Ezekiel 38

 

 

The present and the following chapters, comprising the next oracle, or “word of God,”

delivered by the prophet, relate to the expedition (vs. 1-13), overthrow (vs. 14-23),

and destruction of Gog (ch. 39:1-20), with the results of the same to the heathen world

and to Israel (vs. 21-29).  These passages seem to point to one closing struggle, in

which the world’s hostility to the Church of God should culminate, and in which

it should be utterly and finally broken.  The uprising of Gog is located in

the latter days,” and by the author of  the book of Revelation, who seems to

allude to the same event, the last battle between the powers of evil and the

Church of God is placed immediately before the final judgment and the

emergence of the new heavens and the new earth (Revelation 20:8).

 

1  And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,”

2  Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief

prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,”

Magog mentioned in Genesis 10:2, along with Tubal and Mesech, are among the

descendants of Japheth. From the circumstance that in the table of nations Magog

stands between Gomer (the Cimmerians) and Madai (the Medians), and that Gomer

appears in Gog’s army, it has been not unreasonably concluded that to Ezekiel, Magog

represented a fierce Northern tribe, most likely, as Josephus (‘Ant.,’ 1:6. 1) asserts,

the Scythians, whose territories lay upon the borders of the sea of Azov and in the

Caucasus.   This area is associated with Russia, even the name Rosh, (red) being a

distinct reference to Russia – this plus it is to happen in the latter days

vs. 8 and 16

 

According to Halley’s Bible Handbook, Ezekiel, by speaking of the “north quarters” –

(v. 6, ch. 39:2) – there can be little doubt but that he means the nations beyond the

Caucasus Mts. and a look at the map makes it plain that this part of the world is

known as Russia.  Meshech is thought to refer to Moscow – In the book of Revelation

the same words Gog and Magogare used as representing the nations that Satan

will use in his final and furious attack or the people of God Revelation 20:7-10

 

Henry Morris in his book The Genesis Record says that the word Russia is derived

from the word “rosh” in this verse – and that generally speaking, the three sons

of Japeth, Magog, Meshech and Tubal can be considered as the progenitors of the

modern Russian people.

 

Russia seemed to have gone into decline in the last two decades of the 20th century

but recently seems to be making a comeback.

 

3  And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O

Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:” I am against thee, O Gog -  Just

because Gog was against Israel, Jehovah was  against Gog.  Gog’s invasion of Israel’s

land would be a declaration of war against Israel’s God, so that the conflict would

rather be between Jehovah and Gog than between Israel and Gog. Hence throughout

this prophecy Jehovah is represented as the principal actor on the side of Israel, who

seeks her defense, not in walls and bulwarks or in earthly alliances and military

combinations, as in the days of the monarchy before the exile, but in THE PRESENCE

OF JEHOVAH in her midst.

 

4 “And I will turn thee 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 armor, even a great company with

bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:”

 I will turn thee back and put hooks into thy jaws  - this is God speaking

God’s superior might and omnipotence is brought into play – notice the

references to armaments – in those days no one could visualize the “weapons

of mass destruction” with which we have to deal today but they will be NO

MATCH FOR JEHOVAH GOD, especially when His fury comes up in His face 

(v. 18).

 

 

Gog and Magog (vs. 1-4)

 

If we take these names as representing the Scythians and their king, we

have a description of God’s judgment of the most wild and remote heathen

tribes and of their relation to Israel.

 

  • THE BIBLE IS FOR ALL NATIONS. It contains a message even for

Gog and Magog — it is intended to reach the Scythians. It has to do with

all people in the world. The Hebrew prophet was not permitted to narrow

his thoughts to the parochial mind; His vision was world-wide. A Jew of

the Jews, he was nevertheless a preacher to mankind. Much more is the

Christian apostle a preacher to all men. Here is a great motive for

circulating the Scriptures among all nations.

 

  • GOD HAS DEALINGS WITH ALL PEOPLE. His influence extends

to Gog and Magog. God’s hook will be put in the jaws of the distant

prince. The heathen are under God’s notice and affected by His supreme

authority. To be far from the Church of God IS NOT TO BE FAR FROM

THE POWER OF GOD!  The ends of the earth feel His great energy. The

arms of God are long. This is a reason for our seeking to enlighten the most

remote and heathenish people; for they all belong by right to God.

 

  • GOD TAKES ACCOUNT OF SAVAGES. The Scythians of ancient

times were about the wildest known people; they were to the Easterns of

the past what the cannibals of Central Africa are to modem Europeans. It

was difficult to make civilized nations feel that they belonged to the same

species with such wild men of the Northern forests. Yet God knew these

people. God does not ignore the most degraded savages. They, too, are

naturally made in the image of God. Judged according to their poor,

obtuse, perverted consciences, even they will have to give account to THE

GOD OF ALL!   They are not responsible for the ignorance and degradation in

which they are born, and surely God will deal very leniently with these

unhappy races. Yet for their acknowledged evil even they must be

punished. But if there is a judgment of Gog, much more must there be a

judgment of Israel;  if the savages of Africa must give an account of the

deeds done in the body, much more must the Christians of Europe and

America appear before THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF GOD!

 

  • CHRISTIANITY BRINGS A GOSPEL OF SALVATION AND

UNION FOR ALL NATIONS.  It even includes Gog and Magog in its

gracious outlook; Paul taught that the Scythians were to share in the

common brotherhood of the Christian Church (Colossians 3:11).

