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Depending On Jesus
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The Gog And Magog Fear Factor

By James Donahue

"Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken; they will be for flocks which lie down, and no one will make them afraid. The fortress also will cease from Ephraim, and kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria; they will be as the glory of the children of Israel, says the Lord of hosts." (Isaiah 17:1-3)

As the United States builds up its forces for a military attack against Syria, and Russia is sending its navy ships into the Mediterranean and threatening to stand in defense of the Syrian government, people are nervously wondering if the world isn’t on the cusp of the long prophesied final world war.

From the east the Iranian government, which has been supporting the Syrian regime, is warning that if the United States attacks Syria, it will lob missiles into Israel. Israel is building its defenses and preparing for war. And China warns that if Russia gets involved in this conflict, its forces will back Russia.

All of this leads both Christian and Moslem followers to wonder if we are not about to launch the great conflict involving the ancient forces of Gog and Magog, as foretold in both the Old Testament and the Quran.

The Christian text that speaks of Gog and Magog appears in the Book of Ezekiel:

"And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal and prophesy against him, and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn three back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armor, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee." Ezekiel 38:2

The Quran addresses the names in one brief verse:

"Even when Gog and Magog are let loose and they shall break forth from every elevated place. And the true purpose shall draw nigh, then lo! The eyes of those who disbelieved shall be fixedly open: O woe to us! Surely we were in a state of heedlessness as to this; nay, we were unjust."

Strangely, even as vague as these verses are, both Christians and Moslems in some way associate the appearance of Gog and Magog as a signal that the world is experiencing the end of times.

But an unidentified writer for the website Understanding Islam, had an interesting perspective. He explained that Gog and Magog in the Quran are identified as a "group of nomads" or people lacking culture who return before the final hour to "lay havoc on mankind." This havoc will involve chaos, murder and war that "will come together with all of humanity, forgetting their viciousness and love of conflict, surging toward their final reckoning."

However, the writer said, "such a belief lies outside of what the Quran is actually teaching, and was borrowed from Christian thought through the Book of Revelations. The ‘apocalyptic’ mentality that plagues most evangelical Christians has been adopted by many Muslims, leading to absolutely ridiculous interpretations recording historical events."

Of course Christian theologians are busy debating the significance of current events in the Middle East, and how they are related to the prophetic messages not only in Ezekiel and Isaiah but in the Book of Revelation. Many see a Third World War as a signal for the long awaited Second Coming of Christ so U.S. leaders who believe this story are dangerously tempted to plunge the world into the havoc described in the Quran. Do they not see it as an easy way to fix the problems of the world without resorting to diplomacy and hard work?

So what if they start such a war and the Jesus story turns out to be a myth. He doesn’t show up? How do we resolve that mess?

This is extremely dangerous thinking. There is a story that former President George W. Bush, when planning his unprovoked military attack on Iraq in 2003, tried to sell the idea to French President Jacques Chirac using biblical prophecy. After being contacted by Bush Chirac contacted Professor Thomas Romer, an Old Testament expert at the University of Lausanne, to ask about the legends concerning Gog and Magog.

Chirac said Bush told him that when he looked at the Middle East, he saw "Gog and Magog at work" and the biblical prophecies unfolding."

It appears that Bush, a practicing fundamental Christian, was hoping that the two wars he launched would help trigger events leading to the great Battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming. A lot of people died and were left maimed and homeless because of those wars, but so far, there has been no sign of any kind of intervention from the clouds.

Chirac didn’t buy into the prophecy and neither should we. It is due time for the world to turn away from these destructive and outdated religious belief systems, and stop letting them affect world political decision making. It would be best to follow the advice of both Jesus and Mohammad, as well as the Buddha and the many other great prophets and teachers of the past. It was a simple message after all: give up our quest for materialism and love our neighbors.