By Joel Richardson
In modern times, many teachers of Bible prophecy have claimed that, “Gog,” spoken of in Ezekiel 38 and 39, cannot be the same as the Antichrist spoken of in the New Testament.
A careful examination of the text however, establishes that Gog is simply another biblical term used to describe the Antichrist, the great final enemy of God’s people. If this is the case however, this changes much within the world of popular biblical prophecy. For example, if it can be shown that Gog is the Antichrist, then it is also clear that the Antichrist and his armies are primarily Middle Eastern armies and not European, as is popularly taught.
More importantly, it would also indicate that until Jesus returns, Islam is not going away. Instead of being a system of belief that is about to be “wiped out,” as so many claim, Islam may very well represent the greatest challenge the church face before Jesus returns. Needless to say, the strategic intercessory and missiological implications would be absolutely profound.
What then are some brief reasons to view Gog and the Antichrist to be one and the same character? The answer partially lies in the specific results of the destruction of Gog and his armies as detailed within the Scriptures. When we turn to Ezekiel 38 and 39, we find that as a direct result of the destruction of Gog and his armies, the following six events take place:
1. God’s name will never again be profaned (Ezekiel 39:7)
I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am the LORD. I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the LORD am the Holy One in Israel. It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD. This is the day I have spoken of. (Ezekiel 39:6-8)
If Gog and his hordes are some preliminary invaders who are destroyed a few, or even several years before Jesus returns, how could it be said that from that day forward, the LORD will no longer let His holy name be profaned, or blasphemed, right before the period in history when the Antichrist and his worldwide movement of blasphemy erupt throughout the earth? When the LORD says that His name would no longer be profaned or blasphemed, it could only speak of the time when the Antichrist and his blasphemous hoards are forever silenced, at the end of his brief reign of arrogance and profanity.
2. The surviving Gentiles come to a saving knowledge of God (Ezekiel 39:6-7)
In keeping with the LORD’s many prophetic indication that He will bring many Gentile nations to Himself (Isaiah 11:9, 60:14, Psalm 22:27), as a direct result of the destruction of Gog and his armies, the LORD says that, “the nations (Gentiles) shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel” (Ezekiel 39:7). Some have attempted to diminish the significance of this statement, treating it as a mere intellectual acknowledgment of God void of any actual saving knowledge. This however, simply does not do justice to language of the passage. How can it be said that the nations come to know and acknowledge that the LORD God, the Holy One in Israel, is the one and only true God, at a time immediately before they all come together to blaspheme His name, invade His land and kill His people? This simply wouldn’t make any sense. This passage only makes sense if it occurs at the end of the great tribulation, not at the beginning.
3. The captives of Israel will be delivered (Ezekiel. 39:25-28)
“Then they will know that I am the LORD their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer. (Ezekiel 39:28)
After the destruction of Gog and his armies, those Jews who were previously held captive among the Gentile nations will be delivered—every single last one. According to the text, every living Jew will return to the land of Israel. There is simply no way that this event could be placed just before the time when Jesus said many would “fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations”. (Luke 21:24). Zechariah says that half of the city of Jerusalem will be “exiled” (14:2). So when God says that not a single Jewish captive will remain in exile anymore, that all will be returned from that day forward, this can only be a reference to the time when Jesus returns and delivers the Jewish captives from among the Gentile nations.
4. God will pour out His Spirit on Israel (Ezekiel 39:29)
“I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 39:29)
Not only will the LORD deliver the Jewish captives from among the nations, but He also promises to pour out His Spirit on them. Again, this occurs immediately after the destruction of Gog and his hoards. A parallel passage is found in Isaiah, who says:
“A Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” declares the LORD. “As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from now and forever.” (Isaiah 59:19-20)
In very similar language, other prophets also spoke of this final outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Jewish people in the context of the return of the Messiah (cf. Zech 12:10). Any claim that the grand outpouring of the Spirit of God on Israel precedes the coming of the Antichrist results in “prophecy chaos.” The only way that this event can be reconciled with the Scriptures is if it occurs at the end of the great tribulation when the Messiah returns.
5. The survivors of Israel will come to know the LORD forevermore
“And the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God from that day onward.” (Ezekiel 39:22)
In accordance with the LORD pouring out His Holy Spirit on the whole house of Israel, Ezekiel also states that after the destruction of Gog and his hoards, the long awaited national salvation and redemption of all Israel will finally take place. John the Apostle spoke of what it means to know the LORD: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Any claim that the national salvation of Israel, their coming to know the LORD forevermore, “from that day forward” takes place several years before the return of the Messiah is simply not in keeping with the constant prophetic testimony of the Scriptures. The only way one can do this passage any justice and see it align with numerous other biblical passages as the grand capstone of the final seven years. According to the Scriptures, the salvation of Israel will occur after their Messiah appears in the clouds.
6. Israel will dwell securely in their land forevermore (Ezekiel 39:26-28)
Finally, as a direct result of the destruction of Gog and his invading armies, all of Israel is fully restored to their land forevermore. As Old Testament scholar Daniel L. Block comments concerning this passage:
Ezekiel’s declaration that not a single individual will be left behind when Yahweh restores his people is without parallel in the OT. Yahweh’s restoration is not only total, however, it is permanent. He promises never again to hide his face from his people.
How anyone can place this event before the time when the Antichrist would invade Israel, trample upon Jerusalem and many of its inhabitants is simply beyond explanation. The only way that these events can be properly understood is in the context of the return of Jesus and the destruction of all of the enemies of the LORD and His people.
Since all of these descriptions can only be applied to the time of the return of Jesus and the establishment of His messianic kingdom, it is impossible that Gog and his armies are anything other than the Antichrist and his armies. As I said, within the world of popular biblical prophecy, this certainly changes much. It is high time that the global Church begins working through the dramatic and urgent implications.