Q. I am having a debate with a Christian friend as to when the Ezekiel 38/39 war will take place. She says that Joseph and Judah coming together again like two broken sticks forming one stick(Ezekiel 37:19) is a symbol of salvation and can therefore only happen at the end of the Tribulation at the second coming of the Lord. She then goes on to say that if that is the case, then the Ezekiel 38/39 war must be postponed until the end of the millenium, which is confirmed (in her viewpoint) by the Revelation 20 prophecy that puts an end to Gog/Magog and indeed Satan himself.
A. In Ezekiel 37:19 the Lord said, “I am going to take the stick of Joseph–which is in Ephraim’s hand–and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick, making them a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.”
This is a promise that the Lord would re-unite the Northern Kingdom (sometimes called Ephraim, as in Isaiah 11:13) and the Southern Kingdom, called Judah. It has nothing to do with salvation.
The Battle of Ezekiel 38-39 is the event God uses to bring Israel back into covenant with Him (Ezekiel 39:22) which is necessary for the 70th Week of Daniel to begin. By comparing the references to Gog and Magog from Ezekiel 38 with those in Rev. 20:8 you can see they’re not the same. In Ezekiel 38 Gog and Magog lead a specific group of nations to attack Israel while others watch from the sidelines or are not involved at all. But in Rev. 20 the reference to Gog and Magog refers to the whole Earth outside of Israel.