The Bible speaks about conflict involving various ones in 38th chapter of Ezekiel. Places specifically mentioned chapter 38 in translations of the ancient Hebrew include Gog, Magog, Rosh, Meshech, Tubal, Gog, Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, the house of Togarmah, Sheba, Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish.
Do these prophecies involve Russia, Ukraine, or Iran? What about various ones in Asia? If so, when are they applicable? Does Ezekiel 38 get fulfilled before of after the return of Jesus Christ? Before or after Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-16)?
What have various claimed prophetic scholars written?
What does the Bible teach? A related video is available titled Ezekiel 38: For Russia, Ukraine, & Iran Now?
Ezekiel 38 does refer to Russia and various allies. More details on this are in the article Russia and Ukraine: Their Origins and Prophesied Future.
Here are some views of commentators:
Gog is further described as the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: some render it, "prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal"; taking Rosh, as the rest, for the name of a place, a part of Scythia, from whence the Russians came, and had their name. (Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible)
The Scythian Tauri in the Crimea were so called. The Araxes also was called "Rhos." The modern Russians may have hence assumed their name, as Moscow and Tobolsk from Meshech and Tubal, though their proper ancient name was Slavi, or Wends. Hengstenberg supports English Version, as "Rosh" is not found in the Bible. "Magog was Gog's original kingdom, though he acquired also Meshech and Tubal, so as to be called their chief prince. (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)
Interestingly, the above mentions Crimea, which was part of Ukraine and is now part of Russia.
Notice also the position of the old Radio Church of God as well as the old Worldwide Church of God:
Does Ezekiel 38 and 39 Refer to Russia?
Nearly all Bible students believe that Ezekiel’s amazing prophecy refers to Russia. Yet they totally misapply the time of its fulfillment. It is referring to an invasion of Palestine after Christ has restored His people Israel to Palestine. This has been amply proved in articles in The PLAIN TRUTH…Notice that it is Gog and Magog (Ezek. 38:2) which will come against the nation in which Christ’s capital will be located (verse 16). Notice again that Gog and Magog come “out of the north parts” (verse 15 ) where Russia is today. (Does Ezekiel 38 and 39 Refer to Russia? Good News, August 1954, p. 5)
Future Russo / China Alliance?
Ultimately allied with the Russians under Gog will be "many people" (Ezek. 38:6,9,15). These could hardly exclude the militarily weaker Chinese and their Asiatic kinsmen those eastern Magogites who "dwell securely in the coastlands" of the Pacific (39:6, The Amplified Bible). The People's Republic of China the "many people" of Ezekiel 38 is thus pictured as being linked with Gog in the last days...
Linked with the Russians and the other nations of the Orient in the vast end-time Asian confederacy will be Persia, Cush, Phut, Gomer and Togarmah (Ezek. 38:5- 6). Who are these peoples today?
History and Scripture identify them as the very peoples of the South Asian region. Willingly or unwillingly, they will all be drawn into the Soviet sphere of influence in the years just ahead! Let us look at each one individually. Let us begin with Persia (Ezek. 38:5), the most easily identified. Persia is simply another name for modern-day Iran. The name Persia originated from a geographical region within southern Iran. This region was anciently known as Persis, the Greek form of Old Persian Parsa. Historically, the people of Iran have never used the name Persia for their country. (Southeast Asia in Prophecy. Ambassador College Press, 1985)
Notice something from the late Hebert Armstrong decades ago, during the time of the old Soviet Union, titled Why Russia Will Not Attack the United States:
For decades now, the prospect of war between Russia and the United States has continually heightened and lessened.
Many who claim to be authorities on prophecy assure people a war involving Russia and the United States, Canada and England is prophesied in Ezekiel 38.
The United States, Britain and other democracies of north-western Europe, they recognize, are nations descended from the lost Ten Tribes. Therefore, they conclude, the prophecy of Ezekiel 38 foretells a military invasion of the North American continent from the Soviet Union. But this is not what prophecy says...
But this very fact - that this invasion will not come until after the Second Coming of Christ - will seem preposterous to many, at first thought.
