The Battle of Gog and Magog

In Blogs by Les Crawford78 Comments

The battle of Gog and Magog described in Ezekiel 38 and 39 is perhaps one of the most debated events in biblical prophecy. Some approach these chapters as non-literal, having only an idealist or figurative meaning, without any historical reality. This provides no possibility of a future fulfillment of the details contained in the passage, which leaves the reader to find a meaning relevant to present circumstances without any significant controls to govern that meaning.

Others approach these chapters as having a historical fulfillment, being an invasion of some kind, but differ on its participants, location, and timing. One group considers this invasion as already fulfilled in an ancient battle during the Old Testament era, one option being the events in Esther 9. Usually, this is an attempt to avoid a future fulfillment involving Israel as a nation. Neither an idealist/figurative view nor a past fulfillment view do justice to the details of the passage, which means its fulfillment is yet future, but when, where, and with whom?

Commentators propose a number of options regarding timing of the invasion. These include: 

1. Just prior to the Rapture of the church and onset of the seven-year Tribulation
2. Between the Rapture and the Tribulation
3. Around the middle of the Tribulation
4. Just prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ
5. Between the Second Coming and the commencement of the Millennium
6. At the end of the Millennium 

Each of these views has some support from the biblical data, which is why the debate continues.

Which Nations Will Invade Israel?

The key consideration is the content of Ezekiel 38 and 39. What features of these chapters indicate the timing of the invasion, its participants, and location? All agree that the nation of Israel is one of the participants, being the one invaded, and Ezekiel’s messages have focused on the possession of the land, which points to the location as the Promised Land, Judea and Samaria. Not all agree on the identity of Gog and Magog, but most agree that Gog is a title for the ruler of Magog, not a personal name, even though a person is in view. Knowing the identity of Magog helps work out the context of the battle.

Magog occurs in the Old Testament on four occasions (Genesis 10:2; 1 Chronicles 1:5; Ezekiel 38:2; 39:6). It identifies a descendant of Japheth in the table of nations, which scholars trace to the ancient Scythians. These tribes lived in the region north of the Black Sea and some consider their territory stretched from Ukraine to Siberia. Further, Ezekiel describes Gog as “the prince of Rosh” (38:2, NASB), which also suggests a location in Russia, although the use of “Rosh” is debated. Thomas Ice argues for “Rosh” being a noun labelling a nation, as against an adjective describing “prince” (“chief prince,” ESV). Hebrew grammar supports this usage and, as a noun, it can be traced to “Tiras” in Genesis 10:2, adding more support for a Russian identity. It thus appears that this invasion includes an army from the north of Israel composed of modern Russians.

Two other participants are named in this group, Meshech and Tubal, both of which are included in the table of nations in Genesis 10. Scholars agree that Meshech refers to the location of modern Turkey, southeast of the Black Sea. Tubal is always grouped with Meshech and his descendants also occupy modern Turkey. Modern Turkey is increasingly dominated by Islam, moving further away from ties to Europe. It seems that Turkey also participates in this invasion of Israel, joining with the Russian contingent. 

Added to these are “Persia, Cush, and Put” (Ezekiel 38:5), as well as “Gomer and all his hordes” and “Beth-togarmah” (38:6). Persia is clearly modern Iran, another Islamic nation, whose name was changed to Iran in recent times. Cush and Put are more difficult to identify, as is Beth-togarmah. Scholars consider Cush is the nation of northern Sudan, an Islamic one, and Put is Libya, another Islamic (mainly Sunni) nation, and possibly includes Algeria and Tunisia because the ancient borders extended west beyond modern Libya. Gomer’s descendants inhabit the west-central region of Turkey, joining with Meshech and Tubal. Beth-togarmah literally means “house of Togarmah,” who is identified as a son of Gomer in the table of nations (Genesis 10:3). This is another participant located in Turkey.

The invading armies include Russia and Turkey from the north, Sudan/Libya (possibly including Algeria and Tunisia) from the south and west, and Iran from the east.

In total, the invading armies include Russia and Turkey from the north, Sudan/Libya (possibly including Algeria and Tunisia) from the south and west, and Iran from the east. Consequently, sometime in the future, an enormous military force surrounds Israel, which is far beyond their capacity to defeat. God alone can deliver them from annihilation, which Ezekiel reveals He does (38:17–23; 39:1–6).

When Will the Nations Invade Israel?

The question remains as to the timing of this invasion. Several descriptions in these chapters in Ezekiel provide some insights as to when it occurs. The first includes time referents, “After many days,” “In the latter years” (38:8), and “In the latter days” (v. 16), which best correspond to prophetic descriptions of the consummation of God’s dealings with Israel and the nations (Isaiah 2:2; Daniel 10:14). This is yet to occur, so the battle is still future and would be best placed in the 70th week of Daniel 9:26–27, the Tribulation, when God resumes the completion of His plan for Israel.

The second describes the occupants of Israel as “gathered from many peoples” and “from the nations” (Ezekiel 38:8, 12), which cannot be an ancient past return to the land, such as from Babylon or Medo-Persia, because the returned exiles did not come from multiple nations. This best describes the near past and present return of Jewish people to Israel, which affirms the timing is future to now.

The third describes these returned Jews as “now dwell(ing) securely” (38:8, 11, 14) and without the need of protective defenses identified as “unwalled villages” and “without walls, and having no bars or gates” (v. 11). Further, the inhabitants are characterized as “the quiet people” or at rest (v. 11), which suggests they are unconcerned about external threats and have no fear of attack. This description extends to all the inhabitants, not just a segment of them.

