Category: Gog-Ezekiel 38 & 39

Top General: At Least One Arab State to Go Nuclear If Iran Does

Commander of U.S. Central Command Gen. James Mattis said Tuesday that ”at least one other nation” has told him “at the leadership level” they will seek nuclear weapons if Iran goes nuclear:

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R., S.C.): If the Iranians develop a nuclear capability, how certain are you that other nations in the region would acquire an equal capability?

MATTIS: At least one other nation has told me they would do that, at a leadership level, they have assured me they would not stay without a nuclear weapon if Iran armed.

GRAHAM: Was that a Sunni-Arab state?

MATTIS: Yes, sir.

GRAHAM: So the likelihood of Sunni-Arab states acquiring nuclear capability to counter the Shia Persians is great, would you not agree with that?

MATTIS: I agree, and also other non-Sunni-Arab states in the general region.

The statements by Mattis contradict the findings of a recent report drafted by former Obama Pentagon official Colin Kahl and produced for the Center for New American Security. That report argues that Saudi Arabia–as well as other states–would be unlikely to develop nuclear weapons if Iran acquired nuclear weapons.

iran

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4829

Togarmah Emerges: Generals opting out as Turkish military seen ‘turning from secular to Islamist’ –

ANKARA – Turkey’s once powerful General Staff is reportedly struggling amid the resignation of senior military officers.

Military sources said senior officers were increasingly choosing early retirement rather than confront the intervention of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan.

They said many of the officers were dismayed by the return of personnel linked to Islamist groups as well as the arrest of 400 officers accused of supporting a coup against the ruling Justice and Development Party.

“The conclusion of many of mid- and senior-level officer is that the military is turning from secular to Islamist,” a source said.

The General Staff has acknowledged the resignation of an unspecified number of officers. But the command, which oversees the second largest military in NATO, said the retiring officers could be replaced.

“The allegations that there is command weakness in the Turkish armed forces are unrealistic,” the General Staff said on Feb. 6. “The retirements and resignations take place in January and February. The procedures for the personnel who want to quit willfully continues.”

In 2011, Erdogan oversaw the resignation of the chiefs of the three military services in protest of his intervention. The prime minister then selected his own candidate for chief of staff, and since then the military stopped expelling officers accused of Islamist leanings.

For his part, Erdogan said the reports of mass resignations of officers did not reflect any weakness in the military. He said the reports marked an effort to destabilize Turkey’s armed forces.

“They can ask for their retirement if they wish, but to approach it as if it is a deficiency is not acceptable,” Erdogan said. “It’s a virus put forward by those who want to stir up trouble and have bad intentions.”

turkey

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4777

Russia, Iran sign agreements to form “strategic partnership” as Russia sends warships to Iranian port.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a meeting in 2005.

Regulars readers of this blog — and books like The Ezekiel Option and Epicenter – know that I’ve been writing about a growing and troublesome alliance between Russia and Iran since 2005. Given that history, I thought it would be important to bring this New York Post article to your attention today. The headline is, “Why Iran is falling into Russia’s arms,” and it’s written by Amir Taheri.

Taheri is an Iranian dissident and former editor-in-chief of an Iranian newspaper whom I find quite insightful about Iranian foreign and domestic policy and political intrigues. He was one of the first international journalists to  notice and begin reporting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s obsession with eschatology. After reading Taheri’s work, I began to study more closely Ahmadinejad’s pronouncements on the subject and began studying more carefully the substance of Shia End Times theology and its impact on Iranian foreign policy. While he was ahead of the curve on Ahmadinejad’s eschatology, Taheri is a little behind the curve on noticing the alliance forming between Russia and Iran. and its implications. Still, the good news is that he has focused on important new developments in recent weeks and is on to the story now.

Students of Bible prophecy will find all this particularly interesting. After all, the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel wrote 2,500 years ago that a dictator (Gog) from the territory we now call Russia (Magog) would form an alliance in the “last days” with Persia (what we now call Iran) and a group of other Middle Eastern countries. The goal of the alliance will be to threaten and then attack a prosperous and secure Israel in the years following Israel’s prophetic rebirth. Such an event has never happened in human history, but a growing number of Jewish and Christian Bible scholars and teachers believe geopolitical trends suggest the fulfillment of the “War of Gog and Magog” prophecy might not be so far off.

For now, I commend Taheri’s column to your attention.

