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"Listen, a rumbling in the mountains like a great crowd. Listen! The din of kingdoms, of nations mustering. It is the Lord God Almighty marshalling the troops for battle. They come from the far horizons, God and the instruments of his fury to lay the whole earth waste." ---Isaiah 13:4-5
"Son of man, turn towards Gog and the country of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him." Ez.38:2-7
The Bible tells us that when the man whom Ezekiel calls 'Gog' comes to power, Satan's warfare on earth will expand and its focus will be re-directed toward Christians and their churches.
This will initiate across the land the sobering times detailed so vividly in the twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Matthew.
As bad as the first king's murderous rampage of violence will be, then, the Beast's reign will be far worse than that of his predecessor -- in fact, worse, according to scripture, than that of any monarch who has ever lived, or, whoever will live.
Targeting the entire House of Israel for extermination, Gog will bring the tribulation on earth to epochal proportions.
"Armies will be utterly routed and crushed by him, the prince of the covenant too...He will go from treachery to treachery, ever growing stronger despite the smallness of his following." (Dn.11:22-23).
His campaign against Christians will likely mimic Hitler's persecution of the Jews, but take place on a much wider scale. Expanding that persecution, he will make it hundreds of times larger. The scriptures tell us that Gog will outlaw the religion of Christ itself. He will burn down every church and synagogue in all the territories under his control, and hunt down and order murdered every Christian and Jew in his empire. Every Bible he finds will be burned.
This lawless Rebel is to become the 'Gog' of Ezekiel's prophecies, and the empire which he carves out of the framework of the earlier confederacy' will be a kingdom the Bible calls 'Magog'.
Through intrigue, this lawless monarch will realign the confederacy along the lines of a new and violent religion -- one formed on emperor worship -- a religion entirely different from that of his predecessor whose armies disdained the riches and intoxicants of this world.
The Rebel's forces will be driven by a thirst for plunder. Stealing and amassing treasure and distributing it to their friends, they will be the direct opposite of those whose shoes they fill. (Dn.11:37-39).
When the Rebel, building from an eleventh nation, realigns the Asian empire, Daniel informs us that he will overthrow and assimilate into his own, three of the original ten-nations of the earlier Persian confederacy.
When this realignment occurs, another wave of invasions will result. Jerusalem again will fall for a time and vast areas will come under the beast's far-reaching control.
Just as it was with the first king, until Armageddon, the only power on earth capable of standing off this second eastern war machine will be the forces of the United States military. (Dn.11:30).
Ezekiel has shown that when Gog attacks Israel, he will come down on it from the far north exactly as the first king did.
It is possible to infer from this that both of these eastern tyrants will arise from areas quite close to one another.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes, scripture's prototype of the Rebel, for instance, was actually a son of Antiochus the Great (his predecessor and the first king). When his father died, Epiphanes IV (the 'beast' upon which scholars insist Daniel based his visions) seized the throne from his nephew (the rightful heir).
While that is how events correlating to Daniel's prophecies occurred in the past, such a relationship is not specifically designated in Daniel's words (Dn.11:19-22), so the two kings of the east may not be related to one another in any way whatsoever when Daniel's vision is fulfilled in the future.
The fact that the Rebel will rise from small beginnings seems to confirm a significant disunity between these two kings. The familial relationship scholars find in Daniel's prototypes may be symbolic and refer only to a similar race or ethnic background.
By referring to the coming madman as the prince of 'Rosh, Meshech and Tubal', Ezekiel not only confirms the assimilation of these countries into the Rebel's empire, he also intimates that his government -- the empire of Magog -- will occupy land close to the Black Sea.
Historically, as we have stated before, the three nations named in this prophecy were ancient countries that bordered this sea.
It is not certain which four countries the prophecy of Magog designates, but their proximity to the Black Sea seems significant. As we said, the name 'Rosh' may allude to the name 'Russia'. Tubal, perhaps, to Turkey.
These locations are supported by many prophecies which see the Rebel coming down on Jerusalem from the far north.
A line drawn from Jerusalem straight north (beginning in Jerusalem and extending up to the north pole) would pass right through the center of Turkey, then the Black Sea, and, further north of that, almost through the city of Moscow.
Today the five largest countries bordering the Black Sea are Russia, the Ukraine, Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria. Turkey, of course, in historic times was called Asia Minor.
With the breakup of the Soviet Union, another independent eastern republic is in the throes of being formed along this seacoast as well: the former Soviet republic of Georgia, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin.
