Gog and Magog
The Bible warns of a future time when the nation of Israel will be surrounded by its enemies, with no allies to come to its defense. The prophet Ezekiel revealed more than 2,700 years ago that, in the last days, a coalition of nations led by Russia would gather together to invade Israel.
When this happens, God will use this moment to display His glory to all the people of the world. The details of this future battle are found in the Book of Ezekiel, Chapters 38 and 39:
"This is another message that came to me from the Lord: 'Son of man, prophesy against Gog of the land of Magog, the prince who rules over the nations of Meshech and Tubal. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: Gog, I am your enemy! I will turn you around and put hooks into your jaws to lead you out to your destruction. I will mobilize your troops and cavalry and make you a vast and mighty horde, all fully armed. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya will join you, too, with all their weapons. Gomer and all its hordes will also join you, along with the armies of Beth-togarmah from the distant north and many others.'" Ezekiel 38:1-6 (NLT)
The nations cited in the verses above are associated with their Old Testament predecessors, but they all represent nations that exist today.
Long before Russia became a world power, biblical scholars identified Magog as the nation of Russia and Gog as the ruler of Russia.
The other nations referenced above are identified below, with the original Hebrew listed first, followed by its modern English equivalent:
Magog, Meshech, and Tubal = Russia
According to God, Russia will mobilize a coalition that includes these nations in the last days.
"Get ready; be prepared! Keep all the armies around you mobilized, and take command of them. A long time from now you will be called into action. In the distant future you will swoop down on the land of Israel, which will be lying in peace after her recovery from war and after the return of her people from many lands. You and all your allies - a vast and awesome horde - will roll down on them like a storm and cover the land like a cloud." Ezekiel 38:7-9 (NLT)
The Russian coalition, "a vast and awesome horde" will attack the land of Israel.
This will happen at a time when Israel is recovering from a recent war and residing in a relatively peaceful state.
Notice that this attack occurs "after the return of her people from many lands," an indication that this attack will be directed toward the modern state of Israel (whose people have been re-gathered in just such a way), and is not a reference to a past war or a war in the distant future.
"This is what the Sovereign Lord says: At that time evil thoughts will come to your mind, and you will devise a wicked scheme. You will say, 'Israel is an unprotected land filled with unwalled villages! I will march against her and destroy these people who live in such confidence! I will go to those once-desolate cities that are again filled with people who returned from exile in many nations. I will capture vast amounts of plunder and take many slaves, for the people are rich with cattle now, and they think the whole world revolves around them!' But Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish will ask, 'Who are you to rob them of silver and gold? Who are you to drive away their cattle and seize their goods and make them poor?'" Ezekiel 38:10-13 (NLT)
Prior to this attack, Israel will be "an unprotected land filled with unwalled villages."
In the days of Ezekiel, it was unheard of to build a city without walls, a certain invitation for invasion by a foreign power.
But in this modern era of warfare, walls do little to repel an invading force.
So just as Ezekiel said, Israel will be a land of "unwalled villages." Once again, this attack is referenced as taking place against "those once-desolate cities that are again filled with people who returned from exile in many nations" - yet another indication that modern day Israel is the target of Gog's invasion.
However, we learn that several nations question the impending invasion - Sheba, Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish. Sheba and Dedan represent the modern nations of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.
Tarshish can only be translated as southern Spain, but may well represent the Western democracies.
"Therefore, son of man, prophesy against Gog. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: When my people are living in peace in their land, then you will rouse yourself. You will come from your homeland in the distant north with your vast cavalry and your mighty army, and you will cover the land like a cloud. This will happen in the distant future. I will bring you against my land as everyone watches, and my holiness will be displayed by what happens to you. Then all the nations will know that I am the Lord." Ezekiel 38:14-16 (NLT)
Again, God reiterates that Russia will invade Israel in the last days, covering the land like a cloud with its armies. The entire world will watch on the edge of their seats, none lifting a hand to help Israel. It is at this moment that God will make himself known to the nations. He will utterly destroy this invading force while all the world watches, and everyone will know that He is Lord.
"This is what the Sovereign Lord says: You are the one I was talking about long ago, when I announced through Israel's prophets that in future days I would bring you against my people. But when Gog invades the land of Israel, says the Sovereign Lord, my fury will rise! For in my jealousy and blazing anger, I promise a mighty shaking in the land of Israel on that day. All living things - all the fish, birds, animals, and people - will quake in terror at my presence. Mountains will be thrown down; cliffs will crumble; walls will fall to the earth. I will summon the sword against you throughout Israel, says the Sovereign Lord. Your men will turn against each other in mortal combat. I will punish you and your hordes with disease and bloodshed; I will send torrential rain, hailstones, fire, and burning sulfur! Thus will I show my greatness and holiness, and I will make myself known to all the nations of the world. Then they will know that I am the Lord!" Ezekiel 38:17-23 (NLT)
The invasion of Israel will trigger an earthquake so strong every living creature on the face of the earth will tremble in God's presence.
