God vs. Gog

Posted: November 17, 2016 in Ezekiel, Uncategorized

Ezekiel 38-39, “God vs. Gog”

Some news headlines impact us more than others.  In anticipation of different results of the election, Newsweek magazine published a cover of Hillary Clinton with the title “Madam President.” Regardless of your voting preference, that’s a rather embarrassing mistake.  If you’re going to predict a headline, make sure you get it right.

There’s at least one future headline we can predict with confidence: “Gog Invades Israel.”  As Ezekiel’s future prophecies of Israel continue, he is given an oracle by the Lord regarding a mighty prince who will one day lead a massive coalition of nations against Israel.  Yet Gog will experience a massive defeat by Almighty God.  The Lord God shows Himself to be sovereign over the nations of the world, and the sovereign unwavering protector of Israel.

Ezekiel 38

  • Gog & allies brought forth (1-6)

1 Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him,

  • Immediately we’re introduced to names of which we’re not generally familiar, and ones that need to be identified.  “Magog” is only mentioned in the Bible among the nations of Genesis 10 as a descendant of Japheth (which is repeated in 1 Chronicles 1), Ezekiel 38-39, and Revelation 20.  “Meshech & Tubal” are likewise mentioned in Genesis 10 & 1 Chronicles 1, but are also mentioned in Ezekiel 27 & 32, with no mention in the New Testament.  The obvious question becomes: who are they?  Meshech & Tubal were identified as trading partners with Tyre (27:13), which means they needed to be relatively close by.  Scholars have traditionally identified these lands as regions in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey).  Those are the easy names in the list.  Magog is a bit more difficult, as there are no other records contemporary to Ezekiel to help us identify them.  In his discussion of the Genesis 10 passage, the Jewish historian Josephus described Magog as being the father of the people “the Greeks called Scythians,” (Antq, Book 1, Ch 6), a group of Eurasian nomads who settled around the Black Sea & other Caucasus areas.  Today, this area is known as Southern Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and parts of Kazakhstan.  For those of us old enough to remember the former Soviet Union, that block of nations ought to sound familiar.  It needs to be said that the precise identity of Magog is debated.  Some scholars believe it to be a general reference to the north, not unlike Tarshish might be a general reference to the west.  But that being said, this would still include Russia, as that nation quite literally is the northern region the furthest away from Israel.
  • As for “Rosh,” this is another matter of debate.  By itself, the word most often means “head, top, chief” (i.e. Rosh Hoshanna, “head of the year”).  Thus some Bible versions translate Gog as being “of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.” (ESV, NIV, HCSB, etc.)  Rarely the word can be used as a proper noun (as the NKJV & NASB render it), and there is some debate as to whether or not that is the case here.  Good Hebrew scholars disagree, and there are ramifications for each point of view.  If “rosh” means “chief,” than Gog is not only the leader of the land of Magog, but he is the chief prince of Meshech & Tubal.  According to some scholars, if that is the case, then the land of Magog needs to be further south, closer to Asia Minor/Turkey.  Yet that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.  Certainly in Ezekiel’s day, it would have been difficult for a prince to lead a coalition of allies thousands of miles away – though it was done, as seen through the empires of Assyria, Babylon, and Persia.  But considering the modern-day application of the prophecy, that difficulty becomes a non-issue.  Alliances routinely form over the distance of thousands of miles (as seen by NATO & others).  Thus no matter how one chooses to understand the exact interpretation of “Rosh,” it seems clear that God is identifying a group of nations from Turkey upwards to Russia, being led by a prince by the name/title of “Gog,” who originates from Russia.  “Gog” by itself has no known meaning, so whether or not it will be the literal name of this prince is uncertain, but the Bible does treat it as a proper noun.
  • Basically, what’s going on here is that God tells Ezekiel to face northward & start prophesying against the nations God mentions.  He has a plan regarding them, and He would proclaim it through His prophet. 

3 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. 4 I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords.

