Having slaughtered Gog and his armies on the mountains of Israel. Okay, maybe that was a little harsh, besides that, my pastor says I am a little edgy and slaughtered is an edgy type of word. And yet, that is how things seem.
Does God wipe out the Islamic armies of the world with this battle? Not by any stretch of the imagination; and yet, that is the garbage that many of our so-called Bible teachers teach. Why? Because in reality, these prophecies/stories, are much like fractals, which, when you look closely they make no sense, but step back and take it all in, and then you can see the overall picture. All of God’s word is like this. Some aspects of the fractal are beautiful in themselves and carry deep meaning, and yet make up the larger, more complex picture.
In the last post, I covered Ezekiel 39:17-20. It too is a fractal but without a doubt a bloody and deadly one. It has all the components of most horror movies. Blood, fireballs from heaven, lightning strikes upon the enemy, and hail, most likely in the hundred pound range, falling upon the enemy. God speaks here, much as he does in Revelation 19 where he calls forth the flesh-eating birds to feast upon the dead. Apparently, God’s word is a little edgy.
In the midst of all this horror and chaos we have this:
Ezekiel 39:21 NASB “And I will set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them.
As I speak, the nations are spread across multiple continents, speaking a variety of languages. Since God passed out those languages when he separated man at the tower of Babel, then I suppose this is not an issue for Him.
The words in the sentence give me nothing that explains or conveys what this glory will be or look like; so, let’s pursue it a bit deeper. The Complete Jewish Bible translates this verse in this way:
“Thus will I display my glory among the nations, so that all the nations will see my judgment when I execute it and my hand when I lay it on them.”
The Word Study Dictionary tells us:
“This Hebrew word also means to put, to place, or something literally placed: the luminaries in the sky (Gen_1:17); God’s bow in the clouds (Gen_9:13); the ark on a cart (1Sa_6:8); the abomination in the temple. It could also be something figuratively placed: an obstacle (Eze_3:20); God’s Spirit (Isa_42:1).”
The verse itself tells us that God will set His glory among the nations. This display among the nations is not the first time He has done something like this, for He set His glory among Israel as they moved through the wilderness. We see that in Scripture as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Is this what He will do among the nations, perhaps not since the cloud and the fire was a benefit to Israel, and we are talking about the time of wrath and judgment.
When I look up the word glory I get this:
kabod (458c); from H3513; abundance, honor, glory:
The problem with these words is that they are intangible; only demonstrated through a relationship of trust. But God is not looking, at least during this period, the time of wrath, to show people that He can be trusted. He has already established that aspect of His character. (And yet, because He guaranteed that the wrath would come, isn’t He, once again, establishing that He is trustworthy, in a negative way?)
The word see is rō’eh: A verb meaning to see. It’s basic denotation is to see with the eyes (Gen_27:1).
As we have explored the meanings of words we can see that the judgments are the things to be seen.
“and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them.”
What, in brief, are the judgments against Israel and the Nations?
Revelation 6:12 AMPC .. there was a great earthquake; and the sun grew black as sackcloth of hair, [the full disc of] the moon became like blood.
Joel 2:30-31 NASB “I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire, and columns of smoke. 31) “The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
Revelation 6:13 is taken from Isaiah 34:4 “.. And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; All their hosts will also wither away As a leaf withers from the vine, Or as one withers from the fig tree.”
Revelation 6:16 AMPC And they called to the mountains and the rocks, Fall on (before) us and hide us from the face of Him Who sits on the throne and from the deep-seated indignation and wrath of the Lamb. [Isa_2:19-21; Hos_10:8]
Revelation 7:1 AMPC … no wind should blow on the earth or sea or upon any tree. [Zec 6:5]
Rev_7:14 AMPC .. the great tribulation (persecution), and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. [Gen_49:11; Dan_12:1]
Daniel 12:1 CJB “.. there will be a time of distress unparalleled between the time they became a nation and that moment. ..
Revelation 8:7 CJB .. there came hail and fire mingled with blood, and it was thrown down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.
Revelation 8:8-9 CJB .. looked like an enormous blazing mountain was hurled into the sea. A third of the sea turned to blood, 9) a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
Revelation 8:10-11 CJB .. a third of the water became bitter, and many people died from the water that had been turned bitter.
Revelation 9:1-5 CJB .. came locusts, and they were given power like the power scorpions have on earth. 4) They were instructed not to harm the grass on the earth, any green plant or any tree, but only the people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5) The locusts were not allowed to kill them, only to inflict pain on them for five months; and the pain they caused was like the pain of a scorpion sting.
Revelation 9:14-15 CJB saying to the sixth angel, the one with the shofar, “Release the four angels that are bound at the great river Euphrates!” 15) And they were released. These four angels had been kept ready for this moment, for this day and month and year, to kill a third of mankind;
While there is more, can you see a visible aspect to what is being poured out upon the earth?
Ezekiel 39:22 NASB “And the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God from that day onward.
Again, there is a horrid variety of explanations on this, most foolishly cut Israel out of the picture prior to this moment in time, as they espouse their replacement theology. God is not done with Israel and this is a perfect example.
The verse tells us, “from that day forward,” the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord. The question is, from what day? The short answer is, from the beginning of the seven years of wrath and judgment that includes Israel.
Isaiah 25:7 NASB And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, Even the veil which is stretched over all nations.
Isaiah 29:18 NASB On that day the deaf will hear words of a book, And out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.
I suppose at this point the question that I have asked, just as most others have asked, is why?
Ezekiel 39:23-24 NASB “The nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me, and I hid My face from them; so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and all of them fell by the sword. 24) “According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I dealt with them, and I hid My face from them.”‘”
The explanation is self-explanatory, but there an aspect that I have trouble with, “and all of them fell by the sword.” Now, is it true that all of Israel falls by the sword? The answer is NO, and we know that one-third of Israel escapes being killed during the seven years.
It seems that the translators lead us astray as well when the phrase “and all” can mean a variety of things depending upon the preceding noun or a definite article.
The Word Study Dictionary states:
kōl: A particle meaning each, every, all, everything, the whole, entire. It has an inclusive meaning of all or every one of something. Its exact meaning must be discerned from its usage in its context. Some representative samplings will help: With the definite article, it means the whole or everything of something (Ecc_11:5); used before a definite noun, it expresses the whole of that noun, the whole earth (Gen_9:19); whole people (Gen_41:40). Used after a noun, it can refer to the whole or entirety of the preceding noun (2Sa_2:9); before a plural noun, it usually means all, all the nations (Isa_2:2); before a collective noun, it means all or every, all people (Gen_7:21). Before a singular noun, it means every (Est_3:8). Other nuances of its use can be discerned from studying its context closely.
While not killing them all God indeed turned His face and forsook them.
Deuteronomy 31:17 AMPC Then My anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide My face from them. And they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?
Having struggled to find for myself who God is, this is a little hard to accept. Is it an accurate statement? Yes, then it is true that, for a time, God turned His face and forsook Israel. I sit with judgmental men who make comments like this only they condemn far too many to hell, as they decide who God is turning His back on. What I see as a puzzlement is a God who tattoos the faces of His people – this includes you and me, on His hands and then tells us that our faces are ever before Him. The key to understanding this lies in Israel choosing to disobey. Since sin is an integrated aspect of this body I drag around, then my only hope is to lean heavily on the one who gave me His righteousness.