Monday, 24 September 2012

Joel Richardson’s “Gog” Challenge Met and Overcome


Expanded Update: 03 September 2012: "Joel Richardson" (the pen name of Richard Able) continues with his ridiculous shenanigans and grossly errant teaching on the subject of Ezekiel 38/39, all of which is intended solely to boost sales of his latest WND Books regurgitation "Mideast Beast." I am now going to save you the time it would take to read this uninspired book and the dollars you would need to spend to acquire your own personal copy. And I am going to provide this public service as succinctly and with as much brevity as I can because no one is sicker of this uninspired nonsense than I am. If you think you are, take a number, the line forms behind me.
The utterly false and completely deceptive claim being repeatedly made by this false prophet and charlatan is that the leader of the invasion identified by God in Ezekiel 38/39 as "Gog of Magog" is one and the same individual that other inspired-of-the-Holy-Spirit writers of Bible prophecy identify as "antichrist" (1 John 2:22); "the man of sin... the son of perdition" (2 Thessalonians 2:3); "the lawless one" (2 Thessalonians 2:8); and "the beast" (Revelation 11:7) among others.
What fate does God declare to Ezekiel will befall this "Gog of Magog?" Ezekiel 39:3-5 has our truthful answer:
"Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand. You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.You shall fall on the open field; for I have spoken,” says the Lord God."
In plain language God declares that upon arrival at the "mountains of Israel," He will thoroughly disarm Gog, his entire army and all of the other soldiers that are with him and they will be dead as they hit the ground; served up as carrion for birds and wild beasts of the field. You arrive, you are disarmed and - bang- you're dead. Period and THE END for Gog of Magog. Gog of Magog does not get to pass GO, collect two hundred dollars and continue the game. He is killed upon arrival in Israel!
Is this anywhere close to what Gog declares about the "antichrist," "the man of sin... the son of perdition," "the lawless one," who is "the beast"? Of course it is not! Common sense and bona fide (L. good faith) in the Word of God instructs one and all differently by an order of magnitude. This is why Joel Richardson/Richard Able and those selling the same type of rot gut garbage are to be abjectly ignored as false teachers. And complete shame be upon all those who lift their voices or stir their pens in support or acknowledgement of such heresy against the Word of God.
Continuing... the angel Gabriel declaratively informs us in Daniel 9:27 that this individual will establish a covenant, with Israel as a party to it for 7 years, and at the mid-point of those 7 years he will break the covenant bringing an end to Temple services and will have stood up by the false prophet the Abomination of Desolation, the image of himself, inside the Holy Place within the Temple.
For proof we go to Revelation 13: 11-14
"Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived."
According to Ezekiel all of Israel's cities will remain untouched in the attempted invasion, in fact, not one of Israel's current cities is even mentioned in either chapter 38 or 39! More importantly perhaps is that there is not so much as a single mention of Jerusalem or of a standing Temple in either chapter. The construction of the Temple commences in Ezekiel 40, that is, after this attempted invasion.
Then we come to the burial of the very dead Gog and the remains of all those armies in Ezekiel 39: 11-16. The people of Israel will freely burn the massive amount of weaponry for a full 7 years (Ezekiel 39: 9-10) and the whole house of Israel will be employed burying every remaining corpse, even down to a single, specially flagged shard of a bone for a full 7 months (39:14). And here is where we come to Hamonah, the only named city in this prophetic text. It is a city which will arise in the course of and as a result of the burial of Gog and his armies in the Valley of the Passengers, east of the Dead Sea, in what today is the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, but in that day will be Israel proper as declared by verse 11. Obviously, for Israel to expand into and fully acquire this Jordanian territory some other military action must take place prior to Ezekiel 38/39. You, dear reader, need look no further than Psalm 83.
In conclusion, the defeat that Almighty God inflicts upon Gog of Magog and his entire invasion force is unprecedented in all of human history. Gog of Magog is killed before he can set his invading boot upon the soil of Israel. Yet some charlatans would try to teach you differently. Shame on you too if you accept such nonsense as valid Biblical teaching.

13 September 2009: Jack Kelley has a really great article titled 'FINDING GOG' and he absolutely nails the door shut on those who think Ezekiel 38/39 is Armageddon or that Gog is the Antichrist. Game, Set and Match.

