“Gog and Magog” in Ezekiel and Revelation

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“Gog and Magog” in Ezekiel and Revelation

Post by steve » Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:25 am

I received this question in my email. Whenever I take the time to answer an individual on a subject of interest to others, I try to post it here as well. Here is his question, and my response:

Hi Steve,
I've been wondering about Israel and Gog and Magog and the deception of nations when Satan is released in Rev 20:7ff. My question is this...although Ezekiel 38 is historical in its fulfillment is there a chance that Gog and Magog can have a future fulfillment in regards to a future Israel coming back to its land and the world still being deceived into thinking Israel is something special, like dispensationalists do? Maybe that's part of Satan deceiving the nations cause like you I believe the Israel itself had its chance and paid for it in 70 AD. That would make Israel being in its ancient land relevant but mean nothing else cause they need Jesus too. Again maybe that's how Satan is deceiving the nations especially us in the western world making Israel to be more than God intended. Maybe them being back in the land is just a sign of the end.
God bless you,


Hello Dan,

I find it difficult to identify the exact fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 and 39. If it is describing an actual military invasion, it seems to be set after the return of the exiles from Babylon, but that is the only time indicator. I know of several theories:

1) Some believe it refers (in highly-symbolic terms) to the crisis described in the book of Esther, so that Gog might be identified with someone like Haman. A case can be made for this, and I believe it is the view of Gary DeMar. You might look for something by him on the subject—an article on the internet, perhaps. I know I have read something, but it was years ago, and I don't remember all the points that were made. It seemed that there were quite a few.

2) A view that is, I think, an older one, is that the crisis in Ezekiel describes (again, in very symbolic terms) the crisis of the Maccabees in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes.

Both of the above views would find fulfillment in the timeframe suggested.

3) Some see it, not as a military episode at all, but as the spiritual warfare involving the church in the present age, culminating in the ultimate destruction of our enemies at the coming of Christ. This view might dovetail well with the mention of Gog and Magog in Revelation 20.

4) There is a preterist view, which could see the AD 70 crisis in Ezekiel 38 (but not so easily in chapter 39). I have never fully understood it in regard to Revelation 20.

5) The futurist view, which sees this as an eschatological Middle Eastern crisis involving Israel and a confederacy of enemies led by Russia.

My own leanings would be toward one of the first two views, though the other's are not impossible.

The mention of Gog and Magog in Revelation 20 might not be intended to be telling us that the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy is involved. True, only Ezekiel and Revelation make reference to these name together, but Revelation has a tendency to bring data from the Old Testament into new applications. Thus, the woman teaching idolatry in the church of Thyatira is called "Jezebel" (Rev.2:20)—not because she is the same woman who seduced Israel into idolatry, but because of the similarity between the two, in principle. Jerusalem is "spiritually called Sodom and Egypt" (11:8)—not because she really is identified with these Gentile entities, but because her moral and spiritual state parallels theirs, and because her judgment is going to be described in terms reminiscent of theirs—i.e., fire and brimstone (9:17; 14:10; 19:3) and various plagues, like those of Egypt (darkness, water to blood, locusts, boils, etc.). These are not the phenomena that actually accompanied the fall of Jerusalem, but in the apocalyptic genre, these images serve to make the comparison between the fate of Jerusalem and that of these pagan nations.

Similarly, the preservation of the church under wholesale persecution, and her vindication against her enemies at the coming of Christ, are parallel, in principle, with the preservation and vindication of the post-exilic Judean community from overwhelming enemies, in pre-Christian times. Thus, Revelation uses the imagery of that Old Testament scenario (Gog, Magog, fire from heaven) in the description of this final vindication. In other words, I do not think that the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39 is necessarily the same historical event as that in Revelation 20, though the same names appear both places.

As for Israel's presence in the land being a sign of the times, I am not able to comment helpfully, since, in my view, this is not predicted in scripture and would thus remain a matter of speculation. It may be true, but I am not able to ascertain that from scripture, and I generally avoid making statements about "end times" which depend merely on current events.

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Re: “Gog and Magog” in Ezekiel and Revelation

Post by steve7150 » Wed Jun 08, 2016 7:47 pm

I've been wondering about Israel and Gog and Magog and the deception of nations when Satan is released in Rev 20:7ff

You might want to check out Joel Richardson on this. I think he really knows his stuff. I think he believes Gog is the AntiChrist figure preceding the milleneum period
and Satan rebelling at the end is a separate event. I think he does think Eze 38 and Rev 19 are connected.

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Re: “Gog and Magog” in Ezekiel and Revelation

Post by 3Resurrections » Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:45 pm

An older post, but still a good one. I firmly hold to Steve's #4 interpretation of the Gog and Magog event, from a preterist understanding of these things. The Gog / Magog prophecy has already been completely fulfilled, with names, dates, and nationalities involved in this battle that all refer to the AD 66-70 war of the Jews. It is a virtual side-by-side comparison from Josephus' accounts to the details spelled out in both Ezekiel 38-39 and Revelation 20: 7-10. AND in Numbers 24, which most do not recognize as connecting to this subject.