  • God says He’s against Gog, but it sure doesn’t sound like it at first.  Magog/Rosh, Meshech, & Tubal are all “splendidly clothed,” armed, and ready for war.  They are prepared for battle, and Ezekiel (using the language of the day) describes them being armed to the teeth.  How is God against them?  Simple: Gog, as powerful as he & his allies will seem to be, is just a pawn in the hand of the Almighty.  Gog is merely a tool in the ultimate plan of God, completely subjugated to God’s will, even if Gog/Magog never realizes it.  God is the one that pulls Gog out of his land & takes him to Israel.  To “put hooks into…jaws” is not a pleasant event; it was what the Assyrians did to their prisoners-of-war.  Thus Gog might look to be powerful, but they were ultimately under the will and direction of Almighty God.
  • This brings up the idea of providence & sovereignty.  Does God have the right to do with people and nations as He pleases?  Absolutely.  As we were recently reminded, God raises up kings and puts them down again.  God has His will accomplished all over the earth, using people of faith & people of evil alike.  God used Pharaoh for His sovereign purposes just as much as He used Moses.  He will do the same with this future group of enemies against Israel.  He will sovereignly lead them out of their land, and propel them on this mission southward.  Objection: “What about free will?  Don’t we (or they) have the right to do what we want to do, regarding our choices?”  Certainly!  There’s no question that it is a mystery how the sovereign will of God interacts with the free will of men, but we know the Bible talks about both & it never sees them in contradiction to one another.  Gog, Magog, Mesech, and Tubal will desire to go to battle against Israel, but their desire is not one that is unknown and unused by the Lord God.  He is the One who causes it to happen – not as a form of blessing, but of judgment.  Again, it is mysterious how it fits together – but it does fit.
    • It may be mysterious, but there is comfort in the sovereignty of God!  This isn’t a doctrine meant to be troubling; it is wonderful.  How so?  God is in control!  There is nothing that happens to us in this life that has not first been filtered through the fingers of God.  And this God is our God, who loves us, cares for us, has forgiven us, and has made us His own children through Jesus Christ.  That is a God whom we can trust!  Thus when difficulties come, we remember that we are in the sovereign hands of God, and He is able to equip us for everything we need to endure & be victorious.  He is the One who allowed it to come (even if it was sin against Him); He is the One who will allow us the victory!
  • Gog is not alone with his armies of Magog, Meshech, and Tubal.  He’s got many other allies.  Vs. 5…

5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6 Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops—many people are with you.

  • Some of these other nations are fairly straightforward, though we do not have a positive identification of all of them. “Persia” = Iran, though their kingdom was larger than the borders of the modern Islamic nation today.  Likewise with “Ethiopia and Libya,” or literally “Cush & Put.”  These were known kingdoms in the days of Ezekiel, basically encompassing North Africa, as well as African lands on the northeast & horn.  “Torgarmah” refers to more lands in Asia Minor/Turkey, thus in combination with Meshech & Tubal confirms the involvement of these people.  “Gomer” is a bit more uncertain, with some scholars believing it to refer to people of northwest Turkey, and others believing these people to have migrated to Germany. Interestingly enough, to what European nation have many of the refugees fleeing from the Islamic state gone?  Germany, up through Turkey & Greece along the way.  The Washington Post reports today that “900,000 migrants…transited last year from Greece to Germany.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-confronts-refugee-crisis-on-his-final-trip-to-europe/2016/11/13/faaad3a8-a87f-11e6-ba59-a7d93165c6d4_story.html)  Although there is no way we can state with any certainty that this refugee crisis is part of the process of seeing Ezekiel 37:5 fulfilled in regards to Gomer, it certainly doesn’t work against it.
  • So put it all together.  Who’s being brought out by God in a glorious battle array? In modern terminology: Russia, Turkey, the various “Stan” countries, Iran, Libya, Algeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, and (probably) various Islamists stretching from Turkey to Germany.  In past years, this sort of coalition would have been thought absurd – impossible.  Today?  Not so much.  Putin’s Russia has extremely close ties with Iran.  The current government in Turkey has left them with a strongman president who is extremely anti-Israel, with close ties to both Russia & Iran.  Combine all of this with the rise of the Islamic State, the influx of Muslim refugees in Europe, and the influence of Putin in Syria, his invasion of Ukraine, and general flexing of Soviet-style muscles, the world stage is set for these prophecies as they have not been for decades.
    • What does that tell us?  Among other things, never dismiss the literal fulfillment of Bible prophecy.  What may not seem possible today could become reality tomorrow.  When the Soviet Union fell, critics who dismissed the literal interpretation of Ezekiel 38-39 laughed, believing that their skepticism against the prophecy was validated.  A handful of years later, and everything changed.  What the Bible prophesies will come to pass.  It may not come according to the expectations and timelines of men, but it will be fulfilled, without doubt.
    • Trust your Bible!  One of the wonderful applications of studying Bible prophecy is that it underscores the truth of the rest of the Scripture. When we see things taking place on the world stage according to Biblical description, then we can be assured that everything else the Bible says about our lives is true as well.  We can trust its promises, its instruction, its correction, and more.  Our Bible is trustworthy!
  • The axis of evil identified, what happens next?  Vs. 7…

