I. Opening Video.
A. Israel’s Role in the End Times. The 700 Club. Nov 17, 2017.
B. Jonathan Bernis is founding Rabbi of Congregation Shema Yisrael in Rochester, New York, where he served as Senior Messianic Rabbi from 1984 to 1993; you can read more about him by clicking onto the following link.
II. The Gap Overview.
A. From the creation of the State of Israel (1948), until today’s date (2021), is a period of almost 73 years. It is important for us to now consider which events will take place between now and the events of Ezekiel 38.
B. Prophecy Against Gog. 1
1. Ezekiel 38:1-39:24. Included in this passage dealing with Israel’s blessing is the description of the deliverance of Israel from the invaders from the north in Ezekiel 38-39, which is led by Gog.
2. The prophecy against Gog is one of the most dramatic predictions of Ezekiel. The passage predicted an invasion of Israel by a great army that will attack Israel from the north.
III. NOW And NEXT Prophecies Explained. 2
A. NOW Prophecies deal with the most relative information for this present age. This is because they describe events that will likely find fulfillment during this generation’s existence. All unfilled biblical prophecy is important to understand, but of most value to any given group, past, present or future, is the information that was specifically provided through the ancient Hebrew prophecies for that generation’s benefit. The NOW Prophecies are the unfulfilled ancient biblical predictions that appear to be imminent, which means they could happen NOW. These prophecies have either minor or no remaining preconditions inhibiting them from happening. 2
B. In this article we will consider the unfulfilled prophecies that will help us to consider the things that will happen on Earth between the time of this NOW writing and the events that will take place during the time of the NEXT prophecies.
IV. What Is In The Gap Between The NOW and NEXT Prophecies? 3
A. As important as the NEXT prophecies described in Ezekiel 38-39 are, they do not appear ready to happen now. There exists a gap between now and then. The following section explains how this conclusion can be drawn.
B. Ezekiel 38:7-13 lists several prerequisites that must exist inside of Israel before the Magog invasion can occur. Israel must be a reestablished nation in the latter years, which is the case today. However, the country needs to be inhabited by a peaceful Jewish people that dwell securely without walls, bars or gates. Additionally, Israel must possess a sufficient surplus of spoils, because that is what the Magog coalition comes after. [587 B.C., https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+38%3A7-13&version=CSB%5D
1. If this prophecy is to be interpreted literally, it is safe to say that Israel is not dwelling without walls. In fact, the Middle East is the most “fenced in” and fortified region in the world, and Israel is arguably the most “walled in” country in the Mideast.
2. Some contend that Israel is dwelling securely today. They generally define the security described in Ezek 38:8, 11 and 14, as a relative confidence in the ability of the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) to defend the Jewish nation. Although I agree that the IDF can defend Israel today, I thoroughly disagree with this interpretation. Ezekiel’s intended usage of the Hebrew words for “dwelling securely,” deals with a security that is achieved through military conquests over Israel’s surrounding Arab enemies; we discover this ten chapters earlier in Ezek 28:24-26 [587 B.C., https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+28%3A24-26&version=CSB%5D.
3. The pertinent question for today is: “Does Israel have enemies surrounding them that despise them?” The answer to that question is definitely YES! They all happened to be enlisted in the ancient prophecy of Psalm 83. They comprise an inner circle of Arab states and terrorist populations within those states, that share common borders with Israel. (See my article, Road To Tribulation 5, https://equippingblog.wordpress.com/2021/01/31/road-to-tribulation-5-the-psalm-83-war/)
4. Due to the existence of these unsatisfied prerequisite conditions spelled out in Ezek 38:7-13, the Ezek 38-39 predictions are appropriately classified as NEXT, but not NOW, prophecies. This presumably precludes that at least Psalm 83, the concluding Arab-Israeli war, needs to happen before Israel can dwell securely and remove the walls that protect it from its surrounding enemies.
5. Between now and the NEXT prophecies of Ezek 38, we can insert Psalm 83 as a stage setter for the Ezekiel events. Psalm 83 can happen at any time. The only minor conditions standing between now and Psalm 83 are two paper-thin peace treaties between Israel and Jordan, and Israel and Egypt. Egypt, probably, and Jordan, certainly, are participants in Psalm 83.
V. Which Prophecies fill the gap between NOW and the Magog invasion? 4
A. Psalm 83 is among the NOW prophecies that happen between now and the time that the Lord upholds His Holy Name in the Magog event. However, there are several other Biblical predictions that could possibly happen before Ezekiel 38-39. This is a sobering potential reality if you consider the likelihood that Ezekiel 38 could happen within the next decade or so. I’m not predicting the timing of Ezekiel 38, but many of today’s top scholars believe that the stage is set for Ezekiel 38 to happen very soon.
B. Although the Bible doesn’t give us a specific date for the commencement point of Ezekiel 38-39, we are concurrently over six decades closer than we were in 1948 when Israel was rebirthed as the Jewish state. The question is: “are we looking at another sixty or more years until the Magog Invasion?” My answer to that question is, “I don’t think so!”
C. The NOW prophecies previously identified should all find fulfillment before the Lord upholds His Holy Name through Israel. The possible exception would be the vanishing of Christians, i.e., the Rapture of the Church
(1 Thess. 4:16-17). The timing of the Rapture could be before, during, or after the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecies find fulfillment.
D. Prophecy will be fulfilled, based on the written words of Jewish Biblical prophets, e.g., Isa 1:1; Jere 1:1-2; Ezek 1:3. The prophecies came from God to the Jewish prophets, who in turn gave them to the Jewish people, which related to “prophetic events” that dealt with the Jews. Let me rephrase that statement. God spoke to Jewish Prophets about Jewish matters, which in turn, were told to Jewish people. Such prophecies could have dealt with the time that each prophecy was given, until the end of times. The prophecies related to Jews, but also could have had a collateral effect on other nations, such as in the case of the Psalm 83 War, the Destruction of Damascus, and the Ezekiel 38-39 War.
E. The Rapture will occur based on the words of Romans 11:25 (60 A.D.).
1. Verse. Romans 11:25.
New American Standard Bible 1995
25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;
2. Commentary. Romans 11:25.
a. The fulness of the Gentiles refers to the time when the last Gentile will have been saved and the church will be removed from the earth by the Rapture. It is distinct from the Time of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24), which refers to the period of time from the Babylonian captivity (587 B.C.) to the rapture of the church. 5
b. Notice that the Rapture of the church is not based on Old Testament Prophecy.
c. “Mystery.” The definition of a scriptural mystery is something unknown in times past, but revealed in the NT. 6.
3. The rapture and the church were mysteries until the Apostle Paul revealed those truths:
a. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (59 A.D.). Mystery of the Rapture.
New American Standard Bible 1995.
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
b. Ephesians 5:32 (64 A.D.). Mystery of the Church.
New American Standard Bible 1995.
32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
VII. Article References. The individuals who are sources of information, that are mentioned in my articles, are listed by education and accomplishment on my Page of theologians. The source documents that are noted are worthy of being in anyone’s reference library, and should be considered for purchase. Please note that the footnotes for Bill Salus show the fruit of the years of dedication that Mr. Salus has poured into his study of Biblical prophecy.
1. John F. Walvoord, Every Prophecy Of the Bible, pg 188
2. Bill Salus, NOW Prophecies, pg 9
3. Bill Salus, NOW Prophecies, pg 23-25
4. Bill Salus, NOW Prophecies, pg 25
5. KJV Study Bible Notes
6. Ryrie Study Bible, note on Romans 16:25
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