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Who Are Gog and Magog in Ezekiel?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
January 10, 2024 5:23 pm

Who Are Gog and Magog in Ezekiel?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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January 10, 2024 5:23 pm

Episode 1399 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

 CoreChristianity.com

  1. What do we know about Jesus's childhood?   2. What is "Decision Theology," and is it biblical?   3. Who are Gog and Magog in Ezekiel?   4. How can I engage my Muslim friend on who Jesus really is?     Today’s Offer: TOUGH QUESTIONS ANSWERED   Want to partner with us in our work here at Core Christianity? Consider becoming a member of the Inner Core.   View our latest special offers here or call 1-833-THE-CORE (833-843-2673) to request them by phone.

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Who do Gog and Magog represent in the book of Ezekiel? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of Core Christianity. 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. You can call us right now with your question. Here's our phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. By the way, you can watch Adriel right now on YouTube. In fact, we're on our YouTube channel every day at 1130 a.m. Pacific time. You can also send him your question through our YouTube connection, and you can always email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to a voicemail from one of our listeners.

This is Boris. My question is really just in regards to the child of Christ. There's a lot that's said about it. There's a lot that seems esoteric, maybe, and not really based on the Bible. I just wanted to get your perspective on that and your knowledge on that. You could maybe elaborate on it a little bit. I'd appreciate it.

Thank you so much. Yeah, I appreciate that question, Boris. I want to have a little bit of fun with this one, because the Bible does not speak a lot about what was going on during Jesus' childhood. I think that we can gather from what the Bible says a number of things. But you had later a number of things that were written that sort of sought to fill in the gaps that were not inspired and were kind of out there and are actually also kind of funny. So you have what's called the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, for example, where there's a number of stories about the childhood Jesus. In one of them, he turns this clay that he molds, 12 little clay doves or pigeons or whatever that he molds into, actual birds on the Sabbath, and everybody's getting upset with the child Jesus. I just want to read some of it, because it's funny.

It's out there, but it's funny. And the son of Annas, the high priest, said to Jesus, Why are you doing such a thing on the Sabbath? And having taken a willow twig, he destroyed the pools and drained the water which Jesus had gathered, and he dried up their gatherings. But having seen what had happened, Jesus said to him, Your fruit will have no root, and your shoot will be withered like a scorched branch in a violent wind. And immediately that child withered away. The childhood Jesus was not somebody that you wanted to cross, according to the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, which, again, is not scripture.

Don't buy into that. But full of stories like this, people trying to say, Oh, with the childhood Jesus a wonder worker, I think we can definitively say that the answer to that is no, on the basis of what we find in the inspired Word of God. And where I typically go, Boris, is in Mark's Gospel. You have the parallel accounts in the other Synoptic Gospels as well. But in Mark's Gospel, for example, when Jesus went to his hometown, where he grew up, he causes a fence there, because he's been doing all of these amazing things, teaching amazing things and doing amazing miracles. And the people, their response is basically, this is verse 3, Mark chapter 6, Is not this the carpenter's son?

Right? And just right before that, they said, Where did this man get these things? What is this wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? In other words, when Jesus started to perform miracles, they were like, This is new.

We've never seen anything like this. This is not the Jesus that we knew. Isn't this Joseph and Mary's kid?

Aren't his family members here with us? Who does he think he is? It's essentially what the people of Nazareth say. And as a result, they take offense at him, and the text says that Jesus didn't do any mighty works there. They were unbelieving. And so it seems clear, we can deduce from that, that Jesus, as a young boy, was not doing miraculous things. He wasn't turning clay pigeons into living creatures and whatnot. And so you have these extra biblical writings that sought to fill in the gaps, but were just essentially made up.

And so this is what you get sometimes. But as I said, Boris, I think just looking at the text of Scripture, we can deduce that that's not what happened at all. And in addition, there's another big takeaway here, and it's the focus of the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. It's not like the Gospel writers are speculating about his childhood or even interested in that, per se. It's on his earthly ministry. It's on the binding of Satan through delivering people from possession, healing the sick, bringing the kingdom of God. It's on his sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection from the dead.

That's where they want to direct our attention. That's why the Gospels focus on that period of time in Jesus' life. And so what we're meant to take away from that is, this is the important stuff. This is the main thing that we need to get.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. What they wanted us to take away was the Redeemer, Jesus, his earthly ministry, his suffering, death, and resurrection from the dead. That's where we focus.

