Ezekiel Chapter 39

May 17th, 2009 | By | Category: Ezekiel, Psalm 83 and Gog & Magog, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Ezekiel Chapter 39

Ezek. 39:1 Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:

Chapter 39 begins with wording that is similar to Chapter 38. Ezekiel was told to prophesy against “Gog, the chief prince [or ringleader] of Meshech [Moscow] and Tubal [Leningrad].” Other Scriptures describe the areas and cities of the invading host, Gog, and their movement. Gog will be involved with the Plain of Esdraelon and will go down into the Valley of Jehoshaphat. From the north, Gog will follow the path of least resistance down to Israel and inundate the land. Another Scripture describes the terminal end of the Valley of Jehoshaphat. It is one thing how the Gog forces come down and another thing how they end up. There was a mass burial in the days of King Jehoshaphat. God fought that battle and the people sang, not using their weapons. They came upon mass dead bodies and despoliation (2 Chron. 20:20–30). The Valley of Ziz (verse 16), that is, the Valley of Berachah (verse 26), nicknamed the Valley of Jehoshaphat, refers to that incident. In a similar fashion, God will deal with Gog but through a variety of miracles.

Ezek. 39:2 And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:

“I [God] will … leave but the sixth part of thee [Gog].” This is a key thought to show the degree of devastation and havoc that will be brought against Israel’s enemies (Gog and associated bands), leaving only one-sixth to survive Jacob’s Trouble. Stated another way, fivesixths will perish when God rescues the Holy Remnant and defeats the enemy. The small percentage of Gentile survivors will go back to their homelands with eyewitness accounts. The various translations have different thoughts for this part of verse 2, not even agreeing with each other. For example, the King James margin has alternate thoughts, but note that the number six is there (although it is lacking in some other translations). “Six plagues” cannot be the correct thought because, according to the different prophets, more than six calamities will come on the enemy host. The thought of only one sixth of the enemy surviving seems to be the most accurate based on parts of the Books of Isaiah and Zechariah. A tremendous horde will come against Israel, and this chapter later shows a huge number of bodies (carcasses) will require burial, so a five-sixths destruction ratio would seem to be correct. Of the enemy host (not of the onlookers, not of the peacekeeping force), only one-sixth will survive.

“I will turn thee back, … and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, … [to] Israel.” This verse confirms the thought in Ezekiel 38:4 that God will put hooks in Gog’s jaws and turn the host in a different direction. Ezekiel 39 picks up the same scene but from another perspective. The “north parts” of this verse corroborate the “north quarters” of Ezekiel 38:6. “I … will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel.” This statement is to be considered in a literal sense. Note: Ezekiel Chapter 39 has both literal and figurative wording, but not symbolic.

Ezek. 39:3 And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.

God will smite the bow (the instrument of destruction) out of Gog’s left hand and the arrows out of his right hand. In other words, Gog’s weapons will become useless and of no avail.

Ezek. 39:4 Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.

Ezek. 39:5 Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.

The enemy, Gog and all his “bands” (Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, etc.—see Ezek. 38:5,6), will fall upon the mountains and on the open field to be devoured by birds of prey. Verses 4 and 5 are literal, describing GREAT CARNAGE. Bodies will be strewn about in the open field. Vultures and birds of prey will feed on them in great numbers. Birds of the air and beasts of the ground will have a mighty feast on these carcasses.

“For I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.” These verses are forceful language. God will put hooks in the jaws of the enemy force and draw them down to Israel for the purpose of displaying His former glory (the glory that was exercised in the “day of battle”—Zech. 14:3). An important point should be kept in mind, however. God does not interfere with man’s free moral agency. Rather, certain forces will be at work where evil thoughts will come into Gog’s mind to distract from what the enemy had intended to do.

As in verse 2, the “mountains” are those near the area of the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized. More will be said on this point later in the chapter.

Ezek. 39:6 And 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.

God will send a “fire” on Magog (the homeland of Gog, Russia) and on those who dwell confidently in the “isles” (the more democratic countries such as the United States and England). This verse is saying that at the time of Jacob’s Trouble, there will be anarchy both in Russia and in the democratic nations; that is, East and West will share in this judgment.

Ezek. 39:7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.

“So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel,” saith the Lord God. Whatever judgments are abroad elsewhere in the earth to teach the inhabitants righteousness, they will be especially dramatic in Israel. With the climax of the Time of Trouble being Jacob’s Trouble in Israel, that tiny nation will be center stage for the revealment of God’s name and cause.

