The Gog and Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39
By Chris Schang
In the Bible, the prophet Ezekiel for tells of an end times conflict that sets the tone for God's re-focus on his chosen people. Right now we live in the age of grace through faith. And this is often referred to as the church age. For the church is saved by faith in the Lord Jesus, his death, burial, and resurrection. This situation has not always been the case. In previous dispensations God has dealt with mankind in different ways. But after the Gog and Magog war of Ezekiel 38-39, we will see God essentially take his eyes off the church, and once again focus on his chosen people. As a result, there are many people out there that believe that the rapture of the church will preceed this Ezekiel 38-39 conflict. Whatever the case maybe, the church will be raptured at least before the start of the seven year Tribulation period when God's starts his plan for the national salvation and regeneration of Israel.
The war of Ezekiel 38-39 is a very serious war. It is a war where the Russians lead a moslem coalition down from the north of Israel in an attempt to invade and destroy the Jewish state once and for all. The Russians are referred to in Ezekiel 38-39 by their ancient name of "Magog", while the Iranians who are the leaders of the moslems are referred to as "Persia". To get the name Magog for Russia, we have to do a bit of research in the history books, yet the name Magog is also mentioned as one of the sons of Noah in the Table of Nations from the Bible. Iran on the other hand, has recently changed their name from Persia to Iran in recent memory. So, coming up with who is Persia is not a hard job.
Let's take a look at the scriptures from Ezekiel 38-38 and see if we can put together the basis for the war and what ends up happening at the end of it. A look at the first few verses in Ezekiel shows that Russia is literally "dragged" down into this coming war by the Lord placing "hooks in the jaws". This is similar I believe to the way a rider makes a stubborn horse move when the horse does not want to travel. This same application will apply as God makes the anti-semite Russians to move down from the north and head to Israel. The Bible says:
Eze 38:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 38:2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
Eze 38:3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:
Eze 38:4 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:
Eze 38:5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:
Eze 38:6 Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: [and] many people with thee.
As we can see here Russia and Iran will not be alone in this conflict. In fact, it is interesting to note that not a single Arab nation today is mentioned in the Ezekiel 38-39 war. The Arabs appear to be either sitting out of the war or if as some speculate, the fulfillment of Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17 have left the Arabs in no position to fight. Let's take a look at the modern day equivalents of the Ezekiel 38-39 allies that will try to invade Israel. The following table will help sort out the players:
The Nations of Ezekiel 38: 1-6
The Ancient Nations ---- The Modern Nations
The land of Magog ------ Russia
Meshech and Tubal ------ Somewhere in Russia
Persia ----------------- Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan
Ethiopia --------------- Ethiopia and Sudan
Libya ------------------ Libya
Ashkenaz --------------- Austria and Germany
Gomer ------------------ Eastern Europe
Togarmah --------------- Southeastern Europe and Turkey
"Many peoples with thee" ---- Various other nations allied with Russia
While there are some nations mentioned in the war from Europe and from Africa, I would also suspect that many Moslem nations in the southern Russian republics could also be involved in the war under the "various other nations allied with Russia" banner. The bottom line is that this is a huge amount of nations assembled in what would surely be the utter destruction of Israel. With anti-semitism growing everyday in the world, it is not far fetched to see such a coalition arise in the end times.
Eze 38:7 Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.
Eze 38:8 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.
Eze 38:9 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.
Eze 38:10 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:
Eze 38:11 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,
Eze 38:12 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.
Here we can see that the Bible notes that the Gog and Magog invasion will occur in the letter days once Israel has been brought back into the land. As we know, Israel was re-born in the land during in 1948. The Bible also notes that the people living in the land will be living in "safety". This word has caused a lot of confusion over it's meaning. Some have interpreted it to mean living in peace like we do here in the U.S. while overs have interpreted the meaning of the word to mean that Israel is simply living in the land in a false confidence of their current military strength. Messianic Christian scholar Dr. Arnold Frutchenbaum notes that the word "safety" is actually the Hebrew word "betach" which means a "false confidence and security". The verses also mention that Israel will be living in a land of "unwalled villages" and without "bars or gates". Israel right now lives with a wall separating it and portions of the West Bank. This wall is some 400+ miles long and helps to keep terrorist snipers from shooting into Israel. While this is indeed a wall in Israel, it is noteworthy that the vast majority of Israel dwells in peace and security without walls, bars, and gates. In the ancient times of Ezekiel, most if not all cities had walls to protect it from intruders and enemies. Yet, the Israel of today lives without these things. In fact, Dr. Arnold Frutchenbaum notes that this is a good description of the current "kibbutzim" in Israel today. So, as a result, it is my opinion that while the Ezekiel 38-39 war maybe a little ways off, I agree with Dr. Frutchenbaum that Israel is currently meeting the requirements for the Ezekiel 38-39 war.
