19 May Ezekiel 38, 39 The Battle of Gog and Magog
I understand that notes are not the best, easiest or the most complete way to communicate regarding a particular subject. However, the following are my notes – loosely spelling out why I believe that Gog is Antichrist. As usual, this is sure to stir up opinions and so forth and as things go right now, I will not have time to respond. Even if you disagree with my position, hopefully these notes will begin to help build understanding for the Biblical basis for my position as well as to show the many holes in the opposing position.
Blessings all. Joel
I. PASSAGE OVERVIEW:
A. Ezekiel 38-39 is one of the most critical and most essential end time passages to grasp. Yet it is one of the most significantly misunderstood and misinterpreted of all of the significant end time passages.
B. While several other passages use historcial types or foreshadows (Antiochus Epiphanes, Assyrian, etc.), to give us infoformation about the Antichrist, in this passage God addresses the Antichrist directly. It is a straight forward futuristic prophecy without any historical partial fulfillment. Where the Antichrist comes from as well as the primary nations that will make up his ten nation coalition are all named quite clearly.
C. Portrayed in this passage is a large end time coalition of nations primarily from the Middle East and northern Africa joining together to invade the land of Israel. The leader of this coalition is called ԇogԮ The invasion concludes with a series of both natural and supernatural events that leave the invading armies shattered in the land of Israel.
II. ALL PROPHETS ESSENTIALLY SPOKE OF THE SAME THING, TOLD THE SAME GENERAL STORY, ALBEIT USING VARIOUS LENSES AND SHARING VARIOUS EMPHASISҍ
A. The general story told by all of the prophets is fairly simple. Each one of the elements of the following story are repeated numerous times throughout the prophets.
B. Today, by and large, the Church is generally very Old Testament / Tanakh illiterate. If we simply understand the commonly repeated themes throughout the prophets, then we recognize that this is simply the same story that has been told over and over again.
1. In the last days,
2. A large coalition of nations from the Middle East (neighbors of Israel),
3. Will gather together and invade Israel.
4. They will be led by an evil world leader (The Antichrist).
5. They will kill a majority of the inhabitants of the land.
6. Many of the Jews that survive will be taken captive.
7. In the midst of this darkest time in Israelӳ history, God Himself, through the Messiah will intervene, appear and deliver His people, the Jewish nation.
8. He will physically defeat all of the enemies of Israel (who He calls His enemies).
9. He will deliver the captives.
10. He will march up from Egypt, as the greater Moses and ascend to Jerusalem.
11. He will re-establish the throne of David on Mt Zion.
12. He will lead Israel in plundering the nations that plundered them.
13. Israelӳ borders will be greatly expanded.
14. The children of Israelӳ enemies will come and repent before them.
15. He will restructure the authority structure and leadership of the whole earth.
16. He will rule the world with an iron scepter for an extended period of time (a thousand years.)
17. The earth will be filled with the knowledge of God.
18. All of the promises made to Israel will be fulfilled.
19. Jews and Gentiles will live as ԯne new peopleԠunder His leadership.
C.. Despite the fact that the basic story told in Ezekiel 38,39 is essentially identical to that same story which all of the prophets tell, the majority position as held by many of todayӳ prophecy teachers holds that Gog and Magog are not the Antichrist and his armies. Instead they claim that:
1. Gog is a different evil end time world leader other than the Antichrist.
2. Gogӳ armies are a different evil end time coalition of nations other than the one that the Antichrist will lead.
3. Their invasion is a different massive invasion of nations into Israel other than the invasion led by Antichrist.
4. The defeat in Israel is a different defeat other then the defeat of the Antichristӳ armies.
5. Etc etc etc.
D. Despite all of the numerous commonalities of Gog and his armies and Antichrist and His armies, the most commonly held position today in the Church is that Gog and Magog is another evil end-time world leader and his armies who will invade Israel either just before of just after the beginning of the final seven years that precede the return of Christ. Thus to most prophecy teachers, Ezekiel 38,39 comes at least several years prior to the coming of the Antichrist.
