Many have found a reason to think so, but it doesn’t add up to the Bible’s depiction of that coming conflict. In fact, Russia and Georgia will work together in that coming conflict, rather than fighting against one another.
Below is a self-guided study from The Return of The King which details how Ezekiel 38 depicts this future event.
For more specific information, you may also want to view the series, which is an expanded version of this outline found in the Return of The King companion book, yet to be published.
Ezekiel speaks of an attack on Israel that will be shown to be modern Israel. The conditions of this attack are such that it cannot refer to a former time in history, as will be demonstrated in this section. This attack is another pre-tribulational event which has not yet happened as of the writing of this work.
· Magog, Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal are ancient tribes that occupied the geographical area of modern day Russia, and parts of Iran and Turkey.
- Magog, Meshech and Tubal were sons of Japheth. Magog’s descendants, according to Josephus, were the Scythians. The Scythians occupied an area above the Black Sea in modern day Ukraine and western Russia. Gog and Magog are mentioned also in the book of Revelation, which will be covered toward the end of this study. However it is the author’s understanding that in Ezekiel, Magog is a geographical reference, along with Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, while in Revelation Gog and Magog are symbolic references to all nations without Christ whom are susceptible to Satanic deception.
- Meshech is seen by many biblical scholars as the ancestors of the Russian people. It is believed that several Russian geographical names, such as Moscow, the Meschera tribe and the Meshchera Lowlands, could be related to Meshech.
- Tubal, also being a son of Japheth, is almost always coupled with Meshech in scripture. Tubal’s descendants are thought to be the Tiberini of the Greek historian Herodotus, a people of the Asiatic highland west of the Upper Euphrates, the southern range of the Caucasus, on the east of the Black Sea. In modern terms, this could include Turkish and Iranian areas to the south and Russian areas to the north.
- Rosh was the seventh son of Benjamin in Genesis 46:21. The geographical location of Rosh’s descendants are difficult to trace, but in this text are seemingly in the same general area “far from the north” as the other ancient nations referenced.
- Meshech and Tubal, together, comprise modern day Georgia
· Tracing “from the far north” from Israel, in a straight line, is Moscow, Russia.
· The prophecy is spoken against “Gog,” who is referenced as the ruler of Meshech and Tubal. Because the prophecy is spoken against Gog, it is apparent that the area of modern day Russia is the leader of this attack. This is a coalition attack, fitting well with Jesus’ words examined earlier in Matthew 24 of wide-spread warfare as a birth pain pointing toward the times of the end.
· V 5-6 tells us other nations involved: Persia (present day Iran), Cush (modern day Ethiopia), Put (modern day Somalia), Gomer, referred to as Germania in the Midrash and the Talmud (modern day Germany) and Togarman (Armenia).
· Many have attempted to determine the nations involved in this attack by historical evidences rather than the Bible itself. This has led many to turn away from the “Russian” leadership of this attack due to the fall of the former Soviet Union. However, the Bible speaks of geographical areas, not modern day nations. The fall of the Soviet Union is irrelevant to the prophecy. Perhaps Russia itself will fall and be named another name. The geography is what is important, not the names of the modern nations.
o It is tempting to try to interpret the Bible by current events. However, current events are, in fact, determined by the Bible. The presupposition of this study is that the Bible is infallible in its statements and that history will unfold as it has been determined.
· This coalition is said to be “from the North”, though not all of these nations are North of Israel. The indication is that they are attacking from the North and that their leadership is from the North (modern day Russia).
· Who: in summary… Russia, possibly Turkey, Iran, Ethiopia, Somalia, Germany and Armenia (unless they change their names between now & then) is the indication of this alliance that will attack Israel.
It’s clear that Israel is being attacked, but specifically, it is modern Israel which is being attacked, as opposed to the former Israel destroyed in the first century.
