Over the centuries, Christians, Jews, and Muslims have wondered about the meaning and timing of Ezekiel 38 and 39, which contain a prophecy about a future war in which many nations march against Israel but are miraculously destroyed by God. There have been a multitude of interpretations of when this event will happen and which nations will be involved. Within Christianity alone, every generation of the church has applied this prophecy to its own time. For example, before the fall of the Roman Empire, church fathers like Eusebius wrote that the two Ezekiel chapters were a reference to the Romans. After the fall of Rome, other church fathers like Ambrose wrote that the passages were referring to the invading Goths, noting the “similarity of the last syllable” (of “Magog” and “Goths”). After the Goths, it was Attila and the Huns, then the Mongols, the Celts, the Khazars, the European Jews, and the Ottoman Turks. During the Cold War, it was Russia, a view promoted by Hal Lindsey in his book, The Late Great Planet Earth, and after 9/11, it is often seen as a reference to Islamic countries.
I believe that understanding the Gog and Magog war in Ezekiel 38 and 39 is important when trying to understand the end times in general, but I also believe the Antichrist will exploit the often-wrong views of Christians, Jews, and Muslims about the Gog-Magog war to great advantage during his rise to power—a view I will explain in a later chapter. In this chapter, I intend to show that there isn’t any reason for this issue to be so confusing to Christians, because the relevant texts provide all the information we need to determine, at the very least, the timing of the war, which I believe is the most important element. I will begin by discussing many of the modern views on Gog-Magog and by looking at their strengths and weaknesses. I will then lay out a case for my own view, as well as anticipate criticism of it.
Though I will not list the strengths and weaknesses of the Jewish and Islamic views about the Gog-Magog war, I will begin this section with a description of their views in order for the reader to understand that these religions also have many of the same difficulties with its interpretation, and also to show that all three of the Abrahamic religions are anticipating the Gog-Magog war.
Just like the Christians, over the years, the Jews have interpreted this prophecy in light of their contemporary history. For example, the enemies in the Gog and Magog war were often seen by Jews as the Christians, Muslims, or both during times of Jewish persecution. Gog was seen as referring to Napoleon during the Napoleonic wars, and during both world wars, each was seen as the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 and 39. Like Christians, Jews have also been quite divided about the timing of this war. For some, the Gog-Magog war is simply representative of past struggles; for others, the war of Gog occurs in the future, during the time of Messiah ben Joseph (the battle in which he is killed) but before the reign of Messiah ben David. Still others, including many of Judaism’s most celebrated ancient writers like Saadia, Maimonides, and Nahmanides, wrote that the Gog-Magog war would occur after Messiah ben David, the final Messiah, had been ruling over a restored Israel for some time, in what Christians call the Millennium.
Gog and Magog are referred to in Arabic as Ya’juj and Ma’juj. The war they start is the fifth “Major sign” in Islamic eschatology. Although they are sometimes individuals, sometimes peoples, and sometimes geographical regions, the references to them in the Quran and hadiths clearly indicate that Gog and Magog are people who are numerous in number who will appear toward the end times. One hadith says the following about the ethnicity and appearance of the people involved: “Gog and Magog belong to the Turkic Mongol race, have small eyes, small flat noses and wide faces. Their faces look like hammered-out shields.”
The Muslims believe this war happens after the Mahdi and Isa have appeared and defeated the Dajjal (the Islamic Antichrist). They say that after Isa has killed, or converted everyone to Islam, Allah lets Gog and Magog out from the behind a wall where they are held at bay. Gog and Magog then kill almost everyone on the earth; in fact, even Isa and his followers need to flee to a stronghold in Sinai for safety. After some time, Isa prays to Allah, who sends a bird that drops a worm into the necks of these armies, which causes all of the soldiers to die in one night. There is much less speculation in Islam regarding the timing of this event, probably because in this view, the Gog-Magog war has to be preceded by the appearance of the Mahdi and Isa and the destruction of the Dajjal, which are all events that would be quite obvious if they occurred.
