Bible Prophecy and Ezekiel 38-39
The stage is set; the actors await their cues. It’s been a long planned production. The evil one has been clasping his hands together in glee, so deceived he is in his own plans. A created being who aspires to usurp the place of the One who created him. How foolish, how vain and prideful. Yet it was all foretold, as is the evil one’s demise foretold. The lake of fire will be his final destination (Rev. 20:10). But that event won’t transpire for at least 1,007 years. There is first the millennial kingdom—the thousand year reign of Christ. Prior to that, the seven year tribulation. And before that? The rapture of the church!
How accurate God’s word is. We can see every facet aligning in precise detail, just as God’s word foretold. How amazing it is to watch the words of the Bible come to life before our very eyes!
I remember as a child sitting under some very sound eschatological teaching, hearing of the Ezekiel 38-39 war (for one example). Then the conditions weren’t ripe. All of the foretold nations in the Ezekiel 38-39 coalition were in no condition of stature to form such an alliance. Yet Bible believers knew that at some point in the future they would be. Why? Because God’s word foretold it, and we believed it!
Let’s take a short hop back in time and see how faithful believers were in the 1970’s, 80’s, and even 90’s as compared to today. Even though the prophetic word of God wasn’t yet aligned then, many Bible-believing Christians knew and believed that one day they would be! And we knew they would be aligned exactly as foretold no matter how impossible it seemed at the time.
Ezekiel 38-39 Iran
In the 1970’s, Iran was a ‘friend’ to Israel. In fact, the Iran of the 1970’s was far different than the Iran of today! One can find pictures of Iranian citizens in the 1970’s, very modern (to the era), very westernized. Women dressed in the typical 1970’s fashion (much like they did in the US at the time). The nation of Iran itself was enjoying moderate prosperity. Christianity was not the majority religion, but was tolerated and allowed at the time.
But then came the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Things changed drastically for Iranians during that time and since then. Christianity was no longer allowed, nor was any semblance of westernization permitted. No longer could women move freely in society in Iran. Instead, strict Sharia Islamic laws were enacted. The Iranian regime became increasingly oppressive and brutal. There is much more to this narrative; however, it’s very telling that since the time that Shia Islamists took control of the Iranian government, the nation itself and the citizens thereof have suffered horribly. It’s as though it was catapulted back a thousand years into the 800’s–900’s when Islam was a bloody and barbaric terror.
This also brought renewed hatred of Jews and Christians alike. Not only was westernization frowned upon, but those who were caught dressing in anything but Islamic clothing (especially women, with their heads covered and all body parts covered as well) could be stoned or imprisoned. Even a bare ankle could (and does still) bring the wrath of Sharia law down upon them. This trend is ripening the foretold Ezekiel 38-39 coalition today.
Ezekiel 38-39 Russia
Then we take a look back on Russia. In the 1970’s, Russia was still the Soviet Union. Jews were making Aliyah (the mass emigration from Soviet Jews to Israel), as the Soviet Union had just lifted its ban on Jewish emigration to Israel at that time. The discrimination against Jews in Russia was state-sponsored anti-Semitism.
Between 1960–1970, only about 4,000 people (total) had left the USSR. But the number of Jewish persons alone rose to 291,000 in the following eighteen years. Many of those Jews (at least 165,000 of them) desired to live in their homeland of Israel! Many other Soviet Jews (approximately 126,000) chose to move to the USA during that time as well.
Russia was falling apart. The USSR was breaking up! The final dissolution of the Soviet Union occurred in 1991. That same year, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev (the 8th and final leader of the Soviet Union) resigned. He handed over his powers (including control of the nuclear missile launching codes) to the new Russian President Boris Yeltsin. This also marked the end of the ‘cold war.’
So even in the 1990’s, the foretold Ezekiel 38-39 coalition wasn’t possible. But again, Bible believers knew that one day these things would align as foretold!
Ezekiel 38-39 Turkey
Finally, let’s look back in time to Turkey. In the 1960’s, Turkey was much like Iran had been, a westernized modern (for the era) nation. But things changed rapidly in the 1970’s. In 1973, the constitution was amended to limit personal freedoms. There was much political clashing, and approximately 1,500 people died from political violence in 1980.