7 “Prepare yourself and be ready, you and all your companies that are gathered about you; and be a guard for them. 8 After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely. 9 You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you.”

  • Remember that God is speaking through Ezekiel to Gog.  So the instruction to “prepare yourself” is given to Prince Gog and his allies.  At some point, he will be “visited.”  By whom & for what reason is left unsaid.  Perhaps this is the catalyst event that God uses to propel them to battle.  Other translations render this “you will be mustered/summoned.”  Whatever happens, this calls Gog out of the land of Magog to go to battle. 
  • When does it happen? “In the latter years.”  Although some have tried to link Gog with a prince that preceded Ezekiel, this would make that interpretation impossible.  Ezekiel was prophesying of a future event, specifically one that would take place in what would be considered the last days.  There has been no past conflict in history that would fit Ezekiel’s description, so the obvious conclusion is that it must still take place in the future.  Even the Six-Day War in 1967 doesn’t fit.  A coalition comprised of many of these nations did indeed swarm Israel, shortly after the nation had been formed in 1948 after many years of being virtually desolate.  They descended upon the land “like a storm,” and Israel received a miraculous deliverance by the hand of God…but it still is not the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39.  How can we know for certain?  (1) Not all of the nations Ezekiel listed were included in the Six-Day War, and (2) the people of Israel were said to “dwell safely.”  That certainly was not the case in 1967, nor is currently the case today.  Modern Israelis live in constant danger of terrorist attacks or rocket fire.  Although they do a wonderful job protecting themselves (by the grace of God), they cannot be said to be in this state of safety.  Yet that is exactly how God describes them at this future time.  Vs. 10…

10 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan: 11 You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates’— 12 to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land.

  • How safe will Israel consider themselves to be?  They will be “unwalled.”  In ancient days, the wall was the protection of the city.  One of the great motivations for Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem was to help rebuild the wall, which remained fallen even after the waves of Jewish return from Babylonian captivity.  Without the wall, they were defenseless – they were sitting ducks.  Apparently, that will be the case at some point in the future.
  • Question: “How?  Hardly any city today has walls of protection!”  True.  It’s possible that this refers to a mindset.  Perhaps there comes a time when the Israelis become so comfortable in their position, that they let their wall down.  Right now, they have the famed “Iron Dome” to protect against rocket launches.  What happens if this “wall” ever fails, or loses the popular support of its people?  Stranger things have happened.  Political whims change in the proverbial blink of an eye, depending on what is taking place within the culture.  What is valued by the majority of Israelis today might be viewed as unnecessary in the future, depending on the government & administration.
    • Again, we need to emphasize that we don’t always know how Biblical prophecy will be fulfilled.  We simply know that it will be fulfilled.  What seems impossible today might become easy tomorrow.  Give it time, and give the Bible the benefit of the doubt.
  • The whole idea here is that Gog decides to take advantage of a weakened Israel, or at least, an over-confident Israel.  Gog knows that Israel is defenseless, and he will see an opportunity to strike & steal its resources for himself.  That’s why he’s gathered these various other nations for a sneak attack.  Thus he comes in force upon the mountains of Israel (which likely includes the nations of Syria and Lebanon), to attack the Jews.  Other nations take notice…vs. 13…

