From time to time I receive questions or comments that I think deserve more than just a response on the page in question, or the answers would be interesting to more than just the correspondent.
I received such a question the other day regarding my article “Gog and Magog war a Church-age event“
Brother Dan, you have apparently bought into the prevailing view of the vast majority of dispensationalists that Ezekiel's Gog-Magog invasion is a premillennial event and entirely separate from the Gog-Magog invasion described in Revelation 20, which couldn't be further from the truth. Frankly, I stand amazed that this great prophecy is almost universally misunderstood despite a mountain of Biblical evidence to contradict the premillennial majority view. Since you apparently count yourself as one who has connected the Biblical Gog-Magog dots correctly, tell me, if you can, the context in which the Prophet Ezekiel received this great revelation. Frankly, I don't think that you can. So prove me wrong. Charlie
Not having access to the majority of Premillennial Dispensationalists, I am not aware that the majority view is that the Gog and Magog war is a pretribulation event. I have read several articles that still say that it is a tribulation event. I remember being at a prophecy conference led by Grant Jeffrey, back in the early 90s and he said that he was beginning to think the Gog and Magog war could be a pre-tribulational event.
After doing my own study I came to agree with him, and have found further evidence than what he presented, at that time, to support that contention. In fact when I read the Ezekiel 38-39 account now the whole thing screams “Pre-Tribulation” to me!
In any event, the majority of professing Christians hold to the Amillennial interpretation of eschatology, not Dispenastionalism at all. While I would agree with Dispenastionalists on the pre-Tribulation rapture of the Church, and a literal thousand-year reign of Christ on earth, many Dispensationalists hold to the idea that pre-Christian saints were saved by keeping the law, which is a direct contradiction of Scripture and really pure heresy.
All the Old Testament saints were saved by grace through faith, and not by works of any kind, so I am not certain that I qualify as a Dispensationalist, although I would consider myself a co-traveler with them on many points of doctrine.
The question of whether the Gog and Magog invasion of Ezekiel 38-39 is the same event as the Gog and Magog attempt at an invasion, in Revelation 20, hinges on some basic principles of bible interpretation.
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Proverbs 30:5
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4
And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. Luke 4:4
While there are some superficial similarities between the two passages there are many more differences, which I will get to shortly.
In the mean time, what about Charlie’s question about the context of Ezekiel’s war? Are Ezekiel’s personal circumstances relevant to the interpretation of this passage? Does it matter if Ezekiel wrote this as a captive in Babylon, or as a prophet in Israel?
The relevant context is actually found within the passage itself, and is separate from, and independent of, Ezekiel’s circumstances.
The passage starts thusly; 1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
So the passage itself says nothing about where Ezekiel was when the Word of the Lord came to him, because it is not relevant to the subject matter. It is addressed to Gog, the chief prince of Magog, Meshech, and Tubal, but the time and place is not addressed. A few verses later the time is addressed;
8 After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that isbrought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.
So the person identified as “Gog” was not yet born when the prophet wrote this passage, but it is addressed to him. In fact the timing is identified as “after many days” and “in the latter years”, indicating that the events addressed in the passage would not occur for many years.
He then states that this will not occur until Israel returns from the nations of their diaspora, and is dwelling safely in their own land. Such a situation has not occurred yet in history. Israel has lived under constant threat from the late 1800s, when the modern zionist movement began, up until the present day. Israel’s time of peace is still yet future.
This is thus an End Times prophecy. Up to this point I think Charlie would agree with me.
Unlike most dispensationalists, it is my contention that Israel’s time of peace will occur during the Church-age, in the aftermath of the Psalm 83 war. Evidently Charlie believes that Israel’s time of peace will not occur until the millennial reign, thus he believes that the Ezekiel Gog/Magog account is at the end of the millennial reign, and synonymous with the Revelation 20 Gog/Magog account.
If “Gog” is a name, then Charlie would pretty much have to be correct, however, if Gog is a position, then the two Gog accounts could be separated by a large period of time, like a thousand years. It is my contention, and the contention of most dispensationalists that “Gog” refers to a position, thus, different persons can occupy the same position in different times. Gog appears to be equivalent to “president”, “king”, or “leader”.