The Christian views about the timing of the Gog-Magog war are divided into four categories:
Though there are subsets for most of these categories—for example, at least two views of the timing of the war fall under the umbrella of “pre-seventieth week of Daniel”—I’m limiting this discussion to these four broad categories, as the problems with the main category applies to all of its subsets as well.
The problems with viewing the Gog-Magog war as occurring before the seventieth week of Daniel begins are as follows:
1) Ezekiel 39:7 says Yahweh’s name is never to be profaned again after the end of the Gog-Magog war:
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 anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. (Ezekiel 39:7)
The seventieth week of Daniel, the time of the Antichrist, is characterized by blasphemy and rebellion against God, both on the part of the Antichrist, who is particularly blasphemous, and those who follow him. For example, Scripture says that people will “blaspheme the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores” (also see Revelation 17:3, 13:6, and 16:9–11).
The people in Israel rejoice at the deaths of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:10), which doesn’t sound to me like people who are finished with rebellion against God. If the Gog-Magog war occurs before the seventieth week of Daniel, then we need to explain how the blasphemy and rebellion by the Antichrist and the people of the earth in the end times do not constitute a defiling of God’s name. This problem is insurmountable, in my opinion.
2) The nations recognize the sovereignty of God as a result of the Gog-Magog war:
I will bring you against my land so that the nations may acknowledge me, when before their eyes I magnify myself. (Ezekiel 38:16b)
I will exalt and magnify myself; I will reveal myself before many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord. (Ezekiel 38:23)
Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. (Ezekiel 39:7b)
The nations are explicitly in rebellion against God throughout the seventieth week of Daniel (Revelation 11:2, 18:3, and 16:14). In fact, it seems that the “kings of the earth” who are gathered to battle against Christ at Armageddon include all or most of the nations of the earth. So we would need to explain how this contradiction is reconciled.
3) Israel also recognizes the Lord’s sovereignty in totality (Northern and Southern Kingdoms) after Gog-Magog:
So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day forward. (Ezekiel 39:22)
The salvation of Israel en masse cannot happen before the conclusion of the seventieth week of Daniel. In fact the whole point of the seventieth-week prophecy is that the entirety of the seventy weeks (including the last seven years) needs to be completed before the salvation of Israel will occur:
Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy. (Daniel 9:24)
This also violates the purpose of the “time of Jacob’s trouble,” which is a purifying event for the Jews during the last half of the final seven-year period culminating in their repentance and recognition of God. They will not be completely saved until after this purification event is completed.
4) Phrases like “dwelling securely,” “dwelling in a land that has undergone a restoration from the sword,” “a land of unwalled villages,” “peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates” are all inconsistent with Israel’s geopolitical situation currently or for the foreseeable future. Nor could one argue that this is some kind of false security brokered by the Antichrist, since that event isn’t supposed to occur until the first day of the seventieth week.
Those who hold to the view that the Gog-Magog war occurs sometime in the midst of the seventieth week of Daniel usually see the abomination of desolation, which occurs at the midpoint, as the time when Israel comes to know God. They see references to “dwelling peacefully” and “without walls” explained by the false peace of the Antichrist during the first three and a half years of Daniel’s seventieth week. A number of different scenarios proposed place the Gog-Magog war within the seventieth week, all of which suffer from similar problems:
1) There is no indication that after the Gog-Magog war, Israel will once again be subjected to conquest, which would necessarily be the case if it occurred at the midpoint, since a great deal of destruction and conquest begins at that time (Matthew 24:15–21). Ezekiel says that there will be no one to “make them afraid” and that God will leave “none of them captive any longer” after the war. This view essentially has Israel being miraculously delivered by God, only to be handed over to the Antichrist again for the final part of the seventieth week. Zechariah 13:8–9 says that two-thirds of Israel will be killed during this time, and Revelation 11:2 says the Gentiles will trample Jerusalem for three and a half years after this point. This is hardly consistent with the language of a final victory and establishment of universal peace that seem to come after the Gog-Magog war.
2) Israel is said to bury bodies for seven months and use the weapons of the dead soldiers for fuel for seven years after the Gog-Magog war. This is inconceivable during the great Tribulation, when the saints are hunted and killed, and the trumpet and bowl judgments take place.
