Part 3 of the “7 Things” series. An up to the minute commentary of the next event on God’s calendar for Israel. Includes the modern names for the nations involved, and insight into the secret cease-fire currently being negotiated between Israel and the PLO, as well as the threats and counter threats over Iran’s soon coming nuclear capability.
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Tonight we’re going to take a run through the passage called Ezekiel 38 and 39 which is the Battle of Ezekiel. I know this has been published on the site recently; we just did a series on it which, by the way, was copied and reprinted on many of the larger prophecy sites in the country. But I thought we’d go through it again because I not only want to cover the issue of this battle and what it’s all about, but I also want to make sure that we have the main point at the end of chapter 39 which has to do with why I believe that this battle has to precede the Seventy Weeks of Daniel.
So, we know about the Seventy Weeks of Daniel, I gave you that one first because it’s such a critical prophecy. We know that the Lord referenced the Daniel Seventy Week Prophecy in His discourse on the Mount of Olives in Matthew 24, and we know in 2 Thessalonians 2 that Paul also makes reference to this person standing in the Holy Place at the end of the age proclaiming himself to be God, an event that we call the Abomination That Causes Desolation.
Now I’m going to go through Ezekiel from the point of saying, “Why does this battle have to come before the Seventy Weeks, and why is it that after this battle, Israel—the majority of people, the majority of Jewish people in the world, I’ll call it, not just Israel—will be clamoring for a temple when today there is a very strong anti-temple bias. And so we want to make sure that there is a clear understanding of this because, as you know—well, let’s take the example of the Berlin Wall.
When the Berlin Wall came down, almost nobody in the world would have predicted it. It was such a dramatic event and it seemed to have come out of nowhere. And yet, after it happened, you could look back in the news for the few years prior to that and, knowing that the event was already going to take place, you would have seen in the news things that would have led you to that conclusion, had you known. But because you didn’t know, or we didn’t know, we didn’t see those things.
The same thing is due to happen here. When these events happen, they will happen so quickly at the end of the age that it will almost be like they were coming out of nowhere. But if you have the perspective, if you’ve been back and looked at things from the past, you will have been able to track these things and say, yes, that should happen. And that’s one of the things that tells us that this Battle of Ezekiel 38 for example, is right on the horizon. It’s something that has to happen very soon. The only thing we can’t figure out is how the Lord is going to orchestrate it so that it can happen. And we’ll look at that as we go through here. But our primary goal is to show you why this battle has to happen soon, and what it is about this battle that causes the Jews to be united in their demand for a temple when, as I say, today that’s the last thing they want because of the terrible controversy and reaction they would have from their 50 million Arab neighbors.
And so, let’s go into Ezekiel 38—I don’t know how familiar it is, I assume it’s very familiar to some of you and not very familiar to others and so we’ll have to kind of hit a pace that accommodates the people to whom it is not familiar without putting the people to whom it’s familiar to sleep. So, I’ll try to get somewhere in the middle there and I’ll try to throw in some oddball stuff along the way just to keep you awake. So, if you’re familiar with the passage just look for the oddball stuff because there will be some of that.
Okay, first in the reference of time, Ezekiel 38 follows chapters 36 and 37, and precedes chapters 40 through 48. Isn’t that a dramatic insight? [laughing] Now, here’s what I mean by that: Ezekiel 36 and 37 predict the modern rebirth of the nation Israel. And the book is chronological, so if 38 and 39 come after 36 and 37, that means this battle is a battle that is destined to happen sometime after the rebirth of the nation which, of course, took place in 1948.
And then, because Ezekiel 38 and 39 precede chapters 40 through 48, which deal with the Millennium and specifically the construction of a temple in the Millennium, from that we conclude that this battle hasn’t happened yet. And no matter what you view is on this battle, most every scholar—I don’t think there is a single scholar I’ve ever read who disagrees with the fact that this battle has not taken place. I don’t think I’ve seen anybody among any—there might be an opinion somewhere but I’ve never read about it and I’ve read lots and lots of stuff and articles and listened to tapes and things from most of the known living commentators. I’ve never heard one who has tried to make the case that this battle has already taken place. And so, just about everybody agrees; they put it in lots of different places, but everybody puts it into the future. I think it’s because of the fact that the book is chronological. (Chapter) 36 and 37, the rebirth of the nation; (chapters) 38 and 39, the battle, it hasn’t happened yet; (chapters) 40 through 48, the Millennium. So someplace between 1948 and the beginning of the Millennium this battle has to take place. And since it hasn’t taken place yet and since we believe that we’re getting close to the time of the end, then this battle is one that’s on everybody’s mind. And so, with that chronology, let’s look at some of the things that take place here in this battle. We’ll just read a few verses and then we’ll stop and talk about them and I think we’ll be able to cover it fairly quickly.
So, Ezekiel 38: 1 says:
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshek and Tubal; prophesy against him 3 and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshek and Tubal.
Okay, those are the first three verses. Now I’ll back up a little bit here.
Gog is the name that we find in four places in the Scriptures. Three of those places are separated by a tremendous span of time. For instance, one of them is here in Ezekiel 38; one of them is in only the Greek version of the Old Testament in the Book of Amos 7—you can’t read it in your English version, you can only see it in the Greek version of Amos 7:1; and the other one is at the end of the book of Revelation talking about an uprising at the very end of the Millennium, in I believe Revelation 21.