I will only make a few short notes regarding the identity of Gog. The Lord GOD spoke directly to Ezekiel and what He said is crystal clear. The Lord GOD said to Ezekiel, "Son of Man, set your face against Gog." Why would God tell a human being such as Ezekiel to set his human face against a non-human entity? The Lord GOD goes on to declare that Gog is from Magog, and that he is the chief prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. He further states that Gog shall come from his place in the north parts, meaning northern earthly lands; that God will place thoughts in his (Gog's) mind. Gog is referred to by the Lord GOD repeatedly through out chapters 38/39 as "him". How many times does the Lord GOD refer in His Word to non-human entities as "he" or "him"? And since when are non-human beings buried in earthly soil? In my exegesis, Gog is very much a human being.

10 September 2009: On September 6, 2009 published a commentary by Joel Richardson entitled “Does Bible really predict Russian invasion of Israel?” If you have not read Joel’s commentary I would highly recommend that you do so before proceeding with reading this rebuttal. This rebuttal constitutes my acceptance of Mr. Richardson’s ill-advised challenge to prove him wrong on the identity of “…Gog, of the land of Magog, chief prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal…” (Ezekiel 38:2; 39:1 NKJV) not being Biblically identifiable as modern Russia, to which I extend to mean the contiguous territories of the Russian Federation or the Russian-dominated Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Ezekiel relates at the beginning of both chapter 38 and 39 how the literal word of God came to him to prophesy against another “him.” “Him” is a human being identified by the Lord as Gog. Gog is to come from and be the prince or leader of the four principal nations identified by the Lord as Magog, Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. Locating and identifying these names to their modern equivalents is the sum task of the rest of this rebuttal.

As we all should be aware these names as found in the Genesis 10 “Table of Nations” are named by the Lord as the direct tribal descendants of the sons of Japheth and grandsons of Noah, all of whom have always been historically and geographically located adjacent to as well as the north of the Moschian Mountains, better known in our day as the Ciscaucasus and Transcaucasus mountains which comprise the whole of the Greater Caucasus Mountains. These names are directly related to the Rosh, Moschi and Tibareni people of antiquity in this same region.

It is no accident that the Rosh are the first among the four nations of peoples and their lands prophesied to Ezekiel by the Lord. Rosh is the Hebrew word meaning “first of” or “head of.” The Rosh are the same people the ancient Jewish-Roman historian Josephus identified as the Scythians in his Antiquities I, vi.1, and means those peoples who lived and controlled the regions north of the Black Sea. This identification is very well documented by historical sources other than Josephus, and aside from reading Antiquities the reader needs simply to Google for this info to see the rather extensive research on it. The term Rosh also was an identifier of the place where they lived and this place was obviously well known to Ezekiel as there was no challenge to the Lord’s word as He provided the prophecy concerning the latter days. The Rosh, a/k/a Scythians, occupied the area which eventually encompassed the whole of the Caucasus region, Moldova, southern Ukraine, Russia proper and parts of former Soviet Central Asia.

Meshech is directly related to the Moschi (Moschian Mountains) and who gradually migrated northward and later became known as the Meshchera. The Meshchera region comprised the geographical heart of the proto-Russian homeland known to us as Kievan Rus. This region had as its heart a triangle formed by the modern-day cities of Moscow (Moskva), Smolensk and Kozelsk and the Oka River southwards to the heart of the Don River basin. The Tibareni, an ancient Georgian name, are directly related to Tubal via the Greek “Tibarenoi” or Josephus’ “Thobeles.” Tubal is also referenced in Isaiah 66:19.

According to the 1846 lexicon compiled by Friedrich Wilhelm Gesenius, Magog is a region and a people who inhabit the extreme recesses to the north of Israel. Anyone with a map of the world can clearly discern what nations are to the utmost north of Israel today. Moreover, Genesius also noted that the Muslim Arabs have an ancient tradition which refers to Gog and Magog as “Yajuj and Majuj” (or Juj and Majuj).