3) Related to the previous point, the burying of bodies is described in Ezekiel 39 as a triumphant event that cleanses the land:
For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. Indeed all the people of the land will be burying, and they will gain renown for it on the day that I am glorified,” says the Lord God. (Ezekiel 39:12–13)
How can the land be considered cleansed or even begging to be cleansed during a time before the final judgments found in Revelation, which, for example, turn the sea into blood and kill all life in the sea? A plain reading of Ezekiel 38–39 is a picture of a final destruction, which is followed by restoration, but this view anticipates that the Gog-Magog war is followed by the worst persecutions and devastation the world has ever seen.
4) This view presumes that phrases like “dwelling securely” or “a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates” refer to a false peace given by the Antichrist at the beginning of the seven-year period. This is a classic example of reading one’s preconceived notions into the text. I don’t think anyone who holds to this view would disagree with the fact that there is absolutely no suggestion in Ezekiel 38–39 that this is a false peace; the idea must be read back into the text. Not one word in these chapters would give the reader the notion that this peace is from anyone else but God and that it will be anything but everlasting. Indeed, the destruction of Gog-Magog seems to only prove that the original peace is in fact genuine, since the armies are destroyed by God before they even have a chance to attack.
There has been a good deal of scholarly work showing that the specific phrases used by Ezekiel to describe the peace are phrases that are used elsewhere to describe the millennial peace. Ralph H. Alexander has said the following in his paper, “A Fresh Look at Ezekiel 38 and 39”:
The expression “in the last days” (be’aharit hayyamim), found in Ezekiel 38:16, places these events at the end time, for this phrase is most frequently employed to designate the time of Israel’s final restoration to the land and the period of Messiah’s rule ( cf. Isa. 2:2; Jer. 23:20; 30:24; Hosea 3:5; Mic. 4:1; Dan. 10:14).… Another significant factor in these chapters is the employment of the expression “living securely” (a form of yasab followed by labetah) in Ezekiel 38:8, 11, 14 and Ezekiel 39:26. This phrase is often employed in reference to millennial security, especially in Jeremiah and Ezekiel (cf. Jer. 23:6; 32:27; Ezek. 28:26; Zech. 14:11). This expression is used previously by Ezekiel in this series of messages to describe a definitely millennial picture (Ezek. 34:25-28; cf. Mic. 4:4).… These chronological notices in Ezekiel 38 and 39, in conjunction with the temporal emphasis of the entire context of these six night messages, argues strongly that the events of Ezekiel 38 and 39 transpire at the end time when Israel has already been restored to the land, the Messiah is present, and she has entered into the Peace covenant with Yahweh her Lord.
The mid-seventieth-week view also suffers from the problems of the pre-seventieth-week view, namely, that Yahweh’s name will be profaned again, and the subjection of the nations and Israel cannot occur until the end of the seventieth week.
The view that the Gog Magog war is essentially the same war as the battle of Armageddon has much more credibility than the ones we have looked at thus far, though it also has problems. This view does seem more consistent with Ezekiel 38–39 in that it, too, is a final battle followed by peace and not continual war or persecution. The general scope of the event is more or less the same as well: Armies are gathered, then they are destroyed supernaturally, leaving behind a multitude of dead bodies. There is even a reference to the birds feasting on dead bodies in both passages. There are much fewer problems with this view, but the main problem it does have is devastating, in my opinion.
The idea that Israel would be “dwelling securely” in the way described by Ezekiel just before the battle of Armageddon is absurd. As mentioned previously, if there was ever a time that Israel is not dwelling in peace, it would be the time of just before Armageddon, when there is no more grass, clean water, or fish in the sea. This is a time when the Antichrist’s persecution is at its height, when all those who do not worship the beast are killed, and when Jerusalem has been trampled by the Gentiles for the last three and a half years.
But because there is so much in common between Armageddon and Ezekiel 38 and 39, I hesitate to do away with it altogether, and I think it is possible that it is to be seen as a near or type fulfillment of the Gog-Magog war, with the ultimate and most literal fulfillment being the next view we will cover.
