A New Look at Prophecy
Steven M. Collins
P.O. Box 88735
Sioux Falls, SD 57109-1005
At the conclusion of my book, The “Lost” Ten Tribes of Israel…Found!, it was stated that a new book detailing prophecies about the ten tribes of Israel would be written. Since my four new books containing important new information about the ten tribes’ history had to come first, that book on prophecy is yet in the future. However, it is partially written. This booklet-length article is an effort to get some of that information to people in a timely fashion. What follows is not a direct excerpt from my future book, but is rather an adaptation of some of its material for those people who are in churches or fellowships which formed as the “old” Worldwide Church of God disintegrated. For these groups, some of this information is too important to be delayed for inclusion in a future book. This article is offered freely in the public domain, and I authorize it to be transmitted and distributed electronically or in paper format to anyone. The only conditions I place on this article are accurate quotation of the material and proper attribution of authorship.
A History of Prophetic Errors:
Decades ago, the “old” Worldwide Church of God (WCG) attracted many people with a message emphasizing biblical prophecy. The WCG developed prophetic expectations which were held so strongly that they developed into church dogmas. “Old-timers” who remember the WCG in the 1950s and 1960s can recall the prophetic dogma that a rearmed Germany would lead a “United States of Europe” in an invasion of the USA and Great Britain. This theme filled many pages of the Plain Truth Magazine. The WCG taught that this expected invasion would lead to a “Great Tribulation” of national captivity for the USA and Great Britain.
At first the WCG believed this invasion would begin in 1972 and that the church would flee to Petra for three and one-half years before Jesus Christ returned in 1975. The WCG taught these prophetic doctrines very strongly to its church members, and offered a booklet, based on these assumptions, to the general public called “The Year 1975 in prophecy.” As a teen-ager, I recall reading a booklet called “There is a Way of Escape,” which was based on the church’s belief that its members would be uniquely protected from the expected apocalypse in 1972.
The first sign of a major problem with the WCG prophetic expectations occurred when 1972 came and went uneventfully. At first, church leaders thought that we had been given “seven more years,” and the expected events were postponed to 1979 in the church’s thinking. Then 1979 came and, again, nothing happened.
The failure of church prophetic dogma was next explained by a new teaching about “19 year time cycles” which, if true, would mean that the German/European invasion would begin in 1991 (19 years after 1972). Then 1991 came and the church’s prophetic expectations failed again. The WCG then stopped offering new dates, but the general expectation of an eventual German-led invasion of the USA and Great Britain has remained imbedded in the minds of many people in the various COG off-shoots which formed as the “old” WCG gradually self-destructed.
In the “real” world of corporations and businesses, when a set of assumptions or expectations fails over and over again, those assumptions and expectations will either be discarded or intensely scrutinized for errors. However, churches rarely engage in critical self-examination even when their prophecies fail as they are loath to admit error of any kind. Nevertheless, it is now a well-established fact of history that the prophetic expectations of the “old” WCG failed repeatedly. A re-examination of the assumptions that caused the WCG’s prophetic errors of the last half-century is long overdue. This article will not only examine the assumptions on which the church’s failed prophetic dogmas were based, but it will also offer a new look at prophecy, based on a literal application of biblical prophecy to modern world events.
Over the last half-century, it is a historical fact that Germany did not experience a national resurgence of Nazism. Germany reunified and became an economic and political leader in Europe, but German militarism
never resurfaced. Germany became a strong member of NATO and a staunch ally of the USA. The USA and Great Britain not only did not “collapse,” as was expected by church dogmas, but actually went on to much greater levels of prosperity. The USA became steadily stronger and is now the leading economic and military power on the planet. The old WCG had taught that “the pride of our power” would be broken, but it never happened. It was thought for a time that the Vietnam War heralded the sunset of American willpower and military prowess. However, the Vietnam War never threatened any vital American national interest. Both the USA and Great Britain have since fought wars which ended in complete victories after their national interests were threatened. First the British won the Falklands War in the 1980s when Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady” Prime Minister, rallied her nation to accept nothing less than total victory. Then Saddam Hussein conquered Kuwait and threatened Saudi Arabia, placing the critical oil supplies of the Western Alliance at risk. When its vital oil supply was threatened, the United States led a coalition of nations in 1991 against Saddam Hussein and quickly inflicted a crushing and swift defeat on Iraq’s large army.
Before both these wars ended in spectacular victories for the British and Americans, some voices in the WCG-related churches expected and even predicted American and British defeats in those wars, based on the
“old” WCG doctrine that “the pride of our power” had to be broken in the latter days. It didn’t work out that way. Since the purpose of this article is to edify its readers and identify prophetic errors, not to embarrass individuals who espoused those prophetic errors, no church personality will be named. Those individuals were shaped in an autocratic church environment which demanded that church leaders either “support headquarters…or else.” Honest, biblically based research was discouraged and even punished! Because the church “sowed” a climate where it would not and could not reconsider its latter-day prophecies, it has “reaped” the embarrassment (and extensive loss of membership) that has resulted from a series of very public prophetic errors.
During the Falklands War, one prominent church leader voiced an expectation that a famous British ocean liner, refitted as a troop ship and full of British troops, would be torpedoed on its way to the Falklands and sunk as the ”pride of British power” would be broken. When the Persian Gulf War was imminent, another ex- WCG personality predicted a victory for Saddam Hussein as he also expected the “pride of American power to be broken.” These predictions were based on the “The Germans Are Gonna Get Us” dogma which was at the heart of all WCG prophetic expectations. As usual, these dark predictions about British and American fortunes failed again. Many readers will also recall WCG leaders giving sermons with detailed prophecies based on the prophetic dogmas of the old WCG. It is doubtful if any of these prophecies ever came to pass.
Everyone who has made prophetic predictions based on the WCG expectations of a German-led invasion of the USA and UK has been left with “egg on their face.” Isn’t it time we re-examined this prophetic dogma which has led to so much embarrassment for the leaders and churches that espoused it?
As we will see, the WCG’s prophetic dogmas consistently failed because they were based on wrong assumptions. Let’s examine those assumptions and see why they lacked a biblical foundation. It should be acknowledged, however, that the WCG leaders who made those incorrect prophetic predictions were not trying to deceive anyone. They truly believed that they possessed vital prophetic “keys,” and they wanted to share that warning message with others. They were deeply sincere in their prophetic teachings, but it is now also clear that they were sincerely wrong in those teachings.
The Key False Assumption:
Allow me to acknowledge that hind-sight is always, as they say, “20-20.” This article will not castigate or demean those who originated the incorrect assumptions that led to 50 years of prophetic errors. Indeed, one can easily understand how those assumptions began. The church had, quite correctly, understood the USA and Great Britain to be primarily composed of the modern descendants of the so-called “lost” Israelite tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim. The church also saw, correctly, that the modern descendants of ancient Assyria were found among the modern German people [As an aside, those who have read my book, The “Lost” Ten Tribes of Israel…Found!, also know that many Germans are Israelite descendants as well]. As World War II ended, the old WCG originated an assumption, based on the above facts, that there was going to be a parallel in the latter-days to the series of wars fought between the ancient Kingdoms of Israel and Assyria. It was assumed that even as the ancient Israelite-Assyrian wars continued until Assyria conquered and “took captive” the ancient Israelites, that modern Assyria [Germany] would keep fighting the nations of modern Israel
[primarily the USA and UK] until “modern Assyria” conquered “modern Israel” and took it captive.
Many “old timers” will recall sermons by WCG ministers about the starvation, cannibalism and tortures that would be present in American cities before we were “carried captive” by reborn Nazi armies. The WCG was so sure its prophetic dogmas were right that one of its booklets featured macabre illustrations by a noted Mad Magazine caricaturist to depict the extreme suffering which God would inflict on everyone who was not “in the church.” Is it any wonder why so many young people left the church when they matured and realized that the ghoulish scenarios taught to them as children proved to be utterly incorrect?
One can understand how the WCG’s assumptions developed in the post-World War II world. However, it is unfortunate that this human assumption was allowed to harden into a church dogma that could never be questioned, no matter how many times it failed to be fulfilled. In fact, the Bible nowhere offers any prophecy that relationships between latter-day Assyria and Israel will have a parallel to the ancient wars which culminated in the fall of Samaria circa 721 B.C.! Check your Concordances. No such assertion exists in the Bible. There are vague scriptures which were speculatively interpreted to infer such a thing, but no biblical prophecy specifically states: “in the latter days, Assyria will conquer and carry captive the house of Israel.” The church taught its prophetic message as if such clear statements were in the Bible, when in fact, they were not there at all. Since the church’s prophetic expectations were based on an incorrect human assumption, the church’s prophetic teachings kept failing…over and over again. How could its assumptions have been so wrong?
The WCG in the 1950s saw that Germany had “risen from the ashes” of World War I, so it assumed that Germany would again “rise from the ashes” after World War II to launch World War III. However, the facts should have made it very clear that Germany could not rise again to launch a war of aggression. World War I ended with Germany’s surrender, but not its defeat. German factories and shipyards were intact after World War I, and Germany was not occupied by foreign troops. Germany remained in control of its own destiny, and was able to quickly rearm as soon as Adolf Hitler ordered it to do so. The situation after World War II was 100% different. Germany had been bombed into the proverbial “Stone Age,” and its industrial facilities and national infrastructure had been shattered. Furthermore, Germany became a “captive” nation, dismembered and divided into four military zones governed by the USA, the UK, France and Russia. Foreign troops occupied all of Germany. Germany had no control over its own destiny after World War II, and it could not possibly “rise again” in any military capacity. As Germany’s post-war leadership demonstrated a firm commitment to the values of the Western Alliance (democracy, capitalism, etc.), it was gradually allowed more national autonomy. Today, Germany is an economic power, but it is still weak militarily. It could not defend itself from a determined outside attack without prompt help from the USA, Britain and France.
Germany has also paid massive war reparations to its former enemies and to modern Judah (the Israelis and Jews). The book, From Horror to Hope, by Hans Weissmann, notes the following:
“Subsequent agreements with a number of European countries…between 1959 and 1993 brought the compensation and restitution payments by Germany since
1949 to a total of more than 97 billion marks, including 74 billion marks in compensation to individual victims and their descendants. 37 billion marks have
been paid to recipients living in Israel. Future payments of 27 billion marks are expected, bringing the total to a sum of 124 billion marks.”1
This was written in the 1990s, but it makes the point that Germany has been, since the end of World War II, a nation under tribute (especially to the Israelis). It was widely reported in the media that Germany recently funded most of the construction (in German shipyards) of three, ultra-modern submarines for the Israeli Navy. The Israeli Navy is expected to retrofit these submarines to carry strategic missiles with nuclear warheads. Germany even sends some of its top military cadets each year to be trained by the Israeli army.2 Germany is NOT now an enemy of the USA, the UK or the Israelis. Any idea that it will lead a European attack on the USA (or any other nuclear power) any time soon is simply divorced from reality.
Actual Biblical Prophecies for “Assyria”:
There is a “latter day” prophecy in the Bible which does shed light on the latter-day relationship of Germany and the modern nations of the house of Israel (the ten tribes). It indicates that latter-day Assyria will be allied to the nations of latter-day Israel! Numbers 24:14-24 is a prophecy of Balaam which God caused to be recorded in the Bible. It offers prophecies about the roles of various nations in “the latter days” (v. 14).
Therefore, we know this prophecy is for the period of time just prior to the return of Jesus Christ.
Does this prophecy indicate that the latter-day nations of Israel will be defeated and taken captive? Not at all! Numbers 24:18 specifically prophesies that “Israel shall do valiantly” (or “triumphantly” in the KJV marginal reference) in the latter-days. This prophecy states Israel will be a triumphant nation in the latter days. Verse 22 does say Assyria will carry the “Kenites” captive, but the nations of Israel are not the Kenites. Verse 24 prophesies that in the latter days: “ships shall come from…Chittim, and shall afflict Asshur and shall afflict Eber, and he [Chittim] also shall perish for ever.”
The word “Asshur” refers to the Assyrians, found among the German peoples in the latter days. The Hebrews were named after their namesake, “Eber.” Who are the most prominent biblical descendants of Eber? While Edom, Ishmael, Moab, Ammon and others are also descended from Eber, his most prominent biblical descendants are the tribes of Israel, who inherited the blessings of the covenant God made with Abraham. This prophecy indicates that a common enemy will attack the descendants of Asshur and Eber in the latter days. In other words, the descendants of Asshur and Eber will be allies in the latter-days. Their mutual enemy is called “Chittim” or “Kittim,” revealed in Genesis 10:2-4 to be one of the nations of Japheth. Are the descendants of Asshur and the Israelite descendants of Eber allied today? Yes! Their alliance is called NATO.
Did you ever hear this “latter-day” prophecy mentioned by the “old” WCG? Of course not. Numbers 24:14- 24 contradicted the prophetic dogma of the WCG, so it was ignored. Numbers 24 doesn’t provide a lot of information, but it clearly predicts that the Assyrians and the descendants of Eber (this includes all the tribes of Israel and possibly Edom, Ishmael, etc.) will be attacked by a common enemy from the descendants of Japheth in the latter days. This prophecy also foretells that while Asshur and Eber’s descendants will be “afflicted,” their attackers will “perish.”
The book of Hosea also includes a prophecy that Assyria and Ephraim would become allies in the future. It is not always easy to determine which prophecies in Hosea are for the latter days and which were strictly for the 8th century B.C. because Hosea was written before the fall of the kingdom of Israel to ancient Assyria.
