Ezekiel 38 & 39 (Part 21)

Dr. Thomas Ice

And My holy name I shall make known in the midst of My people Israel; and I shall not let My holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. Behold, it is coming and it shall be done," declares the Lord God. "That is the day of which I have spoken. Then those who inhabit the cities of Israel will go out, and make fires with the weapons and burn them, both shields and bucklers, bows and arrows, war clubs and spears and for seven years they will make fires of them. And they will not take wood from the field or gather firewood from the forests, for they will make fires with the weapons; and they will take the spoil of those who despoiled them, and seize the plunder of those who plundered them," declares the Lord God.

—Ezekiel 39:7–10

Why is the Lord God of Israel going to bring Gog and his overwhelming army down to attack Israel at this point in history? The broadest purpose statement for this entire passage is given in verses seven and eight. "My holy name I shall make known in the midst of My people Israel," with the result that "I shall not let My holy name be profaned anymore" (39:7). That God is holy is important to God Himself, even though it is greatly undervalued today, even in Christian circles. Most likely, there is a relationship between national Israel's change of behavior and the restoration and conversion of the nation as described earlier in chapter 37. "These verses restate the divine initiative in the invasion and elaborate upon the fall of Gog and God's purposes."[1]

Holy, Holy, Holy

Three times in verse seven the Hebrew word for "holy" is used (qadosh). Twice "My holy name" and once "the Holy One of Israel." This word means, "set apart for special use; treated with respect, removed from common usage."[2] It appears that the Gog and Magog event will take place at that time in history when the Lord is going to intervene in history in order to sanctify His reputation and that of Israel as well among the nations of this world. E. W. Hengstenburg has noted:

The holy name of God (ver. 7) is His character, arising from His former historical manifestations, as God in the full sense, the absolute, the transcendently glorious, unconditionally separate from all untruth and impotence. God makes known His name among His people when He verifies His historical character anew, when He gives His people the victory over the heathen world that rages against them. He would profane His name if He were to abandon His people continually to the heathen world, as He had done in the time of the prophet on account of their apostasy.[3]

It is through the Lord's obvious, miraculous intervention on behalf of His people that God restores the strained relationship with Israel. The Lord says, "I shall not let My holy name be profaned anymore" (39:7). The Hebrew verb 'ahel is translated "profaned" in this passage and has the basic meaning of "to pollute, defile, or profane."[4] In this context, the verb appears in the hiphil stem, which denotes causative action. Thus, it means to "allow to be profaned" or defiled.[5] God is no longer going to allow His holy name or reputation to be profaned, either by His own people or the nations throughout the world. Charles Feinberg explains:

His true character will appear in its proper light as both righteous and mighty. Such emphasis is made of this thought throughout the book of Ezekiel because this is the design of God in all history, and there is no more important concept in all the universe. That which gives stability and worth to life on earth is the determining truth that a God of holiness, wisdom, love and truth is working out His blessed will throughout the universe and among created intelligences.[6]

If there was any doubt in anyone's mind about the certainty of these events coming to pass, verse 8 reiterates the inevitability that God will see this through. "'Behold, it is coming and it shall be done,' declares the Lord God. 'That is the day of which I have spoken.'" In fact, there is probably not another passage in the entire Bible that emphasizes the certitude of a prophetic event as we find here in Ezekiel 38—39. "There may, indeed, be some who think that matters may be altered or fashioned to their liking," declares Feinberg. "To them the word comes that there is no escape from what has been predicted, for it is as good as done. When God predicts, He makes it manifest that He can also perform that which is foretold."[7] Men may think of themselves as the primary actors in history, but when the truth is told, it is God who is seen to be the Prime Mover.