At this point, scholars diverge, based on the interpretation of these phrases. Some consider Israel’s present state to fit them because the nation is secure on account of its military might, being confident in its capacity to defeat any foe. This would mean the battle of Gog and Magog would precede the Tribulation, not requiring an additional element of peace provided by the Antichrist’s covenant with Israel in the Tribulation Period (Daniel 9:27). It may even precede the Rapture of the church, but not necessarily so. 

Others consider Israel is not presently at rest, “quiet people,” even though having a significant degree of security, because the nation is on constant alert against an attack from its enemies. An additional protection is necessary to bring the nation to a point of rest. The strong covenant with Israel enacted by the Antichrist for seven years (i.e. The Tribulation Period, Daniel 9:27) provides this additional protection. The covenant, however, is broken at the midpoint, so Israel only enjoys additional protection in the first three and a half years. This means the battle of Gog and Magog would occur in the first half of the Tribulation, probably near its end.

Several commentators consider other factors, which suggest the timing is at the end of the Tribulation, but it cannot account for these descriptions of Israel being at rest and secure. In the second half of the Tribulation, the Antichrist violently persecutes the Jews and all who will not take the mark of the beast. Some other commentators suggest the timing is before the Millennium after the Tribulation, which will provide the best degree of rest and security, but it does not fit the eventual outcome of deliverance by God, which is the spiritual renewal of the nation. Israel’s repentance occurs at the return of their Messiah at the conclusion of the Tribulation (Zechariah 12), which would be prior to this proposed timing.

This leaves two options as the only viable possibilities that fit the critical contextual data: The battle of Gog and Magog is prior to the Tribulation, possibly even the Rapture, or it is in the first half of the Tribulation, probably near the breaking of the covenant by the Antichrist. The second option seems best for a number of reasons but still has difficulties to explain.

It best fits the description of security and rest as characteristic of Israel prior to the battle occurring. The covenant of peace operating in the first half of the Tribulation provides that security and rest, beyond Israel’s own capacity to ensure it. Further, a battle that effectively removes the world influence of Russia and other nations would leave a power vacuum that the Antichrist could use to rise to world domination at the midpoint of the Tribulation (Revelation 13). In addition, a battle that violates the Antichrist’s covenant with Israel provides a catalyst for him to break it and pursue his full agenda. Its major difficulty is dealing with the description of burying the dead for seven months and burning the weapons for seven years (Ezekiel 39:9, 12). This is not insurmountable, but a battle before the Tribulation provides more time for accomplishing these two descriptions.

Why Do the Nations Invade Israel?

Another aspect needs inclusion. What motivates this invasion of Israel? The answer is spoils of war in the form of material gain (38:12–13). The degree is described as “great spoil,” which involves “silver and gold” and “livestock and goods.” What was previously “a continual waste” (v. 8) and “waste places” (v. 12) has become a prosperous location of great wealth. This is true of modern Israel, replete with commercial activity, natural resources, innovative technology, and abundant agriculture. It is no wonder that Israel’s enemies desire to possess such riches by annihilating its citizens, but to no avail as they are destroyed by divine intervention.

It is no wonder that Israel’s enemies desire to possess such riches by annihilating its citizens, but to no avail as they are destroyed by divine intervention.

Finally, the most significant element for this battle is God’s part in it. As much as this coalition of nations against Israel is pursuing its own purpose, Ezekiel reveals that God is controlling the situation for His purpose. He states, “I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out” (v. 4). This control of the conflict is repeated several times, emphasizing who is orchestrating the battle. God’s purpose is self-revelation—“they will know that I am the Lᴏʀᴅ” (vv. 23, 39:6–7, 13, 21–22, 28). God is sovereign over all, even the invasion of a powerful enemy against His people.

In summary, the battle of Gog and Magog is the future invasion of a coalition of nations, including Russia, Turkey, Iran, Sudan, and Libya (Algeria/Tunisia), against Israel near the midpoint of the Tribulation, motivated by acquisition of material wealth. The outcome is a devastating defeat for Israel’s enemies by divine intervention, which exalts God as the true victor and safeguards God’s people for spiritual blessing.

About the Author
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Les Crawford

Les is the Field Director for The Friends of Israel Australia, a ministry representative and office manager in Adelaide, Australia.

Comments 78

  1. The only view that makes sense and fits all the facts and requirements is that the first Gog/Magog campaign occurs between the rapture and the Tribulation. With the church having exited via the rapture, God is then able to restore His focus onto Israel just as Ezekiel 39:24 indicates. The church may be here to witness the Psalm 83 war but definitely not Gog/Magog.

    1. G’day Dwight, thank you for your comment. It assumes a time gap between the Rapture and the Tribulation, which is possible, but I wonder if Israel’s current status is really one of rest and peace. As you would have noted, the complexities surrounding this battle do produce various views. The good news is Israel survives and as believers we are secure in God’s hands. Hope you enjoy a blessed Christmas season.

      1. Thank you for your research. The way I see it, this will occur right before the Tribulation. The church will be here to witness it (no rapture), and many will wake up to the reality that some things are only just false doctrines.

      2. Hello Les. I just came across your blog & have enjoyed reading it very much.
        Thank you for sharing your insight and for giving us a forum to discuss our views with you.
        I tend to agree with the view, however, that the war of Gog of Magog will probably occur after the Rapture but definitely before the Tribulation. Might it be that the war (or conflicts) eluded to in Psalm 83 (of which Isaiah 17:1 may be one) brings about a brief agreement of peace (fulfilling that requirement) which is then followed by the fulfillment of the “hook in the jaw” prophecy that will ultimately lead to the peace treaty that everyone is talking about, since Dan 9:27 states that the antichrist will “confirm” (implying that something is already in existence) the covenant? I have to further believe, however, that part of what the antichrist will confirm is actually “THE” Covenant that God established with Abraham for the land of Israel, thereby giving Israel access back to the Temple Mount to rebuild the temple, which must be rebuilt in the first half of the Tribulation in order for the antichrist to enter into it halfway through the Trib. Currently, Jews are not even allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, much less build on it. And Arab nations don’t even want peace. But after such a major defeat they will have no choice but to agree to Israel’s terms.
        Additionally, I believe disarmament will be a part of that treaty. And since chemical & biological weapons must be disposed of by burning them, that process may be a part of the prophecy. But I sincerely doubt it will continue into the millennial reign of Christ, since that’s when Jesus brings healing to the people and to the earth. Once Jesus arrives, they will cease having to burn them.

