Ezekiel Chapter 39
Ezekiel 39:1 “Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:”
This re-emphasizes the fact that God is against Gog. We discussed before the reason for God being against them. They did not believe in God. He was against them, because they had totally rejected Him.
Ezekiel 39:2 “And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:”
This is a possible explanation of the details of the effect of God’s attack upon them. It seems this vast army all die, except for one out of every six. This can’t be at the end of the Millennium because if it was all would be instantly killed.
Ezekiel 39:3: “And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.”
This is just speaking of the hopelessness of them fighting back against God. Who do they shoot? In despair, they just drop their bows and arrows or more rightly put, this is talking of the weapons of today.
Ezekiel 39:4 “Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that [is] with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and [to] the beasts of the field to be devoured.”
This speaks of them dying in such vast numbers, that there is no way, until this is over, to bury them. Their bodies will be eaten of the vultures of the air. Even the beasts passing by will eat their carcasses. There will be no one left to stop them.
Ezekiel 39:5 “Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken [it], saith the Lord GOD.”
This speaks of the Lord destroying them, before they get to the cities.
Ezekiel 39:6 “And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.”
This could be speaking of a war and bombs, possibly. Even though these are doing the fighting, the judgment is from God. God is just using them to bring the judgment. There will be no question that God is God.
Ezekiel 39:7 “So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not [let them] pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I [am] the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.”
Terrible calamities return people to God. Perhaps, that is why they happen. God’s name is to be honored in the entire world. The name that God is called by, tells us of the character of God. Sometimes, He is called Truth, because that is what He is. Sometimes, He is called Abba, an endearing name for the Father. His name sometimes shows His eternity, such as Alpha and Omega the Beginning and the End. He, alone, is God Almighty and so all the world will know.
We read that the name of Jesus brings worship.
Philippians 2:10-11: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;” “And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Ezekiel 39:8 “Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this [is] the day whereof I have spoken.”
This time will come, because God has spoken this.
Ezekiel 39:9 “And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years:”
This scripture is speaking of the tremendous amounts of weapons that will be in the battle of Gog and Magog. They will be of no use, as how can humans fight God? The cleanup from such devastation would be a long, tremendous task.
Ezekiel 39:10 “So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down [any] out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord GOD.”
This speaks of using these weapons for burning, in the place of wood from the forest, to heat the homes. Whatever of value they had, will go to Israel. They were the victors, even though they did not fight the war. God fought for them.
I am making these references to John MacArthur’s description of Revelation as even though I almost totally agree with him on almost all of his teachings of the bible as I believe he is an excellent minister, I find much I disagree with him on the book of Revelation. Here is why.
Starting with his (NKJV of 2 Peter 3:10): But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
His description of “the elements will melt with fervent heat”. The “elements” are the atomic components into which matter is ultimately divisible, which make up the composition of all the created matter. Peter means that the atoms, neutrons, protons, and the electrons are all going to disintegrate (verse 11). Then “the earth and the works”: The whole of the physical, natural earth in its present form, with its entire universe will be consumed.
Ok, so far so good and I agree with this. Next let’s look at the “Day of the Lord” description he uses:
The Day of the Lord is a technical term pointing to the special interventions of God in human history for judgment. It ultimately refers to the future time of judgment whereby God judges the wicked on earth and ends this world system in its present form.
The Old Testament prophets saw the final Day of the Lord as unequaled darkness and damnation, a day when the Lord would act in a climactic way to vindicate His name, destroy His enemies, reveal His glory, establish His kingdom and destroy the world.
It occurs at the time of the tribulation on earth (he here refers to Rev. 6:17), and again 1,000 years later at the end of the millennial kingdom before the creation of the new heavens and new earth.
There were many very creditable scholars, one whose name was John Walvoord who died in Dec. 2002. Walvoord earned a reputation as one of the most influential dispensational theologians of the twentieth century and played a prominent role in advocating a rapture of Christians from the earth prior to a time of great tribulation, followed by a literal thousand-year millennial reign of Christ, and a renewed focus of God on the nation of Israel as distinct from the church.
Both John Walvoord and Tim Lahaye believe that the 144,000 and the two witnesses will come in the beginning or near the beginning of the tribulation. To me, it makes sense as that is when the majority who did not make a commitment to Christ during the time before the rapture, would be the most likely to see their mistake and to come to Christ right afterwards.
Given the differences between Pre, Mid and Post Tribulation belief, Pre Tribulation seems to have the less that has to be explained away, especially if taken in a literally interpretation.