Key excerpts:

  • “A strategic partnership”: So Iran and      Russia describe the series of security, economic and cultural agreements      they’ve signed together in the past few weeks.
  • Iran’s Foreign Minister Ai-Akbar Salehi      arrived in Moscow this week to co-chair the first annual session of the      “partnership” with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. Days earlier, a      group of officers from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard arrived in the      Russian capital for a crash course in crowd control and civil unrest.      They’re expected to return to Iran by May and be “operational” in time for      the June presidential election. Iranian authorities are nervous about      expected unrest during the elections, and so have called on Russia to help      prevent an Iranian version of the “Arab Spring.” But Russia made its      support conditional on signing a security treaty with Iran; Tehran      complied last month.
  • The agreement represents a break with an      old principle in Iran’s defense and security doctrines. Russia has been a      source of fear and fascination for its Iranian neighbors since the 18th      century. Several wars of varying magnitude proved Russia to be a threat,      as successive czars dreamed of winning control of a port on the Indian      Ocean — which meant annexing or dominating Iran.
  • In Iranian political folklore, Russia has      long been depicted as a bear whose embrace, even if friendly, could      smother you….Even after the fall of the shah and of the USSR, the Iranian      tradition of keeping the Russian bear at arm’s length continued under the      Khomeinist regime. It’s clear that a different fear has moved Tehran to      abandon that tradition.
  • The new security pact provides for cooperation      in intelligence gathering and the fight “against terrorism,      people-trafficking, and drug-smuggling.” But it more significant is that      it commits Russia to training and equipping Iranian security forces to      deal with civil unrest….
  • There are other signs of change in      Moscow-Tehran relations. Last week, Iran played host to Russian warships      visiting Bandar Abbas on the Strait of Hormuz in what looks like the      opening gambit for a Russian naval presence in the strategic waterway….
  • Days after the Irano-Russian pact was      signed, Putin announced that he had terminated security cooperation with      the United States on the fight against drug trafficking, people-smuggling      and piracy.
  • Observers in Tehran say the change in      relations is caused by several factors. Both regimes are involved in the      Syrian civil war on the side of Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Both believe      that the “Arab Spring” is the result of “plots” hatched by Washington      under the Bush administration. Both fear that the “velvet revolution”      recipe for regime change could be used against them. And both Moscow and      Tehran regard what they see as an US strategic retreat under President      Obama as an opportunity. They think that, with the United States out, no      other power has the capacity to check their regional ambitions.

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4773

North Korea and Iran – partners in nuclear and missile programs

 

There is full awareness in Washington and Jerusalem that the North Korean nuclear test conducted Tuesday, Feb. 12, brings Iran that much closer to conducting a test of its own. A completed bomb or warhead are not necessary for an underground nuclear test; a device which an aircraft or missile can carry is enough.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s boast this week that Iran will soon place a satellite in orbit at an altitude of 36,000 kilometers – and Tehran’s claim on Feb. 4 to have sent a monkey into space – highlight Iran’s role in the division of labor Pyongyang and Tehran have achieved in years of collaboration: the former focusing on a nuclear armament and the latter on long-range missile technology to deliver it. 

Their advances are pooled. Pyongyang maintains a permanent mission of nuclear and missile scientists in Tehran, whereas Iranian experts are in regular attendance at North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests.

Since the detonation of the “miniature atomic bomb” reported by Pyongyang Tuesday – which US President Barack Obama called “a threat to US National security”- Iran must be presumed to have acquired the same “miniature atomic bomb” capabilities – or even assisted in the detonation.
Word of the North Korean atomic test reminded US officials of Ahmadinejad’s boast only a couple of days ago about the forthcoming launch of an Iranian satellite into orbit.  The two events clearly hang together as probably coordinated between Tehran and Pyongyang.
Ahead of the UN Security Council emergency session later Tuesday, Kim Jong Un’s government warned of “stronger actions” after the nuclear test.  Its diplomat warned the UN disarmament forum that his country will “never bow to any resolutions.”
The nuclear threat is not the only unconventional warfare peril looming closer. In Damascus, Syrian rebels are nearer than ever before to crashing through the capital’s last lines of defense. Tuesday, they were only 1.5 kilometers short of the heart of Damascus.
Western and Israeli military sources believe that if the Syrian rebels reach this target, the Syrian ruler Bashar Assad will have no qualms about using chemical weapons for the first time in the two-year civil war to save his regime. Both the US and Israel have warned him that doing so would cross a red line.

debkafile’s military sources report that Syrian rebel forces, spearheaded by an Al Qaeda-allied Islamist brigade, gained entry Tuesday to the 4th Division’s (Republican Guard) main base in the Adra district of eastern Damascus and are fighting the defenders in hand to hand combat for control of the facility.

Other rebel forces are retaking parts of the Damascus ring road in fierce battles, thereby cutting off the Syrian army’s Homs units in the north from their supply lines from the capital.

These two rebel thrusts, if completed, would bring the Syrian army closer than ever before to collapse. Assad is therefore expected to use every means at his disposal to cut his enemies down.

iran missile

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4769

Russian expert warns of possibility of large-scale war in Middle East

In an interview with the Voice of Russia, Russian analyst Konstantin Sivkov said: “Deploying these missiles in Turkey will be dangerous for Syrian military planes – this is obvious. A lesser obvious thing is that Turkey is getting ready for a war against Syria. If an attack on Syria from the territory of Turkey does take place, this will most likely be an attack not of the Turkish army, but of NATO’s forces.”

