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The King Destroys Nations – Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
February 16, 2024 1:00 am

The King Destroys Nations – Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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February 16, 2024 1:00 am

Despite having overwhelming military superiority over Israel, this attack will be terminated by the hand of God. He promises to defend his people and destroy the nations that seek their annihilation. This is an amazing story of Bible prophecy which will come to pass in God’s timing. 

This month’s special offer is available for a donation of any amount. Get yours at rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. 

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. In Ezekiel 38, we read of a latter-day coalition of nations on the march to destroy tiny Israel. Despite having an overwhelming superiority of force, this attack is terminated by the hand of God. Today, an amazing story of how Bible prophecy will come to pass.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, is the battle you will describe today the same as the battle of Armageddon? Dave, the Bible predicts a number of different battles that surround the city of Jerusalem. Of course, the one in Ezekiel chapter 37 and 38 is going to end dramatically because God is going to put an end to those nations that want to invade Israel. But this much we do know, that Israel really is the focal point of all future prophecy. So when we hear that Israel is in the news, we all become very interested, we don't know the times, we don't know the details, but this much we do know that God is going to defend Israel. You know, I've written a book entitled The King is Coming, 10 Events That Will Change Our Future Forever. I tried to avoid some of the controversies, but rather to zero in on those events that we know are going to happen. And for a gift of any amount, this book can be yours.

Now at the end of this message, I'm going to be giving you some contact info. For now, let us listen as we think about the future events that we know will take place. It is truly amazing, isn't it, that a little sliver of land like Israel, depending on where you put the borders, perhaps a hundred miles long, and depending on where you measure it, 30 to 50 miles wide, would command the attention of the world. And when God begins to wrap up history, everything has to do with Israel, everything has to do with the city of Jerusalem, that small little postage stamp of a country. What is amazing, perhaps, is that the United States is not mentioned in prophecy.

There's no evidence that the United States is directly involved. At least the Bible doesn't predict it. There may be some reasons for that. First of all, if you have a pre-tribulational rapture, if two or three million or however million true believers there are in the United States all go up in a rapture, that would certainly destabilize the United States. People would have all kinds of explanations as to what happened to these people. Most people would be glad we're gone, but at the same time, it could cause a lot of disruption. There's another reason, and that is the need for oil. After all, the United States desperately needs foreign oil, and it could be that as the years progress, the United States begins to ally itself more specifically with the Arab states than it does with Israel.

Even in recent years, it's evident that our support of Israel seems to be in decline. Another reason might be terrorism. You could imagine a terrorist attack and how it would take out so much of our infrastructure. One of our leaders has said that the greatest threat the United States has is not terrorism, but rather it is the collapse of the economy, a total financial meltdown, what of course could be caused by severe terrorist attacks. At any rate, I'm going to be discussing today a huge battle that is going to take place in the Middle East, a coalition of nations that are going to march against Israel, and there's no evidence that the United States is involved or trying to help Israel repel the attack.

The attack will be repelled in a way that is going to give you goosebumps, but the United States will not be a part of that. I want you to take your Bibles and turn to the book of Ezekiel, and we're going to begin in chapter 37 just to give you a bit of context. And after we're in chapter 37, we're going to spend our time in chapter 38. If you have a Bible that is there in the seat in front of you, it would be page 725. 725, always important that you follow along in the word.

You should bring your Bibles to church every Sunday. Notice that the scripture says in 37 verse 1, the hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley. It was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, Son of man, can these bones live?

And I answered, O Lord, you know. Prophesy over these bones and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones.

Behold, I will cause breath to enter you. So these are Ezekiel's dry bones. And as he prophesies over the bones, the sinews begin to come together, and the bones begin to connect.

I must hurry because we have much territory to cover in this message. But you'll notice that eventually he begins to prophesy, and not only does the body come together, but something else happens, and that is that it actually has life, and the bones live. Fortunately, it's not up to us to try to figure out the mystery of what Ezekiel saw. It's right here in the scripture. The Lord says in verse 11, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost.

We are clean cut off. Isn't that a picture of the Jewish nation throughout the centuries? Therefore, prophesy and say to them, thus says the Lord God, behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves. O my people, I will bring you into the land of Israel. You shall know that I am the Lord when I open your graves, and I raise you from my graves. And verse 14, I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land, and you shall know that I am the Lord.

I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord. The bones are the house of Israel. Many people think that when Israel became a nation in 1948, at that period of time, that's when the bones started to come together, but they're dried bones. Israel today does not recognize Jesus to be the Messiah, for one thing.

For another thing, many of the Jewish people have left their faith, and even many of them have become atheistic and very unbelieving. So the nation is there as a nation that is a heap of dried bones, but God says, I am going to give you life, and I will even put my spirit within you. And later on in this chapter, God says, I'm going to cleanse you, and I'm going to give you a new heart. It's a reference to the time when Jesus Christ comes, when the nation Israel shall look on him whom they have pierced, and they shall believe. A whole host of Israelites will believe on Jesus.

