Long after Jesus’ Second Coming, Satan will incite armies to go up against the peaceful villages of Israel. Learn more!
[Gary Petty] How great are Satan’s deceptive powers? Could you be influenced?
Amazingly, Revelation 20 prophesies of a time when Satan who has been imprisoned by Christ for a thousand years is released. Upon release from his chains, he immediately deceives multitudes of people who have been living peaceably under the rule of Jesus Christ. A people known as Gog and Magog.
Who are these people?
The prophecies teach that they form a massive army and march on Jerusalem—the capital city of God’s government on earth.
Now, these events are prophesied to happen at the end of the Millennium.
But the message of Revelation 20 isn’t the only time that Gog and Magog are prophesied to wage war against the Messiah.
Well today, we’re going to explore two important prophecies—one in the ancient book of Ezekiel and the other in the New Testament book of Revelation—as we discover the prophetic “Wars of Gog and Magog.”
[Announcer] Join our host Gary Petty on Beyond Today!
[Gary] Understanding today’s subject will give you insight into the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, and also insight into the role that Satan plays in the coming wars of Gog and Magog. Plus, you’ll see how to recognize Satan’s deception in your own life now.
You know, day by day we are watching the old world order unravel. Radical Muslim terrorism threatens the future of Western Civilization. The European Union seems to be teetering on disunity. The entire world is faced with the nightmare of rogue tyrants in North Korea and Iran brandishing nuclear weapons. While the United States is embroiled in political, economic and moral confusion.
As the world slides into economic and violent chaos a new, end-time world power will emerge. This world power is prophesied in Revelation 13 as two “beasts”—one representing a political leader and the second a religious leader.
Now we’re not going to spend a lot of time today on Revelation 13, but it is important to recognize that these two end-time leaders are given their power by the “dragon.” That’s what it says.
Now when studying biblical prophecy, it is very important to seek clear interpretation of prophetic symbols. In Revelation 12:9, the “great dragon” is called quote: “the serpent of old…the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world…” You see, in the Bible, the dragon is a symbol of the very real rebellious angelic being we know as Satan.
The Bible states that Satan “deceives the whole world.” So how great are Satan’s deceptive powers?
Let me ask you this, have you ever asked, “Why is there so much war and violence and hatred? I mean, if God is all powerful why doesn’t He stop the mayhem? And why does the Bible contain so many prophesies of future horrendous wars?”
Well you know, here’s the hard reality that gives us clarity into understanding the questions of human violence and helps us understand the wars of Gog and Magog. The apostle Paul wrote that Satan is “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 2:1-4). You know, this is a fundamental truth in understanding the world you live in and I live in and the prophecies we’re discussing on today’s program.
Satan is a created angel, but the Creator God has allowed him to rule over this time of human history. No matter where you live, the society you live in—it’s not of God’s design. Under the influence of the “god of this age” every human philosophy, every human society, and every human religion has in it the stains of satanic deception. And you will never see the light until you understand the origins of the darkness.
How great is Satan’s deceptive powers?
You know, the prophecies revealed to the apostle John in the book of Revelation show how the “beast” power as it’s called—both the political and religious leadership, both under the influence of the “dragon”—will gather great armies to fight against Christ at His second coming.
At this time, the glorified Jesus will destroy these armies and stand on the Mount of Olives to make Jerusalem His capital city. And at that time, Satan will be restrained.
Listen to what John writes: “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while (Revelation 20:1-3).
Two important points:
1. When Christ returns and Satan is bound it will be the first time since Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden that Satan hasn’t been deceiving human beings as the “god of this age.”
2. Satan is going to be let out of his prison for a short time at the end of the Millennium. Now we’re going to come back to this second point in just a little bit.
Wouldn’t it seem that once Christ establishes Jerusalem as His seat of government, He begins to heal the environment of the entire earth as is prophesied and Satan is removed from deceiving human beings that all people will just sort of naturally want to worship the true God? It would seem that there would be immediate peace and prosperity, brotherhood of all nations, and universal justice.
You know, that’s not exactly how the Bible prophecies describe the beginning of Christ’s reign on earth.
Let’s go to the book of Ezekiel and look at a prophecy about the early days of the Millennium.
Ezekiel was a prophet sent to the captive Jewish people to warn them both before and after the Babylonian captivity. He became sort of a street prophet where all day long he would stand on the street and people would pass by as he declared to them God’s message. Ezekiel’s prophecies contain God’s condemnation of the Jews at that time, but also prophesies that reach across time to the age of Christ’s rule on the earth.
Let me give you an example. At one point, the prophet Ezekiel, is told by God to take two sticks. He is instructed then to perform a public ceremony where he ties the two sticks together. When people ask about this sort of strange behavior, he told them that this represented a time in the future when God would reunite Judah and the lost tribes of Israel into one nation. At that time they would be settled into the land promised to Abraham’s descendants and it says that God would give them one king as their ruler.
