A Third Scenario for the War of Gog of Magog in Isaiah
In this article we will continue to study the third scenario for the war of Gog of Magog, as found in the prophecy in the Book of Isaiah.
In Chapter “Two Scenarios for the War of Gog of Magog” from the present author’s book The Reckoning of Time, we discussed the two possible scenarios of the last war of the world, which will end all wars. This war is also known as World War III.
According to these two scenarios in the Book of Zechariah, chapters 12 through 14, and in the Book of Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39, the war in Zechariah is the darker of the two, as this scenario may lead to a new holocaust, when the armies of the hostile nations led by Gog of the land of Magog will lay a siege against Jerusalem.
However, according to the scenario in Ezekiel, no such danger over the city of YHVH can be found in the prophecy. On the contrary, what seems to transpire from Ezekiel 38 and 39 is the total destruction of the coalition forces of the enemies of Israel, as no siege is even mentioned in them.
In Zechariah chapters 9 through 11, we studied a third possible scenario that differs from the ones in Zechariah 12-14 and Ezekiel 38-39. This third scenario we analyzed in the preceding article concerning the burden of the word of YHVH against the no-less obscured land of Hadrach.
We noted that in all three scenarios of the war of Gog of Magog, the enemies of Israel will be defeated, but at a different cost for the nation. We also noted that the only prophet who speaks of the mysterious figure of Gog, the leader of the armies that will come against Israel, is Ezekiel, while Zechariah mentions no such identity. Ezekiel goes even farther to identify Gog by his proper name revealed in the Bible code.
In this article we will seek to answer the question: To which scenario of the three the prophecy in Isaiah 29 belongs? To answer this question, we will go further in our study of the third scenario for the war of Gog of Magog, as we will read in the prophecy Isaiah 29, thus,
Woe to Ari’el, to Ari’el, the city where David dwelt! Add year to year, let festivals come around. And I shall distress Ari’el, and there shall be mourning and sorrow, and it shall be to Me as Ari’el. And I shall encamp against you all around, I shall lay siege against you with a mound, and I shall raise siege-works against you. And you shall be brought low and speak out of the ground, and your speech shall be low, out of the dust. And your voice shall be like a medium’s, out of the ground, and your speech whisper out of the dust. (Isa 29:1-4)
From the very beginning of the prophecy, as it is laid in the heading of Chapter 29, we are told that this is the burden of the word of YHVH concerning Ari’el, as the prophecy begins thus, ‘Woe to Ari’el, the city where David dwelt’. Hence, we derive that Ari’el is a symbolical form of the name of the city of YHVH – Jerusalem – which literally means “a lion of Elohim”, or a heroic or lionlike man. With this meaning it appears only in this chapter to clearly identify the city of Jerusalem and Israel.
The prophecy commences in its own peculiar way encompassing the whole course of events in Chapter 29 from “Woe to Ari’el” to the promise “and it shall be to Me as the lion of El”, as it is wasting no time to point to the timing of the burden concerning Jerusalem: in little more than a year, or as the prophecy has put it, “Add year to year, let festivals come around”.
What this phrase means is that in little more than a year, or after only one more round of festivals, which is to be interpreted according to the cycle of the appointed times of YHVH, i.e., from a Passover to Passover, YHVH will make Jerusalem a besieged city surrounded by hostile armies. Add year to year, let festivals come around is to be interpreted according to Isa 32:10, as we read thus,
After days over a year, you shall be troubled, you complacent women; for the grape harvest shall fail, the ingathering shall not come. (Isa 32:10)
Or, in other words, after little more than a year Jerusalem will be troubled. After little more than a year following what? The prophecy is silent what will trigger the woe of YHVH to Israel. And since the prophecy is silent on what will commence the trouble, i.e., “Jacob’s trouble or the tribulation, we are left with nothing more than that to draw a speculation, as we will try to do this at the end of our study of third scenario for the war of Gog of Magog.
As Jerusalem or the land of Israel is besieged by the hostile armies brought by YHVH Himself against her, the children of Israel will be brought low and speak like a dying out of the dust of the earth, i.e. be humbled. Nevertheless, at the end the trial Jerusalem will be to YHVH like a warrior in battle, consuming the foes like a roaring lion of El.
Let us read the parallel account of what seems to be the same event in the prophecy in Zechariah 12.
The burden of the word of Yehovah concerning Israel. The saying of Yehovah, who stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundation of the earth, and formed the spirit of man within him: Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of staggering unto all the peoples round about, and upon Judah also shall it fall to be in the siege against Jerusalem. (Zec 12:1-2)
Evidently, Isaiah and Zechariah prophesy about a future siege against Israel by the hostile nations of the world. And they indeed may besiege Jerusalem, but only to be miraculously defeated by YHVH Himself. Zechariah does not speak of Jerusalem becoming “a cup”, but literally a basin of reeling filled with intoxicating drink, because the nations that will come against the city of YHVH will drink out of it. The drinking out of the “basin of staggering” is a figure of speech that denotes judgment that intoxicates the nations of the world, so that they may fall to the ground because of their intoxication.
