We left off talking about how the last ten kings of Judah are a picture of the seven year Birthpains. We talked about the fourth king named Manasseh and how events during his reign will happen again in the fourth year of the Birth-pains. We are going to look at another example with the third king named Hezekiah. In his reign there is a major war with Assyria. In the Talmud there is a quote that says “The Holy One, blessed be he, wished to make Hezekiah the Messiah and Sennacherib Gog and Magog” and the quote goes on. The Jewish people saw in Hezekiah a type of the Messiah but notice they relate Sennacherib as a type of Gog and Magog. In the book “The Messiah Text” by Patai it says that in Jewish eschatology that every thing centers on the war with Gog and Magog. In Christian eschatology, everything centers around the last battle called “Armageddon” but there is not a last battle called Armageddon. It doesn’t happen. Yeshua returns to Jerusalem, not the valley of Megiddo (Zech 14). In Jewish eschatology you never see “Armageddon” because it doesn’t happen and there are reasons for it. Gog and Magog is in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 and this is a major issue. From 200 BC to 135 AD, these years are called the “great apocalyptic era” and the Jewish world was flooded with writings, expecting the Messiah. In 66 to 70 AD there was a war with Rome because of this expectation of the Messiah. The Jewish revolt against Rome began and was instigated by “Zealots” which means they have a “zeal” for the coming of the messiah but they tried to “bring it about” themselves, and started a revolt. As a result, they were conquered.
Timing is everything. Yeshua the Messiah had already come, so they were waiting for a Messiah who already came and the people rejected him. There was a second Jewish revolt in 116 to 119 AD in Egypt. The Jewish population in Alexandria was wiped out. The third Jewish revolt was in 132 to 135 AD and it is called the “Bar Kochba” revolt. This revolt ended in disaster. Emperor Hadrian renames Jerusalem because he refused to say it. He also renames Judea to “Palestina” (Palestine) which means “Philistine” to infuriate the Jews. He makes it illegal for a Jew to enter Jerusalem. At this point, the Rabbi’s make a law stating that no Jew could study prophecy. They had experienced too much pain, suffering, three revolts, devastation, exile and trouble because of the misinterpretation of prophecy. Until the book by Patai “The Messiah Text” in 1979, there was no collection of Jewish works on the Messiah. Since that time there have been many more because Jewish expectation of the Messiah is rising again. Why is the war with Gog and Magog important? Because the end result is Israel is going to be redeemed corporately, as a nation, after it is over (Ezek 39.22). That means Israel has received Yeshua as the Messiah and they recognize him as their redeemer sent from God. But who exactly is Gog and Magog?
In Artscroll’s book “Ezekiel” there is a lot of information you can glean, especially in the commentary on chapters 38 and 39. Here are some great insights. Ezek 37.18 to 39.16 is the reading from the Prophets for the Sabbath of Sukkot called a “haftorah.” The famous rabbi Rashi says the war of Gog and Magog is the subject of Zech 12, which is the haftorah for the first day of Sukkot on Tishri 15. The nations are celebrating the victory over Gog as they gather at Sukkot in Zech 14.16. An ancient tradition says this victory will come in Tishri. In the Targum Yonaton Ben Uzziel, this scenario taught that Gog is defeated on Yom Kippur. In the Talmud Sanhedrin 95b it describes the numbers Sennacherib had against Judah, and it will be the same number Gog will have. There are many allusions that Gog and Magog have been portrayed anciently by Assyria and Sennacherib. H.A. Ironside was a scholar with the Moody Bible Institute. In his notes on the “minor prophets” in 1909 (before 1917) there are four quotes that the Assyrians in the Scriptures were pictures of Gog and Magog. In his commentary on Isaiah in 1952 he said that Gog and Magog was the Assyrians. When you read Ezekiel 38.2-16 you will notice that this invasion comes after they have returned to the land.
