R/Dean Daniel Lesson 55
Armageddon and Gog and Magog – Daniel 11:40-45
In this last section of Daniel 11, beginning with verse 36, the shift has gone from historical events, historical events which took place and were fulfilled during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes who was one of the Seleucid kings; the Seleucids were one of the four groups into which the Greek Empire of Alexander was divided, the Seleucid Empire represented the king of the North. Now it's important to keep these things straight as we get into the last part of Daniel. When Alexander died his empire was divided up among Lysimachus who had Thrace and Cassander who had Greece and the Seleucids who controlled roughly Syria and Persia and much of Asia Minor, and then the Ptolemies down south in Egypt.
In Daniel 11, consistently up to the end of verse 34 the king of the North refers to the Seleucid dynasty. And the Seleucid dynasty controlled all this area you see on the map in what is now Turkey or Asia Minor, Syria which is just north of Israel, over into Persia and this area between the Tigris and Euphrates River, that's modern Iraq; it is over in this area further east that you get into modern Iran and then on the right of the map is modern Afghanistan and Pakistan; this is the Indus River here to the southeast. We have to keep these geographical locations in mind; when the text talks about the king of the north and the king of the south it's talking with reference to Jerusalem so we have to keep that in mind.
We saw that the king mentioned in verse 36 is not Antiochus, that the events from 36 or are events that do not fit any historical background; these are events that were not fulfilled in the life of Antiochus Epiphanes or in the Seleucid Empire. They refer to future events, specifically the reference of this king who will do according to his own will, sometimes called the willful king, is the antichrist who is the ruler of the ten nation European western confederacy, the king of the west. And Daniel 11:36-39 go into the religious dimension of the kingdom that comes into being. Now remember, let's put some things together from what we've studied in Daniel 7 and Daniel 8 and that is the antichrist seems to be some second class secondary level ruler at the beginning of the Tribulation. He may not even be in a position of power at the time of the rapture. But he comes to power in a country, takes over, conquers three other countries, and then seven other countries join with him to make this ten nation confederacy. It has its geographical and cultural root in the ancient Roman Empire so it is referred to by students of prophecy as the Revived Roman Empire which fits with the image of Daniel 2, the feet of iron and clay, iron coming from the Roman Empire, the legs of iron and then the feet of iron and clay.
So that puts that together for us. We concluded last time in verse 39, that he shall act "against the strongest of fortresses with a foreign god," so he is able to attack militarily some of the strongest fortifications in military forces at that time with the aid of a foreign god and that seems to be Satan, he is part of the satanic trinity of the end times, comprised of Satan, the antichrist and the false prophet. He is indwelt by Satan and it is through the energy and power of Satan that he is able to defeat all of these armies. He acknowledges this god and this god alone and he will advance his glory, and he is going to rule over many. And it says at the end he will divide the land for gain, and the land here would refer to Israel when he has set up, as we saw in our study of Daniel 9, when he enters into his peace treaty with Israel he is certainly going to enter into Israel and utilize the resources of Israel for his own personal gain.
Now we come to Daniel 11:40. Verses 40-45 describe various military campaigns related to this particular king. Now it seems fairly simple when you look at these verses what is being described here. And remember, this is part of a campaign. Sometimes we talk about the battle of Armageddon but the word in the Greek used for "battle" is polemos and that refers to a campaign, not simply a battle. It is a series of battles that take place at that particular time. And that seems to be at least what comes at the end of this section, where we read in verse 45, "And he will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain;" that would be between the Mediterranean and Mount Zion or the temple mount, "yet he will come to his end," that takes place at the battle of Armageddon, but what precedes this. That's the question.
What are the events described in verses 40-45 and how do these relate to other Scriptural descriptions of military campaigns related to the Tribulation. And as Shakespeare wrote, "there's the rub." That is what is very difficult to figure out. One of the things that has made this difficult is usually as a pastor you like to be able to stand up in the pulpit and say this is what the Word of God teaches. Well, I don't know what the Word of God teaches on this subject. Okay, shall we close in prayer…. No. I have been beating my head around on this particular issue for several months now, I started getting some questions on this as we were looking at all the increasing terrorist attacks on Israel, the bombings and as intense and tense as things were in the Middle East back in March and April, people were trying to figure out, well if this whole thing blows up into a major war between Israel and Iraq how does that fit into Biblical prophecy. Now we all know the principle that nothing prophetically has to take place before the rapture, so let's draw a timeline. We're in the Church Age and the rapture is going to come at some time, none of us know when, that's why it's referred to as imminent, we don't know when, nothing has to take place for the rapture to occur.