However, Hosea 12:1 prophesies: “Ephraim…followeth after an eastwind…they do make a covenant with the Assyrians.” A “covenant” is an agreement or alliance. Since Israel and Assyria were never allies in ancient biblical days, this argues for a latter-day fulfillment. Is Ephraim (England) allied to modern Assyria? Yes. The British have made numerous “covenants” with Germany via NATO, the European Union, etc. Hosea 14:3 adds that a time will come when Ephraim will realize it should have relied on God instead of its covenant with Assyria. It prophesies Ephraim will say: “Asshur will not save us,” indicating it learns that security comes from God, not its alliances with other nations such as Assyria.
Although the Bible has several prophecies indicating the tribes of Israel will be allied to Assyria in the latter days, there are none state Assyria and Israel will be enemies at that time. In such “covenants” as NATO, the EU, etc., God has fulfilled in modern times his prophecies that Ephraim and Assyria would become allies.
This is the opposite of what the old WCG expected, but it is precisely what God prophesied he would do in the latter days. Again, we see that the prophetic expectations of the former WCG lacked a firm biblical
Reversing Old Expectations:
Before we embark on an entirely new look at biblical prophecies, let’s examine speculative scriptures which were cited to support the dogma that German would lead a European attack on the USA and the UK. Since the “old” WCG identified many European nations as being Israelite nations along with the USA and the UK, the dogma of a German-led European attack upon the USA and Great Britain required the “the nations of
Israel” to attack “the nations of Israel” in the latter days. This was a contradictory concept so some kind of justification was needed for it. The defenders of this prophetic dogma cited an obscure scripture in Deuteronomy 27:11-14 which recorded that when ancient Israel entered Canaan, certain tribes of Israel stood on Mt. Gerizim while other tribes stood on Mt. Ebal. The Levites then reminded all the tribes about the various blessings and curses of the Old Covenant. The WCG speculated that there was a “latter day” application to this division of the tribes, saying one group of tribes would join Assyria’s attack upon the other tribes of Israel. However, that speculation had no biblical basis. To begin with, Deuteronomy 27 is not a “latter day” prophecy at all. Secondly, “Assyria” is not mentioned anywhere in that passage. Since the Bible itself assigns no latter-day significance to Deuteronomy 27 and this chapter says nothing about Israelite-Assyrian relationships, the old WCG should not have “read into” the scriptures something which simply wasn’t there.
Deep in the WCG-trained psyche is the expectation that modern America will “have the pride of its power broken.” Let’s look at that prophecy carefully. It is in Leviticus 26:19 amidst a commentary about the blessings and cursings of the Old Covenant that the ancient Israelites made with God. Under the Old Covenant, God would deal with Israel positively or negatively according to their national obedience or disobedience. One of the progressive punishments that would result from Israel’s disobedience was that God would “break the pride of [Israel’s] power” and that Israel would eventually go into captivity. That prophecy was fulfilled when both Israel and Judah went into national captivities in the first millennium B.C. Nowhere in Leviticus 26 is there a statement that this prophecy will apply to the “the latter days.” Since the Bible itself makes no connection between Leviticus 26 and “the latter days,” we should be wary about “reading into” the scriptures a connection which God didn’t place there. Are the “blessings and cursings” of the Old Covenant even applicable in New Testament times?
Most readers likely believe that Jesus Christ was the pre-existent God who made the Old Covenant with Israel at Mt. Sinai and led them in the Wilderness (I Corinthians 10:1-11). When the God of Israel “emptied himself,” became flesh and died in a crucifixion (Philippians 2:4-11), the Old Covenant ceased to be binding as one party (the pre-existent Christ) to that contract had died. After his resurrection, Jesus Christ made a New Covenant into which not just Israelites but all mankind was invited. The “blessing and cursing” terms of the Old Covenant, which included “breaking the pride of Israel’s power” statement, are no longer binding today, just as the obligations of a wedding covenant are no longer binding after one party to that covenant dies! Paul referred directly to this fact in Hebrews 9:15-17. The entire relationship between God and the tribes of Israel changed dramatically after Jesus Christ died. Just as animal sacrifices, mandatory circumcision and the Levitical Priesthood were abolished when the Old Covenant ended, so were the “blessings and cursings” of the Old Covenant. Indeed, long before the Old Covenant was made at Mt. Sinai, God had already prophesied in Genesis 49:22-26 that “the latter days” would be a time when he would give immense blessings and “strength” to Israel, especially the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. Since that prophecy predated the existence of the Old Covenant, it was not affected by either the creation or the demise of the Old Covenant between God and Israel.
However, as readers of this article likely realize, the end of the Old Covenant between Israel and God did not abolish God’s immutable laws which had been in effect since Creation and are often referred to in the Bible prior to the Mt. Sinai Covenant. Even though the New Covenant replaced the Old Covenant, Jesus Christ himself affirmed that this action would not abolish either the Law or the Prophets (Matthew 5:17-18). The terms of the Abrahamic covenant are as binding today as they ever were, as they predated the Old Covenant and were not affected by its abolition. Therefore, while biblical prophecies are still valid today, Leviticus 26’s “cursings and blessings” section was not technically a “prophecy.” It simply outlined God’s conditional obligations toward Israel under the terms of the Old Covenant. When the Old Covenant ended, those conditional obligations also ended. This fact is affirmed in the world around us as God is clearly not dealing with “latter day” Israel according to the “cursings” chapter of Leviticus 26, even though the nations of modern Israel are increasingly disobedient to God’s laws. To the contrary, God has been pouring out on the nations of latter-day Israel the great blessings he promised to them in Genesis 49. Significantly, these latter- day prophetic blessings of Genesis 49 flow from the Abrahamic Covenant, which was not dependent on the obedience of Abraham’s descendants.
Another prophecy often cited by the old WCG was Isaiah 10:5 where God called Assyria “the rod of mine anger.” That passage was written prior to the final Israelite-Assyrian war resulting in the fall of Samaria and the end of the ancient kingdom of Israel. It was fulfilled in approximately 721 B.C. Nowhere in this scripture is there any prophecy that Assyria will be “the rod of God’s anger in the latter days.” God has used many different nations as “rods” against Israel, depending on whatever nation or empire was strong enough to be a tool in God’s hand at a particular time. God has used Philistines, Syrians, Moabites and Ammonites, Edomites, Babylonians, Egyptians, etc. as his “rods” at various times in history against either Israel or Judah. Indeed, Assyria was usually not the “rod of God’s anger” against the Israelites. However, in 721 B.C., it did serve that role. Sometimes the shoe is on the other foot. Jeremiah 51:20 declares that the nations of Israel are “God’s battleaxe” with which he will destroy other nations and kingdoms. God will sometimes use the tribes of Israel as a tool in his hand to punish other nations. Genesis 49:22-26 and Numbers 24:14-18 prophecy that one such time will be the “latter days” of this age.
One more speculative interpretation regarding “Assyria” will be examined. Isaiah 27:12-13 prophesies that: “in that day…you shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel…
the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to
perish in the land of Assyria and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”
This prophecy has language identifying it as a latter-day prophecy. Who is it that are “ready to perish” in Assyria and Egypt? Is it enslaved Israelites or is it the Assyrians and Egyptians or all of these groups? Isaiah 19:24 prophesies that Israel, Egypt and Assyria will be the three primary nations as the millennium begins. Like Isaiah 19:24, Isaiah 27:12-13 mentions Israel, Egypt and Assyria “worshipping the Lord at Jerusalem” as the millennium begins. Zechariah 14:16-19 shows Egypt will need some “convincing” to come and worship the Lord at Jerusalem, but it will occur soon after the millennium begins. Isaiah 27 does not state the Israelites were conquered or taken captive by Assyria or Egypt in the latter days. That interpretation was “read into” the text. It actually sounds like a parallel prophecy to Isaiah 19:24 and Zechariah 14:14-16. The term “ready to perish” could apply inclusively to Israel, Egypt and Assyria as Matthew 24:22 reveals “all flesh” would be close to perishing when Jesus Christ returns.
What Latter-Day Prophecies Really Predict:
Let us now examine several prophecies that reveal how God will deal with the tribes of Israel in the latter- days. In order to avoid the mistake of turning human assumptions into prophetic dogmas, this article will construct a new prophetic scenario based solely on those prophecies which clearly state that they do pertain to the latter days.
First, let’s look closely at the “latter day” prophecy found in Genesis 49. The “old” WCG applied this prophecy to locate the tribes of Israel among the nations in our modern world. The WCG saw that Genesis 49 was for the “latter days” so it was correctly applied to the time just prior to Jesus Christ’s return. It is this author’s opinion that the WCG did a good job of applying this prophecy to identifying many modern Israelite nations. This author agrees with the WCG identifications, with the exception of Gad and Asher.
What the WCG did not do was pay serious attention to what Genesis 49 prophesied about the condition of the tribes of Israel in the latter days. Did Genesis 49 prophesy that the nations of Joseph (i.e. Ephraim and Manasseh) would be conquered or go into captivity in the latter days? No! Quite the contrary! Genesis 49:22-26 reveals that God had predetermined that the tribe of Joseph would enjoy tremendous wealth, power and blessings in the “latter days.” Has that happened in the modern world? Obviously, the answer is
“yes.” First the British Empire (Ephraim) was the premier power in the world, and then the USA (Manasseh) assumed that role after World War II . Verse 23 does prophesy that “the archers have sorely grieved him [Joseph] and shot at him and hated him.” That indicates that Joseph will be the target of a military attack in the latter days, and it implies an attack via the air as “arrows” were ancient “missiles” which traveled via the air. However, does this prophecy state that this attack will lead to Joseph’s total defeat and captivity as the old WCG taught? The answer is a strong “NO!”
Genesis 49:24-25 tells us what happens when “Joseph” (Ephraim and Manasseh) is attacked in the latter
days. It prophesies: “But his [Joseph’s] bow abode in strength and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob…even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee.” This is the exact opposite of the old WCG prophetic expectations! The WCG taught God would weaken Israel’s nations in the latter-days and send them into captivity, but Genesis 49 unmistakably prophesies God will “strengthen” the tribes of Joseph during the latter-days! Genesis 49 reveals that even though God allows the latter-day nations of Joseph to be attacked by nations who “hate him,” Joseph will be strengthened and helped by God when this attack occurs! Far from delivering the nations of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) into captivity when they are attacked in the latter days, God promises to intervene to help and strengthen them against this climactic attack! Genesis 49:24’s prophecy that Joseph’s “bow” (which would launch Joseph’s own “arrows” or “missiles” against his attackers) will “abide in strength” means that Joseph’s latter-day weapons will prove to be “strong” against this attack. This is not my “interpretation.” It is simply taking God at his word. Since the old WCG always taught that Genesis 49 was a very important prophecy for latter-day Israel, it is remarkable that it overlooked the fact that the church’s gloomy assumptions about the fate of Israel in the latter-days were strongly contradicted by the prophecies of this very chapter! Earlier we examined the latter- day prophecy of Numbers 24 that also prophesied Israel would be “triumphant” or “valiant” in the latter days. These prophecies are consistent with each other.
Read Genesis 49 yourself. You will not find “captivity” to be the prophesied fate of any tribe of Israel in the latter-days! Joseph and Judah are especially prophesied to be triumphant over their enemies in the latter- days. This prophecy has been fulfilled as the USA, Great Britain and the Israelis have strong military forces, and they have won many wars. Only the tribe of Gad is prophesied to be “overcome by a troop” in the latter-days, but even Gad is prophesied to recover from its defeats and rise to prominence “at the last” (the very end of the latter-day period). The word “troop” can also be translated as “an invading force,”3 so Genesis 49 does prophecy that the tribe of Gad will be the only tribe of Israel to be invaded and occupied at some point during the latter days. However, Genesis 49 also prophesied Gad will recover from its defeat and rise to prominence before the latter-days are concluded. After the other nations of Europe have been linked
to various Israelite tribes in Genesis 49, the prophecy of being “overcome by an invading force” can identify only Germany. It was “overcome by a troop [of nations]” in two World Wars, but has recovered to be a political and economic power in today’s world. There is much evidence that modern Germany includes not only Assyria but also the Israelite tribe of Gad. Those wishing to see the evidence can find it in my book, The “Lost” Ten Tribes of Israel…Found! A little-noticed prophecy of Moses about the future of Israel’s tribes predicted that at an indeterminate point in the future, the tribe of Gad would be “enlarged” (it would have a large population) and it would manifest the nature of a lion ripping apart its prey (Deuteronomy 33:20-21). That also aptly describes the predatory history of Germany in the 20th century’s two world wars.
Next, let’s look at a pivotal “latter-day” prophecy that was almost totally ignored by the WCG. It was ignored because, like Numbers 24, it contradicted the church’s prophetic dogmas. If the WCG had taken this prophecy literally, it would have saved itself the embarrassment of repeated prophetic errors.
What Ezekiel 38 and 39 Prophesy for Israel:
Please open your Bible to Ezekiel 38 and 39. There is an immense amount of material in this chapter, but this article will limit its examination to the five “Ws”: Who, When, Why, What, and Where. First, the Bible clearly answers the question of “When” this prophecy will be fulfilled.