Now, the fourth reference is an obscure reference to the name of an offspring of one of the tribes in Israel and it’s just somebody named his son that, and you never hear about the son afterwards, there’s nothing to connect him in any way with these other three. It’s just one of those left-field references, so we’re going to discount that, and we’re going to look at who this Gog is. What we’ll discover is that he’s not listed in any of the places where you see the dignitaries or the patriarchs, if you will, the fathers of Israel, listed. For example, when you go to Genesis 10 where all the other patriarchs are listed (we’re going to go there in a little while and you’ll see this) you don’t find Gog listed anywhere there.
The other three places you see him in the Bible, Amos 7, which is a story of a locust plague that took place in ancient Israel; then you see this Ezekiel 38 which is a battle that has not taken place yet, but we expect it to take place soon. So let’s say Amos wrote I think, around the same time as Isaiah did (about 750 B.C.) so you’ve got the reference in Amos, and then now you’ve got, 2,700 years later, a battle here in Ezekiel 38, and then some thing over a thousand years after that, you’ve got him listed again at the end of the Book of Revelation.
So, Gog is either somebody who lives a very, very long time—like about 3,700 years—or he’s a supernatural figure. Because, as I say, he is not connected to any of the tribes of Israel; he’s not connected to any of the families of Israel. And so, I’ve come to the conclusion based on my studies that Gog is a supernatural figure. I believe he may be Satan’s counterpart to the archangel Michael. Michael’s title, as you know in Scripture is he’s the Captain of the Lord’s Host; he’s the chief of the army, he’s the commander in chief, really, of the Lord’s armies. I believe that Gog may be a counterpart to him, the commander in chief if you will of Satan’s army, because of the fact that he’s disconnected from everybody everywhere. And, by the way, the reference in Amos talks about the king of the locusts when Proverbs said that locusts don’t have a king. So, it leads you to believe it’s a supernatural thing from there as well.
Magog, on the other hand, is someone who is listed. And now we’ll go to Genesis 10 and I want you to keep a finger in Genesis 10 because we’re going to look at that on several occasions here. When you go to Genesis 10, what you discover is at the very beginning of chapter 10—I don’t know if you know this, but Genesis 10 is called “The Table of Nations” and it is a listing of the seventy patriarchs who formed the seventy nations of the world. These seventy men, all their offspring, became known by a nationality. So, each one of them headed up a different national group, if you will, and together they formed the seventy nations by which the Lord recognizes the people of the world. Today, I think in the UN I think there’s 180 members or something like that and then there’s another forty or fifty nations that aren’t members and so, we’ve got a lot more than seventy. But, the Lord recognizes these seventy peoples, if you will, as being the populace of planet Earth.
And so, in Genesis 10:1 you see it is going to list these people in order of their relation to one of Noah’s sons. The oldest of Noah’s sons is Japheth and so, the first thing he lists are the sons of Japheth and you see here in verse 2:
The sons of Japheth:
Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras.
Right away you’ve got several of the names listed in Ezekiel 38, the first being Magog, and then you have Tubal and Meshek also. We’re going to talk about who those folks are here in just a minute.
So, the first thing you know is that Magog is listed, he is the father of a nation and, to make this simple for you, the references to Magog both Biblical and historical (and there are many of them, somewhere over 130 of them) tie Magog to the people we would know today as the Russians. Not the USSR, but just the Russian federation, that big block of land that goes all the way across Asia, almost all the way from Europe, all the way to China. Those are the people that were descended from Magog. You see Tubal and Meshek in there as well, and you’re going to see in a few minutes, Gomer. I guess those are the main ones.
By the way, while we’re there, Gomer: Eastern Europe, the Danube Valley is where he settled. Some believe his people got all the way over to the Rhine River Valley. But in those two giant river valleys, the Danube and the Rhine, you’ll find the sons of Gomer.
Madai is connected to the Medes who are the Kurds of today. This shows you where these people come from. Javan is Greece of today. Tubal and Meshek are the people around the Caucasus Mountains, Turkey and the people in that area. And then Tiras, the last one in Genesis 10:2, Tiras is the father of the Etruscans from whom the Italians are descended.
Now we could go on with all these and if you want the list of all these, look on our website and you’ll see an article called An In Depth Look at the Modern Equivalent to Biblical Names in Ezekiel 38 and you’ll be able to follow all of those down. We have a lot in there that we won’t take the time to go into tonight.
The main thing I want to say here about this first couple of verses is that you’ve got a supernatural figure here, in my opinion, Gog. The power behind the throne leading this coalition of people.
Now let’s go down to Ezekiel 38:4. It says:
I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army—your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords.
That phrase at the beginning of verse 4, “I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws”, this is a reference to a bridle that has been used down through history to help train horses that were difficult to train. What the bridle had was, when you put the bit in the horse’s mouth it had little spurs that stuck out and dug into the horse’s inside of his cheek. And if the horse didn’t want to go where you wanted him to go by pulling on one of the reins, it would irritate his cheek to a point where he would eventually give up and turn around. And so, the point he’s trying to make here is this Magog, or Russia, is going to have to be forced into this situation. He won’t commit voluntarily. But the Lord has said, “Look, I’m going to put hooks in your jaws. I’m going to turn you around and drag you into this because I’ve got a plan here and you’re part of it. So that’s the way it’s going to be.” And the implication here is, we’ve got all the armies and things of Russia being committed to this.
Now in verse 5:
You have Persia, and that’s an easy one for us. Persia, of course, is Iran of today. By the way, the thing that makes us interested in this battle, one of the things that makes us interested in this battle, is Persia and Russia (Iran and Russia) are in the middle of a very unpopular agreement to provide Iran with nuclear power. Russia is steadfast in its determination to help Iran bring this reactor online. The Bushehr (I think it’s called) Reactor. And, of course, they’re only waiting for the fuel rods to arrive to put it online. They’re supposed to arrive in the spring of 2005, so in about three or four months the fuel rods will be ready from Russia to put this reactor online. Israel has said there is no way on Earth they’re going to let that happen. So, they’ve already gone on record saying they’re going to prevent that from happening. But the interesting thing that nobody can seem to understand is that Iran is steadfast in its explanation that they need this reactor for power for their country.