Let’s look at the passages and you will see that the two wars of Gog and Magog have a different immediate context;
“And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.” Ezekiel 38:16
So there will be heathen people on the earth when Gog goes after Israel. This would hardly describe the world of the millennial reign of Christ. There will be unsaved people at that time, for sure, but they could hardly be called “heathen”. The armies of Gog and Magog, who come against Israel at the end of the millennium, will know exactly who they are coming against; the Lord Jesus Christ! After a thousand years of benevolent rule, they will misjudge Him, but they will know that it is Jesus who they are rebelling against.
God’s purpose in bringing Gog and his armies, against Israel is to be “sanctified in Gog”. This does not mean that the world, or even Israel, will be saved at this time, but they will know for sure that there is a God in Heaven and that He is interested in what goes on, on the earth.
“Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.” (verse 23)
This brings us to another point; It is God who brings the Gog of Ezekiel’s account against Israel. It is someone else who brings the Gog of Revelation 20 against the Holy city; Satan.
Isaiah speaks about the millennial reign, and states; “Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.” Isaiah 54:15
Note that the Lord clearly states that this group of nations will come against Israel, during the millennial reign, but it is not Him who will lead them to do so. Revelation 20:7-9 clearly shows that it is Satan himself, released from the bottomless pit, who leads this rebellion as his final act of rebellion.
“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom isas the sand of the sea. 9And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”
This is clearly contrasted with Ezekiel 38:4 where God declares that He is the one who will bring this Gog against Israel; “And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:”
If God brings one group of armies against Israel, and another group comes against Israel, but it is not God who brings them, then it is clear that these are two different events.
Notice Gog’s motivation in Ezekiel And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, 12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.
Notice that Gog is not thinking about the leader of Israel. If Jesus was personally ruling Israel at the time, Gog would certainly consider who it was who he was coming against. This is more evidence that Jesus Christ will not be ruling Israel at the time the first Gog makes his appearance.
Revelation 20 does not say why that particular Gog comes against Israel, only that he is led to do so by Satan. The answer is obvious; here, at the end of the millennial reign, the world will be coming to the end of the most prosperous and peaceful age in its seven thousand year history. Gog the second, will be coming to protest the upcoming destruction of the earth! He will have a bible, and he will know that time is almost up.
Satan will blind him to the consequences of his actions, but these people will have such a love for the magnificent cities and civilizations they have built, that they will be coming to demand that the Lord allow the present earth to continue. They may threaten violence if He doesn’t, but they won’t get the chance, for this will be the end of this earth!
God is not a democrat, and He does not give-in to threats!
“10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.”
The first verse of the next chapter explains what this means; The earth and the heavens will disappear at this time.
Which brings me to the next point; There will be survivors of the Ezekiel account;
“And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:” Eze. 39:2
One sixth of the armies that come against Israel at this time, will survive to return to their nations. There could hardly be survivors when the earth is destroyed. The fire that destroys the armies in Revelation 20 will destroy 100%, even the earth will not survive! What about the saints? It is a side issue, but they will probably get their eternal bodies at this time. The dead armies will be dead only for a short time as they are about to be resurrected for the Great White Throne Judgment.
In the same vein, the people of Israel will burn Gog’s weapons, and perhaps the fuel of his weapons for seven years. There would be no place for them to burn those weapons, and no weapons or fuel, if the earth was destroyed at that time;
“And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years:” Eze. 39:9
There will be nothing of this world left to go into the eternal state, and if there was it would have to be set aside as the Great White Throne Judgment went on, as people were thrown into the lake of fire! Such a thought is ludicrous!
“11 And it shall come to pass in that day,that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the nosesof the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamon–gog. 12 And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.” Eze. 39:11-12
Once again, someone will take the time to bury Gog and his armies. It will take seven months to accomplish the task, and they will also change the name of the valley to “the valley of Hamon-Gog”; hardly necessary if the earth was destroyed at the end of this Gog/Magog war. The second Gog will be destroyed by fire from heaven, as the earth itself is being destroyed.
What else will happen as a result of the first Gog’s defeat?
“And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.” Eze. 39:21
The first Gog/Magog war will occur during the Church age, shortly before the beginning ot the Tribulation, and God is stating here that those who perish during the Tribulation will have no excuse, because they have seen God’s handiwork at this time!