God will not let Israel pollute His holy name anymore. This will be accomplished through the purging process whereby the Jews who survive will be handpicked. The unfit class will be weeded out—to be dealt with in the general resurrection later, when the Gentiles also come forth from the tomb.

The heathen will know that God is “the Holy One in Israel” because eyewitnesses will go back to their respective homelands. Also, when God brings peace to Israel, the anarchy will suddenly cease around the world. As God fights for His people, Israel, the judgments will be seen as selective and providential against the enemy.

Ezek. 39:8 Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken.

“This is the day whereof I have spoken.” This verse is a reminder of Ezekiel 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 of Gog by the mouth of all His holy prophets to a greater or lesser extent.

Ezek. 39:9 And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years:

After God delivers the Holy Remnant, those who dwell in Israel’s cities will go forth and burn weapons with fire for seven years; that is, the weapons will be melted down and converted into farm implements (“plowshares” and “pruninghooks”—Isa. 2:4) or other useful purposes. Hence the land will be cleansed of unsightly burned-out weapons and equipment.

Ezek. 39:10 So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord GOD.

In Ezekiel’s day there were more forests than today (the Romans later denuded them). Wood, as fuel, was used to cook food and warm houses. During the future time period of Jacob’s Trouble, there will be no need to cut down trees in the forests, for the Gog forces will bring their own gasoline, oil, diesel fuel, etc.—the modern-day equivalent of “wood”—with their weapons and artillery. When God delivers the Holy Remnant, all of Gog’s equipment and supplies will be abandoned and Israel will seize them. Gog will come down to spoil Israel, but instead Israel will end up taking spoil and booty from the enemy. Since Israel will be quite reduced in population when the unrighteous Jews are weeded out and the surviving eyewitnesses return to their homelands, the booty will last a considerable time. Even with the establishment of the Kingdom, it will take time for conditions to return to normal. The Ancient Worthies will be on hand, and the people will need leadership and instruction to get things operating smoothly.

In extreme conditions it is even possible to make ersatz (fake) bread out of sawdust, and people trapped in mines have eaten their leather belts and shoes. But Israel will not have to resort to such measures because with God’s defeat of Gog, the spoil will be prepared for them. Other countries, however, will have to take dire measures such as eating the roots of trees for a short time. These experiences will tenderize mankind, who will realize that no flesh could have survived unless a superpower, God, intervened to save them from the destruction and anarchy. God will intervene through The Christ.

Ezek. 39:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamon-gog.

It shall come to pass at that time that God will give to the multitude of Gog “a place there of graves [a cemetery] in Israel.” The cemetery will be on the King’s Highway in the Valley of the Passengers on the east of the Dead Sea but at its northern end. This land, which is sometimes called the land of Gilead, is now Jordan, but in the Kingdom it will belong to Israel. (The King’s Highway went north on the east side of the Dead Sea, all the way up to the far side of the Sea of Galilee and beyond.) In other words, an area with specific boundaries predetermined by the Lord will be used as a graveyard. Very numerous will be the corpses interred there, but each one will have its own little plot. Rather than a mass grave, there will be individual spaces. The stench from the decaying corpses will be so terrible that it will “stop the noses of the passengers,” and the people who have to travel that way will feel like vomiting (see King James margin).

Ezek. 39:12 And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.

It will take seven months to bury the bones and cleanse the land from disease. Meanwhile, the bodies will decay and vultures will attack and devour the dead flesh. Thus for seven months the vultures will feed as the remaining bones are buried. The graves will be without names even though they are separate plots.

Ezek. 39:13 Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Lord GOD.

The number of dead bodies will be so great that for the seven months all survivors—men, women, and children—will be responsible for getting the corpses in the graves as fast as possible. Such a task will really impress on their minds what God has done for them.

Ezek. 39:14 And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search.

Ezek. 39:15 And the passengers that pass through the land, when any seeth a man’s bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamon-gog.

When the mass burying in separate plots is completed at the end of seven months, the universal conscription will stop and a burial crew will be hired to continue burying isolated bones that are found. As a bone is spotted, a marker will be placed next to it, and word will be sent to the burial crew regarding its whereabouts. The burial crew will then go to each site where a bone or bones were found and gather them to the national cemetery and bury them. (As God starts to deliver the Holy Remnant, some of the enemy will flee and then be struck down in their escape effort, thus dying some distance from the mass destruction— hence the need to search for isolated bones.)

The seven months are definitely literal, for when they expire, the burial crew will act. The account does not state how long the burial crew will operate. The point is that wherever the skeletons, bones, and corpses are found, they must be transported to the cemetery for burial.