What is the impact of God's glorification upon the nation of Israel? It is clear that "a revival occurs in Israel, causing many Jews to turn to the Lord."[8]

Seven-Year Burning

What is the point being emphasized in verses 9 and 10 about burning the spoils of war in this passage? "Rather than simply destroy the weapons, they will be used for fuel and thereby benefit the Israelis." [9] Why would they burn the weapons instead of just disposing of them? Randall Price suggests the following: "This ironic disposition of weapons designed to kill the people will be considered a "plunder of those who [intended to] plunder them" (verse 10b)."[10] Verse 10 indicates that during this seven-year period, Israelis will not have to use natural resources from the land for fires. "'And they will not take wood from the field or gather firewood from the forests, for they will make fires with the weapons; and they will take the spoil of those who despoiled them, and seize the plunder of those who plundered them,' declares the Lord God" (39:10).

The fact that these weapons will be burnt for seven years provides a time indicator that could help us discern when this battle will take place on God's prophetic timeline. "These seven months of burying seven years of burning are crucial in determining when this invasion occurs," declares Fruchtenbaum. "For any view to be correct, it must satisfy the requirements of these seven months and seven years."[11]

I believe that the invasion of Gog will likely take place after the rapture of the church, but before the start of the tribulation. One of the primary factors is the seven-year period that is mentioned in this section of the passage. It seems unlikely that the seven-year burning could lapse into the thousand-year kingdom period after our Lord's second coming. Dr. Price expounds upon these issues as follows:

If this battle takes place after the Rapture but before the seventieth week begins, there would be ample time and the freedom of movement even through the first half of the Tribulation (the time of pseudo-peace for Israel under the Antichrist's covenant) to accomplish this job. Moreover, the statement about not needing to gather firewood from the forests (verse 10) would make more sense than after the first trumpet judgment when one-third of the trees were burned up (Revelation 8:7). If this battle were to take place at any point in the Tribulation the people would run out of time to complete this task, before the intensified persecution of the final 42 months (Matthew 24:16-22) that drives the Jewish Remnant into the wilderness to escape the Satanic onslaught (Revelation 12:6). While there is no reason why the burning of weapons for firewood could not continue into the Millennial Kingdom, since during this time other weapons will be converted to peaceful and productive uses (Isaiah 2:4), the renewal of nature and increased productivity of this age (Isaiah 27:6; Zechariah 8:12; Micah 4:4) could argue against this necessity.[12]

When contemplating the timing of the fulfillment of this battle, we must notice four key observations.[13] First, Israel must be back in her land and a nation again, which is the situation today. Second, within the land of Israel itself, the places that were laid waste must be inhabited, which is the exact situation today in Israel. Third, "Israel is dwelling in unwalled villages, a good description of present-day kibbutzim."[14] Fourth, Israel will be dwelling securely. Fruchtenbaum says, "nowhere in the entire text does it speak of Israel as living in peace. Rather, Israel is merely living in security, which means 'confidence,' regardless of whether it is during a state of war or peace."[15]

It appears that even though I believe that this battle will take place after the rapture but before the start of the tribulation, nevertheless, the stage is already set in our own day for these events to take place. Russia is on the prowl again and one of her closest allies is Persia (Iran). The world is moving closer each day to this impending showdown. Maranatha!

(To Be Continued . . .)


Ezekiel 38 & 39 (Part 20)

Dr. Thomas Ice

"You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and allyour troops, and the peoples who are with you; I shall give you as food toevery kind of predatory bird and beast of the field. You will fall on the open field; for it is I who havespoken," declares the Lord God. And I shall send fire upon Magog andthose who inhabit the coastlands in safety; and they will know that I am the Lord."

—Ezekiel 39:4–6

Ezekiel38:8 says Gog and his invaders "will come into the land that is restored fromthe sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to themountains of Israel which had been acontinual waste." Instead, in 39:4God will cause Gog to "fall on the mountains of Israel." Gog intends one thing, but God causes atotally different outcome in His defense of His people Israel.


