Tag Archives: Prophet Ezekiel

Sukkoth, Gog, Magog, Armageddon, a covenant and Jerusalem

Moadim L’Simcha (Appointed Times for Joy) and Shabbat Shalom dear readers!

The joyous holiday of Sukkoth (Sukkot or Feast or Tabernacles or Feast of Booths), one of the three Pilgrim Festivals of the Hebrew Bible, is observed on the Jewish calendar dates of 15-21 Tishrei and is immediately followed by the holiday of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. The final day of Sukkot is known as Hoshana Rabba (“Great Hosanna”) (In 2016 coming Monday and Tuesday) and with the eighth day should for Christians also be important, being it a day of Solemn Assembly, commemorating the completion of the annual cycle of readings from the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) and being called Simḥat Torah (“Rejoicing of the Law”). .

The seventh day of the festival of Sukkot, considered to be the final day of the New Year’s Divine “judgment” in which the year’s fate is determined; in addition to the Four Kinds taken on the preceding days of Sukkot, an additional willow is taken on this day; it is customary to stay up all night on the eve of Hoshanah Rabbah and study Torah.

During the week long festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles), the regular Parasha (Torah portion) for Shabbat is suspended, and a special Parasha pertaining to the holiday is read in synagogues around the world.

Readings for Shabbat Chol Hamoed Sukkot
Exodus 33:12–34:26; Ezekiel 38:18–39:16; Revelation 21:1–22:21

For lovers of God the Jewish reading for today is one which should concern all, being aware of the importance of the covenant made by the Most High.

“Behold, I make a covenant: before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord: for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.”  (Exodus 34:10)

In this special Sukkot reading, Moses asks that God’s presence would go with Israel, and God agrees. The marvellous thing about God the Divine Creator is that He loves His creation so much, that when people ask Him to be with them and to go with them, God will do that. He is there for all who want Him nearby.
Encouraged by this positive response, Moses also asks to see God’s glory.  Once again, God graciously complies with his request and invites Moses to ascend Mount Sinai with two newly hewn stone tablets so that He can re-carve the Ten Commandments. Those mitzvah or commandments were given to be a guide for mankind, so that they could build up a good relationship with their Most High Maker.
It was there on that mountain that God revealed His glory to Moses in such a fearsome spectacle of power that God had to protect Moses from being destroyed by it.
“There is a place near Me where you can stand on a rock.  When My glory passes by, I will put you in an opening in the rock.  I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand.  You will see My back.  But My face must not be seen.”  (Exodus 33:21–23)
It’s clear that Moses, having experienced the power of the presence of God, understands that His presence is more than sufficient against any threat Israel might encounter inside or outside of the Promised Land.
This is a great prospect for God’s nation. We also know now that God promised Abraham that his seed and sons by faith, would come to live in the Holy Land. In the end all Jews, the children of Abraham, will find their Holy Nation there and find Jerusalem to be the capital of the nation of God’s people. They would be sent in exile and have to endure lots of problems throughout history, but there shall come a time when they shall be all united under God’s Kingdom. God will gather His People to their own land and the whole world shall come to know it.
The world shall have to come to hear that Israel shall be restored and that also others came to know the Law of God and shall be willing to live according the covenant also brought to them by the sent one from God, rabbi Jeshua, the son of man and son of God, who gave his life as a ransom payment for all sinners, so that all people could come back to God to be His children. He provided a new covenant, one of reconciliation.
But we should take heed, God has given a warning that terrible times shall come  over the world. The Restoration of Israel shall be challenged.
“This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, My hot anger will be aroused.”  (Ezekiel 38:18)
In the Haftarah (prophetic portion) for this Shabbat Chol Hamoed (intermediate day of the festival) of Sukkot, the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel describes an end-time scenario in which formidable armies from the north, under the leadership of Gog, will challenge the restoration of Israel.
Gog (left) and Magog, wooden effigies in the Guildhall, London

Gog (left) and Magog, wooden effigies in the Guildhall, London – Courtesy of the British Tourist Authority

Gog is a chief prince living in the land of Magog (Ezekiel 38:2).  Many scholars believe Magog refers to Russia.  The invading land of Gomer is often believed to be Germany.