 

Ø      The gospel is suited to the lowest heathen. This fact is proved by its

effects. While the dreamer at home pronounces the Christianizing of

savages to be an impossibility, the worker in the missionary field

answers effectually by quietly accomplishing the so-called impossible

feat. Charles Darwin was so struck with the good work of missionaries

in civilizing the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego, whom he regarded

as about the most degraded savages on the face of the earth, that he

subscribed to the society from which the missionaries had gone forth.

 

Ø      The gospel should be spread among the lowest heathen. We have no

excuse to despair of any. The very dedication of heathendom is a call to

Christians for help. Rousseau’s fancy of the innocence and happiness of

the simple savage is not justified by experience. Oppressed with cruelty

and superstition, degraded in uncleanness, the savage greatly needs

THE LIBERTY AND SALVATION OF CHRIST

 

 

Divine Control (v. 4)

 

The picture of Israel’s foes is indeed one fitted to strike dismay into any

heart depending upon human aid, defense, or deliverance. Gog and his

armies, the hostile nations in league with him, are described with all the

pomp and circumstance of war. Yet, when Jehovah declares, “I will turn

thee about, and will put hooks into thy jaws,” this declaration outweighs all

the professions, all the threats, all the designs of the enemy. We are

reminded — and the whole Church in every age needs, in time of danger

especially, to learn the lesson — that above all the plans and purposes of

men there reigns DIVINE CONTROL!

 

  • IT IS LITTLE EXPECTED. When plans are laid, and evil designs

matured, nothing is further from the mind of the enemies of God’s people

than the unquestionable fact that the Lord of all is supreme. Some poor,

faint human opposition may be anticipated; but it is not expected that a

superior Power should intervene.

 

  • IT IS HAUGHTILY SPURNED. Shall hooks be put into the jaws of

the dragon? Shall the wild horse of the desert be bridled? Shall the lion of

the jungle be tamed? The very thought is repudiated and resented. The

mighty of the earth are not wont to brook restraint or interference. Those

who plan the ruin of the cause of God, of the religion of Christ, of the

Church on earth and all its agencies — whether they so plan in the name of

atheism and secularism, or in the name of worldly policy — spurn and

contemn the restraint of Heaven. They see no power which they need to

fear, and in their view it is superstition to fear the unseen.

 

  • IT IS VARIOUSLY EXERCISED. Sometimes God controls the foe

by natural causes and instrumentalities. The destroying angel comes down

upon the camp and smites the host; pestilence decimates the bands of the

enemy; an earthquake opens the prison-doors; the storm scatters the

invader’s fleet. Sometimes God controls the foe by human agency. One

enemy of God makes war upon another, and cripples the forces which were

on the point of being employed against the Lord’s people. Or a great

deliverer is raised up, whose valor and heroism crush the enemy, and set

the threatened free from fear and danger. In any case God is never at a loss

for means by which He may bring His counsels to pass.

 

  • IT IS ALWAYS EFFECTUAL. The control of God may be defied by

God’s enemies, and it may be ignored or distrusted by His friends. But it

exists, and it is superior to all earthly powers and machinations. Revelation

is full of instances of this control as manifested in the history of Israel and

in the history of the infant Church of Christ. And the annals of Christianity,

through long centuries, contain abundant confirmation of the great and

blessed truth — “ the Lord reigneth.”

 

  • IT SHALL BE FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGED. Here and now men

may withhold the confession. But sooner or later it shall be publicly

admitted that all powers are subject to the King of kings. (at the name

of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in

earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should

confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:10-11)

 

 

Sent Back by God (v. 4)

 

“I will turn thee back.” “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man,

but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). There are

paths that attract us, that we enter upon with keen expectancy, that we

pursue with pleasure, but that, in time, we find to be wrong; then is it best

to turn back, and to “return on our way” at once.

 

  • MISTAKEN PATHS. Such as those of:

 

Ø      Extravagance. A larger expenditure of our means than we can properly

afford, pointing toward and leading to financial embarrassment and grave

difficulty and distress.

 

Ø      Unregulated activity. Such mental or physical work as, either in measure

or in method, draws too largely on our resources, and ends in nervous

disorder or some serious illness.

 

Ø      Self-indulgence; either in unwholesome literature or in the grosser

gratifications of the flesh.

 

Ø      A skeptical habit. The disposition, which in time becomes a habit, to

regard everything with a cynical and distrustful eye, and would rather

accept the uncharitable view than the generous one.

 

Ø      Worldliness. The way in which the multitudes are walking; the endeavor

to find satisfaction and rest in the interests and engagements, in the

treasures and the pleasures, of time and sense.

 

  • A CONVICTION WHICH COMES FROM GOD. The conviction that

the way that has been chosen is the wrong one. This assurance may come

through one of many channels; it may be the utterance of one of many

voices; it may be the solemn warning of some providential occurrence; or it

may be the faithful rebuke of a true and fearless friend; or it may be a deep

and bitter sense of insufficiency, of failure, of heart-ache, of perversion of

power and misuse of opportunity, a sense of wrong and sin; or it may be

the direct enlightenment and appeal of the Spirit of God. But the

conviction is written on the tablet of the soul that the way is wrong; a voice

is heard in the inner chambers of the spirit. “Turn back, return on thy way,

pursue a different course, start in an opposite direction, seek another and a

better goal.”  (There is no right way to do the wrong thing!)

