Thank you for the good work you do with lots of valuable information available on your site. I have read your work on the lost tribes of Israel. My reason for writing, however is to question your identification of Ezekiel 38 and 39 as refering to tribulation leading up to the millenium. Gog and Magog are only mentioned three times in the Bible. Once each being their respective physical heritiages. The other two are prophetic, and it seems unlikely that these prophecies would refer to different times. Revelation 20:7-10 specifically says Gog and Magog are the nations that come up to surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city “when the thousand years have expired.” Then “fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.” There is no mistaking as to when this takes place in the Revelation account.
I believe that Ezekiel 38 and 39 are simply a more in-depth account of the same time. I am not arguing against your identification of the nations/peoples that Gog and Magog consist of. It is very likely that these same nations will still be identifiable in another 1000 years, and that they will be the ones spoken of. But there are a number of statements that lead to the conclusion that this is not the current time we are living in. In 38:8 “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.” There is currently no nation on the earth of whom it can be said “all of them dwell safely.” That is a description of the peace that will characterize the people gathered to Jerusalem out of the many nations in last 1000 years that both the weekly Sabbath and the Feast of Tabernacles represent. Verse 11 elaborates on this. “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.'” There is no way, even if taken symbolically, that this can refer to any people today. But in the last 1000 years, this will certainly be the case. Maybe the argument could be made that the United States has been, during the last 100 years or so, a great nation dwelling in relative peace with little threat to our borders, so that we could be identified as the nation that will be attacked here. But just in case we start to twist our minds to think that way, God inserts verse 14. “On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it?” Basically, when this is the case it will be obvious. We may be able to squeeze the evidence to fit what we want it to, but it will not be the obvious. Verse 16 then comes out and states when this is, “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.” The latter days, not of this age, but the latter days of the millenial reign, just as they are described in Revelation 20.
In both Revelation and Ezekiel, the attack that Gog has planned against the camp of the saints never takes place. God destroys them before a blow is ever struck. Rev. 20:9 “They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.” There is no mention of any fighting that took place before the fire devoured them. (This will be because of the faith that the saints will have in God’s protection – a lesson that took them 7000 years to learn. Israel of the old Covenent never would have had to fight a battle either if they had listened to and had faith in God.) In Ezekiel 39:1-6 we are once again given a more in-depth account of the events mentioned in Revelation. “And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; 2 “and I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the far north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel. 3 “Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand. 4 “You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. 5 “You shall fall on the open field; for I have spoken,” says the Lord GOD. 6 “And I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in security in the coastlands. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.” Again, no fighting actually takes place before God knocks the bows and arrows from their hands and destroys them.
In verses 9-10 we hear more about these bows and arrows. “Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and bucklers, the bows and arrows, the javelins and spears; and they will make fires with them for seven years. 10 “They will not take wood from the field nor cut down any from the forests, because they will make fires with the weapons; and they will plunder those who plundered them, and pillage those who pillaged them,” says the Lord GOD.” This appears to be a literal description. Mondern weaponry will not be able to be used for fires if the words are to be symbolic. This makes more sense if taken literally at the last days of the 1000 years. During the millenium, technology will go backwords as swords are beaten into plowshares. A time of peace will certainly not gain that peace through technology. Got has no use for technology, and has destroyed the better part of the earth before when it has gotten out of hand. So any weaponry created when Satan is loosed during this time will again be old fasioned, made from that which is readily available. Also, the timing does not fit with what we know about the trubulation, if that is to be the timing of these events. Seven years of burning weapons cannot fit into the seven years of tribulation unless all of the other events told happened before the tribulation even started. By the time people are burning these weapons in Ezekiel, the war is already over – which leaves a peaceful time again during which the tribulation would be occurring. It just does not add up.
All of this evidence convinces me that Ezekiel 38 and 39 are talking about the events of the Last Great Day, when Satan is loosed for a short while to terrorize the saints once more and is thrown once and for all into the lake of fire, just as Revelation, the only other book that Gog and Magog appear in, so clearly tells us.
Thank you for listening to what I have to say. May God’s Spirit of Truth be with us all in the discernment of His word.
With God’s love,
Your question is one that I have encountered frequently in the past when I spoken at locations around the nation. It is a good question and your asking it gives me a chance to respond to this subject directly. I think I address your question in my article What Ezekiel 38-39 Reveal about a Future World War III (available at the speeches link at this website), so I’ll offer just a summation here.
Ezekiel 38-39 can be seen as a different event than the one described in Revelation 20:8-9 for two primary reasons: different scriptural time contexts and different targets for each attack. The Ezekiel 38 attack by Gog and Magog and a named group of nations is specifically prophesied to occur in “the latter years” (verse 8). God repeats this theme for emphasis by mentioning again in verse 16 that the Ezekiel 38 attack occurs in the “latter days.” Applying biblical prophecies consistently means that this Ezekiel 38-39 attack will occur in the same time period in human history as every other prophecy which discusses “the latter days” (Genesis 49, Jeremiah 30, etc.). God is consistent in his prophetic terminology and we should understand it consistently as well. The “latter days” are widely (almost universally) understood to mean the “latter days” of our current age before Divine intervention occurs and the millennium/Messianic Age begins. The Revelation 20:8 attack is specifically prophesied to occur at the very end of the millennium/Messianic Age, so the biblically-revealed time contexts for these two attacks are about 1000 years apart from each other.
Also, the targets of each Gog-Magog attack are different. The Ezekiel 38 attack is against the “people of Israel” (“Israel” being the term used in the Bible to describe the nations of the ten tribes of Israel). Ezekiel 39:7 reveals that when God’s intervention rescues the attacked Israelites, they are widely unaware of who God is (“I will make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel”) and they are in a sinful condition (they are “polluting” God’s name even as God rescues them). This same verse also reveals that the heathen nations (Gog, Magog, etc.) also do not know who God is until he intervenes in this “latter day” war. The situation will be radically different at the end of the millennium/Messianic Age. Jesus Christ and the saints will have been ruling peacefully for 1000 years over all the nations just prior to the Revelation 20 attack. It is entirely illogical that neither the Israelites nor “heathen” nations will know who God is after he has ruled them for 1000 years! While the Ezekiel 38-39 attack is against the physical nations of the ten tribes of Israel, the Revelation 20 attack is not against Israel. Satan will use Gog and Magog to stir up all the nations to rebel against God at the end of the millennium when he is released for a short time. Rev. 20:8 shows all the nations “in the four quarters of the earth” will join that rebellion. Rev. 20:9 reveals the targets of the Gog and Magog-led attack at the end of the millennium will be “camp of the saints” in the “beloved city.”
What these two attacks actually demonstrate is that there will be a dualism to events at the beginning and end of the millenniums. An attack led by Gog and Magog ushers in the beginning of the millennium and when Satan is released 1000 years later, he again uses Gog and Magog to lead an attack of all nations against the saints of God who will fit into a single city at the end of the millennium.