Given the numerous works presented concerning eschatology and prophecy, there is little surprise that there exist many interpretations of Ezekiel’s prophetic book. The issue of timing is a frequent motif that scholars of various interpretational methods point to regarding the battles of Gog and Magog. For instance, Dispensational Pre-Millennials view the battle as later in date; whereas some within this group hold to a time within the present age of the church. As well, whether or not this battle occurs before the rapture is a central talking point among many be they scholar or layman.
There are many within conservative ranks that posit the battle at one point or another within the Seventy Weeks, as Weirsbe, who maintains a time at the inception of the Seventy Weeks. Weirsbe writes that it “seems probable that this will be during the first half of the Tribulation period, when Israel will be protected from her enemies by her covenant with the head of the Roman Empire (Dan. 9:26-27).” One varied opinion places the invasion at the close of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. In light of this, time will be given to possible interpretations of this position, namely
1. At the close of the Great Tribulation, and
2. At the close of the Millennium.
In reviewing the information presented in the text, support will be constructed for a close of Tribulation position. With this in mind, consideration will be maintained in light of the fact that most positions present challenges regarding the interpretation of the prophecies. In any scholastic endeavor, substantiation requires the full consideration and use of the components of sound hermeneutical principles. Biblical texts to be placed under review will be the previous Ezekiel 38-39 and Revelation 16, 20. Indeed, a review is necessary, for many scholars of varied interpretive methods place Armageddon prior to the close of the Great Tribulation. This position frames well with Ezekiel 38-39, yet is not wholly free from interpretive quagmires.
Infiltration and Armageddon
In referencing the advance of Gog and Magog prior to the close of the Great Tribulation, it becomes incumbent to disclose the strain required in reconciling the quagmire of differences found within the source texts. The first issue is the naming of the allies of Gog/Magog (38:2, 5-6, 13), with Rev. 16:14s disclosure that “all nations be engaged.” Second, there is the matter of from where the uprising originates. One learns that Rev. 16:13 describes the foul (unclean) spirits issuing from the mouths of the un-holy trinity. Ezekiel 38-39 points to a matter of greed as the operandi for the rebellion. Third, it has been posited by Pentecost that “Gog comes from the north (Ezek. 38:6, 15; 39:2), while at Armageddon the armies come from the whole earth.”
If the two chapters of Ezekiel and the one in Revelation are considered together, then the principles required for contextualization become considerably muddied....