Monday, March 23, 2009

Timing Gog-Magog: During the Tribulation

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

In this series of articles called Timing Gog-Magog, we are looking to the Bible to discover when the great battle the prophet Ezekiel described in Ezekiel 38 and 39 is going to take place.

To recap, the Gog-Magog Battle involves a coalition of nations led by a ruler from the ancient lands once covered by the former Soviet Union and modern-day Turkey which consist of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Sudan, Libya, and possibly Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Algeria and Tunisia. They are united in their fervor to loot and destroy Israel. The invading coalition comes to the mountains of Israel to discover not an easy victory, but a setup by God who utterly destroys them with violent weather. The supernatural defeat of the invading hordes reveals to the world that God is real and indeed protects the nation of Israel. Israel spends the next seven months burying the dead invaders and seven years expending the leftover fuel and weapons.

We have looked at the General Timing Clues given by Ezekiel that demonstrate that the Gog-Magog Battle is yet future. We also looked at the two views that place the battle before the Tribulation.

We'll continue with the study of the views that place the Gog-Magog Battle during the Tribulation, looking at what each view believes are their pros and cons, utilizing what I believe is the best written book on the subject — Northern Storm Rising by Dr. Ron Rhodes. Of the 687 respondents who voted on our "When will the Gog-Magog Battle take place?" poll, 248 (36%) voted "During the Tribulation."


In the First Half or Middle of the Tribulation

Supporters of this view are John F. Walvoord, J. Dwight Pentecost, Charles Ryrie, Herman Hoyt and Mark Hitchcock.

Pros:

1) The fifth general timing clue (Ezek. 38:11) 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 (Dan. 9:27).

2) 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 and fully revive the Roman Empire. The only remaining world powers would be East-Asian, and the Bible records their continued existence (though under the control of the Antichrist) until the end of the Tribulation (Rev. 16:12).

3) 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 (Rev. 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 (Rev. 6:11).

Cons:

1) Ezekiel 39:9 describes Israel burning the invading enemies weapons for seven years. 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 (Isa. 11:8) and the Earth reformatted by earthquakes (Rev. 6:12-14; 16:17-21), there would be no need for Israel to have to burn any weapons for fuel.

2) 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 (Ezek. 39:12) unless the Gog-Magog Battle occurred earlier than the mid-point.

3) 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 believe the Gog-Magog Battle and the final battle of Armageddon are one and the same.

Pros:

1) Both the Gog-Magog Battle (Ezek. 38-39) and the Battle of Armageddon (Rev. 19:19) are described as taking place during the first general timing clue "latter years" (Ezek. 38:8) and "last days" (Ezek. 38:16) of the Tribulation.

2) Ezekiel 39:4,17-20 and Revelation 19:17-18 both describe dead invaders being eaten by birds and wild animals.

3) Ezekiel 39:22,29 declare at the defeat of the Gog-Magog invasion Israel will again acknowledge God. 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.

Cons:

1) The players 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 (Ezek. 38:1-6). The references to Armageddon include the nations of the entire earth against Israel (Joel 3:2; Zeph. 3:8; Zech. 12:3; 14:2).

2) The locations described for the two battles do not match. Armageddon takes place in a valley — the Valley of Jezreel by the plain of Megiddo (Judges 5:19; 2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chron. 35:22; Zech. 12:11). Ezekiel 38:8 describes the Gog-Magog Battle taking place on the mountains — the "mountains of Israel."

3) The account of the defeat of the invaders does not match. The Gog-Magog invaders are defeated by God who uses "torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur" as well as in-fighting (Ezek. 38:22). The invading nations at Armageddon are defeated by Jesus who uses "a sharp sword" from His mouth, meaning mere words (Rev. 19:15).

4) The peaceful precondition of Ezekiel 38:11 in which Israel has to be living unsuspecting and in peace before the Gog-Magog Battle (Ezek. 38:11) cannot exist under the Great Tribulation by the Antichrist.

5) Ezekiel 38:13 describes some nations questioning the Gog-Magog invasion. At Armageddon, all the nations are involved in the invasion so none protest (Joel 3:2; Zeph. 3:8; Zech. 12:3; 14:2).

6) Ezekiel 39:9 describes Israel burning the invading enemies weapons for seven years. 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 (Isa. 11:8) and the Earth reformatted by earthquakes (Rev. 6:12-14; 16:17-21), there would be no need for Israel to have to burn any weapons for fuel.

7) The leaders of the invasions are not the same. Gog is the prince and ruler of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal (Ezek. 38:3). The invading leader at Armageddon is the Beast who controls the whole earth. While it is known that Satan the Dragon possesses the Antichrist (Rev. 13:2), it is unknown if Gog is possessed by Satan.

