Future Prophesies - the Stage is Set (Can Happen Any Day)
GOG MAGOG WAR (EZEKIEL 38-39)
Is the "Gog and Magog War" the same as Armageddon?
Ezekiel 38-39 - The Lord’s Great Victory Over the Nations
38:1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshek and Tubal; prophesy against him 3 and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshek and Tubal. 4 I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army—your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. 5 Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, 6 also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you.
7 “‘Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. 8 After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. 9 You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land.
10 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. 11 You will say, “I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people—all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. 12 I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land.” 13 Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all her villages will say to you, “Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?”’
14 “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? 15 You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. 16 You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.
17 “‘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. 18 This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign Lord. 19 In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign Lord. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22 I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. 23 And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’
39:1 “Son of man, prophesy against Gog and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshek and Tubal. 2 I will turn you around and drag you along. I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel. 3 Then I will strike your bow from your left hand and make your arrows drop from your right hand. 4 On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals. 5 You will fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord. 6 I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am the Lord.
7 “‘I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the Lord am the Holy One in Israel. 8 It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord. This is the day I have spoken of.
9 “‘Then those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use the weapons for fuel and burn them up—the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears. For seven years they will use them for fuel. 10 They will not need to gather wood from the fields or cut it from the forests, because they will use the weapons for fuel. And they will plunder those who plundered them and loot those who looted them, declares the Sovereign Lord.
11 “‘On that day I will give Gog a burial place in Israel, in the valley of those who travel east of the Sea. It will block the way of travelers, because Gog and all his hordes will be buried there. So it will be called the Valley of Hamon Gog.
12 “‘For seven months the Israelites will be burying them in order to cleanse the land. 13 All the people of the land will bury them, and the day I display my glory will be a memorable day for them, declares the Sovereign Lord. 14 People will be continually employed in cleansing the land. They will spread out across the land and, along with others, they will bury any bodies that are lying on the ground.
“‘After the seven months they will carry out a more detailed search. 15 As they go through the land, anyone who sees a human bone will leave a marker beside it until the gravediggers bury it in the Valley of Hamon Gog, 16 near a town called Hamonah. And so they will cleanse the land.’
17 “Son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Call out to every kind of bird and all the wild animals: ‘Assemble and come together from all around to the sacrifice I am preparing for you, the great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel. There you will eat flesh and drink blood. 18 You will eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth as if they were rams and lambs, goats and bulls—all of them fattened animals from Bashan. 19 At the sacrifice I am preparing for you, you will eat fat till you are glutted and drink blood till you are drunk. 20 At my table you will eat your fill of horses and riders, mighty men and soldiers of every kind,’ declares the Sovereign Lord.
21 “I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay on them. 22 From that day forward the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God. 23 And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. 24 I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their offenses, and I hid my face from them.
25 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will now restore the fortunes of Jacob and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name. 26 They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward me when they lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid. 27 When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will be proved holy through them in the sight of many nations. 28 Then they will know that I am the Lord their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. 29 I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the people of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
About the time of the end the biblical prophet Ezekiel tells of a future invasion of Israel by a vast coalition of nations, known as the battle of Gog and Magog, we find this in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. As we read the headlines in the newspapers of today, and witness the conflicts in the Middle East, it’s not hard to imagine that this invasion prophesied over 2600 years ago, could be fulfilled in the immediate future. Ezekiel 36-37 predicts a gathering of the Jews to the nation of Israel, which will be followed by this massive invasion. For 19 centuries, the Jewish people were scattered throughout the world, and until May 14, 1948, there was no nation of Israel to invade. With the nation of Israel now a reality, the stage seems set for the war that will usher in the tribulation and the rise of the Antichrist; a war that will end with the destruction of Israel’s enemies by God Himself, and lead to the signing of a peace treaty with the Antichrist.
As you read Ezekiel 38 and 39, it isn’t just the creation of the nation of Israel that makes this prophecy seem likely to be fulfilled in the near future. The nations that God tells us will form this coalition against Israel seem more likely now than perhaps ever before to form just such an alliance.” The leaders of this coalition will be Russia and Iran, and currently both of these nations are right on Israel’s doorstep, under the pretense of battling ISIS in Syria. I believe that there are a couple of unfulfilled prophecies that will lead-up to this massive invasion of Israel, and as we read today’s headlines, we find that the fulfillment of these two prophesied events, could happen very soon…
More than 2,500 years ago, God gave the prophet Ezekiel an astonishing prophecy to give to the world, one that would be fulfilled in "the latter days." Many Bible scholars feel that the prophesied events, found in Ezekiel 38 and 39, could be fulfilled in the near future, and that we might already be witnessing the stage being set and the actors being moved into place, in light of current events happening in the Middle East, right now.
In Ezekiel 38, Russia, Iran, and an alliance of Muslim nations invade Israel due to a “hook placed in the mouth of Russia” to bring Russia down to invade Israel. That hook could very well be the natural-gas fields discovered off the coast of Israel or the more recent finding of massive oil deposits in the Golan Heights.
With Russian and Iranian military forces now cooperating and engaging in combat in Syria, just miles north of the border of Israel, people are asking if these events are setting the stage for the fulfillment of what Bible scholars call the “War of Gog & Magog” that is supposed to take place in the End of Days?
Isaiah 17 & Ezekiel 38 in the News :: By Todd Hampson
The Stage Won’t Be Un-Set: Isaiah 17 & Ezekiel 38 in the News
Bible prophecy has significant relevance to our life today—to gently wake the bride (the church) to the season in which we find ourselves.
Many prophecy experts think that the sudden destruction of Damascus will be the catalyst that triggers Ezekiel 38. These 2600+ year-old prophecies have not been fulfilled as of yet. Damascus, though ravaged by the Syrian Civil War, still stands and still has people living there.
In fact, recent news reports inform us that Iran is setting up shop in Damascus and has been laying the groundwork for a highway from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea—in essence building a caliphate with clearly stated plans to destroy Israel.
Recent (within the past year) airstrikes by Israel against weapons convoys (gifts from Iran to Hezbollah) and an Iranian-built missile factory near Damascus, along with the recent news of an Iranian buildup in Damascus, makes one wonder how close we are to Isaiah 17. We’re not told who destroys Damascus and how it is destroyed, but surrounding verses suggest it’s during conflict with Israel.
Given the current events we see unfolding and the knowledge that caches of chemical weapons are very likely stored in and around Damascus, the fulfillment of this ancient prophecy seems to be nearing. With ISIS contained and the Syrian Civil War brought to a low simmer, Russian and Iranian attention seems to be turning southward toward the mountains of Israel.
For my fellow prophecy students and ministries, here’s what I’m getting to. I had always wondered about the logic behind the fact that Ezekiel 38 involved nations that were at least one country removed from Israel’s borders, yet they attack with ground forces from Israel’s north.
In other words, the attack would have to come from Syria, but Syria is not listed as one of the attackers. If the stage is indeed being set for Isaiah 17 (Vs. 1, Vs. 14) and Ezekiel 38 (and I believe it is), then the Syrian Civil War has served to allow Russia and Iran to form their long-prophesied and unprecedented partnership and presence in the mountains north of Israel. Syria is not listed as an attacker because she is powerless and a puppet regime being held up only by Russia and Iran, who are calling all shots.
Another interesting thing is that Russia’s “hook in the jaw” now takes many possible forms. Trying to establish her presence in the Middle East has been sheer pragmatism by Russia, who desires to reassert her former strength. But in order to maintain her grip, she would instantly be pulled into major conflict if Israel preemptively strikes or retaliates against Iran’s growing presence in Damascus. Russia’s need to control the area may also give her greedy eyes related to Israel’s recent massive oil and gas discoveries. These and several other factors could serve as the hook in the jaw that drags Russia into leading the attack.
We can speculate about the nature of the hook in the jaw, but there is no doubt we are seeing the ground work laid for the relatively soon fulfillment of these ancient prophecies.
When you stop and think about the possibility of current events taking shape exactly as foretold in Scripture, and that they (particularly Ezekiel 38) are end-time prophecies, you realize how close we may be to the rapture—which I believe will happen just before or during these coming events.
I don’t see any way possible that current conditions could deescalate. In other words, the stage will not be un-set. Developments may move quickly, or slowly, but at some point the fulfillment of these prophecies will occur—and we are watching the stage being set daily.
Add this to the convergence of other signs (i.e. mass shootings, record-breaking natural disasters, etc.) and you may find yourself looking up a bit more often. For the watching eye and the waiting heart, it’s clear we’re in the season of the Lord’s return.
Proposed Oil Pipeline Israel, UAE & Saudi Arabia
Start at 9:20 - Pipeline created 62 years ago by pre-revolution Iran and Israel after Suez Canal
UAE agreement - new exportation of oil to Europe will cause problems with Russia, Iran & Turkey
So why do you think Russia has spent billions of dollars in helping the Arabs over all these years to fight? Because they love each other? There's no love lost! And this guy goes - and I would agree (you know, only God knows the motive of of Russia) - but he says basically he [Putin] would allow the Muslim nations to do the dirty work. And then once Israel is recaptured (that's the evil thought), then they're going to come in and take them out and take control.
But he says this - he says that's what they're working on. And when the nations of the earth will be beating a path to Israel's door for these chemicals (which means life to them) God will judge them and crush them. And yet even now - that was warned about 2,600 years ago - the Kremlin is plotting to do that job. They're preparing an invasion for us to go down over the mountains of Syria to seize Israel.
Now watch this - for years, people laughed at the Ezekiel 38 prophecy that God would destroy this great army in the mountains that are in the northern part of Israel and that Israel would burn their weapons for fuel for seven years.
Okay - only recently it's been known that the tanks and weapons of this army are made of non-metallic materials which burn like coal to thwart the Israeli metal-seeking atomic missiles.
Reuters news agency has reported that Russia has made large purchases of special archery equipment so powerful and accurate that it could shoot an arrow through a man's heart at 100 yards and still keep going.
And it's no secret that Russia has also bought up a large number of horses - a type best adapted for a military invasion through the mountains.
And the Bible said that's exactly what's going to happen! Who would have dreamed, he says, that a literal fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecies of bows and arrows and horses with a great battle with Russia and her satellite armies is going to come over the mountains to invade Israel. But then that's when God steps in and destroys them from the sky.
Christian, he says, this is no pipe dream. They are carefully authenticated facts which fits perfectly (shocker) into Bible prophecy!
The Gog and Magog War
God reveals a fascinating and detailed prophecy about a future war campaign against Israel in the book of Ezekiel. This war is known as the "Gog and Magog War" because the people of Magog and their leader Gog will lead the attack against Israel. Scripture clearly teaches that this particular war will be a turning point for Israel, with regard to their relationship with God. The sobering, yet exciting aspect of this study is that for the first time since Ezekiel penned these prophecies, the countries that will gather against Israel have built an alliance in recent years. The prophetic puzzle pieces are now in place. It is just a matter of time, that is, God's timing before these prophecies find fulfillment.
The first page of this study is a verse-by-verse study of Ezekiel 38-39. The second page is a study of the placement the "Gog and Magog War" on the prophetic timetable.
Ezekiel wrote down the ancient names of the nations as he knew them. To make sense of these names, we need to do some investigative work using Scripture and history. Many prophecy teachers have done the detective work for us already. The graphic below, shows the most widely held interpretation of the nations that will come against Israel:
1 Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying
2 "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
3 and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal."'
Gog is the leader of the horde and prince of Meshech, and Tubal. Magog was a grandson of Noah, one of the sons of Japheth (Genesis 10:2). Solid historical accounts point to Magog being Russia (source). This makes sense in light of Gog coming from the "far north." Russia is the furthest country directly north of Israel. In the Hebrew, "the prince of Rosh" is literally "the chief prince"; not the prince of a place called Rosh, as some scholars suggest.
There is some disagreement among scholars on the locations of Meshech and Tubal, though most believe they represent the former southern Soviet states. Currently, the former Soviet states are still independent from Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. However, in 2008, Russia invaded the country of Georgia. This act of aggression by Russia, trying to take the area of South Ossetia from Georgia, may hint that Russia desires to rebuild the Soviet Union again. Indeed, Ezekiel's prophecy shows us that Russia will govern over these former Soviet states before this prophecy takes place. In other words, Russia will either re-conquer these territories, or they will submit to Russian rule again in the future.
We will go into much more detail on Gog later, but for now it is important to know that Gog is not the name of a person, rather it is a title for a leader. Gog appears as a supernatural being elsewhere in Scripture, yet he is also killed and buried (Ezekiel 39:11). I take this to mean that Gog will be a human leader, likely controlled by a demonic spirit, or a fallen angel.
Note that Gog is a "chief prince," and not a king. This may suggest that Gog is not the supreme leader of Russia at the time of the invasion. In other words, the human leader being led by the demonic spirit could be the Prime Minister of Russia at the time of the war. This is because the Prime Minister is the office below the President, who is the second in command, or "chief prince." On the other hand, the title of "chief prince" could instead describe a rank within the angelic realm under Satan, such as the "prince of Persia," who fought against the heavenly "chief prince," the archangel Michael (Daniel 10).
4 I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords.
Putting hooks, or a bit into the jaw of an animal is a way of making the animal, such as a horse, move in the direction the rider desires:
James 3:3 - Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.
If the horse resists, the hooks in the jaw can become painful, motivating the horse to follow the rider's lead. Similarly, someone who hooks a sea creature in the jaw is able to control it:
Job 41:1-2 - Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook, or snare his tongue with a line which you lower? Can you put a reed through his nose, or pierce his jaw with a hook?
Ezekiel 29:3-4 - Speak, and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I am against you, O Pharaoh king of Egypt, O great monster who lies in the midst of his rivers, Who has said, 'My River is my own; I have made it for myself.' But I will put hooks in your jaws, And cause the fish of your rivers to stick to your scales; I will bring you up out of the midst of your rivers, And all the fish in your rivers will stick to your scales."