13 Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you, ‘Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder?’ ” ’

  • Sheba & Dedan” usually refer to the Arabian Peninsula, which would include all kinds of traditional adversaries of Israel such as Saudi Arabia, parts of Iraq, Yemen, etc.  “Tarshish” typically refers to regions of the far-west, sometimes in reference to Spain, other times in reference to anything beyond the known world. These other nations see what Gog is doing, and ask their questions.
  • Whether their questions are condemning or not is unclear.  Some would see these nations disapproving of the actions of Gog – others would see them simply noting what Gog is doing, and themselves doing nothing about it.  In this regard, it doesn’t sound too unlike with the United Nations might do: a lot of talk, and no action.

14 “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it? 15 Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army. 16 You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. …

  • God summarizes the prophecy.  Prince Gog will know when Israel believes itself safe, and that’s when he will come with his armies from “out of the far north” (perhaps another confirmation of lands north of the Black Sea, i.e. Russia), as he invades Israel with a “mighty army.”  Things will look pretty hopeless for Israel in those days.  This isn’t any mere battle; this is a killing-stroke.  It is designed (at least from Gog’s perspective) to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.  From the perspective of the Lord, it will be vastly different!

… It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes.” 17 Thus says the Lord GOD: “Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days by My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against them?

  • Would Gog act in evil?  Yes.  Would it be according to the plan of the righteous God?  Yes.  God would bring Gog & his armies out, and that would be an act that would “hallow” God in the eyes of the world.  This would be a providential act of His power that would set God apart, and glorify Him as the sovereign God of the universe.  How so?  Because when it happens, people will be able to match it up with what the Bible says about it right here, and understand it to be the fulfillment of prophecy.  Almighty God spoke of this Prince Gog thousands of years before Gog’s existence.  The Lord has said exactly what He will do through Gog & his evil armies.  And thus when people see it come to pass, they will know that the word of God is true – and those who are wise will respond to it by turning away from their sin & putting their faith in the living God.  They will “hallow” God as their own.
    • Again, this is the right response to prophecy!  It’s not about trying to pin every news headline of the day down to a particular Scripture.  It’s not about setting dates of when these things must come to pass.  It’s not about pinning the tail on the Antichrist, or any other sensationalistic mess.  It’s about glorifying God!  It’s about seeing the plan of the Lord Jesus come to pass, and taking the opportunity He has given us right now to put our faith in Him as Lord.
  • Gog & allies judged (18-23)

18 “And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” says the Lord GOD, “that My fury will show in My face.

  • Again, it is affirmed that actions of Gog are indeed under the sovereign control of God.  At the same time, Gog is not excused from his evil.  He & his allies totally exercise their free will as they sin against God & attempt to plunder God’s people.  Thus although God is the one to lead Gog out against Israel, God is also the one to judge Gog in His righteous “fury.” 
  • God is never to blame for our sin.  We believe in a sovereign God, but we do not believe in a fatalistic, deterministic God.  IOW, the Bible does not teach that God is responsible for our sin.  We are not robots, forced to sin in ways that God sovereignly commands us to sin.  That kind of thinking is completely antithetical to the teaching of Scripture.  When we sin, it’s not God’s fault; it’s ours.  He is sovereign in His allowance, but He is not forceful in its cause.  Thus when God judges sin, He is perfectly right to do so.
    • Thankfully, God is also perfectly merciful towards us in His provision of Jesus as our Savior!  He does not force us to receive Jesus’ forgiveness, but He graciously makes it available to us.
  • How will God’s fury show itself?  As a massive, supernatural earthquake.  Vs. 19…

19 For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: ‘Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel, 20 so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.’

  • How bad will it be?  Bad!  “Mountains shall be thrown down”-kind-of-bad!  Yet even this earthquake will not be as strong as they can come.  There will be one other earthquake saved for the very end of the Great Tribulation that will level cities, which will be the last major event prior to Jesus’ glorious return (Rev 16:18).
  • Even so, this sort of earthquake ought to be big enough to grab people’s attention, and it will.  Not only will it bring destruction upon the armies of Gog, but it will cause so much confusion that Gog’s armies will turn against each other.  Vs. 21…

21 I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains,” says the Lord GOD. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22 And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.

