Israel is the central focus of Bible Prophecy. God has seemed conspicuously silent towards Israel for the last several thousand years, but in the near future God will break His silence in a specific war detailed in Ezekiel 38-39.
Prerequisites of This War:
Israel must be existing in a state of “peace and safety” (“betach“). What this is exactly is debatable, but it seems that it involves either some overconfidence or lack of awareness (carelessness) on Israel’s part. She will not be actively at war when these nations attack her, and she will be caught by surprise.
Interestingly, “peace and safety”, and being caught unawares, is also strongly connected with another very important future event, the beginning of the Day of the Lord:
“For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3)
Purpose of This War:
“Gog” and the many nations intend to plunder Israel. However, we are shown how God sets this war up Himself to fulfill His plans and purposes. He then intervenes supernaturally to save Israel from certain annihilation for the sake of His own name.
Basically, God will raise Israel’s enemies up against her in such a way as to guarantee her destruction, just so that He can prevent her from being destroyed. God breaks His silence with Israel for the purpose of announcing to an unbelieving world – Israel herself and all the nations – that He is still here! He intends to fulfill His covenant promises and reclaim Israel as His people and His land. God mentions this purpose 70 times in the book of Ezekiel; four times in these two chapters alone, to ensure He gets His point across. However, He has one final test for Israel.
It’s impossible to overemphasize the significance that God Himself is arranging this war exactly according to His schedule. He will use Gog / Magog as a set-up for both Israel and the nations. It will be deliberately presented so that it can be interpreted by Israel as the final war (Battle of Armageddon). When God intervenes, Israel will look for the Messiah to inaugurate the Messianic Kingdom. A “messiah” will most certainly appear.
Will Israel accept or reject the ultimate false messianic figure?
Who Are the Players?
A specific and limited coalition of nations, including:
- Gog – the leader of the nation Magog and ruler of Meschech and Tubal. Much time has been spent trying to identify “Gog”. Due to the mention of “Gog and Magog” at the end of the Millennial Kingdom for an entirely different war, I believe it is most likely that “Gog” represents the supernatural figure behind the nations involved. In this sense he might be a “prince”, like Michael is the angelic “prince” of the people of Israel. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that there are powers and principalities ruling in this world. “Gog” may be behind the throne of Russia, or possibly Turkey. Michael Heiser suggests in his book Unseen Realm, that “Gog” is simply a general representation of the “lands to the north”. The “north” was where the spiritual forces of darkness were considered to arise from.
- Magog – Traditionally this is identified as Russia or possibly Turkey; however, Turkey displays no history of similar might or leadership the way Russia does). Other contenders could also be Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan. Again, Michael Heiser doesn’t consider specific nations to be in view here so much as the forces of spiritual darkness coming “from the north”.
- Meshech and Tubal – Possibly Russian cities (Moscow? Tobolsk?), or cities in Turkey or elsewhere, depending on Magog’s identification.
- Persia – Possibly Iran
- Cush – Possibly Sudan or Ethiopia
- Put – Possibly Libya and possibly Somalia or Algeria and Tunesia
- Gomer – Possibly Turkey, or parts of Southern Russia or the Ukraine; Gomel region of Belarus
- Beth-togarmah – Possibly Turkey or Armenia; Azerbaijan, Georgia
- “all his hordes – many peoples are with you” – this is enigmatic
Note that of the specific nations listed, none border Israel directly but many are predominantly Muslim. Strikingly missing are Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Those countries ARE involved in separate prophetic wars (Isaiah 17 and Psalm 83), with the possible exception of Egypt. It will be interesting to see if “all his hordes – many peoples are with you” mentioned in Ezekiel 38:6 include Syria and the nations described in Psalm 83. Either the wars are connected and God doesn’t want to reveal that part of His hand yet, or the Gog/Magog war possibly follows the other two battles (but would be very difficult to place BEFORE the other two).
There is a vast distinction between the limited nations listed here and the battle of Armageddon and the Millennial Kingdom Last Battle, which both will include representatives from ALL the nations of the world.