TheHebrew verb for "fall" is a common word that in this context means to fall inbattle. Since it is usedcorporately of the entire invading force, i.e., "you and all your troops, andthe peoples who are with you," it speaks of their defeat.[1] "Troops" and "peoples" were usedearlier in 38:6. It is clear fromthe previous context that this fall is the result of God's miraculousintervention on behalf of Israel. Arnold Fruchtenbaum describes the mountains of Israel asfollows:

They extend the length ofthe center of the country, beginning at the southern point of the Valley ofJezreel at the town of Jenin in Galilee (biblical Ein Ganim), and continuingsouth until they peter out at a point north of Beersheha in the Negev. These mountains contain the famousbiblical cities of Dothan, Shechem, Samaria, Shiloh, Bethel, Ai, Ramah,Bethlehem, Hebron, Debir, and most importantly, Jerusalem, which seems to bethe goal of the invading army.

Here is another example where the SixDay War has set the stage for the fulfillment of prophecy. Up to the Six Day War in 1967 all ofthe mountains of Israel, except for a small corridor of West Jerusalem, wereentirely in the hands of the Jordanian Arabs. Only since 1967 have the mountains of Israel been in Israel, thussetting the stage for the fulfillment of this prophecy.[2]

SinceGod is the one who will bring down the invading force, He will also use thisoccasion to feed His creation with their flesh. "I shall give you as food to every kind of predatory birdand beast of the field." The verb"give" is used here in the sense of to "set, lay, or place" before one.[3] Here we have "the prophetic perfect"tense of the verb,[4] which means that eventhough the text speaks of a future event, it is best translated as havingalready taken place, i.e., "I have given you." The reason for the prophetic perfect is because when theLord prophesizes something, it is so certain to take place that it is spoken ofas having already taken place, though still in the future. Thus, the Lord will provide Israel'senemies as a meal for the animals and birds as a waiter would set a feast upona table to one to eat. Thereferences to birds and beast describe those who will eat dead meat. The phrase "every kind" modifiesspecifically the reference to birds.[5] Charles Feinberg notes:

Because of the amount ofcarnage, burial will not be the order of the day. The Lord has determined that the carcasses will fall to theravenous birds and beasts. Suchabsence of burial was especially abhorrent in the Near East. This picture in verse 4 anticipateswhat is stated at greater length in verses 17–20.[6]

Verse5 expands upon verse 4 and employs a play-on-words with the use of"field." It is the field where thebeasts are said to roam and that is where the Lord God destroys Gog'sarmies—in the open field. The invaders never make into the population centers in which to mount anattack, instead, they die literally "on the face of the field." This is a Hebrew idiom for the "open"field. They fall on the open fieldsimply because the Lord God of Israel says they will. As in creation, God speaks a word and whatever He commandsoccurs. So it is with the LordGod's word of judgment.

FireUpon The Coastlands

Verse6 says, "And I shall send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coastlandsin safety; and they will know that I am the Lord." The Hebrew word for "fire" is the mostcommon noun for "fire," used 376 times in the Old Testament.[7] The verb "send" is in the piel stem,noting intensive action by God. The word "fire" is used in a near context along with "torrential rain,with hailstones, . . . and brimstone" (38:22). Since "fire and brimstone" are used in a similar descriptionin 38:22, it follows that the Lord will use fire and brimstone as He did withSodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:24).

Someinterpreters see a nuclear exchange occurring as a means to the fulfillment ofthis prophecy. For example, Bibleteacher Chuck Missler commenting on this verse says, "Some analysts see anintercontinental nuclear exchange possible suggested. With the proliferation of nuclear weapons throughout theworld today, such a prospect is disturbingly likely."[8] The problem I have with seeing anuclear exchange in this passage is that the biblical text clearly emphasizesthat it is God Himself that is bringing the fire from heaven. The passage says, "I shall send fireupon Magog and those who inhabit the coastlands in safety." The passage before us clearly presentsGod Himself as the one sending down fire upon judged invaders. Nowhere does the passage indicate thatthe Lord will use segregates as agents to carry out His judgments. Instead, God has demonstratedthroughout history that He is quite capable of implementing this prophecy byHimself.

