Religion Explains Unfortunate Events: Flotilla Attack Edition

Once again, from WorldNetDaily:

A council of rabbis in Israel says their nation’s conflict with Turkey over a flotilla of “aid” ships headed for the blockaded Gaza Strip controlled by the terrorist Hamas organization just may be the beginning of the “Gog and Magog process where the world is against us, but which ends with the third and final redemption.”

The announcement comes today from the Rabbinical Council of Judea and Samaria, whose statement was reported by Israel National News.

WND columnist Greg Laurie just months ago explained the biblical reference to Gog and Magog, in the book of Ezekiel, as a prophecy that a “large force,” will attack Israel from the north.

“We don’t know why or exactly when this will take place. But this much I know: There is a lot going on in our current headlines that leads me to believe it could happen at any time,” he wrote then, at the end of 2009.

According to the INN, the council stated, “the legitimacy of our people is not derived from the nations of the world and their poisonous traditions, rather from the Torah of Israel which teaches us that [Israel] ‘is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.'”

The council, which was assembled by Rabbi Zalman Melamed of Beit El and is supported by religious Zionist rabbis in the regions of Samaria and Judea, included a blessing for soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces.

Also enthusing over the rabbis’ statement is Christian Zionist Joel C. Rosenberg (previously blogged by me here), although he also hedges his bets:

There is growing interest in the Ezekiel prophecies and whether they could play out in our lifetime. I believe it is still too early to say anything definitively. But I agree that current events are strikingly consistent with the prophecies and I believe it is possible that we could see these events unfold soon. The mention of “Gomer” in Ezekiel, for example, refers to the modern-day State of Turkey which will be an enemy of Israel and part of a Russian-Iranian alliance against the Jewish state. I’m not saying the prophecy will necessarily come to pass soon, but I can’t rule out that possibility. We’ve never seen a convergence of geopolitical and spiritual events so consistent with Ezekiel 38-39 in history like we are seeing today. We need to be prayerful, sober, alert and prepared.

The Biblical exegesis here is as foolish as ever: there is nothing in Ezekiel to suggest that the author knew anything about “the modern-day State of Turkey”, and “Gomer” in fact probably refers to the Cimmerians, who lived in the area now occupied by Ukraine and Russia. In reality, the Cimmerians fizzled out rather than leading an apocalyptic attack on ancient Israel, but US rivalry with Russia has unsurprisingly meant that American Biblical literalists have been keen to read modern Russia into the text. Recent conflict with the Islamic world has shifted “Gomer” a bit further south, just as the predicted Anti-Christ has gone from being a European to being a Muslim leader.

A Jewish blog called Mystical Paths adds a graphic to explain the apocalyptic dimension to the flotilla raid and its political fallout, noting that Turkey is a member of NATO:

Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 38 lists the nations that will join Gog’s coalition to come to Israel and to divide Jerusalem…

‘Persia, Cush, Put, will be with them, …Gomer and all her cohorts, Bet Togarmah in the north and the many peoples.’ How’s NATO align with this?  (Perhaps) Gomer and all her cohorts and Bet Togarmah in the north.

Of course, this kind of thing comes around every time there is increased political tension involving Israel; the 2006 conflict in Lebanon prompted a similar outburst, as I blogged here. And Melamed has been pronouncing on a final “redemption” for Israel supposedly unfolding through current events for years – apparently he was at it at the start of the original Intifada (1).

(1) See Aviezer Ravitzky (1993) , Messianism, Zionism, and Jewish Religious Radicalism, p. 144

One Response

  1. ‘suze me fo my ignorance, innit.
    But wasn’t “ancient Israel” just a ‘city state’ and Kingdom, rather than a nation consisting of Judea and almost entirely of Palestine, and parts of Syria, Lebanon and Egypt?

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