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Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star


When Jesus was ready to begin His public ministry, the first thing He did was get baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. After "fulfilling all righteousness" by allowing John to baptize Him, He promptly went out into the wilderness to fast for 40 days. As you may recall, Satan came to Jesus three times to tempt Him into doing something satisfying to the flesh but contrary to the will of His Father, and each time the Lord used the Word to put the Adversary to silence with a scriptural smackdown (Matt. 4:1–11).

After completing this 40-day period of testing, Jesus began preaching in the region of Galilee—and it wasn't long before He made His way back to His hometown of Nazareth, approximately 15 miles southwest of the Sea of Galilee. Back on home turf, Jesus went to the local synagogue on the Sabbath, just as I'm sure He had done countless times growing up.

But this time was different.

Luke picks up the narrative in chapter 4:

16He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. He entered, as was his custom, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the book, and found the place where it was written,

18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed,

19and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." 20He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21He began to tell them, "Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

(Luke 4:16–21 AKJV)

Of course, what Jesus said was true—as the Messiah, He had come to heal and to minister and preach "good news" to the poor, and He had already begun doing just that. But the important thing to realize is what Jesus didn't say.

Here is the passage in Isaiah Jesus was reading from:

1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

2To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, [Jesus stopped here, and didn't read what follows] and the day of vengeance of our God...

(Isaiah 61:1–2a AKJV / emphasis &
[comments] added)

Jesus read verse 1 and the first clause of verse 2, but abruptly put the scroll down mid-sentence and didn't read the next clause ("and the day of vengeance of our God"). He had already begun the literal fulfillment of the part He actually read by launching His ministry of healing and preaching the "good news" of His Father's grace and mercy, as well as the promised kingdom. The "acceptable year of the LORD" had come, when God was pleased to receive all those who responded to His grace and mercy and believed in faith.

The "day of vengeance," however, is a different kettle of fish. This is when God's outpouring of grace and mercy has ended, and it's time to judge all those who have staunchly refused to avail themselves of it. Paul makes reference to this "vengeance" in his second letter to the Thessalonians:

6Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

(2 Thessalonians 1:6–9 AKJV / emphasis added)

Of course, this "vengeance" will reach its culmination at the Second Coming, when Christ returns to slay His enemies with the word of His mouth and send them off to eternal punishment prior to establishing His kingdom.

But what I want to focus your attention on is a principle that is found in many prophecies throughout the Bible, and I chose this passage because it is such a wonderful example of this principle.

Notice in Isaiah 61:2 that the first clause ("to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD") was fulfilled by Christ 2,000 years ago as He launched His earthly ministry. The very next clause, however, ("and the day of vengeance of our God") won't be fulfilled until Christ returns at the Second Coming to judge a world that has spurned His grace and mercy. In other words:

In the text of Isaiah, these two parts of

the prophecy are only separated by a comma.

In reality, they are separated by two millennia.

This principle shows up in numerous prophecies throughout the Bible, and it is often referred to as prophetic telescoping. This occurs when God inserts time lapses into prophecies—time lapses that may extend from one verse to the next, or one clause to the next with no obvious indication of such a gap of time in the text itself. For example, God says something like:

I will do A, and then I will do B.

So God does A, and we tend to assume B is comin' right up on the heels of A. But in reality there may be a major gap of time between A and B that is not obvious and that Scripture doesn't mention. Sometimes when you come to understand the whole prophecy and perceive that gap and the dilated temporal connection between the different aspects of the prophecy, you almost feel as if one moment you're squinting at a tiny star in the night sky, and the next moment you're gazing at a phenomenally detailed image of a distant spiral galaxy through the James Webb Space Telescope. Sing it with me:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,

God's Word tells us what you are,

In His Word through prophecy,

God reveals just what will be,

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,

God's Word tells us what you are.

1000x: When people speak of telescopes, they often speak of magnification. As you read certain prophetic passages in Scripture, sometimes it's as if one minute you're sitting at the feet of a humble wayfarer from Nazareth who speaks in parables, and the next minute you're witnessing Him as the King of kings and the Lord of lords, returning in unimaginable glory at the Second Coming with the entire Church in tow to slay untold millions of His enemies and establish His 1,000-year kingdom. Now that's magnification!

Now, in some cases prophetic telescoping is pretty straightforward and really doesn't cause any confusion. This may be the case when the prophecy is something well known from historical events and other passages of Scripture and we grasp the temporal context without any trouble. For example:

6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: [OK, Christ is born. Then what?] and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

(Isaiah 9:6–7 AKJV / emphasis & [comments] added)

The first part of verse 6 was fulfilled at the First Advent, when Christ was born into the world in a body of flesh 2,000 years ago. The rest of verse 6 and all of verse 7 will finally be fulfilled after the Second Coming during the Millennial Kingdom, when He will assume the throne of David and rule the world.