That is because we have been accustomed merely to assume things that are not true. We have blindly assumed that when Christ comes, there will be no opposition. Every person and power on earth, we have thought, will simply submit meekly and instantly to him and his power. But that is not true!
Some gentile nations understandably shall not submit until forced to. The final restoration of the Roman Empire shall be subdued and conquered at a battle commonly called “Armageddon." But the populous nations of Eurasia that the Almighty God up to this point has not dealt with shall still have to be brought to submission.
"Gog in the land of "Magog" is the vast regions of the U.S.S.R. in northern Eurasia extending from the Baltic to the Pacific. "Meshech" is Moscow, "Tubal" is Tobol'sk.
Notice the allies who come with them in this future battle. You will find "Gomer” “Togarmah," "Magog," "Meshech” “Tubal" identified in Genesis 10 as the sons of Japheth, father of the Eurasians. Ethiopia and Phut (mistranslated Libya) are descended from Ham.
Therefore, this prophecy of Ezekiel 38 shows who shall finally succeed in marshaling peoples of each major race into a gigantic invasion upon our people.
When God begins to rule the world, through Christ - with His chosen people restored to prosperity in the land of Israel, the very center of the land surface of the earth (verse 12, Moffatt translation) - this, great Eurasian union of nations shall finally be tempted to use their mighty air force. (Armstrong HW. Why Russia Will Not Attack the United States, article).
Some Bible scholars assert falsely that these prophecies of Ezekiel were fulfilled anciently. They never were. Others believe they are about to occur but some years before Armageddon. Both views are erroneous. The events of Ezekiel 38 and 39 are without question still future - for the "latter days" (38: 16) and "latter years" (38:8). Moreover, Ezekiel 38:14 describes the time setting as being "in that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely." This is certainly not the situation in the State of Israel to- day! The Israel described by Ezekiel is a nation that dwells in security, in unwalled villages, totally unprepared for war (38:8, 11, 14). Read it for yourself! (Why Russia Will Not Attack the United States. WCG booklet)
As Ezekiel 39 discusses a significant power of the FAR NORTH, that is another way that the Bible identifies Gog, Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal with Russia (Ezekiel 39:1-2).
Ezekiel 38 does mention Persia, which would equate to modern Iran. Some of the sources already cited identify Iran with Ezekiel 38.
It is possible that God will allow Iran to strike the nation of Israel prior to the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38:
1 The burden against the Valley of Vision.
What ails you now, that you have all gone up to the housetops, 2 You who are full of noise, A tumultuous city, a joyous city? Your slain men are not slain with the sword,Nor dead in battle. 3 All your rulers have fled together; They are captured by the archers. All who are found in you are bound together; They have fled from afar. 4 Therefore I said, “Look away from me, I will weep bitterly; Do not labor to comfort me Because of the plundering of the daughter of my people.”
5 For it is a day of trouble and treading down and perplexity By the Lord God of hosts In the Valley of Vision — Breaking down the walls And of crying to the mountain. 6 Elam bore the quiver With chariots of men and horsemen, And Kir uncovered the shield. 7 It shall come to pass that your choicest valleys Shall be full of chariots,And the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.
8 He removed the protection of Judah. You looked in that day to the armor of the House of the Forest; 9 You also saw the damage to the city of David, That it was great; And you gathered together the waters of the lower pool. 10 You numbered the houses of Jerusalem, And the houses you broke down To fortify the wall. 11 You also made a reservoir between the two walls For the water of the old pool. But you did not look to its Maker, Nor did you have respect for Him who fashioned it long ago.
12 And in that day the Lord God of hosts Called for weeping and for mourning,For baldness and for girding with sackcloth. 13 But instead, joy and gladness, Slaying oxen and killing sheep, Eating meat and drinking wine: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
14 Then it was revealed in my hearing by the Lord of hosts,”Surely for this iniquity there will be no atonement for you, Even to your death,” says the Lord God of hosts. (Isaiah 22:1-14 NKJV)
Elam seems to be a reference to at least some in Iran. Kir is of interest as it has several possibilities. One is that the Bible tells that after Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria took over Damascus, he moved Syrians to Kir. While this does not mean that Kir must (or must only) be a reference to Syria, the fact that Syria is an ally of Iran is interesting. Some believe Kir is an area in the south of Iran, while others suggest closer to the Black Sea.