        1. G’day Mara, thank you for your comment and the appreciation expressed for the blog. It is extremely difficult to assign details from Old Testament passages such as Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17:1 to specific battles, either past or future, which makes the task of interpreting Ezekiel 38-39 all the more challenging. I appreciate your efforts in trying to make sense of the elements associated with this passage and those from other passages. The temple mount is certainly a focal point for fulfilment and it is indeed difficult to see how Muslims would permit Israel / religious Jews to gain access and build the temple. Yet, we know God can do the humanly impossible and so wait on His sovereign actions to accomplish what He has revealed concerning these matters. May we keep searching the Scriptures to discern their meaning and then willingly apply what we learn.

      3. Yes, there is an apparent time gap . Most believers mistakenly believe that the occurrence of the rapture begins the Tribulation. Such is not the case; the rapture closes the church age subset of the dispensation of grace but the Tribulation actually begins with the agreement between the man assigned to be the antichrist and Israel. I’m going to assume that as an associate of FOI, you are well familiar with Ron Rhodes and his book Northern Storm Rising. He postulates a 3 1/2 year gap between the 2 events. Jack Kelly of gracethrufaith.com also taught and gave evidence of a post-rapture pre-trib Gog/Magog though he may not have taught the 3 1/2 year gap. I’m absolutely convinced that it’s post-rapture and pretrib and have no problem siding with Ron Rhodes.

      1. I find this possibility fascinating. It’s also interesting that a “Babel” of ethnic groups and nations (Babylon?) truly has existed in the Poland-Lithuania-Russia-Ukraine-Khazar-Moldavia region, perhaps symbolized as a political center in Kiev, or Mariupol, Odessa …???

    2. The rapture is when God lifts His Spirit off the earth and all those who are filled with His Spirit will be taken up. Once God lifts His Spirit off the earth, there will be no more movement of the Holy Spirit on earth or even salvation, since “no man can come to repentance unless the Spirit draws him”. Therefore, the rapture cannot occur before the tribulations. Mathew 24 is full of our Lord’s instructions supporting this, “They that endure to the end shall be saved”.

      1. G’day Don, thanks for your comment and yes the Rapture does remove the true church, all genuine believers, from the earth. This does not mean the Holy Spirit is also removed from the earth. He is not limited to indwelling believers, which should be obvious as He is omnipresent, being equally God and possessing all the attributes of God. He will continue His work on earth to accomplish God’s plan after the true church is removed, which includes the salvation of many, especially the nation of Israel at the Lord Jesus Christ’s second coming. Yes, it is true that no person can respond in faith and repentance to the gospel without the ministry of the Holy Spirit, but that ministry is not limited to the church age. The passage from Matthew 24 addresses believers in the Tribulation who need to resist the antichrist, his mark and survive the consequences, but many will be martyred (Revelation 14:9-13; 20:4). I hope you can continue your study of the Scriptures and gain greater insight into the work of the Holy Spirit throughout the ages.

    3. Very good article, I am especially pleased that the various timing events were provided with rationale. I tend to lean towards this event happening before the tribulation and possibly before the rapture. My reasoning has to do with other events that must be fulfilled, the big one in my mind is the rebuilding of the temple. We see that the Lord’s intervention and judgement against the nations is so apparent to the world that and that He is their protector, that Israel’s worst enemies would take notice. It’s inconceivable to imagine the Arabs allowing the removal of the dome and construction of the temple, and yet God’s intervention at the conclusion of the Ezekiel 39 May change their minds about who has the true God on their side. Maybe too much speculation on my account, but I would be interested in your thoughts.

      1. G’day Michael,

        Thank you for your comment and the compliment. Yes, the rebuilding of the temple is a significant element in this future period for Israel and I think that the influence of anti-Christ is the most likely factor in opening the way for it to be rebuilt. I do not think that a victory by Israel over their enemies would be sufficient to convince Muslims to allow this reconstruction. I also do not think the conditions for Israel prior to the Tribulation match with the description in Ezekiel, which poses a problem for that timing, as explained in the article. It will certainly take a massive shift in power to enable control of the temple mount by an authority supportive of the Jewish plan to rebuild the temple. I think only the anti-Christ will have that kind of authority and initially he acts positively toward the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. Yes – speculation is a temptation and so we hold these things with humility and caution, when Scripture is not abundantly clear. God bless!

        Les

    4. That surely SEEMS to fit the Bible facts best!!! Yet, if it were to occur BEFORE the Rapture that would not destroy the truth of the imminence of the Rapture for the Church. God knows — because He planned — the time for it to occur!

  2. 2 Battles? Is there any thought to this passage having 2 battles with the same or similar players, one at the end of the Tribulation and the other at the end of the Millennium? There seems to be a blend of the conditions and actions of the time before and after the battles.

    1. G’day Gary,

      I do not think the passage indicates two battles, but more battles are prophesied in other passages, including one at the end of the Millennium, which Revelation 20:7-10 describes, and another at the end of the Tribulation, which Revelation 19:11-21 describes.

