As we begin Part Thirteen of the “All Eyes on Israel” series, I believe this is one of the more fascinating insights into what is to unfold in regard to the nation of Israel. Only a few writers suggest the very probable connection between the great Sixth Seal in the sixth chapter of Revelation and the Gog-Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39. However, I believe there is considerable evidence for a very strong and Biblical connection and will endeavor to outline that evidence here to help us recognize where we really are on God’s end of the age timeline.
Let’s first take a close look at what the prophet Ezekiel had to say in a portion of God’s response to Gog and his forces as they come in on Israel’s mountains:
18 “And it will come to pass at the same time when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” says the Lord GOD, “that My fury will show in My face. 19 For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken, ‘Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel, 20 so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth, shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.’ 21 I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains,” says the Lord GOD, “Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22 And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many people who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. 23 Thus will I magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.” Ezekiel 38:18-23
There are a number of specifics that bear noting in the above passage:
- God says He will bring about a great earthquake which will affect the fish of the sea, birds of the heavens, the beasts of the earth, and all of the insects on the earth. All will shake at His presence.
- Mountains will be thrown down; steep places will fall; every wall will fall down
- God will send a sword against Gog with every man’s sword against every other man; judgment through pestilence and bloodshed; flooding rain, great hail, and fire and brimstone
- God thus magnifies Himself, sanctifying His name, and thereby making Himself known in the eyes of many nations.
In the Scriptures, there are many passages that refer to the events of the end of the age. It is important not to put them all in one bundle with the assumption that they are too chaotic for us to be able to distinguish one event from another. I am a firm believer that the Bible was sovereignly inspired, carefully and intricately written, and presented to us with exceptionally accurate details. The events that accompany the Day of the LORD unfold in series literally and it helps to be able to distinguish earlier events from the later ones. It is also important to recognize the point at which the Apocalypse that the Apostle John was shown actually begins. It is my intent to help make these things a bit clearer.
Now that we once again reviewed God’s sovereign response to Gog’s attack on Israel, let’s take a look at John’s description of the unfolding of the Sixth Seal:
12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair; and the moon became like blood. 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. 14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. 15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come and who is able to stand?” Revelation 6:12-17
Once again, it will be helpful if we make note of some of the important details given to us about this ominous event.
- A great earthquake, the sun black as sackcloth of hair and the moon as blood
- “Stars” fell to the earth like figs shaken from a tree by a mighty wind
- The sky rolled back as a scroll; every mountain and island moved out of its place
- Great fear expressed by men all across the world
- Men on the earth recognize it is God, specifically the judgment of the “Lamb of God”, that has come upon the earth
In past articles I have offered scriptural reasoning to put the timing of the Gog-Magog conflict right close to the beginning of the seven year Apocalypse that John described in the Book of Revelation. I am convinced, however, that there are several other events that come together at about the same time. As we unravel the sequence of events and their placement on a timeline, an important distinction that I have made after a great deal of study is that the Sixth Seal is what ends the Church Age, not the First Seal. In past writings I have posed arguments to show that the first five seals have been open and unfolding since the beginning of the Church Age.
For the sake of time, I won’t review the arguments for this position in this writing, but will come back to them in a coming article. It is important at this point to consider the fact that a seven sealed scroll as the Apostle John was shown had to have all seven seals broken before it could actually be opened. In the study of the Book of Revelation we find that after the opening of the sixth seal and the events it introduces, the seventh chapter of Revelation presents an interlude or a pause in which details are given in preparation for what is about to occur next. In this interlude, the 144,000 Jewish evangelists which come from the 12 tribes of Israel are sealed for their task. As the eighth chapter of Revelation begins, it is the opening of the last seal, the seventh seal that actually opens the scroll containing the judgments that God is going to unleash upon the earth.
I don’t believe that the reaction and proclamation made by the inhabitants of the earth in Revelation 6:16-17 is just a case of semantics. What they saw was very literal and the declaration they made was also very literal. As they hid themselves in the rocks and caves, they said to the rocks:
“Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come and who is able to stand?”
