Read an Excerpt
THE COMING ISLAMIC INVASION OF ISRAEL
By MARK HITCHCOCK
Multnomah PublishersCopyright © 2002 Mark Hitchcock
All right reserved.
SETTING THE STAGE
Russia and a massive Islamic alliance are going to invade Israel.
If I had made this statement sixty years ago, it would have seemed ridiculous.
First of all, there was no nation of Israel to invade!
For nineteen centuries the Jewish people had been scattered all over the world. At that very time, they were being herded together and incinerated by the millions in the Nazi houses of horror, better known as death camps. While Jews were fighting for their very survival as a people, the idea of a rebirth of their nation would have seemed like nothing more than an illusion.
Who could have imagined that a few years later they would have part of their own homeland back? At the same time, none of the Islamic nations that are so dangerous today were even blips on the international radar screen. The thought of their attacking anybody was a joke.
But it's anything but a joke today.
The world today is like a powder keg with a lighted fuse. Present conditions all over the world indicate that the fuse could burn its way to the end very soon, exploding into worldwide conflict and chaos.
The New World Disorder
Not long ago on the Fox News Channel, Bill O'Reilly observed that "the world today is a more dangerous place than it's ever been." Most of us have probably thought the same thing in the past few months or years. It seems that as each day passes, the world seems to spin closer and closer to the brink. There are undoubtedly many reasons why this is true, but one that would be at the top of almost everyone's list is the meteoric rise of militant Islam.
The beginning of modern radical Islam can probably be traced to the Iranian revolution in 1979, led by Ayatollah Khomeini. The takeover of the American embassy in Tehran and the internment of its staff are etched in the minds of all Americans.
After 1979, the Iranian revolution was exported to other nations and gained momentum in the 1980s. But a movement that was already gaining ground was rocketed forward by three strategic events from 1989 to 1991:
1. the defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan in
2. the Gulf War in early 1991, and
3. the demise of the Soviet Union in December
Since 1991, militant Islam has literally exploded on the world scene. A recent article in Reader's Digest highlighted the current threat of radical Islam to Muslim countries and the world.
Modern Islam is under siege. The vast territories of Islam are now filled with radicalism, and the faith has been hijacked by those who preach that political power must be anchored in religious zeal. This is the siren song of Osama bin Laden and those who carry his banner.
Their core followers are the impoverished youth of Islam-urban, half-educated, on the run from security services in their homelands. They are drifters who stare at us in the daily newspapers, rounded up in the global hunt for terrorists. And their numbers are legion and still growing.
These militants have targeted governments in their own Muslim world, confident that a tide of Islamic fundamentalism will sweep more moderate secular rulers away.... Here's why their struggles won't end soon and what their turmoil could mean to America and the world.
It Is Written
Although the rise of militant Islam has shocked and surprised many people around the world, the God of Scripture has not been taken off guard. Approximately 2,600 years ago, through the prophet Ezekiel, God predicted events that are strikingly foreshadowed by what we see developing before our eyes every day on the evening news.
Ezekiel 36-39 is history written beforehand. It describes the regathering of Jews to the land of Israel in the end times, followed by an all-out invasion of Israel by a massive assault force. On May 14, 1948, Israel became a nation against all odds, preparing the way for Ezekiel 38-39 to be fulfilled. As we look around today, other events are further setting the stage for Ezekiel 38-39 to come to pass exactly as God predicted.
We need to remember that God has already written the script for the end times. He is the author of the ages. Seven times in Ezekiel 38-39 we read the same words: "Thus says the Lord God" (38:3, 10, 14, 17; 39:1, 17, 25). Another eight times the refrain "declares the Lord God" appears. Obviously, God doesn't want us to miss the point: This is His word! The prediction in Ezekiel 38-39 comes directly from Him. He is the author of the script.
And He is also the director.
Directed by God
At the end of every movie when the credits begin to roll, one of the first items to appear is "directed by.... " If Bible prophecy had a list of credits, it would read, "directed by God."
As director and producer, God is orchestrating, organizing, and overruling world events to set the stage for a drama like no other. He is making sure that all the players will be in the right place when the curtain goes up at the Rapture.
Over and over again in Ezekiel 38-39, God makes it clear that He is in charge. He says to these future invaders, "I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out" (38:4). God pictures these invading nations as a huge crocodile that He drags out of the water. We might say that God is the original "Crocodile Hunter."
In other places, God further emphasizes again and again that He is the one who sovereignly sets the stage. "You will be summoned" (38:8), "I will bring you against My land" (38:16), "and I will turn you around, drive you on, take you up ... and bring you against the mountains of Israel" (39:2).
Is God, then, violating the will of these invaders by bringing them into Israel? Not at all. They want to come. They "devise an evil plan," and God holds them responsible for it (38:10). Nothing in this statement is meant in any way to diminish human responsibility. The point is that God is ultimately and finally in control. He is the one who makes sure the stage is perfectly set for His great prophetic production.
God has scripted many events and participants to play a role in His prophetic production: the Antichrist, the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem, the reuniting of the Roman empire, and the final great War of Armageddon. One of the major events that God has scripted is the first great battle of the end times predicted in Ezekiel 38-39: the Battle of Gog and Magog.
The Picture on the Box
In light of all that's going on in our world today, I love to read the newspaper every morning and tune in to the cable news channels. Sometimes, however, listening to the news or reading the newspaper today can be like staring at a table covered with pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Although so many articles and reports seem to relate to the stage setting for the end times, it can be difficult to put the pieces together.
