Rosh: Russia or Chief?

Rosh: Russia or Chief?

How advances in modern Hebrew scholarship are revolutionizing our understanding of biblical prophecy

Joel Richardson

For centuries, controversy and debate has swirled amongst Biblical scholars concerning how to properly translate and interpret the Hebrew word rosh as found in the Oracle of Gog of Magog, Ezekiel 38 & 39. Some scholars have argued that rosh should be translated as an adjective—meaning chief—and others have argued that it should be translated as a proper noun, referring to a place. The effect of this controversy on various translations is quite apparent when we compare a handful of today’s most popular translations. As we see below, The King James Version, The New International Version and The English Standard Versions all translate rosh as an adjective:

“Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal…” —KJV

“Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal…” —NIV

“Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal…” —ESV

On the other hand, the New American Standard Bible and the New King James Version both translate rosh as a proper noun:

“Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal…” —NASB

“Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal…” —NKJV

Adhering to the idea that rosh should be translated as a proper noun referring to a place, many prophecy teachers have argued that Ezekiel was speaking here of Russia. In support of this view, virtually all popular prophecy teachers have looked to two renowned scholars of Hebrew, Wilhelm Gesenius and C.F. Keil.

The problem with relying entirely on Gesenius and Keil is that scholars of ancient Biblical Hebrew, just like any other field of study, are constantly growing and gaining new insights and understanding in their fields. While Gesenius (1786-1842) and Keil (1807-1888) were great Hebrew scholars of their day, advances in the field of Biblical Hebrew since the 19th century have shed much new light on this subject, causing the majority of Hebrew scholars today to reject the translation of rosh as a proper noun. Beyond this, if one reads Gesenius’ efforts to link Rosh to Russia, he relies not primarily on arguments that relate to the Hebrew language of the passage, but instead on arguments from history—namely the testimony of Byzantine and Arab writers who lived close to sixteen hundred years after Ezekiel. But as I have pointed out in several previous articles, the historical-grammatical method of interpretation, as employed by virtually all conservative evangelical scholars today, doesn’t seek to understand how the passage would have been understood a thousand years after the prophet spoke, but rather how Ezekiel himself would have understood the words and names found within the passage. Gesenius’ reliance on what I refer to as the “ancestral-lineage-migration” method of interpretation is rejected by all genuine Biblical scholars today and should be rejected by all serious and responsible students of prophecy as well.

Unlike Gesenius, Keil, argues for the translation of rosh as a proper noun solely on grammatical grounds. Keil however, is far less confident than Gesenius, admitting that the translation of rosh as a proper name is only “probable” at best.

It is important to note that eight years after the release of Keil’s commentary on Ezekiel, his instructor in Hebrew, Ernest W. Hengstenberg, released his own commentary on Ezekiel, coming out and strongly disagreeing with his student. Hengstenberg stated:

Gog is prince over Magog, moreover chief prince, king of the kings over Meshech and Tubal, the Moschi and Tibareni (ch. xxvii. 13, xxxii. 26), who had their own kings, but appear here as vassals of Gog. Many expositors render, instead of chief prince, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. But the poor Russians have been here very unjustly arranged among the enemies of God’s people. Rosh, as the name of a people, does not occur in all the Old Testament.

Not only did Hengstenberg disagree with Keil, so also did Frederick Delitzsch, another German Hebraist who co-authored the well-known Commentary On The Old Testament with Keil.

Of course, in all of the many prophecy books that claim that rosh refers to Russia, all cite Gesenius and Keil, but none ever mention either Delitzsch or Hengstenberg.

On the other hand, those who have argued in favor of translating rosh as an adjective point out that of the roughly 600 times that it is used throughout the Bible, it always means chief or head. Scholars have also pointed out that nowhere in Scripture is a place ever referred to as rosh.

Any honest observer of the long-standing conflict between translators will acknowledge that on grammatical grounds, both sides have expressed valid points. But the conflict between the two positions was never fully resolved… until somewhat recently.