Now that's one statement, no prophecy has to be fulfilled before the rapture occurs, but that is a different statement from saying that some prophecy might be fulfilled before the rapture occurs, but if any prophecy is fulfilled before the rapture occurs it's prophecy that's not related to the timing of the rapture. It's related to what's going to happen after the rapture which is the seven year period of the Tribulation, known as the time of Jacob's trouble or Daniel's seventieth week. So there may be some things, and the battle described in Ezekiel 38 and 39 might be one of these events that takes place before the end of the Church Age and is necessary to set things up internationally, in the international community for the events that begin once the antichrist, it might even be part of what brings the antichrist into power so that he can sign a peace treaty with Israel at the beginning of the Tribulation. That is one of the scenarios that we're going to look at. But to say that some prophecy is fulfilled in the Church Age is not to deny the principle of the immanency of the rapture because if this prophecy does take place, if Ezekiel 38-39 the battle, the invasion of Gog and Magog, if that takes place at the end of the Church Age, before the rapture, then it has nothing to do with the rapture, it has to do with what will happen to Israel subsequent to the rapture. But I have problems with that view as we'll see when we start evaluating some of these different interpretations as we go through the study.
I want to begin by reading through Daniel 11:40-45 so you have this in your mind; this lays out the scenario and I'm just going to briefly comment on these events as we go through. I'm going to put the map back on the screen so you can have that as a reference point. It begins by saying "at the time of the end," which places it clearly in Daniel's seventieth week. "And at the end of time the king of the South shall attack him," the king of the South is usually identified with Egypt. Now this is one of the questions that we have to answer is: who is the king of the South? It's been identified all through this chapter with the Ptolemaic dynasty or Egypt. The "king of the south is going to attack him," the antichrist, "and the king of the North will come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, with horsemen, and with many ships;" notice he's got a navy, an army and an armored cav, that's the chariots, "and he will enter countries, overflow them, and pass through." So this describes a battle scene between the antichrist, that's the "he," the king of the South and the king of the North.
Daniel 11:41, "He will also enter the Glorious Land," the Glorious Land is Israel, and the antichrist enters the Glorious Land in the midst of this combat. Now the question is, when this takes place. I think this is taking place about in the middle point of the Tribulation. It very well could be, and I'm going to use a lot of subjunctives tonight because you just can't be dogmatic on some of these things, it very well could be that this initial battle, the first point in verse 40-41, is the result of the collapse of the peace, this global peace that the antichrist has imposed on the world; it finally starts breaking down about halfway through, so the southern block, usually described as a pan-Arabic block but even that's somewhat questionable, led by Egypt, is going to attack Israel because Israel is the covenant partner of the antichrist. So he comes in to defend his interest, in order to aid Israel, and he's attacked by the king of the north who may be…that's one of the questions, who is the king of the North? Is the king of the North Syria? But the question there is well, Syria doesn't have a navy, if they do it's not much of one, it certainly doesn't seem to fit the scenario here of someone who has chariots, horsemen and many ships, a large army. Or, as some suggest today, the king of the North is a conglomeration of the Islamic nations that had made up the southern border or Russia, all the "stans," Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kurdistan, this sort of an Islamic block. That would represent this northern group and that could make sense, that you would have the king of the North, the king of the South being Egypt in sort of a southern Arabic block working together to attack and assault the king of the West, the king of the Revived Roman Empire.
He enters the Glorious Land and the idea here is that this occurs halfway through the Tribulation, this is when he sets up the abomination of desolation. But this could possibly occur earlier and this could just be phase one of the Tribulation. Now if I put a chart on the overhead of the Tribulation being seven years, remember it's divided into two three and a half year periods. Generally speaking there is war, some war at the beginning of the Tribulation, or the beginning of the first three and a half year period as the antichrist consolidates his power. Generally there is stability and peace throughout most of it because remember when he sets up the abomination of desolation, we read about this in Revelation 9, the false prophet is going to cause all to take the mark and they're all going to have to have it to buy and sell. So this is where things start getting complicated, trying to put some of these things together because it's at the time of the abomination of desolation the Jews are told to flee. But there still seems to be some stability, at least financially, because the false prophet is going to be imposing this new tattoo or whatever it is on everybody to be able to buy and sell and engage in any kind of global commerce. I think…you start having a breakdown at the first part of this period and then it's in the latter part of the period, probably the last two years of this period, where you really have a tremendous breakdown and a tremendous amount of warfare taking place and that's probably how this fits into the scenario.
