In the text on the About page of this blog, I state,
Chances are, despite my sincerity, I will get some things wrong at some point or another. But, I am still learning, and my desire is to be biblically accurate above all else. All I desire for the reader is to know and love Christ as He can and should be known and loved. In that effort, I beg the critic’s indulgence.
This is one of the times I must retract a line of teaching, which I now consider to be in error. The line of teaching I herein retract regards the timing of the War of Gog & Magog. While that war is indeed mentioned in the Bible, Revelation 20:8 clearly places the War at the end of the 1,000 yrs. earthly rule of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah. Seeing the purpose of this blog is to proclaim the soon-to-arrive King of Kings, one can understand why this particular piece of prophecy is important to examine and correctly teach.
Before this retraction, I sadly agreed with Bible prophecy teachers such as Bill Salus, who asserts the War of Gog & Magog is one of the “Now Prophecies” …biblically foretold events, which one should expect to see fulfilled within this generation. Salus’ teachings are widely promoted in the conservative evangelical and conservative charismatic movements that hold to a dispensational & futurist view of Bible Prophecy (ex. Prophecy in the News, Prophecy Watchers, Rapture Ready, L A Marzulli, Tom Horn’s Skywatch TV with Derek Gilbert). Since I am both dispensational and futurist in my end times view, one can understand the draw I had to this company of teachers.
However, it is more important to search the Scriptures daily to “see if these things are so.” I did not set out to prove these men wrong. I do not seek to mar their names. In fact, I was sympathetic to their message in the matter at hand. Yet, when I searched the Scriptures to verify their teaching, I found evidence that shows their teaching on this matter is not accurate. I only wish I had found the error sooner.
Again, Revelation 20:7-10 clearly places the War of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38-39) at the end of the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus, not at the beginning of the Apocalypse (a.k.a. Great Tribulation, Jacob’s Trouble, 70th Week of Daniel).
7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:7-10, ESV)
So, the War of Gog & Magog, labeled WWIII by proponents of “The Now Prophecies,” cannot possibly be happening currently or within this generation. Jesus has not yet returned, let alone ruled for 1,000 years. I agree with scholars like Ladd & Osborne, who see both Ezekiel 38 and Revelation 20:7-10 as referring to the same supranational entity (http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/2017/09/29/commentary-on-revelation-20-the-millennium).
Despite there being many events, which the Christian may or may not experience before the rapture of the Church, the War of Gog & Magog is not one of them. There is a world war ongoing; it is just not the War of Gog & Magog.
THE AGE TO COME: THE HEREAFTER
The Bible DOES teach a the progression of a set of events, which bring the world and its inhabitants into another age of existence (i.e. kind of life) on earth BEFORE this world is fully destroyed by God, who will finally create a new world.
Whereas God does not now directly show Himself and visibly intervene in the course of human existence, He will do so in the next age. Jesus (Yeshua) of Nazareth Himself will return as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to directly and visibly rule the globe He created.
To teach about what precedes His coming Kingdom, Jesus Himself made prophecies of signal events and societal indicators that would happen just before a 7 year transition-period of the ages. He called these signal events and indicators “Birth Pangs” or “Beginning of Sorrows” or “First Things.” They serve as warnings… and they are occurring around the globe at the time this article is posted.
AFTER the Birth Pangs follow 7 years of global trouble, such as never has occurred before. If you think things are bad now, you have not seen anything yet. One marker among many signs of this period’s beginning is the resurrection of deceased believers and the rapture (lit. “taking up/away”, or vanishing – 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18) of then-living believers. The other happenings of the time period will be terrible & horrifying events of God’s judgment upon the evil of the world (Revelation 4-19); but the events will not make a black void of the globe. The world will not “end.” Instead, these judgments will shake up the nations and their leaders, particularly the Jewish people. The course of the Gentiles’ time of world rulership will fully terminate (Romans 11:25); and the time for a Divine/ Jewish empire will arise. Great Tribulation judgments are necessary for preparing the world of mankind to receive its rightful King… to bring ecological restoration & balance, equity and righteousness back into the world. Some have referred to the events as the Apocalypse, or The Day of the Lord, or the Great Tribulation or Jacob’s Trouble or the 70th Week of Daniel. All of these names serve as titles for the same 7 year time period that usher in the establishment of Jesus’ global kingdom.