And although it does not border the Black Sea directly, immediately to the west of this inland sea lies the former nation of Yugoslavia. Now divided, much of that nation is currently controlled by militant Serbians, an angry people who have violently established themselves as among the most contentious in all of Europe.
The Serbian campaign to either dispossess or exterminate a large muslim population which has peacefully inhabited the Bosnian sector of this country since the days of the Ottoman empire, has created deep hostilities in this region recently.
Adding to these tensions, the Islamic sector has been infiltrated by Iranian-backed fundamentalist militants.
These 'moujahedeen' (Muslim holy warriors from Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, and Pakistan), often called the 'madmen of God' were brought in to battle the Serbian forces, and have remained behind in a move to destabilize any peaceful settlement to the hostilities still bubbling there.
They are skilled at killing and, according to the Los Angeles Times, 'have been implicated in criminal acts as far away as France'.
The fierce emotions revolving around these two Yugoslavian states are certain to one day become a significant component in the complex factors which will later fuel the mercilous quest for vengeance sought by the Persian-dominated ten-nation confederacy in its destructive march across western civilization.
With the Serbian faction claiming to be Christian, the moujahedeen bring an atmosphere of 'jihad' (muslim holy war) to the events taking place there.
The Christian visionaries of Medjugoria, a community in Yugoslavia not far from the Bosnian city of Sarajevo, communicated messages which they said they received from Mary the mother of Jesus, which foretold a great event occuring in this area at some point in the near future.
So fateful is this event, Mary told these children, that world prayer has been called for by her on an unprecedented scale. These visions began several years before Yugoslavia disintegrated into the warring states that now rule there.
Since visions of Mary have been occuring now in Medjugorie for over ten years, the conflict that now encompasses Bosnia may be the basis for these holy apparitions. It is also possible, of course, that something even more fateful may emanate from this region in the near future.
It is close to the Black Sea, so it lies quite near the throneland of the beast (Gog) who will one day rise up to lead the ten-nation confederacy to Armageddon.
And the fact that the visiage of Mary is reported to have told the children in Medjugoria that her appearances in this Yugoslavian countryside are to be her very last on earth, add credence to this area's deep involvement in the coming darkness which is about to put a stop to the work of Christ on earth. (John 9:4).
Another interesting sidelight to the Yugoslavian disintegration is that the southernmost state in this fracturing is Macedonia, the country that produced Alexander the Great -- the prototype upon whose activities the entire litany of Daniel's prophecies stem.
In the prophecies of Isaiah, we have seen that the rise to power of Cyrus, the king of Persia which allowed the Israelites to return from their captivity in Babylon to Jerusalem, alludes to a compassionate messianic figure sent by God to set the House of Israel free from world-wide persecution and exile. (Is. 45).
Other prophecies, however, especially those of Daniel, have portrayed the king of Persia as a tyrant who becomes hopelessly obsessed with the extermination of the two Houses of Israel.
As we said earlier, this has created dual symbols -- with one set portraying a benevolent religious rescue and the other the harsh punishment of a sinful world. They are two parts of the same event.
(To see how opposites play a key role in the prophetic framework of the Bible, see 'The Clock of God', Chapter 24, 'The Works of God Go in Pairs by Opposites')
It is easy to see that the Cyrus in Isaiah's prophecies was Jesus -- the king God raised out of the east to lead the House of Israel in a great victory for righteousness.
Isaiah's prophecy points directly to Jesus Christ. He is the perfect spiritual fulfillment of the prophecy in the Book of Chronicles which promises a decree by the King of the East setting the people of Israel free from the clutches of their captors in Babylon. This prophecy has been perpetually unveiling itself in every Christian conversion that has ever occured on earth since the day of Pentecost.
That is what Jesus came to do -- to set the people of God free from Babylon.
But the Rebel of the end, aligning himself as he does with the east and surrounding himself with a fierce Persian army, will also lay claim to these words. It is here that we see the dualism that marks God's written Word.
Scripture shows that the Rebel will see himself as the messiah, pre-empting Jesus by trying to promote himself as divinity in God's place.
The Rebel will support this claim by having a 'Jesus' appear and pledge allegiance to him while renouncing the faith of the Christian Church. This so-called 'Jesus', when he appears, will be subservient to the Rebel and dedicate himself to the ten-nations of the eastern confederacy.
Prophecies to this effect already exist in certain traditions of the Islamic religion, where Jesus is viewed as a lessor prophet.
Paul indicated that the beast will set himself up as a god and consider himself greater than all the gods on earth. (2 Thes.2:4). In an attempt to drive this point home, he will enthrone himself in the sanctuary citadel. (Dn.11:31).
