What did I establish by the time I finished “The End Times Wars – Part One? That God didn't bother to give us exact times and dates; he did, however, leave us with clues, logical clues.
What do we have for clues?
- A plainly stated, upcoming war with a man referred to as Gog.
- And that Gog does not come alone. Ezekiel 38:2-18 NASB“(15) "You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army;Do not make the mistake of assuming that the statement which includes the word all means that they all come from the North.
- Persia, Ethiopia, and PutThese are at the extreme opposite ends of the country Israel. And, just to make your head explode, Persia is northeast, not in a direct line north – an aspect that we love to focus on.
- Gomer with all its troops. ("All its troops" are kinfolk.)1 Chronicles 1:5-6 NASB (5) The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. (6) The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz, Diphath, and Togarmah.The short of it, Togarmah is historically aligned with Armenia, Turkey, Russia. This fits Ezekiel's description, for Turkey is directly north of Israel
The other war, many seem to find in Psalm 83, and attribute to the early days of the Great Tribulation or sooner, may well be what we see in Ezekiel 38, Israel surrounded by enemies.
Psalms 83:2-8 NASB For behold, Your enemies make an uproar, And those who hate You have exalted themselves. (3) They make shrewd plans against Your people, And conspire together against Your treasured ones. (4) They have said, "Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more." (5) For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant: (6) The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites; (7) Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; (8) Assyria also has joined with them; They have become a help to the children of Lot. Selah.
Psalm 83 gives us the names of those who will attack; are they so different than what we see in Ezekiel 38?
The ancient kingdom of Edom. The Land of Uz probably lay on the darkened area. Suomi: Muinaisen Edomin alue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Edom, the older son of Issac. -
Genesis 25:30 NASB “and Esau said to Jacob, "Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished." Therefore his name was called Edom.”
Genesis 36:9 NASB Shows them living “in the hill country of Seir.”
Esau and the Edomites supplanted the previous occupants the Horites. Mount Seir is the high range from the S. of the Dead Sea to Elath N. of the Gulf of Akabah, on the E. of the Arabah, or "the plain from Elath and Ezion Geber." Keep in mind that Edom refused Israel access through their land.
- Ishmaelites, the firstborn son of Abraham. - The descendants of Ishmael became the Ishmaelites.
Genesis 25:13-16 NASB and these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael, and Kedar and Adbeel and Mibsam (14) and Mishma and Dumah and Massa, (15) Hadad and Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. (16) These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their villages, and by their camps; twelve princes according to their tribes.
Genesis 16:12 AMP And he [Ishmael] will be as a wild ass among men; his hand will be against every man and every man's hand against him, and he will live to the east and on the borders of all his kinsmen.
“From Genesis 16:12 it may be inferred that it was applied to the Bedouin of the desert region east of the Jordan generally, for the character there assigned to Ishmael, “His hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand against him,” fits the habits of Bedouin in all ages. Such was the character of the Midianites as described in Jdg 7, who are again identified with the Ishmaelites (Jdg_8:24). These references show that the Ishmaelites were not confined to the descendants of the son of Abraham and Hagar, but refer to the desert tribes in general, like “the children of the east” (Jdg_7:12).” The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia
- Moab - was the district East of the Dead Sea, extending from a point some distance North of it to its southern end. The eastern boundary was indefinite, being the border of the desert which is irregular. Now central Jordan.
2 Samuel 8:2 NASB He defeated Moab, and measured them with the line, making them lie down on the ground; and he measured two lines to put to death and one full line to keep alive. And the Moabites became servants to David, bringing tribute.
- The Hagrites
1 Chronicles 5:10 AMP In the days of [King] Saul they made war with the Hagrites or Ishmaelites, who fell by their hands; they dwelt in their tents in all the land east of Gilead.
Genesis 31:22-23 AMP But on the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. (23) So he took his kinsmen with him and pursued after [Jacob] for seven days, and they overtook him in the hill country of Gilead.
Joshua 13:5 NASB and the land of the Gebalite, and all of Lebanon, toward the east, from Baal-gad below Mount Hermon as far as Lebo-hamath.
"Probably the inhabitants of the country, around Gebal (Eze_27:9), or Byblos, as the LXX render, a city of Phoenicia, situated on the Mediterranean, between Sidon and Tripoli, on the north of the river Adonis."[Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge]
Genesis 19:36-38 NASB Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. (37) The firstborn bore a son, and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. (38) As for the younger, she also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; he is the father of the sons of Ammon to this day.
Their territory is East of the Dead Sea and north.
- Amalekites -
Exodus 17 tells us that Joshua defeated the Amalekites. The book of Numbers tells us where they live.
Numbers 13:29 NASB "Amalek is living in the land of the Negev, and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan."
- Philistia – This is effectively the area of the Gaza strip.
- Tyre – North of Gaza, mid-coast.
- Assyria – North and East of Israel; the opposite end of the map from Philistia.
While I find it easy to associate the Gog/Magog war with a time very close to the Rapture of the Church, I find it difficult to place the Psalm 83 war, if that is a separate battle, unless it goes here, at the midpoint of the Great Tribulation.
