WHAT IS THE WAR OF GOG AND MAGOG?
Final Installment in a three part series
The good news
By Joel C. Rosenberg
(Jerusalem, Israel) — Here is “Part Three” of my notes from an address I gave on Friday, May 6th to a conference of some 300 Israelis and Palestinians on ”Current Events In Light of Bible Prophecy.” My focus was Ezekiel 38-39, the prophecies that Bible scholars describe as the “War of Gog & Magog.”
- As the forces of the Russian dictator (Gog) and his military coalition — including Iran, Libya, Algeria, Sudan, Turkey and other key Islamic nations — converges against the State of Israel in the last days, the Hebrew Prophet Ezekiel tells us that at the last moment when there seems to be know hope for Israeli Jews the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is going to supernaturally intervene.
- Ezekiel 38:18-19 — “‘It will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” declares the Lord God, ‘that My fury will mount up in My anger. In My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare that on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel.”
- Ezekiel tells us that this earthquake will shake the entire globe and “all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence” (38:20).
- The enemy forces will become so frightened and disoriented that they will turn and starting fighting each other (38:21).
- Terrible diseases (pestilence) will start to spread through the enemy forces (38:21).
- As God judges these enemies of Israel, the text says He “will rain on him [Gog] and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire, and brimstone.” (38:22)
- The Lord also says “I will send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coast lands in safety.” (39:6) In other words, parts of Russia and other enemy countries will be devastated by fire from heaven.
- The Bible does not tell us exactly how this will happen, but it clearly describes a supernatural judgment. This is not a war started by the Israeli Defense Forces. These are not missiles from the Israeli Air Force. There no evidence in the text of Israelis defending themselves. Perhaps they are engaging in diplomacy. Perhaps they are hoping for the U.S. or the U.N. other nations to intervene. Whatever the case, the God of Israel steps in and defends Israel Himself, raining fire and brimstone down on the enemy forces and utterly destroying them.
- Why does the Lord act? The Lord tells us directly in 38:23, “I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the Lord.” The nations have forgotten that God does love the Jewish people. He does love the nation of Israel. They are not perfect, but He loves them and has made promises to them and He intends to keep those promises. And He wants the rest of the world to know there is a God in Israel.
- The devastation is so horrific that chapter 39 tells us it takes the Israelis seven months to bury all the bodies of the enemy forces (39:12-16).
- Ezekiel tells us it would probably take longer than seven months but the birds of the air and the beasts of the field eat many of the bodies (39:17-20)
- Sin has consequences. God said in Genesis 12:1-3 that those who bless the children of Abraham will be blessed, but those who curse them will be cursed. God is patient. He is slow to anger. But when pushed to far, He will act against those who hate the Jewish people and seek to rob, kill and destroy them. Let the nations be warned.
- There is more to the story, however. Not only will the “War of Gog and Magog” be a day of great judgment; it will also be a day of great mercy. The Bible says that the militaries of these enemies will be destroyed. There are hints here and in other texts (Jeremiah 49, for example) that the governments of these countries will be judged, as well. But God is not going to wipe out all the people of these enemy countries. To the contrary, He wants them to see His glory and His mercy.
- Ezekiel 39:21 — “I will set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them.”
- Did you catch that? “All” the nations will “see” God’s glory and judgment. Today, we are living in the first generation in human history where because of the miracle of global satellite television technology people in every country on the planet will be able to watch the prophecies of the Bible come true before their very eyes.
- As a result, I believe Ezekiel 38-39 describes the end of Radical Islam — and effectively the end of all of Islam — as we have known it. When the God of Israel destroys the forces of Radical Islam supernaturally while Muslims watch on Al Jazeera, how will they wake up the day after and believe that the Qur’an is true and that Muhammad is a true prophet? The vast majority of Muslims will abandon Islam. Many will turn to faith in Jesus Christ. Not all, of course, but many will because they will have seen the Word of God come true right in front of them and the Word was God and the Word is God and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and His name is Jesus the Messiah. (John chapter 1)
- Israelis will feel very afraid and very much alone right up until the Lord shows His mighty hand. But then even those who are secular will know their is a God in heaven.
- Ezekiel 39:22 — “And the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God from that day onward.”
- Ezekiel 39:25-26,28 — “Therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name. They will forget their treachery which they perpetrated against Me, when they live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid….Then they will know that I am the Lord their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land and I will leave none of them there any longer.’”
- On top of all this, the Lord says He will no longer hide His face from the Jewish people and, in fact, will pour out His Holy Spirit upon them. “I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Lord.” (39:29)
- As a result, many Jews will come to faith in Jesus as Messiah, for that is the role of the Holy Spirit is to reveal the true identity of Jesus to people. Jesus said in John 14:26, “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” Not all Jews will come to faith in Jesus at that time, but many will because the Father will pour out His Holy Spirit on the house of Israel.
- While we know these events will all happen in the “last days” (38:16), we cannot determine whether the “War of Gog and Magog” will happen before the Rapture (when the Lord suddenly snatches born again believers in Jesus off of the earth, prior to the Tribulation) or not, because the text does not tell us one way or the other.
- That said, I believe it is very possible — not certain, but very possible — that these events will unfold within this generation, and possibly quite soon. We are certainly seeing geopolitical events unfolding in a way consistent with Ezekiel 38-39.
- Therefore, the most important question we must ask is this: Since the Lord in Ezekiel 38:7 told Gog, the enemy of Israel, to “get ready, be prepared,” then what should Israelis themselves and friends of Israel be doing?
- Shouldn’t we, too, get ready and be prepared — spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially, and in every other possible way?
- These prophecies are some of the most interesting and important descriptions of End Times events in all of the Bible. Unfortunately, too few people in the world are aware of them, or have read them, much less studied them carefully.
- May the Lord bless you and reveal Himself and His heart to you as you get yourself ready for the prophecies coming our way.