A look at Ezekiel 38-39 and Revelation 16 & 19
The attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, 2023, has some people wondering if this is the beginning of an all-out war – possibly Armageddon. They are looking at Biblical prophecies to find the answer.
Both Ezekiel 38-39 and Revelation 16 & 19 prophesy of wars. Ezekiel 38-39 speaks of a war against Israel in the last days (please see War on Israel – Ezekiel 38-39). Revelation 16:13-21 and Revelation 19:19-21 speak of the final battle at the end of this present evil age, known as Armageddon.
While the wars of Ezekiel and Revelation seem similar because of a few parallel names and geographical locations, there are a couple of reasons why we believe the current war in Israel is not the final battle of Armageddon.
First, the circumstances are very different.
For either of these end-time prophecies to occur, God would have to gather together Jewish people from around the world, restore them to their land, and create a “new” nation. “For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land.” Ezekiel 36:24 NASB God did this with the rebirth of Israel as a nation in 1948.
But here’s the difference. Before the war of Ezekiel 38-39, Israel will be a nation that is somewhat at rest. They feel secure enough that their land and dwellings do not have walled protections (Ezekiel 38:11a,14). Before the war of Revelation, the context is great tribulation such as the world has not yet seen (Matt. 24:21). It will occur after the abomination of desolation and after God has blown his trumpets and poured forth his six bowls of wrath. (See What are the Trumpets and Bowls of Revelation?) It will not be a time of peace and rest for anyone, let alone Israel.
Secondly, the outcome of the Ezekiel war is quite different from that of the final war in Revelation.
Ezekiel 39:12 tells us there will be massive amounts of cleanup after the war on Israel. For seven months the house of Israel will be burying the dead. That’s a long time! But Israel is still intact and the nations still exist. They are in awe of what has happened and have time to be amazed at what God has done – for His own glory!
“And I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel; and I will not allow My holy name to be profaned anymore. But the nations will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. 8 Behold, it is coming and it shall be done,” declares the Lord God. “That is the day of which I have spoken.” (Ezekiel 39:7-8)
However, the battle of Armageddon will be after God has poured forth six of His bowls of wrath upon the earth. It will be a time of turmoil like no one has ever seen. All the kings and armies of the earth will gather to battle. Christ comes, defeats the Beast and False Prophet, kills the kings and armies of the earth, and reigns victorious (Revelation 16:1-21, 19:11-21).
We can see the wars of Ezekiel and Revelation have very different endings!
So it does not appear that Ezekiel and Revelation are one in the same war. The Ezekiel war may occur just before the final 7-year tribulation period, setting the stage for more end-time events. It does not appear to be the final war, however.
What happened when Hamas attacked Israel in 2023 could have been the beginning of the Ezekiel war – only time will tell. But based on our study, the current war in Israel is most likely not the final battle of Revelation – but rather is more likely the war against Israel found in Ezekiel 38-39. We will have to see how this war unfolds to determine if it fits all the criteria or not.
In the meantime, we look at the Scriptures, watch, wait, and pray. We listen to what Jesus said, “See to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen…” Matthew 24:6. Studying unfulfilled prophecies as these not only reassures us that God wins in the end, but that nothing surprises Him. The Lord God almighty is in complete control unto His purposes and glory of His Name.
For More on Revelation and End-Time Events
End Time Events: A Brief Overview By David Sheldon
Is Revelation in Chronological Order? By David Sheldon
Will Christians Know Who the Antichrist Will Be? (Order of End-Time Events) By David Sheldon
The Beast From the Sea (Revelation 13) By David Sheldon
The Great Harlot (Revelation 17) By David Sheldon
The Book of Daniel: A Historical-Chronological Look By David Sheldon