Another thing that my friend has missed is the fact that it is at this time that God calls the last remnants of Israel back to the land;
“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name;” Eze. 39:25
In the early verses we see that those living at peace and security in Israel, have returned from the nations, but now we see that not all have come back just yet. It is the victory of this war that gives them the confidence to return. They will convince themselves that this has been the “time of Jacob’s trouble”, and now it is safe to return. This is actually a delusion. This is the “hiss” that God says he will use to call them back.
“I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased.” Zechariah 10:8
In our modern lexicon the word “redeemed” has come to mean “saved”, but this is not the original meaning, nor the context of this passage. Redeemed really means “purchased”. Christ purchased them on the cross, but it will still take some time before they realize this. In the mean time they will take the victory over Gog as a sign that God is pleased with them.
Notice also that God says that Israel will come together BEFORE the time of Jacob’s trouble, the Great Tribulation.
1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; 2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you. Zephaniah 2:1-2
So, when we compare Zephaniah 1:1-2, with Ezekiel 39:25, we see that the Gog and Magog war must occur before the Great Tribulation period begins, because Israel is not completely gathered until after that war.
But God says He will have mercy on the whole house of Israel at this time. Well, that is because this time will coincide with the fullness of the Gentiles. Now is the time of the rapture of the Church (at the end of the Gog and Magog war), and now He will revert to dealing with the world through Israel. Now he will lift off the veil that covers their hearts, and there will be a revival the likes of which the world has never seen!
Yes, the bible does indicate that 2/3 of Israel will die at this time, (Zechariah 13:8) but it is entirely possible that some, if not many, of the dead, will die at the hands of the Antichrist, because of their stand for Jesus. Those who do will be with Him forever, and will return and reign with Him for the millennium. Look at it from God’s eternal perspective.
No, the only way that the Gog and Magog war of Ezekiel 38-39 could be the same war as the one found in Revelation 20 is if words have no meaning.
Brother Dan, I appreciate the time and effort that you put into a response to the challenge that I offered to you. I do want to make one comment on your response. I suggested that the majority opinion of dispensationalists was that Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog invasion was a “premillennial” event, which could be any time prior to the MK. You responded as if I had used the term “pretribulational”, or at least that’s how I perceived it. Now, being brutally honest, I believe that you absolutely confirmed my assertion that you did not understand the context within which Ezekiel received the Gog-Magog prophecy and unfortunately, you failed my challenge. In order to move the discussion forward, I’m posting a short article that I wrote a few years back that sets the stage, so to speak, for any effort to plumb the depths of Ezekiel 38-39. I will be pleased to get your feedback and comments on what I’ve written. Here it is:
BEGINNING OF CHARLIE’S ARTICLE:
Ezekiel was a Levitical priest by birth who was carried captive to Babylon in the second deportation circa 597 B.C. His prophetic career in Babylon spanned more than twenty years. His book is basically a collection of prophetic revelations, typically beginning with an introduction that provides the date and sometimes the setting of the revelation. Helpfully, most of his prophecies were dated, allowing us to form a much clearer understanding of the chronology of his prophetic career. Apparently he died in Babylon, never having returned to his beloved Jerusalem. His supposed tomb still stands in the town of Kifl, Iraq, which is south of Bagdad.
Ezekiel received a total of 13 prophetic revelations that are recorded in his book. In a very real sense, each revelation was a unit within itself that provided the Lords complete message to the prophet and the exiles at the particular time that it was given. The reader should be aware that these revelations do not appear in chronological order in the book of Ezekiel and this should be taken into account in any effort to understand the prophecies contained therein.
In these last days of the last days, the Gog-Magog prophecy of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 is one of the most popular topics of Bible Prophecy scholars and exegetes, who mostly look for the fulfillment of the prophecy sometime before Christ returns to set up the Millennial Kingdom. I personally have read dozens of articles and books on the subject and find that they almost never seem to consider the context in which this great prophecy was delivered to the Prophet. What I find most disturbing in this regard is that there is perhaps no prophecy of the Old Testament for which context and perspective is more important, if one seeks to truly understand the meaning of the prophecy in its totality. As a result of this situation, I have endeavored to prepare a relatively brief description and explanation of the background and context in which the prophecy was delivered to Ezekiel based upon the information clearly provided in the text of the Book. I will confidently assert that ANY serious effort to understand this great prophecy MUST begin with these facts in mind.