He then declared the purpose for God’s message of the two sticks, “Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them...” These are the physical descendants of Abraham. “...and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore.
My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore” (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
This prophecy obviously has not yet been fulfilled. In 1948, many Jews returned to the ancestral homeland of Abraham, but the lost tribes have not been united. There is not one king ordained by God ruling over them, and, most importantly, the sanctuary of God is not: “in their midst.”
This prophecy concerns the covenant God will make with Israel at the time when the Messiah establishes God’s sanctuary in Jerusalem. This is a profound Messianic prophecy.
Ezekiel’s next prophecy, recorded in chapters 38 and 39, are against a group of nations whose leader is named Gog: “Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him...’” (Ezekiel 38:1-2).
When we look at the passage, the allies of Magog include such well known countries as Persia—which is modern Iran—and North African countries like Ethiopia and Libya. They also include areas that in ancient times were known as Gomer and “Togarmah from the far north…”
Now many biblical commentators believe that Magog and their allies from the north include the peoples of the Eurasian Steppes that stretch from Russia to Mongolia. Now this would mean that this massive army would include peoples from Russia, central Asia, possibly Turkey, plus Iran, Ethiopia and Libya.
This is not the “beast” armies of Revelation who fight Jesus at His return. Those armies are based in Europe. And, these aren’t the Asian hordes mentioned in Revelation that assemble to fight with the “beast” power against Christ. Those armies visibly see Christ returning and they unite to repel Him as what they see as an invader. When we look at this prophecy in Ezekiel, it’s a totally different description of what is happening.
So when does this first war of Gog and Magog take place?
We find the answer in Ezekiel 38 starting in verse 10. Now listen to this, “Thus says the Lord God: ‘On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind...’” Now this is speaking of Gog. ‘“And you will make an evil plan: You will say, “I will go up against a land of unwalled villages…”’” That’s very important. “‘“I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates’— to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations...” That’s also very important. “Who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land” (Ezekiel 38:10-12).
Now once again, this is a different description from the events of Revelation 17-19 describing the battle of the “beast” armies at the second coming of Christ. The armies of Gog assemble to fight against “unwalled villages” and people who have been “gathered from among the nations.” Important points.
So who are these prosperous people, gathered from among the nations, who live in a land without military protection?
Well let’s skip down to verse 14: “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it? Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army. You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days...’” (Ezekiel 38:14-16).
Many Old Testament prophets describe a time when the people of Israel are living in total prosperity and peace in the land promised by God to Abraham, under the rule of the Messiah. Because of the Messianic power they will have no need for any military force. They will appear to be “unwalled”—without protection.
Magog and its allies will launch a war against the people of Israel who have been gathered into the land of Abraham. You know, this can’t be during the violent turmoil of the Tribulation or even at the immediate time of Christ’s return. It is a time when Israel is living in peace without any soldiers, air force, artillery or tanks.
The reason for Ezekiel’s Magog coalition is because they reject the gathering of Israel as God fulfills His promises made to Abraham. God declares, “I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay on them. From that day forward the people of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God. And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin…” (Ezekiel 39:21-23).
God’s punishment on Magog and its allies is terrible. God shakes the entire earth with an earthquake, causes the armies to actually fight against each other and rains down on them: “flooding rain, great hailstones, fire and brimstone” (Ezekiel 39:22). The destruction of Gog’s army is so massive, so catastrophic, that according to Ezekiel’s prophecy, it will take seven months just to bury the dead.
Now think about this, because one astonishing aspect about this first war of Gog and Magog is that Satan isn’t directly involved in assembling these armies. In Revelation the “beast” armies rally to fight Jesus at His return under the influence—remember—of the “dragon.” But, the first war of Gog and Magog takes place after Christ’s return, after Satan’s imprisonment, when the people of Israel live in the peace of “unwalled villages.”
So, if Satan is imprisoned, what motivates Gog and his followers for try to overthrow Jesus Christ?
You know, this question leads us back to the power of Satan’s deception. The people who follow Gog still have the influences of Satan in their own carnal nature, and this is important to your life today.
Because you see, all of us have been affected by Satan in our thoughts, emotions and motivations. We find his ways attractive. Only when we turn to God, admit to our own corrupt human nature, repent of our sins and submit to God’s power, can we experience freedom from the shackles of Satan’s slavery over our minds.
Here’s how the apostle Paul described Satan’s power of deception to the Christians in Ephesus:
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the...” Listen to this: “prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience...” That’s Satan. “...among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ...” (Ephesians 2:1-5).
What a remarkable passage! Before they turned to God the Christians in Ephesus were all spiritually dead, deceived by Satan, living lifestyles in rebellion against God. They chose evil over good.
The prophecy of the first war of Gog and Magog show us the power of Satan’s deception on the human mind.
