Russia flexing its military might has sparked a barrage of posts on the internet about Gog and Magog. The recent conflict between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia has drawn in the European Union, Israel, Syria, and the good old United States of America. A person’s predisposition to the Gog/Magog prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39 will play into how they view current events in light of the end of the age.
I have some opinions on Ezekiel 38 and 39 which almost nobody shares. If anyone else agrees with me, let me know because it would be the first time anyone has. I believe that the Gog/Magog prophecies have been sensationalized almost to the extent of the rapture prophecies. Most prophecy students believe it’s a fact that the land dubbed Magog is the land of Russia. A majority of articles I read also believe that the Gog invasion will occur prior to Daniel’s seventieth week in order to set up a scenario for a seven year peace treaty, or will occur after a seven year peace treaty has been established resulting in peaceful living in the land of Israel.
It is true that this figure named Gog comes out of the north parts. To put this in relation to Israel is good hermeneutics. But just how far north are we talking about? Look at some of the countries that are aligned with Gog, Ezekiel 38:5-6. We have Persia which was east of Israel in modern day Iran. Ethiopia and Libya are in Africa, which is sort of south of Israel. The Mediterranean Sea is west of Israel. Gomer and Togarmah are usually identified with portions of modern day Turkey and part of the Ukraine, which of course is north of Israel. It’s like Ezekiel used terminology to convey a conglomerate of military forces from all sides of Israel. From the south, east, and north, they will gather against you headed up by this figure from the north.
So is Magog actually Russia? It could be. It seems very likely considering our current scenario. But I don’t have it written in stone as some prophecy scholars do. We need to keep our eyes on the development of leagues and treaties to see which nations will be confederate against Israel. Russia could ally itself with China to become part of the kings of the east instead of the Gog/Magog conglomerate from the north. Turkey could very well be at the heart of this Gog/Magog prophecy and we just don’t know it yet. My options are open on this.
One thing I am not very open minded on is timing. Here is the portion where I can’t find anybody to agree with me. My previous two posts show that I am Millennarian. Ezekiel 38-39 has language that clearly identifies itself with Armageddon which is a PreMillennial event occurring at the very end of Daniel’s 70th week. Yet Revelation 20:7-9 explain Gog/Magog to be a PostMillennial event. Solution: By examining the original prophecy, we can clearly see a division which shows a portion of Gog/Magog to be fulfilled before the Millennium and a portion to be fulfilled after the Millennium (after many days).
In Ezekiel 38 you notice that Gog is marching with a multi-national attack force. But in verse 4 it says that they are turned around by the divine intervention of God. He puts hooks in their jaws to lead them wherever He wants them to go. “After many days” (Ezekiel 38:8) there is another confrontation, but this time Israel is dwelling safely. That’s because Israel will dwell safely during the Millennial kingdom. Jeremiah 23:5-6 links the Messianic reign with Israel dwelling safely. The phrase “after many days” reminds us of Isaiah 24:22 which is another inference to the Millennial Kingdom.
“After many days” Gog and Magog make a supernatural comeback. The armies of PostMil Gog advance on Israel despite what happened a full thousand years ago. The evil thought comes into his mind (38:10) because Satan has been freshly released from prison to deceive the nations one last time. As Gog leads the nations, the LORD will display His wrath by simply consuming them. So Ezekiel 38 starts out by describing armies on their way to the battle of Armageddon which occurs after the great tribulation has been cut short by God pouring out His wrath. But when we arrive at the phrase “after many days”, the prophecy of Ezekiel 38:8-23 gives us a window into the far future of a PostMillennial event which occurs as Israel is living in complete security and safety in the Messianic Kingdom.
In Ezekiel 39:1 we begin a new oracle from Ezekiel. Instead of flashing forward to “after many days” it is revealed what occurs to some of PreMil Gog’s forces that marched on to Armageddon. They are turned around but continue on only to fall in battle on the mountains of Israel. The remainder of Ezekiel 39 uses language almost identical with the language of Armageddon in the book of Revelation. The birds gathering for the feast is the main parallel point; cf. Ezekiel 39:17-20 with Revelation 19:17-18. Notice how the invitation is given directly to the birds in both passages. But also God pours out His Spirit upon the nation of Israel as He gathers them out from every land. So Ezekiel 39 describes the PreMillennial event of Gog coming against Israel, while Ezekiel 38:8-23 describes the PostMillennial event of Gog coming against Israel. Yes it happens twice. Of course they are different individuals with the same title separated by a thousand years.
In Revelation, we read about the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:11-21) which occurs before the Millennial Kingdom which matches up with Ezekiel 38:1-7 and Ezekiel 39. We also read about Gog and Magog coming against the beloved city after the Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 20:7-9) which matches up with Ezekiel 38:8-23. Ezekiel saw both events but they can be distinguished. They are quite similar but separated by at least a millennium. This is the ultimate end of mankind without God; to be forever in rebellion against Him, even after His glory has been demonstrated by ruling in person for 1000 years.
I point this out because so many people think that Israel is going to live safely in unwalled villages before the Great Tribulation. Israel will only live in safety and security during the Messianic Kingdom. The prophets always paint the Messianic reign in this way. So I believe people are waiting for a sign which will never happen. When Daniel’s seventieth week comes, many people could be in denial. They would think it couldn’t be happening because Israel must be living in peace. This is in opposition to Luke 21:24 which states that Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
Jeremiah 23:5-6, mentioned above, has a parallel passage in Jeremiah 33:15-17. You can compare with Jeremiah 32:37-41 linking safe dwelling with the everlasting covenant. Isaiah 32:15-18 portrays the pouring out of the spirit occurring with the secure dwelling of God’s people in a peaceable habitation. Ezekiel’s own use of the word confirms my view. Ezekiel 28:25-26 but especially 34:24-31 show a picture of God restoring His relationship with the nation of Israel and giving them complete safety. Note Ezekiel 39:26 which places the dwelling in safety after God has slaughtered the forces of PreMil Gog at the battle of Armageddon.
Is Gog the antichrist? I believe he will be AN antichrist. I do not identify the PreMil Gog with the little horn of Daniel 7 or beast of Revelation 13, but I would be open to persuasion on this point. He comes from the far north to meet other armies at the battle of Armageddon. The beast of Revelation 13 will have his foothold in Jerusalem, Daniel 11:45, not the far north. The same passage speaks of a king from the north who will come against him, Daniel 11:40 The beast’s ten nation confederacy will send their armies against Jesus Christ. The kings of the east will do the same. I see Gog from the north as being the head of another conglomerate who will attempt to join the beast and his ten kings, and the kings of the east. God will turn some of Gog’s armies around so that not all make it to the slaughter of Armageddon. Speculation makes me think that the three spirits going out of the mouth of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet will result in three multi-national military forces gathering to the battle of Armageddon.
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-The Orange Mailman