The view that the Gog-Magog war occurs after the end of the millennial reign, when Satan is let out to gather nations to battle Jerusalem but is defeated by God, is the only view on the timing of this war that enjoys explicit biblical support. It is the only view that has no inherent contradictions and makes sense of the entire prophecy of Ezekiel that begins in chapter 33 and continues through chapter 39. The arguments leveled against it are often superficial and will be dealt with at length at the end of this chapter.
Let me start by explaining what I mean when I say that this view enjoys explicit biblical support in regards to the timing of the war. In Revelation 20, the apostle John states when the battle of Gog and Magog will occur:
Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:7–10, emphasis added)
John says this event will occur when the “thousand years have expired”—after the Millennium, after Jesus has been ruling on earth during an unprecedented time of peace. John uses the exact phrase “Gog and Magog,” a phrase used only one other time—in Ezekiel 38–39—and the details of the battle John describes is consistent with what is described by Ezekiel, though obviously an abbreviated version. Ralph Alexander says of this reference to Gog-Magog:
The strong basis for this position is the explicit reference to Gog and Magog in Revelation 20:8. Such an explicit reference cannot be dismissed lightly, as is often the case. The terms employed in Revelation 20:8 are the same as those in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Normal hermeneutics would require the identification of the two passages (since the terms Gog and Magog are used nowhere else in the Scriptures) unless strong reasons can be brought forth to deny such an equation.
It is so frustrating to hear commentators and preachers speak about this passage and dismiss it with a wave of their hands, because the excuses they give for its dismissal are not at all convincing, and sometimes even misleading. For example, they almost always say something similar to this: “The armies in Ezekiel come from the north; but in Revelation 20 the armies come from the ‘four corners of the earth.’” This objection is easily dealt with by noting that in Ezekiel 38:5, 6 ,13 and 39:6, nations from all the compass points are specifically mentioned: Persia from the east, Cush (Ethiopia) from the south, Put (Libya) and the people who dwell “carelessly in the isles” from the west, and Gomer and Togarmah from the north. Why they insist that the armies in Ezekiel only come from the north is beyond me.
Some argue that the term “four corners of the earth” suggests a worldwide invasion, whereas Ezekiel is describing a coalition that is based primarily in the Middle East. This can be easily refuted by noting that the term “four corners of the earth” or “four winds,” which are often used interchangeably,1 are terms which often refer only to the four compass points within a Middle Eastern context (Daniel 11:4; Jeremiah 49:36).
Another reason given for dismissing Revelation 20 is that in Ezekiel, Gog is the main aggressor, a man, whereas in Revelation 20, Satan is said to be the aggressor. To this I would say that there is no reason to expect that after the Millennium Satan will be incarnate and will physically lead these nations to battle. In fact, there is explicit evidence that he operates in the same way he always has after he is released: He tempts these nations to go to war.
Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. (Revelation 20:7–8, emphasis added)
What could be clearer than that? Satan deceives Gog and Magog to go to battle. He is not leading these armies himself. Even the simplest reading of both Ezekiel 38 and 39 and Revelation 20:7–9 proves this argument impotent, as both passages clearly say that Gog is leading human armies in each case.
Another reason given for dismissing Revelation 20:7–9 is that in the passage in Ezekiel, bones are left to be buried, but in Revelation, the fire God sends on the armies completely consumes them, bones and all. Like the others, this argument is reading way too much into the text. Let’s take a look at what is said: “And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them” (Revelation 20:9b).
People who argue this point say the word translated “devoured” must mean the armies are completely consumed, bones and all. But I would suggest that far too little information is given here to state dogmatically that the bones must be consumed as a part of this devouring. If we look at Zechariah 14:12, which some say is a picture of the destruction of Gog and his armies, we see what looks like a fire that certainly could be described as “devouring,” but apparently leaves the bones intact, as it seems to only target the soldier’s flesh.
And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, And their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths. (Zechariah 14:12)
It’s just as likely that the word John used that is translated as “devouring” can refer to an event like we find in Zechariah 14, which is limited to devouring flesh.
I hope you will see that the reasons given for dismissing Revelation 20:7–9 are easily dismissed themselves. The importance of this passage cannot be understated. If this interpretation is correct, we in fact do have a clear biblical basis for saying that the Gog-Magog war occurs after the Millennium when Satan is released.
