Ezekiel Chapter 38 Gog and Magog

May 16th, 2009 | By | Category: Ezekiel, Psalm 83 and Gog & Magog, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Ezekiel Chapter 38

Ezek. 38:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Ezek. 38:2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,

Ezek. 38:3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:

God told Ezekiel to prophesy against Gog, the chief prince of the multitudinous host that would come down against Israel. Ezekiel was facing north, signifying that, generally speaking, the peoples comprising the forces of Gog would come from that quarter. Gog is the leading character from the land of Magog, which is Russia. In the homeland of Russia are Meshech (an ancient name for Moscow) and Tubal (Tubalesque formerly, now Leningrad). Notice that the four names, all places in the Russian homeland, are grouped together: Gog, Magog, Meshech, and Tubal. In the USSR, an abbreviation for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (plural), are some discontented republics who want their autonomy. [Note: As of June 1999, there are still republics, even though the union no longer formally exists.]

Ezek. 38:4 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 armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:

God will turn Gog back and bring Gog forth—and all Gog’s army, armor, and weapons. In other words, Gog will be turned around and hooks put into his jaws, and then he will be pulled down to Israel. The wording suggests that a strong influence will be brought to bear to make this figurative or symbolic personality called Gog come down to the Holy Land. (Verses 10–12 reveal what some of the attractions will be.) Note: Gog is not an individual. A world war followed by depression will occur first. Next Russia will invade Italy and destroy the Vatican. Then, while the enemy forces are contemplating the destruction of Europe, God will change their plans and have them “turn back” and invade Israel. The fact that “hooks” have to be put in their jaws shows a little resistance at first.

Gog will be an armed, relatively organized host. The multitudes under the leadership of and associated with Gog, the chief ruler or prince, will be clothed with military garments and use military weapons and conveyances. This massive horde of people will be an organized invasion, a disciplined host, of guerrilla bands.

Ezek. 38:5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:

Now comes another grouping: Persia, Ethiopia (Cush), and Libya (Phut). This auxiliary host will be associated with the Gog grouping. Persia comprises Iran and Iraq. Ethiopia is India, part of eastern Turkey (Cush lived in Eastern Anatolia), and part of India (Gen. 2:13; 10:6). The river Gihon, one of the four rivers that went out of Eden, was in Asia Minor. Therefore, this Ethiopia has nothing to do with Africa. Libya is northern Arabia, which includes the Persian Gulf states. Neither Ethiopia nor Libya refer to Africa but pertain to the areas Noah’s descendants lived in after leaving the Ark.

Ezek. 38:6 Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.

Another grouping is Gomer and Togarmah. Gomer and all of his bands, Togarmah from the north and all of his bands, and many people associated with Gog will unite in the goal of going southward into Israel for evil purposes. It is hard to be definitive with Gomer and Togarmah, but Gomer could be China. The picture is widening northeastward and northwestward toward China and Europe, respectively. Particularly involved will be Eastern Europe (the former East Germany, Poland, etc.). Incidentally, the multitudinous Gog host comprises more than just the peoples named in verses 2, 3, 5, and 6.

Ezek. 38:7 Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are

assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.

Gog, as well as the great host accompanying him, is instructed to be prepared; in addition, Gog is told to be a guard unto the host. In other words, the Gog power will be looked to for leadership. A preparatory work has been going on, for Gog will be headed in a different direction but then be turned around when hooks are put in his jaws to pull him down to Israel. The others will not necessarily be with Gog at the time the hooks are put in his jaws, but when Gog goes down against Israel, others will join in and be in sympathy with Gog’s evil designs. Others will be attracted to Gog for this evil purpose. The Gog host is being prepared not only for an invasion of Israel but also for its own ultimate destruction.

Ezek. 38:8 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.

Ezekiel was prophesying during the Babylonian exile (between 606 and 536 BC), so “after many days” helps us locate this prophecy on the stream of time way down in our day, in the near future. The Revised Standard Version reads, “After many days you will be mustered [organized for battle]; in the latter years you will go against the land that is restored from war, the land where people were gathered from many nations upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste; its people were brought out from the nations and now dwell securely, all of them.”

When the enemy host is fully prepared, Jews will have been gathered out of Diaspora and reassembled in their land, dwelling in relative peace, safety, and self-sufficiency. After 1,845 years of exile and being laid waste, Israel has been in a state of regathering since 1878, with national recognition coming in 1948.

“They [Israel] shall dwell safely all of them.” In the final analysis, Israel will dwell safely, but Jacob’s Trouble precedes this permanent peace and security. (Verse 11 tells of a temporary peace and security prior to Jacob’s Trouble.) Only the handpicked Holy Remnant will survive the trouble and live on into the permanent peace and security of the Kingdom.

