The Millennium (3): Recent Events in the Middle East Support Our View of It

There has always been trouble in the Middle (Near) East, which began with Gen. 3:12, and which will continue to the end of time (Rev. 16:12). Dispensationalists have usually connected this perpetual ill with their theory that God’s promise of the land to Abraham has never been completely fulfilled; i.e., the Jews have never taken possession of the full extent of the land promised them. But it is enough for us to read, “And the Lord gave unto Israel all of the land which He gave unto their fathers: and they possessed it and dwelt therein” (Josh. 21:43). In fact, as to this particular promise, “there failed not ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel; all came to pass” (21:45). Even in the latter days of David and Solomon, the promise was fully realized in the complete possession of the land. “Solomon reigned over all kingdoms, from the river Euphrates unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt” (I Ki. 4:21). Nevertheless, because the Dispensationalist fails or refuses to see this and so looks for a future return of the Jews to “their land,” he believes that the Jews alone have the right to possess Palestine over against all the Arab peoples. This means that, according to the text last quoted, the Jews have Divine right to Syria, Lebanon, Trans‑Jordania, Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait. We do not believe the Jews have this right any more than the American Indians would have the right to claim the territory of the U.S. We base this on the fact that the promise is spiritual and the land is typical, God interpreting His own promise to mean a better country, a heavenly (Heb. 11:16).

In the last generation, Near East unrest in part has been due to the fact that the Jews have gone back to Palestine by the hundreds of thousands, while at the same time a nearly equal amount of Arabs have been entering that country. And they have the sympathy and power of the United Arab Nations behind them. More up-to-date developments occurred when Gen. Nasser of Egypt, who has an intense hatred of Israel, made ostensible agreements with Czechoslovakia to obtain heavy weapons and jet planes. Actually this agreement was with Russia. Nasser was on his way to building a new Arab empire! Israel immediately appealed to the U.S. for arms supply, but the U.S. refused in order to keep out of an arms race in the Middle East. Then followed Nasser’s closing of the Suez Canal in spite against the U.S. when our government withdrew an offer of aid to the Aswan dam project on the Nile River. Later, rumblings in Lebanon (former Phoenicia) necessitated the sending of U.S. troops there. All this has been eclipsed by a shooting war in the Far East – clashes between Nationalist and Communist Chinese involving the islands of Formosa, Quemoy and Matsu. Russia therefore seems the real threat behind the powers of not only the Middle East, and the Far East, but also of Europe, and so in every part of the world.

Now the Bible speaks of the nations of the world under the term “Gog and Magog.” Comparing Gen. 10 with Ezek. 38 and 39 we find that these nations are not Semitic Arabic, but Japhetic, and are allied with peoples of northern and central Babylonia. Dispensationalists claim that “all agree” that primary reference is to the northern (38:15) European powers “headed up by Russia.” However, all do not agree, as the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary on the Bible clues not necessarily support this, and Lowth thinks there is reference to the Turks. Thomas Scott says, “It is not indeed agreed what people or transactions are here predicted.” In fact, extreme literalism is in Ezekiel forced to place this destruction of Gog and Magog (38-39) before the millennium (40-48), but in the Revelation must place it after the millennium. According to Ezekiel, Gog is the ruler of a territory called Magog, while in the millennium passage (Rev. 20:8), both Gog and Magog are nations. That they are heathen nations is clear from Genesis 10. Since the Gog-and-Magog nations are in the four quarters (corners, AV) of the earth, they are, then, distant from the center (Israel) of the earth, and are expressive of a worldwide attack upon people of God. By the time these words are published, the center of news attention probably will not be the Middle East (events occur so quickly, and sin develops so fast), but some other part of the globe. But that the state is being set for this final Gog-and-Magog attack is apparent in all current events at almost any given time. For in the vast hordes of the more distinctively heathen nations, there is a trend toward independent, autonomous government. Colonialism is on the way out. This indicates that the heathen nations formerly little known in the history of the world are being aroused, and are assuming unheard-of power and influence in the world. This is true not only of the Middle East, but of the East Indies, India, Tibet, Thailand, China, Korea, Japan and Africa.

Soon “the thousand years” will be finished and Satan will be loosed for his “little season” in which he shall be successful in deceiving the nations so as to gather them together in one last concerted effort to stamp out the church. But this fails. Satan’s rage expires. The serpent and his seed experience their final defeat. God becomes known to Gog and Magog in judgment, where He could not be known in salvation. He is glorified in the plots of the wicked, and in their ultimate frustration and overthrow!