Sunday, June 5, 2022

Life Isn't A Hallmark Movie

Over the last several years, I’ve become a fan of the Hallmark Channel and the movies that they produce. The movies have pretty much been viewable by all age groups.  The Christmas movies are pleasant and some even have some Christ-honoring music.  Of course, there are the Valentine’s Day selections, which are predictable, but also enjoyable to watch.  During the rest of the year, the plots are fairly similar, but, again, interesting.  They seem to strive for the “feel good” story lines with happy endings, and there isn’t anything wrong with that, except life isn’t a Hallmark movie.  But maybe that’s why they produce these movies.

The human experience has happy endings, occasionally, but this life also has sad, and sometimes, tragic endings.  Jesus said, “In the world you have tribulations . . . .” (John 16:33). There is no shortage of sickness, sorrow, sadness, and grief.  Illnesses, divorces, natural disasters, broken relationships, loss of jobs, death of family members and close friends do not make for a happy ending.

 

Added to all of those sorrows, this past two years with the Covid virus has only served to amplify the level of grief that is found in the normal living of life.  Many of us have lost family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors due to contracting Covid-19.  As a hospital chaplain, I have seen more death and grief in these past two years to last me the rest of my life.  There were no Hallmark Channel happy endings as the family members took off their protective equipment and left the ICU after saying “good-bye” to their loved one.  

 

Many people are still suffering from what’s being called “long-term Covid symptoms,” that is, something is still not right physically or mentally.  I, and others, have been dealing with something called “vestibular neuritis,” which is a constant state of vertigo, or dizziness.  I was told this is caused by “a virus,” attacking the vestibular nerve in the inner ear, causing inflammation and damage to that nerve.  Is there a direct link to the Covid-19 virus?  No one will officially say so, but there have, coincidently, been many others who have struggled with the same condition, for months, following their fighting off the Covid-19 virus.

 

Suffering, in this life is a given.  Jesus said so, as did the other writers of the Bible.  Suffering has, at its core, sin.  Sin is the root cause of suffering, our own sin or the sin that others commit out of their own selfish desires.  Spend some time considering that truth.  There aren’t many pastors, teachers or educators who will come right out and say it because in our western culture, the word “sin” has become taboo, not politically correct; it doesn’t fit with the secular narrative that humanity is “good.” But God’s Word is true and sin is the cause of all our suffering.

 

Sin is the reason our Lord, Jesus, came from the glories of heaven to this sin-sick world in which we live, so that He could redeem all those who will believe in His death and resurrection and be saved from the curse of sin, brought about by Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God.

 

Understanding that truth doesn't, necessarily, make living in this sin-sick world much easier.  Yes, we know that eternal life belongs to every true believer; we know that God promises never to leave us or forsake us; we know that God has promised to meet all our needs.  But at the moment of sorrow, at the moment of grief, there is still pain and maybe even confusion, “God, why is this happening?  I don’t understand.”

 

Many, many years ago, at the first church that the Lord called me to pastor, I was teaching the Sunday evening service and we were talking about suffering.  It’s the question that a lot of people want answers to, but seldom are willing to accept what God’s Word has to say.  I thought it would be helpful to play a song that I had on one of my CD’s.  It was called, “Blessing In the Thorn” by Philips, Crain and Dean.  The lyrics are below and I hope it helps those of you who are currently walking through a valley of suffering.

 

May the Lord bless you and keep you; may He shine His light upon you during your journey.

 

By His Grace,

Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D., D.Min.

 

 

"Blessing In the Thorn"by Philips, Craig and Dean

 

I read about a man of God

Who gloried in his weakness. 

And I wished that I could be

More like Him and less like me.

Am I to blame for what I'm not,

Or is pain the way God teaches me to grow?

I need to know.

 

When does the thorn become a blessing?

When does the pain become a friend?

When does the weakness make me stronger?

When does my faith make me whole again?

I want to feel His arms around me

In the middle of my raging storm,

So that I can see the blessing in the thorn.

 

I heard it said the strength of Christ

Is perfect in my weakness.

And the more that I go through

The more I prove the promise true.

His love will go to any length,

It reaches even now to where I am.