Ezekiel and Jeremiah were preeminently the prophets of the Babylon exile, with Jeremiah’s ministry in Jerusalem and Ezekiel’s in Babylon with the exiles. Both prophets warn the people in the most gruesome language of the horror of the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the southern kingdom due to gross sin and idolatry. Jeremiah describes the coming siege of Jerusalem as degenerating into cannibalism as parents eat their own children and children who eat their parents because of extreme hunger while Ezekiel warns of death and destruction through the triple instruments of sword, famine, and plague. However, the LORD’s pleas for repentance through these prophets is never heeded and eventually time runs out for the nation. The warnings have ended and the full force of God’s wrath is poured out upon Judah and Jerusalem through the armies of Nebuchadnezzar.
With this by way of background, let’s deal with the subject at hand, which is context, context, context. We will begin out study in the 3rd chapter of Ezekiel where we read:
25 As for you, son of man, they will put ropes on you and bind you with them so that you cannot go out among them.
26 Moreover, I WILL MAKE YOUR TONGUE STICK TO THE ROOF OF YOUR MOUTH SO THAT YOU WILL BE MUTE and cannot be a man who rebukes them, for they are a rebellious house.
27 BUT, WHEN I SPEAK TO YOU, I WILL OPEN YOUR MOUTH and you will say to them, ‘THUS SAYS THE LORD GOD.’ He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.
With this in mind, the reader is reminded that one of the most personally devastating events that occurred in Ezekiel’s prophetic career was the death of the prophet’s wife, “the desire of his eyes”. Beginning in verse 15 of chapter 24, we read:
15 Also the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
16 “Son of man, behold, I TAKE AWAY FROM YOU THE DESIRE OF YOUR EYES WITH ONE STROKE; YET YOU SHALL NEITHER MOURN NOR WEEP, NOR SHALL YOUR TEARS RUN DOWN.
17 Sigh in silence, make no mourning for the dead; bind your turban on your head, and put your sandals on your feet; do not cover your lips, and do not eat man’s bread of sorrow.”
18 So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died; and the next morning I did as I was commanded.
19 And the people said to me, “Will you not tell us what these things signify to us, that you behave so?”
20 Then I answered them, “The word of the LORD came to me, saying,
21 ‘Speak to the house of Israel, “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I WILL PROFANE MY SANCTUARY, YOUR ARROGANT BOAST, THE DESIRE OF YOUR EYES, THE DELIGHT OF YOUR SOUL; AND YOUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS WHOM YOU LEFT BEHIND SHALL FALL BY THE SWORD.
22 And YOU SHALL DO AS I HAVE DONE; you shall not cover your lips nor eat man’s bread of sorrow.
23 Your turbans shall be on your heads and your sandals on your feet; you shall neither mourn nor weep, but you shall pine away in your iniquities and mourn with one another.
24 Thus Ezekiel is a sign to you; according to all that he has done you shall do; and when this comes, you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.’”
25 ‘And you, son of man—will it not be in the day when I take from them their stronghold, their joy and their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that on which they set their minds, their sons and their daughters:
26 THAT ON THAT DAY ONE WHO ESCAPES WILL COME TO YOU TO LET YOU HEAR IT WITH YOUR EARS?
27 ON THAT DAY YOUR MOUTH WILL BE OPENED TO HIM WHO HAS ESCAPED; YOU SHALL SPEAK AND NO LONGER BE MUTE. THUS YOU WILL BE A SIGN TO THEM, AND THEY SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD.’”
