War! What is it good for? As Edwin Starr’s classic song says: “Nothing. Absolutely nothing.” But for the purveyors of modern pop-prophecy, war is good for bringing about God’s plan and purpose in our own day and age. War is the key ingredient in their speculative scenario that will yield the finished product–the much-anticipated rapture of the Church. The more news about wars and rumors of war in our own day and age, the happier they get. It’s sort of sickening if you really think about it.
The most recent example is a YouTube video posted by Jack Hibbs, called “Israel is at War.” Hibbs opens the video by enthusiastically announcing: “So right now as I speak to you, there’s no doubt about it, Israel is at war.” He is clearly overly excited as he talks about Iran manipulating Syria, and Russia and China manipulating Iran. He is thrilled to talk about what’s happening with Saudi Arabia, South America, Venezuela, and North Korea. Supposedly, they’re all about to “target Israel and the United States.” He claims, “Israel is now fighting a multifront war regarding a multiple of nations,” and he’s quite elated about it.
The Gog and Magog End-Time Alliance
Jet planes … missiles … and atomic weapons. You will search in vain in Ezekiel 38 and 39, and you will not find them. You will, however, find horses, bows and arrows, shields, clubs, and chariots. If the Gog and Magog prophecy was written for a time more than 2500 years in the future from Ezekiel’s day, why didn’t God describe the battle in terms that we could relate to and understand? Why confuse Ezekiel’s first readers and us?Buy Now
“According to the Bible,” says Hibbs, “what we should see soon is some sort of massive, massive explosion…in the city of Damascus, based on Isaiah chapter 17, that should happen at any time.” Then he says, “Ezekiel 37 and 38 should happen at any time.” He claims, “Those nations, the players of Ezekiel 37 and 38, are there right now.” Then he drops the bomb (pardon the pun) and says he thinks we’re “in the third world war right now.” Apparently, this is the war that is described in the book of Ezekiel.
According to Hibbs, “great Bible scholars” disagree about “where to place the Ezekiel battle.” “Is it right before the rapture,” he asks, “or right after the rapture?” Evidently, that doesn’t matter though. Hibbs says, “The point is this: who cares?” What matters is that we’re close to the rapture either way. With a smile on his face, Hibbs is almost giddy when he closes out the video by saying: “Let’s go! Are you ready? Put your faith in Christ. Be looking up.”
Is this the reason unbelievers should embrace Christ? They should do so because the world is going to end? What happens when it doesn’t end? What happens when the dust settles and the current conflict is old news, as current conflicts always are? Today’s conflicts are tomorrow’s history, and history itself records the failure of these false predictions over and over again. As a result, the convert, who comes to Christ on these false premises, might be tempted to wonder if the Bible, the book he or she has been asked to put their faith and trust in, is even reliable at all.
The truth is the Bible is reliable. However, the way the pop-prophecy pundits handle it is not. The great error of these modern prophecy experts is the error of interpreting already fulfilled prophecy as yet unfulfilled.
Gary DeMar discusses the past fulfillment of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 in many of his books. I wrote a blog on the past fulfillment of Ezekiel chapter 37 and will expound more in my message on Gog and Magog at the Berean Bible Conference at the end of April. There is much evidence that the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecies in these chapters is in our past, not our future.
Past fulfillment is also the case with regard to the fall of Damascus in Isaiah 17. According to Hibbs, “That should happen at any time.” However, based on historical records and the book of Isaiah, it already took place long ago. Isaiah’s prophecies spanned a range of years between 739 BC to 701 BC. Damascus fell to the Assyrians in 732 BC. Isaiah was specifically told by the Lord that the fall of Damascus would happen in his own time. In Isaiah 8:3, Isaiah approaches a prophetess who gives birth to a baby. In verse 4, the Lord says: “…before the boy knows how to cry out ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria.” The fall of Damascus, in the book of Isaiah, is as far in the ancient past as that prophetess’ baby’s first words. Like Ezekiel 37-39, Higgs has misunderstood this prophecy in Isaiah, as well.
Even more alarming than the actual misunderstanding of these prophecies is the enthusiasm that accompanies their misuse. The wars of Isaiah’s and Ezekiel’s prophecies were ancient wars battled out long ago, and they are not ours to fight. Yet, the mishandling of these prophecies has been used to justify unjust war in our day and age. God’s People should be opposing involvement in any of these foreign entanglements. We should not be looking at the loss of human life as a hopeful sign that we’re going to soon be whisked away on the clouds. We are His image bearers in this world, and we should be image bearers of peace. To get excited about the current conflicts and crises in the world, as Hibbs does, sends the wrong message.
10 Popular Prophecy Myths Exposed and Answered
As a result of many failed predictions, many Christians are beginning to take a second look at a prophetic system that they were told is the only one that takes the literal interpretation of the Bible seriously. Gary DeMar has taken on the task of exposing some of the popular myths foisted upon the public by prophetic speculators.Buy Now
It’s just wrong to get excited and hopeful over war. Death and destruction should not cause joy and delight. The news headlines should not be our interpretive grid through which we read the Bible. Instead, the conflicts in this world should bring us to our knees and cause us to pray for peace. Centuries before Edwin Star wrote his song, the Psalmist was singing the same tune: “I am for peace, but…they are for war” (Psalm 120:7). We should be doing the same.
 John N. Oswalt, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament: Isaiah Chapters 1-39 (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Co., 1986), p. 7.
 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2009/aug/10/religion-george-bush ; see also: Stephen Spector, “Gog and Magog in the White House: Did Biblical Prophecy Inspire the Invasion of Iraq?” (Journal of Church and State, Volume 56, Issue 3, Summer 2014, Pages 534–552).