Since neither Jews nor muslims believe that the Messiah has yet come, there is widespread precedent among non-Christians for the expectation of someone messianic other than Jesus.
Once he has taken control of Rome and evicted the Church, the Rebel will issue his own decree concerning the bondage of the people of God to Babylon. This decree will be marked by a physical manifestation (Daniel calls it the Abomination of Desolation) and it will break the covenant between God and the people of the earth.
Destroying the Eucharist (Dn.8:11) and ending the captivity, it will seal the fate of the planet.
Since Daniel indicates that the Rebel will use the people of an alien god to defend his fortresses (Dn.11:39), his association with some kind of religion is obvious.
But scripture seems to indicate that it will be a religion of his own making -- one in which he (the Rebel) proclaims himself as the god of the universe, and every prophet who ever lived, his subjects.
He will claim that he, the emperor, and not Jesus, is the messiah that the scriptures were pointing to, and in this way set himself up as Christ's polar opposite.
Daniel has indicated that the Rebel will not be born or elected into his royal power, but will gain possession of his kingdom by intrigue. (Dn.11:21).
His strong association with religion -- the fact that he is destined to see himself as a god and proclaim himself greater than any messiah, is an indication that he may enter the political scene obliquely; possibly from a religious platform. Perhaps from the minor beginnings of a bizarre religious sect.
If so, it may very well be one that he, himself, has founded or invented. Only the Jews and muslims are still looking for the appearance of a messiah, so the Rebel may stem from one of these two lineages.
His close alliance with the people of Persia, and his warfare against Israel seems certain to prove that he will not be Jewish. And there is a significant prophecy in the Bible which indicates he might not be Persian either.
This prophecy is contained in the Book of Esther. It shows the evil Haman as neither Persian nor Jew, but a foreigner who comes into Persia and aligns himself with that eastern nation from the outside.
The Rebel of the End will be dedicated to his own divinity and bent on the annihilation of Christians, Jews and many muslims as well.
As he gathers followers to his own cause, Daniel explains, he will begin to grow powerful -- strong enough not only to take over the reigns of his own tiny country, but in his rise to power he will also annex three of the ten nations of the Asian confederacy, forming the Magog of the prophecies. (Dn.7:8).
Enlarging his growing empire, he will extend his base of power "towards south and east and toward the Land of Splendor". (Dn.8:9).
Starting out with virtually no strength at all, and despite his microscopic beginnings, Daniel indicates the Rebel will grow Herculean as other strong countries throw their lot in with him and give him control of their armies and weapons and finances.
It is in this way that he will gain almost complete dominance over most of the northern section of the Eastern Hemisphere, including a significant part of the Middle East -- eventually coming to command the entire army of the eastern world -- the ten-country federation of the Medes that had caused all the previous warfare and destruction in the years leading up to the Rebel's appearance.
Through intrigue and treachery, Daniel says, the Rebel will rout whole armies, ultimately crushing the immense power of the Christian Church as he vanquishes Israel and the Arabian alliance that is opposed to him (the king of the South). (Dn.11:22).
Called into action by God, the Rebel will come, held in the grip of a divine snare: "Son of man, turn towards Gog and the country of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him. Say, 'The Lord God says this: I am against you Gog. "
"I will turn you round, fixing hooks in your jaws, and drag you and your troops along...Persia and Cush and Put...Gomer and all its troops, northernmost Bethtogarmah and all its troops, and many nations with you. "
"Be ready, be well prepared, you and all your troops and the others rallying round you, and hold yourself at my service." (Ez. 38:2-7).
Since the devil, too, will put all of his power at the Beast's command, his victories will apparently come easily.
Daniel says that not only will the saints be put into his power, but his potency will grow right up to the angels of heaven. (Dn.8:10). This is a reference which points to his overthrow of the Church. (Dn.7:25).
As a part of that destruction, a great many of the world's Christians will be killed or driven into hiding. The Rebel will be obsessed with trying to drive Jesus and His Church off the face of the planet. As a result, the rapture will mimic the crucifixion.
When Jesus at the end of His life was dragged up the Hill of Calvary by the people of this world and nailed to a cross, he showed an end that the Church itself must one day join Him in. Jesus explained this to Peter:
"I tell you most solemnly, when you were young you put on your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and somebody else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go." (Jn.21:18).