It seems that a terrifying revelation is allowed in the cosmos, directly above the earth, with the sky or atmosphere being torn apart, the same as the unrolling of a great scroll, revealing a petrifying glimpse into a heavenly dimension. The Christ-rejecting world is able to physically see the risen Messiah—not as a suffering Christ— but as The Eternal One in His power and awesome glory as He looks down with His fiery all-powerful, all-seeing eyes, boring right into their very souls. They immediately understand that, in His righteous indignation and vengeance, He is about to unleash unimaginable judgments on a wicked, God-hating world! It will be a revelation of unspeakable horror to those who have rejected the price paid for man’s eternal redemption!
I think of a strong warning found in the Old Testament Book of Zephaniah. The prophet gave this warning:
1 Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O undesirable (unashamed, without longing) nation 2 before the decree is issued, or the day passes, like chaff, before the LORD’s fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the LORD’s anger comes upon you. 3 Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility, it may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD’s anger. Zephaniah 2:1-3 (emphasis added)
We here find a rebuke to a people who are missing the mark. The word undesirable means unashamed, without longing for a relationship of any depth with their God. Then, three times, God, through His prophet, emphasizes the word before. Before what? Before the decree of God’s judgment is issued and they find themselves caught in the Terrible Day of the LORD. He tells them that they should seek the LORD, becoming part of the meek of the earth who will be hidden during the time of the LORD’s anger! The words of the prophet Zephaniah are very straightforward and unmistakable!
The reaction of the inhabitants of the earth at the tearing open of the sky, revealing the Risen Christ, also reminds me of the strong words of the Holy Spirit directed at humanity in Psalm 2; a passage I refer to often.
1 “Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, 3 ‘Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.’ 4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. 5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure…” verses 1-5
After an interchange between the Father and the Son in verses 6-9, the Holy Spirit closes the psalm out by saying:
10 “Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way,, when His wrath is kindled but a little, blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. verses 10-12
The story-line throughout the entire Bible has to do with the incredible love God has for humanity. But, it is made clear throughout the scriptures that God is not to be marginalized or ignored. And, the scriptures makes it very clear that the day of our God’s vengeance is coming, as the prophet Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 61. What we have at the opening of the Sixth Seal is the announcement of the beginning of God’s vengeance being poured out on an ungodly world.
We are also given considerable insight in the Book of Joel. The prophet gives a powerful warning in the beginning verses of chapter two, saying:
1 Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the LORD is coming, for it is at hand: 2 A day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over the mountains…verses 1-2
Later in the 11th verse of chapter two, Joel says: “For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; Who can endure it?” Then in verse 12-14, we find an all-out call to repentance:
12 “Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. 13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. 14 Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him—A grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God?”
In verse 15-17, there is an emergency cry of alarm, necessitating an urgent gathering for fasting, prayer, and entreating the Lord to intervene on their behalf.
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; 16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room. 17 Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, week between the porch and the altar; Let them say, “Spare Your people, O LORD, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?‘“
Here we find the nation of Israel realizing that they are facing something that is so far beyond their capability to mitigate that they finally recognize God as their only answer! The call to the people is to set absolutely everything else aside. The call is even for new bridegrooms along with their brides to come out of their wedding chambers and beseech the Lord to intervene. If He doesn’t, all will be lost! And…why should the heathens be able to ask, “Where is their GOD?”
In verse 18-19 we find God responding to His people:
18 Then the LORD will be zealous for His land, and pity His people. 19 The LORD will answer and say to His people, “Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations.
