The Coming Invasion
A conflict is coming unlike any other. It’s the Battle of Gog and Magog.
Today much of the world despises Israel. All it takes to substantiate this truth is a look at the UN’s overwhelming number of anti-Israel resolutions, the countries that have waged war against Israel in hopes of annihilating it, and the news media’s endless caricature of Israel as an aggressor—despite this tiny nation’s constant battle merely to survive. But more hostility is coming.
The Bible says that in the end-times, nations will fight against Israel at the Battle of Gog and Magog (Ezek. 38—39). Prior to that time, the Jewish people will be regathered in their land in unbelief (20:33–38; 22:17–22). The Battle of Gog and Magog will culminate with the Messiah’s return to defend Israel and set up His Messianic Kingdom (chaps. 40—48).
Which Nations Will Attack Israel?
Scholars debate much about the identity of the nations involved in the future Battle of Gog and Magog. The prophet Ezekiel wrote, “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’” (38:1–2).
The word Rosh can mean “chief” or “head.” Consequently, some theologians believe Gog is the chief prince of two places—Meshech and Tubal—rather than the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. But the text most likely means Gog is the prince of the three territories.1
Magog, Meshech, and Tubal were sons of Noah’s son Japheth (Gen. 10:1–2). Their descendants populated Asia Minor (Turkey) and the regions farther north. Rosh likely was close by. Ancient historian Josephus identified Magog with the Scythians who eventually inhabited the areas around the Black and Caspian Seas.2 Gog, the leader of this faction of opponents, will come “out of the far north” (Ezek. 38:15).
Ezekiel also prophesied that Persia (Iran), Ethiopia (Sudan), Libya, Gomer, and Togarmah will join Gog’s forces against Israel (vv. 5–6). Gomer, like Magog, was Japheth’s son; and Togarmah was Gomer’s son (Gen. 10:2–3). Some scholars place the descendants of Gomer and Togarmah in central Europe, but it’s more likely they lived in southern Russia and later moved to Asia Minor 3
Ezekiel 38:13 also mentions Sheba, Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish. But it is not clear if they join the attack on Israel. Sheba and Dedan were probably in southern or central Arabia, and the merchants of Tarshish were traders in the Mediterranean world.
Therefore, the Battle of Gog and Magog will be a northern confederacy led by Gog in the areas associated with southern Russia and Asia Minor and will also involve nations from northern Africa and the Middle East. Though some interpreters spiritualize the places as symbols of a general plot against God, it is best to take the text at face value and interpret the names as real nations that attack Israel.
What Will Provoke the Attack?
The news media today constantly accuse Israel of provoking Arab hostility. But it is impossible to read the Bible’s account of the future Battle of Gog and Magog and see Israel as the instigator. Israel’s future attackers—much like its enemies today—will use evil thoughts to produce evil plans (v. 10). They will take advantage of Israel’s disposition toward peace and safety and invade the Jewish nation to seek plunder and spoil (vv. 11–13).
Read more about Israel’s provokers in Target Israel by Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson.
Interestingly, the passage says God will lead the aggressors (v. 4). In fact, God asserts, “I will bring you against My land” (v. 16). How should we understand this passage?
It is best to see God as the one putting structure to the thoughts and plans of evil men. In other words, God lets some evil take place but turns it in a direction to advance His ultimate purpose in the world, “that the nations may know Me” (v. 16).
When Will the Attack Occur?
Bible scholars differ concerning when this battle will occur. The venerable theologian Harry A. Ironside, citing Zechariah 14:1–4, taught it will take place near the end of the seven-year Tribulation.4 To be sure, Ezekiel 39:17–20 depicts a call for birds to eat the flesh of the defeated hordes after the Battle of Gog and Magog in the same way they are called to do so after Christ returns to destroy His enemies at the end of the Tribulation (Rev. 19:17–18).
Yet some incongruities exist in this view, such as how Israel’s burning of war instruments could last seven years after the battle if the Millennium (Christ’s 1,000-year reign on Earth) is about to begin (Ezek. 39:9).
Others equate the Battle of Gog and Magog with the Gog and Magog in Revelation 20:8, which describes Satan’s future, last-gasp attack on Jerusalem to dethrone God and Christ at the end of the Millennium. But there are too many differences between the two accounts to make a definite correlation.
