Prophetic Warning: A Future Northern Coalition Will Attack Israel

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Gary Curtis

A previous post detailed how Israel had been attacked the prior weekend with a blitz of over 300 potentially deadly drones and missiles fired from within the Islamic Republic of Iran. God used friendly Arab neighbors and Western allies to intercept nearly all of those dangerous projectiles.

The following Friday morning, Israel launched a “limited” retaliatory strike of drones and missiles landing inside Iran. The Iranian Tasnim news agency reported the assault took place near its “nuclear energy mountain.” More importantly, Israel also took out air defense units in Syria, allowing them to use a stealth fighter and a “bunker buster” bomb in a surgical strike on the air defense site protecting the Iranian nuclear site as a warning the IDF could reach them, even in the middle of their country.

Are These Events Part of Ezekiel’s ‘Gog of Magog’ Scenarios?

Modern Iran’s ancient name of Persia is included in a listing of a coalition of countries who will fight a future war against a restored Israel in the “latter days” (Ezek. 38:1-6). 

Chapter 39 of Ezekiel informs the reader that God will destroy the infamous leader named Gog and his coalition armies “upon the mountains of Israel.” His initial army came from those regions named “Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal” in “the land of Magog,” over which he is described as a “prince.” 

Some Bible students see Russia as far north of Israel and assume it to be Magog. They see its major cities of Moscow and Tobolsk as “Meshech and Tubal.” Others see modern Turkey on a world globe as directly north of Israel and believe its eastern and western regions to have contained regions named Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal in Ezekiel’s day. 

We don’t know. We are not even sure if the prophesied future coalition of nations attacking Israel will occur before or after the 1,000-year reign of King Jesus on earth from Jerusalem. Ezekiel doesn’t compare or tie his coalition prophecy to another timeline of end-time events.

Whatever the origins and actions of Gog’s alliance described by Ezekiel (38:1-6), God declares He will remove their weapons from their hands and “send a fire on Magog” and the watching nations “shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel” (39:4-7, NKJV).

Destruction of Gog’s Armies

Oddly, the related passages say the victorious people of Israel will “burn” the captured weapons of war for fuel for seven years (39: 9-10). If taken literally, this modern war will use combustible weapons in the future. Why? Are these armaments that actually burn, or is ancient imagery used to describe modern weaponry? Or could modern weapons be made unusable due to atomic attacks, electromagnetic pulses or the like?

After these armies “fall upon the mountains of Israel” the people of the land will “cleanse the land” for seven months to discover and carefully gather for burial all the human remains left from Gog’s dead being devoured by ravenous birds and beasts of the field (39:4, 11-16). 

The purity rituals of Jewish practice forbid them from touching dead or unclean things. Consequently, it seems they will employ people from the region to search the land and bury the bodies systematically. If anyone sees even a human bone, they will set up a marker so it can be found by the Gentile buriers, for “Thus they shall cleanse the land.”

The dead bodies and bones will be collected in a mass grave in a large valley “east of the sea” and be called “the Valley of Hamon Gog” (39:11). It is not clear if this large burial site will be to the east of the Mediterranean Sea in southern Israel or east of the Dead Sea in modern-day Jordan, which would allow Israel proper to be free of religious defilement, as they “cleanse the land.” So many will be buried there that it will “obstruct travelers” on what was otherwise a major north-south route in the region. New routes to circumvent the whole area will likely be needed. 

Satan, Gog and Magog: Together Again?

John the Revelator reveals that after the 1,000-year kingdom of King Jesus, Satan will be unbound from the “bottomless pit” for a “little while” (Rev. 20:1-3). He will lead a rebellion of people born during that idyllic, messianic age period of peace and righteousness on earth (20:7-10). This confirms the innate sinfulness of the human heart (Jer. 17:9). 

But John doesn’t explain how “the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan” (20:2) could again deceive “Gog and Magog” (already defeated and destroyed in Ezekiel 39:11-16) and they gather nations of innumerable rebels to battle. Could the apocalyptic drama of Gog and his allies attacking Israel in Ezekiel actually not be played out until after the 1,000-year reality and rule of King Jesus and the long-awaited kingdom of God? And could the kingdom-reality of swords being beaten “into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks” (Mic. 4:3) be a reason the armaments of Gog’s armies seem to be rudimentary and consumable?

This will be Satan’s last hurrah before being “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet were” and to be “tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev. 20:7-10, MEV). Does John use the enigmatic “Gog and Magog” title in verse eight to liken the final battle to that of the Old Testament prophecy as a reminder or illustration? We don’t know for sure. Orthodox interpreters debate the issue.

The ‘End Times’ End

Chapter 21 of Revelation introduces us to “a new heaven and a new earth.” The first heaven and earth will have passed away (previewed in Rev. 6:12-14, 16:18-21; 2 Pet. 3:10-13), and the holy city, the New Jerusalem, will descend from heaven (21:10-14). In it, God will be with us; we will be His people, and He will be our God!

In this new heaven, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. There shall be no more death. Neither shall there be any more sorrow nor crying nor pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:e-4). Hallelujah!

Gary Curtis served for 27 years as part of the pastoral staff of The Church on The Way, the First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys, California. Since retirement in 2016, he has continued to blog at Gary and his wife live in Southern California and have two married daughters and five grandchildren.

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