WHEN ARMIES MOVE  


     
 

A Dissertation on Armageddon
from the Pre-wrath Perspective

 

INTRODUCTION
From AD 30 until the inception of the 70th week, there will exist in the world, "wars and rumors of war" as the beginning of birth pains, especially for the people of Israel (Dan. 9:26; Mat. 24:4-8).

The Roman Prince who is to come" will become a world ruler, and bring a temporary end to that period of warfare by establishing the covenant of peace and religious toleration; man's Covenant Experiment. For the sake of simplicity, I will designate this as M.E.P.T.A. (the Middle East Peace and Tolerance Accord). The primary focus of this covenant will be on the Middle East but probably extend world wide as this world ruler promises peace and security to the people of the earth.

Daniel 11:33-35, tells of "a little help" that will be extended to Israel after their world wide dispersion of 70 AD. That "little help" will come in 3 phases.
(1) In 1917, the Balfour Declaration that provided a homeland for the Jews in Palestine.
(2) In 1948, the United Nations decree that recognized Israel as an independent nation.
(3) The yet future 7-year Covenant Experiment that will allow Israel to have a temple and to worship through animal sacrifices. Daniel 9:27, "with the many."
Daniel 11:34 indicates that through acceptance of this covenant "many will join with them in "hypocrisy."

It is within the context of all three of these factors, that it can be said of Israel, she "has been restored from the sword," (Ezek. 38:8). This time of peace will continue for 3 1/2 years until the world ruler receives a fatal head wound, probably at the hand of an assassin. This man will then be brought back to life by the power of Satan in the eyes of all the world, and is designated in the book of Revelation as "the beast out of the sea (Rev. 13:1). It is this event that will bring the people of the world to his feet so that they will elevate and honor him as a god. Then through that same Satanic power, he will begin to act out the wrath of Satan toward God and God's people (Jews and Christians). Rev. 12:12-17; 13:3-7.

He will begin by taking "his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as God" (2 Thes. 2:4), thus effectively sabotaging the Covenant Experiment (M.E.P.T.A.). He will also "put a stop to the sacrifices and grain offerings" the Jews were performing in the temple (Dan. 9:27). He will place some kind of image of himself in the holy place and demand worship. Jesus calls this the "abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet (Dan. 12:11), standing in the Holy Place." (Mat. 24:15) This breaking of the covenant will officially begin the great tribulation of oppression and persecution for those who will not worship the beast (Mat. 24:9-29; Rev. 13:15-17).

Once this "beast out of the sea" begins his reign of world domination and oppression at the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel, he will promise economic security to those who will worship him and take "the mark of the beast." Thus, the beast worshippers will continue to proclaim "peace and security" as they rejoice in the economic programs of the beast and are able to participate in normal life activities without fear or distraction (1 Thes. 5:3; Mat. 24:38).

Jesus said that it will be for them "as in the days of Noah . . . eating and drinking," etc. (Mat. 24:38), lulled to sleep by the economic security provided through beast worship (Rev. 13:17).

Since the beast will control the majority of material resources for MOST of the world, there will be economic hardship and famine conditions for those who are not under his wings.
Seals 3-4 of Revelation 6:5-8.
However the reach of the beast will not actually be world-wide.
Even though "authority over every tribe, people tongue and nation" will be given to the beast (Rev.13:7), the effects of his reign, "to kill with sword, famine, pestilence and wild beasts" will reach to only "a fourth of the the earth."

Other parts of the world then will also fall under the condition of "eating and drinking," and be unprepared for the return of the Lord.
Neither Jesus nor Paul addresses the REASON for this false security. Jesus indicates that it is during the time of the tribulation that this will be an issue. Paul just indicates it is before the day of the Lord arrives, except in his second letter, he clearly relates it to the tribulation (2Thes. 1:6-7; 2:1-10) and the man of lawlessness. But we learn later that they will feel secure because they are enjoying the temporal economic benefits of beast worship.

It should be further noted that the point of comparison here is not the idea that people (unbelievers) are taken "all away," but that judgment comes when people are occupied with material things. The verb, “took away” simply describes the MECHANICS of the judgment.
At Luke 17:27, the word that is used is “destroyed” (apollumi), and indicates death rather
than any kind of removal. And of course, after the rapture, all unbelievers will eventually encounter physical death, either through the various judgments during the day of the Lord,
or just before the millennial kingdom when the living unbelievers are removed from the earth (Mat. 25; Ezek 34).

The people and nations of the world will continue to follow the beast as long as he can fulfill his promise of "peace and security." But when least expected, during this time of security (1 Thes. 5:2-3), and while the beast worshipers are afflicting the believers (2 Thes. 1:6-7; Rev. 13:7a; Dan. 7:21), the Day of the Lord will occur. (Mat. 24:29-31; Rev. 6:12-17)

1 Thessalonians 5:2-3

"For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, 'Peace and safety!' then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."

2 Thessalonians 1:6-8

"For after all it is just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and {to give} relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well WHEN the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus."

The general day-of-the-Lord judgments are not the subject of this treatise, but this "destruction" and repayment "with affliction" and "dealing out retribution" is summarized at Isaiah 24:1-23.

 The judgments will take place in 5 stages.

1. The trumpets stage: Divine judgment (fire) poured out on the earth from the Day of the Lord arrival of Jesus until the end of the week (a period that covers anywhere from 8 to 36 months (Rev. 8-9).

2. The bowls stage: The final wrath of God poured out on the kingdom of the beast during the 30-day period which immediately follows the end of the 70th week. (Rev. 11:14-19; 15:1-16:21; Dan. 12:11)

3. The Armageddon stage: When Jesus comes physically down to the earth and destroys the invading nations in Palestine, which takes place in connection with the 6th and 7th bowl judgments. (Rev. 14:14-20; 16:12-21; 19:11-21)

4. The Separation stage: When the living unbelievers are removed from the earth after Armageddon so that the kingdom of Christ will begin with believers only.

A. The separation of sheep and goats from among the Gentiles (Mat. 25:31-46; 13:36-43, 47-50).

B. The separation of the fat and lean sheep of Israel (Ezek. 34:17-24).

C. The removal of Satan and demons: Isaiah 24:21-22; Zech. 13:2; Rev. 18:2

5. The eternal stage: Lake of fire (2 Thes. 1:9; Rev. 14:9-11; Rev. 20:11-15;
Isaiah 24:22, "and after many days they will be punished").

Once the Day of the Lord judgments begin to come upon the earth, the beast's ability to provide peace and security will be greatly impeded.

Through trumpets 1-4, food supplies will be diminished, energy resources will be diminished and many plagues and disasters will affect the nations with the result that "many men died," (Rev. 8:11). Isaiah 24:7-11

Through trumpet #5, the people of the world will be severely terrorized for five months by the demon horde from the abyss and the beast will have no control over the attack.

The 6th trumpet judgment is when the permissive will of God allows a kingdom power to move in opposition to the beast and seek world domination. I believe this to be the world-wide invasion of the king of the North which will culminate in the final battle of Armageddon in Palestine (Rev. 9:13-19).

THE SIXTH TRUMPET

Rev. 9:13-15,

And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, 'Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.' And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month
and year, were released, so that they might kill a third of mankind."

These four angels have been functioning in a restraint operation from before the time of John's writing until the present time. Whether they are elect or fallen is not mentioned, nor does it matter. The main point is to recognize that the general flow of history is controlled
by God and nothing happens except what his sovereignty permits (Daniel 4:17, 34-35).
These angels have been specially prepared for this specific time in human history to allow
the unrestricted advance of a military machine of the like the world had never seen before (Joel 2:2).

Rev. 9:16
"And the number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them."

The number designation of this army as it appears in the Greek (dismuriadoes muriadon) literally means twice (or several) ten thousand times ten thousand. It is suggested on the one hand to be a specific number of 200 million, and on the other hand to simply indicate an innumerable host. Many commentators of the past have discounted the idea of "200 million," as being quite impossible for any "then" known geographical area. However, in this century, the clear reality of such numbers is no longer in question, whether it be from the area of China or from a large alliance of nations which can be associated with Russia.

DESCRIPTION OF THE ARMY
Rev. 9:17-19
"And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: {the riders} had breastplates {the color} of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone, which proceeded out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads; and with them they do harm."

This is viewed by most scholars as describing a military machine from the perspective of modern mechanized weaponry.

Notice the similarity found at Joel 2:3-4,

"A fire consumes before them, And behind them a flame burns. The land is like the garden of Eden before them, But a desolate wilderness behind them, And nothing at all escapes them. Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; And like war horses, so they run."

It is the view of this writer, that the army of the 6th trumpet is the Northern army which is described at Ezekiel 38-39 and Joel 2:1-20.

ORIENTATION
First point of orientation is to recognize that the understanding of this invasion has nothing to do with the timing of the rapture. Therefore, the pretrib, midtrib, pre-wrath and posttrib positions are not pertinent to this study. However, this discussion will be flavored by definitions in terminology characteristic of the pre-wrath view of the rapture.

The second point of orientation is to recognize that in the book of The Revelation, the seven seals, trumpets and bowls follow one upon the other in chronological order. Specifically, that the seven trumpets come out from the 7th seal and that the seven bowls come out from the 7th trumpet which sounds immediately after the ascension of the two witnesses, 1263 1/2 days after the midpoint of the week (Rev. 11:7-15). And that there is a 30 day period which follows the end of the 70th week, as indicated at Daniel 12:11, during which the seven bowls will be poured out upon the earth.

The third point of orientation is to recognize that the 6th trumpet takes place toward the end of the 70th week, as is also acknowledged by John F. Walvoord:

"Chronologically the trumpets involved closely succeed one another and their judgments seem to fall like trip-hammer blows as the great tribulation comes to its close."
(The Revelation of Jesus Christ, page 166).

THE KING OF THE NORTH
The basic outline for the movement of these troops in this end-times context is found at Daniel 11:40-45. Here we find troop movement from the North, South, East and West, all leading up to the final confrontation between them and the Lord Jesus Christ at Armageddon.

There are some who suggest that these military maneuvers take place prior to the breaking of the Covenant, that is, prior to the midpoint of the week. However, the context clearly indicates that they will take place AFTER the world ruler has exalted himself "above every god," which is at the midpoint of the week.

The reason for this attack is because the day-of-the-Lord judgments will have greatly impeded the beast's ability to provide peace and security and economic stability. Thus, the king of the North and many other nations will rebel against the beast and begin to move against him in order to acquire much needed material resources for the survival of their lands.

There are two stages to the invasion of the king of the North. First, he pushes against the kingdom of the beast by attacking him on a worldwide scale (Jeremiah 25:15-38; Dan. 11:40; Rev. 9:13-19) and then when the king of the West is adequately distracted, he invades Palestine (Ezekiel 38-39; Joel 2:2-11, 18-20, 25). The details are filled in from the prophets of the Old Testament and the Book of the Revelation.

Daniel 11:36-39 identifies the main actor in this military scenario. It describes the dramatic change in personality of the king of the West, the world ruler who instituted the Covenant Experiment of Daniel 9:27 at the beginning of the 70th week. This happens at the midpoint of the week shortly after the ruler is assassinated and brought back to life by the power of Satan (Rev. 13:3-7).

There is much debate as to the identification of the person in view at this passage, but to spare the reader all my research into this, I will simply agree with the conclusion of Walvoord,

"A better identification of the king,. . . however, is to relate him to the Roman world ruler, the same individual as the little horn of Daniel 7 and the beast out of the sea of Revelation 13:1-10." (Daniel, page 272).

I will therefore operate on the premise that this "king" is indeed the world ruler who controls the 10-nation political body with roots in ancient Rome, who is known as the king of the West and who is often represented in the Old Testament as the king of Babylon. The 3rd person pronouns that follow the phrase, "the king of the North will storm against him," in verse 40, ALL refer to the king of the West.

For more information on this world ruler see THE POLITICAL POWER BASE OF THE BEAST

Daniel 11:40-45

Verse 40

1. At the end-times: This identifies our time frame as relating to the last 7 years (Daniel's 70th week)  PLUS the 75 days mentioned at Daniel 12:11-12, prior to the establishment of Messiah's kingdom on the earth. And since we are clearly in a context where the world ruler has been revealed as "the man of lawlessness" of 2Thessalonians 2, it refers specifically to sometime after the midpoint of the 70th week.
And since DURING the unrestrained reign of the beast (the period between the midpoint and the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky), "who is like the beast and who is able to wage war against him (Rev. 13:4)," the nations will not move against him during that phase of his reign.

2. The king of the South will collide with him: The K/S is usually associated with Egypt and we here see him rebelling against and attacking the beast (K/W), perhaps in alliance with the king of the North. Jordan (Edom, Obadiah 12-18) also will rebel and advance into the Israeli territory seeking to possess resources for itself. In fact, it is probable that all the Arab nations bordering Israel will take sides either with the Northern Alliance or the beast.
The king of the South is mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament, which I will cover at a later time. Isaiah 19:16-25

3. And the king of the North will storm against him: This introduces us to the revolt of the Northern nations allied with Gog and Magog which is detailed in other passages. This summarizes an attack against the kingdom of the beast in both a worldwide and Palestinian arena. Other passages will establish the fact that the king of the North targets the nations under the beast's jurisdiction on a worldwide basis in preparation for his advance into Palestine. It might be limited to a European arena, since "all the nations" at the time of writing had in mind that general geographical area.

JEREMIAH

The "world-wide" attack of the king of the North is summarized at Jeremiah 25:15-38.

At verses 11-12, the Babylonian captivity is referenced indicating that its duration will be 70 years and when its over, Chaldea will be conquered and destroyed by Persia.

Verses 13-14, speaks of Persia's conquest of the world and becomes the pattern for the end-times invasion of the king of the North.

Verses 15-38, Gives us the basis for viewing this as the Northern invasion.
The section goes beyond Persia and views that end-times invasion by the Northern alliance.

Verses 15-29, are written in prose and give geographic specifics about this world wide invasion. Verse 15, establishes this as God's wrath upon all the nations.

As the king of the North advances, no area is left untouched, North, South, East and West, all experience the devastation of this mighty military machine storming against the beast's kingdom. These directions are in reference to the land of Israel and are probably limited to Europe, Asia, Palestine and North Africa.
Although, the "inhabited earth" in the 21st century encompasses the entire globe, and given the nature of the world's technology, this attack from the king of the North might very well include a much wider geographical arena than what was in view at the time of writing.

Verses 27-28, establish the fact that it is unavoidable.

This worldwide reach of the Northern army is suggested at Rev. 9:14-16, where we see restraint on the army removed by the releasing of the 4 "restraining" angels so that the impact of this invasion is felt to the four corners of the earth (East, West, North and South).

Rev. 9:14-16,

"one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, 'Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates. 'And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they might kill a third of mankind. And the number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them."

The result is that 1/3 of the earth's population will be killed as indicated at Revelation 9:18,
"A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone, which proceeded out of their mouths."
(At Rev. 6:8, it is one fourth of the LAND area that is affected, during the unrestrained reign of the beast and before the arrival of Jesus. At Rev. 9:18, it is one third of the POPULATION that is killed and it happens AFTER the arrival of Jesus.)

Jeremiah 25:29a, indicates that this worldwide invasion has as its ultimate goal, a judgment on the land of Palestine.
"For behold, I am beginning to work calamity in {this} city which is called by My name."

Verse 29b, however, indicates that all the world will be touched by this judgment from God.
"and shall you be completely free from punishment? You will not be free from punishment; for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth, declares the LORD of hosts."

Verses 30-38 are written in poetry and identify this worldwide invasion by a kingdom power as taking place DURING the Day of the Lord.

Now even though the term, "Day of the Lord," does not occur in this context, the language clearly describes the arrival of Yahweh to pour out judgment on the world.

Jeremiah 25:30,
"Therefore you shall prophesy against them all these words, and you shall say to them, The LORD will roar from on high, And utter His voice from His holy habitation; He will roar mightily against His fold. He will shout like those who tread {the grapes,} Against all the inhabitants of the earth."