Others believe the battle will occur early in the Millennium or before the Rapture or between the Rapture and the start of the Tribulation. But all of these views lack precision and raise questions.
The best view is that the Battle of Gog and Magog will occur early in the first half of the Tribulation. The peace treaty between the Antichrist and Israel at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week (Dan. 9:27) will make Israel feel safe and secure, as implied in Ezekiel 38:11. Based on history, the current Arab-Israeli conflict, and future prophecy, Israel’s window of time for feeling safe and secure appears quite small. Thus the battle most likely will take place during the first three and a half years of the Tribulation, when the Jewish people will feel protected.
How Will God Judge Gog and Magog?
Most of Ezekiel 38—39 describes God’s judgment of the confederacy that will come against Israel. But God will not fight Israel’s enemies by assisting the nation in direct military combat. Instead, He supernaturally will cause a tremendous earthquake in Israel and confuse the minds of the attacking armies so they fight one another:
Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. . . . 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 (38:19, 21–22).
The dead attackers will become food for animals and birds and will be buried in Israel over a period of seven months (39:4, 11–13, 17–20). God’s judgment will be just, true, and complete.
A Glorious Ending
The Battle of Gog and Magog will result in God’s glorification and Israel’s ultimate restoration. God will be magnified and known among all nations, including Israel (38:23; 39:7, 13, 21–22, 28). His intervention on Israel’s behalf will help the Jewish people know the Lord their God.
In addition, God’s victory will assure Israel of His ultimate plan for the Jewish nation’s restoration in the Messianic Kingdom: “And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel” (39:29). That is why the Ezekiel 38—39 account of the Battle of Gog and Magog precedes the Ezekiel 40—48 teaching of the coming Kingdom and the glorious future for Israel and the Jewish people.
- The NASB and NKJV translate Rosh as a place name, whereas the KJV and NIV do not. Either way, the issue does not affect the passage’s overall interpretation.
- Josephus Antiquities of the Jews 1.6.1.
- C. P. Weber, “Gomer,” The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, ed. Merrill C. Tenney (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1976), 2:774–75
- H. A. Ironside, Ezekiel (New York, NY: Loizeaux Brothers, 1949), 264–65.
12 thoughts on “The Coming Invasion”
Dear Mr Stallard,
I just wanted to tell you that I love Israel in truth,because God loves you.
Yours faithfully from Mr Eric John Parker.
Gog and Magog:
You did not mention the differences between the Rev. 20:8 and the Ezekiel account.
I am convinced this battle is at the end of the Millennial Kingdom.
1. Israel will dwell in safety, not by trusting in the anti-Christ, but because Jesus has established an earth of peace;
2. Israel is dwelling in un-walled villages. This indicates that Israel has no need for defensive positions, war material’, or organized military defence.
3. Nothing is recorded that Israel will do away with armed forces, but that they have entered into peaceful negotiations with the Beast, which likely means that they have agreed not to attack their antagonistic nations;
4. The most absurd statement that the coalition of Russia and others will come against Israel at or near the beginning of the time of Jacob’s Trouble and God will total wipe them out as described in Ezekiel does not fit the end-time scenario. If that happens, who will the anti-Christ need to fight against, who will push at him, who will cause him to go forth into great battles?
5. The description of the method of fighting in Ezekiel, does not need to be representative of the mode of transportation, armament, (swords, spears, horses, et.), but can biblically be presumed to be literal;
6. Reason: war implements will not be needed for one thousand years, and probably will be illegal;
7 After Satan is loosed, he instigates secret forming of swords, spears, bows and arrows, and shields, mostly made of wood–thus the need to burn them. This is the only reasonable explanation of burning the war material, since it will not fit the idea of burning tanks, rockets, rifles, planes, bombs, grenades, and the like. This final assault needs a massive amount of horses and pack animals;
7. Gog and Magog has nothing to do with Israel until the end of the millennial kingdom.
We rely heavily on the OT for understanding the end-time events, so why not depend on Ezekiel’s prophecy to provide understanding of John’s Rev. 20:8?
Respectfully Submitted by:
Paul L. Williams, D. Min.
