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The Battle for Jerusalem

editor - 5 December 2017

By Rev. Willem J. J. Glashouwer.. On 31 October; yes, on the same date that Martin Luther in 1517 hammered his 95 theses on the doors of churches in Wittenberg-Germany and started the great work of the Reformation; the same day the ANZAC soldiers from Australia and New Zealand launched their attack in 1917 on Beersheba that ultimately led to the liberation of Jerusalem from the occupation by the Turkish Ottoman Empire that had occupied Jerusalem and the Holy Land for 400 years. “The events of 31 October 1917 laid the foundation for the Jewish people being able to return officially and legally to their land and to ultimately establish their own State on 14 May 1948”, we read in the article of Kelvin Crombie in the October edition 2017 of our newspaper ‘Israel & Christians Today’.

On 22 November 2017 we read the following report on various internet-sites:
“Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts in Sochi to discuss the future of Syria. According to Putin, all sides will need to compromise”, says Daniel Gilenson from Jerusalem Online.

Again the Turkish Empire takes action and breaks out into the South-East direction, from Turkey into the Middle East. Following the dream of a revived Ottoman Empire? Of a new Caliphate under the leadership of Turkish Istanbul? This time Turkey moves in together with their ‘friends’ from Russia and Iran (the former Persia).

>> Damascus
When one reads the Bible, several wars can be observed to be coming to the Middle East. Israel will be attacked by the surrounding Muslim nations. Is their motive ‘jihad’, holy war? In the Bible, we find some remarkable prophecies. Isaiah 17:1-2: “…See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. The cities of Aroer (about 22.5km east of the Dead Sea on the Arnon River) will be deserted and left to flocks, which will lie down, with no one to make them afraid…” This has never been fulfilled in history, but one day it will be. Damascus will totally be destroyed. By Israeli armies? By Israeli bombs? By an Israeli atomic bomb, used in defence because of a Syrian attack? By other (natural) causes? We can only answer those questions for sure after the event has happened. The prophecy does not say how it will happen, only that it will happen. Damascus has never been totally destroyed in history. But one day it will be.

Isaiah 19:16-17: “…In that day the Egyptians will be like women. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the LORD Almighty raises against them. And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified, because of what the LORD Almighty is planning against them…”

This has never been fulfilled in history, but one day it will be. Although we have seen how the Lord fought at the side of His people Israel when they were attacked several times since 1948, and how the Egyptians fled in panic (in the 1956 war), this is still only a foretaste of what is going to happen one day. The end result then will be, that Egypt no longer will serve Allah, but the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, with the four letters of the unspeakable Name YHWH. It is hard to imagine that mighty Egypt will tremble because of what the hand of the Lord through tiny Israel will do to them. But the result will be that Egypt will recognise the true God.  Isaiah 19:18-25: “…In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israelwill be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt My people, Assyria My handiwork, and Israel My inheritance.’”

Psalm 83:1-8: “O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still. See how Your enemies are astir, how Your foes rear their heads. With cunning they conspire against Your people; they plot against those You cherish. ‘Come’, they say, ‘let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.’ With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against You – the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of Moab and the HagritesGebalAmmon, and AmalekPhilistia, with the people of Tyre. Even Assyria has joined them to lend strength to the descendants of Lot…”

When one looks at today’s map, these old names all refer to a ‘first ring’ closely around Israel, containing LebanonSyriaJordan, the Palestinian territories, with Iraq (Assyria) in the background. Are we looking at a combined war against Israel, to wipe it off the face of the earth, instigated by these predominantly Muslimcountries and peoples? Has this already happened, or is this also referring to some future event? Ezekiel 38 and 39 say that nations under the leadership of Gog (from the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal) will suddenly invade the land of Israel. It talks about PersiaCush and Put joining him, as well as Gomer, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all their troops. These many nations form a ‘second ring’ around Israel. Using Flavius Josephus to identify these old names, one sees nations like Saudi-ArabiaLibyaTurkeyIran, and even the former southern Soviet Republics, who today are all Islamic. These events have never happened in history to date. Some people say that even Russia itself is involved in the background. Incidentally, SyriaEgypt and Iraq are not mentioned! Are they no longer a threat after the ‘first ring’ has been dealt with? But the Lord will fight for His people Israel, and they will need seven months to bury all the corpses.

Ezekiel 39:14-16: “… People will be continually employed in cleansing the land. They will spread out across the land and, along with others, they will bury any bodies that are lying on the ground. After the seven months, they will carry out a more detailed search. As they go through the land, anyone who sees a human bone will leave a marker beside it until the gravediggers bury it in the Valley of Hamon Gog, near a town called Hamonah. And so they will cleanse the land.”

