Ezekiel 38 and 39: Gog of Magog’s Attack on God’s People Will Fail

A “head chieftain” (or “chief prince) called “Gog” (Eze 38:2), will unite many nations to form an army to attack God’s people “Israel” (Eze 38:16). God’s people will be prosperous and will not have military protection, without “walls, bars or gates” (Eze 38:11). However Jehovah’s “great rage will flare up” (Eze 38:18) and he promises to Gog: “You will fall, you and all your troops and the peoples who will be with you.” (Eze 39:4)

Why will Gog of Magog and his troops attack?

From a human perspective it will seem like an idea of Gog:

“It will be to take much spoil and plunder, to attack the devastated places that are now inhabited and a people regathered from the nations, who are accumulating wealth and property, those who are living in the center of the earth.”
– Eze 38:12

Gog and others will think they can “plunder” something, but in reality, everything is according to Jehovah’s plan:

I will turn you around and put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in splendor, a vast assembly with large shields and bucklers, all of them wielding swords;
– Eze 38:4

It is Jehovah who will “give his attention” to Gog and his allies (Eze 38:8).

Why would Jehovah cause Gog of Magog to attack?

Jehovah explains what will be accomplished by the attack of Gog and the victory of God’s people:

And I will certainly magnify myself and sanctify myself and make myself known before the eyes of many nations; and they will have to know that I am Jehovah.’
– Eze 38:23

I will make my holy name known among my people Israel, and I will not allow my holy name to be profaned any longer; and the nations will have to know that I am Jehovah, the Holy One in Israel.’
– Eze 39:7

When Jehovah used Babylon to punish unfaithful Judah, people from other nations would think that Jehovah was not capable to protect his people. They would profane his name by comparing him to senseless gods, instead of understanding that it was an intended punishment for the Jews.

And the nations will have to know that the house of Israel went into exile because of their own error, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they all fell by the sword
– Eze 39:23

Now at Gog’s attack things will change. Jehovah has his newly cleansed people, precious to him, bearing his name. This attack is like attacking God himself (compare Zec 2:8)

Who is Gog of Magog?

It does not matter, because the key point is not a single chosen leader, but a big multinational crowd of people attacking God’s people on earth.

Although there are theories who the historical Gog might have been, he cannot be clearly identified in history:

But efforts to identify Gog with some historically known earthly ruler have not been successful. Most frequently suggested is Gyges, king of Lydia in western Asia Minor, called Guggu in the records of Assyrian monarch Ashurbanipal. (Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, by D. Luckenbill, 1927, Vol. II, pp. 297, 351, 352) Gyges, however, had died decades before the writing of Ezekiel’s prophecy. Hence, such identification is unacceptable.
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Who is “Gog and Magog” mentioned in Revelation?

7 Now as soon as the 1,000 years have ended, Satan will be released from his prison,
8 and he will go out to mislead those nations in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Maʹgog, to gather them together for the war. The number of these is as the sand of the sea.
– Re 20:7,8

“Gog and Magog” is referred as “nations” from all over the world (Re 20:8) and “the number of these is as the sand of the sea” (Re 20:8).

A group of people, with a similar character to the one mentioned in Ezekiel, ready to attack “the camp of the holy ones and the beloved city” (Re 20:9). Additionally Revelation 20:10 clearly mentions that “the Devil who was misleading them” caused this rebellion after he was “released from his prison” (Re 20:7) “for a little while” (Re 20:3)

Is “Gog of Magog” (Ezekiel) and “Gog and Magog” (Revelation) the same?

Jehovah explains in Ezekiel what would happen through the destruction of “Gog of Magog and his hordes“:

And I will certainly magnify myself and sanctify myself and make myself known before the eyes of many nations [pagan]; and they will have to know that I am Jehovah.’
– Eze 38:23

“… I will not allow my holy name to be profaned any longer; and the nations will have to know that I am Jehovah, the Holy One in Israel.’”
– Eze 39:7

(See notes on Ezekiel 36:23 and Eze 39:23 why Jehovah would sanctify himself before the nations)
In the context of Revelation (Re 20:3,4, 6) “Gog and Magog” appears after the 1000 year rule of Christ and his co-rulers. At that time Jehovah’s name is long sanctified, Gods kingdom rules already and people don’t even know any other god but Jehovah (see Da 2:44, 7:13,14)

When did/will Gog attack?

Ezekiel 39:27, speaks about those Israelites who were collected together “from the lands of their enemies“, a clear continuation of Ezekiel 37 which has an obvious future fulfilment, when Jesus Christ would already rule over “Israel”.
Another indication is given when the attack should happen:

  • In the final part of the years” (Eze 38:8)
  • In the final part of the days” (Eze 38:16)
  • in the former days through my servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for many years” (Eze 38:17)

Daniel, Jeremiah and Ezekiel all prophesied at the around the same period but different places (Jerusalem and Babylon):

The burning anger of Jehovah will not turn back Until he has carried out and accomplished the intentions of his heart. In the final part of the days you will understand this.
– Jer 30:24

Then he said: “Go, Daniel, because the words are to be kept secret and sealed up until the time of the end
– Da 12:9

Therefore the attack is a future event happening right before God will end all human rulership on earth.

Whom will Gog of Magog attack?

  • “against my people Israel” (Eze 38:16)
  • “against my land” (Eze 38:16)
  • “Gog invades the land of Israel” (Eze 38:18)
  • “those who are living in the center of the earth” (Eze 38:12)

Comment on Israel “as the center of the earth”

Ancient Israel not only was located at a central point as regards the Eurasian and African continents but also was the center of pure worship of the true God and was counted by him as “the pupil of his eye.”—De 32:9, 10; Zec 2:8.
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How will the victim, “Israel”, in the “final part of the days” be characterized?

  • They practice pure worship and have gods blessings (Eze 36:26)
  • They come from all nations (Is 2:2; Eze 38:12)
  • They are considered by Gods as Holy (Eze 38:18)
  • They live in the “final part of the days” (Eze 38:16)
  • They are known as Jehovah’s people (Eze 38:16)
  • They are rich in silver and gold, desiring Gog to take spoil from them (Eze 38:13)
  • They have no army and appear unprotected (Eze 38:12)
  • They are ruled by Jesus Christ, the greater “David” (Eze 37:24)

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