 

  • THE WISDOM OF RETURNING.

 

Ø      We can afford to return. It may cost us something; there may be some

companions to forsake, but these are best at a distance; there may be some

tender regrets, but these are temporary and will soon be left behind; there

may be some humiliation to endure, but this is not of an unmanly kind, but,

on the contrary, honorable and commendable; there may be some sacrifice

of enjoyment or of treasure, but this can very well be borne with a

moderate measure of fortitude, — we shall very soon reconcile ourselves

to that. But:

 

Ø      We cannot afford to go on. If we do, we must prepare for the very

worst that we can suffer; the wrong road leads:

 

o       to embarrassment,

o       to saddest loss,

o       to bitter disappointment,

o       to helplessness,

o       to ruin, and eventually

o       TO DEATH!

 

Moreover, God has met us with a Divine encouragement. He has

taught us that:

 

Ø      There is a way upward, which we can all take. One has come to us to

say, “I am the Way”  (John 14:6).  Intimate association, living union,

with Him is:

 

o       the way of wisdom,

o       the way of righteousness, and

o       THE WAY OF LIFE!

 

5  Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and

helmet:  6 Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north

quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.  7 Be thou prepared,

and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto

thee, and be thou a guard unto them.  8 After many days thou shalt be visited:

in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the

sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel,

which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations,

and they shall dwell safely all of them.”  Persia (Iran), Ethiopia and Libyia

in context think of the attitude of Mahmoud Ahmadinijad, the former president

of Iran, and his desire to develop nuclear weapons to eradicate Israel from the earth! 

THINGS ARE SHAPING UP LIKE THE BIBLE HERE AND ELSEWHERE

SAYS!   (Since this was posted in 2009, there is a new player on the world stage today

called ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which are trying to implement these

goals – CY – July, 2014)

 

vs. 5-8 – These allied nations are depicted as coming from the four quarters of the            

            globe with Gog being in command of these nations.

 

“After many days thou shalt be visited” – Jehovah’s stirring up of Gog was the first

step towards his ultimate overthrow – it is a judicial visitation.

 

in the latter years” - literally, at the end of the years — a frequent prophetic

phrase (see Genesis 49:1; Numbers 24:14; Isaiah 2:2;  Daniel 10:14; Micah 4:1), here

denoting the Messianic era, and should assume the form of an invasion of the land of

Israel, which  is next described by a threefold characterization.

 

  • As a land brought back from the sword, not in the sense of its people having

been made to desist from war, through being henceforth peacefully inclined

(Isaiah 2:4; Micah 2:8), or of their having ceased to expect war, because of

living ever after securely (v. 11), but in that of having  been recovered from

its devastations (ch. 6:3-5);

 

  • As a land whose inhabitants had been gathered out of many nations

a phrase, which while starting from and including the return from Babylon,

manifestly looked beyond that event to the wider dispersion of Israel that

should precede the final ingathering.  Consider that Israel once was a

Land of Milk and Honey” – that their sins – (II Chronicles 36:14-21) –

put them in captivity and they were dispersed throughout the world,

a dispersal from which they never recovered until 1948 when Israel

became a nation again – also the capture of Jerusalem in 1967 –

Jesus said that Jerusalem would be trodden down of the Gentiles

until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled- Luke 21:24 – CY – 2014)

 

  • As a land whose mountains had been always waste; literally, for a

waste continually. If such was their condition prior to the return from

captivity, it is undeniable that such has practically been their condition ever

since, and such it is likely to continue to be, until the final ingathering of

the dispersed of Israel.

 

It is because of Israel’s sins that a once productive land became desolate and

barren – Deuteronomy 28 gives the scenario:

 

  • obedience = blessings,
  • disobedience = curses.

 

America today is finding out that a people or nation  cannot reject God without

consequences – we want to sin like the devil and be blessed like the righteous

our attitude is “it’s the economy stupid” when in reality it is morality that has

made this nation great – Exhibit # 1 – The Economic Stimulus Package of 2009 –

the cost of disobedience – 800 billion dollars and that does not even count our

souls“What shall a man profit if he gain the whole world and lose his

own soul?”  (Mark 8:36)

 

 

After Many Days (v. 8)

 

Time is an element which needs to be taken into calculation in the

consideration of all human affairs. We are too short-sighted, too hasty, too

impatient. God has the leisure of eternity.  (I recommend The Preciousness of

Time by Jonathan Edwards – December, 1734 – this website # 7 – CY – 2014)

 

“The mills of God grind slowly,

But they grind exceeding small.”

 

We must learn to use the telescopes of FAITH and HOPE, and look far beyond

the scene of the present, if we would form a right estimate of any important

human event.

 

  • THE MISCHIEF OF EVIL IS SEEN AFTER MANY DAYS. This

would be a pertinent consideration in regard to the evil work of remote

Gog and Magog.  (In the 21st Century, Russia is not so remote anymore! –

CY – 2014)

 

Ø      The mischief may be slow to develop. At first men enjoy the pleasures of

sin; the pains come later. Judgment is deferred. God is patient and

longsuffering (“not willing that any should perish but that ALL should

come to repentance.”  - II Peter 3:9), and He gives ample time for

repentance. Nevertheless, the accumulations of wrath will at length,

finally  burst over the heads of theimpenitent.