Ibelieve that when the Bible says that God or an angel is the one implementing ajudgment, then it must be taken as an indication that indeed God is the onedirectly performing the feat. Ithink that such statements in the Bible would not allow for us to interpretthem as possible reference to human activity like a nuclear war, which would beman vs. man. The first five sealjudgments in Revelation 6 would be an example of God using human agents tocarry out a judgment. However, allof the rest of the seal, trumpet and bowl judgments are said by the biblicaltext to be implemented directly by God, often using angels to carry out thesesupernatural events. This is animportant biblical point: that God is the one doing these things since God isclearly using supernatural means to achieve these ends, just as He did withSodom and Gomorrah, at the Exodus, and will do many times during thetribulation (Rev. 4—19). Thepassage says, "I [God] shall send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit thecoastlands in safety." Therefore,the text clearly says that God is doing this directly and it does not mentionhuman agents. Notice the overallemphasis in the passage as a whole that the Lord is the one acting against Gogand on behalf of Israel (Ezek. 39:1–7). Verse one: "Behold, I am against you, O Gog." Verse two: "I shall turn youaround." Verse three: "I shallstrike your bow from your left hand." Verse four: "I shall give you as food." Verse five: "'for it is I who have spoken,' declares theLord God.'" Verse six: "I shall send fire uponMagog" and "they will know that I am the Lord." Verse seven: " My holy name I shallmake known in the midst of My people Israel; and I shall not let My holy namebe profaned anymore. And thenations will know that I am the Lord,the Holy One in Israel." In otherwords, God performs it so that God will get the notoriety and glory.

Thefire of judgment that the Lord will send upon the coastlands most likely refersto the destruction of Gog's homeland, Magog, and the remotehomelands of his allies (the coastlands, cf. 26:15, 18; 27:3, 6-7, 15, 35), whodwell in safety in these places. The overall lesson will be to teach them that He is God. Some think that this refers to adestruction of all of the coastlands or all nations in the world that dwell insafety. This is unlikely since theentire focus of the passage is upon Gog and his confederacy of invaders. The logic of the Lord in this instanceis that Gog and his allies attack Israel who is "living securely" (38:8), sothe Lord responds with an attack on the invaders homeland where they are saidto be dwelling "in safety," (39:6) or so they thought in their arrogance. Fruchtenbaum says, that the defeat ofGog "will cause Russia to cease being a political force in world affairs."[9] Thus, Israel appeared destined fordestruction in the eyes of the world as a result of a powerful coalition, butthe Lord stepped in and defended Israel and turned the table on the invaders bydestroying their homelands, which they thought to be secure. Maranatha!

(ToBe Continued . . .)



[1] Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, TheHebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, electronic version (Leiden, The Netherlands:Koninklijke Brill, 2000).

[2] (italics original) Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Footstepsof the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events (Tustin, CA: Ariel Press, [1982] 2003), p. 114.

[3] Koehler and Baumgartner, Hebrew Lexicon, electronic version.

[4] Rabbi Dr. S. Fisch, Ezekiel: Hebrew Text &English Translation With An Introduction and Commentary (London: The Soncino Press, 1950), p. 259.

[5] C. F. Keil, Ezekiel, Daniel, Commentary on theOld Testament, trans. JamesMartin (Reprint; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982), p. 171.

[6] Charles Lee Feinberg, The Prophecy of Ezekiel (Chicago: Moody Press, 1969), p. 229.

[7] Based upon a search conducted by the computerprogram Accordance, 7.4.2.

[8] Chuck Missler, The Magog Invasion (Palos Verdes, CA: Western Front, 1995), p. 179.

[9] Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps, p. 115.

Ezekiel 38 & 39 (Part 19)

Dr. Thomas Ice

"And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say,'Thus says the Lord God," Behold,I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; and I shall turnyou around, drive you on, take you up from the remotest parts of the north, andbring you against the mountains of Israel. And I shall strike your bow from your left hand, and dashdown your arrows from your right hand."