Now, Ezek 38.17 says this, “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 years that I would bring you against them?” Where does he prophesy that? There is no other reference to Gog in the Tanach. However, in the Septuagint, Gog is mentioned in Num 24.7 instead of “Agag” and Amos 7.1, where Gog is called the “locust king” and is linked with the locust army in Joel, which is talking about the Assyrian invasion. But here in this verse, he says he has been prophesying this for years. Gog and Magog were represented by different names. In Num 24.22-24 it is “Asshur” meaning “steppes” where the Russian Cossacks were from. In Isaiah chapters 36 and 37 we see the Assyrian invasion (see also Isa 9.1-7, 46.10, 48.3-5; 2 Kings 19.21-25). Sennacherib’s Prism is an account of the war with Hezekiah. It states how bad he had defeated him. Isa 36 has the account of how humiliating these defeats were. Hezekiah’s wives were in Sennacherib’s harem and his son’s were eunuchs. But as the people turned towards God, Assyria was defeated. So, in the future, this is going to happen again because the war with the Assyrians is a picture of the war of Gog and Magog.
As you read about the invasion, you will see that they occur during the “day of the Lord” and the Birthpains. Who is Gog and Magog? Many scholars place Gog and Magog with the Russians based on Josephus Antiquities 1.6, the Talmud Megilah 3.9 and the Targum Yonaton Ben Uzziel on Gen 10.2. As far back as the first century they were discussing who Gog and Magog was. It seems they identified it as the region of the Scythians, north of the Black Sea, what we call Russia today. In the book “Israel Today” by Richard Wolff, p 83-87, he identifies Gog and Magog with Russia. In the Gesenius Lexicon of the Hebrew and Chaldee, he identified Gog as Russia in 1846. In John 7.2 we have the festival of Sukkot. IN v 3-5 his brothers argue with him and tell him to go to the feast and let everyone know he is the Messiah. In v 6-13 he goes to the feast. In v 14 it is “the midst of the festival” and Yeshua was going to teach. What was the subject everyone was teaching about? Ezekiel 37.16 through 39.16, the haftorah for Sukkot. Why? Because they believed that in Tishri, before Sukkot, Gog would be defeated and the people would be saved at the festival of Sukkot. Now, can see how the ten kings works? If Manasseh, the fourth king, is a picture of the Abomination of Desolation being set up in the fourth year of the Birth-pains, then Hezekiah, the third king, is a picture of the invasion and defeat of Gog and Magog in the third year of the Birth-pains. By knowing this about the last ten kings of Judah and the Birth-pains, we can establish other events of the Birth-pains.
King Josiah, the sixth king, dies at the hands of Pharaoh Necho (a picture of the false messiah) at Megiddo, who is on his way to Charchemish (Jer 46) to battle Nebuchadnezzar (the kings of the east). In the Book of revelation, Armageddon is taught as meaning “mount of Megiddo” (har Megiddo) but it means “mount of assembly” and is used in Isa 14.13 (for more detail on this, see the teaching on this in our comments on Rev 16.16 in “The Book of Revelation” study on this site). Today’s prophecy teachers teach it through world events. But, that is not the way to do it. Megiddo is a fortress on the Via Maris (way of the sea). It is a very strategic fort and you had to pass right by it to make money trading and so on. There was a “bottleneck” there King Solomon made it a chariot city. Josiah’s death is a picture of a battle during the sixth year of the Birthpains. There is a battle at Megiddo, but it is not the “last” battle that ends everything like what is taught in Christian eschatology. We can prove by logic that it cannot be at Megiddo that the last battle is fought. The last battle is at Jerusalem (Zech 14). Messiah will come from the southeast to Jerusalem and stands on the Mount of Olives, not the north (Zech 14; Isa 16.1-5; Isa 63.1-6; Hab 3.3-3, 7-19; Matt 24.27-31). Yeshua arrives in Jerusalem, at the Mount of Olives. The great shofar blows (shofar ha gadol) because it is Yom Kippur, and the angels are dispatched and they gather the unbeliever first, then believers (Matt 24.29-31; Luke 17.33; Matt 25.31-46).
There is an earthquake from the Mount of Olives to Azal, about 12 miles. People flee, the false messiah is captured and killed and the people rejoice. Then the unbelievers are judged and their bodies are cast into Tophet, where the Kidron, Tyropoeon and the Hinnom Valley meet south of Jerusalem. Their bodies will be there for what is called the Feast of Leviathan, while the believers gather for the wedding feast. In Part 4, we will review what we have learned very quickly and then move on to talk about events that occur in the Birth-pains leading up to the second coming of the Messiah.