But tell me once again,

 

When does the thorn become a blessing?

When does the pain become a friend?

When does the weakness make me stronger?

When does my faith make me whole again?

I want to feel His arms around me

In the middle of my raging storm,

So that I can see the blessing in the thorn.

 

Lord, I have to ask You,

On the cross, You suffered through;

Was there a time You ever doubted

What You already knew?

 

When does the thorn become a blessing?

When does the pain become a friend?

When does my weakness make me stronger?

When does my faith make me whole again?

I want to feel His arms around me

In the middle of my raging storm,

So that I can see the blessing in the thorn.

Oh, I want to see the blessing in the thorn.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

The Rapture and the Second Coming

As history is moving forward and events of today are unfolding before our very eyes, there have been A LOT of conversations going on, in Christian and non-Christian circles, about the world coming to an end, the Rapture of the Church, and the Second Coming of Christ.  Needless to say, there is some real confusion when it comes to the chronological order of these events.  There are some who would argue that the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ are the exact same event.  I do not believe that is true and Scripture doesn't support that belief.  

“Is the Rapture a distinct event from the Second Coming of Christ?  Aren’t they really two phases of one event?  These often asked questions are important and need to be discussed. There are some similarities between Rapture passages and Second Coming passages.  This, of course, would be expected because in both groups of Scripture passages, it is the same Lord Jesus who comes, sometime in the future, from heaven to have dealings with people. He comes in the clouds of His glory and is accompanied by holy angels.  But such similarities do not require that they are the same event, or that they take place at the same time.  When observing the main passages dealing with the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:13-17; 1 Cor. 15:51-53; John 14:1-3) and those dealing with the Second Coming (such as Joel 3:12-16; Revelation 19:11-21; Zech. 14:1-5; Matt. 24:29-31), certain differences are seen.” (Perhaps Today: Christ Could Come Again Today, Mal Couch, Th.D. and Paul Benware, Th.D., p.43.)

It would be good for us, as believers, to have a better understanding of the order of these two events:  the Rapture (catching away) of the Church (all true believers who are alive when the Rapture occurs), and the Second Coming of Jesus to the earth, that is, when He actually walks on the earth again.

Below are some of the key differences that need to be understood so that we, as true believers, can better understand these two events.  


Differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming (Ibid., p.44-45):  

1.  At the Rapture, believers in Christ meet the Lord Jesus in the air, whereas at the Second Coming, the Lord comes to the earth, specifically to the Mount of Olives.  No Second Coming Scripture refers to a meeting in the air.

2.  Closely connected with the above observation is that after the meeting in the air, the Lord returns to the Father’s house in heaven with His saints.  At the Second Coming, Jesus goes to the earth and remains there.

3.  Rapture Scriptures stress the fact that the Lord comes to bless His people with the final aspect of their salvation.  Believers will be given new bodies and experience their long awaited glorification (Romans 8:30).  Judgment of the earth or of unbelievers is not found. In clear contrast, the Second Coming places great emphasis on the terrible judgments that will fall on unbelievers.  Such judgment is not associated with the Rapture, but it is certainly a key part of the Second Coming.

4.  At the Second Coming the kingdom of Messiah is established. That is, in fact, the reason why Jesus the Messiah will come to the earth.  In the Rapture passages, there is no mention of the Messianic (Millennial) kingdom being set up.  This would be expected because Jesus, at that time, has returned to the Father’s house [with His Church] and has not come to take back the planet from the evil one and bring in the long awaited reign of Messiah.

5.  The Second Coming event has numerous clear and unmistakable signs that will precede it.  Jesus spelled them out with great clarity in Matthew 24.  There are no signs that are given to signal the approach of the Rapture.  Rather, the Rapture is again and again seen as an imminent (at any moment) event.

6.  The Rapture occurs prior to the pouring out of the wrath of God on the earth, while the Second Coming takes place after the wrath of God has been concluded.  The Church of Jesus Christ has been promised exemption from the end times wrath of God.  But the Second Coming is actually part of God’s wrath, in that it brings to an end the final aspects of God’s wrath on the earth.