Timing of This War:
This war has to occur when Israel is established as a nation but before her repentance and spiritual restoration. There is no mention of the Temple in this prophecy, or even of Jerusalem at all. It would seem that the third Temple is yet future when this war erupts. Gog will amass upon Israel suddenly and unexpectedly, while Israel is dwelling “securely” (safely, or possibly carelessly). God is the one who will put the ideas in (Gog)’s head, and will draw him out at the fullness of time. God has a very specific time, plan, and purpose ordained for Gog’s war.
It would seem that Isaiah 17’s destruction of Damascus might be the spark that lights the fuse of a massive explosion of war in the Middle East. It is unclear whether Psalm 83’s war was already fulfilled in the 6-day war of 1967; however, it is difficult to see an Islamic-Israel war that doesn’t involve at least some of the Psalm 83 nations. These might be included in the war Ezekiel 38-39 mentions as the “many nations”. Either way, the Gog-Magog war will likely erupt within the next few years given the prophetic readiness of the Middle East.
There are strong connections between Ezekiel 38-39 and the opening of Seal 6 in Revelation 6. These connections also seemingly mark the beginning of birth pains (Matthew 24, Luke 21, Mark 13). God refers to “the Day of which I spoke” in this prophecy, which can only be the Day of the Lord. Collectively, Seal 6, Matthew 24, and Ezekiel 38-39 would seem to mark the beginning of the Day of the Lord.
Isaiah 13 describes the Day of the Lord in a broad sweep, and has it beginning thus:
Listen, a noise on the mountains,
like that of a great multitude!
Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms,
like nations massing together!
The Lord Almighty is mustering
an army for war.
They come from faraway lands,
from the ends of the heavens—
the Lord and the weapons of his wrath—
to destroy the whole country.
Wail, for the day of the Lord is near;
it will come like destruction from the Almighty.
Because of this, all hands will go limp,
every heart will melt with fear.
Terror will seize them,
pain and anguish will grip them;
they will writhe like a woman in labor.
They will look aghast at each other,
their faces aflame.
Note the sequence of nations massing together against Israel on the mountains, followed by similarities to Seal 6 and “birth pains”.
The Beginning of the Day of the Lord is marked by:
- God rising in judgment (Ez38-39, 7 Seals)
- God’s wrath (Ez38-39, 7 Seals)
- Birth Pangs (Matt24)
- Sudden Destruction (Ez38-39, 7 Seals, Matt24)
- Great War (Ez 38-39, 7 Seals, Matt24)
- Global Earthquake (Ez 38-39, 7 Seals, Matt24)
- Famine (7 Seals, Matt24)
- Pestilence (Ez 38-39, 7 Seals, Matt24)
- Dark Sun (7 Seals)
- Blood Moon (7 Seals)
- Men Hiding in Fear (7 Seals)
There is also strong connection between the beginning of the Day of the Lord, which contains wrath, with the rapture of the church. The Ezekiel 38-39 war may thus occur immediately before, at the same time as, or immediately after the rapture (a short timeframe, possibly days or weeks).
Summary of This War:
A future leader or supreme commander, Gog (identity unknown, but NOT the beast, antichrist, or false prophet), of the land of Magog (Russia?), will oversee a vast military alliance which will be heavily armed. The alliance will be primarily Islamic, and their goal will be to overtake Israel’s resources. It seems that Russia will be joined by Iran and Islamic nations from north and east Africa (Ethiopia, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and others), plus Islamic nations of the Middle East and Central Asia (Turkey, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tadzhikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and others). There may be mild protest to this invasion, but there will be no intervention in support of Israel and Israel may not even have time to defend itself. God will completely destroy the invading armies and send destruction upon Russia and the homelands of the invaders using: a global earthquake, internal chaos and infighting, pestilence, torrential rain, hail, fire and brimstone. What begins as divine judgment on the troops surrounding Israel will expand to include the whole world. (There are strong connections to Seal 6 in Revelation 6 as well as the first Trumpet Judgment).
After God intervenes and destroys the army, Israel will spend 7 months cleansing the land and burying the dead. Israel will also be able to use the invaders’ weapons as some type of fuel source and will plunder their equipment. They will do so for a period of 7 years (but there may be more than 7 years’ supply available). At the 7 year point, something will happen to intervene with this use if the supply has not run out.