Remember something, the peoples who follow Gog in the first war of Gog and Magog will not have Satan around to deceive them because he will have already been imprisoned by Christ. Jesus will have healed the earth which had been scarred and devastated by the Great Tribulation. He will have revealed the true God and His ways of happiness, prosperity and peace. And still, the followers of Gog will refuse to accept the reign of the Son of God, the Prince of Peace.
The power of satanic deception appeals to the human desire for power, wealth and selfishness. His deceptions are imbedded into the very core of human nature. Maybe you have never thought of this but people who live through the Tribulation and into the Millennium will still have their corrupt human nature. They will still need to repent and turn to God or they will simply reinvent satanic ways of violence and war. Which is exactly what the followers of Gog try to do. Even without Satan around, they try to reinvent satanic society and God will destroy both their armies and their society.
Now let’s take a look at the second war of Gog and Magog.
Let’s go back to what we read earlier in Revelation 20. John wrote: “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while” (Revelation 20:1-3).
This prophecy announced that at Christ’s return, Satan will be imprisoned. It then jumps ahead to the end of the Millennium. It is a time when all peoples, tribes and nations live in peace—not just the people of Israel. There will be one world religion. Everyone will know the true God and His Son. Everyone enjoys the bounty of a healed earth. It is the most wonderful time in human history. Into this utopian, Garden-of-Eden-like society, Satan is once again released.
How great are Satan’s deceptive powers? We keep asking that question.
Let’s drop down to verse 7 here in Revelation 20: “Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city”—which means Jerusalem. “And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them” (Revelation 20:7-9).
Think about this. Even with Jesus Christ visibly reigning on earth with God’s benefits being poured out on all humanity, Satan will be able to convince people from “the four corners of the earth”—here called Gog and Magog—to try and overthrow Christ and reestablish Satan as the “god of this age.” Satan will actually convince people that his way of selfishness, violence and philosophy of the survival of the fittest is better than the peace, love and prosperity of God’s ways. And if we’re not careful, we’re all attracted to that message.
This is the second war of Gog and Magog. It results in the destruction of this second army by fire from God. Then, according to the next verse, Satan is irrevocably removed from influencing God’s children for eternity.
The real importance for you to understand the wars of Gog and Magog is to comprehend the deceptive power of Satan. Satan is engaged in a perpetual war with God and with the minds of human beings—you and me. He is the “god of this age” and his deceptions fill every nook and cranny of every human endeavor. So, make sure you use your God-given opportunity for “choice.” You need to choose to reject the devil’s influence.
So what must you do to resist Satan’s deception and choose God’s way?
1. Recognize that you can't always trust your own thoughts and emotions.
None of us can. Satan attempts to turn evil into good and good into evil. To God, every human being has value as His child. Satan, on the other hand, he devalues human life and we are nothing more than an advanced animal. That’s what he tries to convince us. His deception is so great that a human being, especially a fetus, really has no more intrinsic value than a jellyfish. The truth is: every human being—you—is created to be a child of God. He has a plan for you and a desire for you.
2. Pray to God to open your mind to who He really is and His purpose for creating you.
You will then become aware of the battle Satan is waging against your mind. I mean every aspect of our nature has to be looked at: our anger, our sexuality, even our concepts of love have been twisted and molded by Satan’s deception.
3. Set Aside a half hour each day to read the Bible.
And third—set aside a half-hour each day. If you don’t have the time to do this, your priorities are wrong. Set aside a half-hour each day to read the Bible. Seek God’s guidance. See what He has in mind for you, and then use this opportunity of life to “choose” right over wrong. You can reject Satan’s deception and with God’s help, overcome your own selfish desires.
In today’s program, I’ve covered a great deal of information about Satan’s influence that will eventually cause humanity to fight against Christ at His return and inspire the wars of Gog and Magog. Though Christ at His second coming will imprison Satan, at the end of a thousand years of Christ’s rule on earth, Satan will be released for a short time.
To help you better understand Satan’s deceptive powers that make him the “god of this age” as the Bible says, I urge you to order our revealing, free Bible study aid: Is There Really a Devil?
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[Gary] Satan is real. He will rally the “beast” armies and Asian hordes to fight against Christ at His return. His lingering influence will motivate Gog to gather armies to go against the unwalled villages of Israel after Christ has established His rule in Jerusalem. And then, at the end of the Millennium, the devil will stir-up one last great human rebellion against God.
Satan is active today as the “god of this age.” He is fighting a battle to control your mind. You need to order our free booklet: Is There Really a Devil? to find spiritual weapons to fight against this spiritual enemy.
Join us next week on Beyond Today as we continue to discover the gospel of the Kingdom. We also invite you to join us in praying, “Thy Kingdom come.” For Beyond Today I’m Gary Petty. Thanks for watching.
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