  • It wouldn’t be the first war in history where armies fight among themselves.  Between the supernaturally-stirred earthquake that (literally) shakes them to their core, and the supernatural storm of fire & brimstone raining down upon them, the evil armies of Gog won’t know what to do.  They’ll begin killing each other, and they will be wiped out – all without the armies of Israel needing to lift a finger.
  • Does it sound incredible?  Sure.  Can God do it?  Absolutely!  The same God that parted the Red Sea & drowned the Egyptian army in its wake – the same God who brought fire & brimstone down upon Sodom – the same God who destroyed the walls of Jericho with a shout – this same God can destroy an array of enemy armies that come against Israel.  This is the same God who conquered death when Jesus rose from the grave!  What is a pitiful army of men in comparison with that?

23 Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.” ’

  • Will God be magnified at that time?  You bet!  This sort of action will be impossible to ignore.  In all likelihood, it will be broadcast live on CNN & FOX news.  People will see the supernatural work of God, and they will know Him to be the LORD (Yahweh) of Israel.
  • Does this mean people will come to faith?  Not necessarily.  Surely some will, but many won’t.  They will see the work of God, and choose to turn away.  Like many other people through history (including the Gadarenes/Gerasenes of Luke 8), they will recognize the undeniable hand and power of God, and run the other way.  It is a natural choice, but it is a foolish one.  The right response is to humble ourselves before Almighty God, and to plead for His mercies…which He graciously gives through Jesus.

Ezekiel 39

  • Gog defeated (1-10)

1 “And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; 2 and I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the far north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel.

  • Reiteration & summary of the prophecy of Ch 38.  The coaltion was led out from their homeland by God, brought from the “far north,” came in through Syria & Lebanon into the “mountains of Israel,” (perhaps a specific reference to the Golan Heights), and that’s where everything changed.  God brought them out to this place, and that’s where God defeated them.  Vs. 3…

3 Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand. 4 You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. 5 You shall fall on the open field; for I have spoken,” says the Lord GOD. 6 “And I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in security in the coastlands. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.

  • This is simply a poetic way of referring to the defeat of Gog already described at the end of Ch. 38.  God would literally “knock the bow out of [their] left hand,” when He sent the earthquake & fiery hailstones.  Whatever weaponry the armies of Gog had would be neutralized, as God brings out their supernatural defeat & death.  The carnage will be brutal as bodies lie everywhere, awaiting the carrion birds & other scavengers.
  • And it wouldn’t just be for the soldiers on the battlefield.  Back home in Magog, destruction would from in the form of “fire,” both upon the Magogites & the others who “live in security in the coastlands.”  The exact reference is unknown, though if this does indeed refer to Russia, there are many government offices upon the Black Sea & elsewhere.  Interestingly enough, the peninsula of Crimea is located on the Black Sea, and one of the reasons for Russia’s illegal invasion & annexation of the land is its strategic value as a naval base, for easier access to the Mediterranean.  Considering all of the focus on the regions of southern Russia, Turkey, and all of the other areas around the Black Sea, it would not be an unusual fulfillment of this prophecy for God to rain down His judgment upon the naval bases in Crimea, “those who live in security in the coastlands.”  (Again – not a prediction; just a possibility.)
  • This destruction would provide massive testimony to the Living God throughout the Gentile world, but most certainly among the Jews, as well.  Vs. 7…

7 So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. 8 Surely it is coming, and it shall be done,” says the Lord GOD. “This is the day of which I have spoken.

  • What does this sound like for Israel?  Faith!  Whenever the war of Gog & Magog takes place, one of the results of it is that it seems that Israel once more comes into a right relationship with God.  His name will be seen as “holy” and it will be “known” among His people.  They will walk rightly, not “profaning” the name of God.  This will be a time when they finally begin to see God for who He is (and thus the Lord Jesus for who He is).
  • In a similar way, the Gentile nations of the world will also be assured of God’s relationship with Israel.  They will know that it is none other than the Creator God who sets apart Israel for Himself.  That will not change their attitude towards the Jews, but they will certainly know whom they’re messing with.