“The Middle East is getting ready for a large-sale battle which will very likely affect the Russian part of the Caucasus, and this, in its turn, will be reflected on the entire Russia,” Mr. Sivkov added.

The planned deployment by NATO countries of Patriot air defence systems on Turkey’s Syria border will actually amount to the imposition of a no-fly zone for Syrian aircraft in circumvention of the UN Security Council.

The opinion has been voiced by the leading research fellow of the Russian Institute for Oriental Studies, Vladimir Kudelev.

He feels that Patriot systems may drastically influence the fighting between the government troops and the opposition in the north of Syria, since the militants will thus get a 200 kilometre – to 250 kilometre-wide “umbrella” all along the Syrian-Turkish border.

The deployment of Patriots would also undermine the role of the UN Security Council, which, experts feel, would hardly authorize any proposal to impose a no-fly zone for Syrian aircraft.

Plans for the deployment of the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems on the Turkish-Syrian border are defensive in character, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a telephone talk with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Earlier Moscow voiced its concern over the militarization of that region.

The above-mentioned telephone talk was held on the initiative of the NATO Secretary General. Moscow says that Rasmussen wanted to clarify the situation with the deployment of the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems on the Turkish territory. Ankara filed a relevant request to NATO on November 21st. The information that appeared in the press more than once last month said that Turkey was making preparations for appealing to Brussels. Possibly, acting in this way Ankara wanted to indirectly put pressure on its NATO allies. As you know, till recently NATO was strongly against getting involved in a conflict between Turkey and Syria, a political analyst, Stanislav Tarasov, says.

“They started asking NATO to interfere in the conflict, using the Alliance’s Clause No.5 – the defence of territories. Which means that they wanted to drag NATO into the conflict and thus, to ensure its military presence in the region. NATO said “No”. Then they resorted to Clause No. 4 – the provision of help”.

NATO said that it would consider Turkey’s request without any delay. And Germany’s Foreign Ministry said that Turkey’s request should be met without any delay. Media reports even said that Berlin was ready not only to provide the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems to Turkey but also to send 120 Bundeswehr soldiers to the region. Turkey has not only moved its forces to its border with Syria but has also approved a law enabling it to bring its troops into the territory of its neighbor in case of a military threat. The reason for such a large- scale militarization was firing missiles into the Syrian territory, which official Damascus called an accident. Any escalation of this conflict is inadmissible, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on November 23rd. Moscow is well aware of Turkey’s concern as well as of NATO’s arguments but what is important in this case is the potential, not intentions – that is why any militarization on the Turkish-Syrian border may lead to an uncontrollable turn of events, the Russian minister said.

“Any accumulation of arms creates certain risks and urges all those who would like like to resort to the exterior factor of force to finally use it. We believe that this will not happen, and that all outside players will display maximum responsibility in assessing the on-going developments in the region’.

In the diplomatic language this means that the events in Syria may start developing according to the Libyan Scenario, experts say. As you know, the opposition is losing its support, and Assad has a military superiority in Syria now, an Oriental studies expert, Azhdar Kurtov, says.

“The Syrian-Turkish border has a sophisticated mountain relief. Under such conditions, combat aviation is a very effective method of fighting against the rebels. Thus, if Turkey deploys the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems on its territory, it will be able to block Syria using its own aviation in the border regions on its own territory, which may change the turn of military developments in the region. When the overthrowing of the Gaddafi regime was under way, a no-fly zone was established over Libya. Something like that may be created near the Turkish-Syrian border”.

Moscow’s fears may also be caused by something that is not directly linked with the crisis in Syria, a Turkish political analyst, Barysh Adybelli, says.

“Moscow believes that in case the Patriot Misslile Air-Defence Systems are deployed in Turkey, they can be used as one of the elements of the early warning system – that is, as one of the elements of the European missile defence system which the USA is ardently defending by now”.

Official Ankara reacted to Moscow’s statements on November 23rd. Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called Moscow’s reaction to a possible deployment of the Patriot Missile Air-Defence systems erroneous, adding that Russia is trying to present Turkey’s domestic issue as its own problem. Fears remain though.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen assured Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that plans of the alliance to deploy Patriot air defense missiles in Turkey are of purely defensive.

Mr. Rasmussen and Mr. Lavrov had a phone conversation on Friday initiated by NATO chief.

A statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry after the talks says that Mr. Lavrov expressed his concerns over NATO`s plans to place Patriot air missiles on the Turkish-Syrian border.

