At some time during the end of this present age, there will be a massive invasion involving Islamic nations aligned with the country which today is called Russia. The attack will be against the nation Israel and the goal will be to annihilate God's chosen nation. Before this goal can be accomplished the invading army will be supernaturally destroyed in a remarkable way that will bring glory to Jehovah. The details of this invasion are clearly revealed by the prophet Ezekiel in chapters 38-39.
What Nation Will Lead This Invasion?
Long ago the prophet Ezekiel predicted that in the latter days the people of Israel would be invaded by a great confederacy of nations coming down from the north. This important prophecy is found in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. How can we identify these mighty invaders?
Those who will attack the people of Israel are identified in Ezekiel 38:2:
Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince (literally "the prince of Rosh") of Meshech and Tubal.
Let us consider these names one by one so that we might identify this vast
multitude of people who have come to attack and annihilate Israel:
1) MAGOG--this term was used to describe the region where the descendants of Magog lived. According to Genesis 10:2, Magog was one of the sons of Japheth. Japheth was one of the sons of Noah (see Genesis 9:18,27). Josephus, the Jewish historian, says that the descendants of Magog were “by the Greeks called Scythians” (Ant. i.6.1). According to the Encyclopedia Britannica (1957) and The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the Scythian people lived to the north of the Black Sea and north of the Caucasus Mountains. This area today is part of Russia. Gesenius, the Hebrew scholar, says that the descendants of Magog were “a great and powerful people, inhabiting the extreme recesses of the north.”
2) ROSH--some Bible scholars, such as Gesenius, believe that the modern name of “Russia” is derived from this ancient place name “Rosh,” because of the similarity of sounds, and also because certain Greek writers of the 10th century (A.D.) described people living in the area later called Russia by the word “Rōs.” Other Bible students take the position of Old Testament scholar Merrill F. Unger who says that the word Russia was not derived from Rosh, “although the general area was that now occupied by Russia and Turkey.”
3) MESHECH was another son of Japheth (Genesis 10:2). The descendants of this man lived for centuries in Asia Minor (probably in Cappadocia), and later were pushed northward by their enemies into the mountainous area southeast of the Black Sea. Today this area borders on Russia.
4) TUBAL was another son of Japheth (Genesis 10:2). The descendants of this man also lived in Asia Minor, not far from the Black Sea. The descendants of Tubal and Meshech probably lived close to each other, because in the Scriptures the two names are almost always found together.
Where Will This Massive Army Come From?
If these names (Magog, Rosh, Meshech, Tubal) seem confusing, there is perhaps an easier way to identify the source or origin of this massive army of invaders. From what direction will these armies come? The Bible is very clear about this:
And thou shalt come from thy place out ____ ______ ____________ _________, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army (Ezekiel 38:15).
And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up _________ _____ ____________ ___________, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel (Ezekiel 39:2).
The Hebrew expression for "north part," in both of these verses
literally means "the extreme parts of the north" or “the remote parts of
the north" (NASB) or "the far north" (NIV) or "the uttermost parts of the
Examine a world map or a globe. What is the nation located to the extreme north of Israel? _______________________________ Moscow is located almost due north of Jerusalem!
Russia today is not an Islamic nation, but it has an Islamic population that is growing very rapidly, and this is causing concerns among those in Russia who are not Islamic. The average Islamic family in Russia is bearing more children than the average non-Islamic Russian family, and this means that the Islamic population in Russia is growing larger all the time. It is possible that in the future Islamic Russians will be in the majority.
The Identification of the Other Nations Who Will Participate in This Invasion
These nations are listed in Ezekiel 38:5-6,
"Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee."
As we identify these other nations that will join with Russia, we discover that all of them are Islamic nations:
Persia - Today this is the nation known as Iran.
Ethiopia - Do not confuse this with modern day Ethiopia.
The Ethiopia described by Ezekiel was located directly south of Egypt and would
correspond to the modern country of Sudan.
Libya = It is remarkable that the ancient country of Libya corresponds to the modern country of Libya. We would think the country would change names after more than 2500 years, but it has not.
Gomer and Togarmah = These ancient names found their location in what today is the country of Turkey.
Thus, the four countries which will align themselves with Russia to invade Israel are these:
Every year countries change politically and in many other ways, and in a year from now our descriptions of these countries may be out of date. However, as you think about these four countries, ask yourself these questions:
Are these countries Arab nations? [As of 2010, none of these countries were Arab countries; they are Muslim countries but not Arab countries]
Are these countries Islamic?
Are these countries controlled by radical Islamic groups?