This is the arrival of the Messiah in the "clouds of the sky" at the Day of the Lord. This arrival BEGINS the Day of the Lord judgments which are not only against His pasture, but also against all nations. This is exactly why, when Jesus returns, "there will be dismay among nations . . . men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things coming upon the world," (Luke 21:25-26). And why "all the tribes of the earth will mourn," (Mat. 24:30) and why "the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?" (Rev. 6:15-17)

His fold refers to Israel and "the inhabitants of the earth" refers to the rest of the world.
Before the restraints are removed for the advance of the King of the North, Israel and the rest of the world will feel the wrath of God through the trumpet judgments.

Jeremiah 25:31a, "A clamor has come to the end of the earth, Because the LORD has a controversy with the nations."

The "controversy with the nations" makes reference to the universal rebellion that mankind expresses toward God and God's Anointed.
Moral deviation, rejection of the gospel and direct antagonism characterize the earth dwellers.

Psalm 2:1-5

WHY are the nations in an uproar,
And the peoples devising emptiness?
The kings of the earth take their stand,
And the rulers have established themselves together
Against Yahweh and against His Anointed:
"Let us tear apart Their fetters,
And cast from us Their cords!
He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His burning fury:

Isaiah 24:5
"The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, rejected (passed over) statutes, violated the everlasting covenant (rejected the gospel)."

Jeremiah 25:31b,
"He is entering into judgment with all flesh; As for the wicked, He has given them to the sword, declares the LORD."

The phrase, "entering into judgment with all flesh," refers specifically to the judgment that comes through the invasion of the Northern alliance, but certainly extends beyond that to all the expressions of divine wrath poured out during the Day of the LORD.

Jeremiah 25:32,
"Thus says the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil is going forth From nation to nation, And a great storm is being stirred up from the remotest parts of the earth."

"From nation to nation" indicates clearly the advance of this military invasion as being throughout the world and corresponds with the worldwide focus of the 6th trumpet (Rev. 9:13-19) rather than the isolated focus of the battle of Armageddon.
Furthermore, "from the remotest parts of the earth" indicates this is the movement of an army that is advancing throughout the world.
At the time that this was written, the "world" involved the areas of Europe, Asia and Northern Africa. This seems to be the primary focus during the events of the end times as well.
Although, given the technology of today, it might very well include the entire world, or at least to whatever areas the beast has under his control.

V. 33-37a, describes the worldwide destruction

V. 33,
"And those slain by the LORD on that day shall be from one end of the earth to the other. They shall not be lamented, gathered, or buried; they shall be like dung on the face of the ground."
Revelation 9:18 says that "a third of mankind was killed" by this marauding army.

The phrase, "on that day," refers to what happens DURING the time period rather than what happens on a SINGLE day.

Some may want to make this apply to the final battle at Armageddon, but the language in the following verses makes it apply to the "home land" of the nations involved. For this reason, it lines up better as referring to the world-wide invasion of the king of the North.

Another alternative is that this is talking about the Day-of-the-LORD judgments in general that reach to every nation on the earth. I accept this as a viable possibility, but the language seems more like the progress of a military invasion to me. Technically, there are ample passages that discuss the movements of the king of the North and this one is not absolutely necessary for support of those movements. This is simply an attempt to place this passage into the whole end times scenario and it seems to fit the advance of the king of the North better than anything else.

Verses 34-36
"Wail, you shepherds, and cry; And wallow {in ashes,} you masters of the flock; For the days of your slaughter and your scatterings have come, And you shall fall like a choice vessel."
"Flight shall perish from the shepherds, And escape from the masters of the flock. {Hear} the sound of the cry of the shepherds, And the wailing of the masters of the flock! For the LORD is destroying their pasture,"

This indicates that the leaders of these nations will be defeated by the invading army and many people will be killed and scattered away from their cities. Again, Rev. 9:18, "A third of mankind."

Jeremiah 25:37a,
"And the peaceful pasture lands are made silent
Because of the burning of the anger of the LORD"

Massive slaughter of people will leave the national life of these countries, neutralized and silent. Because of the judgment that comes from God's wrath, which allows the Northern army to move, the unbelievers (who are mostly beast worshippers) will suffer greatly.

Jeremiah 25:38a,
"He has left His hiding place like the lion"

The coming of the Lord, the second coming of Jesus the Messiah, is viewed in the Old Testament as a single event known as the day of the Lord, covering a period of several months. A particular passage can be showing the inception of His arrival or His arrival in connection with some activity that will occur DURING the Day of the Lord.

At this particular point in the passage, the focus is on the judgment that the Lord brings upon the earth dwellers through the advance of the King of the North.
He will leave His "hiding" place and arrive in the clouds of the sky to begin the day of the Lord judgments as portrayed at the 6th seal. The movement of the armies in view here will not begin until the 6th trumpet judgment.

Jeremiah 25:38b,
"For their land has become a horror Because of the burning of the oppressing one (king of the North) and because of the burning of His (Yahweh's) anger."

This clearly connects the idea that it is God's judgment but He USES the army of the north to execute it.
At Joel, we see "His army" (Joel 2:11) and "my great army" (Joel 2:25).
Also, at Isaiah 13:3, "I have commanded My consecrated ones, I have even called My mighty warriors, My proudly exulting ones, To {execute} My anger."

ISAIAH 13:1-16
This passage also describes the world-wide invasion of the king of the North.

Verse 1,
"The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw."

The oracle is about judgment on Babylon, but verse 1-16 jumps beyond the historical fulfillment which will take place at the hand of Persia after the 70 year Babylonian captivity of Judah and looks to the future judgment in an end-times context after the arrival of the Day of the Lord (vs. 6, 9).

And since the historical judgment takes place at the hands of Persia, the "end-times" judgment should be viewed as taking place at the hands of the king of the North.
Isaiah 13:5, "They are coming from a far country From the farthest horizons."
Iran alone also qualifies as a Northern army, but Isaiah 13:4 indicates it is an alliance of nations that is involved. Iran is included in this Northern alliance according to Ezekiel 38:5.

Isaiah 13:2-3
"Lift up a standard on the bare hill, Raise your voice to them, Wave the hand that they may enter the doors of the nobles. I have commanded My consecrated ones, I have even called My mighty warriors, My proudly exulting ones, To {execute} My anger."

This is the call to the king of the North to begin his worldwide advance against the king of the West, the beast, represented by Babylon in the historical setting. The worldwide focus is found at verse 11, "thus I will punish the world for its evil."

God calls this army "My" because He is USING them to execute His justice on the earth.
Verse 5, "The LORD and His instruments of indignation."
At Joel, we see "His army" (Joel 2:11) and "my great army" (Joel 2:25).
It is the same "call to action" found at Ezek. 38:4 and permitted at Rev. 9:13-15.

Isaiah 13:4,
"A sound of tumult on the mountains, Like that of many people! A sound of the uproar of kingdoms, Of nations gathered together! The LORD of hosts is mustering the army for battle."

This clearly speaks of an alliance of nations gathered together against "Babylon."

Isaiah 13:5
They are coming from a far country From the farthest horizons, The LORD and His instruments of indignation, To destroy the whole land.

This speaks of the distance from Palestine of this army and its allies.

It corresponds with Ezekiel 38:6, "the remote parts of the North."

At Joel 2:20, it is identified as the Northern army. The reason the two armies can be equated is because of the time frame for their activity.

At Isaiah 13, the army advances worldwide AFTER the arrival of the Day of the Lord.

Isaiah 13:6,

"Wail, for the day of the LORD is near! It will come as destruction from the Almighty."

This indicates that WHEN the army invades that it will be a fulfillment of the coming of the day of the LORD and not that the day of the LORD follows the invasion.
The DAY of the Lord begins at the 6th seal, when Jesus arrives in the clouds of the sky in power and great glory (Mat. 24:29-31; Rev. 6:1-17). But this invasion will not begin until the 6th trumpet judgment of Revelation 9:13-21, probably several months after Christ's arrival.

The army at Joel 2 will have advanced into Palestine, and is also viewed as taking place AFTER the ARRIVAL of the Day of the Lord. That is, when the army invades, it is DURING the day of the Lord that the invasion takes place.

Joel 2:2,

"for the Day of the Lord is coming, surely it is near."

However, it is also viewed as such an army that will NEVER again come into Palestine UNTIL many generations.

Joel 2:2,

"there is a great and mighty people; there has never been anything like it, nor will there be again after it to the years of many generations."

Many generations AFTER the Day of the Lord would refer to the end of Messiah's 1000 year reign when another large Northern army will invade Palestine (Rev. 20:7-9).

 

THE NORTHERN ALLIANCE
There is only ONE Northern army that will have a role during the Day of the Lord. And it is that Northern army and alliance which is described at Ezekiel 38:2-6.

"Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.

"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; Persia, Ethiopia, and Put with them, all of them {with} shield and helmet; Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah {from} the remote parts of the north with all its troops - many peoples with you."

Gog is either a personality or a dynasty that dominates the land of Magog and rules over three chief cities or peoples.

These descendants of Japheth are clearly mentioned at Gen. 10:2,

"The sons of Jepheth were, Gomer and Magog and Madai and Javan and Tubal and Mesheck and Tiras."

The identification of Magog and Rosh is summarized by Pentecost, after quoting several sources:

"Thus the identification of Rosh as modern Russia would seem to be well authenticated and generally accepted." (Things to Come, page 328).

"Meshek and Tubal have been identified as Phrygia and Cappadocia. They appear to be the Moschi and Tibareni of the classical writers. They lived in the neighborhood of Magog." (Charles Feinberg, Ezekiel, page 220)

This places them in the land area we know as Turkey.

Associated with Gog, we have five other nations which need to be identified.

At Ezekiel 38:5, we have three mentioned, Persia (paras), Ethiopia (kush) and Libya (phut).

Persia is unanimously identified as Iran.

Ethiopia and Libya, however, do not fair as well. There are some who would limit both of these groups to those Arabic nations North and East of Israel. Others, associate Kush with modern day Ethiopia, and associate Libya with the nations of North Africa; Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya.

At Daniel 11:43, there is mention of the Libyans, but the Hebrew is different than what we find at Ezekiel. At Daniel, the word, lubhiym, clearly refers to the Libyans in North Africa. Accordingly, phut might refer to a different people and perhaps a different geographical area.

However, Phut is consistently mentioned with other names identified with North Africa (Jeremiah 46:9 and Nahum 3:9, in Pharaoh's army), especially at Ezekiel 30:5, where we see a group of nations that the context suggests would all be within the same "southern" area around Egypt.

Furthermore, at Daniel 11:43, after the king of the West counterattacks against Egypt, he continues into both Ethiopia (Kush) AND Libya. It seems most probable that the Kush mentioned here is the same as mentioned at Ezekiel 38:5. And since it is also quite probable that the Ethiopia in Daniel is South of Palestine, it is best to take the Ethiopia of Ezekiel as also being South of Palestine. This should prove that there are Southern nations in Gog's Northern alliance, and it might even include Egypt since it appears that the king of the South and the King of the North at Daniel 11:40, push against the king of the West at the same time.

This makes it much easier to associate Phut (Libya) with North Africa instead of limiting the Northern alliance to those areas North and East of Palestine.

At Ezekiel 38:6, the final two members of this alliance are mentioned.

Gomer is universally identified as the Germanic land area.
Beth-togarmah is equally identified as the area of upper Turkey and Armenia.

Let's keep in mind that these general geographical distributions overlap with several different nations or cultures in existence today, similar to how the former Soviet Union embraced so many smaller nations. The best that we can do is to recognize the general geographical areas involved and not be too rigid in assigning nations their allegiance until the actual alliance is established. However, that reality may not be ours to discern since the rapture will occur BEFORE the Northern alliance actually moves in resistance to the king of the West (the beast). The prewrath view teaches that the rapture occurs at the 6th seal, before the 6th trumpet which refers to this great worldwide invasion by a large military body.

Back to Ezekiel 38:2-6 for a moment.
"Behold, I am against you"
and -
"And I will turn you about"

As mentioned earlier, God USES the king of the North to execute his justice on the earth, but at the same time, the king of the North is also the target of God's justice.
The king of the North, as well as all the unbelieving armies of the world will be judged and destroyed during the various wars of the Armageddon campaign, which will culminate in the valley of Megiddo.

There is also a Gog/Magog revolt at the end of the Millennium, which involves the same geographical location, but is not the same as this invasion that is described here.
See: Gog Magog revolt: Millennium

A MATTER OF TIMING
The big question still unresolved in many minds, concerns the exact time placement for the Gog invasion which is described in Ezekiel 38 and 39.

There are those who view this invasion as taking place prior to the beginning of Daniel's 70th week, which is seven years in length. The main proof for such a theory is found at Ezekiel 39:9, where after the invading Northern army is defeated, the "booty" left behind will be burned for a period of seven years. Others believe that the invasion takes place immediately at the beginning of the seven-year period, viewing it as the reason the "world ruler" is able to come on the scene and establish a 7-year covenant in the Middle East. Once again, they use the seven years of burning the "booty" as proof for this. Others still, place this invasion at the midpoint of the 70th week and view it as the reason for the rise to power of the man of lawlessness (the antichrist) who breaks the 7-year covenant and will then seek to dominate the politics and economy of the world and reign for 42 months (3 1/2 years). Then there are those who view this invasion as taking place just before the final battle of Armageddon and has the alliance's defeat take place at that battle.

Although the term, "Day of the Lord," does not occur in Ezekiel 38-39, the language indicates that this invasion can refer to none other than the king of the North as described in the other passages. Some have suggested that Ezekiel 38-39 refers to an invasion that precedes the Day of the Lord, however that cannot be in light of verse 39:7, "And I shall not let My Holy Name be profaned anymore." If this invasion refers to an army other than the one which invades DURING the Day of the Lord, then this verse would be violated, for during the Day of the Lord, through the advance of armies in connection with the Armageddon campaign, the land of Israel and God's Name will be trodden down by the invaders. Furthermore, the defeat of this Northern army is followed immediately by Israel's promotion and blessing in Messiah's kingdom.

Ezek. 38:7-8,
"Be prepared, and prepare yourself, you and all your companies that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them.
"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.

This is another reason some think that the Gog invasion occurs "before" the 70th week and/or after the 70th week has started. It is suggested that if Israel has been restored from the sword and the people are living "securely," then it cannot refer to the time of Great tribulation when the beast will be attempting to force the world into beast worship. It is suggested that this refers to the nation of Israel, having been restored in 1948 and today existing on her own land.

I think that these descriptions of Israel's condition apply IN GENERAL to the status of the nation as it has progressed through history from the time of the Roman dispersion with special emphasis on the present status of the nation in 2017 AND A yet future condition that will fulfill ALL the language of the prophecy.
Hindsight is wonderful in these kinds of situations, but as of 1948, although still under national discipline from God, Israel has indeed "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 . . ."

The nation of Israel is independent and prosperous. The people are dwelling in their own homeland, and although the Arab conflicts rage, the people have certainly been gathered back from a world-wide dispersion.
To this extent, the language at Ezekiel 38:8 is fulfilled.
However, the condition of "and they are living securely, all of them" cannot be said of the nation at this time. Even though Israel resides in the land, the nation as a whole is still in unbelief, and there is certainly no peace and security for her.  This condition must await
a yet future fulfillment.

Probably the best time for fulfillment of the language at verse 7, "and they are living securely, all of them," is when the 7-year Covenant Experiment is instituted at the beginning of the 70th week. The establishment of The Covenant Experiment brings to completion and fulfills completely all the language of Ezekiel 38:7. Thus, it would seem appropriate to look for this invasion sometime during the first half of the week. However, this seems unlikely to me because of the language of "closure" at Ezek. 39:7, "And I shall not let My Holy Name be profaned any longer." If the defeat of this "Gog" army takes place during the first half of the week (or before) and is defeated as described in Ezekiel 38-39, then this "language of closure" forbids the oppression of the beast during the last half of the week, during which time, God's name most certainly will be profaned (Rev. 13:6; Dan. 7:25).

But, does the condition of "living securely, all of them" apply to the oppressive reign of the beast?

