One reason why I write new articles is so that I do not have to keep repeating myself when the inevitable questions or criticisms on my Bible prophecy views come up over and over again in comments on this blog or in emails to me. I do wish people would use the search box on the homepage of my website or this blog to find out if I already have written about a topic before they ask questions on Bible prophecy, but they usually do not. (The search box on the website homepage also covers the articles on this blog). Even so, if I already wrote an article on the subject I often just give them a link rather than recreate the wheel. So that it one purpose for this article.
Another reason for this article is the other day I was looking for more reasons then I had off the top of my head why the Gog/Magog war of Ezekiel chapter 38 and 39 and Armageddon (Har Megiddo) definitely were not describing the same war but I only could find a few reasons posted here and there. So, I figured an article needed to be written where most of the good arguments can all be found in one place.
First a bit of background on this topic about why it matters to know these things and why some good people think the Gog/Magog war and Armageddon are the same war.
First let me say that Jews and those Christians that are amillennial or preterist get this wrong because much of their eschatology does not agree with what the scriptures plainly teach.
I know some might want to know why knowing that these are two different wars are of importance? It is primarily because the Jews and the Gentiles that are expecting a Messiah after the Ezekiel Gog/Magog campaign will be deceived when a false Christ arrives on the scene. Jesus said, ” I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” Jesus was talking about the Jews receiving the coming Antichrist as the Messiah. The Jews will receive him because after the Gog war where God destroys Gog’s army to save Israel and also to display to Israel and the world that He exists, they will be set up by religious leaders to believe that they will now enter the promised kingdom restoration. Instead they will enter the false covenant with the Antichrist.
It also could be important because the Rapture might occur very near the time of this war. Some in the world are teaching that God will have to remove the Christian fundamentalists for the world to ever have peace. If the world thinks all the unteachable were removed by God they will not even miss the Church after the Rapture.
The reason the Jews are quite wrong on all this is because even after God supernaturally protects Israel from Gog and they acknowledge that YHWH exists they will still reject Him as the Messiah. The Jews that are now looking for the Ezekiel 38-39 events do not understand the other prophetic passages that clearly talk about a coming chastisement of Israel in the land before the restoration.
They want those passages to be talking about past events or they spirtualize or ignore them like many Christians also do. However, in Daniel those with knowledge of the prophetic scriptures see a seven year period that still remains unfulfilled for Israel until the time of transgression that is appointed for Israel is completed. Only after that do we see that Israel is restored.
That is the time known as Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7). It is the seven year covenant that Israel signs with the Prince of the people that destroyed the second Temple that is spoken about in Daniel. This Prince will become the Beast Antichrist. Therefore, after the Ezekiel Gog war when God starts favoring Israel again for His own name sake, the final seven years will be imminent. The time-clock actually starts with the signing of the seven year covenant spoken about by Daniel.
Therefore, when the time of Jacob’s trouble arrives on Israel most will not understand so God sends His two prophets. Even after their 1260 day testimony in Jerusalem only one third of those living in the land apparently believe their message and flee to the mountains for protection from the Beast before the Armageddon war. The other two thirds will die at the hand of the Beast Antichrist.
Also, those Gentiles left behind after the Rapture will likewise at first be deceived by the Antichrist after the Gog/Magog war. They probably include most that can be identified with Thyatira, Sardis and Laodicea in Revelation. It seems only the faithful Church identified as Philadelphia in Revelation is promised to be kept out of the great trial coming on all who live on the earth.
I think the main problem with some Christians who take Bible prophecy literally but still cannot see this, is because of the wording in Ezekiel chapter 39, and also their inability to correlate prophetic scriptures.
They understand that the latter chapters of Ezekiel are sequential. They see and understand the rebirth of Israel in Ezekiel 37. They correctly see what will be coming next is the Gog/Magog war of chapters 38 and 39. They also see that chapters 40-48 are describing Millennial happenings. They ascertain that the last part of Ezekiel chapter 39 is talking about events after the tribulation and then they put two and two together and incorrectly conclude that the Millennium must immediately follow the Gog/Magog war of chapter 39.
The logical thing to them is that the Ezekiel Gog/Magog also must be Armageddon. For they think if Armageddon were a later war the detail would be described in Ezekiel before the millennial events that are described in chapters 40-48 take place. What they do not consider is that God may have left out the details about Armageddon in Ezekiel for His own purpose.
Be aware that the chapters and verses in the Bible are not inspired, they are of recent origin and some chapter breaks were just put in the wrong place. I think Ezekiel as the chapters are now assigned, retains the proper sequence from the rebirth of Israel until the restored kingdom, but I think they should have broken Ezekiel chapter 39 into two chapters. Chapter 39a goes up to verse 16 and it is still talking about the Gog/Magog war but in Chapter 39b from verse 17 onward where God says, “thus son of man” it is another prophecy and it talking about the aftermath of the Armageddon war.