—Ezekiel 39:1–3

AsI write this installment of the future campaign of Gog against Israel, we havejust seen Russia attack Georgia in order to gain control of South Ossetia, aprovince within Georgia. Russiahas also bombed a number of important cities throughout Georgia and sent hermechanized infantry in to occupy certain territories within Georgia. This is the first invasion of anothercountry by Russia since the Soviet Union went into Afghanistan in the1970s. Why did they do it now? Stratfor Intelligence Reportprovides the following analysis:

The war in Georgia,therefore, is Russia's public return to great power status. This is notsomething that just happened—it has been unfolding ever since Putin tookpower, and with growing intensity in the past five years. Part of it has to do with the increaseof Russian power, but a great deal of it has to do with the fact that theMiddle Eastern wars have left the United States off-balance and short onresources. As we have written, this conflict created a window ofopportunity. The Russian goal isto use that window to assert a new reality throughout the region while theAmericans are tied down elsewhere and dependent on the Russians. The war was far from a surprise; it hasbeen building for months. But the geopolitical foundations of the war have beenbuilding since 1992. Russia hasbeen an empire for centuries. Thelast 15 years or so were not the new reality, but simply an aberration thatwould be rectified. And now it isbeing rectified.[1]

Iam not saying that this recent event fits directly into the Gog invasion ofIsrael, but it does appear to be an important event indicating that the Russianbear is back on the prowl. Whenyou couple this invasion with the fact that Russia has resumed flying her Bearbombers along our border near Alaska[2]and the fact that Putin has threatened to put missiles in Cuba again,[3]it makes one realize that Russia is much more aggressive and anti-Western thanshe has been the last fifteen years. This could signal that Russia is interested in military aggression aftera period of dormancy.

Criticsof a future fulfillment of the Gog and Magog prophecy often mocked thepossibility of this because of the collapse ofthe Soviet Union. (I never saw theconnection between Russia having to head up the Soviet Union for this prophecyto be possible. The fact thatRussia continued to exist is all the prophecy requires.) Gary North said, "Russia was aprime candidate. But, after 1991,this has become difficult to defend, for obvious reasons. The collapse of the Soviet Union hascreated a major problem for dispensationalism's theologians and its popularauthors."[4] Clearly, Russia's current attempt athegemony over Georgia does not mean that Putin is trying to recreate the oldSoviet Empire. It does signal thatRussia, who has gained a lot of oil wealth in the last few years, is trying torearm itself so that she can be the greatest power in the region. Friedman explains:

Putindid not want to re-establish the Soviet Union, but he did want to re-establishthe Russian sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union region. To accomplish that, he had to do twothings. First, he had to re-establishthe credibility of the Russian army as a fighting force, at least in thecontext of its region. Second, hehad to establish that Western guarantees, including NATO membership, meantnothing in the face of Russian power. He did not want to confront NATO directly, but he did want to confrontand defeat a power that was closely aligned with the United States, had U.S.support, aid and advisers and was widely seen as being under Americanprotection. Georgia was the perfect choice.

Ezekiel 39

Having completedour commentary on Ezekiel 38, we now turn the page to chapter 39 of this greatprophecy. Arnold Fruchtenbaumnotes that the interpretative principle he calls The Law of Recurrence occurs inchapter 39.[5] Hedescribes it as follows:

This law describes the factthat in some passages of Scripture there exists the recording of an eventfollowed by a second recording of the same event giving more details to thefirst. Hence, it often involvestwo blocks of Scripture. The firstblock presents a description of an event as it transpires in chronologicalsequence. This is followed by asecond block of Scripture dealing with the same event and the same period oftime, but giving further details as to what transpires in the course of theevent.[6]

Fruchtenbaum saysthat Ezekiel 39 "repeats some of the account given in the first block and givessome added details regarding the destruction of the invading army."[7] Perhaps the reason the Lord repeats some prophesies is in order toreally drive home the importance of what He is saying. Thus, this would make the Gog prophecydoubly important because of this emphasis. The second giving of the Gog invasion prophecy is concludedin 39:16. Ezekiel 39:1–6 isthe first section in this chapter that reiterates the place of destruction.

