Saturday, September 7, 2013

Is the Ezekiel 38-39 Gog-Magog battle imminent?


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God is setting the stage to bring Himself glory.

Hallelujah!

Here is the story:

In Ezekiel 38 and 39 a battle occurs. It is the most lengthy and detailed prophetic battle in the entire bible, even more than Armageddon. This future battle is a coalition which has never formed before in quite the configuration described. For this reason, bible scholars believe the battle to be yet future. I use the term battle and not war deliberately, because this seems to be a very short military foray. As a matter of fact, hardly any weapons are loosed, it is over so quick. It is a battle, and God wins it decisively.
In addition, the battle is not between nations. It is between this coalition of nations and God Himself. The coalition of nations doesn't know it, because they think they are marching against Israel. But it is God who intervenes and protects Israel by smiting the advancing army.

He does this in demonstrable and vivid ways. He wins the battle for Israel so clearly that the nations know it is God who is doing the fighting. More on those details below.

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The coalition which is prophesied to come against Israel includes Iran, Turkey, Russia, Armenia, Libya, Ethiopia, Sudan (i.e. northern tier of North Africa). Also Sheba and Dedan (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen? most likely). The merchants of Tarshish (no one quite knows who those people are) and all its leaders stand by. They don't participate in the evil coalition, but they don't help Israel either. They are interested sidelines quarterbacks. (Ezekiel 38:13).

The LORD said that He will plan this and execute it. He said in Ezekiel 38:4- "And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords".

He will do this to show the world that HE IS ISRAEL'S PROTECTOR! And to bring himself glory!!

"And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. The house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God, from that day forward. And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt so treacherously with me that I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword. I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them." (Ezekiel 39:22-24)

He shows His protection of Israel and His glory by doing things that only God does:

"In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign Lord. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord." (Ezekiel 38:19-22)

All the people on the face of the earth tremble at His presence??!?! Even the birds?! He rains brimstone down! Turns over mountains! He sends plague! Some estimate the number of dead invaders at three quarters of a million up to a billion dead. All the earth will know God is on the scene. It will be a momentous day. His wrath is a fearful thing.

Remember when the Japan 9.0 quake happened in March 2011? It was a powerful enough quake that it jolted the earth off its axis 8 feet. The quake in Ezekiel's Gog-Magog battle will be ten times worse. A hundred times worse. I can't quantify it because my brain can't comprehend all the mountains on earth turning over and every cliff and every wall falling down.
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I am so thrilled when the LORD receives Glory and He magnifies Himself. He has been doing that in the Church Age the last 2000 years by redeeming lost sinners, cleansing them with His Son's blood. In the future Gog-Magog battle Ezekiel describes, He will give Himself glory by demonstrating both His raw power and His seriousness about keeping His covenant promise with Israel.

When does this Gog-Magog battle happen? No one is sure where it falls on the schedule of prophesied events, and there are a lot of opinions on this topic. The only collective thought is that it happens at or after the tribulation. All the stances have some biblical credibility, but some stances are weaker than others and some are stronger. Personally, I used to think it will happen at or just after the rapture. But in reading the verse about every mountain falling down, I am not so sure. In Revelation 6:14 we read that:

"The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place."

So the Ezekiel earthquake removes every mountain by overturning them but then the Revelation earthquake crumbles them ... again?

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If the Ezekiel battle happens at the outset of the Tribulation, then the verse where God says in Ezekiel 39:7 that "I will not let my Holy name be profaned any more" would not be true, since His holy name is continually profaned throughout the Tribulation. The antichrist is especially blasphemous. The verse mentions blasphemy three times in succession:

"And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling,a that is, those who dwell in heaven." (Revelation 13:5-6).

Many have said that since the Ezekiel battle mentions in chapter 39 a special crew of buriers burying the dead over the course of 7 months, marking bones with a flag to identify another part of another body from the army God vanquished. And the people of Israel shall use the weapons for fuel for 7 years, so people believe the 7 years means the battle occurs at the outset of the Tribulation and Israel burns fuel for the duration of it, which is 7 years. However, there is no reason the 7 years could not refer to a battle toward the end of the Tribulation, and the fuel burning overlapping into the Millennium. Or it could occur at the end of the Millennium, a more likely prospect since during that 1000 years God's name is not profaned, AND Israel is dwelling peacefully and securely without walls (Ezekiel 38:11, Ezekiel 39:25).

