The Christ in Prophecy Journal

End Time Wars – #2 The First War of Gog-Magog


Every time a war breaks out in the Middle East, I receive a flurry of phone calls and email messages asking if it could be the War of Armageddon. This question is prompted by the fact that most people are familiar with only one end time war — the one that has been popularized in movies and novels as the “Battle of Armageddon.” In reality, the Bible describes nine separate end time wars.

We have looked at the first of these battles — the War of Extermination based on Psalm 83. Next in the prophetic sequence is the First War of Gog-Magog based on Ezekiel 38-39, the war when Russia invades Israel with certain specified allies, all of whom are Muslim nations today.

2) The First War of Gog & Magog — Ezekiel 38 and 39

The security provided by the Psalm 83 war will not last long. The Arab nations will turn to their natural ally, Russia, and cry out for help.

And the Russians will be very happy to respond, for they have always dreamed of taking the oil fields of the Middle East. They will, therefore, launch an invasion for the stated purpose of helping the Muslims destroy Israel, but their unstated agenda will be to use the Arab invitation as an excuse to expand their sovereignty over all the Middle East. This ulterior 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” (Ezekiel 39:4). The Lord will accomplish this destruction through earthquakes, pestilence, hail storms, fire, brimstone, and battlefield confusion (Ezekiel 38:19- 22). Even the Jewish people will recognize that the victory belongs to the Lord, and many will open their hearts to the Lord (Ezekiel 38:23). In fact, this event could mark the occasion when the 144,000 Jews of Revelation 7:1-8 accept Yeshua as their Messiah and are sealed by the Lord for special service throughout the seven year period of the Tribulation.

The greatest mystery concerning this war is its timing. Most have placed it at the beginning of the Tribulation. Others delay its start to the middle of the Tribulation. Increasingly in recent years, the tendency has been to place it before the beginning of the Tribulation.

The best discussion of timing that has yet been written can be found in Ron Rhodes’ book, Northern Storm Rising. He concludes that it is most likely to occur 3 1/2 years prior to the Tribulation. One of his most important reasons for this conclusion is that Ezekiel 39:9 says the Jews will spend seven years burning the weapons captured in the war, and the book of Revelation says they will be run out of the land in the middle of the Tribulation (Revelation 12:13-17). Since the middle of the Tribulation will occur 3 1/2 years into that seven year period, that means the only way the Jews could spend seven years burning the weapons is for the war to start at least 3 1/2 years before the Tribulation begins. (Note: The “burning of weapons” could refer to captured nuclear fuel.)

Does this mean the wars of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 and 39 must occur before the Rapture? Not at all. The Rapture could occur anytime before, during, or after these wars. Keep in mind that the Rapture is not what marks the beginning of the Tribulation. The Tribulation will begin when the Antichrist signs a security treaty with Israel (Daniel 9:27). There could be a period of several years between the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation.

For further information on the Gog-Magog War and its timing, see the article series Timing Gog-Magog.

In the third installment of this “End Time Wars” series, we will look at the third and fourth wars in the end times sequence — both the Conventional and Nuclear Wars of the Tribulation.

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Dr. David Reagan

Dr. David Reagan is the Founder and Evangelist Emeritus of Lamb & Lion Ministries. He is a life-long Bible student, teacher, and preacher and he led over 45 pilgrimages to Israel. Dr. Reagan was the host of the radio then television program Christ in Prophecy for nearly 40 years.

4 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • this one really confuses me
    not sure what to think of this one, but my initial thought is to place this at the end of the millenial reign of christ (in revelation)
    i find it very hard to believe that israel will ever have unwalled secure villages until this very time
    on the other hand did not israel experience quite a long time of security between the exodus out of egypt and the assyrian captivity? (correct me if i'm wrong)
    the re-establishing of israel in 1948 as a state and regathering of jews there (from the former nazi empire which i believe was the seventh head of the beast/dragon), and america/britain, reminds me of the exodus

  • Dr. Reagan said, "In fact, this event could mark the occasion when the 144,000 Jews of Revelation 7:1-8 accept Yeshua as their Messiah and are sealed by the Lord for special service throughout the seven year period of the Tribulation."