My point is simply that anyone who knows the Bible from a BLT knows full well that Christ was born in a manger 2,000 years ago and that He is returning at some point in the (relatively near) future to establish and rule in His kingdom. Although the fulfillment of these back-to-back prophecies are separated by 2,000 years, this is prophetic telescoping that is unlikely to cause anyone with the most basic understanding of the Bible any real confusion (a distinction that, sadly, excludes an embarrassingly large percentage of people warming the pews of many churches today).

Although some examples of prophetic telescoping may be somewhat less clear, we can still understand what is being communicated to us because we know part of the prophecy has been fulfilled, and we understand from the study of other passages of Scripture what is meant and how the long-term portion of the prophecy fits into the prophetic scheme of things. For example:

26And after three score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and to the end of the war desolations are determined. [Uh-oh, telescope time...] 27And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured on the desolate.

(Daniel 9:26–27 AKJV / emphasis & [comments] added)

Prophetic telescoping most definitely comes to bear in Daniel's Prophecy of the 70 Weeks, where we understand that verse 26 clearly refers to the Crucifixion and the destruction of the Second Temple by Arab conscripts in the Roman army less than 40 years later in AD 70.

But then without missing a beat, in the very first clause of the very next verse we are suddenly face to face with the treaty that launches the Tribulation nearly 2,000 years later—a treaty that gets broken in the next clause. So the partial fulfillment in the past gives us something to work with, and a general understanding garnered from other places in Scripture of how the end-time scenario unfolds helps us fill in the blanks and put the pieces together.

With the aid of a number of other passages, we understand more fully that Daniel is telling us that the future Antichrist will confirm a covenant with Israel for seven years that includes the building of the Third Temple. This launches the seven-year Tribulation, and then the Antichrist breaks that covenant at its midpoint and desecrates that temple by erecting his image in the holy place as the False Prophet forces people to worship the Antichrist as God or die.

One question that might occur to some people is...

Why does God do this?

Why does God incorporate this tricky business of prophetic telescoping in His Word? Does He want to confuse us? Does He just want to make us study His Word harder in order to figure things out? No. The reason God does this sort of thing in many prophecies throughout the Bible is pretty simple:

God uses prophetic telescoping

in His Word because He can.

God does this because He's God, and that's how God thinks—He doesn't view or think about time the way we do. Why should He? He invented it. For God, all events for all time are spread out before Him like a panorama, and He is free to manipulate events throughout history as He sees fit to carry out His will and His Plan of the Ages, both on a small scale for billions of individual people and on a large scale for nations and groups of nations. Sing it with me:

What a mighty God we serve,

What a mighty God we serve,

With the power He employs,

Time and space are tinkertoys,

What a mighty God we serve.

(Every time I used to sing as a kid, my older sister would tell me to put a sock in it.) But as we see such prophetic telescoping validated and fulfilled, it serves to drive home the point that the Bible is precisely what it says it is:

The divinely inspired, prophetically

self-confirming Word of a Creator God.

'Nuff said. OK, I know what many of you are thinking right about now:

"He's going somewhere with this—I just know it."

And right you are...so let's get going.

Bada bing, bada boom

The reason I got latched onto this topic is because of the responses of some individuals to the fact that a number of people in the watchman community (this writer included) have expressed their opinion that the current escalation of hostilities in the Middle East appears to be something that is heading toward the attack of Gog-Magog in Ezekiel 38–39, even though no one can say what kind of twists and turns may occur in the process.

I delve into this in an article I wrote two months ago ("Where Is This Going?"), and in that article I express my opinion that the world is indeed on track for a date with Gog-Magog in the foreseeable future. Others disagree, however, and some have written things that push ideas such as the following:

Gog-Magog must occur in the first half of the Tribulation.

Gog-Magog must occur in the second half of the Tribulation.

Gog-Magog must occur right before the Second Coming.

Gog-Magog must be the same as the attack of Armageddon.

Gog-Magog must be one phase of the attack of Armageddon.

And so on and so forth, ad infinitum, ad speculatio. Now, without exception, these authors are genuinely sincere and are 100 percent convinced they have indeed properly ferreted out the true, accurate interpretation of the words of Ezekiel in chapters 38 and 39:

"Gotta be. Please, consider my words carefully—you'll see it's a Bible lock!"

You know, I honestly have no business criticizing such people because let's face it: I kinda do the same thing sometimes, more or less. Of course, the chief difference is that I really AM RIGHT!!! (I'm kidding.)

When I sat down to work on this article, however, I confess that my smackdown gene was go for launch. I was champing at the bit, ready to take some of these foolish, obviously unscriptural arguments and tie them around the authors' throats, choke the life out of them, and watch them sink to the bottom of the deep blue sea. Hey, I've done it before.