Before continuing with the passage, allow me to back up just a little. When the prophet says that the bridegroom should go out from his chamber and the bride from her dressing room, I believe there may be a dual application. Of course, the call is for the people of Israel to set everything else aside and get ahold of God because of the desperation of the situation at hand; if not, absolute disaster is imminent! But, could it be that this is also a subtle hint that our Messiah, the Heavenly Bridegroom is being sent by the Father to gather His Bride? Could it be that the Bride of Christ is being called to come out of her dressing room where she has been preparing herself for 2,000 years, and meet her Bridegroom? Based on a number of other scripture passages, I believe that this is also being inferred in this passage! As we will see as we bring all the scriptures together, it appears that the Battle of Gog and Magog is tied very closely together with the literal “harpazo”, Rapture of the Church. But, I digress…
It is at this point that we now find a most interesting response from the Almighty to the prayers of His people! His response in verse 20 is: “…I will remove far from you the northern army…” Which northern army would this be referring to?? Let’s continue in the passage:
20 “I will remove far from you the northern army and will drive him away into a barren and desolate land, with his face toward the eastern sea and his back toward the western sea; His stench will come up, and his foul odor will rise, because he has done monstrous things.
Let’s compare what God said in verse 20 with what He said through the prophet Ezekiel in 39:11:
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea; and it shall stop the noses of the passengers; and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude; and they shall call it the valley of Hamon-gog.” (old KJV)
These passages are both referring to the same event; the annihilation of Gog’s massive forces that have come down against Israel. This huge force, which will likely number in the millions, will be utterly decimated, with 85% destroyed and left for the beasts and birds to gorge upon. What remains is left rotting and takes seven months to bury in the grounds designated for the purpose. Amazing!
We have another passage of Scripture written by the prophet Isaiah that ties in with what has been said by the prophets Ezekiel, Joel, and John. It is found in the 34th chapter:
1 Come near, you nations, to hear; and heed, you people! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it. The world and all things that come forth from it. 2 For the indignation of the LORD is against all nations, and His fury against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to the slaughter. 3 3 Also their slain shall be thrown out; Their stench shall rise from their corpses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. 4 All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; All their host shall fall down as the leaf falls from the vine, and as fruit falling from a fig tree. 5 For My sword shall be bathed in heaven; Indeed it shall come down on Edom, and on the people of My curse, for judgment. 6 The sword of the LORD is filled with blood. It is made overflowing with fatness, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
Joel 2:21-29 describes how God is going to return to Israel all that was lost as God had to discipline them many times. Some of what is promised in these verses extends into the millennial kingdom of the Messiah. This is made obvious by the fact that the Jewish people will never need to fear again, whereas, the times leading up to and including the Great and Terrible Day of the LORD is not yet such a time. Israel goes through the harsh Time of Jacob’s Trouble, which is the last half of the Apocalypse, specifically called The Great Tribulation in the Bible.
In Joel 2:28-29, God also promises a great end of the age outpouring of His Spirit in great measure upon those who recognize Him. This is called the “Latter Day Rain, a greater outpouring even than the “Early Rain” on the Day of Pentecost, 2,000 years ago. I believe the earliest portion of this great outpouring is happening today in some areas of the world but will continue into the Apocalypse itself.
In verses 30-31, we again find something interesting. Joel said this:
30 And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. (emphasis, mine)
Here we find Joel backtracking a bit and making a point of describing some specifics describing the days just prior to John’s Apocalypse by saying that there will be blood and fire and pillars of smoke, the sun turning to darkness, and the moon into blood before the Day of the LORD.
I am well aware of all the criticism and ridicule thrown at those who happen to see significance in the Blood Moons and other celestial signs that have appeared in the last few years. It is sad to see how quickly even well-meaning Bible scholars can join the crowd of scoffers. In another article soon to be written I will give a listing of the great signs which have been given to us in the last few years indicating the general timing of the fulfillment of scripture. Suffice it to say that God has not changed. God has used cosmic signs throughout the 6,000 history of mankind since the creation of Adam. The signs, once they are recognized for what they point to, should not be ridiculed as an exercise of the imaginations of Christian extremists or fanatics. Admittedly, there are some who have proposed theories including unnecessary date-setting. God has not given us specific dates to set our “end of the age” calendars by, but has provided powerful harbingers of things that are about to unfold…and, very SOON. God has used His own creation as a means to speak to us since the very beginning, and He still does!
To Be Continued in Part 14…