SecondVerse, Same as the First

Ezekiel, who iscalled "son of man" in verse one is told to "prophesy against Gog, and say, 'Thus says the Lord God,"Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal." This passage is an exact repeat of whatwas spoken in 38:3, which I have already commented on in that section. Why is it repeated? I think the first verse is exactly thesame as that which is found in chapter 38 in order to show that it is aprophecy about the same entities and events already prophesied in the precedingsection. That is why, havingestablished their linkage to the previous chapter in 39:1, the Lord then beginsto expand upon this event in 39:3–6.

Versetwo says, "I shall turn you around, drive you on, take you up from the remotestparts of the north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel." This verse appears to be a summarystatement of 38:4, 6, 8, and 15, which I have already commented on. "The principle contents of ch. xxxviii.4–15," notes C. F. Keil, "are then briefly summed up in verse 2."[8] Charles Feinberg says, "The statementconcerning turning Gog about (v. 2) carries with it the idea of compulsion."[9] However, the phrase "drive you on" isnot used in the previous chapter. In fact, Ezekiel 39:2 is the only place in the entire Hebrew OldTestament that this verb is used.[10] It has the basic idea of "to walkalong,"[11] as one would walkalong side an animal, like leading a dog on leash. This verb is in the piel stem, which indicates the intensiveactive form of the word. So the picturebeing painted is that of the Lord leading Gog and his allies down to themountains of Israel like one would lead an animal on a leash. The clear point being made in thisverse is that the ultimate cause for this invasion, regardless of human action,is the sovereign will of God.


Versethree says, "And I shall strike your bow from your left hand, and dash downyour arrows from your right hand." Both of these phrases are Hebrew idioms that picture the Lord, notIsrael, disarming Gog by knocking out of his hand his bow, which refers toGog's weapons or weapons systems (whatever the case may be). The Lord will also take away theammunition used by Gog during this future invasion, when He will "dash downyour arrows from your right hand." Put simply, the Lord will disarm Gog on behalf of the nation ofIsrael. Keil explains, "In theland of Israel, God will strike his weapons out of his hands, i.e. make himincapable of fighting, . . . and give him up with all his army as a prey todeath."[12] Thus, chapter 39 begins with a shorteroverview and summary of many things that were already revealed in the previouschapter. The Lord drives home thepoint of His intense oversight of this future battle in which He will protectHis people. Further, we could bewitnessing today some of the positioning of the players who will participate inthis great invasion as Russia and Iran manifest their belligerence. Maranatha!

(ToBe Continued . . .)



1] George Friedman, "The Russo-GeorgianWar and the Balance of Power," Stratfor Geopolitical Intelligence Report (Aug. 12, 2008), www.stratfor.com.

[2] "Russia's Bear bomber returns" (Sept. 10, 2007)www. news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6984320.stm.

[3] "Putin eyes renewed Russian ties with Cuba,"(Aug. 4, 2008) www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/08/04/russia.cuba.ap/.

[4] Gary North, "The Unannounced Reason BehindAmerican Fundamentalism's [& Virtually All Evangelicalism] Support for theState of Israel" (July 19, 2000), www.tks.org/GaryNorth.htm.

[5] Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah:A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events (Tustin, CA: Ariel Press, [1982] 2003), p. 6.

[6] Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps, p. 6. Fruchtenbaum classifies the following passages as examples of The Law ofRecurrence: Genesis 1 & 2; Isaiah 30 & 31; Ezekiel 38 & 39;Revelation 17 & 18.

[7] Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps, p. 6.

[8] C. F. Keil, Ezekiel, Daniel, Commentary on theOld Testament, trans. JamesMartin (Reprint; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982), p. 171.

[9] Charles Lee Feinberg, The Prophecy of Ezekiel (Chicago: Moody Press, 1969), p. 228.

[10] Based upon a search conducted by the computerprogram Accordance, 7.4.2.

[11] Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, TheHebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, electronic version (Leiden, The Netherlands:Koninklijke Brill, 2000).

[12] Keil, Ezekiel, p. 171.