Now, Iran has the third largest proven oil reserves in the world; they have documented over 100 billion barrels of oil. They are up to their eyeballs in oil, why do they need another source of energy? Why do they need to spend all these billions of dollars to create an alternative source of energy? They cannot use all of the oil that they have if they burned it forever. So, people are pretty skeptical about Iran’s view that they are only trying to produce this nuclear power for peaceful purposes and so we’ll have to see how all that shakes out. The UN and the International Atomic Energy Association are on the brink of recommending sanctions against them for their refusal to stop. Now they’ve just, as of today, said, “Okay, we’ll back off and we will stop our centrifuges from producing any enriched uranium that could be used for nuclear purposes.” This is a verbal agreement. They’re waiting now for the written agreement to come along, but the intelligence services tell us that it’s all sort of a smokescreen because they are going full blast in underground facilities that people don’t know about, producing the fuel.
Anyway, Persia and Russia are in the news because of this and Bible prophecy advocates who study this passage are all—I won’t say ‘excited’—but their antennas are up, let’s call it, to see what’s going to happen with all of this.
Now, Cush and Put are two places in Africa. Cush would relate today to black Africa, Cush is the son of Ham. You know, the three sons of Noah were Japheth, Ham and Shem, and Ham is a son of Noah and he had a son named Cush. Ham means dark and Cush means black. And so, the descendants of Cush basically make up black Africa. Put, generally speaking, would represent northern Africa. Not Egypt. But places like Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, places like that, and along what would it be the eastern coast of Africa, the one that faces on the Atlantic Ocean.
Okay, so that’s Cush and Put.
Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer
I already talked to you about Gomer with the Danube River Valley, and maybe even over into the Rhine River Valley.
with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah
Beth Togarmah, he’s the father of the Armenian people and the Turkish people. Beth actually means house here, so it’s House of Togarmah. The Armenians today call themselves the House of Togarmah. So, this includes the Turkic people, let’s call them. Around the Caucasus Mountains and around the—is it the Caucasian Sea? What’s the name of that sea over there—Caspian? Is that it? Okay, the Caspian Sea, around in that area.
Now verse 7:
“‘Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them.
So, Russia is going to be the commander here. Then it says:
“‘Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate.
Now that’s a great description of the way Israel was right after World War II, and most of us believe the war they are talking about is World War II and “the people who are gathered from many nations” are the refugees who were brought back into Israel primarily from Europe after the Second World War. The mountains of Israel had long been desolate up until that time. There was a movement afoot, the Zionist Movement, that took place around the turn of the century that had been gathering momentum, but the real influx of people came around after the Second World War.
They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land.
Now this word “safety” is one that gives people trouble because, when has Israel ever lived in safety? I mean, they’ve been around for fifty years; they’ve not had a single day of peace in all those fifty years. One country or another has always been at war with them. I think today, of the nations that went to war with Israel in 1948, only Jordan and Egypt have ever signed any kind of peace treaty with them. The others basically, are still at war and they have been living under a cease fire, essentially, since 1948. And of course, there have been other wars that came along. The ’67 and ’73 and things like that came a long too.
The thing I want you to see right now is the word safety is an interesting word. The word is betach in the Hebrew, and basically it means a little bit carelessly; a little bit kind of boldly, as if to say, “We are so strong nobody would dare to attack us, so we don’t need to be ready to defend ourselves.” And so, a good way to translate that word “safety” is more like “carelessly”. And you’ll see that word used of some other groups here when we get over into chapter 39 as well. It’s sort of an arrogance, like who would dare to attack us?
One of the U.S. generals in command of the forces over in Iraq was quoted today about Iran, saying, “What are these people, crazy? Haven’t they seen what we’ve done here in Iraq? Don’t they know we could just do the same thing to them?” I mean, it’s sort of an arrogance like that. And who knows how strong Iran is? I don’t know, I assume they are a fairly strong army. But this general was saying, “What are these guys, crazy? Thinking that they are going to take us on?” And that’s kind of the attitude.
And so, in verse 9 it goes on:
You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land.
So, a huge influx of these people. And apparently it takes Israel by surprise.
Now, one of the things I want you to see here is that these countries: Persia, black Africa, north Africa, eastern Europe, the Armenians, the Turks, all those people—they are not blood relations. We’ve got offspring from Japheth; we’ve got offspring from Ham in here. They’re not blood relations, so it’s not Arab versus Israel in this. It is Muslim versus Jew. Because the one thing this coalition has in common is that all of its people are Muslim. These nations that I’ve mentioned to you are primarily Muslim in their religious view and so that’s what ties them all together. And that’s what brings them into this coalition.
Even in Russia, these five southern republics down just south of the Russian borders with which Russia has a treaty, a mutual defense treaty, these five southern republics are primarily Muslim in their religious outlook. So that’s the tie in.
When I first started looking at this, after the first Gulf War, I likened it kind of to a reverse of the coalition that went into Kuwait to free the Kuwaiti’s from Iraq. They were calling our people at that time the coalition, right? It was us and England and Australia and all the western countries, so to speak. This is the reversal. This is a Muslim coalition coming on Israel, and at a time when Israel least expects it. Now, that’s the part we can’t quite understand. How can it? Because Israel got trapped like this once.
