Russia and Iran in Bible Prophecy

The Battle and the Results


John Hoole - March 6, 2011




Over the past several weeks, we have been investigating what Ezekiel 38 & 39 say about a coming invasion of the nation of Israel.  We have identified God’s Top Ten Most Wanted List in Ezekiel 38:2-6 as they exist today.  I hope the picture has come into focus.  All the nations we have seen in Ezekiel 38 are currently on the world scene, and are developing ties with one another, and are vehement enemies of Israel.  And never has it been in human history where these players have aligned themselves.  That is, not until today.


Ezekiel 38 tells us that Gog will devise his evil plan to destroy Israel in the last days.  But who or what is the ultimate force behind this invasion?  Does Gog make his own plans and do  his own bidding, or are there unseen forces at work behind the scenes?  The Bible tells us clearly that Satan is the god of this world religiously, and the prince of this world politically.  Three times in the Gospel of John, Jesus says that Satan is the prince of this world.  We read in 1 John 5:19 that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”  Revelation 20:3, 7-8 states that one of Satan’s primary functions is to “deceive the nations.”


Although Gog and his Islamic allies will believe that their relentless attack on Israel is for their own schemes and purposes, the Bible declares that behind the scenes, Satan will be the instigator of Gog’s evil plan.  Let’s carry this invisible war that is going on a little farther.  Gog will clearly be the agent – the instigator – of this invasion, and Satan will be a strong force behind it.  But, who is ultimately in control.  Is our God just waiting on the sidelines to see how it will all come out?


The Prophet Ezekiel declares that the directing force behind this invasion is God Himself.  Gog is only the agent, and Satan is only a secondary motivating power.


In Ezekiel 38:4, God says,


                   …. “And I will turn you about, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out.”


God will be the primary player in the great end times drama.  He Himself will rise up to defend Israel and display His glory to the world.


When Russia and Iran and their allies decide to invade Israel, there will be no stopping them.  They will be bent on war and destruction.  It will look to them like the perfect time.  When these nations invade the land of Israel, it will look like the biggest mismatch in history.  It will look like Israel is finished.  They will be completely surrounded.  When Russia and its allies march into Israel, they will be expecting to march out in victory.  There will be no indication to them of what really awaits them.


At the end of every movie when the credits begin to run, one of the first items to appear is, “Directed By…”  If Bible prophecy had a list of credits, it would read, it would read, “Directed by God.”  God is not only the author of the script, He is the producer as well.  He is orchestrating, organizing, and overruling world events to set the stage so that all the props and players will be in the right place when the curtain goes up.


Over and over again, God makes it clear that He is in charge.  7 times in Ezekiel 38 & 39, we read the same words:  “Thus says the Lord God.”  (38:2, 10, 14, 17; 39:1, 17, 25).  Another 8 times we find the refrain, “declares the Lord God.”  Obviously, God does not want us to miss the point.  The predictions of these two chapters come directly from Him.


Ezekiel 38:8“You will be summoned.”


Ezekiel 38:16“I will bring you against My land.”


Ezekiel 39:2“…and I will turn you around, drive you on, take you up…and bring you against the mountains of Israel.”


The question might be raise, “Is God violating the free will of these invaders?”  I don’t think so – they want to come.  Ezekiel 38:10 says they “devise an evil plan.”  There really is nothing implied here that takes away human responsibility.  God is holding them responsible for their plans and actions.


So, what happens when Gog meets God?


The prophet Ezekiel writes that when Gog comes into the land of Israel, He and his forces will cover the mountains of Israel like a storm or a cloud covering the land (Ezekiel 38:9, 16)They will look invincible.  But God will intervene on behalf of his people.




He uses four primary means to destroy Gog and his allies and their armies





Ezekiel 38:19-20 NKJV


19     For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: 'Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel,

20     so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.'


In this earthquake, all three spheres - land, sea and air - creatures within God's creation, will reverence the Lord's display of His power on behalf of His elect nation Israel.  Gog and his armies will be armed to the hilt.  But God will use an earthquake of unparalleled strength to wipe out the invading horde.  It is God, not Israel's excellent Defense Forces, that brings about the invaders destruction.  But we have no record that this earthquake destroys or damages any cities in Israel.




In the aftermath of the earthquake, there will be infighting among the troops.


Ezekiel 38:21 NKJV


21     I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains," says the Lord God. "Every man's sword will be against his brother."


