In the awful current situation in Israel, I see people are again raising the possibility that this could be the start of the Gog/Magog war. I am not criticizing any of the RR writers, as I think most are balanced in that matter. However, will you please consider this clarification I want to do at this time? It is always hard to break entrenched ideas, and these ideas aggregate over time, then coalesce, and then are never questioned.
I do not ever place myself as a fount of knowledge. I am always striving to come to the truth, but I am saying we must always examine the whole in context. For those of you who think the Gog war happens before the Rapture or happens early in the Tribulation, please consider what I am saying. I am setting out the case for the impossibility for that to happen.
Let us look at selections from Ezekiel 38 and 39 regarding this war.
. APOCALYPTIC LANGUAGE DOES NOT BELONG TO THE PRE-RAPTURE/PRE-TRIBULATION PERIOD
Ezekiel 38: 18 “It will come about ON THAT DAY, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD, “that MY FURY WILL MOUNT UP IN MY ANGER, 19 and in MY ZEAL AND IN MY BLAZING WRATH I declare that on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and ALL THE MEN WHO ARE ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH WILL SHAKE AT MY PRESENCE. The mountains also will be thrown down, the steep pathways will collapse, and every wall will fall to the ground.”
The quotation there begins with “on that day,” and immediately Gog moves against Israel, but then, all this judgment comes from God. The language used in verses 18 and 19 is as strong as it can get. This is God in wrath. Nothing could be more fearful. People on the earth and the earth itself will shake. That sort of thing can only happen in the time of God’s wrath, that is, in the Tribulation time. That places the setting for Gog in the Tribulation. It CANNOT be before the Tribulation.
There are key words, phrases, and contextual indicators all through the Bible, but especially in the Old Testament. There are certain ones that have prophetic significance. One of these is “In that day,” and another “At that time,” and another “On that day,” and there are a couple of variants of those. Every single one of them has the fulfillment in the Tribulation or in the Millennium. I cannot cover all that right now. Check it out for yourself if you don’t believe me.
LOOK AT VERSES 19 AND 20:
>A great earthquake. The verse says “in the land of Israel,” but that is being specific. I think this is in the “earthquake period,” and many are described in Revelation. Earthquakes are always associated with judgment In the Book of Revelation.
>The words in the NASB, “My zeal and in My blazing wrath,” or in the AV, “my jealousy and the fire of my wrath.” The Holman Version I greatly respect says, “My zeal and fiery rage.” Now who among you, or those who read this, can truly say this is language that would apply to the current Church age? Verse 18 is just as telling – “My fury will mount up in My anger.” YES, the fury of God is mounting up, as is His anger, and will soon be released, BUT NOT BEFORE the Rapture.
And what about those who say the Gog war happens in the first part of the Tribulation? Well, if you recall, there is a treaty operating for 7 years made with Israel by the Antichrist to begin the Tribulation years that he breaks halfway through, but the first three and one-half years are peaceful for Israel. The Gog war cannot happen then either, so that leaves us ONLY the second half of the Tribulation for that to occur.
BUT WHEN IN THE SECOND HALF?
That is not a difficult answer, and I believe all who get the Gog campaign confused and misplaced do so because they fail to read the WHOLE account. They just take the beginning of the account and reject the end of the account. We will work through this important area.
. ONE OUTCOME OF THE GOG/MAGOG CONFLICT
Just imagine today, right here in November 2023, if God intervened in the affairs of the Middle East and slew all Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran and delivered His people Israel. Think about that. The world would be astounded. Look at this verse – Ezekiel 38:23 “I shall magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and MAKE MYSELF KNOWN IN THE SIGHT OF MANY NATIONS, AND THEY WILL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD.”
Well, we know that is not going to happen right now. The LORD will not be known to the nations, nor will He make Himself known to them before the Second Coming. Not for the Church Age, nor for the Tribulation where we have God in wrath.