In 1973 they were not prepared, not expecting to be attacked when Egypt suddenly attacked from the south and Syria from the north simultaneously. In the 1973 war, Israel came as close as it has ever come to being defeated. And, for the first week of that war, the outcome was in doubt.
And then, Israel regrouped and started driving the Syrian forces back in the north and the Egyptian forces back in the south. Eventually the UN came in and stopped the thing because if they hadn’t, Israel would have wound up in Damascus and Cairo and there wouldn’t be any more Syria and Egypt. And so, they stopped it at that time. But for the first week (it was a three week war) and for the first week the outcome was in doubt and Israel came very close to being defeated there, and they vowed never to let that happen again. But this says it will happen again, there will be something that comes along, some kind of a situation that leads them to believe they are at peace with their neighbors.
Now, it’s fascinating to me, as you look at current events and look at this Mahmoud Abbas, who’s the leading candidate to take Arafat’s place, he’s opposed to terrorism; he’s in favor of negotiations; he wants to have two states living side by side. He has to talk a certain way to get elected. For instance, when Colin Powell was over there last week, over in Jericho and there was a photo opportunity, Abbas refused to have his picture taken with Powell because he was afraid it would hurt his election chances because of the Palestinians. He didn’t want to be associated with the Americans. And everybody understood that and that was okay.
But his real view here is, he’s considered a moderate. The U.S. hopes he gets the election, and it turns out it looks like he is going to but, if he does then he is one that could bring about some kind of a peace there. Maybe that’s the peace we’re looking at. I don’t know. But something has to happen. There will be so many changes in the next few months. Just as there have been in the last few months, that the only thing you can be sure of is that it will be different from what you thought because everything’s up in the air over there and it’s always that way but more so now.
But, somehow, some way. The passage goes on to say in verse 10:
“‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. You will say, “I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people—all of them living without walls and without gates and bars.
This was Ezekiel’s way of saying, “a nation at peace.” Because you see, in his day an unwalled village meant that they didn’t expect to be attacked. Where people felt free enough to live outside in the open. Because during a time of war they all ran inside the city walls for protection.
I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land.
The center of the land happens to be the central highlands of Israel, what we would call today Judea and Samaria, or the West Bank, some will know it as.
Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all her villages will say to you, “Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?”’
Sheba and Dedan are mentioned a couple of times. You’ll find them in Genesis 10 and you’ll also find them later on as grandsons of Abraham. So, there are two groups of brothers named Sheba and Dedan, and scholars are divided on which two are being referenced here. But it turns out it doesn’t matter because pretty much either set of brothers will bring you to the same conclusion.
Sheba is the father of the people who settled down on the south western part of the Arabian Peninsula, just across from Somalia and those countries on the eastern side of Africa.
You probably are familiar with the descendants of Sheba by their name, the Sabaeans. They were famous for their trade in spices and things in Biblical times. The Sabaeans were huge and you’ll see them in the movies a lot. Huge black people that are used as bodyguards and they are always great, big giants of people. They are the sons of Sheba and they settled the southern Arabian Peninsula.
Dedan is actually the name of the ancient capital of Saudi Arabia, you’ll even see Dedan listed as the capital of Saudi Arabia on some maps today. And so, Dedan is thought to be the Saudis of the north there.
The “merchants of Tarshish” is one that people have a lot of trouble with. Tarshish was by some thought to be Spain, and by others thought to be England. Now, it doesn’t matter which one you use here from the Tarshish standpoint because you can tie Tarshish to both of them. The so-called ships of Tarshish sailed out of Spain into the Atlantic and up and down the Atlantic coast. The ships of Tarshish actually were manned by the Phoenicians who were venerable sailors of the day and they sailed all the way up into England and actually had tin mines in Cornwall in England and brought tin back because, you know, tin mixed with brass equals bronze. And we’re in the Early Bronze Age back here when we’re talking about Biblical matters. And so, when you add tin to brass and a few others (you add nickel in there, too) but basically, you get bronze which is much stronger. It was the strongest weapon, or metal, known of the day.
Actually, the Philistines were the first ones to bring iron into popular usage, so they helped usher in the Iron Age. The Philistines had the first iron tools—the iron chariot wheels, the iron spear tips, things like that. The Jews used to buy that stuff from them, and the Philistines used to be happy to sell it to them.
But, anyway, this Tarshish thing—if you see it as England, which quite a few people do, then the next phrase becomes interesting because it says, “and all her villages” (or some of your other translations will say, “all of her strong lions”) and what that means is her colonies, basically. And so if you see Tarshish as England, now you’ve got all of England’s colonies standing by, and now interestingly enough, with Sheba and Dedan and Tarshish and all of—if you say Tarshish is Great Britain and all of her colonies, now you’ve got the coalition that went into Kuwait to free Kuwait, but this time they are standing on the sidelines. So, it’s a reverse of that first Gulf War, if you will.
At the beginning you had the western coalition going in to free Kuwait and the other Arab nations standing by watching. Now, in this one, you’ve got the opposite. You’ve got this Muslim coalition going into Israel, but here now you’ve got the Western powers, the Western countries, standing by saying, “What are you guys doing?”
By the way, one other point on Tarshish—in Phoenicia, the word Britannia means source of tin. So that’s another connection that you might find valuable there. Mainly, the thing that’s confusing here is the phrase “ships of Tarshish” became a generic term like Frigidaire for refrigerators and Kleenex for tissues.
The ships of Tarshish, were large, ocean-going—basically large, ocean-going ships of the day. Solomon had some down in the Red Sea at Ezion Geber, which is Eilat today, and so he sailed them down into the Persian Gulf and out that way. But most of them were sailed out of southern Spain and sailed up along the Atlantic coast, up as far north as England. They were large ocean-going vessels, and they were called “Ships of Tarshish”. And so, it became a generic term which is part of what is confusing about it.
