The Gathering of the Nations Against Jerusalem

by Leland M. Haines
There are several prophecies predicting that the latter-day events will end with the nations gathered against Jerusalem. These events will now be described, although chronologically some may begin before the Rapture.

Earlier in our discussion we saw that the antichrist king came to power halfway through the tribulation period. "At the time of the end" this king will come under attack from the south, then the north, and then from the other directions.

    The king of the south [shall] push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. Daniel 11:40-44

A southern nation will first attack Israel and the antichrist king. But their success will be short because "the king from the north" (Daniel 11:40) will launch a full scale attack against Israel. This king will crush Israel and go on to crush the southern powers. "Tens of thousands will fall," but some will escape (v. 41 RSV).

Who is this northern king? The nations lying directly north of Israel in order are Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and Russia. Which of these is this power? Ezekiel speaks about "Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal" (Ezekiel 38:2). Some think Meshech refers to Moscow and Tubal to Tobolsk, a Siberian city. If this is true, this power would likely be Russia and her friends. The Book of Ezekiel states that the Lord said of them, "I am against thee, . . . I will turn thee back and put hooks into thy jaws" (vv. 3, 4). These terms describe destruction. This will come about because the nations will attack Israel. Speaking of them, the Lord said,

    In the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. Ezekiel 38:8, 9

Later the Lord said,

    In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. Ezekiel 38:14-16

Daniel wrote that after this northern invasion, "tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble" these powers (Daniel 11:44). These unidentified nations become concerned over the northern king's success. The Book of Ezekiel gives light on the others: "Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee [the northern powers], Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?" (Ezekiel 38:13). These nations that are concerned that others are receiving great spoils may be the ten confederate nations of Revelation 17. Tarshish is an ancient name of Great Britain. The other names also are ancient and are hard to identify today. The children of Tarshish may mean the English-speaking nations. They will come against the northern powers that overran Israel, and "he shall come to his end, and none shall help him" (Daniel 11:45). Ezekiel wrote, "Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel" (Ezekiel 38:19), and all creatures and men

    shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every man's sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD. vv. 20-23

Zechariah also prophesied of latter day events connected with Jerusalem.

    The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD. . . . Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I 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. Zechariah 12:1-3

Judah along with all nations will be gathered against Jerusalem in the last days. The Lord will strike those coming against Jerusalem, even Judah. This will result in Judah recognizing the Lord is with Jerusalem, and she will turn against the other nations and "devour all the people" (v. 6).

The Lord will come to the aid of Jerusalem, and the nations will find she is a strong fighter because of this help. The Lord will first give victory to Judah so Jerusalem will not be exulted above Judah.

    In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. Zechariah 12:8, 9

Jesus' first coming was to save the lost, but His second coming will be to judge the world. During His first time on the earth He stated,

    I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. John 12:46-48

Paul told the Athenians about these last days. "He [God] hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). Jesus spoke of Himself as being the one to judge. "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son" (John 5:22).

Let us now return to our study in Revelation. The next major event in God's program is the coming of the Lord with His armies to destroy the nations gathered against Jerusalem. John wrote that he "saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war" (Revelation 19:11). He then described His appearance. "The armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" (vv. 14, 15). On His robe and thigh will be written the name "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" (v. 16), making His identity clear to all.

The gathering of the nations against Jerusalem will be a time of trouble, but apparently the people of God will not go through it. Daniel prophesied:

    At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:1-3

Jesus' return will not be welcomed by the kings and armies of the world, who will gather to challenge His authority: "The beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army" (Revelation 19:19). The coming of this battle was mentioned earlier. The dragon, the beast, and the false prophet will turn the kings and their military forces against the new invader. They will go out "unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. . . . And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon" (16:14, 16), but their war efforts will quickly fail. "The beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone" (19:20). Their armies will also be destroyed. This battle will have so many dead that the birds are called to come to the battlefield for a "great supper," and "the fowls were filled with their flesh" (v. 21).

Ezekiel prophesied of this event: "I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort" (Ezekiel 39:4), and "Speak unto every feathered fowl, . . . that ye may eat flesh" (v. 17). Gog and Magog will be destroyed. Israel will "go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, . . . and they shall burn them with fire seven years" (v. 9). For seven months they will search for Magog's dead and bury them (v. 12).

The result of this judgment was foretold by God. The supernatural destruction of the invading armies will cause the Jews to see who God and the Messiah are. Ezekiel recorded: "Thus saith the Lord God. . . . I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord" (Ezekiel 38:14, 23).

This message was repeated in the prophecy against Magog. Ezekiel continued to record the Lord's words: "They shall know that I am the LORD. 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" (Ezekiel 39:6-8; cf. vv. 13, 21, 22, 25). The fuller conversion of the Jews will occur when God will "have gathered them unto their own land" and "poured out [His] spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God" (vv. 28, 29).

Throughout history God has allowed man to accept or reject Him. But this freedom to choose will come to an end. Man will not be able to reject God. God will make Himself clearly known, and men will know that He is the Lord. God will stand visible over His creation.

This is from Chapter 7 of the book, Redemption Realized Through Christ, © copyright 1997 by Leland M. Haines, Northville, MI.

We highly recommend you read this book. It may be ordered from Biblical Viewpoints publication (see below) or visit Books.


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January 29, 2001