Sigh...pray for me.

But something different happened this time around. As I reread some of these people's foolish, obviously unscriptural arguments, I began to see a flicker of logic here and there—an occasional glimmer through the garbage. I began to see the logic behind a few of their points, and slowly began to develop an appreciation for the fact that some of them kinda sorta almost made at least some sense, based on the author's seemingly reasonable logic.

Of course, I couldn't bring myself to actually agree with them—my own position on the timing of Gog-Magog simply makes too much sense to me to just cut it loose. Yet there were these glimmers... This left me sitting in front of my computer, staring blankly at my monitor, and pondering the type of dreaded question I confront from time to time:

Well, whaddya gonna do now, slick? Start from scratch and write about Christmas customs in other countries? Be still, my beating heart...

Luckily, after 12 years of writing articles for my website at A Little Strength, I have learned exactly what to do in such cases. Pray. Hard.

Father, I really thought I understood this, but now I'm

seeing these glimmers.  Please help me! Show me something

that will clear things up and reveal the truth of your Word.

I don't care if I was right or wrong—all I want is your truth!

I've had to do this on many more occasions than my flesh would care to admit—and before God, I never have to wait very long for an answer. And sure enough, a little later that evening I was rereading one of the articles that made one of the arguments I listed above, and duhh...all of a sudden something jumped out at me that for some reason I simply hadn't noticed before:

Wait a second, this guy's making an assumption...

First of all, this guy (and I won't name names because I certainly don't want any of this to be construed as a personal attack) argued that Gog-Magog couldn't occur during the second half of the Tribulation, but then in the next breath argued that it had to occur near the end of the Tribulation, and so likely corresponded to Armageddon. So forgive me for pointing out the obvious, but since Armageddon obviously occurs during the second half of the Tribulation, he flatly contradicted his own argument—but that's beside the point.

The point is that one of the fundamental, underlying premises of his argument was that since much of the prophesied aftermath of Gog-Magog clearly occurs after the launching of the Millennial Kingdom (which I'm pleased to report is one part he got right), that proves the attack itself must come shortly before that, or just before the Second Coming. This suggests that it is probably the same as Armageddon, which occurs just before Christ returns.

Now, here's the thing: If you work from the assumption that all of the prophetic ramifications of Gog-Magog must logically occur shortly after the attack itself, then placing the attack of Gog-Magog near the end of the Great Tribulation actually makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? Of course it does. But this is an assumption. No matter how logical it may appear at first blush, it is nothing more than an assumption made by the writer—an assumption that I'm sure slid by him so easily and so naturally that it probably never occurred to him that he was even making an assumption. And so he was absolutely convinced of the correctness of his argument.

POOF! Suddenly all the arguments that purport to prove that the attack of Gog-Magog has to occur late in the Tribulation (and so likely corresponds to Armageddon) came tumbling down like so many houses of cards, and the underlying problem became blindingly obvious to me:

Some people have a tendency  to assume that since much of the prophetic fulfillment of the outcome of Gog-Magog comes after the Second Coming and in the Millennial Kingdom (and it does...keep reading), then it follows that the attack itself must occur shortly before that, or late in the Tribulation. Bada bing, bada boom.

OK, so what's really going on here? Yep...you guessed it:

A little dab of prophetic telescoping.

So what does happen in the wake of Gog-Magog?

At this point, let's consider some of the things that Ezekiel's prophecy says God will do in the wake of His intervention for Israel in the attack of Gog-Magog. In other words, what all is actually prophesied to occur after God saves His people from destruction in this attack?

Some of this is touched on briefly in a couple of verses that appear in the latter part of chapter 38, but expounded on a bit more fully in the last eight verses of chapter 39, so let's just take a look at that:

21And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. 22So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward. [That last phrase is key, and pegs this as the only aspect of the prophetic ramifications that is fulfilled immediately following the actual attack.] 23And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword. 24According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done to them, and hid my face from them. [In vv. 23–24, we see that the world will finally know the real story behind the Jewish people and why God has allowed them to go through what they have gone through...and it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to see this happening during the great deception and turmoil of the Tribulation.]

25Therefore thus said the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again [or  "reverse"] the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; 26After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelled safely in their land, and none made them afraid. 27When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; 28Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them to their own land, and have left none of them any more there. 29Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit on the house of Israel, said the Lord GOD. [I believe this is progressively fulfilled throughout the Tribulation and reaches its culmination early in the Millennial Kingdom.]

(Ezekiel 39:21–29 AKJV / emphasis & [comments] added)

God says in verse 22 that "from that day and forward" (presumably the day of His intervention to save them from annihilation at the hands of the Gog-Magog coalition), Israel will know that "I am the LORD their God."