      1. Recently I heard that Israel has more advanced military capabilities to fight with and perhaps this is what could give the feeling of safety. But your concept seems like the correct one.

        1. Hello, I completely agree. Israel will never be 100% at peace. But I’d argue since 2011 adoption of the Iron Dome, they have been more at peace than in the past. I believe Israel has a false sense of security for 2 reasons that involve Iron Dome. First, Iron Dome is an air defense system, meaning that its objective is to intercept incoming rockets on Israeli territory. Sometimes people think Iron Dome can detect and intercept anything, but it was designed for unsophisticated weapons like rockets. It cannot intercept ballistic missiles coming from Iran, for instance. The Iron Dome uses an AI function to intercept incoming rounds of short-range rockets. So many are basing this sense of security on AI technology. Which to me, is horrifying. It is my belief that this is the feeling of peace the Bible is talking about. And the peace is manufactured by technology. Id recommend viewing a youtube video on the Iron Dome during a rocket attack. You can see the rockets being intercepted, more strikingly, the people within Israel going on as if everything is normal during. Thank you for this article, the fact that Russia is fufilling prophecy before our eyes is remarkable. I pray more people will wake up. God Bless

    2. Yes there are two but I believe this describes the first. And the second as les describes below. Where the 2nd is ended when Fire comes down From the Father and Incinerates the Participants who attempt to surround the Camp of the Saints. AKA the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus. And hopefully Thanks to Mercy, Grace and Love of the Father and Jesus, Us… 🙂

  3. Hi Les,

    I recently learned of your blog and was compelled to search the archives to read it. This topic has been a key area of Bible study for me this past year. I appreciated your analysis and land on the points almost identically to you. It is my conclusion from the verses and events described that the battle must occur at a minimum 3-1/2 years before the Tribulation based upon the 7 years to burn the weapons that Ezekiel foretells. At the mid-point of the Tribulation the Israelis will have been forced to flee from the Antichrist and thus not able to fulfill the burning of the weaponry beyond that point in time. Whether the battle is before or after the Rapture is indeterminant.

    As we look at the current alignment of nations, it seems that the alliances noted in Ezekiel 38 have all come together as prophesied. What would cause them to come against Israel? I can think of one scenario: some day soon (in my opinion) Israel will be compelled to attack Iran to cripple Iran’s nuclear capability. That could certainly be the impetus for Iran’s allies (Russia and Turkey as prominent members) to retaliate. This might be a veiled excuse on the part of Russia whose true motive might be to control the immense natural gas reserves discovered under the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel. Those reserves threaten Putin’s own revenues from European buyers.

    Summarizing, my analysis leads me to believe that the battle of Gog and Magog will precede the Tribulation but the when is uncertain. It is not the same battle that occurs at the close of the millennium in which Gog and Magog also participate.

    Blessings,
    David

    1. The burning of weapons takes place at Jesus Second Coming as He sets up His kingdom and cleanses the land. There are three battles with Gog. The Ezekiel war, The battle of the kings of the East crossing the Euphrates which is Armageddon and as you said at the close of the millennium.

    2. I totally agree with what David Benner wrote about the coming events, except regarding the burning of weapons. Ezekiel 39:9 states “they that dwell in the cities of Israel” shall burn them. There will be more than just Jewish people living there at that time, and afterwards, just as there are now. So, the burning of weapons does not have to be completed by mid-trib. Not to mention, the prophecy goes on to state that “they shall spoil those that spoiled them and rob those that robbed them.” This all happens consecutively and is not the behavior, I believe, that anyone will exhibit upon the return of Christ.

    3. I agree, the Ezekiel war has to precede the tribulation because of the seven-year burning the weapons scenario; so for 3.5 years after the war, Israel is burning weapons; AC comes on the scene promising peace, so the first 3.5 years in the trib, the AC is honoring the covenant; when the weapons are finished burning, the AC breaks the covenant, and the wrath begins. Of course, I am speculating, but doing so in regard to time factors.

  4. The Ezekiel 38 and 39 war “could” take place before the rapture but not before the beginning of the Tribulation Period which is marked by the “False Seven Year” Peace Treaty negotiated by Satan with Israel which marks the revealing of the Anti-Christ (2 Thess 2:1, 5-7).
    The rapture takes place before the revealing of the Anti-Christ when the church believers having the Holy Spirit are removed giving Satan a free reign. In Rev 9:11 “Gog” is a Demon Title, implying Gog is a demonic king over the land of RUSSIA and a prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal in Ezekiel 38:1-3 NKJV – 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.
    In Revelation 9:11 NKJV – And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew [is] Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.

    1. But Russia and Ukraine used to be one country, it is the same language , so when Bible say “ the Gog and prince of Rosh it could be now the Ukraine , Putin is for peace, but Ukraine (Rosh) it would be more possibility to go against the Israel , Ukraine since it is its own state would be more violent , but USA is the supporter of Ukraine as well sending financial help to push Ukraine against its own neighbour Russia, Ukraine as we all know is fascist country, of course not all people, like in another country , there are good Godly people and bad evil people .

      1. G’day Stefie, thank you for your comment, but it has no biblical support and considering the current president of Ukraine is Jewish, the grandson of a Holocaust survivor, it is unlikely to attack Israel on its own. The aggressor in this current conflict is Russia, not Ukraine, and using fascist as a label for Ukraine is grossly incorrect.

        1. However if nato uses Ukraine with the help of fascist/racist/globalists regardless of being Jewish like george soros who only want the nwo are then forcing world conflict for UN and Rothschild banking expansion it makes perfect sense.