He mentioned Russia’s initiative to help Ankara and Damascus be able to discuss all differences directly amid the increasing military potential in the region in order to avoid incidents.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said that Russia’s reaction to the deployment of the Patriot air defense systems on the border with Syria, which Ankara requested from the NATO on Wednesday, was “erroneous”.

Answering the question about the Moscow’s reaction to Turkey’s request to NATO, the official representative of the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation Alexander Lukashevich noted on Thursday that Russia considered the militarization of the Syrian-Turkish border to be an alarm signal. “I believe Russia’s statement to be very erroneous”, – the Turkish Prime Minister said in this regard to accompanying journalists on his return from Pakistan from the summit of the “Islamic group of eight”.

Russia has expressed its concern over the militarization of the Turkish-Syrian border, the VoR correspondent Polina Chernitsa has cited the Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich who commented on Turkey’s request to deploy Patriot missiles on the Syrian border.

Moscow would like Turkey to contribute to the beginning of the inter-Syria dialogue rather than flex its military muscles, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

“The militarization of the Syrian-Turkish border is a dismal signal,” Lukashevich said, referring to Turkey’s recent request to deploy Patriot anti-missile systems to protect its border with Syria.

He urged Turkey to interact more with the Syrian opposition so as to help start the inter-Syria dialogue as soon as possible.

Turkey already hosted the complex twice. in 1991 and 2003 during the two Iraqi campaigns but never used it.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4451

The bombed Sudanese factory produced Iranian Shehab missiles

 

The Yarmouk Complex of military plants near Khartoum, whicht was bombed five minutes after midnight Wednesday, Oct.  24, by four fighter-bombers, recently went into manufacturing Iranian ballistic surface-to-surface Shehab missiles under license from Tehran, debkafile’s military and intelligence sources disclose. Western intelligence sources have not revealed what types of Shehab were being turned out in Sudan but they believe the Yarmouk’s output was intended to serve as Tehran’s strategic reserve stock in case Iran’s ballistic arsenal was hit by Israeli bombers.
The Israeli Air Force has a long record of pre-emptive attacks for destroying an enemy’s long-range missiles in the early stages of a conflict. In June 2006, for instance, the IAF destroyed 90 percent of Hizballah’s long-range missiles in the first hours of the Lebanon war.
Videos of the explosions caused in the air raid over Sudan showed large quantities of phosphorus flares in the sky suggesting that a large stockpile was demolished along with the manufacturing equipment.
Western sources did not divulge information about the comings and goings of Iranian missile specialists or whether the Bashir government had given Tehran permission to stage attacks from Sudan against Middle East targets, in return for the allotment of a number of missiles to the Sudanese army. All they would say is that the complex’s structures had been completely leveled by the aerial bombardment and subsequent fire.
Sudan accused Israel of the attack and stated it reserved the right to respond at a time and circumstances of its choosing. Israeli officials declined to comment in answer to questions.
If Indeed Israel was responsible for the bombing raid, it is possible to postulate the following objectives:
1.  Its air force flew 1,800-1,900 kilometers to reach the Sudanese arms factory, a distance longer than the 1,600 kilometers to the Iranian underground enrichment site of Fordo. This operation may have been intended to show Tehran that distance presents no obstacles to an Israeli strike on its nuclear program.
2.  The IAF has an efficient in-flight refueling capability.
3.  The raid would have degraded Iran’s ability to retaliate for a potential Israel or US attack.
If it was conducted by Israel, it would add a third item to the list of backdoor assaults in which Iran and Israel appear to be engaged in the past three months.
On August 17, the power lines to Fordo were sabotaged, interrupting the work of enrichment taking place there and causing some of the advanced centrifuges to catch fire.
On Oct. 6, an Iranian stealth drone was launched from Lebanon into Israeli air space and photographed its most sensitive military sites as well as the Dimona nuclear reactor before Israel brought it down.   

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4322

Iran preparing for nuclear war

Despite the statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel’s red line on Iran’s illicit nuclear program could be reached by next spring, Iranian officials are adamant that war is close.

In analyzing Mr. Netanyahu’s recent speech to the United Nations General Assembly, an Iranian nuclear policy strategist boasted to state media outlet irannuc.ir that Mr. Netanyahu’s red line is based on the current enrichment process to the 20 percent level at the Fordow nuclear facility. A recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report shows Iran has 90 kilograms of 20 percent enrichment, needing just 130 kilograms of such material for a nuclear bomb, which the Israelis conclude will happen by next spring.

“The first important fact is that Netanyahu has assumed that the speed of 20 percent enrichment by Iran remains the same till next year, but if the speed of such conversion then is changed, the timeline for such capacity will change, too,” said the unnamed strategist, hinting that Iran could obtain the needed material for the bomb sooner than Israel expects.

