Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face against 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, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. “I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, Ezekiel 38:1-4 NKJV
Like many people who love the outdoors, I have spent a good portion of my free time enjoying the sport of fishing. While not all that proficient at it, I do enjoy it and have had the opportunity to fish with people I would describe as expert at convincing fish to take what is offered to them. I would also say that a great portion of what makes up a person’s expertise at fishing, and something I have struggled to learn, is knowing exactly what sort of bait the fish finds irresistible. Over the years, while reading and studying the Word, for many reasons I have come to the conclusion that Jesus is a great fisherman.
We talked last week about setting the table in the Middle East, and how current events certainly seem to appear as if God is setting the table for the events of Ezekiel 38-39 to occur. Well to no surprise, this week yet another event happened in Israel which not only reinforces that belief for me, but certainly makes it appear that not only is dinner just about ready but the main course looks to be a fish called Gog. Now if this sounds a little odd to you, stay with me while I explain my thinking. You see, when talking about Gog’s decision to attempt an invasion of Israel, not only does God reveal that He chooses to use “hooks in the jaw” to bring Gog in, God goes on to explain the bait He uses to do so.
‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan: “You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates’—“to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land. Ezekiel 38:10-12 NKJV
Obviously there will be something of great value in Israel which will tempt Gog to gather his armies along the northern border of Israel and attempt an invasion with the intent of taking plunder. Many scholars have identified Magog as Russia, and I would be inclined to agree based upon my own study. However, considering the size of Russia, and especially the size of their economy as opposed to Israel’s, what could Israel possibly possess that would tempt them to invade? A fact that I learned long ago as a history student in college was the importance of oil as a factor in so many of the wars of the past. It has been said by many that in order to rule the world; one must first control the world’s supply of oil, and by studying the conflicts of the past it is apparent that many have believed that is true.
Russia’s economy is heavily dependent on oil and gas production and export to provide the income for their economy. Estimates run between 40 and 60 percent of their budget depend on this income, which is staggering considering the volatility of oil and gas prices. Simply consider that if the price of oil drops 50%, you immediately lose half of your income. The result is dramatic inflation, a loss of buying power, and a very angry population wanting to know just what the government is going to do about it. Of course, it follows that the volatility of the oil market occurs because too many countries produce the oil at different rates which affect the supply available at any given time. Consider however, the power one government would hold over the world if it controlled the majority of the oil available at any given time?
In doing a little research I found the following figures. Russia produces approximately 38% of the world’s natural gas, and 25% of its oil. The Middle East produces 35% of the world’s natural gas and 45% of its oil. Now if Russia were to control the Middle East production they would suddenly hold sway over almost 75% of the world’s natural gas and oil as well. What kind of power do you think they would then possess over the rest of the world? Is it possible that the presence of Russia in the Middle East is a sign of their intentions to possibly attempt to take control of these resources? If so, where does Israel fit in?
Most are aware that in the past few years Israel has discovered massive fields of natural gas off of the coast of Israel which some estimates have put in the “trillions” of cubic feet. In and of itself, there you have a very tempting “booty and spoil” for someone to consider stealing, but if that were not enough, how interesting was it to see just this past week the announcement in Israel that they have discovered oil in the Golan Heights? Early estimates put that discovery in the “billions” of barrels and could possibly be even higher. Now suddenly Israel finds itself in the position of owning two of the world’s most desirable and necessary resources, and quite possibly the motivation for an invasion by an aggressor. Will these discoveries prove to be the plunder Gog is seeking? Only time will tell, but it would not surprise me in the least if it were.
Again it would appear we see the possibility that God is setting the table for the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the future of Israel that we find occur just before the tribulation begins. Is the time short? That is a question all of us should be asking ourselves, as well as making sure we are prepared for that time in history that the Bible speaks so much about. Have you made the decision to accept the salvation offered to you by God in the person of His Son Jesus Christ? If not, I would suggest there is no better time than right now, especially as we see the day approaching when Jesus will call all those who believe to come up to Him and escape the wrath that is to come upon this world.
If you are reading this and have never made the decision to accept Jesus Christ into your heart and accept the free gift of eternal life He has offered you, I urge you to do so right now. You can do that by praying this prayer and accepting the gift of eternal life God has offered you by the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.
Father, I know I am a sinner in need of salvation. I believe you sent your Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sin, and I ask you now to forgive me of my sins. I want to receive your gift of salvation so please come into my heart and help me to live and follow you as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus' name, Amen.