For generations Christians researching the biblical prophecies about the end times have eyed Russia with askance, wondering just how and when that expected attack from the north on Israel would be launched, the attack marking the beginning of the end.
But the author of new book, "Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case of an Islamic Antichrist," says believers should forget Russia, and instead worry about Turkey.
That is, after all, where an Islamic power structure ruled as recently as about a century ago, and while Iran, Egypt and Syria grab the headlines these days for their Muslim activities, the Islamic influence in Turkey just keeps surging.
In fact, just days ago, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for Fethullah Gulen, the reclusive imam of arguably the most powerful Islamist movement in the world, to return home to Turkey.
"We want this yearning to come to an end," Erodgan said. "We want to see those who are abroad and longing for the homeland to be among us … We are saying that this absence from home [of Gulen] should end."
Joel Richardson, the author of the new "Mideast Beast," says the assumption about the Battle of Magog and Gog, revealed in biblical prophecy in Ezekiel 38 and 39, should be corrected so people understand.
In a commentary in WND today, Richardson explains that the assumption that the biblical reference to Magog would indicate Russia was developed some 100 years ago, and has been taught and discussed ever since.
In reality, however, it more likely is Turkey, he said.
"For those concerned with truth, modern scholarship unanimously affirms that it is high time to discard the notion that the prophet Ezekiel predicted a Russian invasion of Israel," he writes. "What then did he predict? Which presently rising Middle Eastern nation does Ezekiel point us to as the leader of a last-days coalition that will come against Israel?
"In my new book, 'Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist,' I provide the average student of the Scriptures with all of the tools necessary to understand many of the most important end-time prophecies of the Bible. As the difficulties of the end of this age now creep ever so closer, it is absolutely imperative that students of the Scriptures diligently study the meaning of these texts in a careful and responsible manner. The urgency of the hour demands no less," he said.
See his comments:
He said the rise of the assumption that the army that would march to attack Israel would be Russian arose about the time of the release of the Scofield Reference Bible in the early 1900s, and that has influenced many other reference works.
Several of the biblical resources include the following maps, showing Magog to be in Russia.
He says in 1971, then-Gov. Ronald Reagan continued the focus, saying, "Ezekiel tells us that Gog, the nation that will lead all of the other powers against Israel, will come out of the north. Biblical scholars have been saying for generations that Gog must be Russia. What other powerful nation is to the north of Israel? None."
But research that Richardson would consider more accurate portrays Magog as being in the nation of Turkey:
Richardson explains that a different way of interpreting the Bible results in different conclusions.
But he said, "in the late seventh and early sixth century B.C. when Ezekiel prophesied, Magog, Mescheck and Tubal were known to have dwelt in Asia Minor, or modern day Turkey."
Richardson's book follows his earlier hit, "The Islamic Antichrist," a book that has changed the eschatological views of many evangelical Christians since its release two years ago.
The new book picks up where the last one left off – with even more biblical evidence that the long-anticipated Antichrist will be a figure from the Middle East, a Muslim.
Whereas most students of the Bible have long held that some form of humanism or universalist religion would catapult the Antichrist to world power, "Mideast Beast" systematically makes the case that the Antichrist is even now before us and knocking at the door.