One recurring theme throughout much of the Old Testament speaks of a time when Israel will no longer be able to profane the name of the Lord their GOD. One of these passages is found in Ezekiel 39:7-8:
“So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the LORD the Holy One in Israel. Surely, it is coming, and it shall be done,” says the Lord GOD. “This is the day of which I have spoken.”
Throughout history, the Israelis have gone through a continual cycle of following the Lord their God and His dictates for a time, and then slipping back into the ways of the pagan nations around them. God would send prophet after prophet to confront them but instead of heeding the prophetic warnings, they would abuse and often kill these prophets. In the end they would become apostate in their beliefs. God’s remedy for this was usually to allow the Israelis to be overtaken by Gentile nations who would then put them in bondage. Eventually, the bondage would become so severe that Israel would once again cry out to the Lord. In time, God would send them a deliverer.
In a very real sense, all peoples that have gained a true knowledge of God, go through this same struggle. With Israel however, the forces of hell have been especially relentless. From the very beginning, all the way back to when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s simple command in the Garden and thus bringing sin and death to the human race, God had a plan for man’s redemption. The plan was the Messiah, who would be brought into the world by supernatural means through the young Jewish virgin, Mary. Knowing that the Messiah was to come into the world through God’s chosen people, the Hebrews, Satan did everything he could to destroy the Hebrew people before God’s plan could come to completion. When the Messiah did come, Satan thought that killing Him would doom the human race. Wrong! 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 tells us:
…we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew, for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Just as the demonic rulers of this world thought they would defeat God’s plan of salvation for mankind by killing the Messiah at His first coming—and failed—so they think that annihilating God’s chosen people before the Messiah’s second coming will defeat God’s plan by proving Him a covenant breaker and liar. It will never happen because God will not allow the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be destroyed. He said so! There are many Scriptures that speak to Israel’s unfaithfulness to God; yet there are also His promises that He will not allow them to be destroyed. The early portion of Ezekiel 36 details God’s promise to bring them back into their ancestral lands and that He will bless the land so that it produces in extraordinary abundance, to the amazement of the world. God also promised to multiply the population of the land, both with people and animals. Additionally, God promised that the nations surrounding Israel would bear the shame of what they have done to the Jewish nation. In the 15th verse, God even goes as far as to say that He would deal with the taunts coming from the nations around. These things mentioned in the first fifteen verses are still in process of being fulfilled. Starting in verse 16, God begins to speak to the rebellion of Israel that brought His judgments on them, but also His promise to bring them through to the purposes He had intended from the beginning for the nation. Note what God had to say through His prophet, starting at verse 19:
“So I scattered them among the nations and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds. When they came to the nations, wherever they went, they profaned My holy name—when they said of them, ‘These are the people of the LORD, and yet they have gone out of His land.’ But I had concern for My holy name which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD,” says the Lord GOD, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. “For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God….
“Not for your sake do I do this,” says the Lord GOD, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!…
“Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places…So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.”
Not a single one of God’s covenants, promises, or decrees can be broken by men, nations, or even the kingdom of hell. Israel will continue to exist as a nation, and although they still today do not recognize their Messiah, they soon will. Their eyes are soon to be opened. All of God’s covenant promises to them as a nation will be fulfilled, but in the meantime, the evil god of this world will continue trying to obliterate the nation from the face of the earth. We will see in Ezekiel 38 and 39, as this massive conglomerate force invades the mountains of Israel, that God’s fury will rise up in His face, because He has had enough! God’s prophetic warning to Gog is beyond ominous!
“And it shall come to pass, at the same time when Gog comes against the land of Israel”, says the Lord GOD, “that My fury will show in My face. For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken…” Ezekiel 38:18-19a
We will come back to the specifics of God’s warning to Gog a bit later. First, there are some important things to notice in verses 10-13 of Ezekiel 38.
Thus says the Lord GOD: “On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan. You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates—to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you, ‘Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder?’”
As we have seen, Gog’s attack on Israel will be after years of never-ending attacks on the nation, both by means of terrorist attacks and wars. From the very day of Israel’s independence on May 14, 2018, Israel’s enemies have wanted nothing less than to obliterate the young nation. God has intervened many times in Israel’s wars; oftentimes so obviously that witnesses could not help but give testimony to the unusual miracles they observed with their own eyes.