And so part of the issue is when people start speculating about these other things, you're taking the focus off of where God wants it to be for us. And so appreciate the question, and hope you enjoyed that little snippet from the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. Well, you didn't mention the one where the kid accidentally bumps into Jesus' shoulder, and then he basically just—he's gone.

That's right, yeah. Jesus was—it's just crazy. I mean, he was not a very nice boy in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas.

And if you mess with him, he would strike you with blindness. It's totally out there. And so read it if you're looking for something—if you're looking for a good laugh, not if you're looking for edification. You know, it's interesting how the Bible does warn us against speculative stuff, speculations, right? And it tells us to focus on the truth.

And yet, it's not just the Gospel, the Infancy Gospel of Jesus. It's everything from, you know, he went to a—there's, you know, rumors that he went to some kind of Buddhist monastery as a young man before his temptation. Or he got married. Or he went to the Americas, right? Yeah, he got married to Mary Magdalene or whatever.

That was popular a while ago. That idea, again, from the Gnostic Gospels, which were written later and were not inspired by God. But also, you know, Mormonism, for example, teaches that Jesus went to the Americas. I mean, you get all of these ideas, and the fact of the matter is they take our eyes off of the main thing, which is what we find in the Gospels, given to us by the Lord. And so it's a distraction. It's not helpful. If somebody comes to you and makes these crazy claims, go back to God's Word, to his inspired Word, and don't buy into these speculations. It can be very dangerous.

It's also interesting. I mean, Jesus made it clear, right? There were going to be false Christs who came. But Paul, in 2 Corinthians, says, look, I'm concerned if another Jesus comes or you hear another Gospel, that you're going to embrace that.

Because Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, and so there have been a lot of phonies out there, and there continue to be those phonies. This is why it's so important for us to be grounded in the Word of God, to let it wash over us every day, because there are counterfeits everywhere, bad theology all over the place. And the only way you're going to be able to distinguish between truth and error, between what's a lie and what's not, is by knowing the Word of God. And so just an encouragement for you, at the outset of the broadcast, once again today, to dive deeply into the Scriptures.

So well said. Thanks for that, Adriel. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, doctrine, theology, something in your church life that you're wondering about or concerned about, here's the phone number.

It's 833-THE-CORE. We'll be taking calls for the next 20 minutes or so, 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Eric, who is calling in from Iowa. Eric, what's your question for Adriel?

Hi. My question is, what is decision theology, and do most churches follow that? Our pastor mentioned that there is a pastor that followed that decision theology. I was just wondering what that is.

That's my question. Thank you, and I enjoy your program. Well, thank you for listening, Eric. So decision theology, I'm assuming that what your pastor's referring to is just this sort of easy believism, this idea that all you need to do is make a decision for Jesus, and that if you make that decision, you accept Jesus into your heart, you'll be saved. Now, the issue is, because obviously in Scripture we're called to turn to Christ. You do turn to Jesus, repent. Now, of course, it's the work of the Holy Spirit in you.

It's God who is at work in us, both to will and to work, Paul says, for his good pleasure. And so part of the problem is when you have an idea that, and this is, again, I think what people mean by decision theology, this idea that you, apart from the help of God, apart from the grace of God, make a decision for God and essentially save yourself. And that's very similar to the ancient heresy known as Pelagianism, that man can essentially save himself apart from divine grace, apart from the help of God.

You've just got to pull yourself up by the bootstraps. And churches that fell into this era, for many of them, it was just sort of like, okay, how can we spur people on? How can we emotionally manipulate them? That probably wouldn't have been the way in which they put it, but that was what was happening in a lot of churches, where there was this sort of emotional manipulation towards people to try to get them to make a decision for Jesus. But the problem with that, again, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize this, is if you do that, if you're just sort of emotionally manipulating people to make a decision for Jesus, that that comes and goes quite quickly. And especially if you're telling people you can essentially save yourself and you're not relying upon the grace of God through the proclamation of the gospel and you're not realizing the role of the Holy Spirit in all of this, there are so many issues, there are so many errors and ancient heresies that are cropping up.