This passage shows that God Himself will persuade Gog to reluctantly lead the armies against Israel. In other words, circumstances will be such that Gog will have no choice but to follow God's will. For example, Russia may get pulled into the war to retaliate for an Israeli offense against one of their allies. Incidentally, God says "I will turn you around" to come against Israel, which sounds like Russia was already at the borders of Israel, but trying to leave. In recent years, Russia indeed has had military presence near the borders of Israel in Syria (source).
In light of modern warfare, it is interesting that Ezekiel tells us that there will be horses involved in the war. Surely Ezekiel used familiar terms to try to describe modern-day weapons and means of transportation he saw in his vision, like tanks and fighter jets. However, that doesn't explain the use of horses. Interestingly, Russia still maintains a horse cavalry. Every war in Russia's history has included this horse cavalry (source).
There is precedence in the modern era for the continued use of horses, in addition to modern warfare. During the "Korean War" in the early 1950's, the Chinese moved large numbers of their troops through the mountains with the use of horses. The use of horses for Gog's army might be very useful because Israel is mountainous terrain in the north and the east.
5 Persia, Ethiopia [or Cush], and Libya [or Put] are with them, all of them with shield and helmet;
6 Gomer and all its troops; the house of [Beth] Togarmah from the far north and all its troops - many people are with you.
In these verses, Ezekiel lists the rest of the participants in the "Gog and Magog War." Without a doubt, Persia is Iran, as their name was just changed in 1935. The areas of Ethiopia and Libya, otherwise known as Cush and Put in other Bible versions are a little tougher to pin down, as they encompassed a larger territory than they do today. While there is disagreement among scholars over the area of ancient Ethiopia or Cush, the area of Sudan is likely involved and may represent the ancient area better than current-day Ethiopia. Most agree that Algeria and Tunisia may also be included. Historians tell us that Gomer used to cover parts of Eastern Europe, possibly as far west as Germany, and east to the former western Soviet states including Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Lastly, Armenia and Turkey are likely included in Beth Togarmah. Ezekiel tells us that this will be a massive army with many people under the leadership of Gog.
As mentioned earlier, Ezekiel's prophecy shows us that in the future Russia will again govern the former Soviet states to the south, represented by Meshech and Tubal. In other words, before this prophecy takes place, Russia will either re-conquer the southern territories, or they will submit to Russian rule again. Gomer represents the western states, and Ezekiel's prophecy shows that they join Russia in the conflict. With that said, it is interesting that Russia has recently flexed their muscle invading Georgia in 2008 and recognizing South Ossetia as an independent state, and invading Ukraine in 2014, with Crimea breaking away and aligning with Russia.
The governments of Russia and some of the former Soviet states are predominately atheistic. The common denominator in the other countries that join Russia is they are all Muslim nations. This is interesting, because the more fundamental sects of Islam believe that Israel does not have a right to exist. Many Muslims believe Allah has called them to destroy the Jews and re-take the Holy Land.
Recall my theory from a few sections back, Russia might be pulled into this war as the result of Israel making an offense against one of their allies. It is interesting that the second country listed after Russia and its territories is Persia, or modern-day Iran. Currently, Iran seems hell-bent on developing nuclear technology, presumably to make weapons. Their Islamic ideology suggests that these nuclear weapons would be used to destroy Israel and possibly any nation that sides with Israel.
Many predict that when Israel feels the threat that a weapons development is imminent, they will go in and strike Iran's nuclear facilities, as they did to Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007. Due to the close ties that Russia has with Iran, it is possible Russia will begrudgingly lead the retaliation, if Israel takes out the Iranian nuclear sites that they helped build. The other nations, being Muslim, will be "chomping at the bit" to destroy Israel, which has been their plan since Israel became a nation.
However, there is an unfulfilled prophecy in Jeremiah that might argue against a full Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. Elam is in western Iran, west of the area of ancient Persia:
Jeremiah 49:35-39 - "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the foremost of their might. Against Elam I will bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and scatter them toward all those winds; there shall be no nations where the outcasts of Elam will not go. For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies and before those who seek their life. I will bring disaster upon them, My fierce anger,' says the LORD; 'And I will send the sword after them until I have consumed them. I will set My throne in Elam, and will destroy from there the king and the princes,' says the LORD. 'But it shall come to pass in the latter days: I will bring back the captives of Elam,' says the LORD."
This "latter days" prophecy shows that the four winds of Heaven come and destroy Elam and send the survivors into global exile. As discussed in Revelation 7:1, the four winds are the four spirits, or four horsemen of the apocalypse. Historically, these four horses rode out from Heaven to Earth during times of God's judgment, as discussed in Zechariah 6. These spirit horses also ride throughout the world during the global judgment in the Tribulation. It is not clear if this judgment on Elam occurs during the Seal judgments in Revelation 6 when the four horses appear, but it is clear that this prophecy will find fulfillment in the last days. In fact, Jeremiah's prophecy against Elam may find fulfillment before the "Gog and Magog War," because Elam was not a part of ancient Persia, but today it is part of Iran. In other words, if God judges Elam before the "Gog and Magog War," the area of Iran spared from destruction will more accurately represent the borders of ancient Persia in Ezekiel's day.
Jeremiah's prophecy may even occur before the Tribulation begins. A possible scenario may involve Iran closing off the Strait of Hormuz, which is a narrow passage into the Persian Gulf where nearly fifty percent of the world's oil passes through (source). Iran has threatened to block the strait (source) and the volatile oil prices could drive them to do just that if their oil driven economy collapses. Another possible reason they might close off the strait, is if Israel attempts to strike Iran and they block the strait in response. Whatever, the reason, if Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz, surely a global coalition would strike western Iran to reopen the strait, otherwise global oil prices will skyrocket. Perhaps God will send the four spirit horses out to lead such a coalition to judge Elam.
Incidentally, Iran's nuclear facilities are in the ancient area of Elam, but diplomat John Bolton warned that the deadline to strike Iran's nuclear facilities ended in the fall of 2010, and that striking the facilities now is too great of a humanitarian risk and radiation hazard to the region (source). Therefore, if a global coalition strikes Iran now, it could fulfill Jeremiah's prophecy and return Iran to the ancient boundaries of Persia before the "Gog and Magog War."
7 "Prepare yourself and be ready, you and all your companies that are gathered about you; and be a guard for them.
8 After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely.
9 You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you."
This passage helps us pinpoint the time in history the "Gog and Magog War" will occur. The war will be in the "latter years," which is the end of the age. Jewish people who have come out of exile, or brought back from the sword, will be living in Israel. Our generation has seen this prophecy fulfilled.
Several times Ezekiel tells us that Israel will be "dwelling safely." The word in the original Hebrew for dwelling safely, "betach," can have a meaning of feeling safe, but not necessarily being safe. I doubt Jews in Israel feel completely safe because the countries that neighbor them are enemies that want to annihilate them. That being said, everyday life in most parts of Israel appears to go on normally and peacefully, despite the threat looming nearby. Even with the continued threat from their neighbors, tourism in recent years has skyrocketed in Israel.
Due to the repeated prerequisite for Israel to have "peace and safety" before the "Gog and Magog War," I believe something more concrete like a peace treaty or covenant is in view, instead of just a "feeling" of safety. This could be the 7-year covenant that Israel will confirm with the antichrist (Daniel 9:27).
Another possibility is that "peace and safety" could be expected after the defeat of Israel's immediate neighbors. This is likely, because Israel's immediate neighbors are not included in the Gog and Magog horde. In fact, Scripture supports this notion. The following passage even uses the same Hebrew word "betach" found in chapter 38 of Ezekiel for "dwell safely," or "securely":
Ezekiel 28:25-26 - 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and am hallowed in them in the sight of the Gentiles, then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob. And they will dwell safely there, build houses, and plant vineyards; yes, they will dwell securely, when I execute judgments on all those around them who despise them. Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God."'
If Israel were to conquer their Islamic neighbors, you can imagine the rage that will ensue from the remaining Islamic nations. The strong ties between Russia and many of these Muslim nations could be the hook in the jaw to pull Russia into this conflict with Israel to retaliate against Israel taking out her neighbors. We will discuss this more toward the end of this study, but the "Great Middle East War" study covers this topic in-depth.
10 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan:
11 You will say, 'I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates' -
12 to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land.
For all practical purposes, Israel is presently a land of "un-walled villages." However, because of Palestinian terrorist attacks, construction of a security fence began several years ago. Portions of the fence surround Jerusalem, but it is not complete. The construction has slowed due to resistance from the Palestinians and the legal battles over it. Because of the huge media buzz and political nightmare made over the security fence, it seems to me that the fence will surely be taken down prior-to the Gog and Magog campaign. However, taking the fence down will make Israel more vulnerable to attack.
13 Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you, "Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder?"
Bible teacher Jack Kelley makes an interesting case for identifying Tarshish:
"Tarshish was a son of Javan, who settled the area of Southern Greece. Some see his name as a reference to ancient Tartessus, a seaport in southern Spain, near Gibraltar. Others recall the sea-going navies of the Phoenicians who sailed "the Ships of Tarshish" out of nearby Cadiz as far north as England for tin, a metal used in the making of bronze and other alloys, which they mined in Cornwall.
Some believe that the name Britannia is actually derived from a Phoenician word meaning "source of tin." If so, since the ships of Tarshish brought tin to the ancient world, this reference could be to Great Britain, with the "young lions" being their colonies they started, of which the US is the most prominent today. The fact that a lion is a symbol of the British Empire lends support to this view."
We find in Genesis 10, that Cush had grandsons named Sheba and Dedan. Later in Genesis 25, Abraham also had grandsons named Sheba and Dedan. We don't know exactly which grandsons are in view in Ezekiel. Most prophecy teachers believe that they were the grandsons of Abraham. Based on Genesis 25:6, Abraham's grandsons, Sheba and Dedan migrated east of Israel, which today is Saudi Arabia.
It appears that one of the few, more prominent Islamic nations that do not align with Russia is Saudi Arabia. If Sheba and Dedan represent Saudi Arabia, they will side with the western world to protest the actions of Russia and the other nations. This makes sense, because Saudi Arabia typically aligns with the western world today.
An important note to make, is that Israel is all alone in this conflict. The U.S., apparently, is among the young lions watching from the sidelines, but not coming to Israel's aid. At some point before this war, Israel will have lost all her allies and only God will come to her rescue.
We have already discussed the possible motives for attacking and dragging Russia into the conflict with Israel. God will force Russia to enter the conflict by a "hook in the jaw," but they will see a silver lining in the spoils of war. In addition to the prerequisite of Israel feeling safe, it will be a wealthy nation at the time of the war, as Ezekiel describes Israel as having "great plunder."
Indeed, Israel is much more prosperous than her neighbors. However, Israel could greatly increase her wealth by discovering oil. In recent years, Israel has said to have found a massive reserve of natural gas off the coast of Haifa. This is already drawing conflict with Israel's neighbor Lebanon. Israel having major oil reserves could add "icing on the cake," being plunder and great spoils for Russia to take, in return for helping out their allies.
Incidentally, in the 2014 conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Russia threatened to turn off the natural gas supply to Europe through Ukraine, which makes up about a third of Europe's supply, if they back sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine conflict. Due to this threat and the possible economic ramifications, Europe may look elsewhere for their natural gas to lessen their dependence on Russian oil. Potentially, Israel could replace Russia for exporting natural gas to Europe. Russia's loss of income could be motive to attack Israel and take their natural gas as spoil.
14 "Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it?
15 Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army.
16 You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes."
We see the emphasis again on Gog coming from the "far north," which undoubtedly is Russia. God also reiterates that Israel will be dwelling in safety and Gog will know it. Gog "knowing" that Israel is dwelling safely seems to support something more concrete than just a feeling. As stated before, the "feeling of safety" could come from a peace treaty and/or defeat of Israel's immediate neighbors. In other words, whatever will be making Israel feel safe may actually be part of what draws Gog into this battle.
This passage discloses the purpose that God has for bringing Gog and these armies against Israel. God will not only reveal Himself to the world, but He will call Israel His people again. In other words, during the war, God will turn back to Israel, as He promised He would again in Hosea 1:10, 2:23 and Romans 9:25-26.
17 Thus says the Lord GOD: "Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days by My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against them?"
As mentioned at the beginning of this study, Gog will be a human leader likely controlled by a demonic spirit or fallen angel. The passage above supports this notion. Other than Reuben's descendant (1 Chronicles 5:4), other mentions of Gog in Scripture clearly depict him as a supernatural being.
In the Greek Septuagint translation of the Bible, Gog is the king of locusts in Amos 7:1. We know these aren't physical locusts because Proverbs 30:27 says that locusts have no king. Revelation 9:11 describes supernatural locusts, but their leader is the angel Abaddon, or Apollyon, not Gog. A parallel passage in Joel 2 tells us that a supernatural locust army removes Gog's army, which shows a spiritual battle that manifests in the physical. In other words, a supernatural army of locusts directed by Gog appears to work through a physical human army to come after Israel, but God protects them with his own army of locusts.
Ezekiel indicates that Gog knew that he would lead this battle in "former days." This is further evidence that Gog is not just a human. Gog is also mentioned at the end of Christ's millennial reign, when a rebellious Gentile army will come against the Lord in Revelation 20:7-8. Gog himself is probably not in this war, as Revelation 18:2 shows that the area of Babylon will be a prison for all the demons and foul spirits during the Millennium. So if Gog is a demon or evil spirit, he will be among them, but Scripture is silent if the unclean spirits are released with Satan to deceive the nations before the second "Gog and Magog War." So, even if Gog does not lead the battle, it is reminiscent of the "Gog and Magog War" in Ezekiel, hence the name given to the army. It is even possible that this army will be descendants of the same nations that will come against Israel in the Ezekiel war.
18 "And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel," says the Lord GOD, "that My fury will show in My face.
19 For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: 'Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel,
20 so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.'
21 I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains," says the Lord GOD. "Every man's sword will be against his brother.
22 And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
23 Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD."
