14 February 2010: Most of us are by now very familiar with the Eastern Leg-Islamic Antichrist proponent known by the alias "Joel Richardson." Some of us are even aware of the fact that he is a man whom It's Supernatural! talk show host Sid Roth declared was "hand-picked literally by God to give revelation of the end time." "Joel" agrees with him and declared on that program that the Lord did indeed anoint (Hebrew: mashach) him through the word of a prophetess who prayed over his future wife and some unknown speaker in a 7,000-seat civic center meeting. A couple of weeks ago this mashach "prophet" spoke exclusively again through the internet medium known as WorldNetDaily, and the topic of his divine revelation was "Does Psalm 83 Describe The Next MidEast War?"
Needless to say, "Joel" writes about some perceived problems with the "widespread" view that yours truly and many other far more prominent prophecy authors, ministers, teachers and students hold that Psalm 83 awaits an imminent final fulfillment prior to the 70th Week. I happen to believe that Psalm 83 has been in the process of a literal fulfillment since May of 1948, but you already knew that by reading the previous posts to this blog. So off we go to address a couple "Joel's" problems with our Psalm 83 interpretation. Before I begin, let me say that I think it is obvious that "Joel's" intent with his article is to attempt to gain some notoriety for himself (and his WorldNetDaily-published books) by opposing the majority view interpretation of Psalm 83. He has not succeeded in this endeavor as will now become conclusively demonstrated.
Joel: "The first problem is that most scholars reject the idea that Psalm 83 is even an actual prophecy, but is simply, “a national prayer of lament.” Such a Psalm would not be considered a prophecy in the sense of that which was uttered by the biblical prophets."This statement is in error on several counts. First, most Bible scholars do not reject the idea that Psalm 83 is an actual prophecy. They understand it to be a prophetic imprecatory prayer. Secondly, these scholars hold to this understanding because they know the Bible and are acutely aware that the Bible declares the writer of Psalm 83, Asaph the Levite priest assigned by King David "to minister before the Ark of the Lord, and to record, and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel: Asaph the chief..." was a prophet!!! (see: 1 Chronicles 16:4-5). Crucially, and to the point, 1 Chronicles 25:2 declares: "Of the sons of Asaph: Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah, and Asharelah; the sons of Asaph were under the direction of Asaph, who prophesied (Heb: naba' - to prophesy under influence of Divine Spirit) according to the order of the king." Even thereafter, in 2 Chronicles 29:30 we read: "Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the LORD with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer (Hebrew: chozeh - a seer, a prophet)." Therefore, as we can clearly see through God's Word, Asaph was most definitively a prophet, and Psalm 83 is a prophecy no different than any other prophecy in Lord's Inerrant Word.
Joel: "...Asaph, the writer of this Psalm, mentions that “Assyria” will join this coalition. When this Psalm was written during the reign of King David, the Kingdom of Assyria included portions of modern-day Iraq, Syria and Turkey."Not quite an accurate statement Mr. Richardson, not quite an accurate statement. In the hundred year period circa 1000-900 BC during which Asaph wrote wrote the God-breathed Psalm 83, Assur (Assyria) was in full retreat from the lands it had occupied to the west of the Euphrates River, and was centered in modern-day Iraq in the Tigris and Euphrates valleys as seen in this map courtesy of the Assyrian National News Agency. Who knows Assyrian history better, the modern descendants of ancient Assyria or "Joel Richardson?" Sorry, but one cannot cook a "Turkey" that is not in the Psalm 83 pot.
Additionally, the full context of verse 8 in Psalm 83 is that Assur would be of assistance or lend strength or of help to the "children of Lot" during the fulfillment of this prophecy. That has been the fact of the matter as I see it since the first Arab-Israel war of 1948, the Six Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973 when Iraqi generals were commanders of the Arab forces and placed large numbers of their troops on the front lines with the Syrians and Jordanian armies. In particular, the Yom Kippur War of 1973 saw a squadron of Iraqi Air Force jets operating against Israel from an Egyptian airfield and an Iraqi division of 18,000 troops along with 800-some odd main battle tanks alongside Syrian troops in the Golan. This is fact and validates verse 8 irregardless of what might occur in the coming concluding battles of the Psalm 83 war.