In this passage starting in verse 10 we find a dual prophecy. I believe there are two entities being referred to that will suffer a massive attack. We will look at the most obvious in today’s writing. Gog’s evil plan specifically says that Gog will attack a people who are living without walls; a peaceful people dwelling safely without bars and gates. It has generally been understood by most prophecy experts that this is referring to Israel, and I agree, although I believe that more than Israel is being referred to here.
In order for Israel as a nation to fit the prophetic description of this passage, something drastic will have to transpire which changes Israel’s security situation. As has been pointed out, Israel is the most “walled” nation on earth today. Either Israel is not a victim in this prophecy or a regional war breaks out in which Israel is the victor, which drastically relaxes Israel’s security concerns, before Gog decides to bring his coalition down onto the mountains of Israel. This would also necessitate Israel winning such an overwhelming victory over the enemies on her borders that she sees no need for the extensive protective walls to be left in place.
In order for Israel to be at ease as described in Ezekiel 38:11, this conflict will not be like other Mideast conflicts such as Israel’s 6-Day war in 1967 or the Yom Kippur War of 1973. This coming conflict will also be a far cry from either one of the wars Israel has fought with Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror organization. I believe this will prove to be the major Mideast war the Jewish seer Asaph foresaw and wrote about in prose in Psalm 83.
This coming war will erupt and be fought and won with such speed, with such devastating infrastructure damage and loss of life, that Israel’s enemies will be left in utter shock, wondering what just happened! The result, of course, will be world-wide condemnation but Israel will have ended the Palestinian problem. Israel’s borders, as with every other modern war she has fought, will likely be expanded. This will effectively remove the closest danger from all sides, including the existential threat from the extremist leadership of Iran’s mullahs. Damascus will be no more, along with most everything in the corridor from northern Syria to Amman, Jordan. Iran’s nuclear program and its aggressive stand against Israel will be severely crippled. Both Hezbollah and Hamas will be decimated as a military threat, as well as every other Arab or Muslim insurgency group that makes the mistake of joining the confederacy against Israel. And, Islam will have suffered a major embarrassment and humiliation. It is even possible that this may at least partially pave the way toward an imminent building of Israel’s third temple.
In verse 12 of the passage above, Ezekiel tells us that the Gog-Magog coalition has the intention of taking a great deal of booty; silver, gold, goods, and great plunder. In verse 14, God tells His prophet to specifically speak these words to Gog,
…Thus says the Lord GOD: “On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it? Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army, You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land; it will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land…” verses 14-16a
Once again the prophecy makes it clear that Israel will be living in safety and it will be obvious to Gog. He will then take advantage of this fact, come with his overwhelming forces, with full intent of totally decimating Israel and stripping away her wealth. It is only fairly recently that Israel could be seen as a nation with enviable wealth. For many years, it seemed that most of her neighbors had seemingly unending reserves of black gold…oil. Yet, it seemed that the same was not the case for Israel…until both oil and gas were also found in Israel. Production of oil began around 2010 and natural gas around 2013. Israel’s natural gas reserves are some of the largest in the world today and although originally it was thought that Israel’s oil deposits were modest at best, geologists have since found that Israel’s oil reserves may be into the billions of barrels. The strata where oil is being found is on average about ten times as thick as normal findings, worldwide. In addition, due to the Dead Sea being the lowest elevation in the world, it is expected by some geologists that as Israel’s oil reserves are tapped, surrounding oil reserves will flow into Israel from the neighboring reserves. This of course, remains to be seen.
Since production began of Israel’s gigantic gas reserves, plans have been laid to construct an underwater gas pipeline, which will connect the Leviathan and Aphrodite offshore gas fields with Greece, Italy, and Turkey. The project has already received preliminary approval from the Ministry of Energy of Israel and interested European nations. The planned gas line, at about 2,000 km long has the distinction of the longest in the world, and reportedly, the deepest.
Israel’s burgeoning wealth from its oil and gas deposits is only part of what Ezekiel’s prophecy may have been referring to when he foretold of the “great plunder” that Gog will attempt to take from Israel. Israel is well known for its technology. Israel owns an astounding number of patents in many fields today, from biology, to telecommunications, computers and software, pharmaceuticals and medicine, the defense industry, agriculture, water desalination and much more. Hundreds of multinational companies have built production centers and research facilities in Israel, and…..the story goes on and on. God has prospered the Jewish people who have returned to their ancient land just as He promised He would. It was only a few years ago that it would have seemed absurd to think that a massive military force would think it worthwhile to attack Israel for its resources. But, Gog may have another motive for his attack on Israel beyond Israel’s “booty.”
