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Ezekiel Thirty Eight

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Ezekiel 38:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Ezekiel 38:2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,

Gog. “Gog” seems to be the name of the commander-in-chief of this confederation of nations which will invade Israel “in the latter days” (Ezekiel 38:16), sometime after Israel has been reestablished in its land—while still rejecting God and His Christ—as outlined in Ezekiel 37. The name “Gog” may be an accommodation to some such ethnic name as “Georgi.” Magog is evidently Gog's country, associated also with the countries of Meshech and Tubal. All three countries were named after their founding fathers, each of whom was a son of Japheth (Genesis 10:2), and all three originally settled in what is now Asia Minor, north of Israel.

chief prince. The words “chief prince” may also be rendered “prince of Rosh,” and some translations so render it. This may well be a reference to the people known as “Rus,” who eventually became Russia. The names “Meshech” and “Tubal” may be preserved today as “Muscovy” or “Moscow,” and “Tobolsk” and “Tbilisi.” Magog is identified by Josephus with the Scythians, and there is considerable evidence that all three tribes eventually migrated farther north. Whether they can be precisely identified as equivalent to modern Russia (or other states of the former Soviet Union) is debatable, but it does appear most probable that the prophecy does refer to a “northern confederacy,” coming out of the “north parts” (Ezekiel 38:15).

Ezekiel 38:3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:

Ezekiel 38:4 And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:

Ezekiel 38:5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:

Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are all ancient nations; and they are still important nations “after many days” (Ezekiel 38:8), collaborating with the northern confederation to go against Israel.

shield and helmet. The emphasis in Ezekiel 38:4-5 is that the invading armies are heavily armed. Ezekiel in his vision could only identify their armaments in terms of things he knew, so he spoke of “horses,” “swords,” etc., to refer possibly to tanks and guns, but he also summarized it as “all sorts of armour” (Ezekiel 38:4).

Ezekiel 38:6 Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.

Gomer. Gomer was another son of Japheth, and father of Togarmah (Genesis 10:2-3). His descendants also originally settled in Asia Minor, Gomer's name being preserved today in the Crimea, and Togarmah's probably in Armenia (possibly also in Turkestan and Turkey). There is some indication that Gomer's descendants later migrated west and gave their name to Germany.

many people. In addition to the tribes named, there will also be others—in fact, “many people with thee.” In Psalm 83, another confederation of peoples is shown invading Israel in the last days—Edom, the Ishmaelites, Moab, the Hagarenes, Gebal, Ammon, the Philistines, Tyre and Assyria. It is significant that these were the ancient names of the peoples immediately surrounding Israel, whereas those in Ezekiel 38 are those surrounding these nations. This is probably the same invasion, seen from both an internal perspective and an external perspective, for both end the same way, in a great convulsion of nature.

Ezekiel 38:7 Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.

Ezekiel 38:8 After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.

Ezekiel 38:9 Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.

ascend and come. This probably describes an aerial blitzkrieg.

all thy bands. It is noteworthy that all these “bands,” involving “many people,” are comprised either of Moslem nations or nations which were until recently Communist nations and which are still controlled by leaders who are atheists and Marxists. All of these hate Israel and would love to “cut them off from being a nation” (Psalm 83:4). In recent years, Israel has soundly defeated several smaller confederacies which attempted to destroy her, but this confederacy seems so large and strong that nothing less than divine intervention can save her. But note that it is God Himself who has said to Gog: “I will bring thee forth, and all thine army” (Ezekiel 38:4). All this is part of God's plan to bring Israel to “know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 39:22).

Ezekiel 38:10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:

Ezekiel 38:11 And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,

Ezekiel 38:12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.

Ezekiel 38:13 Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, 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?

Sheba, and Dedan. Sheba and Dedan are apparently rather peripheral and relatively small Arab nations, who will not join with the other Muslim nations in the anti-Israel confederation. Probably they represent oil-rich nations whose interests are mainly economic, and thus who side with “the merchants of Tarshish.”

Tarshish. Tarshish was a grandson of Japheth through Javan (Genesis 10:4). Javan was ancestor of the Greeks and Tarshish seems to have migrated still farther west. His name is always associated with a far-flung merchant marine, possibly allied somehow with the Phoenicians. In the context of the last days, however, Tarshish and “the young lions thereof” would seem to represent nations of Japhethites (which would mean primarily Europeans and Americans) with widespread economic and maritime activities. Many scholars believe the city-state of Tarshish was originally in either Spain or Portugal or England, and it was these nations, of course, that primarily settled the Americas also. Thus, England, the United States and other Euro-American nations are probably the ones who will remonstrate with Gog over the projected invasion of their friend, Israel. The invasion will be so sudden and large, however, that they will not have time to send military aid to Israel, even if they want to.

Ezekiel 38:14 Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it?

Ezekiel 38:15 And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army:

Ezekiel 38:16 And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.

Ezekiel 38:17 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?

Ezekiel 38:18 And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face.

Ezekiel 38:19 For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;

fire of my wrath. God has long been patient with the Muslim nations, who have rejected His Son as Savior, while professing to believe in God as Creator, and the Marxist/atheist nations, who have rejected Him as both Creator and Savior. But His wrath can be restrained no longer when these all collaborate in an effort to annihilate His chosen people.

great shaking. Israel will be saved not by military might, but by a tremendous earthquake. There will also be “an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone” (Ezekiel 38:22). The gigantic convulsions of nature will affect not only the armies of Gog, but also the whole world.

Ezekiel 38:20 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, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.

shake at my presence. The entire world and all its creatures will be affected by this convulsion of nature, the greatest since the global deluge of Noah's day. Yet this will only be a precursor of the still greater global earthquakes described during the coming tribulation period (Revelation 6:12-14; 16:18-20).

Ezekiel 38:21 And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother.

Ezekiel 38:22 And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.

Ezekiel 38:23 Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.

many nations. The great global convulsion will save Israel and destroy five-sixths of the armies of Gog (Ezekiel 39:2), so many that it will take seven months for their burial (Ezekiel 39:12-14). The nations of the world will be forced to recognize that this is an “act of God”—not merely in the legal sense, but as a very real case of direct intervention in the affairs of men by the God of creation. Most men will still reject Christ as personal Savior, but they will all “know that I am the Lord,” says God. Pure atheism will no longer be an option.