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 6: How God is Honored in this Mess (38:14-16)
Verse 14 Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, Thus says the Lord GOD: On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it?
Since the establishment of their state in 1948, Israel has triumphed in various wars fought with her Arab neighbors, enough to create some buffer zones on her borders. Add to this, the protection and weaponry provided by her staunch ally America, and it would seem that Israel has every reason now to feel that she “dwells safely” in the Mid East.
If it were not for America’s protection, Israel, so tiny compared to Russia, could easily be overrun. Of course, how Russia will ever get through or around American military power is a mystery right now. To be sure, it will result in a devastating war in the Middle East, involving many other nations – a war comparable in its scope to the World Wars of the 20th century.
Verses 15-16 Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army.
You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes.
In case there was any doubt, the prophecy again pinpoints for us the setting; the location is “the far north” and the time is “the latter days”; and there are “many peoples”. As we learned earlier, many nations will ally with the Russian forces of Gog. Even Russia herself consists of quite a few nations. Assuming the nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States get drawn more into her sphere of influence, then Russia can expect the forces of these nations to join her in this conflict, along with the other main allies already mentioned. (See “Ten Horns Coming into View?“ post.)
“All of them riding on horses.” It’s difficult to know what is meant here. In olden days such an army, made up entirely of horsemen, would have been quite a fearsome army. And perhaps that is the intention here: to highlight the power and force of Gog’s army – “a great company and a mighty army”.
The word “horses” could also, as mentioned earlier, be the ancient way of referring to the vehicles that transport the soldiers. In modern times armies have little need to make long-distance marches; there are many types of vehicles (the “horses” of today) that can transport troops quickly and easily from one place to another.
Or, one last possibility, this could be taken literally: if somehow vehicles can be disabled by some new invention of the future (such as was mentioned earlier about EMP, the “electromagnetic pulse” effect), then armies might be forced to resort to using horses once more. At the moment we can only toss out a few ideas and speculate on what this phrase means. As the time approaches, no doubt the meaning of this passage will become clearer.
In verse 16 the unusual statement is made about this invasion that it will happen in order that “the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed [or honored] in you, O Gog, before their eyes.” There are two sides to how this passage can be understood, and likely both of them are right.
Firstly, let us look at how God is “hallowed”, or glorified, by the restrictions, and suffering, that He will allow Gog to bring upon Israel. Once an afflicted and persecuted people during the Holocaust, the Jewish nation of Israel has transformed into almost the same kind of oppressive regime they had once been the victim of. The co-inhabitants of the land, the Palestinians, have been forced to live as refugees in ghetto-like conditions and have endured much suffering and brutality under the heavy hand of their captors.
What is worse, many Israelis claim to have some kind of God-given right to treat their conquered population this way. Surely, the Almighty will not tolerate for too much longer this kind of attitude and policy. A nation like Israel, whom the world looks to as a representative of the God of the Bible, is responsible to manifest some degree of godly characteristics of fairness, justice, and generosity before the world. Since she is not, the only thing left for her is to lose the blessing and protection of God that she once enjoyed when the Jews were granted permission to return to the land of Palestine, their former home of 2,000 years ago.
Although there are many peace-loving individuals in Israel who are opposed to the government’s policy towards the Palestinians, unfortunately their numbers are too few to have enough influence to counter the present direction that Israeli society is moving.
So when the armies of the north fall upon Israel, the world will know that God is righteous. He is fair and just because they can see that Israel deserves it. Those who sow peace shall reap peace, and those who sow war and violence shall reap the same.
One may wonder, well, if God is fair and just, why doesn’t he just stop war altogether? Why does the world have to suffer so much violence anyway? He could, of course, do that; He has the power. In fact, it is His plan to do that very thing in the future: the Book of Revelation outlines how an Age of Peace will one day arrive in the earth – the era known as the Millennium. But for now, He has allowed the Dark Forces to rule. Having barred them from the Heavenly domain, ours is the domain that God has allowed them to inhabit.
These evil spiritual forces have long ago proven themselves unworthy of their continued presence in the earthly realm, and, as the Revelation Book tells us, they will be ousted eventually and sent to their prison, some region in the netherworld, called in Revelation 20:1 the “bottomless pit”. Finally then, the earth will be free of the violence, war, pollution, and other evils that were brought upon it through the reign and influence of Satan and his demons.
So, having considered how God is “hallowed”, or honored, by what happens to the Israelis, we can look at the other side – at what happens to Gog and his forces. And this will be covered in upcoming verses. Suffice it to say for now, as was mentioned earlier, the Antichrist Gog will go overboard in his wars and slaughter, which will include a worldwide campaign of religious persecution. God will not tolerate for very long these crimes against humanity and against His people, and He will manifest His justice upon Gog and his hordes.
If the “Gog” leader of the End Time could manage to confine himself to doing just what God will allow him to do – that is, bring about a fair and just settlement in the Mideast – all would be fine. But such restraint seldom characterizes the reign of the world’s demagogues. For example, Hitler, when he came on the scene, started off well and reversed the injustices that Germany was suffering because of the harsh terms meted out in the Treaty of Versailles, a treaty that was foisted on the nation at the end of World War I.
If Hitler could have restrained himself at that point, 20th century history might have followed a very different course. But he wasn’t satisfied with restoring Germany’s place on the world stage but wanted her to go further and lord it over the rest of the world; he got overconfident and foolishly herded Germany into the World War II bloodbath.
In post-Soviet Union Russia, perhaps a similar scenario will transpire under the Antichrist Gog as he leads Russia out of her deflated position in world affairs. Having achieved that, he will want to go further, and as it happened with Hitler, he will plunge the world into a bloodbath of war and religious persecution.
According to the upcoming verses, the judgment on Gog will happen differently to how it happened in Hitler’s day. It will be such a spectacular and supernatural defeat that it will cause the world to acknowledge, honor, and reverence the God of the universe.
In a secular world, with all its scientific mastery over nature, the events to come will overturn completely the naturalistic view of the universe that mankind has come to adopt in these modern times. It will be impossible to ignore or reject the role of the Almighty in those days and in the Age to come.
This supernatural intervention into the affairs of mankind is not something new; it has happened before in history in such great events as the Flood, the Tower of Babel, the Exodus, the first coming of Christ. As in those previous events, we are approaching a time in history when mankind’s problems are starting to spin out of control, and to a point where supernatural intervention is called for.
Our ability to destroy ourselves through nuclear war, for example, or the never-ending pollution of the environment, these two things alone threaten God’s Creation in a way that cannot be tolerated for very long. Add to this, the falling away of those Christian nations who could lead the world to a better future but instead have gotten sidetracked into pursuing their own interests. The time is ripe for God’s intervention into the affairs of mankind before we destroy ourselves and before we ruin the natural world that He created for us to inhabit.