8) The armies find themselves fighting two different opponents. The Gog-Magog invaders look to conquer a peacefully unsuspecting Israel (Ezek. 38:11). The Armageddon invaders gather to make war against the returned King — Jesus Christ (Rev. 19:19).


The next article in this "Timing Gog-Magog" series will look at views that place the timing of the Gog-Magog Battle in relation to the Millennium.

10 comments:

hartdawg said...

to place the battle toward the beginning of the tribulation could also make sense cause 1.the bibles sometimes refers a partial year as a whole year examples can be found in kings and chronicles. so if it happens say 5 months into the tribulation 6.5 years could be counted as 7. 2 proponents of this veiw (john ankerberg and david jeremiah) veiw this as the red horse. where it says given a sword to slay one another has the connotations of friendly fire which is described in ezekiel. 3 isreal fleeing is not really a problem cause many will accept antichrist so the burning of weapons continue. that solves all the cons. 4 no mention of a temple dont mean it aint there. 5 some even go so far as to say psalm 83/demascus are the "many people with thee" personally with exeption of point 5 the others make sense BUT the evidence points to before the tribulation

hartdawg said...

oh, i forgot one more point, the antichrists treaty would not be a problem cuz this being a surprise attack he wouldnt have time to defend isreal. there is good evidence to place this at the beggining of the tribulation but not the middle. not enough in my mind tho. the evidence (and admittedly personal bias) points to after the rapture but before the tribulation.

SeanOsborne said...

Nathan,

The series of 8 specific "cons" list in the closing of this installment are exactly the points I would have made. They answer questions posed by others in the comments of earlier installments.

Good job!

son of thunder said...

My opinion is this: That the Gog/Magog invasion takes place 3.5 years before the peace treaty with antichrist. I say this based on the fact that Israel escapes to Petra(?) at the mid-point -- 3.5 years -- of the Tribulation giving us 7 years to burn the fuel before they bug out.

I don't think that Israel would have time to load up fuel to take with them, because Jesus Himself says to not go get your coat or anything else: Just run! Then Israel wouldn't need the fuel because they will live off God's provision for the final 3.5 years.

I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't get to eat manna.

son of thunder said...

And as for the Rapture: anytime now would be great.

hartdawg said...

i agree totally with son of thunder. the possible senerio i listed above is one i held for a long time but its shaky at best.

Anonymous said...

the tribulation has been shorten to 5 month in Revelation. If you read 2nd Thessalonians ch.2 from verse 1 to 8, you will find that anti-Christ is non other than Satan, the Devil, and anti-Christ claim to be Jesus the Son of God and all that is called God. Paul says that true Christ our Lord is not going to come until that Satan comes first as Christ to deceive the whole world. In Revelation, it says whole world will whore after him (Satan). Only people with seal (7 seals) of God will not be deceived. Then true Jesus will come in last Trump which is 7th Trump, and Satan comes in 6th Trump claiming to be Jesus. Paul also says that in the Last Trump, in a twinkling of an eye, we all will be changed to spiritual body which means no more human flesh, that is why when God destroys Russian army in the final battle near Alaska, US birds and animals will come and eat human flesh. All people will change to spiritual body. I study with Shepherd's Chapel in Arkansas with Pastor Murray, and I hope you will find him to be very helpful.

Sal said...

Sounds like this pastor murray is givin you a lot of huey anonymous. Thats the most irratic interpretation of the tribulation I've ever read!

Barry said...

Plus the all nations is taken to literal. If you say that all nations are at the Armageddon battle and destroyed, then there would be no nations left for the sheep and goat all nation judgment. And that is after Armageddon. Also burning weapons during the Millennium would not pose any problem. The Bible say's that people will build houses and plant vineyards during this time.Isa.65:21. Plus there will still be sin during the Millennium.Isa.65:20.The Government will be perfect,and nature will change but mans hearts will not be untill after the Millennium.

Anonymous said...

There is one big problem with your argument for Russia that's quite important. At first, you'll think it proves it, but it doesn't. Long ago, before Christianization in 988AD, Russia was referred to as Rus'. This would make sense considering you mention the calling of the Russians as the Ros. But, there's a problem. At the time this was written, Russia had not yet formed, the Slavs were still loosely organized bands of wandering nomads until around 476AD after the fall of Rome. They NEVER called themselves the Rus. This word, in fact, referred to the Vikings, who had populated various areas along the Volga and other locations. Eventually, the word would be used to the empire of the old Viking leaders, so they called the area Rus, but the Russians themselves, at that time, would have called themselves Slavyane (meaning people of the word), NOT Rus. So, the word Ros actually refers to a well-known group from this time, but it's the Vikings. I really doubt Norway is going to attack Israel any time soon.