reMEMber!                                    Issue 124                                                                                                 3rd Q tr., 2017
                We don't change 
                the message, the 
             message changes us!





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Gog of Magog

One of the fascinating prophecies of the Bible has to do with a "last days" military invasion into Israel by a coalition of Muslim nations led by Russia (Ezek. 38-39).  And, in that attack, just when it looks like Israel will be destroyed, God will intervene and annihilate those invading forces on the mountains of Israel (39:2-5). We usually refer to this conflict as the "Gog of Magog War". 
Ezek. 38:8 tells us that it will happen "after many days... in the latter years" when Israel is dwelling "safely" (securely, vs. 38:8,11) as a "land of unwalled villages" that have "neither bars nor gates" (vs. 38:11).  Today, there is much debate about whether Israel is dwelling "safely" (securely) and thus, whether this war is imminent.  I won't get into that debate here.  However, such an attack on the nation of Israel has never happened before, so we must conclude that it is going to happen at some point in the future.  But because we don't know WHEN the Rapture of the Church is going to happen, this war could happen BEFORE or AFTER the Rapture of Church.  So, we Christians may or may not be here to see it happen.  Nevertheless, there are some things happening today that sure seem to be setting the stage for this war.

1.    The identity of "Gog of Magog"
The Jewish historian Josephus identified the people of Magog as Scythians of the far north ( Antiquities I, vi. 1) And generally, the Scythians are recognized as ancestors of modern-day Russians.  But aside from such secular writings, the Scriptures identify Gog as the one who "shall come from thy place out of the north parts" (38:15).  Many translations speak of it as "the distant north" (NLT), the "far north" (NKJV), or the "uttermost parts of the north" (RSV), indicating that Gog comes from the EXTREME NORTH of Israel.  And Russia is the northern-most country from Israel.  In fact, a line drawn due north from Jerusalem runs directly through Moscow!

2.    The Russian alliance with the invading nations.
Ezekiel 38:5-6 identifies the nations who will join with Russia in this attack on Israel.  If we look at the modern-day nations represented by these ancient names, they can be easily identified as:
Persia  =  Iran
Ethiopia  =  Sudan (the land south of Egypt)
Libya  =  Libya and perhaps other north african nations of  Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco
Gomer and Togarmah  =  Turkey

Interestingly, today, all of these are Muslim nations that  have close ties with Russia.  


Iran was considered an ally of the United States under the regime of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi until 1979 when in the "National Revolution" Pahlavi fled the country and  the Islamic cleric Ruhollah Khomeini took control. He subsequently lead Iran to change its constitution and officially become an Islamic republic.  From that time until today, Iran's national alliances have made a 180 degree turn about, breaking with the United States and forging new ties with Russia, who has provided technical support, materials and funds for the Iranian nuclear plants.  When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president in Iran (2005-2013), he received Vladimir Putin in 2007 on the first state visit of a Russian president to Iran since 1943.  To date, the Iranian/Russian bond has continued to strengthen.

                          Ahmadinejad and Putin

Since its founding as a republic in 1923, Turkey has prided itself on its secular government.  But in its 2007 parliamentary elections, a strictly Islamic Prime Minister was elected, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has led the country  steadily away from relations with Israel and the West.

                                  Recep Tayyip Erdogan

At the same time, he has built stronger ties with Russia and Iran as indicated by this Sept. 9, 2017 article published by the Russian news agency "Sputnik":

"Trilateral consultations between Russia, Iran and Turkey indicate that within the next few months, the countries will be able to further expand mutual cooperation on a number of pressing issues... There were [are] also tensions in US-Turkish relations despite the fact that both countries maintain military cooperation within NATO. This has forced Turkey to reorient itself to cooperation with Iran and Russia and to intensify the dialogue with these two countries on various strategic issues..." (1)  (emphasis mine)

Libya is a "wild card".  Since the overthrow of the Muammar Gadaffi government in 2011, the country has been torn apart by civil war with several groups fighting for power, including ISIS.  So, Libya and ISIS (from Syria) have a connection.  Also, Russia is active in the Libyan political upheaval and may play a major role in determining the final government structure:

"Russia is increasingly seen as a key player in persuading Khalifa Haftar, the head of the self-styled Libyan National Army based in the east of the country, to compromise over a future role in a new consensus government. Haftar's forces control most of Libya's oil resources. (2)

3.    WHERE God will destroy them
It is important to note that even though this coalition of Muslim nations lies to the north (Russia, Turkey), south (Sudan), east (Iran), and west (Libya and north Africa) of Israel, the main thrust of the invasion against Israel comes from the NORTH and makes it all the way inside her borders before God stops it.

Ezek. 39:2,4  -  And I will... cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel... Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee:  I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to beasts of the field to be devoured.


