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More than 2,600 years ago, the prophet Ezekiel warned of a future time when a vast coalition of nations will attack Israel. The leader of this coalition is a man known as Gog, the ruler of Magog (Ezekiel 38:1). This is why the invading force is known as the Gog of Magog coalition.
According to Ezekiel this alliance will send an overwhelming force to invade Israel in the last days. And while the whole world watches, God Himself will destroy the invaders (Ezekiel 38:18-23).
So why should you care? You should care because today, for the first time in human history, we see this alliance forming.
The Invading Nations
Ezekiel identifies these nations as "Magog, Rosh, Meschech, Tubal, Persia, Cush, Put, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah" (Ezekiel 38:1-6). I don't know about you, but I'm not aware of any nations today with those names. So who are they?
While the names of these nations have changed over the years, we can still locate them on a map. Below is a list of each nation, followed by its modern day name:
Rosh = Russia
Magog = Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan
Persia = Iran
Cush = Sudan
Put = Libya
Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah = Turkey
It's been centuries since Ezekiel first recorded these prophecies. Yet, this alliance has never existed. And it certainly hasn't invaded Israel. But today? Today, we see this alliance coming together.
A Developing Alliance
Until recently, the nations of Russia and Persia had never formed an alliance of any sort. Economic and military cooperation between Persia (Iran) and Rosh (Russia) had never taken place. But around 1989, this started to change.
Today, Iran and Russia are strong allies. In 1995, the Russian Ministry for Atomic Energy signed an agreement with Iran to finish the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Construction on the plant came to an immediate halt after the 1979 Islamic revolution. But today, thanks to Russia, work is once again in progress.
The ongoing civil war in Syria is another area of cooperation between the two countries. Russia has a vested interest in retaining access to the Syrian naval base in Tartus and stopping the spread of ISIS. As a longtime ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Iran also has military forces in Syria.
Iran is also the primary sponsor of Hezbollah, a radical terrorist organization. Hezbollah has openly operated in Syria under Assad. So Russia and Iran share a common interest when it comes to keeping Assad in power.
Because of their common interests, it's easy to see why this alliance will eventually attack Israel. Russian leader Vladimir Putin is determined to restore the former glory of the Soviet Union. But NATO blocks his expansion to the west, and China blocks his expansion to the east. However, Putin could move south and take all the oil wealth of the Middle East. Only one thing stops him - Israel.
It's clear why Russia wants to eliminate Israel. What about the other nations? It's easy to see why they'll join an invasion force. Religious ideology alone is reason enough. Iran and the other Muslim nations in the Gog of Magog alliance are committed to the total destruction of Israel.
At least, all except one. Of all the members of the Gog of Magog coalition, Turkey is the most interesting. Why? Because in 1949, Turkey became the first Muslim majority country to officially recognize Israel. Turkey and Israel have a long history of diplomatic, economic, and military cooperation.
Turkey is also a member of NATO. And what is the purpose of NATO? Its stated purpose is to defend member nations against Russian aggression. So why would Turkey join a Russian alliance to invade Israel?
For years, those who study bible prophecy have asked this same question. It just doesn't make sense. But that's changing. Events from the last few years and months provide some clues as to how it might happen.
Turkish forces are involved in the ongoing conflict in Syria. Turkey supports forces fighting against the Russian and Iranian backed Syrian government. Yet, the Bible says these three nations will be the principal players in an invasion of Israel. What might bring them together?
One possibility is the transformation of Turkey from a secular democracy to an Islamic theocracy. In July 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cracked down on his political opponents following what he claimed was a coup attempt. Erdogan imprisoned thousands of citizens and consolidated his grip on power.
Turkey, once hailed as the model of democracy in the Muslim world, is now a dictatorship. And Erdogan, a former member of a banned Islamist political party, has turned away from Turkey's traditional western allies and cultivated a much more friendly relationship with Russia.
Erdogan's rise to power threatens to destroy Turkey's secular government and replace it with an Islamist state. In recent months, strained relations between Turkey and the United States have led to the mutual suspension of non-immigrant visas between the two countries. Turkish bodyguards beat up American protestors in Washington, DC, and a Turkish court convicted a Wall Street Journal reporter.
Another reason for Turkey to join the alliance is a mutual hatred of the Kurds. The Kurdish people live primarily in areas of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. With regional powers focused on stopping ISIS, the Kurds may see an opportunity to declare their independence and establish an independent state. If they try, Turkey and Iran will unite to stop them. After all, such a state will come at the expense of Turkish and Iranian territory.
Regardless of how or why Turkey joins the Gog of Magog alliance, Ezekiel is clear it will. This end times alliance will invade Israel. And the current Syrian conflict features Russian, Iranian, Turkish, and Israeli military forces. With the three largest members of the Gog of Magog alliance currently in Syria, the stage is set for a surprise attack on Israel from the north.
When Will All This Happen?
So when will this invasion take place? The Bible says it will come "in the latter days" (Ezekiel 38:8). The original Hebrew word in this verse is "acharith" which means "after-part, latter part, last, close, or end." In other words, this alliance will form in the last days just prior to the return of Jesus Christ. Ezekiel uses this same word "acharith" eight verses later, when he says the invasion will come "in the last days" (Ezekiel 38:16).
This is confirmed again when Ezekiel reveals the Russian leader's thoughts. Gog says to himself, "I will attack the once abandoned cities now populated with the Jews who returned from exile among the nations" (Ezekiel 38:12).
This tells us Russia and its allies will attack the land when it's filled with the exiles who return from among the nations. Any idea who these exiles are? That's right. The target can only be modern day Israel. This means the invasion is coming in our day and time.
Ezekiel stresses this fact again and again when He says the invasion will occur "after Israel's people have been gathered from among many nations" (Ezekiel 38:8) and "when I bring my people home from among the enemy nations" (Ezekiel 39:27). This return home from among many nations has happened only once in all of human history - modern day Israel.
The rise of the Gog of Magog alliance is a major sign of the end times and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Remember, Ezekiel said this coalition will attack Israel "in the last days" (Ezekiel 38:16) "after they've been gathered from among many nations" (Ezekiel 38:8).
The prophet Jeremiah spoke about this same regathering from among the nations. He said God would "gather the remnant of His flock from the nations where he had driven them and bring them back into the land" (Jeremiah 23:3-4). And then? And then God will "raise up a righteous descendant of King David, a king who will rule the land with wisdom" (Jeremiah 23:5-6). This righteous King is the long-awaited Messiah.
Through the prophet Micah, God promised to "gather His exiles and form them into a strong nation." Then, He promised to "rule from Jerusalem as their king forever" (Micah 4:6-7). The modern day nation of Israel is the fulfillment of God's promise to regather His people back in the land of Israel.
So it should come as no surprise to see Russia, Iran, Turkey, and the other nations Ezekiel noted gathered on Israel's northern border, engaged in war and preparing for war.
According to the Bible, it's only a matter of time before they attack Israel (Ezekiel 38:8-9). And after that, it's only a matter of time before Jesus returns to establish His everlasting Kingdom (Revelation 22:20). Jesus is coming!