19 Sep The Battle of Gog-Magog (Ezekiel 38-39)
In Ezekiel 38 & 39, which is known as the Battle of Gog and Magog, Ezekiel prophesies about an alliance of nations who will attack Israel at the end of the age. The widely held view of many Bible scholars and prophecy teachers is that the land of Magog is located in Russia, thus the leader of the alliance, Gog, is from Russia. As of 2017, the Russian theory of Gog/Magog has reached an all time high, because in the fall of 2015, Russian soldiers marched onto Syrian soil for the first time in 30 years. Additionally, Russian diplomacy in the Middle East, including Israel, has significantly increased in the last few years, fueling this theory. In other words, Russia’s escalated presence in the Middle East, along with diplomatic relations with Israel, has provoked many Bible scholars and prophecy teachers to proclaim that we are witnessing the beginning of the alliance that will conclude with the Battle of Gog and Magog.
However, after we thoroughly examine Ezekiel’s prophecy, we will discover that the Russian theory is not an accurate Biblical assessment. So, with that being the case, who is Gog? Where is the land of Magog? When will this battle occur? Let us explore the Holy Bible and the ancient Biblical maps to find the answers!
Ezekiel 38:1-6, “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, and prophesy against him, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops—many people are with you.”
As we begin to explore this incredible prophecy, let us shift our mindset into Ezekiel’s mindset, so that we can understand how he and the children of Israel would have understood these ancient names. Obviously, Ezekiel did not know the modern names of Russia, Turkey, Iran, Sudan, etc, so he described these regions as the children of Israel would have understood them from the table of nations in Genesis 10-11.
Ezekiel begins his prophecy by declaring Gog is from the land of Magog, and he is the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. He also proclaims that Gomer and Togarmah are with Gog, as well. Clearly, Gog is the leader of the alliance, as he is the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. So, for us to understand who Gog is, we need to discover where the land of Magog is located, as “Gog is from the land of Magog.”
Looking at the modern day maps above, we can understand where Persia (Iran), Ethiopia (Modern day Sudan), and Libya are geographically, which are the countries with Gog. Now, let us explore the other ancient names from Ezekiel’s prophecy (Rosh, Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, Togarmah) to understand where the land of Magog is located. Here is the modern day maps of the Middle East and also three Bible Atlas’ for review; The New Moody Atlas, the Holman Atlas, and the IVP Atlas.
According to the Bible atlas’, Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Togarmah, are all located in ancient Asia Minor, which is modern day Turkey. So, five of the nine regions in Ezekiel’s prophecy are located in modern day Turkey, not Russia. Also, when we review the modern day maps, we can see where Persia (Iran), Ethiopia (Sudan), and Libya are located. Now, with the knowledge of eight of the nine regions, that leaves Rosh. The best translation and understanding of the Hebrew word “Rosh” is, “chief prince or head of” (Strongs #7218). The word Rosh appears over 500 times in the Holy Bible, and in all cases but one, it is interpreted as meaning, “chief prince or head of.” The word Rosh in Ezekiel 38-39 is the same meaning as we find in “Rosh Hashana,” the “chief day” of the year, which begins the Jewish New Year (civil year).
It is imperative to understand that just because Rosh sounds like Russia, it does not conclude that Ezekiel is referring to Russia. Additionally, the Russian theorists use “Rosh” as a proper noun. However, even if we use Rosh as a proper noun, it refers to Ukraine and Georgia.
Furthermore, Russia is based upon the name Rus, which was brought into the region of Kiev by the Vikings (middle ages), and is located north of the Black Sea (See map above). This does not fit Ezekiel’s prophecy, because this event occurred approximately two thousand years after Ezekiel wrote his prophecy. Assuredly, Ezekiel is prophesying about Turkey, “the chief prince (rosh) of Meshech and Tubal, because the land of Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Togarmah, and Gomer are all located in modern day Turkey.
Now that we understand the land of Magog is in Turkey, who is Gog? Gog is simply another name for the Antichrist (Satan incarnate), who will rise from Turkey (Grecian Empire – Seleucid Division). To confirm, let us remember what Messiah proclaimed about the Antichrist’s (Satan) throne and where he dwells.
Revelation 2:12-13, “These things says He (Messiah) who has the sharp two-edged sword: “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.”
In this Scripture, Messiah is speaking to the church at Pergamos, which is located in modern day Turkey. It is essential to recognize that Messiah declares where Satan’s throne is located, not was, but is located, and where Satan dwells, not dwelled, but dwells. Of course Satan runs to and fro on the earth (Job 1:7) and causes trouble all over the earth (John 12:31, John 14:30), but Messiah clearly warns us of Turkey.
Please note, Ezekiel’s prophecy of the Antichrist as Gog (Turkey) perfectly aligns with Daniel’s prophecies of the Antichrist rising from Turkey (Daniel 7,8,11). In God’s Prophetic Timeline, Messiah’s Final Warning, we thoroughly explore and examine the prophecies of Daniel (2,7,8,11,12) to confirm the Antichrist will rise from the Seleucid division of the ancient Grecian Empire, which encompasses much of modern-day Turkey.
