Ezekiel 38 vs. Armageddon|
Same battle described?
Q. What is the difference between the battle spoken of in Ezekiel 38 and the battle of Armageddon? Or are they the same?
This is an important question. Many Christians don't realize that heaven progresses and unfolds from the limited Millennium on our current planet - to the permanent New Jerusalem in the new heavens and earth. In a similar way the end-times events also unfold progressively from the rebirth of Israel to the wars described in Ezekiel to the final battle of Armageddon and to the Great White Throne Judgment of all unbelievers. Let's take a closer look at some of these events.
Ezekiel 38 War - Gog&Magog
The battle of Ezekiel 38 is one started by Gog and Magog. Many scholars believe that Gog is a leader and Magog is Russia. In Ezekiel's battle an alliance of Russia and numerous Islamic nations will invade Israel. These will include at least five allies: Turkey, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Islamic forces from the former Soviet Union (Walvoord 2007, 94).
Magog - When?
This war will begin when Israel has returned to its land as a nation and is securely at peace. Israel became a nation again in 1948. But, they have not had a period of peace - yet. This could occur at any moment, however.
Magog - Why?
There are four reasons listed in Scripture why Russia and her allies invade Israel:
1. To acquire more territory (Ezekiel 38:8).
2. To plunder Israel's wealth (38:12). Some feel Israel will discover vast reserves of oil in the near future.
3. To destroy the Jews (38:11, 16).
4.To challenge the authority of the Antichrist who will temporarily be Israel's ally due to a treaty mentioned in Daniel 9:27. (Walvoord 2007, 97).
Magog - a Humiliating Defeat
God will "make a monkey" out of those who lead this invasion. Ezekiel 38:19-22 describes the Lord's method of defeating Russia and the Islamic hordes. He will cause a terrible earthquake, soldiers will turn on each other, there will be a pandemic, and there will occur a cataclysmic event including pouring rain, hailstones, fire, and burning sulphur. Israel will know that it must be God who defeated the invaders.
Magog - Nuclear?
Due to the stunning description of a special clean-up task force mentioned in Ezekiel 39:11-12, it appears that the war must have included nuclear weapons. In fact, a town called Hamonah will be founded near the gravesites to aid the clean-up crews (Ezek. 39:16). None of the public will be allowed to touch dead bodies or their weapons. They will need to call in the clean-up crews to do it for them. Furthermore, the weapons will be burned and the land cleansed for seven years.
Armaggedon - makes Hitler look like a Saint
The man called the "Antichrist" in the Bible will declare himself to be the ruler of world government. He promises peace and security to all who willingly submit to his leadership. However, it will become clear that his rulership makes Hitler look like a saint. His true nature is described as "the beast" (Rev. 13:1-4) and as "the great dragon" (Rev. 12:9). He violently persecutes Jews and Christians with a venom never seen before. Finally, world armies will rise up against him to destroy his power.
The prophet Daniel describes it this way:
"Then at the time of the end, the king of the south will attack the king of the north … He will invade various lands and sweep through them like a flood" (Dan. 11:36-39, 11:40).
Armageddon - Russia Strikes Again
According to Walvoord, "Although Russia will have had a severe setback about four years earlier in the prophetic sequence of events, she apparently will have been able to recoup her losses enough to put another army in the field…Apparently the world ruler will be able to crush some of the first attempts at revolt and gain some preliminary victories, especially in the south, and he will be able to drive back the invasion from Egypt and Africa" (Walvoord, 174).
Armageddon - China
As the world ruler appears to gain control, news emerges that there is an advancing army coming from the east (Daniel 11:44). This army consists of 200 million men (Rev. 9:16).
Armageddon - 200 Million Man Army
When the apostle John penned these words, he was so amazed by the number of this army that he reiterated "I heard their number" (Rev. 9:16). Think of it. In his day he could barely get a handle on a few million in world population. Hearing of a "200 million man army" seemed incredible and possibly even ridiculous to him. Of course, now we understand that with the "one child policy" enforced by Chinese dictators, it isn't surprising to hear the Chinese brag of their 200 million plus army.
Armageddon - Where?
This is the beginning stages of the last battle on earth called "Armageddon" (Rev. 16:16). As Thomas Ice explains,
Har" is the word for "mountain" and often appears with the Hebrew definite article H. "Mageddon" is likely the ruins of an ancient city that overlooks the Valley of Esdraelon in northern Israel (Ice 2001, 63).
According to the Bible, great armies from the east and the west will gather and assemble on this plain. There will be threats to the power of the Antichrist from the south, and he will move to destroy a revived Babylon in the east before finally turning his forces toward Jerusalem to subdue and destroy it. As he and his armies approach Jerusalem, God will intervene and Jesus Christ will return to rescue His people Israel. The Lord and His angelic army will destroy the armies, capture the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and cast them into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:11-21).
Armageddon - a Battle that Wasn't
Thomas Ice clarifies,
Armageddon is a battle that never really takes place. That is, it does not take place in accordance with its original human intent. Its human purpose is to gather the armies of the world to execute the Antichrist's 'final solution' to the 'Jewish problem.' This is why Jesus Christ chooses this moment in history for His return to Earth - to thwart the Antichrist's attempted annihilation of the Jews and to destroy the armies of the world, which were gathered for another purpose.
Eight Stage Armageddon
Ice breaks down Armageddon into 8 stages:
1. The assembling of the allies of Antichrist (Psalm 2:1-6, Joel 3:9-11, Revelation 16:12-16.
2. The destruction of Babylon (Isaiah 13-14, Jeremiah 50-51, Zech. 5:5-11, Rev. 17-18).
3. The fall of Jerusalem (Micah 4:11-5:1, Zechariah 12-14).
4. The armies of the Antichrist at Bozrah (Jeremiah 49:13-14, Micah 2:12).
5. The national regeneration of Israel (Psalm 79:1-13, 80:1-19, Isa. 64:1-12, Hosea 6:1-13, Joel 2:28-32, Zechariah 12:10, 13:7-9, Romans 11:25-27).
6. The second coming of Jesus Christ (Isa. 34:1-7, 63:1-3, Micah 2:12-13, Habakkuk 3:3).
7. The battle from Bozrah to the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Jeremiah 49:20-22, Joel 3:12-13, Zechariah 14:12-15).
8.The victory ascent upon the Mount of Olives (Joel 3:14-17, Zech. 14:3-5, Matthew 24:29-31, Revelation 16:17-21, 19: 11-21).
Unless those days are shortened no one is left alive!
This should provide enough information to do a complete bible study on Armageddon - the last battle on earth. This is the one Jesus warned that unless those days had been shortened no one would be left alive on the planet! (Matthew 24:22).
Ice, Thomas and Tim LaHaye. 2001. Charting the end times. Eugene, OR: Harvest House.
Walvoord, John with Mark Hitchcock. 2007. Armageddon, oil and terror Carol Stream, ILL: Tyndale.