In Ezekiel 38, God foretold that in the latter days, there would be a major military attack against the tiny State of Israel in the homeland once Israel would be restored. And God indicated that military attack would be comprised of the armies of six nations as they were known back in Ezekiel’s day. Five of those nations are named by God in Ezekiel 38:5,6.
In verse 5 the first nation was Persia. Now, that’s what it was known as in Ezekiel’s day, but modern-day Persia is the nation of Iran. Some 2500 years ago through this prophecy, God was saying that in the end times Iran would be sending military forces against Israel in the Middle East. You know what happened to Iran little more than 20 years ago when radical Muslim forces overthrew the Shah of Iran and they’ve been dominating the nation of Iran ever since. That radical Muslim government of Iran has publicly declared more than once that its ultimate goal is the annihilation of Israel from the Middle East.
The second nation named in verse 5 is Ethiopia. Now that again is what that nation was known as in Ezekiel’s day, but I must point out that the nation known as Ethiopia back in Ezekiel’s day is not the same nation that we know as Ethiopia today. The nation known as Ethiopia in Ezekiel’s day is the nation that we know today as the Sudan. Sudan right now, again, is dominated and ruled by a radical Muslim government that hates Israel with a passion and wants to see it destroyed.
The third nation named in verse 5 is Libya. Libya is located due west of Egypt in North Africa. And you know what’s been going on in Libya in recent years under the leadership of Mu’ammar Qaddafi. Qaddafi is very anti-West, anti-American, but even more strongly anti-Israel. He would like to see Israel destroyed from the Middle East.
The fourth nation named in verse 6 was Gomer. In Ezekiel’s day, Gomer was a tribal group of people who were located in the central part of what you and I know today as the nation of Turkey.
And then, the fifth nation named, verse 6, was “the house of Togarmah of the north quarters.” In Ezekiel’s day Togarmah was another tribal group of people who were located in the eastern part of what you and I know today as the nation of Turkey. Now, you’re probably aware of the fact that since the end of World War II that Turkey, although it’s a Muslim nation, has had basically a secular government that has allied itself with the Western nations of the world. Turkey since the end of World War II has been a member of NATO. But that is now radically changing. Not to long ago, a radical Muslim party in Turkey won by election control of the government of the capital city of the nation of Turkey, and when they won that election they publicly stated, “Our next goal is to gain control of the national government of Turkey.” One of the spokesmen for that radical Muslim party said, “When we do that, we’re going to change our relationship with NATO. We’re going to establish an Islamic NATO and an Islamic common market.” And it looks very much as if Turkey, in the not too distant future, is going to come under complete domination by a radical Muslim element and then it, too, will turn against the nation of Israel and want to see it annihilated from the face of planet earth.
It’s interesting to note that every one of these nations named here in Ezekiel 38:5,6 today are Islamic nations. Therefore, God some 2500 years ago through this prophecy was indicating that in the end times Israel will have very serious problems with the Islamic nations of the world.
Now, there is a sixth nation named here in Ezekiel 38, and interestingly this one is singled out as the leader of this future military attack against Israel. God gives several identification marks of that leader. Let me deal with two of them. First, the name of the leader. In Ezekiel 38:2, God said to Ezekiel, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, the land of Magog.” The land of Magog in Ezekiel’s day was located in between the Black and Caspian Seas in the southern part of what we have known historically as Russia or the Soviet Union.
A second identification mark is the geographical location of this leader. Verse 14 of Chapter 38: “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord God, in that day when my people of Israel dwell safely shall you not know it? And you shall come from your place out of the north parts [literally out of the remotest parts of the north] you and many people with you, all of them riding upon horses, a great company and a mighty army, and you shall come up against my people of Israel as a cloud to cover the land. It shall be in the latter days.’” Notice, God says this attack against Israel will be in the latter days, but He is saying the leader of this attack will come from the remotest parts of the north.
Now, keep in mind, Ezekiel was a Hebrew prophet and therefore, when he would refer to geographical locations, he would refer to them from the vantage point of his homeland of Israel. And so he’s saying here that the leader of this attack against Israel will come from the remotest parts directly north of Israel. If you were to lay hold of a good world atlas, place one finger on the tiny state of Israel in the Middle East and then move that finger straight north and go as far north as you can and still be in land mass, you would end up in the heartland of what we have known historically as Russia or the Soviet Union. Both of these identification marks seem to be pointing the same direction, namely, that Russia is going to lead this invasion against Israel in the future Tribulation and that Russia will be allied with several Islamic nations who hate Israel with a passion.
Why will Russia lead this attack against Israel? One reason is anti-Semitism. For centuries Russia has been notorious for hatred and persecution and massacring of Jews living in that land. And now that Communism at least for a while has lost its grip on the government of Russia, anti-Semitism has been permitted to raise its ugly head again and there’s an organization there in Russia called Pamyat that sees the ultimate purpose of its existence as that of eliminating every Jew from the land of Russia. And so persecution has begun to break out against the Jews again.
But there is another reason why Russia will lead this attack against Israel. According to the British intelligence service, here is the current thinking of the disgruntled officers of the Russian military. They are saying that in spite of what has happened to Russia since it began to fall apart at the seams, Russia can still have Super-power status in the world if it will ally itself with the Islamic nations of the world against Israel. And God, some 2500 years ago through Ezekiel 38 was foretelling that is precisely what is going to happen in world history.
Written for The John Ankerberg Show By: Dr. Renald Showers; ©1996.
** PLEASE NOTE: This article was written in 1996, we encourage readers to keep that in mind when reading, because the current events referred to in the article are no longer current. There is a lot to learn from the article, and we hope it furthers your understanding of Ezekiel 38.