And if you're wondering about the millennial kingdom, just know that I am dedicating a message in this series to the millennium and what happens there. So here's this prophecy of the restoration of Israel with a new spirit, a new understanding of God, and the fulfillment of the prophecies that go back even to the time of Abraham. Now it's in that context that we read in chapter 38 an amazing invasion of Israel.

This has never happened historically. In fact, the scripture says that it will happen in the latter times, in the latter days. So let's look at it very quickly. Chapter 38, the word of the Lord came to me. Now this is amazing because Ezekiel is writing 2,600 years ago.

And he has intelligence because he's plugged into God. And he's going to say some things that are just amazing. And now there's some evidence that we are seeing the fulfillment of this prophecy. The word of the Lord came to me, son of man, set your face toward Gog on the land of Magog, the chief princes of Mesha and Tubal, and prophesy against him and says, thus says the Lord God, behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Mesha and Tubal. I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws. I will bring you out all of your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host of them with buckler and shield, wielding the swords, Persia, Cush, and Put are with them all, with shield and with helmet, Gomer and all of his hordes, Beth-tomara from the uttermost parts of the north with its hordes. Many peoples are with you. Well, it's time for us to stop here and take a breath.

What is this all about? When it comes to interpreting this passage, you have to understand that he is using names that are very ancient. And today we have different names for these geographical locations.

You say, well, how do you connect them? Well, there are scholars that have looked at these names, connected them with the table of nations and the book of Genesis. And so far as we know, the interpretation that I am giving you is accurate. And the first country that we have to look at, if you were to look at a map, the first country that you would want to look at in this context is Russia. When it speaks about Gog, that really is to a ruler. It's talking to a ruler. And when it speaks about Magog, if we identify that ruler as the Russian ruler, and I'll give you some evidence for that in a moment, Magog would refer to those countries that are south of Russia, the countries that became part of the Soviet Union or were a part of the Soviet Union, the Muslim countries that are in that region.

You say, well, Pastor Lutzer, why do you believe that this is Russia? Notice that three times God says, I'm going to bring you out from the far north. Verse six, from the uttermost parts of the north. Verse 15, you will come from the uttermost parts of the north, you and many people with you.

You'll notice that in chapter 39, same battle, verse two of the uttermost parts of the north. Now, if you were to look at Jerusalem and go straight north toward the North Pole, you would be drawing a line that goes right past Moscow. I don't think that there's any other country that fits that description. Furthermore, Russia has been the great seat of atheism. And Russia has had a great deal of impact. And Russia is going to want to take its borders now and expand them to recreate the Russian Empire.

Maybe you're aware that Putin said on one occasion that the dismemberment of the Soviet Union was one of the greatest geopolitical disasters that has ever happened. There will be within Russia the desire to recreate a union, and this union is going to go against Israel. Now, you have to understand, and it's difficult to put all this together, but Antichrist will have a European coalition of Western nations.

And so you can see the world lining itself up. You have Antichrist, who has in his hip pocket the Western nations. You see Russia now, and it is going to align itself with Arab nations. You know, people always say, how close are we to the Lord's return? I don't know.

Maybe it's still 50 years or 100 years. But if there are any signs, any quote signs, one would be Russia's affinity, its desire to connect with Arab nations. Now let's look at the text, and let's find out what some of these other nations are. You have Russia, and then and its satellite countries, the former Islamic countries, and then you have Misha and Tubal. Best identification is Turkey. And also Gomer over here and Beth Togarma would also be a reference to areas of Turkey.

If this identification is correct, a couple of things follow. First of all, always expect in the days ahead that Russia is going to have closer and closer ties with Turkey. Turkey is a secular Islamic state. Some of us have been there, and we see its secularism. Also in the recent year or two, it has taken a very fundamentalistic turn toward a more rigorous Islam. But expect Turkey to be aligned with Russia.

They are going to continue in their alliances. And then you have the country of Persia. Persia is Iran.

Persia is modern day Iran. Well, we all know, and it's listed there, of course, in verse 5, we know what Iran thinks of Israel. Its president wanting to exterminate the Jews and saying that the Holocaust didn't happen. All of these things have been said by Ahmadinejad.

He said that, you know, the Holocaust didn't happen. What they want to do is to align themselves with those nations that are opposed to Israel and wipe Israel off the map. Isn't it interesting that Russia has trained more than a thousand nuclear scientists, Iranians, and Russia has helped them build a nuclear power plant. Billions in arms deals.

Expect that to continue. Russia says that it is willing to defend Iran. So Iran is part of the coalition. Then you have three countries that are really in Africa today. You have Cush, which is Ethiopia, and the Sudan, and Put, which is Libya. Now, I have to tell you that ancient Ethiopia, when it's mentioned in the scriptures, Cush, Ethiopia, was really what we call today the Sudan.

