In Part 1, we began to get a handle on exactly what nations are involved in the prophetic Gog-Magog War as revealed in Ezekiel 38-39. Now we will identify the general timing clues the prophet left us. Continue on in this academic presentation made by evangelist Nathan E. Jones!
While there is much debate over the specific timing of the Gog-Magog Battle, the student of the Bible can be positive about the general timing. General timing is clearly spelled out in Ezekiel’s account as events that must happen to set the stage for the battle.
1. The first general timing clue is Ezekiel’s use of the terms “latter years” and “last days” (Ezekiel 38:8,16 NKJV). The Gog-Magog Battle must happen in the prophetic scheme of the end times as it relates to the nation of Israel. The key verse which unlocks the understanding as to what these terms mean can be found in Deuteronomy: “When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice” (Deuteronomy 4:30 NKJV). “Distress” is also translated as “Tribulation.” It is the Tribulation, also called Daniel’s Seventieth Week prophecy (Daniel 9:20-27), that brings the Jewish people as a nation back to a belief in Yahweh and later to accept Yeshua as their Messiah. The Tribulation leading up to the Millennial reign of Christ is what the Old Testament prophets consistently and repeatedly taught. And so, these key phrases point to the Gog-Magog Battle happening in relation to the Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom.
2. The second general timing clue rejects the claim that the battle has already happened in history. Never in the history of the Middle East have the nations described in the coalition been united in a concerted attack against Israel. In no time has such a specific group of nations been destroyed by inclement weather. And, in no time in history has Israel named a valley Hamon Gog, nor has the adjoining town called Hamonah, existed where the Jews buried their invaders’ dead bodies (Ezekiel 39:11-12,16). Lack of historical support leaves only a future timing for the battle to occur.
3. The third general timing clue is given in Ezekiel 36 and 37 and involves the regathering of the Jewish people back into their homeland “from out of all countries” of the world (Ezekiel 36:24 NKJV). Like the valley of dry bones reanimated into a living person that Ezekiel envisioned, Israel did indeed become a nation once again. Out of the 14.5 million Jewish people in the world today, 47% reside in Israel, making up 6,841,000 (74%) of the population dwelling in the Holy Land.34 And, the Jews must have control of “the mountains of Israel,” which they gained when they took control of the mountains from the Jordanians during the Six Day War (Ezekiel 38:8 NKJV).35
4. The fourth general timing clue involves the developments nationally that have to occur to make the nations of the coalition unite in an invasion of Israel. Two factors have made this coalition possible today. The first is the religion of Islam uniting these nations in satanic hatred of the Jewish people. The second is the economic bounty that Israel now has with its revitalized land and newly discovered gas deposits.36 The coalition nations now see a viable motivation to unite for the singular purpose of plundering Israel’s wealth.
5. The fifth general timing clue reads, “You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates'” (Ezekiel 38:11 NKJV). Israel must be living without walls, peacefully, and unsuspecting of an attack. Israel today lives in constant fear of attack and is always prepared for an invasion by the 60-plus million hostile Muslims surrounding their borders. Because of this turbulent climate, this part of the prophecy can be argued to have yet to be fulfilled.
As the question as to when the Gog-Magog Battle will occur, two obvious answers can be eliminated from the onset. The first presupposes the battle has already occurred in history, but that would be historically incorrect. That the Gog-Magog Battle was fulfilled in Ezekiel’s day by an invasion of the Scythians, Babylonians, or Greeks fails to fulfill the roster of nations that compile the Gog-Magog invasion force. Also, it fails to address Ezekiel chapters 36-38 which prophesy a regathering of Jews to Israel from all over the world using the end-timing clues given as the “latter years,” or “last days” (Ezekiel 38:8,16 NJKV). A past historical invasion just does not fit the Ezekiel 38-39 description.
The second concludes that the Gog-Magog Battle will never occur and also can be discarded as incorrect. A literal interpretation being replaced with a metaphorical interpretation that postulates that Ezekiel 38-39’s description is somehow “apocalyptic symbolism” representing a struggle between good and evil is Replacement Theology spiritualizing.37 As Semitic languages expert Charles Feinberg once said, “It is either the grammatical, literal, historical interpretation or we are adrift on an uncharted sea with every man the norm for himself.”38 Prophecy fulfilled is always prophecy fulfilled literally, and the prophecy concerning the Gog-Magog Battle should be interpreted no differently.
In the fourth part of this academic presentation about the prophetic Gog-Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, we will examine the arguments that support this apocalyptic war happening before the Tribulation.
34. “Vital Statistics: Latest Population Statistics for Israel (2020),” Jewish Virtual Library, accessed October 1, 2020, https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/latest-population-statistics-for-israel.
35. Mark Hitchcock, The End: A Complete Overview of Bible Prophecy and the End of Days (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 2012), 310.
36. Luke Baker, “Israel Asks Itself the $150 Billion Question,” Reuters, (May 25, 2011), https://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/25/us-economy-israel-steinitz-idUSTRE74O38R20110525.
37. Taylor, 247-248.
38. Charles Lee Feinberg, The Prophecy of Ezekiel: The Glory of the Lord (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1969), 219.
6 CommentsLeave a Comment
I’ve found your teaching to confirm so far much of what I had believed before reading. I’ve wondered if the Abrahamic Accords of 2020 and the possibility of more future agreements in that line with other Sunni led nations will explain the ones that are left out of the prophesy, although I don’t see that progress continuing with the cooperation of the present American administration. Anyway, I will await anxiously the fourth chapter of your study.