After so many years of debate among scholars, finally, Daniel I. Block, a scholar of Hebrew and Old Testament at Wheaton College, the foremost scholar of the Book of Ezekiel in the World, in The New International Commentary on the Old Testament on Ezekiel, (1998) after considering the many historical arguments as well as various advances in the scholarship of Biblical Hebrew, has very ably offered a solution, satisfying all of the issues raised by both sides of the debate. While Block acknowledges the need to translate rosh as a noun (as Gesenius and Keil argued), he also also calls attention to its appositional relationship to the other names in the text as well as its normal usage throughout the Bible as a reference to “chief.” (as Hengestenberg and Delitzsch argued). And so, having synthesized the strengths of both positions, Block’s translation reads as follows:

“Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince, chief of Meshech and Tubal”

In the years since Block has set forward this translation, the overwhelming majority of modern Hebrew and Old Testament scholars have embraced his translation. This has not been the case, however, within the world of popular Bible prophecy. Block’s solution has yet to filter down to the average student of prophecy. Because the belief that Ezekiel is speaking of Russia is such a wide-spread and deeply entrenched view, some popular prophecy teachers are still determinedly clinging to an entirely outdated view.

While some of the most up to date Bible commentaries and translations follow Block’s approach, few students of prophecy are even aware of this development. But as students of Bible prophecy begin to catch up with modern scholarship on this issue, it is revolutionizing their perspective on Ezekiel’s prophecy. Despite generations of speculation that Russia would someday lead an invasion of Arab nations against Israel, as it turns out, the prophet Ezekiel is simply not referring to Russia. In my new book, Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist, I walk the reader through all of the historical as well as modern developments concerning this essential prophecy. When this ancient oracle is properly understood alongside other key Biblical prophecies, it is truly shocking how pressing and relevant its message becomes for our day, particularly in light of the present tektonic geo-political shifts taking place throughout the Middle East.

32 Responses to Rosh: Russia or Chief?

  1. Ron Meck says:

    Agreed. Like you have said Joel, time and time again, that most modern biblical scholars within the Church look at prophecy through a western-centric worldview which skews their perspective and interpretation. Much in the same way that the western Church wonders why America is not mentioned in the the Bible. The answer to that Question is because America is not in the Middle East.

    Again when we and the early Church read in the Book of Revelation of the King of the North we look to Russia because that is the most northern country and an enemy to the West. Again, this makes logical sense if you see prophecy through a western-centric worldview. I mean come on, Putin has to be the Antichrist right? But when you look at biblical prophecy through a Jerusalem-centric worldview, and the historical record and what countries were around at his time and what territories existed at the time, we find the we have no choice but to rule out Russia.

    If one wishes, he/she can make any biblical prophecy say just about anything. “Rosh is an ancient name for Russia because they even sound alike.” “Magog is Moscow because we know that Rosh is Russia and the only city in Russia that starts with the letter M is Moscow and it is North of Jerusalem, therefore Magog is Moscow.”

    We find that when we look at the historical record, the grammar of the text, the context, context, context of the prophecy and leave out any presuppositions or biases we may have, we always come to the same conclusion; Russia is not Gog and Magog is not in Russia.

    The only hint to Russia (however slight it may be) is in Daniel 11:44. “But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many”

    But again there is a lot that is North of Jerusalem.

  2. John Harrigan says:

    “the present tektonic geo-political shifts”

    I don’t believe in plate tectonics. Great article though.

  3. Nathaniel Chan says:

    Dear Joel,

    Just to digress from the topic a little, if you don’t mind.

    There has been a lot of debate about the rapture of the Church by End Time scholars, with many for the pre-tribulation rapture. This is an important issue as it will affect the Church’s approach to the persecution in the hands of the Antichrist.

    What is your opinion on the rapture? Pre-trib, mid trib or post trib? Will you also be able to do an article on it in the near future to shed some light on it as well?

    Thanks.