Ezek. 38:9 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.

Gog and the multitudinous host will ascend and come like a storm, being so numerous that they are likened to a cloud that covers the land of Israel. A storm “ascends” when the dark clouds form on the horizon. The people dwelling safely in Israel will suddenly see an enormous potential hazard in the north that makes them feel small and helpless. The hordes will begin to come down. A great many people will be involved in this invasion.

Ezek. 38:10 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:

What is the thought of “at the same time”? Verse 10 reverts to when Gog, having already destroyed the Vatican, is turned back from invading and destroying Europe. During this period of time of invasion, an “evil thought” about Israel’s defenseless position will come into Gog’s mind, convincing the host to go down and attack Israel. In other words, since Christendom falls before Jacob’s Trouble, Gog will already have invaded Europe, Italy, and the Vatican before starting down to Israel. The evil thought is part of the “hooks” mentioned in verse 4. Gog will be so strongly attracted to Israel that the plans will change.

Ezek. 38:11 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,

Ezek. 38:12 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.

Gog’s evil thought will be, “I will go up to Israel, to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to those who are at rest and dwelling safely without walls or gates. I will go to take a spoil and a prey from the people who have gotten cattle and goods and dwell in the midst of the earth.” The “spoil” would be food, goods, and possessions, and the “prey” would mean the destruction of the people, that is, taking vengeance and destroying Israel as a nation. As a breadbasket, Israel will be appealing to the hungry hordes of Gog.

“To turn thine hand upon … the people that are gathered out of the nations.” This is a dispensational clue telling us that we are in the last days because Israel has returned to her land. The event of history is about to occur.

At this time, just prior to Jacob’s Trouble, Israel will be in a state of relative security and prosperity. Hence between that time and now, there must be some kind of solution of the Palestinian issue and peace achieved with the immediate Arab neighbors and nations. And there must be economic prosperity too, for Israel has had a dreadful inflation rate. Already the number of flocks has been increasing, indicating that Israel will prosper more and more. The Galilee area is flourishing agriculturally. Israel feels the need to be self-sufficient because of the inflation rate and the nation’s to-date reliance on foreign aid. Prosperity does not have to be measured in hard currency—it can just mean being self-sustained.

Israel dwells “in the midst [navel] of the land [earth]” (see King James margin). Strategically located, Israel is a good place from which to set up a headquarters and then establish world dominion. A superpower that controlled Israel would be at the throat of three continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe. Gog’s intention will be to destroy the Jews, take the “cattle and goods,” and seize the strategic location. However, the providential reason for Israel’s location is its future position as capital of the world.

Armageddon involves almost all nations; Jacob’s Trouble involves Israel. The gathering of all nations to Armageddon in Revelation 16:16 is just prior to Ezekiel 38 and concerns the fall of Babylon. The fall of the churches will bring on the world’s trouble, of which Jacob’s Trouble is the climax.

Ezek. 38:13 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?

Here is still another grouping: Sheba, Dedan, and Tarshish. However, these three will not be part of Gog’s host. As separate observers, they will inquire of Gog, “Have you come down to Israel to take a spoil and a prey?” Since these words are expressed in question form, we know these three powers will be on the scene but will feel relatively powerless to avert the intent of the enemy.

What is the identity of these three nations? All three are Western powers as follows:

1. “Sheba” represents the United States. As ruler of Egypt and Ethiopia, the queen of Sheba traveled from the coasts of the earth (from Upper Egypt, which was like another continent in that day) to see Solomon’s Temple. The Prophet Isaiah referred to the United States as “the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia” (Isa. 18:1); hence Sheba symbolizes the United States, a country that was far, far away, on the outer extremities of the world, as it were. Just as the queen of Sheba had wealth, so the United States is a wealthy country. Moreover, Queen Hatshepsut, who was the queen of Sheba, had a mixed race of black and white, just as the United States does.

2. Dedan is France.

3. “Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof” is a symbol of England with all the colonies she had until recent years. England is the main or mother “lion,” as it were. Moreover, a lion is the symbol of Britain. The “merchants,” indicating a naval power, also help to identify Tarshish as England.

