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 in relation to the Millennial Kingdom. Continue on in this academic presentation made by evangelist Nathan E. Jones!
In Relation to the Millennial Kingdom
Three views exist that place the Gog-Magog Battle in relation to Jesus Christ’s thousand-year reign on earth, often called the Kingdom of Christ or the Millennial Kingdom.
Between the Tribulation and the Millennium
This least popular view places the events of Ezekiel 38 and 39 into an interlude period between the Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom.
1. This is a consistent argument with the view that an interlude period could exist between the Rapture and the Tribulation.
2. The fifth general timing clue that requires Israel living unsuspecting and in peace before the Gog-Magog Battle could easily be attained after Christ’s Second Coming (Ezekiel 38:11).
3. An interlude time could be any length of time, granting the seven years given to Israel to burn the invading enemy’s weapons for fuel (Ezekiel 39:9).
1. With Jesus having defeated all of the armies of the world at Armageddon, no army would be left to invade Israel so soon (Revelation 19:19).
2. With Jesus Christ’s return at the Second Coming, no Gog-Magog invasion would be needed to lead Israel to again acknowledge God (Ezekiel 39:22,29).
3. Only one interlude period is given in the Futurist prophetic timeline as it relates to the Tribulation. Daniel reveals, “Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days” (Daniel 12:12 NKJV). Revelation also explains that the Gentiles “will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months” (Revelation 11:2 NKJV). Revelation continues, “And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth” (Revelation 11:3 NKJV). The difference between these two accounts is 75 days. The 75 days will most likely be used by Jesus to judge the world in the Sheep-Goat Judgment and rebuild the planet after the seven-year Tribulation (Matthew 25:31-46).
4. The interlude time limited to 75 days does not give Israel the seven months they need to bury the dead invaders’ bodies from the Gog-Magog Battle (Ezekiel 39:12).
5. With Jesus 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 into the Millennium (Isaiah 11:8; Revelation 6:12-14; 16:17-21).
At the Beginning of the Millennium
Supporters of this view, such as Arno Gaebelein, place the Gog-Magog Battle at the beginning of the thousand-year reign of Christ.46
1. The fifth general timing clue that requires Israel living unsuspecting and in peace before the Gog-Magog Battle could easily be attained after Christ’s Second Coming (Ezekiel 38:11).
1. With Jesus’ return at the Second Coming, no Gog-Magog invasion would be needed to get Israel to again acknowledge God (Ezekiel 39:22,29).
2. With Jesus having defeated all the armies of the world at Armageddon, no army would be left to invade Israel so soon (Revelation 19:19).
3. No wicked people will have survived the Sheep-Goat Judgment to enter into the Millennial Kingdom to start a war (Jeremiah 25:32-33; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 19:15-18). Only believers who survive the Tribulation enter into the Millennial Kingdom, and they have no reason to declare war on Christ.
4. No weapons would be available to the invaders of the Gog-Magog Battle, nor be left to burn for seven years, for as Isaiah states, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks” (Isaiah 2:4 NKJV).
5. No war exists until the end of the Millennial Kingdom. Isaiah describes the Millennial Kingdom as being a time of world peace where “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4 NKJV). Revelation describes the only war that will happen during the Millennial Kingdom, and that is at the end of the thousand years when Satan is let loose from the Bottomless Pit to rally unbelievers in that age against Jesus Christ (Revelation 20:7-9).
6. With Jesus present to partially lift the curse and reformat the earth from the ravages of the Tribulation, the Millennial Kingdom will begin in an almost holy state (Isaiah 11:8; Revelation 6:12-14; 16:17-21). Ezekiel describes the land after the Gog-Magog Battle needing cleansing because of its defilement due to the invaders’ dead bodies (Ezekiel 39:12). Defilement contradicts the pristine condition that characterizes the Millennial Kingdom.
7. Islam will not exist during the Millennial Kingdom. The unifying theme today among the coalition of nations that attack Israel in the Gog-Magog Battle is their satanically inspired Islamic hatred of Israel and jealousy of its wealth. Since Satan will be bound while Jesus reigns in person over the entire earth, no opposing satanic religion such as Islam will exist to unite those nations during the Millennium Kingdom (Revelation 20:1-3).
8. With Jesus Christ’s ruling the world from Jerusalem with “a rod of iron,” no invader would dare invade Israel (Psalm 2:9).
