Historically speaking, Magog was a grandson of Noah (Genesis 10:2). The  descendants of Magog settled to the far north of Israel, likely in Europe and  northern Asia (Ezekiel  38:2). Magog seems to be used to refer to “northern barbarians” in general,  but likely also has a connection to Magog the person. The people of Magog are  described as skilled warriors (Ezekiel  38:15; 39:3-9).

Gog and Magog are referred to in Ezekiel  38-39 and in Revelation  20:7-8. While these two instances carry the same names, a close study of  Scripture clearly demonstrates they do not refer to the same people and events.  In Ezekiel’s prophecy, Gog will be the leader of a great army that attacks the  land of Israel. Gog is described as “of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh,  Meshech, and Tubal” (Ezekiel  38:2-3). Ezekiel’s battle of Gog and Magog occurs in the tribulation period,  more specifically in the first 3 1/2 years. The strongest evidence for this view  is that the attack will come when Israel is at peace (Ezekiel 38:8, 11). The description from  Ezekiel is that of a nation that has security and has laid down its defenses.  Israel is definitely not at peace now, and it is inconceivable that the nation  would lay down its defenses apart from some major event. When Israel’s covenant  with the Beast/Antichrist is in effect at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week  (also known as the 7-year tribulation, Daniel  9:27a), Israel will be at peace. Possibly the battle will occur just before  the midpoint of the seven-year period. According to Ezekiel, Gog will be  defeated by God Himself on the mountains of Israel. The slaughter will be so  great it will take seven months to bury all of the dead (Ezekiel  39:11-12).

Gog and Magog are mentioned again in Revelation 20:7-8. The  duplicated use of the names Gog and Magog in Revelation  20:8-9 is to show that these people demonstrate the same rebellion against  God and antagonism toward God as those in Ezekiel 38-39. It is similar to  someone today calling a person “the devil” because he or she is sinful and evil.  We know that person is not really Satan, but because that person shares similar  characteristics, he or she might be referred to as “the devil.”

The book  of Revelation uses Ezekiel’s prophecy about Magog to portray a final end-times  attack on the nation of Israel (Revelation  20:8-9). The result of this battle is that all are destroyed, and Satan will  find his final place in the lake of fire (Revelation  20:10).

It is important to recognize that the Gog and Magog of  Ezekiel 38-39 is quite different from the one in Revelation  20:7-8. Below are some of the more obvious reasons why these refer to  different people and battles.

1. In the battle of Ezekiel 38-39, the  armies come primarily from the north and involve only a few nations of the earth  (Ezekiel  38:6, 15; 39:2). The battle in Revelation  20:7-9 will involve all nations, so armies will come from all directions,  not just from the north.

2. There is no mention of Satan in the context  of Ezekiel 38-39. In Revelation  20:7 the context clearly places the battle at the end of the millennium with  Satan as the primary character.

3. Ezekiel  39:11-12 states that the dead will be buried for seven months. There would  be no need to bury the dead if the battle in Ezekiel 38-39 is the one described  in Revelation  20:8-9, for immediately following Revelation  20:8-9 is the Great White Throne judgment (20:11-15) and then the current or  present heaven and earth are destroyed, replaced by a new heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1). There  obviously will be a need to bury the dead if the battle takes place in the early  part of the tribulation, for the land of Israel will be occupied for another  1,000 years, the length of the millennial kingdom (Revelation  20:4-6).

4. The battle in Ezekiel 38-39 is used by God to bring  Israel back to Him (Ezekiel  39:21-29). In Revelation 20, Israel has been faithful to God for 1,000 years  (the millennial kingdom). Those in Revelation 20:7-10 who are rebellious are destroyed  without any more opportunity for repentance.