It is vital to realize that the prophecy beginning in Ezekiel 38:1 is a completely different prophecy than the two other prophecies found in Ezekiel 37:1-14 (the “dry bones” prophecy) and Ezekiel 37:15-28 (the “two sticks” prophecy). The Bible does not indicate that Ezekiel 38 is a continuation of the timelines contained in the preceding prophecies of Ezekiel 37. Ezekiel 38:1 begins with the words: “And the Word of the Lord came unto me, saying…,” a phrase that tells us that the previous prophecy has been concluded and that a new prophecy of the Lord is about to begin. This same phrase appears in Ezekiel 37:15, telling us that Ezekiel’s “two sticks” prophecy is separate and distinct from the preceding “dry bones” prophecy.
Ezekiel 38:8 and 16 tell us plainly when this prophecy will be fulfilled; there is nothing cryptic about it. Indeed, God states the time setting of this prophecy twice so that it cannot be missed. Verse 8 states the
prophecy is for “the latter years” and verse 16 states it will be fulfilled in “the latter days.” The phrases “latter days” and “last days,” while slightly different in English translations, come from the same Hebrew phrase (“yamim acharith”) which describes a particular, prophetic period of time.4 If we take the Bible literally and apply it consistently, Ezekiel 38 must apply to the same prophetic period of time as Genesis 49.
As a former WCG member, I once heard an attempted explanation that Ezekiel 38-39 was a parallel prophecy to Revelation 20:7-10. However, the Bible’s plain statements declare otherwise. Whereas God inspired Ezekiel to state that his prophecy about Gog and Magog would be fulfilled “in the latter days” (at the end of this age), God inspired the Apostle John to state that his “Gog and Magog” prophecy would apply at the very end of the millennium. A literal application of these prophecies indicates that Revelation 20:7-10 will be fulfilled approximately 1000 years after the prophecy of Ezekiel 38-39. A review of the prophecies’ content confirms that they address separate events. In Ezekiel 38-39, Gog and Magog and their allies attack the sinful nations of the house of Israel in the latter days. In Revelation 20, Gog and Magog attack the righteous saints (of any race) who are in a city at the end of the millennium.
However, Ezekiel 38 and Revelation 20 do reveal an interesting dualism: that the Millennium is both ushered in and climaxed by an invasion of Gog and Magog. The first attack is against the sinning human beings of “physical Israel,” and the final attack is against the “saints” at the end of the millennium (i.e. “spiritual Israel”).
Another WCG explanation taught Ezekiel 38-39 would be fulfilled early in the Millennium. There are several reasons why that interpretation isn’t accurate, but its primary flaw is that is based on applying Ezekiel
37:15-28’s story-flow to the prophecy in Ezekiel 38-39. As the language in Ezekiel 37:15 and 38:1 confirm, Ezekiel 37 contains two separate prophecies with very different time settings that the prophecy of Ezekiel 38-39. When you read the text carefully, you can see that Ezekiel 38’s prophecy is not a continuation of Ezekiel 37’s prophecies. Also, Ezekiel 38 twice states that its prophecy is for the “last [latter] days,” a phrase not included in either of the Ezekiel 37 prophecies.
The first question of “WHEN” Ezekiel 38 will occur is solved. God plainly states that it will be fulfilled during the “latter days” of this age (the same prophetic time period as Genesis 49, Numbers 24:14-24, Daniel 2:28, Daniel 10:14, Jeremiah 30 and many other prophecies). The Bible, when taken literally, states that Ezekiel 38-39 will be fulfilled in our age, just prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
The “old” WCG wasn’t far from the prophetic truth. It was correct in teaching that the nations of the house of Israel would be attacked in the latter days, but because it declined to take Ezekiel 38-39 at face value, it did not comprehend the real identity of Israel’s attackers. It kept predicting Germany would remilitarize and attack America and the British, but it never happened. The WCG simply looked in the wrong direction for this prophesied attack. Let’s examine Ezekiel 38 and see which nations will attack the nations of the house of Israel in the latter days.
So “WHO” will attack latter-day Israel? Ezekiel 38:2-6 prophesies:
“Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him…Thus saith the Lord God; Behold I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: and I will…put hooks in thy jaw, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army…even a great company…Persia, Ethiopia, Libya with them…Gomer and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.”
The above nations constitute a huge invading army. The language describes their weapons in ancient, “lo- tech” terms, but such latter-day nations will have missiles, bombs, tanks, planes, etc. Notice that every nation of this attacking alliance is descended from either Japheth or Ham (see Genesis 10 for confirmation).
Modern Japheth mostly lives in Asia and modern Ham is spread mostly across Africa and southern Asia. Assyria, like Israel and Judah, is a Semitic nation (Genesis 10:21-22,) and it is not listed as a nation which attacks the tribes of Israel in the latter days. Indeed, not a single Semitic nation is included in this attacking alliance. Why? Because the Semitic nations are their targets! As Numbers 24:24 indicates, non-Israelite Semitic nations (“Asshur”) will be allied to the Israelite nations (“Eber”) in the latter-days. This is occurring
in our modern world as the non-Israelite, Caucasian nations of Central and Eastern Europe are seeking membership in NATO and the EU. The biblical use of the term “Eber” may indicate that all the descendants of Abraham will be allied with the Israelite nations in the latter-days. If so, this would include Edom (Turkey) and Ishmael (the oil-rich Arabs) in the alliance of the latter-day Israelites. This also describes our modern world’s political situation accurately. Turkey is already an important member of NATO and the oil-rich Arab nations have a natural common-interest with their customers in the Western, capitalist nations..
The identities of the attacking nations are not difficult to discern. Many Christian denominations have correctly identified these nations as Russia, China, Iran, Libya and other Asian nations included in the old USSR or dominated by China. This prophecy, written over 2500 years ago, correctly identified the eastern bloc of nations led by Russia and China during the recent “Cold War” period.
The term “Gog” is defined as “prince of Rosh,”5 a name preserved in “Russia.” The consonants of “Meshech and Tubal” are found in the names: Moscow, Tblisi, Tobolsk, and the Tobol River. All of these place-names are in Russia (or the old USSR).
The term “Ethiopia” is more expansive than it appears. The word “Ethiopia” is translated from the word “Cush,” who was a son of Ham (Genesis 10:6). While the nation of Ethiopia, perhaps along with others in the Horn of Africa, is descended from Cush, most of the Cushites went eastward into Asia, settling in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc. The name of their forefather, Cush, is preserved to this day in the Hindu Kush mountain range along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Iran is modern Persia, so the region of Iran, Afghanistan (the Taliban) and Pakistan (all radical Islamic states) will be part of Russia’s alliance.
Many media reports have documented that Russia has aided Iran’s military and nuclear efforts. Russia has also furnished much of India’s armaments, and China has long aided Pakistan. Many media articles have noted that Russian and China are again acting like allies. Russia is slowly reassembling the old USSR (Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova are again coming under the leadership of Moscow). China is rushing to become a military superpower, building many conventional weapons and accelerating its nuclear arsenal development by stealing many secrets from the USA during the Clinton Administration. China effectively took over the operation of the Panama Canal from America, and it is acting increasingly bellicose toward the USA. Russia has “disarmed” itself by selling aircraft carriers, submarines, fighter aircraft, etc. to China, India, Iran, etc., but this “disarmament” (which masks Russia’s real goals) merely redistributes its weapons among the other nations of the attacking alliance named in Ezekiel 38.
One ex-WCG leader sees the danger posed to the USA by China’s growing military forces and its strategic actions. In the May, 2001 New Millennium, Ken Westby wrote the following in an article entitled “The Coming War With China?”:
“…China bought and sold US secrets and technology to build a military machine powerful enough to engage America in a future war…The Dong Feng [DF-31 missile] can reach any city in America, and is armed with three nuclear warheads. It has Clinton-supplied guidance systems, nuclear warhead, nose cone and solid-rocket engine technology…China has gained control of both ports connecting the Panama Canal. It is currently construct[ing]…the largest container port in the world in Freeport, Bahamas…[and] in the Bahamas a 11,000 feet long runway…to quickly supply a base that could threaten us in the event of hostilities.”6
Many respected, secular individuals have also seen the growing danger posed by China. Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Admiral Thomas Moorer, has warned repeatedly about the growing military threat posed to the USA by China. A Chairman of the JCS in the Clinton years, Marine General Henry Shelton, warned that China could become “the 21st century version of the Russian bear…[and added] they are aggressively modernizing their military forces, both conventional and nuclear.”7 An article in the March/April issue of 1997 publication, Foreign Affairs, the magazine of the Council on Foreign Relations
(CFR), sounded the same alarm. In an article entitled “The Coming Conflict with America,” authors Richard Bernstein and Ross Munro wrote:
“…the Chinese-American rivalry of the future could fit into a broader new global arrangement that will increasingly challenge Western, and especially American, global supremacy. China’s close military cooperation with the former Soviet Union…put it at the center of an informal network of states, many of which have goals…inimical to those of the United States, and many of which share China’s sense of grievance at the long global domination of the West.”8
Although written in secular terms, this prescient warning parallels the prophecy of Ezekiel 38. It notes that Russia, China and a host of other nations have a “sense of grievance” toward the USA and the Western nations. The above quotes confirm that secular observers can foresee the coming conflict between China, Russia and its allies versus the USA and its Western allies, even without knowing Bible prophecy. Ezekiel 38 foretold the same thing 2,500 years ago, and it also foretold how this war will begin and end.
WHO does the latter-day alliance led by Russia attack? In Ezekiel 38:8, the Russian-led army is prophesied “in the latter years” to come into the “mountains of Israel.” Many readers of this article are familiar with the biblical typology of “mountains” meaning large nations and “hills” meaning smaller nations. This prophecy states the alliance including Russia, China, etc. will attack the “mountains” or “nations” of Israel. Many Christian denominations do not understand the target of this attack. They think it means only the tiny Israeli nation in the Mideast, but that is not correct. The name “Israel” was given to Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes of Israel which came to be known as “Israelites.” The Jews/Israelis constitute only the tribe of Judah (with contingents of Levi and others as well).
The name “Israel” was primarily and permanently placed on the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh when the patriarch Jacob/Israel placed his hands on Ephraim and Manasseh and said: “Let my name be named on
them” (Genesis 48:14-16). From that time forward, the biblical term “Israel” primarily refers to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. After the division of the United Kingdom under Kings David and Solomon, Ephraim and Manasseh led the Northern Kingdom called “Israel,” composed of the ten tribes of Israel, while the tribe of Judah dominated the southern kingdom called Judah. Both Israel and Judah were exiled from Palestine because of their sins and migrated (or were taken captive) elsewhere. Afterwards, the Bible still calls the ten tribes “Israel” and it calls the Jews “Judah.”
When God refers to the Jews in prophecy, he uses the term “Judah” (Zephaniah 2:1-7, Zechariah 12 and 14:14). When God refers to the ten tribes of Israel in the latter days, he uses the term “Israel” as in Ezekiel
- In Jeremiah 30-31, God addresses both Israel and Judah in the latter-days as the prophecy concerns both entities. Ezekiel 38 specifically addresses “Israel,” the latter-day descendants of the ten tribes of Israel. The “old” WCG understood the term “Israel” primarily referred to the USA, the British nations, and many nations of Europe. Therefore Ezekiel 38-39 identifies an attack of a Russian-led alliance against the nations of the USA, the British nations and allied European nations, etc.
Ezekiel 38-39 consistently refers to the “target” nations of this latter-day attack as “Israel.” Ezekiel 38:14 and 16 refer to the “people of Israel” as the ones attacked, and verse 18 indicates the “land of Israel” is attacked. After the war is over, “the house of Israel” will bury huge numbers of the dead invaders (Ezekiel 39:12, 22-25). God also uses the term “my people Israel” in Ezekiel 39:7. The term “Judah” never appears in Ezekiel 38-39. By identifying the lands inhabited by the latter-day tribes of Israel as the primary battleground of this age-ending war, Ezekiel 38 has answered the question of WHERE these events will occur.
There is a third bloc of latter-day nations discussed in Ezekiel 38. Verse 13 indicates that when this attack begins, the nations of “Sheba, Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish with all the young lions thereof” are not part of the Asian nations attacking the modern Israelite nations. This third bloc questions the motives and the attack of the Russian-led bloc, revealing the answer to WHY this attack occurs. Ezekiel 38:11-13 indicate that Russia and her Asian and African allies launch this attack to seize the wealth of the nations of
Israel! They will attack latter-day Israel to “take…a great spoil.” Russia and her many allies want to seize the silver, gold, cattle, goods, etc. owned by the Americans and the Europeans. In other words, this attack will be an effort by the “have-not” nations of the world to seize the wealth of the “have” nations who received the birthright blessings of the Abrahamic covenant. Genesis 49:22-26 prophesied the greatest possessors of this wealth in the latter-days would be the tribe of “Joseph” (i.e. Ephraim and Manasseh). Therefore, Ephraim and Manasseh will be the primary targets of the Ezekiel 38 attack. This is supported by the fact that Ephraim and Manasseh primarily bear the name of “Israel” in biblical prophecy and “Israel” is the target of the Ezekiel 38-39 attack.
