ROBERT >> Thank you for joining us today on The Truth In Love as we continue our series on Bible prophecy and the last days. Today we ask the question, Will the devil gather Gog and Magog for a final attack against Christ’s kingdom? Stay tuned. We’ll be right back.
SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth,
speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.
ROBERT >> Some teach that a great evil military force will attack Christ’s kingdom in Israel at the end of the world, but will be completely destroyed by God. The Bible identifies this as Gog and Magog. But will the devil gather Gog and Magog for a final attack against Christ’s kingdom?
Let’s see what the Bible has to say about Gog and Magog and what the Biblical teaching is concerning this attack that we read about in the scriptures.
Notice first of all that Magog was a grandson of Noah we read about in Genesis 10:2. His descendants, according to the table there in the book of Genesis, settled up in the north. But the identity of Gog is quite uncertain. He was an evil entity, and there’s long been a controversy among Bible scholars exactly who Gog refers to; but it’s very clear from Ezekiel’s Gog that we want to read about this morning that he represented a sinister power that came against ancient Israel, but was defeated. According to Ezekiel, Gog lived in the land of Magog and was the prince of Rosh, or the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. These are tribes in Asia Minor, or modern-day Turkey.
Let me read this to you from Ezekiel 38:1-3. Here the Bible says, “Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, or chief prince of Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.”
So here we read about this one Gog in the land of Magog, and we see here that he was this chief prince over these tribes in what we might dub as Asia Minor or modern-day Turkey. Now as you read on in Ezekiel, you’ll notice that he comes against Israel in the last days with a vast army.
Ezekiel chapter 38, let’s read on beginning in verse 4. “I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops – many people are with you. Prepare yourself and be ready, you and all your companies that are gathered about you; and be a guard for them. After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely. You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you. And so here you see this description of this vast army in the last days coming against Israel.”
Notice, this is at a time when Israel was dwelling in peace, dwelling in safety in cities, the Bible says, without walls. Read it further beginning in verse 10 of Ezekiel 38. “Thus says the Lord God: On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan: You will say, I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates – to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you, Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder? Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, Thus says the Lord God: On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it? Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army. And you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days and I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes. Thus says the Lord God: Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days by My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against them?”
Yes, they would come against Israel, and yet there would be a time of safety, they’d be there without walls. What would happen is that God would totally defeat Gog and his armies with great natural disasters so that everybody would know that he is Lord. And that’s what we discover as we continue on through this chapter and on into chapter 39.
If you look with me in Ezekiel 38:18, notice what it says. “And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel, says the Lord God, that My fury will show in My face. For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel.”
And he goes on to describe this tremendous earthquake, the shaking of the earth. Notice also in verse 21, “And I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains, says the Lord God. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.”
Again, this is further described as you go on into chapter 39. We won’t be reading all of those passages this morning. But I want you to notice in all of this that this prophecy is apocalyptic and should not be taken literally. Gog’s identity is something that we’ve already talked about; and it is less significant than what he symbolizes. We may not be able to perfectly identify who exactly Gog is, this sinister evil that comes against Israel, but we see what he symbolizes: Namely, this personified head of the forces of evil intent on destroying God’s people. Notice in the description of this attack, this army is an ancient army with ancient weapons.
Again, Ezekiel 38, let me read verse 21. “I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains, says the Lord God. Every man’s sword will be against his brother.”
And you see it further when you look over into chapter 39. Look at verse 3. “Then I will knock the bow of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand.”
And then notice verse 9 of chapter 39. “Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and bucklers, the bows and arrows, the javelins and spears; and they will make fires with them for seven years.”
This is not some modern warfare with planes and bombs and all of these kinds of things, but this is an ancient army with ancient weapons. It’s all symbolic of the greater spiritual war that Satan wages against the Israel of God today, the true people of God, the church of God.
We read about this in Ephesians 6:12, where the apostle Paul reminds us that we are in a struggle every day with Satan, temptation, with sin.
In Ephesians 6, let me read how Paul put it here beginning in verse 12. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Those who want to insist on a literal interpretation cannot consistently argue for a modern-day war at the end times as they try to do. There are many indications, as we’ve already seen, that this is symbolic of something greater than what we’re reading about here literally.
Look at the repeated use of the number seven in Ezekiel chapter 39, another indication of the symbolic nature of this prophecy. In chapter 39 verse 9 it says, “Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and bucklers, the bows and arrows, the javelins and spears, and they will make fires with them for seven years. Until they’re completely destroyed.”
And it’s going to take a long time. But again, not to be taken literally, a seven-year fire. That would be impossible. What we’re talking about here is something that is pointing to a greater symbol, a greater spiritual reality. And that’s that war between God’s people and Satan, that spiritual battle that we have to fight.
Notice this in verse 11 and verse 12 of Ezekiel 39. “It will come to pass in that day that I will give Gog a burial place there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea; and it will obstruct travelers, because there they will bury Gog and all his multitude. Therefore they will call it the Valley of Hamon Gog. For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land.”
Again, not literally seven months, not a literal battle, a physical battle, but this is a spiritual battle.
Look at it in verse 14. “They will set apart men regularly employed, with the help of a search party, to pass through the land and bury those bodies remaining on the ground in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search.”