While Islamic tradition is not the basis for our understanding of scripture, but it gives you tremendous insight and fills in some of the blanks. A prominent factor in our understanding is that Satan has mimicked God and His plan of redemption at every turn. Knowing that God would send His Son, Jesus, into the world, Satan, it seems has the stated intent of doing that as well. Islam tells us precisely what that plan is.
I give you and excerpt from Wikipedia that speaks about this Jesus for which Islam is looking.
In Islam he is called:
Muslims are appalled at the idea that God would have relations with a woman, so, although there are no real explanations as to how Mary had a child, Allah still acknowledges him and gives him a supremacy over this Christian Son of God.
"According to Islamic tradition which describes this graphically, Jesus' descent will be in the midst of wars fought by al-Mahdi (lit. "the rightly guided one"), known in Islamic eschatology as the redeemer of Islam,"
Although al-Mahdi is not the point here, he is the precursor to the Islamic Jesus. As you will see in the excerpts, al-Mahdi gets replaced by Isa ibn Maryam, but who is this Mahdi that we should care about him? Or, perhaps a better question would be, what impact does he have on the followers of Christ?
This Mahdi is the antichrist we focus on. Daniel chapter 7 tells us this:
Daniel 7:24-25 NASB 'As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. (25) 'He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.
Again, the critics will not make the association, so let's try to fill in the gaps.
- “ten kings will arise;” while I cannot make a direct connection between this and individual “kings,” there is, however, ten nations aligned against Israel in Psalm 83. The common factor in all these nations is that they are Muslim in the majority and hate Israel and the Jewish people.
- “another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones.” The fact that “he” arises after them, tends to imply that he is king or ruler of a similar nature. And yet, “he will be different from the previous ones.” What does that mean? Presidents and prime ministers could also be considered kings and yet have no similar religious backgrounds. Islam, on the other hand, values those that follow strictly after the harsh measures of the Quran.
- Because he “He will speak out against the Most High,” we can, along with the scriptural context, assert that “he” is most likely a Muslim, as they brutally react to anyone who exhibits opposition to Allah.
- A feature of the scenario is that he will, “wear down the saints of the Highest One.” This is an aspect of the time of wrath/the Great Tribulation. The saints are those who come to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah during this horrific time period. We see these in Revelation 7:9-15. It is rather long, and so I will leave up to you to read The short of it is verse 14, where it says: “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” In reality, the wearing down equals death.
- “he will intend to make alterations in times and in law” - This is a goal and purpose of true followers of Islam. They wish to make the calendar match the Muslim calendar, and make Sharia law the law of everyone.
- “and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.” Time, times, and half a time is a phrase we understand from scripture to equal three and one-half years. Suddenly this should promote a question or two; why? Because the Great Tribulation lasts for seven years and it is clear that people are martyred the entire time. Even as we speak followers of Christ are being martyred, so this is not a new pattern, merely an escalation of what they as Jihadis do now. The implications tie this phrase in with the last half of the Tribulation when the Islamic Jesus shows up. One of the stated purposes of the Muslim Jesus is that he is the enforcer of Sharia.
Enough about the Mahdi, let's get back to the Islamic Jesus, the false prophet of Scripture.
Islam believes that Jesus did not die on the cross, but was merely taken away and will come back again. When Isa comes again, he, though understood to be a Jew, will give his allegiance to al-Mahdi. His Jewish heritage is of the lineage of Aaron, and will, therefore, be entitled to be a high priest within the recently built temple. The possibility that he is a currently in line to be a high priest would certainly give him access to the inner court where the image of the beast is to be placed and made to talk.
Notice the word redeemer in the quote above. Do we not also have a redeemer.
Isaiah 43:14 KJV “Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel;..”
Even Job, whom we know so little about, acknowledges God as the redeemer.
Job 19:25 KJV For I know that my redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
Who is it that we will see standing upon the earth, in a dramatic fashion?
Zechariah 14:4 KJV And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
"against al-Masīh ad-Dajjāl (the Antichrist "false messiah") and his followers. Jesus will descend at the point of a white arcade, east of Damascus, dressed in yellow robes—his head anointed. He will say prayer behind al-Mahdi then join him in his war against the Dajjal. Jesus, considered as a Muslim, will abide by the Islamic teachings. Eventually, Jesus will slay the Antichrist, and then everyone who is one of the People of the Book (ahl al-kitāb, referring to Jews and Christians) will believe in him. Thus, there will be one community, that of Islam."
Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43: Kitab-ul-`Ilm (Book of Knowledge), Hâdith Number 656:
When it says, “against al-Masīh ad-Dajjāl (the Antichrist "false messiah") and his followers," about whom or who are they talking? The answer is Jesus the Son of God, and anyone who is a follower of Christ. However, it is important to understand that Islam considers anyone who does not follow the tenets of Islam to be an infidel and worthy only of death or slavery to their whims. In opposition to God's word and design, they have assigned the title of false messiah to Yashua/Jesus.
