Monday, August 31, 2009

Debunking End Time Myths: A Source of Unnecessary Worry For Christians, Myth #3

Okay, I have more. Since I started this thing, I might as well finish the job. My next myth to debunk is the one to do with the battle of Armageddon.

Myth #3 Russia and Iran will Attack Israel and cause the Battle of Armageddon

This is a very popular myth, especially in Christian political circles. The fact of the matter is that the above statement is misleading, and the popular view held is not supported by scripture. People who support this view like to quote Ezekiel 38 to 'prove' their point. I have placed in bold type the verse most often used to 'prove' this point.

Ezekiel 38, NIV (emphasis supplied):

1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him 3 and say: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 4 I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army—your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. 5 Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, 6 also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you.
7 " 'Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. 8 After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. 9 You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land.
10 " 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. 11 You will say, "I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people—all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. 12 I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land." 13 Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all her villages
will say to you, "Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?" '
14 "Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? 15 You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. 16 You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, O Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.
17 " 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Are you not the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel? At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them. 18 This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. 19 In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD. Every man's sword will be against his brother. 22 I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. 23 And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.'

Modern prophetic commentators would have us believe that the current global animosities between Israel and Iran is going to eventually lead the world into Armageddon. While it is true that there will be a battle of Armageddon in the future, what these modern commentators have failed to show is WHEN this battle will take place. Is this battle going to take place before the second coming of Jesus, or after the second coming of Jesus? Is this battle going to take place before the millenial kingdom of Jesus is established on earth, or after the millenial kingdom? The answer to these questions lies in the book of Revelation.

Revelation 20:6-10,NIV (emphasis supplied):

6Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
7When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

So we can see, from verse 7, that the famous battle of Gog and Magog (which people mistakenly call the battle of Armageddon) takes place AFTER the 1,000-year reign of Christ is completed, not before. So the book of Revelation totally debunks the view that modern animosities between Israel and Iran will cause Armageddon - it is simply NOT TRUE.

While we should continue to pray for peace in the Mideast, we can rest assured that the great and terrible battle of Gog and Magog will not occur before Christ comes back to set up His kingdom on earth.


Anita C. McCants said...

Hi Hillary,
Great post! Very insightful.
Keep debunking the myths. :~)


Daughter of Wisdom said...

Thanks Anita! I really felt led to do these posts as I see these teachings are affecting people in a negative way, and yet these teachings are pure myth. I hope others may see these postings and be freed from mistaken teachings, which tend to bondage.

Peace and blessings.

Jennie said...

I had not connected those two passages before, Ezekiel 38 and Rev. 20. I'll have to go back and look at those again. But I wonder if Armageddon is a separate battle from the one in those two passages. There is a battle mentioned in Rev. 16:14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
I think it's the same battle mentioned in Rev. 19 which is ended when Jesus returns. I think this is Armageddon.
But it does sound like the battle of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel may be the same one as the one after the Millenium. Good post!

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hi Jennie,

You have a good point there. Yes, there are actually at least two major battles, but the one that is usually called the battle of Armageddon by theologians is the last battle, which is the battle of Gog and Magog. A careful reading of scripture however, will show that in Revelation 16, when the sixth angel pours out the vial of judgment on the river Euphrates, three unclean spirits like frogs came out the mouth of the dragon (Satan), the beast (AntiChrist) and the false prophet (Revelation 16:12-13). These spirits go out to the kings of the world, and gather them in a place called Armageddon, for them to fight against God. (vs. 14,16).

While there at Armageddon, God causes a great earthquake to occur, and rains down hail upon them, under the seventh vial or bowl of judgment (vss. 17-21). The narrative is then suspended, and picks back up in Revelation 19, where Christ appears as King of kings and Lord of lords and destroys His enemies (Revelation 19:11-21).

All of the above happens before the millenium, and before the second coming of Christ. These events occur just before Christ returns at the very end of the age, and not before. None of the above events however have anything to do with the modern animosities between Israel and Iran. The above battle is God taking vengeance upon sinful men, who have taken the mark of the Beast (Revelation 19:20,21).

What people need to understand is that the battle of Armageddon is not the result of modern warfare, or bickering between nations, but is a battle God rages against sinful men. All peoples, regardless of ethnic background or country of origin, who receive the mark of the Beast, will be destroyed, at that place symbolically called Armageddon.

Peace and blessings.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie, thanks for your observation, I have edited the post to show the corrections.

Thanks again :-)