More than 2,600 years ago, the prophet Ezekiel warned of a future time when a vast coalition of nations will attack Israel. The Bible tells us the leader of this coalition is a man named Gog from the land of Magog. He’s also known as the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal (Ezekiel 38:2). When Israel is living in peace, Gog will come with a mighty army and cover the land like a cloud (Ezekiel 38:14-16).
But his plans to conquer and pillage will come to nothing. Why? Because God promises to turn these enemy invaders against each other (Ezekiel 38:21). God says the invading armies will have their weapons knocked from their hands, and they will die in open fields where they’ll become food for vultures and wild animals (Ezekiel 39:3).
In fact, the Bible says Gog’s invasion of Israel will trigger an earthquake so strong every living creature on the face of the earth will tremble in God’s presence (Ezekiel 38:19-20), and He will send a torrential rain of fire, hailstones, and burning sulfur on the invading armies (Ezekiel 38:22). The end result? Total destruction of the Gog of Magog alliance. So many dead bodies will litter the landscape, it will take seven months to bury the dead – even with the help of every citizen in Israel (Ezekiel 39:12).
And believe it or not, this entire chain of events is triggered when a man named Gog sets out to plunder the nation of Israel. But who is this man – this Gog of Magog? And who are his allies?
The Nations in This Military Alliance
Ezekiel identifies the nations in the Gog of Magog alliance as “Magog, Rosh, Meschech, Tubal, Persia, Cush, Put, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah” (Ezekiel 38:1-6). I don’t blame you at all if these names don’t make any sense to you.
But keep this in mind – Ezekiel named the nations of this alliance as they were known in his day, and each one represents a clearly identifiable nation currently in existence. In fact, long before Russia became a world power, biblical scholars identified Rosh as the nation of Russia and Gog as its ruler.
The identity of Gog as the ruler of Russia is confirmed when Ezekiel notes his geographic location. Ezekiel says Gog will bring his armies from “the extreme north” (Ezekiel 38:15; Ezekiel 39:2). While this might seem like a vague statement, it’s not. This statement, like most in the Old Testament, is made in reference to the nation of Israel. And it’s saying Gog will reside to the extreme north of Israel.
Draw a straight line north of Israel on any map of the Middle East, and guess what nation you’ll find? That’s right – Russia. So Gog is clearly the ruler of Russia. But Gog isn’t alone. He has plenty of co-conspirators. Who are they? Below is the list of nations cited by Ezekiel. The Old Testament name is listed first, followed by its modern day equivalent:
Rosh = Russia
Magog = Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan
Persia = Iran
Cush = Sudan
Put = Libya
Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah = Turkey
The Timing of This Invasion
So when will this invasion occur? The Bible says this alliance will form and come against Israel “in the latter days” (Ezekiel 38:8). So what does that mean? Well, the key word in Hebrew is “acharith” which generally translates as the “after-part, latter part, last, close, or end.” In other words, this alliance will form in the last days just prior to the return of Jesus Christ.
Ezekiel uses this same word “acharith” again, when God says He will bring the alliance against the land of Israel “in the last days” (Ezekiel 38:16). And, at the beginning of verse 8, he reveals this will happen “a long time from now” or “in the distant future.” In other words, this is not a prophecy fulfilled in Ezekiel’s day.
But that’s not all we know. Ezekiel provides us with additional clues. In fact, in the same passage cited above, God reveals precisely when this invasion will occur. In verse 12, Gog says to himself, “I will attack the once abandoned cities that are now populated with the Jews who returned from exile among the nations” (Ezekiel 38:12). Did you catch that? Gog will attack the land when it’s filled with the exiles who return from among the nations. The target of Gog’s invasion is modern day Israel.
God Himself confirms this when He says the invasion will occur “after Israel’s people have been gathered from among many nations” (Ezekiel 38:8). He says it will happen “when I bring my people home from among the enemy nations” (Ezekiel 39:27). This return home from among many nations has happened only once in all of human history. And our generation is witness to that event – the 1948 gathering of the Jewish people and the restoration of Israel in the land ordained by God.
A Rising Alliance
According to Ezekiel, the target of this invasion is modern day Israel. For more than 2,500 years, the alliance of nations Ezekiel wrote about has not existed. In fact, in the history of the world, such an alliance of nations hasnever existed. But you know what? Today we see it coming together right in front of us. Don’t believe me? Just check your history books.
Up until March 21, 1935, the world knew the nation of Iran as Persia – the same Persia referenced in the Gog of Magog alliance. In the 2,600 years since Ezekiel recorded his prophecies, the nations of Russia and Persia have never been part of an alliance of any sort. Economic and military cooperation between them had never taken place – at least not until around 1989.
But today? Iran and Russia are strong allies. For example, in 1995 the Russian Ministry for Atomic Energy signed an agreement with Iran to finish the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Construction on the plant had come to an immediate halt after the 1979 Islamic revolution. But today, thanks to Russia, work is once again in progress.
The two nations continue to strengthen their economic and military ties, and Russia is one of the few world powers that consistently defends the existence of Iran’s nuclear program. And as I write this article, Russian and Iranian ground troops are on the border of Israel, coordinating their military efforts in Syria.
Does any of this surprise you? Again, it shouldn’t. Because God revealed it more than 2,600 years ago.
Why This Matters
So why does this matter? Because Ezekiel said this invasion will occur in the last days, “when God brings his people home from among the nations.” The Old Testament prophets directly linked the restoration of Israel and the regathering of the Jewish people with the imminent coming of the Messiah. And Ezekiel links the Gog of Magog invasion with the restoration of Israel. This means the invasion will take place sometime shortly before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. In other words, the Gog of Magog invasion and the Second Coming are inextricably linked.
Never before in the history of the world has an alliance existed among the specific nations cited by Ezekiel. But today, we can clearly see the common interests shared by the nations he mentioned. Furthermore, this invasion requires a Russian-Iranian military alliance that didn’t exist until recent times. In fact, Russian-Iranian cooperation of any sort had been for the most part non-existent until 1989.
Today, Russia and Iran boast strong diplomatic, geopolitical, economic, and military ties. And as you read this, they’re conducting joint military operations in a nation that borders Israel. For the first time in the 2,600 years since Ezekiel recorded his prophecy, we see signs of the Gog of Magog alliance coming together.
So what should you take from all of this? The Gog of Magog alliance is coming together in our day and time, and Jesus is coming soon!