When Will the Battle of Gog and Magog Occur?

Dr. Mark Hitchcock

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Outline of Ezekiel

Ezekiel 1-24 Judgment on Judah

25-32 Judgment on Judah's Near Enemies

33-48 Blessings on Israel

Chs. 38-39 are divided into seven sections each beginning with the

ominous words "Thus says the Lord God" (Adoriat Yahweh)

(38:3,10,14,17; 39:1,17,25)

A helpful teaching outline is the journalist's questions Who, What, When, Where, How and Why. The focus of this study is the "When question."

There are six main views on the timing of this invasion among conservative, premillennial scholars: 1) before the tribulation; 2) near the beginning of the tribulation; 3) sometime just before the middle of the tribulation; 4) at the end of the tribulation; 5) during the "transition period" between the end of the tribulation and the actual establishment of the millennial kingdom; and 6) at the end of the millennium.

I. The General Identification of the Time

A. The Placement of Chapters 38-39 in Ezekiel

B. The Chronological Terms

1. "latter years" ('acharith hashshantm 38:8)

2. "last days" ('acharith hayyamim 38:16)

The words 'acharith hayyamtm are used fourteen times in the OT: Gen 49:1; Num 24:14; Deut 4:30; 31:29; Isa 2:2; Jer 23:20; 30:24; 48:47; Ezek 38:16; Dan 2:28; 8:23; 10:14; Hos 3:5; Mic 4:1.

While one could make a case for all of these occurrences referring ultimately to either the tribulation or the millennium, in several passages this term is clearly a technical term which refers to the consummation of history or what Scripture calls the 70th week. (Ezekiel 38:8,16; Dan 2:28; 10:14). Horst Seabass, Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, 1:210-12.

C. Conclusion

The placement of chapters 38-39 in Ezekiel and the chronological terms used eliminate two of the above views as viable alternatives: 1) before the tribulation; 2) at the end of the millennium.

The "transition period" view can also be eliminated because it is inconceivable that Israel could be fully restored to the land, wealthy, living securely and that this vast horde of nations could assemble their massive army and invade Israel all in a period of 75 days.

II. The Specific Identification of the Time

  • The Regathering of Israel (Ezek 36-37)
  • The Rest of Israel (38:8,11,14; cf. Dan 9:27)
  • The Response of Israel (39:22)
  • The Retribution of God (39:7)
  • The Return to Ancient Weapons (39:7)
  • The Relationship of Ezekiel 38-39 and Daniel 11:40-45
  • the same time period
  • a. Dan 10:14

    b. Ezek 38:8,16

    c. Dan 11:40-12:1

    The events in Daniel 11:40-45a seem to occur just before and at the mid-point of the 70th week. Several points support this conclusion. First, as a result of the destruction of the king of the South and king of the North, the willful king invades Israel. This Is consistent with Daniel 9:27. Second, the willful king begins his persecution of Israel at this point. Third, the entire context of vv.40-45 pictures the ascension of the willful king to power which the Scriptures reveal will begin at the middle of the tribulation (Rev 13:4-5). Fourth, at this point the willful king establishes his headquarters in Jerusalem and desecrates the temple (1 1:45a; 9:27) Fourth, the great tribulation is clearly mentioned in the following context in 12:1.

    2. the same geographical areas

    a. a northern confederation of nations

    Ezek 38:1-6 Magog, Rosh, Meshech, Tubal,

    Persia, Gomer, Togarmah

    Dan 11:40-45 the king of the North

    (the Seleucid empire in

    Dan 11:5-35)

    b. a southern confederation of nations

    Ezek 38:5 Cush, Put

    Dan 11:40-45 the king of the South (the

    Ptolemaic empire in Dan 11:5-35)

    Dan. 11:43 specifically mentions

    Libya and Cush.

    c. Israel

    3. Daniel and Ezekiel were contemporaries