In Daniel 11:41 we read, "He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab and the prominent people of Ammon." Now that's the area on the southeast side of the Jordan River. That's the mountainous area, the wilderness area, across from the Dead Sea, that's the area where the Jews are told to flee once they see the abomination of desolation, that's the area down there around Petra and Bozrah which is where they're going to gather, when at the end of the battle of Armageddon they finally call out to the Lord and He comes to rescue them at that particular point in time. That's why Edom, Moab and Ammon are protected.
Daniel 11:42, "He shall stretch out his hand against the countries and the land of Egypt shall not escape," so he specifically, the antichrist is going to come down through Israel from the north, down through the south, come down and then he's going to defeat Egypt. Verse 43, "He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt, also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels." So here there's an indication, different views on how that is exactly, that idiom, is to be interpreted. Some suggest that that indicates that Libya and Ethiopia is in alliance with him, others would suggest that they're in opposition to him and they're still fighting him. Verse 44, "But news from the East and the North shall trouble him," now he's going to get tidings that something's happening up north. Now what's happening up north? If he's already taken out the king of the North this indicates there's another northern power block, other than the king of the North, and there's going to be word from the king of the East.
Hold your place and let's turn to Revelation 16:16; Revelation 16 is where we have the one clear mention of the battle of Armageddon, which is really the campaign of Armageddon. Let's back up to Revelation 16:12, this is the sixth bowl judgment; the bowl judgments are the final judgments that take place at the end of the Tribulation. "Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared." Look at the map; the river on the left is the Euphrates; this river is going to dry up making it possible for the armies from the east to invade into Israel. That seems to fit the scenario that we have in Daniel 11 that the antichrist, with his army down here in Egypt, is going to now hear word that there is an army coming in from the east and also one from the north. Now it doesn't say much, it's just a hint, he hears tiding from the east and from the north and they trouble him. "Therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many." So he heads back up into Israel, this is where he plants his tent, between the waters and the temple, and this is where the final campaigns of Armageddon take place and the antichrist is defeated.
That's the scenario that Daniel paints. Now the question is, how does that relate to Ezekiel 38-39? So let's turn to Ezekiel 38 and I'm not going to spend time exegeting through this whole thing bit by bit but I want to read through it and give you this summary of what is going to take place in Israel's future. In the context of Ezekiel, chapters 36-37 have talked about the renewal of Israel and the regathering of Israel; so that has to take place prior to chapter 38. Now that they are regathered they are going to be attacked. Now Israel, in terms of what's happening in Ezekiel 36-37, for all purposes, has regathered in the land. They have a national presence, they have a national state, they are in the land, so this could happen technically at any point from this point on.
Ezekiel 38:1, "And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,  Son of man, set your face against Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him." Now these terms, if you trace them out etymologically and you go back to the table of nations in Genesis 10-11, you discover that the descendants of Magog, who was a son of Japheth, are later called Scythians, and the Slavic people have descended from Magog. Gog is usually taken to be a reference to people in the extreme north as it's described in this passage. Rosh is seen as an etymological root to Russia and I think there's good support for that; also Meshech etymologically seems to be related to the root for Moscow and Tubal also seems to be related to another city in the area of what is now modern Russia. So this seems to suggest something even further north than the king of the North mentioned earlier.
Once again, just to give you an idea, one of the problems is that we have to decide is the king of the North in Daniel the same as Gog, Magog, Rosh, Meshech and Tubal in Ezekiel 38-39. One school of thought says yes, they are equal; another school of thought says no, they are different. And I'll show you why some people say that as we go through this study. I tend to think that they are different; you cannot identify them as the same because different things happen; as we saw in Daniel 11 the king of the North is defeated by the antichrist, but Gog, Meshech and Tubal, Gog and Magog and his allies in Ezekiel 38 are destroyed supernaturally by God directly causing earthquakes and the mountains to fall upon their weaponry and direct divine intervention destroys them so that seems to suggest two different forces of destruction.