Due to the wording, this appears to be the only result of Gog-Magog that is fulfilled right after the attack. But God is soo not finished with Israel at that point. This is just the tip of the iceberg: A remnant of Jews still has to come to faith in their real Messiah, flee the persecution of the Antichrist, and be protected in the wilderness during the Great Tribulation. On top of that, they still have to ask Him to save them from another even bigger attack at the climax of the Tribulation, which is Armageddon. And much more.

Just something to chew on: In the attack of Gog-Magog, God intervenes for an Israel that is still steeped in unbelief (as they are today), and it is precisely His miraculous intervention on their behalf that begins to reawaken them to the fact that the LORD is their God (Ezek. 39:22). In conjunction with the Rapture (which I believe will occur not too long before the attack), this helps get the end-time show on the road as the Antichrist-to-be confirms a treaty between a now empowered Israel and a now weakened Muslim world that allows  the Jews to build their Third Temple and launches the Tribulation.

On the other hand, however, at Armageddon right at the end of the Tribulation, the believing Jewish remnant implores the Lord to save them from an even bigger, final attack, and (unlike at Gog-Magog) Jesus physically returns to earth to do just that, personally slaying all of their enemies with the word of His mouth in the process, not just five-sixths of the troops of a handful of nations with fire and hail (or possibly the effects of a nuclear explosion) as in Gog-Magog. And I don't want to get sidetracked on it here, but this barely scratches the surface of the clear-cut differences between these two attacks.

So...please tell me again how Gog-Magog and Armageddon are really the same attack. This reminds me of an important interpretive principle:

If there exists even one irreconcilable, irrefutable difference between two events mentioned in Scripture, it proves they cannot be the same event—no matter how many cosmetic similarities may exist between them.

(Incidentally, a lot of post-tribbers would do well to buckle up and apply this principle to Matthew 24:29–31, where they knock themselves silly trying to read this as the Rapture instead of the Second Coming.)

God also describes how the nations of the world will ultimately come to understand why He has judged Israel so harshly over the millennia, why He hid His face from them for so long, and how He has now poured His Spirit out on them once again—and permanently this time.

I don't think so: And please...don't sit there and try to tell me this occurs during the Tribulation while Jews are being hunted down and killed and the nations of the world are gathering to annihilate Israel. Not a chance.

Although in reality He will be pouring His Spirit out on His people throughout the Tribulation and effecting the salvation of the remnant through belief in their Messiah, I am inclined to believe this sees its grand, climactic fulfillment when God's Shekinah glory fills the Millennial Temple near the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom (Ezek. 43:1–12).

When God's glory fills the Millennial Temple, it will be the first time His divine Presence has dwelt with His people in an earthly temple since it departed from the First Temple roughly 2,600 hundred years ago (Ezek. 10), not long before the Babylonian captivity. (Note that this doesn't include His Presence dwelling with them in the Person of Christ while He was on earth 2,000 years ago.) Many commentators are convinced (and I am inclined to agree) that the Shekinah glory never filled the Second Temple, even though God was faithful and still dealt with His people.

God says in verses 27–28 that He will gather all the Jews into their land; and although I believe this will be partially fulfilled during the Tribulation (not to mention the fact that the Jewish remnant will be protected in the Jordanian wilderness around Petra during the second half of it), I believe the final, complete fulfillment of this will occur at the time of the Second Coming (Matt. 24:31). That's who His angels are gathering at the sound of a great trumpet, and that's where they are being gathered to—Israel, not heaven! (See this for more.) "Elect" simply means "chosen," and they are most certainly that.

As is normally the case, the referent depends on the context.

He also makes it clear that He is not going to do any of this because Israel deserves it, but because He is jealous for His holy name that Israel has profaned among the nations of the world.

Now, as you consider some of the aspects of the prophesied aftermath of Gog-Magog, it quickly becomes apparent that (with the one exception I noted) these things are not going occur immediately following the actual attack—there is clearly some telescoping going on here. There are obviously some time lapses involved—these things are clearly going to follow the attack of Gog-Magog by unspecified periods of time, and all together they will take an absolute minimum of the full seven years of the Tribulation (possibly with at least a few years of padding) to come to full fruition.

So...is there anything prohibiting us from placing the attack of Gog-Magog before the Tribulation, seeing its aftermath set the stage for the treaty of Daniel 9:27 that launches it (keep reading), and seeing the prophesied results of Gog-Magog play out over the course of the Tribulation and reach their complete fulfillment in the Millennial Kingdom?