Ezek. 39:16 And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah. Thus shall they cleanse the

land.

The cemetery will be so large that it is to be called a “city.” The name of this city of the dead—this enormous, vast cemetery-city—will be Hamonah. Combining the thoughts in verses 11 and 16, we see that the city of Hamonah will be in the Valley of Hamon-gog. “Hamonah” means multitude, and “Hamon-gog” means the multitude of Gog. In the Book of Esther, Haman plotted to get the king to put all Jews to death. However, by God’s providence Esther gained the king’s favor and Haman’s plan boomeranged. As a result, Haman was hanged on the very gallows he had prepared for Mordecai, Esther’s uncle. In Jacob’s Trouble, Gog will be the enemy of the Jew as Haman was back there. Thus the Valley of Hamon-Gog is really the valley of Haman and Gog—a play on words, a flashback, and a real memorial. Those who view the cemetery in the Kingdom will be reminded not only of Jacob’s Trouble but of the historic Esther-Mordecai-Haman incident.

The cemetery will serve a symbolic purpose in the future, for it is intended to indicate what previously happened—that God destroyed this host in the Time of Trouble. Similarly, the Great Pyramid will be preserved for posterity as a memorial.

How can any think the Kingdom will glide in gradually?!? Seven months will be required for the bulk of the burials, but in addition, the deaths will occur suddenly. The Kingdom will be ushered in suddenly, with a definite chronological beginning—a date known to the Lord. However, it will take time for all things to run smoothly in the Kingdom. Therefore, time has been set aside for the reconstruction of human and angelic society.

The Holy Remnant will be responsible for the burying. They will utilize the one-sixth survivors of the Gog host, as well as the survivors of the peacekeeping force. “All the people of the land” (verse 13) includes the Gentile survivors as well as the Holy Remnant of Israel. Those who are on the scene will have to cooperate in the burial work. The onesixth survivors will bury their own before going back to their homelands as eyewitnesses.

And it will even take time, after the burial, to get the eyewitnesses home. Therefore, it will probably be a year after Jacob’s Trouble before all are in their homelands. Rumors and reports will go back quickly to the home countries via ham radio (or whatever means), for regular communications will have been cut off, but the survivors themselves will return in due process of time to verify the information.

Ezek. 39:17 And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.

God told Ezekiel to invite every fowl and beast to come to this GREAT slaughter on the mountains of Israel, and there they would eat flesh and drink blood. From a natural standpoint, this would literally be true, with birds of prey and wild animals feeding on the dead bodies.

The Scriptures are low-key, so let us be sure we get the power of this prophecy. Ezekiel actually had to dramatize the message. He was by the river Chebar in Babylon among the captives of the ten-tribe kingdom when the people saw him literally point to imaginary birds and beasts and call them by name. Some of the people would have ridiculed him, and some would have paid serious attention. Such experiences crystallized the prophet’s character. A son of a priest, and thus a cultured man, he had to humble himself, and the more he acted like a madman, the more he pleased the Lord.

Ezek. 39:18 Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.

Ezek. 39:19 And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.

The feathered fowl and the wild beasts will partake of animals (rams, bullocks, etc.) as well as humans. They will be attracted by the blood at first and later by the carrion.

There are three perspectives:

1. A primary natural fulfillment with regard to Israel. With the hailstones, flood, earthquake, pestilence, etc., animals will die as well as humans. For example, all living beings will be affected when the earthquake occurs (Ezek. 38:19,20). One calamity after another will take place in the Holy Land to decimate the enemy host.

2. A secondary natural fulfillment with regard to the world.

3. A figurative fulfillment with regard to Christendom.

The flesh “of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings” refers to food that the enemy Gog will bring along. Everything will be consumed by the Israelites: implements of war, food, electronics, the literal enemy. Drinking “blood till ye be drunken” indicates satiation of spirit from the Jews’ seeing their enemy destroyed. In other words, by Gog’s defeat Israel will have satiation and satisfaction physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Figurative and literal language are commingled.

Ezek. 39:20 Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD.

Notice that God will spread the table: “Thus ye shall be filled at my table.” The fowl and the beasts will eat their fill of blood and fat of horses, riders (RSV), and mighty men.