E. The reason that many hold this position is two fold:
1. Through a misinterpretation of Daniel 2, 9:26 and Revelation 17, they begin with the false assumption that the Antichrist will come from Europe. Because Gogӳ armies are clearly Middle Eastern, they conclude that this must be someone different than the Antichrist.
2. In order for their vision of a universal new age humanistic religion to rule the world, they need to find a way to get rid of Islam. It is imagined that a drastic defeat of Muslim nations will do just this; render Islam as an irrelevant force in the earth.
F. By beginning with a faulty foundation (the Roman End time paradigm), they arrive at other false and unbiblical conclusions. Foundational errors always lead to compounding errors.
G. Yet there are numerous very clear and strong internal evidences that show conclusively that this passage is indeed speaking of the final battle between Yeshua the Messiah and the Antichrist.
Note: The position of the Jewish rabbis and sages throughout the Talmud and throughout history is that Gog and Magog is indeed the final evil world ruler and his armies that all of the prophets speak of who will attack Israel and be defeated by the Messiah in battle.
The notion that Gog is a different evil end time world leader is unique to Christianity and a somewhat modern idea.
III. PROOFS THAT GOG IS THE ANTICHRIST
A. REASON #1: THE NUMEROUS SHARED COMMONALITIES BETWEEN GOG AND THE ANTICHRIST
1. THE DEFEAT OF BOTH GOG AND ANTICHRIST ARE FOLLOWED BY ԔHE FEAST OF GODԍ
Call out to every kind of bird and all the wild animals: ‘Assemble and come together from all around to the sacrifice I am preparing for you, the great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel. There you will eat flesh and drink blood. You will eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth… At my table you will eat your fill of horses and riders, mighty men and soldiers of every kind,’ declares Yahweh the Sovereign. zekiel 39:17-20
And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.” (Revelation 19:17)
2. BOTH ARMIES ATTACK TURN ON EACH OTHER.
I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed. -Ezekiel 38:21-22
On that day men will be stricken by the LORD with great panic. Each man will seize the hand of another, and they will attack each other. -Zechariah 14:12-13
3. BOTH COALITIONS CONSIST OF THE SAME NATIONS:
ơnd the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his (Antichristӳ) steps.
Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet.
4. BOTH GOG AND THE ANTICHRIST TAKE SPOIL, LOOT AND PLUNDER:
ԗoe to the Assyrian (the Antichrist), the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath! I send him against a godless nation; I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets. But this is not what he intends, this is not what he has in mind; his purpose is to destroy, to put an end to many nations.Ԡ (Isaiah 10:5-7)
ԗhen the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade themŠHe will distribute plunder, loot, and wealth among his followers.Ԡ (Daniel 11:24)
On that dayŠyou will make an evil plan: You will say, ҉ will go up against a land of unwalled villagesŠto take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land. (Ezekiel 38:10-13)
ԗhen the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade themŠHe will distribute plunder, loot, and wealth among his followers.Ԡ (Daniel 11:24)
A. The Antichrist will be a populist, wealth spreader. He will want to Գpread the wealth aroundԠamong his followers. Every dictator in history uses the concept of spreading the wealth to the poor, pseudo ԪusticeԠissues to curry favor with the peoples. Hugo Chavez, Communism, Fidel Castro, etc etc etc.
B. The Early Church Understood this: Ԕhe Antichrist pretends that he vindicates the poor.Ԡ Ireneaus (c. 202)
C. Muslims Await a Populist Messiah:
1. In the last-days of the Islamic community, the Mahdi will appear… He will give away wealth profusely, flocks will be in abundance, and the Muslim community will be large and honoredŠ – Sahih Hakim Mustadrak
2. In those years my community will enjoy a time of happiness such as they have never experienced before. ŠA man will stand and say, ԇive to me Mahdi!Ԡand he will say, Ԕake.ԠAt-Tabarani