But the multitude of your foes shall be like fine dust, and the crowd of the ruthless ones as chaff blowing away. And it shall be in an instant, suddenly! You shall be visited by Yehovah of hosts with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and storm, and flame of devouring fire. Then the multitude of all the nations who fight against Ari’el, even all who fight against her and her stronghold, and distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision. And it shall be as when a hungry man dreams, and see, he eats; but he awakes, and his soul is empty; or as when a thirsty man dreams, and see, he drinks; but he awakes, and see, he is faint, and his soul is longing. Thus shall the multitude of all the nations be who fight against Mount Zion. (Isa 29:5-8)
The hostile armies, described as hamon, a multitude, will come upon Israel like fine dust, and the crowd of the ruthless ones as chaff blowing away. Then, YHVH of hosts will remember Jerusalem and will come upon her enemies, so that they are utterly annihilated by the heavenly force that will be let loose upon them (Isa 30:30, Isa 17:13). Their destruction will be in an instant, and death will come suddenly.
“You shall be visited by YHVH of the heavenly forces” refers to Ari’el, Jerusalem, as YHVH will act against her enemies with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and storm, and flame of devouring fire.
Then, the multitude of all the hostile nations, who will fight against Jerusalem, will be as a dream of a night vision. This dream of a night vision will be as terrible as a nightmare, but it will be also short as the enemies will dissolve into nothing, as one who wakes up after a nightmare.
The prophecy goes on to say that the enemies’ plan for taking Jerusalem will be put to shame, and as they are utterly brought to nothingness as the eating or drinking of a dreamer, which turns out to be a hallucination as soon as he awakes.
The hungering and thirsting of the waking man are attributed to a soul that passes out of the dreaming state into a waking. This is how this nightmare will be: just like in a dream that fades away into nothing, the army of the enemies of Israel will be brought into nothingness, because they have dared to fight against the mount of YHVH, against Mount Zion.
Zechariah describes in a similar manner the sudden destruction of the enemies, as Jerusalem is compared to a heavy stone for all the nations that will come against her.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a stone of burden for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it. In that day, declares YHVH, I will smite every horse with bewilderment, and his rider with madness; and I will open My eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the peoples with blindness. (Zec 12:3-4)
YHVH declares that Jerusalem will become a heavy burden for all the nations that will be gathered against Jerusalem and all who want to harm her will be harmed with bewilderment and with madness. And He will throw the mind of the military force of the enemies into such confusion and madness, that instead of annihilating Israel, they will rush forward to their own destruction by turning their weapons against each other (Zec 14:3) in mental blindness, as He had done this in battles before (Jdg 7:22, 1Sa 14:20). So that at the end the nations that have tried to wipe out Israel from the map of the world will not only fail, but they will be smitten with destruction.
And while the enemies of Israel are being smitten, YHVH will open His eyes upon His people to protect them and to empower the leaders of Israel with strength to overcome all their enemies (Zec 12:5-9), and ultimately to pour out His favor on them.
Pause and wonder! Blind yourselves and be blind! They are drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For Yehovah has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes, the prophets. … And Yehovah says, Because this people has drawn near with its mouth, and with its lips they have esteemed Me, and it has kept its heart far from Me, and their fear of Me has become a command of men learned by rote! (Isa 29:9-13)
The distress of Ari’el and her wonderful deliverance will be a matter of faith the nation must show. However, the prophecy continues to say that YHVH will cause blindness to come upon His people too and remain blind for a while. This blindness, however, is not meant for punishment, but for purification from sin. The blindness of deep sleep will result in a delusion that will come upon His people, not from drunkenness with wine, but blindness of veiled eyes, so that Israel could not read the revelation of the sealed prophecy.
They will be thus blinded and not be able to read the warning of the sealed book, because the leaders of Israel have given themselves up to the orders of men, whose orders they repetitively follow against the will of YHVH.
And the entire vision is to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men give to one who knows books, saying, ‘Read this, please’. And he said, ‘I am unable, for it is sealed’. And the book is given to one who does not know books, saying, ‘Read this, please’. And he said, ‘I have not known books’. (Isa 29:11-12)
However, this spiritual blindness upon the children of Israel will be temporary. It will be taken out of them and never again will they drink it and will be given to those who have afflicted them and taught them the orders of men.