The “merchants of Tarshish” are not hard to identify. Tarshish was a nation of Japheth, and the father of Tarshish was “Javan” (Genesis 10:4). What nation above all others in Asia is noted for being a “merchant” nation and which has a name similar to “Javan?” Japan is known for its mercantile nature and has even been called “Japan, Inc.” in the financial press. The “young lions thereof” are smaller Asian nations in the mercantile mold of Japan. The financial press has even called these nations the “young tigers” of Asia’s Pacific Rim [uncannily similar to Ezekiel’s prophecy!]. These nations include Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, etc. The economies of Japan and the Young Tigers of Asia are closely linked to that of the United States and its Western allies. Any Russian attack upon the USA and their other “customer” nations would immediately jeopardize the well-being of Japan and the Tiger nations. They will either be allies of the West or at least sympathetic toward them. Sheba and Dedan are nations of Ham descended from Cush (Genesis 10:7). Sheba and Dedan are the sons of Cush who do not participate in the attack upon the Israelite nations. What is a Cushite (i.e. “brown-skinned”) nation in Asia that has long been close to the USA? The answer: the Philippines, a nation also identified in the modern press as one of the “Young Tiger” nations of the Pacific Rim. Ezekiel 38:13 tells us which nations of modern Japtheth and Ham will not attack the USA and its allies.
Ezekiel 38’s prophecy has accurately identified the alliances of nations in the modern world. It correctly prophesied the identities of the eastern alliance led by Russia, the Western alliance led by the USA, and a third group of Asian nations led by Japan which has strong ties to the Western nations. Ezekiel 38:8 states the nation of latter-day Israel most targeted by Russia’s alliance is a nation “gathered out of many people.” Can you think of a powerful, modern nation of Israel which is called “the melting-pot nation?” The obvious answer is the United States of America, which is also the leading nation of “Israel” in the latter-days, so it is the logical primary target of this attack. Ezekiel 38:11 reveals the target nations are described as “dwelling safely, without bars and gates…a place of unwalled villages.” This attack will be like the one which occurred at Pearl Harbor, a sudden and unexpected attack upon people who are prosperous and unsuspecting of imminent danger. The terms “unwalled villages” and “without bars and gates” are instructive. In Ezekiel’s time, the primary defensive weapons of all cities were strong walls and reinforced gates that could be barred to repel an attacker. Ezekiel’s language indicates that the latter-day nations of the house of Israel will have neglected their defenses during the latter-days. Indeed, the USA and its NATO allies have dramatically disarmed since the Soviet Union subdivided into different nations. The USA and NATO do not feel they can be attacked anymore. Ezekiel 38 reveals they are seriously mistaken. They will be attacked even if God has to “put hooks in the jaws” (Ezekiel 38:4) of Russia, China and their allies and divinely compel them to attack the nations of Israel in the latter-days.
From WHAT direction does this attack primarily come? Ezekiel 38:15 states this attack will come mostly from “the north.” During the Cold War, the USA and Canada always understood a Russian attack would primarily come out of the north. The DEW and BMEWS lines were built to warn of a Russian attack, and many air force bases were located in the northern part of the USA to intercept Russian bombers flying over the Arctic. The USA has deeply neglected its air defenses in recent decades, even though President Bush is trying to revive some air defense with a partial anti-ballistic missile shield. Europe and the North Atlantic sea-lanes would also be attacked out of the north. While Russia lies to the east of Europe, many of its long- range bombers and much of its attack fleet are stationed in the Kola Peninsula, north of Europe and
Scandinavia. Russia has also massed military forces in Kaliningrad, a small area in the northern portion of the European mainland. Russia could also attack much of Europe from the north.
Ezekiel 38:9 prophesies the Russian alliance will attack “like a cloud to cover the land.” Clouds move through the air, so Ezekiel warns this attack will come via the air. This wasn’t possible until the invention of air forces and ICBMs in the 20th century. Remember that Genesis 49:22-23 prophesied that archers unleashing “arrows” would attack “Joseph” (Ephraim and Manasseh) in the latter days? Missiles and aircraft, like arrows and clouds, travel through the air.
Does God abandon the nations of Israel to this attack, giving them into the hands of their enemies to be held captive? Genesis 49 prophesied that when Joseph is attacked in the latter days, God will “strengthen” and “help” Joseph. Ezekiel 38 and 39 prophesy the same thing, as we will see later.
Ezekiel 38:17 has a key statement which directly links Ezekiel 38 to other latter-day prophecies. In verse 17, God states concerning Russia’s attacking alliance:
“Thus saith the Lord God; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel…?”
God inspired Ezekiel to state that the latter-day attack upon Israel discussed in Ezekiel 38 is the same event about which previous prophets have spoken as well! We have already examined the latter-day prophecy of Jacob/Israel in Genesis 49 that Joseph will be attacked in the latter days, but that God will strengthen Joseph against this attack. We have also seen the latter-day prophecy in Numbers 24 that Israel will be “valiant” in the latter-days and that it will be allied to Assyria in the latter-days when an attack comes from Japheth (“Chittim”). Genesis and Numbers were written long before the book of Ezekiel, so these prophecies can be the ones referred to in Ezekiel 38:17.
There is another prophecy, often cited by the WCG, which also mentions the same attack as Ezekiel 38.
The book of Joel was written around 800 B.C., centuries prior to the book of Ezekiel. Joel 2 describes “God’s army” in the “Day of the Lord,” another apocalyptic phrase to describe the latter-day period when God intervenes directly in world affairs. It describes a great invasion force being repulsed by God himself, who intervenes at the head of his own divine army (verse 11). The heavenly signs described in verse 10 also identify this as a latter-day prophecy. In verse 12-16, God calls on his people to repent and turn to him. In verse 17, God states:
“Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep…and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them; wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?”
God commands his ministers and people to make intercessory prayer in behalf of the nations of Israel so that God will spare them from being conquered by a “heathen” (i.e. gentile) enemy in the latter days. Ezekiel 38 lists the “heathen” nations which will make this attack upon Israel, and Joel 2:17 implies that their attack could succeed if God did not intervene in behalf of Israel. Immediately after the ministers and people of God plead with God to rescue his people (i.e. Israel and Judah), verses 18-20 and 27 state:
Then will the Lord be jealous for his land and pity his people…I will remove far off from you the northern army and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up…Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice for the Lord will do great things…and ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God.”
Ezekiel 38 prophesies a huge gentile army will attack latter-day Israel’s nations from the north. Joel 2 prophesies of a latter-day attack of “heathen” nations by a northern army against God’s people (also called “Israel”). The parallelism between these prophecies is obvious. God rescues “his people…Israel” from this latter-day attack from the north in both prophecies. This attacking “northern army” falls in a land bordered by an “eastern” and “uttermost” sea (i.e. an eastern and a western sea). Can you think of a modern nation of Israel which is known as a “land from sea to shining sea?” Obviously, it is the USA, the chief nation of the
house of Israel in the latter days. It also physically describes Canada, America’s northern neighbor. This prophecy can also be applied to the land of modern Judah (the Israelis), with the Mediterranean and Dead Seas fulfilling this prophecy. While this prophecy might apply to both Israel and Judah, it describes the landmass of North America far better as it is bordered by large oceans (“seas”) on the east and west. While the Mediterranean Sea is a large water-body, the Dead Sea is not a “sea” at all, and is little more than a saline lake. At any rate, Ezekiel 38 meshes perfectly with its forerunner “latter day” prophecies in Genesis 49, Numbers 24 and Joel 2.
Notice also that Joel 2 records that God commands his “priests and ministers” to intercede for the well-being of the people of Israel in the latter-days. Indeed, it is their intercessory prayers that trigger God’s intervention! People in the old WCG were often quoted Jeremiah 14:11 which stated: “Pray not for this people,” as an indication that God’s people in the latter days should not pray for their countrymen.
However, in Joel 2:17 God commands his people in the latter-days (“day of the Lord”) to pray for the deliverance and rescue of their countrymen! Jeremiah 14:11 was quoted out of context in the old WCG. Jeremiah 14 was a prophecy given by Jeremiah to Judah before that nation went into captivity to the Babylonians in the 6th century B.C. The house of Israel isn’t even addressed in Jeremiah 14, and that chapter is not a latter-day prophecy. Since the Bible assigns no latter-day relevance to Jeremiah 14:11’s statement, it was incorrect to cite it as applying to our time.
Joel 2 also prophesies that the “northern” invaders will become a mass of dead bodies which will “stink” as they decay. Ezekiel’s prophecy agrees, as we shall see. But first, let’s consider the outcome of the northern invasion in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Ezekiel 38:18 reveals that God’s anger will be kindled against Russia’s invading alliance when the attack begins. This verse prophesies the following about God’s response to Russia’s invasion: “…at the same time when Gog shall come up against the land of Israel saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face.” Verses 19-20 prophecy that there will be a massive earthquake not just in Israel but across “the face of the earth” and “the mountains shall be thrown down.” As many readers already know, a great, worldwide earthquake is one of the climactic signs which occurs just prior to the return of Jesus Christ. Just after this worldwide earthquake, verse 20 cites God as saying: “all men shall shake at my presence.” The “presence” of God on earth can only refer to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, which occurs during Gog’s invasion of latter-day Israel.
As Jesus Christ returns, the forces of Gog (Russia, et. al.) meet with terrible destruction. In verse 21, God calls on the people in “all my mountains” (the nations of Israel) to use their “swords” against Gog’s invaders.
The returning Jesus Christ becomes the “conquering Messiah” who leads not only his angelic army in this world war, but also rallies the forces of the Israelite nations against their invaders. That Jesus Christ urges the nations of Israel to use their “swords” against the invaders also confirms this attack is at the climax of this age, not at the end of the millennium as in Revelation 20. The Israelites of Ezekiel 38-39 are armed with weapons and armies of their own. The Israelites are also sinners (see Ezekiel 39:7) at the time they are rescued who don’t really know their God until after he rescues them. Sinful, armed Israelite nations aptly describe the nations of Israel in our modern world.
In the slaughter that follows, God and his angelic and physical armies destroy 5/6ths of the invading army (Ezekiel 39:2) as God negates the usefulness of Gog’s weapons (verse 3). Verse 6 states God will “send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles.” This heavenly “fire and brimstone” could be divinely-sent fire. However, it may also include the nuclear weapons of the USA, the UK, France and the Israelis raining down upon Russia and the nations which joined this invasion (after all, God did invite the Israelite nations to use their own weapons against the Russian-led invaders to help slaughter them). There will be so many dead bodies to bury that Ezekiel 39:12 states the “house of Israel” (all the Israelite nations) will labor for seven months to bury the remains. Just as Joel 2 prophesies the “northern army” will become stinking carcasses, so does Ezekiel 39 as verses 11 and 17-21 foretell that God will call on the birds and beasts to devour the stinking carcasses of the fallen invaders from the north. Revelation 19:17-18 directly parallels this same event as Jesus Christ and his army intervene in world affairs to slay a huge army, and then calls on the beast and birds to eat their carcasses.
Just as God hardened the heart of Pharaoh so he could glorify his name by rescuing the Israelites in the time of the Exodus by slaying Egypt’s hosts, God will “put hooks in the jaws” of certain countries to invade the nations of Israel at the end of this age. He draws them to attack Israel so he can glorify his name by slaying Israel’s invaders on a scale far greater than what occurred in ancient Egypt. Just after God intervenes to rescue his people in the latter days, he “gathers them a second time” as prophesied in the famous millennial prophecy of Isaiah 11.
The Ten Toes of “Iron and Clay”:
This new scenario is based on a literal application of “latter day” prophecies to modern geopolitics. The match between the two is very strong, arguing that the prophetic application is correct. But there are other key latter-day prophecies to be examined to see if this scenario meshes with them as well. Let’s next examine Daniel 2, the prophecy of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream depicting a succession of world empires. Readers surely realize that ancient Babylon was depicted by the head of gold, Persia by the arms of silver, Greece by the torso of brass and Rome by the legs of iron. The “legs” of iron refer to the various resurrections of the Roman Empire during the last two millennia, and the separation of legs aptly depicts the fact that the Roman Empire was long divided into western and eastern empires. The ten toes, which are the ones struck by the “stone cut out without hands” in the end time, are composed of a mixture of “iron and clay.” The iron depicts the continuation of the nations and/or territory of the Roman Empire, but who is represented by the clay, a new material in the dream? Each time a new material was added to the great image, it designated a new nation. The clay has to mean a new national group which was not in the previous empires. If we “let the Bible interpret the Bible,” the answer is obvious. Jeremiah 18:5-6 records God saying:
“O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? Saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in mine hand, O house of Israel.”
Isaiah 64:8 also cites Isaiah as saying “we are the clay” while Isaiah is speaking for his people, the Israelites. The Bible links the “house of Israel” to the symbolism of “clay.” If we apply that biblical metaphor to Daniel 2, we should expect that the latter days will see an alliance of nations composed of the nations of the house of Israel allied with the nations of the old Roman Empire (or Holy Roman Empire). However, these nations will compose a fractious and squabbling alliance as the iron and clay will “not cleave one to another” very well (Daniel 2:43). Daniel 2:44 says that “in the days of these kings” (this end-time alliance will have many “kings,” not just one autocratic ruler), the “God of heaven will set up a kingdom.” That is obviously the Messianic age.
Do we have a modern alliance which has joined the nations of the modern tribes of Israel to the nations of the old Roman Empire? Yes! It is NATO. NATO is an alliance of the modern house of Israel with the European nations of the old Roman Empire. Is it an alliance beset by many internal disagreements? Yes, the NATO nations internally squabble about many economic and political issues. NATO fits this prophecy quite well, and it is the most dominant alliance on earth today. Even as the “two legs” of ancient Rome depicted its separation into a Western and Eastern Empire on either side of the Mediterranean Sea, the imagery also fits modern NATO. NATO is composed of two groupings of nations in Europe and North America physically separated by the Atlantic Ocean.
