Is Gog’s Invasion Imminent?

When will Gog invade Israel? There are many good views, but one seems most logical.
Although there is no question a coalition of nations will descend on Israel, intent on annihilating it, there are certainly questions as to when this prophetic event will take place.

Scholars have identified the likely players in this drama, as well as their locations and motives. However, when the invasion will occur has been the topic of much speculation. While some argue the events of Ezekiel 38—39 already have occurred, the context of Ezekiel’s prophecy clearly places them in the prophetic future.

The Context
Before looking at the various views concerning the invasion’s timing, it’s important to establish the context of this key prophecy.

→ Ezekiel 37 describes the regathering of Israel in the land (the land’s physical rebirth).

→ Ezekiel 38—39 describes Israel’s invasion by the massive armies led by Gog.

→ Ezekiel 40—48 describes the prophetic events of Israel’s restoration and worship in the Millennial Temple (the land’s spiritual rebirth).

Israel’s physical regathering is prophesied in Ezekiel 37 with the valley of dry bones:

Then He [God] said to me [Ezekiel], “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people”’” (vv. 11–13).

Since the early 1800s, Jewish people have been returning steadily from around the world to their God-given homeland, Israel. In Ezekiel 38, God is telling Gog that Gog will invade a formerly desolate land now inhabited by people who returned to the mountains of Israel:

In the latter years you [Gog] 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 (v. 8).

The events of chapters 38—39 take place sometime between Israel’s return to the land and its spiritual rebirth, which involves the future Millennial, Davidic Kingdom described in chapters 40—48. We know this invasion is future because of the phrases the latter years in 38:8 and latter days in 38:16. These phrases consistently describe events that are yet to occur, and they are commonly interpreted to refer to the coming seven-year Tribulation, or the time of God’s wrath.

The Views
Though we can ascertain that the invasion of Gog and Magog is related to the time of God’s wrath (the 70th “week” the prophet Daniel was told is “determined for your people and for your holy city,” Dan. 9:24), this question still remains: Exactly when does the Battle of Gog and Magog occur in relationship to the Tribulation? Again, we find a divergence of views:

→ Prior to the Rapture (the catching away of the church prior to the Tribulation, 1 Th. 4:13–18)

→ Between the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation

→ During the first half of the Tribulation, close to the midpoint

→ At the end of the Tribulation (Battle of Armageddon)

→ At the beginning of the Millennium (1,000-year reign of Christ)

→ At the end of the Millennium

→ The first phase takes place halfway through the Tribulation and the second phase at the end of the Tribulation.

Credible theologians and scholars hold these various views. However, both the context and specific verses appear to narrow down the options. A key passage is Ezekiel 38:10–12, 14:

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’ . . . against a people gathered from the nations. . . . Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it?”’” (emphasis added).

The Clues
The text provides two important clues regarding the timing of this invasion:

1. My people Israel (v. 14). This phrase clearly indicates whom Gog will attack. The victims will be the Jewish people, regathered from the nations and dwelling safely in their land (v. 11).

2. Land of unwalled villages; . . . a peaceful people (v. 11). God is foretelling that Gog and his army will invade a people who believe they are secure and living in peace.

While Israel today has dwelt in relative safety due to its strong military, its sophisticated surveillance, and help from the United States, it consistently lives in a state of high alert. The horrific attacks on October 7, 2023, revealed the nation is not living in security and peace, as described in Ezekiel 38:10–11, 14. Yet, the text clearly states Israel will be living that way when the invasion occurs.

We can be dogmatic, however, about this: God is clearly sovereign, and His Word is clearly true.

When will Israel believe it is secure and drop its guard by living in “unwalled villages”? Bible teacher Ron Rhodes wrote, “There has never been a time when Israel has been able to let her guard down.”1 Indeed, he is correct. But a time is coming. The event is described in Daniel 9:27: “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week.”

The “he” refers to the leader of a revived Roman Empire who signs a seven-year covenant, or peace agreement, with Israel (vv. 24–27). The agreement seems to include a promise to protect the Jewish nation.

The word confirm (v. 27) conveys the idea of a strong, binding, irrevocable pact. Although we cannot be certain, the covenant seems to indicate Israel will finally be able to relax. It will no longer live on alert status. Alarmingly, however, this covenant will be broken within three and a half years; and Israel will lose its security and be mercilessly persecuted. Wrote Bible scholar Mark Hitchcock:

Something significant must happen to launch the Antichrist to world power. The decimation of the Gog coalition would leave a massive power vacuum and provide a plausible explanation for the Antichrist’s sudden rise. Since the Antichrist is allied with Israel and probably committed to her security, he may try to take credit for the destruction of Gog’s army.2

Although Ezekiel 38:18—39:8 clearly states that God Himself defeats Gog and his army, it appears the defeat will propel the Antichrist to world power; and he eventually will turn against Israel.

