The Timing of Jehoshaphat
This brings us to the timing of Jehoshaphat. When will the Judgment of Jehoshaphat most likely begin?
Some believe it will begin immediately after the Rapture of the Church. But I think that is a misconception. I believe there must be a gap between the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation.
I suspect that two major things will happen during this gap period:
- The Antichrist will rise to power in Europe.
- The War of Gog & Magog will occur.
Regarding the rise of the Antichrist, it is true that he will rise to power in Europe through diplomacy, intrigue, cleverness and the charismatic power of his personality. He will also have supernatural knowledge that will be supplied to him by Satan. But his ascension to the control of the revived Roman Empire will take some time.
And while that is going on, I think it is likely that the Russian invasion of Israel that is prophesied in Ezekiel 38 & 39 (the War of Gog & Magog) will take place.
Traditionally, this war has been placed at the beginning of the Tribulation, and for a good reason. Ezekiel declares it will take place at a time when Israel is living in peace, and the Tribulation is going to officially begin when the Antichrist makes a covenant with Israel that will guarantee its safety.
But the Ezekiel account also says that when the Gog & Magog War is over, the Jewish people will spend seven years burning the weapons from the battlefield. That raises a problem because the Jews are going to be evicted from their land in the middle of the Tribulation when they reject the Antichrist as God and he turns on them in wrath and seeks to annihilate them.
Thus, I have concluded — along with Ron Rhodes — that the War of Gog & Magog will most likely begin at least 3½ to 4 years before the Tribulation begins, during the gap between the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation.
This war will result in the destruction of the military power of the Russians and its Arab allies, including the non-Arab nation of Iran. Ezekiel says the armies will be totally destroyed by the Lord on the mountains of Israel.
Ezekiel further states that the Lord’s weapons of destruction will be torrential rains, hail, fire, brimstone, pestilence and a great earthquake — all of which will produce battlefield confusion that will cause the troops to end up killing each other (Ezekiel 38:19-22).
Incidentally, regarding the earthquake, Ezekiel says it will be a “great earthquake” that will shake the entire Middle Eastern area, “collapsing mountains and walls” (Ezekiel 38:19-20). I believe this earthquake will destroy the Dome of the Rock and pave the way for the Jews to rebuild their Temple.
Once the War of Gog & Magog is concluded, I believe the Antichrist will rush to fill the vacuum left in the Middle East by signing his treaty with Israel. And with that area peaceful, he will then launch his campaign to conquer the world.
That campaign will be the beginning of the Judgment of Jehoshaphat.
In the sixth part of our study of Armageddon, we will follow the Antichrist’s war campaign during the Tribulation.