QUESTION: What do you believe will be the event that will cause Iran, Russia, et. al. to attack Israel in the Magog invasion?
RESPONSE: My views on Ezekiel 38 and 39 do not agree with the majority of so-called prophecy teachers who see this battle either just before the Rapture or not long afterward during the tribulation period, with Russia and her Arab allies attacking Israel and their armies being destroyed. I disagree. This is the battle of Armageddon at the end of the Tribulation involving all nations of the earth. I believe that for many reasons.
Israel ("the people that are gathered out of the nations..."-Ezk 38:12) has, immediately after the Rapture, signed a seven-year deal with Antichrist (Dn 9:27) guaranteeing them peace under his protection. Feeling secure, they dwell "without walls...bars nor gates" (38:11). They think he is their friend because he causes the temple to be rebuilt. In fact, he plans to put his image in the temple and demand that the world worship him as God (2 Thes:2:4).
While Russia and Arab allies are specifically named in Ezekiel 38, notice that these nations have been drawn there by God in fulfillment of prophecy. Thus, to identify them fully we must look beyond Ezekiel 38 and 39 to prophecies that fit this scenario. The prophecies that fit indicate that all nations of the world will attack Israel, having been drawn by God for the specific purpose of being severely punished by Him for what they have done to His chosen people (Ps 2); "I will also gather all nations...into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with [punish] them there" (Jl 3:2); "I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it...I will make the governors of Judah like...a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about.." (Zec:12:3,6), etc.
"My fury shall come up in my face...the fishes of the sea...fowls of the heaven...beasts of the field...all creeping things...all the men...upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence..." (Ezk 38:18-20). God is personally coming to earth to fight for Israel. This is no preliminary event: it has to be the grand finale--Armageddon!
All Israel is saved: "I will not let them [Israel] pollute my holy name any more....So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward....Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there....For I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel..." (39:7,22,28,29). Again I say, this is the grand finale!
Why do the nations attack Israel? Why have Jews been hated, persecuted, and killed as no other people? This is the dying gasp of anti-Semitism, the all-out attempt by all the world's armies to effect at long last Hitler's "final solution to the Jewish problem."