Keeping An Eye On Turkey

It is written:

“I will capture you and bring you back. I will bring you from the far north. I will bring you to fight against the mountains of Israel.” (Ezekiel 39:2)

We need to be aware of what is happening to the thousands of people being slaughtered in Syria. The armies of Turkey are systematically wiping out the Kurds, including (but not limited to) thousands of Christians. Certainly, as Christians, we must be prepared to render aid where possible (Galatians 6:10), which includes prayer for the world leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-6) and speaking out against evil in every form (2 Timothy 4:1-4; Matthew 10:28).

Yet, I want to suggest another reason why we should be carefully watching the country of Turkey. It goes back to something that the Prophet Ezekiel wrote in Ezekiel 38-39. This passage of Scripture describes a time when a coalition of nations would attack “Israel” sometime during the end of the Christian Age, under the direction of a wicked ruler known as “Gog.”

We need to carefully examine two questions regarding this passage.

First, how do we know that the events of this passage deal with the Christian Age, and specifically, the end of the Christian Age?

Second, what does any of this have to do with the nation of Turkey?

Let’s study.

First, that the events of this passage of Scripture have to do with the end of the Christian Age is made apparent from the text itself. For example, we are told:

After The Jews Were Returned To Their Land (Ezekiel 28:25)

After The Messiah Has Come And Is Reigning (Ezekiel 37:24)

After The New Testament Has Been Established (Ezekiel 37:26))

After The People Had Repented And Would Be Forgiven (Ezekiel 37:23)

After The Holy Spirit Had Been Given (Ezekiel 36:27)

After The Time Of The Latter Days Had Begun (Ezekiel 38:8, 16)

After The Nations Of Russia And Iran Have Made Peace (Ezekiel 38:1-5)

After The People Of Israel Are Living Peacefully And Securely In Their Land (Ezekiel 38:11)

The events of this passage would begin to be fulfilled when the Jews returned from their Captivity (Ezekiel 36:24). This began to be fulfilled in 536 B.C. With the return of the Jews from Babylonian Captivity (the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah chronicle this), and had a larger fulfillment in 1948 (cf. Ezekiel 4:1-6).

The events of this passage would occur when God gave His Holy Spirit to His people (Ezekiel 36:27), which was fulfilled on Pentecost (Acts 2:38).

Who is this leader known as “Gog?”

According to the ancient Hebrew understanding, “Gog” is a wicked leader who would rise to power shortly before the end of the world.

“First mentioned in Ezekiel 38–39, Gog is the “Chief Prince” of Magog. He will be involved in the eschatological wars with Israel at the end of time. He will be defeated by God, the divine warrior and defender of Israel, and his corpse buried in the Land of Israel….Mythically, in rabbinic writings, Gog and Magog are understood to be synonyms and are linked to the traumatic events around the coming of the Messiah (Sanh. 97a–b). Later sources identify the king of Gog as Armilus, a monstrous offspring of Satan. Eventually the two words become the archetypal term for a war of evil against God, and serve as the closest Jewish analogy to the Christian notion of Armageddon (A.Z. 3b; PdRK 79; Ed. 2: 10; Shab. 118a; S of S R. 8: 4).” (Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis, The Encyclopedia Of Jewish Myth, Magic, & Mysticism, 179-180 (Kindle Edition); Woodbury, Minnesota; Llewellyn Publications)

In truth, “Gog” sounds much like what many modern day authors and preachers have referred to as “the” antichrist. I used to believe that there would not be one specific antichrist at the end of time since Scripture is clear that there are many antichrists, and that they have been in the world since the first century (cf. 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 1:7).

However, it seems that these antichrists foreshadowed a specific future wicked world leader.

Now, what does any of this have to do with Turkey?

Just this: there are indications in the Book of Ezekiel that this Gog would have special ties to the nation of Turkey. We are told that Gog would lead his charge “from the far north.”

Please consider the following:

“The phrase in Ezekiel 38: 6, which is repeated in 38: 15 and 39: 2, is one we mentioned earlier in this book: yerekah tsaphon. It is used only two other places in the entire Old Testament….You have to read between the lines, but this passage (Psalm 48, M.T.) is a polemic against Baal. As mentioned earlier, everyone in the ancient world knew that Mount Zaphon, the modern Jebel al-Aqra, was the home of Baal’s palace. In the 48th Psalm, Yahweh’s mount of assembly (Zion) is compared to Baal’s (Zaphon) through of clever wordplay: har Tsiyyon yerekah Tsaphon…Isaiah 14: 13 is key. The rebel from Eden wants to establish his mount of assembly, Zaphon, as supreme above that of Yahweh, Zion. A few English translations reflect this desire: I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. (NIV) You thought you would sit like a king on that mountain in the north where the gods assemble. (Good News Translation) I will rule on the mountain of assembly on the remote slopes of Zaphon. (NET Bible) Even the ESV offers this alternate translation for the last part of verse 13: “in the remote parts of Zaphon.”…The supernatural war is for control of the mount of assembly, the har môʿēd. Isaiah 14 and Psalm 48 point to Baal’s mount of assembly, Mount Zaphon. That’s Jebel al-Aqra, on the Mediterranean shore in Turkey, just across the border from Syria…..By naming yerekah tsaphon as the point of origin for the armies of Gog, Ezekiel pointed to the mountain of the storm-god, Baal, the mount of assembly of the divine rebel from Eden, Helel ben Shachar, AKA Lucifer.” (Derek Gilbert, The Last Clash Of The Titans: The Second Coming Of Hercules, Leviathan, & The Prophesied War Between Jesus Christ & The Gods Of Antiquity, 2751-2839 (Kindle Edition); Crane, MO: Defender Publishing)

We need to keep our eyes on Turkey for several reasons.

Whenever Jesus returns, we need to be ready. He died to save us from our sins, was buried, and three days later arose from the grave (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). If you aren’t a Christian, please believe in Jesus today and repent of your sins, being baptized to have your sins forgiven (Acts 2:37-38). If you have obeyed the Gospel but have left the Lord, please return to Him today in repentance and prayer (Acts 8:22).

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