I [will] sanctify myself through you before their eyes, O Gog.
Shortly before the remaining ones of the 144,000 are taken to heaven, Gog will attack God’s people. What reaction does this provoke? On earth, God’s people will appear to be defenseless. They will obey the instructions given in the days of King Jehoshaphat: “You will not need to fight this battle. Take your position, stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah in your behalf. O Judah and Jerusalem, do not be afraid or be terrified.” In heaven, however, there is a different reaction. Referring to the time when all the anointed are in heaven, Revelation 17:14 tells us this about the enemies of God’s people: “These will battle with the Lamb, but because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them. Also, those with him who are called and chosen and faithful will do so.” Together with his 144,000 corulers in heaven, Jesus will come to the rescue of God’s people here on earth.
Gog of the land of Magog is symbolism that appears in both Ezekiel and Revelation. What does it symbolize?
It symbolizes a situation that will come about where the nations of the world will be mobilized to eradicate “Israel.” Or, in the case of the appearance of Gog at the end of the 1,000 years it symbolizes a rebellion after mankind has been restored from Adam’s sin.
Of course, as Jehovah’s Witnesses know, “Israel” is also a symbol. The prophecy could hardly apply to the modern state of Israel. It is not defenseless, dwelling without any obvious protection. Although it has never been admitted Israel belongs to the exclusive club of nuclear powers and could take out virtually every nation in the Middle East and beyond if attacked. No, “Israel” represents true Christians, particularly the remaining ones of the 144,000 who are taken from the 12 tribes of Israel.
Over the course of history in his dealings with Israel, God has at times used various nations that were hostile to Israel to discipline and punish his people. In the times of the judges God allowed the Philistines to plunder and oppress Israel. Later he used Assyria and Babylon. In fact, Ezekiel the prophet was in exile in Babylon when he wrote the book bearing his name. And Ezekiel implied that Babylon’s devastation of Israel occurs immediately before Gog’s attack in the final part of the days, after they are gathered back and restored to God’s favor.
And that is the significance of the meaning of Gog of the land of Magog. The attack of Gog is not sanctioned by God, whereas Babylon’s conquest was and will be. The same is true for the attack of Gog in Revelation.
But why does Ezekiel 38:3 state that God will put hooks in Gog’s jaws and turn him around so that he attacks Israel?
The hooks in his mouth indicate that Satan will be presented with an irresistible target. What is that? The regathered people of God represent the sealed chosen ones and the great crowd. Everyone else at that time will not have their names written in the book of life. There will be no undecideds then. Just those who are in the Kingdom and those who have been excluded.
But the sealed remaining ones will still be quite human. And because of their seeming vulnerability Satan will be induced to maneuver his earthly forces to attack. If only one of the remaining ones of the 144,000 succumbs to fear and compromises, then Satan will have thwarted God’s purpose. That’s because the final sealing brings to an end the Christian era.
But Jehovah knows they will not be unfaithful. He will have put his spirit in them then. He will have given them a heart of flesh and removed their hearts of stone. (Ezekiel 11:19) They will be as stalwart as Christ was in his final hours, shining as brightly as the sun in Jehovah’s Kingdom.
The attack of Gog will instead serve God’s purpose to harvest the remaining ones in the twinkling of an eye, where they will join the entire contingent of Christ’s army of angels and holy ones, who will then unleash holy terror upon Gog and his hordes. The 39th chapter of Ezekiel describes it this way:
“I will knock your bow out of your left hand and make your arrows fall from your right hand. On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the peoples who will be with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of birds of prey and the wild beasts of the field. You will fall on the open field, for I myself have spoken,’ declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. ‘And I will send fire against Magog and against those who are inhabiting the islands in security, and they will have to know that I am Jehovah. I will make my holy name known among my people Israel, and I will not allow my holy name to be profaned any longer; and the nations will have to know that I am Jehovah, the Holy One in Israel. Yes, this is coming, and it will be done,’ declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. ‘This is the day I have spoken about.’”