Many bible scholars place the timing of the Gog Magog war in many places after the starting of the Tribulation. Some place it in the beginning, some in the middle, and some, at the end during the battle of Armageddon.
Now with that stated, it is my opinion that we may see the Gog Magog war on this side of the Pre Tribulation. We have seen a literal restoration of Israel that is spoken about (in Ezekiel 36:24 and Isaiah 11:11).
Ezek. 36:24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
Isaiah 11:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
When one reads (Ezekiel 38 to 39), we see nothing in these chapters describing Israel that does not fit the reality of the modern state of Israel today.
So why place the Gog Magog war before the Tribulation?
Here are several points to be made.
They Do Not Have the Time. There are two major events that Israel performs after the war of Gog Magog.
- They bury the bodies of the dead which takes 7 months to perform.
- They set fire to the weapons of the enemy which takes 7 years to complete.
When the Great Tribulation starts which is when the Antichrist declares himself to be God, 3-1/2 years have lapsed into the tribulation. In order for there to be 7 years, this setting fire to the weapons must begin at least 3-1/2 years before the tribulation starts.
Ezekiel 39:11: “And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the [noses] of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call [it] The valley of Hamon-gog.”
To what “sea” is Ezekiel referring? It is the sea that the “Valley of the Passengers” enters. That is the “Sea of Salt” or the “Dead Sea”. The “Valley of the Passengers” in Hebrew is “Guy-‘Ohverim”. It is a deep gorge, an abysmal chasm, a canyon that descends from the crest of Mount Moab down between Mount Nebo’s Pisgah on the North and the mount called “Ohverim” on the South. “Oh-ver” means “pass”, “Ohverim” means “Passengers”. Guy-‘Ohverim enters the sea directly opposite to the Cave of the Column.
Over the ridge of Mount Moab flowing east away from Guy-‘Overim, is the Valley of Tubal. The Tubal River flows down all the way from Mount Moab to the Euphrates at the ancient city of Babylon.
“Place . . . of graves”, Gog found only a grave where he had expected the spoils of conquest. Valley, So vast were to be the masses that nothing but a deep valley would suffice for their corpses. the passengers on the east of the sea, those traveling on the high road, east of the Dead Sea, from Syria to Petra and Egypt.
The publicity of the road would cause many to observe God’s judgments, as the stench (as English Version translates), or the multitude of graves (as HENDERSON translates), “it shall stop the passengers”, would arrest the attention of passers-by. Their grave would be close to that of their ancient prototypes, Sodom and Gomorrah in the Dead Sea, both alike being signal instances of God’s judgments.
Ezekiel 39:12 “And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.”
There were so many dead; they would be continually burying them. It speaks highly of Israel that they buried them, instead of just piling them up, and burning them, as some countries would do. Israel has respect for bodies.
Ezekiel 39:13 “Yea, all the people of the land shall bury [them]; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Lord GOD.”
This would be a monumental task, even for all the people, to bury them. They would all feel the necessity to bury them and to stop the horrible odor.
It is now that Israel will begin to see how God vanquishes Israel’s foes to show His glory so that His enemies and Israel will all know that He is the Lord.
Ezekiel 39:14 “And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search.”
The people in the whole land help in the interment of the dead that will consume seven months. They will also hire people to go around, and find the ones they missed, so that they also may be buried.
Ezekiel 39:15 “And the passengers [that] pass through the land, when [any] seeth a man’s bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamon-gog.”
Hamon-gog: The valley of, the name to be bestowed on the ravine or glen, previously known as “the ravine of the passengers on the east of the sea,” after the burial there of “Gog and all his multitude.”
“Everyone who found a bone from a dead body, put a flag up by it, so that the professional buriers will find it, and bury it.
Ezekiel 39:16 “And also the name of the city [shall be] Hamonah. Thus shall they cleanse the land.”
“Hamonah” means multitude. This city shall rise out of the rubble of the grave place of Gog. The multitude speaks of the multitude of dead.
Ezekiel 39:17 “And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, [even] a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.”
This is speaking of the same battle, as the one above. This is just re-emphasizing the magnitude of the destruction. This is speaking of all vultures that eat flesh. It is, also, speaking of wild beasts that eat flesh.
Ezekiel 39:18: “Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.”
When they fall in battle, it will make no difference whether they were generals or a private. The vultures know no rank. The rams, lambs, goats, and bullocks are speaking symbolically of the different soldiers.