The old WCG interpreted the above prophecy as if all ten toes were on one of the feet of the great image (i.e. all the nations would be in a united Europe). However, the imagery of the prophecy is that the toes are located on separate feet and not all contiguous to each other. The final “ten toes” should, therefore, not all be physically contiguous nations.
This aptly describes NATO as its nations are divided into two groups. One part of NATO is in Europe and the other part is in North America with the Atlantic Ocean between them. There are no other candidates for fulfilling this prophecy in the modern world. The number “ten” is still cryptic however, as Europe has more than ten nations while North America has two huge nations (the USA and Canada) and the headquarters of many UN supranational organizations. However, rather than depicting a latter-day house of Israel attacked by a united Europe, the prophecy of Daniel 2 indicates the house of Israel will be allied to the nations of a
united Europe in the final “iron and clay” alliance.
The “Ten Sleeping Virgins”:
Let’s now consider a prophecy about the state of the church itself in the latter days. Matthew 25:1-13 contains the parable of the ten virgins. The “virgins” depict the church (the saints) at the end of this age when the “bridegroom” (Jesus Christ) comes. How many of the virgins are asleep and blind to the correct timing of the bridegroom’s arrival? All of the virgins are prophesied to be “asleep,” unaware that the bridegroom’s arrival is imminent. The virgins all assumed that the bridegroom’s arrival was so far off that they had time for a nap. When the bridegroom comes unexpectedly and suddenly, five virgins have “oil” in their lamps and five do not. The ones with oil (the Holy Spirit in their minds and lives) are welcomed into the “wedding ceremony” (the kingdom of God), but the others are not allowed to enter.
This parable indicates that the entire church will “fall asleep” prior to the return of Jesus Christ. This parable acknowledges that all the virgins were expecting the “bridegroom,” but they fell asleep when the bridegroom’s arrival took longer than they initially expected. However, the good news is that even those who were “asleep” were allowed into the wedding as long as they had sufficient “oil.” This indicates that Christians will be allowed to enter the kingdom of God based on how much “oil” there was in their lives, not on the basis of whether they “figured out prophecy.” No wonder Matthew 24:45-46 quotes Christ as saying “Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when he comes shall find so doing.”
How could all the virgins of Matthew 25 be asleep just as the momentous event they had all anticipated, the return of Jesus Christ, was about to occur? This seems hard to grasp, especially when we realize that the church will have been “watching” world events for signs of fulfilled prophecy and it still “fell asleep” concerning God’s timetable. The obvious answer is that the church (the virgins) had misunderstood prophecy and they did not comprehend that the latter-day prophecies had actually been fulfilled all around them! The Bible is clear that the bridegroom doesn’t return until specific latter-day prophecies have been fulfilled. How could the church miss key prophetic fulfillments all around them in the world? Easy! Let’s look at a biblical precedent.
At the time of Jesus’ first coming, the Pharisees, the Sanhedrin and all of Jesus own disciples missed the key prophetic fulfillments occurring in their time. They were “asleep” to the actual prophetic fulfillments because of their wrong prophetic assumptions! They assumed the Messiah would fulfill the “Conquering Messiah” prophecies at that time and the “suffering Messiah” prophecies were of little interest to them.
They wanted freedom from Rome and that required a Conquering Messiah! So they focused on those prophecies and missed all the “suffering Messiah” prophecies fulfilled in front of their very eyes! When Christ was crucified, Peter and other disciples figured prophecy had failed and they went back to their old secular occupation of fishermen (John 21:3). Their wrong dogmas also died hard. Even after Christ was resurrected and appeared to them for forty days and was about to be raised to heaven, his disciples still asked: “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts1:6). Their incorrect prophetic expectation that the Conquering Messiah would come in their lifetimes was so strong that it was the last question they asked Jesus Christ before he ascended to heaven. I Thessalonians 4:15-17 indicate that the Apostle Paul also initially thought Christ would return in his lifetime in the first century B.C. It would take years for them to realize the Conquering Messiah prophecies would be fulfilled in the distant future. II Peter 3:1-8 shows that Peter eventually came to understood that the “day for a thousand years” principle of prophecy meant the return of Christ was going to be in the distant future and not in his lifetime.
Modern Christians shouldn’t feel too badly for making the same mistake of misunderstanding prophecy by substituting our dogmatic expectations for the actual word of God. The apostles did it in their time as well! The prophetic dogma that the return of Jesus Christ can’t happen until after the modern nations of the house of Israel are defeated and carried captive by a German-led Europe has actually put the WCG/Sabbatarian churches “to sleep.” For half a century, they have been expecting (and predicting) an end- time event which will never occur! The chances of a German-led Europe invading and carrying captive the nations of the USA, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etc. are nonexistent in the modern world. Not only do the European nations not have the means for such a global invasion, they have no motivation to do so either. Europe and the USA are completely linked together in a global economic system. Why
would anyone attack and destroy trading partners on whom one’s own economy depends?
On the other hand, Russia, China, Iran, etc. either currently possess (or are building) the means to attack us. Russia was our great enemy in the Cold War, China acts increasingly belligerent toward the USA and Iran has called us “the Great Satan.” They envy our wealth and power; therefore, they have a motivation to attack us. Ezekiel 38 prophesies their attack will surely come to pass, but the modern Churches of God have “gone to sleep,” thinking they have lots of time left because their long-standing prophetic dogmas about Germany have not yet been fulfilled. The prophetic expectation that a “German invasion…has to happen” before Christ can return has actually served as a “sleeping pill” to help put the church into a deep slumber concerning prophetic events and timetables, just as Matthew 25 predicted would happen.
If our group of churches and fellowships applied literally the prophecies outlined above, we would realize that the prophesied latter-day alliances are now positioned exactly as God said they would be just prior to the return of Jesus Christ. If we were sounding a warning to the world based on Ezekiel 38-39, we would again have a sense of urgency about world events. If we realized that biblical prophecies indicate that we are nearing the point where the “bridegroom” is ready to come, we would start acting like the “watchmen” of Israel and quit squabbling about such matters as calendar calculations and church administration methods.
The Worldwide Church of God (and some offshoots) had many sermons expressing a belief that we were the “watchmen” of Israel. However, warning about a nonexistent threat to our people while ignoring the real danger revealed by God in his prophecies has made us blind watchmen. What has happened to the Churches of God in the last few decades? It has progressively splintered into squabbling churches and fellowships, lost all the Ambassador Colleges, lost headquarters offices and some groups have stared into the abyss of insolvency. The Church has lost many members and the surviving off-shoots are a mere shadow of the Church’s former size. A curious thing has happened. For decades, the Church proclaimed the nations of latter-day Israel would be weakened and lose the pride of their power while the church flourished in a place of safety. However, it is the nations of Israel that have flourished while the Church has been weakened and “lost the pride of its power.” Has this weakening of the church come because of war or persecution? No.
Most of the Church’s wounds have been self-inflicted. If the churches could rally around an urgent prophetic message (such as the latter-day warnings of Ezekiel 38), they would regain a common focus that would override the petty differences which now divide them.
Matthew 25’s parable indicates that the church will not see the fulfillment of latter-day prophecies in world events, and that it will go to sleep at the critical time when Jesus Christ’s return is actually imminent. With that in mind, let’s examine another key latter-day prophecy and consider a possible prophetic fulfillment that we may have missed.
A Key Prophecy Already Fulfilled?
The following discussion is offered as a possible example of how our churches (and other Christian denominations as well) could miss prophetic fulfillments in our time. Please understand that this author is not stating dogmatically that the following world events were a missed prophetic fulfillment. What follows is a possible example of how our own expectations and assumptions could so blind us that we could miss a major prophetic fulfillment as it happened in front of our eyes. With that disclaimer, let us begin.
I’m sure the readers of this article are familiar with the prophecy about the final “king of the north” in Daniel 11:40-45. It reveals details about a war in the Mideast at “the time of the end” between the forces of a king of the north and a king of the south. Many churches (not just the Sabbatarian Churches of God) have assumed this war will involve a major Israeli-Arab war that leads to an invasion and occupation of the Mideast by the forces of a United Europe led by “the king of the north” (also called “the beast”). Let us consider another possible fulfillment—one which has already occurred.
There is a reference to “the glorious land” in Daniel 11:41, but the Israelis are not mentioned as a combatant in this prophetic war. Zephaniah 2:7 prophesied “Judah” (the Jews) would dwell in the former land of the Philistines before the day of the Lord, and that became a reality in 1948 with the founding of the Israeli nation. Zechariah 12 and 14 state “Judah” will be fighting in the area of Jerusalem as the day of the Lord
unfolds, so biblical prophecies specifically mention “Judah” when the Israelis are being discussed. Daniel 11:41-45 never mentions Judah as a combatant in this final war between kings of the north and south.
What about the Arabs? The Arabs believe that they are the modern descendants of Ishmael. This author agrees with that belief. This tradition is so strong that it was cited in the 1943 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.9 The “Ishmaelites” are also not mentioned in Daniel 11:40-45. So how did the belief begin that this final “king of the north vs. the king of the south” war would begin with an Arab-Israeli war? It was another human assumption. If this prophecy required a major Arab-Israeli war to be fulfilled, wouldn’t God have mentioned “Judah” and “Ishmael” in it? Since God doesn’t mention either of these people in this prophecy, we should not assume that they will be fighting each other in this war.
Applying the Bible literally, let’s begin with a premise that this prophesied Mideast war doesn’t have to include an Arab-Israeli war. Can you think of a recent war in the Mideast involving many nations in which the Israelis and Arabs did not fight each other? Of course you can. It was the Persian Gulf War of 1991. Let’s examine Daniel 11:40-43 and see if the Persian Gulf War is a candidate for fulfilling that prophecy.
Let’s first set the stage for this prophecy as it is the culmination of a long series of prophesied wars between various kings of the north and kings of the south. The early portion of Daniel 11 prophesied about wars (sometimes with remarkable detail), which were fought between ancient kings of the north (the Seleucids) and kings of the south (the Ptolemies). The historical context of this chapter involves wars fought in the Mideastern region over the span of centuries between rival northern and southern powers. The final such war, fought at “the time of the end” should continue that context even though the Seleucids and Ptolemies ceased to exist long ago.
There are two blocs which have fought many wars over several centuries in the Mideast. These rival blocs were Christian Europe and the forces of Islam (the Arabs, the Ottomans, the Moors, etc.). For centuries, these wars were called the Crusades when the forces of the “northern” power invaded Islamic regions in an effort to regain control of the Holy Land. For a time, the Crusades were successful and Crusader forces occupied Palestine and Jerusalem. Later, the Islamic forces prevailed and drove the Crusaders out of the Mideast. The “southern” kings also invaded the territory of Christian Europe. The Islamic Moors controlled much of Spain for centuries and Islamic armies invaded Europe from the Mideast as well, occupying much of Balkan Europe, and occupying Budapest for over a century. Twice Islamic armies besieged Vienna in the heart of Europe. Modern cultures do not stress history in our schools, so most people have little awareness of the centuries-long struggle between the forces of the “kings of the north” (Christian European leaders) and the “kings of the south” (Islamic leaders).
If history is any guide, and Daniel 11’s context strongly indicates it will be, the final king of the north should win a war between the nations of Christian Europe and the forces of an Islamic leader in the Mideast. Daniel 2’s prophecy that the clay and iron of the ten toes indicates the final “Roman” Empire will be a fractious alliance between the nations of the house of Israel and the nations of the old Roman Empire. NATO is such an alliance. Saddam Hussein of Iraq, an Islamic nation, recognized the historical precedents as he called the invading NATO-led forces “Crusaders” to try to rally other Islamic nations to join him in the war.
Daniel 11:40 says:
“At the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king
of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships: and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” [Emphasis added.]
This war starts when the king of the south merely “pushes” at the king of the north, who responds with a powerful military attack upon the king of the south. The king of the south does not actually attack the king of the north’s territory, but provokes the king of the north with an action which “pushes” at the king of the north’s interests. When Saddam Hussein seized Kuwait and was poised to invade Saudi Arabia, he directly threatened the crucial oil supply of the Western World. President Bush of the USA led the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization in quickly organizing Operation Desert Shield. This operation was the most massive airlift of military weapons in a short period of time since World War II, and it was also the most extensive overseas deployment of US military forces by sea since Vietnam.
The Bible prophesied the king of the north would come via the air (“like a whirlwind”) and via the sea (“with many ships).” That is how the forces of the USA, Britain, France, etc. were transported to the Mideast.
Many tanks (“chariots”) were brought to the area in preparation for large-scale tank battles with the Iraqis. The United States deployed a fleet to the Mideast that was the most powerful war-fleet in history (with six nuclear-capable aircraft carrier battle groups). So many American and European forces poured into the Middle East that they, indeed, “overflowed” the region. Allied forces were deployed in many nations: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Persian Gulf states, Bahrain, Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean , etc. The phrase “enter into the countries” does not actually state that he “invades” those nations. He simply “enters” them, and this came to pass as the NATO-led armies entered many nations as they deployed all over the Mideast.
Operation Desert Shield fulfilled Daniel 11:40. Daniel 11:41 adds:
“He [the king of the north] shall enter into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.”
