Zechariah 14:16-19 refers to nations that, even during Christís rule on earth, do not want to serve God. However, at that time, Christís rule will be absolute (Psalm 2:7-12; Zechariah 14:9), and the devil will be a prisoner in hell (20:1-3). So there will be no opportunity for people actively to oppose God.
That is why God will permit one final test of the worldís inhabitants at the end of the 1000 year period. The test is to show whether they are genuinely loyal to God. Until then, perhaps they obeyed Godís laws, but they hated his rule. Perhaps they served God because of his great power, but they never wanted him to be their God. There must be a test of their true attitudes.
God never does any evil act. He will not lie to the nations that there is any hope for a successful war against him. Only someone very evil will do that. So God will permit the devil to leave briefly his prison in hell. God allows it only because the test is absolutely necessary.
The devil will then do what he always has done. He will lie to the nations, and he will persuade very many people to fight against God (compare 1 Kings 22:19-23). In Genesis 22:17, the number of Godís people is like the sand on the shore; at that time, the number of people who follow the devil will be similarly vast (compare Joshua 11:4).
Gog and Magog refers to countries that are very distant from Israel. Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 describes how those countries, with many other countries, will in the future attack Israel. However, Ezekiel 39:11-16 gives the impression that Ezekiel is describing the war in Revelation 19:11-16 (compare also Ezekiel 39:17-20 with Revelation 19:17-18). Revelation 20:8 is therefore describing a much later battle between the same nations. This really will be the final war (Isaiah 2:4; Revelation 21:4).
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© 2016, Keith Simons.