Is Ezekiel 38-39 Armageddon
A careful comparison of Scripture with
Scripture and much prayerful study over a long period of time has led me to the
conclusion that Ezekiel's Gog-Magog war and the Battle of Armageddon described
by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, and other prophets before the days of Ezekiel, as
well as by the beloved Apostle John in the Book of Revelation, are the same
event. Further, these comparisons have convinced me that Gog of Magog, the
Assyrian, and the Antichrist are all one and the same person. Ezekiel 38:17
proves this fact beyond doubt.
"Thus saith the Lord GOD; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them?"
The Lord GOD is speaking directly to Gog of Magog ("he of whom I have spoken"). It is evident in searching thru all the other books of the "prophets of Israel" that the Antichrist is referred to many times by many names, but, here in Ezekiel is the only place in the Bible we have a reference to a Prince called "Gog". So, if God's "servants the prophets of Israel" "prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee (Gog) against them", Gog and Antichrist have to be the same person because the only person the others prophesied about invading Israel was Antichrist.
I realize that most Bible scholars believe the land of Magog refers to lands encompassed by modern Russia. This does not, however, mean that Gog, himself, has to be a Russian in order to lead a coalition of "many nations" including Russia into battle. We know from a study of Daniel 11:35-45 that the Antichrist will come from the Syrian (Selucid) division of the former Grecian Empire and that other passages refer to him as "the Assyrian", "the King of the North", the "Prince that shall come", "the Beast", "the Son of Perdition", "that evil one", "a wicked counsellor", etc. Now, thanks to Ezekiel, we can also refer to him as Gog of the land of Magog, the Chief Prince of Meshech and Tubal. I think with a little careful study you will find historically that Meshech and Tubal were located in the area of modern Turkey, not Russia, and Turkey was definitely a part of the Syrian or Selucid portion of the four divisions of the former Greek Empire.
Only by firmly establishing the identity of Gog, can we correctly place the timing of the war that destroys him which is Armageddon. From Dake's Annotated Reference Bible, Rev. Dake offers 14 proofs that Armageddon is the battle referred to in Ezekiel 38-39.
Fourteen Proofs Armageddon Is Referred to Here:
(1) Not one statement in these two chapters (Ez: 38-39) mention a war in Israel before Armageddon [or after].
(2) The battle of Armageddon is the only war predicted by the prophets that could possibly be referred to in these chapters (Ezek. 38:17). Armageddon is mentioned many times by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, and other prophets before the days of Ezekiel (Isa. 1:25-31; 3:25-26; 13:1-16; 24:21; 63:1-6; Jer. 25:30-33; 30:11,20-24; Joel 2-3; Oba. 1:15-21; Mic. 1:3-4; 2:12-13; 5:5-15; etc.).
(3) The destruction of Gog and his armies (Ezek. 38:18-23; 39:1-6,17-20) compares with similar statements about Armageddon in Joel 3; Zech. 14; Rev. 19:11-21.
(4) Gog will not fall upon the open field until Armageddon (Ezek. 39:3-5; Rev. 19:11-21).
(5) The great supper for the fowls and beasts will only be at Armageddon (Ezek. 39:4,17-20 with Mt. 24:27-28; Rev. 19:17-21).
(6) The presence of God (as pictured in Ezek. 38:18-21; 39:1-6,17-24) will not be until Armageddon (Isa. 63:1-6; Zech. 14:1-5; Rev. 19:11-21).
(7) The supernatural destruction of Gog and his armies (as described in Ezek. 38:21-23) will not be until Armageddon (Isa. 63:1-6; Joel 2-3; Zech. 14; Rev. 19:11-21).
(8) God will not magnify and sanctify Himself and set His glory among the heathen (as stated in Ezek. 38:23; 39:21-24) until He comes at the second coming of Christ -- at Armageddon (Zech. 14:1-21; Mt. 24:29-31; Rev. 19:11-21).
(9) Gog will not bring the many armies of the nations into Israel to be destroyed until the time of the second coming of Christ, at Armageddon, as referred to in Ezek. 38:18-23; 39:1-7 and proved in Zech. 14:1-5; Rev. 16:13-16; 19:11-21.
(10) The great earthquake of Ezek. 38:20 will not take place until the seventh vial and the second coming (Zech. 14:1-5; Rev. 16:17-21; 19:11-21).
(11) God's presence will not destroy Gog and his army until the second coming, at Armageddon (Ezek. 38:20; 39:2-7 with Zech. 14:1-5; Rev. 19:11-21).
