By 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 reveales 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 already addressed the possibility that the Gog-Magog Battle never will happen and dismissed that view for its blatant spiritualization of the Scriptures. We've also dismissed the view that the battle already happened some other time in Israel's past history because no such battle has yet happened that fits the Ezekiel 38-39 description of nations.
For our study of the remaining views of when the Gog-Magog Battle could take place, we're going to utilize what I believe is the best written book on the subject — Northern Storm Rising by Dr. Ron Rhodes. Dr. Rhodes is the president of Reasoning From the Scriptures Ministries, author of over 40 books, and was the Bible Answer Man before Hank Hanegraaff. Personally, Dr. Rhodes is an overall great guy who I had the pleasure of co-interviewing for the upcoming April "Christ in Prophecy" television shows on answering tough questions. Dr. Rhodes is an expert on the Gog-Magog Battle, and his book excellently lays out each timing view's pros and cons.
General Timing Clues
While there is debate on the specific timing of the Gog-Magog Battle, the student of Bible prophecy 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" (Ezek 38:8) and "last days" (Ezek. 38:16). 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 to understanding what these terms mean is Deuteronomy 4:30 which reads, "When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him." "Distress" is also translated as "Tribulation." It is the Tribulation of Daniel's 70th week that brings the Jewish people as a nation back into the belief in God, 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 about. And so, we can know from these key phrases that the Gog-Magog Battle happens in relation to the Tribulation and Millennial Kingdom.
2) The second general timing clue was discussed in the rejection of the claim that the battle already happened in history. Never in the history of the Middle East have the nations described in the coalition been united in an attack against Israel. In no time has such a specific group of nations been destroyed by inclimate weather. And, in no time in history has Israel named a valley Hamon Gog (Ezek. 39:11), nor the adjoining town called Hamonah existed where the Jews buried the invaders. History just does not show such a battle has ever happened, which only leaves a future timing for it to occur.
3) The third general timing clue is given in Ezekiel 36 and 37 — the regathering of the Jewish people back into their homeland "from all the countries" (Ezek. 36:24) of the world. Like the dry bones reanimated into a living person that Ezekiel envisioned, Israel did indeed become a nation once again on May 14, 1948, after nearly 1900 years since the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D and scattered the Jewish people across the globe. After all these centuries, this prophecy has been fulfilled in our modern generation. Because this prophecy has been fulfilled and Israel is a nation once more, that piece of the set-up is in place for the prophecy concerning the Gog-Magog Battle to begin.
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 Isreal. 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. Today, the nations of the coalition are united in the single purpose of destroying Israel and plundering its wealth. The daily news is resplendent with stories in support that this general timing clue has been fulfilled in just the last few years.
5) The fifth and only unfulfilled general timing clue is given in Ezekiel 38:11 which reads, "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.'" 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 most unpeaceful climate, this part of the prophecy cannot have yet been fulfilled. Perhaps a Psalm 83 scenario where Israel has subjugated their surrounding neighbors previous to the Gog-Magog invasion so that they are finally in the peaceful situation Ezekiel describes is the most likely possibility.
With general timing pointing to the fulfillment of the Gog-Magog Battle in relation to the Tribulation and Millennial Kingdom, we will try to pin down a more specific timing in the next installment of this series called Before the Tribulation.