This prophecy does not foretell the king of the north will invade or conquer “the glorious land;” it merely states he will “enter” it. The word “enter” comes from a Hebrew word that does not necessarily signify an invasion. The Hebrew word translated “enter” also means “enter a house” or “enter a city” in other biblical passages.10 It is an innocuous word. So while the king of the north “overflows” into the Mideast region, he merely “enters” the glorious land. The same word is also used earlier in this same prophecy in Daniel 11:24 when a previous king of the north “entered peaceably” into a region.
Let’s assume the “glorious land” means the modern Israeli nation. In Operation Desert Storm, the USA’s military forces entered peaceably into the Israeli nation, deploying Patriot missile batteries there to defend Israelis against Saddam Hussein’s scud missile attacks. If the USA had not deployed protective military forces into the Israeli nation, the Israelis likely would have attacked Iraq and the NATO-led coalition would have fallen apart. Daniel’s prophecy foretold Edom, Moab and the chief of the Ammonites would escape out of his hand in this war. In other words, they will not be enemies of the king of the north in this war. Turkey is, in my view, an Edomite nation. The former name for Turkey was the Ottoman Empire, with consonants of TT-M-N. One of the most prominent sons of Esau (Edom) was “Teman” (Genesis 36:10-16) with consonants of T-M-N. Turkey is a NATO member and, naturally, was not targeted by this attack. Amman, the capital of Jordan, preserves the name of the Ammonites who lived anciently in the region of modern Jordan. Jordan was sorely torn in its loyalties, but stayed out of the war. The Moabites anciently lived side- by-side with their brother nation, the Ammonites. Jordan’s neighbor nation, Syria, surprisingly joined the coalition of the “king of the north” and, thereby, “escaped out of his hand.”
The above quote, taken from the King James Bible, renders the word “countries” in italics because it was not in the original text. Without this humanly-added word, the prophecy merely says: “many shall be overthrown” by the attack of the king of the north. The spurious word “countries” misleads readers into thinking that “many nations” must be defeated in this latter-day war, but that is not necessary to fulfill the prophecy. In fact, “many soldiers were overthrown” as huge numbers of Iraqi soldiers were slaughtered in the “blitzkrieg” war which NATO and its allies fought against Iraq. Saddam Hussein possessed “a million man army,” but it crumbled under the weight of the American, British and allied air strikes and tank assaults. As American B-52s carpet-bombed Iraq’s reinforced troop bunkers (turning them into mass graves), tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers died. The Encyclopedia Americana estimated that Iraq suffered 100,000 casualties in the six-week war, while the allied forces led by the USA and NATO suffered only 376 casualties.11 Some estimates of Iraqi casualties offer even higher figures. This means that the Iraqis lost more soldiers in six weeks than the USA lost in 14 years in Vietnam!
The word “overthrown” in Daniel 11:41 literally means “to be feeble.”12 Was Saddam Hussein’s great army “enfeebled” (made weak and ineffective) in the Persian Gulf War? The answer is clearly “yes.” The outcome and alliances of the Persian Gulf war fulfilled Daniel 11:41 as well.
Daniel 11:42-43 prophesied:
“He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and Ethiopians shall be at his steps.”
The king of the north’s invasion will leave him in control of the “gold and silver” in the region. Is “gold and silver” symbolic of the wealth of the Mideast just as “gold and silver” is symbolic of the wealth of latter- day Israel in Ezekiel 38:13? The wealth of the Mideast, as everyone knows, is oil! Indeed, control of and access to the oil of the region was the whole reason for the king of the north’s invasion! The king of the north was also prophesied to have control over the “precious things” of Egypt during the war. What could that be? Egypt is a poor nation and has few “precious things” outside of the pyramids and ancient ruins important to the tourist trade. However, in a war effort, Egypt has one asset which is very precious, indeed: the Suez Canal! Egypt placed the Suez Canal at the disposal of the American and allied forces as NATO warships freely traversed the Suez Canal in their deployments to the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Without access to the Suez Canal, the military effort of the king of the north would have been seriously impeded. The wording about the Libyans and Ethiopians is cryptic, and not easy to understand. However, the prophecy’s wording does not declare any major role for them, but seems to indicate they will have only a peripheral role. Libya was a non-combatant while three mostly-Cushite nations (Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan) were nominal, but largely uninvolved allies of the king of the north.
That ends the prophecy about Daniel 11:40-43’s war in the latter days between an unspecified “king of the north” and an unnamed “king of the south” in the Mideast. The prophecy predicts an easy win for the king of the north, and that is exactly what happened in the Persian Gulf War.
Did the Persian Gulf War fulfill the expectations of many churches that there be a great Israeli-Arab war which draws in occupying outside forces from Europe? No. However, did this war fulfill the literal prophecies of Daniel 11:40-43? Apparently, yes. The Persian Gulf War featured the most powerful battle fleet in history, the largest helicopter assault in history, the largest and quickest airlift of military forces in history, the largest tank battles since World War II, and it showcased the new “stealth” technology aircraft of the USA. It also caused very heavy casualties on the Iraqi side. Indeed, how “big” does a war have to be before it is “big enough” to fulfill this prophecy?
It is still possible, of course, that the Persian Gulf War was only a precursor to a larger war which will occur sometime in the future. This author is not saying that the Persian Gulf War had to be the fulfillment of Daniel 11:40-43. But the above discussion should illustrate how it could be possible for Christians to miss the fulfillment of prophecies because of our own inaccurate expectations, assumptions and dogmas. The “sleeping virgins” parable strongly indicates the church will miss key prophetic fulfillments during the latter- days.. How else could the latter days “virgins” all “go to sleep” concerning God’s actual timetable for events?
Let’s assume for a moment that the Persian Gulf War fulfilled Daniel 11:40-43. If it did, the chronology of Daniel 11 lists only one more prophesied event before the return of Jesus Christ occurs in Daniel 12:2.
Daniel 11:44-45 describes another war which triggers the return of Christ. This last war is not between the kings of the north and south. It will be fought between the king of the north and new enemies located to his north and east. These verses state:
“But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore
he shall go forth with great fury to destroy and utterly to make away many… yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.”
Interesting. At an indeterminate date after the king of the north wins the war against a king of the south, the king of the north is, himself, attacked from the north and the east. This king of the north will be the final leader of the North American-European alliance (the “ten toes of iron and clay”). The Bible does not tell us how much time transpires between the war of Daniel 11:40-43 and the final latter-day war of verses 44-45. However, it reveals the alliance of the king of the north will be attacked from the north and east at the start of the final great war at the close of this age. The king of the north, when he is targeted by an apparent “surprise attack” from the north and east, is enraged and launches total war against his attacking enemies.
This author suggests to you that the Ezekiel 38 attack of Gog and Magog from out of the north against the nations of the house of Israel and their allies constitutes the “northern” attack of Daniel 11:44. Revelation 16:12-21 picture a great attack of the “kings of the east” coming westward [toward the Israelis and Jerusalem] across the Euphrates River, apparently to seize control of the oil fields and Jerusalem. Zechariah 14 describes a great war is raging between Judah and an invading enemy in the Jerusalem region at the time the Messiah intervenes. The Revelation 16 and Zechariah 14 wars parallel the “attack from the east” mentioned in Daniel 11:44. The attack from the north is primarily against Israel and the attack from the east is primarily against Judah. They are simultaneous attacks, as Daniel 11:44 asserts, and both of these attacks trigger divine intervention. After Christ’s intervention in the Revelation 16 attack from the east, Rev. 16:17 states “it is done.” After divine intervention in the Ezekiel 38 attack from the north, Ezekiel 39:8 also says: “it is done.” They are parallel prophecies which climax at the same point in time.
Daniel 12:1-2 prophecies the following outcome to the World War which will erupt after the king of the north’s alliance is attacked from the north and east:
“And at that time shall Michael stand up…for the children of thy people:
and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake…”
This time of unprecedented trouble can only be the Great Tribulation of Matthew 24:21-22, a time of trouble “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time.” It is also described as “Jacob’s Trouble” in Jeremiah 30:7, a time of trouble such that “none is like it.” The term “Jacob” designates all the tribes of Israel (Judah and Israel). We have seen that Israel is attacked from the north in Ezekiel 38 and Judah is attacked from the east in Rev. 16 and Zechariah 14. These attacks constitute “Jacob’s Trouble.” The king of the north’s alliance is attacked from the north and east, so the king of the north will be the leader of the Western alliance at that time and the Israelis are part of that alliance.
Jeremiah 30’s prophecy about “Jacob’s trouble” needs comment. Jeremiah 30:24 states this prophecy is for the latter days, and verse 3 states both Judah and Israel will be targeted in this time of trouble. However, verse 7 states Jacob “shall be saved out of it.” This is consistent with Genesis 49 that a latter-day attack against Ephraim and Manasseh will result in God “strengthening” them against that attack. Ezekiel 38-39 also prophesy that God will intervene to rescue Israel at the end of this age and Zechariah 14 prophesies God intervenes to rescue Judah at the end of this age. Daniel 12:1 also foretells Michael [the archangel] will “stand up for thy people” (the Israelites) after these age-ending attacks from the north and east occur. There is symmetry in all these prophecies.
Jeremiah 30:3 has been misunderstood in the Churches of God. The King James translation says: “I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah.” The words “bring again” imply that a second great captivity is coming in the latter days for Israel and Judah. Wrong. The words “bring again” in 1611 English meant “end,” “stop” or “reverse” the captivities of Israel and Judah! The literal meaning of the Hebrew phrase “bring again” is “to turn back.”13 The Revised Standard Version of the Bible translates Jeremiah 3 in modern English as: “I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the Lord…” That puts a very different connotation on the prophecy about “Jacob’s trouble,” doesn’t it? The RSV translates verse 7 as:
“Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it.”
In verses 8-9, God declares he will “burst bonds” from his people and resurrect David to be king over them as the millennium begins. This is obviously the time paralleling the resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12:2 and other prophecies about the end of this age and the coming of the Messiah.
Matthew 24:21-22 adds that this unprecedented time of trouble would end the lives of “all flesh” if divine intervention did not “shorten those days.” It is easy to see how this could happen. If Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, etc. launch a surprise attack against the USA, the UK, France, the Israelis, NATO and all its allies, there will be many nuclear powers hurling “fire and brimstone” at each other. A nuclear World War would quickly jeopardize “all flesh,” so God will intervene not only to rescue Israel and Judah but also to prevent mankind from annihilating itself.
This lengthy article has addressed many prophetic issues in latter-day prophecies and found a scenario which harmonizes the prophecies and also makes sense, given modern alliances and geopolitics. When will it occur? I don’t know. But you could have a role in how soon that war ends once it starts! Remember Joel 2:17-20 in which God commands his priests and ministers to offer prayers urging God to intervene and rescue his people from an attacking “northern army” in the latter days? God promises to be receptive to those prayers, but he also indicates he will not intervene until those prayers do occur. Forget any notion that you “should not pray for your people.” God expects you to offer such prayers, serving as intercessors for the modern nations of Israel and Judah. If you are alive when this apocalyptic attack strikes your nation, you will be highly motivated to ask God to intervene to stop it! When one puts all the latter-day prophecies together, it can be seen that “Jacob’s Trouble” is the climactic attack of Russia, China and their allies against the modern nations of the tribes of Israel.
How Russia and China Could Attack:
You have likely read that Russia is in “chaos,” that China is “decades” away from challenging the USA, etc. You may wonder how an attack from Russia, China and their allies could occur anytime soon. The answer is that their invasion will not start in a conventional manner. Oriental war-making strategy is guided by the principles of the legendary Chinese strategist Sun-Tzu. In his book, The Art of War, he states one principle of deceiving an enemy is: “When you are strong, feign weakness.” Let us consider how the prophesied Ezekiel 38 attack could unfold.
Expect more stories from Russia and China emphasizing their “weaknesses” and de-emphasizing their war preparations. Also expect a variety of “agreements” which will hide China’s real intentions. However, the truth will be much different, as was noted in the 1997 Foreign Affairs article by Bernstein and Munro cited earlier. They cited:
“…many Chinese statements and actions that suggest the country is emerging as a great power rival of the United States…Influential Chinese planners like General Mi Zhenyu, vice-commandant of the Academy of Military Sciences [stated] ‘For a relatively long time it will be absolutely necessary that we
quietly nurse our sense of vengeance,’ Mi wrote…’We must conceal our abilities and bide our time.’”14 [Emphasis added.]
These comments by a Chinese war-planner echo the strategies of Sun-Tzu, who maintained that wars are won by skillfully deceiving an enemy about your own true intent. General Zhenyu, no doubt, did not expect his revealing statement to be translated into English, as it confirms China’s real intent is to prepare for war while duping the West with peaceful gestures and blandishments.
Let us consider an unconventional means by which Russia, China and their allies could attack the USA and the Western alliance in our modern world within a few years. Ezekiel 38 and Daniel 11:44 indicate this war will begin with a surprise attack which was not expected by the targeted nations. Therefore, it is not likely to
come at a time of international tension when nations would have their guard up. Instead, this time of “sudden destruction” will come “when they say peace and safety” (I Thessalonians 5:2-3). The overriding goal of Russia and China will be to delude the USA and the West into a false sense of security while they prepare for war. Here is one way that Russian-Chinese war planners could do it.