All right. Now we’re down to verse 14:
“Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, Gog, I will bring you against my land,
So, it’s not something that’s going to be a surprise to anybody. The Lord is doing this, and He’s forcing these countries to join into this, and He’s got a reason for that and the reason is:
so that the nations may know me when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.
And so, here’s the battle strategy. It turns out that the Lord is behind all this. He’s bringing this group, this Muslim coalition, against His own people for the purpose of showing Himself holy through them before the eyes of the world.
And this is the main strategy; the main reason for this battle is, the Lord has chosen this time and this battle to reveal Himself to the nations, and specifically to Israel. And we’re going to see this as we go on.
So, let’s continue:
“‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: You are the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel. At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them. This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign Lord. In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign Lord. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’
Now, these are signature moves by the Lord, right? Every time you see the Lord in judgment, what do you see? Fire and brimstone, and hailstones, and rainstorms, and earthquakes. This is it, this is His arsenal. I mean, these are acts of God. That’s why we call them that. Natural disasters are what some people call them, which are not natural at all. And all this stuff.
And so, we’re going to see that some of this—hailstones and burning sulphur and things like that—we’re going to see that there might be a secondary application here. But basically, you can see by this that the Lord is saying, “I am going to put Israel in a situation from which they cannot extricate themselves.” Maybe you’ve been in situations like that before, you get in a spot where you cannot get out, and then the Lord comes and takes you out and you know it was Him.
You see, so far Israel has taken credit for all their victories, right? They’ve got the best army in the world, they’ve got the best technology, they’ve got everything going for them. So much so that all their neighbors are afraid of them.
But the day is going to come when He will stack up such odds against them that they will be as good as dead. And He’ll come and pluck them out of it and then they will say, “Had to be God!” And that’s exactly what He wants to have happen.
So, that’s what we see coming here. Now let’s go into chapter 39:
“Son of man, prophesy against Gog and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshek and Tubal. I will turn you around and drag you along.
Now, that’s the NIV’s translation. The King James Version says, “I will turn you around and leave but the sixth part of you.” Does anybody have a translation that says that? “I will leave but the sixth part of you”, that’s what the Hebrew literally says.
The word there is shasha, it’s a Hebrew word that has come to mean annihilate. Now we’ve got a word, “decimate”, right? And we think of that as wiping out ninety percent and leaving about a tenth.
The word “decimate” actually comes from a penalty that was imposed on the Roman legions. If ever a Roman legion refused to fight (turned and surrendered when they should have fought) the penalty was that they would come along and take every tenth soldier and execute him in the presence of all the others. And that was called, to decimate them. So, it used to mean taking one tenth, one out of ten. But now the common meaning of it is, when you decimate something, you just about destroy it. The Hebrew word there is the same. It says literally, leave a sixth of you. So, wipe out five-sixths. But the common meaning of it is, to annihilate you.
And so, what the Lord said is, “When I get you on the mountains of Israel, and when you start to attack My people, I’m going to intervene here and wipe you out. Even though I brought you here, I’m going to wipe you out.”
I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel. Then I will strike your bow from your left hand and make your arrows drop from your right hand. On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals. You will fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am the Lord.
Now there’s that word “safety” again and it is the same word that was before, betach; it means carelessly, and it comes upon Magog (which is Russia) and on those who live in safety in the coastlands.
Well, secure is another meaning for the word, so it is one of the meanings. But I believe it has the same implication as it does back here when we saw it with Israel. It’s a false sense of security.
The coastlands, several places in the Scriptures, this phrase “coastlands”—sometimes called “distant coastlands” is used. The best reference we have for its location comes from Isaiah where it says that they are located beyond the sea. Now, the sea was the Mediterranean. So, if you went beyond the Mediterranean Sea (which is where these ships of Tarshish went, by the way) then you’re up in the North Atlantic, at least. And so, you are at least in Europe here and some believe that it even could come to the U.S. or both.
And also, when you’re looking at this—when we get down a little further, you’ll see why this makes sense—“sending fire” (verse 6) is thought by some to be a reference to some kind of thermonuclear exchange. Those are things that we read into this, based on our current knowledge and understanding of things. It makes sense for us to see it that way because any kind of a major conflagration over there would probably result in some kind of nuclear exchange sooner or later. And so, it’s not too big a stretch to see it that way.
Now, as it turns out this Shahab-3 missile that Iran has developed—and they got caught testing it this past week and modifying it to accept nuclear warheads, and so that’s been in the news all through the weekend. That Shahab-3 missile will reach any European capital from Iran. It will also reach any concentration of U.S. troops in the Middle East. It will also reach any city in Israel. And so, they now have the capability here of being able to send rain, or rain fire down, if you will, on any European capital and on any concentration of U.S. troops in the Middle East and on the nation of Israel. So that’s one of the reasons we’re so jittery about Iran right now.
And that’s one of the reasons why I first heard two weeks ago the phrase, regime change mentioned in reference to Iran. You know, you talk about Israel going over there and taking out the reactor. If you wanted to destroy Iran’s nuclear capability, you have to strike 350 known facilities, and that’s a huge amount of stuff to do, and then you’ve got to put troops on the ground to make sure that they are taken care of.
One of the wealthiest suburbs of Tehran is built over an underground nuclear plant where they are constructing this missile stuff, and they know it’s there. They’ve got maps of it; they know the suburbs it’s located in. And these beautiful villas up there with all the shrubbery and everything, and about 30 feet underground they are making bombs. They are mad about it. They are upset about it. The government does not have the support of its people. So, one of the reasons why they think regime change is possible is that it wouldn’t be hard to start a revolution there.