As for Joel Richardson's assertion that Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38/39 are the same war, well, let's just say that such an idea would be so thoroughly and easily refuted and rebuked by a routine, Berean-style one-on-one comparison of the texts that it would be a complete waste of my time and yours to address them here. Of course, it stands to reason via plain logic that if Joel wants to make this argument and thereby make Asaph a prophet no different than Ezekiel, then he has immediately contradicted himself regarding his initial argument that Asaph was not a prophet. That makes three strikes and an out.
UPDATE 19 February 2012: As expected "Joel Richardson" has problems with "some prophecy blogs," but only bothered to link to this Eschatology Today blog in his response. So therefore, his problem is not with what others have written, but what I have written above in rebuttal to his WND nonsense. The issue with his response is that "Joel" does not even come close to addressing the two key issues I raised with respect to his WND article.
As anyone can clearly be informed of the first of the two specific issues I raised in the original article above were related to Asaph being identified in God's Word as a "chozeh," the Hebrew word meaning a seer, a prophet; and that Asaph prophesied accordingly to King David. My simple citation of just three verses from 1 and 2 Chronicles destroyed the foundation of the attempt to teach that Psalm 83 is not a prophecy. Who dares deny the Word of God?
The second specific issue I addressed above related to the one-word mention of Assur in verse 8 of Psalm 83. "Joel's" assertion was that circa David's Kingdom (1020-930 BC) Assyria was the occupier of modern-day Iraq, Syria and Turkey. As proven with an modern-day Assyrian map, Assur in the historical period of Asaph's prophecy was confined to the Tigris and Euphrates valley of the central Mesopotamian plains of modern-day Iraq.Case closed, issue resolved.
Being unable to overcome the primary points of the rebuttal of his WND piece "Joel" then made an attempt to switch the focus and gain traction via some other issue of minor relevance. In this particular instance he sets sail on a fanciful journey of false historical narrative and incorrect historical geographic associations. The bottom line in the failure to distract from the real issues of the rebuttal is as follows. Instead of referring to Russians, or Georgians or other Caucasian peoples north and northeast of the Black Sea, the ancients referred to these nations by their Biblical names. For example, with respect to Magog, these people were identified as Scythians by Josephus in the first century AD (Antiquities I, vi. 1). The Scythians without question inhabited modern-day Russia. Five hundred years prior to Josephus there was the Greek historian Herodotus who located the Scythians, also known as the Sacae tribes in his time, as inhabiting what we know today as modern-day Ukraine. These identifications and geographic are unassailable historical facts.
What Christians have known for a very long time regarding the identification of "Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal," (Ezekiel 38:2 NKJV) is correct and they should avoid whenever possible the current (I would say temporary) false teaching in this regard as espoused by "Joel Richardson" and a select few others of the genre.
Instead we would all be far better served to read the research published by Xulon Press in 2003 as written by Dr. Jon Mark Ruthven and Dr. Ihab Griess, in their free-of-charge .pdf tome, "The Prophecy That is Shaping History; New Research on Ezekiel's Vision of the End." The research contained herein is an exemplary of proper hermeneutic in practical application. I would strongly recommend all readers to download (right click and "Save As") Dr. Ruthven's book and to read it at your leisure. Happy reading.
Addendum: In "Joel Richardson's" response to this article, "Where Is Magog, Meshech and Tubal?," he attempts to conclude that ONLY the modern day nation of Turkey is representative of the several nations and peoples named by God for Ezekiel to prophesy against, to include specifically: Magog, Mechech, Tubal, Gomer and Togarmah. This strongly infers that the man who is to be Gog is a modern day Turk from modern day Turkey, and therefore he is a Sunni Muslim.
Did you get that? Gog will be a modern-day Turkish Sunni Muslim. One has to read these theories very carefully to see the nonsensical rubbish they want you accept as they build their house of cards premise for an Islamic Antichrist and his Eastern Leg-only world conquering Islamic Empire. "Joel Richardson" is hereby attempting to lure folks into believing, for the price of his previous and forthcoming book, that Gog and the Antichrist of the 70th Week and Revelation are one and the same man. The truly essential point here is that "Joel Richardson" and his fellow travelers do accept and believe in propagating utterly false Islamic eschatology as fact and as an equal to Bible prophecy and its coming fulfillments. It also has escaped the proponents of this nonsense that in no way whatsoever would the Turks of modern-day Turkey able to fulfill the requirement according the the prophecy of the angel Gabriel: "And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary." As we all know the legions of the Roman Empire destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD. At that same time the Turks were nomadic tribes on the steppes of Asia.