No, none whatsoever. An awareness of the prophetic telescoping God routinely uses in His Word allows us to reach a liberating conclusion:

There is no reason whatsoever to assume that

the prophesied effects of Gog-Magog must all be

fulfilled right after the attack, and this eliminates the

need many people feel to place Gog-Magog late in the

Tribulation—much later than it must logically occur.

Yes, you read that last part correctly:

...much later than it must logically occur.

Roughly seven years later, more or less.

What's it gonna take?

Now, there are some good people whom I greatly respect (Mark Hitchcock, for one) who want to place the attack of Gog-Magog in the early part of the Tribulation, typically because they believe this is the only available period of time when Israel will be in a condition of shaqat, or living in peace as required by Ezekiel 38:11. They tend to assume that this comes about as a result of the short-lived false peace that results from the treaty of Daniel 9:27.

And this does make good sense of its own accord. As I discuss in a previous article, however, I am of the opinion that these people may be reading a wee bit too much into the meaning of shaqat, which typically just means that Israel is not officially at war with anyone. This condition was satisfied prior to October 8, 2023—the day after the Hamas attack when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially declared war on Hamas.

And as I point out in the article I linked to in the previous paragraph, it is a distinct possibility that the "evil thoughts" that arise in Gog's mind in Ezekiel 38:10 already arose prior to October 7, when a well-planned "preliminary" attack was launched that we now know for a fact was designed by Iran (oh, and I'm sure Russia knew absolutely nothing about this) to initiate a sequence of attacks that culminate in a major conflagration meant to destroy Israel.

The contention of many (this writer included) is that the attack of Gog-Magog occurs prior to the Tribulation, and that the aftermath of God's stunning intervention on behalf of His people Israel to save them from an existential attack by a predominantly Muslim coalition is what helps set the stage for the treaty of Daniel 9:27 that launches the Tribulation in the first place.

But what would lead someone to think this? Well, let me put it this way. For all those who place Gog Magog during the Tribulation, I have one question:

Q. What's it gonna take to get a fully armed, fully empowered Muslim world (i.e. more or less the way it is today) to suddenly soften up and agree to allow the Jews to build their Third Temple on the Temple Mount, right up there with the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock? Take your time.

A. If you know absolutely anything about the prevailing attitudes of the Muslim world, you already know the answer to that one:

An act of God.

Think I'm kidding? Think I'm being hyperbolic? Since the Six Day War in 1967, it's been the most any Jew can hope to do to even ascend the Temple Mount, and heaven forbid they get spotted moving their mouths as if praying under their breath for fear of an unpleasant encounter with Waqf security guards (although according to some, this restriction on praying on the Temple Mount has eased slightly in the last year or so, as sometimes the guards have been known to look the other way).

But the point I'm driving at is that the official and unshakable position of the Muslim world ever since the Six Day War is echoed by the following statement from Ali Awar, a researcher at the Hebrew University:

Palestinian people will never accept a foreign presence on the Al-Aqsa compound. It is not only a religious site—it is the sum of all our national and religious aspirations.

— Ali Awar, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem [

The point is that all those who disagree with the "contention of many" I laid out above and want to place the attack of Gog-Magog at any point following the launching of the Tribulation need to have an answer to this question. But there lies the crux of the issue:

They really don't. Maybe some creative speculation, but no answers.

But they're on the hook with this one. They're under the gun to come up with something that would cause the Muslim world to suddenly set aside their maniacal devotion to their concept of the "sanctity" of the Temple Mount, or what Muslims call Haram al-Sharif (the third holiest site in Islam), or what Jews call Har haBayit (the holiest site in Judaism).

Oh, it gets worse. Not only that, but since the Jews' building of the Third Temple on the Temple Mount is of major prophetic significance and a key event in the end-time scenario, one would tend to assume that the earth-shattering event that sets the stage for this to occur would certainly be mentioned somewhere in the pages of Scripture, would it not?

And there's the rub:

Setting the stage for the treaty of Daniel 9:27 is precisely what Gog-Magog does for us, and it does it with the same exquisite je ne sais quoi that characterizes every prophecy God fulfills.

If you yank Gog-Magog out of its position prior to the Tribulation where it fits the bill to utter perfection and stick it somewhere after the launching of the Tribulation, then there is only one thing I can say:

Lotsa luck, hoss, because in that case

not only do you not have an answer,

but God's Word can't help you, either.

You're up a prophetic creek without a paddle, my friend, because that means neither you nor Scripture has an answer for what brings about the scenario in which Daniel's treaty is confirmed and the Jews are allowed to build their Third Temple on a site that the Muslim world would—under anything even remotely resembling ordinary circumstances—launch World War III to defend. What, some kind of fancy-schmancy diplomatic agreement? Some kind of hushed backroom negotiations involving globalist leaders?