The Russians could freeze or reduce their nuclear missile arsenal to help the West “relax.” The Chinese could even slow down their production of ICBMs. Instead, they could build many short- and medium-range cruise missiles to deliver either nuclear or conventional warheads. This will make the USA think it is not the target of China’s aggressiveness. Just before they attack, they could reconfigure a portion of the extensive Chinese ”civilian” merchant fleet to fire short- and medium-range missiles from gantries hidden in their cargo holds but which could be raised to firing position as they approach our seaports. Since American and the Western nations import a flood of cheap goods from China, there is always a large number of civilian Chinese merchant ships approaching the shores of Western nations. This opportunity to stun the Western world with an unexpected volley of hundreds of cruise missiles fired at short range from ships is already “in place.” Genesis 49:22-23 prophesies that “Joseph” will be attacked in the latter-days by a volley of missiles (i.e. “arrows” fired from “a bow”), and Numbers 24:24 prophesies an alliance of Israelite and non-Israelite Semitic nations (“Eber and Assur”) will be attacked from “ships.” Those ships are prophesied to sail from Chittim (the land of Japheth—somewhere in the Orient).
Russia and China are already “encircling” the USA via Communist Cuba, the current Chinese operational control of the Panama Canal, and the new Chinese airport and seaport in the Bahamas, as was noted earlier.
As part of the SALT treaties, the USA and Russia both possess “overflight” rights via which military aircraft can fly over the territory of their rivals to verify treaty compliance. These flights are now considered routine. However, on a given “D-Day” day in the future, a Russian military aircraft on such a “routine” mission could fly across the continental states of the USA and drop “EMP” weapons, devices designed to be air-blasted far above the ground level. As any reader of Aviation and Space Technology magazine knows, an EMP blast “fries” all solid-state and “hi-tech” computer technology which is not “hardened” by special protective insulation. Russian Cold-War strategy included an EMP attack as an “opening blow” against the West, so this would be standard Russian strategy. During the Cold War, Russian warplanes were once laughed at because they employed “vacuum tube” technology in key components until our Pentagon realized
vacuum-tube technology would not be harmed by an EMP blast. Russian warplanes were built to survive such a weapon and keep flying. American planes, built with solid-state technology, would have fallen out of the skies.
This led to a “crash” program to “harden” US planes, communication infrastructure, etc. against EMP blasts. Several Russian EMP blasts over the USA and Europe would not disable all military weapons, so the
American and NATO military could still fight beck. However, the US and European civilian population would find itself “back in the Stone Age.” Only vacuum-tube technology or battery-powered items might still work, but electric power plants would fail. Cars would grind to a halt, television and radio communication would be disabled, the internet and phone service would cease to work, etc. This would be designed to create panic and chaos among the civilians of the Western alliance.
Just as the EMP blasts occurred, Chinese merchant ships equipped with retrofitted gantries could launch hundreds of short- and medium-range missiles at the USA, Europe and the Israelis as they approach their usual Western ports. Russian submarines could also launch missiles at that time. Since many radars would shut down in an EMP blast, few would even realize the source of the missiles. Russian and Chinese missiles would “nuke” critical Western cities, military bases, etc. Russian Spetnaz teams would be pre-positioned in the Western nations, and they will blow up key facilities, poison large city water systems, etc. as part of this surprise attack.
Soon after these attacks start, thousands of aircraft could start flying the short distance from Russia to Alaska and Canada, gradually deploying many Russian divisions into the northern part of North America in a shuttle operation. In the post-EMP chaos, these well-armed Russian divisions would plan on surging southward toward America, thinking they will meet no organized opposition from the “soft” Americans.
Russia’s long-range aircraft could bomb targets in America, land in Communist Cuba, the Panama Canal Zone or the huge new Chinese airfield in the Bahamas for refueling and rearming. With a Chinese company operating the Panama Canal, its facilities would be at the service of the Russian-Chinese attackers or it could be sabotaged to keep the American fleets from reinforcing each other in either the Atlantic and Pacific
This surprise attack could well be successful (as Genesis 49, Ezekiel 38 and Joel 2 imply) if it were not for God’s intervention. This kind of unconventional attack could be launched as soon as China has built enough short- and medium-range cruise missiles to place on their merchant fleet (this action would be concealed from US space-based reconnaissance satellites). Not all of this attack will be nuclear. Ezekiel 38:11-13 reveals the attackers want to seize the commercial and agricultural wealth of America and the Europeans (i.e. the “birthright” blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant). You do not “nuke” the booty that you want to seize for yourself! Only the critical war-making sites of the Americans, Europeans and Israelis will be targeted by nuclear weapons. Some warheads may be the “neutron bomb” variety which minimizes physical damage to the areas targeted while killing all people within a certain distance.
Revelation 18 depicts the utter destruction of a great capitalistic city, the heart of “Babylon the Great” and also the primary city of the “merchants of the earth” (global multinational corporations). Rev. 18:8 says it will be “utterly burned with fire” in a single day! Indeed, verses 10 and 17 prophesy this destruction will come in one hour! That sounds like a nuclear attack. What city personifies the modern capitalistic headquarters of Babylon the Great? Candidates include London, New York, Zurich, Rome, etc., but this author believes New York is the foremost city of “Babylon the Great.” It is the HQ of the UN, the World Bank, the Federal Reserve System and Wall Street, the headquarters of many multinational banking, industrial and media companies, etc. It is also a seaport city, as prophesied in Revelation 18. The loss of New York City would paralyze any American effort to rebuild anything or organize a war effort. After America and the Western nations were devastated in an opening attack, an invasion of foreign soldiers would begin with great haste.
Ships and planes could bring in foreign troops in a continual shuttle operation. Also, an underground passageway between Siberia and Alaska has been proposed (similar to the “Chunnel” connecting Europe and England). If this project is ever completed in the future, a Russian invasion force could, literally, “drive” from Russia to the American heartland.
Could the above attack happen? Certainly! The attack may unfold in a different manner, of course, but the above scenario is offered as a possible way such an invasion could occur within a few years. The main thing to realize is that this invasion is certain to come! God has affirmed in several prophecies that it will come to pass. Even as the book of Revelation has “seven seals,” the prophecy of Ezekiel 38-39 has seven divine affirmations. The phrase “Thus saith the Lord” occurs seven times in Ezekiel 38-39 (Ezekiel 38:3, 10, 14, 17 and 39:1, 17 and 25). No other prophecy in the Bible has such a divine stamp of certainty!
Divine Intervention Rescues Israel’s Nations:
God’s intervention changes the course of the war and shocks the Russian-Chinese alliance. After their attack begins, Ezekiel 39:1-3 prophesy:
“Thus saith the Lord God; behold I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince
of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: And I will smite thy bow (see also Gen. 49:23)
out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.”
God’s intervention strikes the “bows” and “arrows” out of the hands of Gog and his allies. This prophecy indicates God will negate the usefulness of Gog’s “arrows” (missiles) and “bows” (launching systems) so that this attack against the nations of Israel accomplishes only some of its objectives. However, we know God will allow Gog’s attack to at least partially succeed before he intervenes. Revelation 18 prophesies the chief city of latter-day capitalism will “utterly burn” and that will likely be the fate of other American and European cities which are particularly identified with the sinfulness of Babylon the Great. In this climactic war, Zechariah 12:1-4 predicts that when the foreign invasion forces “take” the city of Jerusalem, the Messiah
comes and “stands on the Mount of Olives.”
Given modern political realities, this makes sense. Jesus Christ’s intervention will decide the outcome of a World War which is still being fought when he returns. Although the city of Jerusalem will be “taken,” Judah is still fighting in that region as the Messiah intervenes (Zechariah 14:14). Matthew 24:22 warns that “all flesh” would perish in that final war unless it was “shortened” by Jesus Christ’s intervention. Daniel 11:44 also prophesies that when the final “king of the north” is attacked from the “north “ and “east” at the end of this age, neither he nor his forces are “wiped out” by that attack. The final king of the north launches a terrible counterstrike against his enemies attacking from those directions. This indicates Russia and China’s opening strikes do not disable all the king of the north’s forces. The double-crossed king of the north will “go forth, with great fury to destroy and utterly to make away many.” The forces of NATO and their allies launch their own nuclear counterstrikes at Russia, China, etc. Ezekiel 38: 21-22 prophesy that right after God calls for the nations of Israel to use their own weapons against the forces of Russia, China, etc., “fire and brimstone” rain down on the forces and homelands of Russia, China, etc. This could easily be fulfilled by the use of nuclear weapons.
The phrase “never again” has special meaning for the Israelis in the aftermath of the Holocaust of World War II. It is widely-believed that if they were on the verge of losing a war for the survival of their nation, the Israelis would implement a “Masada Plan” to rain Israeli nuclear weapons upon their enemies. One can easily visualize this happening at the time Jerusalem is “taken.” Zechariah 14:12-14 prophesies Judah (the Israelis) will be fighting near Jerusalem as this age draws to a close, and verse 12 states:
“And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people
that have fought against Jerusalem; their flesh shall consume away while they stand on their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.”
This instant death will occur to “all the people” that were fighting against Jerusalem! While it could result from God “zapping” people suddenly, it also very accurately describes what happens to people who die in nuclear explosions. Their flesh “consumes away” before they even have time to fall over! That same kind of death happened to many thousands at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What nuclear power will have the greatest motive to retaliate against armies and nations fighting against Jerusalem? The Israelis, obviously!
The Israelis are widely- regarded as having hundreds of nuclear weapons already. Think how many millions of people could “consume away while they stand on their feet” as hundred of Israeli nuclear bombs ignite upon their enemies when “Jerusalem is taken” and all Israeli restraint is removed (Zechariah 14:2). This would happen simultaneous to the nuclear exchanges occurring between the Russian alliance and the USA-led alliance as a result of Russia’s surprise attack upon the USA and Europe. Is it any wonder that divine intervention occurs to stop “all flesh” from perishing?
The Russian and Chinese war-planners cannot plan for every eventuality in their attack. The United States and its Western allies have had decades to prepare for an EMP airblast, and their critical weapons systems will survive this blast. American nuclear submarines will not be affected by the blast and their strategic deterrent forces should survive. Also, it is this author’s opinion that there are secret weapon systems possessed by American military forces (and perhaps other nations as well) about which nothing has been made known. One lesson of World War II is that the British and Americans are expert at misinformation campaigns, misleading the Axis forces into thinking their coded messages were safe when, in fact, they had been “broken” very early in the war. The USA kept the Manhattan project secret until nuclear weapons were used to conclude World War II. It also kept its stealth fighters a secret until they were unveiled in the Persian Gulf War. The USA sent manned missions to the moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s. What new
military technologies have been invented by American “black projects” in the last three decades which are still state secrets? Whatever they are, the will be used in great “fury” in the final War at the end of this age after Russia, China and its allies attack America and its allies.
Ezekiel 38 prophesies that the Russians and Chinese are coming to seize the wealth and land of America and Europe. They expect that Americans and Europeans will lose their will to fight after they are hit with a
crippling first strike. However, they are likely to discover that the Americans and Europeans are not going to supinely surrender their freedoms, their possessions, and their wives and daughters [invading latter-day armies will rape the women—Zechariah 14:2] to their would-be conquerors. The USA will be the primary target of this attack as it is the dominant nation of latter-day Israel and it has the greatest concentration of wealth.
Interestingly, God gave the USA a Constitution which gives the civilian population extraordinary rights to own firearms. The American civilian population has more firearms in its possession than all the rest of the world’s civilian nations combined. Indeed, very few foreign military forces have as many guns as the American civilian population! Rather than finding an America with “soft” citizens meekly surrendering all they have, the invading Russians, Chinese, etc., are likely to be greeted by hundreds of millions of bullets fired at them by an enraged, and heavily armed, American population. Even American liberals will “want to grab a gun” and kill the invaders. There is a recent precedent which reveals how Americans react when they victimized by a surprise attack.
When the sun rose on December 7, 1941, America was dominated by isolationists and pacifists who wanted to stay out of World War II. Americans are peaceful people who value life and wish to avoid the bloodshed of war. Then came the surprise attack upon the American port of Pearl Harbor. Before the sun set on December 7, 1941, America had become a nation of enraged warriors thirsting for the blood of its enemies. Even American women wanted revenge as millions of “Rosie the riveters” went to work in factories to ensure their men would have good weapons to efficiently kill America’s enemies! I believe the same thing will occur on the day Russia and China launch their sneak attack in the latter-days. America, Europe and the Israelis will not meekly surrender. In stead, they will set out to annihilate their enemies and the war will grow to the point divine intervention is needed to prevent the destruction of all flesh. As this paper is being written, the movie “Pearl Harbor” is being shown in American theatres. I urge you to see the movie. As Solomon observed in Ecclesiastes 1:9, history regularly repeats itself. Ezekiel 38 foretells another “Pearl Harbor” is going to occur, and it reveals that the USA and its allies will be the targets.
Israel—God’s Latter-Day “Battleaxe”!
Jeremiah 51 is a remarkable prophecy. It is for a time called “the day of trouble” (verse 2), which sounds much like the time of the latter-days. It is a time when God’s punishment will be poured out on ”Babylon” during the “time of the Lord’s vengeance” (verses 6-13). This is obviously the “day of the Lord” when Babylon the Great falls at the end of this age (Revelation 18). God allows attacking forces to severely punish the world system called “Babylon the Great.”
This prophecy has a latter-day context. Jeremiah 51:3 talks of the “archer bending his bow” to attack which parallels Genesis 49:22 when “Joseph” is attacked by archers in the latter-days. Genesis 49:24 says that God will “strengthen” Joseph against that latter-day attack. Does Jeremiah 51 agree? Yes! Notice Jeremiah 51:5, which prophesies the following about God’s attitude toward Israel and Judah in the latter-days:
“For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the Lord of Hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.”