      2. Russia and Ukraine have been separate entities for a thousand years. Many times during that time they both belonged to some larger empire—from Kievan Rus to Polish and Lithuanian empires to Tsarist Russia to the Soviet Union. But Russia never subsumed Ukraine. The language is very similar to Russian as are the languages of most of the nations surrounding Ukraine, including Poland. Ukraine is not a fascist country at this time but Russia has recently reverted to fascism after an attempt at a sort of democracy or simple socialism. Russia is Magog. What is interesting is that Turkey (a NATO) nation may ally with it against Israel.

        1. Thank you for your comment Jeane – we do look with interest at the developments in Europe, Russia and the Middle East as we continue to study God’s Word – be on the alert (Matt 24:42; Eph 6:18) and be ready (Matt 24:44; Luke 12:40) is our need

          1. Les, I love how you refer to scripture! Our political views, thoughts and opinions have divided us from what’s important. Gods word! Scripture! Study of scripture, hearing the words of Jesus and praying for wisdom and knowledge to be able to understand his words so we can be used for our Lords purpose and will.

    2. Thank you Darlene for your comment – I would not make the connection with Revelation 9:11 as you have, but let us keep studying God’s Word for understanding and application.

  5. In my humble opinion, I believe the Ezekiel 38,39 war is after the Psalm 83 war and Israel has become “increased” and consequently one of the wealthiest nations on earth. The Ezekiel 38,39 war will be what brings about the 7 year peace treaty brokered by the Antichrist (probably Emanuel Macron) “the little horn.

    1. Thank you Scott for your comment – I would not be confident to identifying specific individuals as the antichrist prior to his appearing and thankfully, believers will be with Christ in heaven before that occurs.

  6. The people of Israel talked about in the Bible is not the state/country Israel. If you look at it that way a lot of things will make sense. A clue, some of the men in the Bible (like the prophet Ezekiel) had dreadlocks.

    1. G’day B, thank you for your comment, but it has no biblical support and a different understanding of the people of Israel does not make any more sense than the obvious one. Israel is both people and land. Dreadlocks for Jewish people do not feature in the biblical text and have never been part of Jewish culture. Even the Nazarite vow not to cut hair did not result in dreadlocks.

  7. I think we are close to the beginnings of the Ezekiel 38,39 war. God is moving the pieces slowly into place. It will be interesting to see how the situation with Ukraine unfolds and fits into this. I had heard someone say Gomer 38:6 was Ukraine. I believe Ukraine will be a part of Magog. The recent article coming out concerning Ukraine asking for help from Israel on setting up the Iron Dome plays another interesting piece … in that Israel said no to “remain” on friendly terms with Russia. Does it not say, that God is on “friendly” terms with Israel before gathering up nations to rise against her?
    Nuclear weapons will be used – as they do burn a long time … Putin’s threat. Where does Nord stream2 all fit in? The need for power & resources to maintain control. Ukraine has a lot, but so does Israel. Another sign is Turkey’s role & relationship in this war. Turkey is part of NATO- yet they have a stronger allegiance to UKRAINE & RUSSIA. The forming of the coalition against Israel.
    Ezekiel war is in the early formation … will it kick off right before or directly after the rapture? The rapture will remove a lot of the Saints that oppose any attacks against Israel. I see the kickoff after the rapture. Awaiting that Trumpet sound so I can then be Heaven bound.

    BTW where does Sweden fit in?
    4 Russian fighter jets violated Swedish airspace and went deep into Sweden.

    SFC S. BERNIER

    24yr U.S ARMY ret

    OIF Combat veteran

    TO GOD BE ALL GLORY!

    Jesus is coming soon, are you ready?

    1. G’day Shelly, thank you for your comment and question. I really have no idea where Sweden fits in apart from inclusion in the European Union, which seems a forerunner of the revived Roman Empire mentioned in Daniel. We do need to ready as the Lord’s return for His Church can be at any time and all the more so in light of the world events unfolding before our eyes.

  8. Hi Les, I’m an ordained minister in France in a beautiful area near the coast and Spain. Beautiful but a spiritual desert.
    I teach short 7 minute blogs on YouTube.
    Today’s title was Putin and Rasputin.
    I found your teaching extremely useful in identifying the modern day names of nations used in Ezekiel 38,39
    I’m very grateful u have done the searching to illuminate the truth of these scriptures. Please add me to your mailing list.

    1. G’day David, thank you for your comment and pleased to connect with you – I hope you see fruit for your ministry in that spiritual desert.

    1. G’day Steven, thank you for your comment, which is a different view to my own, let us keep studying the Scriptures to gain understanding and application

  9. Thank you so much for this study. It is so enlightening, especially given current events. Do you believe the burning of the weapons for seven years could start in the Tribulation period and extend into the Millennium Period? Just before the mid point of the Tribulation period seems to me to make the most sense but this seven year period to burn the weapons confuses that timing for me.

    1. G’day William, the burning of the weapons provides fuel for fires, which may enable heating and cooking in a period of devastation until the Millennial Kingdom is established. It is difficult to place all aspects of this battle into a chronological sequence with a start and finish clearly identified, but the main point is evident. God’s glory is revealed in the defeat of Israel’s enemies, which then communicates His favor to the nation in preparation of their spiritual salvation. Thank you for your comment and encouragement.

    1. G’day Deborah, thank you for your question. In a word, no! It may be a step toward the composition of the participants in the Gog and Magog war as it seems Ukraine is an included region making up the attacking force. It is always problematic to read specific current events and connect them to biblical prophecy as things often change, including reversals and retractions. I am therefore cautious in forming opinions on specific events and would rather deal with the larger picture, including trends in certain directions and not so much a specific event unless such an event is patently clear in its fulfilment of prophecy, such as the reconstitution of Israel as a nation in 1948.

