Independence Day

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace. The mountains and the hills will burst into song before you and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12)

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An In Depth Look at the Modern Equivalent to Biblical Names in Ezek. 38

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

Many of the nations we hear about in today’s news existed in ancient times but under different names. By using the ancient names for the countries He prophesied about, the Lord made possible the use of scripture to interpret scripture. Much of the information below can be gained by referencing Genesis 10, the so-called Table of Nations, in a good study Bible. Learning the modern names of the nations whose founding families are listed there really helps connect Bible prophecy to current events.

Gog

I believe that Gog is a supernatural being (showing up in the battle of Ezekiel 38 and the final battle at the end of the Millennium) perhaps Satan’s counter part to Michael the Arkangel. There is an obscure reference in the Septuigent translation of the Book of Amos in 7:1 to a Gog, King of the Locusts, for what that’s worth. You won’t find any hint of this in translations rendered into English from Hebrew. You can only get there from the Greek (Septuigent) translation. But with no connection to any physical territory or people as there is with Magog and the others named in Ezekiel 38, and with Biblical appearances so far apart in time, there’s good reason to believe that Gog is a non-human character, one of Satan’s own.

Magog

In contrast, there are over 130 historical references tying Magog to the ancient Scythians.  In Colossians 3:11 Paul mentioned the Scythians.  The Strong’s concordance identifies a Scythian as an inhabitant of Scythia or modern day Russia.  The Great Wall of China was known as the “Ramparts of Magog” in ancient times and was built to protect China from Magog.  Magog was a son of Japeth and inhabited central Asia. His children, the Scythians, are the ancestors of today’s Russian people.

Meshech and Tubal

These two were brothers of Magog and are linked to the same general area, but more likely with the Turkic people. Josephus associated Meshech with Cappodocia, home of the ancient Hittite Empire in Eastern Turkey.

Persia

This one’s easier because the name changed to Iran in our memory.

Cush and Put

These two were sons of Ham and brothers to Mizraim (which means “two Egypts”) and Canaan. Narrowly they are called Ethiopia (Cush) and Lybia (Put) but both were in possession of much larger territory in the past. The word Cush has a Hebrew root meaning black, and can be representative of the black races of Africa, while Put can represent the north part of the continent; Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania, etc. Note that all are sons of Ham and therefore not Semitic. The common denominator among African nations is religion (Islam) not race (Arab).

Gomer

Another son of Japeth and brother to Magog, Gomer inhabited the Rhine and Danube valleys, and can be associated with Eastern Europe of today.

Beth Togarmah

Beth means house in Hebrew. Togarmah was a son of Gomer. The Armenians of today call themselves the House of Togarmah. The Turks (but not the Kurds, who are the ancient Medes of Media-Persia fame) are also included, and they’re the ones Ezekiel had in view.

Sheba and Dedan

These two are first mentioned as grandsons of Cush in Genesis 10:7. Later, in Genesis 25:3, we read of two grandsons of Abraham’s named Sheba and Dedan as well, born to Jokshan, a son of Abraham and his 2nd wife, Keturah. It’s not clear which pair of grandsons is being referenced, but commentaries none-the-less identify these two as probably representing the nations of the Arabian Penninsula, notably Saudi Arabia.

According to archaeologists W. F. Albright and Wendell Phillips, Sheba was on the southwestern edge of the Arabian Peninsula across the Red Sea from present-day Ethiopia. Sheba is known in history as Saba in Southern Arabia, the Sabaeans of classical geography, who carried on the trade in spices with the other peoples of the ancient world. Dedan was probably the habitat of the Arabs on the northern part of the Arabian Desert, which is modern-day Saudi Arabia. The ancient capital of Saudi Arabia is still called Dedan on many maps today.

Tarshish

Tarshish was a son of Javan, who settled the area of Southern Greece. There are three schools of thought where Tarshish is concerned. One view locates Tarshish to the East, accessible from Solomon’s great seaport at Ezion Geber on the Red Sea. Since Javan and his family traveled north and west from Babel at the confusion of tongues, it seems unlikely. Large sea going vessels were often nicknamed “Ships of Tarshish” and more likely this is how Tarshish came to be linked with Ezion Geber, since both Solomon and Hezekiah built such vessels there.

Others see this as a reference to ancient Tartessus, a seaport in southern Spain, near Gibraltar. Still others recall the sea going navies of the Phoenicians, who operated Ships of Tarshish out of nearby Cadiz and sailed as far north as England for tin, a metal used in the making of bronze and other alloys, which they mined in Cornwall. Some believe that the name Britannia is actually derived from a Phoenician word meaning “source of tin.” If so, since the ships of Tarshish brought tin to the ancient world, this reference could be to Great Britain making the “lions” (KJV) or “villages”(NIV) of Tarshish Great Britain’s colonies, of which the US is most prominent today. The fact that the lion is a symbol of the British Empire lends support to this view.