There are two possible options here:
- The battle occurs 3.5 years before the signing of a covenant with a leader/messiah figure/high priest figure. 3.5 years into the covenant, the leader (the Beast, or antichrist, false messiah) will cause sacrifices to cease and set up the abomination of desolation, claiming to be “god”. This will disrupt the weapons usage for fuel as the elect Jews will flee to the wilderness and be heavily persecuted for another 3.5 years before their true Messiah, Jesus (Yeshua) returns.
- The battle occurs shortly (days to7 months) before the signing of a covenant with a leader/messiah figure/high priest figure. 3.5 years into the covenant, the leader (the Beast, or antichrist, false messiah) will cause sacrifices to cease and set up the abomination of desolation, claiming to be “god”. The majority of Jews (up to 2/3) will embrace this false messiah as “god”, and will entice the world to worship him with them. The weapons usage for fuel will continue, as the nation exalts itself and their “messiah” above the nations, believing this is the Millennial Kingdom. The minority of Jews who oppose this man will flee to the wilderness and be heavily persecuted for another 3.5 years before their true Messiah, Jesus (Yeshua) returns. The weapons burning will cease when Jesus comes and defeats the armies of Armageddon as well as the false christ and his entourage at the true battle of Armageddon.
I view the second option as most probable, and will provide a discussion on the antichrist separately. For further reading, I recommend Douglas Berner’s “The Silence is Broken! God Hooks Ezekiel’s Gog & Magog”, which is the most complete book on Ezekiel 38-39 that I am aware of. Alternatively, a great summary can also be found in his excellent book “When God Intervenes”.
Several scholars I admire dispute the timing of the Gog/Magog war at the beginning of the Day of the Lord solely on the basis that God’s name will, indeed, be blasphemed again during the Day of the Lord. Out of respect for them, I have given this consideration and prayer.
The specific verse in question is Ezekiel 39:7 “And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore.”
First, note that God’s holy name is made known in the midst of His people Israel, and it is Israel whom he does not let profane His name anymore. Israel, indeed, will emphatically desire to return to relationship with God after this event. Although Israel will be spiritually awakened to the One True God, and will enthusiastically re-institute Old Testament style worship, many of them will still reject their true Messiah – Jesus Christ. Instead, they will accept the ultimate false “messiah”. At some point the “antichrist” will claim to BE “god”. And it seems Israel will so passionately believe this to be true, that she will entice the world to follow after him with her.
Second, the verse doesn’t say that unbelievers won’t profane God, or even that gentiles in general won’t profane Him. The main aim of the Gog/Magog war is to raise God in the eyes of Israel and the nations, vindicating His holiness and greatness. This is stated 7 times in these two chapters, and will surely come about literally at the beginning of the Day of the Lord. There will be no longer any question in anyone’s mind that God exists and that He is both holy and great. It will also be clear that He is the God of Israel.
Third, note that there is no mention of blasphemy of God’s name until the Beast (Antichrist) is given his authority at the “abomination of desolation”. The Beast, and only those who follow him and take his mark, blaspheme God:
The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. (Revelation 13:5-6)
The humans who follow after the Beast also begin to blaspheme God – they curse His name (Bowl 4, Revelation 16:9) and curse Him directly (Bowl 5, Revelation 16:11). These are people who have lost the ability to be redeemed.
Douglas Berner was kind enough to explain to me that while neither the battles of Gog / Magog, Armageddon, nor the Millennial Kingdom completely eliminate the profaning of God’s holy name (since Satan will be released at the end of the Millennial Kingdom for a short time to deceive the nations and face God again in battle), God is pointing to this as an ultimate end result. Until the sin nature has been dealt with completely (at the end of the Millennial Kingdom), there will be those who profane God.
Basically, I understand God not allowing His holy name to be profaned anymore as an “already but not yet” statement. It will come about exactly as He ordains. While we will see its fulfillment immediately in part, the full expression of it is yet future. We have seen this before with the Kingdom of God. We have seen it when Jesus stated “It is Finished” at the cross. We will see it when the 7th Trumpet sounds “It is Finished”, before the bowls have even been unleashed. We will see it when the second announcing angel states that “Babylon is Fallen”. All these examples demonstrate that what is being stated it is as sure as if it is already complete – it will most certainly come to pass.