Several lands in the coalition army are easily identifiable: Iran (Persia), Northern Sudan (ancient Ethiopia or Cush), Libya (Put), and Turkey (Togarmah).
Last year at this time, Russia made significant moves into the Middle East, reportedly to fight against ISIS.  Last week, however, it negotiated its first “permanent” air base in the region at Khmeimim, Syria and its naval base in Tartus, Syria will soon become “permanent” as well.
Russia also recently installed its S-300 surface-to-air missile defence system in Syria and completed the transfer of the system to Iran last month.
In effect, Russia has become a major military broker in the region.  It is right now on the doorstep of Israel, and it plans to stay.
The nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38 will unite and come upon Israel “like a cloud that covers the land” for the purpose of looting the wealth that she has amassed in what was a desolate land only seventy years ago.
Yet, God will not abandon His People.  He will utterly destroy the coalition forces of Gog so that all nations will come to know the holiness of the Lord (Ezekiel 38:18–23).
The forces that come against Israel will be so large in their day of defeat that Gog’s weaponry will provide fuel for Israel for seven years (Ezekiel 39:9).
“They will not need to gather wood from the fields or cut it from the forests, because they will use the weapons for fuel.  And they will plunder those who plundered them and loot those who looted them, declares the Sovereign LORD.”  (Ezekiel 39:10)
Moreover, so many soldiers will die in this battle that it will take seven months for Israel to bury them all and cleanse their land (Ezekiel 39:12).

A man carries a Torah scroll that is protected by a silver Torah tik (case) during Sukkot at the Western Wall.

The Jews read about this end-time battle during Sukkot, because according to Rabbinic tradition, this war will be waged during the month of Tishri, the month in which the holiday of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) falls.

Interestingly enough, the war that is described in Ezekiel is similar to the war described in the 14th chapter of Zechariah, the Haftarah reading on the first day of Sukkot.  And in Zechariah we learn that the Gentiles who survive the war against Israel will be required to keep Sukkot annually by coming up to the Holy City of Jerusalem to worship the Lord.
“Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles [Sukkot].  If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain.”  (Zechariah 14:1617)
This should give us food to think about the matter of feasts and holidays we do have to partake.

Sukkot at the Western (Wailing) Wall.

 

 

Psalm 27 presents a clear connection between Sukkot and God’s protection of Israel and those who trust in Him:
“For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle [sukkah]; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.”  (Psalm 27:5)
The word translated here as tabernacle is the Hebrew word sukkah (סכה)When evil threatens God’s people, He will hide them in His sukkah, inaccessible from the enemy on the rock of His presence.
Now that is a promise we can trust in during these last days!

 

The Battle of Armageddon

“When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison, and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth — Gog and Magog — to gather them for battle.”  (Revelation 20:78)
Gog and Magog are also mentioned in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) in connection with Armageddon and the final battle between the forces of good and evil.
This war with Gog and Magog is not the same war described in Ezekiel 38 but a final end-time battle after the thousand-year reign of Jeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah).
The Son of David, Jeshua, will come again — this time as our conquering Messiah to defeat the invading forces forever.  All who have believed in their Saviour, Jeshua, will inherit eternity in God’s Kingdom of which the New Jerusalem shall be the capital of a revived Garden of Eden complete with trees of life and pure living water that will be good to eat and drink forever.

