Sep 1, 2011

What Are Some of the Main Differences Between the Battle of Gog and Magog, and the Battle of Armageddon?

Ed Hindson

Dr. Ed Hindson
World Prophetic Ministry

Q. What are some of the main differences between the Battle of Gog and Magog, and the Battle of Armageddon?

A. This is a vital question to answer, because many people equate the two, or include the first as part of the second. But there are many differences that make these conclusions quite improbable. First there is the time element involved. While no time is specified for the Battle of Gog and Magog, most evangelical, premillennial, pre-Tribulational scholars place it at or near the beginning of the Tribulation. The Battle of Armageddon takes place at the end of the Tribulation (Revelation 16:16; 19:11-21).

Second, the participants of the conflicts are different. In the Battle of Gog and Magog, a great power to the north (possibly Russia or one or more former "southern-tier" Islamic Soviet republics) will move against Israel, along with specific nations, mostly Islamic and in the Middle East or northern Africa (Ezekiel 38:1-6). The Battle of Armageddon will include representative armies from all nations of the world (Joel 3:2; Zechariah 14:2).

Third is the direction of the attack. Since the Battle of Gog and Magog is led by a great power to the north of Israel, and some of its allies are from that direction as well, the attack will come primarily from the north (Ezekiel 38:15). Since the Battle of Armageddon involves all the nations of the world, they will come from all four directions.

Fourth, there is the purpose for the attack. The Battle of Magog's objective is "To take a spoil, and to take a prey" (Ezekiel 38:12). Perhaps some of the attackers, several of which are virtually landlocked, will seek a warm-water port in Israel. Others may seek some of Israel's mineral deposits, such as are purported to be in the Dead Sea. At Armageddon, the intent is to totally eliminate Israel once and for all (Zechariah 12:2-3) and later, to oppose Christ Himself who returns to fight on behalf of Israel (Revelation 19:19).

Fifth, the leaders of the attack are also different. At Gog and Magog, the leader will be Russia or another former Soviet republic (Ezekiel 38:3). At Armageddon, it will be the Antichrist, who, by that time, will be the undisputed world leader (Revelation 19:19).

Finally, the casualties will be disposed of differently. At Gog and Magog, the dead will be buried (Ezekiel 39:12-15). At Armageddon, the dead will be left on the field of battle, to become food for birds of prey (Revelation 19:17-21).

However, despite all of these differences, we should point out one similarity, and that is the outcome. In both cases, God will win and will gain victory on behalf of His people, Israel. After the great victory at Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 39:1-7), one would think that the unregenerate world would get the message. But only a few years later, on an even larger scale, the world will again gather its forces against Israel and against the Lord at Armageddon. The old adage will be proven again: the one thing people learn from history, is that they don't learn from history.