Ezekiel 39:1-20: A Preterist Commentary

The Battle of Gog and Magog is the First Crusade Continued . . .

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A Preterist Commentary on Ezekiel 38: Summary and Highlights

During the thousand years between the Jewish War and the crusades, Christian Israel enjoyed unprecedented peace until the first crusade, the Battle of Gog and Magog.  Gog is in Turkey.  I believe the earthly counterpart of Gog is the emperor of the Seljuk Turks.  In A.D. 1071, one thousand years after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the Seljuk Turks took control of Judea and incited the crusades.  In A.D. 1072, Alp Arlsan, emperor of the Seljuk Turks, died in exactly the manner described in v. 3: “Then I will strike your bow from your left hand and make your arrows drop from your right hand [and] you will fall[.]”   Having tripped while aiming his bow at an oncoming attacker, Alp Arslan died from a knife wound.  Located east of the Caspian Sea, Alp Arslan’s tomb blocked the way of merchants traveling the Silk Road fulfilling v. 11: “On that day I will give Gog a burial place in Israel, in the valley of those who travel east of the sea.  It will block the way of travelers[.]”  During the First Crusade, an eyewitness records fire from heaven falling on the Seljuk Turks when they besieged Crusader-occupied Antioch, a coastal city in modern Turkey, fulfilling v. 6: “I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am the LORD.”  Muslims who survived the crusader’s attack on Jerusalem in A.D. 1099 were forced to collect the dead and dump them outside of the city fulfilling vs. 12-14. 70,000 people were killed in the siege of Jerusalem.  These dead bodies were a feast for wild animals in fulfillment of vs. 17-20.   

Signol, Emile. Taking of Jerusalem by the Crusaders. 1847

Signol, Emile. Taking of Jerusalem by the Crusaders. 1847.

The Battle of Gog and Magog is the First Crusade Continued . . .

A Fulfilled Eschatology Interpretation and Commentary on Ezekiel 39 Intro: During the Thousand Years between the Jewish War and the Crusades, Christian Israel Enjoyed Unprecedented Peace until the First Crusade, the Battle of Gog and Magog.

In the 1000 years after the Jewish War, Israel became a Christian nation that experienced unprecedented peace and great prosperity.  By the end of the fourth century, Jerusalem became an exclusively Christian city, the only one in the country.1  I believe this interval is the thousand year reign of Revelation 20:4.  According to Revelation 20:7, the Battle of Gog and Magog was expected to occur at the end of this 1000 year period.  In A.D. 1071,2 one thousand years after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the Seljuk Turks took control of Judea.  These Moslem conquerors harassed and killed Christian pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem.  This angered Christian Europe and thus began the Crusades—the Battle of Gog and Magog.  See Ezekiel 38: A Preterist Commentary and Revelation 20: A Preterist Commentary.

“Son of man, prophesy against Gog and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshek and Tubal. 2 I will turn you around and drag you along. I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel.

Revelation 22: A Preterist Commentary

Mesheck, Tubal and Magog are in Turkey, not Russia as is often mistakenly supposed. Therefore, Gog is in Turkey.

A Preterist Commentary on Ezekiel 39:1-2: Meshek and Tubal are in Turkey.  The Earthly Counterpart of Gog is the Emperor of the Seljuk Turks.  In A.D. 1071, 1,000 Years after the Fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the Seljuk Turks took control of Judea and incited the Crusades, the Battle of Gog and Magog.

Meshek and Tubal are two cities in southern Turkey.3  Though as explained in the preterist commentary on Ezekiel 38, I believe Gog is ultimately the angelic authority over the Muslim Empire, I believe his earthly shadow or counterpart is the emperor of the Seljuk Turks.  The Seljuk Turks controlled large parts of what is now Iraq, Syria and Turkey.  In A.D. 1071,4 one thousand years after the fall of Jerusalem, I believe Satan was set free from the Abyss in fulfillment of Revelation 20:7; and the Turks seized Judea.  Upon conquering Israel, these Muslims, unlike their more benevolent predecessors, attacked and killed many Christian pilgrims coming from Europe to visit the Holy Land.  These attacks on Christians angered Europe and incited the crusades

3 Then I will strike your bow from your left hand and make your arrows drop from your right hand. 4 On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals. 5 You will fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord.

A Preterist Commentary on Ezekiel 39:3: In A.D. 1072, Alp Arlsan, Emperor of the Seljuk Turks, died in Exactly the Manner described in Ezekiel 39:3.     