God will be revealing Himself to the world in this war through judgment. As I will discuss later, I believe this war will likely take place during the Tribulation because God is pouring out His Wrath. Major tectonic and atmospheric forces will be the tools of God's judgment in this war. A major earthquake in the region will flatten the mountains. This could awaken dormant volcanoes near the enemy line, and rain down fire and brimstone on them. God will also bring a mighty thunderstorm on the army. In addition, God will bring confusion to the attackers and they will kill each other, just like the enemies of Gideon and his men did in Judges 7. Truly this will be the most horrific event in human history since the flood, and will have consequences that will shake the rest of the world.
There is an interesting prophecy in the book of Haggai. Some believe this passage is a possible parallel of God's judgment on the Gog and Magog armies:
Haggai 2:20-22 - And again the word of the LORD came to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying, "Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying: 'I will shake heaven and earth. I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms; I will destroy the strength of the Gentile kingdoms. I will overthrow the chariots and those who ride in them; the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.'"
The second chapter of Haggi shows that the twenty-fourth day of the tenth month is very important. In fact, this prophecy was partly fulfilled in the victory of the Maccabean revolt of 165BC. This is the event that the Jewish people commemorate in the holiday of Chanukah (or Hanukkah); where after victory, the Jews began the process of cleansing the temple on the twenty-fifth day of the tenth month of the Jewish calendar. Jews light the first candle of the menorah at sundown on the twenty-fourth day. Some believe that the complete fulfillment will be the "Gog and Magog War," perhaps on the twenty-fourth day of the tenth month of the year of its fulfillment.
1 "And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal...."'"
In this passage, God reiterates that Gog is the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. Further evidence that Gog is a supernatural leader is in Daniel 10:13, where there is a supernatural leader called the "Prince of Persia" who Michael, the archangel, struggled against, as mentioned earlier. Michael told Daniel that there was also a supernatural leader of Greece (Daniel 10:20).
We wrestle against "principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, [and] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12). In other words, Satan has organized a spiritual military, complete with commanders to spiritually attack humans of all nations. In the "Gog and Magog War," this spiritual war will manifest into a physical war, with God's judgment coming against the partakers.
2 "...and I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the far north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel.
3 Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand.
4 You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.
5 You shall fall on the open field; for I have spoken," says the Lord GOD.
6 "And I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in security in the coastlands. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.
7 So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.
8 Surely it is coming, and it shall be done," says the Lord GOD. "This is the day of which I have spoken."
Gog's army and "those who live in security in the coastlands" will come under judgment. It is not clear who these coastland dwellers are. The most popular theory is that the damage will extend to Europe and/or the Americas. I don't understand the reasoning behind this, especially since many believe that the western nations are Tarshish and their young lions.
Personally, I think it makes more sense that the damage will extend back to the attackers' countries. Perhaps more specifically to the organizations and people who have supported the anti-Israel campaign; particularly Islamic terrorists. Incidentally, many of those who fund these Islamic terrorists live in the rich cities of the Middle East coastal areas, such as those in the Persian Gulf. These people may feel secure because of the massive army that will come together to carry out their campaign.
God is not going to allow Israel to profane His name any longer after this war. In addition, God is reiterating that He will be revealing Himself to the world in judgment. This seems to support the notion that the 70th week of Daniel has commenced. God will be dealing with Israel's transgression during this time of judgment. In the "Pre-Tribulation Rapture" study, I discuss in detail the purpose of "Daniel's 70th week."
9 "Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and bucklers, the bows and arrows, the javelins and spears; and they will make fires with them for seven years.
10 They will not take wood from the field nor cut down any from the forests, because they will make fires with the weapons; and they will plunder those who plundered them, and pillage those who pillaged them," says the Lord GOD.
Most prophecy teachers today believe that these weapons will be nuclear, thus "burned" as nuclear energy. I don't believe that the amount of weapons plundered will be just enough to burn for seven years. Rather, I believe there will be a limited 7-year period of burning these weapons by those who dwell in Israel. Note that the passage does not say that it is God's people, or "the house of Israel," as specified in the next passage, who will burn the weapons, but "those who dwell in Israel," which is not limited to only Jews; other people groups live in Israel too. This is important to remember for our discussion later about the timing of the war.
11 "It will come to pass in that day that I will give Gog a burial place there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea; and it will obstruct travelers, because there they will bury Gog and all his multitude. Therefore they will call it the Valley of Hamon Gog.
12 For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land.
13 Indeed all the people of the land will be burying, and they will gain renown for it on the day that I am glorified," says the Lord GOD.
14 "They will set apart men regularly employed, with the help of a search party, to pass through the land and bury those bodies remaining on the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search.
15 The search party will pass through the land; and when anyone sees a man's bone, he shall set up a marker by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon Gog.
16 The name of the city will also be Hamonah. Thus they shall cleanse the land."
The burial-place of the man controlled by Gog is in Israel, east of the sea. "East of the sea" is the land east of the Dead Sea. Ezekiel tells us that this land will belong to Israel. Today, this land is part of Jordan. This supports the likelihood that Israel will defeat her neighbors and expand her borders in a war prior-to the "Gog and Magog War." We will discuss this more at the end of the study.
It will take seven months for the "house of Israel" to bury the dead. Based on the carnage described, the mess would take a lot longer to clean up without the help of scavenger birds (Ezekiel 39:4). The detailed method of cleanup, described by Daniel, is the same used in nuclear decontamination today (source).
17 "And as for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD, 'Speak to every sort of bird and to every beast of the field: "Assemble yourselves and come; gather together from all sides to My sacrificial meal which I am sacrificing for you, a great sacrificial meal on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood.
18 You shall eat the flesh of the might, drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams and lambs, of goats and bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan.
19 You shall eat fat till you are full, and drink blood till you are drunk, at My sacrificial meal which I am sacrificing for you.
20 You shall be filled at My table with horses and riders, with mighty men and with all the men of war,"' says the Lord GOD."
There is a shift of events here. Before verse 17, Ezekiel describes a regional war with Gog and his armies. Right after this, the scriptures describe a seven-month cleanup and burial. But then in this passage, the birds come to feast on "all men of war." At the end of the Tribulation in Revelation 19:17-21, we find the parallel passage to this "fowl's feast." The Gog and Magog armies will be bird food, as specified in Ezekiel 39:4. But here, verses 17-20 clearly say "all men of war" will be given to the birds and beasts, not just Gog's men of war.
We will see in the next passage, after this feasting God will bring the Jews back to Israel. The gathering of the Jews will be at the end of the Tribulation (Matthew 24:31). In contrast, Jesus commands the Jews to run to the mountains and hide during the Tribulation (Matthew 24:15-20).
In short, Ezekiel 38-39:16 covers one regional event, and Ezekiel 39:17 thru the end of the chapter covers another event on a global scale. It is not uncommon for separate events in prophetic passages to appear written as just one event. There are several passages of Christ's 1st and 2nd Comings in the Old Testament which show this. (Click here for examples). In this case, Ezekiel 38-39 appears to describe the opening and closing scenes of the Tribulation.
21 "I will set My glory among the nations; all the nations shall see My judgment which I have executed, and My hand which I have laid on them.
22 So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day forward.
23 The Gentiles shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity; because they were unfaithful to Me, therefore I hid My face from them. I gave them into the hand of their enemies, and they all fell by the sword.
24 According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I have dealt with them, and hidden My face from them."
We are now talking about God's judgment on all the nations. This will be the time of the 2nd Coming of Jesus, and His battle against the nations, during the Armageddon campaign. The Jewish remnant that survives the Tribulation will, at that point, recognize that He is their Savior and Lord:
Zechariah 13:9 - "I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'This is My people'; and each one will say, 'The Lord is my God.'"
25 "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: 'Now I will bring back the captives of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name -
26 after they have borne their shame, and all their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, when they dwelt safely in their own land and no one made them afraid.
27 When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and I am hallowed in them in the sight of many nations,
28 then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer.
29 And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,' says the Lord GOD."
God will finally gather all of His people back to the land at the end of the Tribulation (Matthew 24:31 & Mark 13:27), and evict the evil inhabitants out of the land:
Jeremiah 12:14-15 - Thus says the Lord: "Against all My evil neighbors who touch the inheritance which I have caused My people Israel to inherit - behold, I will pluck them out of their land and pluck out the house of Judah from among them. Then it shall be, after I have plucked them out, that I will return and have compassion on them and bring them back, everyone to his heritage and everyone to his land."
God will also pour out His Spirit on the house of Israel by the end of the Tribulation (Joel 2:28-29 & Zechariah 12:10). "All Israel will be saved" after this point (Jeremiah 31:1 & Romans 11:26); they will not turn from God, or He from them, because God will circumcise their hearts to love Him (Deuteronomy 30:1-6).
The following passage shows the Lord's plan to bring the Jews back to Him through the Tribulation. Verses 1-5 describe the "Gog and Magog War," verses 6-9 show the final destruction of Babylon at the end of the Tribulation, and the inheritance given to the Jews in the Millennium is found in verses 10-13:
Zechariah 2:1-5 - Then I raised my eyes and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. So I said, "Where are you going?" And he said to me, "To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length." And there was the angel who talked with me, going out; and another angel was coming out to meet him, who said to him, "Run, speak to this young man, saying: 'Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it. For I,' says the LORD, 'will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.'"
Zechariah 2:6-9 - "Up, up! Flee from the land of the north," says the LORD; "for I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven," says the LORD. "Up, Zion! Escape, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon." For thus says the LORD of hosts: "He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye. For surely I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me."
Zechariah 2:10-13 - "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst," says the LORD. "Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. And the LORD will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem. Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!"
On the next page, we will take a look at the possible timing of the war, and other frequently asked questions about the "Gog and Magog War."
Timing Gog and Magog - When will the Ezekiel 38-39 war be fulfilled? By Nathan E. Jones
“If biblical prophecy teaches us anything, it is that God is in complete control of human history and its culmination.”
That quote by Dr. Ron Rhodes highlights one of the greatest benefits of studying God’s prophetic word—fulfilled Bible prophecy provides an indisputable apologetic for the existence of God. “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21 NKJV). Intertwined with that apologetic is an evangelistic message that effectively proclaims the triune God of the Bible alone stands apart the one true God, and only as revealed in Scriptures.
While Bible prophecy constitutes a whopping 27% of the Bible, God’s overall plan for the ages appears to be rather like a 100 piece puzzle, and so far, He has only provided 75 pieces. One can definitely make out the outline of a picture, but until certain events unfold, which then adds another new piece to the puzzle, the picture remains incomplete.
These absent proverbial puzzle pieces have been a stumbling block for the apologist wielding Bible prophecy as an evangelistic tool and those to whom they are witnessing, causing both to not properly see the big picture of God’s redemptive plan for mankind. And so, to use Bible prophecy as an effective apologetic in one’s evangelistic efforts, the student of the Bible must dive into the complete Word and utilize that one dirty word so missing in much of today’s “newspaper exegesis” so unfortunately equated with the field of Eschatology—study. The proclaimer of God’s Word must be able to study a particular biblical prophecy, and much like a diamond, carefully examine the many glistening facets in order to discern exactly what revelations the Bible desires to impart.
One such “incomplete” prophecy can be found in Ezekiel chapters 38-39 which concerns what is called the Gog-Magog Battle or the War of Gog and Magog. At first read, as one theologian so colorfully commented, the book of Ezekiel can appear as if a “perplexing maze of incoherent visions—a kaleidoscope of whirling wheels and dry bones that defy interpretation,” causing readers to “shy away from studying the book and to miss one of the great literary and spiritual portions of the Old Testament.” And, he would be right.
That is why this study will evaluate the research provided by Dr. Ron Rhodes of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries in his authoritative book on Ezekiel 38-39 titled Northern Storm Rising. Dr. Rhodes earned his Th.M. and Th.D. degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary, has long served as a professor at that seminary, and has authored an incredible 80-plus books mainly about the doctrine of Eschatology. Northern Storm Rising focuses on discerning who the Gog-Magog players are and examines the clues as to when this prophesied war will occur. Dr. Rhodes’ work will be evaluated in light of the research of other esteemed theologians. In the process of mining the book of Ezekiel for its “rich spiritual truths that strike with peculiar force upon the hearts of men,” the hope is the reader will be “brought face to face with a transcendent God, a self-existent being who has absolute power and is constantly revealed in glory.”
A long 2,600 years ago, the great Hebrew nabi, Ezekiel ben Buzi of the priestly family of Zadok, was exiled to Babylon in 597 B.C. There he unveiled a prophecy the Lord God had divulged to him concerning the future of the nation of Israel. Recorded in the book of Ezekiel chapters 36 and 37, the prophet revealed that God would fulfill His promise to regather the Jewish people “out of all [the] countries” of the world where they had been dispersed “and bring you into your own land” that had been promised to their forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ezekiel 36:24; Geneses 17:7; 1 Chronicles 16:17-18; Psalm 105:8-11; Romans 9:4 NKJV).
Like dry bones reanimated into a living person, Israel did indeed become a nation once again on May 14, 1948, after nearly 1,900 years since the Romans in 70 A.D. destroyed Jerusalem and exiled the Jewish people across the globe. But, this reanimation would still lack a soul—the national belief in Yahweh and His Son. As one commentator noted: “The bones came together. The flesh crept up over them. They were ready for life, but as yet there was no life in them. It was still a congregation of corpses.” After all of these centuries, this prophecy found its fulfillment in our modern generation. But, God was not done unveiling the future of Israel to Ezekiel and the world, for the following two chapters portray a great trial for the newly established nation of Israel—the Gog-Magog Battle—a trial that would lead towards granting that reanimated body a soul.
The Gog-Magog Battle is set between a massive coalition of nations descended from Noah’s sons Japheth and Ham against Israel (Genesis 10:2-7). The nations are from the territories of ancient Rosh, Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Persia, Cush, Gomer, and Beth-Togarmah (Ezekiel 38:2-6). Their leader is called “Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal” (Ezekiel 38:2-3 NKJV). The battlefield is on “the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate” (Ezekiel 38:8 NKJV). The purpose of the invasion is to “plunder and to take booty” and attack the people of Israel (Ezekiel 38:12-16 NKJV).
