Isn’t it possible that events look like they are leading up to the War of Gog and Magog but that the war won’t actually happen for hundreds or thousands of years?
God could certainly forestall the fulfillment of this prophecy for some time until he, in his sovereignty, is ready to move. But He will not postpone it for hundreds or thousands of years. We know this because of what Jesus said in Matthew 24:32-34: “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place.” In other words, when we see certain events happening, we can know that the Rapture and the Second Coming are imminent.
So what are “all these things” that we should be watching for?
Jesus described the signs in detail in Matthew 24 and Luke 21: the rise of false prophets and false messiahs, wars and rumors of wars, revolutions, famines, earthquakes, persecution of believers, the spread of the gospel, and the rebirth of the State of Israel (described as a “fig tree” in the Jewish Scriptures6).
Today, for the first time in two thousand years, we are seeing all of these signs come true, and the rebirth of Israel is the most dramatic sign of them all. We can, therefore, have confidence that Jesus’ return is closer than ever. What’s more, we can be confident that our generation will not pass away before we see this remarkable event occur. No other generation in history has been able to say that, but we now can. It is true that Jesus cautions us not to speculate on the exact day and hour of his return. But we are encouraged to watch current events closely and know when the clock is running out.
In this regard, I often think of the words of Gandalf from the last film of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King. As events unfold and the clouds of war are brewing, Gandalf says, “The board is set. The pieces are moving.” As I write this, I would say the board is almost set, and God is putting the pieces in place for the final drama to begin.