Summary

Again, it’s instructive to view the common motivator as religion, not race. Some years ago, an editorial in the Jerusalem Post outlined the “Arab” plan as being composed of two phases. Phase one was to gain as much as possible through the inexpensive negotiating process while simultaneously weakening Israel and strengthening the Moslem coalition. Phase two, after no more negotiated gain can be made, is to go to war for the rest

I in Them and You in Me

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

Some of the confusion regarding the permanence of our salvation comes from our failure to distinguish between the two facets of our relationship with the Lord; union and fellowship.

Basis and Status

Union describes the basis of our relationship and is explained in John 17:20-23. The summary of the passage is verse 23; “I in them and You in Me.”

Ephes 1:13-14, and 2 Cor 1:21-22 clearly state that at the moment of belief we’re united with God and the Holy Spirit is sealed inside us as “a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.” In John 17:23 Jesus claims to be in us as well. And since the Father is in the Son and the Son is in us then the Father is also in us. Father, Son and Holy Spirit; all in us. Union.

Fellowship defines the status of our relationship at a given point in time. Are we together frequently and conversing often, or has something come between us, causing us to be estranged from one another?

The Need for Both is Clear

The Lord wants us to learn the lessons taught by Israel, first that the most concerted effort ever put forth by man could not produce a single life good enough to meet God’s standards for righteousness.

But even so He still wants us to live in a way that is pleasing to Him, obeying His laws and receiving His blessings. He knows we’ll be happier and live longer, better lives that way. And that’s the second lesson.

Of course we can only be truly free to live happy blessed lives if we’re not constantly afraid of losing everything, and yet our sin nature will cause even the best of us to fall short on many occasions. So He made sure that His promise of Eternal Life could be kept irrespective of our merit by paying the whole price Himself, and then made it irrevocable by sealing Himself inside us. The old hymn calls it “Blessed Assurance.” He calls it union.

And He made sure that when we continued to sin by breaking His laws even after being saved we could restore our relationship simply by confessing our sins and asking His forgiveness. Its called maintaining fellowship and He made it possible by paying for all the sins of our lives in advance.

Who You Calling Stubborn?

He knew that being stubborn and rebellious creatures, we would sometimes deny our sins, justifying our behavior and refusing to repent. Since He never could tolerate sin, He knew that this would interrupt our fellowship and require Him to withdraw His blessing temporarily (its called discipline). He hopes this will prompt us to repent and confess our sins so we can be forgiven and restored, having no fear of being refused or rejected. (1 John 1:8-10)

There are two reasons so many Christians live defeated fruitless lives. Either they’ve been taught a doctrine that omits any reference to Holiness so they live out of fellowship and don’t even know it; or they’ve been convinced that they’re somehow beyond God’s forgiveness and therefore can’t restore their relationship with Him. Both ignore the admonition and promise of
1 John 1:8-10 and are main battery weapons in Satan’s artillery.

The Lord’s Prayer

So next time you pray “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” you’ll know you’re asking to be restored to fellowship after being angry with someone who’s wronged you. You’ve forgiven them and can now be forgiven for your anger (Matt 6:14 ). Justified or not, anger’s a sin (Matt 5:22)

And Then There’s Hebrews 6:4-6

And the next time you read this famous passage, you’ll know that the writer was warning Messianic Jews that if they went back to sacrificing lambs for their sins (falling back into Jewish ritual) it would be impossible for them to restore their fellowship with the Lord. The shadow had been replaced by the reality. He wasn’t threatening them with irretrievable loss of salvation but with loss of fellowship.

How Do You Know This?

There are several places we could look to for support for this idea, but perhaps the clearest is in the parable of the Prodigal son. It’s found in Luke 15:11-32 if you want to review it. Two points are critical. When the son demanded the right to leave his father’s house and go his own way, he didn’t stop being his father’s son, and when he finally came to his senses and returned, his father welcomed him back with celebration. Union was never broken and fellowship had been unconditionally restored.

When you gave your heart to Jesus He gave you the authority to become a child of God (John 1:12). Since you are His child, you are also His heir (Gal 4:4-7) and your inheritance is eternal life (Titus 3:7). Your unconfessed sins will interrupt your fellowship with God, but you can never stop being His child.

Happy Birthday Lord Jesus

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

In Israel sundown Sept 16th 2012 marked the beginning of the year 5773, when Jews everywhere  celebrate Rosh Hashanah, literally “head of the year.” Although just before the Exodus the Lord changed the calendar so that the year would begin in the spring (Exodus 12:1) the Israelites continued to celebrate the New Year in the fall since Rosh Hashanah is an important date for other reasons. Continue reading…