Jesus warned us that there would be wars and rumors of wars, nation rising against nation, kingdom against kingdom, ethnic conflicts, and religious wars. As He foretold, this is exactly what has been happening between the time of His words being spoken just before He was crucified and the very moment of my writing this article. Since the first century, it has only increased, both in the number of conflicts, as well as intensity.
Today, the #1 war that most people are talking about–and fearing, is World War III. Depending on which statistics one reads, there were about 16-20 million deaths attributed to WWI, and 60-70 million in WWII. Experts say that WWIII will make the first two world wars look like grade school yard fights in comparison! I suspect that this will prove to be true. I also believe that the fuse has already been ignited.
This will now be the sixth article in this series in which I am writing about the Apocalyptic Red Horse Rider which Jesus foretold would come upon the earth after His ascension to the Throne of God. Because this entire series has to do with latter day events, I have chosen to concentrate mainly on what has happened from the 20th century to the present time, and especially what has been prophesied to unfold in our immediate future. One of these prophecies is the Ezekiel 38-39 war, commonly known as “The Battle of Gog and Magog”, or the “Ezekiel War”, which I believe may very well prove to be the same as WWIII.
My purpose in this article is to describe what this major piece of Old Testament prophecy is, what it entails, who it involves, and distinguishing it from other conflicts that are now imminent. A curious fact, that I am sure most readers have noticed by now, is that all of these “last days” wars, include Israel as one of the participants. Imagine that! This tiny little nation which at present inhabits a small piece of real estate about the size of the state of New Jersey in the United States, and has a population of only about 8.3 million, finds itself in the middle of everything of significance just prior to the return of Jesus Christ as KING. Israel, in fact, in particular Jerusalem, is the subject of an inordinate amount of global news coverage. As time passes, more and more of the new reports are disparaging to the Jewish State. It appears that world opinion is turning against Israel more each passing day. Could it truly be that the prophecy in Zechariah 12:1-3 is coming to pass today?
The burden of the word of the LORD against Israel. Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.”
It is easy to see that this is swiftly coming to pass in our day. The Bible has a 100% track record of prophetic accuracy. Because of this, we should look to see what this amazing Book has to say about what is directly ahead for our generation. The Gog / Magog war which is described in Ezekiel 38-39 will prove to be the biggest conflict of any up to this point, and it will affect the entire earth. As was made clear in previous articles, this war is separate from the Psalms 83 war and it is also distinct from both the great destruction that the ancient land of Elam will experience, and also the obliteration of Damascus and its surrounding territories.
At the time that the “Gog / Magog” war breaks out, the battles listed above will almost certainly have already been fought, leaving Israel free of enemies directly on her present borders. According to the prophet Obadiah, the Palestinian problem will also have been eliminated. As we watch events around the globe today, we can see how there could easily be a breakout of a major middle eastern war between Israel and its border enemies without any warning. The threats against Israel are continuous, as are the maneuverings of all the forces arrayed against Israel.
What is also becoming apparent is the preparation for the Gog / Magog war. We see the positioning of individual nations, like a deck of cards, being shuffled and reshuffled as we get closer to major worldwide war. I won’t go into a description of all the major conflicts around the globe; all one needs to do is pay attention to the news. Even the heavily biased mainstream media gives enough information for most anyone to recognize that there are numerous festering situations around the world which will inevitably erupt. Any one of these can mushroom out of control, drawing other nations into war, whether they want to be involved or not.
There are many Scriptures in the Bible that give details to this colossal battle which centers in the mountains of modern day Israel, but the one most people recognize is found in Ezekiel 38-39. Let’s take a look at the first few verses:
Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops–many peoples are with you.
Prepare yourself and be ready, you and all your companies that are gathered about you; and be a guard for them. After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely.
You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you.” Thus says the Lord GOD: “On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan: You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages: I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates—to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are against inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you, ‘Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder?’
Therefore, son of man, prophesy and to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it? Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army. Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and mighty army. You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes.” Thus says the Lord GOD: “Are you he of whom I have spoken of in former days by My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against them?” (Ezekiel 38:1-17 NKJV)
The passage above makes several important points:
- GOD is against Gog, the prince (or leader) of Magog (a nation)
- GOD will enforce His will on not only Gog, but all his forces
- Gog will attack Israel, who has been brought back into their own land
- Israel will be dwelling safely at the time of the attack
- This foretold attack would be in the latter years, or end times
- Gog will have an evil plan of attack come to mind, including taking of booty
- Gog comes out of the far north, with many peoples and a very great army
- Gog is the very enemy that the Old Testament prophets had been prophesying about for millennia.
