Let’s bring this look into the Ezekiel 38, 39 to an end.
What have we learned? That well over 900 years before Ezekiel came along there was a man named Gog. That man moved north and formed a nation (people group) built on alliances and similar destructive goals. Gog, in time, became the title of a leader, and though this man does not go by this title, we are feeling his wrath as we speak. This leader (Gog) will head a coalition of forces against Israel and many will die, including Gog. However, God has no intention of letting all of Israel get killed and so He sends a firestorm of some manner upon those who have chosen to fight against Israel, not only on the mainland but in the coastal regions as well. When you associate Islamic nations and their goal to wipe Israel off the map, this attack against the coastal areas makes more sense
Joel Rosenberg wrote a fictional book called the Ezekiel Option, which lays out an exciting and plausible scenario. In his book the war comes before the catching away of the church, and, there is an interesting background twist as some leadership in the Middle East have survived and made their plays for the oil. It may help to build an interesting visual in your mind.
Most Bibles entitle this last section: The Lord Restores Israel
And he certainly will, but the question is when?
Ezekiel 39:25-29 NASB Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for My holy name. 26) “They will forget their disgrace and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me when they live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid. 27) “When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations. 28) “Then they will know that I am the LORD their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land, and I will leave none of them there any longer. 29) “I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD.
Verse 25 boldly states, “thus says the Lord God, Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for My holy name.” But there is a problem with this if you take it at face value. Most people, and I am one of them, will read the statement and say, the war is over, and now God is immediately going to put Israel on the pedestal where He meant them to be. The problem with that assessment is that we stop reading and ignore verse 27, which says, “When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies.”
Anyone that has a simple understanding of the Bible knows that God already scattered Israel, several times; and, that they were restored as a nation-state on May 14, 1948. So what are God and Ezekiel saying to us, that this attack by Gog will scatter Israel once again.
Is there anything in Ezekiel 38,39 that tells us that Israel is scattered once again and restored before our eyes? No. If they are dispersed and taken captive, we can only understand through passages like verse 27, 28. Since we see nothing in the two chapters that demonstrate anything but the possibility of death –
Ezekiel 39:14 “They will set apart men who will constantly pass through the land, burying those who were passing through,”
then the instrument of restoration can only apply to the moments after Jesus comes back as the warring Messiah for which Israel longed.
Ezekiel 39:26 tells us, “They will forget their disgrace and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me when they live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid.” I have events that occasionally run through my mind and make me cringe every time I think of them. Short of mental health issues you do not forget anything. So verse 26 has to include an event that changes the heart and mind of the person. For those who are followers of Christ, there will come a day, a moment in time, in which we will be changed.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 NASB … we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
Will it work this way for the remnant that enters the Millennial reign? We don’t have an answer to that question; at least it is not spelled out how God will make that adjustment, but it will happen. We know that some change will be made because we are told that no evil thing will enter the New Jerusalem.
Does Israel live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid? Relatively, for they have enemies to the North, South, East, and West from the Mediterranean. During the days of Solomon, there was peace.
1 Kings 4:25 NASB So Judah and Israel lived in safety, every man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.
However, peace is short-lived, and Israel once again went into captivity. And yet, God’s heart still spoke of the time when they would live in peace, and He would be their God.
Jeremiah 32:37-39 NASB “Behold, I will gather them out of all the lands to which I have driven them in My anger, in My wrath, and in great indignation; and I will bring them back to this place and make them dwell in safety. 38) “They shall be My people, and I will be their God; 39) and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them.
The mere fact that they live in a relative peace right now does not mean that Jehovah is genuinely their God. Sadly, they will continue to feel His anger, wrath, and indignation, until the day that He brings them to the New Jerusalem.
If you watch the news, there is, on a daily basis, a car ramming; a knife attack; a fire kite or mortar being launched from Gaza. Have they eliminated the causes of fear? Not hardly. If you think about the New Jerusalem, things are going on outside the city walls that could bring alarm. How and why should God have to say, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15) Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.” Revelation 22:14-15 NASB.
Why would you be afraid if you were immortal and invincible? As we will be during the thousand years.
Ezekiel 39:27-28 NASB “When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations. 28) “Then they will know that I am the LORD their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land, and I will leave none of them there any longer.
A friend of mine said I thought God was going to gather them already!
After World War two, there was a mass migration toward Israel, something you might have expected. However, the idea of living in Israel must have slowed, and for several years now Israel has been actively advertising Aliyah (This is the Hebrew word for immigration,) and for many, Israel supplemented your move and income for a time.
“then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations.”
Sanctified means to be set aside as Holy. So, God is telling us that because of His actions toward Israel, that He will now be thought of as Holy in the eyes of the nations; the very ones whom you would least expect to see Him as Holy.
“ Then they will know that I am the LORD their God…”
I intentionally only gave you a portion of the self-explanatory passage, however, without the complete sentence one might take the logical approach and look at the context. Since the previous sentence had to do with the nations, you might think that they would be thinking of God as their own. You might expect me to say yes, and you would be partially correct, but the sentence ends with:
“because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land;”
If you applied a broken human nature to this, the typical reaction would be anger and thoughts of revenge; instead, you see them come into an in-depth and respectful knowledge that the Lord is God, their God. This would be another reason to think that the Jews specifically, go through an internal change, just as the Church did.
“and I will leave none of them there any longer.”
Think about this, “because I made them go into exile,” and yet, there is no anger and remorse, only love and a longing for the God who taught them a lesson.
Why this change? The opportunity to love and understand had been there are along. Seriously, even I learned that He was love. I comprehend that God made me go into exile also, but I cannot say that I have fully embraced the love in those moments that have, in some cases lasted for years.
It’s odd, how I can write these words and yet think of at least one Bible teacher whom it seems has lived his entire life protected in the arms of Jesus. Is that possible? What I know for sure, is that we are ALL broken people. Some, like myself, have learned to embrace the brokenness, as it allows me the opportunity to find some healing and mental health. An added benefit is that in expressing my understanding, it encourages others to share and not be afraid. Sadly, there are those in the religious world, that will use your words against you. Stay brave and do what God told you to do anyway.
Ezekiel 39:29 NASB “I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD.
At some point I expressed the idea that God never turned His back on me, but how would I know that if He did. If He did it was meant to drive me back to Him; and, I have always known He was right there, arms open wide, waiting for me to come back to Him. Is that what we see here? Perhaps. There is a key to understanding this, it is in the statement, “for I will have poured out my Spirit on the house of Israel.” I am one of those who chose to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit; yes, we are told that the Holy Spirit is a gift. Gifts are given and we, the recipient merely have to open the package to obtain what is inside. Well, I opened my package, this free gift, and over time have come to depend upon His Spirit in my life.
Consider these verses in your own time for this is what God will do for and to Israel.
John 7:38-39; John 14:12-13, 16-17; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 20:22