  4. Joel says:

    Nathaniel,

    I am on the fence between Post-Trib and Pre-Wrath. Sadly, this issue has been a deeply divisive issue within the Body of Christ. This is not His will (John 17:23). Although I disagree with the Pre-Trib view, I want to make it clear that I do not look derisively upon those who hold this view. From a pastoral perspective however, I do think it is a potentially dangerous view to teach. I say potentially, as it is possible to teach it in a way that can prepare God’s people for trials and tribulations and to fully embrace the cross, though I rarely see it taught this way. What I mean is this: Basic Christian faith has always held that one must always be prepared to face antichrists and tribulations. If, in teaching that the Church will not face the Antichrist and the Great Tribulation, we somehow are exempt from facing antichrists and tribulations, then this is deeply problematic, irresponsible and dangerous. However, if any Pre-Trib teacher has faithfully taught the need for being prepared at all times to face great trials and tribulations and to stand firmly, not loving our lives unto death before antichrists, then I think that such people have been prepared to face the final Antichrist, etc. My greatest concern is pastoral. I want God’s people to be prepared, but I am also concerned for the unity of the Body and as such, strive not to sow division over this issue if possible.

    Blessings

  5. Joel says:

    John,

    “The present explosive Hydro-Plate-like shift in the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East.”

  6. John Harrigan says:

    Now the article is perfect.

  7. Ron Meck says:

    To chime in a bit on Joel’s comment on Nathaniel’s question, it would stand to reason that why most churches do not preach on the End-Times because many who believe we are “pre-trib” feel it is pointless since we will not be here. I also, believe that end-times is avoided because it can be, as my friend Joel stated, such a divisive issue. It has been known to cause churches to split. So many pastors will avoid it as well as many other controversial issues. That in and of itself is problematic and too common.

    It is only in the Western Church that believes in Pre-trib theory. This is easy to do since we in the west have not faced any true persecution of our faith.

    You may have heard of Corrie Ten Boom who help Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust. She was emprisoned into the concentration camps because of her assistance to the Jews. Later after WWII she tells us of the Chinese church who was persecuted under the communist rule of Mao Tse Tung’s Red Guards. When she went to China she met with many of the pastors of the churches there. They explained to her why so many Chinese Christians lost their faith was because the missionaries never told them they would be persecuted and go through tribulation. The missionaries always told them that Jesus would come. The Chinese Christians kept waiting and waiting for Christ to return and save them, but Jesus never came. Instead of Jesus they got the Communists and it was year after year after year and eventually they lost their faith.

    I do not speak for Joel, but this doctrine of pre-tribulation has not prepared the Christian Church, especially the Church in the west, for tribulation.

    It is better to train and prepare for Post-tribulation and be wrong and end up being mid or pre than to prepare only for Pre-tribulation and be wrong. In other words, expect the worst, hope for the best.

    The Bible tells us in 2 Thessalonians Ch2 that there will be a great falling away. This is often referred to as the Great Apostasy. I believe in the great and mighty power of God. I do not believe in chance. I believe that this pre-trib “issue” as I call it, will be one of the greatest contributing factors leading to the the great falling away that we read in His Word.

  8. Marylou says:

    Whatever happened to “The Dead in Christ will rise first. AFTER THAT, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up …” and “… we will by no means precede those who have died …”?

    When the news reports multiple worldwide apparent grave robberies, or I see glorified dead people walking around, I figure that’s time enough to start looking up. If I’m missing something here, someone please let me know. Thanks.

  9. Islamic Infidel says:

    Great article, thanks Joel! And your arguments for apastoral perspective of pre-trib I echo 100%, thanks for posting this :-)

    Joy & Peace

  10. alan cobb says:

    In I Thess 4:17 “those who remain” are caught up after the dead in Christ are raised. The Greek word for ‘remain’ is, “Hoi perileipomenoi,” and means: the surviving ones. It is not difficult to understand the peril these survive or come through alive. It is the Great Tribulation. That the saints are here during this time is revealed in Daniel 7:25 and Rev. 13:7 and the 1st resurrection occurs after this, (Rev. 20:4)

  11. There is also the aspect of Parousia. Let us recall, in the latter chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, a delegation was there to welcome the Apostle Paul when he reached Italy.