The Aug. 30 IAEA report showed Iran has doubled the number of centrifuges at its Fordow facility deep within a mountain to more than 2,000, and work continues unabated at the 20 percent enrichment level. Meanwhile, over 10,000 centrifuges at the Natanz facility are enriching to the 3.5 percent level with enough low-enriched uranium for six nuclear bombs, should Iran decide to enrich further. According to a source within Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Iran has already armed some of its ballistic missiles with chemical and biological warheads, to use against Israel should Israel attack.

Revolutionary Guard commanders in recent weeks have warned Iranians that the possibility of war is real. The guards’ chief commander, Mohammad Ali Jafari, said war will break out, and should Israel attack Iran, it will be destroyed. Javad Estaki, another guard commander, recently stated, “The enemy has always threatened us and we consider [the probability of] military confrontation at 100 percent . There are signs that the threat is real, we are ready and the people should be ready, too.”

The radical leaders of the Islamic regime are worried on two fronts as they speed up their nuclear bomb program: They fear an attack on their nuclear facilities before they complete their nuclear bomb goals and internal uprisings due to deteriorating economic conditions.

As the regime prepares for both scenarios, the West must tighten the screws on Iran’s economy with even harsher sanctions, thereby bringing about critical mass for a new Iranian revolution before the regime becomes nuclear-armed.

The Revolutionary Guard, in fear of a break in communications in case of war and internal chaos, has set up command-and-control centers in 31 provinces, acting under the orders of 10 operational bases, with orders to confront any enemy aggression (foot soldiers) and suppress civilian riots.

Thousands of units have been formed within the Revolutionary Guards and Basij paramilitary forces to maintain order and attack protesting civilians.

A recent Intelligence Ministry memo warned Iranian officials that deteriorating economic conditions from international sanctions greatly increase the possibility of an uprising and urged them to take appropriate action.

The once-secret report, according to the Iranian Internet site Kaleme, the official site of the Green movement, specifically warned of riots by hungry masses on the outskirts of major cities across Iran.

The government’s economic commission has concluded that the country will run out of foreign currency reserves in the next six months and that inflation plaguing the Iranian currency will see another steep rise, reports showed.

Last week, the Iranian currency reached a historic low in which one U.S. dollar was equivalent to 39,000 Iranian rials. The commission expects the exchange rate on the open market to increase to more than 67,000 rials. The exchange rate before sanctions on Iranian oil and banks took effect July 1 was about 12,000 rials.

The devaluation in Iranian currency caused riots in downtown Tehran, as hundreds of merchants marched on Parliament in protest of the collapsing currency and the Islamic regime’s financial support of Syria’s government under Bashar Assad. Riot police violently clamped down on protesters. The government will also have problems in making payrolls for its employees and related institutions. Employees could lose 50 percent of their pay.

Western leaders believe that by early next year, economic conditions will force regime leaders, fearing a revolt from within, to change course and negotiate. The Islamic regime is preparing for the worst and racing to the finish line to acquire the bomb, believing that it will become invincible once it does so.

The best course of action for the United States is to support the Iranian people who aspire to freedom and democracy, and help them bring change from within. The country is ripe for revolt, and Western support is critical as the regime prepares to confront its own people over policies the majority of Iranians have long resented.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4249

Gog of Magog and the Great Earthquake

September 18, 2012 in Updates

Joel Richardson

In several previous articles, I’ve set forth various reasons why we should recognize “Gog” of Ezekiel 38,39 to be one and the same with the Antichrist/Beast of other antichristic prophecies. I have also addressed and dispelled some of the most common arguments against this view. In this article, I will detail yet another significant reason why Gog must be the Antichrist and why the Battle of Gog of Magog can only conclude at the return of Jesus.

Among the many events that concludes the Battle of Gog and Magog, one major event is “a great earthquake” in the land of Israel. The earthquake will be so great that all creatures and mankind “who are on the face of the earth” will tremble in fear:

It will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel… there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence; the mountains also will be thrown down, the steep pathways will collapse and every wall will fall to the ground. —Ezekiel 38:18-20

Many seem to miss the fact that this earthquake will result in the mountains of Israel being “thrown down”. Beyond this, “every wall will fall to the ground”. We’ll come back to this issue of the mountains and walls collapsing, but first, let’s briefly consider a few other significant Biblical passages that also speak of:

1.) A massive eschatological invasion of Israel
2.) A divine deliverance
3.) A massive earthquake that brings the invasion to an end

In Isaiah 29, the LORD warns Jerusalem, called here “Ariel”, that He will bring armies against her:

Yet I will besiege Ariel; she will mourn and lament, she will be to me like an altar hearth. I will encamp against you all around; I will encircle you with towers and set up my siege works against you. —Isaiah 29:2-3

But though it is the LORD Himself who brings these armies against Ariel, He also promises to destroy them with both a personal visit, as well as with a mighty earthquake:

But your many enemies will become like fine dust, the ruthless hordes like blown chaff. Suddenly, in an instant, the LORD Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire. Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel, that attack her and her fortress and besiege her, will be as it is with a dream, with a vision in the night…. So will it be with the hordes of all the nations that fight against Mount Zion. —Isaiah 29:5-8

In another famous end time passage, we see the same pattern again repeated. The LORD promises to gather the surrounding gentile nations against Jerusalem. And once again, he responds with a personal visit and a great earthquake.

