About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Chapter 38 - 39
Prophecy Against Gog (ch. 38:1 – 39:29)
verse 1 and 2 we see that Ezekiel "is to set his face against Gog,
verse 2 we see that Gog is the chief of Magog.
Magog simply means "from Gog."
Gog is from Magog. That is not hard to understand.
the NIV Bible, Gog is the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.
There is a third name that the NIV leaves out but other
translations record, including the Greek Septuagint, and that is the
Hebrew word "Rosh." The
problem arises because of the process of translation from the Hebrew
text. The word
"chief" in the NIV and other translations is the Hebrew word
on how you view this word grammatically, will determine how you
translate the sentence. Is
it a noun or an adjective? If
it is a noun it should be a place name and if it is an adjective then it
should describe something as it does in the NIV.
That is to say, Gog is the chief (rosh in Hebrew) of two
localities. If rosh is a
noun, then it is a name of a place and thus should be listed with the
other two localities.
KJV uses the Hebrew word "rosh" as an adjective, as does the
NIV. Jerome, the fourth
century Bible scholar translated the Bible into Latin.
It is called the Latin Vulgate.
He was the first one to translate rosh as an adjective which the
King James translators adopted.
Meshach, and Tubal, are all tribes that you can find in the Bible in
early civilizations. See
Genesis 10. Their existence
and migration are somewhat traceable.
The name Rosh, however, is not mentioned in the Bible as a place,
other than here if you understand Rosh to be the name of a place.
Rosh means, "first or top" or something similar, and
thus some see it as top of the earth, as in
fifth century B.C. Greek philosopher and historian Herodotus gives us a
bit of history about this. Josephus,
a first century Jewish historian along with Pliny, a first century Roman
historian fills in even more blanks for us concerning the Scythians.
thing we know about the Scythians is that they are the first one in
human history to make good use of horses, something that might well be
prophetically interesting since we see the use of horses in the book of
of these scholars also say that
of the above being said, there are a growing number of scholars who no
verse 2 God tells Ezekiel "to set his face against" Gog.
The word "against" suggests to me that what is about to
be prophesied is not really something to be taken as being friendly.
also that this leader is called "the prince of Magog."
I think this might be important.
Many people see this prince as a world leader, that is, the
anti-Christ. I am not
convinced he is the anti-Christ. The
word prince reminds me of Daniel 10 where we see the prince of
3 specifically says that God is against Gog.
That being said, we will see that God uses Gog to do His will, as
He often does throughout history. God
uses satan to do His will. You
can certainly see that at the cross of Christ.
verse 4 God tells Gog that He will put hooks in his jaw and virtually
drag Gog out from where he lives with all his armies ready for war.
In the days when Ezekiel was prophesying these things men would
put special hooks in the bridles of horses.
If the horse went in a direction he was not supposed to go, these
hooks would cut into their jaw. This
is sort of what God was saying here.
God was dragging Gog of Magog from his nation down to the south
for war. Clearly, what was
going on here was of God's doing and making, not the devil's.
verses 5 and 6 we note that other nations will be with Gog for the
battle spoken of in this chapter. We
we can note here is that Gog of Magog, or
6 states that there are other nations
Also we should note that the nations
mentioned here in Ezekiel 38 do not
verse 7 and 8 God tells Gog and these other nations to be ready for war.
He says in "many days" and in "future years"
you will be called to arms. This
will surely happen, and maybe very soon. Again,
you see God Himself initiating this call to arms.
It's not the devil who makes this call. You
can see the same thing in Revelation 6.
The horrible things that happen because of the seven seals only
happens because Jesus lets it happen when He, and only He, opens the
seals. Beyond this, the four
horsemen described in Revelation 6 are only let loose once the four
living creatures tell them to "come" so they can do their evil
on the world.
verse 8 we see who Gog and his allies will be attacking.
It is the
8 also states that the attack will be against a people who have been
gathered from many nations. Clearly,
there's no argument concerning that.
It's been prophesied over and over again, and it has come true.
Jewish people have been returning to their homeland for a number
of years now, especially since the mid 1800's.
verse 8 we see the words "mountains of
words "that have long been desolate" also appear in verse 8.
That is speaking of the land
thing we should note from these verses is that it is
8 also states that "they," meaning the Jews, have been brought
out of the nations and now live in safety.
You might wonder what this means.
