Gog & Magog, and Plato’s philosophy
Ezekiel wrote of Gog and Magog:
“After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.” [Ezek. 38:8-9]
“The land brought back from the sword” seems to allude to the garden of Eden, which was guarded by an angel or a cherubim brandishing a flaming sword. [Gen. 3:24] And Eden represents the knowledge of God revealed in the Gospel and in the Scriptures.
The mountains of Israel which were “always waste,” being the highest and most prominent parts of the land, represent lofty spiritual promises to the Church.
“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.” [Ezek. 38:10-12]
The “land of unwalled villages” is not the modern Jewish state in Palestine, as dispensationalists claim. Their interpretations of Ezekiel’s prophecy are thwarted, and discredited by the on-going construction of the West Bank Apartheid Wall, up to 8 m high, projected to be 700 km long, with sniper towers like a prison, and sections of fence, with coils of barbed wire. Instead, “the land of unwalled villages” represents the true Zion, which cannot be touched, [Heb. 12:18, 22] and the spiritual things promised to the Church.
“But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” [Heb. 11:16]
Understanding the prophecies of Scripture is one of the things Jesus promised the saints. [John 16:13]
The invading hordes of Gog and Magog seek to “take a great spoil.” Today, there are tens of thousands of sects and denominations in America, all competing with one another for members.
Books and novels promoting flawed interpretations, such as dispensationalism, are a flood of misinformation that threatens to carry away the Church, like the flood foretold in Dan. 9:26 & Rev. 12:14.
False teachings and beliefs about prophecy have taken many captive, as foretold in Zechariah 14:1-3, a prophecy which parallels Ezekiel 38. Both prophecies speak of the same spiritual conflict between the Church and her enemies.
“Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.” [Zech. 14:1-3]
Zechariah’s prophecy applies to the heavenly Jerusalem, the Church, not the earthly Jerusalem. Jesus Christ did not fight against the Romans in 70 A.D., when their legions were camped round about the earthly city. He fights against false teachers as he leads his people out from their captivity in false beliefs, to the truth.
In the early centuries of the Christian era, Platonist scholars sought to merge Plato’s philosophy with the teachings of the apostles. They were so successful, later scholars supposed Plato must have been a Christian!
In Plato’s view, humans are composed of three parts, body, mind, and soul. When Plato wrote about God, he extended or applied that thinking to God.
Historian Edward Gibbon, discussing the doctrine of the Trinity, stated that Platonic philosophy ‘marvellously anticipated one of the most surprising discoveries of the Christian revelation’. [Decline and Fall, ch. 21]
“The genius of Plato, informed by his own meditation or by the traditional knowledge of the priests of Egypt, had ventured to explore the mysterious nature of the Deity. When he had elevated his mind to the sublime contemplation of the first self-existent, necessary cause of the universe, the Athenian sage was incapable of conceiving how the simple unity of his essence could admit the infinite variety of distinct and successive ideas which compose the model of the intellectual world; how a Being purely incorporeal could execute that perfect model, and mould with a plastic hand the rude and independent chaos. The vain hope of extricating himself from these difficulties, which must ever oppress the feeble powers of the human mind, might induce Plato to consider the divine nature under the threefold modification — of the first cause, the reason, or Logos, and the soul or spirit of the universe. His poetical imagination sometimes fixed and animated these metaphysical abstractions; the three archical or original principles were represented in the Platonic system as three Gods, united with each other by a mysterious and ineffable generation; and the Logos was particularly considered under the more accessible character of the Son of an Eternal Father, and the Creator and Governor of the world. Such appear to have been the secret doctrines which were cautiously whispered in the gardens of the Academy; and which, according to the more recent disciples of Plato, could not be perfectly understood till after an assiduous study of thirty years.” [Decline and Fall, ch. 21]
“The Athenian sage Plato marvellously anticipated one of the most important and mysterious doctrines of the Christian religion” — meaning the Trinity — an important concession truly.”