It is a well known fact that the Federation of Russia has a lack of warm water ports from which to operate its worldwide trade. On the Pacific, they have Vladivostok; in the Baltic, St. Petersburg, and on the Black Sea, the Crimea. Russia has been operating through the port of Tartus in Syria as well. Another well-known fact is that Russia, although having some of the largest oil reserves in the world, finds it very difficult to compete on the world oil market due to the very high costs of extracting oil from their reserves. This is not the case for Middle East countries. One of the reasons Saudi Arabia is able to drop the cost of its oil as low as it does when necessary is because of its very low extraction costs. For just these reasons alone, Russia is obsessed with controlling the Middle East. Russia has numerous obstacles in its ability to exert the control it wants in the region. One of these reasons is NATO, particularly the United States. A second reason, and a growing concern, is Israel’s military power and its apparent ability to keep its enemies at bay. This flies in the face of Gog’s hegemony in the region.
As Israel’s enemies become increasingly belligerent, war will become inevitable for the nation, no matter how much Israel would like to avoid it. And, although the players included in the Gog and Magog war are strategically moving into place, the most likely imminent conflict is the Psalm 83 regional mideast war. Whether this will immediately include the devastation of Damascus or not, only God really knows. The same can be said concerning the prophet Jeremiah’s prophecy of the destruction of ancient Elam, or western Iran. One thing is for sure, all Israel’s attempts at avoiding another war with her neighbors will soon fail. This has been foretold through a number of God’s prophets.
In the Scriptures describing Israel’s conflicts at the end of the age, there is a striking contrast between how God sovereignly chooses to deal with Israel’s adversaries in the Psalm 83 regional war and the much larger Gog-Magog war. Below are two of the Scriptures that describe what happens to Israel’s enemies, in this case, at the hand of Israel’s military.
Thus says the Lord GOD: “Because of what Edom did against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and has greatly offended by avenging itself on them, therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “I will also stretch out My hand against Edom, cut off man and beast from it, and make it desolate from Teman; Dedan shall fall by the sword. I will lay My vengeance on Edom by the hand of My people Israel, that they may do in Edom according to my anger and according to my fury; and they shall know My vengeance,” says the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 25:12-14 (emphasis, mine)
The house of Jacob will be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame; but the house of Esau shall be stubble; they shall kindle them and devour them. And no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau,” for the LORD has spoken. Obadiah 18 (emphasis, mine)
These above passages are only two of many that describe God using Israel’s military to exact His vengeance on Israel’s enemies. What happens with the Gog-Magog coalition is however a much different story. In Ezekiel’s description of what happens to Israel’s enemies in this war, the prophet says this:
…”Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel, so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains,” says the Lord GOD, “Every man’s sword will be against his brother. And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. “ Ezekiel 38:19b-22
As the prophet ends chapter 38 and continues into chapter 39, he provides more details of God’s actions against Gog and his military forces:
…”Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; and I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the far north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel, then I will knock the bow out of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand. You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you. I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. You shall fall on the open field, for I have spoken,” says the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 39:1b-5.
It is quite clear that God decides to deal with Israel’s enemies in this massive military force in His own way, much as He did with Israel’s enemies early in their history. We find a number of details showing mankind is always outmatched when rising up in rebellion to God’s will. We remember God’s reaction in chapter 38:18, when He sees the attack coming; His fury rises up in His face. We are then told that God hits the mountains of Israel, where they have congregated, with a terrible earthquake. This is in fact, a worldwide quake which we will come back to for discussion. God also hits Israel’s enemies with a massive meteor storm, along with great hail and fire and brimstone. God destroys their rocket and missile launchers while knocking the missiles right out of the air. God causes the troops to turn on each other and this great amassed military force becomes a feast for the vultures and carnivores that God has sent for the purpose.
According to several translations, God destroys 85% of the combined forces right there on the mountains of Israel. The battle is so decisive and the slaughter so great that the whole world becomes aware that there is a God in Israel. God describes it in these words:
“Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.” Ezekiel 38:23
To be continued in Part Ten as we examine more of the details of this soon to come prophetic event.