    It is very likely that past is prologue, in that when an important personage approaches, there is a welcoming committee, and those in the bad books wait for their doom in the city.

    There is something about when the books of the Bible were written, and knowing the zeitgeist of those times plays a role in the establishing of the correct context.

  12. Don O says:

    Ron, you hit the nail on the head. I have struggled with the concept of having to suffer and die for my faith. Too many people listen to what tickles their ears. But the bible is very clear on this issue. (Christians wake up!!!)As you mentioned, and I agree, much of the Church in the West will fall away because of this doctrine of a Pre-trib Rapture as well as other lies of left that have infiltrated the Church.

  13. Barasheet says:

    I am a pretribber and will gladly have my throat cut tomorrow than deny my Lord…No christian, who is a christian, will fall away due to’tribulation’. Christ described stony ground hearers who prove not to be christian and false brethen and false apostles, but these are not christian…Christ Himself said that, so you can take it up with Him if you disagree..John 10:26-30, so if Jesus is not a liar, and He is not then any christian…any other adjective added to the noun christian is superflous, will not fall away unless the islam doctrine of abrogation holds true with the bible and Paul, abrogates Christs teaching.. Stop this red herring that the biblical doctrine of a pretrib, is a stumbling block. This is assinine and denies the power of God to keep His own. The ability not to be able to discern between Israel and the Church is the main problem with mid post and prewrathers. The passage of Matt24 and others is to do with Israel…the Beast sets up himself in the temple of God…Israel..the elect in the tribulation, the third which is refined as by fire are the ones told to run to the desert when they are given eagles wings and the earth fights to stop the flood spewed from the dragons mouth. You see Jesus gave warnings to the people who will see the beast..they are in Israel, Judah…He hasnt warned His body, His Church. Emotive talk re China commos and Jews in Europe are just that argument from outrage, not biblical rightly dividing the Word, it is Israel’s, or Jacobs trouble..seven years of it, not His body. Joel fell into the emotive argumentation a few months back re the slaughtering of Christians in Sudan and Ethiopia…we as a body are told to expect tribulation and world hatred…not the time of Jacobs Trouble,, we are told to look for Christ not the antichrist. We are told to be ready at anytime for He comes at a time when we expect not…dah 7 year peace treaty, temple worship established, break of treaty with an offensive temple dwelling demigod with a talking statue…I reckon the procrastinators might have some idea of the time of Christs coming when these things begin to happen.so hey lets just putr off the decision…multiple souls may be lost cos of this gross distortion of the truth…well I could argue that according to the prewrathers twisted logic.One final thing just because you dont agree with or understand a certain doctrine, it does not make it a lie. There are many righteous, impeccable, honest intelligent men of integrity who hold to pretrib and they are not liars nor teachers of lies. So stop the vilification of people who disagree with your view point; some humility please.. Joel thanks for your work, have been watching Turkey for years, since I heard of them trying to broker peace treaties with Israel and the Palestines… .

  14. Penny says:

    Two Great places to go to for Plenty of Sound Biblical Teaching on the Pre-Wrath Position is:

    Prewrathrapture.com with Charles Cooper
    And
    Zionshope.org with Marvin Rosenthal.

    Check out these sites thoroughly and you will be blessed and adequately informed.

    Blessings to all
    Penny

  15. Eugene says:

    Penny,

    Alan Kurschner has been the most active prewrath exponent in the last couple of years. He places a premium on writing sound biblical exposition.

    alankurschner.com

  16. Youngs Literal Translation:
    “Son of man, set thy face unto Gog, of the land of Magog, prince of Rosh, Meshaech, and Tubal, and prophesy concerning him…”

  17. Sam says:

    Russia isn’t mentioned in the Bible at all. Rosh, being “chief prince”, alludes to the evil angelic ruler of the lands of Meshech and Tubal. In this case, it’s Gog- the antichrist. In Daniel 10:13, Michael the archangel is called “one of the chief princes” and Daniel 10:21, 12:1 maakes known he is the angelic protector of Israel.

