Having addressed who or what Gog could be in my previous post, we now look at the directive given to Ezekiel to prophecy against Gog (from a great distance, and through time,) about what God’s plan is, for the last days.
Ezekiel 38:3 NASB and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.
Eugene Peterson’s “The Message” gives us this, “Be warned, Gog. I am against you.
Ezekiel 38:4 CJB I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all completely equipped, a great horde with breastplates and shields, all wielding swords.
Why would verse four be immensely significant in the Jewish mind?
If you think back to the story of Jonah you remember that Jonah was asked to prophesy against Nineveh and tell them their days were numbered. While that might seem appropriate, especially if you had an intense hatred for the Ninevehites and wanted them dead because they were sadistically cruel and bloody people.
But Jonah also knew something about God that most of us miss, and that was that God’s nature was one of mercy. The other thing that Jonah understood was that the Ninevehites were a part of the Assyrian nation, just as Gog is, and they had the nasty habit of dragging their victims back to their lands by putting hooks in their mouths, among other places.
“I will turn you around.”
Another piece of insight for you. Having recently gone to the beach to be with family, I took an ice chest of cold drinks. I dragged that chest from the car, across the beach sand, and now, later in the day, I was dragging it back again. By the time I got to the stairs that lead up to the car, I was exhausted. I could feel the full weight of the ice chest as I went up the first step. Suddenly it got lighter. I actually thought I was going to turn around and see an angel. What I saw was the long-haired young man whom I had just passed carrying a skateboard. My wife, who was about 22 meters behind me, saw the skateboarder and internally had said, Lord, that would be great if that young man helped my husband. With that, the young man stopped, turned, and began to help me without saying a word. You see, God has ways of his will without a word being exchanged; and, the young man, he probably thought it was his great idea.
“and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all completely equipped, a great horde with breastplates and shields, all wielding swords.”
In one of my posts on Ezekiel 38, I went into great detail about the people of that region, the Scythians. One of their claims to fame is that they were skillful horsemen and deadly with weapons as they rode. Would Ezekiel have known that? It is highly possible as the line of descendants that produced these people existed long before Ezekiel did and he would have learned this through oral history.
At this point, I only wish to say, that someone attempted to challenge my previous assertions about Gog, saying, Gog was Satan. Based upon verse four alone is that probable?
Not likely seeing as 1Chronicles 5:4 shows us the lineage of a man named Gog, a descendant of Reuben – the disinherited son of Jacob, but then, Ezekiel’s prophecy and the actual occurrence of these events spans well over two thousand years and no one lives that long. The only other thing that has credence is a demonic spirit/ fallen angel that carries that name.
In this battle coming against Israel, who are the players?
Ezekiel 38:5-6 NASB Persia, Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6) Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops-many peoples with you.
Persia – Modern day Iran
Ethiopia – At one time Ethiopia was known as Cush.
Put – Put is the Libyans. While Qaddafi may have been a wild man, since his removal the nation has turned into a violent Muslim nation.
Gomer – Sits squarely in modern day Turkey.
Beth-togarmah – This was territory from which the Medes emanated. It is the region in which the Armenians resided. At one point in time, the Assyrian nations bordered Beth-togarmah, and it is the Caucasus region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. While Russia has dominated these people at times they seem to be independent of Russia while maintaining civil war amongst themselves.
There is a strong clue embedded within the verse that says, “in the far reaches of the north, with all its troops-many peoples are with you.” Again, this is the Scythian region and one of their claims to fame was Genghis Khan.
Ezekiel 38:7 CJB Prepare yourself, get ready, you and all your crowd gathered around you; and take charge of them.
Consider something here. Ezekiel is writing this while he is in Babylonian captivity; which for him, began around 570 B.C. Now, over 2570 years later, God is finally bringing this collection of assailants together for a horrendous battle. A battle, that for Israel, will look impossible.
Many will add another war in here, the Psalm 83 war. Some even insert it before the events that Ezekiel lays out before us.
Psalms 83:3-8 ISV They plot against your people and conspire against your cherished ones. 4) They say, “Let us go and erase them as a nation so the name of Israel will not be remembered anymore.” 5) Indeed, they shrewdly planned together, forming an alliance against you— 6) the tents of Edom, the Ishmaelites, Moab, the Hagrites, 7) Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia, and the inhabitants of Tyre. 8) Even Assyria joined them to strengthen the descendants of Lot. Interlude.
Psalm 83 has similarities to what we see in Ezekiel 38 and 39, but what I don’t see is Cush, and Put – Egypt and Libya. I am not sure those nations can be excluded as the descendants traveled extensively.