 

Ø      The mischief may long endure. It may last for many days. A hasty sin

may be followed by a lengthy penalty. The crime of a moment may be

punished with penal servitude for life. One man’s wickedness MAY

BRING MISERY ON GENERATIONS.

 

  • THE FRUITS OF GOODNESS ARE SEEN AFTER MANY DAYS.

Earnest men work, and yet see but little results coming from their labors;

so that they seem to be laboring for nothing. Like the disciples who toiled

all ‘night and took nothing, perhaps they are ready to despair just when a

grand reward is within their reach. We have to learn to WORK and WAIT

and to obey our Master’s command even when we expect but little good to

come from our labor.

 

  • THE HARVEST OF THE GOSPEL IS REAPED AFTER MANY

DAYS. The Christian preacher may have to go forth weeping, but he bears

precious seed.  (Psalm 126:4).  Therefore, though he sows in tears, he will reap

in joy. What we have to remember is that our work is seed-sowing, not the

planting of full-grown trees. The latter process would give us the more

immediate results; but it would be the more precarious, for the trees would not

be easily kept alive. Now, since our work is a sowing of seeds, necessarily it

cannot produce visible results at once. The field that has been sown all

over with the best seed looks at first much like one that has been left waste

and neglected. The Christian preacher, the Sunday school teacher, the

missionary, have all to sow in patience. Perhaps one may sow and another

reap. A man may not live to gather the harvest of his labor; then his works

will follow him (Revelation 14:13).

 

  • THE BEST BLESSINGS OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE ARE

ENJOYED AFTER MANY DAYS.

 

Ø      We may have to wait for them. Some inestimable blessings may be

had at once. We have no delay in receiving the pardon of our sins

and the regeneration of our souls when we truly repent and yield

ourselves to Christ. Still, “this is not your rest.” We are not yet in

heaven. The cross must now be carried; we must wait for the crown.

 

Ø      They will endure forever. We shall have them after many days, and

after many days more THESE BEST BLESSINGS OF GOD WILL

STILL ENDURE.  The things which are not seen are eternal

(II Corinthians 4:18).  No moth nor rust corrupt the heavenly treasures 

(Matthew 6:20).  When all things on earth fade these shall abide, THE EVERLASTING INHERITANCE of God’s people.

 

 

9 “Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud

to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with

thee.  10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the

same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an

evil thought: 11 And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages;

I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without

walls, and having neither bars nor gates, 12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey;

to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon

the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods,

that dwell in the midst of the land.  13 Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of

Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take

A spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and

gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” Gog shall ascend like a

storm over the land of Israel, covering the land and bringing many people with him.
The thought that Israel would fall an easy prey to his assault motivated Gog
to

this sinful project.  The world’s nations are depicted as following in the wake of Gog,

like vultures in the rear of an army, wishing to be partakers of the spoil.  Instead literal

vultures will feast on them – see ch. 39:17-20  Years ago I heard that vultures were

multiplying rapidly in the Holy Land Could it be for this purpose? CY – 2009

 

 

An Evil Thought (v. 10)

 

  • AN EVIL THOUGHT MAY COME UNBIDDEN. “Things come into”

the mind. Like a bird of passage from a distant continent, like a stray seed

dropped into a well-tilled garden, like a breath of infection on a healthy

person, evil may come from without unsought and even unsuspected.

Every one must be conscious of the way in which a thought will flash into

his mind. But often a suggestion of evil may come from some visible

external thing. An evil sight will suggest an evil thought; therefore we need

to pray that God may turn away our eyes from beholding vanity. (Psalm

119:37).  Bad companions will prompt evil thoughts; therefore we have to be

on our guard as to what society we frequent. We cannot but be in the world,

though we should not be of it (John 17:15).  Sights and sounds of evil assail

us on every side — in visible occurrences, in conversation, in newspapers,

in books. It is impossible to bar every avenue against the intrusion of an evil

thought. It may come to the purest soul.  (“You can’t keep a bird from flying

over your head but you can keep it from building a nest in your hair.”

(Martin Luther)

 

  • AN EVIL THOUGHT IS A DANGEROUS GUEST. The Americans

and the Australians are much concerned at the character of persons who

pour into their territories from the overflowing population of Europe.

(Written over two centuries ago.  The American people still feel this

way but the current executive leadership in the United States is making

a sham of this!  - Laws are not enforced and our borders are insecure –

perhaps hastening the day of this prophecy as the same leadership is

distancing itself from Israel and courting Israel’s enemies - CY – 2014)

Hence their regulations setting conditions to the reception of emigrants.

We cannot always prevent the incoming of evil thoughts, but we must

beware of the mischief of their presence when they have come.

 

Ø      An evil thought tends to spread. It is like the little leaven that leavens the

whole lump, like the worthless seed which, growing up, produces a host

of new seeds, and so makes the weeds take possession of the soil. A

striking idea starts a whole chain of thoughts.

 

Ø      An evil thought tends to rouse an evil desire. The active evil from

without appeals to the latent evil within the soul. Thus while in one place

James writes of Satan as our tempter (James 4:7), in another he

says that we are tempted by our own evil desires (Ibid. ch.1:14). The evil

thought is most dangerous because it is lodged in an evil nature.