In other words, the timing of this prophesied battle cannot be clearly and dogmatically stated.

In any case, it seems that the world stage is active and lively right now with prophetic implications of these battles to come. We see a potential Gog in Putin, and Russia rising. We see an isolated Israel, bemoaning they only have God and their military to rely on. God is stripping Israel of all, and when Israel finally says, 'we have ONLY God', He will bring them back to His bosom.

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Since the chapters of Ezekiel 38-39 show the LORD bringing His people back into personal dealing again, the Gog-Magog battle cannot occur while the church is on earth. Since His program for the church and the nation Israel are separate, it seems the church will be gone when He resumes dealing with the nation of Jews.

During this Church Age, God is dealing with people via His Spirit and through Resurrected Jesus who is in heaven. It is an age of grace, not of wrath. During the Tribulation He parts the veil and personally intervenes on earth again- in wrath and not in grace.

Here are several progressive essays which examine the timing of the Gog-Magog battle. They are from Nathan Jones of Lamb and Lion Ministries, and one is from John MacArthur, who believes the Ezekiel battle will occur at the Millennium's close. As always, check out these things for yourself, pray, and think.

1. The Gog-Magog Battle - Search For Timing

2. The Gog-Magog Battle - Before the Tribulation?

3. The Gog-Magog Battle - During the Tribulation?

4. The Gog-Magog Battle - During the Millennium?

5. The Gog-Magog Battle - Unfolding; (their stance on the timing)

6. Twelve attributes of God the study of the Ezekiel Battle yields

John MacArthur: The Gog Magog battle timing- at the end of the Millennium

I hope that when you read those essays and especially when you read the bible, do so with a notion that God is great, and His purpose for all of it is to bring glory to Himself, and to bring people to holiness. End time studies are meant to revive our hearts in love and awe for a great and holy God, to make us aware of the temporal and fleeting time and body in which we live, and the eternal importance of souls.

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Further reading:

Joel C Rosenberg: What Netanyahu Is Learning from President Obama’s Vacillations on Syria

Joel C Rosenberg: Does Jeremiah 49 prophesy the destruction of Damascus?

Joel C Rosenberg: Do Isaiah 17 & Jeremiah 49 foretell Damascus destruction? 23 pages of notes on this subject

Israel National News/Op-Ed: Obama has tripped over his own red line

Mother Jones: Oh Magog! Why End-Times Buffs Are Freaking Out About Syria

This article from two days ago from CBS notes that Russia's Putin threatens nuclear war of Syria is touched. It was that article that made me think of the Ezekiel battle in the first place, with the chapter 39 detailed explanation of the buriers burying for 7 months via a special clean up crew with flags marking bones and bodies. this is the protocol for nuclear cleanup. Also for biological clean up after plague.

Russia Warns Of Nuclear Disaster If Syria Is Attacked

21 comments:

  1. wow... till NOW, I've never came across anyone else who also considers (as I do) that it could easily fit into at the end of the Millenium!! That is my belief due to Scripture in Revelation (which ack, I apologize, I'm not finding right now but will keep searching over the weekend...) which resembles the war of Ez. 38.

    Christians who watch for it now perceive that I'm nearly crazy to think like this! But it's because I love & devour Bible prophecy and once that Scripture caught my attention, then I mentally placed Ez. 38 at the end of the Millenium. Will keep searching for that particular Scripture in Rev. to share! (and just b/c I think Ez. 38 is at the end of the Mill. to totally wrap all things up... does not mean I am not expecting to see Jesus soon ~ I very much am with fervant hope & prayer!) :)

    Reva

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  2. Here we go! (and I had to defer to John MacArthur's essay to "find" this Scripture in Revelation - it's late at night & I'm tired!)