Ancient ruins atop Har Meggido in Israel

Armageddon is mentioned only once in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) in chapter 16 of the Book of Revelation.
“They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty….  Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.”  (Revelation 16:14, 16)
The word Armageddon is derived from Har Magedon (meaning mountain of Megiddo) and is mentioned many times in the Tanakh (Old Testament).
Megiddo is derived from the Hebrew word gadad, meaning to penetrate, muster troops together, perhaps even invade.
In this end-time invasion, we once again see Israel’s enemies mounting a war against Jerusalem.  This time, however, we see the spiritual forces behind the rebellion against God:
“They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.”  (Revelation 9:11)
The words Abaddon and Apollyon mean Destroyer.
And this time, God pours out on the Destroyer and all rebels the full extent of His judgment, including everlasting torment for Satan, the beast and the false prophet.
“They 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.  And Satan, 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 forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:910)
With an Outstretched Arm
As we read how God will hurl His fury against Gog with pestilence and with blood, floods, giant hailstones, fire and brimstone, it’s easy to see from this Haftarah portion that God is furious with those who come against the Land of Israel(Ezekiel 38:22).
In fact, there are several parallels between God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt long ago and His future deliverance of Israel from Gog in the end times.  In both, we see that God saves and rescues Israel with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm.
The phrase with a strong hand and an outstretched arm (בְּיָ֣ד חֲ֭זָקָה וּבִזְר֣וֹעַ נְטוּיָ֑ה) has special meaning in Jewish tradition.  It represents God using His power on behalf of His people.  The “arm of the Lord” also represents His salvation, which in Hebrew is Jeshua.
“You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror.”  (Jeremiah 32:21, see also Deuteronomy 4:34; 26:8; Exodus 6:6)
As Russia expands its influence in the region and neighboring nations plot to annihilate Israel, there is certainly evidence that Ezekiel 38 is on the horizon.  Yet, this Sukkot Parasha reveals that God’s Divine Sheltering Presence over Israel has not ended but will continue past the end of this age.
God is not finished with the Jewish People and Israel.  This is plainly evident when we consider how Bible Prophecy concerning Israel is being fulfilled during these end times before our very eyes.
The Brit Chadashah (New Covenant) also tells us that God’s plan to reach out to the nations through Israel did not end with the death and resurrection of Messiah, but continues to this day and will in the world to come:
“For if their casting Yeshua [Jesus] aside means reconciliation for the world, what will their accepting Him mean?  It will be life from the dead!”  (Romans 11:15)
The Book of Romans promises that when the Jewish People come to know Jeshua, it will be like life from the dead for the world.
Before this can happen, however, they must first hear the Good News of Jeshua!
“How can they call on Him unless they believe in Him?  How can they believe in Him unless they hear about Him?  How can they hear about Him unless someone preaches to them?”  (Romans 10:14)
It is up to the followers of Jeshua to follow up the task given by this master, rabbi Jeshua. Therefore Christians, being aware that the times are coming closer, should make work of it, spreading the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God.
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With thanks to the Messianic Bible
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Additional reading

  1. Ninth of Av
  2. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  3. Jerusalem God’s City for ever
  4. Glory of only One God Who gives His Word
  5. Vayikra after its opening word וַיִּקְרָא, which means and He called
  6. Holy land Christian exodus
  7. How do we know the coming of Jesus is very near?
  8. Armageddon, har and megiddo, an action or a place
  9. Ember and light the ransomed of Jehovah
  10. Ransom for all
  11. Jerusalem and a son’s kingdom
  12. Bringing into safety from Irak and Iran
  13. 2015 the year of ISIS
  14. This Week’s Developments in Weekly World Watch 15-21 July
  15. The promise a guarantee of something and the heir that is going to have
  16. Chemical warsite and Pushing king of the South

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Further reading

  1. Understanding the Battle of Gog and Magog
  2. Trend Update: Burden of Damascus/Russian Embassy Takes Fire, October 2016
  3. Zork Nemesis – The Forbidden Lands
  4. War is upon us!
  5. Russia, Iran, and The War with Israel
  6. The Coming War
  7. Ezekiel blog: My version of the end of the world, part I
  8. Ezekiel blog: My version of the end of the world Part II
  9. Who are the real Gog and Magog in prophecy?
  10. Less of Me
  11. “My Relationship with Jesus Christ”
  12. Trend Update: Ezekiel 38-39/Magog (Russia)/Golan Heights, Passover 2016
  13. Alliance Formation

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Preaching by example

Too many Christians do forget that they are commanded to

“make disciples of people of all the nations.”

How they have to do that is never explicitly said. We should realize that there are different ways to make disciples or to bring people to come to know God.

For sure a bad way to get converts is to use pressure or force. Jesus’ commission was to

“tell good news to the meek ones,”

to

“bind up the brokenhearted,”

to

“comfort all the mourning ones.” (Matthew 28:19; Isaiah 61:1, 2; Luke 4:18, 19)

We may not forget the task Jesus has given his disciples

19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations,+ baptizing them+ in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.+ And look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”*+ (Matthew 28:19-20)

Real Christians should have their heart, their ears and eyes open for Jehovah’s Word and be willing to share that Word with as many people as possible. They should go looking for different ways to declare the good news from the Bible. We all should be obeying Christ by going out into the world and letting others know about the Divine Creator and His wonderworks.

Like the prophet Ezekiel of old, today real students of the Bible and followers of Christ should try to find those who

“are sighing and groaning over all the detestable things that are being done.”—Ezekiel 9:4.

We should make a positive effort to reach the public, just as Jesus did when

“he went journeying from city to city and from village to village, preaching and declaring the good news of the kingdom of God.”

His early disciples did likewise. (Luke 8:1; 9:1-6; 10:1-9)

As such we can go out on the streets, going from one place to an other, telling those we pass, about the good news which had reached us. We can share that what made us so happy and full of hope and are sure of will be bringing blessings also to them as it does to us.