The end result of such a massive invasion by a seemingly invincible army on an unprotected Israel ends up surprising the invaders and shocking the world. The invading nations are, in truth, being manipulated by God, pulled out of their lands as with “hooks in your jaws,” so that those nations feel the Sovereign Lord’s fury (Ezekiel 38:4,18 NKJV). God drags these specific nations to the “mountains of Israel” to “bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed… flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone” (Ezekiel 38:21-22 NKJV). God’s ultimate purpose for supernaturally obliterating the invading coalition is so: “Thus, I [God], will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 38:23 NKJV).
God’s supernatural victory over the Gog-Magog invaders allows Him to reintroduce Himself to the world and declare in no uncertain terms that Yahweh is personally defending Israel. Should the people of the world doubt, they only have to look on Israel who “will go out and set on fire and burn the weapons… and they will make fires with them for seven years” (Ezekiel 39:9 NKJV). As for the invaders’ corpses, “for seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land” in the newly named “Valley of Hamon Gog” by a newly built “town called Hamonah” (Ezek. 39:11-12,16 NKJV).
Ezekiel provides the prophetic name of the leader of this coalition of nations—“Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal” (Ezekiel 38:2-3 NKJV). Whether Gog is a real name as was used of a descendent of Reuben in 1 Chronicles 5:4, or is a title for a supreme position such as king or president, remains to be seen. Some historians even point to King Gyges of Lydia, who asked King Ashurbanipal of Assyria for help in 676 B.C. but then joined an Egyptian-led rebellion against Assyria, as a historic type. Gyges’ name in that era became synonymous with terror, bloodshed, and homelessness. Others point to Genghis Khan who, during the 1200s, ruled the Mongol empire which covered a fourth of Asia, as another historic type. Whether Gog is either historical or the prophesied Antichrist that is yet to come, depends on when one places the timing of the Gog-Magog Battle. Either way, the identity of Gog truly lives up to the meaning of his name—”hidden or covered.”
Ezekiel 38:1-6 provides the ancient names of those territories which comprise the invading nations: Rosh, Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Persia, Cush, Put, Gomer, and Beth-Togarmah. If only Ezekiel had gone the extra mile and given the names of the invading nations contemporary to the battle, a lot of debate over their modern identities would have been saved. Nevertheless, God prefers students of the Bible to do their historical research, and the following list of equivalent names is the fruit of that research.
Some historians point to the former Soviet nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, as well as including Afghanistan, as encompassing the land of Magog. Historian Edwin Yamauchi explains that Magog was the “ancient Scythian northern nomadic tribes who inhabited territory from Central Asia across the southern steppes of modern Russia.” These nations, today consisting of a population of 60 million, are united by one commonality—Islam.
The ancient Moschoi or Muschki or Musku tribe settled in Cilicia and Cappadocia, which is now part of modern-day Turkey. Ezekiel 27:13 notes these people traded in slaves to Tyre and Ezekiel 32:26 refers to them as an ancient bandit nation.
The people of Tubal would have hailed from the ancient Tibarenoi tribe. For those who have equated Tubal as the Serbian city of Tobolsk, along with Meshech as the Russian city of Moscow, Hebrew Scripture experts claim there is “no etymological, grammatical, historical, or literary data in support of such a position.” This land also resides in modern-day Turkey.
The Jewish historian Josephus identified Gomer who “founded those whom the Greeks now call Galatians [Galls], but were then called Gomerites. Some theologians point to Germany as the land of Gomer, leading one theologian to ask, “What if a united and anti-Semitic Germany were to seek its future fortunes while allied to an anti-Semitic Russia?” The Jewish Midrash Rabbah and Talmud also call Gomer “Germania” indicating today’s Germany. Not a commonly held view, but one Oxford historian even suggested Gomer’s son who became the ancestor of the Celtic people necessitates including the Cymry of Wales and Brittany, meaning Great Britain. Gomer most popularly looks to reference the Gimirrai of the Assyrians, or Cimmerians, who lived in the Black Sea area adjacent to Turkey.
Togarmah, or Beth-Togarmah, which means the “house of Togarmah,” contains an etymological connection between the name Togarmah and the names Turkey and Turkestan. The Tilgaimmu resided between ancient Carchemish and Haran, which is modern-day Turkey and possibly the lands of Azerbaijan and Armenia.
The land of Persia is ancient and long-running and the easiest to identify, only having changed its name to Iran during the last century in 1935.
Cush is another area easy to identify, having split into Ethiopia and the Sudan in more recent history.
While the Midrash Rabbah claims Put is not Libya or Lub, but rather Somaliland or Somalia bordering on Ethiopia, the scholars reviewed all claim that Put is indeed Libya with the possibility that the land also includes Algeria and Tunisia.
Ezekiel describes “Sheba and Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions” as just observing the battle (Ezekiel 38:13 NKJV). Sheba and Dedan were Shem’s descendants who settled in modern-day Saudi Arabia. Tarshish could refer to Tarsus located just northwest of Israel, or the island of Sardinia located just north of Carthage in the Mediterranean Sea. But, more than likely, the inhabitants of Tartessus, located on the southwest coast of Spain, denotes the Phoenician merchants who sailed as far as Britain. The “young lions” could then be referring to Spain and Great Britain’s colonies in the New World.
Noticeably absent from this list of Middle Eastern nations are those surrounding modern-day Israel, such as Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Gaza, Iraq, and the Arabian peninsula nations. Why these “many nations” are not also actively involved in the Gog-Magog Battle is open to speculation, but a Psalm 83 scenario where the seer Asaph foresaw Israel subjugating their surrounding neighbors could be the scenario that grants Israel the peaceful precondition Ezekiel describes that precedes the Gog-Magog invasion (Ezekiel 38:11).
The final nation to be explored in Ezekiel’s list is Rosh. Could it be modern-day Russia? As one author queried, “Will the old Russian Bear come out of its quarter-century hibernation and again sound a roar that shakes the world?” Properly identifying Rosh is important for identifying the timing of the Gog-Magog Battle.
The word “Rosh” or “Ros” appears noticeably absent from the list of nations provided by Ezekiel 38:3 in the King James Version, the New International Version, the English Standard Version, and others. Rosh can be found in Ezekiel’s list of nations in the New King James Version, the New American Standard Version, the Amplified Version, the Darby Translation, and others. Why the difference in translations?
The difference is the challenge for the translators to either interpret the Hebrew word “Rosh” as a noun indicating an actual landmass, or as an adjective that according to the Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible means “an exalted one” such as a king, sheik, captain, chief, or prince. The NAS translators chose the noun form of “Rosh,” while the NIV translators chose the adjective form. Translations based on the Greek Septuagint (LXX) follow the noun form, while those based on the Latin Vulgate follow the adjective form.
Support for Rosh Equaling Russia
Support for the use of the noun interpretation of “Rosh” as a distinct landmass identifiable as modern-day Russia points to the validity of this interpretation for several reasons:
Various Hebrew scholars, such as G.A. Cook, believe the noun form of “Rosh” is true to the original Hebrew.
Other scholars, such as John Walvoord, explain that: “In the study of how ancient words came into modern language, it is quite common for the consonants to remain the same and the vowels to be changed. In the word ‘Rosh,’ if the vowel ‘o’ is changed to ‘u’ it becomes the root of the modern word Russia.”
The Septuagint (LXX) translation predates the Latin Vulgate by 700 years and is only three centuries removed from the time of Ezekiel, making it a translation more contemporary with Ezekiel.
Tenth Century Byzantine writers, such as Ibn-Fosslan, identified a group of Scythians dwelling in the northern parts of Taurus upon the river Volga as the Ros.
Ninth Century B.C. Assyrian texts predating Ezekiel’s time also refer to the Rosh or Rashu.
Even farther back as early as 2600 B.C., ancient Egyptian and other Middle-Eastern inscriptions and texts, such as in Sargon’s inscriptions, on a cylinder by Assurbanipal, in an annul by Sennacherib, and five times in Ugaritic tablets, all record the existence of the Rosh/Rash/Reshu people.
The early Byzantine Church claimed that the Ros were the people who lived far north of Greece in the area today known as Russia.
Rosh is supposed to be “from the remotest parts of the north” (Ezekiel 39:1-2 NKJV). No other nation exists more directly north of Israel and is more remote than modern-day Russia.
Current news reports repeatedly show that Russia has very quickly solidified economic and military ties with the nations involved in the Gog-Magog coalition. Russia is building a nuclear reactor in Iran and arming Islamic nations. Russia has gained a foothold in Syria due to the Syrian civil war for the purpose of controlling the Middle East’s vast oil reserves. Israel’s Mediterranean gas deposits are seen as a direct threat to Russia’s monopoly of the natural gas supply to Europe.
Russia nationally has held a long and historic anti-Semitic violent streak that God would not leave without a response.
When all arguments for Rosh being Russia are put on the table, it is clear that Russia descended from the Rosh people.
While there is much debate over the specific timing of the Gog-Magog Battle, the student of the Bible can be positive about the general timing. General timing is clearly spelled out in Ezekiel’s account as events that must happen to set the stage for the battle.
1. The first general timing clue is Ezekiel’s use of the terms “latter years” and “last days” (Ezekiel 38:8,16 NKJV). The Gog-Magog Battle must happen in the prophetic scheme of the end times as it relates to the nation of Israel. The key verse which unlocks the understanding as to what these terms mean can be found in Deuteronomy: “When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice” (Deuteronomy 4:30 NKJV). “Distress” is also translated as “Tribulation.” It is the Tribulation, also called Daniel’s Seventieth Week prophecy (Daniel 9:20-27), that brings the Jewish people as a nation back to a belief in Yahweh and later to accept Yeshua as their Messiah. The Tribulation leading up to the Millennial reign of Christ is what the Old Testament prophets consistently and repeatedly taught. And so, these key phrases point to the Gog-Magog Battle happening in relation to the Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom.
2. The second general timing clue rejects the claim that the battle has already happened in history. Never in the history of the Middle East have the nations described in the coalition been united in a concerted attack against Israel. In no time has such a specific group of nations been destroyed by inclement weather. And, in no time in history has Israel named a valley Hamon Gog, nor has the adjoining town called Hamonah, existed where the Jews buried their invaders’ dead bodies (Ezekiel 39:11-12,16). Lack of historical support leaves only a future timing for the battle to occur.
3. The third general timing clue is given in Ezekiel 36 and 37 and involves the regathering of the Jewish people back into their homeland “from out of all countries” of the world (Ezekiel 36:24 NKJV). Like the valley of dry bones reanimated into a living person that Ezekiel envisioned, Israel did indeed become a nation once again. Out of the 14.5 million Jewish people in the world today, 47% reside in Israel, making up 6,841,000 (74%) of the population dwelling in the Holy Land. And, the Jews must have control of “the mountains of Israel,” which they gained when they took control of the mountains from the Jordanians during the Six Day War (Ezekiel 38:8 NKJV).
4. The fourth general timing clue involves the developments nationally that have to occur to make the nations of the coalition unite in an invasion of Israel. Two factors have made this coalition possible today. The first is the religion of Islam uniting these nations in satanic hatred of the Jewish people. The second is the economic bounty that Israel now has with its revitalized land and newly discovered gas deposits. The coalition nations now see a viable motivation to unite for the singular purpose of plundering Israel’s wealth.
5. The fifth general timing clue reads, “You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates'” (Ezekiel 38:11 NKJV). Israel must be living without walls, peacefully, and unsuspecting of an attack. Israel today lives in constant fear of attack and is always prepared for an invasion by the 60-plus million hostile Muslims surrounding their borders. Because of this turbulent climate, this part of the prophecy can be argued to have yet to be fulfilled.
As the question as to when the Gog-Magog Battle will occur, two obvious answers can be eliminated from the onset. The first presupposes the battle has already occurred in history, but that would be historically incorrect. That the Gog-Magog Battle was fulfilled in Ezekiel’s day by an invasion of the Scythians, Babylonians, or Greeks fails to fulfill the roster of nations that compile the Gog-Magog invasion force. Also, it fails to address Ezekiel chapters 36-38 which prophesy a regathering of Jews to Israel from all over the world using the end-timing clues given as the “latter years,” or “last days” (Ezekiel 38:8,16 NJKV). A past historical invasion just does not fit the Ezekiel 38-39 description.
The second concludes that the Gog-Magog Battle will never occur and also can be discarded as incorrect. A literal interpretation being replaced with a metaphorical interpretation that postulates that Ezekiel 38-39’s description is somehow “apocalyptic symbolism” representing a struggle between good and evil is Replacement Theology spiritualizing. As Semitic languages expert Charles Feinberg once said, “It is either the grammatical, literal, historical interpretation or we are adrift on an uncharted sea with every man the norm for himself.” Prophecy fulfilled is always prophecy fulfilled literally, and the prophecy concerning the Gog-Magog Battle should be interpreted no differently.
Before the Tribulation
The following timing views are founded on the Premillennial interpretation of Scriptures as they relate to the order of future events. Premillennialism was the dominant view during the first three centuries of Church history and was later reinstated by German Calvinist theologian Johann Heinrich Alsted in his book The Beloved City (1627). The first two timings rest heavily on the Pre-Tribulation Rapture viewpoint, which sees the Church removed from the earth before God pours out His wrath during a seven-year Tribulation period.
Before Both the Rapture and the Tribulation
Some theologians believe the Gog-Magog Battle will occur before both the Rapture of the Church and the seven-year Tribulation. A few of the supporters of this view are Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins of the popular Left Behind series of books, and Joel Rosenberg who wrote Epicenter. Another supporter, David Cooper, noted with confidence back in 1940, years before Israel had even become a nation again, that “there will be a time between now and the beginning of the Tribulation when the Jews will be dwelling in the Land in unwalled cities and will be at rest” after the Church has been raptured. The pros and cons of this timing viewpoint are as follows:
With Islam’s severe defeat and her coalition nations lying in ruin, many a Muslim’s faith in Allah would be shattered. The Islamic world would no longer impede the Jewish people from removing the Dome of the Rock off of the Temple Mount and begin rebuilding the Third Temple in its place, the very Temple which the Antichrist is prophesied to desecrate during the Tribulation (Daniel 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).
