Gog's Invasion in Ezekiel's Prophecy--Final
Jul 07, 2008
Ezekiel's description of Gog's destruction is very similar to that found at the end of Revelation 19, where it speaks of the overthrow of Mystery Babylon just prior to the first resurrection and the thousand-year reign of Christ and the overcomers. However, at the end of the thousand years, we find another fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecy. Rev. 20:7, 8 says,
" (7) And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, (8) and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them like the sand of the seashore."
This is the only time that Gog and Magog are actually mentioned by name in the book of Revelation. I believe this indicates a FINAL fulfillment of the prophecy. So often we see prophecies partially fulfilled once or twice before a final fulfillment at a later time. No details are given, of course, but it does tell us something about the thousand years to come.
First, it is not a perfect time. Not all men are yet reconciled to God. There are still "enemies" to be put under the feet of Christ. Their power will no doubt be greatly curtailed during that time. Daniel 2:35 indicates that the Stone--that is, the Kingdom of God--will grow until it fills the whole earth after crushing the Babylonian image on its feet. But even after a thousand years this Stone has not covered the entire earth yet.
Before the thousand years begins, there is a crisis with Gog and Magog just prior to the first resurrection. A thousand years later, there is a second crisis just prior to the general resurrection of all the dead. Rev. 20:9 says, "fire came down from heaven and devoured them." This tells us that in that Age to come, many will still be mortal, and there will still be death happening. The first resurrection will be a very limited resurrection to immortality. Isaiah 65:20 says of that time period,
"No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days, for the youth will die at an age of one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred shall be thought accursed."
People will live longer and in greater health than today, but they will still not be immortal. The purpose of that thousand-year Age will be to manifest the blessings of obedience promised in the law (Deut. 28:1-14). Israel under Moses was "the church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38), called out of Egypt at Passover to be obedient to Christ, the Lawgiver and King. They failed, and so ultimately God cast this Passover-level Church out of the land, puting them under an iron yoke (Deut. 28:48).
The second Church--the Church under Pentecost--has likewise failed and was brought into a Babylonian captivity of its own. Yet this one has fared somewhat better, because it was allowed to remain under a wooden yoke. Even so, it failed and must give way to the third Church that God is establishing--the Tabernacles Church. This third Church will succeed where the others failed, and this is the underlying purpose of the thousand-year Age to come. It is a Tabernacles Age, an age in which there will be people on earth who will have fulfilled the Feast of Tabernacles.
These are the manifested sons of God. Under their ministry, the Stone Kingdom will grow to encompass many nations. These nations will desire to come under the benevolent rule of Christ and His Body after they see the love and power of the gospel administered by the sons of God. Even so, this will not happen all at once, for Christ will not force Himself upon the other nations. So the Kingdom of God will essentially co-exist with non-Kingdom nations during that time.
Then toward the end of the Age, God will "release Satan" in order to bring the Age to a close. God's purpose will be to seek legal "cause" against those nations. When they attack, it gives Christ legal cause to take over their land and to bring judgment upon them. It is the same legal principle as we find in the story of Samson in Judges 14:4, when God sought occasion against the Philistines in order to bring judgment upon them.
And so at the end of the thousand years, God seeks occasion against Gog and Magog by releasing Satan. They attack and are devoured by the fire of God. Then comes the general resurrection of the dead, in which the rest of the dead are raised from all the past ages. As I have shown in my book, The Purpose of Resurrection, this resurrection will include not only the unbelievers, but all believers who did not qualify for the first resurrection. Jesus spoke of this general resurrection in John 5:28, 29.
So if we classify Gog and Magog as God's enemies, we see that they are still present at the end of the thousand years. This means that death itself is not yet abolished, because death is "the last enemy that will be abolished" (1 Cor. 15:26).
When I was young, I heard many times that the reason Satan must be released at the end of the thousand years is to tempt those believers who were born during the thousand years. It was said that at the beginning of that age, all unbelievers would be destroyed, leaving just believers on the earth. They would continue to have children, but since Satan had been bound, none of these Christian children would know what it means to be tempted. Thus, they needed a tempter to prove their faith. Somehow, these children turned into Gog and Magog, according to this view, and somehow they formed their own nation on the other side of the earth.
It does not make much sense, and certainly, the Scriptures say nothing of the need for the children to be tempted by Satan. The premise itself is wrong, for it is based upon the idea that all unbelievers will be killed in the great battle at the end of this present age. But if that were the case, then how is it that the New Jerusalem needs any walls or gates to keep out the unbelievers? Why would the people of other nations want to come to "Zion" and learn His ways (Isaiah 2:2-4)?
The purpose of the seventh millennium is to provide a Sabbath rest for the earth. It is a time set aside for learning of Christ on a world-wide scale. It is a time when the bondservants are set free (Ex. 21:2) from the bondage of Mystery Babylon to facilitate this world evangelism. It is a time when the Great Commission will be fulfilled in a greater way than what was seen under Pentecost.
The Tabernacles Age to come is an age of peace and prosperity for the earth. Isaiah 2:4 says that they will stop learning the arts of war. This explains how Gog and Magog are able to make war with the Kingdom of God. So when Ezekiel says that Gog comes "against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls, and having no bars or gates" (38:11), this takes on new significance in this final fulfillment. After nearly a thousand years of peace and security, it is obvious that this provides us with the greatest fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecy of Gog's invasion.
Yet Gog will fail in its final attempt to take over the earth. The people of Gog will be raised from the dead and brought to that final judgment at the Great White Throne, where every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil.2:10, 11). They will all become believers at that time in history. Even so, they will have to be trained and schooled in the ways of God by undergoing that same baptism of fire that we experience today. This is the lake of fire, and its purpose is to bring correction and instruction in obedience.
These unbelievers of "Gog," along with many others, will confess Christ at the Great White Throne. But that will qualify them only as Passover believers. They must still undergo the fire of Pentecost to learn obedience in order to come fully into the Promised Land of the feast of Tabernacles. They will therefore have to be subject to the sons of God during that final Age, where they will learn obedience until the great Creation Jubilee sets free the rest of humanity into the glorious liberty of the sons of God (Rom. 8:21).
the fire of Pentecost to learn obedience in order to come fully into the Promised Land of the feast of Tabernacles. They will therefore have to be subject to the sons of God during that final Age, where they will learn obedience until the great Creation Jubilee sets free the rest of humanity into the glorious liberty of the sons of God (Rom. 8:21).
This is the final part of a series titled "Gog's Invasion in Ezekiel's Prophecy." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones