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  • Writer's picturekeithburwell

This is NOT the War of Ezekiel 38

Many Bible Prophecy teachers and pastors are currently preaching, teaching, blogging, posting, and proclaiming that the conflict in Israel (as of November 2023) is the fulfillment of the “War in Ezekiel 38”.


I realize this flies in the face of most of what the Evangelical community would say. They would certainly say, “But… What about Russia?” And that is as good of a place to start as any other.

RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA...has nothing to do with this.

Why has Vladimir Putin been determined to be Gog- the one whom Ezekiel is told to prophesy about? [Eze 38:1-4 NASB95] 1 And the word of the LORD came to me saying, 2 "Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him 3 and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. 4 "I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company [with] buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords;

Nowhere in scripture is Russia mentioned. There is an unfortunately a widely used mistaken identity in the phrase Ros, Meshech, and Tubal. Many scholars in the past have claimed this means Russia, Moscow, and Tobolsk. Imagine the linguistic leaps of faith that are needed - 1) the Hebrew words are transliterated into English, 2) the words are read in English, 3) the words “sound” like the English words for the Russian locations, 4) therefore, it must be Russia. Never mind the fact that the words should be translated from Hebrew into Russian, in order to “fit that narrative”. Why would we assume that a Hebrew word translated into English is representative of a Russian city or location? To simply hang such an important prophetic event on the idea that 3 words “sound” like 3 place names is highly suspect, if not illogical.

King of the North

The argument would then turn to, “Well, its not just those place names- it’s the fact that he is called the King of the North, and Russia is north of Israel, therefore, it refers to Russia.”

Honestly, this is THE #1 argument for the involvement of Russia in a war with Israel. The fact that Russia is north of Israel, and the scripture refers to the king of the north. This argument completely ignores the fact that Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey are all north of Israel. To this point, there is a scripture that fits very well with Ezek. 38. It is this- [Isa 10:5-8 NIV] 5 "Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath! 6 I send him against a godless nation, I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets. 7 But this is not what he intends, this is not what he has in mind; his purpose is to destroy, to put an end to many nations. 8 'Are not my commanders all kings?' he says.

What About Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey?

So in Isaiah, this rod of God’s anger is called the Assyrian. He does exactly what is claimed in Ezekiel 38. Assyrians are from Turkey and Syria- not Russia. Full stop.

Russia has nothing to do with the War in Israel- not now, not ever. At least not as some leading military onslaught. Imagining Putin with his fist aimed at God as he leads troops on the mountains of Israel riding a horse with no shirt on is simply NOT good Biblical interpretation. It is using the newspaper as a basis for understanding scripture and that is NEVER a good idea. People need to get Russia out of their head when it comes to Israel. Bottom line. Next point.

Which King of the North Aligns Closer to Israel's Enemies?

It would be more likely that someone from Turkey (the old Assyrian Empire), who is Islamic, and who has much greater influence over the sworn enemies of Israel (Arab nations), would fit the description much closer.

From That Day Forward...

Further proof that Ezekiel 38-39 is NOT the current conflict is even more clear than the example regarding Gog. In fact, one scripture completely destroys the idea that the current conflict in Israel is a fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39.

[Eze 39:22 ESV] 22 The house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God, from that day forward.

So…following this war, all Israel will know and recognize God. One of the MAIN reasons for the Tribulation, however, is to turn the hearts of the Jewish people to God. As soon as this war in Ezekiel is over, Israel will “know” God. Why would God then put them through the Tribulation? If the War of Ezek. 38 will result in Israel knowing and recognizing Him, why would God allow them to go through another tragic 7 years?

But if that isn’t enough proof, let’s explore some other verses from the SAME 2 CHAPTERS- Ezekiel 38-39.

Here is a good one that seems to be bypassed by these teachers- [Eze 39:7, 22 ESV] 7 "And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. ... 22 The house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God, from that day forward.

To be clear- God is saying that following the war of Ezekiel 38, He will not allow His name to be profaned anymore. That actually would not work with the common view of a tribulation to come based on these scriptures-

[Rev 16:8-11 NIV] 8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire. 9 They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him. 10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in agony 11 and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.

