I like to view the Middle East as two concentric circles - an "inner circle" which consists of the terrorist groups in Gaza and southern Lebanon and the West Bank, along with Syria, Egypt and Jordan. These groups and countries are not listed as part of the invading force discussed in Ezekiel 38-39, which represents the "outer circle", and those regions are detailed in Ezekiel's description which includes well known adversaries to Israel; Iran, Russia, Turkey and northern Africa.
In brief, I see the "inner circle" battle occurring as described in Psalm 83/Isaiah 17 happening first and somehow precipitating the battle of Gog-MaGog which would follow.
This requires some level of speculation, and the fact is, we really don't know for sure what the exact sequence of events will be.
With that in mind, we look to the scriptures of Isaiah 17:1-14:
"An oracle concerning Damascus:
See, Damascus will no longer be a city
but will become a heap of ruins.
In the evening, sudden terror!
Before the morning, they are all gone!
This is the portion of those who loot us,
the lot of those who plunder us."
With that in mind, we see the following article, and we can see how close we are to approaching this prophecy from Isaiah:
Syria's threats and counter threats
Damascus is refusing to let nuclear inspectors investigate on its soil, and continues to support Hezbollah and Iran
Speaking in New York last week, International Atomic Energy Agency director general Yukiya Amano said the organization had the authority to send inspectors to sites in Syria where there is a suspicion that prohibited nuclear activities have taken place.
The Syrians apparently had been sloppy in their efforts to erase evidence of what had taken place there, and IAEA inspectors found traces of uranium when they visited in June 2008.
Since then, Syria has refused all IAEA requests to conduct a second inspection at Deir ez-Zur and other sites - including military bases and a compound next to Damascus - which Western officials suspect are linked to the country's nuclear program.
Thats just the beginning. We have already witnessed the massive transfer of weapons between Syria and Hezbollah, despite numerous warnings from Israel:
For the past two years, Syria has been playing a complex game, one not devoid of risk. Besides its protracted evasiveness on the nuclear question, Damascus has tightened its alliance with Iran and engaged in massive arms smuggling to Hezbollah, while supporting the Shi'ite organization during the international investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Damascus has indicated to would-be mediators that it will not give up its involvement in Lebanon or its strategic ties with Tehran in order to sign a treaty with Israel.
Arms smuggling from Iran and Syria to Lebanon has continued uninterrupted since the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
In his farewell meeting with the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, outgoing Military Intelligence director Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin said he was concerned about the Syrians' improved antiaircraft capability. Yadlin was referring to Russian-made missile systems Damascus had received.
It seems that every time we observe covert weapons shipments, the "land of MaGog" is involved. In this case, as seen in the quote above, "referring to Russian-made missile systems Damascus has received." This shouldn't be surprising with biblical prophecy in mind.
Israel's primary concern is that these weapons will reach Hezbollah, hampering Israel Air Force activity over Lebanon. Israel has informed Syria on several occasions that it will not accept advanced antiaircraft missiles entering Lebanon - that this is a "red line," and crossing it will draw Israeli intervention
That is worth remembering too. Just because Israel hasn't acted yet doesn't mean that they won't take military action when they feel the time is right. Israel already has tangible evidence that Syria continues to engage in these activities - and crossing this "red line". It isn't a pending event, Syria has been caught shipping these missiles to Hezbollah and the evidence is unequivocal.
Syrian President Bashar Assad has not yet responded to three mysterious incidents that he called acts of Israeli aggression on Syrian soil: the bombing of the reactor, the assassination of senior Hezbollah agent Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus, and the assassination of Syrian general Muhammad Suleimani (both of the latter two in 2008 ). There is no guarantee that Assad will maintain this restraint if he suffers another humiliation.
Next, we see "the big questions" concerning Syria and Israel:
However, it is not clear what Damascus will do if one of its partners triggers a confrontation - whether it is Iran, in response to a move against its nuclear program, or Hezbollah, for its own reasons.
Since the 2006 war, the Syrian army, like the Israel Defense Forces, has been upgrading. The Syrian military has drawn some of its ideas from the Hezbollah model of specializing in commando and antitank forces, together with considerable expansion of its steep-trajectory weapons program.
Israel is likely to face broad-based coordination between the missile- and rocket-launching systems of Syria and Lebanon in the event of a regional clash.