Oh, or maybe they'll cave if the Palestinians are offered a two-state solution!! Oh please, get real. News flash: They want a one-state solution, and no prizes for guessing what state that would be. (Hint: Not Israel.)

My point is that God's miraculous intervention to save Israel in the attack of Gog-Magog is going to produce a thoroughly pumped Jewish nation with some newfound swagger that has just been reawakened to the fact that the LORD really is their God, and they will want to...check that, they will demand the right to build their Third Temple to re-establish their Old Covenant relationship with the LORD their God. At the same time, a weakened Muslim world that has just been positively hammered with a divine attitude adjustment will hardly be in a position to say no—regardless of what they may believe about the arrival of the Islamic "savior" referred to as the Mahdi.

Timeout for the bigger picture

Speaking of the Mahdi... Different Muslim groups have somewhat different eschatological beliefs, but according to some groups the Muslims must kill all the Jews before their long-awaited Mahdi will show up.

Q. What group of Muslims in what country actually believe this?

A. That would be the Shia (aka the Shi'ites). And I'll spare you the boring statistics and just cut to the chase: That would be Iran.

Yes, this is what the Iranians believe, surprise, surprise—and it's a profound understatement to say this explains a lot. According to Saeed Ghasemi, a former general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), one of the Iranian Armed Forces' primary branches whose main function is to ensure the integrity of the Islamic Republic, Iran's goal is to launch a war they are convinced will usher in the Mahdi:

We are going for an apocalyptic war, and its conclusion will be the return of Imam Mahdi.

— Saeed Ghasemi, former IRGC General [

And as I discuss in my October article, it's crystal clear that the "apocalyptic war" Iran is going for began on October 7, 2023 and has been carefully planned step by step to culminate in Israel's destruction. And now we understand that in the minds of the Iranians, their plan is to be the heroes of the Islamic world by destroying Israel and as a result ushering in the long-awaited Mahdi...after which, of course, everything will be coming up roses for the Muslims.

But according to the prophet Ezekiel,

things don't quite go according to plan.

By the time God is finished with them in Gog-Magog, an utterly horsewhipped Muslim world is likely to be a bit more compliant and in the mood to cooperate, to say the least.

And thanks to the efforts of a charismatic rising star on the world stage whose heart is filled with a loathing for the Jews and who will later be revealed as the Antichrist, the treaty of Daniel 9:27 will be confirmed and Daniel's 70th Week will be off and running before you can say "world peace...NOT."

Let's consider the bigger picture for a moment, however. Note that Satan is responsible for raising up Muhammed to start the false religion we know as Islam back in the early seventh century. And why exactly did Satan do that, one might innocently inquire.

Simple: Satan raised up and cultivated the Islamic world to be a tool that he could use to destroy the Jews and wipe out the nation of Israel in the end times. That is his overriding goal, the purpose of which is to enable him to hang on to his little earthly kingdom forever and put the Second Coming on ice. Satan's plan is to use the Muslim world to mount an apocalyptic attack to destroy Israel that Ezekiel describes in chapter 38, and Satan is counting on Gog and his gang to get the job done for him.

But as those who believe and study the Bible already know full well, the mostly Islamic coalition of nations that attack Israel in Gog-Magog will fail because these nations will be decimated by the hand of God Himself.

OK, but then what?

As I discuss in a previous article, Satan's efforts to destroy Israel come in three distinct stages. (And these are not "three stages of Armageddon" as one article I read tried to argue.) Also note one thing just to be clear:

The Nazis were just trying to kill the Jews...there was no nation of Israel to destroy. In a twist of God's sublime style of poetic justice, it was the Nazis' failure to do so that led to the formation of the nation of Israel in 1948.

After the forces of the Gog-Magog nations are very nearly wiped out by God's miraculous intervention to save Israel from their apocalyptic attack (attempt #1), I believe the Muslim world will come to see that the despised Iranians were simply wrong in their eschatology and will be deceived into viewing the rising diplomatic star who is bringing people together and speaking words of peace as their Mahdi.

And as a result of this satanic hoodwinking, I believe they will cozy up to and fall in line with the powerfully eloquent Antichrist-to-be just like the rest of the world. For the Muslims, it will be reminiscent of the campy lyrics of "Whatever Lola Wants" from the 1955 Broadway musical Damn Yankees:

Whatever Mahdi wants, Mahdi gets.

"Imam Mahdi (PBUH) wants to let the Jews build their temple next to the Dome of the Rock to bring peace?! Praise be to Allah! So may it be!"

But never fear: Battered as they may be, the Gog-Magog nations will have a few years to re-arm and rebuild their military forces and prepare to join the rest of the world in the attack of Armageddon.