The invading armies will be totally annihilated.
God will cause them to turn on each other while striking them with plagues, torrential rain, hail, fire, and burning sulfur. As a result of this awesome display, the world will wake up to God's existence.
No longer will people be able to deny the existence of the Almighty, for it will be abundantly clear who intervened to save Israel.
"Son of man, prophesy against Gog. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: I am your enemy, O Gog, ruler of the nations of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you and drive you toward the mountains of Israel, bringing you from the distant north. I will knock your weapons from your hands and leave you helpless. You and all your vast hordes will die on the mountains. I will give you as food to the vultures and wild animals. You will fall in the open fields, for I have spoken, says the Sovereign Lord. And I will rain down fire on Magog and on all your allies who live safely on the coasts. Then they will know that I am the Lord." Ezekiel 39:1-6 (NLT)
Not only will the hordes of Gog be struck down by the God of Israel, but their dead bodies will become food for vultures and wild animals.
"Thus, I will make known my holy name among my people of Israel. I will not let it be desecrated anymore. And the nations, too, will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. That day of judgment will come, says the Sovereign Lord. Everything will happen just as I have declared it." Ezekiel 39:7-8 (NLT)
God has made it definitively clear that this judgment against Gog will happen just as He has said. He will no longer tolerate the desecration of His nation, and at a time unknown to us, this event will occur just as He has promised.
"Then the people in the towns of Israel will go out and pick up your small and large shields, bows and arrows, javelins and spears, and they will use them for fuel. There will be enough to last them seven years! They will need nothing else for their fires. They won't need to cut wood from the fields or forests, for these weapons will give them all they need. They will take plunder from those who planned to plunder them, says the Sovereign Lord." Ezekiel 39:9-10 (NLT)
When God strikes down the enemies of Israel, their weapons of war will litter the landscape of the Holy Land. The people of Israel will use these weapons as fuel for a period of seven years, meaning Gog's invasion will take place at the beginning of the Tribulation or at some point before it begins.
"And I will make a vast graveyard for Gog and his hordes in the Valley of the Travelers, east of the Dead Sea. The path of those who travel there will be blocked by this burial ground, and they will change the name of the place to the Valley of Gog's Hordes. It will take seven months for the people of Israel to cleanse the land by burying the bodies. Everyone in Israel will help, for it will be a glorious victory for Israel when I demonstrate my glory on that day, says the Sovereign Lord. At the end of the seven months, special crews will be appointed to search the land for any skeletons and bury them, so the land will be made clean again. Whenever some bones are found, a marker will be set up beside them so the burial crews will see them and take them to be buried in the Valley of Gog's Hordes. (There will be a town there named Hamonah - which means 'horde.') And so the land will finally be cleansed." Ezekiel 39:11-16 (NLT)
The destruction of these invading armies will be so vast it will change the topography of the land. So many dead bodies will litter the landscape that it will take seven months to bury all the dead, even with the help of every citizen in Israel!
"And now, son of man, call all the birds and wild animals, says the Sovereign Lord. Say to them: Gather together for my great sacrificial feast. Come from far and near to the mountains of Israel and there eat the flesh and drink the blood! Eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of princes as though they were rams, lambs, goats, and fat young bulls of Bashan! Gorge yourselves with flesh until you are glutted; drink blood until you are drunk. This is the sacrificial feast I have prepared for you. Feast at my banquet table - feast on horses, riders, and valiant warriors, says the Sovereign Lord." Ezekiel 39:17-20 (NLT)
God will call the birds and wild animals of the earth to feast upon the dead bodies of Israel's enemies. His purpose is nothing less than to make Himself known to, and display His glory among, the nations of the world.
"Thus, I will demonstrate my glory among the nations. Everyone will see the punishment I have inflicted on them and the power I have demonstrated. And from that time on the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God. The nations will then know why Israel was sent away to exile - it was punishment for sin, for they acted in treachery against their God. Therefore, I turned my back on them and let their enemies destroy them. I turned my face away and punished them in proportion to the vileness of their sins." Ezekiel 39:21-24 (NLT)
The nations will acknowledge the God of Israel as the one true God.
"So now the Sovereign Lord says: I will end the captivity of my people; I will have mercy on Israel, for I am jealous for my holy reputation! They will accept responsibility for their past shame and treachery against me after they come home to live in peace and safety in their own land. And then no one will bother them or make them afraid. When I bring them home from the lands of their enemies, my holiness will be displayed to the nations. Then my people will know that I am the Lord their God - responsible for sending them away to exile and responsible for bringing them home. I will leave none of my people behind. And I will never again turn my back on them, for I will pour out my Spirit upon them, says the Sovereign Lord." Ezekiel 39:25-29 (NLT)
The Spirit of the Lord (the Holy Spirit) will be poured out on the people of Israel, and never again will the Lord turn His back on them. All of this will happen in the last days.
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