Some suggest that this idea of safety is the peace treaty that
the anti-Christ makes with Israel. Othera suggest that it is
not total peace and safety, but relative peace and safety.
people see the war of Psalm 83 as happening before this war.
The war of Psalm 83 is a different war because different nations
are involved. These nations
are the nations that border present day Israel. These people suggest that
9 tells us that Gog with all the nations will go up and cover the land
like a cloud. This suggests
to me, one very large and massage army.
Note in this passage the use of horses in this attack.
It is debatable whether we will see real horses in this war.
Remember, when this prophecy was being spoken, no one knew of
airplanes, tanks, and nuclear warfare.
God, as is always the case in the Bible, speaks in terms in which
the people can understand. On
the other hand, as I stated earlier, the Scythians were the first to use
horses in warfare.
you see the word "go up" here and elsewhere in relation to
Israel and Jerusalem, that is not "up" in the sense of
direction, but "up" in the sense of elevation.
verse 10 we read that "thoughts will come into the mind" of
Gog to devise a plan of attack. This
is the question. "Where did these thoughts come from?"
The context makes it clear. Earlier
in the chapter we learned that it was God who would drag Gog down from
the north to make his attack. Therefore,
it was God who put the thoughts of verse 10 into the mind of Gog.
That being said, God might use a demon, or the demon prince of
11 and 12 state some of the thoughts that go through the mind of Gog.
Note one thought was to attack the land that was in peace, with
unwalled cities, who might not expect an attack.
I have noted this a couple of paragraphs back, but
being said, the general consensus seems to be that the Israeli
government will feel and think it is secure.
You might say that they are putting their trust in their own
ability. It would border on
verse 12 we note that Gog wants to "loot" Israel
because they are rich. Is
note that Gog has reasons to attack Israel. The text does not say that
the other nations involved have the same reason for attack.
I suggest they don't. I
suggest that there reasons are due to their Islamic religion. Islam
teaches that Israel
should not exist. Islam
believes that in the end, they will totally destroy Israel.
verses 12 and 13 we see Sheba, Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish and her villages asking Gog if he
was attacking in order to loot Israel. Many scholars feel that
in verse 12 the phrase "Tarshish and her villages," or, as
some translations state, which I like better, "Tarshish and her
young or strong lions." If
text seems to suggest that Saudi Arabia, England, Canada, the United
States, and other western nations, or whoever these other nations are,
just sit back for some reason and do nothing about his attack.
It's like they don't have the guts, the fortitude to do what is
necessary to stop this attack. They
might well be afraid of a world ending nuclear war, so they let
might suggest that the
though the western nations do not seem to participate in this war, and
that is assuming they are actually mentioned here; they have to be held
accountable for not preventing this attack.
It's the Abrahamic Covenant.
Those who curse
verse 14 God asks Gog that in the day when Israel
lives in safety, "will you not take notice of that"?
Simply put, God will turn his face from Israel. He will withhold His
protection from them for a while. Note
again that it is God who is actually putting the thought of attack into
Gog's mind, just as He did when He put the thought into satan's mind to
15 tells us what happens next. Gog
of Magog, meaning
also that Russia
is not the only nation that makes this attack.
Verse 15 states that "many nations" will come with Russia. We know what nations will
mount the attack with Russia
because they have already been stated in the first five verses of this
chapter. The words
"many nations" might also suggest even more nations than what
are listed above.
16 says that Gog will "advance against my people
verse 15 we saw the words "my people" and now in verse 16 we
see the words "my land." God
has a special claim on the Jews and the portion of land that is theirs.
This verse says that God will bring Gog to His land.
This makes it very clear. God
is involved in the affairs of humanity.
He intervenes in national affairs.
words "my land" is important.
This clearly means that the land God gave to Israel
is really His land. It's a
special set apart land from the rest of the world that belongs to Him as
well. It is important to
understand that the Bible teaches the
16 also tells us why God is doing this.
He is involving Himself in these things to show the nations of
the world who He is, and that would include an atheist
17 needs some thought. God
asks Gog, "Are you not the one I spoke of in former days by my
servants, the prophets of Israel? At that time they
prophesied for years that I would bring you against them."
The obvious question is, "what prophets prophesied these
things and when? We have no
record of these things. What
appears to be happening here is that these words are in fact directed to
verse 18 we see that God gets very angry at Gog, or
verse 19 God's wrath is seen in a large earthquake, so the NIV states.
