Nov 22, 2014

Gog and Magog in Ezekiel vs. Revelation

Tony Garland

Dr. Tony Garland

Q. We were watching your teaching on Revelation.

We did not catch the last episode. I have always wondered why so many preachers and teachers teach that the battle involving Gog and Magog is soon to happen when it says it will happen at the end of the millennial kingdom. What can you tell me about this?

A. Although the terms Gog and Magog appear in proximity in both the book of Ezekiel (Eze. 38:2-3; 39:1-11) and the book of Revelation (Rev. 20:8), a comparison of these passages indicates two different historical events are in view.

because Gog and Magog are mentioned as combatants in a war at the end of the Millennium (Rev. 20:7-9 ), many have identified the two battles in Ezekiel and Revelation as one and the same. However, the events following the battles are quite different, as are the events preceding each battle. In Ezekiel's prophecy, the battle of Gog and Magog is used by God to draw Israel to Himself; in Revelation the battle of Gog and Magog comes after God has drawn His people to Himself for one thousand years of blessing during the Millennium. Therefore, it seems best to place Ezekiel's battle in the Great Tribulation. [1]

Gog of the land of Magog invaded Israel in Ezekiel 38, prior to the rebellion mentioned in Revelation 20 at the end of the millennium. Differences between the two passages include:

  1. The Ezekiel invasion is from the north, the rebellion in Revelation 20 is from the entire earth.
  2. The Ezekiel invasion requires seven years to dispose of weapons, whereas the Great White Throne judgment immediately follows the rebellion in Revelation 20.
  3. The Ezekiel invasion occurs before the establishment of the kingdom, whereas the event in Revelation 20 occurs afterwards.
  4. The Ezekiel invasion is destroyed on the mountains of Israel, whereas the Revelation 20 force is destroyed around Jerusalem.
  5. "In Ezekiel Gog was the leader and Magog his land, while in Revelation both represent nations." [2]

This prophecy of Ezekiel concerning Gog and Magog cannot be identified with the prophecy in Re 20:7-10 for three reasons. The former takes place before the Kingdom is established on earth; the latter after this Kingdom. Also, in Ezekiel the invasion comes only from the north, but in Revelation it comes from the 'four quarters of the earth.' Furthermore, the rebellion of Gog and Magog and their destruction in Re 20:7-10 marks the ushering in of the eternal state (Re 20:11-15); but in Ezekiel it is preliminary to the Millennial Kingdom on earth. [3]

The fact that Gog and Magog are mentioned both in Ezekiel 38:1,6 and in Revelation 20:7 indicates to some a connection. However, Gog is a human leader and Magog are a people in Ezekiel 38, but their meaning is not defined in Revelation 20 . In other respects the scene is different. In Ezekiel life goes on after the war, requiring months to bury the dead. The war in Revelation 20 is followed immediately by the destruction of the earth and the creation of the new heaven and new earth. The war in Revelation 20 concerns Jerusalem. The war of Ezekiel does not touch Jerusalem. The scenes are different. [4]

In my course Israel Through the Eyes of Scripture, I discuss some of the issues related to chapters 38 and 39 of Ezekiel in the 11th session titled Gog of the Land of Magog. Andy Woods also has an excellent presentation on the topic titled Islamic Invasion of Israel. See also Q91 answered by Andy Woods.


[1] King James Version Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1988), Eze. 38:1.

[2] Freedman, D. N., The Anchor Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1996, c1992), 2:1056.

[3] Alva J. McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom (Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 1974, c1959), 187.

[4] Walvoord, J. F., The Prophecy Knowledge Handbook (Wheaton, Il: Victor Books, 1990), 191.