    To me, this gives us the exact timing of the Gog-Magog Ez. 38 war (end of the Millenium):

    From Rev. 20:8-9 [Amp. translation]:

    8 And he will go forth to deceive and seduce and lead astray the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth--Gog and Magog--to muster them for war; their number is like the sand of the sea.(A)

    9 And they swarmed up over the broad plain of the earth and encircled the fortress (camp) of God's people (the saints) and the beloved city; but fire descended from heaven and consumed them. [II Kings 1:10-12; Ezek. 38:2, 22.]
    Reva

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    1. Hi Reva,

      I'm glad you study and keep an open mind to allow the scriptures to speak to you! I held that the battle woudl likely happen at the end of the church age at the threshold of the rapture (along with or just after). It is still possible that this is the timing. However, I was reading the passage directly from the bible and all of a sudden a differnt thought came to me. I have read the passage before, numerous time,s but you know when you read a passage again and suddenly a light goes on? It is the Holy SPirit illuminating the living word to our mind!

      So I read it again and again and suddenly I was not so sure, because of the reasons stated above.

      I'd like to offer though, that the timing of the battle may be at the end of the millennium (a stance that while has it pluses, still has its weaknesses that I can't seem to resolve) but not because of the Revelation verse...

      I offer this link which compares the Ezekiel verses with the Revelation verses which show that they are highly likely not to be the same battle. In Revelation every nation joins in from the 4 corners of the earth, and in Ezekiel, only the named nations join in,(Russia, Iran, Turkey, Armenia, No. Africa nations, etc)

      http://www.gotquestions.org/Gog-Magog.html

      Even MacArthur goes back and forth on the stance of the two Gogs mentioned in Ezek and Rev, but ultimately says it's best not to be dogmatic. To further confuse things, some believe the Ezekiel battle to be Armageddon, or a battle just prior to Armageddon, which would put it at the end of the tribulation and overlapping into the Millennium, Israel cleaning the Land during the first seven years, and would be consistent with the LORD saying 'no one will profane My name anymore' and Israel being at total peace and security in the Land.

      It is all so interesting, isn't it!! As always, thanks for reading and sharing :)

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  3. It is also possible that these prophetic events happen out of order from certain perspectives.

    Fr. Seraphim Rose of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (now his order is joined in with the Serbian Orthodox church) wrote forty years ago that although he did not understand the details, God was going to bring the Jewish people back into the fold. I found this especially interesting as many Orthodox and Catholic theologians are quite hostile to Jews and most do not hold such views. Fr. Rose also believed in Creationism, again not widely followed in Orthodox circles and almost universally rejected in modern Roman Catholic thinking.

    If there happens to be several of these big wars that closely match prophecy and no rapture has taken place, then it might be that a traditional understanding of Orthodox Christianity - that of the Church Fathers - is the more accurate version. In other words, just as tens of millions of Christians died in China in the 1920s to 1960s and there was no rapture, as millions of European Christians died in the 1914-1918 and 1940s wars, there might not be a rapture to rescue American Christians when the Russian submarines pop up off the East Coast to nuke our cities.

    Certain aspects of eschatology that various denominations teach are incorrect or incomplete, and many acknowledge this obvious fact, but the truth still exists and I think that God will allow hard searching people to find it out quickly when the time is right.

    Once I learned that "the best lie is closest to the truth." What if a "Left Behind" rapture does not occur, rather massive persecution and death roll-in like early twentieth century China? There will be multitudes of people who quickly reject their admittedly misunderstood faith.

    In such a horrible scenario, the disciples of Fr. Rose will still hold fast, as they expect hardship. I am convinced that God will lead those that are his towards the truth and that suddenly and convincingly everything will make sense. As Fr. Rose said when referring to Christ' return, "It is sooner than you think."

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    1. Hello Anonymous,

      I am not sure what you mean by "Orthodox Christianity - that of the Church Fathers"

      I agree that there are some prophetic events which will happen in a way that we can envision in its details but picturing the overall picture is hard. The Pharisees could not figure out that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, but come from Egypt, nor that he would come two times. However their inability to picture the overall scenario in no way diminishes the fact of their occurring.

      The rapture will happen prior to the Tribulation, that is easily interpreted in scripture. The precise timing of the Gog battle is not. Both will occur however.

      Father Seraphim Rose...was a monk, and while many of his teachings may be lined up with God's word, being a monk does not. We are to be part of the world though not of it, God did not say to retire from the world in contemplation. Rose was an ascetic, (http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/frseraphimspeaks.aspx) and Colossians 2:18, 23 warns *against* asceticism.