Other translation say a great "shaking."
If the NIV is correct, there is an earthquake, yet some suggest
this shaking is due to bombs, or possibly an atomic bomb.
verse 20 we note that all of the birds, all the fish, all the animals,
and all people, will tremble at the presence of God.
All things will know that this earthquake, or whatever it is, is
due to God Himself. Humanity
will finally begin to acknowledge the existence of God in this world. Verse
20 sure sounds like parts of the book of Revelation where we see people
wanting to die but can't.
verse 21 God says that He will bring judgment against Gog by bringing a
sword against them. This is
done by those fighting against
judgment is called a plague of "bloodshed" in verse 22.
You see rain, hailstones, and burning sulfur.
Some people see this as real rain and hailstones.
Others see burning sulfur and see an atomic explosion.
What was not known in Ezekiel's day but is known now.
When a nuclear bomb explodes there is so much heat pushing up
into the stratosphere that ice is formed and falls to the ground as
hail. You might want to
compare this verse with Revelation 8:7, the blowing of the first
trumpet. The same words are
used. You might wonder if
Revelation 8:7 is what is talked about here in Ezekiel 38.
It might well be.
verse 23 God tells us that these things that take place on the earth
will show the nations His greatness and His holiness.
You can understand how this would display His greatness.
You might wonder how this would display is holiness.
The point here is that God is holy.
The KJV uses the word "sanctify" here.
The Hebrew word translated as sanctify or holy means pure and
clean. God is very disturbed
at our impure way of life. He
is pure. He demonstrates His
holiness by judging the nations for being unholy.
Verses 1 and 2 of chapter 39 are basically a repeat
of verses 1 and 2 of chapter 38. You
can go back and read my comments on Ezekiel 38:1 and 2.
Note again in verse 2 that it is God who will drag
As in chapter 38 we also see in verse 2 that God will
bring Gog from the far north. Again,
if you draw a line to the far north of
you read verse 2 in the KJV and the NKJV you will see a different
rendering of this verse. Both
of these versions insert the words "and will leave but one sixth
translations insert this verse because the Hebrew word here may, or may
not - it is obscure infer "one sixth" or "six."
The old Hebrew language is not easy to translate into English
because some of the meanings to words are simply unknown or only
partially known, as in this case. The
newer versions of the Bible probably have this verse correct when they
leave this phrase out.
In verses 3 to 5 we see that once God gets Gog and
her allies to Israel He will smite them.
He will rain fire on them. That
sounds like a military battle that
Verse 6 says that God will bring fire on Magog and
those who live in safety in the coastlands.
To me, this suggests that Israel
will not only defeat
Note the word "coastlands" in verse 6.
When this word is used in the Old Testament it is in reference to
lands, or continents, that is far away.
The idea is the those in the middle east sea the coasts of other
lands from a distance. It's
a bit speculative, but this could easily include North America, or at
The point here seems to be that when
In verse 7 God says that at this time He will make
His name known among
We need to note that
is not the only one being attacked here.
The coastlands are attacked too.
If the coastlands signifies North America, that would mean
We need to understand that
In verse 8 God reconfirms.
"It is coming", He said.
The day of the Lord and His wrath is coming, we can be assured of
that. What we see in these
chapters will come, and might come sooner than we think.
Verses 9 and 10 states that the weapons from this
battle will be gather up by Israel
and used for fuel. In the
minds of many, these weapons must be nuclear, because how would
conventional weapons supply fuel, or the energy for modern living?
There will be sufficient energy from these weapons that keeps Israel
going for seven years. I
spoke about the natural gas find off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea
that would keep Israel
and a nation the size of America
going for seven hundred years. Well,
if that is so, it might be possible that the pipe-lines for this natural
gas were destroyed, and it would take this seven years to fix. There
is also the possibility that Israel will become a major player in oil
since they are beginning to discover oil in the rocks beneath the earth.
This oil will be very valuable to Russia and the world.
Those who believe this battle takes place at the
first of the last seven year period, say that this is how Israel gets
her energy needs fulfilled during the seven last years.
Thos who say this battle is in the middle, or the end, of the
last seven years point out that when Jesus returns at the end of the
seven years to set up his kingdom, Israel
will still need energy. What
many fail to think about is that the thousand year rule of Jesus on
earth is not the new earth, as seen at the end of the book of
Revelation. The millennium,
as it is called by many, is a continuation of human history as we have
known it. Again, it's not
the new earth, when all things are made new.