On the following year after seizing Israel, the emperor of the Seljuk Turks, Alp Arslan, died.  His death predicted in vs. 3-4 transpired precisely in the manner described.  Upon seizing a fortress by the Oxus River, Alp Arslan condemned the governor who defended the fortress, Yussuf el-Harezmi, to death.  Yussuf then rushed at Alp Arslan with a dagger.  In pride, Alp Arslan motioned for his guards not to interfere.  As the emperor drew his bow, his foot slipped, the arrow missed its target and Alp Arslan was stabbed in the chest.  He died four days later and was taken to Merv to be buried in November of A.D. 1072.  Here one can see the amazing fulfillment of Ezekiel 39:3-4: “Then I will strike your bow from your left hand and make your arrows drop from your right hand [and] you will fall[.]”

alp arslan

Alp Arslan

Verse 4 seems to suggest that Gog would die in Israel; however, Alp Arslan was buried in modern-day Turkmenistan.  Does this mean that Alp Arslan cannot be the earthly reflection of Gog?  Not necessarily.  At the creation of the new heaven and earth after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, Revelation 21:1 says that “there is no longer any sea.”  In the Book of Revelation, earth symbolizes Israel and sea, the Gentile nations.  See In the Bible “Earth” Signifies the Specific Land Addressed While “Sea” Symbolizes Foreign Nations.  Therefore, Revelation 21:1 implies that because Gentiles are now allowed to enter the kingdom of heaven at the new heaven and earth, the whole world now Biblically becomes the earth, Israel.  In Matthew 28:19 Jesus tells His disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations.”  This message is also implied in Romans 11.  Here Israel is likened to an olive tree in which the Gentiles are grafted in.  Galatians 3:7-8 echoes this point, “[T]hose who have faith are children of Abraham.  Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham[.]”  In other words because the church is the new “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:15-16) the whole world in a sense becomes Israel (Revelation 21:1).

A Realized Eschatological View and Commentary of Ezekiel 39:4: Gog’s Army suffered a similar Fate.  What Appears to be the Unified Force described in Ezekiel 38:1-7 and 13 was defeated at the Battle of Ascalon, the Final Battle of the First Crusade.

Verse 4 predicts that Gog’s army would also fall.  As stated above, I believe that Gog is the spiritual or angelic ruler of the Muslim world.  Thus Gog’s army does not consist only of the Seljuk Turks, but all the nations of Islam as is indicated in Ezekiel 38:1-7 and 13.  As explained in Ezekiel 38:1-7 a unified force consisting of Muslims from nearly all over the Muslim world was defeated at the end of the first crusade at the Battle of Ascalon, a coastal city in Israel.  This Muslim army defeated by the crusaders consisted of Seljuk Turks (Meshek, Tubal and Gomer (Ezekiel 38:2-6)), Arabs (Sheba and Dedan (Ezekiel 38:13)), Persians (Persia (Ezekiel 38:5)), Armenians, Kurds, and Ethiopians (Cush).  People from Put would have also been expected to have been present since what was once Put consisted of the western portion of the Fatimid Empire.  See Ezekiel 38: A Preterist Commentary.

battle of ascalon

The Battle of Ascalon

6 I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am the Lord.

A Preterist Commentary on Ezekiel 39:6 During the First Crusade, An Eyewitness records Fire from Heaven Falling on the Seljuk Turks when they Besieged Crusader-Occupied Antioch a Coastal City in Modern Turkey.

Before the siege of Jerusalem, crusaders besieged Antioch, a coastal city at the boarder of Syria and Turkey.  Then after the Crusaders occupied the city, the Seljuk Turks retaliated by besieging Crusader-occupied Antioch.  During this Turkish siege Raymond of Aguilers, an eyewitness to the first Crusade, records fire coming down from heaven upon the camp of the Seljuk Turks who surrounded Antioch: “There appeared a fire in the sky, coming from the west, and it approached and fell upon the Turkish army, to the great astonishment of our men [the Crusaders] and of the Turks also.  In the morning the Turks, who were all scared by the fire, took flight in panic.”5  Recall as stated above, Antioch is a coastal city in Turkey (Magog). In this fire from heaven we see the literal fulfillment of Ezekiel 39:6: “I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am the LORD.”


7 “‘I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the Lord am the Holy One in Israel. 8 It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord. This is the day I have spoken of.  9 “‘Then those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use the weapons for fuel and burn them up—the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears. For seven years they will use them for fuel. 10 They will not need to gather wood from the fields or cut it from the forests, because they will use the weapons for fuel. And they will plunder those who plundered them and loot those who looted them, declares the Sovereign Lord.  11 “‘On that day I will give Gog a burial place in Israel, in the valley of those who travel east of the Sea. It will block the way of travelers, because Gog and all his hordes will be buried there. So it will be called the Valley of Hamon Gog.

