Monday, October 7, 2013

Ezekiel 38-39 Catastrophic Invasion of Israel

Ezek 38:1-6 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him and say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords. Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all his hordes; Beth-togarmah from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes—many peoples are with you.

Ezek 39:21-29 “And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. The house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God, from that day forward. And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt so treacherously with me that I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword. I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them. Therefore thus says the Lord God: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for my holy name. They shall forget their shame and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they dwell securely in their land with none to make them afraid, when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies' lands, and through them have vindicated my holiness in the sight of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord God.”

The events prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39 are clearly end-time events. Nothing of the sort described here has ever happened in history, viz., the invasion of Israel by a coalition of nations led by Gog from the land of Magog with their allies which include present-day Iran ("Persia"), Northern Sudan and Ethiopia ("Cush"), Libya ("Put"), and Turkey ("Meshech," "Tubal," "Gomer," and "Beth Togarmah"). The identity of "Gog" is not settled, though it has traditionally been identified with the Soviet Union, but recent interpretation suggests that with the break-up of the Soviet Union, it is more likely a reference to an Islamic coalition that include the former Soviet southern Islamic republics, since the other allies are Islamic countries. So, we may see a grand coalition of Islamic countries surrounding Israel from the Turkey in the north to Iran in the east and Egypt, Libya and North Sudan in the south to attack Israel in the near future. This is a more likely scenario, though we cannot rule out Russian participation in the assault, considering Russia's close relationship with most of these nations.

The reason why the next coalition to attack Israel would be an Islamic coalition is that this kind of coordinated attack on Israel has happened in the past, though on a smaller scale, led by Egypt twice (the 1967 Six-Day War  and the 1973 Yom Kippur War). Surrounded by Islamic neighbors that are threatening to eliminate Israel from the map, Israel is prepared for a major confrontation with her Islamic neighbors, likely with Russian material and moral support. But God will intervene and deliver Israel out of the hands of her enemies. When Ezekiel's prophecy is fulfilled, Israel will acknowledge Jesus as her Messiah.

Israel was a scattered people from AD 70 till 1948 when the Jewish nation was re-born. Since then, Jews from all over the world have been returning back to their homeland: "When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show myself holy through them in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord" (Ezek 39:27-29).

When this happens, Jesus Christ will return to establish the millenium reign on earth. It will be a day of retribution but also redemption--retribution for those who rejected the Gospel and redemption for those who accepted the Gospel.

Father, thank You that You have already forewarned us what will happen. May we remain faithful to Your purpose and calling until You return. Amen.

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