Peter, here, was given a prophecy directed toward his own person and also toward everything that relates to him. This prophecy, therefore, describes not only his own last days on earth, but also the last days of the religious edifice God has built on top of him. "...you are Peter (rock) and on this rock I will build my church." (Mt.16:18).
This grave attack on the Church by the Beast, supported by the people of his empire will finalize the world's ultimate rejection of the Lord's Gospel. It will finalize the Great Revolt whose rudimentary processes we can already see at work in the world.
Doing so, it will bring to an ultimate fulfillment, John's words: "On these grounds is the sentence pronounced..." (John 3:19).
Since all the prophecies point to a very militant and war-like end to the world, it is obvious that the king of Magog will bring the Church and Babylon down in flames together. And all of this because the world abandoned the mercy God sent to it -- mercy that had the power to prevent all these terrible things from ever coming to pass.
Because of his successes, the beast will grow arrogant, considering himself, according to Daniel, "greater than all the gods". (Dn.11:36).
Narcissistic and terrible, he will utter incredible blasphemies against Christianity, and consider changing the seasons and the Law. (Dn.7:25).
And as we have already indicated, as a part of this decree, he will contaminate the liturgy of the Church by instituting the Abomination that desolates Christ's sacrifice.
Looking back into history, when Antiochus Epiphanes IV was preparing to go to the East and engage Persia in battle, he sent his general, Lysias, with a great army "to crush and destroy the power of Israel and the Jews and to efface their memory from the land." (1 Macc.3:35).
Daniel shows that a similar edict of extermination against Christians and Jews in the lands controlled by the Rebel will be a major circumstance of the final days, as the Rebel pushes through his decree that all populations worship him rather than the gods of the past.
Such a decree will put him at odds with the Koran as well as the Bible, and, with his preoccupation for collecting all the world's gold and silver, will align him with the huge population of Asia that is today largely secular. See Graph #8.
Like the king (the horn) who preceded him, the Rebel when he appears, will be obsessed with the destruction of Israel -- a land he will attack three times. (Dn.11:25-45).
The Rebel will launch the first of these attacks by blindsiding the king of the South in a murderous assault that will be so sudden and violent that the entire southern army will be annihilated before it has a chance to respond. (Dan.11:25-26).
The army of the South which is destroyed in this sneak attack may be Egyptian as the words infer, but the devastating strike will also include or be focused on Israel and its troops (who will obviously have deep political as well as symbolic ties to Egypt at this point in time -- See Jer.46).
It is likely that the entire alliance of the South will have its forces decimated in this massacre. That would likely include Saudi Arabia and all the other countries aligned in the last days against the Persian north.
In this sneak attack by the beast, Daniel predicts that the world will almost come to an end (Dn.11:27). But since God is the master of the end -- not man, the kings of the earth will not be allowed to have their way.
The beast will be forced to leave the land of Palestine and return to his own country. The fact that he will be unable to keep the lands of the southern Middle East which he had just conquered is an indication of the power of his enemies.
According to Daniel, the might of the nations that oppose him will be strong enough to make him back down even in the face of this incredible military victory. Severely angered by this setback, he will set his heart against God and the holy covenant, targeting Christians and Jews in the lands under his control.
He will leave Jerusalem and return to his own country. (Dn.11:28).
Clear proof of the strength of those who oppose him is thoroughly demonstrated by the fact that when he tries to come down against the king of the South a second time, the ships of a western nation called 'Kittim' (obviously those of the United States) will confront him and will defeat his army in a major battle. (Dn.11:30).
Retreating from this defeat, the beast will take furious action against the people of Christ. It is at this point that his forces will come and profane the sanctuary citadel and set up the desolating sacrilege there. (Dn.11:31).
This action will be the 'Pearl Harbor' in the world's war against God. A fierce, full scale war will have broken out between heaven and earth and nothing will be able to stop or slow the events which follow, not even prayer.
The First Book of Maccabees tells us that together with the desolating sacrifice the Rebel will issue a proclamation unifying the confederacy and all the lands he has conquered by commanding that the entire kingdom become a single people, each renouncing their individual customs. (1 Mac. 1:41-43).
This proclamation is the fateful decree which separates forever, the people of God from Babylon, an action that terminates irrevocably, human habitation of the earth.
This decree will be aimed at the religious structure of the empire. Generally, the pagans will show their approval by conforming to the kings decree. The beast's edict will ban the religious services of all churches -- Judaism, Christianity and traditional Islam -- from the lands under the Rebel's control.
Especially hard hit by this proclamation will be the people of Israel -- the central focus of the beast's rage.
