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Gary Answers: Ezekiel 38 and the Tribulation

by: Gary Stearman on June 20, 2015

Renee asks: Hi, I would like to know your stand on the battle of Ezekiel 38. Do you think it is Pre-Trib or happens during the Tribulation … or as some say … after [that]? And why [do you] believe your answer?


Dear Renee:

Thanks for the question. For years (even decades, now), my position on your question has remained much the same. I have long taught that the great northern invasion of Israel by Gog comes at the beginning of the Tribulation.

I believe this because Ezekiel’s narrative includes an amazing statement that comes as close to being an absolute time marker as anything found in the Bible. It contains four key words that designate a close linkage between two things: The Gog Invasion and The Tribulation:

“18 And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face. 19 For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel” (Ezek 38:18, 19).

The fours words to which I refer are, “… at the same time.” Nothing could be more clear than this. When we see such a statement, linking God’s fury with Gog’s invasion of Israel, it can only mean that there is a close proximity between the two.

A bit farther along in Ezekiel’s prophecy, we find an unambiguous declaration that this fury is, in fact, the Day of the Lord:

“6 And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD. 7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. 8 Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken” (Ezek. 39:6-8).

Between the beginning of Isaiah and the end of Peter’s Second Epistle, “The Day of the Lord” is mentioned by name twenty-three times. There can be no mistake about which day the Lord God is talking about in Ezekiel’s prophecy.

I have long believed in and taught the rapture of the church will take place before the Day of the Lord, which opens with the Tribulation. And so, the brief answer to your question is that the church will be taken out of the world prior to Gog’s invasion of Israel. How long before? I don’t know, but I agree with many who say that our departure could be a considerable time before Gog begins to move south … perhaps a few years.

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