I was shocked to hear recently on a respected radio show, that author Douglas Woodward has formulated a new prophetic theory! Woodward believes that the Lord has revealed to him that Russia is going to invade America, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia as per Ezekiel 38:10-13!
The radio show is linked on YouTube here. The segment dealing with Ezekiel 38 is around the 40 minute mark of the radio program. Woodward’s interview comments were based upon his commentary from his book entitled, “The Next Great War in the Middle East, Russia Prepares to Fulfill the Prophecy of Gog of Magog.”
Below are a few quotes issued directly from Woodward during the radio program and from his new book.
“I believe this passage is a critical one (Ezekiel 38:10-13). I have almost never said that the Lord has revealed to me, because I feel that is probably pretty trumped up. But, I almost believe that in this case that is what I should be saying. I think the Lord has opened some things in this passage to me that I’m excited to share and of course hopefully I will get lots of feedback, some of it not so positive probably.”
“In the context of Ezekiel 38:8-9 we are clearly dealing with Israel. However, something changes.….What you have in Ezekiel 38:10-13 is something of a parenthetical comment, it’s like an oh by the way….It’s like the prophet is saying I told you what’s happening in Israel, but now let me tell you what else is going on.”
“Ezekiel eludes a land of unwalled villages. Traditional conventional interpretation is that we’re still talking about Israel… in Ezekiel 38:8… I (Woodward) believe we’re NOT! I believe the context goes on to point this out.
“Israel does not dwell safely right now…and yet America always seems to believe that it is impervious to attack; that we are secure.”
“In Ezekiel 38:13, I believe it points out who the subjects are that Gog (Russia) is going after, not subjects that are just protesting or observing what’s happening to Israel, which is the conventional teaching. By conventional I mean Hal Lindsey, Chuck Missler or Bill Salus.”
“I believe this is talking about North America, the United Kingdom and it’s talking about Saudi Arabia.”
“The astonishment of “Sheba and Dedan, the Merchants of Tarshish, and the young lions” comes not from protesting what appears to be the object of Gog’s attack, i.e., Israel, but rather Gog’s attack upon them!”
“Today’s economic picture in the world is essentially run by these three countries (USA, UK and Saudi Arabia). The reason I say that is you have Wall Street; you have the city of London, which is an English version of Wall Street. Then you have the Saudi Arabians, which have been the key to instill the petro-dollar.”
“With these nations (plural) identified in Ezekiel 38:13 you certainly have the axis of economic evil that runs the world economic system…. Where you would go if you wanted to gather up a lot of wealth really quickly!”
“The alternative view that I believe, is that the land of unwalled villages (Ezekiel 38:11) is the United States, (rather than Israel), and it’s secondarily England.”
The Conventional View of Ezekiel 38:10-13
Woodward speaks about the conventional interpretation of Ezekiel 38:10-13, which is taught by Bible prophecy experts like Hal Lindsey, Chuck Missler and Bill Salus. Since Woodward graciously identified me among those that teach the conventional interpretation of these verses, I will provide my nutshell version of related commentary below.
A detailed exposition of the entire Ezekiel 38 prophecy is provided in my book entitled, The NOW Prophecies, in the chapter called, “Is America in Ezekiel 38?” A related article of the same name is linked here.
First, let me say that I agree with Woodward on a couple of key points.
1. Russia is identified in Ezekiel 38 as the lead belligerent in the Gog of Magog coalition that invades Israel.
2. Saudi Arabia, the UK and the USA, are probably identified in Ezekiel 38:13 as Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and their young lions.
However, I disagree with his new theory that Ezekiel 38:10-13 describes a Russian invasion of the USA, UK and Saudi Arabia because they are, according to Woodward, “Today’s economic picture in the world…the axis of economic evil that runs the world economic system.” The pertinent prophetic verses are provided below and explained beneath them.