Now comes the most recent information on this situation:
Speaking at the International Aerospace Conference and Exhibition held this week in Jerusalem, the missile engineer Uzi Rubin expressed some disturbing thoughts. Rubin, who formerly headed the Homa (Wall ) project for the manufacture of the Arrow system, talked about would-be targets in the next war against Israel
The enemy's goal, he said, will be to attack the populace and not the IDF. By using powerful precision munitions, the other side will seek to achieve "air superiority without an air force."
Some of the missiles and rockets have an average strike range of 200 meters from the target. Rubin estimates there are now about 13,000 warheads aimed at most of Israel's populated areas, from Acre to the Negev. Some 1,500 warheads could hit Tel Aviv, a potential 1,400 tons of explosives.
Rubin quoted a speech by Nasrallah delivered over the Al-Manar TV network last February: "If you hit Dahiya [the Shi'ite neighborhood in southern Beirut], we will hit Tel Aviv; if you attack the martyr Hariri airport in Beirut [named for the person Hezbollah will soon be accused of martyring], we will attack Ben-Gurion airport. Strike at our oil refineries and our power stations and we will strike at yours."
Rubin presented a map showing the possible consequences of 10 M-600 rockets aimed at the Kirya defense establishment compound in the heart of Tel Aviv, with a dispersal average of 500 meters.
Such volleys, he said, are liable to disrupt Israel's military capability, inflict serious damage and kill many civilians.
The prophecies of Isaiah 17 are approaching exactly as we would anticipate.
Not to mention what Jesus told us:
"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars" (Matthew 24:6).
Indeed. It seems that almost every article we see from the Middle East has something to do with imminent war, preparations for war, threats of war, and exactly as stated, "rumors of war".
Once again we look at biblical prophecy and just marvel. The accuracy, the specificity and the scope of biblical prophecy provides ongoing proof that our God of the Holy Bible is indeed the one and only God of this universe, and He is very much in control.
Comforting words for a Christian.
Scott, I agree with seeing these events unfolding through Scripture in the way that you described. Obviously we won't know for sure until it comes to pass, but it certainly looks like it will happen that the Ezekiel 38 invasion is in direct response to the Isaiah 17 event. Maybe not an immediate response, but a response nonetheless. Ezekiel said these nations would come against an Israel living in peace, so it seems there will be some sort of a delay.
It's especially interesting that each of those passages indicate that Israel will look to God as their response to these battles. I don't think Israel will recognize Jesus as the Messiah yet, which is described in Zechariah 12:10, but I do think these battles will cause them to turn from being largely indifferent towards God to seeking Him.
I can't find the article, but I thought I read that Turkey, Armenia, Syria, Russia and Iran had already signed a military alliance pact. I could be wrong though because I can't find the source.
I do believe that there are already various pacts though that would ultimately unite all the Ezekiel 38 countries because of the existing ties between them.
Below are a couple of very interesting articles I did find on Syria's connection to the Ezekiel 38 alliance. The first is from 2007, very interestingly way before the Gaza Flotilla incident jettisoned Turkey away from Israel. Note too that these are secular news agencies.
Great points. They certainly turn to God in both events especially in Ezekiel 38-39. In fact, I believe that aspect (their turning their attention to God) and the fact that "the nations" are all against Israel are related. Israel will have no where else to turn, but to God.
As far as alliances, there are an array of various "alliances" - many of which are economic and many which are military. I have read over the past years of alliances between those countries that you listed - in an assorted groups of combinations - but there are very strong ties between Iran-Russia-Turkey-Syria, exactly as we would predict.
I agree that it looks like Isaiah 17 is very close. Amos 1 gives us the timing - the 4th war. Everybody is at the 3rd war now. So the next war will be a big one.
I would like to point out something even more important than Isaiah 17. That would be Isaiah 18.
Isaiah 18 starts off with a warning to a powerful friend of Israel. This friend will be destroyed.
It seems to refer to Isaiah 17. When Israel plants a flag in the mountains of the West Bank, then pay attention. At this point all of Israel's neighbors have been obliterated with nuclear weapons by Israel. That's Isaiah 17.
Isaiah 18 gives us the timing of Isaiah 17 - the summer. Then we learn that the final event will happen in the following spring. Representatives from this powerful friend will bring gifts for the new Jewish temple on the Temple Mount.
I would expect that this friend of Israel will be destroyed within a day or two as retaliation for what Israel has done.
In conclusion, Israel destroys its neighbors with nuclear weapons in the summer. By the following spring America is destroyed in retaliation. This unprovoked attack will come "like a thief in the night."
There's actually quite a bit of real world evidence that a major war involving America, Russia and China is close. The historical signs of war are present today.
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