Saturday, February 25, 2023

I Am Against Thee, O Gog

Bobservations Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

As with the previous chapter, today’s opens with a clear statement: “I am against thee, O Gog.” It gives Gog, and his country Magog a clear warning. And when we read this line, it’s impossible to not know who is speak, and to whom these words are directed.

In Exodus 3, Moses is speaking with God, and asks God, who shall I say to has sent me to the Israelites when they ask, what is Thy name? God responded and said, “I AM THAT I AM. Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me to you.” (Genesis 3:13,14)

In a rough translation, it means “the self-existent One.” But here in Ezekiel 38 and 39, God speaks to Gog, the chief leader of Magog, and says, “I AM against thee, O Gog.” Quite literally, Jehovah God has drawn a line in the sand, and established the battle lines against a powerful world leader, and his country.

Gog is described as Chief Prince of Meshech (Moscow) and Tubal (Tubolsk), both cities of modern-day Russia. In verse 2 of this chapter, we are told that Gog’s attack shall come from the north parts, and if there is any doubt, please check a map, for Moscow is due north of Jerusalem, nearly on the same Meridian.

This 39th Chapter of Ezekiel is among the most graphic depictions of war and its aftermath, and from the “symptoms,” and clean-up operation described, we can conclude it is likely to be a nuclear war with wide-spread radiation.

With Israel being the focus of Bible prophecy, we can understand that this is the day-of-the-Lord, the great battle of Armageddon, in the Valley of Megiddo, Israel. The horrors of this chapter are unsettling, but the true Christian needs to be comforted in the knowledge that we shall not see it, nor experience it. Only the doubters, the nay-sayers, and the non-believers with go through these events. Yet God shall be glorified, and His name will be known; and the ones who know it and Him will become the Tribulation Saints, those that are saved through the Great Tribulation.

Believers that were on the Earth prior to the beginning of these events are those that have escaped the wrath of God, and find themselves suddenly in heaven with the Lord. We are saved from the Great Tribulation.
“For God hath not appointed us wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:9

Today's Audio Message:
Ezekiel 39:1-29 - "I Am Against Thee, O Gog"

Summary Notes:

In last week's study of the Gog and Magog invasion that the Bible predicts an end-time alliance between Russia, Iran and Turkey (along with other countries) that will come against Israel in the last days leading up to the return of Jesus. As they cover the land like a storm it will look like a sure-thing win for the invading forces- that is until God steps in!

From our study we know that God will not allow this invading force to prevail but will supernaturally wipe them out on the mountains of Israel in an event that will literally leave an unbelieving world gasping! It will, the Bible says, be an event that will be used by God to make His name known again to both Israel and the nations of the world.

In Ezekiel 39:21–29, the Lord states His plan for the nations and for the future of His ancient, beloved Israel:
"And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them."(v. 21).This word comes directly on the heels of God’s promised destruction of Israel’s enemy, Gog of the land of Magog. The Lord draws a figurative line in the sand and states clearly and concisely that He is serving notice on the nations of the world that they can expect to see judgment from His hand and His glory in their midst.
As one of the more pivotal End Times events, the invasion into Israel by Gog and its allies is important to understand as we study eschatology and look for signs of the latter days within our current, geopolitical climate. As we examined Ezekiel 38 last week, today we will begin our study in chapter 39 verse-by-verse, as we drill down to understand the major players, the key elements, and why God is orchestrating this significant event.

Future prophecy frequently has both a near and far fulfillment in view, and it is the Bible student’s responsibility to rightly divide or cut straight these prophecies.

These future events take place after the Church has been raptured (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)

And we are reminded of the great comfort and protection that God has for those who have put their faith in Him.  "Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (verse 18).

Here Paul is speaking of the rapture of the Church. The term “rapture” comes from the Greek word harpazō, meaning to seize, carry off by force, to snatch out or away.

The rapture of the church is the event in which God “snatches away” all believers from the earth in order to make way for His righteous judgment to be poured out on the earth during the tribulation period. The rapture is a glorious event that all true believers should be longing for.

There is coming a time when the world, all that we know, will be on the verge of total collapse. Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:22 that if those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, not this world, and not the people in it.

Ezekiel 39, though written more than a couple of millennials ago, is written for all of us today.  As we read the headlines or watch the news, we are seeing the birth pangs of the coming events foretold in scripture. The rise of the Gog of Magog alliance is a major sign of the end times and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Russia – the predominant nation and her leader “Gog” – is directly to Israel’s far north. As we see today, God has already drawn the Russian forces, along with Turkey and Iran (the other two major players in this invasion), into Syria, which is directly on Israel’s northern border, seemingly ready to initiate this invasion, which is detailed in Ezekiel 38.

God will cause confusion among the invading horde: these invading forces will be devastated “upon the open field” in and around Israel’s mountains.

Many in the generally secular nation of Israel will recognize that God’s hand of protection – as well as the weapons God’s sovereignty had supplied to them to beat back this invading horde – was with them mightily in defeating the enemy.

God “will not let” Israel “pollute” His “holy Name any more” and many will at least acknowledge the God of their fathers. But they will not have received, up to this point, Yeshua as their Messiah. This is not to say that the nation’s overall state of affairs will change. Their government and laws will remain secular and progressive, but many in the community will at least recognize God’s provision and think of the LORD God differently than they had before.

This will be the first step to bringing God’s people back to Himself in His Son, with the final step, of course, being the Great Tribulation.

In addition, the heathen will certainly “know the [God of Israel] is the LORD” because, once again, Israel defeats her foes against all odds.

The Israelis, after turning back and destroying the invading armies, will take the spoil of what’s left from those who intended to spoil them (Ezekiel 38:12-13).

It is very interesting that the travelers or passengers will be stopped, blocked, or obstructed (different translations) from this area and not be able to pass over. This seems to be temporary due to the burial process, or it might be because of some kind of fallout to “cleanse the land” – it’s hard to tell...  seven months to bury the dead.

The Valley of Hamon-Gog - literally means “Valley of the multitudes of Gog, the place where all of Israel buries the five-sixths of the army of Gog and Magog that are struck down by God.

The name of the city SHALL BE Hamonah - The name of the city in the valley of Hamon-Gog near which Ezekiel 39:16 says that the forces of God will be defeated after their attack on Israel.

(Verses 17-20) The Lord not only caused this massive sacrifice, but will use the unclean birds of the air to cleanse the land.

Throughout Israel’s history, over and over again, the Lord uses the enemies of Israel to bring judgment on Israel, to get them to wake up, to repent and return to Him. Then the Lord destroys their enemies, because they are His enemies.

Why? “So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day and forward.” (vs22)

Here, from Ezekiel 39:17-29, the prophecy jumps forward seven-plus years into the future to the Lord’s Second Coming.

Verse 25: “Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob.” Jacob, or Israel, will not be in captivity during and immediately following the Gog/Magog invasion, but will be in captivity during the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7) in the Great Tribulation (the last three and one-half years of the seven-year Tribulation).

The Lord states: “Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God” (Ezekiel 39:29). 

In Zechariah 12:9-14 - Scripture tells us that at the Lord’s Second Coming they will realize the One whom they have pierced, this is their Messiah, and they will mourn.

Joel 2 speaks of the invasion of Israel. Compare it to Ezekiel 38-39.

God’s prophetic Word is speaking to every generation. A word of warning, a call to repentance, and turning back to the Lord.

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