Ezekiel 38 & 39 (Part 18)

Dr. Thomas Ice

Ezekiel 38 and 39


by Thomas Ice

"And the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, thebeasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and allthe men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence; the mountainsalso will be thrown down, the steep pathways will collapse, and every wall willfall to the ground. And I shallcall for a sword against him on all My mountains," declares the Lord God. "Every man's sword will be against his brother. And with pestilence and with blood Ishall enter into judgment with him; and I shall rain on him, and on his troops,and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones,fire, and brimstone. And I shallmagnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of manynations; and they will know that I am the Lord."

—Ezekiel 38:20–23

Asa result of the earthquake within the land of Israel in verse 19, verse 20reflects the corresponding realization of the Lord's greatness throughoutheaven and earth. In all threespheres—land, sea and air—creatures within God's creation willreverence the Lord's display of His power on behalf of His elect nation Israel.

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Thenormal order of things within the sea, land and heavens will be greatlydisturbed by the tremendous display within Israel by the Lord. The text characterizes human reactionto God's display in Israel when it says, "all the men who are on the face ofthe earth will shake at My presence." "The order will be, first, earthquake, then anarchy, pestilence andnatural disasters," notes Charles Feinberg. "God's violent shaking of the earth will affect every areaof nature, both animate and inanimate."[1] Gog attacks Israel armed to the hiltbut God merely shakes the earth a little and they are totally wiped out. It is clear from this passage thatIsrael and their excellent, modern military (including nuclear weapons) havenothing to do with the destruction of Gog and his allies.

Thelast three phrases in verse 20 describe in more detail the "earthquake in theland of Israel." As a result ofthat quake, "the mountains also will be thrown down, the steep pathways willcollapse, and every wall will fall to the ground." Earlier Gog's invasion is noted as taking place on "themountains of Israel" (verse 8). Apassage way or path is needed for an army to make it past the mountains ofIsrael in order to gain entrance into the heartland. In the modern state of Israel's wars, this has been astumbling stone for the Syrians and other Arab armies in their attacks onIsrael. They have had greatdifficulty getting through those mountains. However, in this invasion, it is God, not the Israel DefenseForces (IDF) that will completely destroy the enemy, as the Lord's earthquakewill literally pull the rug out from under the invaders. This will no doubt destroy a greatportion of the invaders.

Friendly Fire

Inmodern warfare when someone accidentally kills someone on your own side it iscalled "friendly fire." I recentlyread that on the modern battlefield of today, because of the great firepower ofmodern armies, that about 20% of deaths are due to friendly fire. Verse 21 clearly says that the onlykilling to be done by Gog's invaders of Israel will be that of massacring theirfellow troops. "'And I shall callfor a sword against him on all My mountains,' declares the Lord God. 'Every man's sword will be against his brother.'" Apparently in the confusion generatedby the Lord's earthquake and great shaking of the mountains of Israel, Gog'sarmies will experience a whole lot of friendly fire as the Lord confuses themand they turn upon one another.

Imaginethe great embarrassment and humiliation that Gog's constituents back homeexperience when they learn that the IDF did not even engage this great army,they did not have to since many of them killed each other. Upon further examination Gog's allieswill learn that it was really the God of Israel that they went up against. They did not have a chance! But that is not the only means the Lordwill use to defeat the invaders.

God Bugs Gog

Thisyear (2008) the father of so-called "Jesus Rock" or "Contemporary ChristianMusic," Larry Norman died. I usedto listen to him in the early 1970s and one of my favorite songs that he didwas one simply called "Moses." Thesong is about Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt and into thePromised Land. There is a verse inthat song that goes as follows:

Mosesknew that God was taking to him,

sohe set off to Egypt with a vigor and vim,

andMoses bugged the Pharaoh—he bugged him,

andhe bugged him,

tillhe got his people free.

Heused real bugs![2]

Just as God used real bugs to bug the Pharaoh at theExodus, once again, He will use real bugs and pestilence to bug Gog and hisarmies, but this time to keep His people free from invasion. In addition to the earthquake andfriendly fire, the Lord will use other means of defeating Israel enemy asindicated in verse 22. "And withpestilence and with blood I shall enter into judgment with him; and I shallrain on him, and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, atorrential rain, with hailstones, fire, and brimstone."