However you interpret these activities, what is clear is that 1) there are people who profane the name of God and 2) there are people who do not glorify Him. Yet- supposedly this scripture is about the End of Days, AFTER the war of Ezekiel 38. How can there be profaning of the name of God AFTER the War of Ezek. 38 if God Himself said in Ezek. 39, that it would not happen anymore?

We will go through several more examples where God speaks in Ezekiel 38-39 about things which will be different following that war, but keep in mind that according to these scholars' interpretation, an entire 7 years of calamity, terror, anger, and wrath will befall the earth’s inhabitants following this incredibly awakening and quickening that happens to Israel once the war is completed.

[Eze 39:25-29 ESV] 25 "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for my holy name. 26 They shall forget their shame and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they dwell securely in their land with none to make them afraid, 27 when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies' lands, and through them have vindicated my holiness in the sight of many nations. 28 Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. 29 And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD."

Except for when He does during the Tribulation? He promises to restore the fortunes of Jacob, vindicate His holiness, pour out His Spirit on Israel, and many other things, yet they still have to go through the Tribulation.


Let’s delve further. Ezekiel 39:25-28 makes it clear that following this war, Israel will 1) forget all their shame and unfaithfulness, 2) they will all be gathered into Israel again with none being left behind in other countries, and 3) God will be proved holy in the sight of many nations. But, for the conventional wisdom to be correct, God apparently will forget all of that and then punish Israel for 7 years. That would almost be considered reckless and psychotic behavior. “Israel, forget about your unfaithfulness to me for all of those millenia. Don’t be ashamed anymore. I am your God.” Then, He “reminds” them of their sin and unfaithfulness with the most calamitous time period in human history, having the intent to ensure that Israel remembers their iniquity and comes to repentance. This makes no sense.

What makes MUCH MORE SENSE, is that the War of Ezekiel 38 is actually the same war prophesied throughout the Old Testament which is also called the Day of the Lord, The Time of Jacob’s Trouble, Armageddon.

Let me put a finer point on it. Ezekiel 38 is a description of the Second Coming of Christ and the destruction of all supernatural and natural forces which oppose God. Can we prove it further? Sure. The following two passages, one from Revelation and one from Ezekiel, show the exact same fate for the armies which oppose God. It is the same event.

[Rev 19:17-19, 21 NIV] 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, "Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small." 19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. ... 21 The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

[Eze 39:3-5 NIV] 3 Then I will strike your bow from your left hand and make your arrows drop from your right hand. 4 On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals. 5 You will fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD.

These passages speak to the hostile forces fighting against each other.

[Eze 38:20-22 NIV] 20 The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD. Every man's sword will be against his brother. 22 I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him.

[Zec 14:13 NIV] 13 On that day people will be stricken by the LORD with great panic. They will seize each other by the hand and attack one another.

To recap:

· Gog is not Russian. He is called the Assyrian. Why? Because the Assyrian Empire is NORTH of Israel.

· God has used the King of Assyria as His instrument to judge Israel before.

· Russia is not the sworn enemy of Israel.

· The countries surrounding Israel are the sworn enemies of Israel.

· The result of the War of Ezekiel 38 is a completion of judgment, a cessation of hostility, an understanding of who God is by both Israel and the nations, and many other “final” actions and activities.

· The War of Ezekiel 38 is a description of the final battle on the Day of the Lord.

· Reading the entirety of Ezekiel 38 and 39 without bias towards current events makes it clear that it cannot occur until the return of Christ.

There will be a time of tribulation and suffering before the culmination of this age, but Believers need to understand that this current conflict in Israel is not a fulfillment of prophecy from Ezekiel. It is a continuation of the ongoing hostilities of the enemies of God towards His chosen location for His Eternal Throne- Jerusalem. Does it move us closer to all prophetic fulfillment of the end of this age which Jesus spoke about? Yes. But it is NOT fulfilling Ezekiel 38.

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