THE WAR OF GOG AND MAGOG:
WHEN DOES IT HAPPEN?
Can the Islamic Antichrist Theory be easily proven false? I believe it can. One of the major issues in the discussion regarding whether or not the Islamic Antichrist Theory is correct has to do with the identification of two end times’ wars (lumping the two together): The War of Gog and Magog, and the War of Armageddon. When we consider how many scholars line up against the idea that these two wars are one and the same, it constitutes a strong argument against the few authors who are its essential proponents.
Conventional theory holds that the two wars are separated by some length of time: anywhere from one month to ten years. The Islamic Antichrist theory (IAT) holds that the wars of the end times all comprise the same event, although this event may be spread across some number of months or even a year or more. More specifically, IAT sees the Gog/Magog war described in great detail in Ezekiel 38-39 and the war of Armageddon, described briefly in Revelation 16, to be the same conflict. If, in fact, the two conflagrations can be shown to involve different nations, different leaders, different locations, and especially at different times, theorists holding to the IAT would be proven wrong. The Islamic Antichrist Theory hinges on much more than just whether the Antichrist has a Muslim background – it is a complete redo of the whole scenario of how the end times unfolds. That’s why it becomes so important to look at its tenets carefully.
One of the more popular theories regarding wars in the end times is the view put forth by Bill Salus, the so-called “Psalm 83 War”. This perspective has become almost standard and fully absorbed into the conventional scenario. The Islamic Antichrist theorists do NOT subscribe to Salus’ point of view. And Salus of course does not buy into their views. IAT argues that there is no war in Psalm 83. It is solely an imprecatory Psalm (a prayer asking God to curse Israel’s enemies) composed by Asaph living contemporary to David about 950 B.C. While Salus argues that the nations and tribes mentioned in the Psalm were never allied as depicted in Asaph’s psalm and therefore remains yet to be fulfilled, there is a strong biblical argument against Bill’s position.
Chris White (a noted “debunker”) provides a concise recap of the issues in a 11-minute video viewable HERE. White reads from a chapter in his book, False Christ. Here he shows that the biblical record remains clear that Psalm 83 WAS fulfilled – indeed, Gog answered Asaph’s prayer. While the nations all did conspire against Israel, they did not mount a war against it. According to White, Bill’s argument that the Assyrians were not “in the fray” and Gebal was not involved appears to suffer when looking into the history of the united kingdom of Israel under David. Since they were not involved, according to Bill, Psalm 83 must imply yet a future war. However, if White is correct that these players were involved in the same way as conveyed in the Psalm, the Psalm 83 war thesis stumbles.
I happen to agree with Chris White here. This means in regard to the Psalm 83 War, in this respect I happen also to agree with the Islamic Antichrist theorists. However, Psalm 83 can be understood to have a prophetic implication that Israel will always be surrounded by its enemies until the time of Messiah. The War of Gog and Magog and the War of Armageddon would both firmly establish that fact as they occur during or before Daniel’s 70th Week. Armageddon does not occur until the very END of the Great Tribulation. Therefore, if we understand Psalm 83 in this way, then yes, it is prophetic, and yes it confirms the ongoing conflict between the Jews and their enemies surrounding the nation state of Israel. For only when Messiah Jesus comes will Israel be free from its enemies and will peace be achieved. It is then that the Kingdom comes and the promises of the Davidic Covenant are realized in the Millennium.
However, in regards to whether Gog/Magog and Armageddon should be identified as the very same event, I strongly DISAGREE with proponents Joel Richardson, Walid Shoebat, and numerous others such as Craig C. White.
My last book, THE NEXT GREAT WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST: RUSSIA PREPARES TO FULFILL THE PROPHECY OF GOG AND MAGOG, addresses the many issues associated with what is the most likely NEXT GREAT WAR which I argue is NOT Psalm 83 and it is NOT Armageddon. It IS the War of Gog and Magog. And it could happen virtually at any time.