Eze 38:13 Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?
Eze 38:14 Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know [it]?
Eze 38:15 And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army:
Eze 38:16 And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.
The above verses show us the motive of the Gog and Magog invasion. The Lord shows us the thoughts of the invading coalition and that they have simply come for a "spoil". Over the years, many Bible scholars have speculated what the "spoil" might be but have never been able to put a finger on it. But recent news reports show that in addition to owning the Dead Sea with it's priceless amounts of precious minerals and metals, Israel has recently stumbled upon massive amounts of offshore oil and natural gas. In fact, the amount of gas and oil can make Israel an energy exporter while providing for their own energy for what is estimated to be for 50 years!! This is absolutely incredible and I believe that these discoveries, during the end of the end times, is simply no coincidence. This is exactly the type of "spoil" that would encourage an energy hungry nation like Russia to take up arms and try to destroy Israel. We also see from the above verse that the far off nations of the world will simply throw a mild protest at the massive invading armies. There will essentially be no one to stand in the way between Israel and the Gog and Magog allies. The U.S. either goes neutral in this war or perhaps if the rapture has occured at this time is simply not in a position to help Israel. Which is exactly what God wants as he will supernaturally intervene to save Israel.
Eze 38:17 Thus saith the Lord GOD; [Art] thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days [many] years that I would bring thee against them?
Eze 38:18 And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, [that] my fury shall come up in my face.
Eze 38:19 For in my jealousy [and] in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;
Eze 38:20 So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that [are] upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.
Eze 38:21 And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother.
Eze 38:22 And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that [are] with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
Eze 38:23 Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.
Finally, we see the fury and anger of God as the Gog and Magog allies move on Israel in order to destroy her once and for all. But as a surprise to the invading forces, who are followers of pagan Islam, they are soon to see the hand of the God of Israel as he lashes out in fury and anger for those who want to destroy his chosen people. God will destroy the invading forces and intervene with his classic weapons of rain, hailstones, fire and brimstone from Heaven. God will also use his classic weapon of having Israel's enemies fight each other. Many will perish at their sword as they try in vain to destroy Israel. god makes it clear he will sanctify his Holy name and the nations will know that he is the Lord.
Eze 39:1 Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:
Eze 39:2 And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:
Eze 39:3 And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.
Eze 39:4 Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that [is] with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and [to] the beasts of the field to be devoured.
Eze 39:5 Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken [it], saith the Lord GOD.
In these verses God tells us that his destruction on the invading forces of Israel will be so great, that only one-sixth of the invading forces will remain alive from the conflict. God will supernaturally destroy in the mountains of Israel those who came with malicious intent on his chosen people. The invading forces that were aligned against Israel were sure to defeat her had God not intervened. But as previously mentioned in the scriptures, God will do this to magnify and sanctify his Holy name. God also calls on the birds in the area to come and feast upon the the dead men that tried to destroy Israel. This is a lesson to learn here, that those who try to curse Israel will be cursed, and those who bless Israel will be blessed. Just see for yourself in Genesis 12:3.
Eze 39:6 And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.
Eze 39:7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not [let them] pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I [am] the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.
Eze 39:8 Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this [is] the day whereof I have spoken.
Here the Lord shows that he is not just content with punishing the invading forces that amassed against Israel, God will also punish the homeland of Russia with fire and brimstone. Many see this as God's punishment and judgment on Russia for her long history of anti-semitism and perhaps even for arming the enemies of Israel when she knew what they were building up arms for. Russia claims all the time that their selling of weapons to Israel's enemies is simply for "defensive" purposes but this is simply not the case. Russia is currently involved in building a nuclear weapons program for Iran, the worst state sponsor of terrorism in the world. The day of reckoning is coming for Israel's enemies and it won't be long now.