I suggest that at the midpoint of the week, after the beast gains ascendancy over Jerusalem (Rev. 11:2) and begins his oppressive reign (Rev. 13:5-6), that the majority of people in Jerusalem will be in alliance with the beast and therefore be "living securely, all of them."
And it seems that this "security" under the beast would be an extension of the peace covenant for those who accept the beast. Therefore, "living securely" would still qualify for a time after the midpoint of the week even though not EVERYONE will embrace beast worship.

Around the midpoint of the week, the "faithful" ones of Israel (ones who reject beast worship, but are still unbelievers) will have fled into the wilderness (Rev. 12:6, 13-14; Is. 26:20), and many of the others will have adopted beast worship and be reaping the economic benefits of allegiance to him.
There will also be many Jews in Jerusalem living "underground" to escape the oppression of the beast. These were unable to escape into the wilderness at the midpoint of the week along with "the woman" of Revelation 12, and are barely surviving in the city. When Jesus stands on the Mount of Olives and puts the invading armies in disarray, the resisters in Jerusalem will be able to come out of hiding, return to their homes, and begin to battle the invading armies with the help of the clans of Judah. These are the inhabitants of Jerusalem of Zechariah 12:5-8, who will "once again dwell ion their own sites in Jerusalem."

It is for these reasons that we must find a time slot for this invasion that is associated with the final movement of nations into the land of Palestine and the final confrontation with God at the battle of Armageddon.

THE DAY OF THE LORD
Returning to Isaiah 13, at verses 7-8, we see the reaction of people to the ARRIVAL of the Day of the LORD. According to verse 6, the Day will come as destruction from the Almighty.

Paul tells us at 1 Thes. 5:3
"The Day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."

When the Day of the Lord SIGNS occur and people SEE the sign of the Son of Man, they will then know that the wrath of the Lamb has arrived. Thus, the reaction recorded at verses 7-8 as well as at Mat. 24:30; Luke 21:25-26 and Rev. 6:15-16.

Isaiah 13:7-8
"Therefore all hands will fall limp, And every man's heart will melt."
"And they will be terrified, Pains and anguish will take hold of {them} ; They will writhe like a woman in labor, They will look at one another in astonishment, Their faces aflame."

This tells of the reaction from the people as they see the signs and the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.

Luke 21:25
"And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,

Luke 21:26
men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Matt. 24:30
and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.

Rev. 6:15-16
And the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb;

Isaiah 2:10-22
Verses 5-9 is the condition of the people before the arrival of the Messiah.
Verse 5 is a plea for them to turn to God in the midst of national discipline.
Verse 6-9 indicates that the nation is under discipline because of their moral and spiritual apostasy.
Verses 10-11, the arrival of the Messiah at the Day of the Lord.
Verses 12-22, The day of the Lord is a day of judgment.
Verse 22, logical reason to disassociate from the beast and not take the mark.
"For why should you regard THE man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils,
for why should he be esteemed as valuable?"

Isaiah 2:19, "And men will go into the caves of the rocks,
and into holes of the ground before the terror of Yahweh,
and before the splendor of His majesty,
when He arises to make the earth tremble."

Isaiah 13:9
Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it.

The Day of the Lord has a beginning point, which is when Jesus arrives in the clouds of the sky. After he removes the believers from the earth at that time, and after the conversion of the 144,000 Jewish bond servants (Rev. 7:1-8), Jesus will begin to judge the earth through the trumpets and bowls. "Fury and burning anger" will be expressed with the intent "to make the land a desolation," and judge the sinners.

       Isaiah 24:19-20
        "The earth is broken asunder,

        The earth is split through,
        The earth is shaken violently.
           The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard
        And it totters like a shack,
        For its transgression is heavy upon it,
        And it will fall, never to rise again."

       Isaiah 42:14-17
       “I have kept silent for a long time,
       I have kept still and restrained Myself.
       Now like a woman in labor I will groan,
       I will both gasp and pant.
       15 “I will lay waste the mountains and hills
       And wither all their vegetation;
       I will make the rivers into coastlands
       And dry up the ponds.
       16 “I will lead the blind by a way they do not know,
       In paths they do not know I will guide them.
       I will make darkness into light before them
       And rugged places into plains.
       These are the things I will do,
       And I will not leave them undone.”
       17 They will be turned back and be utterly put to shame,
       Who trust in idols,
       Who say to molten images,
       “You are our gods.”

Isaiah 59:17-19
Verse 17a,
"He put on righteousness like a breastplate,

And a helmet of salvation on His head;"

This refers to the work of the Savior during His first coming.

Verse 17b-19 refers to His second coming and specifically His initial arrival in the clouds of the sky.
"And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing
And wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.
18 According to their deeds, so He will repay,
Wrath to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies;
To the coastlands He will make recompense.
19 So they will fear the name of the Lord from the west
And His glory from the rising of the sun,
For He will come like a rushing stream
Which the wind of the Lord drives."

Isaiah 61:2b, "to proclaim . . . the day of vengeance of our God."

Isaiah 59:20 however refers to his physical descent to the earth several months later.
“A Redeemer will come to Zion,

And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” declares the Lord.

The ones who turn from transgression are the Jews who trust in Jesus as the Messiah after the rapture.
The ones in Judah will be delivered when Jesus stands on the Mount of Olives.
The others who are scattered throughout the world will be gathered into Israel after
Armageddon (Isaiah 60:4-9) and undergo the evaluation process of Ezekiel 34:17-22.


And then verse 21 refers to the kingdom covenant that God will make with Israel after the evaluation and purging of the unbelievers out from the believers, so that only believers will enter into the kingdom.
Isaiah 59:21
As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from now and forever.”

Isaiah 66:14d-17
(physical descent several months after His arrival in the clouds of the sky)

Verse 14d, But He will be indignant toward His enemies.
15 For behold, the Lord will come in fire
And His chariots like the whirlwind,
To render His anger with fury,
And His rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For the Lord will execute judgment by fire
And by His sword on all flesh,
And those slain by the Lord will be many.
17 “Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go to the gardens,
Following one in the center,
Who eat swine’s flesh, detestable things and mice,
Will come to an end altogether,” declares the Lord.

Isaiah 13:10
Here Isaiah backs up again to the time just before the day of the Lord arrives, when there will be the triple signs to announce its coming.
For: The conjunction, kiy, simply explains something that has just been mentioned in the context. In this case, it goes back to the beginning of verse 9, and the phrase, “Behold, the day of the Lord is coming.” The explanation in verse 10 is given then, not to explain the nature of the judgments, but the fact of its arrival, and the signs that will announce it.
The signs that precede the arrival of the day of the Lord, and announce not only its arrival, but the second coming of the Messiah at its inception, are described in other passages (Joel 2:31, quoted at Acts 2:20; The Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24:29-31, Mark 13:24-26, Luke 21:25-27; and Revelation 6:12-13).

"For the stars of heaven and their constellations
Will not flash forth their light;
The sun will be dark when in its going;
And the moon will not shed its light."

As mentioned above, there will be signs in the sun, moon and stars which will announce the arrival of the Messiah and the start of the Day of the LORD.
For Details on this passage: See Commentary - Isaiah 13

There are other places where these "effects" are mentioned, but they do not always refer to the initial arrival of the Day of the Lord. Sometimes they refer to effects that will occur DURING the day of the Lord.

The arrival of the day of the Lord is mentioned at Isaiah 51:6.

1. "Lift up your eyes to the sky, Then look to the earth beneath; For the sky will vanish like smoke:
The initial signs that Jesus mentioned at Matthew 24:29, will cause the people of the earth to look UP to "observe" the darkness, and then react to what is expected to come upon the earth. Luke 21:26, "men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things that are coming upon the world."

The sky vanishing does not refer to a "destruction" but rather to the massive darkness that will precede the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.
Matthew 24:29

2. And the earth will wear out like a garment:
This symbol however, does refer to destruction.

Like a garment that no longer provides adequate covering and protection, so the earth will no longer provide what man needs to sustain physical life. This describes the first 3 trumpet judgments (Rev. 8:7-11) and the second and third bowl judgments (Rev. 16:3-4).

3. And its inhabitants will die in like manner:

Death through the judgments that come from God's wrath. Rev. 8:11; 9:18; 14:19-20; 19:21.

4. But My salvation shall be forever, And My righteousness shall not wane:

This refers to the millennial kingdom of the Messiah which extends on into eternity.

These passages are NOT referring to the renovation of the physical universe which takes place at the end of the 1000 year kingdom. (Revelation 20:11 with 21:1).

Although the language at 2 Peter 3:10 is similar, it is likewise, quite different, for Peter describes a complete "chemical" renovation, through intense heat.

"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, IN WHICH (or THROUGH WHICH) the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up."

This "total" renovation is referenced at Psalm 102:25-26 (Heb. 1:12).
"Of old Thou didst found the earth; And the heavens are the work of Thy hands. Even they will perish, but Thou dost endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing Thou wilt change them, and they will be changed."

DURING THE DAY

Isaiah 13:11
"Thus I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud, And abase the haughtiness of the ruthless."
(Isaiah 2:12-17)

This is a summary statement concerning God's intent in destroying the arrogant and rebellious sinners of the world through the last three trumpets; the THREE woes of Revelation.

Rev. 8:13
"And I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in mid-heaven, saying with a loud voice, 'Woe, woe, woe, to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!'"

The first woe will be torment on the sinners of the world via the demon horde from the abyss (Rev. 9:1-11).

The second woe will be the killing of 1/3 of the earth's population via the invasion of the Northern army (Rev. 9:12-19).

And the third woe will be the seven bowls of the "final" wrath of God that come through the blowing of the 7th trumpet (Rev. 15:1; 16:1).

Isaiah 2:12
"For the LORD of hosts will have a day {of reckoning} Against everyone who is proud and lofty, And against everyone who is lifted up, That he may be abased."

2Ths. 1:6-8
"For after all it is {only} just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and {to give} relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well  at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus."

Isaiah 13:12
"I will make mortal man scarcer than pure gold, And mankind than the gold of Ophir."

This refers to the extreme "thinning" of the human population that results from the Day-of-the-LORD judgments.

Death from the third trumpet judgment:
Rev. 8:11
"and the name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood; and MANY MEN DIED from the waters, because they were made bitter."

Extreme torture from the 5th trumpet; the first woe:
Revelation 9:1-11
"And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; and they will long to die
and death flees from them."

Death from the 6th trumpet judgment; the 2nd woe:
Rev. 9:18
"A THIRD OF MANKIND WAS KILLED by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone, which proceeded out of their mouths."

Torture and death from the 7 bowls of the final wrath of God; the third woe which will
culminate in all the death involved with the Armageddon campaign.
Revelation 16; 19:17-21.

Isaiah 13:13
"Therefore I shall make the heavens tremble, And the earth will be shaken from its place At the fury of the LORD of hosts In the day of His burning anger."

Here, the THEREFORE (al ken), changes our focus and takes us back to the inception of this Day of the LORD period. It is the initial SIGNS in the sun, moon and stars (heavens tremble, Luke 21:26; Rev. 6:13-14); and the earth shaking (Rev. 6:12; Luke 21:25) that officially ANNOUNCE that these judgments are at hand or as the panicking world proclaims, "has come," and "who is able to stand," (Rev. 6:17).

Isaiah 13:14-16, describes the effects on the "homelands" of the nations involved in this SPECIFIC worldwide attack of the king of the North, permitted by the wrathful vengeance
of God.

"And it will be that like a hunted gazelle, Or like sheep with none to gather {them,} They will each turn to his own people, And each one flee to his own land. Anyone who is found will be thrust through, And anyone who is captured will fall by the sword. Their little ones also will be dashed to pieces Before their eyes; Their houses will be plundered And their wives ravished."

It should be clear that this activity occurs in the homelands of the nations through the onslaught of an invading army, just as we saw earlier at Jeremiah 25:32-37. It does not describe what occurs AT Armageddon. The military maneuvers that take place DURING the worldwide attack of the king of the North, occur over a period of time and not in one day.

People will be traveling all over the world, as Daniel 12:4 indicates, "many will go back and forth." When the Lord arrives, everyone will panic and many will try to get back "home" as quickly as possible. But it will be very difficult to escape the onslaught of the military
machine of the King of the North.

The final section of Isaiah 13 (verses 17-22), mentions the historical invasion of the Media-Persian empire, but then makes application BEYOND that historical time period and once again, to an end-times judgment and the resultant status of the Babylonian area during the Messiah's earthly kingdom.

The degree of judgment described in these verses has not, to date, been totally fulfilled.
In the same way, the language at Jeremiah 51:62, seems to look beyond the history of the city and land area, and looks to an "end-times" disposition where during the Messiah's kingdom, and as a result of judgment described in Revelation 18:21, Babylon will not exist.
However this language does not refer to the entire geography of the Babylonian empire, but probably looks to just the city.
Furthermore, the destruction of "Babylon" in the end times looks beyond even that city and sees the Babylonian system of evil that began with Nimrod, and the replacement city for the capital of this evil religious system, which will be Rome. Only Rome can fulfill completely the descriptive language at Revelation 17:6.15, 18; 18:24.
But if the city of Babylon will be rebuilt during the end times, its destiny will certainly be as described in these Old Testament passages. Isaiah 13:19-22; 14:22-23; Jer. 50:13, 39-40.

The city in view will be destroyed through the earthquake of Revelation 18:21, when Jesus stands on the Mount of Olives.
The severity of the judgment is described at Jeremiah 51:62, "there will be nothing dwelling in it, whether man or beast, but it will be a desolation of perpetuity."
This is amplified at Revelation 18:2. "it has become a dwelling place for demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird."
No man, no beasts; just demons and scavenger birds will be there.
So, during the millennial reign of Jesus, although Satan will be bound in the abyss for 1000 years (Rev. 20:1-3), all the demons will be imprisoned on the earth in the city of Rome.
This also fulfills Zech. 13:2,
"I will remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land."

Isaiah 24:21-22
So it will happen in that day,

That the Lord will punish the host of heaven on high,
(The demons)

And the kings of the earth on earth.
(the armies gathered in Megiddo)

Verse 22, They will be gathered together
Like prisoners in the dungeon,
And will be confined in prison;
And after many days they will be punished.
(The demons will be imprisoned in Babylon; Rome)
(The armies will be killed and be put into Hades, Rev. 19:21)
At the last judgment, all will be thrown into the lake of fire. Rev. 20:11-15.

 

COUNTERATTACK
Returning to Daniel 11:40-45 we see the counterattack from the king of the West.

1. And he will enter countries: The K/W must respond to the invasions from the North and the South.

At this point, I mention again the difficult problem of identifying the "king" referred to by the 3rd person pronouns in this sentence and through the remainder of the chapter. The immediate "flow" of the narrative "suggests" that the "he will enter" phrase refers to the king of the North. However, whoever the "he" is, it seems best to make that identification uniform through the remainder of the chapter. Accordingly, based on the activities ascribed to the "he" in question, which take place in this context, it is still best to identify him as the king of the West, the world ruler who is the beast out of the sea of Revelation 13:1.

2. Overflow and pass through: This indicates an intensive campaign to counter the attack from the North that touched every corner of the beast's kingdom. But the focus in Daniel is the armies running amok in Palestine.

Daniel 11:41
The King of the west will enter into Palestine (the beautiful land), and have a successful counter attack against the armies there, probably Egypt, and the armies of Jordan (Edom, Obadiah 15-18), for "many will fall."
However, the homeland areas of Edom, Moab and Ammon are not affected either by the invading armies or the beast's defense. God provides extra protection for this general land area because it is where the remnant from Judah has fled for refuge from the oppression of the beast.
There are two (possibly 3) groups of refugees outside of Jerusalem.
(1) The Jews of Palestine who flee into the wilderness and are protected by God in the regions of Moab and Ammon. Revelation 12:13-16
(2) The Jews of Palestine who are stranded and are hiding in the mountains of Edom.
      Ezekiel 35:5; Obadiah 12-14
And perhaps ithere will be resisters hiding in the areas outside the city of Jerusalem.
The "clans of Judah" of Zechariah 12 must come from somewhere. They could be these who are in hiding outside the city, or the resisters in Edom who return, or the resisters protected in the wilderness or all three groups.
The ones protected in the wilderness (the woman of Revelation 12) will be secure for the duration of the 1260 days of the last half of the week. The invasion of Jerusalem and Judah will take place during the next 30 days. It is very possible then, that when Jesus DESCENDS from the cloud, the men will be motivated to return to Judah and become part of the "clans of Judah" mentioned at Zechariah 12:5-6.