7.  At the Rapture, all believers are removed from the earth leaving only unbelievers on the planet.  In contrast, at the Second Coming, all unbelievers are removed from the planet and only believers are left (to enter into the Millennial Kingdom of Messiah Jesus).

8.  At the Rapture, believers are coming from the earth in order to meet Christ in the air.  At the Second Coming, believers are seen coming from heaven with Jesus as He heads for the battle of Armageddon.

As believers, we are to keep our eyes firmly fixed upon our Savior, the author and finisher of our faith, especially as we start to see our society, culture and values continue to shift further and further away from God’s principles for living.  

As we approach the time for celebration of our Lord’s triumphant resurrection from the dead, try to keep in mind that He, and He alone is in control.  The events happening around the world, and even in our individual lives, have been, and still are, under the Sovereign, Providential rule and plan of the Almighty.

As hard as it might be, remember He’s got us in the palm of His hand.  Jesus said that no one will ever snatch us out of the Father’s hand, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30).

As Dr. Mal Couch used to remind his students about the Rapture, “Perhaps today.”

May the Lord bless you and keep you; may He make His light to shine upon you.  


By His Grace,

Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D., D.Min.


Saturday, March 12, 2022

The Wrath to Come

Unless a person has been living on a desert island in the middle of nowhere, without any way to get news from the outside world, we have all been shocked and outraged by the events, over the last year, occurring around the world and in our own country.  The deeper we look, the more and more corruption we find.  Evil people committing heinous acts against other human beings.  We are seeing bribery, quid pro quo, murder, stealing, lying and more, all without any just punishment or conviction through the legal system. 

 

Perhaps the most unbelievable is the attack on the people of Ukraine by a Russian dictator.  It almost seems surreal, yet we’ve seen the pictures and videos.  How could anyone be so heartless, cruel, uncaring and stone-cold evil?  Yes, evil.

 

In our own country, stealing up to $1500. 00 has been declared to be “okay” in certain cities. Rioters who have burned down buildings, injured or killed police officers, looted and destroyed businesses (that didn’t belong to them), all without prosecution due to district attorneys who refuse to press charges using the excuse that “They were just a part of a peaceful protest.”  What? Do they hear themselves?  Do they not have ANY moral compass or conscience whatsoever?  Clearly not! 

 

All of these atrocities are not only sins against humanity, they are also sins against God.

 

On a much more individual level, what about sins of disobedience against God and the clear commands found in His Word?  People, ever since the beginning of creation, have been rebelling against God.  Jesus put it this way in John 3:19, “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were [and are] evil.”

 

Paul, in Romans 3:10-18, uses Ps. 14:1-3 and 53:1-3 to indict ALL of humanity, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks after God; 12 all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one. 13 Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they keep deceiving; the poison of asps is under their lips; 14 whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; 15 their feet are swift to shed blood, 16 destruction and misery are in their paths, 17 and the path of peace they have not known. 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

 

 

Did you catch that?  “NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.”  There it is, the explanation for why we see the injustices and corruption all around us.  There is no fear of God before their eyes.  And yet, God will judge and He will mete out His wrath to all those who have rejected His Son and the amazing grace that He has freely extended to humanity. 

 

There is a theology out there that likes to focus in on the “God is love” passages of Scripture, while ignoring the parts that clearly talk about the wrath of God to come.  Here are a few of those passages describing God’s judgment on humanity during the Great Tribulation, from The Revelation of Jesus: 

 

Rev. 14:9-11, “And another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or upon his hand, 10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

 

Revelation 16:1-12, “And I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, ‘Go and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God into the earth.’  2 And the first angel went and poured out his bowl into the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore upon the men who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.  3 And the second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.  4 And the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood. 5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying, ‘Righteous art Thou, who art and who was, O Holy One, because Thou did judge these things; 6 for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou has given them blood to drink.  They deserve it.’  7 And I heard the altar saying, ‘Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments.’  8 And the fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun; and it was given to it to scorch men with fire.  9 And men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues; and they did not repent, so as to give Him glory.  10 And the fifth angel poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast; and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain, 11 and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds.  12 And the sixth angel poured out his bowl upon the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, that the way might be prepared for the kings from the east.