Are these countries enemies of Israel today?
Do these countries desire to wipe Israel off the face of the map?
Are these countries aligned in any way with Russia? Do they receive military aid and weaponry from Russia?
How is the Invading Army Described?
The SIZE of the invading army from the far North is described in Ezekiel 38:15:
And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and _________ ___________ with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a ____________ ________________, and a ____________ army.
This massive army is described as being a mighty army consisting of many people and comprising a great company. According to verse 16, this army will be like a cloud covering the land. Think of a fog that settles into a valley. The fog seems to be everywhere. So also this army will cover the land in an all pervading way.
This army will be against Israel.
"And thou shalt come up ______________ my people of Israel" (Ezekiel 38:16).
Their thoughts and intentions towards Israel will be EVIL (Ezekiel 38:10). They will attack Israel with the goal of destroying God's people.
Not only will this army be against Israel, but it will also be against God:
"So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel" (Ezekiel 39:7).
This army was polluting God's Name. Because these invading peoples were against God, God was against them:
"Behold I am _______________ thee, O Gog" (Ezekiel 38:3 and 39:1).
What has God promised to do to those who curse Israel (Genesis 12:3)?
Those who are enemies of Israel are enemies of God. If God be against you, who shall be for you (compare Romans 8:31)? It is a dangerous thing to be against God and against His people.
When Will This Invasion Take Place?
According to Ezekiel 38:8 it will occur “In the ________________ years.”
According to Ezekiel 38:16 it will take place “in the _____________ days.” Both of these expressions point to a future time just prior to the return of the Messiah to establish His kingdom on earth. The Jewish people divided time into two distinct ages: 1) the present age, 2) the age to come or the Messianic age when the Messiah will rule on the earth. The expressions "the latter years" or "the latter days" refers to the time near the end of this present age. It also refers to the time just prior to the Messianic age, or the time just prior to Christ's return to earth.
It will be a time when Israel is prosperous. Notice the description of Israel's wealth in Ezekiel 38:12-13.
We are also told that the invasion will take place when the people of Israel will dwell S_____________ (Ezekiel 38:14 and compare Ezekiel 38:11 which also seems to describe a time of peace when Israel will not even need walls to protect its villages).
According to God's Word, when will Israel be dwelling in safety, without fear of hostile forces round about them?
Certainly such conditions do not exist for Israel now. Today the nations that surround Israel are hostile, and most of them desire Israel's destruction. Israel today must be on constant alert against foreign enemies and radical terrorists. They are not dwelling securely in their land today.
Certainly such conditions will not exist for Israel in the great tribulation (the last half of Daniel's 70th week, the last three and a half years before the Messiah returns). During the great tribulation the nation Israel will be under intense persecution by the forces of Antichrist (Revelation 12-13). It is referred to as "the time of Jacob's T_____________" (Jeremiah 30:7) and it will be the greatest time of trouble Israel has ever known (compare Daniel 12:1---"and there shall be a time of ________________ such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time").
Is there any future time when Israel will dwell in safety? Prior to the great tribulation, the nation Israel will make a treaty or covenant with a future ruler from the area which was once considered part of the Roman empire. Bible students identify this ruler as the Antichrist or the man of sin--see Daniel 9:27. He will provide the Jews with a certain amount of protection and safety, even if it is only temporary. The time that Israel will be under the protective treaty of this powerful man will be during the first half of Daniel's 70th week. At the end of this three and a half year period ("in the midst of the week"), the Antichrist will break his treaty with the Jews (Daniel 9:27). In light of these facts, the most likely time for this Islamic invasion will be some time during the first half of the tribulation period when Israel is living in safety, protected by the Antichrist. [Note: The seven year tribulation period is identical to Daniel's 70th week, this "week" being a period of seven years.]
Other Bible scholars believe that this invasion will take place prior to the tribulation (prior to Daniel's 70th week). Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum explain how Israel could be dwelling securely in the land prior to the tribulation:
They dwell securely (38:11,14). This has often been misconstrued as meaning a state of peace, but this is not the meaning of the Hebrew root batach. The nominal form of this root means "security." This is not the security due to a state of peace, but a security due to confidence in their own strength. This, too, is a good description of Israel today. The Israeli army has fought four major wars since its founding and and won them swiftly each time. Today Israel is secure, confident that her army can repel any invasion from the Arab states. Hence, Israel is dwelling securely. Israel is dwelling in unwalled villages (38:11). This is very descriptive of the present-day kibbutzim in Israel. [Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footprints of the Messiah, pages 121-122].
