The Christ in Prophecy Journal

Understanding Gog and Magog (Part 4 of 7)

Understanding Gog and Magog

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 examine the arguments that support this apocalyptic war happening before the Tribulation. Continue on in this academic presentation made by evangelist Nathan E. Jones!

Video Presentation

Before the Tribulation

The following timing views are founded on the Premillennial interpretation of Scriptures as they relate to the order of future events. Premillennialism was the dominant view during the first three centuries of Church history and was later reinstated by German Calvinist theologian Johann Heinrich Alsted in his book The Beloved City (1627).39 The first two timings rest heavily on the Pre-Tribulation Rapture viewpoint, which sees the Church removed from the earth before God pours out His wrath during a seven-year Tribulation period.

Before Both the Rapture and the Tribulation

Some theologians believe the Gog-Magog Battle will occur before both the Rapture of the Church and the seven-year Tribulation. A few of the supporters of this view are Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins of the popular Left Behind series of books, and Joel Rosenberg who wrote Epicenter. Another supporter, David Cooper, noted with confidence back in 1940, years before Israel had even become a nation again, that “there will be a time between now and the beginning of the Tribulation when the Jews will be dwelling in the Land in unwalled cities and will be at rest” after the Church has been raptured.40 The pros and cons of this timing viewpoint are as follows:

Pros:

1. Israel burning the invader’s weapons takes seven years, equal to the seven-year length of the Tribulation (Ezekiel 39:9; Daniel 9:27).

2. With Islam’s severe defeat and her coalition nations lying in ruin, many a Muslim’s faith in Allah would be shattered. The Islamic world would no longer impede the Jewish people from removing the Dome of the Rock off of the Temple Mount and begin rebuilding the Third Temple in its place, the very Temple which the Antichrist is prophesied to desecrate during the Tribulation (Daniel 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

3. God revealing Himself to the world so dynamically is in character with His willingness to warn before implementing global judgment and to call people to repentance. A resulting great multitude, therefore, may come to then know Christ and be included in the Rapture and avoid God’s wrath during the Tribulation.

Cons:

1. Placing the invasion before the Rapture could contradict the first general time clue of the terms “latter years” and “last days,” that is if this “time of Jacob’s trouble” is reserved only for the seven-year Tribulation (Jeremiah 30:7; Ezekiel 38:8,16 NKJV).

2. Placing the invasion before the Rapture would contradict the fifth general time clue which tells of Israel living unsuspecting and in peace before the attack. Unless peace is derived by Israel subjugating its surrounding neighbors or by the peace covenant made with the Antichrist which starts the seven-year countdown, Israel yet to have attained that peaceful precondition (Daniel 9:27).

3. The New Testament indicates that no prophetic event has to occur before the Rapture, which is called imminency. Imminency precludes such prophetic events such as the Gog-Magog Battle happening before the Rapture.

4. The removal of “he who now restrains” coincides with the Antichrist emerging on the world scene (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 NKJV). Because the Church is the temple of the Holy Spirit and so, therefore, could be identified as the Restrainer, the Rapture would have to happen before the Antichrist is revealed (1 Corinthians 3:16). Should the peaceful precondition be tied to the Antichrist’s peace covenant, then the Gog-Magog Battle follows both the Rapture and the onset of the Tribulation.

5. A timing problem exists for Israel in that midway through the Tribulation the Antichrist’s abomination in the newly built Temple will cause the Jews to flee into the desert (Matthew 24:15-16). Some argue the Jews would no longer then have access to the Gog-Magog invader’s weapons to burn. And so, the seven years of Tribulation no longer matches the seven years of burning the weapons.

After the Rapture But Before the Tribulation

Popular supporters of this view are professors Ed Hindson and Tommy Ice, both associated with the Pre-Trib Research Center.41 Also, Arnold Fruchtenbaum of Ariel Ministries, who reasons the Russian invasion as taking place “some time before the Tribulation,” because “God will punish Russia for her sins” for “the key sin is her long history of anti-Semitism, a problem that persists in Russia to this day.”42

Pros:

1. With the world in chaos due to a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, Russia and its Islamic coalition could seize the opportunity to attack a friendless Israel.

2. With the Muslim Gog-Magog nations out of the picture just before the Tribulation, the Antichrist would have an easier time making a peace covenant with Israel.

3. With the more Christianized nations in tatters due to a Pre-Tribulation Rapture and the Islamic world in ruins from the Gog-Magog Battle, the remaining European world power could fill the vacuum in the Middle East. By making a peace treaty with Israel and easily conquering the lands of the once Middle-Eastern Islamic countries, the Roman Empire could truly be revived once more as Daniel 2 and 7 prophesy. The only remaining world powers would be East-Asian, and the Bible records their continued existence, though under the control of the Antichrist and revolting at the very end of the Tribulation (Revelation 16:12).

4. With the Muslim world in tatters, Israel would have no resistance to rebuilding the Temple.

5. The Rapture does not start the Tribulation, but rather the signing of the peace covenant between the Antichrist and Israel does (Daniel 9:27). This fact would allow a three-and-a-half-year or more time delay between the Rapture and the Tribulation, giving Israel the full seven years to burn the weapons from the Gog-Magog Battle before being forced to flee into the desert (Matthew 24:15-16).

Cons:

1. Placing the invasion before the Rapture could contradict the first general time clue of the terms “latter years” and “last days,” that is if this “time of Jacob’s trouble” is reserved only for the seven-year Tribulation (Jeremiah 30:7; Ezekiel 38:8,16 NKJV).

2. The peaceful precondition of Ezekiel 38:11 in which Israel has to be living unsuspecting and in peace before the Gog-Magog Battle may only occur because of the peace covenant with the Antichrist, who cannot be revealed until the Tribulation begins.

In the fifth 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 during the Tribulation.

End Notes

39. Robert G. Clouse, The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1977), 7-9.

40. David L. Cooper, When God’s Armies Meet the Almighty (Los Angeles, CA: The Biblical Research Society, 1940), 80-81.

41. Ed Hindson & Thomas Ice, Charting the Bible Chronologically: A Visual Guide to God’s Unfolding Plan (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2016), 120.

42. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events (San Antonio, TX: Ariel Ministries, 2004), 109.

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Nathan Jones

Nathan Jones

As the Internet Evangelist at Lamb & Lion Ministries, Nathan reaches out to the over 4.5 billion people accessible over the Internet with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

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