Preterism and Ezekiel 39:9-10: Hyperbole Like That Found in Ezekiel 39:9-10 is Commonly Employed in Biblical Apocalyptic Literature (Revelation 9:16; 14:20) as Well as in Jewish Sacred History Found in the Midrash and Talmud.

According to verses 9 and 10 the people living in the towns of Israel are said to use the weapons of the previous war for fuel for seven years.  These verses are similar to Isaiah 2:4: “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.  Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”  As is the case in Isaiah 2:4 there is also an implicit message of peace after war in Ezekiel 39:9-10.  Similarly, the fact that the people of Israel are said to use these weapons for fuel for seven years also appears to be a hyperbolic expression implicitly pointing to the great number of soldiers fighting during this battle similar to the hyperbolic number of locust soldiers on horseback mentioned in Revelation 9:16: “The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand.”  Another clear example of hyperbole denoting the slaughter of an innumerable multitude like that implied in vs. 9 and 10 is found in Revelation 14:20: “They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.”  Hyperbole is, of course, very commonly employed in apocalyptic literature like that of Ezekiel 38, 39 and Revelation 9:16 and 14:20 cited above.

But hyperbole like that employed in Ezekiel 39:9-10 was not limited to Biblical apocalyptic literature, it was also commonly found in Jewish sacred historical literature.  One very similar example is found in the Talmud concerning the aftermath of Israel’s revolt against Rome in the first century: “For seven years did the nations of the world cultivate their vineyards with no other manure than the blood of Israel.”6  Notice that in both Ezekiel 39:9-10 and in this v. in the Talmud a seven-year interval is mentioned during which a task is performed which would not likely last seven years: In the Talmud people use the blood of Israel to cultivate their vineyards for seven years and in Ezekiel 39:9-10 people use weapons of war for firewood for a similar seven-year period.  There are many similar examples of hyperbole scattered throughout Jewish sacred history.  The following examples are found in the Midrash and Talmud concerning Israel’s second-century war A.D. with Rome:

“They [the Roman army under Hadrian] slew the inhabitants [the Jewish rebels of Bethar] until the horses waded in blood up to the nostrils, and the blood rolled along stones of the size of forty se’ ah and flowed into the sea [staining it for] a distance of four miles [emphasis mine].”7

“He [Hadrian] immediately surrounded them [the Jewish rebels] with his legions and slaughtered them, so that their blood streamed [to the coast and stained the sea] as far as Cyprus [emphasis mine].”8

“These are the eighty [thousand] trumpets which assembled in the city of Bethar when it was taken and men, women and children were slain in it until their blood ran into the great sea.  Do you think this was near?  It was a whole mil away [emphasis nine].”9

A Preterist Commentary on Ezekiel 39:9-10: The Crusaders Used Timber as Far as Samaria as Well as Dismantling Their Ships in Order to Get the Wood They Needed to Build Siege Engines.  The Lack of Timber in Palestine Especially After the Siege of Jerusalem Would Make Siege Engines and Other Weapons of War Prime Targets For Firewood.

Though Ezekiel 39:9-10 is likely hyperbolic, there may be a rather large cornel of truth underlying these verses.  During the first crusade, crusaders used the wood from their ships in addition to trees as far as Samaria to build siege engines in order to break into the city of Jerusalem.  This fact implies that there was not a lot of timber in Palestine at the time and even less after this war.  Once the battle ended, there was, of course, no longer a need for weapons and siege engines.  So with the dearth of timber in Palestine which was only made worse after the siege of Jerusalem, the siege engines and wood from weapons used in this siege would have probably been used for firewood by the conquering Crusaders as these siege engines and other weapons of war served no meaningful purpose after the war.  Because the besieging Crusaders naturally stripped Palestine of much of its useful and mature timber to erect siege works, maybe it took as much as seven years for much of the scrub left behind to grow enough to use as a meaningful source of firewood?

A Preterist Commentary on Ezekiel 39:11: Located East of the Caspian Sea, Alp Arslan’s Tomb Blocked the Way of Merchants Traveling the Silk Road Fulfilling v. 11: “On that Day I will give Gog a Burial Place in Israel, in the Valley of Those Who travel East of the Sea. It will block the Way of Travelers[.]”

According to v. 11 Gog was to be buried in Israel.  As explained above, Revelation 21:1 seems to imply that after the end of the age the whole word in essence became Israel (Romans 11, Revelation 21:1).  Gog, representing Alp Arslan, was actually buried in Merv which is east of the Caspian Sea in modern-day Turkmenistan.  The largest city in the world in the 12th century, Merv was located on the historical Silk Road.  The Seljuk Turks incited the crusades by blocking the way of Christian travelers.  In an ironic twist of fate, even in death, Gog’s final resting place continued to block the way of travelers.  Moving along the famous Silk Road, merchants could see the following inscription on the tomb of the former emperor: “O those who saw the sky-high grandeur of Alp Arslan, behold!  He is under the black soil now . . .”

