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Russia Rising (Book Review)

By Benjamin Liles

          Mark Hitchcock writes with great ease and candor about Bible Prophecy, especially as it concerns what's going on in the Middle East and her biggest support--Russia. I had the great privilege to review this book on behalf of Tyndale in exchange for my honest feedback. And that's exactly what you'll get with what I'm about to say. Before I even dove in to reading this book, I have been going over the things Ezekiel was given charge by God to tell the people of Israel up to Chapter 13 so far. I have yet to fully get to Ezekiel 38 and 39 in terms of what's being said.

          To that end my own study of Ezekiel 38 was slightly different. I went through the countries named by Ezekiel that God was revealing to him to speak to Israel. They needed to hear from God about what He was doing considering in Exodus they were too frightened to hear from God directly. Since then as they wanted God's ministers, His prophets like Moses, to give them His messages they have forgotten their God and went their own way. In doing so they were heaping God's judgments upon them.

          But by Ezekiel 38 God gives Israel a huge amount of hope. Not only has Israel been restored to her land, as promised by God as it concerns Ezekiel 37, but those who oppose Israel and wishing to wipe her out are dealt with. That being said, in my own look at what God is saying to Israel and her neighbors, these are the nations who conspire against her: Magog (Scythians - from whom modern Russia descends)--Central Asia and possibly Afghanistan as they originally were Russian satellite nations, then there's Meshech and Tubal which are known as Turkey (Ezekiel 38:2-3), then Persia is mentioned which is known as Iran these days, Cush (Ethiopia) is named as well as Put (Libya) (Ezekiel 38:5), and the final two who are in this confederacy are Gomer and Beth-togarmah (also Turkey) (Ezekiel 38:6). That leaves Ezekiel 38:2 that says, "Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him."

          Even though Mark Hitchcock is more of a biblical scholar and prophetic understanding of scripture as he's been to seminary and I haven't, I have a slightly different view. But before I get to that, what God is telling Ezekiel is that the leader of this primary nation, Gog of the land of Magog is left ambiguous. We're not told specifically where this nation is, but considering in Ezekiel 38:6 it says "Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops--many people are with you" I consider the former nations of Ukraine, Poland, and Romania being re-aligned with this primary nation--the land of Magog, Meshech and Tubal. It leads me to suspect that yes, Turkey is mentioned, but can we be certain without a doubt Russia is the leader of this coalition?

          This is where I agree with Mark Hitchcock on. He mentions the nations which we know as Iran, Ethiopia, Libya, Turkey, the Central Asian nations as well as Afghanistan. Their primary source of help comes from Russia. And even though we're not told the leader's actual name, we know he is "Gog...the prince of Rosh." Considering Russia no longer has a monarchy as the Bolsheviks did away with the Romanov family, that leaves this "Prince of Rosh" as being the Prime Minister of Russia being the leader of this coalition of nations against Israel. While there are other nations listed in Daniel 11, which are located along the north African coast, space limits me to further spare here.

          After all this being said, Mark Hitchcock does a great job explaining what Ezekiel is sharing by the mouth of God. Hitchcock also provides a gospel explanation in Chapter 10: It's Always Soon. As Christians go we are always to wait expectantly on the Lord, but we also need to be about His work, sharing the gospel message, working alongside others, showing the love of Christ to those who desperately desiring to throw off the yoke of their burdens. To those who perish under their violations of God's law they need to see how they have done so in a loving and corrective manner. We aren't to be overly harsh, but we need to be blunt about these things. Without that grace cannot be understood or even grasped, hoping it will convert the soul. It is always my prayer, my hope that I can present the gospel message in both love and clarity that it touches hearts. In Jesus's name I do this. Amen.

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