What's the key to successfully assembling a jigsaw puzzle? The picture on the box, of course. In the same way, God's prophecies in the Bible serve as the guide, master plan, or picture on the box by which we can evaluate the many current events in our world today to see how they fit together in God's program for this world.
Ezekiel 38-39 is a key part of the picture on the box of God's master plan for history. In this book I want you to join me as we take a serious look at the details of these two chapters in God's Word. Let's see what the picture on the box looks like and then begin to evaluate how events in our world today clearly point toward what we see in these chapters.
If you were ever in beginning journalism in high school, you'll probably remember the six questions every reporter was supposed to bring to each story: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Let's use these questions to guide us through some significant points in Ezekiel 38-39.
The where question is easy. It's obvious we're talking about Israel-the very same piece of land that Abraham and Sarah traversed approximately four thousand years ago.
But who are the specific nations that will participate in this invasion (see Ezekiel 38:1-7)?
When will it happen (see Ezekiel 38:8)?
Why will they attack (see Ezekiel 38:9-12)?
What will happen in this battle (see Ezekiel 38:13-39:20)?
And finally, how should we personally respond?
Let's get started in the next three chapters by looking at Ezekiel 38:1-7-God's who's who of end-time nations that will invade Israel.
GOG AND MAGOG
Ezekiel doesn't waste any time. He jumps right into his amazing prophecy by introducing us to the nations that will participate in this end-time assault against Israel. His list contains ten proper names. We could call this list "God's Top-Ten Most Wanted List," because God says that He is against them and their evil plan to invade Israel (see 38:3).
About 2,600 years ago the prophet Ezekiel listed the precise alliance of nations that will invade Israel in the latter years, or end times.
And the word of the Lord came to me saying, "Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him and say, 'Thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, 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; Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all it troops-many peoples with you. Be prepared, and prepare yourself, you and all your companies that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them."'" (Ezekiel 38:1-7, emphasis added)
The best place to begin in approaching a part of the Bible as complicated as Ezekiel 38-39 is to identify the nations specifically named by the prophet-ancient geographical names of countries well known in his day but totally foreign to us now. Our task is to determine which countries inhabit these ancient lands today. As we identify the modern countries one by one, I think you'll be amazed.
It reads like a who's-who list of Israel's current enemies.
Gog: Public Enemy #1
The first name to appear on "God's Top-Ten Most Wanted List" is the strange name of Gog. In 1 Chronicles 5:4, Gog is listed as one of the descendants of Reuben, but that Gog has no relation to the Gog of Ezekiel.
There are four things we can say about Gog. First, Gog is a person, not a place. Ezekiel says that Gog is "of the land of Magog" and that he is the "prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal" (Ezekiel 38:2). This clearly identifies Gog as a ruler or prince of nations.
Second, Gog is the leader of this invasion. In Ezekiel 38-39, the name Gog appears eleven times, more than any other name. God directly addresses Gog on several occasions in these chapters. This leads me to conclude that Gog is the leader or key figure in this invading force.
We need to be careful not to confuse Gog with another key end-time political/military leader known as the Antichrist. The Antichrist rules the great Western confederation of nations during the first part of the Tribulation and eventually the whole world for three and a half years. Gog, however, leads a great Russian-Islamic alliance of nations in opposition to Israel and the Antichrist, as we will see later.
Gog and Antichrist are not the same person. In fact, they are rivals during the first half of the Tribulation. Gog leads his troops into Israel for the Battle of Gog and Magog; Antichrist leads his army into Israel at the very end of the Tribulation for the War of Armageddon.
Third, although Gog could be the person's name, it is probably a title-like president, Caesar, or general. Gog personifies the evil forces who gather against Israel to destroy her.
Fourth, we know that Gog is from the land of Magog and rules over Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. To discern the precise land from which Gog arises, we must identify the land of Magog.
The Land of Magog
Magog was the second son of Japheth, the son of Noah (see Genesis 10:2). His name appears in the Bible in 1 Chronicles 1:5, Ezekiel 38:2, and Ezekiel 39:6. Outside the Bible, the name is not found in ancient literature except by those commenting on the Bible. Magog has been identified with several ancient groups of people by biblical commentators. The most likely identification, however, is provided by the Jewish historian Josephus who said, "Magog founded the Magogians, thus named after him, but who by the Greeks are called Scythians."
The ancient Scythians were a great nomadic tribe who inhabited the ancient territory from Central Asia all across the southern part of ancient Russia. The descendants of Magog were the original inhabitants of the plateau of Central Asia.
Today the land of Magog is inhabited by the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and possibly even northern parts of modern Afghanistan. All of these nations today have one thing in common: Islam. And within their borders they have a combined population of 60 million.
When the Soviet Union came crashing down in December 1991, the people of Central Asia immediately and exuberantly embraced Islam, the religion they had been forced to renounce or secretly practice for seventy-four years. Since 1991, militant Islam has been on the rise in Central Asia. Ahmed Rashid, an expert on Central Asia, says that one of the greatest threats to Central Asia today is militant Islam, primarily centered in three radical groups.
The first of these groups is known as the Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP). The second is the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). Under its leader Juma Namangani, the IMU extended its jihad to all of Central Asia. A third even more widespread Islamic movement in Central Asia is Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (HT-the Party of Islamic Liberation). This movement has declared jihad in Central Asia and is working to reunite all the Central Asian nations and ultimately the whole Muslim world.
Excerpted from THE COMING ISLAMIC INVASION OF ISRAEL by MARK HITCHCOCK Copyright © 2002 by Mark Hitchcock
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.