Hi, this is Bill Meyer with CORE Christianity. We're so privileged to be able to answer your questions on this program.
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Is Ezekiel 38 a prophecy of Russians' invasion of Ukraine? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, this is Bill Meyer along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day.
Obviously, the Ukraine situation on a lot of our minds right now. We would encourage you to continue to pray for the people in that country, and we are receiving questions as we'll get to that one about prophecy here in just a minute. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, we would love to hear from you. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Now you can also watch Adriel live in the studio right now on our YouTube channel and send us a message that way. You can post a message on one of our social media sites, and you're always welcome to email us at questions at COREChristianity.com.
First up today, let's go to a voicemail from one of our listeners named Travis. Will I be sinning against the Lord perpetually if I marry an unbeliever? I know that we're not to be unequally yoked. Thank you so much for all that you guys do. Travis, thank you for that question.
It sounds to me like this is maybe a very practical question for you. Potentially, you're considering marrying someone who is not a believer, not a Christian, and so you're wondering, well, does that mean I'm going to be cut off forever from the grace of God? The first thing I would say is, yes, you're absolutely right that we're not to be unequally yoked, and this is certainly a situation in which that's relevant. You think about what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6, verse 14, the words of the apostle Paul, Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols?
For we are the temple of the living God. If you're a believer in Jesus Christ, brother, you are the temple of the living God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, and you are called, if you're going to be married, and we're free to be married in the Lord, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7, we are called to be joined to someone else who believes in Christ and loves the Lord, marriages itself, this picture of the relationship that exists between Christ and the church. And so I would just say, don't do what you know you shouldn't do, which is marry someone who is not a believer with the hope that maybe just after the fact, God will forgive you, that kind of a thing.
That's the wrong way to approach this. You need to be obedient to the Lord and to God's word, first and foremost. And if you're thinking, well, I can just do this, and then God will forgive me, there are all sorts of issues. I mean, the apostle Paul says, should we continue in sin that grace may abound by no means.
May it never be. That's not how we're called to live. And let me just say, the reality will be is if you continue in disobedience, you get into a relationship that you shouldn't be in, according to scripture, that's just going to create all sorts of problems for you in your walk with the Lord. There's going to be a tension there because the two of you disagree on this most fundamental thing, who Christ is and what the gospel is about. And so if this is something you're considering, I would say, one, obey God, first and foremost. Obey what God says in his word and seek to be faithful to the Lord.
And if you're in this relationship, don't let the relationship progress at all. Certainly not towards marriage if this person is not a believer. Now, if they come to faith, and of course we've all heard stories where that happens in God's providence and we praise God for that, well then, yeah, it would be permissible to get married, but right now, the answer is no. And I know that that's got to be difficult for you to hear, but really for your own good, obedience to the Lord, even when it costs us certain things, is always better for our joy, for our growth in grace, for our sanctification. And so, brother, obey the Lord in this. Thank you for your question and God bless.
Adam, great counsel, Adriel, a follow-up question for you. I was single until I was 40, and I knew a lot of older singles who participated in what you might call missionary dating. They would date someone who wasn't exactly close to the faith, and their hope was, well, they'll go to church with me, I'll kind of bring them along, and eventually they'll become a Christian. Maybe not right away, but maybe once we're married. I'm wondering what you would say to a person who's considering that kind of missionary dating.
Yeah, I would say no, that's not one how missions work. In terms of evangelism, that shouldn't be the strategy as let me go date a non-believer and try to win them over to Jesus in that way. No, we can have friends and those kinds of relationships with people who are not Christians.
In fact, this is something that's assumed in Scripture in places like 1 Corinthians chapter 5, but in terms of pursuing a romantic relationship, we have to make sure that we agree fundamentally on who Jesus is and what he's done for us and grow together in that first and foremost. You couldn't do that with somebody who is a non-believer. Even though God has worked in this way, and I've seen people come to faith in these kinds of situations, I praise God for that, it's certainly not something that I encourage because I've also seen it go really bad in a number of instances.
Thanks for that follow-up. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and today we are offering a free resource that focuses on a topic that we actually receive a lot of calls about. Yeah, Bill, on the program we get a lot of questions about what repentance is. What does it mean to turn from my sin and to cling to Christ? How do I put to death my sin?
This is what the apostle Paul talks about in places like Romans chapter 8. And can I say that I'm truly a Christian if I still struggle with sins repeatedly over and over again? Did I really repent of that sin? These are questions that many people have, and so we've made a resource, Seven Things Everyone Should Know About Repentance, that's a free download over at corechristianity.com. And it really gets to the heart of what repentance is, and so we want to help you in your walk with the Lord as you think about this really important subject. And so head over to corechristianity.com to get a hold of that resource. Again, it's called Seven Things Everyone Should Know About Repentance. This would be great for you or maybe for someone you know who is struggling with that whole issue of repentance, and am I truly a Christian?
