As of this writing, tensions have been high between Russia, Turkey, and Turkey’s NATO allies after Turkey earlier this week shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian-Turkey border. Turkey’s government claimed that the Russian jet violated their air space and Russia claimed the plane was in Syria. This incident comes on the heels of a Russian commercial airliner being blown up over Egypt, with ISIS being suspected in the attack. Russia has also stepped up its involvement in battling ISIS in Syria. As I have watched various news reports on these incidents, the thought crossed my mind: Is the stage being set for the Battle of Gog and Magog as prophesied in Ezekiel chapters 38-39?
Before we proceed further, let me state that I am neither a biblical scholar nor an expert on Bible prophecy, I am simply trying to study current events and where they may fit into the Biblical narrative.
All of the nations listed in Ezekiel 38-39- Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, Togarmah, Sheba, Dedan. Tarshish, and Israel- are all 21st Century nations, but many go by different names, which will be explained shortly. To understand the names in the biblical context of Ezekiel 38-39, we must go back to “The Table of Nations” listed in Genesis chapter 10. After the Flood, Noah’s three sons- Shem. Ham, and Japheth and their descendants repopulated the earth. The following is a listing of the descendants, the nations they started and the modern day names of these nations.
“The sons of Japheth: Gomer (modern day Ukraine), and Magog (modern day Russia), and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, (modern day Turkey), and Meshech (modern day Turkey), and Tiras.” (Genesis 10:2, KJV, emphasis and parenthesis mine).
“And the sons of Gomer: Askenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah (modern day Turkey).” (Genesis 10:3, KJV, emphasis and parenthesis mine).
“And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish (modern day Tunisia), Kittim, and Dodanim.” (Genesis 10:4, KJV, emphasis and parenthesis mine).
“And the sons of Ham: Cush (the biblical name of Ethipoia, which could include an alliance of modern day Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia), and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah: and the sons of Raamah: Sheba (modern day Saudi Arabia), and Dedan (modern day Saudi Arabia).” (Genesis 10:6-7, KJV, emphasis and parenthesis mine).
Of course Iran is the modern name for Persia. Lybia and Israel are also involved in this war. Ezekiel’s prophecy is directed against Gog, the leader of Magog:
“Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say ‘Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armor, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: 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.’” (Ezekiel 38:2-6, KJV).
Keep in mind that Ezekiel prophesied during the time of the Babylonian invasion and subsequent exile of Israel in the 6th Century BC and immediate proceeds Ezekiel’s prophecy about the dry bones and the restoration of Israel in chapter 37. Thus, this battle did not take place during the time our Bible was being written, nor is it about the Persians, Greeks, and Romans, but the Bible states specifically that this will be a war in the Last Days, after the restoration of Israel as a nation, which took place in 1948.
“After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.” (Ezekiel 38:8, KJV).
Ezekiel goes on to describe the vastness of the army as “coming in like a storm” and covering the “land like a cloud” (Ezekiel 38:9). Modern day Russia and an alliance of these Arab nations certainly have the resources to amass such a great army.
The battle of Gog and Magog is also mentioned in Revelation 20:8, after Satan is loosed from his thousand year imprisonment, “And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” (KJV).
It is clear from the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin that he has ambitions to increase Russia’s influence in the Middle East, having a long standing alliance with Iran and taking on ISIS in Syria. Also, remember Russia annexed Ukraine in 2014. Russia supplies the vast majority of oil to Europe, if it gains influence and military strength in the Middle East, could it also seize Saudi Arabia’s oil supply? Going back to 2011, governments of Tunisia and Libya were overthrown as Islamic extremist seized power. Going back as far as the early to mid-1990s, there have been tremendous atrocities committed against the people of Somalia and Sudan, and humanitarian crises in Ethiopia, which form the biblical land of Cush. Will all of these nations be invaded and defeated by Russia or will these nations willingly fight with Russia as they plan to invade Israel?
Ezekiel 38-39 states that God will defeat Gog and his military alliance as they try to Invade Israel. With the sheer scope of bloodshed and weaponry listed, only our modern devices of war could achieve such a horrendous scene as described in the Bible. I encourage you to read Ezekiel 37-39 for yourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you. Please search out the Scriptures for yourselves and never rely on someone else’s interpretation of the Bible. Please be aware of the times and seasons and watch for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Grace and peace to all of you.