United Nations vs Israel, and the End of the World|
online edition of the book by David A. Reed
will be...burdening the world...all the nations of the earth unite in an attempt..." - Zech. 12:3 LB
"Jerusalem shall be...administered by the United Nations." - UN General Assembly Resolution 181
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Ezekiel’s Prophecy: a Coalition Attack on a Restored
Around 2500 years ago the prophet Ezekiel spoke of a time
in the distant future when the Jews would return to the land of Israel, the
nation would be restored, and then a broad coalition of many nations would
“The LORD spoke
his word to me, saying, ‘Human, look toward Gog of the land of Magog, the chief
ruler of the nations of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him and say, “The LORD God says this: I am against you, Gog, chief
ruler of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around and put hooks in your jaws.
And I will bring you out with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all of whom
will be dressed in beautiful uniforms. They will be a large army . . . Persia,
Cush, and Put will be with them . . . There will also be Gomer with all its
troops and the nation of Togarmah from the far north with all its troops—many
nations . . .
“‘“After a long time you will be called for
service. After those years you will come into a land that has been rebuilt from
war. The people in the land will have been gathered from many nations to the
mountains of Israel, which were empty for a long time. These people were
brought out from the nations . . .
“‘“You, all your troops, and the many nations with you
. . . Now that my people Israel are living in safety, you will know about it.
You will come with many people from your place in the far north. You will have
a large group with you, a mighty army . . .”'”
—Ezekiel 38:1-15 NCV
Some commentators in the past have viewed this passage as
foretelling events surrounding Antiochus IV Epiphanes who ruled the Seleucid
Empire from 175 BC until his death in 164 BC., and who occupied the land of
Israel and tried to force the Jews to give up their laws and customs. Many modern
commentators interpret the passage as foretelling a future attack against
Israel by Russia and a broad coalition of nations under Russia’s leadership seven
years before the coming battle of Armageddon.
Throughout the years of the Cold War it was the Soviet
Union (primarily Russia) that took the lead in attacking Israel in the United
Nations, along with the Arab states. Huge majorities passed countless General
Assembly resolutions condemning the Jewish state. Why didn’t the U.N. take
military action against Israel on the scale of the Korean conflict? America’s
veto in the Security Council precluded such an attack.
However, the nations surrounding the restored modern state
of Israel—its immediate neighbors—did attack more than once over the years. In
1948, after Israel declared its independence, it was invaded by the combined
armies of Egypt, Syria, Transjordan (later Jordan), Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi
Arabia. Local Palestinian Arab forces also fought the Jews. In 1967 the
forces of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq massed on Israel’s borders in obvious
preparation for a massive attack, but Israel struck first preemptively in what
came to be called the Six Day War. In the War of Attrition (1969-70) Israel’s
neighbors precipitated frequent clashes along the borders and the 1967
cease-fire lines, with additional guerilla action inside Israel itself. In
the Yom Kippur War (or Ramadan War from the Arab perspective) of 1973, the
forces of Egypt, Syria and Iraq again attacked the Jewish state.
Although initially backing Israel during the 1948 war and
the truce that followed, the early 1950s saw the Soviet Union switch to
supporting the Arab states. Russia played a major role in the later multi-national
attacks against Israel.
The Russians reportedly supplied much of the sophisticated
military equipment used by the Arab side in the 1967 Six Day War. In the
1969-1970 War of Attrition, the Soviet Union participated actively in Egypt’s
air defense by providing military hardware and thousands of “advisors.”
According to information supplied by the Israel Defense Forces and published in
the Jewish Virtual Library, Russians actually piloted Mig fighter planes,
operated the sophisticated radar installations, and launched surface-to-air
missiles against Israeli planes. The IAF reported shooting down five Russian
But the popular identification of Magog and Meshech with
Russia and Moscow is the subject of much speculation and debate. Actually,
Persia is the only nation in Ezekiel’s list that we can identify with
certainty; it is the age-old name of the country we call Iran today. Genesis,
chapter 10, lists Cush and Put as grandsons of Noah through his son Ham, and Magog,
Gomer, Meshech and Tubal as grandsons of Noah through his son Japheth—plus
Togarmah as a great-grandson—noting concerning their descendants that “All the
families grew and became different nations, each nation with its own land and
its own language.” (Genesis 10:5 NCV) Commentaries locate these nations
across portions of Europe, Asia and Africa.
Ezekiel said these nations would unite to attack a restored
state of Israel in the distant future, a land “whose people were gathered from
many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate.” (38:8
NIV) This description could certainly fit the modern state of Israel,
populated by Jews who returned to the Promised Land from Europe and the Americas,
as well as from Russia.
The attackers would include Iran (Persia) and “many” other
nations. The Apostle John’s Apocalypse uses similar language to refer to all
the nations—“the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog.”
(Revelation 20:8) So, Ezekiel’s list of nations could likewise represent the
entire world community of nations.
There is also a similarity of language between Ezekiel 39
and Revelation 19, which may imply that Ezekiel was writing concerning the same
final war discussed in the nineteenth chapter of Revelation. In both passages
all the birds are invited to eat the flesh of the world’s rulers and their
armies, after the nations are defeated by God’s forces.
“‘. . . Speak to every kind of bird and wild
animal: “Come together, come! Come together from all around to my sacrifice, a
great sacrifice which I will prepare for you on the mountains of Israel. Eat
flesh and drink blood! You are to eat the flesh of the mighty and drink the
blood of the rulers of the earth . . . At my table you are to eat until you are
full of horses and riders, mighty men and all kinds of soldiers,”’ says the LORD God. ‘“I will show my glory among the
nations. All the nations will see my power when I punish them.’”
—Ezekiel 39:17-21 NCV
“Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he
called with a loud voice to all the birds flying in the sky: ‘Come and gather
together for the great feast of God so that you can eat the bodies of kings,
generals, mighty people, horses and their riders, and the bodies of all
people—free, slave, small, and great.’ Then I saw the beast and the kings of
the earth. Their armies were gathered together to make war against the rider on
the horse and his army.”
—Revelation 19:17-19 NCV
The Apostle John, who wrote the Revelation under divine
inspiration, was familiar with Ezekiel’s earlier writings, so his use of
similar language would not be a mere accident. Did he mean to imply that he
was writing of the same conflict that Ezekiel foretold?
Was Gog’s attack in Ezekiel a portrayal of Russia waging
war against Israel by proxy through all of its Arab neighbors? Could it be
that Ezekiel’s prophecy was fulfilled in Russia’s mobilizing the United
Nations—all the nations of the world—to condemn Israel? Russia and its Arab
allies were behind countless General Assembly resolutions and Security Council
resolutions condemning the actions of the Jewish state. Or did the prophet
write of a future full-scale military attack on Israel by Russia and a limited
group of allies? Or was Ezekiel speaking of a move against Israel by all the
nations of the world, a final attack that triggers God’s wrath at Armageddon?
Time will tell. Bible readers will be in a better position
to identify the correct interpretation as the fulfillment of end times prophecy
continues to play out.