Many try to figuratively and symbolically interpret Ezekiel 38 and 39, not from an Israeli standpoint but as a worldwide condition. They say the worldwide picture is the primary application, but these chapters say that Gog comes from the north into Israel. Other prophets confirm this, one example being, “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle” (Zech. 14:2). Failure to see the literal aspect of Jacob’s Trouble indicates a lack of Bible study. In other pictures, but not here, the birds of prey are in a worldwide scene, and the feathered fowl represent the depraved of mankind—the terrorists and the anarchistic element who, in the Time of Trouble, will plunder and destroy. Many will end up killing each other.

They will fight like dogs over a bone and destroy one another in the process. The populace are enjoined to seek meekness and righteousness in the hope that they may be hid. The more one stays aloof from the mad-dog fight, the better his chance of survival.

Ezek. 39:21 And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.

God’s deliverance of Israel will be so spectacular, so unique, that it will be different from anything that has happened in the past—chiefly because of the multitude of ways the deliverance will be accomplished. Of course the primary focus of attention will be in Israel. God’s judgments there will be the centerpiece of His glory. However, the Scriptures show that there will be happenings in other nations too. “When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isa. 26:9). The whirlwind comes from the coasts of the earth. “And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground” (Jer. 25:33). Many people will die in other lands in the anarchy. If, say, one half of earth’s population die in the trouble, that would be billions.

Ezek. 39:22 So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward.

Israel will not be converted until Jacob’s Trouble: “from that day and forward.”

Ezek. 39:23 And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword.

The heathen, the Gentiles, the other nations, will know that Israel previously trespassed against God, and for that reason He hid His face from them during the Diaspora, as shown by the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

Ezek. 39:24 According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them.

It has been a hard lesson for those in the wrong heart attitude. Consider right-hearted Daniel and Nehemiah, who prayed as if they were the guilty ones (Dan. 9:4–19; Neh. 1:4–11).

Israel’s uncleanness has to be exposed in order to create a new climate for rebirth and regeneration.

Ezek. 39:25 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name;

Ezek. 39:26 After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.

Ezek. 39:27 When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;

Verse 26 indicates there will be a period of complacency and prosperity just before Jacob’s Trouble, a time when Israel will begin to forget the Lord. Therefore, Israel will have to bear their shame in Jacob’s Trouble, but then God will be jealous for His holy name and save them out of the trouble. He will “have mercy on the whole house of Israel” (on those surviving Jacob’s Trouble as well as on all who come back from the grave). The Kingdom will have a distinct beginning. God’s methods of starting with the Holy Remnant, where they mourn for Jesus as for an only child, will create the greatest cleansing, the most beneficial, the most lasting effect.

God will “bring again the captivity of Jacob.” First, the living generation (all surviving Jews in Gentile lands) will return to Israel after Jacob’s Trouble; then those in the tomb will come forth. The exception will be the Ancient Worthies, who will be revealed with the Holy Remnant. Those captive to death in life (the Holy Remnant) plus certain select, elect ones in the tomb (the Ancient Worthies) will come forth.

When the Jews who survive the trouble in Gentile lands are brought back to Israel, God will be “sanctified in them in the sight of many nations.” When the world sees the Holy Remnant—when it is seen that these Jews are a changed, contrite people—the Gentiles will be impressed just as we are when we see a former reprobate who has accepted Christ and truth and thus has undergone a radical change.

Ezek. 39:28 Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.

Then shall they know” that Jehovah is their God. He will gather the Jews unto their own land and leave “none of them any more there [in Gentile lands].” This gathering will occur after Jacob’s Trouble; that is, a gathering occurs before Jacob’s Trouble (currently going on) and a gathering occurs immediately after so that ultimately no Jews will be left in Gentile lands except the Ancient Worthies sent there by the Lord.

Ezek. 39:29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

God will no more hide His face from the Jews when He pours out His spirit upon Israel. When He puts His spirit in them, they shall live (Ezek. 37:14). Although the selective sparing of the Holy Remnant will be especially dramatic and noticeable in Israel, it will also occur in other nations. All Jews who survive the Trouble worldwide will comprise the Holy Remnant. However, this does not mean that every Jew should now settle in Israel, for some are of mixed marriages, and there are other complications. Such determinations will be made under the laws of the Kingdom. The Kingdom will be a dictatorship along the lines of righteousness. To some the laws will be very severe; others will rejoice in the laws because of former oppression.

God will pour out His spirit on Israel in connection with the trouble. Similarly, when a child is punished, he can learn a lesson and become more responsive, have a new spirit. Jacob’s Trouble, the judgment by the Lord, will change the Jew. Psalm 119:67 expresses the principle: “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word

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  1. […] 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 3:14-16 […]

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