If you’ve been following these blogs, you know by now that no one prophetic passage gives us the total picture of an end-time event. We have to consider the whole counsel of the Word of God and make the necessary connections using the Spirit-inspired phrases and analogies. Otherwise, we can read way more into a single verse than is actually there.
Our featured passage is a good example. Rev. 13:1-3 describes the Dragon (Satan) giving the Beast his power, throne, and authority. One of the 7 heads of the beast has a fatal would and it is healed. We learned this refers to one of the empires (the 7th) being revived. When it reasserts itself, “the whole world” will be filled with wonder and follow the beast.
Does this mean that the Beast—Gog of Magog—will literally rule the whole earth? Or is this another example of figurative language meant to convey something else? This particular figure of speech is called a hyperbole, an intentional exaggeration. So how do we interpret it? There are two question we need to ask. (1) Is the exaggeration being suggested even possible? (2) Is there any contradictory evidence in Scripture to prove otherwise? Here are some passages to consider.
To confirm this view, we need only consult the Old Testament prophets who foretold the specific nations that will be involved in the actual conflict. Ezek. 38:1-6 lists Magog, Meshek, and Tubal (areas in Asia Minor, now Turkey), Persia (Iran), Cush (Sudan), Put (Libya), Gomer (near the Black Sea), and Togarmah (Armenia). Daniel 11:42-43 adds Egypt and Libya. Micah 5:6 includes Assyria (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon).
This is why the Beast in Revelation is described as having 7 heads (kingdoms or “mountains”), the same 7 nations that oppressed Israel through the ages as seen in the visions recorded in Daniel. That is, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and the Ottoman Empire. The Beast also always has 10 horns—the modern day nations that occupy those regions now. In short, the main conflict covers the area of the Middle East generally known as the Fertile Crescent, the hostile Gentile nations that seek to destroy Israel.
This makes even more sense when we consider that the various visions John saw and recorded in Rev. 11-19 all deal with the events of the first 3½ years of the Day of the Lord. That is, the trumpet and bowl judgments, which consume and destroy the Antichrist and his coalition of Middle Eastern armies, that eventually leads to the restoration of kingdom to the newly revived Jewish believers.
The Jews missed their time of visitation when they rejected Christ at His first coming. Now as Christ’s second coming draws so near, we need to not only discern the signs but also know the times so that the Church can understand what we need to be doing. It’s not that we’ll miss the rapture, but we can get caught up in doing things that are not needed. Instead, we need to be offering a merciful warning to this generation, as in Noah’s time. People need to receive Jesus as their Savior because time is running out.