By: Andrew Ferrier
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the most holy day in the Jewish year. On this day, Jews around the world will fast for a period of 24 hours. It was on this day in 1973 that a number of Arab states attacked Israel. They attacked at a time when they knew the Israeli soldiers would be the weakest from fasting. Their goal was to drive the Jews into the sea.
Israel came very close to losing that war. So close, in fact, that she was preparing to exercise what is known as the “Samson Option.” Sometime after being captured, Samson was brought to the temple of Dagon where he determined to kill himself along with the enemies of Israel by pushing the supporting pillars until the temple collapsed. Thus, the Samson Option is the decision that if Israel is losing, the nation will destroy itself, if that action will also destroy all the invading Arab armies.
Israel’s Samson Option is nuclear weapons.37 Israel had nuclear bombs loaded and ready to use during this war. Fortunately she went on to win this war and a major nuclear war was averted. The Arabs came to realize the only way they could defeat Israel was with nuclear bombs of their own.
It was shortly after the Yom Kippur war, that a man by the name of Saddam Hussein began to build a nuclear reactor just outside Bagdad, Iraq. The first step in the production of nuclear weapons is the building of an operational nuclear reactor. Since Iraq had very large oil fields to provide gas for building a nuclear power plant was for the eventual destruction of the nation of Israel.
Israel could not allow this to continue. In 1981, shortly before Saddam’s nuclear reactor was about to go operational, Israel sent several F-16’s into Baghdad. In just two minutes the Israeli fighter jets completely destroyed Saddam’s lone reactor.38
As this was happening, another Islamic country across the eastern border from Iraq, by the name of Iran, saw how easy it was for Israel to take out Saddam’s line reactor. Iran determined to spread out their nuclear production facilities across the entire country. They began to build. Currently Iran is building, at breakneck speed, several reactors, one of which is located under beautiful luxury homes.
Israel cannot allow Iran to go nuclear. In 2005, Israel purchased from America 100 bunker busting bombs, in order to take out Iran’s nuclear program.39 Israel has also developed war games to stimulate a mock invasion of Iran. Iran knows that Israel is going to attempt to destroy their nuclear reactors, as they did Saddam’s. Iran has publicly warned Israel that if Israel tries to do this, Iran will hit back. This could start a major war in the Middle East that could affect the whole world.
Ezekiel 38:1-7, in the Bible, speaks of a major war involving Russia, and Iran (Persia) prior to the start of the seven year Tribulation period spoken of in the book of Revelation. Russia is one of the main allies of Iran. Therefore an attack by Israel on Iran could trigger this great end time battle.
In this prophecy, God tells Ezekiel to prophesy against, “the land of Magog.” When Ezekiel wrote this prophecy some 3,600 years ago there was not a land called “Russia.” Today’s modern Russia is “the land of Magog.”40
As the Russian army comes against Israel they do not come alone. “Persia” comes with them. Persia is Iran, and, in fact, Iran was called Persia up until 1935.41 Some of the other nations are difficult to identify, but one is clear and that is Iran.
Ezekiel 38:8 This verse gives us four time factors as to when this great battle will take place:
1. “In the latter years.” This battle will not take place in the days of Ezekiel. It will take place in the distant future.
2. When the land of Israel has been “restored from the sword.” The Jews living in the land of Israel escaped the sword of Hitler’s holocaust.
3. When the Jews have returned back to the land “from many nations.” This could not be said of the Jewish return from the Babylonian captivity when they returned from only one country. Today, the Jewish people have returned back to their homeland from over 100 different countries.
4. At a time when they are “living securely.” This is a perfect description of Israel today. Even though their security may appear to be questionable, the Israelis are among their own people and feel greater security living there than among the other nations of the world.
Ezekiel 38:11 also tells us something about the timing of this battle. When Ezekiel wrote this he must have been scratching his head and thinking, “Wait a minute Lord, are you sure, unwalled villages?” because in the days of Ezekiel every city had a wall around it. No city was safe without a wall.
This is, however, a perfect description of Israel today. Not one city has a wall around it, with the exception of the old city section of Jerusalem. The security fence Israel has built does not encompass any city, but rather protects the borders. This is a perfect description of the land of Israel today.
Ezekiel 38:12 explains Russia’s motivation for invading the land of Israel. It is all about money. And it usually is, isn’t it. But what does Israel have that Russia would want? Some have pointed to the Dead Sea. The mineral wealth of the Dead Sea is estimated at over 1 trillion dollars.42 Much of the mineral wealth there can be used for fertilizing crops. This would solve one of Russia’s recurring problems, which is how to feed its people. Israel is considered the silicon valley of the Middle East. It is a highly technological state that is constantly making new discoveries and innovations in technology. For whatever reason, Ezekiel 38:16 foresees Russia and the invading armies covering the land like a cloud.
Ezekiel 38:18-23 It is then that the anger of the Lord is aroused and he causes a great earthquake in the land, so that much of the earth is shaken. This apparently causes some confusion among these invading armies as they begin to fight against each other. (Every man’s sword will be against his brother.) Then God will pour upon these armies a torrential rain mixed with hailstones, fire and brimstone, which will completely wipe them out. Afterward, Israel will realize there really is a God, for only God Himself could send the elements to fight with, and win, this war for them. This does not mean they will become believers in Jesus. Later, at the end of the seven year Tribulation, they will recognize Jesus as the Messiah. But at this point they will become theists. Many Jewish people today, especially in Israel, are atheists or agnostics. In fact, about 25% of Israelis doubt the existence of God.43 But after this miraculous, great battle, ALL Jewish people will believe in God.
Ezekiel 39:4 There was a tract written years ago with the picture of a vulture on the front of it. The tract claimed that the vultures in Israel were beginning to lay more eggs and to breed more offspring in preparation for this great battle. There is no evidence of this, however, Israel is a natural migratory route for millions of birds each spring and fall as they migrate between Africa and Asia Minor. At sometime in the near future the predatory birds and the beasts of the field will have a feast of Biblical proportions!
Finally, Ezekiel 39:9 provides another clue as to the timing of this great battle. This battle is so big it takes seven years to clean it up. This battle must take place shortly before the start of the seven year Tribulation since the prophets give us a description of the land of Israel during the millennium as being like the Garden of Eden. (Ezekiel 36:35, Ezekiel 34:13, 14, Jeremiah 31:12, Isaiah 51:3) Dead bodies and burned out tanks do not enhance the beauty of the Garden of Eden. This battle will be cleaned up before Jesus returns at the end of the seven year tribulation. As Iran is closer and closer to a nuclear bomb, the start of this great battle of Gog and Magog is at the very door.
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From the book The Future (Copyright 2011 pgs. 53-60) by Andrew Ferrier. Andrew Ferrier is a traveling speaker for The Friends Of Israel Gospel Ministry Inc.
37: Seymour Hersh, “The Samson Option” (Random House 1991).
38: Uri Bar-Joseph, “Two Minutes Over Baghdad,” (Routledge; second edition (May 30, 2003).
40: Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah (Ariel Ministries 2003), p. 107.