      Rose relied on extra-biblical texts to gain knowledge and wisdom as applied to his spiritual growth. This is aberrant and unorthodox.
      he also said that "guidance [by the Holy SPirit] "is not given to our times—and frankly, we in our weakness and corruption and sins do not deserve it." Which is also aberrant and unorthodox.

      Rose also believed in the starets system, even lauding Paisius, whereupon Elders or spiritual fathers are charismatic spiritual leaders whose wisdom stems from God as obtained from ascetic experience. This also is aberrant and unorthodox.

      Additionally, some of Father Rose's teachings are not in accordance wit the bible, for example, according to one of his teachings about the soul, Father Rose says every human soul must pass through a series of these stations after death as part of their initial judgment by God, where they will be accused of specific sins and possibly condemned to hell. This is aberrant.

      While there may indeed be people inside the Russian Orthodox and Catholic churches who are born again and truly one of God's sheep, those two churches themselves are not part of the body of Jesus and teach aberrant things. I would not hold up Father Rose as an example of orthodoxy, he seems to be rather the opposite.

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  4. "So the Ezekiel earthquake removes every mountain by overturning them but then the Revelation earthquake crumbles them ... again?"

    I don't see anything that implies that the Ezekiel earthquake levels all the mountains of the world. It says that there will be a great earthquake "in Israel" and that all will tremble. That doesn't necessarily mean all the mountains of the world are leveled at that time, just the ones in Israel. That would still be enough to get everyone on earth to stand up and pay attention.

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    1. It's in Ezekiel 38:20. Since the verse is talking about all the earth, and He continues on to mention mountains, it seems that He is speaking of all mountains on the earth just as he was talking about all the fish in the sea and all the beasts of the earth and all the people on the face of the earth. Seems like a solid interpretation...Here are several translations of that verse for you. See what you think-
      -------------------
      The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground.

      The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence. And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground.

      I'm going to shake the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the wild beasts, all the creatures that crawl on the earth, and every single human being who lives on the surface of the earth. Mountains will collapse, as will their mountain passages, and every wall will fall to the ground.

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    2. Sounds like the 6th seal which could signal the beginning of the tribulation. :)

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    3. Hi Anonymous,

      The battle does sound pretty bad, doesn't it? The verses also mention plague (shudder).

      The sixth seal is the end of the beginning of the Tribulation. By the time the 6th Seal is opened, five previous Tribulation judgments have already been rendered on the earth, which means the wrath of The Time of Jacob's Trouble as it is known (Jeremiah 30:7) begins with the opening of the first seal, (Revelation 6:1). In any case, the rapture happens first. No one quite knows how long between the rapture and the beginning of the tribulation (wrath on the remaining world), it could be instantly or it could be a period of time.

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  5. Hi,

    Before these later theories of the Ezek. 38-39 battle, John Walvoord believed that it occurred sometime before the middle of the tribulation. The destruction of the northern armies would create a vacuum for the Antichrist to step into the temple and proclaim himself god. Although this is an older view it is from a well-respected scholar of Bible prophecy.

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  6. We are in Prophetic times. Joel Rosenberg has written about Damascus Countdown, and Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49 explain the scene. Is it on the Horizon and Ezekiel's war? God makes it clear that he will have the last word when he says: " I will bring you against my land as everyone watches, and my holiness will be displayed by whatever happens to you, Gog. Then all the nations will know that I Am the Lord..I will make myself known to all the nations of the World. Then they will know that I am the Lord. In this way, I will make known my holy name among my people of Israel. I will not let anyone bring shame on it. And all nations, too, will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel..In this way, I will demonstrate my glory to the nations...And from that time on the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God." Ezekiel 38:16, 23 and Ezekiel 39:6-7,21, and 22. The Great I Am Speaks!

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  7. i find it funny how a war that happened between 480-475AD gets pushed in the future. we see the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39 in the book of Ester down to the fact that the Jews lived in peace with the Persians from the time of Cyrus the Great to the 12th year of Xerxes reign when Haman decided to trick the king to annihilate them after rising to second in command in the Persian Empire. all the nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39 were part of the 120 different provinces of the Persian Empire stretching from India to Ethiopia. Jerusalem would not have the walls that were destroyed by the Babylonians rebuilt for another 20 years. if fact God raised up Ester to counter Haman's plot. Ester tells us about how Haman and his 10 sons were all killed in one day and that in Susa there was a second day of battle and many Persians and the other nations that made of the Empire became Jews after seeing how God protected his people just as Ezekiel declares would happen. it mocks God to claim that this prophecy just like Isaiah 17 are yet still future for both find their fulfillment near the time they were written, Ezekiel about 120 years later than while Isaiah 17 was fulfilled while Isaiah's son, who fulfilled Isaiah 7's prophecy, was still nursing from his mother.