Certain writers claim that Ezekiel 38 is or may be on the verge of being fulfilled. Notice an article by Donald L. Blake, Sr.:
Washington Times - Feb 5, 2012
Modern Iran is the biblical Persia…
The Hebrew Prophet Ezekiel describes a dictator called Gog (often associated with Russia) who will form a military coalition with Iran, Sudan, Libya, Middle Eastern, and Central Asian countries in “the last days” (Ezekiel 38:16). Could this be a reference to modern day events in the Middle East?
No, it is not.
Here is something from Protestant writer Hal Lindsey:
For years now, Russia has been the protector of Iran ("Persia" in Ezekiel's prophecy). By pressuring the P5+1 nations into allowing Iran to continue unabated its pursuit of nuclear weapons and by helping President Obama save face in his confrontation with Syria (Iran's most important ally), Vladimir Putin seems to be maneuvering Russia into exactly the position predicted by Ezekiel more than 2,600 years ago.
If that's not genuine advancement of the end-times prophetic scenario, I don't know what is! (Lindsey H. The Hal Lindsey Report, January 10, 2014. http://www.hallindsey.com/the-hal-lindsey-report-1102014/ )
Actually, since Ezekiel 38 is for the far future, Vladimir Putin is not maneuvering Russia to fulfill Ezekiel 38 at this time. Hal Lindsey is in error to claim that this is a fulfilled prophecy of Ezekiel 38 (though ultimately Persia/Iran will align with Russia to fulfill Ezekiel 38, but not for many years).
After Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, Hal Lindsey also wrote:
According to the prophet Ezekiel, there will rise in “the latter times” an alliance of nations – led by Gog (Russia) and consisting of Magog (the breakaway republics now under discussion), together with an Islamic coalition of nations led by Iran – will eventually launch a sneak invasion of Israel.
This is how Ezekiel pictured the West’s reaction to the Gog-Magog invasion: “Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (Ezekiel 38:13)
Ezekiel says that the Gog-Magog alliance will get much the same reaction from the West as the Kremlin is getting over its invasion of Georgia.
The first domino has already been pushed over. Now, its just a matter of time until the rest of them start to fall. (Lindsey H. The Gog-Magog alliance. World News Daily, August 29, 2014. http://www.wnd.com/2008/08/73702/#sDdwaa0oZY5laOJX.99
Although Russia did invade Georgia, that was really not a fulfillment directly tied to Ezekiel 38. Georgia is currently not part of Russia and has asked to be part of the European Union. Whether or not Georgia ends up in Ezekiel 38, and it may well, this is not for now. Hal Lindsey was wrong, "the first domino" of Ezekiel 38 was not pushed over in 2008.
What about more current events? Notice the following:
NOW Rising! Gog and Magog War: Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Israel. We Are Witnessing the Fulfillment of Ezekiel 38
April 17, 2014
“Gog and Magog War” that is the dubbed name given by eschatologists to the prophecy found in the book of Ezekiel 38-39. In this prophecy Magog (Russia) and their counterparts unite and rise against the nation of Israel. We have yet to see the fulfillment of this Biblical prophecy, however today we are witnessing the formation of this alliances...
Russia is Magog and Gog is their leader. Meshech and Tubal are believed by many to be the former Soviet States, which includes Ukraine. It is clear according to these Scriptures that the Russian leader will rule over some of the former Soviet States, which is exactly what we witnessing in Ukraine...
Currently, both Russia and Iran are teaming up...
Israel will be dwelling in their land safety when Russia decides to attack. This could be due to the fact that a ‘peace treaty’ is signed that ushers in “false peace” in Israel. It is this peace-treaty which ignites the start of the Biblical tribulation and aids in ushering in the Antichrist. Either way, whatever makes Israel feel safe, this is what draws Russia into the battle. http://beforeitsnews.com/prophecy/2014/04/now-rising-gog-and-magog-war-russia-ukraine-iran-israel-we-are-witnessing-the-fulfillment-of-ezekiel-38-2460462.html
This is also in error.