Ezekiel 38:8 CJB After many days have passed, you will be mustered for service; in later years you will invade the land which has been brought back from the sword, gathered out of many peoples, the mountains of Isra’el. They had been lying in ruins for a long time, but now Isra’el has been extracted from the peoples and all of them are living there securely.
“After many days have passed,”
Far too many read this and think it merely means weeks later. This phrase, like “the prince that shall come,” that is defined for us in Daniel 9:26, has several encroachments into history. The problem is, these intrusions are spread across thousands of years.
Many is the Hebrew word rab meaning much, many, numerous, and abundance, among others.
Verse eight is clearly a description of Israel.
Ezekiel 38:9 CJB You will come up like a storm, you will be like a cloud covering the land—you and all your troops, and many other peoples with you.’
“You will come up like a storm,”
Sudden and overwhelming. Are all storms sudden? No, in many cases people will say, this is storm weather and it always starts like this. So, the implication is that we have a strong probability of knowing when this will come. Just today (6/29/2018), through the MEMRI website, I learned of a Middle Eastern newspaper that leans heavily toward Erdoğan, publishing an article calling for the Muslim of the world to gather in Jihad against Israel (this article was published in Dec of 2017 – not that long ago. An aspect of the article was a map which showed Israel surrounded on every side with army tanks. Surrounded on every side sounds very much like Ezekiel’s words.
“you will be like a cloud covering the land.” – Clouds are formed by thousands of drops of water. We are told that the number seems innumerable.
“you and all your troops, and many other peoples with you.” – These are people of a like mind – Muslims may not be unified in “religion” but they all seem to understand the idea of Jihad.
Ezekiel 38:10-12 CJB “Adonai Elohim says: ‘When that day comes, thoughts will well up in your mind, and you will devise a sinister scheme. 11) You will say, “I am going to invade this land of unwalled villages; I will take by surprise these people who are at peace, living securely, all in places without walls, bars or gates. 12) I will seize the spoil and take the plunder.” You will attack the former ruins that are now inhabited and come against the people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and other wealth and are living in the central parts of the land.
“ When that day comes,” – Question, does God do anything at random? The answer is NO, as everything is part of a precise and well thought out plan; a plan which includes giving man a free will and the opportunity to choose life or death.
Deuteronomy 30:19 CJB “I call on heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have presented you with life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life, so that you will live, you and your descendants,
Regardless of the optional qualities, the plan is still in place and intact. So, is it possible that God would leave the option for Gog to design and plan out “his” own destiny? Not a chance and verse ten is no different, as “that day” is entirely in God’s hands, and, a part of God’s plan.
Psalms 33:11 NET. The LORD’s decisions stand forever; his plans abide throughout the ages.
Another consideration is the terminology “that day.” The phrase is attributed to several events; one of which is the return of Jesus as the warring and conquering Messiah, who also fights a bloody battle in the Jezreel Valley; there is the great white throne judgment and the entirety of the seven-years of God’s wrath upon the earth.
Are any of those events what we are looking at here? I do not believe so as there are always other events associated, which we do not see here.
“thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan,” –
The Hebrew word for thoughts is dāḇār and literally means words. I could read this when that day comes, words will pop into your head, you are going to think this is your sinister scheme, but in reality, you will be doing what I have planned all along.
Mind is the Hebrew word lēḇāḇ and also means heart. In God’s understanding, the heart and the mind are one in the same.
Devise is from the Hebrew word châshab and means to weave, fabricate, or plot.
Proverbs 15:28 NASB The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
“You will say, “I am going to invade this land of unwalled villages; I will take by surprise these people who are at peace, living securely, all in places without walls, bars or gates. 12) I will seize the spoil and take the plunder.”
The context of Deuteronomy 3:5 is applied to Israel’s conquer of Og, the King of Bashan. Having destroyed Og’s fortified cities they were never rebuilt by Israel. It also demonstrates that cities were typically fortresses; this is not what you see in Israel today.
Deuteronomy 3:3-6 NASB “All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates, and bars, besides a great many unwalled towns.
Zechariah 2:4 NASB and said to him, “Run, speak to that young man, saying, ‘Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle within it.
I like the way the ISV version translates Ezekiel 38:12, “the people … who live at the center of the world’s attention.” Currently, all the world seems to be looking at Israel, once again. Whether Israel is at the center of the world or not is debatable, but God is making that nation the center of attention.
And, although we have not covered the verse yet, it sums up the reason behind all this tumult.
Ezekiel 38:16 ERV…I will bring you to fight against my land. Then, Gog, the nations will learn how powerful I am! They will learn to respect me and know that I am holy.