  18. Penny says:

    Thank you, Eugene.
    I have been following Pre-wrath position since 1999. I am thoroughly convinced with this position.
    Yes, i have emailed Alan Kurschner on a few occasions. He is very Helpful

    Penny

  19. Bako says:

    I am going to have to strongly agree with Barasheet on this one, in fact,

    the pre-Trib theory is supported by fact the Church history has many recorded visions of a pre-Trib rapture of the church.

    I think what is hard to understand is the confusion between the second coming, and the rapture, because we think that Jesus Christ is returning to establish his eternal rule, that it won’t be necessary to for him to come for “the great taking up” and then leave for seven years then come back.

    This is difficult to explain, and remember God who wrote scripture obviously knew that this was left open for interpretation, and it is wrong to accuse pre-Trib’ers of spreading “EASY FAITH”. Remember that any faith that someone preaches will not lost, only the faith that God grants you, and he himself perfects is what you retain.

    Can you tell the 3 Million Christians who died during World War I at the hands of the Turks, not Trial and Tribulations? My very relatives were butchered for their faith and refusal to denounce Jesus, in the hands of barbaric Muslims, many were CRUCIFIED! Can you say that this is not tribulation?

    I don’t think so, I think the reason Christ left this subject open for interpretation is because, many would cling to pre-Trib and therefore attempt in their minds think that they would escape tribulation, on the other hands many more are eager to suffer for Christ, through post-trib pre-wrath.

    Well what I have to say to post-Trib pre-Wrath is this, why are you waiting for Tribulation to come to you? If your not scared of persecution go to any Muslim country today and start preaching Jesus, lets see how long you survive?

    I support pre-trib because of the passage about the secret of lawlessness, and how the “restrainer” is holding it back from coming. Who is this restrainer? Some country or peoples? I don’t think so, I believe without a doubt it is referring to the HOLY SPIRIT, and that until the HOLY SPIRIT is taken off of the Earth that is “EVERYONE WHO IS SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT”, that the secret of lawlessness will not be revealed.

    The great apostasy is the denial of the Holy Spirit, and a denial of the power of the Holy Spirit…..

    Isaiah prophesies this saying in Isaiah 30:10.

    They tell the seers, “Stop seeing visions!” They tell the prophets, “Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies.

    So in essence I would defend the pre-Trib on that account, because I have no other way of understanding what the restrainer is, and their is not a single convincing explanation that anyone has conjured for it to me.

    But if you have your own understanding, that’s okay. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:5

    “And there are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.”

  20. Paul says:

    Paul

    Dear Pre Trib Brothers,

    The Second Coming of Jesus has always been the Blessed Hope of the Church not a secret rapture. The Christians in Thessalonica were told to focus on that hope in the midst of tribulation. False teachers had taught them that the Day of the Lord had already come. In light of this Paul told them to not worry that they had not missed it because the (apostasy) falling away and the revealing of the antichrist had to happen first. Why did Paul tell them this if they were going to be raptured before these events? It the pre trib theory was true he should have just said, don’t worry you will not be here when the Day of the Lord comes because you will be raptured out of here before it does?

    “Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 ESV)



    Love in Christ,

    Paul


  21. alan cobb says:

    Joel has listed a nember of link’s on his home page that are very valuable to the student of eschatology. To those who desire to know the truth I suggest the “Answers in Revelation” link. Read the following: “Origen of Pre-trib,” “Pre-Trib Revisionism,” and unanimous view of early Christians.” “themysteryofisrael.org” is another website with great insight into these times.

  22. One of the things about the Holy Trinity is its consistency.

    There is precedent, and more than one example, of those who were kept through trials.

    Israel during the 10 plagues. The Apostle Paul through all he went through.

    Folks, feel free to add to this list.

    On a very different note, Joel, what timeline should I expect when it comes to delivery of your recent book and dvd? For I am really looking forward to its arrival.

    Blessings,

    David

  23. Danny says:

    PRETRIB RAPTURE DISCOVERY !

