The vast majority of professing Christianity DOES NOT understand the prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39 because they have been deceived into thinking of this as exclusively a tribulation premillennial fulfillment.
Part of the confusion comes from the fact that the order of events is confusing in the designation of chapters 38 and 39. This prophecy is dual; with Ezekiel 39 being a fore-type fulfillment ending the tribulation just BEFORE the millennium, and later it will be fulfilled in its Ezekiel 38 fullness AFTER the millennium!
Since this prophecy is mainly about Gog and Magog we should begin by identifying them.
The Madai are identified as the Medes who ruled with the Persians and are now located in Ukraine, where a struggle is going on between Russia and the EU for control of the Medes.
Meshech is simply an old spelling for Moscow the capital of Russia today.
Tubal is also the old spelling of Tobolsk the capitol of Siberia today.
Magog are the Mongolian and Chinese people.
This is a DUAL prophecy: First fulfilled in a fore-type at the end of the tribulation (Ezekiel 39); and later completely fulfilled AFTER the millennium (Ezekiel 38).
Ezekiel 38:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 38:2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, [and against] the land of Magog, [Gog being the chief nation or leader of the nations of Asia, Gog being a designation for the chief ruler of today’s Russia] the chief prince of Meshech [Moscow] and Tubal [Tobolsk, Siberia], and prophesy against him,
The prophecy of Ezekiel 38 refers to the period after the end of the millennium while Ezekiel 39 is premillennial.
The Ezekiel 38 prophecy is NOT about the coming of Christ at the end of the tribulation; rather it refers to a time AFTER the millennium when all are at peace and living in abundance and safety.
After the end of the millennium when all are at peace, Satan will be released and will go to deceive the nations again for a very short time.
Ezekiel 38:3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech [Moscow] and Tubal [Tobolsk, Siberia]: 38:4 And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:
After the millennium Russia will come with the Iranians, the Chinese, the Mongolians of the north and Ethiopia and Libya will be with them; while in the tribulation just BEFORE the millennium Libya and Ethiopia will be allies of the enemy of Asia, the king of the North (Psalm 83)! A totally different situation.
38:5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: 38:6 Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.
38:7 Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.
Here the term “latter years” refers to the period AFTER the millennium and not to the “latter days’ which refers to just BEFORE the millennium. Here the reference is to the promised land being filled with people in peace and prosperity and is NOT referring to a people in great tribulation.
38:8 After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land “that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is” brought forth out of the nations, and they shall [are now dwelling safely] dwell safely all of them.
Revelation 20:7 is the key to understanding Ezekiel 38-39
Revelation 20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
20:8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea
20:9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
Ezekiel 38:9 Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.
38:10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:
Satan tempts the nations to follow Gog [The leader of Russia at that time, a type of Satan.] to try to despoil and seize the great riches of post millennial Israel!
Notice the time period, all Israel has been brought to the promised land and is living in total security and abundance because of their zeal to keep the whole Word of God. nothing here about being captive and massive suffering during great tribulation!
38:11 And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled [undefended land] villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, 38:12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.
38:13 Sheba, and Dedan [India], and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?
Jesus Christ will allow Satan to deceive the nations of Asia AFTER the millennium so that he might demonstrate his power one more time and humble a humanity which has gotten complacent and self-satisfied after a thousand years of peace and prosperity!
38:14 Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog [a type of Satan], Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? 38:15 And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: 38:16 And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.
Then Jesus Christ the Messiah, ruling as King of kings; will destroy these armies from Asia.
38:17 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them? 38:18 And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face.
Then the King of kings will thunder and shake the earth in his wrath and will cause the invaders to turn upon and kill one another.
38:19 For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; 38:20 So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. 38:21 And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man’s sword shall be against his brother.
Then the real Jesus Christ will rain hail and fire upon these rebels.
38:22 And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. 38:23 Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.
After this final fling by Satan the seven thousand year Feast of Tabernacles main harvest of humanity will begin.
The Coming of Christ BEFORE the Millennium
Ezekiel 39 is about the coming of Christ as King of kings, to destroy the armies gathered at Jerusalem
The Biblical account of the tribulation and the Asian armies.
Remember that the beast and false prophet first conquer Judah/Egypt and then later in about the third year they attack Asia (Dan 11:42)
The [beast] ruler of the New Europe will attack Asia in about the third year of his power. Asia will endure the European attack and will respond against Europe and will also pour through the Middle East to attack the final false prophet and the political leader at Jerusalem.
In doing this the Asian armies will devastate the Psalm 83 Mideast allies of the New Europe. Finally Messiah the Christ will come to destroy all the enemies of the righteousness of zeal to learn and live by every Word of God (Zec 14).
Notice how the order of events is reversed in the designation of chapters 38 and 39. This prophecy is dual; with Ezekiel 39 being a fore-type fulfillment ending the tribulation just BEFORE the millennium, and later it will be fulfilled in its Ezekiel 38 fullness AFTER the millennium!
Only one sixth of the invaders gathered at Jerusalem BEFORE the millennium will survive.
Ezekiel 39:1 Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: 39:2 And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: 39:3 And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.
This verse alludes to Revelation 19 and the coming of Christ.
39:4 Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. 39:5 Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD. 39:6 And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly [securely] in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
The coming of Messiah and the deliverance of Israel will turn them to true godliness! They will not again rebel at the keeping of every Word of God, like physical and today’s Spiritual Ekklesia.
39:7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. 39:8 Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken.
39:9 And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years: 39:10 So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord GOD.
The millennial graves of Gog in Israel
39:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog.
39:12 And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land. 39:13 Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Lord GOD. 39:14 And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search.
39:15 And the passengers [travelers] that pass through the land, when any seeth a man’s bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamongog. 39:16 And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah. Thus shall they cleanse the land.
Revelation 19:17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
19:18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
The armies of Asia gathered before Jerusalem along with the remaining forces of the New Europe will turn and fight Christ at his coming.
19:19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
Ezekiel 39:17 And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood. 39:18 Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan. 39:19 And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. 39:20 Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD.
All the earth will see the power and glory of Messiah the Christ when he resurrects many of the dead to spirit and eternal life and after the marriage of the Lamb in heaven (Rev 15,18) returns with his bride and defeats the massive armies gathered to fight against him at his coming.
Humanity will then sincerely repent and accept him as King of kings, but another lesson will be needed one thousand years later as revealed in Ezekiel 38, because humanity will have become complacent and self-righteous after a thousand years of peace and prosperity.
39:21 And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.
Israel will then turn to the Eternal in sincere repentance and the nations of the earth will also turn from their wickedness to the Mighty One of Jacob.
Ezekiel 39 is about the coming of Christ and the conversion of all Israel and the grafting of all humanity into a repentant and spiritual Israel (Joel 2:28) AFTER the tribulation and at the BEGINNING of the millennium.
Ezekiel 38 is about a final conflict AFTER the millennium and just BEFORE the seven thousand year Feast of Tabernacles main harvest of humanity.
39:22 So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward [forever more]. 39:23 And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword.
39:24 According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them [allowing them to be corrected in great tribulation].
39:25 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; 39:26 After that they have borne their shame, [have been corrected for their sin] and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.
39:27 When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; 39:28 Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen [for all our abominations]: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.
Then God will pour out his Spirit on all Israel (Jer 31:31) and on all flesh (Joel 2:28) on a Feast of Pentecost.
39:29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them [All Israel and Judah]: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.