- GOD would use Gog’s foolish and arrogant plan to bring universal recognition of Himself to the whole world.
There are many more details in this passage but these nine basic facts make it clear who the head of this enemy force is, who the target of the attack is (with many identifying details of Israel being the target of this attack), the aim of the attack not only being subjugation but also confiscation of goods. This passage also makes it clear that Magog comes from the extreme north and not just directly north. Ezekiel adds that this massive force from the extreme north also has a massive multinational coalition which it has direct control over and has equipped with a vast amount of weaponry. Ezekiel also confirms that the Old Testament prophets have spoken about this enemy and that the attack would be at the end of days.
Throughout history, man has always questioned the existence and identity of God. The fallen Lucifer was the culprit who started the questioning of God and His message of truth to His prized creation, man. History shows that God has not always shown Himself and His power every time His sovereignty and ultimate control were questioned. Yet, there were those times, particularly in Israel’s early history when He sovereignly intervened in the affairs of man and did something that no man, nor a counterfeit god, could ever hope to do. There are many examples, but the dividing of the Red Sea for multiplied millions of people and their animals to pass through on dry ground is one. God’s intervened so many times when His chosen people were about to be overrun by pagan enemies. An absolutely stupendous modern day miracle that the world has been slow to truly fully understand and come to appreciate the significance of is the regathering of the Israelite peoples from all over the world and for them to become a recognized nation once again on May 14,1948 after nearly two millennia.
In Ezekiel 38 God says that at the time of the end, there would be a great and mighty coalition of armies that would gather on the mountains of Israel for the purpose of militarily defeating Israel and taking the fruits of its labor and its accumulated wealth and resources. Without understanding other factors involved in this scenario, some of the details given of this coming conflict do not make good sense. Here are some questions:
- Why such an overwhelming military force?
- Is the tiny nation of Israel such a threat that it would take such a massive force?
- What could such a small nation have that warrants an attack that looks like such an overkill?
- What could stir up a hatred so great as to bring an attack like this to reality?
- Does Israel have no allies that could offer to step in alongside to face this enormous threat?
- What would God see as so important now to intervene with the threat of His “chosen” people being massacred when He did not intervene when the Roman Empire sacked, burned, and plowed Jerusalem under in 70-71 AD? Why was God seemingly “absent” during nearly 2,000 years of atrocities the Jewish people have had to endure—yet saying He will intervene and defeat this enemy from the far north?
Could it be that the great force from the north is seeing a much greater and more powerful Israel than what the world may recognize today? This passage in Ezekiel describes a nation that is living in peace, prosperity, and without the necessity of protective walls. Where are the border enemies that Israel is being threatened by on every side today? This passage even seems to indicate that Israel not only is living in peace with its neighbors but also in peace within its own nation. This is certainly not the case today!
As we follow the current news stories, Israel is being threatened with extinction on every side. Israel is also being threatened with a third intifada from within its own borders. What changes Israel’s volatile relationship with those from without and those from within today, to how we find it described in Ezekiel 38?
I believe that the reason Israel is facing such an extraordinary force is because she has just handed her border enemies one of the most astounding and fast defeats in history. Israel will have won a “David & Goliath” war against heavily stacked odds in which they will have had to fight on four or five fronts. Gaza will also be back under their sovereign control because of the elimination of the Hamas terrorist organization and there will be no more threat of another intifada by the Palestinians. The Palestinian problem will have been resolved permanently. By the time that the Gog / Magog war unfolds, Damascus will have been destroyed and ancient Elam will have been devastated. This will leave Iran badly crippled militarily and Israel as the powerhouse of the Middle East!
What most people don’t realize is that this could all happen very quickly. Israel knows today that they are likely going to have to deal with all of the threats of annihilation from the nations around them all on their own. They are prepared for this. When the dust settles, Israel’s borders will have greatly expanded and they will have taken over much of the wealth of the Middle East around them as spoils of war. God will have helped the Israeli Defence Forces to fulfill Ezekiel’s prophecy of becoming a very great army. I believe this is why there is such a massive force coming down to attack Israel. Iran’s power will have been greatly reduced and the rest of the Arab league will want vengeance in order to restore the reputation of their Islamic god Allah. God however, will give Allah a second black eye leaving Islam a greatly weakened world religion!