    BREAKING NEWS: Intensive and extensive and expensive and even pensive research has just discovered that the well-known pretribulation rapture is really and actually a SEVEN-stage coming. For proof look closely at I Thess. 4:13-18:
    (1) The Lord descends.
    (2) The shout.
    (3) The archangel’s voice.
    (4) The trumpet of God.
    (5) The dead rise.
    (6) The caught up (rapture).
    (7) The meeting in the air.
    Right here you can add gasps, shortness of breath, and clutching your heart. Yes, it’s true – seven (count them) stages. BTW, the following pretrib traffickers don’t know yet about this new discovery: Crouch, Hagee, Hindson, Ice, Jeffrey, Jeremiah, LaHaye, Lindsey, Lutzer, Markell, Missler, Stanley, Strandberg, and Van Impe.
    If rapture discoveries are new to you, Google articles like “Deceiving and Being Deceived” by D.M., “X-Raying Margaret,” “Edward Irving is Unnerving,” “Walvoord Melts Ice,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,” “Pretrib Rapture Secrets,” “Thieves’ Marketing,” “Appendix F: Thou Shalt Not Steal,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” “Pretrib Rapture Secrecy,” and “Famous Rapture Watchers – Addendum.”
    For more info on the exciting seven-stage rapture, Google Joe Ortiz’s “End Times Passover” blog (Oct. 19, 2012) which can out-blog any blog that knows how to blog!

    (saw the preceding on the net!)

  24. When you have columns like this, http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=289170 showing up in the Jerusalem Post, you can be sure that the phenomenon will be felt by more than Christians.

  25. Comment 23, and its follow up, caught my eye: http://pjmedia.com/barryrubin/2012/10/26/why-economic-development-as-a-panacea-for-middle-east-problems-is-a-myth/#comment-241710

    Preventing overlap between economics and faith is frankly a fool’s errand.

  26. Sara says:

    / Here’s an interesting something I found recently on the amusing web /

    Carl Sweatman, a PhD student in England, has penned an electrifying “tribute” to Bible prophecy specialist Thomas Ice that all Ice fans and others may enjoy reading.

    http://carlsweatman.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/be-careful-in-polemics/

  27. Tim says:

    Pretrib Rapture Pride

    by Bruce Rockwell

    Pretrib rapture promoters like Thomas Ice give the impression they know more than the early Church Fathers, the Reformers, the greatest Greek New Testament scholars including those who produced the KJV Bible, the founders of their favorite Bible schools, and even their own mentors!
    Ice’s mentor, Dallas Sem. president John Walvoord, couldn’t find anyone holding to pretrib before 1830 – and Walvoord called John Darby and his Brethren followers “the early pretribulationists” (RQ, pp. 160-62). Ice belittles Walvoord and claims that several pre-1830 persons, including “Pseudo-Ephraem” and a “Rev. Morgan Edwards,” taught a pretrib rapture. Even though the first one viewed Antichrist’s arrival as the only “imminent” event, Ice (and Grant Jeffrey) audaciously claim he expected an “imminent” pretrib rapture! And Ice (and John Bray) have covered up Edwards’ historicism which made a pretrib rapture impossible! Google historian Dave MacPherson’s “Deceiving and Being Deceived” for documentation on these and similar historical distortions.
    The same pretrib defenders, when combing ancient books, deviously read “pretrib” into phrases like “before Armageddon,” “before the final conflagration,” and “escape all these things”!
    BTW, the KJV translators’ other writings found in London’s famed British Library (where MacPherson has researched) haven’t a hint of pretrib rapturism. Is it possible that Ice etc. have found pretrib “proof” in the KJV that its translators never found?
    Pretrib merchandisers like Ice claim that nothing is better pretrib proof than Rev. 3:10. They also cover up “Famous Rapture Watchers” (on Google) which shows how the greatest Greek NT scholars of all time interpreted it.
    Pretrib didn’t flourish in America much before the 1909 Scofield Bible which has pretribby “explanatory notes” in its margins. Not seen in the margins was jailed forger Scofield’s criminal record throughout his life that David Lutzweiler has documented in his recent book “The Praise of Folly” which is available online.
    Biola University’s doctrinal statement says Christ’s return is “premillennial” and “before the Tribulation.” Although universities stand for “academic freedom,” Biola has added these narrow, restrictive phrases – non-essentials the founders purposely didn’t include in their original doctrinal statement when Biola was just a small Bible institute! And other Christian schools have also belittled their founders.
    Ice, BTW, has a “Ph.D” issued by a tiny Texas school that wasn’t authorized to issue degrees! Ice now says that he’s working on another “Ph.D” via the University of Wales in Britain. For light on the degrees of Ice’s scholarliness, Google “Bogus degree scandal prompts calls to wind up University of Wales,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “be careful in polemics – Peripatetic Learning,” and “Walvoord Melts Ice.”
    Other fascinating Google articles include “The Unoriginal John Darby,” “X-raying Margaret,” “Edward Irving in Unnerving,” “Pretrib Rapture Politics,” “Pretrib Rapture Secrets,” “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” “Pretrib Rapture Secrecy,” and “Roots of Warlike Christian Zionism” – most from the author of “The Rapture Plot,” the most accurate documentation on pretrib rapture history.
    Can anyone guess who the last proud pretrib rapture holdout will be?

