Ezekiel 38-39: Ancient Prophet Glimpses Modern World! (Chapter 4)

Chapter 1: Who Are Gog and Magog? (38:1-2)
Chapter 2: Preparation for Invasion of Israel and the Mid East (38:3-6)
Chapter 3: Israel’s Role in Bringing about Her Own Downfall (38:7)
Chapter 4: Prophecy Pinpoints Our Present Historical Situation (38:8-12)
Chapter 5: Role of America and Britain (38:13)
Chapter 6: How God is Honored in this Mess (38:14-16)
Chapter 7: God Fights Against Gog – Armageddon! (38:17-39:8)
Chapter 8: Clean-Up Campaign (39:9-20)
Chapter 9: Israel’s Purging Results in Final Blessing (39:21-29)

Chapter 4: Prophecy Pinpoints Our Present Historical Situation (38:8-12)

Verse 8  After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely.

“After many days … in the latter years.” In case there’s any doubt, phrases like these make it clear that the fulfillment of these words is a long way off and pinpoint it to the End Time stage of history.

“You will be visited.” Presumably, this means just what it says: the Lord is going to “visit” this person Gog, the Antichrist. To get an idea of what that means, we can look at what happened in ancient times when the children of Israel were serving as slaves in bondage under the Egyptian Pharaoh, a sort of Antichrist-type figure in those days. Near the end of the children of Israel’s 400-year sojourn, the Lord paid a “visit” to Pharaoh, in the form of His prophets Moses and Aaron. Through them he was given choices to yield to or go against God’s will. It seems most of the time Pharaoh went against what the two prophets were saying. Nevertheless, without realizing it, Pharaoh was actually a tool in God’s hands by which God was able to glorify His Name in the earth. The end result was all the spectacular miracles that God performed to deliver the children of Israel from Egypt: the ten plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, and many others. These great exploits became part of the glorious heritage of the Jewish nation and lived on as an inspiration and example to generations of God’s people ever since.

The modern “Pharaoh”, the Antichrist Gog, also “will be visited”. He will be a tool in God’s hands – in this case, an instrument of judgment to repel the aggressive and unjust actions in the Mid East of Israel and the U.S. These are the nations whom the world looks to as the representatives of the God of the Bible. But, because of their poor example to the world nowadays, God will have no other recourse but to withdraw from them His protection, just as He had to do sometimes with ancient Israel.

As for the Antichrist, it seems that after his initial victories, his successes will go to his head, and he will try to take on the role of a divine being. (See Daniel 8:25, 11:36-37.) Along with this, he will go far overboard with his wars, destruction, persecution, and slaughter. The Lord will then step in and manifest His great power, bringing the Antichrist to heel in a supernatural and earth-shattering way, as we shall see further ahead in Ezekiel’s prophecy.

“The land of those brought back from the sword…” It is almost eerie how specific the prophecy becomes at this point. How true that the Jews have in recent times suffered their greatest persecution since the Roman invasion – during the Holocaust – and are truly a people “brought back from the sword” to the “mountains of Israel”. Furthermore, they were gathered from “many people” and ”out of the nations”. Israel had been re-gathered before, but only from one nation, Babylon. Only in recent history has this great re-gathering taken place from many nations.

“And now all of them dwell safely.” Since the establishment of Israel in 1948, the nation has gone somewhat overboard in protecting herself from her neighbors. At any rate Israel, with so much American support, is dwelling safely enough, considering how much she is surrounded by enemies. Had she pursued a more just and fair policy with her neighbors and with the Palestinians within her borders, her security situation could have been even better than it is today.

“The mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate.” During the centuries since the Romans dismantled the Jewish nation, Palestine “had long been desolate”. When Jews finally started returning to Israel after the 1917 Balfour Declaration and after World War II, their diligent efforts cultivated what had long been an arid landscape into fruitful, fertile, irrigated farmlands. This even seems to be a fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy in Isaiah 35:1.”The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.”

So this verse 8 is quite remarkable, pinpointing so accurately the present day situation in the land of Israel.

Verse 9  You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you.

Truly a massive invasion. Daniel 11, companion chapter to Ezekiel 38-39, also refers to this invasion, and in similar terms: “The king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind.” (verse 40)

Verse 10  Thus says the Lord GOD: On that day it shall also come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan:

Up to this point Gog, the future Antichrist, was actually fulfilling God’s plan to check American-Israeli forces in the Mideast and protect his allies there. But then he begins to veer away from his original lofty purpose and do what no doubt was already in the back of his mind for a long time. He “will make an evil plan”, which is explained in the upcoming verses 11-13 as an attempt to plunder the wealth of Israel and neighboring countries.

Likely, this coincides with the breaking of the “holy covenant” (mentioned in the Book of Daniel). This “covenant”, as far as we can tell, is an agreement authored or agreed to by the Antichrist to permit the Jews to build their long-awaited temple. Likely, it will also make provision for religious freedom for Muslims, Jews, and Christians to worship in Jerusalem, a city that is sacred to these three religions.