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As Ezekiel continues, he prophesies to Gog, the Antichrist (Satan incarnate).
Ezekiel 38:7-9, “Prepare yourself and be ready, you and all your companies that are gathered about you; and be a guard for them. After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you will come into the land of those (children of Israel – Jews) brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they (children of Israel – Jews) were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely. You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you.”
Ezekiel confirms this battle will consummate in the “latter years,” which means the end of the age. He is describing how the Antichrist’s actions will be toward the children of Israel at the end of the age. In the beginning of Ezekiel’s prophecy, we see how God will lead the Antichrist and his armies to the mountains of Israel for his ultimate destruction.
Ezekiel 38:4, “I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords.”
The context of the language that Ezekiel uses in this prophecy is not for any current world leader, including Russia. He is prophesying to the Antichrist, which will rise at the end of the age (Daniel 7,8,11,12, Revelation 13). As Ezekiel continues, he explains the Antichrist’s evil “game plan” for this battle.
Ezekiel 38:10-13, ‘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’— to 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. Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you, ‘Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder?’”
Ezekiel 38:14-17, “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog (Antichrist), ‘Thus says the Lord God: “On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it? Then you will come from your place out of the far north (Turkey), you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army. You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. 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.” Thus says the Lord God: “Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days by My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against them?”
Ezekiel explains the Antichrist’s intentions for Jerusalem and the children of Israel, as he describes exactly how his “mindset and game plan” will be at that time. Ezekiel prophesies, “Messiah will be hallowed in Gog, so that the nations may know Him,” magnifying and exalting God’s glory and righteousness opposed to the Antichrist. The Lord also proclaims through Ezekiel, “are you he of whom I have spoken in former days by My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against them?”, which clearly tells us that Ezekiel 38 & 39 is about the Antichrist, who will rise from the Seleucid division of the ancient Grecian Empire (Turkey). In conclusion of Ezekiel 38, he proclaims the judgment on Gog (Antichrist) and when this epic battle will take place!
Ezekiel 38:18-23, “And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” says the Lord God, “that My fury will show in My face. For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: ‘Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel, so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.’ I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains,” says the Lord God. “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. 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.”’
The descriptions that Ezekiel uses in this Scripture confirms that the Battle of Gog and Magog is the same as the Battle of Armageddon! As we know, Messiah’s Second Coming will occur at the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16,19:11-16). Ezekiel proclaims, “all things who are on the face of the earth shall shake at His presence,” clearly explaining that the Lord will be on earth during the Battle of Gog and Magog (Armageddon). Also, Ezekiel’s description of a great earthquake in Israel, and also God’s judgments of flooding rain, great hailstones, and fire and brimstone, perfectly correlates with God’s wrath in Revelation chapters 14-19, which is the time of Messiah’s second coming. Furthermore, Ezekiel proclaims, “Messiah will magnify and sanctify Himself, and He will be known in the eyes of many nations,” which obviously will occur at His second coming and millennial reign, when all nations will know that “He is the Lord” (Revelation 19:11-16). Assuredly, Ezekiel’s description of the Battle of Gog and Magog perfectly correlates with John’s description of the Battle of Armageddon in the book of Revelation, which will occur at Messiah’s second coming. Now, let us continue exploring the Battle of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 39.
Ezekiel 39:1-8, “And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog (Antichrist), and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; and I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the far north (Turkey), and bring you against the mountains of Israel. Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand. 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. You shall fall on the open field; for I have spoken,” says the Lord God. “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. So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. Surely it is coming, and it shall be done,” says the Lord God. “This is the day of which I have spoken.”
Ezekiel confirms again that Gog is the Antichrist, because he declares that Messiah will “knock the bow out of his left hand,” which parallels John’s description of the Antichrist in Revelation 6:2. Ezekiel also proclaims that Messiah will destroy the Antichrist and his armies, and He will “send fire on Magog (Turkey).” This coincides with John’s description of the “sickle of fire” in Revelation 14:18-19, and also Zechariah’s description in Zechariah 14:12-15, which will occur at Messiah’s second coming (Armageddon). Also, only at Messiah’s second coming, “will His holy name be known in the midst of Israel, and the nations will know that He is the Lord, the Holy One of Israel,” which confirms the Battle of Gog and Magog (Armageddon) will be at this time. Assuredly, “the day which He has spoken of,” is an eschatological phrase for the Day of the Lord, Messiah’s second coming!
Ezekiel 39:9-10, “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. 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.”
