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Daniel 9:27 Redux: Will Antichrist Make A False 7-Year Peace Treaty With Israel?

12/10/2013 162 comments

By ICA

Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

Also see the complementary article titled “Daniel 9:27 And The Confirmation Of The Covenant – A Peace Treaty?” for an in-depth examination of Daniel’s 70th week …

BookOfDanielOne of the most commonly held positions by many premillennial Christians today asserts that the time leading up to the Second Coming of Christ will be immediately preceded by a seven-year “peace treaty” signed between Antichrist and Israel. While I had at one time held to this position myself, subsequent studies have lead me to conclude that there is no solid Biblical basis for this view, only interpretative assumptions. Years of personal study as it relates to Biblical eschatology has also made it apparent to me that, even though we’d all love to believe we have every aspect of the prophetic texts completely figured out, we still continue to see as through a glass darkly. With as many opinions regarding secondary doctrines as there are Christian denominations, one obvious reality is that there is not a single pastor or teacher or author who has a complete and perfect understanding of Scripture or that is free from error, myself included, indicating that one interpretative method or hermeneutical approach alone cannot provide all the answers that we so often seek as students of Scripture.

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we can vigorously debate secondary doctrines (these must never be allowed to divide us) yet remain united on the essentials of our faith. Recently, I had the pleasure of engaging in a spirited debate regarding the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 with Joel Richardson, author of “Mideast Beast” (which I highly recommend) and a brother in Christ whom I esteem highly. Following our debate, Joel felt it was necessary to defend the view which posits an upcoming seven-year peace treaty between Israel and Antichrist by writing a subsequent article titled “The Antichrist’s False Peace Treaty” and offering a number of reasons why he believed it to be a sound, tenable position. What I present to you, however, are reasons why I believe it is not. Read more…

Mideast Caliphate Storm Clouds Darken (And What It Potentially Means For Israel Isn’t Good)

03/23/2013 Leave a comment

By Joel Richardson, WND – “Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoğlu calls for a new regional neo-Ottoman order

For the past several years, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, the chief architect of Prime Minister Erdoğan’s ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party, has repeatedly denied the Turkish government’s regional ‘neo-Ottoman’ plans. In 2009, Davutoğlu determinedly repudiated all claims that he was leading Turkey back to the Ottoman era. Against the mounting charges made by various political analysts and journalists, the FM protested, ‘When others use [this term], I have always warned that we do not count it correct.’

But like so many double-speaking ‘progressive’ politicians here in the U.S., Davutoğlu has suddenly changed his tune and is now all in for Turkish neo-Ottomanism. In a recent meeting with American Secretary of State John Kerry – the U.S. senator who was against funding the war in Iraq, until he was for it – Davutoğlu seems to have come down with an acute case of Kerry’s flip-flopism. According to the foreign minister, neo-Ottomanism is now the coming new order for the whole Middle East. As reported in Al-Monitor, Davutoğlu said that, ‘Last century was only a parenthesis for us. We will close that parenthesis.’

So last century was a mere ‘parenthesis’ that will soon be closed. Under Davutoğlu and Erdoğan’s direction, Turkey will return the region to its previous Ottoman order. The period of Kemalism and secularism in Turkey is coming to a close. Davutoğlu continued, ‘We will do so without going to war, or calling anyone an enemy, without being disrespectful to any border.’

According to the FM, Turkey will bring about a new regional order, complete with Turkish leadership, of course, without any war ‘or calling anyone an enemy.’

Unless, of course, we are speaking of neighboring Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom Erdoğan recently called ‘a mute devil’ who must be ousted.

Or unless we are speaking of Kurdish separatists, roughly 500 of whom Erdoğan recently bragged of killing via the Turkish military within a few days.

Or unless we are speaking of those who espouse the concept of Israeli self-determination knowns as Zionism, which Erdoğan recently compared to fascism and called it ‘a crime against humanity.’

Davutoğlu’s comments continued Read more…

Gog Of Magog: Destroyed On The Mountains Of Israel?

