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by Steve Ashburn


In Part 1 of this series we saw how Israel was restored to their ancient land of Canaan, including all the land that God promised Abraham, including most of present-day Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and the Sinai. After this, God richly blessed Israel, so that it became like “the garden of Eden… And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil” (Joel 2:3, 23–24). It is these great riches—including “silver and gold”—which Russia and her Moslem cohorts will see and try to take for themselves. Since the US is no longer a world power (being removed by the rapture, and thus unable to protect Israel), this leaves the door wide open for a Russian military invasion of the Holy Land. 

Russia and her allies therefore launch a blitzkrieg attack: “Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.” (Ezekiel 38:9). 

This makes God absolutely furious, and he causes a great earthquake (“a great shaking”), a strange kind of mental illness whereby the invading troops attack each other (“every man's sword shall be against his brother”), and are pummeled with “an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.” He does all this to “magnify myself, and sanctify myself” so that many nations “shall know that I am the Lord”: 

And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.

And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every man's sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord. (Ezekiel 38:18–23) 

Zechariah 14:13 also provides more details of this judgment: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.” The earthquake is so large that it affects everyone one on earth. Mountains everywhere are thrown down, along with landslides (“and the steep places shall fall”) and the collapse of buildings (“and every wall shall fall to the ground”). This severe judgment by God perhaps can be understood in terms of Zechariah 2:8: “he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.” Zechariah 8:2 also says, “I was jealous for her with great fury”—again, in context, referring to the great fury God pours on those who attack modern Israel.  

As if the earthquake were not enough, God drives home the point by sending fire on Russia itself and other nations which are dwelling at ease, for the purpose that “they shall know that I am the Lord.” This judgment is entirely miraculous and consists of fire and burning sulfur (probably representative of things beyond our understanding) poured onto unspecified destination cities and nations that dwell with unconcern, presumably about Israel or weighty spiritual matters: “And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 39:6). The timeline for this judgment clearly is in “the day of the Lord” because it is entirely miraculous and affects all nations on earth simultaneously; therefore, by definition, it occurs after the church age and the rapture. 

This catastrophic judgment is on par with anything in Revelation. It’s so bad, I can’t even relate to it except through a cartoon analogy: an earthquake flattens all buildings, dams and bridges, and a flamethrower from the sky then incinerates what’s left. Then, the cartoon characters look back at you with blackened faces, blinking. Unfortunately, that will be the reality a few years from now! 

The fact that many nations “dwell carelessly” indicates that complacency has developed to a high degree in these twenty-nine years after the war that began the end times; after all, the rapture recently has occurred and the judgments of the tribulation are imminent, which anybody with a Bible can read about and understand clearly. This suggests a marked deterioration of the world’s spiritual condition and widespread insensitivity to weighty matters of sin and judgment. It also suggests that the rapture will be a non-event in most countries.  

In addition, few nations support Israel, and these nations’ national policies tend to be relativistic and based on immediate financial considerations rather than on the covenant that God made with Abraham: “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee” (Genesis 12:3). Sending fire and brimstone on these nations perhaps is God’s way of reminding them of this eternal covenant as well as their own blind spiritual condition.  

Consequently, this judgment may awaken quite a few people to the truth of the gospel, and lead them to repentance. It is during this period, in fact, that the 144,000 Jewish witnesses will be called. This process starts soon after the rapture, and by the time the tribulation begins a few years later, all of them will be ready to be “sealed” (Revelation 7:3). Undoubtedly, this applies to "a great multitude" of others as well (Revelation 7:9), so that this judgment from God may induce a notable degree of spiritual polarization, whereby many people are saved, while others become more hardened in their sins and in their rebellion.  

Thus God sanctifies his holy name in Israel and among the nations: “So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel” (Ezekiel 39:7). From this day forward, Israel shall know that the Lord is their God: “So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day and forward” (Ezekiel 39:22). In addition, the reference to other nations as "the heathen" signifies the fact that the church is gone—taken in the rapture—and therefore that the nations are, in fact, heathen. 

Russia and her hordes are decimated. Only one-sixth is left, and they return to Russia. Ezekiel 39:2 says: “And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel.” This event also is anticipated in Joel 2:20: “But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.”  

The Russian army is driven far back into Siberia (“a land barren and desolate”), as far as the Pacific Ocean (“the east sea”) and the Arctic Ocean (“the utmost sea”); and the remaining dead bodies really begin to stink. Israel spends seven months in burying all these bodies, and a gravesite is chosen east of the Sea of Galilee; the smell will be so bad that it will stop the noses of travelers through this area: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog” (Ezekiel 39:11).  