    (I am sharing the above article of interest that I found on the amazing web.)

  28. Mandy says:

    / Hi JT. Found this informative morsel on the surprising net. Any reaction? /

    The Real Morgan Edwards

    by George Wilson

    In 1995, in a 24-page booklet on 18th century pastor Morgan Edwards, evangelist John Bray claimed that Edwards taught a pretrib rapture in his 1788 book titled “Two Academical Exercises….”
    Those echoing Bray include Thomas Ice who wrote “Morgan Edwards: Another Pre-Darby Rapturist.” Edwards’ 1788 work can be found on the internet.
    In order to claim that Edwards held to pretrib, candidates for the I-can-find-pretrib-earlier-in-church-history-than-you-can medal – including Bray, Ice, LaHaye, Frank Marotta etc. – have intentionally covered up Edwards’ “historicism,” his belief that the tribulation had already been going on for hundreds of years. (How can anyone in the tribulation go back in time and look for a pretrib rapture?)
    Here’s proof of Edwards’ historicism and its companion “day-year” theory which can view the 1260 tribulation “days” as “years.”
    On p. 14 Edwards described the Ottoman Empire (which was then already 400 years old) as the Rev. 13:11 “beast.” On p. 20 he defined “Antichrist” as the already 1000-year-old “popery” and the “succession of persons” known as “Popes” – his other Rev. 13 “beast.” He necessarily viewed Rev. 13′s 1260-day period as 1260 literal years in order to provide enough time for his two “beasts.”
    On p. 19, while discussing “the ministry of the witnesses” of Rev. 11, he allotted “about 204 years” for their “years to perform” – years impossible to fit into a 3.5-year period!
    What about Edwards’ rapture? On pp. 21-23 he wrote about “the appearing of the son of man in the clouds, coming to raise the dead saints and change the living, and to catch them up to himself….The signs of Christ’s appearing in the clouds will be extraordinary ‘wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and famines,’ &. (Matth. xxiv. 6-8.)….The signs of his coming, in the heavens will be ‘the trump of God [I Thess. 4:16], vapor and smoke, which will darken the sun and moon [Matt. 24:29],’…and also cause those meteors called ‘falling stars’….
    Right after his combined rapture/advent (!), Edwards said: “And therefore, now, Antichrist…will…counterfeit the preceding wonders in heaven…causing ‘fire to come down from heaven’….And that godhead he will now assume, after killing the two witnesses….Now the great persecution of the Jews will begin…for time, times, and half a time….”
    Thomas Ice’s article on Edwards (see first par. above) quoted only the first 27 words in the above quotation, ending with “to himself.” This sort of unethical revisionism is constantly employed by many pretrib defenders.
    Not only had most of Edwards’ historicist tribulation occurred before his combined rapture/advent, but his Antichrist kept raging for 3.5 years even after the Matt. 24 signs! No wonder his tutor advised him to correct his thesis!
    To read Edwards’ complete work, Google “[PDF] Two Academical Exercises…www.breadoflifebiblestudy.com.”
    For more info on Edwards, Google “McPherson Page” (click on a reproduction of “Cover-Ups”). Also Google “Deceiving and Being Deceived” by historian Dave MacPherson.

