5.6. Gog Attacks Israel

Some interpreters take Ezekiel’s prophecy of the attack of Gog upon Israel (Eze. Eze. 38:1 and Eze. 39:1) as finding fulfillment during the Tribulation— that Gog’s invasion is related to the “king of the North” who troubles the Antichrist (Dan. Dan. 11:40). We do not believe this to be the case. There are numerous details in Ezekiel’s revelation which do not agree with the scenario of the Campaign of Armageddon and which seem to speak of a different event at a different time:

First, in Ezekiel there are definite allies mentioned and they are limited in number, while other nations stand in opposition. In the Campaign of Armageddon, all nations are allied together against Jerusalem without exception. Second, the Ezekiel invasion comes from the north, but the Armageddon invasion comes from the whole earth. Third, the purpose of the Russian invasion is to take the spoil; the purpose of the Armageddon Campaign is to destroy the Jews. Fourth, in the Ezekiel invasion, there is a protest against the invasion; in the Armageddon Campaign, there is no protest because all the nations are involved. Fifth, the Ezekiel invasion is destroyed through convulsions of nature; the Armageddon invasion is destroyed by the personal Second Coming of Jesus the Messiah; Sixth, the Ezekiel invasion is destroyed on the mountains of Israel; the Armageddon Campaign is destroyed in the area between Petra and Jerusalem. Seventh, the Russian invasion takes place while Israel is living securely in the Land; the Armageddon Campaign takes place while Israel is in flight and in hiding.1

There are a number of considerations that make it clear that this invasion by Gog (Eze. Eze. 38:1) is not the same as the battle of Armageddon (Rev. Rev. 16:16+). (1) In the battle of Gog definite allies are mentioned, while in Armageddon all nations are engaged (Joel Joel 3:2; Zep. Zep. 3:8; Zec. Zec. 12:3; Zec. 14:4). (2) Gog comes from the north (Eze. Eze. 38:6, Eze. 38:15; Eze. 39:2), while at Armageddon the armies come from the whole earth. (3) Gog comes to take spoil (Eze. Eze. 38:11-12), while at Armageddon the nations assemble to destroy the people of God. (4) There is protest against Gog’s invasion (Eze. Eze. 38:1;Eze. 13:1), but at Armageddon there is no protest for all nations are joined against Jerusalem. (5) Gog is the head of the armies in his invasion (Eze. Eze. 38:7 R.V.), but at Armageddon the Beast is the head of the invasion (Rev. Rev. 19:19+). (6) Gog is overthrown by convulsions of nature (Eze. Eze. 38:22), but the armies at Armageddon are destroyed by the sword that goes out of Christ’s mouth (Rev. Rev. 19:15+). (7) Gog’s armies are arrayed in the open field (Eze. Eze. 39:5), while at Armageddon they are seen in the city of Jerusalem (Zec. Zec. 14:2-4). (8) The Lord calls for assistance in executing judgment on Gog (Eze. Eze. 38:21), while at Armageddon He is viewed as treading the winepress alone (Isa. Isa. 63:3-6). Two diverse movements must then be acknowledged.2

It is our view that Gog does not contribute to the campaign at the Second Coming of Christ, but takes place some time before the Tribulation. For a more extended treatment of this subject, see [Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, 106-125].

Notes

1 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 119.

2 J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), 344.

3 Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, 106-125.