And so this is where the entire Islamic Antichrist-Eastern Leg house of cards theorem finally collapses upon its own weight. The prophetic Word of God in Ezekiel 39:11-16 unambiguously tells all of us that Gog and his military coalition will fail in their invasion attempt and that Gog himself will be buried in Israel. Period, end of Gog, and the end of that specific coalition of nations - permanently. "Joel Richardson" and all of his fellow travelers who agree with him conveniently ignore or look past this prophetic Word of God fact. It's an inconvenience to them, nothing more. Move along, nothing more to see here. Bereans they are not.
In understanding the prophetic fulfillment and future fact that Gog and his entire coalition of armies are completely annihilated by God on the "mountains if Israel," then who, pray tell, would be the Antichrist and his military forces we read about elsewhere in the Word of God? Obviously the Antichrist is not Gog of Magog (Gog of Turkey according to "Joel Richardson") and the entire plethora of his numerous man-made references to this effect are, at the minimum, in gross error in their identification of the lands of Magog, Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. And just as obviously the national origin identification of the Antichrist given by the angel Gabriel in Daniel 9:26b as coming from "the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary," as fulfilled in 70 AD by General Titus Flavius Vespasianus and his several Roman Legions** confirms a Roman, Greek or Western European origin for this man of sin, the son of perdition.
**Historical data indicates that following the Roman civil war that erupted with Emperor Nero's death in 68 AD and concluded with Emperor Vespasian being confirmed by the Roman Senate on 21 December 69 AD, two Roman Legions, Legio V Macedonica and Legio XV Apollinaris, began their Judean deployment via eastern Mediterranean seaports in the Roman provinces of Phoenicia (modern-day Lebanon) and Samaria (modern-day Israel) in the early months of 70 AD direct from the former European civil war arena. These are European troops, not Arabs as claimed by the Islamic Antichrist theorists.
At this point I need to say that the nations represented in Ezekiel 38:6 by Gomer and Togarmah might well be a different matter than discussed above, and might well indicate both a Turkish and Caucasian nation(s) participation in this attempted invasion. But, again, the prophetic truth in the sum of Ezekiel's prophesy is that they are secondary players not meriting a mention in chapter 38 until verse 6, definitively after the mentioning of Iran (Paras), Sudan (Kuwsh) and Libya (Puwt). These five nations are all of secondary importance because they are omitted completely in the text of Ezekiel 39 where God again repeats in verse 1, the primary importance of "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal."
Additionally, if one researches the history of the Turks in modern day Turkey one would learn that they arrived in this land from Central Asia in the early part of the 11th century (1092 AD) following their invasion of Persia. The modern Turks are the descendants of the ancient Seljuk Turks who descended from the more ancient Oghuz Turkic peoples of north-central Asia. The historical fact is that the approximately 52-year lifespan of Ezekiel (c. 622 to 570 BC) pre-dates any Turkic presence in Anatolia (the ancient name for Turkey) and for the entirety of the 1,600 year long era of classical antiquity (600 BC through 1000 AD). The forebears of the modern Turkish nation were living in regions anywhere from 2,500 to 3,500 miles northeast of present day Turkey. Do any of the Genesis 10 Table of Nations names given by God for Ezekiel to prophesy against 2,600 years ago reference modern day Turks? No, they apparently do not. They reference locations associated with the names only of Gomer and Togarmah who today are a multi-ethnic mix of the original inhabitants and invaders from the far northeast of Asia.
"Joel" also states: "23.) Author Joel C. Rosenberg also places both Meshech and Tubal in modern day Turkey."
That's not entirely accurate "Joel." From today's entry (22 FEB 2012) on Joel C. Rosenberg's blog, I quote with emphasis added:
"Another question I’m getting asked these days: Is Putin “Gog,” the evil leader described in the prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39? It came up during my recent speaking tour in Florida, and in a talk I gave to a group on Capitol Hill last week? Thus far, my answer remains the same — Putin is certainly “Gog-esque,” but it is too early to speculate on whether he is actually the biblical figure that will rise to power in Russia (known in Ezekiel’s prophecy as “Magog”) in the last days and build an alliance with Iran (“Persia”), Sudan (“Cush”), Turkey (“Gomer”), Libya and Algeria (“Put”), the countries of Central Asia (“Beth Togarmah”) to attack the State of Israel from “the north” (probably via Lebanon and Syria). That said, it is fair to say that geopolitical events over the past decade — and certainly over the past year or so — have been moving on a trajectory consistent with the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39. That doesn’t necessarily mean we will see the prophecies come to complete fulfillment in our lifetime or soon, but we cannot rule out the possibility."