The Turkish constitution had banned religious parties, but the NSP (the leading political party) was truly an Islamic party; they desired to bring in Sharia law. Then, by 1977 the CHP emerged as the leading party and annulled the Sharia law decree. A win for the Turkish citizens! By the 1980’s, political violence was greatly reduced by the establishment of Martial law. The operation was extended throughout Turkey to eradicate terrorism. This back and forth of Turkey from non-Islamic to Islamic (and back again) rule caused much upheaval within the nation.
By 1982, a new constitution was drawn up. The free market principles and encouragement of foreign trade was initiated. This caused prosperity for a time. When Christianity was allowed to flourish in Turkey, it seemed things went well for them; but when Christians were targeted and slain, Turkey suffered under horrible conditions. This back and forth continued for the last few decades.
There have been many changes since then—the worst of which was when Erdogan (basically) decreed himself emperor less than two years ago. A fake ‘coup’ was propagandized in 2016 which (conveniently) gave Erdogan an excuse to imprison or kill all of his political and ideologic competition. There are still imprisoned innocent victims of this faux ‘coup’ today. Journalists from other nations were erroneously labeled as ‘spies,’ and much worse.
Erdogan styles himself as the next ‘Caliph’ of a revived Ottoman empire. In fact, all three leaders: Putin of Russia, Erdogan of Turkey, and Rouhani of Iran all believe themselves to be more important and special than they are. Their huge egos, their massive amounts of vanity and pride, will be their downfall. It’s hard to believe that such a coalition could form with three such overly enlarged egos involved, yet it has indeed coalesced. Exactly as God’s word foretold.
One would never know (today) that Turkey (in 1949) was the first Muslim majority nation to recognize the state of Israel. Oh, how times have changed! One would even have difficulty imagining why Turkey was ever accepted into NATO, and how it came to be that the US built an air base in Incirlik, Turkey. We even (today) still have nuclear weapons there. This is troublesome with the change in attitude coming from Erdogan.
That short history lesson was to say this: In 1970’s (and even in the 80’s and 90’s), the conditions for the Ezekiel 38-39 war did not exist. It wasn’t possible. But today? We have those exact foretold nations in alliance. The preciseness and accuracy of God’s word is stunning!
But what is more stunning? What is more amazing to me? The fact that so few believers today recognize the significance of this alignment! Back in the 70’s, 80’s, and even 90’s believers knew that Ezekiel 38-39 would one day occur. They never doubted! The Bible said so, and we know the Bible is God’s word! Even back then… all those decades when the conditions weren’t possible… we knew that one day the conditions WOULD be ripe. How faithful believers were back then.
But today? The exact coalition described in Ezekiel 38-39 has now formed. And many believers are either unaware, or worse? They just don’t care! Even worse? Many just don’t BELIEVE God’s word!
I guess it’s hard for me to comprehend. I wondered all those years ago if I would live to see the days when the Ezekiel 38-39 coalition formed. I wondered (then) how would the naysayers react? How could they possibly attempt to refute scripture then when the coalition formed before their very eyes? But the answer has come, and it’s been more surprising than it should be. The answer is that now that this precise coalition has formed exactly as the Bible foretold, leaving no doubt of the truth and veracity of scripture… that people are now BLIND to the truth!
We shouldn’t be at all surprised. After all, the Bible also foretold that the time would come (even in churches) when they would not endure sound doctrine, but would prefer to hear fables (2 Tim. 4:3-4). The Bible also foretold that the characteristics of those living in the “perilous last days” would be of extreme narcissism and not caring about the word of God (2 Tim. 3:1-5). That they would continue to be deceived and deceive others (2 Tim. 3:13). That they would “have a form of godliness” but that they would “deny the power thereof” (2 Tim. 3:5).
The Bible also foretold that there would be many mockers in the last days (Jude 1:18, 2 Pet. 3:3-4), and so there are! God’s word also foretold that many would be given over to a reprobate mind (Rom. 1:18-32). It’s never been more apparent and overtly obvious than it is today.
