Is it simply too early to draw any conclusions regarding the Biblical significance of Russian and Iranian combat forces operating in an alliance in the Syrian theater? No, there is cause to believe these events could be preparatory to the commencement of the “War of Gog & Magog.” We can’t rule out the possibility that prophetic events have been set in motion. These recent events do appear consistent with what would have to happen to set the stage for Ezekiel’s prophecies to come to pass. The prophecies of Ezekiel 36 & 37 have come true. That is, the nation state of Israel has dramatically been reborn in our lifetime. Jewish people are returning to live and work in the Holy Land after centuries of exile. The Jews are rebuilding the ancient ruins and making the deserts bloom, just as the ancient prophets said they would. Therefore, given the fact that Ezekiel 36 & 37 have largely come true, we must ask ourselves: Isn’t it possible that the prophecies of Ezekiel 38 & 39 could soon come to pass, as well?
WHAT IS THE “WAR OF GOG AND MAGOG”?
Let’s start by defining “Gog” and “Magog,” when Bible indicates this prophecy will take place, and what countries will be participating in the coalition against Israel:The Hebrew Prophet Ezekiel lived in Babylon more than 2,500 years ago and the Lord gave him a vision of events that would take place in the future. Ezekiel 38:16 specifically tells us these events will take place in the “last days” — that is in the End Times before the Messiah comes to set up His kingdom on earth. Ezekiel chapters 36 and 37 set the stage for the “War of Gog and Magog” by describing that Israel will be reborn as a country in the last days, the Jewish people will come back to the Holy Land from exile all over the world, the Jewish people will rebuild the ancient ruins and make the deserts bloom again. These things have all happened, and this suggests we are getting closer to the fulfillment of the next set of prophecies.
Ezekiel 38:2 tells us that the war will be led by someone known as “Gog.” This is not a personal name. We’re not looking for someone named Gog. Rather, “Gog” is a title, like a “Pharoah” or a “Czar.” Through the prophecy, this Gog is described as a military leader, a political leader, and a coalition builder. In Ezekiel 38:10 he is described as developing an “evil plan,” we know this is an evil man, a tyrant.
The Hebrew prophet gives us more clues. This “Gog” is going to be from the “land of Magog.” Flavius Josephus, the first century Roman historian, wrote in his famous book, The Antiquities of the Jews, that the people of Magog are the people whom the Greeks called “Scythians.” These “Scythians” also spoke Iranian. Which I think is very interesting. This is a critical clue because we know from history that the Scythians were a people group that migrated from the Middle East northward and settled north of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the region we know today as the Caucasus former Soviet Republics which are largely Islamic. There are other interesting clues, as well. Ezekiel 38:15 says that Gog “will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north.” Ezekiel 39:2 says Gog will come “from the remotest parts of the north” and come “against the mountains of Israel.” The country that is farthest to the north in relation to Israel is Russia. Thus, we can determine that a Russian military coalition will surround and attack the State of Israel in the End Times.
The question then is what other countries will be part of the coalition?
In Ezekiel 38:5, we learn that the first ally Russia will have is “Persia” modern day Iran. Until 1935, of course, Persia was the legal name of the country we know today as Iran. So we know that Russia and Iran will build an alliance in the last days to attack Israel. Ezekiel tells us that another country in the alliance will be what many English Bible translate as “Ethiopia.” The Hebrew word, however, is “Cush” and Cush is the upper Nile region that we now know as Sudan. While the current state of Ethiopia may also be involved in the war, the focus is really Sudan, which today, of course, is a radical Islamic Sunni state closely allied with Iran and Russia and deeply anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. Next, Ezekiel says a nation called “Put” will be part of the alliance. Josephus identifies “Put” as “ancient Lybios” — the territory that today we call Libya and Algeria. Interestingly, both countries today are deeply hostile to Israel and closely allied with Russia. The next country mentioned is “Gomer.” When one learns that Gomer is what we now call Turkey and in the last few years, the Turkish government has swung dramatically away from the West, towards Russia and Iran, and become deeply hostile towards the State of Israel, and also the possible seat of the AntiChrist it begins to make sense. The next country Ezekiel mentions is “Beth Togarmah.” This is the Turkic-speaking peoples that spread out from Turkey across the Causasus to Russia.
Interestingly, Egypt is not mentioned by Ezekiel as part of the Russian-Iranian alliance against Israel. This is interesting because Egypt has been such an historic enemy of Israel and the Jewish people.
Iraq — whether under its biblical names of Babel, Babylon, Babylonia, Shinar, or Mesopotamia — isn’t mentioned in the prophecy either, yet it, too, is an historic enemy of Israel. Still, given the liberation of Iraq in 2003, the subsequent violence, and the rebuilding now going on, Iraq is not likely to be a threat to Israel in the near term.
Syria and Lebanon are not mentioned by name in the prophecy either. However, Ezekiel tells us repeatedly that the main military force that will be coming against Israel will be coming from the north, which means they will be coming through Lebanon and Syria.
As the forces of the Russian dictator (Gog) and his military coalition — including Iran (Persia), Libya & Algeria (Put), Sudan (Cush), Turkey (Gomer), and other Islamic nations (Beth Togarmah) — converges against the State of Israel in the “last days,” the Hebrew Prophet Ezekiel tells us that at the last moment when there seems to be know hope for Israeli Jews, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is going to supernaturally intervene and come to the rescue.
Consider Ezekiel 38:18-19. “‘It will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,’ declares the Lord God, ‘that My fury will mount up in My anger. In My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare that on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel.”
Ezekiel tells us that this earthquake will shake the entire globe and “all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence” (38:20).
The enemy forces will become so frightened and disoriented during this massive earthquake that they will turn and starting fighting each other (38:21).
Terrible diseases (pestilence) will start to spread through the enemy forces (38:21).
As God judges these enemies of Israel, Ezekiel explains that the Lord “will rain on him [Gog] and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire, and brimstone.” (38:22)
The Lord also says “I will send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coast lands in safety.” (39:6) In other words, parts of Russia and other enemy countries will be devastated supernaturally by fire from heaven.
The Bible does not tell us exactly how this will happen, but it clearly describes a supernatural judgment. This does not appear in the text to be a war started by the Israeli Defense Forces. These do not appear to be missiles from the Israeli Air Force. There no evidence in the text of Israeli military forces on the move and defending themselves and their nation. The text indicates that the God of Israel steps in and defends Israel Himself, raining fire and brimstone down on the enemy forces and utterly destroying them — and doing so at the very last possible moment, when all hope appears to have been lost.