In the chronology of end time events, when does the Gog-Magog War happen?
For a fascinating discussion of this and other questions concerning end time chronology, we invited Dr. Ron Rhodes to our television program Christ in Prophecy. Dr. Rhodes is a prolific Bible prophecy author with over 80 books to his credit! He is a professor and also the founder and director of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures which specializes in defending Christianity against atheists, agnostics, skeptics, the cults, world religions, and any group that teaches false doctrine. As an expert in the field of Bible prophecy, we’re going to focus on one of his books in particular titled, The End Times in Chronological Order.
Timing of the Gog-Magog War
Dr. Reagan: When it comes to the War of Gog and Magog, the Bible does not specifically say when it is going to occur.
Dr. Rhodes: I believe that it is going to happen in the end times. Number one, I say that because in Ezekiel 36-39 the Scriptures say that it is going to take place in the “last days” and the “latter years”. Those terms always point to the end times.
Number two, the Scriptures do give us some chronological clues. For example, the text specifically indicates that at first Israel must become a nation once more. Ezekiel prophesied that Jewish people from all over the world, from all the countries of the world, must flow back to the Holy Land. We’ve been seeing that every decade since Israel became a nation again.
Israel must become a nation once more because there is going to be a coalition of nations that will arise against Israel: Russia, Iran, Turkey, Sudan, Libya, and the nations around the Black Sea. In fact, Russia now has an alliance with Iran. It has an alliance with Libya. Turkey has been with NATO, but recently Turkey has been moving away from NATO and buddying up with Putin over in Russia. And so, we are seeing the stage being set for this coalition of invaders.
Dr. Reagan: I agree that the Bible is quite clear that the Gog-Magog War is going to occur in the end times. But, when I say that the timing is not given in Scriptures, I’m talking about the precise timing. So then, is it going to be before the Tribulation? At the beginning? In the middle? When is the Gog-Magog War going to happen on the prophetic timeline?
Dr. Rhodes: Here’s a chronological problem, and I’m going to try to explain it real clear. It hinges on when Israel is in a state of peace and security. Now, some people say that Israel’s peace and security will come from the covenant that the Antichrist signs with Israel and which starts the Tribulation period.
Dr. Reagan: That is surely the historical position.
Dr. Rhodes: That’s right. But, there is another position that a lot of people hold to, and I think it’s got good credence to it, and that is Israel’s state of security could be due to its own military and its air force. If this is the case, then this invasion wouldn’t have to wait until the Tribulation begins, but it could actually take place a number of years before the Tribulation. What we do know that is really clear, though, is that the Gog-Magog War happens in the end times.
Dr. Reagan: Ron, you have written a very outstanding book about this topic called Northern Storm Rising. I highly recommend it to people. It’s all about the Gog-Magog War. If I remember right, you concluded that most likely the war might occur three-and-a-half years before the Tribulation begins?
Dr. Rhodes: That timing really does open up some convenience, if I might put it that way, because if God destroys the Muslim invaders prior to the Tribulation, number one, it makes it much easier for the Antichrist to sign a covenant protecting Israel. Number two, it makes it much easier for Israel to rebuild its Temple. Right now there is too much Muslim resistance, but if the Muslim invaders are taken out beforehand, that would make rebuilding the Temple much easier. Third, it would make it much easier for the false religion to emerge in the end times because the two primary people groups that would stand against that false religion are now removed — Christians are removed at the Rapture and Muslims are taken out in the Ezekiel 38-39 invasion.
Dr. Reagan: The timing also solves another problem, and that is that Ezekiel says that the Israelis are going to spend seven years cleaning up the battlefield. The Israelis are not going to be there after the middle of the seven years as they will have fled into the wilderness due to the Antichrist’s abomination of desolation.
Dr. Rhodes: Ezekiel prophesies that the Jews are going to be burning the invaders’ weapons for seven years. Here’s the problem, how is it possible that Israel could burn the weapons for seven years if it starts at the beginning of the Tribulation, because right in the middle of the Tribulation the Antichrist claims to be God, and he sets up his headquarters in Jerusalem, and he even sits in the Temple and demands the world worship him as if he were God. Jesus says that when that happens, don’t even pack your bags; get out of town. Run for your lives! That warning seems to indicate the Jews are not going to have time to grab all of those weapons on the run. So, that would seem to indicate that Israel will start burning those weapons prior to the Tribulation.
In the fourth and final part of our discussion with Dr. Ron Rhodes concerning end time chronology, he will identify where in the timeline the Gog-Magog War takes place.