Recall that the exiles in Babylon still had family members who remained in Jerusalem and that Jerusalem at this time had not yet been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Also recall that there were false prophets in Babylon who were presuming to speak for God in telling the people that their exile would soon be over and they would be allowed to return to Jerusalem to be reunited with their loved ones and continue the lives that they had left behind. By way of example, Ezekiel was commanded by God to act as if nothing had happened when his wife dies. In other words, he was to make no public mourning as was so understandable and customary. In verse 21, Ezekiel speaks to the people and tells them that God is about to destroy Jerusalem and everything in it that was dear to them. By going about his normal daily routine after the death of his wife, Ezekiel was a living demonstration of exactly how the exiles would act when the LORD’s long prophesied destruction of Jerusalem finally became a reality. Because of the distance involved, the exiles would have no way to know when this was actually taking place and therefore would continue to go about their normal daily routines during the actual time that their homeland and their families were being brutally destroyed by the army of the Chaldeans. It would not become known until messengers from Jerusalem would arrive in Babylon with news of the catastrophe. In verses 26-27, God tells Ezekiel that, in accordance with Ezekiel 3:25-27, he is going to be mute from that moment until the day that messengers arrive from Jerusalem with the news that Jerusalem has been taken by the Babylonians and the city utterly destroyed..
Then we skip forward to chapter 33 where we read:
21 And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, that one who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has been captured!”
22 Now the hand of the LORD had been upon me the evening before the man came who had escaped. And He had opened my mouth; so when he came to me in the morning, my mouth was opened, and I was no longer mute.
This was without question the darkest period in the lives of the captives and in the history of the Southern Kingdom up to that time, as they realized that due to the utter devastation of their beloved Jerusalem, loved ones left behind were very likely dead and their hopes of ever returning to the land, as they remembered it, were never to be realized. The date was 586 B. C. and the captivity would not end until circa 536 B. C., some fifty years in the future. At this enormously critical juncture in Israel’s history, when the full impact of the Babylonian captivity was finally realized, God chose to give to the nation, through Ezekiel, one of the most hopeful, far reaching, and unique prophecies to be found anywhere in Scripture.
Recorded in a series of six night visions received on the very night before word reached Babylon of the disaster in Israel and Jerusalem in particular, God outlined to Ezekiel the prophetic future of the nation from their current subjugated circumstances to the very threshold of the eternal state, when properly comprehended and understood.
These six messages are briefly outlined below:
1. Ez. 33:22-33; God’s explication of their sins that resulted in their captivity and expulsion from the land
2. Ez. 34: 1-31: A condemnation of the “shepherds” of Israel and the first promise of the ultimate restoration of the nation
3. Ez. 35:1 – 36:38: A prophecy against Mt. Seir and all Edom, the second promise of ultimate restoration of the people to their land, and the promise of future blessing of the “mountains of Israel”
4. Ez. 37:1-14: The vision of the valley of dry bones relating to the promise of a future restoration of the people to their land
5. Ez. 37:15-28: The future reunion of Judah and Israel (the northern and southern kingdoms) and a restatement of the promise of a future Davidic kingdom
6. Ez. 38:1 – 39:29: The eschatological invasion of Gog and the Magog
In the first five messages to the exiles, we journey in time from that long ago night in 586 B.C. to the yet future reign of David’s greater son in the long promised Millennial Kingdom. The fifth message found in chapter 37 ends with these words:
21 “Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land;
22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again.
23 They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.
24 “David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them.
25 Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever.
26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore.
27 My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
28 The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”’”
Then, the prophet receives one final night vision that concludes the LORD’s message to the exiles for that time and under those circumstances. It begins with these words:
1 The word of the LORD came to me saying:
2 “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshek and Tubal and prophesy against him.
END OF CHARLIE’S ARTICLE
Now, ANY effort to understand the great Gog-Magog prophecy of Ezekiel 38-39 MUST consider the context that I just outlined. And believe me, we have not yet plumbed the depths of the FULL context in which this message was delivered to the prophet and the exiles in Babylon. I’m leaving that for a future discussion. We’ve hardly scratched the surface of Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog prophecy.
Brother Dan, I do appreciate your referring to me as a friend, because I most certainly hope and pray that that is the context in which this dialogue will be carried on.
Thanks for that. Yes you are correct that is the context of Ezekiel’s life and times, within which he wrote his book. I will leave it standing in the comments section, because it is interesting.
As I stated, however, I do not believe Ezekiel’s life and times are relevant to the interpretation of chapters 38-39 of his book.
The Eternal God, who sees all of history from beyond time, gave that prophecy to Ezekiel, and deliberately left-out the related context of Ezekiel’s life from the passage. If God leaves things out of Scripture, it is because He intended it that way. As you correctly noted, the prophecies in Ezekiel are not chronological, and contain no information about which era of his life they were written. This is because they are not relevant.
