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Go to Bible: Ezekiel 38
“The word of Yahweh came to me.” Ezekiel 38 and 39 are one vision (Ezek. 40 starts a different vision) and describes the invasion of Israel by Gog and its hordes, and then the destruction of those armies by Yahweh.(top)
“set your face toward Gog...and prophesy against him.” In this context in Ezekiel, Gog is the name (or designation) of a person. For centuries scholars have tried to identify Gog and even what the name “Gog” means, all without success. Most scholars try to identify him as a historic figure, believing Ezekiel was written in post-exilic times, but that is a mistake and, predictably, has not yielded any satisfactory results. The Word of God is “God-breathed” and in this prophecy, God is speaking about the distant future. The content of the prophecy (Ezek. 38 and 39) show that this is a prophecy that even now is future, and the most likely candidate for “Gog” is the Antichrist, the one who will attack Israel during the Great Tribulation.In Revelation 20:8, “Gog” is the name of a country or gathering of people.
“Magog...Meshech, and Tubal.” These are countries or people groups, not individuals, but exactly which countries are not known (although widely guessed at). It is even possible that the countries were not formed in Ezekiel’s time and may not even be in place today. They are countries during the Great Tribulation. C. F. Keil writes, “These are all summoned by Gog, and gathered together for an attack upon the people of God. This points to a time when their [Israel’s] former foes, Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistines, and Syrians, and the old imperial powers, Egypt, Asshur, Babel [Babylon], Javan [Geece], will all have passed away from the stage of history, and the people of God will stand in the centre [sic] of the historical life of the world, and will have spread so widely over the earth, that its foes will only be found on the borders of the civilized world (cp. Rev. 20:8)” (Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament).
Although some versions read, “the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal,” the term “Rosh” is much more likely that part of a title, i.e. “chief ruler,” or “chief prince.”(top)
|Eze 38:3||- (top)|
“and I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you forth with all your army.” In this prophetic metaphor, Gog and his confederate armies are portrayed as some kind of animal (a crocodile or sea monster has been suggested by scholars, as well as a horse) that has been hooked by God and is being drawn out of his lair to God’s battle. This is a seemingly enigmatic sentence because in the prophecy of Ezekiel 38 and 39, God will destroy Gog and his confederate armies, so if that is the case, why is he turning them, hooking their jaw, and drawing them out to battle? This can be explained from the scope of the whole Bible and the way God consistently uses the idiom of permission throughout the Bible. The actual fact of the situation is that the Devil will draw these enemy armies into the battle (cp. Rev. 16:12-16). God will be working in Israel in the last days to show His glory to the world, and that will provoke the Devil and his hordes to attack Israel. The “you” in this sentence is singular, “you,” not “you all.” This indicates Gog’s leadership in this conspiracy.
[For an explanation of the idiom of permission, see commentary on Exod. 4:21].(top)
“Cush.” Ancient Ethiopia.
“Put.” Ancient Lybia in North Africa. A confederacy that involved both Persia and North Africa would represent the “whole inhabited world” (Rev. 16:14).(top)
|Eze 38:6||- (top)|
“and you be a guard for them.” This is in a military context, and thus has the implication of the leader being a guard to his gathered forces in the sense that he would lead them to victory. That idea is simplified and clarified in many versions that read something such as “take charge of them” (CJB); “take command of them” (NIV; NLT).(top)
“After many days you will be mustered; in the latter years.” This phrase is not explicit as to how long a time “many days” is. However, we are now some 2,500 years after Ezekiel wrote, and the event described is still future. The war described occurs in the “latter years,” and will occur during the Great Tribulation.
“a land that has been restored from the sword.” Ezek. 38:8 is about the End Times attack on Israel. At the time of Ezekiel, the fact that Israel is said to come to a time when it will be restored from the sword, which in Ezekiel’s time meant the conquest by Babylon and other pagan nations before it, would have been somewhat comforting, even though this prophecy would mean there would be another attack in the future. The phrase “restored from the sword,” means restored from war.(top)
|Eze 38:9||- (top)|
|Eze 38:10||- (top)|
“bars.” The “bars” were strong wooden beams that were placed behind the doors of the gate so they could not be opened and could withstand pounding from the outside without giving way. Those bars were the origin of the shout “Bar the doors!” when an enemy would approach.(top)
|Eze 38:12||- (top)|
“the young lions.” The young and powerful leaders. This is the figure of speech hypocatastasis, comparison by implication (see commentary on Rev. 20:2).
“hordes.” This is the army, see Ezek. 38:15.(top)
“will you not know it.” In this context, “know” means more than just “know,” it means to take notice and then do something about it, as we see in the next verse.(top)
|Eze 38:15||- (top)|
|Eze 38:16||- (top)|
|Eze 38:17||- (top)|
|Eze 38:18||- (top)|
“a great shaking in the land of Israel.” This refers to a great earthquake, and there are several in the Book of Revelation. However, given the extent of the destruction that is described here in Ezekiel 38:19-20, the most likely earthquake is the one described in Revelation 16:18. But it could also be that “a great shaking” is a collective description of the effects of all the earthquakes that happen during the Great Tribulation (cp. Rev. 6:12; 8:5; 11:13, 19; 16:18).(top)
“and the birds...and the animals...and all creeping things...and all the people…and the mountains...and the steep places...and every wall.” The “and” between each member in the list is the figure of speech polysyndeton, which emphasizes each thing in the list and thus highlights the huge extent of the destruction caused by the earthquake or earthquakes.(top)
|Eze 38:21||- (top)|
|Eze 38:22||- (top)|
|Eze 38:23||- (top)|