Q. I do a Bible study on Sunday afternoons and I’m teaching Isaiah right now. I came across something interesting and I would really like your input. I am involved on a well known prophecy chat board and your commentaries are posted often, so I would like to get your input directly from you, if that’s ok?
I will preface you by stating that I am Pre-Trib without a doubt, but I see Ezekiel 38 and 39 as the Day of the LORD due to some of the language and cross referencing it with the other prophets on the same event (Ezekiel 38:17 says that Gog is spoken of by the other prophets). This seems to cause a rift on the board because I am making my way as a teacher as well, and I do not just blindly fall in line with any view unless it is very clear.
in reading the text in Isaiah 23 about the destruction of Tyre and Sidon I went to Ezekiel 26 and 27 for the more specific prophecy. There are three cities in Ezekiel 27 named Togarmah, Meshech and Tubal that traded with Tyre and Sidon by sea. As I read the notes in my Bible and some commentary, they indicate that, “Tubal and Meshech are in Eastern Asia Monor, or modern day Turkey along with Togarmah.
So then I go to commentary about Meshech and Tubal in Ezekiel chapter 38 and guess what? Meshech and Tubal have now mysteriously migrated some 1000 miles north and INLAND and have become Russia now, and no longer the seafaring/trading cities of Asia Minor.
Think about how prophecy has been interpreted over the last 100 years, and look at how many things were indeed off the mark. Can anyone honestly answer and admit that the Russia view may end up being an “off the mark” interpretation if the LORD tarries and we really see it coming together differently? The key is Turkey in my opinion. I am watching them, not Russia
I guess I’m asking, what am I supposed to do when I study and prepare to teach and try to be faithful? Read the Bible and then disregard it and just cut and paste commentary of popular views and teach it as my own? Or trust the Holy Spirit, read the Word, cross reference a couple of commentaries, and then teach what He is leading me to teach?
A. I too have been uncomfortable identifying Meshech and Tubal as Russia, seeing them in Eastern Asia Minor, or what we know as Turkey today. But notice the commentaries do say Eastern Asia Minor. Turkey’s Eastern border is shared with Armenia. As for Beth Togarmah, the Hebrew word “beth” means house and the Armenians of today call themselves the House of Togarmah, so those three are pretty clear. They’re all Turkic peoples from the region of today’s Armenia.
I also agree with you that Turkey is the key to the Ezekiel 38 invasion. The other countries are already in place. Turkey still has to change sides.
As for Russia, there are over 130 historical references linking Russia to the Scythians, apparent descendants of Magog. When the Chinese built their Great Wall, it was to keep the Scythians out. Arabian history refers to the Great Wall as the Ramparts of Magog. And if you begin in Israel and go to the utter most parts of the North, you wind up in Russia, not Turkey. I think the Magog / Russia connection is a foregone conclusion.
But none of that is as important to me as the purpose of Ezekiel’s battle. That’s what really fixes its timing. It’s stated as being the event that re-awakens the Jewish people to their relationship with God. Ezekiel 39:22 says, “From that day forward the House of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God.”
This is the only event in our future that makes this claim and it’s the only one that can explain why they’ll suddenly decide to build a Temple. The treaty that ushers in Daniel’s 70th week must include provisions for one because three years later it’ll be there, big as day. Daniel, Paul and John all agree. Why would they build one in the face of world wide criticism unless they’re back in a covenant relationship with God? The only reason for a Temple is to perform Old Covenant rituals.
At the End of the Great Tribulation, their eyes will be opened to the Messiah (Zechariah 12:10) but at it’s beginning the false Messiah will stand in their Temple calling himself God. A Temple built as the result of their eyes being opened after all these years by the supernatural intervention of God into their affairs in the Battle of Ezekiel 38.
To be worthwhile, any teaching has to be Spirit-led. It’s our job to study and pray, to “do our best to present ourselves to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15)