Ezekiel 38:3, "God says to them, Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.  I will turn you around, and put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses and horsemen." The idea of putting hooks into the jaws indicates that this not something that they want to do willingly. It's not like Russia is sitting up there and saying okay, now we're going to invade the Middle East. It's like we don't even want to do this but because of alliances, because of other pressures, they are going to be pulled into the Middle East warfare.
Ezekiel 38:5, "Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them," now remember we saw in Daniel 11 that Ethiopia and Libya are said to be antagonist to the antichrist there as well, at least that's how I understand that idiom. Here we have a union of Gog, Meshech and Tubal is aligned with Persia, Ethiopia and Libya. So over here we have modern Libya and then Ethiopia is Sudan and modern Ethiopia down to the south of Egypt, and then over here we have Persia which is modern Iran. So we have this alliance between God, Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, Iran, Libya, and Ethiopia. It sounds somewhat modern.
Then we get into verse 6, "Gomer and all of his troops, and the house of Togarmah from the far north and all of its troops. Now Gomer is often identified with modern Eastern Europe, because if you go back and look at…most ancient languages only had consonants, they didn't have vowels, so if you spell Gomer it looks like this. Now as words go from one language to another, for example, your guttural "G" often hardens to a hard "C" so then you have a word like CMR, and the Cimmerians are also related to this eastern area. And then as words go from one language to another often you have transposition of letters and, for example, if you transpose those letters you come up with a GRM which are the basic consonants in Germany. And the descendants of Gomer, one of his descendants is Ashkenaz in Genesis 10, and you have a Lake Ashkenaz up in Eastern Germany. So these names that you find over in Europe often go back into the mists of antiquity and yet you find certain fascinating correlations with Biblical terminology and Biblical groups, tribal groups in Genesis 10 and 11.
So it seems to suggest that this is a massive alliance where you have Gog, Meshech, Tubal aligned with Iran, aligned with Libya and Ethiopia, aligned again with Eastern Europeans, and then you have Togarmah and Beth-togarmah, which the house of Togarmah is often allied with Eastern Europe, including Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and allied with all these other nations, so that seems to be the source of this invasion.
Ezekiel 38:7, "Prepare yourself and be ready, you and all your companies that are gathered about you, and be a guard for them.  After many days you will be visited; in the latter years," that phrase is the same phrase we find over in Daniel which places it in…in my thinking that places it inside the Tribulation, "in the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword, and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel." So in the latter years you are going to come into Israel. Verse 9, "You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops, and many people with you.  Thus says the Lord God, On that day it shall come to pass," notice the phrase and if you want to I'd suggest underlining it, "that day," every time we see this let's highlight it, "On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind and you will make an evil plan.  You will say, I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go to a peaceful people who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates."
Now that's a description of Israel. I want you to pay attention to that, they are described as a people who are peaceful, "unwalled villages," that doesn't mean that they don't have a military, that doesn't mean that they're not protected; according to studies that Dr. Fruchtenbaum has done on this idiom, he suggests that what this means is that they are in a state of military security, they are at relative peace, it doesn't mean no war at all, but relative peace, but they are militarily secure in the land. And the Gog and Magog crowd attacks for the purpose, Ezekiel 38:12, "Of taking plunder and booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land."
Ezekiel 38:13, they're being watched, by "Sheba, and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish," Sheba and Dedan is a reference to groups that operated down here in the Arabian Peninsula, so it's like you have the Saudi's down here in alliance with the merchants of Tarshish. Tarshish was out on the fringe of Europe in Spain, and the merchants of Tarshish was a reference to those Europeans who were going out and engaging in commerce. So the descendants of that crowd would be Western Europe and the United States. So the indication here suggests that you have Saudi Arabia and the merchants of Tarshish, i.e., the people of commerce in the west, are sitting there and saying well, "why have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, and to take great plunder?" So they are being critical of this attack because it's for the purpose of devastating the land and taking away plunder.