Daniel 11:42-43
"Then he will stretch out his hand against {other} countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape. But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians {will follow} at his heels."

The beast will have the vast majority of his material resources stockpiled in Egypt. They will be "hidden" but still need to be "rescued" from the rebelling nations. The beast's economic base to control the Gentiles will be in Rome. Of course, everything will be controlled through computers, but much of the PHYSICAL resources ("treasures") will be located in a "hidden" location in Egypt.

The beast drives the K/S out of Palestine back into his own land and continues against the other countries involved. He defeats Egypt in her own land, re-taking possession of the material "treasures," and then proceeds to enter into Libya and Ethiopia before the rumors from the North and East make him return to Jerusalem.

Isaiah 19
THE ATTACK ON EGYPT AND GOD'S DELIVERANCE
At verse 1, "Behold, Yahweh is riding on a swift cloud, and is about to come to Egypt."
This is the launching pad for both the contemporary and eschatological "coming" of God.
(1) Verses 2-15 is written in poetry and refers to the contemporary attack by Sennacherib of Assyria that devastates Egypt. The language in verses 5-10 is hyperbolic and therefore symbolic of the economic devastation that Assyria brings upon Egypt in 713-712 BCE (Isaiah 20).
(2) Verses 16-25 is written in prose and focuses on a distant situation for Egypt during the Day-of-the-Lord judgments and afterward in Messiah's earthly kingdom. Usually, the contemporary prophecies are written in prose and the "end times" prophecies in poetry. It is reversed in this chapter. The main point is that transition will usually be indicated by change in the written format or definite "breaks" in the Hebrew text.

Verse 16, "in that day" is the transitional phrase that moves from contemporary to the end times. It usually refers to the general "time period" of the day of the Lord rather than to a specific "moment" in time.
Thus, this is the coming of Jesus at the inception of the Day of the Lord, but the event during that day is the judgment and blessing upon Egypt.
Verse 16
"In that day the Egyptians will become like women, and they will tremble and be in dread because of the waving of the hand of the Lord of hosts, which He is going to wave over them."

This is judgment from the armies of the king of the West as he counter attacks Egypt's invasion of Palestine. Daniel 11:4-43.
"The king of the South will collide with him (K/W)"
"He (K/W will enter the beautiful land (Palestine) and many will fall."
"Then he (K/W) will stretch out his hand against countries and the land of Egypt will not escape."

Isaiah 19:17, "The land of Judah will become a terror to Egypt; everyone to whom it is mentioned will be in dread of it, because of the purpose of the Lord of hosts which He is purposing against them."

Because Egypt will move against the king of the West into Palestine, "Judah will become a terror to Egypt." Not because Judah does anything at this time, but because "Judah" or rather the attack against Judah is what causes terror to Egypt through the counter attack from the King of the W.
In other words, it is BECAUSE they messed with Judah, that they reap judgment as God allows the king of the West to defeat them.

But this terror upon Egypt will actually become a source of blessing.
Isaiah 19:22, God's judgment on Egypt will be both striking and healing.
When Egypt receives this crushing blow from the king of the west (the beast), it will elicit in the inhabitants of Egypt a response of trust toward God. The people as a whole will call out to God and God will deliver them.
The invitation of Joel 2:32 applies to everyone during the Day of the Lord.
"Whoever will call upon the name of Yahweh will be saved."

Thus, after the beast moves on to the other countries, eventually arriving in Megiddo, he will be destroyed there by Jesus. Egypt, as well as other countries will thus be delivered
from the oppression of the beast.
After the dust settles, the surviving peoples of the world will be evaluated (Mat. 25:32-46).
The sheep (believers) will be divided from the goats (unbelievers),  and judged accordingly.
The believers will go into Messiah's earthly kingdom (Zech. 14:16).
The unbelievers will go into Hades to await the last judgment.
Egypt will have a large population of believers to go alive into the kingdom.

Isaiah 19:18, "In that day five cities in the land of Egypt will be speaking the language of Canaan and swearing allegiance to the Lord of hosts; one will be called the City of Destruction."
Again, "in that day" refers to the time period of the day of the Lord. This time the focus is after the battles have all been resolved and the kingdom has started.
The reference to "the city of destruction" is probably the idea that ONE OF THE FIVE will be designated as an historical "reminder" or memoriam of all that happened during the day of the Lord judgments. This is suggested by verses 19-20. The "pillar" will be a sign and a "witness" BECAUSE, "they will cry to Yahweh because of oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Champion, and He will deliver them."

Isaiah 19:19-20, "In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord near its border. It will become a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the Lord because of oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Champion, and He will deliver them."

The blessing on Egypt that is described here is BECAUSE they called out to Yahweh.
There will be many people of Egypt who did not take the mark of the beast. These will turn to the Lord during the time of oppression and Jesus the Messiah will rescue them
There will be world-wide evangelism during the whole time period of the 70th week.
Isaiah 19:21a,
"Thus the Lord will make Himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day."
Apparently, and finally, the people of Egypt (and Assyria) will be impacted by the message and accept it. I suggest that this "impact" will be made upon the people during the time from Christ's arrival in the clouds and His physical descent to the earth several months later. There will be many, many people who become believers after the rapture and during the day-of-the-Lord judgments.
There will be:
(1) The evangelistic message of the church up to the arrival of Jesus at the 6th seal of Revelation 6.
      Matthew 26:14; 10:23; Daniel 11:35; Isaiah 42:10-17; 52:6-7 (Romans 10:15).
(2) The visible and glorious appearance of Jesus in the clouds of the sky at the inception of the DOL.
(3) The evangelistic message will continue with the 144,000 Jewish bond-servants.
     Rev. 14:1-7; Isaiah 52:8-10; 24:14-16a; 40:9-11; 62:6-12
     A. Messengers within the city of Jerusalem: Isaiah 62:6-7
     B. Messengers outside the city: Isaiah 62:10-11
(4) The two witnesses of Revelation 11 will have their 3 1/2 year ministry.
(5) The judgments of the trumpets and bowls. Isaiah 5:10; 26:9
(6) The visible PHYSICAL descent of Jesus to the Earth at Revelation 19:11.
All of this will make an impact all throughout the world

Verse 21b,  They will even worship with sacrifice and offering, and will make a vow to the Lord and perform it."

This will occur during the Messiah's kingdom and is summarized at Zechariah 14:16, "Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths."
The unbelievers will be removed from the believers during the sheep and Goat evaluation described by Jesus at Matthew 25:31-46.
Also the unbelieving Jews will be removed out from among the believing Jews in the separation described at Ezekiel 34:17-2 (Isaiah 27:12-13)

 Isaiah 19:22 gives the summary of the judgment and the blessing.
"And the Lord will strike Egypt, striking but healing; so they will return to the Lord, and He will respond to them and will heal them.


Isaiah 19:23-25, During the kingdom
In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrians will come into Egypt and the Egyptians into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.
In that day Israel will be the third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.”

Notice that IN THE MIDDLE is "Israel My inheritance." Egypt and Assyria will express together their worship of Yahweh, but the focus will be in Israel where the Millennial temple will be located.
Ezekiel 40-47.

THE KING OF THE WEST CONTINUES THE COUNTER ATTACK

From Egypt, the King of the West will continue into Libya and Ethiopia. They are identified at Ezekiel 38:5, as being in alliance with the king of the North.  The movement of the king of the West into these areas is described at Ezekiel 30:1-9.

EZEKIEL 30:1-3
The word of the LORD came again to me saying, "Son of man, prophesy and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, Wail, 'Alas for the day!'
"For the day is near, Even the day of the LORD is near; It will be a day of clouds, A time {of doom} for the nations."

As in so many other passages, the day of the Lord is seen as ARRIVING, but the focus is clearly on some event that will take pace DURING that day. In this case, it is the military maneuvers that will be described as "a time for the nations." But the specific focus is on the Southern alliance associated with Gog.

Ezek. 30:4
"And a sword will come upon Egypt, And anguish will be in Ethiopia, When the slain fall in Egypt, They take away her wealth, And her foundations are torn down."

I discussed above the attack on Egypt and both its judgment and its healing.
And once again, we see these maneuvers presented at Daniel 11:42-43.

Ezek. 30:5
"Ethiopia, Put, Lud, all Arabia, Libya, and the people of the land that is in league will fall with them by the sword."

These are in league one with another, as members of the Southern alliance but are also seem to be allied with the king of the North. The king of the West is allowed to use its superior weaponry and military might to achieve the victory over this Southern alliance. Although the LAND area of Jordan (Edom) will not be touched.

Ezek. 30:6,
"Thus says the LORD, 'Indeed, those who support Egypt will fall, And the pride of her power will come down; From Migdol {to} Syene They will fall within her by the sword,' Declares the Lord GOD."

Migdol is in Northern Egypt and Syene is in the South.
Ezek. 30:7-8
"And they will be desolate In the midst of the desolated lands; And her cities will be In the midst of the devastated cities.
"And they will know that I am the LORD, When I set a fire in Egypt And all her helpers are broken.

The defeated armies of northern Africa will recognize the working of God even though administered by the military might of the king of the west.
Isaiah 26:9, "For when the earth experiences your judgment
the inhabitants of the earth learn righteousness."
However, most of them are probably beast-worshippers and recognition of God's judgment does not deliver them from the destiny of having taken the mark, even though they are now in rebellion against the beast. Rev. 14:9-11.

Ezek. 30:9,
"On that day messengers will go forth from Me in ships to frighten secure Ethiopia; and anguish will be on them as on the day of Egypt; for, behold, it comes!"

This indicates the divine permission for the king of the West to defend itself and push beyond Egypt to the other nations involved. Usually, any mention of ships in these military scenarios, has reference to the Western nations.

Daniel 11:43,
"and Libyans and Ethiopians {will follow} at his heels."

After neutralizing Egypt and regaining control of the "treasures" located there, the king of the West will continue into the other North African nations that have pushed against him.

RUMORS FROM THE EAST
But while the beast's troops are occupied in the South, the king of the East begins to mobilize his troops toward Palestine. This is designated as "rumors from the East" at Daniel 11:44. It happens in connection with the 6th bowl and brings our time line beyond the end of the 70th week of Daniel into the 30 day period of "cleansing" which follows.
There is very little information in the Scriptures about the king of the East, but it probably refers to a large block of Asian nations, if not China alone.

The 70th week ends in association with the sounding of the 7th trumpet (Rev. 11:2-15) and the 7 bowls of judgment "which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished" (Rev. 15:1), are poured out on the kingdom of the beast.

Daniel 12:11, indicates that there is an additional 30 day period after the designated 1260 days for the last half of the "week." During this time, the temple is still desolated and the beast is still alive and fighting for survival. But the remaining blows of God's wrath through the bowl judgments will bring it all to an end.

Rev. 16:12-15,
"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.
And I saw {coming} out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty."

It is probably best to see in this prophecy a reference to the Asian area because the Euphrates was a "natural" obstacle to easy maneuvering at that time. It is therefore symbolic, for that river certainly poses no maneuvering problems in our modern era.
Notice also, that in connection with the advance of the kings of the East, we see the gathering of other nations as well. This includes the king of the North entering Palestine, the armies of the South (Jordan/Edom) and the king of the West returning.

RUMORS FROM THE NORTH
Daniel 11:44 also indicates that rumors from the North disturb the king of the West. This is when the king of the North actually invades Palestine and Jerusalem as is described in Ezekiel 38, Joel 2, and Zechariah 12:1-2; 14:1-2.
It also refers to the other armies that enter into Jerusalem, including specifically, Edom (Jordan) as prophesied in Obadiah 12-21.

Ezekiel 38:15-16
"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; and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It will come about in the last days that 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."

Joel 2:1-2
"Blow a trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, For the day of the LORD is coming; Surely it is near,
A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness. As the dawn is spread over the mountains, {So} there is a great and mighty people; There has never been {anything} like it, Nor will there be again after it To the years of many generations."

Again, it needs to be pointed out, that the arrival of the day of the Lord occurs BEFORE these armies begin to move. We are given a general announcement that THE DAY is coming attendant with its signs and darkness. Then the focus moves forward to the invasion of the northern army that will occur DURING the day of the Lord.

Zechariah 14:2
"For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women raped, and half the city taken to exile."

We therefore find the connection between all the Old Testament passages concerning the king of the North. His worldwide aggressions are focused into his ultimate goal of possessing Palestine and thus, joins with the other nations to fulfill the messages of the other prophets.

Micah 4:11-13
The subject of chapter 4 is the establishment of the Messiahs' earthly kingdom.

Verses 1-8 describes kingdom blessing. Verses 1-3 are identical to Isaiah 2:2-4.
Verses 9-10 predicts the Babylonian captivity of 605 BCE which begins "the times of the Gentiles," and includes God's promise to rescue the nation.
It looks to the overall discipline on the nation from 605 BCE until the end of "the times of the Gentiles" at the end of the 70th week of Daniel.
In verse 10, the time of national discipline is described with the image of a woman
in labor to bear a child.
Even though the nation is delivered from the Babylonian captivity in 536 BCE, it is still under the 4th cycle of discipline, and never fully recovers. In fact, in 70 AD, the nation is once again placed under the 5th cycle until the events of the Day of the Lord and the establishment of the Messiah's earthly kingdom will remove that discipline.
See Topic: Israel, national discipline

Verse 11 looks beyond the fact of the Babylonian invasion to a much larger invasion that includes "many nations have assembled against you," and complements Zechariah 14:2.
The nation is still under the labor pains of national discipline.


Verses 12-13 predicts the battle of Jerusalem after Jesus stands on the Mount of Olives.
"Arise and thresh, daughter of Zion,
For your horn I will make iron
And your hoofs I will make bronze,
That you may pulverize many peoples,
That you may devote to the Lord their unjust gain
And their wealth to the Lord of all the earth."

It is at this time that the clans of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem "will fight at Jerusalem," Zech. 14:14. Zech. 12:4-9.
And afterwards, repossess their own resources (Zech. 14:1) and also the resources of the invading armies (Ezek. 39:10; Is. 33:23).

Micah 5:1
There is a natural break here and the focus of the prophet returns to the invasion
of the Chaldeans that will occur in 605 BCE, as predicted in verses 9-10.
(1) "Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops."
It is the "now" (attah, in the Hebrew) that takes us back to verse 9, instead of an "and" that would indicate a continuation.
In view of the coming invasion from Chaldea, the nation is relegated to forming small bands of resistance, even though it will be to no avail.
"Daughter of troops" is probably a derogatory reference to Jeremiah 5:7, where it is said that the citizens of the nation habitually gather in troops (same verb) on their way to the house of the harlots.
(2) "He has laid siege against us." Reference to the attack of the Chaldeans.
(3) "With a rod they will smite the judge of Israel on the cheek." This removes the independent rule of the nation over itself, as the nation is taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BCE.

The resistance fails and the nation is conquered by Neb's army.
Thus, the labor pain of national discipline begins in 605 BCE and continues until "she who is in labor has borne a child," Micah 5:3. This will occur at the end of "the time of Jacob's distress," and more specifically, when the Messiah arrives and rescues the nation during the day of the Lord.

Micah 5:2
"But you Bethlehem." This moves from the shame of national ruin to the promise of deliverance. This verse is a double prophecy of the coming of the Messiah.
(1) In Bethlehem, the Messiah will be born. This is the first advent, during which
He comes as a suffering servant to provide spiritual redemption for His people
and the world. He does not rule at this time, but will die for sins and then return to the
presence of the Father. And of course, there cannot be a second coming in glory
until there is a first coming.

(2) At the second advent, the Messiah will come to be the "ruler in Israel."
This ARRIVAL of the Messiah is described at verse 4.
"And He will arise and strengthen His flock in the strength of Yahweh."
The "He" here goes back to the one in verse 2, who will be ruler in Israel.