(12) Gog and his army cannot be destroyed in a war in Israel before the second coming, at Armageddon, to fulfill Ezek. 38:18-23; 39:1-7,17-20, and then be destroyed again at Armageddon to fulfill Isa. 63; Joel 2-3; Zech. 14. We must therefore recognize all these passages as referring to the same destruction -- at Armageddon (Rev. 19:11-21).
(13) The burial of Gog and all his armies destroyed in the fulfillment of Ezek. 38-39 will be at the second coming of Christ (Ezek. 39:11-16 with Dan. 7:11; 2Th. 2:8-12; Rev. 19:11-21).
(14) It is at the second coming of Christ that God's glory will be set among the heathen and Israel will be completely gathered and blessed (Ezek. 39:21-29; Zech. 14; Mt. 24:29-31; Rom. 11:24-29; Rev. 19:11-21).
There is not one single scripture in the Bible that describes any war in Israel after the Gog-Magog war -- because there isn't one. If we accept the Battle of Armageddon as coming after Gog-Magog, then, we must accept two supernatural destructions of two gathered armies by the Lord of Hosts each led by a different Assyrian Prince, two great suppers for the fowls, two great earthquakes that shake the whole world, two mass burials of armies in a valley called Hamongog, two 7-year periods of burning weapons, and two different days about which God proclaims, "Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken."
Ezekiel says they will be seven months burying the dead and seven years burning the weapons. This obviously can't happen during the Tribulation Week with everything else that will be going on. Weapons of war will only be burned after Christ returns and Israel is living in perfect peace under the Prince of Peace, no Antichrist in sight and weapons of war are no longer necessary. And, it won't just be Israel that burns weapons of war. In the beginning of the Lord's Millennial Reign we will see the fulfillment of Micah 4:3.
"And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
In other words, all the nations of the world including Israel will be implementing the most massive and permanent disarmament program in history.
Further, the Gog-Magog war cannot take place before the Rapture when the "Restrainer of Lawlessness" is removed for obvious reasons as proved in the many Scripture references above. It cannot take place in the first half of the Tribulation Week for such an significant event would certainly have been mentioned by John separately from Armageddon if they were two separate events conducted by two separate invading "Princes". Furthermore, it is beyond credibility to think that Ezekiel would describe the invasion of Israel in the latter days by an Assyrian Prince named Gog and never once mention a war as significant as Armageddon led by another Assyrian Prince if they are two different "Princes" and two separate conflicts. Remember, Ezekiel's war and Armageddon are both described as only lasting a single day, the same day, the Day of the Lord.
Finally, it is only at the Second Coming and after the Battle of Armageddon that Ezekiel 39:7-8 can possibly be fulfilled:
Ezekiel 39:7 "So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, THE HOLY ONE IN ISRAEL.
8 ¶Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken."
In my King James Bible (the only version I use), the phrase, "the Holy One of Israel" occurs many times and always refers to Messiah the King. But, the phrase "the Holy One IN Israel" occurs only once in Scripture, here in Ezekiel 39:7. This proves beyond doubt that Jesus Christ is physically present IN Israel after Ezekiel's war.
Now that we have proven that Ezekiel's war and Armageddon are the same battle, and that Gog is the Assyrian Prince we call the Antichrist, any remaining questions regarding the timing of "his two campaigns" against Israel can easily be resolved.
Two Invasions of Israel by Gog
1. The first will be in the middle of the tribulation of Daniel's 70th week, and only 10 kingdoms of the Revised Roman Empire will be with him (Dan. 11:35-45; Rev. 11:1-2). [This is when Gog, the Antichrist, takes Jerusalem, makes it his capital and enters the Temple proclaiming himself to be God.] Between this war and the fulfillment of Ezek. 38-39 the combined nations of the north and east of the 10 kingdoms will make war on Gog and these kingdoms. He will leave Israel and his capital (Jerusalem at this time), to go forth against these new enemies until they are defeated in the last 3 1/2 years of Daniel's 70th week (Dan. 11:44).
Daniel 11:44 But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.
2. The second invasion of Israel by Gog
will be at the end of the last 3 1/2 years of Daniel's 70th week, after he has
conquered the countries north and east of his 10 kingdoms inside the old Roman
Empire boundary lines. By then he will have conquered Russia, and the many
countries with her, becoming their ruler as well as being the ruler of the 10
kingdoms and the countries of the north and east. Gog will then lead all these
to battle, and many other nations whom he has not yet conquered, but who will
cooperate with him through the ministry of the 3 unclean spirits of Rev.
16:13-16. These vast armies being mobilized [at Armageddon] will converge on
Israel in an effort to destroy Israel completely (Zech. 14:1-15) and stop Christ
from setting up His kingdom on earth (Rev. 19:11-21). At this time all of Ezek.