This verse indicates that the only killing to be done by Gog's invaders of Israel will be that of massacring their fellow troops.  God has used this tactic before.  In Judges 7, Gideon and his 300 troops blew their trumpets, and the Philistines turned their swords against each other.  The Bible does not indicate that Gideon and his 300 even took weapons.  All 300 had a trumpet in one hand and a pitcher (lamp) in the other.  The only sword they had was in what they yelled as they broke their pitchers.  “The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.”  They blew their trumpets, and confusion caused the Philistines to kill each other.


The troops in this army will speak Russian, Turkic, Arabic, Farsi and others.  When mass confusion breaks out, soldiers will probably begin killing anyone who does not speak their language.  This will be the largest occurrence of death by “friendly fire” the world has ever seen.




Ezekiel 38:22 NKJV


22     And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.


The word pestilence is the same word used to describe the plagues on Pharaoh’s livestock in Egypt in Exodus 9:13.  God will visit Gog and his troops with a horrible plague that will add to the misery and devastation already inflicted.  Some have suggested that this may indicate the use of biological or chemical weapons.  When mass confusion among the invading forces occurs, I suppose it is possible to use against their own forces what they had planned against Israel.  But, then, Verse 22 says that it is God that brings pestilence upon them.  Just as God used real bugs to bug the Pharaoh at the Exodus, once again, He will use real bugs and pestilence to bug Gog and his armies.




Ezekiel 38:22 NKJV


22     And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.


The final climactic judgment God will use to eradicate Gog’s horde will be fire and brimstone from heaven.  Two of the most infamous cities that ever existed in history were the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Why were they famous?  Their fame arises from the fact that they no longer exist.  These are the two cities where God poured out fire and brimstone because of their great sin and iniquity, and they were obliterated from the earth.


It appears likely the hailstones will target specific groups and individuals of the enemy.  The verse above says the fire will rain down on Gog's troops and all who are with him.


Notice what it says in Ezekiel 39:6. (NKJV)


6       "And I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in security in the coastlands. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.


This verse suggest that judgment is coming not only to the invading forces, but also on the headquarters of that power that is, within the safe borders of their homeland.


Russia’s attack on Israel will be her greatest military blunder.  Though the battle is brief, the conflict will be one of the most destructive in history.  Gog will arrogantly attack Israel with visions of his own glory.  However, it will be God who will obtain great notoriety from the event.  Ezekiel 38:23 says, "And I shall magnify Myself, sanctify Myself and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the LORD."




Now it is time to look at the final results of this battle.


Ezekiel 39:1-2


1       and you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal:

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:


The casualties of these invaders are so great that only one-sixth of the fighting force is left after the battle.  That casualty rate is unheard of in modern warfare.  Talk about shock and awe.  It is hard to understand this severe defeat except as an act of God, and that is exactly what Ezekiel says it is.  It accomplished the purposes of glorifying God before Israel and the World, and of finally restoring the much-chastened Israel to her God.


God is totally in control.  He is leading Russia towards her final destruction.  Apparently Russia is overwhelmed early in her campaign, virtually following the moment of the invasion.  We see no lengthy scenes of battle.  The invasion does not appear to affect population centers, and we hear of no destruction of Israel.


The reason I say this is because of Ezekiel 39:3-5.


Ezekiel 39:3-5 NKJV


3       Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand.

4       You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.

5       You shall fall on the open field; for I have spoken," says the Lord GOD.


One reason there seems to be no destruction of Israel is seen in verse 3.  There are two phrases in verse 3, both of which are Hebrew idioms.  The Lord is said here to disarm Gog by knocking out of his hand his bow.  This indicates knocking out the invader's weapon or weapons systems.  The second phrase concerning the arrows in indicative of removing the ammunitions.


C. F. Keil explains:


"In the land of Israel, God will strike his weapons out of his hands, i.e. make him incapable of fighting,....and give him up with all his army as a prey to death."


In the verse that follows, Verses 4 & 5, it speaks of the enemies falling on the mountains of Israel.  He also destroys them in the open fields.  These armies never make it to the populated centers.  Instead they die literally in the mountains and on the face of the open fields.




Since God is the one who will bring down the invading force, we are told in verse 4 that He will use this occasion to feed His creation with their flesh.  The Lord provides Israel's enemies as a meal for animals and birds




What is the point being emphasized in verses 9 and 10 about burning the spoils of war?  Rather than simply destroying the weapons, they will be used for fuel, thus benefiting the Israelis.  Why would they burn the weapons instead of just disposing of them?  Verses 9 & 10 gives us a reason.


Ezekiel 39:9-10 NKJV


9       "Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and bucklers, the bows and arrows, the javelins and spears; and they will make fires with them for seven years.

