A Land of Unwalled Villages
Perspective by Jack Kelley
After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations and now all of them live in safety. You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm, you will be like a cloud covering the land.
This is what the sovereign Lord says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. You will say, "I will invade a land of unwalled villages, I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people – all of them living without gates and bars." (Ezek. 38:8-11)
Many students of prophecy, myself included, see the battle of Ezekiel 38-39 as one of the next events on God's prophetic calendar. In the scenario Ezekiel described nearly 2500 years ago, a coalition of Moslem countries, armed and led by the Russian government, will attack Israel and be utterly defeated due to God's direct intervention. He will use this battle to re-introduce Himself to Israel as their protector and to broadcast His call to all His people worldwide to return to their ancient homeland
When Will These Things happen?
All agree that this battle has not yet taken place. Following WW 2 the Jewish people returned to the land for the first time in centuries and only since then have conditions been such that Ezekiel's prophecy could be fulfilled.
Speaking of this battle Lord said, "I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay upon them (the attacking Moslem coalition). From that day forward the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God. (Ezek. 39:22). He concluded by saying, "I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind." (Ezek. 39:28)
Israel's re-gathering, officially begun in 1948, will finally be complete and will be both spiritual and physical. According to Acts 15: 13-19 and Daniel 9:27 it will result it a temple being built. That means the Jews will be returning to their Old Covenant relationship with God. The 490 year clock that stopped short at the time of the Crucifixion will begin ticking again, its final 7 years, known as Daniel's 70th Week, unfolding. God's attention will again be focused on Israel and the Church will disappear into Heaven.
The Jews will begin Temple construction assisted by the anti-Christ (Dan 9:27) in what will be his first big move to establish himself as the god of this world. 3 1/2 years later he will stand in this very Temple and proclaim himself to be God, a declaration that begins the Great Tribulation. (Matt. 24:15 & 2 Thes. 2:4) So this battle must be inserted into the window of time between the rebirth of the nation in 1948 and the rebuilding of the Temple, still in the future. You can see why prophecy students are so interested. Israel's return to God, Daniel's 70th week, the Rapture of the Church, the Temple, and the introduction of the anti-Christ are all directly or indirectly keyed off this battle. (Although the Rapture can happen at any time, it can't happen any later than the beginning of Daniel's 70th Week.)
A Peaceful And Unsuspecting People
So what else has to happen before this battle can take place? Most of the participants are in place and it's no secret that they're in the final stages of preparation. Nor is their intent a mystery. Iran has openly predicted Israel's soon coming demise. Turkey seems to be the only nation that hasn't fallen in line with the Moslem Coalition Ezekiel described.
And there's one other condition. Israel is described as living in safety in Ezek. 38:8 and the Jews are called a peaceful and unsuspecting people in Ezek. 38:11. The word translated safety in Ezek. 38:8 really implies what might be called a false sense of security, as if there's no basis for the feeling of safety that exists in the minds of the people. One meaning of the word is careless. The safety is more a hope they have than a legitimate condition.
But getting back to the description of Israel living in safety in a land of unwalled villages, how will that prerequisite for Ezekiel's battle be met, given the current conditions? The concept of unwalled villages means the residents don't expect war. In Ezekiel's day an unwalled village was vulnerable to attack, and only a people who believed they had no enemies would consider living in such an exposed fashion. When in its 59-year history has modern Israel ever felt this way? And who would describe them this way now, or even sees them in this condition in the near future?
Remember, Ezekiel's word for safety implies a false sense of security, so only the illusion of peace is necessary to meet the requirement. If they were somehow convinced that their problem with the nations around them was solved, perhaps they could cling to the illusion of peace. Keep in mind that they've only been a nation again for 59 years, and during that time they haven't known even a single day of peace. Many are tired of war, as you and I would be. For the first time, a majority of Israelis is willing to consider giving up part of Jerusalem in exchange for peace. And several Arab leaders have indicated that all the problems of the Middle East would go away if the Jews and Palestinians could find peace. If an opportunity arose, the pressure to accept a deal, any deal, would be enormous.
Here's One Possibility
For the past few months there's been almost continuous speculation in the international press of a flare up between Israel and its neighbors to happen sometime in the summer of 2007. Some intelligence services are saying that the 120 plus missiles that Hamas has rained down on southern Israel in mid-May marks its beginning. The intent is to draw Israel into the fight between Hamas and The Palestinian Authority. The US is pressuring Palestinian PM Abbas to put troops under his command up against Hamas to stop the missiles, but he's resisting, fearful that it won't work.
Israel is facing the possibility of either having to team up with PA troops or mount an invasion of Gaza on its own. If Abbas won't rise to the occasion and they have to go it alone, all bets are off. The various Moslem entities will use this as a pretext for war, and Israel is no more prepared now than last summer when Hezbollah attacked.
As of today (May 19), there's a new truce in place between the PA and Hamas, but Israel is still pounding suspected Hamas missile sites from the air. And don't forget, the political leaders aren't running the show over there. Its local militia commanders in Gaza who decide what will or will not happen.
But if there is another flare up this summer, it will likely be met with an immediate demand from the international community for an end to the hostilities. Things could get out of control too quickly and the stakes are too high to let events run their course. The resultant treaty would cost Israel dearly, but could convince them that they've achieved peace. If that happens then the final pieces could fall into place quickly to bring on Ezekiel's battle.
Then one day when Israel least expects it, this Moslem coalition having only made a show of dismantling their terrorist networks, will say, "I will invade a land of unwalled villages, I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people – all of them living without gates and bars." (Ezek. 38:11) And they will descend upon unsuspecting Israel in a stunning surprise attack.
But He Who watches over Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps (Ps. 121:4), and He will execute judgment upon them with plague and bloodshed, and will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones, and burning sulfur. He will show His greatness and Holiness and will make Himself known in the sight of many nations, and then they will know that He is the Lord. (Ezek 38:22-23) Stay tuned ... you can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 05-19-07