I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it… Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. —Zechariah 14:2-5

So we see that the themes of invading hordes, a corresponding great earthquake and a divine deliverance of the people of Israel are commonly repeated themes among these passages that speak of the return of Jesus. It might be quite logical then, to assume that because Ezekiel’s oracle perfectly mirrors all of these elements, it is also speaking of the return of Jesus. Many argue however, that Ezekiel’s invasion, the mighty earthquake, and the accompanying deliverance, precede these other passages by several years.

But here is where the popular view runs into yet another insurmountable problem. For as we have already seen, the great earthquake of Ezekiel’s oracle results in all of the mountains in Israel being thrown down. But if this is the case, then how can it be that in the middle of the tribulation, Jesus warns the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judea to flee to the mountains:

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. —Matthew 24:15-16

How can Jesus tell people to flee to mountains which, according to the popular view, no longer even exist? If Ezekiel’s prophecy is to have happened a few, or even several years prior, resulting in the mountains of Israel all falling down, how can Jesus still be speaking of near-by mountains, and telling his people to flee to them? For students of the Scriptures who take the words of the Bible literally, there are really only two options; either Ezekiel’s earthquake comes sometime after the middle of the tribulation, or Jesus didn’t know what He was talking about. I’m going with Ezekiel’s earthquake taking place at the conclusion of the tribulation.

But as much as this causes a insurmountable mountain of a problem for the popular view which tries to cast Gog and Antichrist as two different characters, there is yet another powerful passage in the Book of Revelation which speaks of the final conclusion of the Great Tribulation. Once again, there is the gathering of the gentiles, there is a great earthquake which results in the cities of the earth being destroyed, as well as the mountains being removed:

Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed… Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. —Revelation 16:16-20

In the following chart, consider the dramatic similarities between Ezekiel’s oracle and John’s description of the Battle of Armageddon:

 

Now, consider the following timelines, where the popular view is contrasted with what I refer to as “the consistent view”:

The Popular View

In the timeline above, the Battle of Gog of Magog concludes either just before or just after the beginning of the final seven years. The problem with this view should be clear. At the conclusion of the Battle of Gog of Magog, there is a massive earthquake whereby all of the mountains will be “thrown down” or “fall down”. If this is the case, how then could Jesus warn the inhabitants of Jerusalem, several years later, to flee to the mountains? This would be impossible. And how could another earthquake level the mountains a second time during the “great earthquake” that takes place at the return of Jesus? Obviously, the popular view has an insurmountable contradiction with Scripture on this point.

The Consistent View

 

Now consider the alternative consistent view. Here, we see that because Gog of Magog and the Battle of Armageddon are seen as concluding at the same time, at the return of Jesus, there is no contradiction concerning the mountains being leveled. Neither is there any contradiction with the commandment of Jesus to flee to the mountains at the mid-point of the tribulation.

The conclusion is simple. Ezekiel was simply speaking of the same invasion, great earthquake and divine intervention that all of the other prophets were speaking of. Divorcing Ezekiel’s prophesied invasion from Isaiah’s, Zechariah’s and John the Apostle’s prophesied invasion simply cannot be reconciled with Scripture.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4162

Ezekiel, Magog And The Scythians

By Joel Richardson – “The prophecy of Ezekiel 38 and 39, often referred to as the Battle of Gog and Magog is hands-down, one of the most influential end-time prophecies in all of Scripture. But it is also arguably one of the most misinterpreted prophecies. In previous articles, I’ve explained that while many prophecy teachers claim that Ezekiel is speaking of a Russia-led invasion of Israel, the historical record and modern scholarship show that it is in fact a Turkish-led invasion. As previously discussed, the popular but faulty line of reasoning many follow to conclude a Russian-led invasion is as follows:

  1. Magog and the Scythians are one and the same.
  2. The Scythians lived in Russia.
  3. Gog, the leader of Ezekiel’s invasion, comes from      Magog.
  4. Thus Ezekiel’s prophesied invasion is led by a      leader from Russia.

The problem with this line of reasoning is that history tells us that the Scythians were a nomadic migratory people who rarely stayed in one place for very long. The question is not if the Scythians ever lived in the region that has become modern-day Russia, but rather, where did the Magog/Scythian people live specifically in Ezekiel’s day? We are not concerned with where the Scythians lived several hundred or even thousands of years after Ezekiel. Our only concern is to discover where they lived during Ezekiel’s day. Lets review a small sampling of historical sources to see where they placed the Magog/Scythian people during Ezekiel’s day.