38-39 will be fulfilled. Then after this battle of Armageddon Christ will set up
His kingdom on earth as predicted here and in Isa. 2:2-4; 9:6-7; 11:1 -- Isa.
12:6; 63:1-6; Jer. 30-31; Dan. 7:13-14; Mic. 4; Joel 2-3; Zech. 14; Lk. 1:32-33;
Rev. 11:15; 19:11 -- Rev. 20:10.
The only time Russia will invade Israel in fulfillment of Scripture will be as one of many conquered nations under Gog or Antichrist, when he and his armies will fight against Israel and Christ at Armageddon -- at the time of the second coming. Russia will not be under Antichrist at the time of his first invasion of Israel when he takes over Jerusalem and the Jewish temple as his capital; but she will be with him in the second conquest. The second will be necessary because of the Jews gaining control of Jerusalem again while Antichrist is away fighting against Russia and her allies in the north and east of the 10 kingdoms. Thus, after conquering these nations Gog will come back down into Israel, surround the city, take half of it, and then be suddenly defeated in one day's battle (Armageddon) by Christ and the heavenly armies (Zech. 14:1-15).
I feel I had to write this letter especially now with all the headlines regarding the Iranian nuclear controversy. Many people who know a little bit of Scripture are asking if the war of Ezekiel 38-39 is imminent. Many Bible scholars are falsely proclaiming that the Gog-Magog war comes concurrently with or just after the Rapture of the Church or in the beginning of the Tribulation. To me, this is not scriptural.
I am not saying that America or Israel or both will not attack Iran's nuclear sites and start a war with Iran. I am simply saying that Ezekiel's war is the same as the Battle of Armageddon, the final war between good and evil, and cannot not take place until the end of the 70th Week of Daniel at the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the meantime:
Matthew 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
An Alternate view
Ezekiel chapters 38-39 prophesy that several Arab and North
African nations will rally together in the Latter Years and mount a massive
military operation against the Nation of Israel. Despite the fall of the Berlin
Wall and the "collapse" of communism, Ezekiel prophesies that a "hook in the
jaw" will be placed in Russia's mouth and she will be dragged into this war
virtually against her will. It will not be her smartest move. It will be the end
of her armed forces.
As with most of Bible Prophecy, Ezekiel's prophetic language is symbolic, requiring an enlightened view of all Scripture. Therefore, we must carefully examine the prophetical books of the Bible and compare them with other Scripture. Prophetical books are not meant just for "filler" material ... they are intended to guide generations by revealing the future *before* it occurs. All of Bible prophecy will be fulfilled. The only question is when?
Generally prophecy books are arranged in chronological sequence. Occasionally, prophecy will take quick jumps backwards or forwards to make a point. In this case, the prophecies in Ezekiel 38-39 are dependent on the prophecies of Ezekiel 36-37 being already fulfilled. In other words, Russia and the Arabs cannot attack the Nation of Israel until after the Nation of Israel had been restored. In the 20th century, the Nation of Israel has been restored, just as prophesied in Ezekiel 36:24, Ezekiel 37 and Isaiah 66:8.
Although the Russian-Arab invasion of Israel is foretold in the prophecy of Ezekiel (38, 39) after Israel is restored as a nation (Ezekiel 36, 37) this invasion is not the Battle of Armageddon. While the prophetic language in Ezekiel seems to describe Armageddon in many ways, there are several reasons to differentiate this invasion from the Battle of Armageddon (Prophecy Watch, 212-214). Drs. Thomas Ice and Timothy Demy quote Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum in assessing the Ezekiel invasion as a pre-tribulational event, though not necessarily pre-rapture:
First, in Ezekiel there are definite allies mentioned and they are limited in number while other nations stand in opposition. In the Campaign of Armageddon all nations are allied together against Jerusalem without exception.
Secondly, the Ezekiel invasion comes from the north, but the Armageddon invasion comes from the whole Earth.
Thirdly, the purpose of the Russian [38:6] invasion is to take spoil; the purpose of the Armageddon Campaign is to destroy all the Jews.
Fourthly, in the Ezekiel invasion there is a protest against the invasion; in the Armageddon Campaign there is no protest since all the nations are involved.
Fifthly, the Ezekiel invasion is destroyed through convulsions of nature; the Armageddon invasion is destroyed by the personal Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Sixthly, the Ezekiel invasion is destroyed on the mountains of Israel; the Armageddon Campaign is destroyed in the area between Petra and Jerusalem.
Seventh, the Russian invasion takes place while Israel is living securely in the land; but the Armageddon Campaign takes place while Israel is in flight and in hiding.
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