Micah 5:3a
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the nation will go into world wide dispersion
throughout the Roman empire.
Thus, "He will give them up." This refers to the perpetuation of national discipline in 70AD that will last until the end of the 70th week, which is also the end of "the times of the Gentiles." Romans 11:25-27.
The 5th cycle of National discipline on the Southern kingdom began in 605 BCE. God's discipline on the nation has never been removed since then. Even in 536 BCE when Israel returned from the Babylonian captivity, the nation still remained under the 4th cycle, which is political control by a foreign nation. The 5th cycle was once again administered in 70 AD by Rome, and has continued to this very time.

Micah 5:3b
The length of the time of discipline extends from 605 BCE, beyond 70 AD, and into the present era UNTIL "She who is in labor has borne a child."
At first glance, one might want to make application to the "birth" of the Messiah in Bethlehem. However, the birth of the Messiah did not end the time of discipline.
Instead, this is a reference back to the labor pains of verse 10.
The labor is the pain of national discipline. The release of the pain (the birth of a child) is when the discipline will be removed. That will occur when "the mystery of God is finished," at the end of the 70th week. Rev. 10:7
After that, "all Israel will be saved" (Romans 11:26)

Hosea 5:14-6:3
Hosea 4:14
For I will be like a lion to Ephraim

And like a young lion to the house of Judah.
I, even I, will tear to pieces and go away,
I will carry away, and there will be none to deliver.

This refers to the 5th cycle of national discipline in 70 AD; world-wide dispersion.
After the Messiah arrives and presents Himself to the nation as their Savior, the nation rejects Him and He in turn rejects the nation.
Jesus returns to heaven until the perfect timing for His second coming.
Acts 3:21, "whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things."

After the nation recognizes that Jesus was their promised Messiah and expresses desire to know the truth and to return to the Lord, He will interrupt the tribulation and return in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.

Hosea 4:15
"I will go away and return to My place

Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face;
In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me."

During the time of their affliction (the tribulation), the nation as a whole will
SEEK MY FACE. This is not getting "saved," but is an expression of hunger for the truth.
"Their guilt" refers to a specific national sin that has plagued the nation since it was committed.
It is the national rejection of Jesus as their promised Messiah.
It is this acknowledgment and expression of spiritual hunger that will trigger the foreknown plan of God for bringing the Messiah back into the world.
This expression of hunger is indicated at Hosea 6:2-3

Hosea 6:1
“Come, let us return to the Lord.
For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
He has wounded us, but He will bandage us."

This is not salvation. It is not a return to the Lord.
It is the expression of DESIRE to learn and return based on the acknowledgment
of their national sin, but it is not YET trust in Him as savior.

Hosea 6:2
“He will revive us after two days;
He will raise us up on the third day,
That we may live before Him."

Now, we can have some fun with these 2 days and 3 days.
It does not seem to have any significance if viewed as literal 24 hour days.
Is "day" symbolic for a year or for 1000 years?
1. If it is symbolic for a year, could this be a subtle prophecy that the return of the Lord
will occur during the third year of the tribulation?
2. If it is symbolic for 1000 years, could it be saying that the return of the Lord will occur AFTER 2000 years of history transpires from the first arrival of the Messiah?
I would like to think that God intends for this to be understood by the hearers,
but I can find no proof for ether option.
It seems that option 1 would partially violate "no man knows the day or hour."
It still does not say WHAT day, but it does place it beyond the two year mark of the tribulation.
It seems that option 2 is pretty close to what has happened so far in history.
Regardless, the acknowledgment of the nation that they failed to accept Jesus as their Messiah, that God has disciplined them, and that He will rescue them in His own perfect timing will be the trigger for God to advance to the next stage of His "plan of the ages." It will come as scheduled according to His perfect plan which is as certain as the dawn and as promising as the spring rain.

Hosea 6:3 "
So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.

His going forth is as certain as the dawn;
And He will come to us like the rain,
Like the spring rain watering the earth.”

This desire and appeal to the people of Israel is from someone among themselves, and will occur before the return of Jesus. Accordingly, it is not a message from the 144,000 bond servants since they will not minister until AFTER the arrival of Jesus.
It is recognition that Jesus was the promised Messiah and that He will indeed return.
But individuals will not put personal trust in Him as Savior until He actually arrives in the clouds of the sky and they see Him.

During this time, the church which will proclaim the gospel right up until the Lord arrives in the clouds. This, along with the ministry of the two witnesses of Revelation 11 who testify from the start of the tribulation will result in this acknowledgment of national sin. Thus, various people from among the Jews will be appealing one to another to learn more and return to the Lord.

After the nation acknowledges that Jesus was the Messiah, He will cut short the tribulation and arrive in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.
The first to believe in Jesus as Savior after His return will be the 144,000 Jewish bond servants of Revelation 7:1-8 and 14:1-5. After that there will be many from among both Jew and Gentile who become believers. Just before Jesus sets up His earthly kingdom, He will separate all the unbelievers from the believers so that only believers will enter alive into the kingdom. Ezekiel 34:17-22; Mat. 25:31-46.

Micah 5:3c
"Then the remainder of His brethren will return to the sons of Israel."

The nation will become united through personal faith in Jesus as the Savior.
He will descend from the cloud and rescue the nation and the city of Jerusalem.
He will judge and remove all unbelievers and He will establish His kingdom over the earth as centered in Jerusalem in righteousness and peace for 1000 years.
This "return" is the message of the end-times witness of Elijah the prophet according to
Malachi 4:6, "and he will restore the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers."

Micah 5:4a
"And He will arise and shepherd His flock
In the strength of the Lord,
In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God."

The "will arise" here is just like all the other references to the second coming.
It refers to the GENERAL time frame of the day of the Lord.
It can refer to the start of the Day (the initial return) or it can refer to various events
that will occur during the day.
Of course, He will initially arrive at the the 6th seal, but He will not begin to shepherd His flock until the beginning of the earthly kingdom.
Here, it seems that the "coming" of the Lord has a more specific focus of His physical "descent" to the earth AFTER the "arrival" of the Day of the Lord. It seems that the "arrival" is to initiate the trumpet and bowl judgments and His "descent" is to provide specific deliverance for Israel. And it is after that deliverance, which culminates in Armageddon, that He will begin to shepherd His people in His earthly kingdom.
Notice also Isaiah 40:9-11
This is the message of the 144,000 Jewish bond-servants who will witness after the "arrival."
The focus is from (1) the bond servants to (2) the physical descent of the Lord to (3) reward and recompense to (4) shepherding in the kingdom.

Get yourself up on a high mountain,
O Zion, bearer of good news,
Lift up your voice mightily,
O Jerusalem, bearer of good news;
Lift it up, do not fear.
Say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
10 Behold, the Lord God will come with might,
With His arm ruling for Him.
Behold, His reward is with Him
And His recompense before Him.
11 Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes.

Micah 5:4b
"And they will remain,

Because at that time He will be great
To the ends of the earth."

The rescue will officially begin at the end of the tribulation when Jesus ARRIVES in the clouds of the sky as portrayed at the 6th seal of Revelation 6. The time of discipline for the nation will end several months later when the 70th week comes to a close and "the mystery of God is finished as He proclaimed to His servants the prophets," (Rev. 10:7). But the PHYSICAL rescue of the nation will not begin until He DESCENDS to the earth. There will be an additional 30 days after the week ends in order to complete the "final wrath of God" through the 7 bowls which will result in the cleansing of the temple from the abomination of desolation (Daniel 12:11). Then there will be an additional 45 days to prepare the earth and the earth's population for entrance into the Messiah's earthly kingdom.
(Daniel 12:12; Mat. 25:11-46; Ezekiel 34:17-22).

THE BOOK OF JOEL
Joel prophesied during a time of severe national crisis.
The land had been invaded by a large army that can only find identification in the Assyrians who rose to world prominence in about 745 BCE and lasted until about 611 BCE.
This Assyrian invasion of Judah began in 736 BCE and caused great economic devastation, and is even the cause for King Ahaz shutting down the offerings and sacrifices in the temple.
As a result Joel described both the land and the temple:
(1) The land: Verse 1:7 with 2Chron. 28:16-20
(2) The temple (house of the LORD): Verse 1:9 with 2Chron. 28:24 and 29:7.

This is the present condition in the land and is described using present tenses and past tenses of the verbs in verses 1:1-14. I deduce that this section is describing what is going on at the present time in the land because it is governed by verse 6, "For a nation has come up against my land.

Right after verse 12 there is a natural break in the Hebrew text that prepares for a transition from the present crisis to a far distant crisis. Verses 13-14 appeals to the people to return to God and to gather at the temple (the house of the LORD) in order to avoid the 5th cycle of discipline at the hands of Assyria. This is also the focus at verses 2:11-17 on which I will comment shortly.

In contrast, at verse 1:15, the prophet leaps ahead far into the future and teaches the people that the day of the LORD is approaching (near); not here yet.
Verses 1:16-20 then describes what will happen during this future time of judgment, known as the day of the Lord. Joel uses present and past tenses in this section but the section is governed by verse 15, "the day of the LORD is near," so it is NOT referring to the present crisis but to a future crisis.
However, the same conditions in the land will exist at the time that is NEAR the arrival of the day of the LORD. From the midpoint of the 70th week, the beast will have confiscated the temple and shut down the sacrifices. His economic policy of operation 666 will control all material resources. And then after the day of the LORD actually arrives, the divine judgments will wrack such havoc and destruction, that the natural resources of the land will be greatly diminished (trumpets 1-3).

Thus in chapter 2:1-11, the Spirit of God uses Joel to prophesy of the much future invasion of a Northern army during the day of the Lord judgments. Verse 2:1, "For the day of the LORD is coming."
And verse 2, "there is a great and mighty people."
This is all future, but at verse 2:11-17, the prophet's message returns to the present crisis in 736 BCE and exhorts the people to return to the LORD in order to avoid even greater national destruction and removal through the 5th cycle of discipline (destruction and dispersion).
Verse 12, "Yet even now, declares Yahweh, return to me with all your heart."
They did in fact recover through the Hezekiah revival of 724 to 711 BCE, and did not undergo further oppression from Assyria during the reign of Hezekiah. However, the nation failed again and finally fell to Babylon and became disinherited and dispersed for 70 years from 605 to 536 BCE.

At verse 2:18, there is a natural break in the Hebrew as the prophet once again looks forward to the day of  the LORD. During the time of that future crisis the unbelieving nation will once again be in a time of judgment. In that future time, if they will turn to God, He will deliver them and "never again make you a reproach among the nations, but I will remove the northern army far from you" (verses 19-20).
Thus, in connection with the arrival of the day of the LORD, the promise is made, "whoever will call upon the name of Yahweh will be delivered," (Joel 2:32).
This is what we just saw above at Hosea 6:1-3 and Micah 5:1-4.
And then verses 2:21-29 describe blessings during the millennial kingdom.

Joel 2:1-11 describes this future invasion by a northern army during the Day of the LORD, as was discussed earlier in connection with Ezekiel 38. But at Joel chapter 3 the prophecy goes beyond the king of the North to the gathering of MANY nations into Palestine to surround Jerusalem and pave the way for the Lord's ultimate victory over them "in the valley of the verdict" (Joel 3:14), and the valley of Yahweh judges (Jehoshaphat, Joel 3:2). This refers to Armageddon as we saw earlier at Rev. 16:12-15.

Joel 3:1
"For behold, in those days and at that time, When I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem"

This gives us the time frame for this final invasion of Palestine. It occurs at the time that
God intends to "restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem." In other words, at the time that God intends to fulfill all of Israel's national promises as initially given to Abraham.
As already mentioned, this refers to finishing "the mystery of God" at the end of the 70th week of Daniel (Rev. 10:7).
This is in the context of the "approaching" Day of the LORD mentioned at Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; and 3:14.

Daniel 9 tells us that the goal of the "70 weeks" is to ultimately "bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy {place}." These three phrases refer to bringing in Israel's kingdom blessings. It will be fulfilled AFTER the 70 weeks are completed. This is what was shown to John at Revelation 10:7, "but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He proclaimed to his servants the prophets."
The mystery of God is His plan for the nation of Israel. Romans 11:25-27.
This will begin the final preparation of the earth for the Messiah's kingdom and Israel's national glory.
The 70 weeks bring us to the time of fulfillment, but there will be another 75 days
AFTER the final 1260 days of the last half of the 70th week, before the Messiah will "officially" begin the kingdom (Dan. 12:11-12; Mat. 25:31-32).

Joel 3:2
"I will gather all the nations, And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; And they have divided up My land (v. 1-2).

The valley of Jehoshaphat (Yahweh judges) refers to the valley of "judgment from Yahweh." It embraces the whole land area of Palestine with a special focus on the actual valley of Megiddo (or the plain of Esdraelon) which lies between the Sea of Galilee and the natural seaport of Haifa. The valley is 20 miles long and about 16 miles wide.
The "valley" of judgment, or as at Joel 3:14, "the valley of the decision."

The word "decision" is charuts and means a "cutting" or "dividing." Thus the idea of divine judgment, since all will be "cut off" from the land of the living through the sword of divine justice (Rev. 19:21). Many battles have been fought here throughout history, as control of the valley basically controls land travel between North and South, and determines the usefulness of the seaport at Haifa.

Joel 3:9-11
Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare a war; rouse the mighty men! Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up! Beat your plowshares into swords, And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, "I am a mighty man." Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, And gather yourselves there. Bring down, O LORD, Thy mighty ones.

Notice the need for armament. Through the 7-year Covenant Experiment of the first half of the 70th week, there will be a massive worldwide disarmament. This will continue when the beast begins his oppressive reign, but as his ability to meet the needs of the nations diminishes through the Day of the Lord judgments (trumpets), the nations will begin to "chomp at the bit" and begin to rearm themselves in preparation for resistance to the beast.

At this "gathering" of the nations into Palestine, the activities of the king of the East
are not detailed for us. It is probable that he simply deploys his troops into the area of Megiddo and awaits the outcome of the conflict between the king of the West and the
North. However, before there can be any "human" victory, the Lord Jesus will descend from His "control center" on the cloud and begin the reaping process of judgment (Rev. 14:14-20). This physical descent has three phases to it as has already been mentioned. He will descend physically and visibly from the sky (Rev. 19:11-16); survey and startle the nations (Habakkuk 3:6); go to Edom (Habakkuk 3:7; Is. 63:1-6); then to Jerusalem where He will stand on the Mount of Olives (Is. 63:1; Zech. 14:3-4); and then from there go to Megiddo to finish off all the armies that are gathered there (Rev. 19:17-21).

Whereas, this gathering of armies from many nations is the ultimate focus in the Old Testament prophets, the king of the North is signaled out much more than any other.
The advance of its army through Palestine is described at Joel 2:3-9 (verse 20, "the
Northern army").

"A fire consumes before them, And behind them a flame burns. The land is like the garden of Eden before them, But a desolate wilderness behind them, And nothing at all escapes them. Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; And like war horses, so they run. With a noise as of chariots They leap on the tops of the mountains, Like the crackling of a flame of fire consuming the stubble, Like a mighty people arranged for battle. Before them the people are in anguish; All faces turn pale. They run like mighty men; They climb the wall like soldiers; And they each march in line, Nor do they deviate from their paths. They do not crowd each other; They march everyone in his path. When they burst through the defenses, They do not break ranks. They rush on the city, They run on the wall; They climb into the houses, They enter through the windows like a thief."

The King of the North and many other armies will invade Jerusalem and wreak havoc within the city, oppressing the beast worshipers who are there as is summarized at Zech. 14:2.
"For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished, and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city."

A DIVIDED ARMY
Daniel 11:45a
"And he will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas at the beautiful Holy Mountain."

The king of the West will continue his counter attack against the other nations by moving from North Africa, back to Palestine and into Jerusalem. He will set up his camp between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead sea in the city of Jerusalem (AT the beautiful holy mountain).
This maneuver will effectively split the Northern army into 2 sections according to Joel 2:20. The army will be pushed West into the Megiddo, and up against the Dead Sea in the other direction (East).