After the Battle of Gog and Magog (Armageddon), the people will burn all of the weapons and materials of war for seven years. This will occur during the first seven years of Messiah’s millennial reign (1,000 – years), after the Antichrist (Gog) is defeated and Satan is “chained and bound” (Revelation 20:1-3). Some Bible scholars and prophecy teachers place the Battle of Gog and Magog right before the Seven-Year tribulation, however, this is not Biblical or logical, as the tribulation period will be the greatest war of all time, thus the necessity of weapons. In the world we live in today, we can be confident that a mass number of weapons this large would not be burned for seven years until after Messiah’s second coming, which is the Millennial Reign, when there will not be any war (Micah 4:3, Isaiah 2:4).
Ezekiel 39:11-16, “It will come to pass in that day that I will give Gog a burial place there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea; and it will obstruct travelers, because there they will bury Gog and all his multitude. Therefore they will call it the Valley of Hamon Gog. For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. Indeed all the people of the land will be burying, and they will gain renown for it on the day that I am glorified,” says the Lord God. “They will set apart men regularly employed, with the help of a search party, to pass through the land and bury those bodies remaining on the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search. The search party will pass through the land; and when anyone sees a man’s bone, he shall set up a marker by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon Gog. The name of the city will also be Hamonah. Thus they shall cleanse the land.”’
Ezekiel describes a huge burial service for Gog and all of his multitude (armies). The burial ground will be located in Israel, in a valley that is on the way from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea for those traveling east. The house of Israel will bury the slain for the first seven months of the Millennial Reign. This is confirmed as the Lord proclaims, “all the people of the land will be burying on the day I am glorified,” clearly referencing His Second Coming. The burial service will take place in order for “the land to be cleansed,” according to the Torah (Numbers 19:11-16,18).
Ezekiel 39:17-20, “And as for you, son of man, thus says the Lord God, ‘Speak to every sort of bird and to every beast of the field: “Assemble yourselves and come; Gather together from all sides to My sacrificial meal which I am sacrificing for you, a great sacrificial meal on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood. You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams and lambs, of goats and bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan. You shall eat fat till you are full, and drink blood till you are drunk, at My sacrificial meal which I am sacrificing for you. You shall be filled at My table with horses and riders, With mighty men and with all the men of war,” says the Lord God.”
Ezekiel gives us additional confirmation that the Battle of Gog and Magog is Armageddon. He prophesies of a great triumphal feast for the birds and beasts at the end of this battle. The Lord’s sacrificial feast for the birds and the beasts is the same exact feast John prophesies about in Revelation. John basically quotes the feast of Ezekiel 39.
Revelation 19:17-18, “Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”
At the conclusion of Ezekiel’s prophecy, he proclaims the ultimate confirmation that the Battle of Gog and Magog is the same as Armageddon. He describes Israel’s restoration to the Promised Land at Messiah’s second coming and millennial reign!
Ezekiel 39:21-29, “I will set My glory among the nations; all the nations shall see My judgment which I have executed, and My hand which I have laid on them. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day forward. The Gentiles shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity; because they were unfaithful to Me, therefore I hid My face from them. I gave them into the hand of their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I have dealt with them, and hidden My face from them. “Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Now I will bring back the captives of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name, after they have borne their shame, and all their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, when they dwelt safely in their own land and no one made them afraid. When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and I am hallowed in them in the sight of many nations, then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer. And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord God.” (Also see Micah 4, Isaiah 2:1-4, Amos 9:14-15, Ezekiel 34:27-30).
Ezekiel declares several events in this Scripture that will only occur at Messiah’s second coming and millennial reign:
- The Lord will set His glory among the nations and all nations will see His judgment which He executes (Revelation)
- The children of Israel, as a nation, will understand that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah, the King of Israel
- The Gentiles will understand the children of Israel’s unfaithfulness to the Lord and their trials and tribulations throughout history
- All of the children of Israel will return from captivity and dwell safely in the Promised Land (Abrahamic Covenant)
- Messiah will be hallowed in the sight of the nations, and He will set His glory among all the nations
- Messiah will pour out His spirit upon the house of Israel
In conclusion, after examining the prophecies of Ezekiel and John the Revelator, the Battle of Gog and Magog is clearly the Battle of Armageddon, which will reach its’ climatic pinnacle at Messiah’s second coming. Assuredly, Gog is the Antichrist, and the land of Magog is located in Turkey (Revelation 2:13), which is the region the Antichrist will rise from (Grecian Empire – Seleucid division – Daniel 8). Could we be witnessing the beginning of the “birth pangs” of this battle, which will occur at the end of the age, Messiah’s second coming? Absolutely! I believe we are witnessing several “birth pangs” for Messiah’s second coming, just as the Lord and the Biblical prophets foretold. We will continue to see the “birth pangs” of the Battle of Gog and Magog (Armageddon) and the other Biblical prophecies increase, as we journey towards our final destination. With that being said, this prophetic event will be “delivered” during the seven year tribulation, as the Antichrist and his armies will surround Jerusalem before the coming of the awesome and terrible Day of the Lord (Joel 2:31)!