. THE AFTERMATH OF THE GOG DEFEAT CAN NOT HAPPEN DURING THE TRIBULATION
Take a serious look at these verses underneath, a selection from Ezekiel 39 that happens right after Gog is defeated. Consider carefully how these events could not possibly happen in the second half of the Tribulation when Israel is in chaos, with the Tribulation saint believers fleeing for their lives (Revelation 12), and the verses Matthew 24:15-17 “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in JUDEA FLEE TO THE MOUNTAINS. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to get the things out that are in his house…”
Here are those Ezekiel verses – Ezekiel 39:8-10 “’Behold, it is coming and it shall be done,’ declares the Lord GOD. ‘That is the day of which I have spoken [The DAY OF THE LORD]. Then those who inhabit the cities of Israel will go out and make fires with the weapons and burn them, both shields and bucklers, bows and arrows, war clubs and spears, and for seven years they will make fires of them. They will not take wood from the field or gather firewood from the forests, for they will make fires with the weapons; and they will take the spoil of those who despoiled them and seize the plunder of those who plundered them,’ declares the Lord GOD.”
This description of the aftermath of the Gog battle cannot happen in any logical way during the Tribulation. The righteous Jews are fleeing for their lives. This is a scene of peace and victory. There will be no peace or victory for Israel in the Tribulation.
. THE BANQUET FOR THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD AND THE BEASTS
The corpses need to be cleaned up after the war, and God calls His nature in to do this. I think there will be something miraculous about this. There will be a great and immediate slaughter by the Lord, so I think the miracle will be to gather all the birds of prey from all over the world and let them appear in Israel. Here is the Ezekiel passage RIGHT AFTER GOG’S DEFEAT:
Ezekiel 39:17-18 “’As for you, son of man,’ Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Speak to EVERY KIND OF BIRD AND TO EVERY BEAST OF THE FIELD. Assemble and come, gather from every side to my sacrifice which I am going to sacrifice for you, as a GREAT SACRIFICE ON THE MOUNTAINS OF ISRAEL, that you may eat flesh and drink blood. You shall eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, as though they were rams, lambs, goats, and bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan.”
That scene just described by Ezekiel is huge, not some episode tucked away in a back room. What does that description remind you of? Well, clearly, IT IS THIS SAME DESCRIPTION we have in these verses:
Revelation 19:17-21 “I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in mid-heaven, ‘Come, assemble for the great supper of God, in order that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.’ I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat upon the horse, and against His army, and the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse, and ALL THE BIRDS WERE FILLED WITH THEIR FLESH.”
The Ezekiel and Revelation descriptions are parallel because they both describe one event. The GREAT BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON is one event, but it has three separate but unified parts. There will be the armies of the beast and false prophet, drawn from all over the world by the frog spirits that went out into the whole world to gather all nations.
It will have as another section the kings of the east, probably headed up by China (which, by the way, is becoming more active in recent days in the Middle East.
Then the third component is the nations in the Gog/Magog alliance detailed early in Ezekiel 38. This is the one we are concentrating on in this article.
Because these three separate groupings have a common cause and purpose and arrive at roughly the same time in Israel to obliterate it like Islam is trying to do today, then they all will suffer the same fate at the Second Coming and be wiped out. The birds and beasts will feast on ALL the armies that gathered and were destroyed. Zechariah 12:9 “And it will come about in that day that I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”
. THE GREAT OUTCOME REALIZED BY ISRAEL
The reason why some misconceived ideas exist about the Gog war is that people neglect the whole context. We are speaking of the WHOLE OF Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 here, not just isolated parts we latch onto. This whole Gog account does not end until verse 29 of chapter 39. Those two chapters cover the start of the war, the account of it, and the aftermath. All must be carefully considered because it is an integrated whole.
STRAIGHT AFTER the defeat of Gog in   and in  above, we saw what happens at the end of the war. Now, we are going to see another outcome in . Here are the relevant verses:
Ezekiel 39:21-22 “I SHALL SET MY GLORY AMONG THE NATIONS and all the nations will see my judgment which I have executed, and my hand which I have laid on them, and the HOUSE OF ISRAEL will know that I am the LORD their God FROM THAT DAY ONWARD.”