 

God is patient and longsuffering, but He will NOT be so forever.  

 

A day is coming when the Lord Jesus will return for his bride, the Church, (1 Thes. 4:19-18), “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope.  14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a  shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore, comfort one another with these words”. 

 

When that day happens, the clock will start for the seven years of the Great Tribulation and God will, unquestionably, pour forth His wrath upon all those who have rejected His Son, Jesus, the Messiah, whether before the Rapture of the Church, or afterwards.

 

Believers need to continue to share the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection; that there is forgiveness for our sin and eternal life for all who believe and receive Jesus as their Savior.  

 

Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart” (Hebrews 4:7).

 

 

By His Grace,

Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D., D.Min.

  

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Gog and Magog, Part 4: The Judgment of God

In this final installment of looking at Ezekiel’s prophecy about Gog and Magog, we’re going to look at the defeat of the attackers and God’s judgment upon these nations, even though it is God who will, Sovereignly, draw them into this battle.

 

The Defeat of Gog (38:17–39:8).

 

Ezekiel 38:17–23. 

It will be God, Himself, who crushes Gog’s attack.  In these initial verses, God asked Gog, “Are you not the one I spoke of in former days by My servants the prophets of Israel?” This has caused some confusion among interpreters because there is no direct reference to Gog made by any of the previous writing prophets.  It could be that earlier prophets had predicted the coming of some invading armies, against Israel in the last days, which Ezekiel is just now linking to Gog (see, Joel 3:9–14; Zeph. 3:15–20).

 

When the armies finally reach Israel, God will be angry with them.  He will cause a massiveearthquake in Israel that will interrupt Gog’s invasion plans and spread fear and confusion throughout the ranks of the invading forces.  In the chaos, communication between the all the invading armies will break down and they will begin attacking each other,  “Every man’s sword will be against his brother”(Ezek. 38:21).  Fear and panic will sweep through the ranks in such a way that each army will shoot, indiscriminately, at the others.  The slaughter of theses armies will be aided by “natural” catastrophes, including torrents of rain, hailstones, and burning sulphur (v. 22).  The rain will combine with dirt and debris from the earthquake to produce massive mudslides and floods.  Large hailstones will bombard the survivors, killing many.  The burning sulphur could well be volcanic ash.

 


39:1–8. The invading armies will be totally destroyed by God.  Having brought them against the mountains of Israel, God will weaken them and strike them down.  This once-mighty army will then be food for birds and wild animals.

 

God will also punish the homelands of the invaders: “I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands.” Sending fire implies destruction and military devastation. The nations that will initiate the invasion will, themselves, be destroyed.  The “coastlands,” already mentioned several times by Ezekiel, imply the farthest reaches of the known world. Through all of this, God will teach Israel that He is holy and is not to be disrespected or blasphemed by their sins.  Also, the nations will see that God is the Holy One in Israel.

 

 

The Aftermath of the Battle(39:9–20).

 

39:9-11.  Those who will come to plunder Israel will be plundered.  Israelites will use the fallen soldiers’ weapons for fuel for seven years.  Should the weapons of war—horses, swords, shields, bows, arrows, clubs, and spears—be understood literally, or do they refer, figuratively, to modern-day weaponry?  The text itself can allow for both interpretations, but the normal meaning of the words would lead one to see Ezekiel referring to literal horses, swords, shields, bows, arrows, clubs, and spears.  Withthe other worldwide catastrophes taking place during the first three and one-half years of Daniel’s 70th Week, a reversion to more primitive methods of warfare might become, not only possible, but also necessary.

 

Throughout the remainder of the Tribulation period, and going into the beginning of the Millennium, as Israel will be burning those weapons, she will not need to cut down any trees.  At this point, there will be an amazing reversal of Gog’s fortunes.  Israel will, instead, plunder those who have plundered her and loot those who have looted her.

