The big question prophecy watchers who have believed the 'traditional view' I'm outlining in this series have wondered for years is: Why would the Russian alliance think they can invade Israel successfully? Let's look at the circumstances the scripture describes.
In Ezekiel 38:9 it says the gathering forces will come 'as a cloud to cover the land' to the 'mountains of Israel', indicating both ground and air assaults being prepared. The phrase 'mountains of Israel' in terms of geography, refer to the range of ancient mountains that run from Africa then northward through Israel into Syria. The prophecy therefore indicates starting in Syria they will come from the north along and through the mountains into Israel.
Perhaps the invading forces will enter Syria to end that conflict once and for all, and being in Syria with all those forces, they will think they can easily take Israel in an overwhelming attack. God says this about the day they come as a cloud to cover the land in v10-12: "This is what the Sovereign Lord says, in that day an evil thought will come into your mind, for you will say, "I will attack the land of unwalled villages, I will attack an unsuspecting and peaceful people..."
It would seem the idea to take Israel is a spur-of-the-moment decision, not something planned far in advance. That point trips up many prophecy watchers who are looking for a well planned build up. These verses suggest this is an instant decision after finding little resistance in Syria, without much planning. That means when they are in Syria they see Israel and its allies in a more relaxed condition, certainly without a massive build up of forces like was seen in Kuwait before the US invaded Iraq. This scripture states that when they are in Syria with such force, they think why not go ahead and take Israel since there are no great armies arrayed against them?
The political climate
Ezekiel 38:13 says the allied Arab nations and the nations descended from the merchants of Spain and Great Britain, will ask, 'What do you think you are doing? Do you think you can come and take a spoil?"
That statement is political, which is evidently the extent the attacking alliance thinks will happen in terms of resistance, or at worst they think the west will let the Arab alliance fight against them, which they think can easily be defeated by their overwhelming numbers and force.
Consider from their point of view the west's response to the invasion of Ukraine as an example of a merely political and economic resistance. That is a pattern with the west - punish individuals in a regime economically, and not much else on a national basis.
Additionally, with the US pulling out of Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and turning more of the defense of the Middle East over to the Arab alliances, plus reducing troops in NATO, perhaps they think the west doesn't have the stomach for yet another conflict in the region. In their thinking, it will be over and done with before anyone can react militarily, even if they had the will to do so. It is a fatal miscalculation.
God turns nature against them as in the days of old
In verses 19-23 God says He will fight against them by causing a great earthquake to happen where they are, and an overflowing rain with 'great hailstones' at that same time. The rain and hail will blunt an air attack, and the earthquake ground attack. The end of v20 also says 'every man's sword will be against his brother', indicating the invading forces from so many nations will have confused communication and fight each other, in a total military disaster. Earthquake, rain, hail, confusion.
But wait, there's more...
Verse 21 says: "I will call for a sword against him of all my mountains..." In prophetic literature a mountain represents a nation. Consider Daniel saw the toes of the statue of Nebuchadnezzar crushed by a mountain falling from the sky (heavenly origin) and growing to be a mountain that covered the world (kingdom of God). (Daniel 2:34-45,44-45). In The Revelation 17:8-10 the harlot sits on 7 mountains, which we are told in the next verse are 7 kings, and so on...
When God says He is calling for a sword against him 'of all my mountains' it indicates other nations who are on 'God's side', Israel's side, in this war. This is followed by 'every man's sword will be against his brother', taking on a larger meaning that nation will be against nation in this multi-nation but very brief, war.
God says He will send 'fire and brimstone' on the land of Magog and 'on the coasts/region'. Probably the homelands of the attacking armies, and perhaps nations of the Black and Caspian Seas, Syria, Turkey, and so on.
Prophecy watchers have wondered if this will be a limited and one sided nuclear war due to the use of 'fire and brimstone'. Israel has long been assumed to possess nuclear weapons and there is no doubt they would use them should their existence be threatened. Or is Ezekiel seeing a conventional war and merely trying to use words from his day to describe modern bombs and firepower, which to him are fire and brimstone? We don't know.
The fact that neither Israel nor the battlefield is left radioactive would suggest if some of Israel's response is nuclear, it is directed to the homeland of Magog and surrounding areas, and not in the immediate region of the Mid-East.
The results of the war
Much of chapter 39 is filled with descriptions of the aftermath of the war. It says Israel will have a 7 year supply gathered from the spoils, and it will take 7 months to bury the dead. In a prophetic word about modern forensic science, it says in v13-19 Israel will hire people to walk around putting flags by body parts so they may be gathered and buried. It also says birds will come and pick the bones of the bodies - what a gruesome scene!
Now I'll share something I rarely share
Back in about 1995 when I first began teaching Old Testament Survey at a Bible school in Tulsa, it came time to cover this portion of Ezekiel. In all the visitations with Jesus I'd had from that first one in April of 1986 until then, the Lord had never said anything about this war. But as I always do, I was asking the Father to teach me for clarification of a time-line because I knew among the students would be many perspectives on end times, and I wanted to be accurate and correct in what I was teaching. If my 'classic view' was wrong I wanted the Father to tell me.
To my utter astonishment the Father immediately responded: "This war ends the Arab-Israeli conflict, for who is left in the region to stand against Israel? No one. This war paves the way for the kings of the east to later march across the belly of Asia for the last battle, for they would not have done so before*. Consider these things. The world will be in shock at what takes place, and in awe of what I have done. The economic impact will be felt world-wide. A leader will quickly arise out of Europe who will sue for peace (with Israel) and make a 7 year peace treaty between them and Israel. Provisions of that treaty will include economic interests, but also a provision allowing them to build their temple. It is in that temple some 3 1/2 years later Israel is betrayed."
*Consider that the military forces of Russia, Turkey, Iran, Libya, are destroyed in this war. With Russia in no condition to resist, some 7+ years later the 'kings of the east' with a 200 million army will freely travel across Southern Asia, cross the Tigris and Euphrates which have been dried up, and into Israel to face the returning Lord. He also said there would be treaties with neighboring Arab nations following the Ezekiel war as well.
That was all He said at the time, and He has not added to it since, though I have obeyed and considered these things and studied them, and try to keep up with regional news. Ezekiel chapters 36 and 37 detail Israel becoming a sovereign nation again, and chapters 38 and 39 deal with the war that happens when they have become that nation. Then chapter 40-47 is about the Millennial temple and Israel; how the water will flow from the temple down into the Dead Sea with such volume it becomes a fresh water lake. It even states only the marshy areas will be left briny. It tells us fisherman will cast nets and fruit trees will grow along the banks of the river and now alive Sea.
But because the rapture and return of the Lord are mysteries, it was not shown Ezekiel nor anyone else to date when these events will happen. Because I believe in the Rosh Hashanah prophesied 'rapture', which says after that event the earth enters into a 7 year time of 'Jacob's Trouble' and 'Days of Awe' also called 'Days of Wrath', I plan to be watching from above. I believe this war may be at the start of those days - though I don't think anyone of us knows for sure the timing of all these things.
To me in my classic understanding, the war of Ezekiel 38 is something the world in our day is building towards, as seen in the various treaties between Israel and Arab/Muslim nations. But when will the Last Trumpet at Rosh Hashanah be blown to cause the dead in Messiah to rise and those alive to be changed? I don't know where it fits. I know where I'd like it to fit in, lol, but I don't know.
I hope this series gets you thinking....and praying....and watching....and wondering...we walk by faith not by sight...new subject next week, until then, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org