I will conclude by analyzing the various timing views and then state when I believe the Gog-Magog Battle will take place.
Let me go on the record, though, by stating that I am not dogmatic about this end time topic, nor should anyone be. The study of the end times (Eschatology) is a non-primary doctrine. Since God has given mankind merely an overview of His future plans, He has left us with nothing concrete enough to pinpoint the exact timing, probably so that we Christians will not just sit quietly by, but get out there and witness with all our energy until the Lord’s return. The study and debate over when the Gog-Magog Battle will take place should never divide the brethren.
Analyzing the Views
Each of the Gog-Magog Battle timing views appears to revolve around dealing with two yet-to-be fulfilled key prerequisites:
- Israel is in a state of unsuspecting peace before the invasion (Ezekiel 38:11).
- Israel has seven months to bury the dead invaders’ bodies and seven whole years to expend the leftover fuel and weapons (Ezekiel 39:9,12-16).
Walking backward through the list, the three views that time the Gog-Magog Battle in relation to the Millennial Kingdom do great justice to the first prerequisite in putting Israel at a time of peace due to Jesus’ victory and reign, but cannot overcome the obstacles of the second prerequisite. With Jesus having subjected all of His enemies before the start of the Millennial Kingdom, there would be no more invaders left to organize another invasion. With no invaders, there are no bodies to bury nor weapons to burn.
The best of the three Millennial Kingdom views is the one placing the timing at the end of the thousand years, which Revelation describes as an uprising of unbelievers born during that era who are led by Satan and share in his final defeat (Revelation 20:7-8). While there are some similarities to Ezekiel’s account of the Gog-Magog Battle, the dissimilarities prove Ezekiel is talking about a different Gog-Magog Battle than the battle the Apostle John described. I agree that John’s use of “Gog” and “Magog” in Revelation 20 is more likely to draw a comparison between Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog Battle as a type of what the battle will be like at the end of the Millennial Kingdom.
For the two views that place the timing during the Tribulation, both wrestle with the same prerequisites. While similarities exist between Gog-Magog and Armageddon, their differences far outweigh their similarities. Also, placing the battle at the end of the Tribulation violates the first prerequisite that Israel is living in peace, a condition which would be impossible under the intense persecution by the Antichrist and Israel’s subsequent flight into the desert.
Placing the timing at the beginning, but not by the middle, of the Tribulation gives Israel the seven months to bury the dead invaders and the full seven years to burn the fuel, should they have a reserve stored where they flee. This view would then need to settle the peaceful precondition of Israel by resting it on either a Psalm 83 subjugation of Israel’s surrounding hostile neighbors or the peace covenant made with the Antichrist (Psalm 83; Daniel 9:27).
The two views that place the timing of the Gog-Magog Battle squarely before the Tribulation perfectly grants the full seven years’ time needed to burn the weapons. Even if the Jewish people must flee into the wilderness at the midpoint of the Tribulation, they could have already stored the fuel in the location where they end up fleeing. Or, there could be a gap of three-and-a-half years or so between the Gog-Magog Battle and the beginning of the Tribulation so that the fuel expires by the middle of the Tribulation just as the Jews flee. Since the Tribulation begins with the peace covenant forged between the Antichrist and Israel, the only viable scenario for a peaceful prerequisite would be a Psalm 83 subjugation of Israel’s hostile bordering neighbors or to take Ezekiel’s description of Israel being at peace to mean militarily secure, which as one of the most powerful militaries in the world today, could certainly provide a false sense of security.