There are many scholars who believe that the Ezekiel invasion (Ezek. 38-39) happens during the Tribulation. But other scholars take the view that it will happen either before the Rapture or between the Rapture and the Tribulation. I believe, with Ron Rhrodes and Thomas Ice, that it will probably occur just after the Rapture and will set the stage for the signing of the peace covenant with Israel and the Tribulation.
As it is given to us by the prophecy of Ezekiel, God calls out Gog, who is probably a demonic inspired Russian leader; and He summons him, with all the nations under him, to invade the small country of Israel. The countries that come under his command are these:
- Russia (called in Ezekiel Rosh)
- Turkey (called Meshech and Tubal and Gomer and Beth-togarmah)
- Iran (called Persia)
- Sudan (Ethiopia)
And there will also be “many people with you” (I think this terminology suggests that non-military people will come with all the troops to join in the battle).
Scripture says that God will call them into battle at a time when Israel will be living securely ((Ezek. 38:8, 11-12, 14)—which is now. And these nations will cover the land of Israel “like a cloud” (v. 16). This suggests that they will completely cover the land; in fact, verse 15 says, many people, a great assembly and a mighty army will come. They will probably have tanks and trucks, and helicopters and planes, and some may even be on horseback. There will be millions of them that will come to do battle.
Hence, it appears that God will draw them in, in order to bring His four-fold judgement on them at this chosen time and place (Ezek. 38:19-22).
A great earthquake. Though this quake will be great, Scripture indicates that it will be local to the land of Israel. All living creatures and all men (in that region) will shake at His presence; and the mountains and every wall will be thrown down.
Infighting. Verse twenty-one tells us that God will “call for a sword against him [Gog]…Every man’s sword will be against his brother.” Hence, it appears that God will so confuse them that all communication will breakdown and no one will know who the enemy is. This strange phenomenon, as you may know, happened a few times before in Jewish history, where each time it was the Lord’s doing (Judg. 7:22; 1 Sam. 14:20; and 2 Chron. 20:23).
Disease. Because of all the dead bodies, and because of so many birds and animals feasting on them, this will cause on outbreak of disease.
Heavy rain, hail, fire and brimstone. This final judgment will be most devastating. The skies will pour down heavy rain and hail so hard that it will kill. And the sky will also rain down fire and burning sulfur; this may be from volcanic eruptions caused by the great earthquake.
As I mentioned above, it is likely that the invasion, along with God’s judgment on the invading nations, will occur just after the Rapture of the church. And for the following reasons, that will set that stage for the signing of the peace covenant with Israel and the beginning of the Tribulation.
1. Since almost all Muslims will be wiped out by God’s judgment, this will open the door to a more peaceful, or at least compliant, interaction with them. Since their power and influence will be limited, it will be likely that Israel will dominate the holy sites and will have no trouble building their third temple on the temple mount.
2. Since the soon-to-be-Antichrist will probably reside somewhere in the E. U. and will be one of those who will question the invasion (read Ezek. 38:13), this will put him in a good position, after the failed invasion. In fact, he may claim that he had something to do with it.
3. This Antichrist, who by this time will be a great leader, will take advantage of the situation and will make great friends with Israel; and he will make to them great promises of peace—all fake promises.