Israel will take the weapons and armament of the invaders and burn them for fuel for seven years. They do this in lieu of gathering wood. 

And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years: So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord God. (Ezekiel 39:9–10) 

Of course, modern Israel has electricity and natural gas for energy; few people burn wood for fuel. If Israel is forced to surrender her nuclear weapons after the war which begins the end times, however, they also might have to shut down their nuclear power plants (which are the source of plutonium for weapons) and convert them to conventional power plants. This may be what the Bible means when it says that Israel will burn Russia’s weapons for seven years—they burn them in order to generate electricity. 

Another curious point is: How does Israel burn weapons and armament when they’re made out of steel? The simple answer is that since the judgment of God upon Russia is entirely miraculous, then God would simply convert steel into burnable carbon. 

The seven years that Israel will burn these weapons is an important number prophetically. Daniel 9:27 says the Antichrist will break the peace treaty he made with Israel in the middle of the seven-year tribulation period, and set up the abomination of desolation in the temple at which point Israel has to flee for their lives. At that point, they won’t be burning any more weapons. Therefore, seven years prior to this date would be three-and-one-half years prior to the tribulation. Since Israel spends seven months burying bodies and collecting weapons, this would place the Russian invasion about twenty-nine years into the end-times period, or about four years before the tribulation begins.

It will probably take Russia at least six months to marshal her troops for this invasion. Prior to this, she is seen consolidating her gains from conquest of the United States (“a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it”) and being urged to attack Israel (“they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh”), as stated in Daniel 7:5. Prior to this was the recognition that the US was vulnerable to attack, and prior to that was the great trumpet blast heard worldwide, which announced the (invisible) return of Christ for his church.

One can only guess how much time elapses between the rapture and Russia’s attempted invasion of Israel; perhaps a reasonable guess is two to twelve years. That is why we estimate approximately seventeen to twenty-seven years for the rapture to happen after the end times begin. No one knows exactly when it will happen, but it will be in a time of great complacency, and this is the reason we allow some time for the world to become complacent after the nuclear war that begins this time. Second Peter 3:3-4 also comments on this time period:

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

This implies that this period of complacency will take a l-o-o-o-o-o-ng time, so long that men will tend to forget the nuclear war that began this time period, and assume that the relative peace that the world has enjoyed since then will continue forever. It is during this time that Christ will return for his church. 

In addition, Isaiah 18:4–5 implies that the rapture will happen in the same month that corn is pollinating in the American Midwest: “like a clear heat upon herbs . . . afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower”; meaning, the month of July. I sort of wonder then, why the Bible would imply the month of the rapture but not the year. All this gives me the sneaking suspicion that the rapture will occur in the last year possible, that being year 27 of the end times period. That’s the only year that people alive then will be able to know for certain that the rapture will happen. In my book, I go into more detail about this. Let me emphasize that this is all just speculation—although I would add, educated guesswork based on Scripture.

To his credit, Tim LaHaye also thought the rapture would occur six years prior to the tribulation, but perhaps for slightly different reasons.

Russia plays an important part in end-times prophecy: first by their invasion of North America (implied in Isaiah 18 and Daniel 7), and then subsequently by their invasion of Israel (Ezekiel 38–39). Both of these events happen in “the day of the Lord”—which begins with the rapture and is characterized by the direct intervention of God into human affairs. Unfortunately, Russia learns the hard way—as did the Arab nations which attacked Israel some three decades earlier—that God is extremely jealous of his holy land of Israel and will not allow them to perish. 

I hope you have enjoyed reading this series about the great end-times war with Russia as described in Ezekiel. I provide more details of this and many other end-times prophecies in my two books, The Next Nuclear War and  END TIMES DAWNING (available from Please read them! 

These books describe the timing and sequence of events of the end times and at a level of detail which no one yet has ascertained from Scripture. I believe the Lord has given me the great personal honor of writing about these details for the first time, as this great time period draws near! 

The first book provides a concise overview of the end times, including the definition, timing and sequence of events—and the key role of the United States in Bible prophecy. The second book describes the end times in more detail, including an in-depth analysis of Isaiah. Both of these make an excellent addition to a Christian’s library, as well as gifts for friends and pastors—and for your Sunday school class! 

My publisher made me buy 2,000 books as part of my author agreement, and I really need your help in moving them! Also if you would, please leave book reviews on Amazon! 

Yours in Christ, 

Steve Ashburn


[This article was published on August 11, 2020]


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