Consequently, there may be only one period of time that fits both the context and the details in the text: Because the required regathering of Israel has taken place and is ongoing, the invasion by Gog and his armies probably will take place after the Rapture (when the Lord brings His church to heaven), after Israel signs a covenant with the Antichrist, and before the Lord Jesus returns to Earth and fully restores Israel as described in Ezekiel 39:25–29.

Prophecy is nothing less than the display of God’s glory, sovereignty, power, and authority.

Unfortunately, none of the views are problem-free. Many questions remain unanswered. Certainly, we can agree with Ron Rhodes, who said, “We should not be dogmatic and unbending on the issue of the precise timing of the Ezekiel invasion. . . . But we should show grace to those who hold to a different position.”3

We can be dogmatic, however, about this: God is clearly sovereign, and His Word is clearly true. Though the timing of the events in Ezekiel may not be wholly discernable to us today, we can be confident they will take place.

A Final Thought
This study would be incomplete without stating the underlying motive for all that will take place in the future. Prophecy is nothing less than the display of God’s glory, sovereignty, power, and authority. God Himself underscored this fact when He declared His purpose through Ezekiel:

So that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes. 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. So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel. . . . Then the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. I will set My glory among the nations (38:16, 23; 39:7, 21).

From the least to the greatest, everyone will know that the God of Israel alone is God.

ENDNOTES
    1. Ron Rhodes, Israel on High Alert (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2018), 111.
    2. Mark Hitchcock, The End (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2012), 306.
    3. Ron Rhodes, Northern Storm Rising (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2008), 192–193.

    Photo: Adobe Stock

1 thought on “Is Gog’s Invasion Imminent?

  1. Could it be that October 7th, 2023, was the start of the Magog war, and that the armies are preparing their onslaught now? Rosh, or Russia, is already moving south (through Ukraine), Iran is preparing to defend Hezbollah, the nations are turning against Israel for their defensive attack on Gaza. It seems the Magog war is imminent.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Features

Antique fountain pen on parchment.

From the Editor Jul/Aug 2024

On Easter Sunday, we lost a great man of God. Elwood McQuaid, former executive director of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry (FOI)...

It Pays to Talk to the Right Person

You may recall my mother, the five-star kvetch, from the previous issue of Israel My Glory. She perfected the art...

Understanding Gog and Magog

Ezekiel 38—39 contains one of the greatest prophecies in the Bible. It describes a massive invasion of Israel in the last days...

Is Gog’s Invasion Imminent?

Although there is no question a coalition of nations will descend on Israel, intent on annihilating it, there are certainly questions...

The Question is WHY?

Sometime in the future, a war will break out. In today’s world, that would seem a normal activity, as there are always conflicts brewing somewhere...

No Weapon Formed

The threat to Israel’s survival has existed for millennia. Jewish people often stand before their history in sober silence, so stunned by the unmitigated brutality...


Share Your Story.
Has God used The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry in your life? Share your story with us!
 

Subscription Options

1 Year Digital Subscription

  • Free PDF Book Download - "What on Earth is God Doing?" by Renald Showers

  • Free Full-Issue Flipbook & PDF Download of Current Issue

$9.99 every 1 year

1 Year Digital with Archive Access

  • Free PDF Book Download - "What on Earth is God Doing?" by Renald Showers

  • Free Full-Issue Flipbook & PDF Downloads of Current Issue & select Archives

  • Complete Access to our Growing Archive - eventually dating back through our inaugural 1942 issue

$19.99 every 1 year

2 Year Digital Subscription

  • Free PDF Book Download - "What on Earth is God Doing?" by Renald Showers

  • Free Full-Issue Flipbook & PDF Download of Current Issue

$19.99 every 2 years

2 Year Digital with Archive Access

  • Free PDF Book Download - "What on Earth is God Doing?" by Renald Showers

  • Free Full-Issue Flipbook & PDF Downloads of Current Issue & select Archives

  • Complete Access to our Growing Archive - eventually dating back through our inaugural 1942 issue

$39.99 every 2 years

3 Year Digital Subscription

  • Free PDF Book Download - "What on Earth is God Doing?" by Renald Showers

  • Free Full-Issue Flipbook & PDF Download of Current Issue

$29.99 every 3 years

3 Year Digital with Archive Access

  • Free PDF Book Download - "What on Earth is God Doing?" by Renald Showers

  • Free Full-Issue Flipbook & PDF Downloads of Current Issue & select Archives

  • Complete Access to our Growing Archive - eventually dating back through our inaugural 1942 issue

$59.99 every 3 years