Paul, thank you for your thoughtful response and for reading my IMG article on Ezekiel 38-39. I was limited space-wise in the article so I could not review every view in detail. I simply mentioned there were too many differences. Generally, I think all the views have good reasons that believers have advanced that are worth considering. And as I say in the article, this is the hardest time element to figure out in prophecy in my judgment. So, we will have to wait to see what God does to be absolutely sure. Let me make some comments on your points:
# 1. Both views can account for the feeling of safety. My view has the peace treaty at the beginning of the tribulation as a possible indicator. Your view has the 1000 years of peace.
# 2 and # 3. My view would allow that Israel feels no need for defense. The terminology can be interpreted that way and still be true to grammatical-historical interpretation.
# 4. I am not sure I understand your statement about absurdity. The nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38 & 39 are not the only nations in the world. If they are destroyed early in the trib, there are still the kings of the east on the other side of the Euphrates as well as much of Europe and Africa (and who knows about the Western Hemisphere) where people can come to be part of the attack on Antichrist which turns into an eventual attack against Christ at His coming.
# 5 & 6 & 7. I understand the argument about the war implements and I think it has value. However, a change to literal horses and other pre-modern weapons can happen much sooner due to the massive destruction going on in the world during the trib where nations have to resort to old methods. Electronic grids will probably go down in the trib most likely and access to gasoline may be limited. I could see this argument go either way.
My main reason for not seeing Eze. 38 & 39 the same as Rev. 20 is that the Rev. 20 time frame does not fit the flow of the book of Ezekiel. I believe Eze. 38-39 must make sense within the argument of Ezekiel and not just be based on comparisons with other passages like Daniel 11 and Revelation 20. In Ezekiel 36, we have the reminder from God that Israel is going to have a spiritual renewal (new covenant) in the land in the end-time days. In Ezekiel 37, God reminds us that Israel must be brought back to the land nationally in order for the spiritual renewal to take place. I think the initial return to the land is in unbelief (Eze. 20 & 22, Zeph. 2:1). Then in Eze. 38 & 39, there are those who don’t like Israel being back in the land. Then in Eze. 40-48, we see what corresponds to a description of the millennium.
All in all, although a case can be made for the Rev 20 view, I think an earlier time frame better fits the message of Ezekiel itself.
Thanks so much for your diligent study of the Word of God. It is an exciting thing to be waiting together for how God is going to unfold his prophetic fulfillment. On some things he has only given us glimpses.
Till He comes,
The only major translation left that records Gog is the “prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal” is the NKJV. The new NASB has dropped Rosh, and record “chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.” Many believe that Rosh means Russia. KJV, NIV, NASB, NET all record the same thing. So it would appear that Russia will not lead the Gog/Magog invasion.
Every country(that has been mentioned above)’s currency vs the USD is going to the doldrums. The fuse has been lit. Their weapons will most likely be fueled by Russia and/or China.
Isn’t China involved?
Thanks for taking the time to check things out and study a great passage. The countries mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39 do not seem to cover the territory of China. However, I think the battle of Armageddon which is later in time in my view will very much include China and all the nations in the final battle with Antichrist. When Jesus returns, they all turn against Christ and he destroys them by word of his mouth (Rev. 19).
Interesting that now in April 2021, Russia and China are indeed heavily involved in Iran with Israel pre-emptively attacking Iran on a daily basis to prevent Iran from the development of nuclear arms, which Iran has stated numerously that they would seek revenge. Appears we may very well be coming down to a final hour. With COVID heavily burdening every countries financials, it appears that a Great Reset possibly with a cryptocurrency may be the only option to reset the financial balance sheet for the entire world with an introduction of man made laws that may require breaking GOD’s laws (worship) in order to transact financially, it is uncanny how all of this may very well be timed perfectly for all the end time events. Thank you for this info. The way it looks now, it appears to me at least that this is an event that may occur in the near future rather than 1000 years as is coincidentally is moving simultaneously with the Great Reset and single unified currency as well as the rebuild of the third temple. Who really knows, but nonetheless exciting to watch the Bible unfold. Every “end time” event in the past always had a few unfulfilled events, which others theorized away like a physical temple wasn’t truly necessary, or the mark of the beast was credit cards, but this time it is pretty easy to thread a needle through all of the current events now all all the “end time” prophecies to be completed. Even the false Jewish messiah which was recently at the wailing during Passover seems to be perfectly time.