Herodotus (484–425 B.C.)

Herodotus, the Greek historian, lived roughly 150 years after Ezekiel. In his day, he placed the homeland of the Scythians in the region extending from eastern Europe to Moldova and the Ukraine. According to Dr. Michael Kulikowski, department head of History at Pennsylvania State University, ‘Herodotus’ Scythians were to be found in a bit of modern Bulgaria and Romania, and across the grasslands of Moldova and Ukraine’ but not Russia. Another essential point is that while Herodotus also discusses Meshech and Tubal, two of the regions that Magog is ruler over, and placed them squarely in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey).

Pliny The Elder (d. A.D. 79)

Pliny the Elder, a first-century Roman military commander, author, naturalist and philosopher, referred to the Turkish city of Hieropolis as the heartland of Magog. Hierapolis was an ancient Greco-Roman city in Phyrgia near Laodicea. Hieropolis was also known as Scythopolis, (City of Scythes) which the peoples of that day referred to as Magog. One would think that this would be crucial information to consider and mention, yet in the numerous popular books and treatments of Gog and Magog I’ve reviewed in my studies, I have never once seen this important historical reference cited.

Hippolytus (d. 235)

Roughly a hundred years after Pliny, Hippolytus, one of the most important Christian theologians of the early third century, spoke of Magog. In his work known as ‘The Chronicon,’ Hippolytus also connected Magog to Asia Minor – modern-day Turkey. One would also think this to be a crucial reference to cite. Hippolytus is one of the most prolific early Christian writers concerning the last days. Yet again, in the many popular works arguing for a Russian Magog correlation, I have never once seen it mentioned.

Maimonides (d.1205)

Maimonides, also known as Rambam, the revered Jewish sage, in ‘Hichot Terumot,’ also identified Magog as being in the modern nation of Turkey.

John Wesley (1755)

In fact, this connection between modern-day Turkey and Magog was well-known among Christian theologians for centuries. In his ‘Explanatory Notes’ on Ezekiel 38 and 39, John Wesley says the following:

Magog is, at least, part of Scythia, and comprehends Syria, in which was Hierapolis taken by the Scythians, and called of them Scythopolis. It is that country, which now is in subjection to the Turks, and may be extended thro’ Asia minor, the countries of Sarmatia, and many others, under more than one in succession of time. And in the last time under some one active and daring prince, all their power will be stirred up against Christians.

Modern scholarship

It is because of this fact, ignored by virtually all modern-day popular prophecy teachers, that the homeland of the Scythians during Ezekiel’s day was in western Asia Minor, that so many modern scholar place Magog in Asia Minor or specifically in the ancient Kingdom of Lydia (Western Turkey). In a previous article, I re-created maps from several of the best modern-day Bible atlases, showing how they each placed Magog in the region of modern-day Turkey.

  1. 8th century B.C.: Scythians migrate south out of      the Caucasus.
  2. 7th century B.C.: Scythians invade Asia Minor.
  3. 7th century B.C. (in Ezekiel’s day), Scythians      founded Scythopolis near Laodicea.
  4. Late 6th century B.C.: Scythians driven into      Europe by the Persians.
  5. 4th-3rd centuries B.C.: Scythians spread north to      European and Russian Steppes.

Through consulting a wide range of ancient sources, including Assyrian records, scholars today acknowledge that before Ezekiel’s day, the Scythians had pushed down out of the Caucasus and invaded Asia Minor, or modern-day Turkey. There they dominated and settled the city of Hierapolis, also known as Scythopolis, in the western Anatolian Kingdom of Lydia, which was for many years known as Magog. Sometime after Ezekiel’s day, a Persian invasion pushed the Scythians out of Asia Minor, west and north into Europe around the Black Sea. Eventually they would reach Russia. But this was hundreds of years after Ezekiel’s day.

In conclusion, Ezekiel spoke of a Turkish-led invasion of Israel. Genuine students of the Scriptures who make it their goal to always seek truth, even when it is in conflict with their own traditions, will recognize the flaws with this view. It is imperative that students of the Bible take the time to study Ezekiel’s prophecy. In my newest book, ‘Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist,’ not only do we examine many essential, but often-ignored historical, geographical and exegetical elements of the passage, but even more importantly, its application and relevance for the Church and the world today.