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?”” (Ezek. 38:10-13; KJV)
Conventionally speaking, the Jews, not the Saudis, Brits or Americans, are “the people that are gathered out of the nations.” This is mentioned In Ezekiel 38:8, 12, alluding to the Jewish people.
Moreover, the land of Israel, not Saudi Arabia, the UK or USA, represents the “the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.”
These facts are true today. A generally uninterrupted flow of Jews has been steadily flocking into Israel over the past century. They are returning from the nations and they inhabit a land that was desolate for centuries prior, just as was predicted to occur in Ezekiel 36.
“But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded: And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 36:8-11, KJV)
Furthermore, the land the Jews are presently dwelling in is, “in the midst of the (Promised) land” that was given to Abraham by the Lord. The Hebrew word for “midst” is “tabbur,” which means the center or middle of the land. Israel’s present location is in the middle of this land, which is described in Genesis 15:18:
“In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”
Since Israel is already fulfilling all of these prerequisite conditions, I see no reason to interpret Ezekiel 38:10-13 as “something of an, oh by the way parenthetical comment,” which is what Woodward does.
Woodward points out that Israel is not, “dwelling safely,” as a “land of unwalled villages” presently. I agree that Israel is not currently in this condition for the present. But, Woodward’s focus on the present is a major source of interpretation error in ruling out Israel in favor of the USA and UK in Ezekiel 38:10-13. Ezekiel 38:8, 11 and 14 clearly predicts that Israel will dwell safely prior to the Russian invasion of Israel. The NOW Prophecies book explains how that will change after the Israeli Defense Forces defeat their Arab enemies in Psalm 83. Douglas Woodward does not appear to agree with my teachings on this topic.
The New Non-Traditional and Unconventional Theory of Ezekiel 38:10-13 by Douglas Woodward
This section will present the problems with Woodward’s new non-traditional and unconditional theory of Ezekiel 38:10-13. Keep in mind that Woodward believes that Israel is involved in Ezekiel 38:1-9, but he removes Israel in favor of USA, UK and Saudi Arabia, in Ezekiel 38:10-13. I presume he reverts back to Israel in Ezekiel 38:14-23. If not, that opens up another set of serious problems with his interpretation.
Woodward’s new theory presents several problematic questions, some of which are identified below.
1. When was the USA, UK and Saudi Arabia “again inhabited in the waste places in Ezekiel 38:12?”
In the radio interview Woodward attempts to explain the waste places that are again inhabited pertaining to America, but neglects to explain them in the UK and Saudi Arabia, which by the way Yemen and possibly the GCC states are also identified in Ezekiel 38:13. This means that Woodward has to explain the waste places that are again inhabited in those territories also. Concerning America, Woodward says the following;
“It also could be talking about a land that at that time was desolate, but is now in the context of the prophecy inhabited. And of course 550 BC when Ezekiel wrote the prophecy; not much was happening in North America. But now, North America is very inhabited.”
The Hebrew word Ezekiel uses for “desolate” is “chorbah.” This word can be translated as waste, ruined, destroyed, or desolated area. It is used in the Old Testament over forty times to describe waste places, desolated territories, or ruins. It is not the preferred Hebrew word used to describe barren or undeveloped lands, which was the case in America when Ezekiel 38 was written. It is doubtful that Ezekiel was describing the uncultivated land of America when he wrote the prophecy.
2. When were Americans, Brits, Saudis, and Yemenis, “gathered from the nations” to again inhabit their respective countries?”
Ezekiel 38:8 informs that Israel was gathered from the nations and brought back to the waste places. This means that whoever is gathered from the nations and brought back to the waste places in Ezekiel 38:12 has to either be Israel, or replicate the re-gathering model of Israel.
3. Where in the “midst of the land” are the regathered people dwelling?
It was previously explained that the midst of the land must be in the center of the country. Which land is being specifically targeted? Ezekiel 38:12 specifies that Russia invades a people that dwell in the midst of the land (singular), and not lands (plural). Is the verse alluding to the midst of Sheba, which is Yemen today? Or, is it speaking about Dedan (Saudi Arabia), Tarshish (England), or America as the young lions?” It can’t be all four, so Woodward has to choose one from the list above.