9 “Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and bucklers, the bows and arrows, the javelins and spears; and they will make fires with them for seven years. 10 They will not take wood from the field nor cut down any from the forests, because they will make fires with the weapons; and they will plunder those who plundered them, and pillage those who pillaged them,” says the Lord GOD.

  • This seems a bit strange to our ears, considering our modern warfare does not take place with bows & arrows & spears, etc., but with guns & missiles, etc.  There are two ways of looking at this: (1) Ezekiel is using figurative language, being that he was seeing things he had no way of describing.  Bows & arrows were simply the best words he had available.  (2) Ezekiel is writing literally, and it must refer to a time yet in the future when bows & arrows are once again the weapons of choice.  Scholars debate the timing of this war, with some believing that it takes place after the days of the Great Tribulation have already begun.  If so, some of the judgments that occur due to the opening of the 1st 6 seals in the initial years of the Tribulation could easily knock out modern power sources & technology.  During those years, it is not difficult to conceive of bows & arrows once again being used in war.
  • In any case, the weapons of Gog are confiscated by Israel.  As God states to Ezekiel, “they will plunder those who plundered them.”  These weapons will be seized & destroyed.  Interestingly, they will not be used.  Israel will not assimilate them into their own armory, which would be the normal response to capturing the weapons of the enemy.  Why not?  Perhaps because they’ve already seen they have the very best Protector in the Lord God!  Why pick up a bow & arrow, when Almighty God is your defense?
    • God IS our defense!  He is our refuge & our strength.  When enemies come against you, hurling verbal assaults your way, how do you respond?  You don’t.  Let God be your defender.  He will do a far better job than you, anyway.
  • Gog buried (11-16)

11 “It will come to pass in that day that I will give Gog a burial place there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea; and it will obstruct travelers, because there they will bury Gog and all his multitude. Therefore they will call it the Valley of Hamon Gog.

  • God already spoke of the defeat of Gog & his armies.  Vast numbers of people would die.  How vast would it be?  The burial ground would be literally called, “The Valley of the Multitude of Gog.”  It would be so huge that people would not even be able to traverse through it.  Thus a kind of grisly work would need to begin: burial of the multitudes.  Vs. 12…

12 For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. 13 Indeed all the people of the land will be burying, and they will gain renown for it on the day that I am glorified,” says the Lord GOD. 14 “They will set apart men regularly employed, with the help of a search party, to pass through the land and bury those bodies remaining on the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search. 15 The search party will pass through the land; and when anyone sees a man’s bone, he shall set up a marker by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon Gog. 16 The name of the city will also be Hamonah. Thus they shall cleanse the land.” ’

  • You know it’s a big project if it takes 7 months to complete the burial process.  Every bone will be searched out, tagged, and buried.  Though these were enemies of God who came against the people of God, they would receive a respectful burial as the Promised Land of Israel was cleansed from the impurity of death.
  • Grisly?  Yes.  But at the same time, think about the impact this will have upon the people of Israel.  Every single bone they passed would be another reminder of the enemy that God wiped out.  Every single body buried would be a memorial of the saving work of God on their behalf.  It’s so easy for us to experience a miracle of God, or act of His grace, rejoice for a time & then move on to forget it.  It becomes “out of sight, out of mind,” as we go on with our lives to other things.  It wouldn’t be so easy for Israel!  For 7 full months, they would see reminder after reminder of the miracle of God.  This would be burned into their memories…exactly as it ought to be!
  • Feast song for the scavengers (17-20)

17 “And as for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Speak to every sort of bird and to every beast of the field: “Assemble yourselves and come; Gather together from all sides to My sacrificial meal Which I am sacrificing for you, A great sacrificial meal on the mountains of Israel, That you may eat flesh and drink blood.

  • Again, it’s a gory picture – but it’s one that is appropriate.  We can imagine how much feasting there was from the carrion birds & scavenger animals.  The multitude of the fallen was great, and there was much flesh & blood to be consumed by the beasts.

18 You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, Drink the blood of the princes of the earth, Of rams and lambs, Of goats and bulls, All of them fatlings of Bashan. 19 You shall eat fat till you are full, And drink blood till you are drunk, At My sacrificial meal Which I am sacrificing for you. 20 You shall be filled at My table With horses and riders, With mighty men And with all the men of war,” says the Lord GOD.