God revealing Himself to the world so dynamically is in character with His willingness to warn before implementing global judgment and to call people to repentance. A resulting great multitude, therefore, may come to then know Christ and be included in the Rapture and avoid God’s wrath during the Tribulation.
Placing the invasion before the Rapture could contradict the first general time clue of the terms “latter years” and “last days,” that is if this “time of Jacob’s trouble” is reserved only for the seven-year Tribulation (Jeremiah 30:7; Ezekiel 38:8,16 NKJV).
Placing the invasion before the Rapture would contradict the fifth general time clue which tells of Israel living unsuspecting and in peace before the attack. Unless peace is derived by Israel subjugating its surrounding neighbors or by the peace covenant made with the Antichrist which starts the seven-year countdown, Israel yet to have attained that peaceful precondition (Daniel 9:27).
The New Testament indicates that no prophetic event has to occur before the Rapture, which is called imminency. Imminency precludes such prophetic events such as the Gog-Magog Battle happening before the Rapture.
The removal of “he who now restrains” coincides with the Antichrist emerging on the world scene (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 NKJV). Because the Church is the temple of the Holy Spirit and so, therefore, could be identified as the Restrainer, the Rapture would have to happen before the Antichrist is revealed (1 Corinthians 3:16). Should the peaceful precondition be tied to the Antichrist’s peace covenant, then the Gog-Magog Battle follows both the Rapture and the onset of the Tribulation.
A timing problem exists for Israel in that midway through the Tribulation the Antichrist’s abomination in the newly built Temple will cause the Jews to flee into the desert (Matthew 24:15-16). Some argue the Jews would no longer then have access to the Gog-Magog invader’s weapons to burn. And so, the seven years of Tribulation no longer matches the seven years of burning the weapons.
After the Rapture But Before the Tribulation
Popular supporters of this view are professors Ed Hindson and Tommy Ice, both associated with the Pre-Trib Research Center. Also, Arnold Fruchtenbaum of Ariel Ministries, who reasons the Russian invasion as taking place “some time before the Tribulation,” because “God will punish Russia for her sins” for “the key sin is her long history of anti-Semitism, a problem that persists in Russia to this day.”
With the world in chaos due to a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, Russia and its Islamic coalition could seize the opportunity to attack a friendless Israel.
With the Muslim Gog-Magog nations out of the picture just before the Tribulation, the Antichrist would have an easier time making a peace covenant with Israel.
With the more Christianized nations in tatters due to a Pre-Tribulation Rapture and the Islamic world in ruins from the Gog-Magog Battle, the remaining European world power could fill the vacuum in the Middle East. By making a peace treaty with Israel and easily conquering the lands of the once Middle-Eastern Islamic countries, the Roman Empire could truly be revived once more as Daniel 2 and 7 prophesy. The only remaining world powers would be East-Asian, and the Bible records their continued existence, though under the control of the Antichrist and revolting at the very end of the Tribulation (Revelation 16:12).
With the Muslim world in tatters, Israel would have no resistance to rebuilding the Temple.
The Rapture does not start the Tribulation, but rather the signing of the peace covenant between the Antichrist and Israel does (Daniel 9:27). This fact would allow a three-and-a-half-year or more time delay between the Rapture and the Tribulation, giving Israel the full seven years to burn the weapons from the Gog-Magog Battle before being forced to flee into the desert (Matthew 24:15-16).
Placing the invasion before the Rapture could contradict the first general time clue of the terms “latter years” and “last days,” that is if this “time of Jacob’s trouble” is reserved only for the seven-year Tribulation (Jeremiah 30:7; Ezekiel 38:8,16 NKJV).
The peaceful precondition of Ezekiel 38:11 in which Israel has to be living unsuspecting and in peace before the Gog-Magog Battle may only occur because of the peace covenant with the Antichrist, who cannot be revealed until the Tribulation begins.
During the Tribulation
The following timings place the Gog-Magog Battle during the Tribulation. The pros and cons of each timing viewpoint will continue to be addressed.
In the First Half or Middle of the Tribulation
Supporters of this view are John Walvoord, J. Dwight Pentecost, Charles Ryrie, Herman Hoyt, Charles Dyer, and Mark Hitchcock. As Pentecost explains, “To place the events in the middle of the week is the only position consistent with the chronology of these extended passages (Isaiah 30-35 and Joel 2-3).”
The fifth general timing clue that requires Israel living unsuspecting and in peace before the Gog-Magog Battle could easily be attained by the peace covenant the Antichrist makes with Israel that starts the seven-year countdown of the Tribulation (Ezekiel 38:11; Daniel 9:27).
With the more Christianized nations in tatters due to a Pre-Tribulation Rapture and the Islamic world in ruins from the Gog-Magog Battle, the remaining European world power could fill the vacuum in the Middle East. By making a peace treaty with Israel and easily conquering the lands of the once Middle-Eastern Islamic countries, the Roman Empire could truly be revived once more as Daniel 2 and 7 prophesy. The only remaining world powers would be East-Asian, and the Bible records their continued existence, though under the control of the Antichrist, rising at the very end of the Tribulation (Revelation 16:12).
By placing the timing of the Gog-Magog Battle early in the Tribulation, the defeat and disillusionment of Muslims worldwide would destroy the strength of Islam. With the Church removed in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, Christianity would also be removed. The resulting polytheistic and pantheistic religions would integrate well into the apostate one-world religion that the False Prophet promotes (Revelation 13:11-15). The only monotheistic religions left to reject the Antichrist would be Judaism and the newly growing Jesus movement, both of which the Antichrist persecutes greatly during the second half of the Tribulation (Revelation 6:11).
Ezekiel describes Israel burning the invading enemy’s weapons for seven years (Ezekiel 39:9). Placing the Gog-Magog Battle at any time during the Tribulation would push the burning right into the Millennial Kingdom. With Jesus then present to provide everyone’s needs, the curse partially lifted, and the earth reformatted by earthquakes, there would be no need for Israel to have to burn any weapons for fuel (Isaiah 11:8; Revelation 6:12-14; 16:17-21).
The tremendous persecution of the Jews during the second half of the Tribulation would not grant them the freedom to bury the invaders’ dead bodies for seven months unless the Gog-Magog Battle occurred earlier than the mid-point (Ezekiel 39:12).
If the Gog-Magog Battle happened closer to the mid-point, the question is raised as to why God would rescue Israel so dramatically from the Gog-Magog nations only to hand Israel immediately over to the intense persecution by the Antichrist.
At the End of the Tribulation (Armageddon)
Supporters of this view, such as Louis Bauman and Charles Feinberg, believe the Gog-Magog Battle and the final battle of Armageddon are one and the same.
Both the Gog-Magog Battle (Ezekiel 38-39) and the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:19) are described as taking place during the first general timing clue “latter years” and “last days” of the Tribulation (Ezekiel 38:8,16 NKJV).
Ezekiel declares that due to the defeat of the Gog-Magog invasion Israel will again acknowledge God (Ezekiel 39:22,29). These references, if coupled with Zechariah 12:10, explaining an acknowledgment by Israel of their true Messiah at the end of the Tribulation, would make the Gog-Magog Battle and Armageddon one and the same, if the acknowledgment of God the Father and Jesus the Messiah are also one and the same.
The peaceful precondition in which Israel has to be living unsuspecting and in peace before the Gog-Magog Battle cannot exist under the Great Tribulation of Israel by the Antichrist (Ezekiel 38:11).
The nations in the two battles do not match. The Gog-Magog Battle involves the specific nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Sudan, Libya, and possibly Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Algeria, and Tunisia against Israel (Ezekiel 38:1-6). The references to Armageddon include every nation from across the entire earth set against Israel (Joel 3:2; Zephaniah 3:8; Zechariah 12:3; 14:2).
The locations described in the two battles do not match. Armageddon takes place in the valley of Jezreel by the plain of Megiddo (Judges 5:19; 2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chronicles 35:22; Zechariah 12:11). Ezekiel describes the Gog-Magog Battle as taking place on the “mountains of Israel” (Ezekiel 38:8 NKJV).
The leaders of the armies are not the same. Gog is the prince and ruler of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal (Ezekiel 38:3). The invading leader at Armageddon is the Beast who controls the whole earth (Revelation 13). While it is known that Satan possesses the Antichrist, it is unknown if Gog is possessed by Satan (Revelation 13:2).
The armies find themselves fighting two different opponents. The Gog-Magog invaders look to conquer a peaceful and unsuspecting Israel (Ezekiel 38:11). The Armageddon invaders gather to make war against the returned King—Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:19).
The accounts of the defeat of the invaders do not match. The Gog-Magog invaders are defeated by God who uses “flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone,” as well as in-fighting (Ezekiel 38:21-22 NKJV). The invading nations at Armageddon are defeated by Jesus who uses “a sharp sword” from His mouth, meaning mere words (Revelation 19:15 NKJV).
Ezekiel describes several nations protesting why the Gog-Magog invasion is happening (Ezekiel 38:13). At Armageddon, all the nations of the world are involved in the invasion of Israel, and none protest (Joel 3:2; Zephaniah 3:8; Zachariah 12:3; 14:2).
Ezekiel describes Israel burning the invading enemy’s weapons for seven years (Ezekiel 39:9). Placing the Gog-Magog Battle at the end of the Tribulation would push the burning right into the Millennial Kingdom. With Jesus then present to provide everyone’s needs, the curse partially lifted, and the earth reformatted by earthquakes, there would be no need for Israel to have to burn any weapons for fuel (Isaiah 11:8; Revelation 6:12-14; 16:17-21).
In Relation to the Millennial Kingdom
Three views exist that place the Gog-Magog Battle in relation to Jesus Christ’s thousand-year reign on earth, often called the Kingdom of Christ or the Millennial Kingdom.
Between the Tribulation and the Millennium
This least popular view places the events of Ezekiel 38 and 39 into an interlude period between the Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom.
This is a consistent argument with the view that an interlude period could exist between the Rapture and the Tribulation.
The fifth general timing clue that requires Israel living unsuspecting and in peace before the Gog-Magog Battle could easily be attained after Christ’s Second Coming (Ezekiel 38:11).
An interlude time could be any length of time, granting the seven years given to Israel to burn the invading enemy’s weapons for fuel (Ezekiel 39:9).
With Jesus having defeated all of the armies of the world at Armageddon, no army would be left to invade Israel so soon (Revelation 19:19).
Only one interlude period is given in the Futurist prophetic timeline as it relates to the Tribulation. Daniel reveals, “Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days” (Daniel 12:12 NKJV). Revelation also explains that the Gentiles “will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months” (Revelation 11:2 NKJV). Revelation continues, “And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth” (Revelation 11:3 NKJV). The difference between these two accounts is 75 days. The 75 days will most likely be used by Jesus to judge the world in the Sheep-Goat Judgment and rebuild the planet after the seven-year Tribulation (Matthew 25:31-46).
The interlude time limited to 75 days does not give Israel the seven months they need to bury the dead invaders’ bodies from the Gog-Magog Battle (Ezekiel 39:12).
With Jesus present to provide everyone’s needs, the curse partially lifted, and the earth reformatted by earthquakes, there would be no need for Israel to have to burn any weapons for fuel into the Millennium (Isaiah 11:8; Revelation 6:12-14; 16:17-21).
At the Beginning of the Millennium
Supporters of this view, such as Arno Gaebelein, place the Gog-Magog Battle at the beginning of the thousand-year reign of Christ.
The fifth general timing clue that requires Israel living unsuspecting and in peace before the Gog-Magog Battle could easily be attained after Christ’s Second Coming (Ezekiel 38:11).
With Jesus having defeated all the armies of the world at Armageddon, no army would be left to invade Israel so soon (Revelation 19:19).
No wicked people will have survived the Sheep-Goat Judgment to enter into the Millennial Kingdom to start a war (Jeremiah 25:32-33; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 19:15-18). Only believers who survive the Tribulation enter into the Millennial Kingdom, and they have no reason to declare war on Christ.
No weapons would be available to the invaders of the Gog-Magog Battle, nor be left to burn for seven years, for as Isaiah states, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks” (Isaiah 2:4 NKJV).
No war exists until the end of the Millennial Kingdom. Isaiah describes the Millennial Kingdom as being a time of world peace where “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4 NKJV). Revelation describes the only war that will happen during the Millennial Kingdom, and that is at the end of the thousand years when Satan is let loose from the Bottomless Pit to rally unbelievers in that age against Jesus Christ (Revelation 20:7-9).
With Jesus present to partially lift the curse and reformat the earth from the ravages of the Tribulation, the Millennial Kingdom will begin in an almost holy state (Isaiah 11:8; Revelation 6:12-14; 16:17-21). Ezekiel describes the land after the Gog-Magog Battle needing cleansing because of its defilement due to the invaders’ dead bodies (Ezekiel 39:12). Defilement contradicts the pristine condition that characterizes the Millennial Kingdom.
Islam will not exist during the Millennial Kingdom. The unifying theme today among the coalition of nations that attack Israel in the Gog-Magog Battle is their satanically inspired Islamic hatred of Israel and jealousy of its wealth. Since Satan will be bound while Jesus reigns in person over the entire earth, no opposing satanic religion such as Islam will exist to unite those nations during the Millennium Kingdom (Revelation 20:1-3).
With Jesus Christ’s ruling the world from Jerusalem with “a rod of iron,” no invader would dare invade Israel (Psalm 2:9).
At the End of the Millennium
Henry Halley is a proponent of this view. So are George Knight and Rayburn Ray. Frank Gaebelein also places the Gog-Magog Battle at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. But, as Dr. Rhodes notes, the majority of supporters for this view tend to come from a non-evangelical background.
Revelation’s timeline places a Gog-Magog Battle at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. The passage reads, “Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea” (Revelation 20:7-8 NKJV).
Similar terminology exists between Ezekiel 38-39 and Revelation 20 concerning the great number of invaders involved.
The prosperity that Israel possesses as described in Ezekiel 38-39 would be fulfilled by God’s blessings on Israel during the Millennial Kingdom.
God uses supernatural weather in both accounts to destroy the invaders.