The three leaders: Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted his Iranian and Turkish counterparts in the city of Sochi. “We’ve reached a new phase in Syria,” Putin stated.

>> Erdogan
Is the present Prime Minister of TurkeyRecep Tayyip Erdogan, the Gog of Ezekiel 38 and 39? A Belgianbrother recently sent me a number of surprisingly new ideas. I would like you to put these ideas to the test. He told me that he has always found it difficult to identify Gog and Magog with Russia.

First some verses from Ezekiel 38:2-3: “…Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshek and Tubal; prophesy against him and say: This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshek and Tubal…’” And from Ezekiel 39:1: “…Son of man, prophesy against Gog and say: This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshek and Tubal…’” 

Gog and Magog are identified as a person and a country in the Hebrew Bible, in Ezekiel 38 of the Old Testament. Gog is the ruler of the land of Magog who will fight the final battle against the people of God. In the New Testament in the Book of Revelation 20:8Gog and Magog are identified as two countries under the rule of Satan. And finally, Gog and Magog are two statues of giants in the London Guildhall dating back to the mythical stories about the origin of Britain. This remark can be overlooked in the context of this article!

The first-century Romano-Jewish historian Flavius Josephus put Magog on a par with the Scythians, nomads from the Central Asian steppes. They established a kingdom north of the Black Sea that lasted from the eighth until the second century BC. But Josephus did not connect the Scythians with apocalyptic themes, seeing them as just the enemies that emerged in that period of time. In his work ‘The Jewish War’, he told the story of Alexander the Great who was alleged to have built an iron gate between two mountains to keep Gogand Magog away from the civilised world. But here too Josephus linked no eschatological meaning to this story, seeing the gate as just a military structure to keep out the enemy.

>> Gog and Magog
Christian brother in Belgium says that Gog is derived from the Hebrew word that means roofrooftop or top of a building. If it refers to a location, a country, then it must be North of Israel, in a mountainous area with peaks. The Caucasus qualifies very well for such a location. From maps that represent the ancient world known to the Hebrews, we learn that Gog and Magog (from the land of Gog) belong to the region regarded as the top of the known world which would fit the Caucasus, including GeorgiaMeshech is located in the southern part of the Caucasus in an area adjacent to North East Turkey, which includes the Black Sea coastline of GeorgiaThubal lies in the Rize Province in today’s North East Turkey, near the Black Sea coast. As a result, we can read both verses from Ezekiel as: “… You, Gog (leader or chief ) coming from the land of Magog(coming from Georgia, Caucasus-region)… who is a prince, a paramount chief of Meshech (Southern Georgia) and Tubal (from the North Eastern provinces of Turkey)…”

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey, comes from Georgia. When he visited his home area on 11 August 2004, he said: “I am a Georgian too; my family is a Georgian family that migrated from Batumi to Rize!” When you render Erdogan’s statement into the language of Ezekiel, then this is what you get: “I (Gog, paramount chief of Turkey) am a Georgian too (from the land of Magog); I have a special relationship with the area my family originates from and migrated from Batumi in Georgia (probably Meshech) to Rizen in Turkey(probably Tubal).”

Biblical prophecies need to be read with great caution. Such identification of Ezekiel 38 and 39 makes you careful not to take for granted that in these chapters it is Russia and its allies that could suddenly attack Israel. It is especially possible with the identification of Turkey, that has never given up its dream of a restored Ottoman Empire. Such hopes seem increasingly relevant in the current call for a restored Caliphate for the entire Islamic world with Istanbul as its centre. Leaving speculation, let us return to the general picture of God’s promises and Covenants with Israel. A Third World War can happen overnight since many countries nowadays possess nuclear weapons. These include Israel, which will most certainly not stand idly by when missiles with ABC-weapons come their way. What will be the reaction of the entire Islamic world? This huge Islamic empire stretches from Indonesia through Asia, encompassing PakistanTurkey, the former Soviet republics, the Middle East, some areas of former Yugoslavia, large areas of Africa and also portions of Europe. For example, there are more than two million Muslims in the United Kingdom, four million in Germany and six million in France. Even the United States of America houses more than seven million Muslims.

We are not fortune-tellers. We cannot be sure that the events today will lead now directly to the ultimate fulfilment of Ezekiel 38 and 39. But one-day these prophecies will be fulfilled. As well as all the other prophecies of the BibleGod’s Word is absolutely trustworthy. Martin Luther was quite right about that.“We as Christian should be watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem. Watching out for all the dangers that threaten Jerusalem. And blow the shofar, so that people that are deep asleep wake-up. Also in the Churchesworldwide. Until He makes Jerusalem a Praise in the Earth.” Isaiah 62.

Rev. Willem J. J. Glashouwer
President Christians for Israel International
Honorary President ECI

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