So, this is no small thing. And this is one of the reasons why this battle is so critical because—I’ll get a little bit ahead of myself here for a minute and tell you that a battle like this would set the world right on its heels. There would be a huge demand for some kind of a world government to prevent this from ever happening again. It would be very close to a Third World War, and what the demand of the world would be is to get some kind of a superpower, super government, to hold these nations in check so the nations would not be allowed to do this to each other anymore; to prevent the world war which would blow the thing up and destroy all of us.
This is why we believe this is a perfect opportunity for the antiChrist to come; it’s a perfect opportunity for the one world government to emerge. A lot of things can happen here because of this battle and one of the main things that I believe will happen as outcome of this battle is that the Seventieth Week of Daniel will begin. The clock will start again on that seven years left.
Now, let’s see. Verse 7:
“‘I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the Lord am the Holy One in Israel. It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord. This is the day I have spoken of.
So now we see that not only is the Lord will show Himself holy among the nations, but specifically He’s going to make sure that they know that He is the Holy One of Israel. Basically, what He is saying here is, “Fellas, if you want to take Israel, you’ve got to come through Me.” He’s throwing down the gauntlet here to the world, I think is what happens, which is another good reason to see it as being on the threshold of that Seventieth Week. Because eventually the world is going to take up the challenge and say, “Okay, God. We’ll take You.”
“‘Then those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use the weapons for fuel and burn them up—the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears. For seven years they will use them for fuel.
Now, many people see the fact that if this is thermonuclear, if there are nuclear weapons here, you can convert some weapon systems into reactors for peaceful use. Russia, for example, parked a bunch of their nuclear submarines, plugged them in and fired them up and made them electrical generators for cities. Because a nuclear reactor on a submarine will power a whole city. So, it’s not a big stretch of the imagination to see that. However, it is a big stretch to see these foreign armies bringing in enough wood in terms of what, gun stocks and wagon wheels and things like that to heat all of Israel and provide for all its power for seven years.
The other side of the coin is, well, if it’s thermonuclear, why only seven years? Wouldn’t they last a lot longer than that? Well, the idea is, they are only going to need them for seven years because we’re only about seven years from the Second Coming at this point and after the Lord comes back, He’s going to be the source of heat and light for them.
Verse 10 now:
They will not need to gather wood from the fields or cut it from the forests, because they will use the weapons for fuel. And they will plunder those who plundered them and loot those who looted them, declares the Sovereign Lord.
“‘On that day I will give Gog a burial place in Israel, in the valley of those who travel east of the Sea.
Now this “travelling east (from Israel) toward the Sea” leads you to the Dead Sea. So, He’s talking about the Dead Sea Valley.
It will block the way of travelers, because Gog and all his hordes will be buried there. So it will be called the Valley of Hamon Gog.
Now, here again in the King James it says, “travel east of the Dead Sea.” Well, if you are east of the Dead Sea (even in Ezekiel’s day) you’re not in Israel anymore. You’re in Jordan today and it was Edom in those days. So, I’m of the opinion that in that case, this NIV translation is a little better, “travel east toward the Sea”, because as you travel east from Jerusalem, you drop down from 3,700 feet above sea level to about 1,300 feet below sea level in a relatively short period of time. And you go through a canyon, so to speak, at the bottom of which is Jericho. And when you get to Jericho, you turn right, and you are down there in the Dead Sea Valley. So, it makes perfect sense to see this valley where they are going to bury all these people at the foot of what’s called the Jericho Road that runs from Jerusalem down to Jericho.
In Biblical times, this place (and this gives a little added Twilight Zone significance I think) but in Biblical times this place was called the Valley of the Shadow of Death. And it’s located just south and west of Jericho, right at the foot of the mountains. The Mount of Temptation is up just to the north, and then the place where the Good Samaritan was attacked is on this road, just about halfway down the road on this valley. And it’s a beautiful place; if you’ve ever been down that, they take tour buses down there and the road is only about three feet wide and the bus is hanging over the edge and everybody’s scared to death. But it makes it. I’ve never seen one tumble into the ravine yet. It’s a beautiful place. But, this is called the Valley of the Shadow of Death and this is right at the outskirts of Jericho. And still within the boundaries of both ancient and modern Israel. So, I believe that’s really where they are going to be buried there, in that valley.
“‘For seven months the Israelites will be burying them in order to cleanse the land. All the people of the land will bury them, and the day I display my glory will be a memorable day for them, declares the Sovereign Lord. People will be continually employed in cleansing the land.
In other words, they will hire professionals to come out here because if the land gets contaminated—and again, this leads us to think, well, there must be some kind of an atomic thing here, because the radioactivity would be the only reason you would have to cleanse the land.
They will spread out across the land and, along with others, they will bury any bodies that are lying on the ground.
“‘After the seven months they will carry out a more detailed search. As they go through the land, anyone who sees a human bone will leave a marker beside it until the gravediggers bury it in the Valley of Hamon Gog, near a town called Hamonah. And so they will cleanse the land.’
And so, some people who know more than I do about military cleanup procedures say that this is right out of a modern NBC warfare manual. Missler (Chuck) is big on that. He says that this has got to be nuclear because the cleanup procedure they are using is directly out of the modern manuals like this. You hire a professional; if you see a human bone you don’t touch it. You put a flag by it. Somebody comes along in a special suit with pincers who picks it up and takes it away. They take it over to this place and bury it. And that’s the way they keep people from being contaminated by it.