Could it be that something has happened to the Dome of the Rock by this time, either by war or by an act of God by means of a major earthquake? Most likely the Al Aqsa mosque will have been destroyed as well and the way cleared for the quick building of Israel’s third temple! All this could transpire within days when the time is right! That “right” time is now imminent!
Although Scripture makes it clear that God uses the “exceedingly great army” that was prophesied in Ezekiel 37 to defeat Israel’s enemies, including the Psalms 83 war, this will not be the case when Israel is attacked by the great confederacy Ezekiel describes in Ezekiel 38-39. As powerful as Israel’s military has proven itself to be, it is no match for what comes up against them here. So, who is part of this great confederacy?
There have been many studies giving all of the historical data that identifies the members of this confederacy. In this article I am just going to list who these nations are today. “Gog” is a name given to the leader of this confederacy. It could very well turn out that Vladimir Putin is this leader, but it remains to be seen. If anything happens to him in the next few months, there could be another strong man coming onto the world stage to take his place. The “Gog” here in Ezekiel 38-39 must not be confused with the evil demonic force with the same name, which is gathered together by the devil at the end of the millennium in a last ditch attempt to attack the Kingdom of God before the Great White Throne Judgment. The two are at least 1,000 years separated in time.
Ezekiel’s “Gog” is the leader of the entire confederacy, starting with Magog, which is Russia. Ezekiel makes it clear that this enemy comes from the extreme north and the map will show that Moscow is directly north of Jerusalem. Persia is modern day Iran. Meshech and Tubal are former members of the Soviet Union, some east of the Caspian Sea and some west. These include Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine, and Belarus–the last four likely being part of who Ezekiel called Gomer. Gomer however also includes much of Turkey, as is the case with Togarmah. This confederation also includes some of northern Africa. Ezekiel lists “Cush”, which includes Ethiopia and Sudan. Ezekiel’s “Put” is modern day Libya but also includes Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. Two nations not identified with this federation are Pakistan and Afghanistan, but there may be Muslims from these nations who also choose to join in on the attempt to obliterate the nation of Israel.
When I look at the world map, I can’t hardly conceive of a hatred so great that this many nations would join in such a ridiculous war! Yet, this is in process of forming even today. Once the inner ring of enemies has been defeated by Israel, the outer ring of enemy nations will not waste any time gathering themselves in the mountains of Israel in order to literally push the Jews into the Mediterranean Sea. It is important to remember that this attack is inspired by none other than the fallen Lucifer himself. There is not a race of people on earth that has been hated as much as have the Jewish people. It is not an earthly hatred, it originates in hell.
God’s reaction to this attack is something we must take a look at. We find Ezekiel describing it beginning in verse 18 of chapter 38.
“And it will come to pass at the same time when Gog comes against the land of Israel, says the Lord GOD, “that My fury will show in My face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: ‘Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel, so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.
“I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains,” says the Lord GOD. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother. And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.”
Every time I read this passage I am struck with the dreadfulness of the phrase, “…My fury will show in My face.” Who conceive of a God of wrath, particularly here in western culture. The Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 11:21:22 that we must consider both the goodness and the severity of God. We read about the wrath of God in the Apocalypse where we find God responding with fury. God has disciplined His people severely over the centuries for their unbelief, rebellion, and pagan rituals and worship, but He will see to it that His covenant with the patriarch Abraham will be kept. This is one reason why “Replacement Theology” is so dangerous. The covenant God has with the Jewish people is an eternal one. God is not finished dealing with the Jewish people and anyone who dares to say that God has discarded the Jew in favor of the Gentile is in for a rude awakening! When God makes a covenant, it will be kept. When God says that anyone who blesses the Jew will be blessed, it is a declaration from the Throne of God. When God says that anyone who curses the Jew will be cursed, it is a fact! Those who say that they have been put in a place of replacing the Jew, are bringing God’s curse upon themselves! So it is with this great federation of nations that intend to wipe the Jewish nation off of the map, they have sealed their own destruction! God even tells us how it is that He will destroy this massive army, but this is where we will pick the story of the Battle of Gog & Magog in Part 15. In part 16 we will take a close look at the timing of this battle and how I believe it has a direct connection with the “Day of the Lord”, or “Great Tribulation”.