PLEASE NOTE THIS VERY CAREFULLY
What does 39:21-22 tell us? Firstly, God is setting His glory among the nations. Will this happen before the Rapture? No. Will this happen at any time in the 7 years of the Tribulation? No. When can it happen? It can only be so on the LORD’s return and into the Millennium. It happens after the Second Coming. This confirms the Gog war must be part of the whole Armageddon conflict.
Secondly, the world will see the judgment God executed on Gog. That is not for our time nor part of the Tribulation judgments of the seals, trumpets, and bowls. As I said, it is part of Armageddon.
Thirdly, and this is so clearly obvious, I don’t know how it is missed – The WHOLE “house of Israel” will know that “I am the LORD their God FROM THAT DAY ONWARDS.” There you have it in black and white. The Gog war will mean that Israel will know her LORD from THAT DAY ONWARD. That is speaking of Israel’s national conversion that does not happen until the Second Coming. That means the Gog war is part of the Second Coming, in other words, part of Armageddon. Immediately after the defeat of Gog (and the armies of the world – Armageddon), Israel will be in God’s hand forever, and the nation is converted.
. THE GREAT OUTCOME REALIZED UNIVERSALLY
Now we move to the effect the Gog outcome has on the nations. This is recorded:
Ezekiel 39:23 “THE NATIONS WILL KNOW that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me, and I hid My face from them, so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and all of them fell by the sword.”
There is going to be a great revelation at the Second Coming, firstly for Israel (Zechariah, the latter chapters), and then for the whole world. The world will have set before it the whole understanding of the sin and sufferings of Israel for 3,000 years – why it happened and what God did about it. That great event can be ONLY at the Second Coming and at NO other time. That gives the setting for the Gog war right at the time of the Second Coming, same as Armageddon. Of course, I think the Gog armies could have been in Israel for some weeks, even months before the Second Coming.
. AS IF THAT IS NOT ENOUGH, HERE IS THE ABSOLUTE PROOF:
Read this passage that concludes the account of this war and see for yourself where the setting lies. It is so clear there can be only one answer.
Ezekiel 39:25-29 “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, ‘NOW I SHALL RESTORE THE FORTUNES OF JACOB, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel and I shall be jealous for My holy name, and THEY SHALL FORGET THEIR DISGRACE and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me when they live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid. When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I SHALL BE SANCTIFIED THROUGH THEM in the sight of the many nations. Then THEY WILL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD THEIR GOD because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land and I will leave none of them there any longer. I WILL NOT HIDE MY FACE FROM THEM ANY LONGER, for I SHALL HAVE POURED OUT MY SPIRIT ON THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL,’ declares the Lord GOD.”
Surely, I do not have to go into every detail here and labor the point. This is the account of the salvation of Israel at the Second Coming. There is so much proof that the battle is at the same time as Armageddon; it cannot be before and cannot be after. Why do people persist in saying the Gog conflict can happen now? Is it because Russia and Iran are active in the region? That is no reason, but it indicates the time is not that far in the distance (at least 7 years from now if the Rapture happens now). Everything is set in place.
The very important mention of the Spirit being poured out on Israel parallels the descriptions of Joel. I do believe Joel is another description of the Gog war. Read Joel carefully with Gog in view. When the army is defeated, we read this:
GOG AND ARMAGEDDON – Joel 3:1-2 “For behold, in those days and at that time when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I WILL GATHER ALL THE NATIONS, and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and they have divided up My land.”
THE SPIRIT POURED OUT – Joel 2:25-28 “Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall have plenty to eat and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. Then my people will never be put to shame. Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and there is no other; and My people will never be put to shame. It will come about after this that I will pour out my spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”
May the Lord give us understanding so we can rightly divide the word of truth.