    From what I can see the 144,000 are not mentioned before or during the trib. I haven't seen any way around this, and I don't know why we've always assumed that they are sealed before or during the trib. They are only first mentioned after the tribulation, as is their sealing. The seals are a general overview of the tribulation from the beginning to the end. (John follows the Semitic styling in Revelation, quite common in Semitic literature — a general overview is given, and then later recapitulated with more detail, such as the creation account in Genesis, and the trumpet & bowls of wrath later in Revelation).

    Notice when Jesus says these very specific signs happen and the parallels between Christ's sequence of events immediately after the tribulation and John's sequence of events immediately following the sixth seal:


    Matthew 24:29, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken"

    Revelation 6:12-13, "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood, And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind"


    Matthew 24:30, "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

    Revelation 6:15-16, "And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:"


    Matthew 24:31, "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."

    Revelation 7:1-3, "And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth… And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels… Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads."

    Jesus told us precisely when these events would happen. The sixth seal is opened immediately after the tribulation. Revelation 7 is a continuation of Revelation 6 (there were no chapter divisions when John wrote the book). After the sixth seal is opened, but before the seventh seal (Day of the Lord), John says in 7:1, "And after these things I saw …" and then goes on the describe the 144,000 and them being sealed, as well as the great multitude that no one could number.

    Note: This great multitude (Rev 7:9) came out of the great tribulation (Rev 7:14). In order to come out the great tribulation they had to be in it.

    So from the text it is quite clear imo that they are not sealed until after the tribulation, but before the Day of the Lord (this is when the "orge" Wrath of God — Divine Vengeance — comes. It is the "orge" of God that we as believers not appointed to).

    Acts 2:20, "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come".

    Rev 6:17, "For the great day of his wrath (orge) is come; and who shall be able to stand?"

  • Speaking of the Olivet Discourse, notice another parallel, this time one that the Apostle Paul makes regarding the rapture of the Church in 1 Thess 4 and 1 Thess 5:

    Paul Referred to Jesus – Coming of the Lord from heaven

    Jesus: Matt 24:30 "… they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
    Paul: 1 Thess. 4:16 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven…"

    Paul Referred to Jesus – Angel(s)

    Jesus: Matt. 24:31 "…He shall send forth His angels…"
    Paul: 1 Thess. 4:16 "with the voice of the archangel…"

    Paul Referred to Jesus – Trumpet Blast

    Jesus: Matt. 24:31 "…with the sound of a trumpet…"
    Paul: 1 Thess. 4:16 "…with the trumpet of God"

    Paul Referred to Jesus – Catching up of the Living

    Jesus: Matt. 24:31 "…they shall gather together His elect…"
    Paul: 1 Thess. 4:17 "…shall be caught up together…"

    Paul Referred To Jesus – Thief in the Night

    Jesus: Matt. 24:43 "…if the master…had known what hour the thief would come…"
    Paul: 1 Thess. 5:1,2 "…so cometh as a thief in the night."

    Paul Referred to Jesus – Warning Against "Sleeping"

    Jesus: Mark 13:36 "lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping."
    Paul: 1 Thess. 5:6 "…let us not sleep as do others"

    Paul Referred to Jesus – Warning Against "Drunkenness"

    Jesus: Luke 21:34 "take heed…lest your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness"
    Paul: 1 Thess. 5:6-8 "be sober…they that are drunken are drunken in the night. …be sober"

    Paul Referred to Jesus – "Watching" for Christ's Coming

    Jesus: Mark 13:35-37 "Watch ye therefore…What I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch."
    Paul: 1 Thess. 5:6 "let us watch…"

    The parallels are striking. In explaining the rapture, Paul is directly referring to Christ's own teaching in the Olivet Discourse and connects the "watching" for the rapture with Jesus' instructions for His disciples to be watching for His coming "immediately after the tribulation". In other words, Paul is teaching us that the rapture is post-trib.


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