Ezekiel’s chapters would be chronologically out of order with this view. Ezekiel 33-39 covers the national restoration of Israel and is followed by chapters 40-48 which describe Israel’s spiritual restoration entering into and enduring throughout the Millennial Kingdom.
Revelation 20’s chronology does not harmonize with Ezekiel’s chronology. Revelation 20 describes the Millennial Kingdom, which is immediately followed by chapter 21 concerning the Eternal State.
The Gog-Magog invaders would no longer have bodies that require Israel to bury over seven months, as the Revelation account records the invaders being incinerated by fire coming down from the heavens (Ezek. 39:12; Revelation 20:9).
Israel would have no reason to need seven months to bury the dead invaders if God is just going to resurrect them at the end of the Millennium, judge them at the Great White Throne Judgment, and then throw them into the Lake of Fire (Ezekiel 39:12; Revelation 20:11-15).
Israel would have no reason to burn the invaders’ weapons into the perfect Eternal State.
Ezekiel’s and Revelation’s descriptions of the invading armies do not match. Ezekiel describes a coalition of Russia and Muslim nations attacking Israel. Revelation describes a much larger scope, with the invaders coming out of the “nations which are in the four corners of the earth” (Revelation 20:8 NKJV).
Ezekiel’s and Revelation’s descriptions of the battlefields do not match. Ezekiel describes the Gog-Magog Battle taking place on the “mountains of Israel,” while Revelation’s account states the battle takes place “on the broad plain of the earth” (Ezekiel 38:8; Revelation 20:9 NASB).
Ezekiel’s and Revelation’s descriptions of Israel’s rulers do not match. Ezekiel 38-39 follows chapters 36-37 which describe the rebirth of Israel, a nation not yet in belief in God nor having accepted Jesus as Messiah. The Revelation 20 account has Jesus already ruling from Jerusalem for a thousand years.
Ezekiel’s and Revelation’s descriptions of the invader’s leaders do not match. Gog is in control of the coalition against Israel in Ezekiel’s account, whereas Satan is in control of the coalition against Jesus in Revelation’s account. While Satan is clearly mentioned in Revelation’s account, it is unknown if Gog is possessed by Satan or is a man possessed by Satan.
Ezekiel’s and Revelation’s descriptions of Israel’s faith do not match. In Ezekiel 38-39, God uses the Gog-Magog Battle to make Himself known to Israel and the world. In Revelation 20, Israel has already long acknowledged Yahweh as God and King going on a thousand years.
The unbelieving children of the Tribulation saints who have survived to live into the Millennial Kingdom will be the ones who wage war against God at the end of the thousand years, as opposed to the children from the age of the “time of the Gentiles” who wage war in Ezekiel and Jesus’ accounts (Luke 21:24 NKJV).
John’s use of “Gog and Magog” in Revelation 20:8 is more likely to draw a comparison between Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog Battle and the one John is describing at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. In other words, the labeling acts as a kind of shorthand saying, “It’s going to be Gog and Magog all over again.”
I will conclude by analyzing the various timing views and then state when I believe the Gog-Magog Battle will take place.
Let me go on the record, though, by stating that I am not dogmatic about this end time topic, nor should anyone be. The study of the end times (Eschatology) is a non-primary doctrine. Since God has given mankind merely an overview of His future plans, He has left us with nothing concrete enough to pinpoint the exact timing, probably so that we Christians will not just sit quietly by, but get out there and witness with all our energy until the Lord’s return. The study and debate over when the Gog-Magog Battle will take place should never divide the brethren.
Analyzing the Views
Each of the Gog-Magog Battle timing views appear to revolve around dealing with two yet-to-be fulfilled key prerequisites:
Israel is in a state of unsuspecting peace before the invasion (Ezekiel 38:11).
Walking backwards through the list, the three views that time the Gog-Magog Battle in relation to the Millennial Kingdom do great justice to the first prerequisite in putting Israel at a time of peace due to Jesus’ victory and reign, but cannot overcome the obstacles of the second prerequisite. With Jesus having subjected all of His enemies before the start of the Millennial Kingdom, there would be no more invaders left to organize another invasion. With no invaders, there are no bodies to bury nor weapons to burn.
The best of the three Millennial Kingdom views is the one placing the timing at the end of the thousand years, which Revelation describes as an uprising of unbelievers born during that era who are led by Satan and share in his final defeat (Revelation 20:7-8). While there are some similarities to Ezekiel’s account of the Gog-Magog Battle, the dissimilarities prove Ezekiel is talking about a different Gog-Magog Battle than the battle the Apostle John described. I agree that John’s use of “Gog” and “Magog” in Revelation 20 is more likely to draw a comparison between Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog Battle as a type of what the battle will be like at the end of the Millennial Kingdom.
For the two views that place the timing during the Tribulation, both wrestle with the same prerequisites. While similarities exist between Gog-Magog and Armageddon, their differences far outweigh their similarities. Also, placing the battle at the end of the Tribulation violates the first prerequisite that Israel is living in peace, a condition which would be impossible under the intense persecution by the Antichrist and Israel’s subsequent flight into the desert.
Placing the timing at the beginning, but not by the middle, of the Tribulation gives Israel the seven months to bury the dead invaders and the full seven years to burn the fuel, should they have a reserve stored where they flee. This view would then need to settle the peaceful precondition of Israel by resting it on either a Psalm 83 subjugation of Israel’s surrounding hostile neighbors or the peace covenant made with the Antichrist (Psalm 83; Daniel 9:27).
The two views that place the timing of the Gog-Magog Battle squarely before the Tribulation perfectly grants the full seven years’ time needed to burn the weapons. Even if the Jewish people must flee into the wilderness at the midpoint of the Tribulation, they could have already stored the fuel in the location where they end up fleeing. Or, there could be a gap of three-and-a-half years or so between the Gog-Magog Battle and the beginning of the Tribulation so that the fuel expires by the middle of the Tribulation just as the Jews flee. Since the Tribulation begins with the peace covenant forged between the Antichrist and Israel, the only viable scenario for a peaceful prerequisite would be a Psalm 83 subjugation of Israel’s hostile bordering neighbors or to take Ezekiel’s description of Israel being at peace to mean militarily secure, which as one of the most powerful militaries in the world today, could certainly provide a false sense of security.
Obviously, all of the timing views struggle over some particular point. Which view a person holds rests more on what they see as the view which provides the most logical harmonization of the prerequisites. I have to agree with Dr. Rhodes that the timing of the Gog-Magog Battle after the Rapture of the Church but just before or at the very onset of the Tribulation best fulfills these prerequisites and makes the most logical sense in the prophetic timeline. This is how I see the timeline most likely playing out:
The Rapture of the Church removes the Restrainer.
Israel subjugates her surrounding neighbors in fulfillment of Psalm 83.
The Gog-Magog Battle destroys the Russian and Muslim influence in the Middle East, makes the world aware of God’s presence, and restores Israel’s belief in the God of the Torah.
The Antichrist makes a peace covenant with Israel which starts the seven-year Tribulation, then conquers what is left of the Middle East, and birth’s his Revived Roman Empire.
Israel spends the seven years of the Tribulation burning the weapons.
Jesus returns at the end of the seven years to defeat His enemies at Armageddon resulting in Israel acknowledging that Jesus is God’s Son.
Jesus gathers the people from all over the world for the Sheep-Goat Judgment, which results in only believers entering the Millennial Kingdom.
At the very end of the Millennial Kingdom, a final battle takes place that is reminiscent of the first Gog-Magog Battle.
Time will tell when the Gog-Magog Battle will truly take place. But, Israel is a nation once more as prophesied, and the coalition of invading nations are already working together for the first time in history. The scene is pretty much all set for this epic battle to be waged and in the not-too-distant future.
With a more secure handle on exactly what nations are involved in Ezekiel 38-39 and when the Gog-Magog Battle will occur, the evangelist can better approach the apologetic of fulfilled Bible prophecy more confidently. While this epic battle and prophecy remain future, various aspects of it demonstrate that events are quickly ramping up leading to the complete fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy, so it is not so distant in the future. With that sense of urgency in mind, the evangelist can precede to show those to whom he is witnessing how God’s prophetic order of events is playing out even in our day and age and encourage them towards surrendering their lives to Jesus Christ and in holy living.
Timing of the Gog and Magog War and other questions
In this part of the study, I attempt to place the timing of the "Gog and Magog War," with respect to other prophetic events in Scripture.
Is Gog the antichrist?
Many do not see two separate wars depicted in Ezekiel 38-39, which has led some to believe that the "Gog and Magog War" is the same as Armageddon. We will look at the reasons this is not the case in a moment.
Gog is not the antichrist. There will apparently be a man in-dwelt by the supernatural chief prince, who is Gog. This man will die and be buried:
Ezekiel 39:11-12 - "It will come to pass in that day that I will give Gog a burial place there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea; and it will obstruct travelers, because there they will bury Gog and all his multitude.... For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land."
The antichrist will be cast into the lake of fire, not buried:
Revelation 19:19-20 - And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
As for the prophets, plural (Ezekiel 38:17), we have previously discussed that Amos 7 speaks of Gog. There were likely more prophets of God than just those who wrote Scripture that could have prophesied about Gog as well. For example, 1 Kings 18-19 shows that there were at least 100 prophets at the time of Obadiah and Elijah who did not author Scripture.
Is the campaign of the antichrist in Daniel 11 the same as the Gog and Magog War?
One of the more popular beliefs is that the "Gog and Magog War" describes the conquest of the antichrist in the middle of the Tribulation. We do see a few similarities in the following passages:
Ezekiel 38:4, 15-17 - I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army.... Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you.... You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land...." Thus says the Lord GOD: "Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days by My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against them?"
Daniel 11:40-41 - "At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him [the king of the south] like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown."
The passage in Daniel is about the conquest of the antichrist, described as the "king of the North," when he begins to rise in power near the middle of the Tribulation. Babylon will be the center of the antichrist's kingdom, which is northeast of Israel (Revelation 18 & 19). Also, at least two prophets in Scripture refer to the antichrist as the Assyrian (Isaiah 10, 14 & Micah 5), and most of the land of the Assyrian kingdom lay to the north of Israel. However, Ezekiel says that Gog and its troops comes from the "far north" (Ezekiel 38:6), which better describes an area further north than Assyria. Most believe that this country "far north" is Russia.
As shown in the last section, there are differences between Gog and the antichrist. Another difference between the positions of the antichrist and Gog is that a "king" and a "chief prince" have different ranks of command. Also, sometime during the Tribulation the antichrist will take over Israel, as we saw in the passage above in Daniel. Contrast that to the passage below, where God will destroy Gog and his horde before they can destroy Israel in the "Gog and Magog War." It is clear that these are two different campaigns and two different generals:
Ezekiel 39:2-6 - "...and I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the far north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel. Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand. You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. You shall fall on the open field; for I have spoken," says the Lord GOD. "And I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in security in the coastlands."
Is the "Gog and Magog War" the same as Armageddon?
Many see parallels between the following passages about the "Gog and Magog War" and Armageddon:
Ezekiel 38:19-22 - ...Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel, so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.... And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
Revelation 16:17-18, 20-21 - Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done!" And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth.... Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent.
Ezekiel 39:4 - ...I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured....
Ezekiel 39:17-20 - "And as for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD, 'Speak to every sort of bird and to every beast of the field: "Assemble yourselves and come; Gather together from all sides to My sacrificial meal which I am sacrificing for you, a great sacrificial meal on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood. You shall eat the flesh of the might, drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams and lambs, of goats and bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan. You shall eat fat till you are full, and drink blood till you are drunk, at My sacrificial meal which I am sacrificing for you. You shall be filled at My table with horses and riders, with mighty men and with all the men of war," says the Lord GOD.
Revelation 19:17-18 - Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, "Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great."
Despite the similarities, there are clear differences between the "Gog and Magog War" and Armageddon. We already discussed that Ezekiel 39:4 is speaking of Gog and his army. In contrast, Ezekiel 39:17-20 and Revelation 19:17-18 are speaking of a feasting on a grander scale of all people groups, while the Gog and Magog horde in Ezekiel consists of a specific group of enemies surrounding Israel:
Ezekiel 38:1-6 - Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops - many people are with you."
Armageddon will consist of ALL nations coming against Israel and Jerusalem:
Revelation 16:13-14 - And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Revelation 19:17-18 - Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, "Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great."
Zechariah 14:1-2 - Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem.
All of Israel will live in peace and safety in "un-walled villages" before the "Gog and Magog War":
Ezekiel 38:8,11-12,14 - In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely.... You will say, 'I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates....' "Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it?"'
The saved remnant of Israel will have fled to the wilderness in the middle of the Tribulation. They will stay there until Armageddon, when Jesus returns. The remnant will not live in un-walled villages at the end of the Tribulation because they will be supernaturally protected in the mountains:
Matthew 24:15-16 - "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains."
Revelation 12:6, 14 - ...the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days... the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.
In contrast to God saving Israel out of Gog's hand in the Ezekiel war, Jerusalem will temporarily be captured during Armageddon with much suffering. These are clearly two separate wars:
Zechariah 14:2 - For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity....
Is the "Gog and Magog War" in Ezekiel the same as the one in Revelation?
Revelation 20:7-10 - Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are.
History tends to repeat itself; prophecy is no different:
Ecclesiastes 1:9 - That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
While these two gathering armies have the same name, there are definite differences between the two events. Ezekiel is very specific about cleaning up bodies for seven months and burning weapons for seven years:
Ezekiel 39:9, 14-15 - "Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and set on fire and burn the weapons." ...and they will make fires with them for seven years. "They will set apart men regularly employed, with the help of a search party, to pass through the land and bury those bodies remaining on the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search. The search party will pass through the land; and when anyone sees a man's bone, he shall set up a marker by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon Gog."
Eternity begins immediately after the "Gog and Magog War" in Revelation 20. Since there is no more time left, this war cannot be the same war in Ezekiel, which describes a period of cleaning up - seven months to clean up dead bodies, and seven years to burn weapons. Right after the war God will put the earth through His refining fire after the war in Revelation, before the final judgment:
Revelation 20:11 - Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.