However, at some point after its inception, Daniel 11 tells us, “his heart shall be against the holy covenant”, and he will “have indignation against the holy covenant… and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.” (11:28,30) This traitorous decision to breach the peace agreement called the “holy covenant” results in a time of terrible wars and persecution known in the Bible as the “great tribulation”. (Matthew 24:21, Revelation 7:14; also, Daniel 12:1, Mark 13:19)

All this time the Antichrist and his supporters may think that they have operated on their own or are about to outsmart God, to succeed in ignoring what He has to say through his prophets in those future days. But according to this verse of Scripture, God has known all along what the Antichrist would think, and in the following verses, what he would do.

This could serve as an ominous warning to those who would align themselves with the Dark forces that God knows perfectly well what is going on and won’t let them carry on too long before His divine intervention at the battle of Armageddon. If they would bother to read or believe them, these words in Ezekiel’s Book could serve as a warning to the Antichrist and his followers.

Verse 11  You will say, “I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates” –

Now here is a remarkable glimpse into the future: “a land of unwalled villages.” Up until very recent times, walled fortifications were a standard feature of construction for cities and towns – necessary for their protection in times of war. Even after the invention of gunpowder and cannons, walls were still effective in this way. But nowadays, the walls are of no use: airplanes can just fly over them to drop their bombs; rockets and cannon-fired missiles can shoot over them; explosives can blow them apart. So in modern warfare there is no strategic purpose served in building walls around cities.

In all of man’s history, only recently have cities and towns and villages been built without walls for protection. And here in these verses it describes how the Jews will have returned to Israel, restored the land, and rebuilt towns and cities without walls. So the setting for Ezekiel’s prophetic message has to be our present day and the immediate future. This is the day in which this prophecy is going to be fulfilled! Now is the time that Ezekiel is talking about, because this is the first time in World history, just within the past 100 years or so, that towns have been built without walls!

Verse 12 To take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land.

“The waste places that are now inhabited… a people gathered from the nations.” Again the same points are mentioned that came up in verse 8. This highlights and serves once more to locate where and when the events predicted in Ezekiel’s message will take place. It also serves once more to showcase this remarkable event: the rebirth of Israel in the Modern Age. (See Appendix below.)

“Livestock and goods.” Back in those days, how much cattle one owned was a common indication of a person’s wealth. So the word “livestock” could have been translated as “wealth”. Since its foundation, Israel truly has become a wealthy country, and all the more so because of the billions of dollars of armaments and other forms of aid poured into her by the U.S.

“To take plunder and… booty.” Gog’s original purpose for the invasion, it seems from verse 7, was to protect his Muslim allies, defending them against the attacks of Israel and America. (See Daniel 11:40) But now he wants to go further than to just protect himself and his friends. He wants to “take plunder”. And from the next verse, we can guess that this “plunder” includes more than just the wealth of Israel.

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Continue to Chapter 5: Role of America and Britain (38:13)

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Appendix: Summary of indicators of modern day setting in the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy

The Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy presents startling evidence that it was talking about modern times and the nation of Russia. Some of the more outstanding, obvious clues along this line are given below:

Russia?

1)    Magog, Rosh, Meshech, Tubal – ancient names for tribes and places in Russia. (38:2,3, 39:1)

2)   From the “far north” (38:6,15, 39:2)

Modern times?

1)   Modern era
           “Latter years” (38:8)
          ♦ “Latter days” (38:16)

2)   Modern Israel: The Jews had returned from exile in previous history, but only from Babylon, one nation. Here they are shown to have returned (after a long time) from many nations, which  has happened only in recent history.
          
♦ “The land of those brought back from the sword… gathered from many people… brought out of the nations(38:8)
          
♦ “A people gathered from the nations(38:12)
          
♦ “I have brought them back from the peoples, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and… brought them back to their land” (39:27-28)

3) Modern conditions:
          ♦ “The land of unwalled villages” (38:11)

          ♦ “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya… Gomer… Togarmah” (38:5, 6)
       In ancient times these nations had no relation with Israel (except Persia who permitted the captive Jewish people to return to their own land in ancient times). Only in modern times have they become anti-Israel; only now can we see the  possibility that these nations (now called Iran, North Sudan, Libya, and Turkey) could at some time in the near future ally with Russia to fight in a war against Israel.
       Regarding Libya, this nation has been quite anti-Israeli under its former leader Qadhafi. Which direction the new regime will take we don’t know, but in accordance with Ezekiel’s prophecy, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Libya, after a temporary shift in its foreign policy to a pro-Western orientation, return to its original anti-Israel position. Even now, there are signs that this is already happening.
       “Gomer” is also mentioned. It is hard to know right now how exactly “Gomer” fits into the picture. However, since the modern name Crimea is derived from “Gomer”, this could very well identify it as the province of Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in March, 2014. Because of its location, this region has strategic military value and could easily play an important role in Gog’s future wars against Israel. 

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Continue to Chapter 5: Role of America and Britain (38:13)

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