 

After the battle, Israel will also bury Gog’s dead.  The burials will take place in the valley of those who travel east toward the Sea.  “This translation is somewhat confusing as ‘toward’ was supplied by the translators, and the word ‘east’ should be translated on the east of.’  The valley where Gog’s army will be buried is ‘on the east side of’ the Dead Sea in what is today the country of Jordan.  The phrase ‘those who travel east,’ could be taken as a proper name.  It might refer to the ‘mountains of Abarim,’ east of the Dead Sea, that Israel traversed on her way to the Promised Land (Num. 33:48).  If so, Gog’s burial will be in the Valley of Abarim, just across the Dead Sea from Israel proper in the land of Moab.  Yet the burial wilbe in Israel because Israel controlled that area during some periods of her history (see 2 Sam. 8:2; Ps. 60:8).” 

 

“The number of corpses will be so great that the way of travelers will be blocked.  ‘The way of travelers’ could again be translated as ‘Abarim.’  The valley will be clogged with the bodies of soldiers.  The name of the valley will be changed to the ‘Valley of Hamon Gog, meaning ‘the Valley of the hordes of Gog.’”

 

 

39:12–16.  The number of soldiers killed will be so great that for seven monthsthe nation of Israel will be burying them.  Even after the initial cleanup, squads of men will be employed to search the land for additional remains. As they go through the land and one of them sees a human bone, he will set up a marker beside it.  Then, as gravediggers see the markers, they will take the remains to the Valley of Hamon Gog for burial.  The operation will be so vast that a town will be set up in the valley at the gravesites to accommodate those cleansing the land. It will be named Hamonah, a form of the word “hordes.”

 

 

39:17-20.  Another result of Gog’s defeat will be a feastfor the wild animals.  These verses expand v. 4, where God announced that the corpses of those who fall will end up as food for birds and beasts.  God will reverse the roles of animals and people.  Usually people slaughtered and ate sacrificed animals.  Here, however, the men of Gog’s armies will be the sacrifices and they will be eaten by animals.  In addressing the birds and animals, God said that at this great sacrifice they will eat the flesh and drink the blood, as if they were fattened animals from Bashan.  Bashan, which is east and northeast of the Sea of Kinnereth (later known as the Sea of Galilee), was known for its fertile land and fat cows (see Amos 4:1).  At God’stable, the animals will eat their fill of horses and riders, mighty men and soldiers of every kind.

 

 

The Effects of the Battle on Israel.(39:21-29).

 

39:21-24.  Two results will come from the battle:  (1) the nations will see God’s glory; (2) Israel will turn back to her God.  God’s spectacular defeat of Gog will force Israel to acknowledge His power.

 

39:25-29.  The defeat of Gog will also quicken God’s plans to restore Israelites from other nations.  Verses 25-29 look ahead to the end of the Tribulation, when God will restore the nation from her final dispersion. God will bring His chosen people back from captivity and will have compassion on all the people of Israel.  God will show Himself holy through them, once again, acknowledging them as His people.  He will also pour out His Spirit on the house of Israel.  The ultimate result of the battle with Gog will be Israel’s national repentance and spiritual restoration. This will, ultimately, be fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom.

 

 

May the Lord bless you and keep you as you await the Rapture, His coming in the air for His Church (1 Thess. 4:13-18).

 

By His Grace,

Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D., D.Min.

 

 

(NOTE:  Some of this information has been taken from The Bible Knowledge Commentary,by Roy Zuck and John Walvoord).

Monday, October 25, 2021

Gog and Magog, Part Three: God's Sovereignty in the Attack

In the previous two articles about Gog and Magog, we looked at a brief introduction to the book of Ezekiel and in the second article, we looked at the identification of Gog and Magog, those nations that will form a coalition and attack the nation of Israel at a future date to Ezekiel and to us, presently.  We also looked at the time frame, that is, when would this attack take place.  If you didn’t get a chance to read the previous two articles, they are still on this website.  

 

 

God Is In Control

One of the most amazing aspects of this prophecy regarding Gog and Magog is that it is God who is controlling the nations, even though they believe this is all their idea.  In Ezek. 38:1-6 we read, “And the word of the Lord came to me saying, 2 Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, 3 and say, Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.  4 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 splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords; 5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6 Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops—many peoples with you.”