2 Peter 3:10 - But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
Another difference is that the "Gog and Magog War" in Ezekiel will take place at a time when God is not widely known among the nations, but during the Millennium, when the Gog and Magog armies in Revelation gather at the end, the nations will know the Lord because He will rule over them in the flesh:
Ezekiel 38:23 - Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.
Micah 4:1-3 - Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD's house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion the law shall go forth, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, And rebuke strong nations afar off; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.
Where on the prophetic time clock will the "Gog and Magog War" take place?
We've already discussed why the "Gog and Magog War" will not happen during the middle of the Tribulation, or at the end. Let's take a closer look on why that is the case.
The earth will go through an incredible transformation by the end of the Tribulation:
Revelation 16:18-21 - And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent.
There will be a worldwide earthquake that destroys all the cities. Every island will disappear and every mountain flattened. There will be a tremendous hailstorm that will not only pound everything it hits to a pulp, but imagine the powerful flow of water produced when the hail stones melt, that will wash away everything in its path. These hailstones will pound people to death. The rapid melt of the hailstones, mixed with the blood from the carnage, could be the reason that the river of blood will reach as high as the horse's bridle outside of Jerusalem (Revelation 14:19-20).
When Christ returns, He will elevate Jerusalem, or Zion, to a mountain (Micah 4:1-2). As already mentioned, the Lord will cut down the mountains to no more than hills. It appears that Israel, in addition to the entire surface of the earth, will go through an overhaul in preparation for the Millennium. At the 2nd Coming of Jesus, God is doing the cleaning up, not the "house of Israel" (Ezekiel 39:12-13).
It is my belief that the "Gog and Magog War" must occur at least seven years before the Millennium begins. I see it as either a regional war before Daniel's 70th Week, or that it coincides with the beginning of it, within the Seal judgments in Revelation 6; more on this later. In fact, the "seven years" in Ezekiel 39:9 may even be a clue that the war is at the beginning of "Daniel's 70th Week":
Ezekiel 39:9 - "Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and bucklers, the bows and arrows, the javelins and spears; and they will make fires with them for seven years."
Also, the "Gog and Magog War" could pave the way for the harlot religion "Babylon the Great" to rise. This religious harlot system will rule during the first half of "Daniel's 70th Week," before the ten kings destroy her and hand over their power to the antichrist (Revelation 17:16-17). "Babylon the Great" will fill the void left after the "Gog and Magog War," and effectively wipe out radical Islam and atheism. Islam will already be crushed, as discussed in the "Great Middle East War." That being said, the "Gog and Magog War" will remove any doubt that Allah is a false god.
The result will be that everyone will be looking for an answer, likely through religion because of the supernatural nature of this war. Ezekiel 38:23 says "I will be known in the eyes of many nations... they shall know that I am the Lord." Unfortunately, many will be looking in the wrong place and be led into deception; first through the Babylonian harlot religion, and then later by the antichrist.
God will show Himself again to the Jews during the "Gog and Magog War." Jews who recognize this war fulfills the prophecy in Ezekiel will see that the chapters after the war describe restoration of their covenant relationship and temple worship. However, the Jews may want to build a temple before the "Gog and Magog War"; more on this point in a bit. Either way, a temple must stand before the middle of the Tribulation week, when the antichrist will cause the "abomination of desolation" there:
Daniel 9:27 - "Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate."
Additional support for the "Gog and Magog War" coinciding with the beginning of the Tribulation is that some of the Seal judgments in Revelation 6 parallel the "Gog and Magog War" described in Ezekiel, Haggai, Zechariah, and Joel:
Seal Judgments Gog and Magog War
This is a strong possibility considering the carnage described in Ezekiel, compared to the quarter of the earth that will be subject to death from the 4th Seal judgment alone (Revelation 6:8). However, the judgments poured out on Gog and Magog in Ezekiel deal with a specific group of nations, not all nations. That being said, it is not hard to see how decimation of these particular nations will cause a ripple effect throughout the world; especially considering the global dependence on oil from those nations. In fact, it says in Ezekiel 38:19 that there will be an earthquake in Israel, but it will affect everyone on earth. All creatures will shake, apparently in fear, from the supernatural aspect of the judgments. But if this war parallels the Seal judgments, there will also be a literal shaking throughout all the world:
Revelation 6:12-14 - I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.
In this scenario, a covenant confirmed by the antichrist and "many", perhaps on the heels of a war between Israel and her immediate neighbors, would fulfill the first Seal judgment. Russia would be pulled into the war because of their alliance with the other Muslim countries. Presumably, these nations are not among the "many" that confirm the covenant. The other Seal judgments of war, scarcity and death, and the "Wrath of the Lamb" earthquake centered near Israel, would follow in rapid-fire succession.
One other thing to consider in the timing of the war is that the antichrist will have confirmed a 7-year peace covenant with Israel at the beginning of the Tribulation week. Under that covenant they will be living in a false sense of security. This would fit with the emphasis in Ezekiel that Israel will be living in "peace and safety."
The Lord turns back to the Jews in the "Gog and Magog War" (Ezekiel 38:18-23), which supports this war occurring in the Tribulation period. As shown in the study on Israel, the chapters leading up to the "Gog and Magog War" in Ezekiel show the Lord's reason for gathering them back into the land in these last days, which is to prepare them for the Millennium.
The book of Joel is a summary of the wars in the last days, including the "Great Middle East War," the "Gog and Magog War," and "Armageddon." The second chapter in Joel covers the "Gog and Magog War," with parallels to both Ezekiel and Revelation. Joel shows us that "the day of the Lord is at hand" (verse 2), which supports this war taking place at the beginning of the Tribulation:
Another possibility is that the "Gog and Magog War" is a pre-Tribulation war that will, in effect, cause a power vacuum in the Middle East. Some believe this will be the catalyst for the rise of the antichrist. One argument for the war being pre-Tribulation is that a Jewish remnant will be in hiding at Petra during the "Great Tribulation," therefore they will unavailable to burn the weapons half way into the Tribulation. However, a closer look at this passage reveals that it is "those who dwell in the cities of Israel" that will be burning the weapons:
Ezekiel 39:9 - "Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and bucklers, the bows and arrows, the javelins and spears; and they will make fires with them for seven years."
Those "who dwell in the cities of Israel" may not necessarily be limited to the remnant that flees to Petra, considering there will still be people, probably Arabs and/or unbelieving Jews, inhabiting and defending Jerusalem just before the Lord's return at His 2nd Coming:
Zechariah 14:2 - For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity.
In contrast, God specifically says that it is the "house of Israel" and "all the people of the land" who do the burying of the dead, after the "Gog and Magog War"; not just "those who dwell in the cities of Israel." The seven months it takes to do this would fit with either a pre-Tribulation or early Tribulation timing of the "Gog and Magog War":
Ezekiel 39:12-13 - "For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. Indeed all the people of the land will be burying, and they will gain renown for it on the day that I am glorified," says the Lord GOD.
However, for the "Gog and Magog War" to occur before the Tribulation, Israel must feel like it is living securely first. As previously discussed, despite the "wars and rumors of wars," it is possible "peace and safety" is already checked off "God's to-do list." But the continual emphasis on the prerequisite of "peace and safety" seems to show that it will be more than just a "feeling," but something more concrete like a "covenant" that will give them confidence in their security. Indeed, the Bible says Israel will confirm a peace covenant with the antichrist at the beginning of the Tribulation. Interestingly, the passage in Isaiah below shows that Israel will believe that the "covenant with death" is a "refuge" for them, before they discover the deception and destruction in it:
Isaiah 28:15 - Because you have said, "We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we are in agreement. When the overflowing scourge passes through, it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood we have hidden ourselves."
Daniel 9:27 - Then he [the antichrist] shall confirm a covenant with many for one week....
Daniel 11:21-24 - And in his place shall arise a vile person, to whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue. With the force of a flood they shall be swept away from before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant. And after the league is made with him he shall act deceitfully, for he shall come up and become strong with a small number of people. He shall enter peaceably, even into the richest places of the province....
1 Thessalonians 5:3 - For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
Revelation 6:2 - And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow [lack of arrows may show diplomacy instead of war]; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.
Will the rapture of the Church take place before the "Gog and Magog War?"
God will be pouring out His wrath during the "Gog and Magog War":
Ezekiel 38:18-19 - "And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel," says the Lord GOD, "that My fury will show in My face. For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken...."
The Lord has promised the Church that they will not endure His wrath:
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 - For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 - For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
God is also calling Israel His people again, which suggests a dispensation change has occurred:
Ezekiel 39:6-7 - "And I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in security in the coastlands. Then they shall know that I am the LORD. So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel."
This may also explain why the United States is not defending Israel, or restraining Russia and its coalition. The rapture of the Church is sure to cause great chaos, especially in a country where presumably a sizable part of the Bride of Christ resides. What remains of the United States may very well be protesting on the sidelines with Tarshish, Sheba, and Dedan (Ezekiel 38:13), but left incapacitated and therefore unable to do anything about it. That being said, by the end of the Tribulation all nations will come against Israel (Zechariah 14:2). So, it is entirely possible that the United States will turn their backs on Israel, even before the rapture of the Church.
Why are Israel's immediate neighbors not listed in Ezekiel's prophecy?
Indeed, all of Israel neighbors are enemies who continually top the headlines with threats to "wipe Israel off the map," or to "throw the Jews into the sea." Some prophecy teachers like Joel Rosenberg, lump Israel's neighbors in with "the many people" in Ezekiel 38:6. The context seems to speak of the vastness of the army, not of other countries. God thinks that Israel's neighbors are very important; He specifically mentions Israel's neighbors by name over and over throughout Scripture. Perhaps the Lord intentionally left these countries out of this passage because they will not join the Gog and Magog confederacy. Sometimes what isn't in Scripture is just as important as what is there. We should take care not to assume anything.
Psalm 83 and several unfulfilled prophecies in the Old Testament may explain what will happen to Israel's immediate neighbors that will keep them from joining the Gog and Magog coalition. As I discuss in my study on "The Great Middle East War," when Israel defeats her neighbors the world will go into an uproar. It seems fitting to me that the time would be ripe for the antichrist to come on the scene at that time and confirm the "covenant with death" with Israel that will make them feel safe. It would not surprise me if in celebration, Israel goes out and tears down all the walls they have built up for security after they defeat their neighbors, like the tearing down of the Berlin wall when Germany was re-united. Such an event would truly make Israel a country with "un-walled" villages (Ezekiel 38:11) that believes they are finally living in "peace and safety." However, Israel will find out that only God can give them true "peace and safety" after He defends them in the "Gog and Magog War."
For more on the "Gog and Magog War" in light of other prophetic events, check out these following studies:
THE ABUNDANT WEALTH OF THE DEAD SEA
God dug a tremendous hole in the earth many years ago to use in storing a treasure for His people which staggers the imagination. Yes, the lowest elevation on the earth’s surface is the Dead Sea. The way God arranged things, the Jordan River and its tributaries have been washing minerals down into that hole which God prepared, for thousands of years, and in recent years it has been found to be the most valuable depository of strategic chemicals in the world. George T.B. Davis, that great man of God who led the Million Testaments Campaign many years with its famous “Prophecy Edition of the New Testament has written in his book, “Rebuilding Palestine,” that “One is almost staggered by the computed wealth of the chemical salts in the Dead Sea. It is estimated that the potential value of the potash, bromine and other chemical salts of its water is FOUR TIMES the wealth of the United States.” With the tremendous world-wide food shortage that threatens mankind, any would-be dictator would take high risks to capture a treasure like this which could furnish enough fertilizer for the whole world, and with its other chemicals provide the explosives needed to subdue all its enemies!
Why, do you think, has the Kremlin spent billions helping the Arabs fight Israel? Just because she likes the Arabs?
No, there is little love lost between them, but Russia wants the riches of Israel and its strategic location for world domination. The Arabs outnumbered Israel fifty to one, and it seemed a simple way to get what she wanted, The Soviets would have little trouble taking it from the Arabs if those Arabs couldn’t even hold their own against little Israel. But the Godless gang in the Kremlin never took into consideration that our Creator has it all written down in His Book what His plans are for Israel, and the disposal of her enemies. When Israel finally accepts her Messiah (” a nation born in a day”) the nations of the earth will be beating a path to her door for those chemicals which mean life to them, God unfolded this secret through Isaiah. In the 60th Chapter, Isaiah is comforting suffering Israel with a glimpse of what God has in store for them. In verse 2 he tells us that “…the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.” In the next verses God shows that the nations of the earth will all gather together and come to Israel, and in the fifth verse He tells them WHY; “Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; BECAUSE THE ABUNDANCE OF THE SEA SHALL BE CONVERTED UNTO THEE, THE FORCES OF THE GENTILES SHALL COME UNTO THEE.” Yes, some day all nations will need what Israel has and barter their most treasured possessions for it!
A few years ago it looked as though the Kremlin was having all its own way with making a mighty alliance out of Soviet-Arab facilities. Thousands of her scientists swarmed over as advisors, and she spent billions in arms for the Arabs and the completion of the great Aswan Dam on the Nile. But the Egyptians soon were fed up with the arrogance of the Soviet swarm within its borders and finally ordered them out! The men in the Kremlin saw the handwriting on the wall as little Israel so badly trounced her foe time and time again, and she began plotting to do the job herself. They began preparing for a tremendous invasion force to go down over the mountains of Syria to seize Israel.
For years people had laughed at the prophecy that after God destroyed that great army in the mountains that are in the northern part of Israel, that Israel would not have to buy fuel for seven years. She would be burning the weapons of her enemy. Only recently has it been known that the tanks and weapons of this army are made of non-metallic materials which burn like coal, to thwart the Israeli metal-seeking tactical atomic missiles!
Reuters News Agency has reported large Russian purchases of special archery equipment from England, so powerful and accurate that it can shoot an arrow through a man’s heart at 100 yards and it will keep on going! It is no secret that Russia has bought up large numbers of horses recently, of a type best adapted for military invasion through mountains. How wonderful the way improbable Bible prophecies are coming true these days! Who would have dreamed of a literal fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecies of bows and arrows and horses figuring into this great battle when Russia and her satellite armies are destroyed by God in a cataclysm from the sky! Study Ezekiel 38 and 39 for God’s version of what will happen to the Russian armies.
