Scripture reading – Ezekiel 38; Ezekiel 39

 

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Students of Bible prophecy are familiar with today’s Scripture reading, Ezekiel 38 and 39. Those chapters have been the subject of much debate in the past century. While there are various interpretations of today’s passage, I do not want to add my voice to the speculations or confusion.

However, remembering many prophecies have an immediate application and a far-reaching implication; I believe the near setting of today’s study was in the decades and centuries after Israel returned from Babylonian captivity. The far-reaching implication, without a doubt, is the last days and foretells the gathering of the nations against Israel preceding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Whatever your interpretation, for me, the overriding lesson is the loving oversight and compassion our LORD has for Israel, His chosen people.

 

Ezekiel 38

 

Introduction to the Prophecy Against Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38:1-3)

Ezekiel was commanded to prophesy against Gog, who was identified as the ruler of the land of Magog, for he was “the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal” (Ezekiel 38:1-2). Though Magog may be unfamiliar, it was nevertheless an ancient name found in Genesis 10:2, where we find him mentioned among the sons of Japheth (the third-born son of Noah).

Seven sons were born to Japheth: “Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras” (Genesis 10:2). Japheth’s lineage is generally associated with the ancient Persians, Greeks, and Romans. Bible scholars supposed that modern European and Asian nations are descendants of Japheth: Germans, Russians, Italians, French, Spanish, English, Chinese, Japanese, and Native Americans (who settled in the Americas by transversing the Bering Land Bridge between Russia and Alaska).

Many have suggested that “Magog” is today’s Russia, and “Meshech and Tubal” are the modern cities of Russia that we know as Moscow and Tobolsk (Ezekiel 38:2). So, our Bible study opens with the “Lord God” commanding Ezekiel to declare, Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal” (Ezekiel 38:3).

Prophecy Against Gog and Magog

Gog and Magog’s Invasion and Attack on Israel (Ezekiel 38:4-15)

The LORD declared that He had set His face against Gog, and said, “I will turn thee [Gog] back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords” (Ezekiel 38:4).

Several nations are foretold to be aligned with Gog, the leader of Magog, as he determined to war against Israel. Those enemies of Israel will be “Persia [i.e., Iran], Ethiopia, and Libya6Gomer [perhaps Germany], and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters [believed to be Turkey and Armenia], and all his bands: and many people with thee” (Genesis 38:4-6). (These regions are today steeped in Islam and are militant adversaries of the Jews.)

I believe the LORD will employ Gog, the king of Magog, to move a coalition of nations from the north against Israel. Gog will invade Israel, but the LORD will bring him and the nations forth (figuratively, putting hooks in his jaws, Ezekiel 38:4). Here again, we see God’s sovereignty over the nations as He uses them to accomplish His divine purpose. Thus, the armies of Magog and its allies will descend upon Israel “like a storm…[and] like a cloud to cover the land” (Ezekiel 38:9).

All this evil will spring from the mind of Gog (Ezekiel 38:10-11), that he might make spoil of Israel (Ezekiel 38:12-15).

 

Israel’s Response to the Armies of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38:16-20)

The LORD will draw the nations against Israel, but He has determined to destroy the armies gathered against His people (Ezekiel 38:16-18). Gog and his coalition of nations will come to destroy Israel. Still, they will face the wrath of the LORD, who in His jealousy will send “a great shaking in the land of Israel” (Ezekiel 38:19). The whole earth and all its creatures will be shaken, and men will be terrified by a great earthquake, and the mountains and strongholds will “fall to the ground” (Ezekiel 38:20).

 

The Defeat of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38:21-23)

A period of confusion will follow the great earthquake. The soldiers of Israel’s adversaries will turn on each other until “every man’s sword shall be against his brother” (Ezekiel 38:21). On that day, the LORD will send a “pestilence” (i.e., disease or pandemic), and rain, hail, fire, and brimstone will fall from the sky (Ezekiel 38:22).

 

Closing thought (Ezekiel 38:23)

We have seen again and again the LORD declares that He will orchestrate the affairs of nature and nations to the end that He might be glorified and sanctified before the “eyes of many nations, and they shall know that [He is] the LORD” (Ezekiel 38:23).

As we conclude our study of Ezekiel 38, it is interesting to note that there was no mention of Israel sending soldiers against the invading armies. Perhaps this is because the LORD has determined that He alone will be magnified before the nations.

God’s Grace Extended to Israel

Ezekiel 39 – Burying the Dead

 

The Defeat of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 39:1-20)

Our study of Ezekiel 39 will be brief, but I invite you to consider the magnitude of the defeat of Israel’s adversaries. Corpses will fill the land of Israel, and birds and beasts of prey will feed upon the dead (Ezekiel 39:4).

The LORD’s wrath will also be turned to the land of Magog and her allies, for Ezekiel foretold the LORD would “send a fire” that “they shall know that [He is] the LORD” (Ezekiel 39:5). Israel will witness the LORD make His holy name known both to His people and the heathen (Ezekiel 39:7).

Israel will gather the weapons of war and burn them for seven years so that the land might be cleansed (Ezekiel 39:8-10). There will be so many dead that the task of burying the bodies will take seven months (Ezekiel 39:14).

 

God’s Grace Extended to Israel (Ezekiel 39:21-29)

Throughout our study in Ezekiel, the LORD has stated one overriding purpose for His judgments: To the end, His people and the nations would know He is God, the LORD and Sovereign of the earth. He desires that the heathen will see His glory as He executes His judgment (Ezekiel 39:21). It is also to the end that the “house of Israel shall know [and acknowledge] that [He is] the Lord their God from that day and forward.” (Ezekiel 39:22; Ezekiel 39:28).

 

Closing thoughts –

Sometimes, we wonder why trials and troubles come upon us. Have you considered it may be that you will humble yourself and confess He is “the LORD” and sovereign of your life?

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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