But what I believe we will also see is a significant defection from Islam and a turning to the truth of the gospel among the 1.9 billion Muslim people in the world. I believe God will use the catastrophic outcome of Gog-Magog (at least from the Islamic point of view) to cause untold millions of Muslims who have finally had enough of being force-fed lies and hate their entire lives to seek the truth and love of the message of salvation through faith in Christ and avail themselves of God's grace and mercy during the Tribulation.

And they will find it.

In Armageddon, however, Satan will up his game a notch. After the colossal failure of his Gog-Magog crew, now Satan will tap the Antichrist—his man that he fully possesses and completely controls—to launch another attack on Israel in attempt #2, and he will throw everything the world can muster at God's people. And he will fail again, as Christ returns to slay all his unbelieving followers, throw the Antichrist and the False Prophet into the lake of fire, and toss Satan into the hurt locker for 1,000 years. This is the abyss (Rev. 20:1–3), where he will have plenty of time to stew over his first two failures.

Finally, in Revelation 20:7–10, Satan will be released at the end of the Millennial Kingdom for attempt #3, only this time he will be leading the attack personally. But the result will be the same: FAIL. Satan will be tossed into the lake of fire with his old compadres and that will be that:

Strike three, yer out.

Getting things straight

So God employs some prophetic telescoping in the prophecies He gave to Ezekiel in chapters 38–39, and most of the prophesied ramifications of the attack of Gog-Magog follow that attack by unspecified periods of time, rather than follow directly on the heels of the attack as some tend to assume.

As we have seen, this assumption influences some people to place Gog-Magog late in the Tribulation, which causes more problems than it solves because it leaves the important issue of what influences the Muslim world to willingly accept a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount as part of the treaty of Daniel 9:27 flapping in the freeze.

Of course, there are many examples of prophetic telescoping throughout the Old Testament. The takeaway is that when we study prophecy, we have to be alert and maintain a healthy degree of temporal sensitivity and flexibility, and make an effort to properly understand the time relationships involved with different prophecies and parts of prophecies and their fulfillments.

I stress this because if we don't, and we allow ourselves to jump to what seem to be perfectly "logical" conclusions based on a simple "A, then B...bada bing, bada boom" mentality, we are sure to take some wrong turns and end up with a convoluted view of what God is telling us. And I'll just say it point blank:

We don't have time for that anymore—it's too late in the game.

There are so many people in the Church who need to plant their nose in God's Word and keep it there until they start to get a few things straight that it grieves my spirit. And I don't just mean Gog-Magog—I mean the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Second Coming, the Millennial Kingdom...the whole nine yards. The problem is that there are legions of good people in the Church today who don't hear the Word preached, they don't study the Word for themselves, and so they don't get it—and sadly many seem content to remain that way.

Straight up: Our departure is rapidly drawing near. Oh, and by the way, if any of you happen to see me squinting at a tiny star in the night sky that turns out to be the Lord descending in the clouds to catch us up to be with Him, and I start singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," please...do everybody a favor:

Tell me to put a sock in it.

From Greg Lauer @ A Little Strength—DEC '23
Post A Comment


  1. Good article. I would say that I'm not sure the assumption that the 7 year treaty and the "permission" to rebuild the Temple being the same event is necessary though. What's wrong with making the 2nd Seal the Gog war, with the result of crushing the Islamic world and getting to rebuild the Temple? That lets the 1st seal bring about the peace that seems to be the prerequisite condition (and if Israel crushes Hamas in the current war, and settles back satisfied that they're once again safe (but Iran still sits gnashing its teeth), then there's an even better set up for a surprise attack involving Russia. There's no reason the Gog war as the 2nd seal and subsequent building of the Temple wouldn't work, and the rescue of Israel at that point would also make sense for how that nation turns back to God, the rise of the witnesses and ssuch. So I totally agree with the telescoping view of Ezekiel 38-39, just not that it NEEDS to be prior to the Trib, as long as the 7 year treaty and the building of the Temple are two different things, and there's no scripture to say they're the same, so it's a perfectly logical thought. Let the 7 year thing be a general covenant (maybe to join an international group lead by 10 kings, perhaps...). But I'm fine with God doing whatever He wants and if the current situation leads to Gog Magog, we'll, let's go!

    1. Thank you, Sherrill. You have some interesting thoughts, and it could conceivably work out in such a manner.

      One key phrase you used is:

      "...as long as the 7-year treaty and the building of the Temple are two different things, and there's no scripture to say they're the same..."

      As is often the case, no...this is not stated explicitly. In the minds of manner commentators, however, the grammar of verse 27 strongly suggests as much (and I tend to agree). But the real problem as I see it is that if you completely disconnect the building of the temple and the confirmation of Daniel's treaty, things start getting discombobulated in a hurry and one has to start getting creative to find a way to keep those pieces together.

