Ezekiel 38 is a prophecy about Gog and Magog. Gog is the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and Magog is the land, v.2. There has been much speculation about the interpretation of this prophecy. And, therefore, there is much discussion about its fulfillment. Some believe that this prophecy will be fulfilled before the Rapture. Others believe it’s fulfilled in the Tribulation. And still others believe that this prophecy is fulfilled at either the Second Advent or the end of the millennial reign of Jesus, because of the reference to God and Magog in Rev 20:7-8.
According to the details in this passage, however, it appears that this prophecy will be fulfilled at the Second Coming of Jesus. Ezek 38:8, 16 refer to the latter years, after many days, and the latter days, which are connected to the end of the Tribulation.
Since Gog is only mentioned in the Old Testament here and in Ezekiel 39, expositors have tried to figure out which earthly ruler he is. Yet, Gog, the chief prince, is a supernatural being, like the prince of Persia in Dan 10:13 and the prince of Grecia in Dan 10:20.
Furthermore, Ezek 38:17 says that the Lord had spoken of Gog in old time by his servants the prophets of Israel. Well, none of the other prophets mentioned Gog, by name. But they did mention the influence of the devil, and the host of the high ones on high, over nations. In Is 26:20-27:1 the Lord cometh to punish the inhabitants of the earth and leviathan. In Is 24:16-23 the earth reels to and fro, the foundations shake, as God punishes the kings of the earth and the host of the high ones on high.
In Ezek 38:4 God said that he would turn back Gog and put hooks into his jaws. Then this connects Gog with leviathan, Job 41:1-2. This is like the prophecy against Pharaoh, the great dragon, in Ezek 29:1-4. These cross references give further support to Gog being supernatural.
The nations that make up all his army are predominately descendants of Japheth. Magog is a descendant of Japheth, Gen 10:2, as are Gomer, Magog, Tubal, Meshech, and Togarmah. These northern nations, amassing a mighty army, v.15, presumably include Russia and Turkey. Persia, now Iran, will attack from the east. Libya will attack from the west.
In Ezek 38:7 these nations are told to be prepared. In v.8, after they are visited, they begin their attack on Israel.
In v.8, Israel is described as the land brought back from the sword, and gathered out of many people, and brought forth of the nations. Their return to the land began in earnest after WWII.
In v.8, 11, 14 they are dwelling safely in the land, in unwalled villages, having neither bars nor gates. This is evidently the result of their agreement with Antichrist, during the first part of the Tribulation. Some have suggested that Israel dwelling in safety is a reference to the millennium, However, 1 Thes 5:2-3 says the day of the Lord (Second Advent) comes when they say, Peace and Safety.
v.9 says that Gog and his armies come in like a storm, and like a cloud to cover the land. This matches Jer 4:10-13 where, at a time when they think they shall have peace, “he” shall come up as clouds. In Jer 46:8-10, Egypt comes in like flood, matching Rev 12:15.
According Ezek 38:12 the armies under Gog come in to take a spoil. The attackers are motivated by greed and covetousness. The land, before Israel returned, was nothing more than desolate places. But after Israel’a return, they now have abundantly rich agriculture, and cattle, silver, goods, and gold.
In v.16 God said, I bring thee against my land that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog. The Lord sets this attack up to defeat Gog and show the rest of the world that He is the Lord.
In v.18-19 we see the Lord’s fury and jealousy, and the fire of his wrath as in Joel 2:1-11. The Lord brings the nations against Israel and then destroys them. In Zeph 3:8 he gathers the nations together and the earth is devoured by the fire of his jealousy. In Zech 14:1-3 all nations gather against Jerusalem and then the Lord fights against them to protect Jerusalem.
In v.20-22, the earth shakes at the Lord’s presence and he destroys them with hailstones and fire. These are events of the Second Advent as in Ps 18:7-14. The Lord brings a sword against the armies as in Rev 19:15.
According to v.23 when the Lord comes against these nations he will be known in the eyes of many nations, Rev 1:7, Rev 6:18-19.