I’ve written several articles about Gog and Magog, and how a serious look of the prophecy in Ezekiel 38 and 39 shows it isn’t Russia nor this current war in Ukraine. Many articles, videos, podcasts and sermons have said otherwise and, I believe, sown seeds that will result in disillusionment once again when those warnings prove to be incorrect as other unbiblical assumptions have done. This debate has made me think on what are the foundational verses for Bible prophecy? Prophecy is scattered throughout all the Bible, but is there an anchor that should hold our interpretations? What should be the foundation of Bible prophecy? What is the biblical cornerstone content for prophecy throughout the entire Word of God?
The number one reason there are such divisive views within interpreting end-time Bible prophecy is we read into the text our preconceived ideas rather than taking the Word at face value. Though an external presupposition is detrimental to rightly dividing the truth, a foundational framework from Scripture could be helpful to keep us on track. Such a framework would serve as the edges of a jigsaw puzzle.
One of the suggestions for that foundation passage that could frame our end time studies is the Olivet Discourse found in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. This is Jesus laying out events at the end of the age. Yet, the whole premise of that passage is that Jesus is answering the disciples’ question as to what the signs of the end of the age would be. They already had prophetic foundation. They knew another age was coming and this one would end. Therefore, there’s a framework predating the New Testament. Throughout this teaching Jesus mentions prophecies written in the Old Testament. In Matt. 24:15, Jesus said, “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel…’” Jesus points to a previous foundation.
Even in many of the major and minor prophet books in the Bible, we see them referring to previous passages. The prophets were building on an already existent end of the age framework. One example of this comes from Ezekiel 38 in reference to the identity of Gog: “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: You are the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel. At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them” (Ezek. 38:17).
So, what are the foundational passages? If we’re looking for a foundational framework, we should begin in the Pentateuch — the first five books of the Bible. And even there in the law, we find prophesies. These should be the start of our framework.
The first prophesy is found in Gen. 3:15: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Here God says there will be a specific descendent of Eve that would receive a blow from Satan, but ultimately would defeat Satan. It’s also suggested there would be an offspring of Satan.
One of the other major foundational prophecies is found in Genesis 12 as Abraham’s descendant is promised a land and promised to be a blessing.
Another is found in Genesis 49, where we read a descendant of Judah is said to be a ruler over all the nations.
Now these aren’t all of them, but you can see how a foundation is laid even in the first books of the Bible. The Old Testament prophets didn’t provide a new narrative, but they fleshed out the existing biblical prophetic frame. Jesus did the same — He also confirmed the existing framework. He didn’t contradict what the disciples knew, rather He gave them more details. The New Testament writers would do the same as the prophets — they built on the existing foundation. Then, ultimately, the book of Revelation is the capstone for the fleshed-out framework of end of the age prophecy. It’s like Jesus returned to John on the Isle of Patmos to finish the Olivet Discourse.
This idea of prophesy being one consistent narrative over all of Scripture — a foundation fleshed out over the centuries — seems novel and, unfortunately, it is regarding the interpretation of most end time events. Most teachings and books you find treat individual Bible prophecies as being multiple narratives, but that’s far from how the Bible writers themselves viewed the prophecies they shared.
The foretelling of the end of the age in Scripture is a consistent narrative.
Though my view seems novel, we already do treat some prophecies like that. As we celebrate the Old Testament prophecies that foretold Jesus, we see them as one unfolding narrative with each new prophet fleshing out the foundation of a Messiah. We are correct in interpreting Scripture in that way to see how Jesus is the fulfillment of many prophecies, so why don’t we do that with the rest of the end of the age events?
Good question if I do say so myself!
As you are bombarded with different perspectives on Bible prophecy during the Russian invasion and whatever else follows, examine what serves as your anchor. We each need to have a foundation for biblical prophecy.
As you go back to the Pentateuch for that foundation one thing you will find is Gog was spoken of in the book of Numbers, but that’s a conversation for another day.
Jake is available for revivals and preaching learn more at standfirmministries.com.