These sevens are just another symbolic number showing the nature of this prophecy. Ezekiel had already spoken in his book of the captivity of Judah, how they were taken by Babylon away from their city, away from their land, and then Ezekiel also talked about how they returned back into their land. And he looked for a new day, a new day of peace under the Messiah. This prophecy was a warning, a warning that enemies would attack God’s people again, but no matter how great the enemy, God would defeat them. This was the very same message of all the prophets concerning the Messiah and his everlasting kingdom, the church.
Look with me again at a few passages here from Ezekiel 38. In Ezekiel chapter 38, look at verse 17. “Thus says the Lord God: Are ye he of whom I have spoken in former days by My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against them?”
See, God had always said the prophets had warned continuously that, yes, Satan would bring this awful force against his people. And here in Ezekiel they’re being reminded of this again as they look forward to the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of his kingdom on this earth, his church.
Look further with me in Ezekiel 39:8. Here he says, “Surely it is coming, and it shall be done, says the Lord God. This is the day of which I have spoken.”
All of this was really the promise of Jesus when he built his church. That is, when Jesus came and he promised to build his church, you remember what he said in Matthew 16:18? “Upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
Nothing was going to stop Jesus from establishing his church, and nothing would overcome and conquer his church. It was indeed an everlasting kingdom. And so as we read Ezekiel chapter 38 and chapter 39, we see that Ezekiel is looking at an ancient army coming against Israel, but that army being completely defeated. This is apocalyptic literature, a symbol pointing to a greater spiritual battle of Satan against Christ’s church in the last period of history that began with the establishment of his church, the pouring out of his Holy Spirit recorded for us in Acts the 2nd chapter. Now, the only other place where we read about Gog and Magog is in the book of Revelation. So I want us to turn there and take a look at Revelation 20:7-10.
Revelation chapter 20 borrows the figure from Ezekiel and gives us this picture, Revelation 20, beginning in verse 7. “Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth, and they surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
Just like in Ezekiel, this is apocalyptic, not a literal description. No, here Gog and Magog represent the nations of the earth, deceived by Satan, gathered to attack the camp of the saints and the beloved city with a vast army; but God devours them with fire. Now let’s see the context of Revelation 20 particularly in view of the lessons that we’ve had before concerning the thousand-year reign of Christ. If you’ll remember, earlier in Revelation 20 in the first verses John had just described how Satan was totally defeated in his effort to destroy the church through the Roman empire. The Roman empire had been persecuting the first-century saints. That persecution would only grow worse. But eventually the Roman empire would fall into the dust of the earth. But the faithful saints would be totally victorious over them.
Look with me in Revelation chapter 20 beginning in verse 1. “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.”
Here in these first three verses we see that Satan was defeated totally in his work through the persecution of the Roman empire. At the same time, we see a picture of a complete victory of the faithful saints over them.
Look in verse 4 of Revelation 20. “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. And then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
Yes, here is the picture of this complete victory, those martyred saints reigning with Christ, sharing with him in his reign from heaven, their enemy having been defeated, but they enjoying victory until he comes again.
Now, Satan, folks, will never give up on attacking God’s people. Yes, he lost in his efforts through the Roman empire in persecuting God’s church and trying to destroy it; but he’s going to keep trying again and again.
We just read in Revelation 20:3 at the end of that verse how he must be released for a little while. Well, Satan will come and attack the church again and again and again. And this vision here in Revelation 20 concerning Gog and Magog is a vision given to assure all Christians, no matter how great an attack Satan may bring upon the church, God will completely defeat him and ultimately cast him into hell.
Let’s notice that neither Ezekiel nor Revelation speak of a literal military war against the physical nation of Israel at the very end of the world. No, they are both apocalyptic visions given to assure God’s people in this last period of history that he will put every one of Christ’s enemies under his feet.
You remember when Jesus was proclaimed as Lord and Christ in Acts the 2nd chapter, verses 33 through 36?
And when the people heard that, they were cut to the heart. But they were reminded that Jesus Christ now sits at God’s right hand until he puts all enemies under his feet. When they realized that they had put to death their king, their Lord, their savior, they wanted to know what to do to be saved, and they said, what shall we do?
And Peter said,” Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
“That day about three thousand souls gladly received his word and were baptized” according to Acts 2:41.
Listen. Satan will be completely defeated by God in any and every attempt to destroy Christ’s church. And that’s why it’s so important that you’re standing with Jesus Christ today.
Will you put your faith in him?
Will you be baptized into Jesus Christ?
Will you continue to walk with him and stand with him faithful no matter what Satan may bring against you?
And will you let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today?
SINGING>> All to Jesus I surrender, all to him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust him,
in his presence daily live.
I surrender all.
I surrender all.
All to thee, my blessed savior, I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender. Lord, I give myself to thee. Fill me with thy love and power,
let thy blessing fall on me.
I surrender all. I surrender all.
All to thee, my blessed savior, I surrender all.
SINGING>> I know that my redeemer lives and ever prays for me.
I know eternal life he gives from sin and sorrow free.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
I know, I know eternal life he gives.
< I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
I know that over yonder stands a place prepared for me,
a home, a house not made with hands most wonderful to see.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives. I know, I know eternal life he gives.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
ROBERT >> Thank you so much for watching our program today. We’d love to hear from you, so let me encourage you to contact us with your questions, comments, or requests at The Truth In Love, P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.
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So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.
SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so,
showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven,
sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly
and low till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary,
when the day is long, sing to me of heaven,
sing that old, sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.