Therefore please hear this, you afflicted and drunk, but not with wine. Thus said your Master, Yehovah and your Elohim, who pleads the cause of His people, Behold, I shall take out of your hand the cup of reeling, the dregs of the cup of My wrath – never again shall you drink it. And I shall put it into the hand of those who afflict you, who have said to your soul, ‘Bow down, and we pass over you’. And you made your back like the ground, and as the street, to walk over. (Isa 51:21-23)
Thus, the nations of the world will be afflicted with blindness, because they made Israel like a political “door mat” they walked over: ‘Bow down, and we pass over you’. And you made your back like the ground, and as the street, to walk over.
And by having obeyed the order of men, they have drawn near to YHVH to do a lip service and vowed vainly to protect the Promised Land, but they have kept their hearts far from Him, and their fear of Him has become a command of men they have received from others to give up more and more land under the foreign pressure.
Because of that, the wisdom of Israel’s leaders has perished and hidden from them. And through bitter repentance for the death of the Messiah (Zec 12:10-14) and for purification from all their sins (Zec 13:1-2), Israel will be humbled to the point to say, “Blessed is he who comes in the Name of YHVH”.
This passage clearly speaks of the coming of the Messiah to judge the earth and open a fountain of favor for Jerusalem. Zechariah then goes on to identify the Messiah (see Zec 13:6-7) whom His brothers are awaiting to come as the one who was wounded in the midst of his hands in the house of those who love Him (that is in the house of his own people).
Is it not yet a little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into garden land, and garden land be reckoned as a forest? And in that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of gloom, and out of darkness. (Isa 29:17-18)
The day on which the blindness that had come upon Israel will come upon the nations is related to the transformation of Lebanon from a garden land to a greening forest. And where the prophecy says, “Is it not yet a little while?” probably refers to “little more than a year” alluded to in Isa 29:1.
The people that were once blind and deaf are changed into a people with open ears and seeing eyes, so that words spoken in the prophecy in Isaiah and Zechariah will be clearly understood.
Therefore thus said Yehovah, who ransomed Avraham, concerning the house of Ya’akov, Ya’akov is no longer put to shame, no longer does his face grow pale. For when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they shall set apart My Name, and set apart the Set-apart One of Ya’akov, and fear the Elohim of Israel. And those who went astray in spirit shall come to understanding, and the grumblers accept instruction. (Isa 29:22-24)
Therefore, when the children of Ya’akov come to the point of realization of their error before YHVH, they will be no longer put to shame and will set His Name apart and fear Him. And those who have gone astray will come to the knowledge and understanding that what was spoken in the prophecy was right.
In conclusion, what sense can we make out of the prophecy in Isaiah and Zechariah concerning the war of Gog of Magog?
So far, we studied three possible scenarios for the war of Gog of Magog of which the one in Zechariah 12-14 is the darkest of the three and the scenario in Ezekiel 38-39 seems to depict a war with the least impact on the nation of Israel, while the war in Zechariah 9-11 falls somewhere between them.
We should note here that while the darkness of the war of Gog of Magog differs in the nuances, the outcome of the war will be one: the total annihilation of the enemies of Israel. Whether Israel would survive the final war of all wars is out of question. The chosen nation, the descendants of Avraham, Yitschak and Ya’akov, will come out of the war victoriously. The question is: at what cost? And the second question to it is: which scenario of the war of Gog of Magog will take place? To these questions we will seek answer in the final article of this series, if this important and full of ambiguity subject can have such.
As seen from what we studied above, the prophecy in Isaiah 29 complements the scenario in Zechariah 12-14. Both prophecies commence with different in words, but identical in nature headings. Isaiah 29 begins with “Woe to Ari’el, to Ari’el, the city where David dwelt! “, and Zechariah 12: “The burden of the word of Yehovah concerning Israel “.
In contrast, the scenario of the war of Gog of Magog in Ezekiel 38-39 begins with the heading: “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog” and the one in Zechariah 9-11: “The burden of the word of Yehovah concerning the land of Hadrach and Damascus”.
Therefore, we deal with three different headings of three different scenarios of the same war, the final war in this world.
In the worst-case scenario of the war, we are given to know what will take place, namely that YHVH will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; in this battle, the city will be taken and plundered, and half of the city will go into exile, but the remnant of the people will not be cut off. We are also given to know that YHVH will go forth and He will fight against those nations.
What we are not given to know, however, is why YHVH will gather those nations against Jerusalem in the first place.
We do not see this gathering of armies against Jerusalem in Zechariah 9-11, and while Ezekiel does speak of such, it is because YHVH will turn Gog around, and will put hooks into his jaws, like of a beast, and will drag him with all his army to bring him against His land. This YHVH will do, according to that scenario, in order that the nations of the world know Him, when He is set apart in Gog, before their eyes. Gog of Magog will be dragged to the land in order to be buried there in a valley that will be named after Gog: The Valley of the multitude of Gog.
