Bible Question:

Will there be a Psalm 83 war before the Gog and Magog war described in Ezekiel?

Bible Answer:

The invasion of Israel by the nations of the world at the end of the Tribulation is described in Revelation 19:16:13-21; 17:10-14; 19:11-19. But when do the events described in Ezekiel 38-39 occur? Do they occur before, at or after the battle of Armageddon? That question is answered in this article along with the question is there war before the invasion of Gog?

Valley of Jezreel

Build Up To The Battle of Armageddon

The seven year tribulation period (Daniel 9:27) that occurs after the rapture of the church will end with the second coming of Christ (Revelation 19:11-16) at the battle of Armageddon (Daniel 7:23-27; 9:27; 11:40-45; Joel 3:1-17; Zephaniah 3:8-11; Zechariah 12:1-11; 14:1-8; Revelation 16:16-21). Revelation 19:17-19 tells us that the armies of the world will be gathered together to destroy Jerusalem at the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16-21). But the armies of the nations of the world, the antichrist, and the false prophet will be defeated when Christ comes (Revelation 19:18-21).

Daniel 11:40-45 tells us that prior to the final battle of Armageddon there will be some preliminary battles in the land of Israel,  also called the Beautiful Land. In this passage we are told the antichrist will defend himself against various nations of the world (v. 40-43). Apparently, some of the nations of the world will rebel against this political leader.

The Battle of Armageddon

Then in Daniel 11:44-45 we are told that the antichrist will be finally defeated when all of the nations send their armies to defeat him. Daniel 7:25-26 describes his defeat and death with these words,

He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. Daniel 7:25-26 (NASB)

This is part of the battle of Armageddon. Joel 3:2, 8-9 and Zephaniah 3:8 state that God will gather all of the armies of the world against Israel.  Zechariah 14:1-2 also tells us that God gathers nations of the world against Israel. Then in verse 3 we are told Christ will come and defeat the nations of the world. These events are also described in Ezekiel 38-39,  Daniel 11:44-45, and Revelation 19:17-19; but the focus is on the northern armies.

Events of Ezekiel 38-39

The events described in Ezekiel 38-39 occur at the Battle of Armageddon. Some teach that Ezekiel 38-39 describes events that occur after the millennial kingdom (Revelation 20:7-10), but this cannot be true for several reasons. The first reason is that the description of the events of Ezekiel 38:1-39:20 is consistent with the description of Revelation 19:15, 17-19. We are told that Israel will be invaded (Ezekiel 38:16; 39:1-2), Gog from the land of Magog will be defeated (Ezekiel 39:3-6) and the birds will eat their flesh (Ezekiel 39:17-20). The second reason is why would Israel spend seven months burying the corpses of the dead bodies (Ezekiel 39:11-14) since immediately after the rebellion in Revelation 20:7-10, the universe is destroyed and the great white judgment occurs (Revelation 20:11-15)?

Still others claim that Ezekiel 38-39 describe events that occur beginning at the middle of the tribulation and continuing until the end of the tribulation. They explain that Ezekiel 38-39 only refers to nations from the north and not nations from the entire world. They also teach that Ezekiel 38:10-13 describes a time of peace. Therefore, the conflict begins when Israel is at peace. But both conclusions are incorrect. First, Ezekiel 38-39 is a prophecy directed against the nations of the north (Daniel 11:44), not all the nations of the world. Thus it is natural that the prophecy only mentions Gog. Second, Ezekiel 38:10-13 only describes plans and not an actual invasion. In that sense it does describe events before the middle of the tribulation.

Battle of Ezekiel 38-39

Conflicts Prior To Armageddon

Psalm 83 is a plea for God to rescue the nation of Israel from its enemies. It does not describe events that occur in the tribulation period. Yet, it is true that God will rescue Israel from utter defeat and annihilation. In Matthew 24:3-4 we are told that the disciples had asked Christ to tell them what would be the sign of His coming. They were referring to Christ’s second coming or Christ’s return to earth. Jesus then explained that in verse 6 that rumors of war would occur and conflicts including wars would be common.

And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” Matthew 24:4-8 (NASB)

This means that wars and conflicts will be common before the tribulation and throughout the tribulation – even as we experience today. But in the tribulation, there will be more wars and conflicts.

Conclusion:

Matthew 24:15-28 tells us that during the tribulation wars will escalate and Jews and Christians will be murdered. Revelation 6-19 describes the horrors that will occur in the tribulation. Even if there were no wars and conflicts, the tribulation will be a horrible time.

Suggested Links:

What is the Battle of Armageddon? Which nations will be there?
Armageddon Is Coming
The Future Antichrist and the Battle of Armageddon
What are the 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 signs and 7 bowls of Revelation?
Daniel’s Seventy Weeks and The Tribulation
Does the rapture occur before the tribulation period?
How can we know who is the antichrist?
Does the battle of Gog and Magog occur after the Second Coming?