Do you place Ez. 38 in the timeline as outlined in Dan. 11? Or do you see this event as happening before this? Any insight you can share on this would be appreciated.
Thankfully, this is one I believe I can answer in a short space, but to make the full case, would take more time than I can grab just now. You frame the question very well. I believe that a comparison with other scriptures will show that Ezekiel’s vision of the war on the covenant is comprehensive of the entire tribulation from the time the covenant is broken until Armageddon.
We see from Daniel and elsewhere that the war has two stages. There are two assaults on Jerusalem at both ends of Jacob’s trouble. Gog’s war on the recently regathered inhabitants of the Land (Ezek 38:8) covers the whole time of the Jerusalem’s desolation from the breaking of covenant to Armageddon.
Remember that Israel is dwelling securely when Gog comes down. At no time beyond the abomination could Israel be said to be dwelling safely (Rev 11:2). Note that this could NOT be the security of post-millennial Israel. It is the deceptive security that follows the presumptuous ‘league’, or ‘covenant with death and hell” (Isa 28:15; Dan 8:25; 9:27 11:23). This is further proven by the reference made to this particular kind of security described in Ezek 39:26. It is a security in which Israel’s sins only increase. This is not true of Israel’s millennial security. I believe this is the “time of tranquility” described in Dan 11:24, which follows upon the league made with ‘vile person’ in Dan 11:23. In other words, here is the false security of the first 3 1/2 years of Daniel’s seventieth week.
The contrast between this security and millennial security is enormous. At the end of the millennium at the time of Satan’s momentary release, Israel has been abiding in the everlasting righteousness of covenant promise (Jer 32:40; Dan 9:24). The security that Israel enjoys in the Land throughout the millennium is based on the transformation that began at the day of the Lord (Isa 66:8; Ezek 39:22-29) and is guaranteed of unfailing continuance unto children’s children ((Isa 54:13; 59:21). They shall “all” be holy “from that day and forward” (Isa 4:3; 60:21; Jer 31:34; 32:40; Ezek 39:22).
No, it is manifest that whatever the nature of this security, it is one that has only increased Israel’s presumption. So this cannot be the security of post-millennial Israel, as some scholars suppose. Rather, the comparatively “recent” return of Ezek 38:8 is the necessary preliminary regathering to the Land that ends in Jacob’s trouble and the great day of God (compare Rev 16:14-17 with Ezek 39:8).
But also notice that Gog is not destroyed until the day of Israel’s national salvation (Ezek 39:17-22; Rev 19:17-18, 21). This means that Gog arrives when Israel is dwelling securely and continues his assault throughout the entire 42 months of great tribulation (Rev 11:2). Of course, this means that Gog is either the Antichrist or the spirit of Satan that incarnates him. This seems very clear from Ezek 38:17, since there is only one of whom ‘all’ the prophets of Israel spoke ‘continually’.
So the battle happens in stages. First, the Antichrist with his ten nation confederacy sweeps down like a flood (Dan 9:26; 11:22) on Israel and places the abomination (Dan 11:31). Then, towards the end of the tribulation, many nations revolt against the Antichrist. This is the time in view in Dan 11:40-45 and Rev 16:13-14) when all nations begin their advance on Jerusalem. Dan 11:44 seems clearly to indicate that these nations are coming against the Antichrist. At the news of their advance, the Antichrist then “goes forth with great fury to destroy and utterly annihilate.” [This I believe is the catalyst of the great nuclear holocaust which many scriptures graphically depict (Isa 13:13; 24:6, 15, 19-20; Ezek 39:6; Joel 2:30; Zech 14:12). Apparently the Lord’s return arrests the process of man’s self destruction (Mt 24:22: Rev 11:18).]
Therefore, I hold the view that Ezekiel 38-39, like Zech 14, is a comprehensive view of both aspects of the attack on Jerusalem. First, the attack of the ten nations directly allied with the Antichrist, who is able to utilize the support, if not completely command, the armies of the nations listed in Ezek 38:3-6. Towards the end, there is another descent of the world’s armies, this time against the Antichrist who has made his seat in Jerusalem. This later mobilization of armies is shown by a comparison of Dan 11:44 with Rev 16:12-14. However, even if the nations are initially advancing against the Antichrist, they will meet instead the returning Son of God (Rev 19:15 with 2Thes 2:8; where Paul cites the Septuagint translation of Isa 11:4).
One may ask, how do we reconcile a mobilization of nations against the Antichrist in Dan 11:44 with the “war on the Lamb” of Rev 17:14; 19:19? I believe the answer lies in the inherent defiance this represents against the Word of God. Even if the nations descend upon Jerusalem in this later stage with the initial motive of throwing off the yoke of Antichrist, still, this exercise in futility is regarded as an attack on the Lamb, because it is in defiance of an everywhere preached prophetic testimony that has manifestly been ignored by the nations. An attack on Jerusalem, even if it is to cast off the oppressive yoke of the Antichrist, is no less an attack on the Lamb, because it is in clear defiance of the the prophetic Word of God.