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    1. Hi Wesley,

      The battle described in Ezekiel has not been fulfilled.

      --the army was not wiped out by weather holocaust
      --all the world do not know the name of the LORD as Israel's protector
      --God's name is profaned today and has been all along
      --no valley of Hamon Gog exists
      --no clean up of bodies buried as described has occurred
      --the birds have not been called to a great supper of feasting on the multitudes of dead littering the mountains
      --the earthquake described in Ez 38:20 have not been overturned

      & etc

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    2. anywhere there is a war zone and no one to bury the dead vultures and other scavenger birds would feast on the dead. this has happened by times; destruction of Jerusalem, World War I and World War II, and many other wars throughout history. we read in Ester that many died in Susa alone the capital of the Persian Empire. if what we read happened in the capital itself we could only imagine what would have happened in other places including in Judah and Samaria where few lived with the purposed booty that was intended. we do read how many saw the awesome power of the God of the Jews and converted found in Ester. the Jews of a holiday in late February and early March to commemorate God's providential rescue of the them from annihilation. we do read how upset the Jews were when they learned of Haman's plot. it shook them to cry out to the Lord. knowing the historical background of Ester shows how God pulled Haman and his comrades into this battle and how Haman and his whole family were wiped out.

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    3. Hi Wesley

      I agree, the historical background does show how God pulled Haman and his comrades into the battle and wiped them out. However the Haman battle of which you speak is not a fulfillment of the one Ezekiel speaks of in chapters 38-39. There are many other events in Ezekiel's chapters which have not yet occurred.

      Please, don't read the bible backward, in other words, have a pet theory and find a passage in the bible which seems to match it. The point of this essay was that the scripture needs to speak for itself, and the Spirit will lead us into the truth of it.

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  8. Before we can have World War Three, we have to have the fourth and final Arab vs. Israeli war (Amos 1-2, Isaiah 17:1 and Ezekiel 29;12) This war can happen at any time, explaining why you don't see the bitter nations of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria mentioned in Ezekiel 38, the World War Three chapter.

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    1. Anonymous, I think the point of my essay was that we can't be positively sure sure about timing of the prophesied remaining wars...At least, I am not sure as you about their timing.

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  9. Hi Elizabeth, Last night the UK's Channel 4 News programme (left/liberal leaning) carried an interesting feature on Islam's end days eschatology, with particular emphasis on the situation in Syria. They included excerpts of YouTube presentations by some scholarly-sounding Muslim Koranic analysts, as well as the views of a very loud and mad-sounding Christian evangelist.The film sought to explore the mindset of those Islamic jihadists who are flocking in their droves to fight in Syria because they are convinced that the final battle of the end days will soon be fought there and that they (the Islamists) will be victorious. Naturally. biblical eschatology was hardly mentioned, but I found it intriguing that a mainstream news programme would give such serious consideration to the issue as normally end-of-the-world scenarios are treated with undisguised mockery and contempt. John F.

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  10. Merchants of Tarshish = Arms and weapons dealers??

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  11. You don't understand who Gog and Magog really are these days. You can understand the real truth by going to the following urls: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuzkLbHb1Q8
    http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/13trib02.htm#CONVERSION

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    1. Anonymous, I do understand, at least what I know is from the bible. I don't need to know from a man who self-published a long book made into a five-and-a-half hour documentary about conspiracies. Though the video blurb says,""In 2006, Andrew Carrington Hitchcock self published, "The Synagogue Of Satan," the most damning exposure of who had been running the world behind the scenes for centuries" we don't have to see a video to tell us that. It comes down to 2 simple truths

      1. God runs the world
      2. In His infinite wisdom and for His purposes, God allows satan a long leash to rule it for the time being (2 Cor 4:4).

      Don't take your eyes off Jesus. Running after conspiracies will only get you mired in sand traps and quicksand and before you know it you're sinking.

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