  • What is the lesson to be learned?  Don’t be an enemy of the Lord God Almighty!  Prince Gog will lead what he will surely believe to be the most powerful army of nations ever assembled against Israel.  There will not be a doubt in his mind as to his victory.  Yet their end will be total annihilation.  The greatest warriors of the day will prove to be no match to the Holy One of Israel.  No one ever is.  When God pours out His wrath, none can stand.
  • There is only One who has ever taken on the full wrath of God and told the tale: the Lord Jesus Christ.  Even He died in the moment.  For three days, He lay in the grave, crushed by the furious wrath of God.  But on the third day He rose in victory!  He later ascended to God’s right hand as the conquering hero!  Thus the flesh & blood we “eat” today is not that of death leading to decay, but of death leading to life.  When we eat the bread & drink the cup of communion, we remember the crushing death that Jesus received by the hand of God, but we also remember that His body did not see corruption and decay.  He rose from death to life, and gives us the promise that we will do the same.
  • Israel restored and faithful (21-29)

21 “I will set My glory among the nations; all the nations shall see My judgment which I have executed, and My hand which I have laid on them. 22 So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day forward.

  • What will be the result of it all?  The same thing God has already emphasized: both Israel & the Gentile nations will recognize the hand of God at work.  When God moves, it is impossible not to notice.
  • God will be known in the present, and God will be vindicated for the past.  Vs. 23…

23 The Gentiles shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity; because they were unfaithful to Me, therefore I hid My face from them. I gave them into the hand of their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. 24 According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I have dealt with them, and hidden My face from them.” ’ 25 “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Now I will bring back the captives of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name— 26 after they have borne their shame, and all their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, when they dwelt safely in their own land and no one made them afraid.

  • When God acts in such a monumental & visible way on behalf of Israel, it will cause the nations to take note.  For the nations of Ezekiel’s day who witnessed Israel go into captivity, they may have thought that God abandoned them, or (worse) God was impotent & could not protect them.  Not so!  When God acts in the future, He will be vindicated.  They will see that God was just in His actions.  He sovereignly sent Israel into captivity, sovereignly restored them as a nation, and sovereignly protected them from their enemies.  God boldly acted on their behalf, and everything He did was righteous & just.
  • Not only was God just in the past, but He was & would forever be merciful in the future.  There was no doubt that God would restore His people back into their homeland, nor that they would one day live in such peace under the protection of God that there would be no reason for them to fear.
    • Do you live with that kind of assurance?  Do you know that kind of protection of the Almighty God?  He offers it.  There’s not a single thing Satan can do against us that will drag us out of the hands of Jesus.  There is no reason for us to live in fear, for we live under the protection of Jesus!
    • That doesn’t mean trials will never come…they certainly came right up to the doorstep of Israel!  But God will see us through those things.  God is our God – He is our sovereign protector & deliverer!

27 When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and I am hallowed in them in the sight of many nations, 28 then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer. 29 And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord GOD.”

  • Finally, Israel will live in a right relationship with God, full of faith.  This is the new covenant so often referred to in the past prophecies, now seen in fruition.  The Spirit of God is poured out upon the house of Israel, and they truly know Him as God, Jesus being their Messiah, forever living in a right relationship with Him. 

Conclusion:
Some of these nations & names might sound strange & unfamiliar to us, but we can be assured that it is all true.  We see the nations of the world already lining up against Israel, and God alone knows how much time is left before these things come to pass.  But they will come to pass.  God is sovereign.  Whether over the past, present, or future, God is sovereign over it all.  As Jesus declared, He is the one who was, who is, and who is to come.  He is the Alpha & the Omega, the beginning and the end.  And because of that, He knows the beginning & the end.  We can trust Him with our pasts, and with our futures.

That being the case, be sure to trust Him with your present.  The same God who will show Himself mighty on behalf of Israel will show Himself mighty on your behalf as well.  He will conquer the enemy, and give you the strength you need to endure.  All you need to do is trust Him.

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