What about Iran, Russia, and Syria in 2015 and 2016?
Joel Rosenberg is a Protestant prophecy writer who improperly feels that the final Antichrist is Islamic (see Is There an Islamic Antichrist?). Here is something that Joel Rosenberg posted related to the situation of Russia, Iran, and Syria:
October 8, 2015
Last Friday night, I addressed the topic of Apocalyptic Islam at a conference in Toronto, looking at how Shia and Sunni extremists see the prophetic trend lines in the Middle East. On Saturday evening, I then taught through Ezekiel 38 & 39, addressing these specific questions in light of Jewish and Christian eschatology. From there, I flew to Istanbul to meet with several Arab Christian leaders on a range of matters. But sure enough, these questions certainly came up.
The short answer is this:
- It is simply too early to draw any conclusions regarding the Biblical significance of Russian and Iranian combat forces operating in an alliance in the Syrian theater, so close to the northern mountains of Israel. More would have to happen to convince me beyond the shadow of a doubt that these are prophetic events. And I urge Christians to be cautious and not jump to conclusions. Time will make things more clear.
- That said, there is cause to believe these events could be preparatory for the commencement of the “War of Gog & Magog.” We can’t rule out the possibility that prophetic events have been set in motion.
- Put another way: the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 & 39 could be decades off, or more. However, these recent events — and numerous other regional trends — do appear consistent with what would have to happen to set the stage for Ezekiel’s prophecies to come to pass, and the Church needs to consider the possibility that such prophecies could unfold sooner than many people expect.
- The central fact to remember first and foremost is this: The prophecies of Ezekiel 36 & 37 have already largely come true. That is, the geopolitical nation state of Israel has dramatically been reborn in our lifetime. Jewish people are returning to live and work in the Holy Land after centuries of exile. The Jews are rebuilding the ancient ruins and making the deserts bloom, just as the ancient prophets said they would. We are also seeing a growing number of Jewish people coming to faith in Jesus as Messiah, consistent with Ezekiel 37’s prophecy that as the nation of Israel would be physical reborn in the last days, so too God would breathe His Holy Spirit into the Jewish people and more and more of them would be spiritually reborn in the last days, as well.
- Therefore, given the fact that Ezekiel 36 & 37 have largely come true, we must ask ourselves: Isn’t it remotely possible that the prophecies of Ezekiel 38 & 39 could soon come to pass, as well? https://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/with-russian-iranian-forces-now-engaged-in-combat-in-syria-people-are-asking-what-is-the-war-of-gog-magog-heres-the-answer-part-one/
First of all, let me state that he is in error on many points. Ezekiel 37 has NOT been fulfilled. This fulfillment takes place at the ‘Last Great Day’ which happens AFTER the end of the Great Tribulation and after the millennium (see also Last Great Day: Salvation to be offered to all who never really had a chance).
John R. Fisher, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Point Comfort wrote the following in a 'letter to the editor' of the Victoria Advocate:
November 7, 2015
Russia is now in Syria and on the move worldwide once again. What is going on? When you look at the countries that the prophet Ezekiel prophesies about - and look at your world map, the old world map and the current one give the names of the countries involved with Russia to come together to try and destroy the nation of Israel. But God will intervene.
In Ezekiel 38:2, we see Gog and Magog or Russia. Then in verse 3 we see Rosh or Armenia, Georgia, Azerbasian, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan - mostly Islamic people. And we see Meshach and Tubal, which is mostly Turkey. In verse 5, we see Persia or Iran; Cush is Sudan and Ethiopia; Put is Libya. Then in verse 6, Gomer is part of Turkey and the Ukraine; Beth Togarmah is part of Turkey and Syria.
In Ezekiel 38 and 39, we see the invasion of Israel takes place. ...