12 “‘For seven months the Israelites will be burying them in order to cleanse the land. 13 All the people of the land will bury them, and the day I display my glory will be a memorable day for them, declares the Sovereign Lord. 14 People will be continually employed in cleansing the land. They will spread out across the land and, along with others, they will bury any bodies that are lying on the ground.  “‘After the seven months they will carry out a more detailed search. 15 As they go through the land, anyone who sees a human bone will leave a marker beside it until the gravediggers bury it in the Valley of Hamon Gog, 16 near a town called Hamonah.  And so they will cleanse the land.’  17 “Son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Call out to every kind of bird and all the wild animals: ‘Assemble and come together from all around to the sacrifice I am preparing for you, the great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel. There you will eat flesh and drink blood. 18 You will eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth as if they were rams and lambs, goats and bulls—all of them fattened animals from Bashan. 19 At the sacrifice I am preparing for you, you will eat fat till you are glutted and drink blood till you are drunk. 20 At my table you will eat your fill of horses and riders, mighty men and soldiers of every kind,’ declares the Sovereign Lord.

dead bodies

Preterism, A Commentary of Ezekiel 39:11: The Muslims Who survived the attack on Jerusalem were forced to collect the Corpses and dump Them Outside of the City Fulfilling vs. 12-14. 70,000 People were killed in the Siege of Jerusalem.  These Dead Bodies were a Feast for Wild Animals in Fulfillment of vs. 17-20.  

Fulcher, a monk present during the first crusade, claimed that once the Crusaders entered Jerusalem, they killed everyone they encountered such that the streets of Jerusalem ran ankle deep in blood.  The Muslims who were spared were then forced to go around and collect the bodies which they dumped outside the city in fulfillment of vs. 12-14.  Afterwards, the surviving Muslims claimed that 70,000 people were killed.  These dead bodies would have certainly been a great feast for wild animals and carrion birds as predicted in vs. 17-20.


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Interested in THE PRETERIST VIEW OF ESCHATOLOGY, or are you a PRETERIST struggling with a prophecy or verse?  It DID happen just like the Bible says!  If you liked this essay, see PRETERIST BIBLE COMMENTARY for a detailed explanation of the FULFILLMENT OF ALL MAJOR END TIME PROPHECIES IN THE BIBLE. The more unbelievable the prophecy, the more amazing and miraculous the fulfillment!

Also see Historical Evidence that Jesus was LITERALLY SEEN in the Clouds in the First Century. For an explanation of how the end of the age and its fulfillment during the Jewish War mirror Genesis 1-3; how the Bible teaches that the resurrection of the dead is a resurrection of heavenly bodies to heaven, not a resurrection of perfected earthly bodies; and how the resurrection is a mirror opposite of the fall see How the Jewish War and Resurrection to Heaven Mirror Genesis and the Fall; and How Preterism fixes the Age of the Earth Problem and unravels the Mysteries in Genesis.

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A Covenant Eschatology Interpretation and Commentary of Ezekiel 39: Conclusion

In the above preterist commentary, Ezekiel 39 is shown to be fulfilled in events surrounding the first crusade–one thousand years after the Jewish War.

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Ezekiel 39: A Preterist Commentary


  1. Teddy Kollek and Moshe Pearlman, Jerusalem: A History of Forty Centuries (New York: Random House, 1968), 149.
  2. Dan Bahat and Shalom Sabar, Jerusalem, Stone and Spirit: Three Thousand Years of History and Art (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1998), 108.
  3. Carl G. Howie, The Layman’s Bible Commentary vol.13: The Book of Ezekiel and The Book of Daniel (Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1961), 75-76.
  4. Dan Bahat and Shalom Sabar, Jerusalem, Stone and Spirit: Three Thousand Years of History and Art (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1998), 108.
  5. Raymond of Aguilers, pp. 72-5; Gesta Francorum, pp. 57-8, 62; Fulcher of Chartes, pp. 242-6, cited in Thomas Asbridge, The First Crusade A New History: The Roots of Conflict Between Christianity and Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 218-219.
  6. F.W. Farrar, Early Christianity, (no publisher listed, 1882), 486, cited in Don K. Preston, Who is This Babylon?, (Ardmore, OK: JaDon Management Inc.,  2011),  83.
  7. Midrash Rabbah Lamentations 2.4.
  8. Ibid., 1.45.
  9. T.B. Gittin 57b.