Joel C. Rosenberg has been consistent in his identification of the major players named in Ezekiel 38/39 as follows:
Magog, Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal - Russia and former Soviet RepublicsSecond Addendum: It is good to see that brother Joel is reading this blog and correcting some of his errors accordingly. You're welcome Joel. However, I said some of his errors, not all, so here is yet another which requires an "adjustment.
Persia - Iran
Cush - Sudan, Ethiopia, and possibly Eritrea
Put - Libya, Algeria, Tunisia
Gomer - Turkey and possibly Germany and Austria
Bethtogarmah - Turkey, Armenia, and the Turkic-speaking peoples of Asia Minor and Central Asia
"17.) Herodotus, who never once mentions Magog, does discuss the Scythian peoples. After discussing the various theories for their origins, expresses his preferred belief that they came from Turkey..."Again, this is not quite accurate. SoundChristian.com reports on Herodotus and the Scythians (Magog) without a single reference to Turkey and firmly places them within what we know as modern Russia and Ukraine. I would recommend reading the entire report linked above as it also discusses the Turks.
"Herodotus wrote extensively about the descendants of Magog by their Greek name, the Scythians, about 150 years after Ezekiel. He wrote of three tribes of Scythians, one being "Royal Scythians" who ruled over all other Scythians of Scythia, and two other tribes having different lifestyles: one a tribe of farmers and settled agriculturalists, and another a tribe of migrant stockbreeders who immigrated with their horses, cows and sheep. Herodotus describes them as living in the territory north of the Black Sea, and that they terrorized the southern steppes of Russia beginning in the 10th century BC. He supposed the word Scythian meant "father." Perhaps he was correct, as the name Scythian is a derivative of Ashkenaz, who was the father of the Scythians. Numerous archaeological discoveries have confirmed Herodotus' reports in general, and his Scythian accounts in particular.
He also wrote that "the wandering Scythians once dwelt in Asia, and there warred with the Massagetae (Magogites), but with ill success; they therefore quitted their homes, crossed the Araxes (Volga) river, and entered the land of Cimmeria." Historical records indicate that in the 7th century BC tribes of Scythians swept across the Caucasus mountains displacing the Cimmerians (Gomerites). Flavius Josephus, Jewish and Roman historian, continued with that reference in the 1st century AD, when he records that Magogites (Magogians) were called "Scythians" by the Greeks. Philo, famous Greek and Jewish philosopher in the 1st century AD, also identified Magog with southern Russia"
Also in this vein I would refer the reader to FocusOnJerusalem.com where the Scythians are discussed as well.
"The Scythians We know the descendants of Magog by their Greek designation as the Scythians (depicted in their legends as descending from Scythes , the youngest of the three sons of Heracles, from sleeping with a half viper and half woman). The name Scythian designates a number of nomadic tribes from the Russian steppes, one group of which invaded the Near East in the 8th and 7th centuries B.C. After being repulsed from Media, many of the later Scyths settled in the fertile area of the Ukraine north of the Black Sea. Other related tribes occupied the area to the east of the Caspian Sea. Herodotus describes them living in Scythia (i.e., the territory north of the Black Sea). He describes Scythia as a square, 20 days journey (360 miles) on a side. It encompassed the lower reaches of the Dniester, Bug, Dnieper, and Don Rivers where they flow into the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The Scythian language belonged to the Iranian family of the Indo-European languages. The Ossetian dialect of central Caucasus appears to be a survivor. The original area in which Iranian was spoken extended from the mid-Volga and the Don regions to the northern Urals and beyond. From here, Iranian-speaking tribes colonized Media, Parthia, Persia, Central Asia, and as far as the Chinese border. In the 7th century B.C. the Scythians swept across the area, displacing the Cimmerians from the steppes of the Ukraine east of Dnieper River, who fled from them across the Caucasus. It is provocative that even the name "Caucasus" appears to have been derived from Gog-hasan, or "Gog's Fort." The hippomolgoi ("mare-milkers") mentioned in Homer's Iliad were equestrian nomads of the northern steppes and several authorities also identified these with the Scythians. "