10/02/2012 1 comment

By Joel Richardson – “In several previous articles, I have argued that the infamous ‘Gog’ and his hordes of Ezekiel 38-39, are one and the same as the Antichrist / Beast figure of the New Testament and other Old Testament passages. Of course, many students and teachers of prophecy disagree with this view. Among the primary arguments used to support the two being distinct, one argument in particular, although widely accepted, is demonstrably not in accord with the greater context of Ezekiel’s language.

This particular argument holds that Gog and his hordes will be killed literally and specifically on the ‘mountains of Israel’, whereas Antichrist and his armies will specifically be killed either in the Valley of Jezreel, near Megiddo, or the valley of Jehoshaphat just outside Jerusalem, depending on who you ask. As such, it is claimed, the two eschatological figures and their armies cannot be the same.

This argument was popularized by Hebrew scholar Arnold Fruchtenbaum in his book, Footsteps of the Messiah. According to Fruchtenbaum, the prophetic/poetic description of the destruction of Gog and his hordes ‘upon the mountains of Israel’, means that they will literally die exclusively on top of the actual mountains of modern day Israel.

Numerous prophecy teachers have since followed Fruchtenbaum’s line of argumentation on this matter. Nathan Jones of Lamb Lion Ministries, for example, says:

The locations described for the two battles [the Battle of Gog of Magog and the Battle of Armageddon] do not match. Armageddon takes place in a valley — the Valley of Jezreel by the plain of Megiddo (Judges 5:19; 2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chron. 35:22; Zech. 12:11). Ezekiel 38:8 describes the Gog-Magog Battle taking place on the mountains — the “mountains of Israel.”

Numerous other prophecy students and teachers alike could be cited making identical claims. What then is the problem with this view? Well, simply put, the term, ‘the mountains of Israel’ is simply an Read more…

Gog Of Magog And The Great Earthquake

09/21/2012 14 comments

joelr-gog-of-magog-banner

By Joel Richardson – “In several previous articles, I’ve set forth various reasons why we should recognize ‘Gog’ of Ezekiel 38,39 to be one and the same with the Antichrist/Beast of other antichristic prophecies. I have also addressed and dispelled some of the most common arguments against this view. In this article, I will detail yet another significant reason why Gog must be the Antichrist and why the Battle of Gog of Magog can only conclude at the return of Jesus.

Among the many events that conclude the Battle of Gog and Magog, one major event is ‘a great earthquake’ in the land of Israel. The earthquake will be so great that all creatures and mankind ‘who are on the face of the earth’ will tremble in fear:

It will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel… there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence; the mountains also will be thrown down, the steep pathways will collapse and every wall will fall to the ground. —Ezekiel 38:18-20

Many seem to miss the fact that this earthquake will result in the mountains of Israel being ‘thrown down’. Beyond this, ‘every wall will fall to the ground’. We’ll come back to this issue of the mountains and walls collapsing, but first, let’s briefly consider a few other significant Biblical passages that also speak of:

1.) A massive eschatological invasion of Israel
2.) A divine deliverance
3.) A massive earthquake that brings the invasion to an end

In Isaiah 29, the LORD warns Jerusalem, called here ‘Ariel’, that He will Read more…

Burning Weapons During Jesus’ Millennial Reign

09/19/2012 5 comments

By Joel Richardson – “In several commentary articles featured on WND, I have been addressing the oracle of Ezekiel 38 and 39, and showing why we should understand it to parallel other Antichristic prophecies and passages. In other words, I have explained why Gog is the Antichrist/Beast and why Gog’s hordes are one and the same with the armies of the Antichrist. But while there are numerous very clear reasons to support this view, there remain several objections that seem to maintain traction among those who hold to the popular view that Gog and the Antichrist are two different individuals. In this article, I want to dismantle one of the most common of these arguments.

One of the key features of Ezekiel’s Gog of Magog oracle is that, after Satan’s armies are destroyed, their weapons are burned for seven years. Some argue that there is no room for the burning of weapons during the millennial reign of Jesus. As such, it is argued that the destruction of Gog and Magog must take place at least seven years before Jesus returns.

