the rebuilt temple at Jerusalem. At this time, Israel enters that time of “Jacob's Trouble”, called the “Great Tribulation”, the last 3 ½ years of Daniel's Seventieth Week, spoken before in the prophets. A time of trouble that was never before seen in the history of the world. It is then given to Antichrist “to make war with the saints, and to overcome them” (Revelation 13:7).
The nations already angered by the defeat of Gog now rally an even larger army consisting of all nations led by the 10 king confederacy under Antichrist as he promotes his final solution. After killing the Two witnesses, the world now marvels at Antichrist saying, “Who is able to make war with the beast?”
This will be a time of unprecedented demonic activity. The bottomless pit will be opened up to release the hoards of demons who were locked up there since the time of the Flood (Revelation 9). During that time “there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24). We also read, “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” (Revelation 16:13-14)
The vice-president of Antichrist will be the False Prophet. “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” (Revelation 13:13-15)
It seems that during The Tribulation there will be a real showdown between good and evil. God has His Two Witnesses performing mighty miracles, bringing the plagues upon an unrepentant mankind. Then you will have the “the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9), deceiving multitudes of those who will not receive the testimony of Jesus Christ. We read, “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (v. 10) On the one hand we see that it is Satan who deceives the nations with unrighteousness, for they love darkness, and their consciences being so seared, they will not come to the Light, so God helps them along in their delusions.
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12) They would rather believe the lying wonders of Satan and his False Prophet who masquerade as ministers of righteousness, and so we read, the False Prophet “deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped [Antichrist's] image” (Revelation 19:20).
Through the tribulation the Lord is destroying sinners out of the earth. In the first half alone, half of the world's population perishes from the plagues that are coming upon the earth. Yet, there shall be many during that time, who shall see these things coming to pass, that they were written aforetime in the Scriptures that all things might be fulfilled which were spoken by the mouth of the prophets. These things also have another great purpose, and that is that by these judgments, “the heathen may know me”.
Through this great conflagration, the Lord “will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 38:23) He shall make His “holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.” (Ezekiel 39:7)
There are so many more details concerning the time of the end, that are not mentioned, some which are hard to fit in to a strict timetable, so there may yet be some difficulties with this view. And with these events being yet in the future, it is somewhat unclear as to the precise timing of hundreds of intricate details surrounding the Day of the Lord, but when we begin to see them come to pass, as we see the stage being set today, we will once again be amazed to see how every little detail of God's precious Word will fit like a hand in a glove.
Some believe the war of God is part of the tribulation, others believe those events happen before the tribulation. But it almost appears that the War of Gog melds into Daniel's Seventieth Week, and the Great Tribulation, for here is the end of the matter:
“And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward. And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 39:21-29)
The nations will come to realize the grand purpose for the Lord sending the nation Israel into captivity. The Lord, in the last days causes many to return from their captivity back to the land of Israel, howbeit, not all of them. A great many during the tribulation will still be abiding in the nations of the world. Also, many will have fled to the mountains when Antichrist sets up the abomination of desolation in the midst of the Tribulation. But after the Tribulation, the Lord says, “Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel”.
The Lord shall return “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). He shall destroy the Antichrist and the kings of the earth at the Battle of Armageddon. Then, “will I bring again the captivity of Jacob”, and the whole house of Israel shall be gathered back to the land.
And so we read, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-31)
After the time of Jacob's Trouble, Immediately after the Tribulation of those days, the Lord will gather His elect, the remnant of Israel who were not yet returned to the land of Israel. This appears to agree with all the prophets. Prior to the Great Tribulation many will have been gathered back to the land of Israel, but not all. "Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel." (Micah 5:3) Israel was given up, scattered to the nations of the world, but then, in the latter times, brought forth out of the nations, back to her homeland, where she would experience a brief time of safety and prosperity, but then, sudden destruction will come upon her as a woman that travails in pain, until the time that she is delivered by Him who shall be ruler in Israel. She would first travail in pain, "then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel."
“That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” (Deuteronomy 30:3-6)
This is the time when Israel shall be brought under the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). This will fulfill the saying, “And so all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26), and not only Israel, but many of the nations also. The Lord says, “Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them” (Ezekiel 37:26).
Jesus told His disciples, “it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32), and so now we pray, “Thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth”. In the time being, we also “know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men” (Daniel 4:17). And we see, that in the end of time, in the kingdom of men, when the Roman empire is divided into its final form of 10 kings, God still rules, “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” (Revelation 17:17)
Men may rule for a night, but the day is coming when, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”(Revelation 11:15). “And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:14) In that Day we are told, “judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom” (Daniel 7:22).
Right now, the kingdoms of this world are in the possession of Satan (Luke 4:5-6), but this is all soon to change. “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:27).
In the mean time, Christ is still building His church. God is now taking out of the Gentiles “a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” (Acts 15:15-18)
Praise the Lord!
In the world we will have tribulation, in the world there is no rest for the wicked. But the Lord, even amidst all the trials and temptation that the world and Satan can hurl at us, offers a Peace that surpasses all understanding. The Lord said long ago to Israel, “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity...” (Isaiah 1:4) There is no peace for the wicked, but these He bids come, but not only the nation Israel, ALL who are burdened with sin. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” (Isaiah 45:22).
Today we can be kept in perfect peace. And it comes not by silver or gold, not by the cunning craftiness of men, nor by their treaties and covenants, but through God. It has the highest price and great cost to God, even the death of His dearly beloved Son, He, “having made peace through the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:20). Therefore, “Being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). And this faith is not without focus, for at its heart we find the precise object of saving faith, which is, “faith in His blood” (Romans 3:25). Only when one repents and believes the gospel can they procure this peace, “the gospel ... By which also ye are saved... how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).