The war of Gog and Magog is *not* the same as the battle of Armageddon, but it will lead many to mistakenly believe so. Much of Israel, and likely the world, will interpret this war and the events that follow as fulfilling Messianic prophecies. Their partial blindness will be lifted (Romans 10:25) and they will see God because of God’s direct and unmistakable intervention to save them. Israel will rightly worship God, but instead of embracing Jesus as their Messiah (Yeshua HaMashiach – as two witnesses and 144,000 Jews will boldly proclaim), they will return to Old Testament / Old Covenant worship and reinstate the sacrificial system. Then, as a nation, they will perform the ultimate spurning of Jesus and embrace the antichrist. It is the critical refining test for Israel, and we are told that 2/3 will fail and only 1/3 will pass:
“In the whole land, declares the Lord,
two thirds shall be cut off and perish,
and one third shall be left alive.
And I will put this third into the fire,
and refine them as one refines silver,
and test them as gold is tested.
They will call upon my name,
and I will answer them.
I will say, ‘They are my people’;
and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”
With the summary and warnings discussed, let’s examine Ezekiel 38-39 verse by verse.
The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, set your face toward Gog [the leader, not his real name], of the land of Magog [Russia], the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal [Moscow and Tobolsk?], and prophesy against him 3 and say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 4 And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, [God is fully in control of the timing of this war and purposefully leads the leader and nations involved to do His will] and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords. [The Hebrew words for these are pictorial words that describe their function, and representing them with modern weapons and machinery does not pose an interpretation issue] 5 Persia, Cush, and Put [Iran, with Sudan or Ethopia, and Libya or Somalia] are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; [defensive equipment] 6 Gomer [Turkey] and all his hordes; Beth-togarmah [Armenia or Turkey] from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes—many peoples are with you. [It is unclear who “all his hordes” and “many peoples” are. It could possibly include all the nations bordering Israel, which would then include the Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17 battles]
7 “Be ready and keep ready, you and all your hosts that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them. [This battle will be in preparation for a long time in advance. One nation may do the invading, with the others providing a supportive defensive role?] 8 After many days you will be mustered. [God will bring them together] In the latter years [near the end of the age] you will go against the land that is restored from war [unspecified which war, or how long it has been. Israel has seen several wars and is currently in a state of restoration from them], the land whose people were gathered from many peoples [Jews have been returning back to the homeland from all across the globe] upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste [the land, which had been barren, is now abundant]. Its people were brought out from the peoples [just as predicted in Ezekiel in the previous several chapters] and now dwell securely [this is the “betach” mentioned earlier, which can mean safely or securely, but can also mean carelessly], all of them. 9 You will advance, coming on like a storm. [swiftly and powerfully] You will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your hordes, and many peoples with you. [this describes the sheer number of them, and hints at Israel’s risk of complete annihilation]
10 “Thus says the Lord God: On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme [God will enter these thoughts in “Gog’s” mind on a specific day that He has planned, to fulfill His purposes] 11 and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. [in Ezekiel’s day, all villages and towns had walls surrounding them to protect them. This would be an unusual vision for him 2500 years ago, but is common for us today]. I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates,’ [Israel, dwelling in “betach”] 12 to seize spoil and carry off plunder, [the human goal of this war is to plunder Israel’s resources; the recent discovery of massive amounts of oil in Israel may be a motivating factor] to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, [reflecting on the land that sat desolate for several thousand years but is now restored] and the people who were gathered from the nations [the Jews who have returned to Israel from around the globe, gathered invisibly by God Himself], who have acquired livestock and goods [their wealth], who dwell at the center of the earth [from God’s perspective, this is the focal spot on earth where He has staked out a claim for Himself].13 Sheba and Dedan [southwestern Arabia – possibly traders or merchants] and the merchants of Tarshish [Spain traditionally, but may represent all “younger” nations] and all its leaders will say to you, ‘Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hosts to carry off plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to seize great spoil?’ [this may represent a weak protest against the invasion; or it may be a fear response by Arabia and “younger nations” that they may also be targeted at some point – it is clear to US the scope of the invasion, but it may not be clear to the world]
14 “Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say to Gog, Thus says the Lord God: On that day when my people Israel are dwelling securely, will you not know it? [God reiterates that Israel will be dwelling in perceived safety.] 15 You will come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great host, a mighty army. [Russia, to the uttermost north, and the many peoples – some of them described, some of them anonymous in this account, a great and well equipped army] 16 You will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land. In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. [Here is the purpose for this battle – so that the nations (all the world) will know the Lord is God]