Despite the fact that John only spends a few verses summarizing Ezekiel’s prophecy, the similarities between the two passages are striking:
If the Gog Magog war occurs at the end of the Millennium, as Revelation 20 says, then the following problems that the other views have are solved:
1. Argument about the chronology of Ezekiel: The main reason people reject this notion is because chapters 38 and 39 in Ezekiel are followed by an obvious description of the Millennium in chapters 40–48. They assume that since chapters 40–48 talk about the Millennium, the Gog-Magog war, which is found in the two preceding chapters, must occur before the Millennium. There are indeed many occasions in Scripture where this kind of chronological connection would be valid, but, as we will see, this is definitely not one of them.
Ezekiel begins each prophecy with a description of the date when he received it; he does this thirteen times throughout the book. The section that includes the prophecy against Gog begins in chapter 33, verse 21, which says: “And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, that one who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, ‘The city has been captured!’” (Ezekiel 33:21, emphasis added).
Everything that Ezekiel was given to write about Gog and Magog is included in this prophecy, which continues for six chapters and ends after the section about the Gog-Magog war in chapter 39. The nine chapters that follow this prophecy about the Millennium are a part of a completely different prophecy given to Ezekiel thirteen years later! Chapter 40 begins this way: “In the twenty-fifth year of our captivity, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was captured, on the very same day the hand of the Lord was upon me; and He took me there” (Ezekiel 40:1).
In his paper, “Rethinking Ezekiel’s Invasion by Gog,” Dr. J. Paul Tanner says, “We need not expect [chapters] 40–48 to chronologically follow [chapters] 38–39 since these chapters are part of a separate vision.”
If we place the dates of Ezekiel’s thirteen visions in chronological order, the list would look like this: Ezekiel 1:1; 8:1; 20:1; 24:1; 29:1; 26:1; 30:20; 31:1; 33:21; 32:1.17; 40:1; and 29:17. Notice that three of the visions are not in chronological order; more importantly, Ezekiel 29:17, which is about Egypt being conquered by Nebuchadnezzar, was written later than the prophecy of the Millennium that begins in Ezekiel 40. A simple understanding of the nature of the book of Ezekiel would prevent anyone from building doctrine based on the order of the visions in Ezekiel.
Ironically, if we apply the idea correctly and see a chronological connection within a particular vision of Ezekiel—in this case, the one that begins in chapter 33 and goes through 39—we would conclude that the Gog-Magog war must come after the Messiah is ruling on earth, since chapter 37 is so clear that the Millennium has begun and the throne of David is occupied at that time. To say it another way: if we limited chronological connections to the same vision, then it is absolutely necessary to conclude that the Gog-Magog war comes after the Millennium.
Some people even suggest that the last nine chapters of Ezekiel are a part of a separate book altogether. Josephus states that Ezekiel “left behind two books” (The Antiquities of the Jews, 10:5.1). And while we don’t have enough information to say conclusively what Josephus meant, it would make sense if the last nine chapters of Ezekiel were distributed separately. It would mean that the book of Ezekiel originally ended with the Gog-Magog war, which would be fitting, since the book of Revelation essentially ends with the Gog-Magog war also. Admittedly, this point is too speculative to be dogmatic about.
2. Israel would have no reason to burn the invaders’ weapons or bury bodies in the eternal kingdom: There are many variations of the argument, but the main idea is based on an assumption that in the eternal state that follows the Millennium, there is no reason to bury bodies or burn weapons for fuel. The people who are making this argument assume a great deal about life after the Millennium, but the fact is that we have very little information about what life will be like in the eternal kingdom. However, the information we do have in Revelation 21–22 seems to suggest that there will indeed be life on earth, much like there was during the Millennium, and therefore there will be a reason to bury bodies and make fires.
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:2–3, emphasis added)
The New Jerusalem is a massive structure 1,400 miles in length, width, and height. The notable point here is that this city comes from heaven to earth and “the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them.” God is going to dwell on earth in the eternal kingdom. Therefore, we would expect some semblance of the laws of nature that govern earth to be in effect during this time, even if radically modified. It should also be noted that it is prohibited for anyone to enter the New Jerusalem who might defile it.