This argument was first articulated and popularized by Hebrew scholar Arnold Fruchtenbaum in his book, ‘The Footsteps of the Messiah.’ Since that time, it has been repeated by numerous students and teachers of biblical prophecy. In the statement below, Nathan Jones of Lamb and Lion Ministries, mirrors Fruchtenbaum’s argument:

Ezekiel 39:9 describes Israel burning the invading enemies weapons for seven years. Placing the Gog-Magog Battle at the end of the Tribulation would push the burning right into the Millennial Kingdom. With Jesus then present to provide everyone’s needs, the curse partially lifted (Isa. 11:8) and the Earth reformatted by earthquakes (Rev. 6:12-14; 16:17-21), there would be no need for Israel to have to burn any weapons for fuel.

So the idea expressed here is that during the millennium, Jesus will simply ‘provide for everyone’s needs’ thus ‘there would be no need for … fuel.’ According to this view, because Jesus will be present on the earth, there will be no need for things like fuel, or presumably, the normal methods of farming, gardening and cooking, etc.

This view of the nature of the millennial kingdom, however, simply cannot be reconciled with Scripture. The Bible teaches that during the time of Jesus’ millennial kingdom reign, the earth will be restored, yes, but it will largely be through the participation, active labor and blessed work of the peoples of the earth. Let’s consider just a few Scriptures that point to the blessed labor and very real life that will continue during the messianic millennial kingdom age.

Perhaps the first passage that should be highlighted is the famous passage from Isaiah (and repeated in Micah), which speaks of the peoples of the earth Read more…

Joel Richardson: ‘Whether We Like It Or Not, There Are Dark Clouds, And Black Flags, Gathering On The Horizon’

09/17/2012 11 comments

By Joel Richardson – “It was in 2004, when American businessman Nicholas Berg’s brutal execution by beheading was widely shown all over the Internet, that most Americans caught their first glimpse of the black flag of Islam. Hung on the wall behind Berg and his murderous executioners was a black banner with Arabic writing in white.

Osama Bin Laden speaking in front of the black flag of Islam

Osama Bin Laden speaking in front of the black flag of Islam

Since the murder of Nicholas Berg, in numerous al-Qaida videos posted online, the same black flag has been observed hanging prominently behind the speaker. And now the same black flag is proudly flying high over the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia and is waving across the world. Welcome to Obama’s so-called ‘Arab Spring.’

Over the past few days, the black flag has been observed amidst the protests and riots in Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Nigeria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Indonesia, India, Turkey, Jerusalem, Gaza and even Germany, Australia and England. That’s at least 22 nations. Across the world, Muslims of every race, tribe and nation are marching under the same black banner.

Protesters burn the U.S. flag under the black banner of Islam in London (Photo: YouTube)

Protesters burn the U.S. flag under the black banner of Islam in London (Photo: YouTube)

While many commentators have been referring to this banner as the flag of al-Qaida, this does not convey its full meaning and history. What exactly what does the black flag of Islam truly symbolize?

According to Islamic history and tradition Read more…

The Battle Of Gog Of Magog & The Return Of Jesus

09/13/2012 4 comments

By Joel Richardson – “The Book of Revelation, chapter 19, contains what is perhaps the most famous Biblical passage concerning the return of Jesus. There, Jesus the Messiah is seen to burst forth from heaven, riding on a white horse with the armies of heaven following Him. But as powerful and well known as this prophetic portrayal of the return of Jesus is, few are aware of the fact that the prophecy of Ezekiel 38 and 39, most often known as the Battle of Gog of Magog, also concludes with the return of Jesus. In fact, it can be said that Ezekiel 38 and 39 is in fact, the Armageddon of the Old Testament.

Although many popular interpreters have wrongly understood this passage to conclude several years before the return of Jesus, any honest assessment of the text simply does not allow for this. But among the many reasons to reject a pre-Day of the LORD conclusion of this prophecy, one of the simplest, is because it concludes with the LORD actually physically present in the land of Israel.

That’s right, Ezekiel reveals that at the conclusion of Gog’s invasion, Jesus the Messiah is physically present on the ground, in the land. Consider the following passage:

“For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, on that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence” —Ezekiel 38:19–20

According to this text, the Lord Himself says that throughout the earth, both people and animals will ‘quake at [His] presence.’ The word used for presence here is the Hebrew word panehPaneh is a reference to the actual face of someone or something. When God says that the people of the earth will quake at His paneh, He is saying that they will be terrified because of His actual physical presence, on the ground, in the land of Israel (see also: Zechariah 14:2-5, Isaiah 29:2-8, Revelation 16:16-20).