 

God Himself will actually coordinate Gog’s attack on Israel. We read in verses 1-6 that the Lord said, “Iwill turn you around, [I will]put hooks in your jaws, and [I will]bring you out with your whole army—your horses … horsemen … a great horde with … shields and swords.”

Whether the horses and weapons are literal, we will address that in another article.  God will use Gog and all his allies, effectively, as pawns in His plans and purposes for Israel. Yet the idea for attacking Israel will originate with Gog.  Gog will act freely to accomplish his own evil goals.  He “will devise an evil scheme” (38:10).

 

This attack will be against the nation of Israel, whose people will be gathered from many nations and will be living in safety.  “Be prepared, and prepare yourself, you and all your companies that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them.  8 After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them.  9 And you will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you” (38:7–9).

Gog and his allies will attack Israel with massive strength,advancing like a storm and a cloud(38:16).

 

Gog’s purpose in the attack will be to plunder and loot the unwalled and unsuspecting nation of Israel, which, at that time, will be rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land.  Israel’s importance geographically, politically, and economically will be noticed.  She will be a strategic target for any power wanting to control commerce between Asia and Africa.

Thus says the Lord God, It will come about on that day, that thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil plan, 11 and you will say, I will go up against the land of unwalled villages.  I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls, and having no bars or gates, 12 to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world. 13 Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all its villages, will say to you, Have you come to capture spoil?  Have you assembled your company to seize plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to capture great spoil?” (38:10–13).

 

Gog’s attack against the nation of Israel will come from all sides.  Gog will come from the far north. With him will come his allies from the east (Persia=Iran), the south (Cush=Sudan, southern Egypt, and northern Ethiopia), and the west (Put=Libya).  They will advance against Israel like a cloud(v. 9) that covers the land.  This awesome army will overrun all obstacles as effortlessly as a cloud moving across the sky.

 

This attack, however, will be another way of God displaying, to all the nations, His holy character and Sovereignpower.  In going against Israel, the nations will come to know God for He will show Himself to be the holy One of Israel (20:41; 28:22, 25; 36:23; 39:27).  As a result of the unsuccessful attack, Israel will be delivered and God will be glorified.

 

“Therefore, prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog, Thus says the Lord God, On that day when My people Israel are living securely, will you not know it?  15 And you will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army; 16 and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land.  It will come about in the last daysthat I shall bring you against My land, in order that the nations may know Me when I shall be sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog” (38:14–16).

 

 

God’s Sovereignty throughout Scripture

One of many problems found in the Church today is that the complete and total sovereignty of God is either not taught, not understood, or not believed.  Yet the Bible speaks of God’s complete and total sovereignty repeatedly.  Here are but a few places in Scripture for your own study:  Psalm 29:10; Daniel 4: 34-37; Matthew 10:29-30; 1 Timothy 6:13-16; Revelation 19:16.

 

To really understand exactly Who the God of the Bible is, read Job chapters 38-42.  It will put everything in perspective and, if you are sincere in your wanting to know more about the God of the Bible, it will be a most humbling experience.  

 

May the Lord help you to understand who He really is as you read through His holy Word.

 

 

By His Grace,

Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D., D.Min.

 

(NOTE:  Some of this information has been taken from The Bible Knowledge Commentary,by Roy Zuck and John Walvoord).

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Gog and Magog, Part Two: Identification and Time-frame

Throughout biblical history, because of their disobedience to their God, Israel has been conquered, enslaved and scattered by her enemies.  They are back in part of their land now but as Ezekiel tells us, in the future, they will be attacked again.  But God will clearly intervene in the future to ensure the safety of His people.  He will defend the nation of Israel and judge her enemies in distant countries (for this judgment on these countries see chaps. 25–32), and by so doing, Israel, as a nation, will return to Him.

 

 

Identification:

Who are these countries that Ezekiel has identified?  

 

The New International Version translates the word rō’š (38:2) as “chief.”  However, other translations have taken the word as a proper noun and translated it “Rosh.”  Should the Hebrew word, which means “head,” be taken as an adjective (“head prince,” i.e., “chief prince”), or as a proper noun/name (“Rosh”)?  The evidence seems to point to taking it as an adjective.  “Rosh” never appears as a nation/vcountry in any other biblical list of place names, while all the other names are well verified (Gen. 10:1–7; 1 Chron. 1:5–7; Ezek. 27:13–24; 32:26).