Now, verse 17:
“Son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Call out to every kind of bird and all the wild animals: ‘Assemble and come together from all around to the sacrifice I am preparing for you, the great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel. There you will eat flesh and drink blood. You will eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth as if they were rams and lambs, goats and bulls—all of them fattened animals from Bashan. At the sacrifice I am preparing for you, you will eat fat till you are glutted and drink blood till you are drunk. At my table you will eat your fill of horses and riders, mighty men and soldiers of every kind,’ declares the Sovereign Lord.
So, at the end of the battle, He brings in the carrion birds and they have a feast.
All right now, I want you to pay attention to these last few verses here, because here we’re going to see the great culmination of all this. We’ll see God’s strategy fulfilled, His goals accomplished, and we’ll see why it is such an important thing for us as far as seeing it in the context of the End Times.
“I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay on them. From that day forward the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God.
You see, if you went over there and asked that question today, you’d maybe get one out of four who would say yes. Three out of four would say, “No we don’t believe that and in fact, we are not interested in that. That’s been trouble for us.”
From that day forward the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God. And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their offenses, and I hid my face from them.
“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will now restore the fortunes of Jacob and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name. They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward me when they lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid. When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will be proved holy through them in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the people of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
The net result of this battle is that every Jew on the face of the Earth witnessing this battle will know that it was the hand of the Lord that brought them victory and will realize that the Lord is reaching out to them again and saying to them, “It’s time to come home. This has gone on too long.” And I love the phrase here, “I will bring them back to their own land, not leaving any behind.”
Today there are as many Jews outside of Israel as there are in Israel. About 45 percent of the Jews that live in the world are in Israel. Another 45 percent live in this country (mostly in New York) and the other ten percent are scattered around all the other nations. And so, you’re talking about doubling the population there overnight. But the thing is, that they will see—if you look at the history of the Jewish people, you can see this longing they’ve had for this relationship with God, and we know that He’s had this longing for them. And, now He’s saying, “Okay. The time is right. Come home.” And boy, will they.
And what will they do when they come home? They will want to get back into this relationship they’ve had with Him. And you know, it is not a New Covenant relationship. There is no mention of the Messiah here. It’s an Old Covenant relationship, like it was two thousand years ago. And what do you have to have to maintain this Old Covenant relationship? You’ve got to have a temple. And so, although it will cause huge problems for all of their neighbors, the entire nation of Israel (which will overnight double in population) will be clamoring for this temple.
And then (now, this is the King Jack Version here from now on) this man will appear on the scene. He’ll be well known enough to people because he’ll have some credibility already with them. But he’ll appear on the scene with a plan that permits the Arabs to accept the fact that there will be a temple in Israel. In my personal opinion, the way he will solve the problem of the temple mount, is to say, “Well, it doesn’t belong there. Israel, if you read your own prophecies, you can see that this temple spoken of in Ezekiel 40 through 48 is actually twelve kilometers north of Jerusalem. It’s in a place called Shiloh, where the tabernacle stood for four hundred years when they first came into the land. You don’t have to worry about the temple mount, or the Dome of the Rock, or the Al Aqsa Mosque. And we won’t be upsetting anything over there because we’re going to build the temple where the Bible says it belongs, over here.”
But the idea here is that this will be the introduction. This will be the antiChrist’s Enter Stage Left, as they say. nd he’ll come on the scene and the first thing he does, remember from Daniel 9? The first thing he does is, he (Daniel) says, “The ruler of the people who destroyed the temple and the tabernacle (the prince who is coming, in other words) will confirm a covenant with the many for seven years. And in the middle of that covenant, he will cause the Abomination That Causes Desolation to occur in the temple.” And so, the implication here is, he comes on the scene, he confirms a covenant. Because there’s no temple there now, the first thing they’ll have to do is build a temple because in the middle of that seven year period he desecrates the temple—it has to be there for him to desecrate it.
And so, if you connect all these dots together, it starts to make perfect sense, to me at least, that you’ll have:
The Battle of Ezekiel, which changes Israel’s mind about their desire for a temple.
Then you have the antiChrist coming on the scene who confirms a covenant that permits them to build one.
Which kicks off the Seventieth Week of Daniel.
And then, in the middle of that, you have the Abomination That Causes Desolation.
The Great Tribulation starts.
Three and one-half years later the Lord comes.
And so, the sequence starts to fit pretty well together based on this idea.
Now, one more point and then I’ll take some questions. And that is, where is the Church?
Has to be gone. It has to be gone because when God starts dealing with Israel, and this battle is when He officially—I see Him up there poking His head through the fabric of the sky and sticking His face in there and saying, “Hey, Israel! Hey! I’m here! Let’s get back together! Come on, now! This has gone on long enough. Let’s come back. Let’s let bygones be bygones. Let’s look to the future, here.” He puts it in their heart to come back. He puts it in their heart to reestablish their covenant, and He puts it in their heart to worship Him, and to become a theocratic nation again, where He’s the King, basically—still Old Covenant.
When He does that, the Church has to be gone because His focus has always been either on Israel or on the Church. Never on both. So, the Church has to be gone.
Now, we also know that before the antiChrist can make his appearance, the Church has to be gone. 2 Thessalonians 2:8 says that before the man of lawlessness can be revealed, the Restrainer that is holding back his power has to be taken out of the midst. Well, if the Holy Spirit is the Restrainer, and most of us believe that it is, and you take the Holy Spirit off the Earth, you’ve got to take the Church with it because He’s sealed inside of us. They’re not going to break us all open and rip Him out. He is sealed inside of us as a deposit that guarantees our inheritance. If He goes, we go. And so, we won’t see the antiChrist. We won’t see the Battle of Ezekiel 38, except from the mezzanine.
