Saturday, February 18, 2023

A Prophet Among the Captives

Bobservations' Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The Prophet Ezekiel was a priest among the Jews. His book is divided into several major divisions, and minor divisions. Each major prophetic strain is identified by “The hand of the Lord was upon me…” Each minor division is identified by “And the word of the Lord came unto me…” These are clearly identified in the text of all 48 chapters.

The Prophet/Priest himself was among the captives carried away into Babylon, and his mission was to teach about the future: an Israel restored and reunified into one people and one nation again. In the future, there would be no division between the northern and southern Tribes, they would be one. This view was especially important to the generation of Jews born during the captivity, giving them hope while living in a land not-their-own.

Those prophets that came before spoke to either Judah, or to the northern tribes. Jeremiah is a perfect example, for he spoke to Judah, from the City of Jerusalem, while Ezekiel’s prophesies are addressed to the whole House of Israel from the captivity. God’s plan for them is restoration and a reuniting of the 12 Tribes under the banner of Jehovah God (Jehovah-nissi, (Exodus 17:8-15).

Last week we looked at Jesus’ Prophecy of the end times in Luke 21, and the signs to look for as each sign is identifiable in the world. With Matthew 24 and Mark 13, we are given an overview of the end times and the last days. “Nation shall be against Nation,” and “Kingdom against Kingdom,” with false prophets and false teachers among the people.

And oddly enough, this description is nearly identical the Ezekiel’s warnings too Israel during the captivity. Babylon had been raised up and invaded Israel, eventually carrying away the majority of its people; only a remnant was left behind in Israel. The false prophets of Israel were there in Babylon, teaching lies. And today, as then, Israel is surrounded by powerful enemies that desire to see an end to God’s land, and its people. We shall read the prophets words, and learn the names of the ancient lands and which are now nations. We will be reminded of King Solomon’s words, “There is nothing new under the sun.” The Holy Spirit is our true prophet.
“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” - John 15:15
Progressive intimacy:
John 13:13 - Servants; 15:15 - Friends; 20:17 - Brethren

Today's Audio Message:

Ezekiel 38:1-23 - "A Prophet Among the Captives"


Today we will look at chapter 38 of Ezekiel, one of the most well-studied chapters amoung Bible prophecy students. Chapter 38-39 provide the climax to a great supernatural war that is coming, one that threatens the very existence of Israel as a nation. The Gog and Magog war will occur somewhere between Israel becoming a nation again and the return of Jesus. And, as we shall see, the players involved in this war are seriously moving into position in our day.

As we look at what Ezekiel saw for Israel and the nations in the last days, we've seen that God has some pretty big events in store! One of the main themes that has been mentioned through Ezekiel, (34-39), is the emphasis of God making His name known in the last days. He will make His name known to the nation of Israel and the nations of the world. Now that is pretty exciting! The Western nations especially live in a post-modern, post-Christian world. The thought of God is often mocked, ignored or not seen as relevant in this day. Yet God has events in store where He will, on a global stage, make His name known again. One such great event is before us in this study on Ezekiel 38 .

Who are the players? Ezekiel 38:1-6 - The coming alliance of countries, people, peoples and ethnicities, that are against Israel, God’s chosen people.

  • Gog: Leader of Magog (Whoever is leading Magog at the time of the invasion. See: Ezekiel 38-39 such as 38:2, 38:14, 39:1)
  • Magog: Southern Russia - (Genesis 10:2 - Magog was a son of Japheth, grandson of Noah. The descendants of Magog settled to the far north of Israel. They are later known as the Scythians. The Jewish Historian Josephus confirms this, “Magog founded Magogians, called Scythians by the Greeks."  The people of Magog are described as skilled warriors.)
  • Rosh: Russia
  • Meshech and Tubal: Present day Turkey
  • Persia: Iran (Persia was renamed Iran in 1935)
  • Ethiopia/Cush: Sudan/Ethiopia - (Historically located south of ancient Egypt, scholars believe it to be Ethiopia or Sudan today.)
  • Put: Libya (possibly Somalia)
  • Gomer: Central Turkey (The historian Josephus identified the Gomerites with the Galatians who lived in central Turkey.
  • Togarmah: Eastern Turkey/Armenia
Russia, Turkey, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Somalia will descent upon Israel from the north. Iran will come from the east. Libya from the southwest. And Sudan and Somalia will rush from the south. Israel will be entirely surround by her enemies.

Currently we are witnessing many of these main players coming together, strengthening military and financial alliances. The war in Syria has even drawn Russia and Iran close to the border Israel, in a joint effort to control the Middle East. Turkey, who is supposed to be aligned with the West, has deepening ties with Russia, and moving away from a secular society to an Islamic one.

We know that the other countries mentioned above are not friends of Israel today. They are hotbeds of Islamic fundamentalism and strongly anti-Israel.

The future invasion of a coalition of nations against Israel are written in the prophetic books of scripture. Even Jesus warned us of the coming signs of the end before His return. While the nations decide to invade Israel, Israel will be under the protection of God. He has promised His divine intervention, with devastating results for Israel’s enemies. God remains true to His Word. He is faithful to His promises.
"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.

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;

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.

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.

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.

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."  
- Ezekiel 38:17-23
Of Course, all of this is part of God's bigger plan for Israel. The battle in Ezekiel 38-39 is used by God to bring Israel back to Him (Ezekiel 39:21-29).


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