Revelation 16 describes the war and its location this way:
The sixth angel emptied his bowl on the great river Euphrates. Its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings of the East. I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come from the mouth of the dragon, from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet. These were demonic spirits who performed signs. They went out to the kings of the whole world to assemble them for the battle on the great day of God the almighty… They then assembled the kings in the place that is named Armageddon in Hebrew. (Revelation 16:12-14, 16)
The main point I wish to make in this brief article is that the vast majority of biblical scholars agree that the War of Gog and Magog happens some time BEFORE the War of Armageddon. Most now argue it happens at least seven to ten years before. In other places, I have argued that the persons of Gog and Antichrist are DIFFERENT persons. I have also pointed out that the characteristics of the two wars are different in many, many ways. Here I wish to show just how many scholars believe the two wars are distinct and happen some number of years apart. If I am right, then the Islamic Antichrist Theory does not properly convey what the Bible teaches about the last days. This does not mean that I believe Islam is no threat. Radical Islam is an enormous threat. However, despite the fact I am certainly alarmed that Salafist, Wahhabist, and Shia Islam encourage hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of Muslims to hate Christians and Jews, I do not jump to the conclusion that the person we know as Antichrist will be a Muslim and the final one-world religion will be Islam. It is common for the enemy of the U.S.A. to be labeled the Antichrist. Mussolini, Hitler, Gorbachev, all suffered this fate. Today’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the candidate of choice for Islamic Antichrist theorists. But this tendency to “pin the tail on the Antichrist” has never yielded positive results. So far, in case you haven’t noticed, this approach has failed 100% of the time.
As a student of Bible Prophecy (I assume anyone reading this post probably is one!), you may be fully satisfied with only a few writers and teachers arguing on behalf of the Islamic Antichrist. You may be convinced that because Richardson and Shoebat have appeared on Sid Roth’s or Jonathan Bernis’ TV show, have spoken at numerous conferences, have been semi-endorsed by Chuck Missler, and have written numerous books, that their position is well supported and can be considered an “orthodox” perspective. However, I want to point out that there really aren’t that many who join in this commendation. Most noteworthy scholars believe that the two wars cannot and should not be identified. Thus, most scholars do NOT subscribe to the Islamic Antichrist theory.
Seeing how many scholars and teachers argue AGAINST it, might have some influence upon your thinking. Indeed, I hope to offer a simply response to the Islamic theorists (who are good Christian brothers), that their eschatological viewpoint runs counter to many facets of scriptural teaching and geopolitical circumstances. Although the Islamic Antichrist Theory has convinced a major group of evangelical believers that it rightly constitutes a viable scriptural perspective, I strong press the case against it.
Here is a consolidation of the information built into a chart in my last book. This shows which scholars support which assessment concerning the time between the two wars. A few scholars take the position that the two wars should be considered to both happen at the end of Daniel’s 70th Week; that is, at the end of the Great Tribulation. But the vast majority of names mentioned here affirm the two wars are separated by at least three years and perhaps as many as ten years. (This chart was built with considerable help from Douglas Berner’s research in his fine book, The Silence is Broken).
Of course, I encourage you to download a copy of THE NEXT GREAT WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST and study Part Two of the book which is devoted to the issue of whether the Islamic Antichrist Theory holds water.
Also, I will be offering another new book within the next week which will go further, delving into many more issues concerning the topic. The new book is entitled, MISTAKEN IDENTITY: THE CASE AGAINST THE ISLAMIC ANTICHRIST. It will be available initially in paperback, and within two weeks, on Kindle and four weeks on iBook and Nook. Here is the cover of the book. Stay tuned for details on this study, presented in a QUICK STUDY BOOK format.
NOTE: This next new book will not repeat the material from the previous book so both are intended to offer together a comprehensive argument for why the War of Gog/Magog is distinct form the War of Armageddon and why the War of Gog/Magog could commence very soon indeed.
|When Gog and Magog Happens||Noted Eschatology Experts|
|1. During or at the End of the Great Tribulation|
(Commences the Armageddon
Campaign/War and transpires for several months or years)
Robert Van Kampen
|2. At or After the Midpoint|
(Upon the revealing of the
Antichrist and his claim to divinity and global command – Gog and Magog rebel)
J. Vernon McGee
J. Dwight Pentecost
Jack Van Impe
|3. Just Prior to the Midpoint|
(The seven-year covenant of peace breaks down. Gog attacks Israel and is defeated, clearing the way for Antichrist to rule.)
John F. Walvoord
|4. At the Beginning of 70th Week (Gog rebels at the announcement of the seven-year covenant and attacks immediately. His weapons will be burned by Israel for seven years.)||J.R. Church|
Charles R. Taylor
|5. Sometime Before the 70th Week|
(Israel has been gathered from the nations. Israel seeks protection and covenants with Antichrist. Gog
attacks Israel and his defeat is major catastrophe for Islam, clearing the way for the Temple to be rebuilt.)