The battle of Gog and Magog is the unfulfilled prophecy which is the subject of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. These two chapters describe and end-times attack against the re-gathered nation of Israel by a coalition of nations which include Russia, Turkey, Iran, certain northern African nations including Libya, and other Muslim nations in the area just south of Russia. Their objective will be spoil, possibly those rich new oil fields recently discovered. The nations which make up the coalition are identified in Ezekiel 38:1-6 by the names they had during Ezekiel’s time; therefore we cannot be certain of every last country which will be involved. We know with certainty, however, that the main players will include Russia, Iran, Turkey, and North African nations.
Correctly placing this battle in the eschatological timeline of events has been a subject of debate among Bible scholars. Notable end-times prophecy experts Mark Hitchcock and Dr. David Jeremiah place it during the tribulation period, somewhere around the mid-point of the last seven years. Famous Bible expositor Chuck Smith places it at the beginning of the last seven-year period. There appear to be problems with both viewpoints.
Problems with the mid-trib view: After God steps in and defeats the invading force, Israel collects the leftover weaponry from the battlefield and burns it for fuel for seven years, as described in Ezekiel 39:9-10. Should the battle take place with only 3-4 years left before the second coming of Christ, the practice of burning the leftover weapons would carry forward into the Millennial Kingdom period. This seems to be uncharacteristic of the paradise-like conditions the scriptures portray of the Millennial Kingdom.
Christ will be king, ruling in a perfect environment. The world will have been reshaped by many tremendous natural disasters, including what many see described as a polar axis shift in Isaiah 24:20. A new river will flow from a spring under the rebuilt temple into the Dead Sea, bringing it back to life, as described in Ezekiel 47:6-12 and Zechariah 14:8. Will they really need to burn weapons left over from the age of man for fuel? What about the tremendous number of additional weapons which will be left over from the Battle of Armageddon? Wouldn’t those be mixed in with the supply and compromise the 7-year timeline for burning the weapons from the Gog/Magog battle? It seems an unlikely scenario to me. I guess I kind of picture the Lord cleaning up all this mess at his return.
Problems with beginning-trib view: The condition of Israel when this invasion occurs is described as a being in a peaceful state, when they are living safely without bars or gates, in Ezekiel 38:11. That hardly seems like now, and it hardly seems possible for this condition to arise before the Anti-Christ helps them achieve it with the peace treaty he will negotiate.
It is also worth noting that after God steps in to supernaturally defeat the invading force, Israel recognizes Him. God then comes back and pours out His spirit upon the nation of Israel once again, according to Ezekiel 39:22 and Ezekiel 39:28-29. This significant event certainly seems to indicate that the time of the gentiles will be fulfilled at this point, as mentioned in Luke 21:24, ushering in the 70th week of Daniel – which is the final seven years.
Possible solutions: As I have speculated elsewhere on this site, the rapture could occur years before the final seven years begins, and years before this invasion takes place. This is a Biblically valid viewpoint in keeping with the widely accepted doctrine of the immanency of Christ’s return. What I propose is a time period between the rapture and the 70th week of Daniel starting. This would give the Ant-Christ time to come to power, negotiate a peace treaty, and create the peaceful conditions where Israel is finally living in safety.
Another possible solution is that we are reading too much into the peaceful conditions which exist in Ezekiel 38:11 at the beginning of this invasion. Perhaps this simply means the defenses of Israel appear weak to the invading force, which they probably would to such a large alliance (which is ultimately backed by the nukes of Russia).
An additional factor which could come into play is the possibility that Psalm 83 is also an unfulfilled prophecy of an end-times battle, which occurs prior to the Gog/Magog battle. You can read my further musings about this concept here.