5. BOTH GOG AND ANTICHRIST ARE KINGS THAT COME FROM THE NORTH.
At the time of the end the king of the South (Egypt) will engage him in battle, and the king of the North (Antichrist) will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He (Antichrist) will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. (Daniel 11:40-42)
” And I will never again make you a reproach among the nations. I will drive the northern army far from you, pushing it into a parched and barren land, with its front columns going into the eastern sea and those in the rear into the western sea. And its stench will go up; its smell will rise.” Surely he has done great things. (Joel 2:19-20)
In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with youŠa mighty armyŠYou will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the landŠI am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around and drag you along. I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel. (Ezekiel 38:14-16; 39:1-3)
6. BOTH ARMAGEDDON AND THE BATTLE OF GOG END WITH A GREAT EARTHQUAKE
The destruction of both Gog and the Antichrist is accompanied by an earthquake of unparalleled proportions. This is not a small event. Every creature on the Earth, all men will shake at the presence of Jesus. This same event is described in the Book of Revelation as occurring when the armies of Antichrist are gathered together in and against Israel:
7. BOTH ALSO EXPERIENCE GREAT HAILSTONES
Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called ArmageddonŠThen there cameŠFrom the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. (Revelation 16:16-21)
I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. (Ezekiel 38:22)
8. BOTH GOG AND ANTICHRIST COME AT A TIME OF PEACE AND UNSUSPECTINGNESS
When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them (Daniel 11:24)
This is also in accordance with the false peace that Israel will experience as a result of the AC’s bogus peace treaty with Israel. While Ezekiel 38,39 portarys the final battle in very general and broad terms (wide angle lense) , Revelation 19 portrays it in very specific and focused terms. This is common throughout the prophets. It is the prophetic perspective / mountain peak principle that Clarence Larkin spoke so eloquently about long ago.
You will say, ԉ will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting peopleءll of them living without walls and without gates and bars. (Ezekiel 38:12, 13)
B. REASON # 2: THE THEORY WHICH CLAIMS THAT MUSLIMS NATIONS WILL BE DECIMATED PRIOR TO CHRISTӓ RETURN CONTRADICTS NUMEROUS OTHER PASSAGES:
The Bible teaches that Israel will be shattered and nearly wiped out just prior to the return of Christ by Muslim nations. It names them very specifically numerous times. When Jesus returns he is seen to be fighting against Muslim nations and delivering Jews from captivity from the surrounding Muslim nations. Any claim that the Muslim World will be rendered irrelevant prior to the return of Christ must ignore vast tracts of Scripture and is thus unbiblical.
C. REASON #3: EZEKIEL 38, 39 PORTRAYS THE PAROUSIA: CHRIST IS PRESENT
In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence (panim) . (Ezekiel 38:20)
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming (parousia lit. presence). (2 Thessalonians 2:8)
Presence = Panim: Means face, or in front of. Actual presence. The actual face of God.
And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face (panim) to face (panim), and my life is preserved. Gen 32:30
THE HOLY ONE IN ISRAEL:
ԁnd the heathen shall know that I am Yahweh, the Holy One in Israel.Ԡ Ezekiel 39:7
1. Kaddosh Yisrael: 32 times in the Scriptures it uses the phrase:
2. Ԕhe Holy One OF IsraelԠ
3. Only once is it translated as: Դhe Holy One IN IsraelԠ Ezekiel 39:7
D. REASON # 4: ISRAEL AND THE NATIONS COME TO FAITH: AFTER THIS EVENT, GODӓ NAME WILL NO LONGER BE PROFANED.
1. God Himself says that after the defeat of Gog and his armies, all of the Gentile Nations as well as Israel will be convicted of their unbelief and will know that He (Yahweh) is God:
So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward. (Ezekiel 39:22)
2. This can only happen after they accept their Messiah Jesus. Jesus told them that they would not see him again until they recognized Him as being from God.
Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Luke 13:35, Matthew 23:39)
And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem… And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. (Zechariah 12:9-10)
3. Not Only Israel, but all nations will come to faith. God will NO LONGER allow his name to be blasphemed.
And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am Yahweh.’ I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am YahwehŠ ” ‘I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I Yahweh am the Holy One in Israel. It is coming! It will surely take place, declares Yahweh the Sovereign. This is the day I have spoken of. (Ezekiel 38:23-39:7-8)
4. Everything about the events and Scriptural language in this passage indicate that this war is no mere opening act to the Great Tribulation, but is rather the magnificent capstone of that period that will have a decisive effect on all nations worldwide.