In the Rebel's destruction of the Church, all Christians will be forced to flee -- many taking to the mountains -- and those who are discovered will be subject to numerous terrors. (1 Mac.1:31-41).
Scripture says of this time that "every cave in the country will be the scene of violence". (Ps.74:20).
The people devastated in these attacks will not be faithless Christians who, because of sin missed being picked up by a previous rapture. As final day martyrs they will constitute the heart of the Church and, owing to their great faith in the very worst of times, will be among the most faithful followers of Christ who have ever lived on earth.
The beast will make it illegal for anyone to perform Christian baptisms or for anyone to be baptised in any nation under his control. This will include not only Asia and the Middle East, but Europe and most of the nations that ring the Mediterranean Sea as well. Those who do not obey his demands will be put to death. (1 Mac.1:60-64).
The reign of the beast will be a time of great wrath for the House of Israel and almost every part of the world will be subject in some way or another to his lawlessness.
The fact that the Rebel will consider 'changing the seasons' makes it clear that he will launch an attack on the Christian dating system. Almost the entire civilized world today uses a system founded on the birth of Jesus Christ -- a system which revolves around the feast days of the Christian calendar.
A key part of the Rebel's war on the Church will be his promotion of a religion to replace those he has displaced.
When Antiochus IV Epiphanes erected the Abomination of Desolation above the altar in the holy sanctuary, he also built other shrines as well: "altars were built in the surrounding towns of Judah and incense offered at the doors of houses and in the streets." (1 Mac.1:57).
There is a clear indication in these words that the beast, when he comes to power, will order the construction of a false set of temples and sacrifices in his kingdom to replace the worship services he has outlawed.
Claiming that he, himself, is God (2 Thes.2:4), these new alters will have their services centered in emperor worship. As a part of that worship, every Bible will be banned and destroyed: "Any books of the Law that came to light were torn up and burned. Whenever anyone was discovered possessing a copy of the covenant or practising the Law, the king's decree sentenced him to death." (1 Macc.1:56-61).
The 'Book of the Law', of course, is the Bible.
Daniel's prophecy indicates that the Rebel will try to change the Law as well as the calendar. This is an obvious reference to the scriptures. Outlawing the Bible, the Rebel will apparently try to replace it with another scripture -- perhaps one that he himself has designed.
During their reign of terror, the king's forces will "take action month after month against any offenders they discover in the towns of Israel."
Despite the terrible wrath of these days, Daniel reveals that many Christians will stand firm and choose to die for their faith. "Those of the people who are learned will instruct many; for some days, however, they will be brought down by sword and flame, by captivity and by plundering. And thus brought down little help will they receive, though many will be plotting on their side." (Dn.11:33-35).
Holding firm like this to their faith (despite the terror surrounding them) many will save their lives in Christ. (Dn.12:1-2).
Consumed by his desire to conquer the Holy Land, the Rebel will apparently go completely mad at the end. Furious, Daniel says, he will direct his armies to the battlefield of Armageddon.
At the same time, he will launch a direct missle attack on all his enemies -- a fusilade that will almost certainly blanket the world in a firestorm of hydrogen bombs. (Dn.11:44). Retaliating, an equal number of missles and bombs will come flying at his own empire. (Ez.38:22; Rev.18:8).
Magog and the islands of the sea will vanish in flames. (Ez.39:6).
At the same time, a massive earthquake, greater than any man has ever know will occur. (Rev.6:12-14; 16:19-21). Perhaps, struck by a comet or mountainous meteor, the whole world will reverberate, and the fires ignited by this combination of disasters will rage so furiously that most of the earth will be garmented in a dense blanket of thick black smoke.
"When I extinguish you I will cover the skies, and darken the stars. I will cover the sun with clouds and the moon will not give its light. I will dim every luminary in heaven for you, and cover your country in darkness." (Ex.32:7-8).
Pitching the tents of his royal headquarters between the sea and the mountains of the Holy Splendor (the city of Jerusalem), the Rebel will come to his fateful end, dying suddenly with the earth he has cast to ruin. (Dn.11:45; Rev.20:9).
In the end, all the armies will disappear and God will be revealed triumphant over all -- His will having finally been done on earth as it is in heaven.
The roaring of the nations will turn to silence and the armies will all vanish in the rebuke of God. "Vast hordes thundering, with thunder like thundering seas, the roaring of nations roaring like the roar of mighty waters. He rebukes them and far away they flee, driven off like chaff on the mountains before the wind, like an eddy of dust before the storm.
At evening all was terror; before morning comes they are no more." (Is.17:12-14).
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