10     They will not take wood from the field nor cut down any from the forests, because they will make fires with the weapons; and they will plunder those who plundered them, and pillage those who pillaged them," says the Lord God.


They will make fires with the weapons, and they will take the spoil of those who wanted to despoil them.  For 7 years, Israelis will not have to take from their own natural resources for fires.  They will plunder those who desired to plunder them.


Ezekiel goes into quite a bit of detail about the aftermath of the battle.  The dead bodies of the invaders apparently will strew the fields and mountains of the holy land.


         Chapter 39, verse 11 & 12 (NKJV) says:


11     "It will come to pass in that day that I will give Gog a burial place there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea; and it will obstruct travelers, because there they will bury Gog and all his multitude. Therefore they will call it the Valley of Hamon Gog.  

12     For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land.


How many dead will there be?  According to these verses, the physical death is going to be so massive it will take every able-bodied man in Israel 7 months to bury the dead.  Vs. 13: “Indeed, all the people of the land will be burying them.”  This indicates that the slaughter will be so large that it will take all the people to bury the dead.


Now, take notice of Ezekiel 39:14 NKJV


14     They will set apart men regularly employed, with the help of a search party, to pass through the land and bury those bodies remaining on the ground, in order to cleanse it.


Some will even find full-time employment at it.  Ezekiel indicates that professional Hazmat personnel will be hired to clear the battlefields.  After the 7 months, these people will enter the land to clear it, and mark where bones are found.  Even travelers through the land are asked to watch for stray remains, and to mark the spot for the burial details.


Ezekiel 39:15 NKJV


15     The search party will pass through the land; and when anyone sees a man's bone, he shall set up a marker by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon Gog.


Hamon-gog is the Hebrew for “the multitude of Gog” which is to become the name of this vast cemetery for these invaders.


This large amount of information about the burial emphasizes the very large size of the invading forces.  It also speaks of the totality of their defeat.  Gog and his allies came into Israel to take over the land.  The only piece of land Gog will claim in the land of Israel will be his burial plot.  Gog will set out to bury Israel, but God will bury Gog in Israel.


There is no doubt as to the victor.  But, what was it all for?  Why did this battle take place.


Answering the WHY question concerning any matter is often the most difficult.  This is especially true when it comes to determining why Gog acts as He does in certain circumstances.  There are times when we never know why and are left to trust God that He is sovereign and always does what is right.


That, however is not the case with this battle.  God has been pleased to tell us why the devastation of God and his allies will occur.  The answer to the WHY question in these chapters is threefold:



The first reason for the destruction of Gog and his horde is to bring glory to God.  God does not help Israel because she deserves his help, but because his reputation is on the line.  He acts to vindicate His own holy name and show forth his power.


In Ezekiel 38:23 (NKJV),God says,


23     I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD."'


In Ezekiel 39:21, God says,


21.    And I shall set my glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed, and My hand which I have laid on them.


God will bring glory to Himself by vindicating his holy name.  But He will also use this judgment as a great sign to convert multitudes of Gentiles during the Tribulation time.


This is stated over and over in these two chapters.


         Ezekiel 38:26That the nations may know Me.


         Ezekiel 39:6And the nations will know that I am the Lord.


Another purpose that God will achieve through his judgment on Gog will be the beginning of the final restoration of Israel  This supernatural intervention by God will be a sign not only to the Gentiles but to the Jews as well.  God will use this event to bring about the repentance of many of the Jewish people.


Ezekiel 39:7 NKJV


7       So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore.


Ezekiel 39:22  (NKJV) adds:


22     So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day forward.


This event will be so amazing and so clearly supernatural that through it God will make His holy name known in the land of Israel.




As I ponder the future of the world – and our own future, the truth is that none of us knows how much time we have personally or prophetically.  Personally, we don’t know if we will live to see tomorrow.  God gives us no guarantee of another breath.  Prophetically, the events of the end times appear to be in our news every day.


Jesus could come today, and all who do not know Him personally will be left behind.  Jesus chided the Scribes and Pharisees for not knowing the signs and seasons.  But, to us, He has shown both ominous and glorious signs.  What are you and I doing about them.


There is no doubt that our world faces an unparalleled predicament.  The storm clouds of Iran continue to gather around us.  No human knows the details of how it will all play out or when the end will come.  But I hope that you are convinced that God has revealed enough to help us see that what’s happening right now is part of His master plan.  There is no such thing as a crisis with God.  He knows all.


My prayer is that each of you be found faithful when Christ comes.