"But I will remove the northern {army} far from you, And I will drive it into a parched and desolate land, And its vanguard toward the eastern sea, And its rear guard toward the western sea. And its stench will arise and its foul smell will come up, For it has done great things."

The Northern army in Jerusalem will be unable to escape as the King of the West drives their  "rear guard"  toward the Mediterranean Sea (into the area of Megiddo) and the "vanguard" toward the Dead Sea.

Later when Jesus descends to the Mount of Olives, it will cause the great earthquake of Revelation 16:18-19. This will split the mountain down the middle and form an East/West valley extending for 6 miles West of Jerusalem to Azel, and effectively divide the city into
3 parts (Rev. 16:19). As a result, the King of the West (the beast) will likewise be driven out of Jerusalem into the plain of Megiddo, where with all the other nations, "he will come to his end." Daniel 11:45b.

This earthquake will "shake" the underground beast resisters out of hiding, and embolden them to fight the remaining invaders that are still in the city. These invaders will be defeated at the hands of the clans of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem as they fight with the prowess of thousands of "David's" (Zech. 12:5-9), "that you may pulverize many peoples" (Micah 4:13). To facilitate the victory, God will send a supernatural plague upon the invaders as we will see later (Zechariah 14:12-15).

Through this victory, all the resources possessed by these invading armies will become plunder for Israel. Zech. 14:1, "Behold, a day is coming for the LORD when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you."
Verse 14, "and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered, gold and silver and garments in great abundance." (Ezekiel 39:10; Obadiah 18; Micah 4:13).

Among these invading nations will be armies from Edom, which is specifically mentioned in Obadiah, and is the nation of Jordan at this present time. Probably all the Arab nations that currently surround Israel will be involved with this invasion.
They will be among the armies that Israel will fight against after the Lord descends to the Mount of Olives.

Obadiah 10-18
Verses 10-14 is a warning to Jordan NOT to attack and oppress Israel "in the day of their distress."

Verse 15, “For the day of the Lord draws near on all the nations."
The context is the DOL judgments when the nations have been influenced to gather into Palestine by the demons of the 6th bowl. Revelation 16:12-14.


Verse 16, "Because just as you drank on My holy mountain,
All the nations will drink continually.
They will drink and swallow, And become as if they had never existed."

This refers to the invasion by the nations into the area of Israel, and specifically, Jerusalem, and includes the armies of Jordan (Edom), specifically mentioned as "you" in the entire context. And it proclaims the destruction of all these nations as they are defeated not only through the battle of Jerusalem, but through Christ's total victory at Armageddon.
Zechariah 14:2, "But Yahweh will go forth and fight against those nations."

Obadiah verse 17
“But on Mount Zion there will be those who escape,
And it will be holy."

The people of Israel will be rescued by the descent of Jesus to the Mount of Olives.
Zechariah 14:4.

Jesus will "save" and "deliver" the clans of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
They will fight and be victorious over the invading nations including the armies of
Jordan (Edom). Zechariah 12:4-8; 14:12-15

Obadiah 18, “Then the house of Jacob will be a fire
And the house of Joseph a flame. But the house of Esau will be as stubble.
And they will set them on fire and consume them,
Zechariah 12:8, "
In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord before them."

Obadiah 18
"And the house of Jacob will possess their possessions."
All that Jordan and the other nations leave behind will be possessed by Israel.
Zechariah 14:1,14

Obadiah 18, "So that there will be no survivor of the house of Esau,”
For the Lord has spoken."

This refers to the ultimate defeat of the area of Edom when Jesus physically descends there, as discussed above concerning the battle of Edom.
There will be no one in the Edomite area who will not have taken the mark of the beast.
All will be unbelievers and all will perish.
 Jordan, and the other nations that comprise the ancient area of Edom will be ruined and Israel will absorb its land area during the kingdom as was originally promised to Abraham. Obadiah 19-21.

 

CONVERGENCE ON PALESTINE
Ezek. 38:9,
"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."

Joel 2:2,
"A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness. As the dawn is spread over the mountains, {So} there is a great and mighty people; There has never been {anything} like it, Nor will there be again after it To the years of many generations."

Ezek. 38:10,
'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,

Ezek. 38:11,
and you will say, 'I will go up against the land of un-walled 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."

As mentioned before concerning Ezekiel 38:8, I think that these descriptions of Israel's condition apply IN GENERAL to the status of the nation as it has progressed through history from the time of the Roman dispersion with special emphasis on the present status of the nation in 2017 AND A yet future condition that will fulfill ALL the language of the prophecy.
Hindsight is wonderful in these kinds of situations, but as of 1948, although still under national discipline from God, Israel has indeed "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."
The completion of these descriptions will take place as a result of the Covenant Experiment at the beginning of the 70th week, and be extended to those who accept beast worship in Israel after the covenant is broken.

Ezek. 38:12,
"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.'

They desire the material resources controlled by the beast's presence in Jerusalem. The natural resources are located in the Dead Sea, but much of the mined and refined "treasures" will be stockpiled in Egypt (Dan 11:43). The kingdom of the beast is centered in Jerusalem and has apparently hoarded in Egypt an abundance of the resources needed by the nations. But even though the "treasures" are in Egypt they are controlled by the computerized economic system of 666 which is probably centered in Rome.

Of course, the beast's ability to defend his territory and enforce beast worship will have been greatly impeded by the trumpet judgments from God. The king of the North and other nations will be aggravated at the beast's inability to provide what he promised and therefore, will begin making advances on his kingdom.
Daniel 11:40, "And at the end time, the king of the south (Egypt) will collide with him, and the king of the north will storm against him."

So as the beast moves to fight off the rebellion of all these nations, he must conquer them once again, including Egypt, where much of the "treasure" is located. Dan 11:40-43.
He must advance through many countries including Palestine (the beautiful land) once again, and finally to Egypt and North Africa.

But the primary goal of the king of the North is Jerusalem, thinking that control of Jerusalem will gain him control of the beast's economic resources, for he who controls the land controls the mineral resources located in the dead Sea.
See: THE ABUNDANT WEALTH OF THE DEAD SEA
and:   ISRAEL'S MINERAL RESOURCES

These invaders will enter into Jerusalem causing havoc on the beast-worshippers who are there. Zech. 14:2
The city is populated by many beast worshippers from among the Jews as well as many Gentiles who are living there. This defection from their Jewish heritage is part of THE APOSTASY of 2 Thes. 2:3. The apostasy also includes any from among the Gentiles and professing Christians who will have accepted beast worship.
These people will be the victims of the invading armies that are rebelling against the beast.
There will also be in Jerusalem many Jewish beast resisters living "underground" to escape the oppression from the beast. These were unable to escape into the wilderness at the midpoint of the week along with "the woman" of Revelation 12, and are barely surviving in the city. The Day-of-the-Lord judgments through the trumpets have greatly impeded the aggressiveness of the beast as he pursues his agenda to bring the whole world under operation 666, but it is still not safe for the resisters to come out. Not until Christ stands on the Mount of Olives will it be safe for these resisters to come out of hiding.
 

Ezek. 38:13
"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?'"'

The king of the West will rebuke this advance and take counter measures to protect his interests in Palestine, Egypt and elsewhere. Daniel 11:40-43.

Ezek. 38:14-17 provides a summary of what we have already seen.
"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}?

"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; and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It will come about in the last days that 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." 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Are you the one of whom I spoke in former days through My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days for {many} years that I would bring you against them?

As the king of the North advances into Palestine, so also does the Eastern alliance and the Western alliance. Most of these troops are in the Valley of Megiddo, including portions of the Gog alliance, assembled to resolve once and for all the question of who is the "boss."

Rev. 16:12-14,16
"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. And I saw {coming} out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Harmagedon.

Joel 3:2a, 9-12
"I will gather all the nations, And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat."

Joel 3:9-12
Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare a war; rouse the mighty men! Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up! Beat your plowshares into swords, And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, "I am a mighty man." Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, And gather yourselves there. Bring down, O LORD, Thy mighty ones. Let the nations be aroused And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, For there I will sit to judge All the surrounding nations.

Rev. 19:19
"And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat upon the horse, and against His army."

At this point the prophecies concerning the king of the North blend together with the final assembly of all nations and the destruction of these nations at the hand of Jesus the Messiah. Accordingly, both Ezekiel 39 and Joel 3 are to be viewed within the context of the final battle at Armageddon.

THE PHYSICAL DESCENT OF MESSIAH

When Jesus first "arrived" at the Day of the Lord, "in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory," He raptured the church from the earth and then took His seat upon a cloud to pour out God's wrath upon the kingdom of the beast, using angels for various administrations of judgment (trumpets and bowls).

Rev. 14:14-16
"And I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud {was} one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head, and a sharp sickle in His hand.
And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, "Put in your sickle and reap, because the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe."
And He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth; and the earth was reaped."

This reaping refers to the general outpouring of divine wrath on the unbelievers which takes place through the 7 trumpets and the first 5 bowls. Some interpret this to refer to the rapture itself. However, if Revelation chapter 14 is viewed as chronological, beginning with the conversion of the 144,000 at verses 1-5, and ending with the battle of Armageddon at verses 17-20, then the rapture cannot be in view. The rapture takes place BEFORE the conversion of the 144,000.
In fact, the raptured saints are certainly those who are seen as harpists singing before the
throne at 14:2-3.

The final act of "reaping" occurs at the battle of Armageddon,
which is seen at Rev. 14:17-20,
And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. And another angel, the one who has power over fire, came out from the altar; and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, "Put in your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe." And the angel swung his sickle to the earth, and gathered {the clusters from} the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses' bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.

This final judgment on the nations is portrayed by the 5th and 6th bowl at Rev. 16:12-21.

As the nations are gathering, maneuvering and fighting each other, through all the battles mentioned above, Jesus will descend physically to the earth. This is stated at Revelation 19:11-16 and summarized at Zech. 14:5c-7.
Zech. 14:5c
Thus, Yahweh, my God, will come:
It should be obvious that this is a summary statement concerning the coming of the Lord as is prophesied all throughout the Old Testament. In this context, He ALREADY came at verse 4 so verse 5 is probably not talking about another "coming" after that.
So this could be a summary statement of the ARRIVAL at the inception of the day of the Lord, which will trigger all the subsequent events.
Or a summary of His physical descent several months later
In the old Testament, when the arrival of the Lord or the arrival of the day of the Lord is mentioned,
Sometimes it refers to the initial arrival in the clouds of the sky in power and great glory, as taught by Jesus at Matthew 24.
Sometimes a mention will refer to some event that will occur subsequent to that initial arrival.
Sometimes a mention will be a summary that takes us BACK to the initial arrival.
This mention at Zechariah 14:5c is a summary statement.
It can refer to either the ARRIVAL or the PHYSICAL DESCENT and there is no problem with either.
So it is quite possible that the prophet's message is looking back to that event which will trigger everything else; the arrival of the Lord in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory, bringing all His angels with Him. 

However, it is the physical descent of Jesus from his seat on the cloud in the sky (I saw the heaven opened) that is the primary focus of the events here in Zechariah.
The physical descent onto the earth has three phases to it. He first descends to Edom, then dramatically to Jerusalem, and finally, to the Valley of Megiddo.  Since there are very clearly, three separate "confrontations," we should be careful to place them in the proper order. We are given an order at Zechariah 14 which seems to indicate placing Rev. 19:11 AFTER He lands on the Mount of Olives. Zechariah 14:5-6.

After the earthquake, Zechariah writes, "And the LORD, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him."
Hebrew style allows for this to be a summary statement for the arrival of the Lord.
The "and" (waw) can properly be translated as "THUS."
And that is exactly what is most reasonable for the immediate context and the overall
context of both Testaments.
"Thus, Yahweh my God will come and all His holy ones with Him."

Here at Zechariah, the focus is on His arrival in Jerusalem.
But the summary statement of His "coming" will naturally include His initial arrival several months earlier.

(If an interpreter insists on making the phrase, "and the Lord my God will come,"
consecutive, then there are two possible placements for it as it relates to
Revelation 19:11.
We know that when He comes down from the cloud, He first goes to Edom.
Habakkuk 3:3-4;Isaiah 63:1
But is this before or after Revelation 19:11?
Zechariah 14:4-5 has Him arriving in Jerusalem and standing on the Mount of Olives
after the battle of Edom.
At verse 5, the prophet writes, "And the Lord my God will come, and all the holy
ones with him."
The question is, does the arrival portrayed at Rev. 19 occur before He goes to Edom
or before He goes to Megiddo after the battle of Jerusalem.
Choice #1: Rev. 19:11 is when He leaves His seat on the cloud and "rides" out of the sky going to Edom first, then to Jerusalem, and then to Megiddo. And Zechariah 14:5 refers to
waging the battle of Jerusalem or His advance to Megiddo after stabilizing Jerusalem.

Choice #2: Rev. 19 is AFTER He has left his seat in the cloud, having gone to both Edom and Jerusalem, and describes His arrival at Megiddo. And Zechariah 14:5 could still refer to the battle of Jerusalem or to His advance to Megiddo.)

But the "consecutive" idea is not required as I pointed out above.
So, viewing the "and" of verse 5 as introducing a summary statement, the coming of the Lord at that time refers to either -
1. His initial ARRIVAL in the clouds of the sky at the inception of the day of the Lord.
2. His PHYSICAL descent from His seat on the cloud as described at Revelation 19:1-16.

In either case, there are angels coming with Him. This is not any basis for equated the two "comings" for there is a clear distinction between them.

The whole land of Palestine will be covered in darkness so that "at evening time there will be light" and His descent will thus be very visible. Upon His arrival He will survey the nations and they will be startled. This refers to all the nations that are gathered into Palestine. He will then proceed to Edom to execute justice on the people and the region, after which He will go to Jerusalem to stand on the Mount of Olives.
Habakkuk 3:6-7, "He stood and surveyed the earth; He looked and startled the nations."

Zechariah continues with, "{and} all the holy ones with Him!”

The “holy ones” that come with Him are angels who participate in a “gathering” of unbelieving souls
after the great slaughter is accomplished. Jesus taught this through the parable of the wheat and tares
at Matthew 13:40-43 and the parable of the dragnet at Matthew 13:47-50.
At Revelation 19:14, they are called “the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”
Some think that these armies are the believers of the church who come back with Jesus to reign with Him. They suppose that the white garments require that this army be believers because white represents righteousness. They make the association back to Rev. 19:7-8, where through the preparation of the church as the “bride of Christ,” she is given white garments. However, angels also wear white garments as is indicated at Rev. 15:6.

“And the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, clothed in linen, clean {and} bright, and girded around their breasts with golden girdles.”

The argument rages, but it seems very unlikely to me that Jesus would bring His bride into battle with Him. It is much more likely that she waits in heaven for His victory and the preparation of the earth as their “home.” In fact, the narrative makes it perfectly clear that AFTER Christ’s victory at Armageddon and the establishment of His earthly reign, then the bride comes down out of heaven as is described at Rev. 21:2.
“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.”

This is further confirmed at Rev. 21:9-14, where the wife of the Lamb is clearly identified as the New Jerusalem. Thus, it is clear that the wife of the Lamb is NOT an “army” that follows Him into battle, but a “bride in waiting” in her heavenly city until the Groom secures a safe place for them to live.

When Jesus descends into Palestine from His seat on the cloud, darkness will saturate the land so that His arrival will be visible and dramatic to all the peoples in Palestine.
Zech. 14:6,
“And it will come about in that day that there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle.”

This does not refer to the “initial” day of the Lord signs, but to a specific and unique time of darkness that immediately precedes Messiah’s descent from His seat on the cloud. Furthermore, it seems that this descent is visible only  to Palestine.

Zech. 14:7,
“For it will be a unique day which is known to the LORD, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light.”

After the darkness is dispelled by His descent, He will survey the earth, and all the nations in the Palestinian area will see and be startled at His arrival, and the armies will be put in disarray.
Habakkuk 3:6, "He stood and surveyed the earth. He looked and startled the nations."

