THE “WAR OF GOG AND MAGOG”: Understanding Ezekiel 38-39
By Joel Rosenberg
The Ezekiel Option is based on the prophecies found in the Bible, specifically in the Book of Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39; remarkably, the Hebrew Prophet Ezekiel, writing more than 2,500 years ago, was able to look down the corridors of time and see nations not yet born, and alliances not yet formed. In doing so, he foretold the rise of a Russian military alliance with Iran and other Middle Eastern countries to annihilate Israel during the earth’s “last days.” This is known by many Bible scholars as the “War of Gog and Magog.” In this war, Ezekiel says the world will see a supernatural judgment of these enemies of Israel, and a spiritual awakening unparalleled in human history.
Few, however, are familiar with these important end times prophecies. Fewer still can imagine such events ever occurring. The Ezekiel Option was written to help people learn more about these dramatic coming events, and to help people understand what such events might look like if they were to play out in our lifetime.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
In a moment, I will walk you through the prophecies step-by-step. But first thing, let me note that the predictions found in Ezekiel chapters 36 & 37 have already come true. These are the famous chapters that foretell:
- The rebirth of the State of Israel in the end times (both chapters) 1948-AD!
- The return of the Jews to the Holy Land after centuries in exile (36:10-11, 36:24) Still currently in progress!
- The rebuilding of the ancient ruins in Israel (36:36) Currently in progress!
- The re-blossoming of desolate, desert lands to produce abundant food, fruit and foliage (36:8-9 Still currently in progress! and 36:30-35 Has NOT happened yet!)
- The creation of an “exceedingly great army” (37:10) Has NOT happened yet!
Such prophecies began to be fulfilled in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, accelerated in 1948 and 1967, and continue to come to pass to this day. This, of course, raises an intriguing question: If Ezekiel 36 has largely come true in our lifetime, isn’t it possible that Ezekiel 37, 38 and 39 will soon come true as well?
That said, let’s examine Ezekiel 38 and 39 more carefully.
- WHO will be involved in the “War of Gog and Magog”?
- WHAT will happen as this war begins and ends?
- WHEN will these events happen?
- WHERE will these events happen?
- WHY will these events happen?
In The Ezekiel Option, the characters carefully research the prophecy to try to understand if what they are seeing unfold before their very eyes is what was described by God in the Bible. That is, they go on a journey similar to my own in trying to understand these coming events. Every source I quote in the novel pertaining to Ezekiel 38 and 39 is real and accurate. What follows is an executive summary of the research I did for the novel.
UNDERSTANDING “THE WAR OF GOG AND MAGOG”
In Ezekiel 38:1-6, the Hebrew prophet gives a list of obscure names that will form a united coalition.
- Gog is described as being “of the land of Magog” and as the “prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.” Most Bible scholars believe Gog is not a name but a title, like Pharaoh or Czar. He is a dictator who will hatch an “evil plan” (38:10).
- Magog = Leading Bible scholars say this is Russia and republics of the former Soviet Union. The first century Roman historian Josephus said the “Magogites” were the peoples whom the Greeks called “Scythians.” Scythians were a fierce, blood-thirsty civilization that settled north of the Baltic Sea in what is now Russia and the European republics of the former USSR.
- Rosh = Russia* Meshech = Some Bible scholars say this is Moscow, others believe it refers to Turkey.
- Tubal = Some Bible scholars say this refers to the city/region of Tobolsk in Russia along the Tobol River; others say it refers to a section of modern-day Turkey. (Interestingly, in 1964, massive reserves of oil and gas were discovered in the Tobolsk region of Siberia and people now refer to the region as the “energy center of Russia.”)* Persia = This was the official name of Iran until 1935.
- Cush = Sudan and Ethiopia.
- Put = Libya, and possibly Algeria and Tunisia.
- Gomer = Turkey, but also possibly Germany and Austria.
- Beth-togarmah = Armenia and the Turkic-speaking peoples of Central Asia.
- “Many peoples with you” who will attack along “the mountains of Israel” = Other countries will be involved in the coalition as well, notably countries that border the mountains of Israel. This includes Lebanon and possibly Jordan.
NOTE: Conspicuously absent from the list is Syria, Egypt and Iraq (typically referred to in Scripture as Babylon or Mesopotamia). This is noteworthy since Ezekiel was writing the prophecy in the City of Babylon, in the heart of Iraq. Syria (Damascus), according to Isaiah 17:14 will become a heap of ruins… completely destroyed. We would have to expect, then, that neither Egypt nor Iraq will participate. This is particularly interesting since Egypt already signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979 and Iraq is now so engrossed in its own internal struggles that it would be unlikely to join a coalition to destroy Israel in the next few years.
38:7 – Gog will build a military coalition and “be prepared” to strike
38:8 – Gog will deploy the coalition against Israel
39:9 – Gog will use overwhelming force against Israel; he and his coalition will “come like a storm….like a cloud covering the land”
38:2 – The Lord God will bring judgment upon the enemies of Israel, beginning with Gog, the dictator of Russia
38:20 – The Lord will trigger a massive earthquake in which “all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence”
38:21 – The Lord will turn Gog’s forces against one another
38:22 – The Lord will subject Gog’s coalition forces to:
- torrential rains
- fire from heaven
39:6 – The Lord will “ send fire upon Magog” itself and others
39:9 – Israel will capture her enemies weapons and burn them for 7 years
39:12 – It will taken 7 full months to bury all the bodies of Israel’s slain enemies 39:17-20 – Birds and beast will feast on the bodies of Israel’s slain enemies
38:8 – Israel will be a country again and Jews will be regathered to the Holy Land
38:11, 14 – “My people Israel are living securely” before the “War of Gog and Magog”
38:12-13 – Israel will have economic prosperity
38:16 – “It will come about in the last days” (before the return of Christ)
39:21 – “I shall set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment”
39:22 – “the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God”
39:29 – “I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel”
These events will not only be a judgment of Israel’s enemies in keeping with Genesis 12:1-3, in which God says those who bless Israel He will bless, and those who curse Israel He will curse. The events will also be the beginning of a great spiritual awakening. God will literally and metaphorically shake people out of spiritual apathy and lethargy to realize there is a God in heaven. He will also shake people who are following false religions and turn them to Himself.
Moreover, He will shake those who are followers of Christ but not serious about their faith. It should be noted that ours is the first generation in human history in which all the nations on earth will be able to watch the “War of Gog and Magog” unfold because of the emergence of television and satellite technology.
** Note: All verses are from the New King James Version of the Bible (NKJV)
In His Mighty Grip!