(I wholeheartedly recommend Jeremiah 4 – Spurgeon Sermon – Bad

Lodgers and How to Treat Themthis website – CY – 2014)

Unhappily, the seed of evil falls on congenial soil. The germ of sin attacks

one who has what the doctors would call a sinful diathesis, a

temperament that is naturally prone to sin.

 

  • AN EVIL THOUGHT SHOULD BE QUICKLY EXPELLED. We

cannot prevent its coming; but we may refuse to give it quarter. If we

harbor it we consent to its presence, and take the guilt of it on ourselves.

Thus we make it no longer a foreign intruder, but our own thought. The

practical question is how may the evil thought be cast out?

 

Ø      Directly, by resisting it. We should pray against an evil thought, and

firmly set our foot upon it when it has come near to us.

 

Ø      Indirectly, by encouraging a better thought. An empty mind is always

ready to receive bad guests  (An idle mind is the devil’s workshop!

H. G. Bohn – 1855).  The last state of the house from which the evil

spirit was cast out became worse than the first, because, though it was

swept and garnished, it was LEFT EMPTY (Matthew 12:44). There are

plants the very vigor of which, when they are once well established, will

prevent the growth of weeds among them; in the struggle for existence

they are stronger than the weeds. THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST IN

THE HEART  is the best antidote to evil thoughts.

 

 

An Evil Device (v. 10)

 

We have been taught by the Divine Master, Christ, that it is from within that human

conduct takes its origin (Mark 7:15). It is the heart which is the source alike

of good and of evil The tree bears fruit, whether sound and wholesome and

palatable, or harsh and useless; the living well, the fountain, sends forth

streams, whether sweet and cheering, or bitter and polluted. So the

thoughts, intents, and devices of the heart find their expression in the

words which reach men’s ears and in the deeds which draw men’s eyes.

God, who knew the inmost nature of men, as well as their individual and

political acts, revealed the secret spring of the malicious efforts of the foes

of Israel, saying, “It shall come to pass in that day, that things shall come

into thy mind, and that thou shalt devise an evil device.”

 

  • PASSIONS PROMPTS THE EVIL DEVICE. There is in all men’s

nature a principle assuming various forms — impulse, propensity, passion.

If there were no such principle, we cannot see how human life could go

forward. It is the spring, the motive power, of the machine. It is not

implanted within us in order that it may be eradicated, but in order that it

may be governed, directed, controlled. In itself it is not bad. But passions

become bad when misdirected and uncontrolled by reason and conscience.

 

  • CHOICE ADOPTS IT. Anger, lust, or some other passion prompts to

a certain course of action. The mischief is wrought when the man, in the

exercise of choice, accepts as the motive of his action, and identifies

himself with, a passion, the indulgence of which works evil, preferring such

a principle of action to a higher and better one. The device thus adopted by

the enemies of Israel was a device of selfish passion, only to be indulged at

the expense of justice and good feeling.

 

  • SINFUL HABIT NOURISHES IT. It is not a single feeling, a single

purpose, which usually accounts for a man’s, a nation’s, evil ways. The

mischief, when isolated, might be checked. But it is too often fostered and

thus encouraged, complicated, and multiplied, as the mind broods upon it.

A mere fancy becomes, when encouraged, a desire; a desire, when

encouraged, becomes a settled purpose.

 

  • SINFUL ACTIVITY EXECUTES IT. The desire does not long

remain such; it tends to its satisfaction. The device is a means to an end,

and achieves itself. God’s mercies are permitted, in some cases and to

some extent, to “bring wicked devices to pass .” (Psalm 37:7)  For wise

purposes, the Ruler of all suffers men not only to think evil thoughts, but

to accomplish evil deeds.

 

  • GOD CAN AND OFTEN DOES FRUSTRATE IT. The oft-quoted

proverb is a true one, “Man proposes, God disposes.” (Thomas a Kempis)

The All-wise has His own plans, the Almighty has His own means; and the

wisdom and the power of men, measured against the Divine resources, will

surely be brought to nothing. “Hitherto shalt thou go, and no further; and

 here shall thy proud waves be stayed”  (Job 38:11).  There is no occasion for

the people of Christ to be dismayed or overmuch distressed when evil devices

enter into the minds of their adversaries. All is known to their Divine Friend and

Protector, who is abundantly able to defend and to deliver His own. “He

taketh the wise in their own craftiness”  (Job 5:13; I Corinthians 3:19), their

wisdom is seen to be but folly. “In quietness and in confidence shall be your

strength;” (Isaiah 30:15); “The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold

your peace.” (Exodus 14:14).  The enemy may devise; but he will not be

suffered to execute his devices. 

 

 

The Stability of God’s Kingdom (vs. 1-13)

 

The lengthened subjection of the Hebrews had sapped their courage and

their hope. The promises of a return to Canaan fell upon hearts full of

apathy and self-diffidence. A latent fear was growing up that, even should

they regain their old possession, they would soon be exposed to fresh

invasion from some grasping monarch. They felt their lack of organization,

their lack of military prowess, and men devoid of energy felt that it was

better to remain in exile than to be more completely crushed alter a

temporary restoration. Hence Ezekiel was commissioned to deal with this

form of indifference before it grew into active opposition. A vision

respecting a great confederacy against Israel is granted to the prophet. God

anticipates the gravest evil. He reveals to his people that this criminal

conspiracy will end in complete disaster to its originators, and that Israel’s

triumph will be complete and perpetual. Ezekiel’s face was set firmly

against Gog, because God’s face was against him.

