The Rapture Report – Israel working to advance alliance with Gulf states
By Chris Schang
Over the past year or so we have seen Israel work hard to develop relationships and ties with Middle East Arab states that do not have peace treaties or ties with them. The main reason for this is to help counter the Iranian threat. The Arab countries in the Middle East and Israel have a common enemy in the regime in Tehran. As we have seen lately with the bold bombing of Saudi Arabian oil facilities by the Iranians, Iran hopes to increase its influence and power in the region. Iran is like an octopus in that its tentacles seem to reach just about everywhere in the Middle East. I came across an article this weekend that I thought was pretty interesting, especially in light of the possibility that we are seeing the beginning stages of the buildup to Ezekiel 38-39 in Syria. The article came from the Jerusalem Post the other day. The article reported:
Spurred by the growing Iranian threat, Foreign Minister Israel Katz advanced a historic alliance between Israel and the Gulf states when he met with his Arab counterparts on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly two weeks ago.
“Recently I have advanced, with the support of the Prime Minister, a diplomatic initiative to sign a non-aggression pact with the Arab states in the Gulf. This historic initiative will put an end to the conflict [between the Gulf states and Israel] and allow for civilian cooperation until peace agreements are signed,” Katz tweeted on Sunday.
“During my visit to the UN to presented the plan Arab foreign ministers and to the US envoy [Jason Greenblatt]. I will continue to act to strengthen Israel’s standing in the region and the world,” he said.
The article went on the report that the goal of these meetings was:
Israel’s Channel 12 first reported the story on Saturday night. As a follow-up to the meetings, teams would likely be formed to discuss the plan, which would promote economic cooperation and ensure peaceful relations between the countries irrespective of what occurs with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The idea is to provide a blueprint for cooperation until such time as a full peace treaties can be signed with Israel and the Gulf countries.
It appears that Israel and the Arab states have been working for a while to come up with a plan for cooperation in light of the Iranian threat. The article goes on to further report:
Last week, Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the Post that Israel and various Arab states, including those with whom Israel does not have formal ties, were working together at the UN and elsewhere against Iran. While the “Europeans were running around trying to get a meeting between [US President Donald] Trump and [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani, Israel and various Arab states were coordinating efforts to reveal the true face of the Iranians,” Danon said. At the General Assembly, Trump called on Arab states to normalize relations with Israel.
It also appears that Israel and the Arab states have put improving relations on the front burner given that the tensions between the United States and Iran lately. There is much speculation that the Iranians will ramp up their nuclear program in about a month if the Europeans have not met their demands to find ways to skirt the sanctions. The United State continues to promote and exert its “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign in order to try to get Iran to change course. The sanctions have been effective and Iran has openly admitted such. However, I would seriously doubt Iran will give up their nuclear program so it appears that the coming months will be something to watch in the near future.
As I was pondering this article, I begin to see how an alliance between Israel and the Arab states could possibly account for why there are no Arab states mentioned in the Gog/Magog prophecy of Ezekiel 38-39. While the coalition of invading countries is led by Russia, the rest of the countries specifically named in the prophecy are moslem. Thousands of years ago the prophet Ezekiel wrote:
Ezekiel 38:1-6 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, 3 And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: 4 And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: 5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: 6 Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.
The late Jack Kinsella wrote an interesting article of his called “The Who’s Who of Gog-Magog”. He wrote this briefing about the invaders mentioned in the prophecy and their current modern locations. From his article:
According to Ezekiel, Gog and Magog will lead an alliance of nations in the last days in a disastrous [for them] invasion against the reborn nation of Israel. In Ezekiel 38:3, Ezekiel clearly identifies Gog as a person, rather than a place; “the prince of Meshech and Tubal.” The Scofield Reference Bible’s notes to Ezekiel claim that “Meshech” is a Hebrew form of Moscow, and that “Tubal” represents the Siberian capital Tobolsk. That interpretation would make Gog both a ‘place’ — the Russian Federation of Nations — AND a ‘person’ — in the sense of a federated Russian leadership.
The Interlinear Bible (Hebrew – Greek – English) renders that verse as: “Son of man, set your face toward Gog, the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; and prophesy concerning him.” (In Hebrew, the word ‘Rosh’ meant, ‘chief prince’, or, the ‘chief of the chief princes.’) Magog was a son of Japeth, who, together with his brothers Tubal, Meshech, and Togarmah (Genesis 10:2-3) settled what is modern-day Russia and the southern steppes of the Caucasus mountains. And Ezekiel identifies ‘Gog’ as coming from the north of Israel. Following the compass due north from Jerusalem will take you through the center of Moscow.