Those same characteristics are those that were seen during the times of Noah and Lot, before God’s wrath was meted out on the ungodly and wicked. It’s no coincidence that God’s word also foretold these last days would be “as in the days of Noah” and “as in the days of Lot” (Luke 17). So also are we warned of this same condition throughout New Testament scripture. We are warned to “remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32); she looked back with nostalgia upon the evil world she had come to know (and sadly, with longing to go back there). We cannot make the same mistake!
We were also warned that the birth pains would commence (the “beginning of sorrows” in Matthew 24:4-8). Jesus used this example wisely. Just as a woman “in travail,” getting ready to give birth, so too are the “birth pains” of the tribulation at the door—one contraction coming after another, each stronger and more severe than the last, closer and closer together! So too are these birth pains we see today!
Yet we (grace/church-age believers) won’t be here to see the commencing of the tribulation. We will have been taken up in the rapture prior to the confirming of the covenant (Dan. 9:27) which kicks off the countdown for the 70th week of Daniel to commence.
How do we know this is true? How do we know it for a fact? The Bible tells us so! We are told that Jesus delivers us (church/grace-age believers) from the wrath to come (1 Thes. 1:10, Rom. 5:9, 1 Thes. 5:9). We are even told HOW He will deliver us. The rapture! (1 Cor. 15:49-53, 1 Thes. 4:13-18).
As I sit here watching the coalescing and converging of all of God’s prophetic word come together before our very eyes, I am struck with a deep sense of sadness. Not that it’s happening. Oh no! Of that I am blissfully gleeful! After all, I’ve waited more than a half century of my life in the hopes of seeing these very things. I long to be with and see my risen Savior more than anything else!
So what about this makes me sad? Just as people don’t believe God’s word about ALL of the prophetic events coming to pass, even though they are right before their very eyes; and just as people don’t trust God’s word that He will take us up prior to His righteous wrath being meted out upon the evil God-hating and Christ-rejecting world, so also are people refusing to hear ANY of God’s word… that also includes the gospel for some.
That’s the sad part… If people would only realize that God’s word is TRUE. They could avoid an eternity in hell if they come to Christ for salvation. They could even avoid entering the tribulation and suffering those horrific things foretold to occur, IF they would only come to Christ NOW, prior to the rapture! There is plenty in scripture written about this horrific time to come – many OT prophecies in Daniel and others. Revelation chapters 6–18 gives an overview of the tribulation.
But the problem? They just don’t BELIEVE. I wonder how it is that people can claim to NOT believe something they have never even read? But then again, I realize that if they are not born-again, they haven’t received the indwelling Holy Spirit. Therefore, they cannot comprehend even if they do read it! (1 Cor. 2:14). Sadly the devil has blinded them so fully that some cannot even believe the gospel. To them? It’s foolishness! (1 Cor. 1:18).
So, what can we do with a person who won’t believe even when the foretold events of scripture are converging and even commencing right before our eyes?
That’s the hard part. That’s the part that causes me to grieve for their eternal souls. We continue to share the gospel (that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose the third day (1 Cor. 15:1-4). We continue to let them know that faith comes by hearing (and reading) the word of God (Rom. 10:17). We continue to let them know that good works cannot save them (Eph. 2:8-9). That only Jesus can save them! (John 14:6, Rom. 3:23-25, 1 Tim.2:5, et al). That BELIEF is the requirement! (Rom. 10:9-13, John 3:15-18).
Of course that would require that they first recognize and admit they are a sinner. We ALL are sinners in need of salvation! (Rom. 3:23, 6:23; 1 John 1:7-9). Jesus paid our sin debt and reconciled us to God. (Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18-20; Eph. 2:18; Col. 1:20-21; Heb. 2:17, et al). But again, one must BELIEVE that in order to receive Christ.
So, what can we do about those who just refuse to believe – those who cannot see the truth in front of their eyes? We can pray for them! We can continue to share the gospel with them, knowing that God’s word doesn’t return void (Isaiah 55:11).