Matthew 24:44 - "Therefore, be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh." https://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/2015/nov/07/according-to-biblical-prophecy-can-america-be-defe/
People like John R. Fisher are looking at nations (most of which he has misidentified), but are clearly missing the timeframe that Ezekiel 38 is referring to. There is NO WAY Jesus is about to come for several years and the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 is a long way off.
Protestant prophecy watchers suspect that now with the involvement of Russia in the Middle East and the increased willingness of the West to fight Islamic terrorists that WWIII is about to start. Some have concluded that the 'Bible Code' is showing this is about to happen (watch Russia, Iran, Syria, & the Bible (Code)).
As far as Ezekiel 38 goes, it cannot be fulfilled for over a thousand years from now.
Some believe that Ezekiel 38 pictures World War III:
MIDDLE EAST WORLD WAR III EZEKIEL 38 MENTIONS GOG AND MAGOG IT'S RUSSIA AGREE?
July 21, 2012
Current Middle East events are definitely stage setting for the final fulfillment of the Israeli War prophecies of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39. Turkey's recent newsworthy gyrations against Israel has got the “EZEKIEL 38 NOW” advocates rightfully at the edge of their seats. Now, Turkey and Iran, both members of the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy, share a common enmity toward Israel...
Certainly, there is just cause to consider the Ezekiel 38 – 39 prophecy in light of recent events, however, what about Hezbollah, Syria, Hamas, and the Palestinians? They also are at odds with Israel and likewise frequently dominate current Mideast headlines. Curiously, Ezekiel 38 describes nine distinct populations by their ancient names including Russia, Iran, Turkey, and Libya...http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/middle-east-world-war-iii-ezekiel-38-mentions-gog-and-magog-its-russia-agree/question-2816651/?link=ibaf&q=&esrc=s viewed 07/19/14
Although it is true that Russia and others will be involved in Ezekiel 38, it is not World War III (see also World War III: Steps in Progress).
What does the Bible actually teach? Notice the first 6 verses from Ezekiel 38:
1 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, 3 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. 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. 5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6 Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops — many people are with you.
7 “Prepare yourself and be ready, you and all your companies that are gathered about you; and be a guard for them.
Verses 1-7 talk about a group getting ready to battle. Various nations such as Russia, Iran, Asians, and others are included here.
What does the Bible actually teach about the timing? Notice the next two verses from Ezekiel 38:
8 After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely. 9 You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you.”
Verses 8-9 refer to a regathering of Israel. Why do certain prophecy watchers say that it is for now?
Because certain Protestants believe that the creation of the nation of Israel in 1948 fulfills verse 8.
Yet, this is not really the fulfillment for several reasons (watch also the video Israel, 1948, and Prophecy).
One is that even today most Jews do not live in the nation of Israel. The Jewish diaspora is scattered throughout the world. But the other problem is that many do not realize that there are multiple millions of the descendants of Israel that are not of the tribe of Judah. The Bible shows that Israel split into the kingdoms of Judah and Israel after the reign of Solomon and that later the ten tribes that were part of Israel (cf. 1 Kings 11:31,35; 12:16-17; 12:20-23) were carried into captivity (2 Kings 17:21-23). Those tribes represent hundreds of millions of people currently alive, and as there are less than 6,000,000 Jews in Israel, most simply have not been regathered (more information on the tribes of Israel is in the article Anglo - America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel).
Furthermore, pay close attention to the part of verse 8 about people dwelling safely. That is NOT the case in Israel today.
Additionally, notice verses 10-13:
10 ‘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: 11 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’ — 12 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. 13 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?’”‘
Israel has its walls and "iron dome" and military weaponry. Notice that it is against a ‘peaceful people’ in unarmed villages that the prince of Rosh is going against. This cannot happen until AFTER the return of Jesus. Furthermore, there simply is not a plan to take a lot of gold and silver out of Israel right now by the power of the far north, nor does the current nation of Israel have enough of it to likely justify an attack for that purpose (unless perhaps some hidden gold/silver mines or remaining treasure of David).