  29. Paul Randall says:

    just a few thoughts from an amateur – but first, Boko, you are so right. Thankyou.

    Daniel’s 70 weeks are God’s dealing with Israel. The first 69 finished exactly on the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, and then came a break (the age of the Church) So, before the 70th week can start, the Church age has to finish.
    We are told we will have trials and tribulations, and there have been and still are, but “The Tribulation” is a definite seven-year period. A week of years. Specifically, the seventieth week of Daniel. Therefore it pertains to Israel. In fact it is all about Israel being brought back to belief in Yahweh and crying over Him whom they delivered up to be scourged and crucified.
    And if The Tribulation pertains to Israel, and is God’s dealing with Israel, then the view that says the Church goes through The Tribulation is actually part of Replacement Theology.

    Now, as to Russia or not. There were many influential commentaries made before Israel became a nation-state, so were like looking into an academic fog. That one by Hengstenberg is a real classic, and ever so romantic – “the poor Russians have been here very unjustly arranged among the enemies of God’s people” Could only have been written before atheism took over there, and in fact was at least 100 years before.
    I once heard – “I just love reading the Bible, it throws so much light on the commentaries” and “The greater the cannon, the bigger the bore”

    So, back to the Word as our only true guide, with fulfilled prophecy as mile-markers along the road and world events as mere clues.
    Russia, though it voted in favor of Israel’s establishment, has always sided with the antis. Pogrom is a distinctively Russian term. It is in the “uttermost parts” of the north. It has a mutual defence treaty with Iran – Ezequiel 38:4 (and 39:2) could indicate that Gog does not really want to come against Israel but some hook (that treaty perhaps, plus muslim threats at home) forces him.
    Just as Russia was not anti-Israel when this was written, so Persia, Cush and Put weren’t either. But they were not muslim either, this was written almost a thousand years before islam was invented.
    Things change, and our God knows it – actually he knew the exact changes there would be, long long before these things were written.

    Other mile-markers –
    Romans 1:18-32
    Ezequiel 38:13 – VERY up-to-date – the merchants of Tarshish (the West, USA???) exactly like Bush with Kuwait – try diplomacy first! “Hey, what are you doing? Stop that! Stop, I say.”
    Rev 16:12 Kings of the East, and 9:14,16 – only now in the history of the world has that size army existed, and that will be their perfect opportunity for world domination, with everybody else having battered each other to death.

    A note in passing:
    “In our PC age, how could it be possible that people would be beheaded just for not taking a mark? Preposterous rubbish! Who would do that!” Well, there is except a certain growing band of young men who would be very keen to comply, in fact that is their trade-mark.
    And by the way, in Spanish the word used in Rev. 20:4 is “degollados”, which is not exactly beheaded as with a guillotine, more like throats slit, which is the exact process used in Taliban videos.

  30. Joel says:

    Paul,

    A few quick points. You said:

    the Church goes through The Tribulation is actually part of Replacement Theology.

    Simply not true. If we who are gentiles expect to be grafted into Israel’s blessings, then we should likewise expect to be grafted into Israel’s sufferings. Rev. 12 says:

    “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

    Needless to say this refers to believers, whether Jew or gentile, not simply Jews. And again:

    But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she *was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the fnpresence of the serpent. And the serpent fnpoured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon fnpoured out of his mouth. So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

    So gentile Christians will experience the great tribulation. This is most certainly not “replacement theology.” Such comments are simply not scriptural.

    Lastly, the phrase “the uttermost parts of the north” is not logically referring to Russia. Precisely the same phrase is also used to refer to Beth Togarmah. Yet not a single scholar places this in Russia. All place it in Turkey or Armenia. So we must be consistent. Russia is simply not spoken of in Ezekiel’s prophecy.

    I hope this has helped.

    Blessings

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