Categories
End Times and the Bible

GOD AND MAGOG AND SCRIPTURE: FOCUS ON EVANGELIZATION RATHER THAN ON SPECULATION

Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj

Of late, after Russia invaded Ukraine, there has been a lot of focus on Bible Passages like Ezekiel 38 and 39. There is a talk that Gog and Magog mentioned in these chapters concerns Russia and Putin and so on and so forth. But I want issue a word of caution here. This word of warning comes straight from Scripture. Revelation 11:8 goes this way: “Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city – which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt – where also their Lord was crucified” (NIV). We know that the city where our Lord was crucified to be historically Jerusalem. But historic Jerusalem is symbolically called Sodom and Egypt in the book of Revelation. Why should this be so. The answer is obvious: Jerusalem committed the very same sins of Sodom (sexual immorality) and Egypt (Idol Worship).

Don’t get super-excited about names of places and their physical locations as the Lord’s return nears!

So as the coming of the Lord nears, we must not get super-excited about names of places and their physical locations! You excitedly blurt out, “Gog and Magog – that is about Russia! This is about Putin!” Don’t be so quick! Just above we saw proof that when the Bible talks about literal Jerusalem it may not be literal Jerusalem! We need to open to the possibility that Gog and Magog can signify another place spiritually speaking and not Russia. I am not saying this because of a personal bias. But I am saying this from the method of interpretation laid out in Revelation 11:8. Similarly, the ‘Babylon’ mentioned in I Peter 5:13, could have been used instead of Rome as there is no record in any other Bible passage which mentions that Apostle Peter and his spiritual son Mark ever ministered in geographical Babylon. Peter was using Babylon as a codeword for Rome, where he ministered. The phrase ‘She who is in Babylon together with you, sends you her greetings’ can be taken to mean the church in Rome sends you greetings. Peter uses this phrase just to be on the safer side when persecution was being stepped up. Babylon was a cryptogram for Rome. That’s all. If a Roman officer who was against the church get go to read I Peter, he would have got fooled when he read I Peter 5:13’s reference in Babylon, but believers of that time would instinctively know that Peter was talking about the church in Rome, and not the church in Babylon there.

Very often the physical location of Bible Places just don’t mean that place alone as Revelation 11:8 clearly shows!
Bible Scholars tell us that the Babylon of I Peter 5:13 does not mean geographical Babylon but geographical Rome. This verse has crypto description of the church in Rome to fool the enemies of the church in Rome.

Let’s read another passage from the book of Revelation: Revelation 20:7-8. It goes this way: ‘When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth – Gog and Magog – and to gather them for battle.’ Here Satan-deceived nations from the four corners of the Earth are called Gog and Magog. So, there is a real possibility that Gog and Magog is not indicative of one place in the end-times. As the coming of the Lord nears, you would be biblically wise, if you don’t be focus on physical locations like Russia, Jerusalem, Israel, etc. Instead your spiritual senses alert and you will see that people from all four directions of the globe are being deceived by Satan as the end draws near.

Jesus had told his disciples in no uncertain terms that the time of his return could not be guessed as the Father only knows this (Matt. 24:36; Mk. 13:32). Knowing they could not get an answer if they asked him a question, ‘When will you return Lord?’, I believe, they asked him a smartly-worded question which was a lot similar. They asked Jesus this question concerning the last days, the end times: ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?’ I believe this question is not much different from the questions we spend all our time speculating about these days: “Is Gog and Magog about Russia? Is Putin the anti-Christ? Will not Jesus surely return before one generation of people pass away after the formation of national Israel?” I believe Jesus’ answer to these questions is the same as his answer to the question of his disciples concerning geographical Israel’s future recorded by Luke in Acts: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Did you notice that Jesus indirectly mentions Gog and Magog, here? When speaks about the ‘ends of the earth’, I believe, Gog and Magog are also included in the list of places we must share the Goodnews with, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Rather than do unfruitful speculation about lesser important details about eschatology(end-times), we must focus our attention on gospel proclamation – that is the clear message of Acts 1:6-8. Ofcourse, the most important things concerning eschatology are these: the physical return of Jesus, the day of judgement where Jesus would be the judge, the eternal conscious torment of the stubborn Christ-rejectors, the reality of eternal heaven.

Acts 1:6-8 tells us this: do not waste your time in mere speculation about non-important aspects of eschatology. But be busy about passionate evangelization of all nations, peoples, tribes, languages.

If I get a chance to meet Putin, I will not ask him, ‘Are you the anti-Christ?’. Rather, I would look to share the Gospel with him! Rather than speculate on the role of nations in the endtimes, we must seek to spread the goodnews there! It is God’s job to harden their heart after having given them enough opportunities to repent like he did in Pharoah’s case. Once their heart is hardened they would go about fulfilling all what is written in the Bible about them in God’s calender. Till that happens, frankly, is none of our business. But it is our business to proclaim the Gospel to all in all nations – including Russia and Israel. God’s Word says so.

(A version of this article by Dr. Duke Jeyaraj appeared in the June 2022 edition of Evangelical Fellowship of India’s Aim magazine. Duke Jeyaraj, the author, is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader-supported, inter-denominational Indian ministry to presentday people. Find out more by emailing Duke via emailduke@gmail.com or whatsapping him at +91-8886040605).

Categories
Bible Truth Around Contemporary Events

Locusts, Us and The Message of Joel!

Duke Jeyaraj

There is a locust attack in NorthWest India as I write these words in May 2020. It is a terrible attack. Mohammed Iqbal writes the following lines for The Hindu: “The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation has given permission to the Rajasthan government’s Agriculture Department to use remotely piloted aircraft systems for anti-locust operations in the large areas where the insect swarms have landed. The locust attack has affected about 90,000 hectares in 20 districts of the State.” The Prophet Joel of the Bible talked about a locust plague during his time. Joel 1:4 reads this way: “We have been invaded! What the cutting locusts left, the swarming locusts consumed; What the swarming locusts left, the creeping locusts consumed;
What the creeping locusts left, the stripping locusts finished off” (Joel 1:4, The Voice). Before I attempted to learn the theology of Joel, I was wowed by his zoology! I did not know that so many different kinds of locusts even existed! For Joel, the locust plague were pointing to an event far more destructive! I read this online: “A Desert Locust adult can consume roughly its own weight in fresh food per day, that is about two grams every day. A very small part of an average swarm (or about one tonne of locustseats the same amount of food in one day as about 10 elephants or 25 camels or 2,500 people” (fao website). Can something be more destructive than the locust plague? Yes, says Joel. He goes onto talk about that event? What event? The Day of the Lord. He pens, “Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes!” (Joel 1:15, ESV). He writes, “Eternal One: Blow the trumpet in Zion; signal the alarm from My holy mountain! It is almost here. Let all who live in the land tremble because the day of the Eternal One is coming” (Joel 2:1, The Voice). The Day of the Lord prophecy has an immediate fulfillment, and an eschatological fulfillment. The immediate fulfillment was this: an enemy nation is going to invade Israel/Judah! The eschatological fulfillment will be this: the day of the return of the Lord Jesus is around the corner (Rev. 6:17)! So, what should we do? Joel replies: “Eternal One: Even now, turn back your heart and rededicate yourselves to Me; Show Me your repentance by fasting, weeping, and mourning” (Joel 2:12). So, let’s repent! Let’s do it ‘now’! Before it is too late! It will be ‘too late’ after the return of Jesus! It will be ‘too late’ after death! It will be ‘too late’ after the Holy Spirit stops speaking with our hardened heart!

(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission, G4 Mission. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. Watch Duke’s messages videos at http://www.Youtube.com/visitduke).