He will go first to Edom (Is. 63:1), then to Jerusalem (Zech. 14:3-4) and finally to the actual Valley of Megiddo (Plain of Esdraelon) at Mount Megiddo (Armageddon) to defeat and destroy all the armies that are gathered there (Joel 3:16).
The trip to Edom will be immediate and the judgment meted out there will be quick and complete for
"there will be no survivor of the house of Esau,” Obadiah 18.

According to Isaiah 34:9, the destruction will be through a downpour of brimstone.
There will be no one in this area who is a believer. The entire population of the Edomite area will be destroyed and sent to Hades to await the last judgment.

Probably very little time will pass as Jesus will then immediately go to Jerusalem
and stand on the Mount of Olives.


FIRST TO EDOM
It is proper that we first see what the bible teaches about this "descent" to Edom.
He goes there to destroy the unbelievers of that area who were turning Jews over
to the beast.
Apparently, there will be many Jews who will reject beast worship and try to hide out
in the region of Edom. The entire Edomite population, who have embraced beast worship
will be adamant in finding these Jews and delivering them over "to the power of the
sword at the time of their calamity, at the time of the iniquity of the end." Ezek. 35:5.
After seeing the descent of Jesus and His advance toward Edom, any surviving Jews will probably go to Judah to join the battle of Jerusalem as part of "the clans of Judah" to assist "the inhabitants of Jerusalem" to defeat the invading armies.

Isaiah 34 discusses this judgment on Edom.

Verses 1-4 give a general overview of the Day of the Lord judgments.

Verses 1-2,
"Draw near, O nations, to hear; and listen, O peoples! Let the earth and all it contains hear, and the world and all that springs from it. For the LORD'S indignation is against all the nations, And {His} wrath against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to slaughter."

This is the general attitude of God toward the rebellious nations as we have previously seen. It is the assembly of the nations in Palestine that triggers Christ's physical descent to the earth.

Isaiah 34:3
"So their slain will be thrown out, And their corpses will give off their stench, And the mountains will be drenched with their blood."

This describes the ultimate defeat of all these nations at Armageddon, and the "dinner" that God provides for all the scavenger birds.
Revelation 19:17-21.

Isaiah 34:4
And all the host of heaven will wear away,
And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll;
All their hosts will also wither away
As a leaf withers from the vine,
Or as one withers from the fig tree.

The "and" that begins this paragraph introduces a summary statement for the DARKNESS that will precede Christ's PHYSICAL descent to the earth. This is the same kind of summary that we saw at Zechariah 14:5-7 that predicted the total darkness that will occur just before -
"and the Lord my God will come and all the holy ones with Him."

1. And all the host of heaven will wear away, And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll:

As tempting as it may be to apply this to the cosmic signs that precede the arrival of Jesus at the Day of the Lord, prior to the movement of any of these troops, it is better to recognize this as referring to the darkness that immediately precedes the physical descent of Jesus into Palestine.

These symbols refer to massive darkness.

A. Initially, AT the arrival of the Day:
Rev. 6:12; Mat. 24:29; Joel 2:31; Luke 21:25

B. Throughout the time period: Rev. 8:12; 16:10; Is. 34:4; Zech. 14:4-7; Joel 3:14-16.

2. All their hosts will also wither away As a leaf withers from the vine, Or as {one} withers from the fig tree.

This is symbolism that expresses total darkness. The stars wither away, that is, their "light" becomes hidden so that there will be darkness on the earth. No light from the sun, the moon or the stars.
    A. Initially: Rev. 6:13; Mat. 24:29b; Luke 21:26
        Rev. 6:13, "and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs
        when shaken by a great wind."
        Mat. 24:29b, "and the stars will fall from the sky."
        Luke 21:25-26, "There will be signs in sun and moon and sars, and on the earth
        dismay among nations, in perplexity a the roaring of the sea and the waves . . .
        for the power of the heavens will be shaken."

    B. But unlike those other passages, the reference to darkness here at Isaiah 34:4
        does not include the massive signs ON the earth such as are mentioned at
        Luke 21:25-26.

THE DESTRUCTION OF EDOM
Isaiah 34:5
For My sword is satiated in heaven, Behold it shall descend for judgment upon Edom, And upon the people whom I have devoted to destruction.

Here, we find a specific focus on Edom.
The geographical area of Edom today is the nation of Jordan.

Edom comes under a special judgment from God because of its historical oppression of Israel and its allegiance to the beast in the end-times (Ezek. 35:1-15; Obadiah 10-14).

First, during the attack of Egypt against the beast, Edom will be crushed by the Egyptian armies. Then later after Jesus descends physically from His seat on the cloud, He will go to Edom and totally saturate the land area of Edom in brimstone and pitch.

Isaiah 34:6-8
"The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, It is sated with fat, with the blood of lambs and goats, With the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah, And a great slaughter in the land of Edom. Wild oxen shall also fall with them, And young bulls with strong ones; Thus their land shall be soaked with blood, And their dust become greasy with fat. For the LORD has a day of vengeance, A year of recompense for the cause of Zion."

Edom and its inhabitants will be destroyed just before Jesus descends to Jerusalem.
Apparently, everyone there is an unbeliever for there will be no survivors. Notice, this is "for the cause of Zion." The people of Edom (Jordan) will be in the process of oppressing the many Jews (Ezek. 35:5) who have  resisted beast worship and taken shelter in the regions of Edom. As soon as they see the physical descent of Jesus, any survivors will get out of the region before its destruction, and probably speed back to Israel.
The "clans of Judah" of Zechariah 12:5-6 have to come from somewhere.
There are probably beast resisters hiding in the wilderness of Judah.
These, together with the Jewish resisters from the area of Edom will join in the battle to defeat the remaining armies isolated in the city of Jerusalem.

At Ezekiel 35:1-15, this destruction of Edom is given three reasons.
(1) Because you have had everlasting enmity: Verse 5
(2) Because you oppressed the Jews during the tribulation. Verse 5
(3) Because you have claimed the territory of Judah and Israel as your own. Verses 10-15

We also see at Ezekiel that there are two aspects to the judgment on Edom.
(1) There will be a warfare judgment first. verses 6-8
     Ezekiel focuses on the warfare that kills most of the people and then looks beyond that
     to the end result of God's judgment, which will be total destruction. It is Isaiah 34 that
     relates the mechanics of the FINAL destruction.

     The warfare destruction is probably through the attack from the King of the South;
     Egypt. Prior to Christ's physical descent to the earth, the king of the South will
     push against the kingdom of the beast (king of the west), Daniel 11:46.
     It seems that Edom is still allied with the Beast, so Egypt will move against this area
     as it pushes North toward Israel.
     When the King of the west counter attacks and drives Egypt back into her own land,
     the area of Edom (and Moab and Ammon) will not be touched.
     So it seems that the likely agent of the killing will be Egypt.

(2) Then a total destruction of the entire area. verse 9.
     Isaiah 34:9-10 describes this as some kind of fire and brimstone judgment.
     Isaiah focuses just on the FINAL destruction, which is symbolically portrayed by
     the sword of the Lord saturating the land with blood (verses 5-7).
     And then the final condition of the land is seen as flowing fiery brimstone and pitch.

Isaiah 34:9-10
"And its streams shall be turned into pitch, And its loose earth into brimstone, And its land shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night or day; Its smoke shall go up forever; From generation to generation it shall be desolate; None shall pass through it forever and ever."

The judgment on the land area of Edom will be total.
This sounds like the same kind of destruction that occurred in the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24).
During Messiah's kingdom, it will be a desolation with no population, housing only wild birds and animals. 34:11-15.

After the destruction of Edom, which will probably be completed in just a matter of minutes, Jesus will move to Jerusalem and stand on the Mt. of Olives.

Habakkuk 3:3-4
God comes from Teman, And the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His splendor covers the heavens, And the earth is full of His praise. {His} radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays {flashing} from His hand, And there is the hiding of His power.

At first glance it appears that this may simply be saying that the Messiah comes from the EAST. However, in view of Isaiah 34 and 63, it is clear that He comes from this area AFTER judging it.

In verses 1-5, the arrival FROM Edom is indicated by the present tense of the verbs.

At verse 6, the PAST tense is used to indicate what He did BEFORE He had arrived at Edom. And the past tense of the verbs in verses 7-15, indicate the judgment that was meted out on Edom. So the actions of verses 6-15 occur before the action of verses 1-5.

At verse 5, “before Him,” indicates the ruin that He brings with Him, and “after Him,” indicates the ruin that He leaves behind.

So, when He descends to the earth from His seat on the cloud (Rev. 19:11-16), right in the midst of a supernatural darkness all over Palestine, He will survey the earth, evaluate the situation, and His visible presence will startle and terrify the nations. He will then proceed to Edom to quickly and completely mete out His justice upon the people and the region with fire and brimstone. He will destroy the Edomites who caused many Jews who were hiding in the region to be turned over to the beast (Ezek. 35:5). He will then severely judge the entire region of Edom (Isaiah 34:5-10; Ezek. 35:1-15).

The surviving Jews in this area will have already left upon seeing the physical descent of Jesus over the sky of Palestine. They will probably go to Judah to join “the clans of Judah” as they help “the inhabitants of Jerusalem” fight off the invading armies. Zechariah 12:5, 14.

Habakkuk 3:6a-7
"He stood and surveyed the earth; He looked and startled the nations, and the perpetual mountains were shattered, The ancient hills collapsed. His ways are everlasting. I saw the tents of Cushan under distress, The tent curtains of the land of Midian were trembling."

This is a summary statement of the judgments that come upon the area of Edom.
(1) First He descends from His cloud in the sky.
(2) He evaluates the nations.
(3) His arrival in the midst of darkness will startle the nations.
(4) His judgment on Edom will be topographically devastating.
(5) The whole area of the Edomites were under distress and trembling.


The destruction of the Edomites will occur immediately upon His arrival there. This "flattening" of the land is consistent with the pouring out of brimstone that makes the land a mass of burning pitch. Although the earthquake of Zechariah 14:4 and Rev. 16:18-20 will drastically alter the topography of Palestine as per Zechariah 14:10, this verse applies to the ruin of the land of Edom specifically and prior to the earthquake of Rev. 16:18.

The judgment will be devastating, total and permanent as already mentioned.
Isaiah 34:9-15
"And its streams shall be turned into pitch, And its loose earth into brimstone, And its land shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night or day; Its smoke shall go up forever; From generation to generation it shall be desolate; None shall pass through it forever and ever."

In the meantime, the army of the king of the west in Jerusalem, being quite terrified at the presence of Jesus, will be in disarray. To make matters worse, after He stands on the Mount of Olives, He will then strike those armies in Jerusalem with a plague of confusion. Many of them will fall prey to some kind of selective biological weapon, or a death directly from the "sword" of Jesus. The others will start fighting against each other.
And the clans of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will make short work of any invaders who survive the plague. After the victory is secured, all the material resources that the armies had will be seized by the people of Israel.
 

Zechariah 12:4
In that day,” declares
Yahweh, “I will strike every horse with bewilderment and his rider with madness. But I will watch over the house of Judah, while I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness.

Zechariah 14:12-15
"Now this will be the plague with which
Yahweh will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth. 13 It will come about in that day that a great panic from Yahweh will fall on them; and they will seize one another’s hand, and the hand of one will be lifted against the hand of another. 14 Judah also will fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered, gold and silver and garments in great abundance. 15 So also like this plague will be the plague on the horse, the mule, the camel, the donkey and all the cattle that will be in those camps."

The language in verses 14-15 reflects the time in which it was written. In that time the armies would rely upon animals for carrying resources, and many of their weapons would be made of the precious metals.


THE ARRIVAL IN JERUSALEM

ISAIAH 63
Isaiah 63:1
"Who is this who comes from Edom, With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, This One who is majestic in His apparel, Marching in the greatness of His strength? It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save."

The Messiah comes FROM Edom with His garments already stained with the blood of battle. He has already engaged the enemy in Edom and is now ready for Jerusalem and then Armageddon.

Isaiah 63:2-6
Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press? "I have trodden the wine trough alone, And from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger, And trampled them in My wrath; And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, And I stained all My raiment. "For the day of vengeance was in My heart, And My year of redemption has come. "And I looked, and there was no one to help, And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; So My own arm brought salvation to Me; And My wrath upheld Me. "And I trod down the peoples in My anger, And made them drunk in My wrath, And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth."

Of course, the blood on the garments of the Messiah is symbolic of having accomplished a total defeat of the Edomites and their land. We already saw that the destruction will be a fiery outpouring of brimstone. The question from Isaiah brings the Messiah's response, that He has expressed His righteous wrath upon those who were deserving of judgment.

MOUNT OF OLIVES
Zechariah 14:4-5
"And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. And you will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus, Yahweh, my God, will come, {and} all the holy ones with Him!"

He will stand on the Mount of Olives which causes a very great earthquake. This  is probably what is described at Revelation 16:17-20.

"And the seventh {angel} poured out his bowl upon the air; and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, "It is done." And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake {was it, and} so mighty. And the great city was split into three parts. . ."

There is still difference of opinion as to the identification of "the great city." It seems that since Babylon is mentioned in the next sentence as coming under a separate judgment, the mention here of "the great city," probably refers to Jerusalem which is identified as "the great city . . . where also their Lord was crucified," at Rev. 11:8.

Jerusalem being split into three parts is not at all inconsistent with what will result when the Mount of Olives is split in two at Zechariah 14:4.
The city itself is divided into three sections, and the splitting of the mountain simply causes the valley "pathway" out of the city to safety. This of course is for the women and children, as the men will remain behind to fight.

". . .and the cities of the nations fell."

We have dramatic affects worldwide, from this earthquake.

"And Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath."

This is the final judgment on Babylon (Babylonian evil), the ideology that empowers and controls the king of the west (beast) through the influence of Satan himself. The history of that ideology and its final demise is later summarized in Revelation chapters 17 and 18.
The judgment is also on the CITY that is "housing" Babylonian evil and is the "throne" of the beast at that time, which is probably Rome.
See commentary on Revelation 17.
The religious power base of the beast.
Babylonian religion

"And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found."

This is hyperbole. The significance is that every island and every mountain are AFFECTED so that they are NOT as they were before. It does not mean that the whole world is now "flat as a pancake." Even Olives is not "flattened." It simply says that the mountain is split in half.
However, in Palestine, from Geba (about 6 miles north) to Rimmon in the South (about 33 miles southwest), the land will be flattened so that Jerusalem itself will remain elevated above all the land. Zech. 14:10.

At this same time, there will be a hail storm of huge hail stones about 100 pounds in weight, which apparently fall world wide. Revelation 16:21

The arrival of Jesus onto the Mount of Olives triggers many things throughout the world which elicits various responses from the people.
(1) on the one hand we have the blaspheming of God because of the hail storm. Rev. 16:20.
(2) and we also have the mourning at the loss of the city of Babylon. Rev. 18:9-19.

Upon the descent of Jesus from the cloud in the sky, the whole land will be covered in darkness so that as He descends, His presence will be dramatically visible in all of Palestine.
Accordingly, the refugees in Edom will immediately flee and head back to Jerusalem
where they will probably BECOME part of "the clans of Judah" fighting to help the inhabitants of Jerusalem defeat the invaders. Zechariah 12:5, 14.
The "clans of Judah" have to come from SOMEWHERE. They could be Jews who have been hiding outside the city and are now able to come out of hiding and fight the invaders.
But it is a fact that there will be Jews hiding in the region of Edom. And these need to leave the region before it is destroyed by Jesus. It is therefore likely that these beast resisters in Edom will rush to Jerusalem. So the "clans" are either the resisters from Edom only, or a combination of them and any resisters who were hiding in Judah. This group of fighters might also include men who were protected by God in the wilderness for the remaining 1260 days of the 70th week. After the 70th week comes to a close just before the sounding of the 7th trumpet (angel, Rev. 10:7), many of these men will probably return to Jerusalem to assist in defeating the invaders.