Ex-WCG audiences need to read that verse twice! Israel and Judah will not be forsaken by God in the latter days! God himself declares so! Indeed, Jeremiah 51:5 prophesies God will not forsake Judah or Israel even though he acknowledges their land is “full of sin.” God also says the following in verses 19-20 about “Jacob” and “Israel” in the latter days:
“ Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war; for with thee I will break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms.”
God prophesies that he will wield the nations of Israel as his “battleaxe” to destroy other nations in the
latter-days! The use of the term “Jacob” indicates that he says this to both Israel and Judah. That agrees with Ezekiel 38-39. Ezekiel 38:21 prophesies God will “call for a sword” against Gog’s armies throughout “all my mountains” (the nations of Israel). God unleashes Israel and its weapons against Russia and its allies, who are
also the enemies of God. Ezekiel 39:1 cites God saying; “I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.” Ezekiel 39:3 shows 5/6ths of Russia and its allies become corpses in the war that follows. When God intervenes, he leads Israel’s nations in a war against Russia and her allies! As in Jeremiah 51, he does so even though Israel has been “polluting his name” up to that point (Ezekiel 39:7)! Far from forsaking Israel and Judah into a latter-day captivity (as the WCG mistakenly taught for decades), God not only intervenes to strengthen Israel’s nations in the latter days, but also then wields Israel and Judah as “battleaxes” against the nations who had attacked them.
Notice another parallel between Ezekiel 38 and Jeremiah 51. Jeremiah 51:48 declare that: “…spoilers shall come unto her [Babylon] from the north, saith the Lord.”
This parallels Ezekiel 38 which says the army of Gog and Magog come “from the north” (verse 15) to “take a spoil” (verses 11-13). Joel 2 also mentions this latter-day “northern army” which is defeated when it attacks Israel in the latter days. These prophecies that “Babylon the Great” and the nations of Israel are both attacked from the north at the very end of this age confirms that “Babylon the Great “ is the modern commercial, religious and political system of the Western world. Babylon the Great is the “clay” of Israel joined to the “iron” of the gentile nations that were in the old Roman Empire. God allows the cities and institutions linked to “Babylon the Great” to be “burnt” and destroyed in the attack of Gog, but he then rescues the people of Israel and Judah from their attackers at the end of this age.
In this final climactic battle, none of God’s people will be “conscientious objectors.” In John 18:36, Jesus told Pontius Pilate: “…if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight.” When Jesus returns, his kingdom will be “of this world.” Therefore, his servants (spiritual saints or physical Israelites) will fight! Zechariah 12:8 prophesies:
“In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble [weak] among them at that day shall be as David; and the house
of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.”
God prophesies that he will empower his people (spiritual or physical) to be tremendous warriors in this fight at the end of this age. If you are a servant of Jesus Christ, then mentally prepare yourself to “go to war” for your Lord at the end of this age!
After God leads Israel’s nations in a victorious war against their invading enemies, all the house of Israel will know that the God of Israel is THEIR God from that day forward (Ezekiel 39:22). Zechariah 12:6-14 prophesies the same thing will occur as God rescues Judah and they also recognize him as their God from that time forward. Zechariah 12:7 says God will “rescue Judah first.” This is understandable as the Israelis have a small nation with no hinterland and Zechariah 14:1-4 indicates Judah will be in the greatest peril.
Ezekiel 39:25 has the same misleading translation in the KJV of the Bible that appears in Jeremiah 30:3 (the prophecy about Jacob’s Trouble). In the KJV, Ezekiel 39:25 says that God “will bring again the captivity of Jacob.” The phrase “bring again” meant something very different in 1611 than it does now. The RSV of the Bible gives it a correct modern translation when it translates both Jeremiah 30:3 and Ezekiel 39:25 as saying “I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel and Judah.” Instead of being prophecies that God will “bring again” a latter-day captivity upon Israel and Judah, these prophecies actually declare God will intervene to prevent captivities for his people (Joel 2:17-20 also echoes this same message)!
When God intervenes, there will be a spiritual “world war” as well as a physical World War as this age ends. Revelation12-14 reveals “devils” will stir up “the kings of the east” to launch their portion of this climactic World War, and Revelation19:11-21 depict Jesus Christ leading the heavenly armies into this battle. It is at this time that the “woman” of Revelation 12:14 is protected from Satan’s attack for “a time, times and half a time.” Most prophetic writers have assumed this means 3 and _ years. They may prove to be right, but there is another possibility. That phrase could just as easily refer to a period of 3 and _ days, not years. A nuclear war at the end of this age would not require three and _ years to unfold, but could easily reach a point
of jeopardizing “all flesh” within three and _ days. Matthew 24:21-22 prophesies that God shortens the
“days” (not “years”) of the Tribulation to prevent all flesh from perishing. Mark 13:20 says the same thing. When you check your Concordances, you will see that the word translated “days” usually refers to 24 hour days. Shortly we will see there is an important “three and _ day” prophetic period which culminates in the return of Christ.
The Role of the “Watchmen:”
The Churches of God have many accurate biblical doctrines to offer the world, but we have done a poor job of being “Watchmen.” If God appoints certain people as “Watchmen” (Ezekiel 33), they must warn their nations about the imminent prophetic dangers facing them. The Churches of God used to regard themselves as Watchmen, and they assumed the prophetic danger would be a latter-day “Assyrian” attack. It never came, and that prophetic message led to embarrassment and loss of credibility for the WCG. After the repeated failures of the “Assyrian” invasion scenario, most of the Churches of God “went to sleep”
The Churches of God once proclaimed Russia would attack America, but not until after the millennium began! That message was contained in a 1956 WCG article entitled: “Will Russia Attack America?” The May, 1986 Plain Truth magazine repeated that theme. The old WCG saw that Ezekiel 38-39 clearly predicted a Russian attack upon America and its allies. However, because of its assumption that a German- led invasion had to occur as well, it taught that Gog’s invasion would not occur until after the return of Jesus Christ and after the millennial reign of Christ had started! That teaching made no sense. Isaiah 2 and Micah 4 prophecy the Millennium will be a time when “swords are beaten into plowshares.” No nation will have armaments during the millennium. However, once it is realized that the German-led invasion scenario is not in the Bible, this invasion of Russia against America and her allies can be placed in its correct prophetic context–during the “latter days” just prior to the return of Jesus Christ. The church erred by trying to fit a German-led invasion of latter-day America into its prophetic doctrines. Consequently it discounted and ignored the real “latter-day” danger about which God warned in Ezekiel 38.
If we were ever “Watchmen” for our people, we need to repent of proclaiming a warning about a non- existent danger and start proclaiming the correct warning message which God actually placed in the Bible. By warning for decades about a non-existent danger, our churches lulled both the nation and itself to sleep. We are not the only sleepy watchmen. Much of evangelical Christianity proclaims a prophetic message offering variations on the “Hal Lindsey” interpretation of Ezekiel 38-39. To their credit, the Evangelicals correctly recognize that Ezekiel 38-39 is “pre-millennial” (i.e. it occurs before the millennium begins). They also recognize Gog as the Russian-led alliance that will launch the prophesied attack. However, they have a “blind spot” of their own. Because they do not comprehend that the biblical terms “Israel” and “Judah” are not
synonymous, they misidentify the target nations of Gog’s attack. Because of that mistake, they think Russia and all its allies will attack the little Israeli nation in the Mideast while the USA and the NATO nations are just bystanders! If the evangelicals recognized that the nations of the modern ten tribes of Israel are the targets of this attack, and if the Churches of God could see that Ezekiel 39 twice declares itself to be a pre- millennial prophecy, both groups would have the end-time scenario correct!
The Two Witnesses:
At the end of this age, God will raise up two powerful emissaries to bring his warning message to the world. Revelation 11 calls them the Two Witnesses, and Zechariah 4:14 calls them the “Two Anointed Ones.” Revelation 11:4 directly states the two Witnesses will be the two people mentioned in Zechariah 4:3. Jewish tradition also includes prophecies about two latter-day people of God called “Messiah ben Joseph and Messiah ben Judah.” While they will not be The Messiah, the Two Witnesses will certainly be messianic messengers for God. If Jewish tradition merges with biblical prophecy on this matter, it would imply that one of the Two Witnesses will be from Joseph (the tribe of Ephraim or Manasseh) and the other will be from the tribe of Judah. Other combinations are also possible. The Two Witnesses could be an Israelite and a gentile, or two members of the same tribe (Moses and Aaron, who “witnessed” to Pharaoh, were both Levites). The future will reveal the identity of the Two Witnesses, but they are not apparent on the world scene yet.
The Two Witnesses will warn the nations about imminent intervention of God and about the need to repent for a period for a period of three and half years (Revelation11:3). This is the same period of time as the reign of the Beast (Revelation 13:5), and these periods of time are likely to be concurrent.
The Two Witnesses will fulfill Matthew 24:14’s prophecy about a “witness” which will occur on the earth just before Christ comes. At the end of three and one-half years, the Two Witnesses are slain and lay dead for three and one-half days before they are resurrected at the return of Jesus Christ (which stops “all flesh” from destroying itself). It seems logical that “all hell breaks loose” on the earth during the three and one-half days when the Two Witnesses are dead and their intimidating power is removed. Although the world celebrates the death of the two witnesses, thinking a time of “peace and safety” as arrived, what actually befalls the earth is the “sudden destruction” prophesied in I Thessalonians 5:3. This paper proposes that the “sudden destruction” is the prophesied latter-day attack of Russia and its allies against the USA and its Western allies. The doublecrossed leader of the Western World (the final “king of the north”) launches a furious counter-attack to slaughter his attackers. Jerusalem will also be “compassed with armies” at that same time and climactic warfare breaks out there as well. With a nuclear World War raging, “all flesh” could quickly perish unless Jesus Christ returned…three and half days after the Two Witnesses died.
Revelation 12:14’s “time, times and half-a time,” during which the church needs divine protection, could easily apply to that final three and one-half day period prophesied in the Bible to precede the return of Jesus Christ. While the Two Witnesses are alive, the church (and Israel and Judah) can be protected by their power, which will be far greater than the power of any human nation or alliance. However, once the Two Witnesses are dead, the wrath of the Beast and False prophet will be unleashed on the church, and it will be in need of protection. The attack of Russia and its allies will quickly distract the nations from persecuting the saints. If this prophetic application is correct, the great persecution against the saints will last three and half days, not three and half years. That fits modern technological realities. It wouldn’t take the governments of the world three and half years to find the Christians and execute them. You can’t hide in today’s computerized world. The nations could find all the remaining Christians (those who had supported the Two Witnesses) in a few days if they wanted to do so. However, the computerized technologies of the Western World will “crash” when the first Russian EMP weapons go off in the skies over North America and Europe.
This article on prophecy has not addressed all aspects of latter-day prophecy. Indeed, it would take a book to address all possible prophetic scriptures and options. However, it is hoped that this article has presented convincing, biblical evidence that a German-led European invasion is not going to befall the modern nations of the house of Israel. It has also outlined prophetic scriptures which indicate a Russian-led invasion of the nations of latter-day “Israel” is certain, and presented a realistic means by which that surprise attack could occur. Even if you disagree with the conclusions of this author about prophecy, I hope that it at least stimulates you to be more flexible in your approach to latter-day prophecies.
Those who still think that a German-led European invasion is coming upon America have a heavy “burden of proof” upon them. They have “cried wolf” for decades but the “wolf” has never come. Their dogmas have produced decades of prophetic errors. However, their greatest problem is that the Bible itself nowhere prophesies that “Assyria” will conquer or carry captive the “house of Israel” during “the latter-days.” Their human assumption that the latter-days would parallel the ancient wars fought between Assyria and Israel in the 8th century B.C. has no support in the Bible. Once we accept that fact, we will realize why the church’s prophetic scenarios have repeatedly failed for the last half-century.
Will Russia attack America before the Millennium begins? Ezekiel 38 declares they will do so even if God has to “put hooks in the jaws” and compel them to attack the latter-day nations of the house of Israel. God will fulfill his prophecies according to His Word, not according to the dogmas of human churches. The sooner we get our prophetic expectations in harmony with God’s Word, the better! Nobody has “all the answers” when it comes to prophecy, but hopefully this article has provided some of them.
- Hans Weissmann, From Horror to Hope, 59
- The Jerusalem Post, US Edition, July 16, 1999, p. 15
- Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, 1978 Reprinted Edition, see word “troop,” 1002
- Ibid, see words “latter,” “last” and “days,” pp. 232-233, 589-590
- Ibid, see word “Gog,” subhead 2, p. 424
- Ken Westby, “The Coming War With China,” The New Millennium, May, 2001, pp. 4-5
- Henry Shelton, “Gen. Shelton sees China as growing threat to U.S.,” The Washington Times website, December 15, 2000
- Richard Bernstein and Ross Munro, “China I: The Coming Conflict with America,” Foreign Affairs, March/April, 1997,
- Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1943 Edition, Article entitled “Arabia,” Vol. 2, p. 176
- Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, see word “Enter, to-“, p. 302
- Encyclopedia Americana, 1992 Annual Yearbook, “The Gulf War—A Chronology,” p. 41
- Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, see word “Overthrown,” p. 728
- Ibid, see “Bring again, to—,” p. 118
- Bernstein and Munro, “China I: The Coming Conflict with America,” Foreign Affairs, March/April, 1997, pp. 18 and 20