And so I think that that's probably what your pastor was referring to when he was talking about decision, theology. Look, brothers and sisters, we depend 100% on the grace of God just to live. The very breath that we breathe is a gift given to us by the Lord, and when it comes to salvation, apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, apart from God's grace, we're just completely lost. We can't save ourselves. This is why we need the gospel, and this is why the gospel is good news. It's not try harder and do more so that you can eventually save yourself. It's rely upon the grace that God has brought to you in Jesus Christ, the free forgiveness of sins, and having received that by faith, truly received that by faith, live a life filled with the Holy Spirit, seeking to follow the Lord and to love him, and recognizing that all of it, the whole of the Christian life is lived on the mercy and grace of God. And so decision theology elevates man and minimizes the need of God's grace, and what we should do is elevate God and recognize that apart from him, we can do nothing, which is exactly what Jesus said in John chapter 15. Abide in me and I in you.

Apart from me, you can't do anything. We need Jesus desperately. Amen. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. You know, at some point you are likely to have a conversation with someone who doesn't believe in Christianity and may ask you some tough questions, and maybe you're not going to be prepared to answer those questions.

There's a lot of very vocal atheists and agnostics in our culture today, and you might even know one of them. We want to help you respond to some of those tough questions with a great resource that we prepared for you. Yeah, the resource is called Tough Questions Answered, and it goes through a number of different subjects—science, world religion, the Bible, morality. Asking and answering those difficult questions as you're having conversations with people about the Christian faith, I just encourage you to get a hold of this resource.

I think it'll bless you and it'll also equip you to have those conversations with intelligence and wisdom. So get a hold of Tough Questions Answered over at corechristianity.com. And we'd encourage you to browse around our website. We have lots of great free resources there—our core guides, our core questions. We also have some wonderful Bible studies if you want to go through on your own or as part of a small group. You can check those out at corechristianity.com. And just a reminder, we are a listener-supported ministry, so if you believe in what we do here at CORE Christianity, we would invite you to make a gift to this ministry or even join our inner CORE.

And you can find all the information on that at corechristianity.com. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the CORE. You can call us anytime, 24 hours a day, and leave your voicemail message. Here's the phone number, 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. We do our best to go through those questions each day. So feel free to call us anytime and leave your question.

Here's one that came in from a listener named Brian. I wanted to ask you, it seems like since what's been going on in Russia with the Ukraine, Israel, and Hamas, and Gaza, and even the tensions between Taiwan and China, that a lot of ministries are starting to jump on the bandwagon about this is going to be Gog and Magog. Why are so many ministries taking the scriptures out of context, just thus what I can call it is sensationalism?

Because they're misleading and misguiding people, knowing full well that's not happening. Could you please comment on it? God bless your ministry.

Brian, thank you for your prayer and encouragement. You're picking up on something, right? As we're watching the news, and we see nation rise against nation, and rumors of war, and so forth, we're quick to go to the scriptures, and in particular the prophetic writings like in Ezekiel, and say, is this what Ezekiel was talking about, or is this what John was talking about in the book of Revelation? And it's not that those passages aren't relevant, and that they don't have specific historical reference. It's just oftentimes we read ourselves as the sort of center of scripture. This is all about what's happening in the United States right now, or this is all about what's happening in the Middle East right now, and if we're not careful, we can, as you said, take scripture out of context. And so a couple of places where Gog and Magog come up in scripture, one, Ezekiel 38, but then also John uses the language of Gog and Magog in Revelation chapter 20 to talk about the final battle, the battle of Armageddon. Let me just read Ezekiel 38, verses 1 through 6.

It's really interesting there. That language is sort of similar to what we find in Job chapter 41, where God talks about putting hooks into Leviathan, and so these countries are pictured as, or these groups are pictured as this beastly monster like the Leviathan. I will 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 Togarmah from the uttermost parts of the north, with all his hordes, many peoples are with you. What you kind of have here, it seems like, is the seven-nation coalition surrounding the people of God from all sides, north, south, east, and west.