The point is that the United States, France, and England will have expeditionary, representative, peace-keeping forces on the scene in Israel, such as United Nations forces. However, being limited in number, the forces will be powerless to stop the host of Gog. God’s purpose is to “gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle” (Zech. 14:2). The leading powers of earth will be attracted to Israel so that they will be on hand to see God’s glory in rescuing Israel. With all communication being cut off, the Gentile survivors will return to their homelands and be able to give eyewitness accounts. The survivors of Gog and of Sheba, Dedan, and Tarshish will probably be about the same ratio: 1 out of 6 (Ezek. 39:2). Other Scriptures, such as Psalm 83, suggest that prior to Jacob’s Trouble, a conflict will occur in which Israel will defeat her immediate Arab foes in a remarkable victory. As a result, it is likely that the United Nations will providentially establish a peace-keeping force there. The victory will lead to temporary prosperity and security for Israel. During the presence of the peace-keeping forces, the Gog host will come down.

And there is another point. Since their own homelands will be in anarchy at the time of Jacob’s Trouble, the peace-keeping forces will not be inclined to return to their respective countries. They will feel they are better off staying right where they are. Ezekiel 39:6 is a proof text of the anarchy that will be occurring in Russia and elsewhere at that time: “I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.” Isaiah 34:2 is another such text: “For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter.” All nations worldwide will experience anarchy. The Scriptures seem to indicate that there will be nuclear warfare, but even that would not be the real Time of Trouble. It will, however, prepare the way for anarchy, for nuclear warfare will disrupt everything: communications, employment, food supplies, etc. Being sick of war and the results, the people will curse their governments in each of their lands (Isa. 8:21).

As for the Gentile survivors, when the Gog host finally realize God is fighting for Israel, they will be deathly afraid to do any more damage. They will be only too glad to have survived and will go back to their homelands to give eyewitness accounts.

Ezek. 38:14 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?

When Israel is dwelling safely, it will be a time of paradox, for as the rest of the world gets closer to trouble, that nation will be prospering and financially secure. Israel will be self-sufficient and prosperous while all others are going down. In fact, the other nations will be angry. When the communist/socialist ideology falters and the kibbutzim prosper, Russia will be angry.

Ezek. 38:15 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:

Ezek. 38:16 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.

Much of these verses is repetitive except that verse 16 reveals God’s purpose: He will be sanctified in Gog before the eyes of Israel and surviving Gentiles. How? When God’s fury comes up into His face and He defeats Gog with stupendous miracles and upheavals in nature and the Holy Remnant is rescued, it will be obvious that superhuman power is being used. In the destruction of this multitudinous host, God’s glory and power will be magnified in the sight of the survivors, both Jew and Gentile. God will be magnified and revealed as the God of Israel, and the surviving Gentiles will return to their homelands to give eyewitness accounts.

Comment: The term “heathen” is used for the Gentiles because even though Sheba, Dedan, and Tarshish are on the scene, the Christians (Little Flock and Great Company) will have been removed by this time.

Ezek. 38:17 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?

God spoke about Gog through the prophets (plural) of Israel, telling that He would bring Gog against Israel. “Gog” is not used in other prophecies, but the term “Assyrian” is used in Isaiah as the hammer and the ax. Jeremiah also talks about Jacob’s Trouble. In some of his prophecies, the king of Babylon (or Sheshach) is a picture of Gog. The point is that verse 17 is a comprehensive statement. All of the Old Testament prophets spoke of the trouble and then the blessings to follow. Instead of symbolizing Papacy in certain pictures, Babylon represents an atheistic, communistic power. Hence this end-of-the-age confrontation between Israel and “Gog” is found in other prophecies under other symbols. Verse 17 is a reminder of Acts 3:21, which states that the times of restitution are a theme of all the holy prophets.

When the Scriptures say that God will come in great power and glory, we must realize it will be the official inauguration of the Kingdom and not a period of 120+ years of preparation. Ezekiel Chapters 38 and 39 have been given a spiritual application for the most part, and thus the power and force of the meaning have been hidden.

Ezek. 38:18 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.

Ezek. 38:19 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;

Ezek. 38:20 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.

As God said through Isaiah, “I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once,” and so God’s fury will come up in His face (Isa. 42:14). This expression is figurative because no man can see God’s face and live. The expression indicates that (1) God has had enough. He will lay bare His holy arm in the sight of all and execute judgment (Isa. 52:10). (2) A person can be angry, but that anger can go undiscerned. However, for fury to come up in God’s face means an outward manifestation of His indignation against this invading host. God will be “seen” in this trouble. One way will be “a great shaking [earthquake] in the land of Israel.”

The earthquake will be of such mammoth proportions and intensity in that selective area that birds, insects, fish, animals, and people in all conditions will feel the effects. All will shake at God’s presence. The Dome of the Rock and the city of Jerusalem, both new and old, will be leveled to prepare the topography for the Temple platform in the Kingdom. When the Mount of Olives splits, the Holy Remnant will find the valley that opens to be a place of refuge and safety. They will rush into that valley and be protected, while all around will be utter destruction. God’s method will be similar to the Israelites’ protection when the Red Sea opened and they crossed dry-shod in the Exodus. The “dry land” of the future will be the valley of safety between the two halves of the Mount of Olives.