However, in Zechariah 12-14, YHVH will bring Gog and his multitude of armies against Jerusalem to lay siege against the city. Why?
This question is important to ask, because it will lead us to, what the present author believes is, the correct answer.
As we commented above, the prophecy commences in its own peculiar way by directly pointing to the timing of the burden concerning Jerusalem: namely in little more than a year, or as the prophecy has put it, “Add year to year, let festivals come around”, interpreted according to the cycle of the appointed times of YHVH.
And we asked the question: After little more than a year following what?
The prophecy continues to say that YHVH will cause blindness to come upon His people that will last a while. This blindness will be temporary and as we discussed above is meant for purification from sin.
Now, we need to ask the question: What sin has Israel committed against YHVH that will deserve this?
The clue is given in the verse that says,
And I shall put it (the cup of My wrath) into the hand of those who afflict you, who have said to your soul, ‘Bow down, and we pass over you’. And you made your back like the ground, and as the street, to walk over. (Isa 51:23)
Yet, as obscured as this prophecy can be, we need to draw a conclusion, since the prophecy will conclude in one way or the other.
Evidently, Israel and more particularly the leaders of the nation have done something that will outrage YHVH. What is this, because we are told the leaders of Israel will make their backs like the ground the enemies of Israel to walk over. We understand that this is a metaphor in which this expression is used to refer to and suggest a political servility under a foreign pressure, as the text hints to it: ‘Bow down, and we pass over you’. In other words, what this is saying is, “Obey us and serve our interests”. What does that mean? What political servility towards a foreign country the political establishment of Israel must have committed in order to cause YHVH’s wrath?
If this supposition is correct, then by finding the answer to this question, we will be able to come closer to the real issue in this scenario of the war of Gog of Magog.
In the Six-day Arab-Israeli war in 1967, the U.S. used its pressure to persuade the Israelis to stop the war after only six days. The Israelis wanted in retaliation to complete their destruction of Arab air forces by wiping out Egypt’s heavy weapons on the ground as well. It was under American pressure that the Israelis agreed to accept a ceasefire under the auspices of the United Nations.
In the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the U.S. intervention helped restrain the Israelis.
It was President Jimmy Carter in the Camp David talks who led to peace between Egypt and Israel, under an intense pressure to force the Israelis to abandon plans to maintain “security zone” inside the Sinai Peninsula, thus helping President Anwar Sadat recover all of Egypt’s lost territory in the Yom Kippur War.
It was President Ronald Reagan who led a multinational force in 1982 to intervene in Lebanon to stop the Israeli advance beyond the Litani River when Israel acted in self-defense against the Hezbollah. That force also helped save the lives of Yasser Arafat and his close associates in the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) when, trapped in Beirut.
It was President Ronald Reagan who condemned Israelis for destroying Sadam’s nuclear reactor in 1981.
It was President Barak Obama whose first step was to call Abbas to whom he vowed to engage immediately in pursuit of a permanent Arab-Israeli settlement, which he did.
It was President Barak Obama’s Middle East policy that created the breeding ground in the Middle East and North Africa for ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood. It was President Barak Obama who knew very well that Syria was a powder keg of the Middle East when he ignited the fuse in 2009. It was President Barak Obama who made the Iran nuclear deal that gave the resources for the Islamic regime to enter the war in Syria and come close to Israel’s borders.
The curse of Psalm 137
If I forget you, O Yerushalayim, let my right hand forget. Let my tongue cleave to my palate, if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Yerushalayim above my chief joy. (Psa 137:5-6)
The great leader and war hero of Israel Ariel Sharon was the man who encouraged Israelis to establish settlements in Judea and Samaria (the so-called “the West Bank”), but he also was the leader who under the U.S. pressure pushed for Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from 25 settlements in Judea and Samaria and a complete withdrawal from Gaza. Gaza was turned over to the Palestinians for the first time since the Six-day War in 1967.
He was in his fifth year as prime minister when he suffered a massive stroke in January 2006 (let my right hand forget), which left him comatose (let my tongue cleave to my palate) and died in 2014 after eight years in a coma. Sharon was 85.
He was a great Jew but made a mistake under a foreign pressure. Woe to Ari’el, …!
Will the [new] leader of Israel make the same mistake Ariel Sharon made?
The election in April 2019 will show which scenario of the war of Gog of Magog the Israeli voters will choose.
For more insight on this subject, refer to the article “The U.N. Reached the Point of No Return” and on the end-time prophecy, please, visit Prophecy Insight and Part II The Last Kingdom of the present author’s book Reckoning of Time.
May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days.