The army of Gog and Magog primarily includes people from the nations of Gog, Gomer, Tubal, Meshech, and the house of Togarmah from the “north parts.” They will be joined by Persians from the East, Put from the West, Cushites from the South, and others. “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee…” (Ezekiel 38:5-6) “Gomer” is mentioned in Genesis as well as Ezekiel. The Jewish-turned-Roman historian Flavius Josephus identified Gomer with the Galatians.
“For Gomer founded those whom the Greeks now call Galatians, [Galls,] but were then called Gomerites.” (Antiquities of the Jews, I:6.) Ancient Galatia was an area in the highlands of central Anatolia (now Turkey). Galatia was bounded on the north by Bithynia and Paphlagonia, on the east by Pontus, on the south by Lycaonia and Cappadocia, and on the west by the remainder of Phrygia, the eastern part of which the Gauls had invaded. The modern capital of Turkey, Ankara, is part of ancient Galatia. Historically, ‘Gomer’ is also linked to the ancient Cimmerians. The Cimmerians eventually settled the regions north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea, in what is now parts of Russia and the Ukraine. The Cimmerians are believed to have migrated north from the region now called Azebaijanaround the time of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
Both the ancient Cimmerians and the Gomerites spoke a form of the Thracian or Persian language. Tubal was another son of Japheth who settled the area. Josephus wrote: “Tobal gave rise to the Thobeles, who are now called Iberes”. Josephus’ ‘Iberes’ settled in the area of the former Soviet state of Georgia. Ezekiel begins his listing of Gog-Magog’s allies with Persia, or modern day Iran. Iran’s allies, according to Ezekiel, include “Ethiopia” and “Libya.” The Libya of Ezekiel’s day wasn’t Muammar Ghadaffi’s Libya. Josephus writes: “Phut also was the founder of Libya to the south and called the inhabitants Phutites, from himself.” (Some versions of Scripture render ‘Libya’ (as does the KJV) whereas others render it ‘Put’ — a grandson of Noah.) Put settled an area that included most of North Africa including Libya and parts of modern Egypt. “Ethiopia” (also rendered by some versions as ‘Cush’) was a civilization centered in the North African region of Nubia, located in what is today southern Egypt and northern Sudan. Cush was another grandson of Noah, and the father of Nimrod. Josephus gives an account of the nation of Cush, who is the son of Ham and the grandson of Noah.
While Bible prophecy scholars are not in absolute agreement of the ancient locations and their modern locations, I have found that for the most part that regardless of where you place these modern-day countries they still include Russia, Turkey, Iran, North and South Africa, and the moslem countries extending from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. The interesting thing to note about the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy is that it seems to omit any modern-day Arab countries. This is very interesting to me in light of the news article above mentioning Israel and the Arab states in the Middle East working to improve relations and cooperation in light of the Iranian threat.
The Gog-Magog prophecy of Ezekiel 38-39 is foretold to happen in the “later days” by the prophet Ezekiel. With Israel becoming a country again on the world stage when she declared independence in 1948, we have clearly entered the “last days” as spoken of in the Bible. While none of us know exactly when as in a specific date this prophecy will happen the Bible prompts us to be sober and watching in the last days. We can clearly see that the Russia-Turkey-Iran axis that is forming in Syria for the first time in history could be a significant sign that we are closing in towards the fulfillment of the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy. I think the dynamic situation with Iran’s nuclear program could be the proverbial “domino” that falls that leads to a move by the Gog-Magog coalition. Israel has threatened to not let Iran get nukes. A strike on Iran could put the Gog-Magog alliance in motion. Also, Israel’s increased wealth after finding large natural gas and oil deposits makes the country a tempting “spoil” as mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39. Russia and Iran are both suffering under sanctions and decreased oil prices and sales. Turkey is not much better off. It sure does seem to be that the conditions for the fulfillment of this prophecy are getting more pronounced with each passing day.
And if we can see the later day events coming into focus, this should excite students of Bible prophecy because it would seem to indicate that the rapture of the church is getting closer as well. In fact, the rapture can happen at anytime now. So, with that I encourage you all to remain focused on Israel and the Middle East and to keep looking up, for it is clear that our redemption is surely drawing nigh!