Unfortunately, said restoration and rule of Jesus will not occur until the enemies of God gather—at the end of the 7 year period—against Him in the valley of Megiddo (Jehoshaphat or Har-Magedone) for the Battle of Armageddon (Joel 3). Of course, God wins, and along side Him will be myriads of previously resurrected and raptured believers (Jude). These will rule with the victorious Jesus (Romans 8, Revelation 20). The nations and peoples will be sorted like a shepherd separates goats from the sheep (Matthew 25). Disbelieving people and nations will be taken/vanish from existence by the command of Jesus, so that the global Kingdom of Jesus may begin in true harmony and peace.
A long-forgotten phrase that better represents the scriptural, Christian understanding of humanity’s near future (as described above) is “the Hereafter.” It is appropriate, because it conveys that after certain prophecies are fulfilled, humanity will continue here on earth… but in a different way of life, under different spiritual & societal structures and ecology than we presently experience. The dynamic will be otherworldly, being almost a full restoration of the first age of mankind, as described in Genesis 2 and the first verses of Genesis 3 of the Bible. The next age to come will last “1,000 years” (Revelation 20).
THE FINAL JUDGMENT, THE FULL DESTRUCTION OF THIS WORLD, THE MAKING OF A NEW WORLD & THE ETERNAL AGE
Revelation, chapters 20-22, disclose yet another transition of this world and its creatures into an age beyond the Hereafter. Again, a set of horrific events, which could be called the Last Rebellion (Revelation 20), will rise up at the end of Jesus’ 1000 year rule. God will immediately put down the satanic revolt, called Gog & Magog (Revelation 20), and God will usher all humanity (dead and living) of all the ages past into the Judgment Day. Here’s how that will go, according to Revelation 20 and Jesus Himself (John 5:15-29).
Just as he will summon believers (dead and alive) to join Him in the skies before the Great Tribulation), Jesus will summon the dead, from the time frame of His 1000 years rule, to be resurrected. Some of those from that time period will have believed, some not. But, Jesus will also command all of the disbelievers from all times past to be brought up from Hell to stand before Him.
A. Those who did NOT believe the Messiah (Jesus) is God’s Son, the only risen & worshipful Savior of Mankind, will be raised for the sole purpose of hearing their final sentencing to an eternity in a “Lake of Fire.” And, because they chose (in life) to depend on their own paltry merits (compared with the credited perfection that God offered by His Son), Jesus will judge their degree of eternal torment, according to their deeds.
B. Those who DID (in life) believe the Messiah (Jesus) is God’s Son, the only risen and worshipful Savior of Mankind, will be raised for the sole purpose of being fully endowed with eternal life… due to the merits of Jesus having been credited to them by God’s grace and through their faith.
So, the dead at that time (which necessarily excludes those having been raised at the rapture) will be raised. Disbelieving unrighteousness (from before and throughout Jesus’ earthly kingdom) will be raised to damnation… the same damnation which all unrepentant disbelievers must endure; but the believing righteous (from the 1000 years) will be raised to eternal life… the same eternal life which all believers (who came before the 1000 years rule of Jesus) shall enjoy.
This begs the question: where will the righteous spend their eternal life? Revelation 21, as well as Hebrews 1:10-12 and 2 Peter 3 indicate that God will destroy this present Earth and make a new world. At that time, also called The Day of the Lord by Peter, the world will certainly be turned into nothingness by use of fire (2 Peter 3). The new world God makes will be entirely pure, having no pain or sorrow and every bliss with God without end. It will be the eternal age of God directly communing, uninterrupted with His redeemed creation.