We can invite people to come to our meetings and there we can share our faith with many.

23 Let us hold firmly the public declaration of our hope without wavering,+ for the one who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider* one another so as to incite* to love and fine works,+ 25 not forsaking our meeting together,+ as some have the custom, but encouraging one another,+ and all the more so as you see the day drawing near.+ (Hebrews 10:23-24-25)

Jesus giving the Farewell discourse to his ele...

Jesus giving the Farewell discourse to his eleven remaining disciples, from the Maesta by Duccio, 1308-1311. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes as lovers of Christ we should also consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. The the assembling or gathering is one way of showing to the outside world our unity or our family as members of the Body of Christ. There, at the meeting places, we should exhort and encourage or stimulate one another.

Sincerity, fullness of faith, the sprinkling and washing that come from repentance and baptism give the conscience freedom of access.

‘Let us approach . . . let us hold fast . . . let us consider each other ‘

are the three exhortatives which urge the practice of the three divine virtues. Hope particularly is founded on the fidelity of God to his promises, and charity must be social. Our faith is not something which has to stay in our own closed closet.

Today too much we see people who are afraid to show their faith to others. Discouragement has made them avoid community at the very time they needed it most. Forsaking fellowship is a sure way to give place to discouragement.  This discouragement festers where God’s people are not exhorting one another.

We may have the gathering together of the redeemed of the Lord at the day of judgement, but it is now we have to take care that as many can be saved. Our love should be full of the love of Christ who gave his life for all mankind. We do not have to give our life, but much of our life should be concerned about the others, those who not have found Christ.

We should make an effort to bring more people to Christ Jesus. It is up to us to let him be known by much more people.

Our life should be for Christ and like Christ being an example for others. When we tell others about our faith they should see it that we live according that faith.

A Christian’s being an example of right living says more than hours of sermonizing. This was pointed out to Christian wives who had unbelieving husbands:

“They may be won without a word through the conduct of their wives, because of having been eyewitnesses of your chaste conduct.” (1 Peter 3:1, 2.)

Therefore, let us try to recommend the good news to others in this way also:

by being exemplary in the Christian conduct that they recommend to others.

Let us remember that we should try to do unto others as we would have others do unto us.

12 “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must do to them.+ This, in fact, is what the Law and the Prophets mean.+ (Matthew 7:12)

We do know we can not know everything, nor can we be perfect.  Being imperfect, we do not always succeed 100 percent. But it is the desire of our hearts to do good unto all people not only in telling them the good news of the Kingdom but also in extending a helping hand whenever possible.

14 Of what benefit is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but he does not have works?+ That faith cannot save him, can it?+ 15 If a brother or a sister is lacking clothing* and enough food for the day, 16 yet one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but you do not give them what they need for their body, of what benefit is it?+ 17 So, too, faith by itself, without works, is dead.+ (James 2:14-17.)

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Preceding articles:

A Christian has to have eyes and ears and a tongue to use in good ways

Daring to speak in multicultural environment

Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world

Looking for a shepherd for the sheep and goats

When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation

Not making yourselves abominable

Where are the female writers

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

What Should I Preach ?

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Additional reading:

  1. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice
  2. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  3. Atonement And Fellowship 2/8
  4. Missional hermeneutics 4/5
  5. The Right One to follow and to worship
  6. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  7. Counterfeit Gospels
  8. Hope by faith and free gift
  9. Showing by the scriptures that …
  10. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #3 as a Christian
  11. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  12. Establish your hearts blameless in holiness
  13. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  14. Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up
  15. Breathing to teach
  16. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritually
  17. Belgian Christadelphians 2013 & 2014 in review
  18. Stepping Toes 2014 in review
  19. Looking on what is going on and not being of it
  20. A prophet to restore
  21. Imitate prophets and Paul
  22. Oratory Style
  23. Counting sands and stars
  24. Which Christians Actually Evangelize
  25. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  26. Bringing Good News into the world
  27. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  28. Holland Week of billing
  29. Faith and trial
  30. Faith a commitment to the promises of Christ and to to the demands of Christ
  31. How should we preach?
  32. The Rapture Wars
  33. Not many coming out with their community name
  34. Writers needed to preach to non-believers
  35. Jehovah can make him stand
  36. Our openness to being approachable
  37. Different approach in organisation of services #3
  38. Glory of God appearing in our character
  39. A Society pleading poverty
  40. Good or bad preacher

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Lifestyle, Religious affairs