17 “Thus says the Lord God: Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them? [This is a rhetorical question. Gog has no supernatural control over when he invades Israel or how his invasion progresses. There is no description of satan’s powers at work in this prophecy, unlike the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation.] 18 But on that day, the day that Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord God, my wrath will be roused in my anger. [God defines the day Gog comes against Israel as the day His wrath is roused – reference – Day of the Lord] 19 For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. [note: great earthquake, starts in Israel] 20 The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence. [every living thing on the face of earth and in the atmosphere will be affected] And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground. [all the mountains will be moved, cliffs and walls broken] 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Lord God. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. [there will be confusion and the army will turn against itself] 22 With pestilence and bloodshed [associated with the spread of infectious diseases, blood may refer to the death toll] I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones [severe flooding, destructive hail – similar to Trumpet 1 judgment], fire and sulfur [volcanic eruptions, or possibly military weapons, lightning accompanying the rain and hail – similar to Trumpet 1 judgment]. [God’s judgment comes in three sets of plagues: pestilence and bloodshed, torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur. Note the contrast of both fire and ice in the judgments.] 23 So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord. [this is the purpose of the war, to reveal God’s face and remove His silence]
Compare Ezekiel 38:18-23 with Seal 6 in Revelation 6:12-17:
12 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
Also compare with Trumpet 1 in Revelation 8:7:
7 The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.
“And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 2 And I will turn you about and drive you forward, and bring you up from the uttermost parts of the north, and lead you against the mountains of Israel. [Again, God affirms that He is the one directing this entire process on a very specific timeline] 3 Then I will strike your bow from your left hand, and will make your arrows drop out of your right hand. [The war against Israel won’t even really be able to begin] 4 You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples who are with you. [Emphasis is on the mountains of Israel, where they will be gathered] I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. [instead of humans offering clean animals in sacrifice, humans will be a sacrifice to the birds of prey and beasts of the field – ceremonially unclean animals. Note the connection here to Luke 17:37 – the first of the sacrificial feasts God prepares for the birds of prey. This places a strong connection between the rapture at the same time as or followed immediately by the Gog Magog war.] 5 You shall fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Lord God. 6 I will send fire on Magog and on those who dwell securely in the coastlands, and they shall know that I am the Lord. [God will also send judgment on the countries these people came from – the land of Russia and the coastlands – those who stayed behind will not be spared from wrath]
7 “And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. [Once again, God’s purpose for this war is to make His Holy Name known in Israel] And the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. [God will make His Name known in all the nations of the world as well. Jack Kelley states it well – God will poke His head through the fabric of the heavens and yell – “I’m still here!!!”] 8 Behold, it is coming and it will be brought about, declares the Lord God. [It is a certainty and will be done exactly as God has planned.] That is the day of which I have spoken. [This can be none other than the Day of the Lord, which is spoken about throughout the entire Old Testament through the prophets – Isaiah 13:6, 9; Jeremiah 46:10; Joel 1:15, 2:1, 2:11, 3:14; Amos 5:18; Obadiah 1:15; Zephaniah 1:7, 1:14; Zechariah 14:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:2]
9 “Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and make fires of the weapons and burn them, shields and bucklers, bow and arrows, clubs and spears; and they will make fires of them for seven years,10 so that they will not need to take wood out of the field or cut down any out of the forests, for they will make their fires of the weapons. They will seize the spoil of those who despoiled them, and plunder those who plundered them, declares the Lord God.
11 “On that day I will give to Gog a place for burial in Israel, the Valley of the Travelers, east of the sea. It will block the travelers, for there Gog and all his multitude will be buried. [Gog will fall and be buried with his armies in a massive unmarked grave] It will be called the Valley of Hamon-gog. 12 For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. [Note that SEVEN MONTHS it will take to bury the dead] 13 All the people of the land will bury them, and it will bring them renown on the day that I show my glory, declares the Lord God. [Note that ALL the people will participate in the cleanup] 14 They will set apart men to travel through the land regularly and bury those travelers remaining on the face of the land, so as to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make their search. 15 And when these travel through the land and anyone sees a human bone, then he shall set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon-gog. 16 (Hamonah is also the name of the city.) Thus shall they cleanse the land. [The detailed cleanup is interesting as it is the only time in scripture a cleanup is mentioned. Some draw the conclusion that there may be contamination of some sort – nuclear, chemical, or biological.]