 

  • GOD’S KINGDOM IS SECURE AGAINST THE GREATEST

WORLDLY CONFEDERACY. The theory that is propounded in this

prophetic picture is that possibly all peoples adverse to righteousness will

combine against the righteous nation.  (We live in a day of godlessness

and many are prone to be vociferous and take sides against God, BUT

GOD’S WILL AND KINGDOM WILL STAND! – CY – 2014).  The

empires of the extreme North will, sooner or later, coalesce with the great

empires of Asia and Africa in a common greed for the territory and possessions

of Israel. The world-power is provoked into active opposition by the presence

of a righteous and spiritual kingdom. As darkness is the foe of light, water the

foe of fire, death the foe of life, so selfish wickedness is the foe of goodness.

(Starting in the Garden of Eden with Cain – Wherefore did Cain slay his

brother Abel?  “Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s

righteous!”  - I John 3:12 – CY – 2014)  Sooner or later, these two great

forces shall meet for final and mortal combat on the earth. But the mightiest

forces are not those which are visible. Victory will not finally sit on the

banners of largest battalions (Those who get there firstest with the mostest

Nathan Bedford Forrest - CY – 2014). These numbers count for nothing with

God. Minor rivalries  are often forgotten by reason of a mightier passion, viz.

a common hatred of truth and God.

 

  • GOD’S KINGDOM IS SECURE AGAINST THE CLEVEREST

MILITARY TACTICS. Men have enormous faith in swords and shields, in

rifles, cannons, and dynamite (Now bombs, drones and technology – CY –

2014). Against the empire of righteousness the most complete and prudent

preparations will be made. No precaution foreseen by human sagacity will be

omitted. Each nation will fight with such weapons as they can most skillfully

wield. The most clever inventions in offensive artillery will be pressed into

service. The hostility will be pressed on with all the arts and machinations

possible to the human mind. Yet there is a force enlisted upon the side of the

righteous kingdom that shall baffle all human combination, and make all

human energy to appear as an embodiment of weakness. Man’s strength

and skill are only borrowed instruments.

 

  • GOD’S KINGDOM IS SECURE AMID UNFRIENDLY

NEUTRALS. “Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish… shall

say to thee, Art thou come to take a spoil?” These peoples were neighbors

to Israel, unwilling to join openly the ranks of Israel’s foes, yet secretly

desiring to see Israel humbled. They were heartless enough to cheer on the

aggressive leaders of the foe, moved by a selfish hope that they might

avoid the toil and the peril of war, and yet gain some advantage out of

Israel’s defeat. Neutrality at such a time and in such a manner was a crime

scarcely minor to the crime of invasion, and such neutrality will be covered

with disgrace. The most hidden motive of man, Israel’s Ruler will detect,

and in proportion to wrongdoing will be the award. Neutrals are usually

despised by both sides. Nor can we forget how deeply God felt a selfish

neutrality upon a former occasion, when the voice of the angel said, “Curse

ye Meroz; curse ye bitterly the inhabitants of Meroz, because they came

not to the help of the Lord against the mighty!”  (Judges 5:23)

 

  • GOD’S KINGDOM IS SECURE BECAUSE EVERY FOE IS

UNDER THE RESTRAINT OF JEHOVAH. Every selfish passion of man

is under the control of God. A world of meaning is in that phrase, “I will

put hooks into thy jaws.” At any point in the development of the hostile

project, God could have defeated it. He could have bridled the malicious

impulse of Gog, the originator. He could have deprived him of reason or of

life. He could have smitten with blindness all the leaders of the expedition.

But God sees it to be best to allow large liberty to wicked men. The inner

nature of wickedness is seen when it bears its full and proper fruit. Some

plants look well in the shoot and in the leaf, but the fruit thereof is deadly.

Men are seldom conscious of the action of God upon them. He “girded

Cyrus” (Isaiah 45:5) with strength and courage for his work, although Cyrus

knew him not. And Gog would pursue his brilliant march, proud of himself

and of his forces, least of all imagining that his Royal Foe had put already a

hook in his jaw, and was simply leading him on to destruction. Utterly insane

is the man who dares fight against God. The issue may be early foreseen.

 

14  Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the

Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely,

shalt thou not know it?  15 And thou shalt come from thy place out of the

north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses,

a great company, and a mighty army:  16 And thou shalt come up against my

people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and

I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall

be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.  17 Thus saith the Lord GOD;

Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of

Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee

against them?  18 And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall

come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall

come up in my face.  19 For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have

I spoken,  Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of

Israel; 20 So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the

beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all

the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and

the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and

every wall shall fall to the ground.”

 

 

The Day of Security (v. 14)

 

There is a day of security!  Then God’s people dwell safely. It offers us a foretaste

of heavenly blessedness. Heaven is a safe place, and its blessed inhabitants dwell

there securely. Their security, indeed, is sound and enduring; while ours on earth

may be but brief and treacherous, like the calm on a mountain lake, which may be

broken at any moment by a sudden squall. Still, while we enjoy the peace we may

be thankful for it, and gratefully accept it as an earnest of that in the eternal home,

where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.”  (Job 3;17)

 

The prophet is directed to assure Gog of four things:

 

  • that in the latter days he should come up against Israel as predicted

(vs. 14-16);

  • that he should not do so without Divine observation, permission, and

direction (vs. 16-17);

  • that nevertheless Jehovah’s indignation should flame forth against him

(v. 18) and

  • that Jehovah would magnify Himself in his destruction.