God goes on to say in Ezekiel 38:14, "Therefore, son o man, prophecy and say to God, Thus says the Lord God, On that day," second reference to "that day," the "that day" refers to the time period when this attack occurs, "on that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it?  Then you will come from your place out of the far north," so that's one reason I think that this is separate from the king of the North of Daniel 11, "you and many people with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army." Now I'm just going to make a brief comment, "riding on horses," are they actually literally going to be riding on horses. There are two views here; one view is that the prophets are writing phenomena logically, that means that in the ancient world they didn't know what an M-60 tank looked like, they didn't have any idea what a Humvee was, and so they're writing in terms of their own vocabulary and so when they're talking about chariots and horses and ancient terminology they're really describing what would be modern warfare. Another view is that if this takes place toward the end of the Tribulation that because of all the judgments and war that all the military stockpiles have already been used up and we're back down to primitive warfare again. And I tend to go with that view, that what has happened is that this is probably, I take the view that this is probably at the end of the Tribulation and they've used up all their stockpiles of modern weapons, all the nuclear stuff shot off, all the missiles are shot off, as a result of all the tremendous judgments that take place during the Tribulation nobody has any hydroelectric plants working any more, nobody is producing electricity, computers are shot, everybody is back to a pre industrial age type of survival. But I don't think anybody can be terribly dogmatic on some of this.
Ezekiel 38:16, "And you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land so that the nations may know Me," so God has a purpose for bringing it about, they think they're coming down for plunder, God's bringing them down because in defeating them God's going to demonstrate who He is. "I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes.  Thus says the Lord God, Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days by My servants, the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against them?  And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel, My fury will show on My face,  For in My jealousy and the fire of My wrath I have spoken; surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel,  so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence," this is a massive earthquake that is really felt all over the earth, "the mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall will fall to the ground.  And I shall call for a sword against God throughout all My mountains," so they're coming from the far north down through the Taurus Mountains, down through Syria, this earthquake is going to wipe out this army as it's headed south.
Then God's going to do something to bring confusion into the army as a result of this, not unlike what happened in Gideon's day when God brought confusion to the Midianites and they just started fighting each other and the whole army self-destructs, and that's the description of verse 21, "Every man's sword will be against his brother.  And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed, and I will rain down on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire and brimstone." Now that seems to fit with certain types of pictures that we find in Revelation when it comes to the trumpet and the bowl judgments. For example, in the trumpet judgments you have earthquakes, you have a third of the earth being destroyed, you have hail coming down from heaven, all of these things take place, the waters are struck, the seas are struck, you have the heavens struck, the stars are darkened, all of these things take place early on in the Tribulation so it certainly has a Tribulation feel to it. That's one reason why I am suspicious of putting this early, in the Church Age or even after the rapture.
Ezekiel 39:1, "And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal,  I will turn you around, lead you on, bringing you up from the far north, and bringing you against the mountains of Israel.  Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand; cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand.  You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops, and the peoples who are with you," so they are destroyed in the land of Israel, "I will give you to the birds of prey" and he goes on and explains more of this.
Then the purpose is described starting in Ezekiel 39:6, "I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in security in the coastlands," that's those who are living along the coast of the Mediterranean in Israel, "then they shall know that I am the LORD." Why does this battle take place? So that the world knows who God is. Now I have a difficulty placing that terminology into the Church Age or even before the Tribulation. That seems to be terminology related to the end of the Tribulation, when man finally knows who the Lord is. Verse 7, "So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name any more. Then the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.  Surely, it is coming and it shall be done, declares the Lord. This is the day," there's the third time that term is used, "This is the day of which I have spoken.  Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out, and set on fire and burn weapons," after the battle is over with, those who live in Israel are going to go out and they're going to gather up all the debris from the battle, from all the fuel, all of the weaponry, everything, and burn the weapons, "both the shields and bucklers, bows and arrows, the javelins and spears and they will make fires with them for seven years." That's a lot of equipment. But there's this seven year clean up of the battle, seven years worth of fuel that is being used.
Ezekiel 39:10, "Then they will not take wood from the field nor cut down any from the forest, because they will make fires with the weapons, and they will plunder those who plundered them, and pillage those who pillaged them." So you have this seven year period where they're burning fuel; it's hard to reconcile that with certain scenarios, how this fits, because in the second half of the Tribulation Israel is fighting for their survival, they are not going to be cleaning up the battlefield, they are told to flee to the hills, once they see the abomination of desolation; you don't see them going out and cleaning up the weaponry, you just see more and more devastation taking place during that last part of the Tribulation.
