Russia has become an actor in American presidential election. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton pushed the Russia “re-set” button with disastrous results. Donald Trump has spoken of Vladimir Putin in oddly positive terms. Russian hackers are trying to skew the results of American politics. Putin clearly wants to reconstitute as much of the old Soviet Empire as he can, and he wants to become the chief actor in politics the Middle East. Libya is in shreds. Egypt pulled back from radicalism at the last moment, but for how long? Turkey is trending in the wrong direction, and fanatical forces have engulfed the lands of ancient Persia and the North Africa.
All these things are simply foreshadowings of the events described in Ezekiel 38 – 39, which describe the last half of the Great Tribulation and the looming Battle of Armageddon. Gog is codeword for the antichrist, and Magog is code for his empire, which, according to Ezekiel 38:3-6, will include:
- Meshek & Tubal – Regions of Turkey
- Persia –Iran, plus part of Iraq, all of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, part of Pakistan, and even a corner of China
- Cush – Egypt
- Put – Libya and North Africa
- Gomer – Also part of Turkey
- Beth Togarmah – Armenia
- The “far north” and “many nations” – The Russian confederation
According to Ezekiel 38:8, forces from these nations will invade Israel in a coming period of time described as: “after many days” and “in future years.”
According to Ezekiel 38:10-11, the invasion will occur when Israel feels a sense of security and peace, which allows her to relax her defense spending and security. In the Bible there’s only one such time, after the signing of the peace treaty between the antichrist and Israel (Daniel 9:27), at the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation. We’re repeatedly told in Scripture that the antichrist will break the agreement in the middle of the seven years by installing his image in the rebuilt Jerusalem Temple. This is the beginning of the last three-and-a-half years of Tribulation, known as the Great Tribulation—when the antichrist will lead the armies the world against Israel. This is the invasion by Gog and Magog.
According to Ezekiel 38:15-16, a terrific invasion force combining the armies from the north (Russia and Turkey), the East (Iraq and Iran) and the south (North Africa) will threaten the very existence of Israel. This is the battle of Armageddon.
According to Ezekiel 38:18, Israel would be quickly annihilated except for the intervention of the Lord. During these catastrophic days, a series of plagues will befall the world. Ezekiel’s descriptions parallel with the bowls of wrath in the book of Revelation near the end of the Great Tribulation (compare Ezekiel 38:20-22 with Revelation 16).
According to Ezekiel 39:3, something dramatic will happen – I believe the “Then…” in this verse represents the moment of Christ’s return. The armies of the invading axis will be slaughtered and become food for the birds of the air (compare Ezekiel 39:4 with Revelation 19:17-18).
According to Ezekiel 39:7, Israel will experience a sudden national conversion to the Lord. This is also described in Zechariah 12-14. Just as Israel rejected Christ at His first coming, they will recognize and receive Him at His second coming.
According to Ezekiel 39:8: It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord. This is the day I have spoken of. I believe the reference here is to the Day of the Lord. Notice how Ezekiel uses the phrase that’s so prominent in Zechariah 12-14 to describe the day of the Lord’s coming – “On That Day” (Ezekiel 39:11).
According to Ezekiel 39:9-12, it will take seven months for the Israelis to bury the corpses of all the slain enemy combatants, and seven years for them to clear away the discarded military equipment and the implements of war. These bodies will be buried in mass cemeteries in southern Jordan (see verses 11, 15-16).
According to Ezekiel 39:21, the battle of Armageddon and the coming of the Lord will usher in a period in which God will display His glory among the nations and Israel will dwell in glory and godliness. The Holy Spirit will be poured out upon the nation of Israel (verse 29). This is the Millennium, and the final chapters of Ezekiel describe the rebuilt city of Jerusalem and the Millennial Temple, giving great hope to those exiles in Ezekiel’s time who mourned deeply for the loss of their own capital city and holy temple, which the Babylonians had destroyed.
So, in summary: After many days… in future years (38:8)…
- A global ruler will arise (“Gog… the one I spoke of in former days”) whose empire will include Russia, Turkey, Central Asia, the Middle Eastern lands of ancient Persia, and North Africa.
- He will establish a period of peace when Israel will feel secure and relax her defenses.
- An earthquake will strike Jerusalem (compare Ezekiel 38:19 with Revelation 13). This is the mid-point in the seven years of Tribulation.
- Gog and his empire will move against Israel, threatening invasion. The invasion will be horrific and existential.
- Just when Israel faces total annihilation, the Lord will intervene.
- Catastrophic natural and supernatural phenomenon will rain down on the enemy – plagues and bowls of wrath.
- At that moment as the Lord comes to her aid, Israel will turn to Him.
- The Lord will overwhelm and slay the enemy. Gog’s empire will go up in smoke.
- The slain armies of Magog will become food for the birds. It will take seven months for Israelis to bury the dead and seven years for them to discard of the military equipment.
- God will restore the fortunes of Israel and display His glory among the nations. He will pour out His Spirit on the people of Israel.
These are the things Clinton and Trump need to know. These are the things we all need to study.