4. Does the entire Magog coalition of Russia, Iran, Turkey, Libya and the other five members invade the USA, UK, Saudi Arabia and Yemen?
Ezekiel 38:13 says that Russia brings its “company” with it to take a prey. Who is involved in the company? Is it the entire coalition of Ezekiel 38:1-5? Woodward also believes that Psalm 83 culminates in Ezekiel 38. He posits the possibility that the Psalm 83 belligerents may be identified as “the many peoples with thee” in Ezekiel 38:6, 9 and 15. Below is another quote from the radio program.
“Is Psalm 83 to be determined as a future war, or as a war that has been ongoing and ultimately culminates in the war of Gog of Magog? I believe Psalm 83 does culminate ultimately in the war of Gog of Magog.”
5. Does Russia’s invading company include Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq and all the other modern day equivalents of Psalm 83:6-8?
If Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 are one war then that implies that the coalition that Russia brings to invade could include the 9 members of Ezekiel 38:1-5 and the 10 members of Psalm 83:6-8. If so, this would mean that Saudi Arabia is invading its own country, because they appear to be listed in Psalm 83:6 under the banner of the Ishmaelites.
6. How does the invasion of the USA, UK, Saudi Arabia and Yemen conclude?
Woodward says the following in the radio show,
“What we are seeing is a war, although it focuses on the Middle East, it ends up being global in nature. I believe it is at this time that Russia will, as a preemptive measure, attempt to defeat the one military that could keep them from being successful in taking over the Middle East, including Israel, and that is to conduct a first strike on the United States. I believe that’s what the Scripture teaches.”…“The United States is decimated by the attack. Russia and its nations come with it.”
If his interpretation is correct, then Americans need to know how he comes up with this conclusion. Is America about to revisit the “Cold War” era, and does this mean that the UK, Saudi Arabia and Yemen are also going to be devastated?
7. If Russia invades the USA, UK, Saudi Arabia and Yemen for plunder and booty, then what is the motive for the Russian coalition to invade Israel?
The traditional teaching is that Russia is invading Israel for plunder and booty, but if they capture the plunder and booty from the USA, UK, and Saudi Arabia then what motivates them to invade Israel?
Douglas Woodward’s new theory is a paradigm shift in the traditional teaching of Ezekiel 38:10-13. It presents a menu of problematic questions, some of which are identified above. Unless Woodward can satisfactorily answer all of the above questions, then I would encourage the reader to recognize that Ezekiel 38:10-13 is still addressing Israel, rather than the USA, UK, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, as the country that the Gog of Magog coalition invades.
I am not saying that America won’t come under a future attack from Russia, Iran, China, North Korea or elsewhere. I am saying that no such Russian led invasion is described in Ezekiel 38:10-13!
Sometime in the future, I plan on presenting the exegetical problems with the teachings of Woodward and others that advocate America is the Babylon spoken about in the books of Jeremiah, Isaiah and Revelation.
WARNING, THE WOODWARD ARTICLE IS LONG AND FILLED WITH PROMOTION FOR HIS BOOKS. ONLY IN THE CONCLUSION OF THE ARTICLE DOES HE SAY SOMETHING RELEVANT TO MY QUESTIONS ABOVE. HERE’S THE QUOTE.
“Bill has challenged me to do more work on the exegetical aspects of certain verses in Ezekiel 38-39 that he asserts conflict with my point of view. I will. It is a vital topic.”
I’M STILL WAITING TO RECEIVE WOODWARD’S ANSWERS TO MY QUESTIONS ABOVE. UNLESS HE DOES PROVIDE ADEQUATE ANSWERS, I ENCOURAGE THE READERS TO THOROUGHLY DISREGARD HIS NEW THEORY AS ERRONEOUS TEACHING!