God, who is above the life and times of this planet, is quite able to include the relevant context within the passage. This is what He has done, not only within Ezekiel 38-39, but within many of His End Times passages, and even within passages that are not prophetic. The people the passage was aimed at are not Ezekiel’s contemporaries, but a generation who would not be born for thousands of years.
Let me give you a for instance; the tribes of Meshech and Tubal are named in verse 3. It is the descendants of those people who will come against Israel in the last days. Don’t forget that those tribes have been somewhat nomadic over the centuries, and do not live today in the same places they lived at that time. In fact, much of the land they occupy today was uninhabited at that time.
If God was to indicate the inhabitants of a future city, and a future nation were going to attack Israel in the far distant future, how else would he do it? There was no name for Moscow in existence at that time, since Moscow would not be founded until some time around 1,000 AD! In fact forms of the words Meshech and Tubal can be found throughout the Russian territories today; Moscoi, Moskva, Tobolsk, and the Tubal river, for example.
As for me failing your test; It’s a good thing you aren’t God, or I would have reason to worry.
You failed to address one point I brought up. Speaking of failure.
Yes, you did say that most dispensationalists view the Gog/Magog war as a premillennial event. I was pointing out that I am not in line with most dispensationalists, when I say that it is a pretribulational event, and I believe I have proved that in my article, and my response to you.
I would go further and say that when the Gog/Magog war occurs most people will view it as you do, and will expect the return of (the) Christ at that time. This is a deception of Satan, and will be precisely the time that He brings out his Antichrist, the Beast, and the people who have rejected the truth of the bible will accept him as being the Christ! This is why I believe your view on this war is dangerous. It is not merely a subject of interest for bible freaks like us, but for the people alive at that time, the difference in interpretation will make the difference between life and death.
I don’t know whether you are Amil, or Premil, but the Amillennialists teach that we are in the millennial reign of Christ right now, and the Gog/Magog war will end this age. Your view on the Gog/Magog war sounds very much like the Amillennial view. They have been set-up to accept the Gog and Magog war as the final event of the Tribulation, and will be looking for the return of Christ at that time. Because of their tendency to allegorize everything, they will accept that the Antichrist has come “in the spirit of Christ” and the fact that he is not literally Christ will not be a problem for them. This will lead to their destruction at the hands of the Antichrist, and maybe even by the Son of God Himself!
Does that make sense to you? This is a viewpoint that you need to address.
God bless, and when I say “God bless” I mean “May He lead you into the truth”,
Brother Dan, it’s obvious that I’m tilting at windmills here. You have no intention of giving me an honest hearing and your basic response when you disagree with me is to simply blow me off with a proverbial flick of the wrist. I’m sorry, but I get the distinct impression that you’re really in the dark as to how superficial your approach to the study of this passage really is. Just to be clear, I’m dispensational, premillennial in my basic eschatology. And just for information, I’m trying to argue that Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog invasion is exactly the same event as described in Revelation 20 and therefore it will not occur until the end of the Millennial Kingdom. Furthermore, the book of Joel is primarily concerned with Gog-Magog and it is clearly describing a millennial setting for this great war. Brother Dan, you haven’t begun to plumb the depths of this future event which will result in the final destruction of Satan as well as the final outpouring of God’s wrath on this sin-cursed world.
Having said all this, I genuinely pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you in your continued efforts to connect the proverbial eschatological dots of Scripture. Truthfully, that is the ONLY way that such matters can be comprehended and understood, as I’m sure you would agree.
Brother Dan, at the moment, I’m blown away. My sister also follows your blog from time to time and I just got an email from her informing me that she agreed with you rather than me. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Seriously, I do want to make sure that I know your preference here. Would you prefer that we continue to try and have come kind of dialogue on Gog-Magog or would you prefer that we just agree to disagree. From my perspective, we haven’t even begun to have a serious discussion on the subject because there are so many elements of the prophecy that we haven’t even touched on, much less talked them through. I’m fine either way that you want to go. Again, I do appreciate your referring to me as a “friend” because I put this discussion in the category of “iron sharpening iron”.
I think there are different definitions of the tribulation and when it starts and ends. so that plays into how Gog fits in.