This is a picture of comprehensive invasion. And again, John picks us up in Revelation chapter 20, verses 8 and so on, and you also have the language of Gog and Magog earlier in Revelation, Revelation 16, Revelation 19 as well, to describe this worldwide coalition against the people of God, against the temple of the true and the living God. Meshech and Tubal were essentially Hebrew names to describe people from what would be modern-day Turkey. And so there were specific historical reference here. There is, I think, a future application with regard to the final judgment in that last battle that's described in Revelation chapter 20, but we want to be careful as we're interpreting these texts, and we want to make sure that we're not reading things into them or reading our current news cycle into the biblical text. We have to be careful with the Scriptures, and when we're not, that's when you get into, you know, people, you know, they start saying, well, this is it, this is the end, Jesus is coming back tomorrow, and they begin to set dates on the coming of the Lord like Jesus said not to do. And so it's a real issue, but here with Ezekiel 38 and also with Revelation 20, the focus is not on one group like Russia or Iran or something like that, it's on this worldwide coalition coming against the people of God and God himself standing up for his people and delivering them in the final hour, especially in Revelation chapter 20. And so an emphasis upon God's grace and his protection over his covenant people, delivering them from the forces of evil that come against them, and that's a takeaway for us, something for us to be comforted by as well. By the way, we have a great Bible study on the book of Revelation. If you want to dig more into this topic, Adriel has preached on that in his own church and has contributed to this great Bible study, so you can check that out at corechristianity.com.

Just look for the Bible study on Revelation. Well, our phone lines are open. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, feel free to call us at 833-THE-CORE. Let's go to Leanna in Iowa. Leanna, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, I had a question. I recently met a really nice Muslim lady, and we were discussing our various scriptures, and their belief of what happened to Jesus on the cross and to Judas Iscariot differed from what I explained, and I'm wondering what I could have responded to her with.

Well, Leanna, I love that you're having this conversation in particular, and you're totally right. So, Islam rejects, one, the doctrine of the Trinity. Two, they certainly reject the doctrine of the deity of Christ. They think that it's wrong to believe that Jesus is God. They also reject this idea that he died on the cross, the reality that he died on the cross and then rose again from the dead. In essence, they reject the gospel altogether, and it's a tragedy, really. You know, it's interesting, but there are similarities in one sense between Islam and Mormonism in that you have these religions that came hundreds of years after Christianity and claim to believe in Jesus, at least sort of, but they are adding a number of things to the biblical story or denying what the biblical story actually says. When you talk to Muslims, and when you talk to Mormons as well, and you point them to what scripture teaches, Leanna, if you just open up the Bible, oftentimes what they'll say is, well, that was corrupted. The gospels were corrupted.

We can't really trust that. And so, sometimes the way the discussion goes is thinking about the faithfulness of God and preserving the scriptures, the topic of textual criticism, and whatnot, but at the end of the day, we have to go back to what actually happened, which was the fact that Jesus, the eternal Son of God, came, suffered, and died for us so that we might be forgiven of our sins. And this is how a just God saves sinners without just destroying them. It's not like God just says, hey, you're guilty, and I'm just going to let you off the hook. No, there is a punishment. There is justice that's executed.

And the way in which God redeemed sinners is by taking that punishment upon himself, by sending his Son into the world and the second person of the Holy Trinity, assuming the judgment and wrath that we deserved so that we might have forgiveness in a relationship with the true and the living God. Islam doesn't have that. It doesn't teach that. And I just want to say, Liana, we just mentioned the tough questions answered booklet. There's a section on Islam in that booklet.

I just actually am going to read a part of it because I think it's so helpful. It says, although the concept of God is very similar to Christianity, Islam rejects the Trinity as a form of polytheism. In Islam, Allah is one person in one substance. This may not seem like an important distinction, but it reveals an internal incoherence in Islamic theology, a fatal flaw.

Islam teaches that Allah does not change and is self-existent. It also teaches that Allah is love. Who does Allah love? Those who obey him, or in a general sense, the world.

But the world did not always exist. So who did Allah love before he created the world? It can't be himself since he's only one person and love is a relational attribute.

Without someone or something to love, Allah would only be potentially loving. So this is an argument that is being made against the theology that you find in Islam and some of the problems that come when you reject this doctrine of the Holy Trinity. So I want to encourage you to get ahold of the Three Firsts.

We can send it to you for free. Tough questions answered. And maybe to continue to have these conversations prayerfully, with humility, with your friend, and keep going back to the scriptures. Keep going back to what the Gospels actually teach. And I would say just read it.

And like I said, probably what the response is going to be is, well, we don't believe that that was preserved, that that was kept. And here's some good news, some more information for you. In that tough questions answered booklet, you have a whole section on the Bible and why we can take the Bible seriously and why we don't have to believe the lie that it's been corrupted over all these years and we just can't understand it. And so God bless you, sister, and equip you to have these conversations. Thanks for listening. Thanks for listening to Core Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, go to corechristianity.com forward slash radio, or you can call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833 the core. When you contact us, let us know how we can be praying for you and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-10 19:36:57 / 2024-01-10 19:46:47 / 10

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