Notice the following:
Israel holds no gold reserves at all, according to a Bank of Israel spokesman. (Kopf S. Jerusalem of Gold. Jerusalem Post, February 16, 2011. http://www.jpost.com/Jerusalem-Report/Israel/Jerusalem-of-Gold viewed 07/21/14)
According to Index Mundi, the nation of Israel was not amongst the top 48 producers of silver in the world, so its supply of this would also seem to be limited--it also confirmed that Israel does not have gold reserves (though there is some gold and silver in coins, etc. in Israel). Israel in the early 21st century is NOT the target of Ezekiel 38.
Ezekiel was further inspired to write:
14 “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it? 15 Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army. 16 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.” (Ezekiel 38:1-17)
So, a power from the far north, which would seem to have to be Russian-led as it is the only major military power in the far north now, and may be the only one also in the future, will come. But again, notice that this happens when Israel is dwelling safely.
Notice the following observation by the old Worldwide Church of God:
The events of Ezekiel 38 and 39 are without question still future - for the "latter days" (38: 16) and "latter years" (38:8). Moreover, Ezekiel 38:14 describes the time setting as being "in that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely." This is certainly not the situation in the State of Israel to- day! The Israel described by Ezekiel is a nation that dwells in security, in unwalled villages, totally unprepared for war (38:8, 11, 14). (Southeast Asia in Prophecy. Ambassador College Press, 1985)
And while Ezekiel 38 does mention Russia and Iran, the tiny nation of Israel is not now a “land of unwalled villages” with “a peaceful people who dwell safely” (Ezekiel 38:10-11). We are not particularly close to the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38. Those who believe otherwise are in error.
As far as timing goes, here are some positions from the old Radio Church of God (bold italics mine):
Perhaps no prophecy has received more widespread interest and attention than that of Ezekiel 38 and 39. As usual there are various interpretations. Those most popularly believed and expressed are: I) That the prophecy pictures “Armageddon”-with Russia the aggressor in this final “Armageddon” battle…The word “Armageddon,” believe it or not occurs only once in all he Bible. It is in Rev. 16:13-16: “ARMAGGEDON is the place of the “BATTLE” of that Great Day of God Almighty, which is “the Day of the Lord.” This is the coming time of God’s WRATH, climaxing in the seven last plagues and the Second Coming of Christ. The Battle at Armageddon is pictured in Rev. 20:19-20 and Rev.17:14. It is a battle in which European AXIS powers, symbolically represented as “The BEAST” and ten federated European dictatorships wive the Roman Empire, which fight against Christ and His Angels, contesting IS right to rule the world. But Ezekiel 38 speaks of a different power altogether-“GOG’ in the land of ‘MAGOG’, numerous Allies – all descendants of JAPETH, father of the yellow races…
And now we come to chapter 38!…The TIME of this prophecy is AFTER–not before, but AFTER–the second coming of Christ. (What’s Prophesied About RUSSIA! The Plain Truth. November-December 1943, pp. 5, 7, 12)
(Ez. 38: 12). It is now, after the second coming of Christ, with Israel obeying God in the land of Palestine, that Russia and her oriental hordes come to take a prey from defenseless cities. (Does Ezekiel 38 and 39 Mean An Invasion of Canada and the United States by Russia? Good News, June 1951, p. 11)
The Bible indicates there will be no warfare during the future reign of the Messiah:
7 In His days the righteous shall flourish,
And abundance of peace,
Until the moon is no more.
8 He shall have dominion also from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth. (Psalms 72:7-8)
6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
3 He shall judge between many peoples,
And rebuke strong nations afar off;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.
4 But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree,
And no one shall make them afraid;
For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. (Micah 4:3-4)
Thus it would not appear that this attack takes place durring the millennium, though some feel it could be. There are passages, such as Ezekiel 38:8 that could be interpretted that way, but they are not certain. Notice the literal translation without added words:
8 After many days thou art appointed, In the latter end of the years thou comest in unto a land brought back from sword, [A people] gathered out of many peoples, Upon mountains of Israel, That have been for a perpetual waste, And it from the peoples hath been brought out, And dwelt safely have all of them. (Ezekiel 38:8, YLT)
Now, when does the Bible clearly teach that Gog and Magog will attack? Notice:
7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. (Revelation 20:7-9)
So, the attack above happens after the thousand years, also known as the millennium. Notice that the Gog and Magog get destroyed. Notice also the following, by Herbert Armstrong, where he notes that Revelation 20:7-9 happens prior to the what is known as the Great White Throne Judgment:
But now notice! Verse 7: "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth ... to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea" (verses 7-8).