 

For many years, theologians have attempted to identify exactly who and where these nations are, that Ezekiel names.  For many, the geographic area of the former Soviet Union seems to be the exact location. The question for us, in the twenty-first century, is should these names be connected with the area that was former Soviet Union?  First, we must identify the areas against which Ezekiel prophesied, and then determine the countries that occupy those land those landmasses today.  

 

Ezekiel’s Hebrew word rō’š does not point to “Russia” simply because the words sound similar.  Neither should one identify “Meshech” with “Moscow” or “Tubal” with “Tobolsk.”  Ezekiel had historicalplaces in mind (not modern-day names) and these areas must first be identified in Ezekiel’s time period.  However, while one must avoid being dogmatic, three reasons suggest connecting the area of the former Soviet Union with Ezekiel’s prophecy:  (1) Some of the countries named by Ezekiel were located in what is now modern day Russia; (2) The armies are said to come “from the far north” (Ezek. 38:6, 15; 39:2).  This probably includes the land bridge between the Black and Caspian Seas, which is now part of Russia; (3) Ezekiel describes a coalition of several nations, many of who are today aligned with, or at least under the influence of, modern day Russia.  These include:  Iran (“Persia”), Sudan and northern Ethiopia (“Cush”), Libya (“Put”), and Turkey (“Meshech,” “Tubal,” “Gomer,” and “Beth Togarmah”).  All these nations, perhaps led by Russia, will unite to attack Israel in the future.

 

 

Time Frame

When will this prophecy be fulfilled?  There is no past historical event to match this prophecy, so it must be a future fulfillment.  Some think this attack on Israel should be identified with the attack of Gog and Magog at the end of Christ’s millennial reign (Rev. 20:7–9), but this idea has several flaws: (1) The results of Ezekiel’s battle do not coincide with the events that follow the battle in Revelation 20.  Why bury the dead for seven months after the battle (Ezek. 39:12–13) when the next prophetic event is the resurrection of the unsaved dead (Rev. 20:11–13)?  Why would the people remain on earth after the battle to burn the weapons of war for seven years (Ezek. 39:9–10) instead of entering, immediately, into eternity (Rev. 21:1–4)?  The events after each battle are so different that two separate battles must be assumed; (2) The effect on the people is different.  In Ezekiel, the battle is the incentive God will use to draw Israel to Himself (Ezek. 39:7, 22–29) and to end her captivity.  But the battle in Revelation 20 will occur after Israel has been faithful to her God and has enjoyed His blessings for 1,000 years.

 

If the battle of Ezekiel 38–39 is not at the end of the Millennium, could it be at the beginning of the Millennium?  This also seems extremely doubtful.  Everyone who enters the Millennium will be a believer (John 3:3), and will have demonstrated his faith by protecting God’s chosen people, Israel (Matt. 25:31–46).  At the beginning of the Millennium, all weapons of war will be destroyed (Micah 4:1–4).  Therefore, it seems difficult to see a war occurring when the unsaved warriors have been eliminated and their weapons have been destroyed.

 

It seems best to place Ezekiel’s battle of Gog and Magog in the Great Tribulation period.  Other markers indicate that it should be placed in the first three and one-half years of the seven-year period.  The attack will come when Israel is at peace (Ezek. 38:8, 11).  When Israel’s covenant with the Antichrist is in effect, at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week (Dan. 9:27a), Israel will be at peace.  But after the covenant is broken, at the middle of the seven-year period, the nation will suffer tremendous persecution (Dan. 9:27b; Matt. 24:15–22).  This will provide the time needed to bury the dead (Ezek. 39:12–13) and to burn the weapons of war (39:9–10).  So, the battle described by Ezekiel may take place sometime during the first three and one-half years of the seven-year period before Christ’s second coming.  Possibly the battle will occur just before the midpoint of the seven-year period.