As the days the prophets warned us of draw ever closer, it is imperative that every Christian believer pay careful attention to the roadmap and many prophetic warnings so clearly laid out before us. The Lord has given us this roadmap; it is our duty as his students of the Scriptures not only to make ourselves aware of it, but most importantly, to follow it.” Source – WND.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4090

Ethiopia And Sudan In Bible Prophecy

By Joel Richardson – “Open up nearly any English translation of the Bible and you will find numerous references to ‘Ethiopia.’ Many of these references place Ethiopia in a negative light. In the book of the prophet Ezekiel, for example, we find a prophetic oracle against Ethiopia, Egypt, Arabia, Libya and Turkey (Lud):

“A sword will come upon Egypt, and anguish will be in Ethiopia; when the slain fall in Egypt, they take away her wealth, And her foundations are torn down. Ethiopia, Put, Lud, all Arabia, Libya and the people of the land that is in league will fall with them by the sword.” (Ezekiel 30: 4-5)

Later in the infamous Gog of Magog oracle of Ezekiel 38 and 39, Ethiopia is included among the alliance of nations that are prophesied to invade the nation of Israel:

“Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords; Persia, Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet.’” (Ezekiel 38: 3-5)

All of the nations of Ezekiel’s Gog oracle are destroyed. Is Ethiopia thus destined to be decimated by God?

Far from it. The truth is that the modern-day nation of Ethiopia is largely unrelated to the Ethiopia mentioned by Ezekiel. The translation of ‘Cush’ as ‘Ethiopia’ is actually quite misleading. Yet as a result of this widely used, but faulty translation, the poor Ethiopian people today, one of the most ancient, noble and largely Christian cultures in the earth, have gotten a seriously bad rap.

How did this confusion come about? The Hebrew word translated as Ethiopia is ‘Cush.’ Cush was the son of Ham and grandson of Noah. Many of Cush’s descendants settled in the region of southern Egypt, from Aswan to the place where the Nile River meets the Blue and White Nile rivers. The confusion comes from the historical name swap between Ethiopia and Abyssinia. The region the Bible refers to as Cush became known as Nubia, which the Greeks called Aithiopia. But today this region is southern Egypt and Northern Sudan. On the other hand, the ancient region of Abyssinia was much more southeast. This is where modern Ethiopia is now located. In others words, ancient Abyssinia is modern Ethiopia and ancient Aithiopia is modern-day North Sudan.

Because of this confusion, many students of prophecy are awaiting the Christian majority nation of Ethiopia to join with the Islamic alliance described in Ezekiel 38 and 39 [ICA: See related article here]. But a correct understanding of the name Cush points us to North Sudan, not Ethiopia.

Modern Day North Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and surrounding nations. The grey oval around the three Nile rivers represents ancient Cush, which most Bibles translate as “Ethiopia.” The Green nations of Ethiopia and Eritrea were called Abyssinia in ancient times and do not correlate to the biblical Cush.

But the judgment prophecies of Ezekiel concerning Cush/Ethiopia do not merely point us to the Sudan in general, but specifically North Sudan. From the perspective of biblical prophecy, this is all very significant. The recent cessation of South Sudan is a significant development, bringing greater clarity to Ezekiel’s prophecies. The biblical region of Cush was centered at Meroe where the Nile river meets the White Nile and the Blue Nile, roughly 75 miles northeast of the city of Khartoum, the capital city of North Sudan. Today, an ideological and military Islamist alliance is already forming against Israel, which includes the Islamic nation of North Sudan and Libya. These two nations represent the southern branch of Ezekiel’s Gog alliance.

But while North Sudan is well-known as an Islamist stronghold, South Sudan has a significant Christian population. And beyond having a large Christian population, like Ethiopia, South Sudan also has a large number of believers whose faith has many distinctly Messianic-Jewish characteristics. Many of these Christian groups trace their roots back to the early Messianic Jewish communities. And many of these Messianic believers are also supporters of Israel who would have no part in an invasion of the Jewish state.

While this may seem a bit academic, there are actually a few essential lessons here. First, it is imperative to accurately understand what nations and regions the ancient names in Scripture are pointing us to. Beyond this, an accurate understanding of what the prophets are actually saying helps the church as we seek to join with the Lord’s purposes. Understanding these prophecies will help Christians determine where to allocate their time, resources, energy and money. Where we direct our intercessory prayers and which missionaries and ministries we choose to support should all be influenced by what we believe the Lord is doing today in the earth. It is imperative that the church aligns its purposes with what the Lord is doing in the earth now.

Today the new nation of South Sudan is deeply in need of prayer, rebuilding and overcoming the effects of war. Beyond this, the ravaging effects of decades of United Nations miseducation has devastated families and actually ruined the faith of tens of thousands. Meanwhile, both South Sudan and Ethiopia are at the front lines of the radical Islamic agenda to exterminate the ancient African Christian communities. While some students of prophecy today, due to the outdated and misleading translations found in most Bibles, are simply sitting back waiting for Ethiopia and South Sudan to join a forthcoming anti-Zionist, Islamist invasion of Israel, those who know the truth will understand that now is the moment for the global church to rise up and stand with these beautiful shining gems that are the Christian communities of South Sudan and Ethiopia.” Source – WND.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3980