17 “As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord God: Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field: ‘Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. [Again referencing Luke 17:37] 18 You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth—of rams, of lambs, and of he-goats, of bulls, all of them fat beasts of Bashan. 19 And you shall eat fat till you are filled, and drink blood till you are drunk, at the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you. 20 And you shall be filled at my table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all kinds of warriors,’ declares the Lord God.
21 “And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. 22 The house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God, from that day forward. [God will be glorified in Israel and among the nations; the main purpose for this war. The partial blindness of Israel is removed; Romans 11:25 – again connecting the rapture of the church to the same time or immediately before this war]. 23 And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt so treacherously with me that I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword. 24 I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them. [God explains the reason for His silence. Interesting connections to Ezekiel’s 430 days of laying and the purpose of the Church Age – the silent age of faith.]
The Lord Will Restore Israel
[What God does not include in this prophecy is the gap between verse 24 and verse 25. In Ezekiel 38:1 – 39:24, God has revealed His face to national Israel. He is silent no more – how will they respond? God is giving them one more chance to receive their true Messiah – Jesus (Yeshua). As with His first coming, the offer is genuine. Inserted in this space is the 70th week of Daniel, the time of testing and purification for Israel (see Daniel 9-12 and Revelation 6-19). However, the majority of Israel will NOT see the gap and will try to usher in the kingdom under a false messiah figure – the antichrist – during the “Tribulation”. This Gog war will create an economic, political, and religious vacuum that will beg to be filled. We are told in Daniel, 2 Thessalonians 2, and Revelation exactly “who” will step up to fill this vacuum. Once the 7-year testing is complete, we continue on in Ezekiel with verse 25, which will usher in the true Messianic Kingdom. ]
25 “Therefore thus says the Lord God: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel [the process of restoring the whole house of Israel begins now, and will be completed at the end of the Day of the Lord – the process will take approximately 7 years to complete (possibly up to 10 years). This is the regathering of ALL the Jews, which occurs at the Second Coming of Christ], and I will be jealous for my holy name. 26 They shall forget their shame and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they dwell securely in their land with none to make them afraid, 27 when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies’ lands, and through them have vindicated my holiness in the sight of many nations. 28 Then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. [The fulfillment of Matthew 24:31 – 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.] 29 And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord God.” [God’s Spirit will be poured out on them at their national SPIRITUAL rebirth, at the Second Coming of Christ]
Douglas Berner notes in his book “The Silence is Broken!“:
“God created a complex prophetic pattern through His revelation of prophecy which fosters confusion and misunderstanding. We should ask the question: Would it serve God’s purpose for the Gog and Magog invasion to be misinterpreted by the Jewish people or by the Gentile peoples throughout the world? I believe the answer is clearly – yes.
God has designed a prophetic pattern which allows for the true picture of the End Times to be understood – but only if one seriously studies both the prophecies of the Old Testament and the New Testament… God’s intricate prophetic design, with its seemingly copycat and psuedo-mirror image passages, promotes a number of misunderstandings which can have serious consequences for those who err in their interpretation of prophecy. In the case of Gog and Magog, Israel and the nations of the world will be intentionally set up and ripened by God for the rise of Satan’s Antichrist – because God has specifically allocated a certain period of time for Satan to manifest his full power on earth.
The time quickly approaches when history will catastrophically flip from the present Age of Grace to the period of God’s Day of the Lord judgments. Very suddenly, the day to day normalcy of life that the world assumes will abruptly terminate.”
When God Intervenes (Douglas Berner) – I recommend this book for multiple reasons, but it has a very good discussion of the Gog Magog war.
The Silence is Broken! God Hooks Ezekiel’s Gog & Magog (Douglas Berner) – If you are really interested in Ezekiel 38-39, this is an exhaustive discussion of it!
Douglas Berner has several short articles available online.
For an alternative interpretation, Beginning and End offers this exposition
A Disclaimer: The Bible is infallible. I am not. Be a Berean – examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!