Now, mind you, not that I care one iota for what is written in the Islamic Qur’an, it is nevertheless illustrative with respect to Richardson’s challenge to note that Sura 18:92-99 contains enough text to prove to anyone willing to engage in critical and honest intellectual thought that Gog (from the people of Magog) cannot possibly be a future Islamic Antichrist. The text in verse 94 speaks of an Arab traveler, known as Zul-qarnain, who crosses a great pass between steep mountains beyond which he finds “a people who scarcely understood a word.” These people beseech the Arab Zul-qarnain with an offer of tribute to erect a permanent barrier between themselves and “the Gog and Magog (people) who do great mischief on earth.” Zul-qarnain replies that the power his god “allah” provides him is greater than any payment of tribute, but if the people will assist him with their labor then a strong barrier made of blocks of iron covered with molten lead will fill the pass between the mountains to protect those people against Gog/Magog, and who thereafter will forever be powerless to scale over or dig through it. Therefore, the eisegetical position of Joel Richardson (among several others) that the Islamic Antichrist is one and the same as the Biblical Gog/Magog simply does not hold so much as a microliter (i.e.: 0.0003 ounces) of water, even among the adherents of Islam. In fact, even the mere existence of Islam and it's false god "allah" in this world profanes the name of "I AM," Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob(Israel), and Joel's attempt to make a point in this regard falls flat on its face.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, this is the same region of southwest Russia in which the Russian Federation has been utilizing its unchallenged power to reassert complete military control and the inherent subjection to the dictates of Moscow over several former Soviet Republics for the past 15 years. These are the same mountains through and over which Russian Federation combat forces invaded the Republic of Georgia in August of 2008, effectively re-annexing into the Federation the regions of Georgia known as Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In ancient times modern Abkhazia was known as the Kingdom of Colchis. There are strong indications that Russia’s designs on Georgia are far from finished and a Russian re-conquest of the Republic of Georgia is very much an imminent possibility. These facts make the positive identification of those nations and peoples identified by the Lord in Ezekiel 38:2 and 39:1 as modern day Russia, its Federation and allies within the CIS a longstanding and properly determined eschatological fact as well as a present day, and near term future reality to become literally fulfilled prophecy in the coming Greater Israel.

I urge all readers to copy or paste the following links into your browser favorites for a pair of far more detailed eschatological treatments of this subject than covered here. The first recommended treatment is the 186-page free online .pdf volume entitled “The Prophecy That Is Shaping History: New Research on Ezekiel’s Vision of the End” by Dr. Jon Mark Ruthven and Dr. Ihab Griess published by Xulon Press in 2003. Next is the equally outstanding .pdf treatment entitled “Rosh: An Ancient Land Known to Ezekiel” by James D. Price and published in 1985 by Grace Theological Journal.

The inescapable truth of the matter here is that the prophecy found in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39, often subtitled as "A Prophecy Against Gog," contains a key distinction which is blatantly, and some would say conveniently, overlooked by Joel Richardson and other proponents of his so-called Islamic Antichrist paradigm. At the end of this attempted invasion of Israel Gog is literally killed and buried by the Jews in the land of the future, post-Psalm 83 fulfillment of greater Israel. The Lord told Ezekiel this provided burial ground will be in the Valley of the Passengers (also known as Valley of the Travelers), east of the Dead Sea, which lies within the present-day territorial sovereignty of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. One day soon, following the final Psalm 83 Arab-Israeli War, this land will become Israel proper. When Gog is buried in this valley it will henceforth and for all time be known as the valley of Hamon Gog, and its principal city will be Hamonah.

On the other hand, we all know or should know, from Revelation 19:20 that at the conclusion of the "Great and Terrible Day of the Lord," at the conclusion of the Great Tribulation, the Antichrist, a/k/a the Beast. will be captured and then "be thrown alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone."

Clearly and unambiguously the Word of God does not equate the man named as "Gog, from the land of Magog" in Ezekiel with the Antichrist found in Daniel's 70th Week, a/k/a the 7-year Tribulation. The critical distinction here is that Gog of Ezekiel 38 and 39 is a human figure who preceeds the coming Antichrist, and whose only attempt at conquest is against Israel. The Antichrist, a/k/a the Beast, a/k/a Abaddon/Apollyon of Revelation 9:11 who ascends out of the abyss, will decieve and subdue the entire world.

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