Since God describes the feast by the imagery of a sacrificial means, the warriors who fell are described figuratively in words such as rams and other animals used in sacrifice.
Ezekiel 39:19: “And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.”
Again, this is speaking of this as a very large killing ground. It seems there is no limit to how full the vultures will be. This is like a sacrifice from God to the birds and beasts.
Ezekiel 39:20 “Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD.”
This is saying, that not only them but everything they brought with them. We must remind ourselves that this is not Satan doing this, but the Lord GOD does this. He is a just God. He has judged them, and now, this is their punishment for their years of sin.
Ezekiel 39:21 “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.”
Verses 21-29: “I will set my glory”, meaning that not only will God destroy Israel’s enemies for His glory, but that His enemies and Israel will all know that He is the Lord. This is Israel’s salvation spoken of (in Zech. 12:10-13:9 and Rom. 11:25-27).
The one really important thing to see in this verse, is the effect this judgment from God has on the rest of the heathen, and also on Israel.
Ezekiel 39:22 “So the house of Israel shall know that I [am] the LORD their God from that day and forward.”
This battle will leave a lasting impression upon Israel. They had seen God operate in their behalf before, but never to this magnitude. LORD here, is Jehovah.
Ezekiel 39:23 “And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword.”
God is expressing, in this verse that judgment truly began at the house of God. Israel was not allowed to go on worshipping false gods. God did not overlook her transgression. He let many of Israel die by the sword, because of their sins. It was not God’s inability to protect Israel. It was God’s judgment on Israel.
When Gog and his companions came against Israel, God showed His might and was giving them time to repent.
Ezekiel 39:24 “According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them.”
God hid His face from Israel, when they were involved in false worship.
Isaiah 54:8 “In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.”
Israel in exile and dispersion has been like a wife whose husband has rejected her. But this is only for a brief time compared to the everlasting kindness she will enjoy when the Messiah returns to gather the woeful wife.
Ezekiel 39:25 “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name;”
When Jacob is mentioned, it is speaking of the 12 tribes of Israel. This is a time, when the tribes will be reunited, and Israel is forgiven of God, and accepted back as His wife.
Ezekiel 39:26 “After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made [them] afraid.”
Israel was brought back, when she repented of her idolatries, and returned to the One True God. They were punished for their unfaithfulness to God. They are not afraid, because they are back in good standing with God. God will take care of them, as He did in this great battle.
Ezekiel 39:27 “When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;”
Just before this terrible war, God had brought them back from all the nations where they had been scattered. We know that in Germany, alone, about one sixth of the Jews were killed in World War 2. They were brutally rounded up, and killed unnecessarily. Isn’t it strange that 5 out of 6 during Gog and Magog will be killed?
Ezekiel 39:28 “Then shall they know that I [am] the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.”
God scattered them for the sins in their lives. He brings the remnant back, because He is a merciful God. He has forgiven them.
Ezekiel 39:29 “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.”
God’s provision of His Spirit at the Second Advent complements the regathering. The Gog and Magog assault at the end of the Millennium is another assault on Jerusalem patterned after certain images of the invasion here, but it is a distinct event one thousand years after the millennial kingdom begins.
I believe this is the Scripture in Jeremiah that makes reference to this:
Jeremiah 31:34 “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Ezekiel Chapter 39 Questions
1. Who is this prophecy directed to?
2. God turns them back, and leaves but a _________ part of them.
3. What is verse 3 speaking of?
4. Where will their dead bodies fall?
5. God gives their dead bodies to what?
6. God sends a fire on what two places?
7. Why does the author believe one of the places is the United States?
8. _______ ______ return people to God.
9. The name of God reveals to us His ___________.
10. How long will it take the people of Israel to burn the weapons of the fallen soldiers?
11. What will they use the weapons for?
12. How bad will the smell of the dead bodies be?
13. What will be the name of their burying place?
14. How long will the house of Israel be burying their enemies?
15. After this period of time, what do they do to get rid of any remaining bodies?
16. If a person saw a bone, what were they to do?
17. What does “Hamon-Gog” mean?
18. “Hamonah” means what?
19. What does God call these dead bodies in verse 17?
20. What preference was shown to officers?
21. What effect does this great tragedy have on the rest of the world?
22. Judgment truly began at the house of ______.
23. What does it mean, when Jacob is mentioned?
24. Why is Israel no longer afraid?
25. God ________ those who curse Israel.
26. God scattered them, because of the _______ in their lives.
27. God brings them back, because He is a _________ God.
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