As previously mentioned, there will be many Jews living in Jerusalem "underground" to escape the oppression of the beast. These were unable to escape into the wilderness at the midpoint of the week along with "the woman" of Revelation 12, and are barely surviving in the city. The Day-of-the-Lord judgments through the trumpet and bowl judgments will have greatly impeded the aggressiveness of the beast to bring the whole world under operation 666, and his ability to defend his territory  As a result, the king of the North and other armies will invade Jerusalem (Zech 12:1-2), and seriously oppress the beast worshippers who are there. But after Jesus descends to the Mount of Olives these "inhabitants of Jerusalem" will join with "the clans of Judah" who are outside the city to fight and defeat the invaders.


When Jesus comes from Edom to conclude His victory over the nations, He arrives at Jerusalem, stands on the Mount of Olives and then begins to fight for the inhabitants of the city and the people of Judah (Zech. 14:1-4).

THE BATTLE OF JERUSALEM
From Edom, Jesus goes to Jerusalem to fight with the armies gathered there. Zech. 14:3,

"Then Yahweh will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle."

He stands on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and causes a great earthquake. Zech. 14:4

And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.

Zechariah 14:4a
"And you will flee."
The women and children resisters hiding out in Jerusalem will now be able to escape, while their men join forces with the "clans of Judah" to fight off the invaders with the help of the personal presence of Jesus. Zech. 12:5-8; 14:3,14.
The "fighting" that Jesus does is probably the administration of the plague that is described at Zechariah 12:4 and 14:12-15.

In that valley is where the bulk of the worlds armies are assembled.
They are there to organize a major attack against Jerusalem in order to defeat the armies of the beast, which are now centered in Jerusalem (Dan. 11:45, "at the Holy mountain") and take by force control of the material resources they all need for their nations to survive. Thus, as Zechariah writes, "all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it" (Zech. 12:3c).
But after Jesus stands on the Mount of Olives and throws all the land of Palestine into convulsions through the huge earthquake, all these armies that are gathered in Megiddo
will be thrown into confusion.
At that time Jesus will leave Jerusalem and with another earthquake and more darkness (Joel 3:14-16), He will appear in the sky above the valley. it will be a dramatic "entrance" that will captivate the attention of all the armies. When they see Him arrive, they will muster all their troops against Him. Revelation 19:19

Meanwhile in Jerusalem, the great earthquake and the splitting of the mountain, as well as the plague, will have caused great panic for the armies in the region.

"Now this will be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth."

This is NOT use of a nuclear weapon because the casualties are selective rather than total. We know this because there will still be some "hand-to-hand" conflict going on between the invaders and the Israelites at this time. It might be some kind of "selective" or "individual" biological weapon. However, this is not a man-made plague. It is administered directly by Jesus, and is therefore a supernatural effect that will cause a great panic among the invading armies so that they are even confused about who they should be fighting. Zech. 14:13

"And it will come about in that day that a great panic from the LORD will fall on them; and they will seize one another's hand, and the hand of one will be lifted against the hand of another."

Zech. 12:5-8
"Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, 'A strong support for us are the inhabitants of Jerusalem through Yahweh of hosts, their God.'

"In that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves, so they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples, while the inhabitants of Jerusalem again dwell on their own sites in Jerusalem.

Micah 4:13,
“Arise and thresh, daughter of Zion,

For your horn I will make iron
And your hoofs I will make bronze,
That you may pulverize many peoples,
That you may devote to Yahweh their unjust gain
And their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.

Zechariah 12:7-8
“Yahweh also will save the tents of Judah first in order that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not be magnified above Judah.
“In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David {will be} like God, like the angel of Yahweh before them.

 Zech. 14:14
And Judah also will fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered, gold and silver and garments in great abundance.

While the Israelites are defeating the troops in the immediate vicinity of the city, Jesus begins the maneuvers to destroy all the nations that come against
Jerusalem as was mentioned at Zechariah 12:2-3.
It is restated here at verse 12:9, "And it will come about in that day, that I will set about
to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem."
The main armies of the nations have now assembled in the valley of Megiddo
and are still united in their goal to defeat the beast.  It is at this time that Jesus goes forth and destroys the armies that have gathered in the valley.

Zechariah 12:9-14 and 13:1-6 flashes forward to the start of the earthly kingdom.
Zechariah 13:7-9 is a POETIC parenthesis that goes from the Messiah's first coming,
through national discipline on Israel, and then to the blessing of the kingdom.
Zechariah 14:1-5b then picks up again with the Battle of Jerusalem and Megiddo.
Zechariah 14:5c-7 gives a summary statement of the initial physical descent of Jesus.
Zechariah 14:8-11 flashes forward to blessing in the kingdom.
Zechariah 14:12-15 flashes back to the battle of Jerusalem.
Zechariah 14:16-21 flashes forward again to life in the kingdom. (Isaiah 11:10; 2:1-4)


ON TO MEGIDDO
Joel speaks of Him coming FROM ZION at Joel 3:16, "The LORD roars from Zion."
As Joel develops the Armageddon confrontation, he writes,

“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.”
“The sun and moon grow dark, And the stars lose their brightness,” (Joel 3:14-15).

This is not talking about the “initial” arrival of the Day of the LORD, but the effect of That Day in reference to Armageddon. It is already here, but it is NEAR in the Valley of decision.

Joel 3:16
“And Yahweh roars from Zion And utters His voice from Jerusalem, And the heavens and the earth tremble. But Yahweh is a refuge for His people And a stronghold to the sons of Israel.”

Here we see the order of movement. FROM Jerusalem He goes somewhere else.
We know that location to be the valley of Megiddo.
It seems that anytime Jesus makes a movement to a different location there will be some dramatic visible and physical occurrences. Here, as usual, we see effects in the sky and on the earth. There was already the extreme darkness (Zech. 14:6-7) when He descended from the cloud in the sky at Revelation 19:11.
The darkness at that time and here plus the earthquake from standing on the Mount of Olives will have the armies that are gathered in Megiddo seriously agitated and frightened.

THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON

It is possible to let the very Scriptures themselves describe what happens, with very little commentary.
Before the battle, the scavengers of nature sense what is coming and await the slaughter in order to feast on the dead. Revelation 19:17-18

Rev. 19:19
And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat upon the horse, and against His army.

Here the armies of the East, West and North have regrouped to join forces against the Son of God. Once gathered here, God will judge the assembled nations and destroy them.

Joel 3:12-14
Let the nations be aroused And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, For there I will sit to judge All the surrounding nations.
Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread, for the wine press is full; The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great.
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of Yahweh is near in the valley of decision.
Rev. 14:19-20
And the angel swung his sickle to the earth, and gathered {the clusters from} the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God.
And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.

That which causes the various nations involved to move into Palestine, is the political, military, religious and economic influences placed upon them by the demonic powers that control the beast and the false prophet.

Rev. 16:13-14, 16
And I saw {coming} out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.
And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Harmagedon.

DINNER TIME!
The peoples who are assembled in the valley are to be physically killed through the military prowess of the Lord Jesus as He wields the sword of His mouth and scatters the enemy on the face of the battlefield. Since the bodies of the dead will be left lying on the ground for later burial by the Jews at the beginning of the Kingdom, it provides an abundant food source for the scavengers of the animal kingdom. Thus, they are called to gather in anticipation of the divine meal that will be provided to them.

Rev. 19:17-18
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in mid-heaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God; in order that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”

Ezek. 39:17-21
“And as for you, son of man, thus says the Lord Yahweh, ‘Speak to every kind of bird and to every beast of the field, “Assemble and come, gather from every side to My sacrifice which I am going to sacrifice for you, as a great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood.
“You shall eat the flesh of mighty men, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, as {though they were} rams, lambs, goats, and bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan.
“So you will eat fat until you are glutted, and drink blood until you are drunk, from My sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.
“And you will be glutted at My table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all the men of war,” declares the Lord Yahweh.

The darkness and the earthquake precede His arrival at Megiddo. And once again, as this "entrance" to the sky above the valley, Jesus breaks through the heavens with His own glory piercing the darkness, and all the armies will see Him coming upon them.

MESSIAH’S PERSONAL VINTAGE

Rev. 14:19-20
And the angel swung his sickle to the earth, and gathered {the clusters from} the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God.
And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.

This distance of 200 miles includes the entire area affected by the influx of nations into Palestine. The land of Israel itself is only 160 miles from North to South, but this number should probably be taken as “square mileage” covering all directions from Jerusalem.
Thus, although the "battle" is designated as being in the valley of Megiddo, the armies are scattered all over the land as a result of all the maneuvering and forced retreats.
Armies from the king of the North will be located everywhere from the Mediterranean Sea, West of Jerusalem, East to the Dead Sea, and in Megiddo as well.
Armies from the King of the East will be gathered into Megiddo. Armies from all the Arab nations that are in Palestine will be gathered there.

The "blood" coming up to the height of horses bridles is hyperbolic symbolism. It communicates the extent of the slaughter. There won't be any horses for this will involve mechanized and manual warfare.

Rev. 19:21
And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

The summary of this final battle finds ALL the people who have gathered, killed and placed on the “table” of the battlefield as a divine meal for all the predatory animals that have been invited.

THE DESTRUCTION OF THE NORTHERN ARMY
Ezekiel 38:18-23; Joel 2:18-20; Zech. 12:2-9; 14:12-15;

Through both the battle of Jerusalem and the battle of Armageddon, the Northern army will be totally destroyed. This army receives special attention in the Scriptures since it will have accomplished such a devastating ruin in Israel.
Although viewed separately, by comparing Scripture with Scripture, it can be determined that the ultimate destruction of the Northern army takes place at the final battle described above.

In Ezekiel 38-39 we are shown a SUMMARY of what happens to the Northern army.
It does not give a "moment by moment" chronology, but rather a snapshot of the things that the army will encounter.
1. The movement into Palestine before Christ's DESCENT to the earth.
2. The protest and response of the king of the west (the beast).
3. King of the North continues into Palestine.
4. Severe military defeat via hand to hand and fighting each other.
5. Ultimate destruction of the army via fire and brimstone.

Ezek. 38:18-20
“And it will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” declares the Lord Yahweh, “that My fury will mount up in My anger.
“And in My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare {that} on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel.

This is probably the earthquake that occurs when Jesus stands on the Mount of Olives.

“And the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence;”

The extent of this earthquake will be such that there will be massive destruction both of natural and manmade structures.

“the mountains also will be thrown down, the steep pathways will collapse, and every wall will fall to the ground.”

As already noted, one result from this earthquake will be the panic among the invading soldiers.

Ezek. 38:21, “And I shall call for a sword against him on all My mountains,” declares the Lord Yahweh. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother.

This is similar to the plague that God brings upon the armies in the city of Jerusalem after Jesus stands on the Mount of Olives. Zech. 14:13,
"And it will come about in that day that a great panic from Yahweh will fall on them; and they will seize one another’s hand, and the hand of one will be lifted against the hand of another."

It appears that FIRST the armies will basically kill each other, leaving bodies all over the place for the animal scavengers to devour and the kingdom believers to bury.
Then Jesus will pour out the "hailstones, fire, and brimstone" to kill any survivors.

Ezek. 38:22
“And with pestilence and with blood I shall enter into judgment with him; and I shall rain on him, and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire, and brimstone.

This language describes the “physical” mechanics of destruction.
Revelation 19:21 says that they were killed by the “sword which came from the mouth” of Jesus. The word, “sword” is symbolic summarizing both the "warfare" death and the destruction that will be accomplished by the “torrential rain, with hailstones, fire, and brimstone.”

The hail here is different from the hail storm of Revelation 16:21. The storm there is not a "fire and brimstone" storm and will occur in connection with the huge earthquake when Christ descends onto the Mount of Olives which will cause the huge earthquake. (Revelation 16:18-20; Zech 14:4, 10).

EZEKIEL 39 repeats and amplifies the invasion of this northern alliance into Palestine.

Ezek. 39:1-5
“And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal;
and I shall turn you around, drive you on, take you up from the remotest parts of the north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel.
“And I shall strike your bow from your left hand, and dash down your arrows from your right hand.
“You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops, and the peoples who are with you; I shall give you as food to every kind of predatory bird and beast of the field.
“You will fall on the open field; for it is I who have spoken,” declares the Lord GOD.

This takes us from Revelation 9:13-19 to 16:12-16 to 19:19-21.
It also indicates the "warfare" death mentioned at verse 38:21, although "fall on the open field" can also apply to the fire and brimstone destruction of verse 38:22.

In addition, the homelands of the Gog alliance will come under judgment from God.

Ezek. 39:6
“And I shall send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coastlands in safety; and they will know that I am Yahweh."

The "fiery" nature of this destruction could suggest nuclear warfare both in Megiddo and on the coastlands. However, that kind of destruction would not fulfill the language at the end of verse 39:6, "and they will know that I am Yahweh"
This requires a supernatural effect that focuses attention on the person and nature of God.

An important factor concerning the Gog invasion is the time that it occurs. There is much debate as to whether it occurs prior to the 70th week of Daniel, during the first half of the week, last half, or at the end in association with the battle of Armageddon. Ezekiel 39:7-8 is valuable in placing the timing for this invasion.

“And My holy name I shall make known in the midst of My people Israel; and I shall not let My holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations will know that I am Yahweh, the Holy One in Israel.
“Behold, it is coming and it shall be done,” declares the Lord Yahweh. “That is the day of which I have spoken.

It appears that after the defeat of Gog in Israel, that God will not let His holy name ever be profaned again. Were this invasion and defeat to occur prior to the 70th week, then after the beast begins to reign and throughout the Armageddon campaign, God’s name will continually be profaned and violate this promise. It is therefore not likely that this invasion should be placed prior to the 70th week. Furthermore, the burial of bones that takes place for 7 years requires a peaceful environment which will not exist until after Armageddon (Ezek. 39:12-16).

Ezek. 39:9-10
“Then those who inhabit the cities of Israel will go out, and make fires with the weapons and burn {them,} both shields and bucklers, bows and arrows, war clubs and spears and for seven years they will make fires of them.
“And they will not take wood from the field or gather firewood from the forests, for they will make fires with the weapons; and they will take the spoil of those who despoiled them, and seize the plunder of those who plundered them,” declares the Lord Yahweh.

All the plunder of the invading armies will belong to Israel.
Furthermore, there will be an abundance of flammable items which the people of Israel will use in place of firewood for energy - perhaps to provide electricity. The nature of this "energy need" during the first 7 months of the kingdom age is a side issue. Regardless, the language certainly communicates a “closure” that can only come at the completion of Armageddon.

CLOSURE AND GLORIFICATION

Ezek. 38:23
“And I shall magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am Yahweh.”’

Ezek. 39:21-24
“And I shall set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed, and My hand which I have laid on them.
“And the house of Israel will know that I am Yahweh their God from that day onward.
“And the nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me, and I hid My face from them; so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and all of them fell by the sword.
“According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I dealt with them, and I hid My face from them.”’”

The nations will see and understand. That is, those survivors of the nations who have trusted in Christ as the Savior.
Zech. 14:16
“Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.”

These are the "sheep" believers who go into the kingdom of Christ after being separated
from the "goat" unbelievers during the 45 days prior to the establishment of the kingdom.
Matthew 25:31-46

Ezek. 39:25-29
Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh, “Now I shall restore the fortunes of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I shall be jealous for My holy name.
“And they shall forget their disgrace and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me, when they live securely on their {own} land with no one to make them afraid.
“When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations.
“Then they will know that I am Yahweh their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them {again} to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer.
“And I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord Yahweh.

PREPARATION FOR THE KINGDOM

Daniel 12:11
“And from the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished, and the abomination of desolation is set up, {there will be} 1,290 days.

This extra 30 days beyond the 1260 days of the last half of the 70th week is for the outpouring of God’s “final” wrath, which culminates in Armageddon.

Dan. 12:12
“How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!”

The additional 45 days beyond Armageddon is for the cleansing of the land and the separation of believers from unbelievers.
The Gentiles will be divided, believer from unbeliever (Mat. 25:31-46).
And the Jews will be divided, believer from unbeliever (Ezek. 34:17-24).
All believers will go alive into Messiah’s kingdom to populate the world and begin the new civilization, over which righteousness and justice rules in the person of Jesus the King.

 
     

 

 

©Ron Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
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