It was south of Egypt. And so you have these countries becoming part of the coalition. If you ask the question, well, if the troops are coming from the north, there are ways that these countries can participate.

There are many theories as to how that might happen. I shall not go into those today, because we don't know for sure. But they are a part of this coalition. And the Sudan today, by the way, strong Muslim country, anti-Christian, very deeply so. So these countries are going to ally themselves against Israel. Now, you say, well, what about Saudi Arabia? We'd certainly expect Saudi Arabia to be a part of this, wouldn't we?

But you know, it's interesting. Most scholars believe there in verse 13 of the chapter, we're looking at Sheba and Dedan, that this best identification is Saudi Arabia. And Saudi Arabia gives a mild protest and says, are you going to get the spoil, et cetera.

Saudi Arabia, though a Muslim country, has oftentimes been allies with the West. So it is possible that it will join the Western coalition that belongs to those that are under the thumb and the heel of anti-Christ, because it is not listed in this coalition. Now, with that background, why are they doing this? Well, verses 11 and 12 tell us, they want to destroy, to seize the spoil, to carry the plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited. They want to destroy the people who were gathered together from the nations, et cetera, et cetera. What they want to do is finally crush Israel. And they are going to come together in hordes.

Now, if you ask the question, where are nuclear weapons in this, I'll comment on the weapons issue in just a few moments. But notice that the Bible says that you will come from the uttermost parts of the North, verse 15, and you and many people with you, all of them riding on horses, a great host, a mighty army, written, of course, in the language that Ezekiel would have understood. That may be symbolic. But nonetheless, this group of armies comes together. If we read the text correctly, we're talking about millions of people, of soldiers, coming against Israel to finally overrun the place, to finally crush the place, and do everything that this coalition has always wanted to do in its hatred of the Jews, and to finally take care of the issue. Now, you say, well, Pastor Lizer, when would this happen? Well, you know, scholars differ on that point. I always say that when it comes to prophecy, we might not be accurate in terms of the timeline.

We do the best we can to fit this in with this and ask, where would this make more sense? But we wish that there'd be a whole book just devoted to the sequence, and there isn't. The book of Revelation helps us, but we need to insert these events within it. But let me say that it's a time when Israel is at peace. If you read the text, it says that they will be in unwalled villages. They will be secure in their land.

That certainly isn't true today, most assuredly. So it refers to some future time when Israel is at peace. You know, my friend, what excites me is we don't need to know the details to know that certain events will take place, and someday after they have taken place, we'll look back and we'll say, this is the way we should have interpreted these prophetic statements.

But this much we do know. What the Bible predicts will come to pass. And may I add, today we are one day closer to these events than we were yesterday. You know, for a gift of any amount, you can receive the book entitled The King is Coming, 10 Events That Will Change Our Future Forever. I wrote this book not so much to think that I know all the details regarding what's happening, but rather I'm interested in the transformation of life, the recognition that we should be living in light of eternity. We believe that this book will be of tremendous help even in your Christian journey.

As I mentioned, for a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com, or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

Once again, pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-218-9337. The title of the book, The King is Coming. Time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Christians do not all agree on what day God has set aside for corporate worship.

Jim is asking today's question. Could you please give me scripture explaining why you worship on Sunday and not on the Sabbath? I worship on Sunday, and people tell me, yes, we live under grace, but the other nine commandments should not be broken. Jim, very good question, and it is deserving of a much longer answer.

A couple of things to think about. It is true that in the New Testament the commandments are all repeated, and these commandments have their own force in the New Testament, but it is interesting that the Sabbath day is not repeated in the New Testament. What we find is, first of all, that the early church did worship on Sunday in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus, and so the Bible talks about the first day of the week, the first day of the week.

You can read that, of course, for yourself. Secondly, under grace, the Sabbath of the Old Testament is really given an entirely different meaning. In fact, there seems to be very little connection between the Old Testament Sabbath and what we call today's Sunday. For example, in some of his writings, like in the book of Colossians, the apostle Paul talks about those who observe certain days, etc., etc. In Romans, Paul speaks about those who regard one day above another, others regard every day alike, and then he says, let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. That's Romans chapter 14. Clearly, if it was God's intention that we observe the Sabbath, this would have been a repeated theme in the New Testament, and it's not there. So, continue to study the matter.

There are those, of course, who differ, but my conviction is that when we worship God on Sunday, we are representing His grace in the New Covenant. Some wise counsel from Dr. Erwin Lutzer. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer. Or, call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. Ezekiel prophesies that one day, many nations will come to destroy Israel, led by a nation from the north. Despite their apparent power, God will dramatically neutralize their attempt. This great battle will prepare Israel for the climactic events leading to the return of Jesus to the earth. Next time on Running to Win, more about how the King will destroy the nations that seek to annihilate His chosen people. Thanks for listening to our series on the return of Christ. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-16 02:30:28 / 2024-02-16 02:39:15 / 9

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