Look at the phrase, "his head anointed. He will say prayer behind al-Mahdi". "al-Mahdi" equates to the antichrist described in Revelation. But what does the Islamic Jesus do? Submit to the will of Allah and pledge his allegiance to the al-Mahdi, the 12th and missing Imam who returns. Strangely, many have claimed that title as well. I suspect that he is alive and well, and once again, someone will claim that title again.
Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established until the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you as a just ruler, he will break the cross, kill the pigs, and abolish the tax. Money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it (as charitable gifts)."
Our Bibles tell us when this will happen, half way through the seven year period of wrath. Ask yourself what keeps this from coming any sooner? There are two witnesses sent from God, standing in the streets of Jerusalem. How would this help anything? They can call down fire from heaven; stop the rain; unleash plagues, much like Moses did, and send fire out their mouths upon anyone who would attempt to hurt them. It seems they act as policing units, perhaps protecting those who build the temple.
A somewhat cryptic description of what happens from the mid-point of the tribulation forward is found from approximately Revelation 11:18-12:17 where it says, So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. Did you notice how the name changed from Antichrist to the dragon? The reality of this story line is that a demon, a fallen angel that indwells a willing servant, takes on the personification of a demon.
Another aspect is this line, “abolish the Jizya tax.” This tax is comparable to paying protection money that allows you to continue a life under Islamic rule; it will be, at the least, tenuous, and, there is no guarantee that Muslims will not just simply torture you and kill you.
After the death of al-Mahdi, Jesus will assume leadership. This is a time associated in Islamic narrative with universal peace and justice. Islamic texts also allude to the appearance of Ya'juj and Ma'juj (also known as Gog and Magog), ancient tribes which will disperse and cause a disturbance on earth.
While the scenario is very similar to God's, there is no guarantee that Islamic prophecies will hold true. For example consider the line, "After the death of al-Mahdi." Based on what we know from scripture, antichrist does seem to disappear from the scene with no great explanation and does not exclude his death.
Isn't it peculiar that Islamic prophecies would also include Gog and Magog? However, this mention of them says nothing of when they show up, merely that they are players in end-times events. The thing that makes them worthy of note is that they are Islamic also. For the critics: Scripture tells us that God will draw Gog from the north, and north runs right through Ankara, the capital of Turkey, a Muslim nation.
As for other wars, there seems to be only two:
Jesus returns to the earth with church riding with him.
Stick with me for a second because I want some clarity, just as you do.
"The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. "These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. "These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful." (Revelation 17:12-14 NASB)
This is not going to be some long, drawn out war. This will be over rather quickly.
The second piece of evidence and testimony is Revelation chapter 19. Revelation 19 is an expanded version of Revelation 17:12-14. The thing to note is that prophetically, this has been repeated and it is intentional in drawing our attention to this event.
Revelation 19:18-19 NASB (18) “so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great." (19) And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.”
And, the final war to end all wars, after Satan's last attempt at deceiving the earth.
When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. (Revelation 20:7-9 NASB)
“the camp of the saints and the beloved city,” is 1500 miles square, built on a flat plain. How many people does it take to encompass something like this?
Merely because we see the names of Gog and Magog associated with the final conflict does not mean this is the war we see in Ezekiel 38, 39. Evidence to support a differentiation is found in the peculiar tagging of the bodies and burial of the dead, as though there was a nuclear war, and the burning of weapons for fuel and fires, again, none of this would be an aspect of the heavenly realm.
The Life Application Study Bible says:
“Gog and Magog symbolize all the forces of evil that band together to battle God. Noah's son Japheth had a son named Magog (Gen_10:2). Ezekiel presents Gog as a leader of forces against Israel (Ezekiel 38-39).”
This statement above is precisely what we need to keep in mind. It is an example of what I am trying to convey. The LASB's contention that the Gog we see in Ezekiel 38-39 as a leader of forces against Israel, leaves the opportunity for there to be another Gog in the last battle.
I have seen authors identify up to nine end times wars. Do I really care; what does it really matter?
It only matters when the people you come in contact with at church espouse every manner of garbage about the end times and preach it adamantly to others. In so doing they create more ignorant and lost sheep, who in turn pass their misconceptions on to many others. One of those misconceptions is that God is evil, short tempered, and is willing to send as many people as He can to hell. And that is totally against His character and nature. I know this because He came to save the lost, and especially the lost sheep of Israel.
“For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. ...” (Luke 9:56 KJV)
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1 Timothy 1:15 KJV)
There is obviously so much more I could say, but I have exceeded my self-imposed page length limitations. My suggestion is that you pursue these wars on your own, with a heart that longs for understanding. Read the Revelation; Daniel; Ezekiel, especially chapters 38 and 39; Psalm 83 – paying attention to the names listed. Do word searches, if you have the resources, for appropriate words, such as war, in your Bible. And, above all, look for the nature and character of God, all-the-while, keeping in mind that the entire book of Revelation is about Jesus the Christ.
God's speed my friend; the end is upon us.