  10. Thanks for your good work. I was educated with a very liberal perspective concerning prophets. However, through the years I am being persuaded, that these prophesies do in fact belong to an end times scenario.

  11. My opinion is that based on Daniel and the words of Jesus the Tribulation period started with the fall of Jerusalem and the scattering of the holy people and it will end with the collapse of Rome ( and the west) sometime in this millennia. We are currently in the 3 days talked about in Hosea ie the Days of the Messiah. This attack will not take place until the west has collapsed utterly and it will be the end substantially of the oil age. At that point, the great Exodus of Christians and Jews to the land of Israel and possibly the surrounding areas will have taken place and she will be at the pinnacle of nations ( as America is today) and will be envied, hence the attack. The AntiChrist will arrive after this attack and the Lord will rescue Israel from that final assault.

    1. G’day Naomi, thank you for your comment but I would disagree – the Scriptures clearly state the length of the Tribulation is seven years (Daniel 9:26-27 and Revelation 11-12) and is still in the future as indicated by the Olivet Discourse (Matt 24-25) and the book of Revelation. Certainly the church experiences tribulation from Satan and world system that he controls, but not the Tribulation that God sends on the earth as judgements against wicked humanity. It is important to maintain a distinction between Israel and the Church, which your suggested scheme of events fails to do. The 70 weeks in Daniel are specifically for the nation of Israel, the Jewish people, and do not include the Church. Christians will not gather in Israel but rather be gathered to Jesus Christ in the air at the Rapture (1 Thess 4:13-18) as He promised (John 14:1-3) prior to the commencement of the Tribulation. Keep studying the Scriptures for insight and understanding.

  12. Thank you for offering this forum, its an incentive to study!
    I have read Ezekiel 38 & 39 about twenty or more times over the last forty years. Its been an intrigue to me ever since I attended a seminar with Stan Chester in 1975. Presently, I believe Gog is an evil prince of darkness, quite possibly a general or even the Allah. Definitely Islam. As they hate Christians and Jews, Muslims will be read to attack Israel at any time there comes a strong leader to excite & unite them. Again, I believe this is the most likely force in this Ezekiel prediction. But, if Putin is effective in bringing Islam to his drive against Israel, know Russia has an enormous Islam population.

    I would be very excited to see God playing such an obvious role in this attack on His chosen people. May not even need a TV. We certainly do not want NBC,CNN, ABC or CBS to tell us what is happening.

    Shell

    1. G’day Shell, thank you for your comment, indeed we need to study the Scriptures constantly to gain understanding. No doubt, certain Islamic nations are ready to attack Israel as opportunity arises and thus Israel’s constant alert status. Time will tell how current world events fit into God’s plan and we wait with expectation for His plan to be fulfilled.

  13. I have always been interested in the prophecies of the Bible. Read every single book from left behind series. Raised in a Pentecostal church.

    1. G’day Elaine,

      Thank you for your comment – I hope you can learn more by reading the FOI materials and be ready for our Lord’s return – God bless!

  14. Inquiring of Gog/Magog is normal.

    “Art thou he?” Ezekiel 38:17

    Ezekiel was a Watchmen as others like Jeremiah who in prophecy reveled details of a troublesome time. Ezekiel 38:17 has been and is severely rhetorical about this mounted threat by asking from the Pylons of the Watchman’s Tower this call: “Art thou he?” (‘GOG’ of verse 16).

     Ezekiel was a Watchman of the deadly attack at the time of Jacob’s trouble as was Jeremiah. Isaiah was a Watchman also, he even uses the word. In Isaiah 59:21, he is of the continuing ministry/commission of Genesis 49:10; keeping an eye out for trouble, for the wicked Confederacy and for SHOWTIME! This is the prophecy of a deliverance greater than at the Red Sea: the anticipated time when Shilo comes. Ezekiel 38:8 b “and they shall dwell safely all of them.”

    ‘Jacob’s Trouble’ (Jeremiah 30:7) is the time being watched for by Jacob’s Watchmen: those from between his feet: his progeny; today’s living Remnant. A continuing commission of Watchmen in Isaiah 53:21 persists until when the “many are called but few are chosen” are gathered in a rescue. The Just who live by faith through this time are all of 144,000 remnant Hebrews of the living Diaspora: future Tabernacle Leadership/ ministers, the early rain harvest to garner and to sow  the Latter rain harvest of those ‘born out of tribulation’, the first death: those who will live again by faith, the Just of the resurrection, the children to be taught in Tabernacles not a central temple like before in the wilderness.

     The Bride gets collected by the Groom to be safed-away on earth  from the diaspora threat of a Red Sea-ahead magnetude genocide attack. The proxy hands and feet of the Groom (who is above earth at one place from where he calls) are the members of the body of Christ with fiery chariots and fiery horsemen, the army of the Lord out on a whirlwind roundup patrol to collect the diaspora: a rapture Rescue event that Gog also witnesses; Ezekiel 38:16 “when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog before their eyes”. Isaiah 5:26-30.

     The frame of time of Jeremiah 30:3 is right after the Body [who are the Chariot and Horsemen of Israel as transports, “who fly like doves to their (the Bride’s member’s) windows”] has dropped the Bride off to where he “hisses” for them. The Body then departs for the Throne of God (Daniel 7:14 for Glory, rewards, fellowship and a praise party 3 earth days long, relative). Time is irrelevant at the Throne. We all get to enjoy each other’s reward’s glory as we “know even as we are known”, 1 Corinthians 13:12.