Ezekiel 39:11, "And it will come to pass in that day," this is the fourth use of the phrase, "that I will give Gog a burial place there in Israel, they valley of those who pass by east of the sea," that's east of the river Jordan, east of the Dead Sea, "and it will obstruct travelers because there they will bury Gog and all his multitude, therefore they will call it The Valley of Hamon-Gog.  For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them," do you see Israel gathering up the dead and burying them for seven months while they're in the second half of the Tribulation fighting for their survival. They don't have time to do that. So that's one of the problems in putting this together is anything that puts this battle too early in the Tribulation you end up having the Jews trying to do this cleanup during their worst war ever and the greatest time of needing to survive. And then notice, it says, "the house of Israel will be burying them in order to cleanse the land," make a not here, Israel is cleansing the land. Verse 13, "Indeed, all the people of the land bill be burying, and they will gain renown [can't understand word] on the day that I am glorified." The day that the Lord is glorified is the Second Coming.  "They will set apart man regularly employed with the help of the search party to pass through the land, bury the bodies that remain on the ground in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search.  The search party will pass through the land and when anyone sees a man's bone, he will set a marker by it until the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamon-Gog." That's a detailed search, you don't do that in time of warfare, they are going through and they are meticulously going over every square inch of the land to clean up all of these remains from the battle.
Ezekiel 39:17, "And as for you, son of man, thus says the Lord, Speak to every kind of a bird and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves and come and gather together from all sides to My sacrificial meal" so God's going to bring all these birds to the land to clean up the dead. And these carrion vultures are going to come in and eat the dead so at least there's not going to be a lot of stench and a lot of disease from all the dead bodies throughout the land. That seems also to me to be a picture of the consequences of Armageddon, but there are problems with that.
Let's get down to Ezekiel 39:21, "I will set My glory among the nations;" My glory is a technical term for the Shekinah of the Lord Jesus Christ, "I will set My glory among the nations; and all the nations shall see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them.  So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day forward." That's the fifth use of "that day," I take it that all the "that day's" refer to the same event and you can't separate these events in time. And then the rest of the chapter, from verse 23 on, "The Gentiles shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity because they were unfaithful to Me, therefore I hid My face from them," it talks about the testimony to the Gentiles and the verbiage from verse 23 on clearly speaks of the end of the Tribulation and concludes in verse 29, "I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel," that's New Covenant terminology and that takes place at the end of the Tribulation.
Now that just gives you a brief summary of what takes place in these two chapters so that we can then address the question of how these fit together. There are seven views on how these events are placed and fit together with the events of the Tribulation. We have the Church Age, we have the Tribulation and we have the Millennium. Notice I have put a gap in here between each one of these for the reason that most people realize there's some sort of gap between the rapture and the signing of the peace treaty that begins the Tribulation. No one knows how long that gap is. There's also a gap as we'll see next time when we get into Daniel 12, there's a gap between the Second Coming of Christ and the beginning of the Millennium.
Where do the events of Ezekiel 38 and 39 take place and how does that relate to Daniel 11? That's the tough question. The first suggestion is from the allegorical interpreters and that is that this is purely symbolic. We're just going to reject that out of hand because it's not based on a literal historical interpretation of the Scripture. But many people think oh, this is just sort of allegorical and it's merely a description of some future assault by the Babylonians or the Romans or whatever on Israel. But that's not grounded in the text; it doesn't interpret the text literally so we'll just reject that out of hand.
The second view handles things a little more seriously. This view, I think, is one of two views that has significant merit to it. I think that the battle, Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38…[tape turns]
…probably right after the rapture, or it takes place at the end of the Tribulation. My vote at this point goes to the end of the Tribulation but I want to go through this material and help you understand something about what the issues are. Who takes this view, that it is before the Tribulation and maybe even at the end of the Church Age? Arnold Fruchtenbaum takes this view, Tim LaHaye takes this view, this is the view that's in the Left Behind books, Tommy Ice takes this view, and they basically were all influenced by a guy who was a pastor of Arnold Fruchtenbaum by the name of David L. Cooper. The view here stresses the fact that in Ezekiel 38-39 Israel is living in unwalled villages, they're living in a time of military security. When you get past the mid point of the Tribulation, once the antichrist has invaded, his army is on the land, he's got his statue in the temple, warfare is taking place, it's not a time of military security. Now that's a major problem for my view because this text says clearly they're living in a time of military security.