At http://en.allexperts.com/q/Philosophy-1361/Plato-4.htm Plato’s influence upon early Christian thought is described as follows:
“It is arguable that Plato is the most influential of philosophers on Christianity, and especially Christian theology. There are two caveats to bear in mind, however.
“Plato’s influence was almost always indirect, having been mediated by neo-Platonism, to which you will understand when you have studied Aristotle.
“Plato was adapted and subdued as much as he was accepted and used. The Jewish tradition had many ideas of its own, some of which overcame Plato’s in the development of Christian thought, some of which were overcome, and some of which combined in fascinating ways with Plato’s.
“In particular, Plato is far from being a dogmatist in many senses, though many persistently try to read him as such. As a result, Plato’s influence has largely been propagated according to dogmatic readings. Plato believes that the world of the senses is illusory, and that truth and reality reside in invisible, eternal, and unchanging Forms that underlie and animate the less real material objects that we perceive. This Plato, who had a tremendous influence on Christianity, suggests that our bodies are only temporary, physical things, but that we have a pure spirit, or soul, that is immortal and which animates us. Plato also posits the Form of the Good as being the highest of all Forms, that which is the ultimate ground for all reality. As a result, our task as human beings is to pursue and approximate the Form of the Good, and this task is essentially what all morality is based upon.
“Plato was a very complex person, as you can tell.”
Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 – c. 215) was one of the early Platonist Church Fathers.
In Clement’s view Plato and the other Greek philosophers were inspired by the Logos, although not to the same extent as the Hebrew prophets, with the objective of making the Gentile world receptive to Christ. For example he states: ‘Philosophy … educated the Greek world as the law did the Hebrews to bring them to Christ. Philosophy therefore is a preparation, making ready the way for him who is being perfected in Christ’. [http://www.biblelight.org/trin/trinch8b.htm]
The teachings of early church fathers like Clement, Athenagoras (A.D. 127-190) of Alexandria, Tertullian of Carthage (A.D. 160-240) and others, obscured the gospel taught by the apostles.
Plato’s doctrine of the immortality of the soul makes the New Testament teaching about the resurrection unnecessary. The resurrection is taught throughout the Scriptures; immortality of the soul is foreign. It is one of the doctrines represented by the crude wooden weapons of the hordes of Gog and Magog.
The idea of the immortality of the soul was the foundation of the doctrine of unending infernal suffering of unbelievers, that was introduced by Augustine.
Augustine’s teaching influenced French theologian and Reformer John Calvin, who claimed that some are “predestinated” to suffer unending infernal torment.
This doctrine partly fulfilled Joel’s prophecy, that “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.” [Joel 2:31] In this prophecy, the sun represents the gospel; Jesus said, when the tares are removed in the harvest at the end of the age, the righteous will “shine forth as the sun.”
“As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” [Matt. 13:40-43]
The identification of the sun with the gospel is also seen in Revelation 12:1, where the church is represented by a woman clothed with the sun.
The sun turning dark, because of the introduction of pagan superstition, also fulfilled another prophecy in Revelation 6, where the sun becomes black, “as sackcloth of hair.”
“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.” [Rev. 6:12]
Sackcloth is the clothing of the two witnesses in Revelation 11. John Napier said it pictures the true gospel becoming “shrouded in men’s traditions.”
The church fathers who admired Plato also believed in his geocentric cosmology. Plato taught that the earth remains stationary, while the heavens revolve around it. For centuries the church was involved in the construction of elaborate buildings with domed roofs. In ancient times the dome was associated with the idea of a rigid heaven, and was considered to be an image of heaven, supposed to be a rigid shell revolving around the earth, that was identified with Zeus. The idea of God was tinged with the pagan concept of Zeus.
In the world of the first century A.D. the city of Pergamos was the site of a great temple of Zeus, considered one of the seven wonders of the world. Jesus said in his message to the church in that city, “I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.” [Rev. 2:13]
The merging of pagan philosophy with Christian teaching in the early centuries of the church brought centuries of darkness upon the world, rather than light; the witness of the Word of God, and the Spirit of God, were partly hidden.
This was also depicted by Zechariah:
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.” [Zech. 14:6-7]