What is it all about? To get the resource for free, just go to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Or you can give us a call anytime for any one of our resources. Here's the phone number. In fact, you can call us right now if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, or maybe even a question about doctrine or theology. Here is the number. It's 833-843-2673.
That's 833-THE-CORE. We should mention we're also open to questions. If you're, maybe you consider yourself to be an atheist or an agnostic and you've got questions or doubts about the Christian faith, Adriel will be more than happy to talk to you about that as well. So give us a buzz right now.
Our phone lines will be open for the next 15 minutes or so at 833-THE-CORE. Let's go to a voicemail that came in earlier this week having to do with prophecy. Hi, I just want to thank you all for what you're doing at Core Christianity, answering the tough questions. May God continue to bless you with wisdom. But my question is in regards to Ezekiel 38 to 39, where the prophet writes about Gog of the land of Magog rising up along with Persia, Cush, and Put, I think a few other nations coming down to come after Israel from the north. My question is, is Gog of the land of Magog considered a Russia? I know Persia is modern day Iran, but I just want to know what your thoughts and also real quickly, is this Ukraine invasion possibly the lead way of that to come?
Thank you again. You know, I wondered if we would get a question like this in light of everything that's going on just because it is so heartbreaking. Why don't we take a moment first to pray briefly about the situation going on in Ukraine, and then I'll get right to your question. Father, once again, today we cry out to you asking for you to bring peace, Lord God, an end to war. Praying, Lord God, in particular for the conflict in Ukraine, praying for the protection of those who are suffering, asking, Lord God, especially for your church in that area, Lord God, that you would grant them boldness, a sense of your presence, and even, Lord God, that somehow through these circumstances you would do as so often you've done throughout history, Lord, in continuing to advance your gospel, and I pray that your church would rise up at this time and meet the needs of those who are suffering, especially throughout Ukraine. And so would you please, Lord God, be with the people there? Would you grant peace? Would you grant your presence in Jesus' name?
Amen. There have been, I've seen this, popular pastors and Bible teachers on television, on the radio, on Sunday mornings, who, you know, they see these events and they open up the scriptures, in particular, you know, the prophetic literature, and they say, I think this is what Ezekiel was talking about in Ezekiel 38. Ezekiel was prophesying about Russia and the invasion of Ukraine, or the invasion of Israel, or an invasion of Israel.
Let me just read the text, because it's so important for us to just get into the word. It says, Ezekiel 38 verse 1, The word of the Lord came to me, Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him and say, Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords, Persia, Cush and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet, Gomer and all his hordes, Beth Togromah, from the uttermost parts of the north, with all his hordes, many peoples are with you. What you have here is a coalition of these seven nations that are coming against the people of God.
It's a picture of the final battle, if you will, the end times war, where all the nations are gathered together against the people of God to bring destruction against them. We read here from the uttermost parts of the north, some people have said, Well, see right there, north of Israel, you have Turkey, you have Russia, even further there, so this must be a prophecy about Russia. People will even say in verse two, it talks about Meshech and Tubal, that sort of sounds like Moscow.
That would be, this is called an anachronism, we're sort of reading present day things back into the text, really Meshech and Tubal are probably a reference to peoples from East Anatolia, it would be modern day Turkey. What we do have in this passage is a clear picture of this end times eschatological battle against the people of God, and it seems to be like this all encompassing, not just Russia, but one of the reasons I think you have seven nations here is because there's this picture of fullness, the whole world, if you will, coming against Israel, or the people of God there, as Ezekiel sees it specifically. Now one of the really important, I think, principles of Bible interpretation, especially when we're thinking about Bible prophecy, is that we let scripture interpret scripture. And one of the places where what we see here in Ezekiel 38 is talked about or commented on is in the book of Revelation, in Revelation chapter 20, verses 7 and following. Listen closely to what Revelation 20 says, when the thousand years are ended, that is after the quote unquote millennial reign of Christ, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog. So right here, as John is prophesying, Gog and Magog isn't just a reference to Russia, this is a reference to the nations, all of them, right? Gog and Magog to gather them for battle, their numbers like the sand of the sea, and they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they were to be tormented day and night forever and ever. So again, this is a picture of the final battle. Now a couple of things, throughout the history of the world, especially the last two thousand years, I think people have seen these wars that have happened around them, they've wanted to sort of read those experiences in light of what the Bible says. So I understand that, but I think we have to be careful that we're not twisting or misinterpreting scripture and not just seeing what we want to see there. Yes, there is a final battle, a final war that is coming. Is this invasion of Ukraine the sort of beginning of that? I don't think that that's what we would get from Ezekiel chapter 38, and in particular I think the focus on Russia that so many people have.
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