On December 18, 2oo8, I posted “Some Question for Premil Dips,” concerning a couple of points about Ezekiel 38 and 39. I asked premil dips (premillenial dipsensationalists) to explain why, if the prophesied attack on Israel led by Gog of Magog was a prophecy about our future and not a false prophecy about ancient times, the attackers depicted in the pophecy are all riding on horses and carrying only ancient weapons..
Since then I’ve found an article by premil dip Dr. Mark Hitchcock, “The Battle of Gog and Magog,” on the Pre-Trib Research Center website. Although Hitchcock doesn’t explicitly address the question about the horses, he does address the issue of the weapons. Hitchcock has thought of two possible explanations.
“First it is possible that due to some form of disarmament the nations will resort to primitive weapons that can be constructed secretly and easily if a surprise attack were to be successfully achieved.”
Well, this might be possible–Hey, anything’s possible!–but it seems extremley farfetched to me. Hitchcock, I suppose, is thinking of disarmament imposed upon the nations (by the Antichrist?). Otherwise why would they want to secretly arm themselves? But when Germany, with Russian cooperation, evaded the Versailles treaty’s restrictions on German armaments, it didn’t resort to producing primitive weapons. Why couldn’t present or future nations evade imposed disarmament by producing modern weapons? Why would they have to resort to producing primitive weapons? In any case, I, for one, will believe that nationa are going to disarm whn they actually disarm.
Here’s Hitchcock’s second possible explanation for Ezekiel’s depiction of armies attacking Israel, supposedly sometime in our future, with nothing but ancient weapons.
“Second, the ancient weapons mentioned could be understood as their modern counterparts. While no view of the nature of the weapons is without problems, this is probably the best view. Ezekiel, inspired by the Holy Spirit, spoke in language that the people could understand. If he had spoken of planes, missiles, tanks, and rifles this text would have been nonsensical to everyone until the twentieth century. Moreover, the main point of Ezekiel’s great prophecy is that a specific group of nations will attack Israel intent on completely destroying her. The focus is clearly not the specific weapons that will be used by these invaders. Ezekiel communicates in the only way that he can the powerful and well-equipped nature of the invaders.”
Hitchcock says, “The focus is clearly not the specific weapons that will be used by these invaders.” But if so, then why include a list of specific weapons at all? Hitchcock says, “Ezekiel communicates in the only way that he can the powerful and well-equipped nature of the invaders” But this is not the only way that Ezekiel could have communicated that point. He could have just said that the invaders would be powerful and well-equipped, couldn’t he?
It’s true, as Hitchcock says, that if Ezekiel had spoken of planes, missiles, tanks and rifles, the text would have been nonsensical to everyone until the 20th century, but only assuming Ezekiel didn’t bother to explain that he was naming weapons that would not exist until sometime in the far distant future. Why couldn’t Ezekiel have added such an explanation and made it clear that he was prophesying about events thousands of years in the future, if that was what he was actually doing?
Hitchcock says, “Ezekiel, inspired by the Holy Spirit, spoke in language that people could understand.” But if, as the premil dips claim , Ezekiel was prophesying about events thousands of years in the future, then he used language that could not have been correctly understood by people in ancient times. People in Ezekiel’s time could not have understood the prophecy to be about events in the far distant future precisely because the words Ezekiel used made it, and still make it, look like a prophecy about ancient times.
I’d like Hitchcock or any other fundamentalist prophecy freak to explain why the allegedly all-knowing and all-powerful God you believe in couldn’t have gone to a little bit more trouble to make it clear that Ezekiel’s prophecy was not about ancient times, but about the far distant future, as you believe. Why didn’t the Holy Spirit inspire Ezekiel to state clearly that the events in the prophecy would occur thousands of years in the future? Why didn’t Ezekiel say that, therefore, the weapons of the invaders would be weapons that didn’t yet exist, but would exist only in the far distant future?
My opinion is that God (assuming God actually had anything to do with it) didn’t bother to go to that little bit of extra trouble because the prophecy was, just as it appears to be, a prophecy about ancient times. Unfortunately for premil dips and other fundamentalists, that means it was a false prophecy.