Thus says the Lord GOD: It shall happen in that day, that things shall come into your mind, and you shall devise an evil device: and you shall say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to those who are at rest, who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates; to take the spoil and to take the prey; to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered out of the nations, who have gotten cattle and goods, who dwell in the middle of the earth. Ezekiel 38:10-12

Application of biblical prophecy to contemporary events is no doubt as old as the prophets themselves. The extraordinary literary success of the near-sited Left Behind series should not be taken lightly. There are many fundamentally sounding Christian apocalypticists out there and more coming online all the time, thanks to the freedom of website development. One site I recently came across is by a man named Ken Power, who describes himself as follows:

I’m nobody. I’m not a pastor, or a scholar, or a highly paid lecturer on the academic circuit. The media doesn’t call me when they need a sound bite from a recognized expert. I’ve got no qualifications for this job whatsoever…Except for having walked with Yahweh for over fifty years now.

He does have a vivid imagination, offering the novel view that the prophetic references to an enemy land called Gog are really for modern Iran (born-again end-of-time commentators in the Cold War generally thought this meant the Russians). His end-time scenario follows the basic game-plan of most Protestant Fundamentalist strategy. First the Rapture occurs and bible-believing Christians get transported out of harm’s way. Then the world suffers through a 7-year Tribulation period, when Jews will face the worst holocaust ever. The Whore of Babylon, the Beast and the Antichrist all have starring roles until Jesus comes back. Then there is the climactic Battle of Armegeddon. But meanwhile, events in the Tribulation seem only moments away for Mr. Power. Here is a short excerpt. I think further commentary is not needed.

The Mother of All Battles

I can hear the grumbling now. Doggone it! It was all going so well. Everyone was getting along with each other, more or less. Religious intolerance was a thing of the past. There were no wars going on. We were on our way to utopia. And now this!

“This” is a massive military buildup discovered to be underway in Iran (called Magog in Ezekiel’s prophecy) and its neighboring nations. Satellite imagery has caught the Iranians in a blatant breach of the European treaty, though their diplomats are vociferously denying any wrongdoing. Troop movements in Iran, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Azerbaijan are said to be NATO-style war games designed to sharpen the skills of their internal “peace-keeping” forces. But it all looks like preparations for an invasion to everyone else in the world.

The U.N. doesn’t really know what to think. The leaders of the western world had all been a bit surprised at the Ayatollah’s sudden willingness to sign the Europe-sponsored peace initiative a year ago. The Iranian head of state had shocked the world by agreeing to the European leader’s terms early in the negotiations, and other Islamic states from Morocco to Pakistan had quickly fallen into line. It was almost too easy—it had seemed, as the expression goes, too good to be true.

For years, the Muslim nations in the Middle East had been spending up to twenty percent of their gross domestic products on “defense”—six or seven times the world average. That number had been reduced somewhat under the terms of the European treaty. But now it has been discovered that since the treaty was signed, several nations, notably Russia and China, have been selling the Muslims huge amounts of war materiel under the guise of “farm equipment” and “heavy construction machinery.” Complicating things is the fact that Iran had joined the nuclear club several years before the Antichrist took the reins of power in Europe (but since the Ayatollah had not rattled his saber since then, the western nations had not pressed him about disarmament). In truth, they’d lost their taste for “preventative warfare” after watching the Americans “win” their fight in Iraq, only to lose thousands of their best and brightest one by one to Shiite Muslim terrorists in the following frustrating years.

That scenario is admittedly speculative, but it fits the requirements of the prophetic scriptures as well as this morning’s newspaper. All we can be sure of is what is written in the Bible: “In the latter years you [Gog] will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely. You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you. Thus says Yahweh: ‘On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan: You will say, “I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates—to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land.”’” (Ezekiel 38:8-12) The real “mother of all battles” is about to begin. The objective: to drive Israel into the sea.

To Gog, it will seem to be the perfect opportunity. The hated Jews now live in a “land of unwalled villages,” that is, their defenses are pitifully anemic, their cities vulnerable to attack. And why is that? Because they have swallowed the Antichrist’s promises of peace and protection, putting their own defense force, the IDF, under the suzerainty of the United Nations. The multi-million dollar security fence they built during the first decade of the 21st century to keep terrorists out has been pulled down in places and leaks like a sieve everywhere else…

There are 1.3 billion Muslims in the world today. If half of them live within the territories of the Magog federation, and if a third of them are males of fighting age, it means that Gog could conceivably raise an army of two hundred million soldiers. If you’re familiar with Revelation 9, you’ll recognize this number immediately. It is the exact size of an army from beyond the Euphrates that’s prophesied to kill one-third of mankind with weapons of fire, smoke, and brimstone.

Are Magog’s armies and the Revelation 9 force one and the same? Actually, I don’t think so. Much of Gog’s forces start out west of the Euphrates. And their objective is Israel—period. They’re not interested in anything else (well, it would be a nice bonus if they could eliminate that meddling infidel Euro-trash who caused all this trouble in the first place). Even if they killed every living thing within the borders of the promised land, the number of slain wouldn’t come remotely close to the one third of the earth’s population at this time—two billion people plus—who are predicted to be killed (Revelation 9:18). Also, it’s stated later in Revelation (chapter 16) that the Euphrates River will be dried up to allow this huge army from the east to “attend” a battle (presumably Armageddon). But the armies of Magog who start out east of the Euphrates will invade Israel from the north. Why? Because that’s where it’s logistically feasible to ford the great river—nearer its source. In other words, the river still has water in it when they attack. The Muslims aren’t like the Americans: they won’t be flying their entire army to the battle zone. They’ll be marching to it—all two hundred million of them (and even if it’s only a tenth that size, it’ll still be the largest single army the world has ever seen up to that time).

Daniel Martin Varisco