And so, from our study of Ezekiel 38 and 39, you can see there’s really only one major preceding condition left before this prophecy can be fulfilled. And that’s for Israel to be living in an assumed state of peace with its neighbors. So, when will that happen?
In the fifty-plus years of Israel’s modern existence, there really hasn’t been a day when this condition has been met. Although enemy sneak attacks in 1967, and especially in 1973, did take the country by surprise as to timing. The simultaneous invasion by Egypt and Syria on Yom Kippur in 1973 brought Israel perilously close to defeat. Historians report that, due to a rare moment of flabbiness in Israeli intelligence and in the government, Israel did not expect any attacks from its neighbors just at this point in time. Both the Jewish Yom Kippur and Muslim Ramadan holidays forbid waging war during their observance. In October of 1973 as the attack began, these two holy days overlapped.
It took a week for Israel’s defense forces to recover and go on the offense. Two weeks after that the war was over, cease-fire arrangements having been negotiated by the U. In the ensuing agreements, each regained control of the Suez Canal and the Sinai Peninsula lost in 1967. And Syria got back a small portion of the Golan Heights—although had the UN not stepped in, Israeli forces would have soon entered both Cairo and Damascus.
Not since then has there been such a relaxed state of preparedness by Israel and indeed, it’s hard to see how one could happen in the future. In fact, the Bible mentions only two possibilities for a time of peace in the End Times and neither fits the bill. The first occurs at the outset of Daniel’s Seventieth Week when the antiChrist makes his initial appearance. Remember that Daniel 8:25 says, “By means of peace he will deceive many.” This means he comes as a peacemaker initially.
The other time is the thousand years of peace known as the Millennium, or Kingdom Age. Let’s rule that one out right away. First of all, it’s an unparalleled time of peace personally administered by the Prince of Peace. No enemy of Israel will dare attempt a sneak attack until right at the end when Satan is freed from his thousand years of captivity to lead them.
And second, the End Time prophecies in Ezekiel are sequential. First, the latter days regathering of the Jews to Israel in chapters 36 and 37. Then this battle that we’ve just been talking about. Then, from chapter 40 on it’s the Millennium. The Battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39 has to follow the modern regathering but precede the Millennium. It can’t happen at the Millennium’s end.
So, let’s go back to the first possibility at the beginning of Daniel’s Seventieth Week. Daniel 9:27 reveals that as one of his first official acts, the antiChrist will enforce a seven year covenant with Israel that includes permission to build a temple. That seven year period is called Daniel’s Seventieth Week. But because of the controversy it would stir up, most Jews today don’t want a temple, and they won’t want one until the Creator of the Universe dramatically reveals Himself to them. Well, He does so in the Battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39. And after that they’ll be clamoring for a temple regardless of the consequences. The Old Covenant observances require it. So, it appears that this battle has to precede Daniel’s Seventieth Week—too early for the antiChrist’s false peace.
Also, the fact that the antiChrist emerges as a peacemaker implies that some parts of the world will have recently been at war. Perhaps even a war involving a nuclear exchange which will have left the world in shock, desperate for a plan that would prevent that from ever happening again. Satan’s man of peace with his seven year covenant will have just the thing to put the world at ease, and allow him to begin his meteoric rise to world dominance.
As we see, circumstantial evidence weighs heavily in favor of the antiChrist revealing himself on the heels of the Battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39 to kick off Daniel’s Seventieth Week. And so, neither of the Bible’s identified possibilities for peace will take place in time for this battle. That means that some dramatic chain of events, similar to those that led to the sudden fall of the Soviet Union, will have to occur soon to place Israel in the vulnerable state necessary for Ezekiel’s prophecy to be fulfilled.
As you listen to this, Russia and Iran are completing their agreement to bring Iran’s first nuclear reactor online. While Israel trains in the use of the new bunker-buster ordinance recently purchased from the U.S. specifically for the purpose of destroying this reactor.
Iran is said to be leaking false information exaggerating the time required to go critical, while secretly preparing a preemptive strike on Israel to prevent such an attack.
Also, the E.U. and Iran are negotiating an understanding that would permit resumed trading between the two in exchange for Iran’s pledge that its nuclear intent is purely peaceful. How this will all shake out is anybody’s guess, but it’s sure to be a dramatic chain of events.
Now, why is all this so important to us? Well, we’ve already made a case for the antiChrist to appear right after this battle. And we know from the passage itself that the Lord uses it to reveal Himself to Israel, and draw them back to Him. But here are two more good reasons:
First, you’ll recall from our study in 2 Thessalonians that the Church has to disappear before the antiChrist can be revealed. That is stated in 2 Thessalonians 2:7.
And, second, in the past when the Lord’s focus was on Israel there was no Church, and while it has been on the Church, there has been no Israel. These two entities seem to be mutually exclusive in the Lord’s workings, so if He’s going to focus on Israel again, the Church has to disappear. And there are hints of that in Acts 15:14-18. So, if the Church has to disappear before the antiChrist can be revealed, and if the Church has to disappear when the Lord turns again to Israel, and if both of these are outcomes of the Battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39, you can see why it is so important to us.
By the way, none of this is meant to modify or refute the doctrine of imminence which holds that the Lord could come at any time. In fact, rather than saying Ezekiel’s battle has to happen before the Rapture, I’m saying, it looks more like the Rapture has to happen before Ezekiel’s Battle.
In conclusion, then there are compelling reasons to put the prophecy of Ezekiel 38 and 39 on your urgent watch list. Based on the current state of world affairs, it could be fulfilled in the very near future. And since the Church must disappear, as this battle looms, the Rapture must be right over the horizon.
If you listen closely, you can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.