5. How could God say that after the defeat of Gog and Magog, that his name would no longer be profaned if this were speaking about an event that came just prior to the coming forth of the Antichrist who will literally spend three and a half years openly blaspheming Godӳ name, all the while gathering a global following in the process? Does that make any sense at all?
6. The description of what will take place after Gogӳ destruction is one that can only be applied to that period after Christ returns and has utterly destroyed all of His enemies.
E. REASON #5 GOG WAS REFERRED TO BY THE FORMER PROPHETS: GOD DECLARES THAT GOG IS THE ANTICHRIST
1. Ezekiel also says specifically of Gog that other biblical prophets spoke of him in times past:
This is what Yahweh the Sovereign says: Are you (Gog) not the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel? At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them. (Ezekiel 38:17)
Thus saith the Lord God, to Gog; Thou art he concerning whom I spoke in former times, by the hand of my servants the prophets of Israel, in those days and years, that I would bring thee up against them. – Septuagint Translation
2. If Gog and Magog are spoken of by Israelӳ former prophets prior to Ezekiel, then where are all of these references?
3. If Gog is Russia, then I challenge anyone to show me one passage anywhere in the Prophets where God is speaking about Russia.
4. This would include almost every OT book other than Haggai, Zechariah, Daniel and Malachi
5. In fact, I have yet to see one single treatment of this subject by those who claim that Gog is not the Antichrist.
6. If we do take the position that Gog is Antichrist however, then it is very easy to find numerous passages about Antichrist and his invading army throughout the prophets.
ALL THE PROPHETS SPEAK OF THIS SAME EVENT. They all have the same ending. The story is always the same. A group of nations attack Israel, God steps in to save them, and they return to God forever. All the prophets speak of these same issues and they all end with Israel with God forever after ֠Ԧrom that day forwardԮ
Arguments not dealt with here:
The Mountains issue. Simply put, “on the mountains of Israel” is simply an expression that means the whole land of Israel. To read this in a hyper-literal fashion is to ignore the immediate context of Ezekiel 36. In essence it would be like saying “all across the fruited plains” of America. One is not merely speaking about plains, but all of the USA. Thus in Ezekiel 36, God tells Ezekiel to prophecy to the Mountains of Israel and say… to the mountains, ravines, cities valleys etc etc etc.
The burning of weapons issue: Some claim that there is no need to burn weapons in the millennium. Why then will there be the need to beat swords into plowshares? Yet we know that this takes place. Simply put, life goes on during the millennium. Fuel for cooking or for light or for simple cleanup will continue. Just because Jesus is present, all things are not simply done through magic.
A few other arguments are made through silence. This or that is not mentioned, therefore it is not part of this story. If this same logic were applied to the gospels, one would have to conclude that they are all different stories. Yet we know that they are the same.
The most common error that some make in attempting to say that Ezekiel 38 39 is not talking about the AC is to compare it in isolation to Rev 19 / Battle of Armageddon. Yet this is the same thing that many cults do: they build doctrines on isolated passages while ignoring the wealth of other passages that speak to this issue. Thus to determine if Gog is the AC we must examine it next to all of the Antichrist passages and not just Revelation 19. Common sense.
Lastly, some claim that in Armageddon, every nation is involved while Gog Magog Battle is limited. First, the Gog battle is not limited but left open. “many nations with you” it says. Second, we must remember that the Antichrist coalition is primarily ten nations with many others eventually joining as well. But every last nation of the earth is not with the Antichrist. This is another whole study and there is not enough room or time for me to add it all here but suffice it to say that the AC does not rule every last nation on the earth, otherwise there would be utter peace, yet the AC is at war until the very end. War necessitates resitors. Daniel 11 actually names nations that escape his hand. But again, perhaps we can deal in detail with this issue at a later time. Blessings all, Joel