The second point they bring up is that it's going to take seven years to clean up the military debris. Now if you put the battle at the midpoint of the Tribulation, like many people, at the midpoint of the Tribulation, you don't see Israel cleaning things up during the last three and a half years when they're fighting for their survival. So that seems to be a problem. Now because of that Arnold argues that the seven years has to be completed before the midpoint of the Tribulation. That means that the battle of Gog and Magog has to take place at least three and a half years before the Tribulation and that can put it into the Church Age. And if it doesn't put it in the Church Age it means there's at least three and a half years between the rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation. Now I have a problem with that, just sort of abstractly, because in all of the transition times that we find in the Scriptures, between dispensations, for example, the crucifixion is the end of the Law, that's the end of the age of Israel, but the day of Pentecost doesn't begin the Church Age for forty days so you have a forty day gap. You're going to have another gap in Daniel 12 of about 40 or 50 days. You don't have any transition times between dispensations in the Scripture of three and a half, four, five year periods of time. I've heard some people even suggest 8 or 10 years between the rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation. I just have trouble seeing that much of a time gap but once again, that's more my sense of the text and doesn't have anything to do with any particular passage.
The third argument that Arnold and Tommy, in fact I think Charlie Clough takes this position as well, a third position they argue is that Jesus cleanses the land when He returns at the end of the Tribulation. I've talked to Tommy about this several times, in fact I called him up this morning and said give me one passage in Scripture that says that Jesus cleanses the land. I've got three statements here in Ezekiel 39 that says that Israel is going to cleanse the land when they bring up the dead bodies; where do you get a statement that Jesus cleanses the land when He returns at the Second Coming. Well, that's really a theological inference from comparing a number of passages, and that's true. I can see that theological inference and some legitimacy to that, so it's not like it's just some guess, but when Jesus Christ returns you're going to have a change in the topography of Israel, this enormous mountain in the middle of Israel is going to come up because of this earthquake that takes place at the end of the Tribulation and that's where they're going to build the one square mile temple compound for the millennial temple. Now if that's going to occur and they're going to build the millennial temple right after the Second Coming, the beginning of the millennium, I don't see them taking seven months in that period picking up all the dead bones that might be found there to cleanse that land for the temple. So it's clearly a complex situation.
That's their view; the weaknesses with that view is first of all, I don't think the text of Ezekiel 39 allows for a break between verse 20 and verse 21; that's Arnold's argument. Arnold says that starting in verse 21 of chapter 39, down to the end of the chapter, that's clearly Second Coming events. But verse 22 says, "So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day forward." Well, I don't see Israel knowing who God is and being saved until right at the end of Armageddon. And the term "that day" used in verse 22 ties in to "that day" of verse 11 and verse 8, and back into chapter 38, the whole Gog/Magog invasion. So that's a problem.
Second, Israel is clearly stated to be the one who cleanses the land through this seven month long burial process, not the Lord Jesus Christ at His return.
Third, no passage is found specifically stating that it is the Lord Jesus Christ who cleanses the land; that's a theological inference that is not necessarily supported by the text.
And then fourth, you have various statements in this section, such as 38:23, "Thus I will magnify Myself, and sanctify Myself, and I will make Myself known in the eyes of many nations, then they shall know that I am the LORD." Also in 39:7, 39:13 and 39:21 all seem to suggest that at the time of the destruction of Gog and Magog the world knows who God is. And I don't see that taking place three and a half years before the Tribulation begins or between the rapture and the Tribulation; I see that as something that happens at the end of the Tribulation.
The third view is the view that it takes place early in the Tribulation, but once again, if it takes place early in the Tribulation you have a problem with this seven year cleanup. Arnold's right, that seven year cleanup has to either be finished by the halfway point of the Tribulation or it doesn't even start until the end of the Tribulation. That's why I think the only two views that really have any substance to them are the view that it takes place between the rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation, or at the end of the Tribulation, because I just don't see Israel being able to do any cleanup during the second half of the Tribulation when they're fighting for their very survival.