In addition, the above verses note that through the supernatural intervention of God Israel will be "spiritually awakened" again to God. After seeing the hand of god in action and their enemies defeated, Israel will have a rebirth in their heart for God. Currently about 90% of Israel is secular, with only about 10% being religious. This will clearly change after this conflict. As a result, it is likely that Israel demand to rebuild a Temple and resume Old Testament style worship. It should be noted here that nowhere does the prophet Ezekiel mention that the Jews will come to faith in Jesus. The word "Lord" is also used in the Old Testament to refer to God. The national salvation and regeneration of Israel will only take place at the end of the Tribulation period when the Jewish people come to see the one they pierced and recognize their true Messiah - Jesus Christ.
Eze 39:9 And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years:
Eze 39:10 So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down [any] out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord GOD.
Here the Bible notes that the Jews will burn the weapons of the invading forces for seven years in order to provide fuel and fire for Israel. These verses give a glimpse of the size of the invading forces and it is massive. There have been articles in the news that describe certain Russia weapons being made out of a chemical that can be used for fuel and for fires. This material I believe is called lignostone and it is in a lot of the heavy weapons like tanks, etc. that would be used in any invasion of Israel. The Bible says that God will turn the tables on the enemies of Israel and that it will be Israel who plunders the enemies.
Eze 39:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the [noses] of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call [it] The valley of Hamongog.
Eze 39:12 And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.
Eze 39:13 Yea, all the people of the land shall bury [them]; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Lord GOD.
Eze 39:14 And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search.
Eze 39:15 And the passengers [that] pass through the land, when [any] seeth a man's bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamongog.
Eze 39:16 And also the name of the city [shall be] Hamonah. Thus shall they cleanse the land.
Further, the Bible states that the Jews will be busy bury the dead for seven entire months. There is also an interesting clue that the Gog and Magog war could go nuclear. The verses above mention that special equipped people will go about and collect bones that have flags next to them. This procedure is very similar to the procedure used to clean-up after a nuclear exchange. While this could simply just mean that a flag is put out to have the Jewish inspectors to know where a bone is so they can dispose of it in an appropriate Jewish manner, it is very interesting that perhaps there is a nuclear exchange in the Gog and Magog war. Perhaps at the beginning. I guess only time will tell on this matter, but it is certainly intriguing.
Eze 39:17 And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, [even] a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.
Eze 39:18 Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.
Eze 39:19 And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.
Eze 39:20 Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD.
Once again we see that God is calling the birds of prey to come and feast on the abundance of dead fighting men who have perished because they dared to rise up against the chosen people of God. This is feast is pretty much a replay of the verses of Ezekiel 38.
Eze 39:21 And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.
Eze 39:22 So the house of Israel shall know that I [am] the LORD their God from that day and forward.
Eze 39:23 And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword.
Eze 39:24 According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them.
Eze 39:25 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name;
Eze 39:26 After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made [them] afraid.
Eze 39:27 When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;
Eze 39:28 Then shall they know that I [am] the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.
Eze 39:29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.
Here God once again lets us know that he has intervene on Israel's behalf, not because they deserved it, but he does so in order to magnify and sanctify his Holy name. This as we mentioned before will recent in a "spiritual rebirth" for Israel as they will want to demand a new Temple and resume Old Testament animal sacrifices which have not been performed for nearly 2,000 years. God also notes that he has hidden his face from the Jewish people due to their transgressions and uncleanness in their trespasses against God. But at this time, God begins to refocus on the Jewish people and while not hide his face from them anymore. Unfortunately, it will take going through the seven year Tribulation period in order to go the Jewish people to see the errors of their ways and choose salvation in Jesus Christ.
While the Bible declares that the days ahead are dark indeed for the Jewish people and even for unrepentant sinners, I would like to ask that we remember to pray for these people. The Bible declares that God does not wish that any perish. During the Tribulation period the Jews will be persecuted and the vast majority of them will die. The same is true for unrepentant Gentile people as well. Let us pray that these people come to faith in Jesus Christ and that they accept the pardon of salvation through Jesus' completed work on the Cross. Amen!