Concerning the word paneh, The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary says, ‘The presence (face) of Jehovah is Jehovah in his own personal presence.’ The New International Encyclopedia of Bible Words says, ‘In the OT, being in God’s or another’s presence is indicated by a preposition (l) prefixed to the Hebrew word panim (‘face’). The thought is to be ‘before the face of the person.’ Paneh is used throughout the Old Testament to refer to the actual presence of God. Jacob, for instance, after wrestling with the Angel of the Lord, referred to Read more…

Ezekiel, Magog And The Scythians

08/30/2012 Leave a comment

By Joel Richardson – “The prophecy of Ezekiel 38 and 39, often referred to as the Battle of Gog and Magog is hands-down, one of the most influential end-time prophecies in all of Scripture. But it is also arguably one of the most misinterpreted prophecies. In previous articles, I’ve explained that while many prophecy teachers claim that Ezekiel is speaking of a Russia-led invasion of Israel, the historical record and modern scholarship show that it is in fact a Turkish-led invasion. As previously discussed, the popular but faulty line of reasoning many follow to conclude a Russian-led invasion is as follows:

  1. Magog and the Scythians are one and the same.
  2. The Scythians lived in Russia.
  3. Gog, the leader of Ezekiel’s invasion, comes from Magog.
  4. Thus Ezekiel’s prophesied invasion is led by a leader from Russia.

The problem with this line of reasoning is that history tells us that the Scythians were a nomadic migratory people who rarely stayed in one place for very long. The question is not if the Scythians ever lived in the region that has become modern-day Russia, but rather, where did the Magog/Scythian people live specifically in Ezekiel’s day? We are not concerned with where the Scythians lived several hundred or even thousands of years after Ezekiel. Our only concern is to discover where they lived during Ezekiel’s day. Lets review a small sampling of historical sources to see where they placed the Magog/Scythian people Read more…

Six Reasons Why Gog Is The Antichrist / Beast

08/26/2012 14 comments

By Joel Richardson – “For years, students of Bible prophecy have been taught that ‘Gog,’ spoken of in Ezekiel 38 and 39, cannot be the same as the Antichrist/Beast spoken of in the New Testament. Among the reasons set forth to argue that the two cannot be the same, none carry any weight.

In fact, any examination of the text will establish that the two are, in fact, one and the same individual. If this is the case, however, this changes everything within the world of popular biblical prophecy. If it can be shown that Gog is the Antichrist/Beast, then it is also clear that the Antichrist and his armies are from the Middle East and not Europe, as is popularly taught. But more importantly, it means that until Jesus returns, Islam is not going away. Instead of being a system of belief that is about to be ‘eliminated,’ as so many actually claim, Islam represents the single greatest challenge that the church will ever face. What then are some of the reasons to view Gog and the Antichrist/Beast as one and the same character?

The answer lies in the specific results of the destruction of Gog and his armies as detailed within the Scriptures. When we turn to Ezekiel 38 and 39, we find that as a direct result of the destruction of Gog and his armies, the following six events take place Read more…

Does Isaiah Predict Syria’s Imminent Destruction?

08/10/2012 2 comments

Isaiah 17:1, “An oracle concerning Damascus: ‘See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins …'”

By Joel Richardson – “With all of the chaos, bloodshed and now the openly acknowledged presence of chemical and biological weapons within Syria, many students of prophecy are wondering if Isaiah’s oracle concerning Damascus is about to be fulfilled. Many believe Israel might actually utilize nuclear weapons against its neighbors to the north. One prophecy teacher recently stated, ‘the fact that Israel has nuclear weapons makes the destruction of Damascus predicted in Isaiah 17:1 entirely possible.’

With all of the chaos in Syria continually growing more and more unstable, it is certainly understandable that many students of Scripture are looking to Isaiah 17 and asking if its fulfillment could be imminent. But if we simply examine the actual text a bit more carefully, then we will see that this view is simply not what Isaiah was speaking about.