Things will go on as they have, but for a thousand years, Jesus
will be in charge, and as you read in Zechariah 14:16 to 21, nations and
peoples will still have the choice to obey Jesus or not.
Therefore, we will still need fuel to run our economies.
We also learn in verse 10 that
In verses 11 to 16 we see a seven month period where
will bury the dead from the enemy armies.
It will take that long. Note
in verse 14 there are special men employed to do this task.
Those who feel that this attack was with the use of nuclear
weapons say that these are experts who know how to handle nuclear
material. Note also that in
verse 15 and 16 that if anyone even finds a bone from the dead, he will
put a marker by the bone so these experts will be able to take care of
the matter and dispose of the bones properly and safely.
Again, this does sound like this war was nuclear in nature.
We note that in verse 17 to 20 that even the birds
and wild animals get to participate in the recovery efforts. They
get to eat from the dead bodies. God
calls this a sacrifice for the animals.
In verse 21 we see God's ultimate goal in all this
destruction. It's just not
the revival of Israel
so His glory can be seen in her. It's
so that His glory can be seen in all the earth.
He is the creator of all things. Total submission to God by all
nations is the ultimate end to what this chapter is all about.
In verse 22 we see the reoccurring theme.
In that day Israel
will know that Yahweh is their God.
The thought continues in verse 23.
Also on that day, all the nations will finally know that the
Verse 23 says that God hid His face from
during those years. He hid
His face, but He did not leave or forsake them. There
is a difference. In 1948 He
began to stop hiding His face. This
is similar to what God the Father did to Jesus while on the cross.
God hid His face from Jesus because He became sin.
God did not leave or forsake Jesus.
He just refused to deliver Him from the cross.
In verse 24 God said that He dealt with
Verse 25 repeats what has already been said.
God will bring His people Israel
back from captivity and have compassion on them.
Even before 1948 God began to bring His people back.
became a nation in 1948, His people had their own land to come to.
Since 1948 the Jews have continued to come back to their
homeland. Yet just having
the Jews returning is not the end of the matter.
Once they come back we have the punishment of God on Israel
that will bring the Jews to their knees so God can pour out a spirit of
repentance on them. Then I
believe this verse comes into play.
God will have full compassion on the Jews when they repent.
This would be the fulfillment of verse 25.
There's one thing we need to understand concerning
prophecy. Here we see that
God will bring the Jews back to
Note God saying, "I will be zealous for my holy
name". Yes, God does
love us, but all the way through this prophecy and throughout the Old
Testament we see that God is zealous to keep is name from being defamed.
That means a lot to Him, and in the long run,
all that He does is to protect His holy image.
This is what I believe this phrase means.
In verse 26 God criticized
for their false sense of security. They
felt safe for secure in their own land.
They trusted themselves and not their God.
Many Christians are in the same situation today.
This idea that
was safe in their own land is well debated.
Are they living in safety now?
That's debatable. I
think they live in fear. Some
suggest that the anti-christ will bring a measure of safety.
It's hard to say exactly what this might mean, but we will know
Part of the end result of all these things is seen in
verse 27. One end result is
that all the nations of the world will know that God's chosen people is Israel, and they have a real job to play in the history of man from this point
In verse 28 we see that God exiled
Israel, and I believe this is speaking of 70 A.D..
Then He brings them back to their land, which I believe has been
happening for the last number of decades.
On the surface, both of these events could not be seen as an act
of God, but they were.
What God says in verse 29 goes along with what He
spoke through Zechariah, and that is, God will pour His Spirit out on Israel. What a day that will be.
There is one thing I'd like to note concerning this
war of Ezekiel 38 and 39. It
is not the same war that is mentioned in Psalm 83.
The nations that are mentioned in the Ezekiel war do not
specifically surround modern day Israel. The ten nations that are
mentioned in Psalm 83 all border on present day Israel. The corresponding modern
day nations to those mentioned in Psalm 83 are, Egypt, Saudi Arabia
Some Bible teachers see more than two wars at the end
of this age. Some see up to nine wars.
Some suggest that the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39 might be a brief
overview of all the final wars. The problem with figuring out the
meaning to these wars is the timing, and there is much debate over this