· V8 – the mountains of Israel are the location of this attack
· V9 – indicates that this is a massive attack – “covering the land”
· V8 informs us that this is modern Israel (as opposed to the former nation of Israel) because it’s a land “that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate.”
o These statements are not true of Israel in any time prior to current history. They have reunited as a nation, from many peoples, and have been rebuilding the communities in the mountains that had been desolate. While parts of Israel have been desolate throughout history, only today are those places of long desolation fully rebuilt and flourishing with life again. And, only today can it be accurately said that the rebuilding of those desolate places coincides with the people having been “gathered from many nations.”
§ Why #1 – why this alliance will attack: Ezekiel 38:10-13 (NIV)10 “‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. 11 You will say, “I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people–all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. 12 I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land.” 13 Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all her villages will say to you, “Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?”‘
· V10-12 tell us that the attack is for spoils “plunder & loot”
o “Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?”
§ These are OT terms that would be understood as the spoils of war
· These spoils may include:
o The Dead Sea contains sodium, chlorine, sulfur, potassium, calcium, magnesium & more.
o A solid foothold in the middle east (without having to fight Arab nations to get it)
o Whatever they may state as their purpose when this time comes, the Bible says their REAL purpose is greed.
· V13 indicates that there are nations against Russia for this attack, but in word only.
o Sheba and Dan – modern day northern Arabia.
o Tarshish and all her villages – hard to say. “All her villages” indicates other nations spawned from Tarshish. There are three historical places that have been called Tarshish:
§ One in Africa, but it’s never spawned other lands or nations
§ The second was in Spain
· If this is the Tarshish of Ezekiel, then the “villages” would be South and Central America, minus Brazil.
§ The third was in England.
· If this is the Tarshish of Ezekiel, then it’s villages would include the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand & some other western democracies.
o Who opposes this attack is not too important, though, since they only speak up, and do not stop it militarily.
§ Why #2 – why God allows this to happen: Ezekiel 38:14-16 (NIV)14 “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? 15 You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. 16 You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, O Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.
· V16 says” I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.”
· God will be glorified when the nations see what’s about to happen
§ What – Ezekiel 38:17-18 (NIV)17 “‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Are you not the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel? At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them. 18 This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD.
· God’s anger will be aroused – he will defend Israel for his glory to be known. He will defeat them swiftly.
§ How – Ezekiel 38:19-23 (NIV)19 In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22 I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. 23 And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’
· Earthquake – apparently of an incredible magnitude
· Civil conflict among the attackers themselves – v21 Every man’s sword will be against his brother.
· Other: plague, rain, hail, burning sulfur
o Indicating God’s direct intervention, as in the days of the Egypt exodus.
§ Other notes: Ezekiel 39:7-16
· God will be known
· Seven years to dismantle the equipment left behind, which will be used for fuel
· Seven months will be required to bury the dead
§ When – sometime between now and the beginning of the tribulation
· Conclusions from Ezekiel 38-39 – the land of Israel described in this text is consistent with modern day Israel
o Ezekiel 38:8 In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety
§ Modern day Israel fits this description
· Note: “safety” in Heb. means “confidently” – they are established and at home, confident in their strength (she wards off Arab threats continually)
§ After 1900 years, 46 invasions and the War for Independence, Israel is “home” and free from foreign domination
o Ezekiel 38:8,12 – the waste places are inhabited – Israelis today are rebuilding towns and homes – reinhabiting the abandoned places
o Ezekiel 38:11 – unwalled villages – consistent with Israel today
· Major conclusion: This will happen before the tribulation, for a few reasons:
- One: because it will take seven years to dismantle the weapons left behind and use them for fuel
o At the middle of the tribulation (we’ll study this later) Israel will be in flight. They will not be present to dismantle and burn the weapons left from this invasion. They will be fleeing to escape the destruction of the tribulation.
- Two: because this invasion is upon a people “living in safety,” which, likewise cannot refer to Israel at any point after the middle of the tribulation (for the reasons stated above).
o Thus, this battle must occur at least 3 1/2 years prior to the beginning of the tribulation.
 Easton’s Illustrated Dictionary