Christians, this is not a pipe dream. These are carefully authenticated facts, which fit perfectly into the pattern of Bible prophecy. Let’s get busy while there is yet time, with tracts and personal witness, rescuing those who still need to receive Christ as Saviour before it is too late and His prophesied judgments come. Unsaved friend, the day of grace is still here, but it may be gone tomorrow or next week. Repent of your sins and ask Christ to take over in your heart and life, and He will, for He said, “Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out.” But this is today’s opportunity. This same Saviour, now gracious and forgiving, is soon to be the JUDGE, Who, when the day of grace is over will sternly say, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25:41.
Adapted from Book Fellowship International.
Red Storm :: by Matt Ward
Three weeks ago President Vladimir Putin contacted Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and made an offer he believed couldn’t be refused. Putin offered to guarantee the safety of Israel’s newly discovered Leviathan gas fields using the full might of the Russian military. Netanyahu politely declined.
The very next week on the direct orders of Vladimir Putin fighter jets, tanks, sophisticated battlefield communications equipment and Special Forces began landing in Syria. It has become an open secret that many thousands of elite marines will follow shortly after.
After just one week the widely held belief is that Russian forces are already engaged in real combat operations in Syria, carving out a safe zone from which they can operate. Russian troops have already engaged in active combat is an assumed reality because Russian R-166-0.5 (ultra) high-frequency signals (HF/VHF) vehicles were spotted on Syria’s Highway 4 just a few days ago. This highway links Homs and Aleppo.
These vehicles, called “mobile war rooms” by Western armies, were accompanied by BTR-82 troop carriers transporting Russian marines. These mobile communication centers provide up to the minute communication relays to troops engaged in live combat operations up to 1000 kilometers away. They are a crucial part of Russia’s war machine, strongly indicating Russia is already actively involved inside Syria. “Boots” are already on the ground.
Even more alarmingly, Russia has also deployed advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile batteries to bolster their force. The question though, is against whom exactly are these highly advanced missile deployed? ISIS does not have an Air Force so who are they meant to deter?
These missiles are clearly to deter Israel and they will seriously impact upon the IAF’s ability to act in Syrian and Lebanese air space should they so desire.
This impressive Russian arsenal is further augmented by the ominous presence of a Russia nuclear submarine, off Syria’s coast in the Mediterranean. This provides Russia with the ultimate deterrence, if it were needed.
Clearly Russia are in Syria for the long game, not the short.
Russia’s aims in Syria seem to be threefold. Firstly, defend the Syrian naval port of Tartus. Although ostensibly a Syrian port, as Al-Assad is a client ruler of Putin, the port is in effect Russian and it is through this port that Russia has the absolutely crucial access it requires to the Mediterranean.
This sea port is at the centre of Russian aspirations for this region as it remains a key strategic goal for Putin to dominate the entire Mediterranean basin area militarily. Without a functioning deep sea port this is impossible.
The second aim is to maintain the power of Bashir Al-Assad. Assad is a proxy ruler of Syria on behalf of Putin’s Russia. Assad effectively rules Syria on Putin’s behalf. This might not have been so a decade ago, but it certainly is now. Assad knows full well that the only reason he and his family are still alive today is because of Vladimir Putin. Assad’s government continues to exist because Russia have bolstered them against ISIS; that is the only reason it still stands.
Recently, Putin has been taken aback by ISIS, their string of stinging victories over Assad’s forces and now recognizes the genuine possibility that without direct Russian intervention, Assad and Syria will fall to ISIS.
If Assad falls Putin’s hold over Syria will fail and his influence over the entire Middle East will have suffered a devastating blow. Russia’s real access to the Middle East is through Syria, therefore Putin will not let Assad fall.
The final Russian objective relates to Israel and regards the “hook” that God Himself will place in Gog’s jaw. At some point Gog will have an “evil thought” and will determine to invade the beautiful land to “take a spoil.” It seems increasingly likely that this “evil thought” centers on the Leviathan gas fields of Israel, an oil field so vast it could dwarf the existing Saudi and Iraqi fields making Israel, or whoever owns them, the richest nation on planet Earth. These oil fields also sit easily within what Russia perceives as their legitimate sphere of influence. It is within their grasp.
To this aim Putin has allowed the establishment of a separate front to open against Israel in the Golan Heights. Under the cover of the Syrian army their ally Iran is trying to “build a second terrorist front against us,” or so Benjamin Netanyahu has complained. Iran is occupying Syria along with Russia.
We truly live in days of awe. We are blessed to see what we see today. We are witness to the real time build-up of the horde that will seek to vanquish Gods very own inheritance, as described in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Multitudes past have gazed at these days from afar through the lens of scripture yet we are privileged to see these events in real time as our present day reality.
ISIS and the abject horrors they have wrought have forced the mass migration of entire people groups clearing vast swathes of Syria before them. This will make the Russian take over all the more simple. Iran, now a legitimate player in the region because of Obama’s absence of any form of Middle Eastern leadership, now enjoy a meaningful presence in Iraq and Syria. The fruits of “leading from behind.”
At the very same time Israel have discovered a gas field that potentially dwarfs all others in the Middle East, the Leviathan gas field. In his vision Ezekiel saw a horde led by Gog attacking Israel so that they may, “…take a spoil.” This is that horde forming now.
The alliances necessary for Ezekiel 38 and 39 to come to pass are in place, and functioning well. Russia and Iran are very close. Turkey have become natural allies to Iran due to a hatred for Israel. Indeed, Recap Ergogan, President of Turkey openly despises Israel, he is a vicious hater of Israel who talks often of the need to free Al-Quds from the hands of the Jews. Al-Quds is known in Arabic as Jerusalem.
Gog is taking up military positions right on Israel’s border and has already expressed an interest in Israel’s “spoil.” Gog is also bringing with him all the allies named in Ezekiel 38 and 39. We will now witness the full and rapid militarization of Syria by Russia and Iran.
Israel must look tantalizing to Vladimir Putin. In the White House sits a president who is openly hostile to Israel, a man well known for his utter loathing of Benjamin Netanyahu, a president who does not care one jot for the tiny Jewish State. The Middle East stands in ruins because of the Arab spring, ISIS and failed military intervention from the West.
European nations that would stand against Gog if he were to move against Israel are becoming swamped by their own crisis of humanity, threatening their very way of life. These same European nations have also had their stomach for a fight ripped out of them by more than a decade of failed military intervention in this same region.
The world-wide economy is teetering on the brink of collapse and because of this all Western NATO nations have significantly cut back on their armed forces spending. The exception of course being NATO’s old foe Russia, who have instead injected billions into their military machine, completely revitalizing it and igniting a renewed militaristic optimism within the Russian military apparatus.
Then there is little Israel, sitting all alone in the Middle East. Little Israel sitting on an oil field of immense size and almost incalculable value. Little Israel, hated and scorned by all nations of the world, openly despised, seemingly without a true friend or a real protector. Little Israel, isolated, alone, very exposed.
Or so Gog thinks.
Blessed be the Lord God, who has revealed these things to his servants! He has not left us alone but has revealed to us what is shortly to come to pass. Though the world will look on these things in days to come with fear and dread we should not. We know the end from the beginning!
Israel is rapidly approaching her appointment with destiny and it will not be man who comes to her aid in her hour of desperate need. God Himself on that day will stand up and fight on her behalf, and woe to Gog and his allies, for mighty is the Lord God who will save her.
Ezekiel 38: 3-12 “And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them. 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. 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.”
Is Ukraine In The Ezekiel 38 Bible Prophecy?
About 2600 years ago, the Hebrew prophet named Ezekiel issued a biblical prophecy that is going to find fulfillment in the "latter days." The prophet writes:
"You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes." (Ezekiel 38:16)
The "you" in this verse is commonly taught to represent whoever the president of Russia is going to be in the biblical "latter days." Many prophecy experts sincerely believe that these are the "latter days" spoken about by Ezekiel. Some even posit the possibility that Vladimir Putin could be the Russian leader of this prophecy. Wisely, these advocates caveat that this depends on the longevity of Putin tenure in relationship to the timing of the fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecy.
This thinking is possibly supported by another detail of the prophecy written in the passage below.
"'Thus says the Lord God: "On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your (Russian President's) mind, and you will make an evil plan." (Ezekiel 38:10; emphasis added)
In light of Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, thoughts of "an evil plan" by a Russian President in the biblical latter days has happened. Although the evil plan of this above verse relates to Israel, and not Ukraine, it could provide hints of a similar sinister attack, probably in the near future, that gets plotted against the Jewish state.
This ancient prophecy foretells that this Russian leader will form a coalition of predominantly Muslim nations to invade Israel from the uttermost parts of the north. According to Ezekiel 38:13 the motives of these belligerents is, "to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder."
The question some Bible prophecy pundits are asking lately is, "Does Ukraine join in this Russian coalition?" So, I asked a few of today's top experts on this prophecy what they think about this possibility.
I asked this question on February 8, 2022, and prefaced is as follows:
"You are among today's top scholars on the who's who of the Magog invaders in Ezekiel 38. In light of Russia's hints of invading Ukraine, I'm getting asked more and more, if Ukraine is among the Magog invaders. Some emailers suggest that the Scythians dwelt there, at least in the eastern part, and also trailed on into the Russian Steppes.
I'm personally hesitant to put Ukraine in the menu of the Magog invaders, but I do acknowledge that the historic connection between the Scythians and modern-day Russia, did trail through Eastern Ukraine. This is my opinion, but what say you all?"
Included below are the comments from this elite group of Bible prophecy authors and teachers.
Dr. Ron Rhodes, the author of the book entitled, Northern Storm Rising: Russia, Iran, and the Emerging End-Times Military Coalition Against Israel. Dr. Rhodes presented several interesting comments to contemplate in his response.
"I do not know of any references to Ukraine in the Bible. Thus, I would be hesitant to put Ukraine in the menu of the Ezekiel invaders. After all, Ezekiel 36:1-6 is pretty specific. If Ukraine was to be a part of the invading force, why not mention it?... That said, there are a few qualifications to add:
Is it possible that ancient ROSH, (modern-day Russia), had boundaries larger than present day Russia... Biblical Persia, (modern-day Iran), was much larger than modern Iran. This leads me to wonder if biblical Rosh was larger than modern day Russia. Did the boundaries extend east to such a degree that it might include modern Ukraine. Again, I don't know. I'm just raising the issue.
The only passage that "may" provide a clue is Ezekiel 38:9, which speaks about the entire invading force: "You will advance, coming on like a storm. You will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your hordes, AND MANY PEOPLES WITH YOU" (emphasis added)...
Who are the "many peoples with you." Are the "many peoples" a collective phrase referring to all the nations mentioned earlier in Ezekiel 38? It's possible. After all, Ezekiel 38:6 uses the terms "hordes" and "many peoples" specifically of the massive invading forces. So, likewise, verse 9 -- which refers to the entire collective invading force -- may use the terms "hordes" and "many peoples" of the nations described earlier in Ezekiel 38...
An alternative view, however, is the possibility that "many peoples" might include other peoples "besides" the specific nations mentioned earlier in Ezekiel 38. Perhaps "many peoples" includes allies of the Ezekiel nations. If this view is correct, Ukraine might be included.
Of course, all this is highly speculative, and I could be wrong. I suspect some might respond that this is nothing but "newspaper exegesis," or perhaps eisogesis. Caution is therefore urged."
Dr. Rhodes is hesitant, like me, "to put Ukraine in the menu of the Ezekiel invaders." However, he doesn't completely rule out the possibility. He keeps the door open that the coalition brings with it "many people" and that might include Ukraine.
Nathan Jones of Lamb and Lion Ministries and co-host of Christ in Prophecy TV.
"In my research for a paper/presentation about the Gog-Magog War I put together for one of my doctoral classes, I found nothing to indicate that Ukraine plays a role in the Gog-Magog War."
Like Dr. Rhodes, Nathan Jones doesn't find anything clear and concise "to indicate that the Ukraine plays a role in the Gog-Magog War."
Dr. Andy Woods, the author of the book, The Middle East Meltdown: The Coming Islamic Invasion of Israel.
"Ukraine is part of the ancient Russian empire, which Putin apparently has ambitions to rebuild. So, if Putin invades Ukraine, Russia then would achieve nearly full stature of her ancient status as an empire, which potentially would set the stage to an even greater extent for the future Gog-Magog invasion."
Dr. Woods seems to be open to the possibility that Ukraine might be part of the coalition, if invaded and taken over by Russia.
Dr. Mark Hitchcock, the author of the book entitled, Showdown with Iran: Nuclear Iran and the Future of Israel, the Middle East, and the United States in Bible Prophecy.
"I don't have much to add to what Dr. Andy Woods and Dr. Ron Rhodes have said. Ukraine could also be part of ancient Magog. What's happening is additional evidence of Russian aggression and hegemony but is not required as part of Ezekiel 38."
Dr. Hitchcock, who had previously read the comments of Dr. Woods and Dr. Rhodes, leaves open the possibility that "Ukraine could also be part of ancient Magog." Magog, meaning modern-day Russia. Both Rosh and Magog are identified in Ezekiel 38:2 and thought to both represent modern-day Russia.
It seems safe to suggest that if Russia conquers Ukraine, that Ukraine could very well be listed among the Russian coalition. This is why Russia's invasion of Ukraine, just might have prophetic implications.
The Ezekiel 38 and 39 prophecy is important to understand because it is the marquee prophetic event in the latter days that God has chosen to put the world on official notice that He is the One True God. The prophet writes:
"So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. Surely it is coming, and it shall be done," says the Lord God. This is the day of which I have spoken." (Ezekiel 38:7-8)
If you want to discover how the LORD supernaturally defeats the Magog invaders, shocks the watching world and explore all the other fascinating details about this prophecy, then I encourage you to pick up a copy of the just released 3-disc DVD entitled, Ezekiel 38: When God Defends Israel, the Coming Russian-Iranian Led Invasion of the Promised Land - available here.