 

 I will be sanctified in thee, O Gog  - Jehovah meant that taking

vengeance upon Gog for assailing Israel, He would be seen to be a

Holy and Righteous God  (v. 16).  I would like to recommend a perusal of

Ezekiel – Study of God’s Use of the Word Know on this web site – CY – 2014).

Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time?  But it is doubtful if the interrogatory

form of the words had any other intention than to lend emphasis to the assertion that

Gog was he to whom the earlier prophets had  unconsciously referred. As to which

earlier prophets the alluded opinions vary. Ewald cites  Isaiah 10:6; 17:4;  Smend adding

Micah 5:11; Zephaniah 3:8; Keil, Isaiah 25:5, 10;  Jeremiah 30:23, 25; Joel 4:2, 11, etc.;  Hengstenberg, Deuteronomy ch. 32.; Isaiah chapters 24-27.; 34.;  and Fairbairn, Numbers

24:17-24;  Isaiah 14:28-32; ch.18.; Joel 3.; Daniel 2:44-45; though  Schroder is probably

correct in holding that all should be included which represent the hostility  of the

heathen world as culminating in the latter days in a grand concentrated attack upon Israel.

From the first, the prophets had been guided in their utterances by One who was

intimately acquainted with the whole world-program, and knew the end from the

beginning, so that however dark and enigmatical their predictions might be when

taken separately, when viewed in connection, they were recognized as forming parts

of A HARMONIOUS WHOLE!

 

“Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world” – Acts 15:18

 

(Vs. 18-19 are not, as Hitzig, Kliefoth, and others explain, on the ground of the perfect,

“I have spoken” (ver. 19), which, however, is rather a prophetical present — a free

recapitulation of the earlier predictions, but a direct announcement through Ezekiel that

when Gog should arrive upon the scene Jehovah should take the field against

him, so that he should have to fight against Jehovah rather than against Israel

(in fact Zechariah 14:3 depicts God as going forth to battle as He did in the days of

old  - miracles today being sneered at by the secular world – not only in this chapter

but sixty-two times in Ezekiel God, Himself, says “and they shall know that I am

the Lord” (see Ezekiel – Study of God’s Use of the Word Know referred to above)

Micah 7:15 says that God will work like He did when  Israel came out of Egypt

remember the Ten Plagues, the drying up of the Red Sea, etc.check out

arkdiscovery.com  - read about the children of Israel and the Red Sea – CY 2009) 

The expression, my fury shall come up in my face; or, my wrath ascends in

my nose, has parallels in ch.24:8; Psalm 18:9; and Deuteronomy 32:22, and describes

the vehement breathing  (inhalation and exhalation) of an angry man through his nose.

The fire of Jehovah’s wrath (ch.21:31; 36:5) would make itself known in that day by

a great shaking in the land of Israel, which can hardly, as Kliefoth surmises, refer to

the final judgment, or, as Keil thinks, to the trembling of the whole earth, with all the

creatures, before the Lord, who comes to judgment, as in Joel 4:16 and Zechariah

14:4-5, since the locality in which this convulsion of nature is to happen is expressly

defined as “the land of Israel;” but must be understood, with Schroder and

Smend, as a figurative description of the terrible overthrow which Jehovah should

inflict upon Gog, and which should produce within the heathen mind a feeling of

consternation, as if the whole fabric of the globe were falling into ruin. Grounding

upon what occurred at Sinai (Exodus 19:16-18), Hebrew writers generally depicted

special interpositions of Jehovah as being witnessed to and accompanied by awe-

inspiring natural convulsions (Psalm 18:7, 15; 46:2, 3; 55:2; Isaiah 13:9-13;

24:19-22; Jeremiah 4:23-26; Nahum 1:5; Zechariah 14:4); and in the same manner

does Ezekiel delineate Jehovah’s intervention in behalf of Israel and against Gog,

as so alarming that all living creatures, irrational as well as rational — fishes of the sea,

fowls of the heaven, beasts of the field, creeping things that creep upon the earth  

(or, ground — adamah), and men upon the face of the earth; or, ground (Genesis

1:26; 7:21-23) — should shake at its accompanying manifestations, and that even

the mightiest objects in nature, such as the mountains, steep places, or, “reek-clefts”,

such elevations as can only be ascended by means of steps as by a ladder

(Song of Solomon 2:14), and walls (Jeremiah 15:20), including natural ramparts

as well as humanly constructed erections, should be overthrown (ver. 20).

(Apparently a much larger version of the demise of Jerichosee Joshua 6 –

CY – 2014)

 

21 “And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith

the Lord GOD: every man’s sword shall be against his brother.”  Every man’s

sword shall be against his brother – in Zechariah 14:13 it is called “a great tumult 

( a panic or confusion) from the Lord shall be among them”. The  consternation

produced by JEHOVAH’S INTERPOSITION  should be such that the ranks of

Gog should fall  into utter confusion, and his warriors exterminate each other, as

did the Midianites in the days of Gideon (Judges 7:22), and the Moabites, Ammonites,

and Mt. Seir, who invaded Judah in the reign  of Jehoshaphat  (2 Chronicles 20:23).