At the End of the Millennium
Henry Halley is a proponent of this view.47 So are George Knight and Rayburn Ray.48 Frank Gaebelein also places the Gog-Magog Battle at the end of the Millennial Kingdom.49 But, as Dr. Rhodes notes, the majority of supporters for this view tend to come from a non-evangelical background.50
1. Revelation’s timeline places a Gog-Magog Battle at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. The passage reads, “Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea” (Revelation 20:7-8 NKJV).
2. Similar terminology exists between Ezekiel 38-39 and Revelation 20 concerning the great number of invaders involved.
3. The prosperity that Israel possesses as described in Ezekiel 38-39 would be fulfilled by God’s blessings on Israel during the Millennial Kingdom.
4. God uses supernatural weather in both accounts to destroy the invaders.
1. Ezekiel’s chapters would be chronologically out of order with this view. Ezekiel 33-39 covers the national restoration of Israel and is followed by chapters 40-48 which describe Israel’s spiritual restoration entering into and enduring throughout the Millennial Kingdom.51
2. Revelation 20’s chronology does not harmonize with Ezekiel’s chronology. Revelation 20 describes the Millennial Kingdom, which is immediately followed by chapter 21 concerning the Eternal State.
3. The Gog-Magog invaders would no longer have bodies that require Israel to bury over seven months, as the Revelation account records the invaders being incinerated by fire coming down from the heavens (Ezek. 39:12; Revelation 20:9).
4. Israel would have no reason to need seven months to bury the dead invaders if God is just going to resurrect them at the end of the Millennium, judge them at the Great White Throne Judgment, and then throw them into the Lake of Fire (Ezekiel 39:12; Revelation 20:11-15).
5. Israel would have no reason to burn the invaders’ weapons into the perfect Eternal State.
6. Ezekiel’s and Revelation’s descriptions of the invading armies do not match. Ezekiel describes a coalition of Russia and Muslim nations attacking Israel. Revelation describes a much larger scope, with the invaders coming out of the “nations which are in the four corners of the earth” (Revelation 20:8 NKJV).
7. Ezekiel’s and Revelation’s descriptions of the battlefields do not match. Ezekiel describes the Gog-Magog Battle taking place on the “mountains of Israel,” while Revelation’s account states the battle takes place “on the broad plain of the earth” (Ezekiel 38:8; Revelation 20:9 NASB).
8. Ezekiel’s and Revelation’s descriptions of Israel’s rulers do not match. Ezekiel 38-39 follows chapters 36-37 which describe the rebirth of Israel, a nation not yet in belief in God nor having accepted Jesus as Messiah. The Revelation 20 account has Jesus already ruling from Jerusalem for a thousand years.
9. Ezekiel’s and Revelation’s descriptions of the invader’s leaders do not match. Gog is in control of the coalition against Israel in Ezekiel’s account, whereas Satan is in control of the coalition against Jesus in Revelation’s account. While Satan is clearly mentioned in Revelation’s account, it is unknown if Gog is possessed by Satan or is a man possessed by Satan.
10. Ezekiel’s and Revelation’s descriptions of Israel’s faith do not match. In Ezekiel 38-39, God uses the Gog-Magog Battle to make Himself known to Israel and the world. In Revelation 20, Israel has already long acknowledged Yahweh as God and King going on a thousand years.
11. The unbelieving children of the Tribulation saints who have survived to live into the Millennial Kingdom will be the ones who wage war against God at the end of the thousand years, as opposed to the children from the age of the “time of the Gentiles” who wage war in Ezekiel and Jesus’ accounts (Luke 21:24 NKJV).
12. John’s use of “Gog and Magog” in Revelation 20:8 is more likely to draw a comparison between Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog Battle and the one John is describing at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. In other words, the labeling acts as a kind of shorthand saying, “It’s going to be Gog and Magog all over again.”52
In the seventh and last part of this academic presentation about the prophetic Gog-Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, I will conclude by explaining my view as to when this apocalyptic war is going to happen.
46. Arno C. Gaebelein, The Prophet Ezekiel (New York, NY: Our Hope, 1918), 252-255.
47. Henry H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1965), 334.
48. George W. Knight & Rayburn W. Ray, The Illustrated Everyday Bible Companion (Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing Co., 2005), 512.
49. Frank E. Gaebelein, 932.
50. Rhodes, 189.
51. Jeremiah, 223.
52. Mark Hitchcock, 101 Answers to Questions About the Book of Revelation (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2012), 223-224.