    Modern men have tried to label Russia as Gog and that wrong genocidal Merogovian rooted snakeoil teaching prevails in a good percentage of our western culture. It drives this war. It is what Pat Robertson teaches. He recently suggested reading a corrupted translation of Ezekiel 38:3 where the Hebrew word  ‘rosh’  which means ‘head’ or  ‘chief’ is supposed to mean Russia only because the two different words have a similar sound. Russia is not the head or chief of a confederacy of EU NATO nations that Militarily pivots south to attack Israel in Ezekiel 38:4, Gog is.
    Russia is not even a close candidate to the question we all are encouraged to ask: “Art thou he”?  or ‘Is that you Gog?’ Traditions of men teach otherwise for self preservation of Esau’s line, the “Small people” compared to Jacob who believe they can keep the dominion by murder and force.

     This global war of Diaspora genocide is the next Red-Sea like rescue where the Body and the Bride go forward (illustrated in Gemini)where the enemy cannot follow and is cut off like Pharaoh’s army’s Chariots. Bones and Chariot parts were found on the eastward seafloor of the Red Sea. Hard to forget seeing something like that. Gog (a confederation of Japheth’s branch which amalgamates as NATO) pivots south to pursue the Diaspora Bride who have been rescued and relocated by the Chariot and Horsemen of Israel: The members of the Body of Christ.
    be one: Romans 10:9

  15. G’day Jim, thank you for your comment – I did not grasp your descriptions, but I hope you can keep studying the Scriptures in readiness for the Lord’s return for His Bride, the Church and that FOI’s resources can assist you in so doing – God bless!

  16. Thank you Les for this thoughtful and inciteful analysis and interpretation. My appreciation and respect to you – there is much here to consider.

    I’m reminded that as one plants and another waters, it is God alone who gives the increase. May we continue to seek the Holy Spirit’s counsel and wisdom, His guidance and direction in all these matters. By grace and faith God continues to reveal His plan to His people – all glory and honour and power and praise to His Holy Name!

    As John the Apostle testifies of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Yes I am coming soon.”
    Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
    (Rev 22:20).

    We are also reminded by our Lord and Savior not to allow our hearts to be troubled by the events to come. He is the Alpha and the Omega – it is He who overcomes the world.

    Continue to believe and rejoice in the One who holds the keys to death and hell. He came as the Lamb of God, He returns soon as the Lion of the tribe of Judah…

    Shalom, Shalom, Shalom.

    1. G’day Brendan – thank you for your comment and kind words – yes, let us be ready for our Lord’s return. Shalom to you also!

  17. Thank you, Les, for your commentary. The question of the timing of the Ezekiel 38-39 war is important. It seems to me that we have 2 hints for it. First we read in Ezekiel 39:12: “For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them…” So it is clear that Israelites will do the work. But in Ezekiel 39:9 we are told: “Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and set on fire…for seven years”. It does not say “house of Israel”. Could it be that Israelites will do the burning for 3 1/2 years, but then run for their lives as Anti-Christ wants to kill them, and non Jews (may be Palestinians) move into the Jewish cities and continue the work of burning? Would it not make sense that the clean-up will not go into the 1000 year reign of Christ? Which would conclude that the 7 years of Daniel 9:27 are the same 7 years of Ezekiel39:9. This would date the beginning of this war either just before or just after the rapture. My 2nd clue would be the fact that after the beginning of the tribulation in Revelation 6:1, wars are only mentioned as a group, but the important Ezekiel 38-39 war (Two chapters!) are not even mentioned. That makes me think that this war is already finished by the time Anti-Christ makes the deal with Israel and many nations. So again it points to the short war of Ezekiel 38-39 at just before or just after the rapture or even earlier. What do you think?

  18. G’day Reinhold, thank you for your comment – the burying of bodies is not so problematic as that is completed in seven months and certainly could be accomplished by Jewish residents. The burning of the weapons is by residents of the cities, which may include non-Israelites, but the focus is on Israel and the spoils seem to be the nation’s not non-Israelites (39:10). The burning is not so much a cleansing of the land, but a use of them for fuel instead of other options, which may not be limited to the Tribulation period. The passage in Revelation is more generic for each of the riders on horses, so I would not think it impacts the absence of a direct reference to the Ezekiel Battle of Gog and Magog. It is a good point to consider in analyzing these future events. I tend to give more weight to the conditions under which Israel lives when the war is initiated, which I do not think are true of Israel prior to the additional initial protection of Israel by the ant-Christ. Let us continue our search of the Scriptures and trust our Lord for greater insights as needed.

  19. Nearly every verse in Ezekiel 38-39 lines up with the events in the book of Esther. Why on earth would Ezekiel or his audience even care about events that still haven’t happened 2,600 years later? What possible audience relevance would it have had?

    1. G’day Robert, thank you for your comment. I would disagree that the descriptions in Ezekiel line up with the events in the book of Esther as I did mention in my introduction. As far as relevance to the original audience, the assurance of God’s sovereign protection and a positive future for the nation of Israel, already described in the previous chapter with the valley of the dry bones vision, would be very relevant to a people in captivity. This is very much the same for Christians from the first century onwards in that prophecies of our future although still not realised some two thousand years from Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension, were still relevant. Knowing a positive, certain future regardless of how distant has tremendous relevance to life in the present. Of course, Ezekiel and his audience would not have known how long before the prophecy would be fulfilled, even as Christians have not and still do not know the timing for yet to be fulfilled prophecies. Only in hindsight do we see the long delays, but we are reminded that time for God is not as it is for us (2 Peter 3:8-10). We have much to learn and so let us keep searching the Scriptures.