Grasp it! These are people at PEACE! They have not been inoculated with the satanic NATURE we now call "human nature." They shall have been living happily in PERFECT PEACE. Now Satan once more BROADCASTS. Remember these nations are HUMAN. Satan is INVISIBLE to them. But notice the CHANGE come over them as soon as Satan is loosed and able again to sway humanity:
Verse 9: "And they [the human nations] went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city ...." Immediately "Human Nature" shall have entered into them! Immediately they shall have been filled with envy and jealousy against the saints of God, filled with wrath and violence! But God will not allow them to destroy. They shall have been told — have been warned about Satan. "... And fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone ... and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
Great White Throne Judgment
After this shall occur the "Great White Throne Judgment" -- the resurrection of all humanity from the time of Adam to Christ's coming who had not been in the first resurrection or called by God. In this judgment is to be "the book of life," meaning many, perhaps most, shall then find spiritual salvation and eternal life. In the time of their judgment, Satan will be GONE! (Armstrong HW. Human Nature: Did God Create It? 1976)
Satan is loosed.
"And [he will] go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth [that's at the end of the Millennium, and Satan will go out to deceive those that have not been made immortal yet], Gog and Magog, to gather them [and I'll refer you back to the 38th and 39th chapter of Ezekiel] ...gather them together to battle, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and they compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them." (Revelation 20:8-9) (Armstrong, Herbert W. Sermon, October 2, 1980)
Getting back to Ezekiel 38, notice the rest of that chapter:
18 "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. 19 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, 20 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.' 21 "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. 22 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. 23 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." ' (Ezekiel 38:18-23).
Notice that the invaders will be punished and this will also involve fire. This is a future event. And while there is a Great Earthquake that will hit prior to Jesus' return (see Revelation 16:18 as well as the article Earthquakes Today and Bible Prophecy), the one in Ezekiel 38:19 is limited to the land of Israel. Ezekiel 38 does NOT get fulfilled just before or during the Great Tribulation. It is sometime after the return of Jesus and could be as far as after the millennium. It is at least seven years away (see The 'Peace Deal' of Daniel 9:27 and When Will the Great Tribulation Begin?) and possibly 1020 or so years away.
(As far as the position of the old WCG, I did speak to long-time HWA aide Aaron Dean on 7/25/14 who informed me that this was not a topic he felt had been studied in much depth by HWA. He stated that Herbert Armstrong did not spend much time on topics he was less sure of such as this one.)
Ezekiel 38 points to the land of Russia and certain peoples that will be aligned with Russia in the latter days, such as Iran and various Asians. It may also include territories also claimed by Ukraine (see also Russia and Ukraine: Their Origins and Prophesied Future). But will include the Persian lands and certain other Asian lands.
Israel is not a land of unwalled villages dwelling peaceably. Even if there is a 'peace deal' (The 'Peace Deal' of Daniel 9:27), Israel is not expected to disarm. Israel also currently does not have known stores of massive amounts of gold and silver that would be used to justify an invasion as of now.
While Ezekiel 38 will be fulfilled, this is not yet the time. It occurs sometime after Armageddon and the return of Jesus Christ.
Those who expect to see this before Jesus will return are in error. But those who understand the signs that Jesus taught can know (see When Can the Great Tribulation Begin?) and act as Jesus taught in Matthew 24 (see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra).
Thiel B. Ezekiel 38: For Russia & Iran in Our Day? http://www.cogwriter.com/ezekiel-38-russia.htm COGwriter (c) 2014 2015 2016 0819
A related video is available titled Ezekiel 38: For Russia, Ukraine, & Iran Now?
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