But let’s not get hung up on one or two people. Yes, it’s horrifying when a dear relative or loved one rejects Christ. And yes, we should be in prayer about this often. But I fear it paralyzes many of us from sharing the gospel with OTHERS. Maybe these others aren’t YOUR friends, or YOUR loved ones, or YOUR relatives… but they are someone’s friend, brother, sister, child, loved one… and most of all, they matter to God. He would have ALL saved and come to the knowledge of the TRUTH. (1 Tim. 2:4)
Maybe you have held back sharing the gospel with others because there is a dear one (or more) in your life who has yet to come to Christ? Maybe you think that you can’t go witness to others when your own friend or relative hasn’t yet come to Christ? Maybe that’s holding you back from sharing the gospel with others who aren’t so dear to you? Maybe even those you don’t know? This is the devil’s device; he will use anything he can to impede the gospel from going forth!
That sneaky serpent would like nothing more than to have you (believer) cowering in a corner, concerned only about your own loved ones. And while yes, we should be concerned about our loved ones, we should not let this hinder us from sharing the gospel with those we don’t know. Even others that we DO know… friends, co-workers, acquaintances. Even people on social media!
You don’t have to go door to door to share the gospel. You can start a blog, share the message on social media platforms, make a video! There are MANY ways to share the gospel. You can even (snail mail) mail Biblical tracts (with sound doctrine and gospel) to those you do or don’t know randomly. Pick up a phone book for names/addresses, or look in your county’s real estate owners’ (taxes) website for names/addresses. There are hundreds of ways to share the gospel that do not require face to face confrontation (if that concerns you).
At the very least, if you have no desire whatsoever to share the gospel, then maybe you could consider donating to a missionary fund – one who shares the gospel with those in foreign lands where the gospel is hard to find. There are so many ways to serve the Lord!
Don’t sit helplessly in a corner. Don’t let the devil make you feel defeated because maybe one of your loved ones hasn’t yet come to Christ.
How can I word this? What if your loved one won’t believe until someone else tells them? And what if that someone else is right now cowering in a corner because their own loved one hasn’t yet come to Christ? This may seem a far-fetched scenario, but I would hazard to guess that it’s much more common than one might think.
Please, don’t JUST be concerned about your own loved ones (Matt. 5:46-47); even the unsaved world does that! But rather be concerned about the eternal condition of the souls of those you don’t know. They may not be as precious (in your sight) as they are to their own family, but they are precious in God’s eyes. What if someone is out there waiting for YOU to share the gospel with them?
Maybe you’ve tried sharing the gospel and had the door shut in your face so many times that you feel it’s futile. I admit that there are fewer and fewer people coming to Christ here in the US than in any previous decade of history – at least that’s been my own experience. Fewer are receptive than ever before, and some are downright hostile to ANY of God’s word. But that’s no excuse to give up. Even if 99 times out of 100 the gospel is rejected, that 1% is still worth the hassles and struggles we face to share.
What if that one out of a hundred (or even one out of a million) was someone you loved? Wouldn’t you want someone to share the gospel with them? What if they aren’t receptive to you because you are so close to them? (Oftentimes teens and young adults are rebellious against parents and relatives at that age, for example). And what if they would be receptive if someone else shared the gospel with them? Maybe someone in their own age range or peer group?
And what if that person (that they would be receptive to) decided that they also were just going to cower in a corner because they also had not been experiencing a great soul-winning to Christ of late? What if your mission from the Lord was to seek out that one in a hundred (or even one in a million) that would come to Christ if they only heard the gospel at the exact right moment?
Don’t let the devil dissuade you! Share the gospel now in these last hours of the age of grace. The night is far spent! The day is at hand. Any moment the rapture can occur, and then we will have no time remaining to share the gospel with those on earth. Soon after that, the world will be plunged into the worst imaginable time, the tribulation! Don’t you want to meet the Lord knowing that you truly did your best to reach the lost with the gospel?
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” (Rom. 13:11-12)
Yes, the night is far spent… we are so near to the end of this age, and with that the rapture of the church! But that is absolutely no excuse to sit on our hands merely waiting. Let’s be busy about our Father’s business. Time is short! Let’s share the gospel with as many as we can as we see the day approaching!