We are continuing our series on the nine end times wars prophesied in the Bible. Most people are surprised to find out there are so many, knowing of only the Battle of Armageddon. But, there are nine, and now we'll discuss the second war.
#2 - The First War of Gog & Magog (Ezekiel 38 and 39)
The security provided by Psalm 83 war will not last long though, because what will happen is that the Arab nations will turn to their natural ally Russia and cry out for help. This will result in the second of the nine end time wars — The First War of Gog and Magog. This is the war described in Ezekiel 38 and 39.
This war has Russia coming down against Israel with certain specified Muslim allies. The Russians will be delighted to respond to the Arab cry for help, because they have always dreamed of taking over the oil fields of the Middle East. They will therefore launch an invasion for the stated purpose of helping the Muslims destroy Israel. Their specific allies will involve the outer ring of Muslim states that surround Israel, all but Saudi Arabia.
I believe that the unstated agenda of the Russians and their real motivation will be to use the Arab invitation as an excuse to expand their sovereignty over all the Middle East. This alterative motive is described in Ezekiel 38:12 where it says the Russians will come to capture spoil and to seize plunder.
The invading armies will be supernaturally destroyed by God on the mountains of Israel. The Lord will accomplish this destruction through earthquakes, pestilence, hail, fire and brimstone, and battlefield confusion. Even the Jewish people will recognize that the victory belongs to God and it will open many of their hearts to the Lord.
The greatest mystery concerning this war is its timing. Most have placed it at the beginning of the Tribulation. Others have delayed it to the middle of the Tribulation. But, increasingly in recent years, the tendency has been to place it before the beginning of the Tribulation. The reason there is so much question is because the Bible does not say for sure when it will occur, and there is room for honest disagreement on this. Probably every person has a different view as to when this war will occur, so there is room for honest disagreement.
In recent years, as stated, the most common view that is coming out these days is that this war will start before the Tribulation. The best discussion of timing that has yet been written I think can be found in the book Northern Storm Rising by Dr. Ron Rhodes who lives in Frisco, Texas. He's a great writer. He concludes that this war of Gog and Magog will most likely occur begin 3 1/2 years before the Tribulation starts. Here's his reasoning. The Tribulation lasts seven years. Ezekiel 39:9 says that the Jews will spend seven years burning the weapons that they capture in that war, likely nuclear fuel. They are going to be burning weapons that they captured in that war for seven years. But, Revelation 12 tells us that 3 1/2 years into the Tribulation the Jews will be evicted from the land by the Antichrist, and most will flee to Jordan. Therefore, the only way the Jews could spend seven years burning the weapons Ron argues is for the war to begin 3 1/2 years before the start of the Tribulation.
This brings up another question. Does this mean that the wars of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 and 39 must occur before the Rapture? Not at all. The Rapture can occur any moment — before, during or after these wars. Keep in mind that the Rapture is not what starts the Tribulation. The Tribulation will begin when the Antichrist signs a security treaty with Israel. There could be a period of several years between the time of the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation.
In the third part of this series on the nine wars of the end times, we'll look at the third in the progression — the Conventional War of the Tribulation from Revelation 6.