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 during the Tribulation. Continue on in this academic presentation made by evangelist Nathan E. Jones!
During the Tribulation
The following timings place the Gog-Magog Battle during the Tribulation. The pros and cons of each timing viewpoint will continue to be addressed.
In the First Half or Middle of the Tribulation
Supporters of this view are John Walvoord, J. Dwight Pentecost, Charles Ryrie, Herman Hoyt, Charles Dyer, and Mark Hitchcock. As Pentecost explains, “To place the events in the middle of the week is the only position consistent with the chronology of these extended passages (Isaiah 30-35 and Joel 2-3).”43
1. The fifth general timing clue that requires Israel living unsuspecting and in peace before the Gog-Magog Battle could easily be attained by the peace covenant the Antichrist makes with Israel that starts the seven-year countdown of the Tribulation (Ezekiel 38:11; Daniel 9:27).44
2. 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, rising at the very end of the Tribulation (Revelation 16:12).
3. By placing the timing of the Gog-Magog Battle early in the Tribulation, the defeat and disillusionment of Muslims worldwide would destroy the strength of Islam. With the Church removed in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, Christianity would also be removed. The resulting polytheistic and pantheistic religions would integrate well into the apostate one-world religion that the False Prophet promotes (Revelation 13:11-15). The only monotheistic religions left to reject the Antichrist would be Judaism and the newly growing Jesus movement, both of which the Antichrist persecutes greatly during the second half of the Tribulation (Revelation 6:11).
1. Ezekiel describes Israel burning the invading enemy’s weapons for seven years (Ezekiel 39:9). Placing the Gog-Magog Battle at any time during the Tribulation would push the burning right into the Millennial Kingdom. With Jesus then present to provide everyone’s needs, the curse partially lifted, and the earth reformatted by earthquakes, there would be no need for Israel to have to burn any weapons for fuel (Isaiah 11:8; Revelation 6:12-14; 16:17-21).
2. The tremendous persecution of the Jews during the second half of the Tribulation would not grant them the freedom to bury the invaders’ dead bodies for seven months unless the Gog-Magog Battle occurred earlier than the mid-point (Ezekiel 39:12).
3. If the Gog-Magog Battle happened closer to the mid-point, the question is raised as to why God would rescue Israel so dramatically from the Gog-Magog nations only to hand Israel immediately over to the intense persecution by the Antichrist.
At the End of the Tribulation (Armageddon)
Supporters of this view, such as Louis Bauman and Charles Feinberg, believe the Gog-Magog Battle and the final battle of Armageddon are one and the same.45
1. Both the Gog-Magog Battle (Ezekiel 38-39) and the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:19) are described as taking place during the first general timing clue “latter years” and “last days” of the Tribulation (Ezekiel 38:8,16 NKJV).
2. Ezekiel and Revelation both describe dead invaders being eaten by birds and wild animals (Ezekiel 39:4,17-20; Revelation 19:17-18).
3. Ezekiel declares that due to the defeat of the Gog-Magog invasion Israel will again acknowledge God (Ezekiel 39:22,29). These references, if coupled with Zechariah 12:10, explaining an acknowledgment by Israel of their true Messiah at the end of the Tribulation, would make the Gog-Magog Battle and Armageddon one and the same, if the acknowledgment of God the Father and Jesus the Messiah are also one and the same.
1. The peaceful precondition in which Israel has to be living unsuspecting and in peace before the Gog-Magog Battle cannot exist under the Great Tribulation of Israel by the Antichrist (Ezekiel 38:11).
2. The nations in the two battles do not match. The Gog-Magog Battle involves the specific nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Sudan, Libya, and possibly Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Algeria, and Tunisia against Israel (Ezekiel 38:1-6). The references to Armageddon include every nation from across the entire earth set against Israel (Joel 3:2; Zephaniah 3:8; Zechariah 12:3; 14:2).
3. The locations described in the two battles do not match. Armageddon takes place in the valley of Jezreel by the plain of Megiddo (Judges 5:19; 2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chronicles 35:22; Zechariah 12:11). Ezekiel describes the Gog-Magog Battle as taking place on the “mountains of Israel” (Ezekiel 38:8 NKJV).
4. The leaders of the armies are not the same. Gog is the prince and ruler of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal (Ezekiel 38:3). The invading leader at Armageddon is the Beast who controls the whole earth (Revelation 13). While it is known that Satan possesses the Antichrist, it is unknown if Gog is possessed by Satan (Revelation 13:2).
5. The armies find themselves fighting two different opponents. The Gog-Magog invaders look to conquer a peaceful and unsuspecting Israel (Ezekiel 38:11). The Armageddon invaders gather to make war against the returned King—Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:19).
6. The accounts of the defeat of the invaders do not match. The Gog-Magog invaders are defeated by God who uses “flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone,” as well as in-fighting (Ezekiel 38:21-22 NKJV). The invading nations at Armageddon are defeated by Jesus who uses “a sharp sword” from His mouth, meaning mere words (Revelation 19:15 NKJV).
7. Ezekiel describes several nations protesting why the Gog-Magog invasion is happening (Ezekiel 38:13). At Armageddon, all the nations of the world are involved in the invasion of Israel, and none protest (Joel 3:2; Zephaniah 3:8; Zachariah 12:3; 14:2).
8. Ezekiel describes Israel burning the invading enemy’s weapons for seven years (Ezekiel 39:9). Placing the Gog-Magog Battle at the end of the Tribulation would push the burning right into the Millennial Kingdom. With Jesus then present to provide everyone’s needs, the curse partially lifted, and the earth reformatted by earthquakes, there would be no need for Israel to have to burn any weapons for fuel (Isaiah 11:8; Revelation 6:12-14; 16:17-21).
In the sixth 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 in relation to the Millennial Kingdom.
43. J. Dwight. Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), 354.
44. Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology (Wheaton, IL: Scripture Press Publications Inc., 1986), 477.
45. Louis Bauman, Russian Events in the Light of Bible Prophecy (Philadelphia, PA: The Balkiston Co., 1942), 174-175.