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It was on this day, in 1970, that Israeli Airmen encountered and shot down four Russian MiGs being flown by Russian pilots over the Suez front. As far as we know, this was the very first time that Israeli and Russian military forces had encountered on another. However, according to a certain prophet, we have reason to believe that this won’t be the last time they engage one another. 

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.’” (Ezekiel 38:1-3) 

Many scholars and eschatologists believe that Gog is a principality over the land of Magog, identified by many as the land of Russia. Moreover, it is commonly believed that Meshech and Tubal are synonymous with Moscow and Tubolsk. The Hebrew word that is translated as “chief,” as in “chief prince,” is rosh which, phonetically, sounds a lot like Russia. 

Considering the confederates that join with Gog – among them Persia (Iran), Put (Libya) and Togarmah (Turkey) – it’s not hard to imagine that Russia would be involved in this prophecy. That’s no guarantee of course, but it’s not hard to believe. Furthermore, it’s not hard to imagine that these things could develop very quickly. And so, for a long time now, students of the Word have looked at this prophecy and tried to determine just who is involved and when it might happen. What sometimes gets overlooked in all of this analysis is why it happens. 

It seems that Ezekiel’s prophecy at least hints at the why. One thing that stands out in the prophecy of Ezekiel 38 & 39 is that, when it occurs, Israel is isolated. In fact, the only one to come to her defense is the God of Israel. That alone might be the greatest point in all of this because, for many years, Israel has looked to others, particularly the United States, to support her right to exist. Thankfully, the United States has been a staunch ally to the nation of Israel. However in the last few years, there has been a strong movement in this country that is trying to undermine that official support. 

There are those in Congress, for instance, who wage a propaganda war against Israel on a daily basis. There are organizations and high-profile personalities in the US that accuse Israel of aggressive policies, using terms like “apartheid” to vilify the Jewish state. Should this trend continue and should some future administration adopt this same attitude toward Israel, it is conceivable that US-Israeli relations could drastically change. As disturbing as that is, we need to keep something in mind: the God of Israel does not want His people placing their confidence in anyone but Him. 

As a matter of fact, another feature we can see in this prophecy is that it occurs when He is gathering all of His people from the nations of the world. The Prophet says:

“You will go against the land that is restored from war, the land whose people were gathered from many peoples upon the mountains of Israel” (Ezekiel 38:8)

That His people are being gathered from all nations may imply that they are no longer welcome in those nations. The regathering of His people into the land of Israel is a primary feature in this prophecy and many other prophecies. And as a result of this monumental regathering of His people, the entire world will know that the God of Israel is God.

“So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make Myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 38:23)

God alone will defend and preserve His people by destroying Gog and all of His confederates, whether they are listed or not. In other words, those who wage conventional and propaganda wars against Israel should be on notice. All those who curse God’s people will be cursed. What’s even more impressive about His staunch defense of Israel is that, according to the prophecy, He doesn’t do it because of their righteousness. To the contrary, He defends them in spite of their unrighteousness and that brings us to this point. All of us, at one time or another, have been unfaithful and have failed Him. Yet, He continues to be faithful to us because He really does love us, in spite of us. He is true to His Word and He wants the entire world to know that He is real.

We may not be facing armies that wish to invade our home, necessarily, but we are in a war with the powers of darkness. Complicating this struggle is the fact that we fail God far too many times; we aren’t as faithful to Him as He is to us. But in this prophecy we see that, in spite of our failings, He comes to our defense. It’s not because of our righteousness or our holiness that He moves on our behalf, it is because He is good and faithful to His Word. That is why He preserves His people and, in so doing, demonstrates to the entire world that He, alone, is God. Furthermore, because of His faithfulness, we can call upon Him and know that He will answer. Paul said: 

“Whosoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

Today, let us choose to embrace that promise and place our confidence in the One who will answer when we call. May His faithfulness provoke us to be faithful to Him so that in the day of adversity He will come to our defense. Let us take comfort in the fact that we have a covenantal  relationship with the Most High God because of the righteousness of the Messiah and that makes us precious in His sight.


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