And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (Revelation 21:26–27)
I only suggest that the little information that we do have about the eternal state seems to indicate that there will be life on earth outside the New Jerusalem as well. It may be that only those who are dead in Christ dwell in this 1,400-mile-square city. But the existence of earthly life outside the city seems to be certain, and one would assume there would be need to cook food with fires, etc.
The argument that there will be no need for people to bury bodies or burn weapons in the eternal state could be a moot point anyway. After all, we are not told how much time elapses between the Gog-Magog war and the eternal state. Dr. Tanner makes the following observations regarding this:
A closer look at Revelation 20 reveals that there are a thousand years from the beginning of Christ’s millennial rule until the release of Satan. It does not tell how much time transpires between Satan’s release and the eternal state. Following the thousand years, several things must take place before the eternal state: (1) Satan will be released for “a short time” (Rev. 20:3), (2) Satan will have time to deceive the nations and move them to attack Israel, (3) Satan, the beast and the false prophet will be thrown into the lake of fire (20:10), and (4) all the unrighteous dead will be brought before the great white throne, judged by God and thrown into the lake of fire.
In all honesty, we don’t know how much time there may be, but nothing in the text precludes a period of seven years in which the weapons of war could be burned. Another question, then, is: Why should an effort be made to burn the weapons if the eternal state follows shortly afterward? Perhaps, since this is the last act of war before the new creation, this is done to celebrate that Satan (the perpetrator of all wars) is forever removed and war will never again plague humanity.
So the argument concerning burning weapons and burying bodies is based on various speculations and presuppositions about things we are not yet privy to know completely, such as the timing between the thousand years and the eternal state and the exact nature of life on earth in the eternal state, but I suggest the information we do know about the eternal state certainly allows for a post-millennial Gog-Magog war.
3. Ezekiel 38–39 says that after the war “the nations shall know that I am the Lord” and that He will “make his name known” in the midst of Israel. But this would have already occurred during the Millennium.
It is true that the nations and Israel will be subservient to Christ in the Millennium, but several passages in Scripture make it known that it is far from a sin-free state (see Isaiah 65:20, 11:3–5; Zechariah 14:16–21). Those passages say that “wicked” people and “sinners” are still there. In fact, that is the probably the reason Jesus rules during this era with a “rod of iron” to quickly and decisively give out judgment to those who are sinning. It is generally accepted that during the Millennium, people will still need to accept Christ as their Savior in addition to as their King, and not everyone on earth is automatically saved.
Writer Arthur Pink said this of the millennial kingdom:
In spite of the fact that Satan will have been removed from the earth, and that Christ reigns in person over it, yet conditions here will not be perfect even in the Millennium. Unregenerate human nature will remain unchanged. Sin will still be present, though much of its outward manifestation will be restrained. Discontent and wickedness will not be eradicated from the hearts of men, but will be kept beneath the surface by means of the Iron Rod. Multitudes will yield to Christ nothing but a “feigned obedience” (Ps. 18:44, margin). This “feigned obedience” will be the product of power not grace; it will be the fruit of fear not love.2
The fact that not everyone is saved is quite obvious considering that when Satan is released at the end of this thousand years, he is able to tempt so many people to go to war against Jesus that their numbers are like the “sands of the sea.” The Millennium is obviously a blessed time, but it is not perfect, and it is not doctrinally correct to say that every person on earth is saved or “knows God” in the salvific sense at this time. Therefore, only after the attack described by John in Revelation 20 and the beginning of the eternal kingdom does true universal salvation appear to occur.
In conclusion, placing the Gog-Magog event at the end of the Millennium is the only option with explicit biblical support that eliminates all contradictions and invites no insurmountable criticisms. I believe the battle of Armageddon event in Revelation 16 and 19 is the second-best option, but because of the problems associated with people “dwelling securely” just before Armageddon and in light of a clear reference to the timing in Revelation 20:7, which places Gog-Magog after the Millennium, the Armageddon event should be seen as only a prefiguration or type fulfillment of the Gog-Magog war.