The fourth view is the view of Dr. Walvoord who is the Dean of Dispensationalism and Eschatology and former President of Dallas Seminary and probably has done more writing on prophecy than anybody else in the 20th century and he holds the view, as do a number of other well-known prophecy scholars and dispensationalists, that it takes place at the beginning of the last three and a half year period or just after the midpoint of the Tribulation. The basis for that is that they argue that the "dwelling securely in the land in unwalled villages" is a result of the covenant with the antichrist and that doesn't fall apart until the halfway point of the Tribulation. They also, some in this camp, connect the Gog and Magog to the king of the North in Daniel 11 and the king of the North invasion in Daniel 11 takes place at the beginning of this period so they make that connection. The problems are still what I've said before, you don't have the time for the seven year cleanup. The dwelling in unwalled villages doesn't necessitate that it's under the covenant of the antichrist. The king of the North, I don't think, ought to be identified with Gog, Magog, Meshech and Tubal. And for all of these reasons I think you have more problems with this fourth position than the third position.
The fifth position is that it takes place at the end of the Tribulation, that this is part of the battle of Armageddon, part of the campaign of Armageddon, and I would argue that what happens in Daniel 11 is that the king of the North and the king of the South operate against, or are in tandem against the antichrist. They are defeated and then when he's down in Egypt he hears rumors from the far north and that is Gog, Meshech and Tubal coming down in their invasion in concert with the kings of the East. They all hit Israel, they are going to be destroyed, Gog, Meshech and Tubal, not the kings of the north, but Gog is destroyed supernaturally by God, the kings of the East are also destroyed in that way, and the focal point of Ezekiel 38-39 is simply on that one aspect of the overall Armageddon campaign.
This is a position that's held by Dwight Pentecost who taught at Dallas Seminary for many years and wrote a classic on prophecy on Things to Come. It's the position of Pastor Thieme, the position of Hal Lindsay, and a number of other scholars. It's interesting, I'm looking at my Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible and just to let you know that there's a lot of confusion on this, in the footnotes, the notes at the bottom of the page that just footnoted the different verses, whoever wrote the notes for Ezekiel put the battle of Gog and Magog early in the Tribulation, but then this Bible has a number of different one-page articles in it that are quite helpful and quite instructive on a lot of different issues, and there's one written by a Dallas grad, he's writing his dissertation at Dallas right now on the dating of Revelation, a good prophecy scholar, a pastor in Oklahoma City by the name of Mark Hitchcock, and Mark wrote the article on Gog and Magog, and he argues that it is…he identifies it with the king of the North and that it is Russia and that it takes place at the end of the Tribulation. So even within the Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible there is clearly a discrepancy of opinion by these various editors. So there's no clarity on this and it's just a maelstrom, a whirlpool that you get into trying to make all these things fit together and it just turns your head inside out.
A sixth view tries to place it between the Second Coming and the beginning of the Millennium but there's no support for that and there's not enough time, as we'll see, we'll interact with that a little more next time in Daniel 12.
And then the last view, the seventh view places it at the end of the Millennium and tries to identify it with the Gog and Magog revolution that Satan leads at the end of the Millennium. But that really doesn't fit any of the other factors that are given in Ezekiel 38-39 which clearly, the fact that at the end of 39 it says "then I will pour out My Spirit on Israel," that is clear terminology used in Joel 2, used in Jeremiah 31, used in Ezekiel 36, all relating to the beginning of the New Covenant.
So my conclusion in this is that my inclination is to place Ezekiel 38 and 39 at the end of the Tribulation, that Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39 are not the king of the North, they are another northern power distinct from the king of the North, but I think there is also some strong support for the view that it could take place prior to the Tribulation, either at the end of the Church Age but I doubt that, but during some interim period between the rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation.
So that sort of gives you an idea of the kind of things you have to struggle with. I had several questions about this back in March and April where I began doing work on this and I've read, in fact, today, just to go back over it again I pulled three different textbooks on eschatology out and they all differed and they all gave different arguments. Nobody has any real certainty here and I think that if you hear anybody teach on this with any great degree of dogmatism, unless they come out with some great new insight, take it with a grain of salt. I don't think anybody has real clarity on how Ezekiel 38 and 39 really tie into the Tribulation just yet.
That wraps up our study of Daniel 11 and next time we'll begin the last chapter in Daniel, Daniel 12.
 Then he will stretch out his hand against the other countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape.  But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians will follow at his heels.  But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many.  And he will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him."
and the king of the North will come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, with horsemen, and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow them, and pass through.  He will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many countries will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edam, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon.  Then he will stretch out his hand against the other countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape.  But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians will follow at his heels.  But rumors fro the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many.  And he will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him."