Nevertheless, I am not dogmatic that this has to be true. That is just one possible explanation why Armageddon details are not in Ezekiel. But, I do think it is by design that God left out the details about Armageddon in Ezekiel. The Jews are quite aware of the Ezekiel passage they read it all the time. They dream about God once again fighting their battles for them like days of old. But, since they reject passages elsewhere that talk about a chastisement for Israel just before their restoration and because they reject Jesus as there Messiah they will be blinded to proper discernment of certain prophetic passages.
The Jews and most of the world first must experience the wickedness of the Antichrist for them to understand. The Beast Antichrist represents what the world will be like without Jesus. He also represents what eternity will be like without God. If some people were not shown pure evil they would never come to Jesus Christ for salvation.
So, after laying that background let me point out the clear differences between the wars and why the Ezekiel Gog/Magog war and the battle of Armageddon cannot be the same war.
Differences between the Gog/Magog war of Ezekiel 38 and 39 and the battle of Armageddon (Har Megiddo):
1. Ezekiel 38-39 - God puts hooks in the jaws of Gog (probably a demon king possessing a Russian leader) to bring him down from the North against the land of Israel to take a spoil.—–Armageddon – Demons come out of the mouth of the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet and they deceive the kings of the earth and lead all nations to come against Jerusalem to kill all Jews and oppose Jesus at his coming (Zec 12 – 14; Rev 16:14 ; Joel 3:1) .
|The Nations of Ezekiel 38: 1 6|
|The Ancient Nations||The Modern Nations|
|The land of Magog
Meshech and Tubal
“Many peoples with thee”
Somewhere in Russia
Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan
Ethiopia and Sudan
Austria and Germany
Southeastern Europe – Turkey
Various other nations allied to Russia
2. Ezekiel 38-39 - Fire and earthquakes fall on the army. The weapons are knocked out of their hands. The bones of the army are buried after 7 months at a specific location by trained professionals (perhaps because their bones are radioactive). —–Armageddon - The flesh of the armies that come against Israel are dissolved and slain from the sword of the mouth of Jesus. There is no mention of any burial of the bones.
3. Ezekiel 38-39 – The army falls on the northern mountains of Israel they never reach Jerusalem.—–Armageddon – The army falls in the valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2) and blood runs up to the horses bridles the length of Israel (Rev 14:20).
4. Ezekiel 38-39 – Occurs when Israel is living securely in peace and safety with none to make them afraid.—–Armageddon – Occurs at the end of the tribulation when Israel has already fled to the mountains of Jordan for protection from the Antichrist.
5. Ezekiel 38-39 - Some nations aligned with the West protest the invasion and obviously are not involved.—–Armageddon – All nations are involved.
6. Ezekiel 38-39 – No mention of a religious or spiritual figures it just mentions Gog, men and nations.—–Armageddon – Occurs after Satan is cast out of heaven unto the earth and the incarnated Beast Antichrist and his False prophet visibly reign upon earth.
7. Ezekiel 38-39 – 1/6 of the army survives and is driven north into Russia.——Armageddon – The whole army is destroyed. (I am now aware that the 1/6th is only found in KJ version and it is not supported by the Greek)
8. Ezekiel 38-39 – The nations immediately surrounding Israel are not included (perhaps they were defeated in the Psalm 83 war and are occupied)—–Armageddon – The nations around Israel are said to be included.
9. Ezekiel 38-39 – The world acknowledges that the God of Israel destroyed the invaders and God of Israel is magnified in the eyes of the nations.—–Armageddon – The world thinks the Antichrist is God and dares to come to battle against the God of Israel and His coming King that everyone on the earth has have been clearly told is coming at this point.
10. Ezekiel 38-39 – The purpose is to bring Israel to repentance so that they acknowledge their God and so God can display and magnify Himself in the eyes of all the nations.—–Armageddon – The purpose is to deliver Israel from the Beast, bring judgment on the Beast and the False Prophet and all the Gentiles armies that follow them. They will not have Jesus reign as King on earth so they will be destroyed by Jesus at His coming.
11. Ezekiel 38-39 – No prior signs are mentioned Israel is living securely.——Armageddon – Occurs after wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The moon is turned blood red and the sun is darkened and people fear what they see coming upon the earth.
12. Ezekiel 38-39 – the leader of the armies name is Gog, the name adds up to 12 in Hebrew —–Armageddon – The Beast is the leader his name adds up to 666.
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Don Koenig founded www.thepropheticyears.com website in 1999 after almost thirty years of independent study on the Bible and learning from many astute teachers within Christendom. Don created his website to write about Bible prophecy, biblical discernment and his Christian worldviews. Don wrote a free Revelation commentary ebook in 2004 named "The Revelation of Jesus Christ Through The Ages". The World and Church and Bible Prophecy section of this website was started in 2007.