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Who are Gog and Magog (Ezek.38-39)?

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Question:  I would greatly appreciate your insight into Ezekiel 38. Has this battle already occurred?  Who is Gog? Who are the nations that accompany her? Will this battle occur before the peace treaty with Israel? Anxiously awaiting your response, as well as the continuation of the Coming Tribulation Series.

Response:  Thanks much for your e-mail and your interest in the Coming Tribulation series. As to Ezekiel 38-39, Gog/Magog, this is covered in detail in part 5 of the Coming Tribulation Tribulation series (please see the links:  "The Second Advent and Armageddon", and also "Where is Armageddon"), but I am happy to give you some general overview here. Gog is not a nation but another name for antichrist (he is "chief prince"), and Magog, "the place/land of Gog", is specifically the country of his origin also known as mystery Babylon (compare Ezek.39:6 with Rev.17:15-18). The Hebrew word Gog is very much akin to the name for "nation/gentile" (goy) and it is possible that the word represents a doubling of that word (making Gog, antichrist, the profane world ruler of all profane world rulers). Gog is king of two major groups, Meshech and Tubhal, both sons of Japheth indicating in general terms their northern/western provenance. Prophetically, the word Meshech may be derived from the Hebrew shachach, "to abate", and refer to the old or revived part of Gog's empire (i.e., the revived empire of Rome), while Tubhal may be derived from balal, "to mingle/confuse", and refer to the new and energetic part of his empire (i.e., the western hemisphere where the old world has mixed: cf. the beast's feet of clay and iron in Dan.2:41-43). This squares with other prophecies which make the beast a "horn" (i.e., commander of a power center/nation = mystery Babylon) which rises up and takes control of a previous system of such power centers (in both Daniel and Revelation - this is covered in part 3B of Coming Tribulation: "antichrist").

As to the specifics of Ezekiel 38-39, the events described in these chapters must refer to the summoning of antichrist and his armies to the final slaughter at Armageddon (and not to previous episodes in the Tribulation or to the similarly named Gog-Magog rebellion at the end of the Millennium) because . . . . .

1) God is described herein as assembling His enemies (Ezek.38:4), and that only happens at Armageddon (not in the two campaigns between antichrist and the southern alliance).

2) This confederacy includes both peoples from the south as well as the north (and indeed we may see in the nations named here the totality of the peoples of the earth) so that it is clear that this is a worldwide undertaking unlike the preceding campaigns of the Tribulation.

3) The occasion of burying the bodies afterwards suggests no further satanic activity (so it must be millennial), and the length of time needed for doing so would be inconsistent with the immediate arrival of New Jerusalem at the end of the Millennium. On this last point, at the end of the similarly named post-millennial Gog-Magog rebellion, it also says of those final rebels that "fire came down from heaven and devoured them", so that there would be no bodies to bury in that case (Rev.20:9).

4) Ezek.39:26 "they will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward Me when they lived in safety" must refer to the restoration of Israel after the return of Messiah, and cannot refer to the situation when all dwell in the New Jerusalem. The following verse, v.27 "when I have brought them back from the nations" also only happens after 2nd Advent at the conclusion of the battle of Armageddon.

5) The great earthquake mentioned in this context is an event which precedes the Second Advent (i.e., around the time of Armageddon: compare Ezek.38:19 with Rev.16:18)

6) There is only one army described here meaning that this is not one of the earlier campaigns of antichrist against the south, but the predicted arraying of the nations against the Lord and His Anointed at Armageddon (Ps.2).

7) The way in which these warriors of the beast kill each other is reminiscent of other Second Advent - Armageddon passages (compare Ezek.38:21-22 with Zech.14:13).

8) The plague of hail in Ezek.38:22 is also a well-known pre-cursor of the Second Advent - Armageddon (cf. Rev.16:21).

9) Through the destruction of this army God makes Himself known to the world (something that happens in its fullest at the Second Advent during the battle of Armageddon: cf. Rev.1:7; 19:11-16).

10) The bodies of the dead providing food for the birds etc. is a Second Advent - Armageddon reference (compare Ezek.39:17ff. with Rev.19:17-18).

11) The fire which is poured out upon Magog (Ezek.39:6) is the same event as the fiery destruction of Babylon in Rev.17 (cf. "even upon those of the coast-lands who live in safety").

12) Ezekiel 39:36 speaks of the regathering of Israel with no one to make them afraid; this clearly has to be the Millennium, not before and not after.

As you can see, this is still in rough format and there is much more to do, but I wanted to give you a sense of what is happening in these two chapters. The beast's treaty with Israel is broken in the "middle of the week", i.e., the middle of the Tribulation, and the hostility that eventually bubbles to the surface on both sides (also explained in parts CT 3B: Antichrist, CT 4: The Great Tribulation and CT 5: Armageddon and the 2nd Advent) will have much to do with bringing on Armageddon, the beast and the devil's final attempt to destroy the people of God.

Hope this is of some help to you,

In Him.

Bob Luginbill


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