Hello Nathan, Your report on Gog from the land of Magog war is well researched and written and analysis is deep and properly documented. This said, I find a few overlooked points, which I would like to bring to your attention. One of the mandatory conditions (#3 in your list) of Gog attack you correctly described as, “Recorded in the book of Ezekiel chapters 36 and 37, the prophet revealed that God would fulfill His promise to regather the Jewish people “out of all [the] countries” of the world where they had been dispersed “and bring you into your own land” that had been promised to their forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Ezekiel 36:24; and many others). Something does not sound right here. The problem is: in those chapters God does not speak of the Jewish people only – He speaks primarily of the whole House of Israel, which is not the same. We have an issue here with understanding of the terms Judah and Israel. The rabbis and scholars have misunderstood or totally ignored this subject. According to their opinion, the Jewish people are the Biblical Israel of the Twelve Tribes. The future prophecies of reunion and redemption apply to the Jews only, and there is no such thing as the “Lost” Ten Tribes of Israel in exile. The great R. Nahmanides (1194-1270 AC) rejects this nonsense by stating that the overwhelming majority of the Ten Tribes never returned to the Promised Land though they are destined to do so in the future. “There was no redemption for the Ten Tribes who remain in exile. They should be ashamed not to recognize this fact!” (Sefer HaGeulah; Obadiah 1:20).
The final conclusion: The Gog and Magog war will happen in the “latter years,” when the whole House of Israel reunited and brought back to the Promised Land by the revealed Messiah.
Awesome! Can’t wait for the rest:-) Thank you Nathan!
Hello Nathan. Thank you for posting my comment on Judah and Israel. Even you cut off half of it, I hope you understand my point. Now I would like to express my opinion on the participants of Gog coalition, particularly on Gomer and Togarmah (Ezekiel 38:6). It is true that in the time of the Prophet Ezekiel (c.622BCE-570BCE), Togarmah, together with his uncles Tubal, Javan and Meshech occupied the territory of Anatolia (Turkey). There were Anatolian kingdoms called “Tegarama” by the Hittites and “Til-garimmu” by the Assyrians. After the demise of the Assyrian Empire and fall of its capital Nineveh in 612BCE, many vassal nations found themselves free of Assyrian domination and began mass migration out of the troubled regions of Levant, Mesopotamia and Asia Manor northward and eastward, colonizing first southern and then central Europe. Eventually, they were later pushed out of this area in the time of the great migration of the Semite people and moved to the north (where they founded the city of Moscow) and east of Russia (where they founded the city of Tobolsk). “It is not uncommon for people to give a name to a region and then the original people move on to other areas,” explains late Christian historian Dr. Martin. Semitic people, together with the masses of other migrant nations, moved all over Europe, pushing Javan, Elishah, Kittim, Tarshish, Gomer, Tubal, Meshech and the rest of the Japhetic people to the extreme north (Evenks, Nenets, Eskimos- Aleut and other people of Ural, Siberia, Mongolia and so on) and east into most of the areas of Asia (China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and many countries of Southeast Asia). Thus, Tubal became an eastern Mongolian people. Javan was no longer associated with Europe and his descendants became the Javanese people of the Southeast Asian area of Indonesia. Gomer, Togarmah, Javan, and Kittim left Europe and went into the central areas of Asia and particularly to China where they settled and gave their name to the region. In the writings of the medieval traveler Marco Polo and the Persian astronomer Nazir al-Din-al-Tuzi in 1272 we are told that China was known to outsiders by the names “Cathay,” “Kitai,” “Cataya,” “Cathayan,” “Khitayns,” which very closely resemble the name of “Kittim.” Many historians think that Japheth was “the father of the Indo-European people.” Meanwhile, according to Dr. Martin, Japheth is “the father of yellow race people” whose population is the largest among the descendants of Ham and Shem. No wonder that God blessed Japheth with such “enlargement” (Genesis 9:27). Even though nations are no longer located within their ancient borders, it does not mean that they have disappeared from history. The Prophet Ezekiel listed the nations that were well known to the ancient world in his time—without tying people’s dwellings to certain geographical boundaries. His main goal was to rightly identify these people in the End Time, regardless of their ancient geographical locations. As a seer, he foresaw that the people whom he prophesied about would not remain in the places that they occupied at the time, and would move all over the Earth. Such vision is a gift of prophecy. If one disregards this situation and tries to identify those nations by their previous geographical areas, as Togarmah-Turkey, it will misinterpret and twist the prophecy, and even nullify the essence of it. Yet that is what exactly many theologians have done with the Ezekiel prophecy.
Conclusion: Gomer and the House of Togarmah will joint armies of Gog under the name of China with all her bands: Mongolia, Siberia, North Korea, “Many people with thee,” where Japheth’s descendants – Gomer and Togarmah – to be found in the Oriental regions of Asia.
Alexander, that’s a very unique interpretation of those nations. I’m not sure how these eastern nations could rise again at the end of the Tribulation as the Kings of the East if God so thoroughly decimates their homeland during the Gog-Magog War. That may be why so few hold to the Asian interpretation.
Nathan, for obvious reason, I do not go to the N.T. theories of Rapture, pre-tribulation, post-tribulation and other terms to pinpoint timing of Gog attack on Israel. I am very sure that the prophet Ezekiel gave us proper and comprehensive answer of this timing (Ezekiel 38:8, 11): “After many days”, “in the latter years”; when the whole House of Israel (12 Tribes, “all of them!) is gathered to the Promised Land, which can be done only by the Messiah; Israel is prosperous, live in safety after defeating surrounding enemies in the wars of Psalm 83 — it is the dawn of the Messianic Era. When these mandatory conditions of Ezekiel on the table, Gog’s hordes will invade Israel. Thanks