    1. G’day Mark, thank you for your comment. I did not address the timing of the Rapture as I did not consider it significant for the topic of Gog and Magog. I would not hold your position on the relationship of the Rapture to the man of perdition, i.e. the anti-Christ. My interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 does not require “the man of lawlessness” (ESV) to be revealed prior to the Rapture. My understanding is Paul’s communication to the Thessalonian believers counters those who were teaching that the day of the Lord was already present and thus they had missed the Rapture. Paul gives two significant events that characterize the day of the Lord, “the rebellion” (perhaps apostacy) and “the man of lawlessness” / “son of destruction” (the anti-Christ), both of which were not present at the time he wrote to the Thessalonians (2:3-5). I take the reference to the restraining influence as the Holy Spirit’s use of the Church to hold back the tide of evil (2:6), which will be removed at the Rapture (2:7). Only then will the anti-Christ be revealed (2:8). So, my understanding of the sequence of events is first the Rapture of the Church, then “the rebellion” occurs due to unrestrained wickedness and then the revealing of “man of lawlessness – son of destruction”. This is a debated passage and dispensational scholars have variations in interpretation. We are still learning and so let us keep searching the Scriptures for understanding and even more so personal application.

  20. Very well written article! The church is full of conflicting ideas on end time prophecy, basically because I think some things are deliberately ambiguous. We will see as it happens and find that Scripture will be accurately fulfilled. We have to learn to agree to disagree.

    I personally do think the battle is before Daniels 70th week and directly is preceding it. As I don’t believe in a pretrib rapture, I think it will be the catalyst to the world accepting the antichrist leadership, making war against the church and culminating in Christ’s return.

    I’ve often wondered about the burning of the weapons as fuel for 7 years. Modern weapons are not wooden like the spears and shields of ancient times. It’s hard to burn a tank or plane for fuel.

    Very informative article though and I like your gentle replies to all the comments here.

  21. A couple of things to keep in mind. First if antichrist was around and in power protecting Israel, how come there is not a hint of his involvement here or in Revelation at a mid trib timing. This would be a big failure and failures ruin dictators. Secondly, we do have the seven years to burn weapons (this supporting this war being right before or after the rapture). But thirdly and perhaps most importantly Israel will feel more vulnerable after this attack thus the impetuous for the seven year treaty with antichrist. Forthly the book of Revelations does not support any mid trib battles in and specifically against Israel from such specific places. Armageddon is obviously at the end. Thus, the pre or post trib view of Ezekiel fits actually the entire Bible better, which is something we must do with prophecy to harmonize all events. Interesting how many of these modern nations are currently aligning together and could easily turn against Israel at a moments notice. Blessings to you, Bill.

    1. Thanks Bill for your comments – yes, we must consider all the Bible in determining what each passage means without diminishing what the passage states. Your points are worth consideration. The peace agreement with the antichrist is no guarantee of immunity against attack, which may provide a pathway for the antichrist to achieve his aims. He is not a genuine friend of Israel and so may choose not to intervene if that assists his overall agenda. I am not sure if Israel would feel more vulnerable when such an attack fails so dramatically, but that is open for debate. The absence of a clear reference to this battle in the book of Revelation is not a sufficient argument against it, but that should be considered carefully and not dismissed. Thanks again for your input. We continue to study and seek understanding so that we may be faithful in our teaching ministry.

  22. Hi Les, I appreciated reading your thoughts on the upcoming battle. As we look at the news from the Middle East, especially the advancements in Iran against Israel, it seems like more and more is falling into place for this battle to begin soon. I was wondering if Ezekiel 39:9-10 is talking about the clean up after this battle? It says it will take 7 years and some months for Israel to clean up all the bodies and equipment that were left after God intervenes. To me, for Israel to even be bothered with a clean-up, it would have to take place before the tribulation begins. I don’t believe they will be too bothered cleaning up from this battle especially during the second half the tribulation.
    I also wonder about the peace and safety that is talked about. If Israel believes that it has taken care of Iran’s nuclear capabilities (which may happen soon), they will feel like they are in a state of a lot more safety than they are now.
    I wondered if you have any thoughts you could share on Rev 18. It talks about the fall of Babylon, like Babylon will be built again and be an economic hub during the end times. I notice there are some articles about Babylon being rebuilt in Iraq. We read quite a bit about the temple being rebuilt in Jerusalem, but does Babylon also have to be restored before the tribulation starts?
    I do agree that there may be a bit of time between the rapture and when the tribulation starts. If my understanding is correct, the beginning of the tribulation is the agreement signed between Israel and the antichrist. It is not necessarily tied in with the rapture. There just seems like too much to fall into place in preparation for the tribulation times for it to occur immediately after the rapture.

    1. G’day Robert, thank you for your comments. I think most countries would want to clean up after war, as is the case at the moment in Ukraine, despite the degree of desolation that has occurred, but your point is one to consider in trying to understand what God has revealed. With respect to Revelation 18 and the fall of Babylon, a key question is the meaning of Babylon. Is this the geographical city by that name, mentioned in the Old Testament or is it a figurative reference to a place characterised by corruption, immorality and oppression? This is significantly related to the interpretive approach one takes to the book of Revelation as either apocalyptic or prophetic literature. I take the latter approach and thus use normative interpretive principles, which require a literal interpretation unless that meaning is contrary to established truths, makes no sense or is clearly interpreted within the context in a non-literal way. These differing approaches and the difficulty of the passage leads to a lack of agreement among scholars. In view of the unfulfilled prophecies concerning Babylon in Isaiah 13-14 and Jeremiah 50-51, which have significance for Israel as well as Babylon, I think the best option is to understand Babylon as the city of Babylon yet to be rebuilt in order to become a renewed commercial hub. The connection to water and the various mourners who respond in grief to her destruction also indicate a coastal location for shipping. As to the timing of Babylon’s restoration, I do not think it must be restored to this role prior to the Tribulation, but we wait and see, either from here or heaven. Thanks for your comments and questions – God bless!

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