Turkey shoot

Published at: 14/08/2021

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Trigger Warning - guaranteed satisfaction

Turkey shoot

Definition: one side is so much stronger or better armed than the other one that the weaker side has no chance of winning at all - Collins Dictionary


Comment: Iraq was years in front of Elon Musk and his driverless vehicles

Ezekiel 38 - 39

As a teenager I was fascinated by the account in Ezekiel 38-39 and read and heard a number of interpretations which focussed on Russia as the prime mover in an attack against Israel that would turn out to be a disaster. Russia at that time was part of the USSR so it seemed to be a fitting finale to the Soviet bloc's attempts to threaten the world with nuclear weapons. I could never understand when the event might happen. Fast forward to the 2020s and Russia still likes to tinker in the Middle East especially in Syria, Putin has got himself a passport to rule till 2034, and Russia still has ideas of being a global power broker despite being ejected from the G7 or G8 as it was.

However, there have been a number of geo-political developments in recent decades that change the picture and yet make the events described in Ezekiel 38 and 39 much more feasible in today's world. In 2014, as many in the western world thought the Arab world was embracing democratic and western ideals, ISIS, made up of a eclectic mix of Islamists and extremists, quickly attracted fighters and followers from many nations, including thousands from western nations, and overthrew the government control in much of Iraq and siezed a large part of Syria also, to proclaim a Caliphate. Events happened so quickly that it took time to organise who was going to fight whom.

Image by Claudio Schwarz-Purzlbaum on Unsplash

What Ezekiel predicts Ezekiel 38: 1-16

  • A war will be initiated in the future led by a leader (Gog) of the nations of Magog, Meschech, Tubal (which we can identify today as Turkey), together with Persia (Iran), Cush or Ethiopia (Sudan) and Put (Libya) and Togarmah from further north (eastern Turkey and Caucasus i.e. southern Islamic states in Russia e.g Chechnya, Dagestan)
  • Israel after many years of persecution will be back in its own land in Israel, enjoying a degree of security and safety. Israel will be a successful country engaging in trade around the world for its goods and services.
  • Sheba, Dedan and Tarshish (Saudi Arabia, UAE and UK - Tarshish is a supplier of tin for which Cornwall is known - see article Tinners Rabbits on this site) will remonstrance with the armies of Gog but take no decisive action against them.

Before moving on to look at the conduct of the battle and its outcome we can consider this prophecy in the context of today's world where the current president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has worked to undermine any political opposition, cemented his political powerbase, and has aspirations of being the leader of Islamic nations to weaken Israel and create a state of Palestine even when his actions risk any chance of him achieving admission to the European Union. We have already seen how readily a leader can attract fighters to a popular Islamic cause and how uncomprehending much of the world is of the Muslim worldview and mindset. Certainly it could be argued that the conditions for the sort of event that Ezekiel described are in place now.

It is noteworthy that the obvious protaganists in this battle are not mentioned, presumably because they take no part in it. I speak of Egypt which for centuries used to trample past Israel on its way to fight the Assyrians; the Assyrians and Babylonians (Syria and Iraq) are also uninvolved as also is Jordan and of course Saudi Arabia. The attack seems to be directed from the north with assistance from somewhat distant nations such as Libya, Sudan, Iran in the modern form.

This seems to fit well with present realities for these nations.

  • Egypt under President Anwar Sadat entered into a peace agreement with Israel for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize but at the cost of his life. Egypt has serious existential problems at the moment with Ethiopia building a dam on one of the main sources of the Nile. It would be ill inclined to participate with Ethiopia or Sudan in a conflict but might seek to engage with Israel for its world leading technology in turning seawater into fresh water.
  • Syria and Iraq are still struggling to recover from decades of conflict that have reduced their capacity to wage war.
  • Jordan and Saudi Arabia are both concerned by the rise of militant jihadism that targets them as much as it targets the non Islamic world and seem more inclined to negotiation than military action.

Thus the nations surrounding Israel that have been its traditional foes are not threatening at the moment although Lebanon and Syria have been infiltrated with Iran's Hezbollah and other radicals. Fighters are gaining battle experience in Libya.

Gaddafi prophecy for Libya The only factor missing is the freedom of movement of people with COVID-19 restrictions on flights limiting access for transport. I am assuming that Turkey and Iran will be the state sponsors of the invasion and other nations will be mostly represented by individuals who choose to travel to fight much as happened in the ISIS war of 2014 - 2017.

Ezekiel's Battle Ezekiel 38: 17-22

I am grateful to Derek Walker of Oxford UK for identifying some important features of the battle.

  • The occupation army will seize the mountains of Israel i.e. the West Bank, perhaps using the many United Nations resolutions about the territory as a pretext. Most of Israel's population lives on the coastal plains and may be out of the way.
  • The God of Israel and the Bible is going to fight for Israel.
  • There will be a strong earthquake and other "natural" events such as disease, hailstones, fire and sulphur raining down on the attackers
  • There will be disunity in the ranks of the army of Gog (Sunni versus Shia?)

Battle Outcome: Fulltime score God 1 Gog 0

Gog rues playing away from home with a biased referee

Ezekiel 38

23 Then I will show how great I am. I will prove that I am holy. Many nations will see me do these things, and they will learn who I am. Then they will know that I am the Lord.

Oxford church Derek Walker

Effect of the conflict Ezekiel 39

Palmerston diplomacy

In chapter 39 Ezekiel gives a brief restatement of the combatants, again identifies the mountains of Israel as the military objective and the battleground. The invading armies will not be able to capture the cities but will die in open fields

  • The nations of the earth will recognise the events as being of a divine intervention
  • Israel will acknowledge that this is the Holy One of Israel defending them
  • It will take seven months to remove the dead bodies of the invaders except where vultures have got here first - no unemployment
  • it will take seven years for the weapons to be gathered and destroyed
  • there will be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the family of Israel and God will not let them be abandoned again.

Kim Clement on Iran defeat was the start of a

Winged Hussars

Turkey of course has form for launching invasions that end in a dramatic defeat for its forces. The Battle of Vienna on 12th September 1683 saw a huge Ottoman army that was beseiging Vienna defeated by a combined army of the Holy Roman Empire and the Polish Lithuanian kingdom made famous by the largest heavy charge in history by the Polish winged hussars. The defeat was the start of a slow decline of Turkish power over the next three hundred years.

Egypt and Syria Blessed

Isaiah 19 19 In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the Lord at its border. 20 It will be a sign and witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, he will send them a saviour and defender, and he will rescue them. 21 So the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the Lord. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the Lord and keep them. 22 The Lord will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.

23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. 24 In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. 25 The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.’


I am a great admirer of Turkey in many ways. It is a beautiful country and the people warm and friendly. I am certain that many pople there are dismayed at the direction the country has taken under the almost twenty years of leadership of Erdrogan. We do not know when the events that Ezekiel spoke of two and a half thousand years ago will take place. Only those who go against Israel will be destroyed, Turkey itself will not suffer desolation. As we see events spoken of by the prophets coming into alignment it is important that we decide who we will serve, as God of the Bible has finished the days of abandonment of Israel and is bringing them together again in their own land to prepare for the time when they will accept Jesus as their Messiah. I urge everyone to take the warning signs seriously and be ready, for the days of the end are approaching quickly.