"Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against himEzekiel 38:2(NASB)
Chapter 38 begins Ezekiel's sixth and final oracle concerning Israel. It gives some vital information on God's future, prophetic plan for His people, and the chapter begins, "The word of the Lord came to me..." Ezekiel started to receive these eschatological insights in this oracle, only hours before the exiles in Babylon heard the devastating news... that Jerusalem had fallen.
Ezekiel had been carried away to Babylon years earlier, when Nebuchadnezzar defeated Jehoiachin, king of Judah. The Babylonians defeated their king and took many high-born Israelites into captivity. While Jeremiah's warning was given in and around Jerusalem, Ezekiel was God's voice to those exiled to Babylon. The people had been willingly impudent and hard-hearted. They had broken their covenant, turned to idols, and provoked the Lord to anger. They had become a rebellious and idolatrous people and their exile was God's punishment for their rebellion against Him.
Ezekiel had already prophesied of Israel's punishment, God's judgement on the Gentile nations, and Jerusalem's defilement, as well as providing great hope for the future... including Israel's restoration, the reunification of the northern and southern kingdoms, together with the nation's spiritual reawakening and glorious revival.
From chapter 38 onwards, Ezekiel speaks of the punishment and destruction of Israel's enemies, in the far distant future, while providing some of the most beautiful pictures of the coming, Millennial kingdom, and he describes in detail, plans for the rebuilding of God's holy Temple.
While chapter 37 paints a lovely picture of the return of Israel to the promised land in unbelief - i.e. the valley of dry, lifeless bones, waiting for the in-breathing of the Holy Spirit to resurrect their dead corpses, the next two chapters, 38-39, give details of the destruction of Israel's enemies and their Gentile oppressors, "And the word of the LORD came to me saying, son of man... turn your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him."
Although unbelieving Israel is already back in the land as Ezekiel proclaimed, (chapter 37), they will not be brought back to 'life' until they cry out, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord," at the end of the Great Tribulation when they acknowledge Jesus as Lord. (Luke 13:35). With unbelieving Israel back in the land, the curious happenings of chapter 38 prove to be imminent - and Ezekiel pronounces God's judgement on a specific leader who attacks Israel - GOG, from a particular location - the land of MAGOG.
There is much speculation about the identities of Gog and Magog, the locations of Meshech and Tubal, and the timing of this particular invasion on the mountains of Israel. There are a number of alternative views about the identities of this un-named future enemy of Israel, and its timing in God's prophetic plan. While Scripture indicates that the judgement of Gog and Magog is very close, it will not be until after the event that they can be fully identified.
What is less frequently discussed, is the striking parallel between Israel's Exodus from Egyptian slavery, their wanderings in the wilderness, their entrance into the promised land, the fierce battles they fought to secure their inheritance, and the crowing of the great King David - who was not permitted to build the first TEMPLE... with the prophetic happenings that are soon to take place. After their Babylonian enslavement, the nation of Israel was dispersed throughout the world. During 'The Times of the Gentiles', which began with Nebuchadnezzar, the people of Israel have been wandering across the wilderness of the world formore than 2500 years. Indeed, they are often referred to as 'the wandering Jew'.
'The dead bones' of unbelieving Israel, started to be regathered in 1948, reminding us of Israel crossing the Jordan River... into the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. However, to secure their promised inheritance, Joshua and God's people faced many difficulties and dangerous enemies, but God fought for His people. He toppled the great walls of Jericho and performed mighty signs and wonders... and such will be the case as Israel faces that enemies during 'The Time of Jacob's Trouble.'
Just as God performed mighty signs and wonders in the past, He will do so again. God will stand with Israel, during the Great Tribulation as they face Gog, of the land of Magog, and their many other adversaries including Persia, Cush, and Put, who will fight with them, "all of them with shields and helmets - Gomer with all its troops; and Beth-togarmah from the remotest parts of the north along with all their troops—and many other people groups."
But unlike Israel's first experience in the promised land - with Joshua, when God was rejected and, "everyone did what is right in his own eyes," this time His people will look to the Lord Jesus - Yeshua, in faith. This time they will not rely on their own ingenuity and strength. This time the people of Israel will KNOW that God is the Lord AND THEN the end will come, when King Jesus returns in power and great glory to sit on David's throne. And this time the King of kings WILL build His great, Millennial Temple.
This time, Israel will be the head of the nations and not the tail, and this time, the earth will be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea. But first, the nation of Israel must face Gog of the land of Magog during the Great Tribulation, and we must occupy until Jesus comes. We must work while it is still day and expect the any-day return of Christ in the clouds - when the trumpet will sound, the dead in Christ will be raised, and we that are alive and remain will be caught up together with them, into the clouds, and so we shall ever be with the Lord. Hallelujah, praise His holy name.
Heavenly Father, great is Your faithfulness towards Your people Israel and great is Your faithfulness to Your Church - and to me too! I praise and thank You for Your great plan of Salvation and the amazing way You used holy men of God to tell us the end before the beginning. Thank You that despite the rebellions ways of Your people, Your Word never fails and Your promises stand fast forever. Thank You that Christ won the victory over sin, Satan and all our adversaries - at the Cross. Thank You that Jesus is returning as Israel's King of kings and that He is our Great High Priest and holy, heavenly Bridegroom. Thank You that He loves the Church and gave Himself for us. May I die to self and live for Him as long as my life shall last. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.