Nations are named but more nations are also mentioned and left unnamed. This is Armageddon.
…38:5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:
38:6 Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.
….38:9 Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.
…38:15 And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army:
…38:23 ((Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am YHWH.))
If the last line is true, then why is there still the 6th trumpet war shortly after with 1/3 of mankind killed and following that war, the 7th trumpet battle of Armageddon. Will the nations forget 5/6ths of Gog and the attacking nations that quickly and go after Israel again a few short years later? Impossible for this to just be anotherwar along the way especially because of what is said in many places. From Verse 1 of chap. 38 to the final verse of 39, every sentence is part of the prophecy:
38:16 And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; (( it shall be in the latter days)) and I will bring thee against my land, ((hat the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes)) Latter days – Heathen shall know YHWH.
38:17 Thus saith the Sovereign YHWH; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them? << YHWH brings them against Israel, a hook in the jaw, a bridle for the nations. 38:4 And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: – and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. – I will gather all nations to battle Zechariah 14
38:18 And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Sovereign YHWH, that my fury shall come up in my face.
chap 39: and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.
39:6 And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am YHWH. Isles = coastlands
39:7 ((So will I make my set-apart name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my set-apart name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am YHWH, the Set-apart One in Israel.
39:8 Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Sovereign YHWH; this is the day whereof I have spoken.)) << The Day of the Lord which is spoken of throughout the prophets. So after such a stunning and supernatural event and attributed to the God of Israel, there will still be more wars? Even after the heathen acknowledge the God of Israel?
39:13 Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Sovereign YHWH.
39:17 And, thou son of man, thus saith the Sovereign YHWH; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.
39:18 Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.
39:19 And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.
39:20 Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Sovereign YHWH.
—compare to 7th trumpet battle Armageddon revelation 19—-
19:17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great Elohim;
19:18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
39:21 And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.
39:22 So the house of Israel shall know that I am YHWH their Elohim from that day and forward.
39:23 And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword.
39:24 According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them.
So do the heathen attack Israel again in spite of this only a few years in the future?
These verses seal the deal and timeline:
39:25 Therefore thus saith the Sovereign YHWH; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my set-apart name;
39:26 After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.
39:27 When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;
39:28 Then shall they know that I am YHWH their Elohim, which cause them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.
39:29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Sovereign YHWH.
Things to keep in mind:
1. Israel is not jews, it is the Northern tribes. Unless it mentions the land of Israel, scripture is talking about the people of the nation, ie the descendants of the 10 tribes. That would be Europeans from various nations as the tribes fled Assyrian captivity north into Europe.
2. The Khazars are not jews and neither are he Shepardics. They are charlatan, which is why they don’t practice anything resembling biblical Judaism. Most have wandered into Sabbiti Zevi’s occultism based on what they picked up in Babylon. They have worked overtime to cover their tracks and hide these facts from actual Israel and wouldn’t allow real Israelites in Rothschild’s Israel if they did show up. They gene test to prevent non-Khazars from being able to enter. The Khazaric mafia runs the place.
3. A lot of folks don’t know this, but China is run and controled by jews who have been there since the silkroad. from here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_China#Early_record
“During the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), a Ming emperor conferred seven surnames upon the Jews, by which they are identifiable today: Ai (艾), Shi (石), Gao (高), Jin (金), Li (李), Zhang (張), and Zhao (趙); sinofications of the original seven Jewish clans’ family names: Ezra, Shimon, Cohen, Gilbert, Levy, Joshua, and Jonathan, respectively. Interestingly, two of these, Jin and Shi, are the equivalent of common Jewish names in the west: Gold and Stone.”
Based on the facts, the Gog/Magog invasion is a post-rapture, pretrib event. Israel will be dwelling in safety due to their victory in the Psalm 83 war. In this war, the IDF will defeat the military forces that attack and as a result will enlarge their territory but still not all of what God deeded. But when the Gog coalition comes, apparently the IDF is overwhelmed and valor gives way to fear. It seems they’re nowhere left to be found. So God takes matters into His hands so that only He can receive the glory and recognition.
Why is this attack with horses and swords? No modern tanks and artillery?