 

Ezekiel was describing a battle that will involve Israel’s remotest neighbors.  They will sense their opportunity to attack when Israel feels secure under the false protection of her covenant with the Antichrist, sometime at the beginning of the seven-year period.  The nations involved in the attack will include the former Soviet Union, Turkey, Iran, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Libya. Ezekiel first pictured the invasion by Gog and his allies (38:1–16), and then he described the judgment of Gog and his allies (38:17–39:29).  

 

While some of this may seem farfetched to those how are not believers, we know that God’s Word is true. He has said it will happen, therefore, it will.  Though our finite minds cannot see what the future holds, God’s Word has described it for us very clearly.  

 

Never lose sight of the fact that nation of Israel is, without question, God’s chosen people. The Church in no way has, or ever will, take the place of Israel.  “Replacement theology” is wrong.  Those to preach it are false teachers and do not understanding the clear differences between Israel and the Church.


 

The Church is the Bride of Christ  

The Church was a “mystery” prior to Paul explaining it in the New Testament.  The Church is made up of believers of every tongue, tribe and nation, Jews and Gentiles from around the world.  Becoming part of the Church is solely a matter of God’s grace alone, through a person’s faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.  

 

Next time we’ll take a look at how God actually draws these nations into the battle then uses  His defeating them to draw Israel back to Himself.

 

May the Lord bless you as you continue to faithfully study His Word.

 

 

By His Grace,

Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D., D.Min.

 

(NOTE:  Some of this information has been taken from The Bible Knowledge Commentary,by Roy Zuck and John Walvoord).

 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Finding Hope In All the Chaos

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (Psalm 42:5-6a).

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write anything that I thought would be of help to those who frequent the Scofield Prophecy Studies website.  It seemed like every time I would sit down at my laptop to share something with all of you, the events of the past day, week, month and 1½ years would overwhelm my mind. I couldn’t focus or put any coherent thoughts on the page.  

 

There is no question that events, nationally and internationally, have taken some unbelievable twists and turns.  From the Covid-19 pandemic, international and national scandals, our presidential election, chaos at the border, confusion regarding vaccines, masks, social distancing, variants and potentially forced vaccinations, cities and businesses being destroyed by criminals hiding behind the mantra of “social justice,” most of whom will never have to face criminal charges or pay restitution, and the list goes on and on.  I’m quite certain that I’m not telling you anything that you haven’t seen and wondered about yourselves.  “Lord, what is going on around the world, in our country, our state, our city?” 

 

Add to all of that, as a hospital chaplain, I have seen more death in this past year than I have in my entire lifetime.  I’ve helped family members put on the PPE (personal protective equipment) so that they could go into the room and say good-bye to their dying loved one in the Covid ICU.  From a human perspective, its all been quite overwhelming.  To those of you who have lost someone you love to the Covid virus, my heart breaks for you. 

 

But today the Lord brought to my mind Psalm 42:5-6, a song written by the sons of Korah.  God reminded me that my “hope,” our hope, is supposed to be in Him.  To be honest, my hope has been in many other places:  doctors, scientists, medicines, etc.  Perhaps some of you have misplaced your hope, or lost it completely, with all that’s been going on all around us.  

 

It’s easy for our souls to become “downcast” when our hope gets misplaced.  It’s easy for “turmoil” to overpower the peace that the Lord has given to every believer, when we forget Who is in charge and that none of what we have seen, and are seeing, has taken the Lord by surprise.  On the contrary, He is quite aware of what’s happening now and what will happen in the future.  And He will use all the foolishness of fallen mankind to bring about the fulfillment of His plans and purposes.  Evil people are just too ignorant to know that God’s plans will never be thwarted or defeated.  “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds” (Proverbs 14:1) and God is noticing.

 

The LORD is the God of our “salvation.”  Every true believer can say, with the sons of Korah, He is “my God.”  We, too, can personalize it.  Jesus reminded us that He is “Our Father, which art in heaven.”  

 

If you’ve been struggling with hope, if your soul is “downcast” and filled with turmoil, I would encourage you to read and meditate upon Psalm 42.  It is a great place to go when we lose our way.  

 

Our Father is faithful, always.  “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

 

May the Lord renew your hope, your strength and may your countenance be lifted up through Him and His glory.

 

 

By His Grace,

Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D., D.Min.