TheHebrew noun for "pestilence" is used of a plague, like the bubonic plague whichcan be caused by something like an insect sting.[3] However, in this case, it is not bugscausing the sickness but it is God who bugs them. Used in conjunction with pestilence is the Hebrew noun for"blood," which in this context refers to "blood shed violently,"[4] as the judgment ofGod. The main verb governing allof the actions of verse 22 is the Hebrew word for "judgment." Thus, all of the pestilence, torrentialrain, hailstones, fire, and brimstone are said to be the judgment of God uponGog and his company of invaders. The first half of the verse tells us that the Lord will enter intojudgment with the invaders by using the means of pestilence that will cause thebloodshed or death of Gog's army. The second half of the verse appears to be the different types ofpestilence that will cause death to the enemies of God and Israel. As in the Exodus, the Lord miraculouslysends down the torrential rain, hailstones, fire, and brimstone upon theinvaders as they attack Israel. Likely the hailstones will target specific individuals of the enemy asin Revelation 16:21. Also, notjust brimstone, but fire also will fall from heaven and targetindividuals. Fire and brimstonewas said to be the only items used to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:24),but here we have fire mixed with torrential rain. This will be an amazing combination of pestilence thatcauses the death of Israel invaders. I wonder if there will be a vote in the United Nations or a similar bodyto condemn God because of this event?

God's Glory

Gogwill arrogantly attack Israel with visions of his own glory. However, it will be God who will obtaingreat notoriety from the event. Verse 23 says, "And I shall magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and makeMyself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the Lord."

Therewill be three specific things accomplished by the Lord as a result of Hisdefeat of this company of armies attacking His land Israel. The three lessons are taught by the useof three Hebrew verbs. First, Godshall "magnify" Himself through these events, as express by the hithpael orreflexive-intensive use of gadel. The root word gadelmeans, "to become great." In thehithpael stem it has the sense of "to make oneself great" or "to prove to begreat."[5] This is exactly what the Lord God ofIsrael will do when He will defeat, all by Himself, this vast army descendingupon Israel. He will add thisproof to a long list of other items from the past (for example, creation, theflood, the exodus, etc.) in which He has proven Himself great in time-spacehistory.

Second,qadosh, another hithpael stem verb isused. The root word qadoshis believed to mean, "to cut" and thus carries the basic meaning of "to setapart" for special use. The term"holy" is associated with qadosh and conveys the ideaof setting apart something from common use in order to use it on specialoccasions. The hithpael stem asused in this passage would mean, "to show or demonstrate One as holy."[6] In the context of this passage it issaying that the Lord God has demonstrated to the world that He is Holy,separated from everyone else in a special way, and that He is the unique andonly God since no one else can do what He just did to Israel's enemies.

Third,yadah is a widely used Hebrew verb thatmeans "to know" or "to come to know," usually through experience or interactionwith someone or something. In thisinstance, yadah occurs in the niphal stem, which isthe simple passive or reflexive sense.[7] Therefore, in this context it conveysthe sense that God wants the world to come to know or realize that He is theLord God of Israel as a result of these events. Maranatha!

(ToBe Continued . . .)



[1] Charles Lee Feinberg, The Prophecy of Ezekiel (Chicago: Moody Press, 1969), pp. 225–26.

[2] Larry Norman, "Moses," Upon This Rock (New York: Capitol Records, 1969).

[3] Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, TheHebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, electronic version (Leiden, The Netherlands:Koninklijke Brill, 2000).

[4] Koehler and Baumgartner, Hebrew Lexicon, electronic version.

[5] Koehler and Baumgartner, Hebrew Lexicon, electronic version.

[6] Koehler and Baumgartner, Hebrew Lexicon, electronic version.

[7] Koehler and Baumgartner, Hebrew Lexicon, electronic version.