EZEKIEL CHAPTER 38.
The Destruction of Gog and His Host.
GOG PREPARES FOR WARFARE. — V. 1. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, v. 2. Son of man, set thy face against Gag, the land of Magog, names which originally designated the hosts of heathen tribes toward the north, in Scythia and the neighboring countries, but applying, in general, to all enemies of the Church of God, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, literally, “the ruler of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal,” countries in Asia Minor, south of the Black Sea, with fierce and warlike tribes, greatly feared by the inhabitants of Syria and Palestine, and prophesy against him v. 3. and say, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, rather, “the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal,” v. 4. and I will turn thee back, causing him to return from the expedition whose magnitude is set forth in the entire paragraph, and put hooks into thy jaws, as men put wild beasts into chains and force them to follow their guidance, and I will bring thee forth and all thine army, horses, and horsemen, for these tribes were known for their cavalry, all of them clothed with all sorts of armor, perfectly equipped for every form of warfare, even a great company with bucklers and shields, as weapons of defense, all of them handling swords, as weapons of offense: v. 5. Persia, representing the far East, Ethiopia, representing the remote South, and Libya with them, standing for the enemies of the Southwest, along the northern coast of Africa, all of them with shield and helmet, fitted out for warfare against the Lord’s people, v. 6. Gomer, the Celtic Cimmerians of the North, and all his bands, the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, the Armenians of the Caucasus, and all his bands, and many people with thee. We have here a pictorial, symbolical grouping of nations as representatives of the heathen world, assembled against the Church of God. V. 7. Be thou prepared, so the Lord shouts in holy irony, in a challenge to the forces of darkness, and prepare for thyself, thou and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them, their ensign, their leader and guide. Cp. Is. 8, 9. 10. V. 8. After many days thou shalt be visited, sought out by the Lord for carrying out His judgment; in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, delivered from warfare and destruction, and is gathered out of many people, brought back out of exile, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste, which were for a perpetual devastation; but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely, all of them. This statement clearly points forward beyond the Babylonian exile and even beyond the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans: the gathering of Israel is that of the Lord’s spiritual children, and the hosts assembled against them are the enemies of the Church’s latter days on earth, in whose very midst the believers will be safe and secure. V. 9. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, in an effort to wreck the ship of the Church; thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, with the multitude of hostile forces summoned together, thou and all thy bands, and many people with thee. It is truly a formidable army that is assembled with the avowed intention of destroying the Church of God, and it would be foolish for the believers to deceive themselves by a false security and by trusting in their own powers.
THE SENTENCE OF DESTRUCTION UPON GOG. — V. 10. Thus saith the Lord God, It shall also come to pass that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, wicked counsels aganist the people of God, and thou shalt think an evil thought, proposing a plan to attack the children of the Lord in their apparently defenseless state, v. 11. and thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages, for the people of God seem to the enemies to be occupying dwelling-places that are not fortified; I will go to them that are at rest, quietly, seemingly without apprehending any danger, that dwell safely, as though secure from every enemy, all of them dwelling without walls and having neither bars nor gates, depending upon the fact that the Lord Himself is their Tower of defense, v. 12. to take a spoil and to take a prey, the Hebrew text, at this point, showing a fine play on words which emphasize the grasping nature of the enemies, to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, the many congregations that would be assembled in Messianic times, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, the picture of the restoration being still employed, which have gotten cattle and goods and dwell in the midst of the land, literally, “upon the navel of the earth,” in an elevated and fruitful country. V. 13. Sheba, or Arabia Felix, and Dedan, Arabian merchant tribes, and the merchants of Tarshish, of Tartessus in Spain, with all the young lions therof, the trading nations known for their covetousness, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? Hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil? That is what the enemies of the Lord constantly have in mind: to bring harm and destruction upon the congregations of the Lord’s Church, to deprive them of the blessings which the Lord gave them. V. 14. Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, to the aggregation of all the enemies of the Lord and of His holy Church, Thus saith the Lord God, the supreme Ruler of the universe, In that day when My people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? The enemies would indeed find out that the merchant nations had spoken truly, that the spiritual Israel was open to spoil and robbery. V. 15. And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou and many people with thee, as described in the first part of the chapter, all of them riding upon horses, a great company and a mighty army; v. 16. and thou shalt come up against My people of Israel, in an attack intended to overthrow the power of the Church, as a cloud to cover the land, v. 9; it shall be in the latter days, in the Messianic era and in that particular period preceding the Last Judgment, and I will bring thee against My land, the Lord expressly permitting this attack upon His children, that the heathen may know Me when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes, for the judgment of the Lord in the overthrow of the enemies of His Church will reveal His almighty power to all men, as He also said to Pharaoh. Cp. Ex. 9, 16. V. 17. Thus saith the Lord God, Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by My servants, the prophets of Israel, which prophesied In those days many years that I would bring thee against them? It is a most emphatic way of affirming that the attack of the forces of unbelief was not unexpected, but was altogether in line with various statements of earlier prophets concerning the day of Jehovah’s judgment upon the heathen. Cp. Joel 4, 2. 11 ff.; Is. 25, 5. 10 ff.; 26, 21; Jer. 30, 23-25. V. 18. And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, at the time of the last great apostasy, saith the Lord God, that My fury shall come up in My face, as in the heavy breathing of an angry person. V. 19. For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking, a mighty quaking, in the land of Israel, wherever His spiritual children are living in the assembly of the saints, v. 20. so that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth shall shake at My presence, as He appears for His great Judgment, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places, the cliffs, shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground, everything that rose up in opposition to the Lord, v. 21. And I will call for a sword against him throughout all My mountains, saith the Lord God, so that the enemy would be overthrown in the Lord’s specific domain, in the Church into which he has presumed to penetrate; every man’s sword shall be against his brother, so that the enemies would really conquer themselves. V. 22. And I will plead against him with pestilence, the second great scourge of war, and with blood, the description in this verse being reminiscent of the plagues of Egypt; and I will rain upon him and upon his bands and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, as in a mighty cloudburst, sweeping everything before it, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone, as in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. V. 23. Thus will I magnify Myself, proving His greatness and His power, and sanctify Myself, for in the final analysis all this would redound to the glory of his holy name; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord. While it is true that the enemies of the Church are mighty and terrible, it remains true, on the other hand, that the Lord of the Church is far mightier and will eventually overthrow all the hosts that try to break and hinder This gracious and good will on earth.