Center for Tanakh Based Studies
By: William Jackson
There will be a final showdown in the “end times”. This significant event will punctuate the ending of the world as we know it, and will usher in the Messianic Era. The Messianic Era is a time in which the Messiah will arrive champion the concept of total peace. So what is the need for this final Battle, who is the enemy and where are we at in relation to it? To determine this, we must first understand the chronology of events leading to the Messiah.
1st Israel will be reclaimed by the Jewish People; Zechariah 8:4-8
2nd The nations will be against Israel; Zechariah 12:2-5, 14:2
3rd /5th God’s people will return to Israel; Jeremiah 23:3, 31:8, 32:37-41, Ezekiel 11:16-20, 34:11-16, 36:16-28, 37:21-28
4th A final war with Israel; Ezekiel 38:1-39:24, Zechariah 14:12, Psalm 83
6th The Nations will be Judged by God; Ezekiel 38:22, Zechariah 14:3, Joel 4:2
7th The Messiah will appear; Jeremiah 23:3-6, Ezekiel 34:11-24
8th All people will only recognize the one true God; Isaiah 2:3-4, 17, 11:10, Micah 4:2-3, Zechariah 8:22, 14:9.
The first part of this prophecy started in 14 May 1948, when David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, declared “the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel”. Since that date part two of this prophecy, “nations will be against Israel” has been building momentum. We have seen several wars against Israel since its conception. Even now, daily hostilities can be witnessed on both a personal and political plain against this small nation in the Middle east. Israel’s rebirth has been very rocky, but this was foreshadowed.
One can also argue that part 3, “God’s people returning home” has been happening over the years. But, the prophecies seem to depict a whole sale exodus not just a slight trickle of returning Jews. Others might say that this returning home of God’s people is describing Israel’s return from Babylonian captivity about 2,500 years ago. We need to remember that not all of Israel returned from the Babylonian captivity or even the Assyrian captivity over a century before that. Only 5% of the Jews returned home from Babylon, and none returned home from Assyria. We can easily say part three is still to come, most of Israel is still absent.
Moving onto part 4 “War”, as we read Ezekiel 39 through 40 we see this nation of Gog with its allies coming up against Israel. So who is Gog? Gog is modern day Turkey. Also mentioned in this passage is Meshech (Ezekiel 38:2), Tubal (Ezekiel 38:2), Gomer (Ezekiel 38:9), and Togarmah (Ezekiel 38:9) which are territories in modern day Turkey1. In verse Ezekiel 38:5 Turkey will be joined by Iran (Persia), Ethiopia (The original Hebrew word is Cush which describes the land south of Egypt. Cush represents present day Sudan), and Libya2. Adding to the enemy’s ranks will be Sheba and Dedan (Ezekiel 38:13), which are the Arabs of the peninsula, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. As if this isn’t enough, verse Ezekiel 38:6 adds that there will be others. Who could that be? Well Psalms 83 also talks about this same conflict. It clarifies combined armies from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and perhaps representation from Iraq3.
As Ezekiel predicts, this massive Army will be defeat (Ezekiel 39:1-24). The final battle will be in the Valley of the Travelers/ or Passengers. This is located in Dhiban, Jordan, about 50 miles South East of Jerusalem4.
Yes, Ezekiel 38 and 39 the prophet portrays for us a future war painted in the terminology of his 5th century BCE. But, in this end times timeline did God’s people return home before this war or after? Ezekiel 38:8 and 12 clearly states that this war would start after God’s people have been gathered in Israel, but after the war with Gog in Ezekiel 39:25-28 it talks about God’s people returning home. It is possible that God’s people starting returning home may have started before this war and continued until after it. One thing is for sure, the war with Gog is a prelude to the Messianic era5.
So why is this war necessary, why not just have the Messiah enter into the word and start our time of Peace? The same questioned can be asked of the exodus from Egypt, why didn’t Pharaoh just allow the Israelites to go? Interestingly, in both cases God inspires these pagan nations to come up against His people. The answer is in Torah, it is to show God’s glory, so that His name may be proclaimed in all the earth. (Exodus 9:16). This is again echoed in Ezekiel 38:18, 22, 39:7, 21 and Psalm 83:19 (18). The events at this final battle will also serve two additional purposes. The first, as it did to Egypt, it will judge and punish these nations for what they did to Israel. Secondly, it will humble all the nations bringing them into subservience thus facilitating the ushering in of peace and the Messiah.
- White, Craig C. “Ezekiel 38:5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with Them.” High Time to Awake. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 July 2016
- Holeman, Daniel B. “ESCHATOLOGY TODAY.” : The Prophetic Road to Revelation (Part IV):The War of Gog of Magog. N.p., 12 Dec. 2014. Web. 09 July 2016.