Today, Syria, which borders Israel on the NE, has been in civil war since 2011 resulting in approximately 475,000 deaths combined of soldiers and civilians.  Russia has supported the dictatorial government of Bashar al-Assad from the beginning and became directly involved militarily in Sept., 2015.  Likewise, Iran has also backed the Syrian government: 

  "Iran and Syria are close strategic allies, and Iran has provided significant support for the Syrian Government in the Syrian Civil War including logistical, technical and financial support, as well as training and some combat troops." (3)

Additionally, Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon (which also borders Israel on the north), are in reality a "proxy army" of Iran.  Thus, Iran has a major military presence in Syria and Lebanon.

Turkey, of course, borders Syria on the north and has fought against ISIS inside northern Syria.

For the first time ever, the very nations that Ezekiel said would invade Israel from the north, are positioned on Israel's northern border... supposedly to help the Assad government in Syria!

For years, a ground invasion into northern Israel by Russia looked impossible.  Why?  Because south of Russia, between it and Israel, lies the Caspian and Black Seas.  And, for Russia to move a large ground military force southward toward Israel would require them to pass between these two seas into Georgia, through Turkey, and into Syria.  But like a giant, impassable wall, the Caucasus Mountain Range runs east and west between the two seas.  The only way through those mountains is through one  2 1/4 mile long tunnel (the Roki Tunnel) built by the Soviets in 1985, the south end of which opens into the South Ossetia Region of what used to be a part of Georgia.

                            Roki Tunnel

The "separatists" in South Ossetia fought and gained independence from Georgia with the help of Russia in 2008.  Since then, Russia has controlled the north end of the tunnel (which opens into Russia) and the south end of the tunnel (which opens into South Ossetia), the only highway through the Caucasus Mountains.  This effectively gives Russia an open passageway southward all the way to Israel.  But this was not so until the Russo/Georgian War of 2008.

Even though Russia gained control of this critical passageway through the Caucasus Mountains, she may still need another more efficient means of moving her army southward to Israel than just through this one two-lane tunnel.  Hence, the Russian war against the Ukraine in 2014 happened in which she TOOK the Crimean Penninsula.  But why was it so strategic for Russia to take the Crimean Penninsula?  Because the Black Sea Fleet naval base of Russia is located in Crimea.  In the winter, when the ports of Russia on her northern border along the Arctic Ocean are frozen solid, their only warm water port is on the Crimean Penninsula in the Black Sea.  

IF she wanted to transport a large military by sea into Syria, from Crimea, her ships would sail through the Black Sea, through the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul, into the Aegean Sea and into the Mediterranean Sea to the Syrian port city of Tartus where Russia has another naval base:

"In January 2017, Russia and Syria signed agreements to extend Russia's control of its facility [in Tartus] for 49 years and give it sovereignty over the territory. It allows Russia to dredge, install floating berths, and carry out repair works to expand its capacity to 11 warships, including nuclear-powered ships."  (4)

It is not likely that Russia has...

1.  Fought the Russo-Georgian War to gain control of the Roki Tunnel, the only passageway out of southern Russia through the Caucasus Mountains.

2.  "Annexed" the Crimean Penninsula away from Ukraine in order to retain its warm water naval base in the Black Sea and thereby give it a year-round water access into the Mediterranean and to Syria.

3.  Has built and is expanding its naval base/port in Tartus, Syria.

4.  Has established a military presence in the Syrian Civil War supposedly to aid the Assad regime maintain control. order to prepare for a large military invasion into Israel (even though all of this certainly helps them to gain strategic positions to do exactly that).  However, it can be seen how all of this has allowed Russia to establish a large military presence today in Syria on the northern border of Israel.  Or, we might say, the stage is definitely being set for that eventual Gog of Magog War in which Russia will invade northern Israel with a huge military ground force.

Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, has shown his aggressive nature in Ukraine, Georgia, and Syria.  Could he be "Gog of Magog"?  One thing is for sure... as never before, the Muslim Magog coalition of nations have gathered on Israel's northern border (in Syria and Lebanon)!



Church Bulletin Bloopers

1.  Potluck supper: prayer and medication to follow.

2.  Don't let worry kill you off - let the church help.

3.  The pastor is on vacation.  Massages can be given to the secretary.

4.  The Pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.

5.  Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM.  Please use large double doors at the side entrance.

6.  The choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir!

7.  Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.

Our   Upcoming   Schedule

Nov. 5-7  -  Indian Bible Church in Elton, La;  Bro. John Cernek, pastor

Nov. 10-12  -  Grace Bible Church in Winchester, KY;  Bro. Lee Cruse, pastor

Nov. 23  -  Thanksgiving!


Israel Tour 2018

We are now taking registrations for a fall Israel tour slated for November 5-16, 2018.  We have a great itinerary lined up and look forward to experiencing the beautiful, clear blue, skies of Fall in Israel in this tour!  If you have an interest in going with us, or would like more information, please call us at 337-725-6209.

Would You Pray About Joining Our Ministry? 
Maranatha Evangelistic Ministries has a program for ministry partners. For a contribution of $20 a month, folks can join our "Maranatha Partners" team. We send a monthly update letter to our Maranatha Partners. And, from time to time, to show our appreciation, we will provide CDs , books, and other materials to help in your personal Bible study. Will you pray and ask the Lord if you should be a part of this work of preaching about the soon return of our Lord Jesus?