By Dr. David R. Reagan
Did you know that the Bible contains prophecies about nine wars in the end times? That’s right, a total of nine. That fact comes as a shock to most people who are familiar with only one namely, the War of Armageddon. Most people are very surprised to learn that the War of Armageddon is not the only end time war.
We will now begin our study of the wars of the end times with the first three.
#1. The War of Israeli Extermination (Psalm 83)
The first – the War of Israeli Extermination – is described in Psalm 83. Psalm 83 states that the immediate neighbors of Israel will launch a war for the purpose of wiping out Israel as a nation. The nations described as being a part of this nefarious effort are those with a common border with Israel including Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Gaza. All of these share a common border with Israel.
The second half of Psalm 83 is a prayer for Israel’s victory. The outcome of the war is not specifically stated in Psalm 83, but we know from other Scriptures that Israel will be victorious. For example, Zechariah 12:6 says that in the end times Israel will be like a firepot among pieces of wood, and a flaming torch among sheaths, so that that they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples. They are going to be like David against Goliath.
Author Bill Salus believes this war of annihilation will boomerang on the Arab nations and will result in their overwhelming defeat, producing great territorial expansion and enhanced national resources for Israel. And yes, peace will come to Israel.
Incidentally, it is during this war that Israel will most likely destroy Damascus in fulfillment of the prophecies in Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 19. These passages say that in the end times Damascus will be destroyed and it will never be built again.
#2. The First War of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38 & 39)
The security provided by the Psalm 83 War will not last long, because what will happen is that the Arab nations will turn to their natural ally Russia and cry out for help, resulting in the First War of Gog and Magog. This war is described in Ezekiel 38 & 39. This is where Russia comes down against Israel with certain specified Muslim allies.
The Russians will be delighted to respond to the Arab cry for help, because they have always dreamed of taking over the oil fields of the Middle East. They will therefore launch an invasion for the stated purpose of helping the Muslims destroy Israel. Their specific allies will involve the outer ring of Muslim states that surround Israel, all but Saudi Arabia.
I believe that the unstated agenda of the Russians and their real motivation will be to use the Arab invitation as an excuse to expand their sovereignty over all the Middle East. This alternative motive is described in Ezekiel 38:12 where it says the Russians will come to capture spoil and to seize plunder.
The invading armies will be supernaturally destroyed by God on the mountains of Israel. The Lord will accomplish this destruction through earthquakes and pestilence, hail, fire and brimstone, and battlefield confusion. Even the Jewish people will recognize that the victory belongs to God, and it will open many of their hearts to the Lord.
The greatest mystery concerning this war is its timing. Most have placed it at the beginning of the Tribulation. Others have delayed it to the middle of the Tribulation. But, increasingly in recent years, the tendency has been to place it before the beginning of the Tribulation. The reason there is so much question is because the Bible does not say for sure when it will occur, and there is room for honest disagreement on this. Probably every person has a different view as to when this war will occur. So, there is room for honest disagreement.
In recent years, as said, the most common view that is coming out these days is that this war will start before the Tribulation. The best discussion of timing that has yet been written I think can be found in this book Northern Storm Rising by Dr. Ron Rhodes who lives in Frisco, Texas. He’s a great writer!
Dr. Rhodes concludes that this War of Gog and Magog will most likely occur 3.5 years before the Tribulation starts. Here’s his reasoning. The Tribulation lasts seven years. Ezekiel 39:9 says that the Jews will spend seven years burning the weapons that they capture in that war, likely nuclear fuel, but they are going to be burning weapons that they captured in that war for seven years. Revelation 12 tells us that 3.5 years into the Tribulation the Jews will be evicted from the land by the Antichrist, and most will flee to Jordan. Therefore, the only way the Jews could spend seven years burning the weapons, Ron argues, is for the war to begin 3.5 years before the start of the Tribulation.
This brings up another question. Does this mean that the wars of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 & 39 must occur before the Rapture? Not at all! The Rapture can occur any moment before, during, or after these wars. Keep in mind that the Rapture is not what starts the Tribulation. The Tribulation will begin when the Antichrist signs a security treaty with Israel. There could be a period of several years between the time of the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation.
#3. The Conventional War of the Tribulation
This brings us to the third end time war – the Conventional War of the Tribulation – mentioned in Revelation 6. Although the Antichrist is going to rise to power in Europe through cunning, deception, intrigue, and his charismatic personality, I believe he will have to resort to military power to conquer the world. Asia, Africa, and Latin America have spent the last 200 years casting off European colonialism. They are not suddenly going to turn around to some European leader, no matter how dynamic and how charismatic he may be, and say “Please come and rule us.” They are not going to do that. They are going to resist any leader who rises to power in Europe, regardless of how brilliant and charismatic he maybe.
We are told in Revelation 13:7 that the Antichrist will ultimately achieve authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, and I believe this authority will be achieved through war. Revelation 6 records the outbreak of this world war. It results in the death of one-fourth of humanity. You ever stop and make those calculations? One-fourth of humanity in today’s terms means that this war that happens at the beginning of the Tribulation, 1.5 billion people will die!
This carnage is called the Seal Judgments.
The result of the Psalm 83 War and the war described in Ezekiel 38 & 39 results in the destruction of Islam in the Middle East. But, there are many other Islamic nations in the world that will also have to be taken care of. The largest Muslim nations in the world are not in the Middle East. The largest Muslim nations are Indonesia with 200 million, India with 145 million, Pakistan with 140 million, and Bangladesh with 115 million. Those are the big Muslim nations of the world, and none of which are in the Middle East.
I think the Antichrist will use this Conventional War of the Tribulation to conquer all the Islamic nations of the world.
In the second part of our series that answers, “What are the wars of the End Times?” well look at wars 4-6.