Q: The end of verse 19 defines the earthquake as being in the land of Israel, but verses 20 and 21 sound as if the earthquake affects the whole earth. Doesn’t the qualification of verse 19 apply to all three verses?

A: Yes. Zechariah 14:4,5,10 confirms the selectivity. “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee…. All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.” Zechariah 14:10,11 shows that Jerusalem will be rebuilt. Gog and Magog will come down to Jerusalem; they will not be interested in Tiberias or Haifa, for example, but the main capital. “The city shall be taken” (Zech. 14:2)—what city? Jerusalem. All the land in that environs will be lifted up and the land completely reallocated. A literal earthquake will occur in the future as it was a literal earthquake in the days of Uzziah (Zech. 14:5; Amos 1:1).

So specific shall the judgments be that near the end the inhabitants of earth will know it is the Day of the Lord. “Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come” (Joel 1:15). “And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward [to me in that day, saith the LORD]” (Isa. 8:21).

Ezek. 38:21 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.

The particular intent is the destruction of Gog and those with him, as well as the unholy Jew, and not of Sheba, Dedan, and Tarshish especially. “Every man’s sword shall be against his brother.” This statement indicates that utter confusion and panic will cause Gog’s own “sword,” the very weapons of destruction and violence, to be turned against one another. We are reminded of the Gideon-Midianite account where God gave Israel a great victory by causing the enemy to become so confused that they slaughtered each other.

Many of the great literal occurrences of the Old Testament will have a brief, concentrated, literal, limited application in Israel in Jacob’s Trouble to show it is the God of nature and the God of Israel who is manifesting power. And it will be very obvious that a power is protecting each of the Holy Remnant. For example, if one of the Holy Remnant is in a building and the building collapses, killing all of the others, that one individual will survive. Each one may escape death dozens of times over the month or whatever period of time is involved. When this mutual class realize they are being protected and then get into the valley between the split Mount of Olives, they will know they have been saved, covered, by the Lord’s hand. And the surviving eyewitness Gentiles will discern this miraculous protection.

Ezek. 38:22 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.

God will plead against Gog in various ways. Some will die by “pestilence” (disease) and others by “blood” (violence—accidents, that is). Overflowing rain suggests a flood; a torrential downpour will occur reminiscent of the Deluge in Noah’s day, drowning some. Hailstones will be the size of basketballs, weighing a minimum of 50 pounds (compare Josh. 10:11). Fire and brimstone (sulfur) indicate the earthquake will spew out lava, which will fall destructively as in the demise of Sodom and Gomorrah. What happened to Lot’s wife will happen again. These occurrences will disprove the idea that the Old Testament accounts are fables to instill good morals and that they are not literal. All of these calamities will happen to Gog and to “his bands,” the many people confederate with Gog. The inauguration of Christ’s Kingdom will be one of the most dramatic occurrences of history as there are sample reenactments of the miracles that occurred in Israel’s past. In all of the confusion and destruction, those whose names are written in the book of life will survive. Each one will know he has been specially spared and will thus repent and mourn for Jesus as for an only son. The Holy Remnant will mourn as being responsible, as a people, for Messiah’s death (Zech. 12:10–13).

Ezek. 38:23 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.

Thus will God magnify and sanctify Himself and be known in the eyes of many nations. So much for those who think the Kingdom will gradually come in! Ezekiel 38 is STRONG and SPECIFIC language. To say the Kingdom will glide in means that such are not really reading Scripture and that they are babes in understanding. The nominal system has had the view that the Kingdom will come when everybody is converted. Go out and evangelize, they say, and eventually, when enough are evangelized, the world will know Christ. But the reality

is far more DRAMATIC!

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  1. […] Gog and Magog when they come down to destroy Israel. (see our verse by verse study on the Ezekiel Chapters 38 and 39). We also see this destruction described in Revelation 19:17 and Zephaniah 1:7,8, and Joel […]

  2. […] in the veins. They just await the breath, which comes after Jacob’s Trouble, Gog of Magog from Ezekiel 38, and chapter […]

  3. […] of all things, spoken about by all the holy prophets.” See our verse by verse studies: Ezekiel Chapter 38, Ezekiel Chapter 39, Jeremiah Chapter 30, Jeremiah Chapter 31, Jeremiah Chapter 50, Jeremiah […]

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