      I don't believe I have ever mentioned this in any of my articles, but about 20-odd years ago I read something about the fact that Asher Kaufman, Jewish professor at Notre Dame and an established expert on things related to the Jewish temples, wrote that it would require three and a half years to build the Third Temple. Not because of considerations due to its actual construction, but due to the fact that things have to be done precisely in accordance with the Talmud and other rabbinical teachings (they have to sanctify and "cleanse" everything and do it on certain days, and so on and so forth...lots of stuff like that). If so, that would virtually demand that rebuilding the temple be part of Daniel's treaty.

      Thus, when the Antichrist "causes the sacrifice and the oblation to cease" and defiles the temple, it is theoretically possible this occurs at what was intended to be the temple's very first formal usage. The grammar of verse 27 doesn't absolutely preclude this possibility in my opinion. Plus, Satan is above all things a showman--and what a self-aggrandizing display that would be.

      All told, I believe things point strongly to the building of the temple as being part and parcel of Daniel's treaty, and I confess that it's not easy for me to see it being otherwise.

    2. Don't hold me to that three-and-a-half-year thing...I can't find anything else on that, and some sources say 1-2 years, So...

    3. That would be facinating, if so, that it would take about 3.5 years to "build the Temple right", according to Jewish Tradition. If that is true then I'd agree that the 7 year deal probably would be for the building of the Temple. It'd be finished just in time to be desecrated on its opening night! Well, maybe a little later, since sacrifices have to start before they can cease.

  2. At https://nos-nl.translate.goog/nieuwsuur/artikel/2504007-europa-moet-zich-voorbereiden-op-trump-onze-veiligheid-staat-op-het-spel?_x_tr_sl=nl&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=nl&_x_tr_pto=wapp&_x_tr_hist=true "'Europe must prepare for Trump, our security is at stake'".

    This can easily usher in the formation of the European Revived Roman Empire, a coalition of 10 European nations from which the antichrist will rise to power. The oncoming elections for the European Parliament are a thing to watch.

  3. The Third Temple does not have to be built before the sacrifice of the red heifer to get the ashes to cleanse it. Last I heard, the four they have are still qualified and Passover 2024 may be the time.

    There is a cult in Iran called “The Twelvers” that believe the kid in the well is coming back. Amadhinejad is a members which basically tells you all you need to know about them.

    1. The kid in the well? What kid? Is this an Islam thing?
      But, you are right, the Temple doesn't come before the red Heifers (since their ashes are needed before the Temple can be put into service). I'm very curious if we'll hear if there is a sacrifice of one if them over Passover.

    2. Thanks, Sherrill, I was just going to ask the same thing. I know about the Mahdi and the Twelvers and Amadhinejad but I haven't heard the Mahdi referred to as the kid in the well.

    3. Yes, I have heard that the Mahdi went into hiding after his father was killed and that the hiding place was a well from which he will emerge, according to belief.

    4. “ It is believed that the 12th Imam is hidden in the Jamkaran well in Iran – a place of pilgrimage for believers who drop their requests for help into the well in the hope that the Imam will read them and come to their aid.” Professor Ansarian

    5. Ohhhh. I feel educated. Thanks!

    6. Very welcome. I have to credit Glenn Beck also as I watched his superb show on FOX around 2010 everyday and he first educated me on Twelvers and their beliefs.

  4. The one thing I have always held to about the timing of Ezekiel 38-39 "attack", is that it happens after the Rapture and Resurrection. The reason for this is due to God's intervention for Israel. If the church is still here, then this seems incongruous to His separation of Age of Grace, and the Return to Focus on Israel.

    We don't really know the amount of time between Rapture/Resurrection and the beginning of the Tribulation years.

    I tend to lean toward Ezekiel 38-39 occurring either between the Rapture/Resurrection and the Tribulation, or in the early part of the Tribulation.

  5. As far as prophesies and their timelines, I agree with you on the assumption thing.

    Most conversations about Psalm 83 treat it as a one day event.

    I tend to think that full prophetic fulfilments take years sometimes. Psalm 83 may have indeed started in 1948, or 1967, etc but it doesn't mean it's over and done yet.

    We can look at Rev 12:1-2 as well. Began, but we obviously are not at verse 5-6 yet, as there's no Rapture yet.

    We also know God's experience with time is different than ours. He sees everything in the "Eternal Present" while we see everything as a moment in time with the bias of tense, past present moment, or future.

    Look at salvation for example... We are saved from the bondage of sin (Justification - Past tense), we are beings saved from the power of sin (Sanctification - Present tense), and we will be saved from the presence of sin (Glorification - future tense).

    We are all catching up to God who has already done it. :)

    “What children we are, even the wisest! When God walks the earth, his steps are often centuries apart.”
    - Lew Wallace



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