Steve is correct in saying that "...Revelation has a tendency to bring data from the Old Testament into new applications." "Gog" is definitely mentioned in the Old Testament. It is identified as the NATION OF ISRAEL in Balaam's prophecy, as found in the LXX version of Numbers 24:5-9. "How goodly are thy habitations, Jacob, and thy tents, ISRAEL! As shady groves, and as gardens by a river, and as tents which God pitched, and as cedars by the waters. There shall come a man out of his seed, and he shall rule over many nations; and the KINGDOM OF GOG shall be exalted, and his kingdom shall be increased. God led him" (He led Gog) "out of Egypt; he has as it were the glory of a unicorn: he shall consume the nations of his enemies, and he shall drain their marrow, and with his darts he shall shoot through the enemy. He lay down, he rested as a lion, and as a young lion; who shall stir him up? They that bless thee are blessed, and they that curse thee are cursed." This prophecy of Balaam, given by inspiration from God, is undoubtedly linking the name of "Gog" with that of "Israel".

Gog's (Israel's) battle in Ezekiel 38-39 was going to be characterized as a war when "every man's sword shall be against his brother" (Ez. 38:21). This was to be CIVIL WAR IN ISRAEL, which is exactly what occurred in the AD 70 era with the Zealot uprising. The Zealot faction was already simmering during those days of Christ's ministry (with even one of Christ's disciples, Simon Zelotes, having been one of their number). Barabbas also was part of this undercurrent of rebellion, creating insurrection against the Roman governance in Judea. When II Thess. 2:7 said that "the mystery of iniquity doth already work", Paul was referring to Zealotry working behind the scenes in those days, until the "Man of Lawlessness", the Zealot Menahem, would be openly revealed when he murdered the restraining moderate high priest Ananias, and boldly entered the temple with his armed men, dressed in royal garments, and claiming to be the "King of the Jews" in AD 66.

Zealotry would become increasingly prominent in the decades following Christ's ascension. Christ predicted this increase of hostility in Israel between its citizens, beginning as He spoke to the people in Luke 12:52. "For FROM HENCEFORTH there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father..." This division between father and son quite literally happened in AD 66, even among the high priesthood. Ananias, the moderate high priest who sided with maintaining submission to Rome, was opposed by his own son Eleazar, governor of the temple, who helped instigate open revolt against Rome in AD 66 by halting the daily sacrifice for the empire and the emperor; a defiant breach of their agreement with Rome. Civil disagreement even extended to the Zealots assassinating those who only desired to preserve the status quo under Roman domination.

Satan and his angels had been cast out of heaven to earth at the ascension of Christ earlier in AD 33 (as Christ foretold in John 12:31 and 14:30), which began his "short time" and "little season" of being loosed between AD 33 and AD 66, when he maximized his deception of the nations, especially in the "four quarters of the earth" (the land of Israel, which is Magog). Animosity between inept, cruel Roman governors and the nationalistic Zealots grew increasingly virulent, with the Zealots staunchly believing God had to be on their side (a deception in which Satan definitely participated during that "little season").

The name "Gog" was to become a moniker for one of the main Zealot leaders in Israel contending for power in the AD 66-70 period. Specificaly, it was Simon bar Giora, coming from the "North parts" of "Galilee of the Gentiles" (a hot-bed for Zealot activity) with his vast army that eventually numbered around 40,000 that supported him (the "sand of the sea" metaphor for Gog's army in Rev. 20:7, and Gog's "great company...handling swords" - the Sicarii - in Ez. 38:4). Simon's army was composed of multi-ethnic individuals coming from the various nations around and within Israel. The Romans themselves regarded Simon bar Giora as the main leader of the rebellion (the "chief prince" of Ez. 38:2). After his capture in Jerusalem in AD 70, they reserved him for the Roman triumph procession, and concluded by executing him. Simon's army was decimated, and literally "fell on the mountains of Israel", as Ezekiel 39:4 prophesied would happen on Jerusalem's mountains that encircled the city. Burying all the corpses in Israel after Jerusalem finally fell literally took those 7 months to accomplish (Ez. 39:11-16). Also, since every tree within a range of 10 miles of Jerusalem was cut down to be used for the war, it literally took those 7 years to finish burning the wood from this war materiel as it was used for fuel (Ez. 39:9).

(A side benefit of correctly identifying the time that "Gog" and his army appeared in history is that one can also correctly identify the ending point of the literal 1,000-year millennium. It ended in AD 33, at the "First Resurrection" of Christ the First-fruits, when Satan was cast out of heaven and loosed for that "short time" to deceive the nations, and to convince the Zealots they needed to start a war with Rome in AD 66.)

If anyone is interested in a couple comments where I discuss at even greater lengths this man Simon bar Giora's identity as being the Israelite "chief prince" Zealot leader named "Gog", then please check the following two links:

https://adammaarschalk.com/2010/04/05/r ... and-magog/ (the May 26, 2018 comment)

https://adammaarschalk.com/2017/03/16/r ... -movement/ (the March 22, 2017 comment)

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