First, it is important to understand exactly what many within the prophecy community are expecting. According to this emerging popular view, there are three major prophetic events that are about to be imminently fulfilled, each one in succession. According to this popular scenario, the order of prophetic events is as follows:

  • Isaiah 17: Damascus is destroyed by a nuclear bomb.
  • Psalm 83: All of Israel’s remaining Arab neighbors launch an attack. Israel, however, is victorious and will actually occupy all these nations.
  • Ezekiel 38,39: Another outer band of nations invade Israel, but they are all supernaturally destroyed by God in Israel.

Concerning Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 and 39, in Read more…

Ethiopia And Sudan In Bible Prophecy

08/09/2012 2 comments

By Joel Richardson – “Open up nearly any English translation of the Bible and you will find numerous references to ‘Ethiopia.’ Many of these references place Ethiopia in a negative light. In the book of the prophet Ezekiel, for example, we find a prophetic oracle against Ethiopia, Egypt, Arabia, Libya and Turkey (Lud):

“A sword will come upon Egypt, and anguish will be in Ethiopia; when the slain fall in Egypt, they take away her wealth, And her foundations are torn down. Ethiopia, Put, Lud, all Arabia, Libya and the people of the land that is in league will fall with them by the sword.” (Ezekiel 30: 4-5)

Later in the infamous Gog of Magog oracle of Ezekiel 38 and 39, Ethiopia is included among the alliance of nations that are prophesied to invade the nation of Israel:

“Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords; Persia, Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet.’” (Ezekiel 38: 3-5)

All of the nations of Ezekiel’s Gog oracle are destroyed. Is Ethiopia thus destined to be decimated by God?

Far from it. The truth is that the modern-day nation of Ethiopia is largely unrelated to the Ethiopia mentioned by Ezekiel. The translation of ‘Cush’ as ‘Ethiopia’ is actually quite misleading. Yet as a result of this widely used, but faulty translation, the poor Ethiopian people today, one of the most ancient, noble and largely Christian cultures in the earth, have gotten a seriously bad rap.

How did this confusion come about? The Hebrew word translated as Ethiopia is ‘Cush.’ Cush was the son of Ham and grandson of Noah. Many of Cush’s descendants settled in the region of southern Egypt, from Aswan to the place where the Nile River meets the Blue and White Nile rivers. The confusion comes from the historical name swap between Ethiopia and Abyssinia. The region the Bible refers to as Cush became known as Nubia, which the Greeks called Aithiopia. But today this region is southern Egypt and Northern Sudan. On the other hand, the ancient region of Abyssinia was much more southeast. This is where modern Ethiopia is now located. In others words, ancient Abyssinia is modern Ethiopia and ancient Aithiopia is modern-day North Sudan.

Because of this confusion, many students of prophecy are awaiting the Christian majority nation of Ethiopia to join with Read more…

Why The Islamic Antichrist Theory Matters

07/25/2012 17 comments

By Joel Richardson – “As a well-known prophecy teacher, my email inbox is frequently full of questions, comments and news articles from those interested in biblical prophecy. While some of these emails are certainly helpful and interesting, there are also many that I would put into the category of ‘biblical prophecy as morbid trivia.’ What I mean is that there are many believers who are overly fixated on discussing the many intricate details concerning the many dark events looming on the horizon. Now, to be clear, I say this as someone who deeply values biblical prophecy, but I will be the first to admit that much of what passes for biblical prophecy today is a mixture of conspiracy theories and extra-biblical concepts with only a thin ribbon of biblical passages intertwined throughout, so as to give it the appearance of credibility. I will also be the first to acknowledge that there are numerous Christians who have lost their way, having become completely distracted from the primary mandate of the Christian church, which is the proclamation of the gospel of the Kingdom – in both word and deed.

On the other hand, there are many Christians, who have overreacted to the unhealthy emphasis of some and now avoid the subject of biblical prophecy altogether. This is equally grievous. The Lord did not fill the pages of the Bible with prophecy because he wanted us to avoid the subject.

Although there are numerous highly relevant reasons for Christians to study biblical prophecy, I would like to use the remainder of this article to touch on just one deeply relevant reason specifically as to why the emerging Islamic Antichrist theory is so essential for the church to get a hold of. In brief, the answer is because the Read more…

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