The advantage of this view is that it more easily explains the seven years of Ezekiel 39:9 (the time it will take to burn the weapons of war). If the invasion takes place near the beginning of the tribulation, then the burning of the weapons would take place at a time when Israel would be in flight (the last half of the tribulation) and not able to finish the burning of the weapons.
If the invasion of Ezekiel 38-39 takes place before the tribulation, does this destroy the doctrine of imminency? The doctrine of imminency teaches that nothing must be fulfilled prior to the rapture. That is, the rapture may take place at any time. To say that an event must take place before the tribulation does not affect the doctrine of imminency. The rapture begins before the tribulation but we are not told how long a time period there will be in between the rapture and the tribulation. The tribulation does not begin with the rapture, but with the signing of the seven-year covenant. So to say that the invasion must take place before the tribulation does not necessarily mean that it will take place before the rapture. The rapture may take place at any time. The same is true with the tribulation temple. We know that there must be a temple by the middle of the tribulation period (Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4). Obviously the temple must be built prior to this. Does this mean that the temple must be built before the rapture? No, it merely means that the temple must be built before the middle of the tribulation. It is possible that the construction of the temple could commence prior to the rapture, but we do not know this. It would be wrong to say, "The construction of the temple must begin before the rapture can take place." It would also be wrong to say, "The Ezekiel invasion must take place before the rapture." There is nothing that must take place before the rapture but there are some things that could take place before the rapture. The attitude of the watchful believer is this: "It could be today! Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"
How is the Invading Army Described?
The invading forces from the north are described as “a ____________ company, and a ___________________ army” (Ezekiel 38:15). This invading coalition will have great military might. Such an army would never attack Israel without being confident that they could win the battle.
Who is able to wage war with such a mighty military force, made up of these different nations, all sharing a passionate hatred for Israel? What nation would dare to enter into battle against such a formidable foe? How could Israel possibly win? This situation will be similar to the days when powerful Goliath was defying the armies of Israel (1 Samuel 17). Who could possibly defeat such a great giant? With man this was impossible, and the situation seemed totally hopeless from a human point of view. However, Goliath, that great giant, was defeated by a great God!
The Mighty Invaders Meet Their Doom
The invaders from the north will come against Israel with evil intent (Ezekiel 38:10-12), but who will actually bring them there (see Ezekiel 38:16)? ________________________________ God will draw them into battle (Ezekiel 38:4). The LORD wants these armies in the land so that He can accomplish His purposes, and these soldiers and their commanders will definitely be in for a big surprise! Who will defeat this “MIGHTY ARMY” (see Ezekiel 38:18-23; 39:1-7)? Circle the correct answer:
a. The Israelites
b. The United States
c. The man of sin
d. The European nations
f. God Himself
What will be the result of this supernatural victory? How will God be viewed? The following passages give us the answers:
Ezekiel 38:16 __________________________________________________________________
Ezekiel 38:23 __________________________________________________________________
Ezekiel 39:6 ___________________________________________________________________
Ezekiel 39:7 ___________________________________________________________________
Ezekiel 39:13 __________________________________________________________________
Ezekiel 39:21-22 _______________________________________________________________
The world will recognize that God did it! God will get the credit.
The Seven Months and the Seven Years
How long will it take to burn the weapons which will be remaining from this defeated army (Ezekiel 39:9)? __________________ Compare also Psalm 46:9.
How long will it take for Israel to bury the dead (Ezekiel 39:12)? _______________________________
The seven months and the seven years remind us of the size and magnitude of this
invading army. Their bodies and their weapons will require a massive
cleanup effort that will be ongoing.
Another Invasion of God and
After the Millennium!
After the thousand year reign of Christ, the land of Israel will once again be
invaded by a massive army (see Revelation 20:7-9). The names “Gog” and “Magog”
are used again (Rev. 20:8), not because these are the same people, but because
of these important similarities:
1) In both cases the invaders are against God and against God’s people.
2) In both cases the invading army is made up of a vast multitude.
3) In both cases Israel and Jerusalem are the targets.
4) In both cases the enemy is Satanically inspired.
5) In both cases the enemy is destroyed by God Himself, supernaturally, without any help from man.
The invasion described in Ezekiel 38-39 will take place before Christ's millennial kingdom whereas the invasion described in Revelation 20 will take place after the thousand year kingdom has expired.
THOUGHT QUESTIONS: Does it pay to be on God’s side? How can I know for sure that I am on God's side?
"The LORD is on my ____________; I will not
fear. What can man do unto me?" (Psalm 118:6).