Dr. Andy Woods is the senior pastor of Sugar Land Bible Church and a full professor at the College of Biblical Studies in Houston where he teaches Bible and theology. Andy has contributed to many theological journals and Christian books and speaks on a variety of topics at Christian conferences. He is the author of 'The Middle East Meltdown: The Coming Islamic Invasion of Israel'.
'The Middle East Meltdown' gives much attention to Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. Dr. Woods described how Ezekiel has 3 parts to it. Chapters 1-24 are about condemnation against Judah which was in captivity at the time Ezekiel had his prophecies. Chapters 25-32 are about condemnation of the surrounding nations that come against Israel. Chapters 33-48 (after Jerusalem had finally fallen under Nebuchadnezzar) are prophecies of hope and restoration. This is the section that mentions the nations that will come against Israel. However, even when Israel doesn't have a friend in the world, God intervenes to protect his chosen people and through them establish his long awaited covenant and kingdom programs.
What can we take away from Christ's return? Dr. Woods believes that God is not going to 'switch horses in mid-stream'. In other words, if God fulfilled his word with exact precision using an exact timetable related to the first advent, why wouldn't he do that in regard to Christ's second advent? In fact, Dr. Woods noted that when you study the 70 weeks prophecy, Jesus came into Jerusalem right on time. Although he's not a date setter, Dr. Woods feels that in God's timetable, everything will happen according to His exact timing.
Who are the major players in this end time drama? Dr. Woods indicated that when you borrow from ancient sources such as Josephus, Herodotus and others, what you discover is that a lot of the names that Ezekiel mentions are in the table of nations going back to Genesis 10. Genesis 10 is a record of where Noah's descendants settled and you'll find most of those names there. So using scholarly sources we can see where these people groups were existing in the time of Ezekiel and he believes the modern nations containing these names will be some of the key players in the end-times drama. For example, Put is Libya, Cush is the Sudan, Persia is Iran, Magog is Central Asia, Rosh is Russia and Meshek, Tubal, Gomer and Togarmah relate to Turkey.
Psalm 83 even talks about a war. Is this the same war as that mentioned in Ezekiel 38? Psalm 83 is a psalm of Asaph that mentions nations closer to the boundary of Israel than those of Ezekiel 38. Some have speculated there will be a Psalm 83 war and that's a war that will increase Israel's territory leading to peace and prosperity in Israel. That, in turn, sets the stage for the Ezekiel 38-39 war.
Dr. Woods is of the opinion that Psalm 83 is actually not a prophecy at all but rather an imprecatory prayer where the psalmist is calling judgment down on Israel's perennial enemies. If it is a war, he sees it happening concurrently with Ezekiel 38 and 39 and not something that's different.
This covers the 'who' aspect of end-time events described in Ezekiel. Review this edition of Crosstalk and you'll hear Dr. Woods complete the picture as best we can at this point in history as he discusses the 'why' and 'how' aspects, the Obama/Iran connection and much more.