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Of Tyrants, Tyranny, and Freedom in Christ

Photo by Katie Godowski on Pexels.com

Tyranny is one the most destructive forces ever unleashed on the world. Throughout history, Tyrants such as Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, and Vladimir Putin to name a few have sought to murder, oppress, and destroy the lives, spirits, and minds of anyone who oppose their ideologies. These sick and twisted regimes believed they had the right to rule over a free people.

In the 20th Century alone, it has been estimated that 100 million people died at the hands of tyrannical dictators and regimes. At the time I’m posting this, the war between Russia and Ukraine is raging into another week. War crimes have been committed by the Russian army, as thousands of civilians- men, women, and children have been murdered. I watched in horror the clip of a Russian tank running over a car full of Ukrainian people. The Ukrainians in the car posed no threat to the tank- the car was just traveling in the opposite direction of the tank. The car was flattened within seconds; Lives were taken for no reason.

Praise God for the resolve and fight of the Ukrainian people, who are doing their best to fight back against a better equipped army. By some accounts I have read, that worthless pile of garbage Putin has become frustrated with how long the invasion is taking, as he miscalculated the resolve of the Ukrainian people to stand up against their invaders. Freedom is a God-given right to all of humanity, as the Apostle Paul wrote, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1, NIV).

In the midst of the Russia-Ukraine war, the possibility of a second Cold War is brewing between the United States and Russia, something I remember well growing up during the Reagan Administration. If the madman Putin gets backed into a corner, the threat of nuclear war looms large over humanity. A full scale nuclear war would reap destruction upon the world greater than all of history’s wars combined.

However, we must remember that God is in charge, as the Psalmist wrote, “…But it is God who judges: He brings one down, He exalts another.” (Psalm 75:7, NIV).

We must also remember that Jesus warned us of such events: “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:5-8, KJV).

During these times, we must keep a clear mind and remember to pray. Continue to stand strong in the faith and keep your eyes on Christ. God bless you all.

Is this the start of Gog and Magog?

As of this writing, tensions have been high between Russia, Turkey, and Turkey’s NATO allies after Turkey earlier this week shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian-Turkey border. Turkey’s government claimed that the Russian jet violated their air space and Russia claimed the plane was in Syria. This incident comes on the heels of a Russian commercial airliner being blown up over Egypt, with ISIS being suspected in the attack. Russia has also stepped up its involvement in battling ISIS in Syria. As I have watched various news reports on these incidents, the thought crossed my mind: Is the stage being set for the Battle of Gog and Magog as prophesied in Ezekiel chapters 38-39?

Before we proceed further, let me state that I am neither a biblical scholar nor an expert on Bible prophecy, I am simply trying to study current events and where they may fit into the Biblical narrative.

All of the nations listed in Ezekiel 38-39- Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, Togarmah, Sheba, Dedan. Tarshish, and Israel- are all 21st Century nations, but many go by different names, which will be explained shortly.  To understand the names in the biblical context of Ezekiel 38-39, we must go back to “The Table of Nations” listed in Genesis chapter 10. After the Flood, Noah’s three sons- Shem. Ham, and Japheth and their descendants repopulated the earth. The following is a listing of the descendants, the nations they started and the modern day names of these nations.

“The sons of Japheth: Gomer (modern day Ukraine), and Magog (modern day Russia), and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, (modern day Turkey), and Meshech (modern day Turkey), and Tiras.” (Genesis 10:2, KJV, emphasis and parenthesis mine).

“And the sons of Gomer: Askenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah (modern day Turkey).” (Genesis 10:3, KJV, emphasis and parenthesis mine).

“And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish (modern day Tunisia), Kittim, and Dodanim.” (Genesis 10:4, KJV, emphasis and parenthesis mine).

“And the sons of Ham: Cush (the biblical name of Ethipoia, which could include an alliance of modern day Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia), and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah: and the sons of Raamah: Sheba (modern day Saudi Arabia), and Dedan (modern day Saudi Arabia).” (Genesis 10:6-7, KJV, emphasis and parenthesis mine).

Of course Iran is the modern name for Persia. Lybia and Israel are also involved in this war. Ezekiel’s prophecy is directed against Gog, the leader of Magog:

“Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say ‘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 put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armor, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.’” (Ezekiel 38:2-6, KJV).

Keep in mind that Ezekiel prophesied during the time of the Babylonian invasion and subsequent exile of Israel in the 6th Century BC and immediate proceeds Ezekiel’s prophecy about the dry bones and the restoration of Israel in chapter 37. Thus, this battle did not take place during the time our Bible was being written, nor is it about the Persians, Greeks, and Romans, but the Bible states specifically that this will be a war in the Last Days, after the restoration of Israel as a nation, which took place in 1948.

“After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.” (Ezekiel 38:8, KJV).

Ezekiel goes on to describe the vastness of the army as “coming in like a storm” and covering the “land like a cloud” (Ezekiel 38:9). Modern day Russia and an alliance of these Arab nations certainly have the resources to amass such a great army.

The battle of Gog and Magog is also mentioned in Revelation 20:8, after Satan is loosed from his thousand year imprisonment, “And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” (KJV).

It is clear from the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin that he has ambitions to increase Russia’s influence in the Middle East, having a long standing alliance with Iran and taking on ISIS in Syria. Also, remember Russia annexed Ukraine in 2014. Russia supplies the vast majority of oil to Europe, if it gains influence and military strength in the Middle East, could it also seize Saudi Arabia’s oil supply? Going back to 2011, governments of Tunisia and Libya were overthrown as Islamic extremist seized power. Going back as far as the early to mid-1990s, there have been tremendous atrocities committed against the people of Somalia and Sudan, and humanitarian crises in Ethiopia, which form the biblical land of Cush. Will all of these nations be invaded and defeated by Russia or will these nations willingly fight with Russia as they plan to invade Israel?

Ezekiel 38-39 states that God will defeat Gog and his military alliance as they try to Invade Israel. With the sheer scope of bloodshed and weaponry listed, only our modern devices of war could achieve such a horrendous scene as described in the Bible. I encourage you to read Ezekiel 37-39 for yourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you. Please search out the Scriptures for yourselves and never rely on someone else’s interpretation of the Bible. Please be aware of the times and seasons and watch for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Grace and peace to all of you.