 

22 “And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I

will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people

that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire,

and brimstone. 23 Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be

known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am

the LORD.” Pestilence and blood (ch. 5:17; 14:19; 28:23)…..an overflowing rain

and great hailstones” — literally, stones of ice (ch.13:11,13) — fire, and brimstone,”

or, pitch  (Genesis 19:24). The imagery here brought together was probably borrowed

from the accounts given in the Pentateuch of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

(Genesis 19:24), of the plagues in Egypt (Exodus 7-10.), and of the extermination of

the Canaanites (Joshua 10:11). (Apparently a modern example of what God did in

the Old Days happening in Contemporary Time - CY - 2009)  The result of the

whole would be to impress the minds of many nations” with the conviction that

ISRAEL’S GOD WAS BOTH GREAT AND POWERFUL,  that, in fact,

HE IS GOD ALONE!

 

Again, I recommend arkdiscovery.com and check out what it has to say about

Sodom and Gomorrah – it has some very good print, pictures and video!

 

 

God Sanctifying Himself (v. 23)

 

  • AN EXPLANATION OF THE FACT. What is it for God to sanctify

Himself? Man is sanctified when he is set apart for God; and this

sanctification is needed in the case of man because he has been alienated

from God and devoted to the world. Further, in the case of man,

sanctification involves purification, and perhaps the first thought that

occurs to us when the word is mentioned is that sin is to be purged out of

the heart, and holiness infused by the influence of the Holy Spirit. But now

all these notions are inapplicable to God. He is the Lord, not the servant,

and He is not, therefore, to be thought of as set apart for any purpose. He

never failed in His position, and He does not need the recovery and

rededication which we understand by sanctification. Lastly, He never sinned,

and therefore He requires no purification. What, then, is meant by God

sanctifying Himself? The idea seems to be partly interpreted by the earlier

phrase, “Thus will I magnify myself.” God has not been rightly appreciated

by men. His supreme majesty and His ineffable holiness have been slighted.

The awful separateness of character which distinguishes between God and

man has not been enough regarded. Thus, though God Himself has

remained unchanged as He is unchangeable, His Name has been profaned.

When the Name of God is rescued and restored to its true place of honor,

God is said to be sanctified.

 

  • A DESCRIPTION OF THE PROCESS. If this is the sanctification of

God, how is it brought about? We are here told that GOD ACCOMPLISHES

IT HIMSELF!   He is the great Sanctifier. He sanctifies His people by

His Spirit. He says, “Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself.”

 

Ø      This is done by revelation. God manifests Himself. His Name was

dishonored while His greatness was hidden. HE UNVEILS HIS

GLORY and then men are amazed to read HIS GREAT NAME!

Thus it is rescued from degradation.

 

Ø      This is done in judgments. God comes down among defiant men and

scatters His foes. The heathen once regarded Him as on a level with their

own gods. (“These things thou hast done, and I kept silence; thou

thoughtest I was altogether such a one as thyself:  but I will reprove

thee, and set them in order before thine eyes  Psalm 50:21).  But now

His supremacy and therefore His separateness ARE SEEN!

Thus God is known among the nations and sanctified among men.

 

Ø      This is done in spiritual experience. The sanctification by judgments is

an external process. It may arouse wonder and even create conviction, but

it does not stimulate the veneration which includes love and true worship.

But when God manifests Himself to His people as He does not unto the

world, His holiness and His goodness are brought home to them with a

FRESH FORCE!

 

Ø      This is done in the sanctification of Gods people. They are called upon

to sanctify the Lord God in their hearts (I Peter 3:15). When the heart

is consecrated to God, God’s holiness is confessed as it never was before.

To be devoted to God is the way to recognize GOD’S SUPREME GLORY!

 

While God can and does magnify Himself, it is our privilege and duty to magnify Him also!

 

  • Why we should do so. Because:

 

Ø      It is the one right thing for us to do. The Great One should be exalted;

the Holy One should be honored, because He is great and holy, especially

because His greatness is the greatness of goodness as well as of power, and

because His holiness is crowned with patience and mercy.

 

Ø      To revere God and magnify Him in our heart is the one way to our own

moral and spiritual elevation, to nobility of character, to excellency of life.

 

Ø      It is distinctly the way to promote the happiness and well-being of the

world.

 

  • How we can do so.

 

Ø      In our spirit; by cherishing in our hearts the reverence that is “due to

His Name” (Psalm 29:2); i.e. due to Himself for all that He is and has

done for us.

 

Ø      In our life. (See Philippians 1:20.) By bringing all our actions into

harmony with the known will of God; by living in such a way that we show

ourselves to be loyal subjects of Jesus Christ, consulting His mind and

obedient to His Word in everything; by making it clear that we are willing

to put forth any effort or submit to any sacrifice in order that Christ may be

great in the esteem and in the affections of men; thus we “magnify and

sanctifyHim.

 

Ø      By our speech. We need not always be introducing the distinctive

language of religion into our conversation; yet we may take opportunity in

the home, as well as at the desk or in the pulpit, to commend Jesus Christ

to the hearts of young and old, as that Divine Savior in whom to trust, as

that Divine Lord in whose service they will find freedom, rest,

and ETERNAL LIFE! 

 

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