Part 3 of our study begins with the first verses of chapter
of man, prophesy against Gog and say: ‘This is what the
Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of
Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around and drag you along. I
will bring you from the far north and send you against the
mountains of Israel. Then I will strike your bow from your left
hand and make your arrows drop from your right hand. On the
mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and
the nations with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of
carrion birds and to the wild animals. You will fall in the open
field, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD. I will
send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the
coastlands, and they will know that I am the LORD.
will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no
longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know
that I the LORD am the Holy One in Israel. It is coming! It will
surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD. This is the day
I have spoken of.
The King James has the more accurate rendering for the
beginning of this passage. The phrase translated
I will turn you around and drag you along in the NIV and others,
turn you around and leave but the sixth part of you which
means that 5/6ths of the Moslem armies will be destroyed. The
Hebrew concept is roughly equivalent to the one behind the
English word “decimate.” Although decimate originally described
the punishment requiring that 1 in 10 soldiers in a mutinous
Roman Legion be executed, figuratively it has come to mean that
something is all but totally destroyed.
Synonyms are “annihilate” or “wipe out.” So it is with the
Hebrew. When the Lord brings this Moslem coalition into the
mountains of Israel, He will also wipe them out.
And don’t be confused by the reference to bows and arrows.
Ezekiel was just using terms he knew. The same Hebrew words
could be translated launchers and missiles today.
Some interpret the idea of sending fire on Magog and those
who live safely in the coastlands as warning of a nuclear
exchange. Magog refers to Russia of course, but the identity of
the coastlands is less clear. The Hebrew word implies that
they’re a distant land, and in Isaiah the phrase “beyond the
sea” is used to help locate them, the sea being the
Mediterranean. This reference could easily be pointing to
Europe, and some even believe the US is in focus here. But we’ll
have to wait and see.
Also the Hebrew word translated
in safety is the same one that’s used to describe Israel’s state of
Again it denotes a sense of carelessness, this time on Europe’s
part, as if they don’t believe this kind of thing could happen
to them and therefore aren’t prepared for what’s coming.
And once more the Lord explains His real purpose. He’s going
to use this battle to announce to one and all that He’s Israel’s
Protector and Champion. The nations of the world are being told
that to get to Israel, they’ll have to go through Him.
‘Then those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use
the weapons for fuel and burn them up-the small and large
shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears. For
seven years they will use them for fuel. They will not need to
gather wood from the fields or cut it from the forests, because
they will use the weapons for fuel. And they will plunder those
who plundered them and loot those who looted them, declares the
In Ezekiel’s day people burned wood for heat and so that’s
the idiom he used to describe the situation. In fact, the
passage indicates that all of Israel’s energy needs for 7 years
will be met by converting the energy from the weapons the enemy
leaves behind to peaceful use. I can’t imagine the enemy
carrying in enough wood (or any other conventional fuel for that
matter) to supply Israel’s power and heating plants for 7
years, so a more modern application is in order. Many observers
say this is a reference to nuclear power. The old Soviet
Union converted submarine reactors into power generating plants
to provide electricity for whole communities so the notion isn’t
that far fetched. And as you’ll see, the clean-up procedures for
this battle are remarkably similar to today’s nuclear
decontamination process. Why only 7 years then, when a nuclear
reactor could theoretically supply energy needs for much longer?
If, as I believe, this battle will introduce the 70th week of
Daniel, 7 years worth of energy is all they’ll need. After that,
the Lord will supply their needs. (Rev.
that day I will give Gog a burial place in Israel, in the valley
of those who travel east toward the Sea. It will block the way
of travelers, because Gog and all his hordes will be buried
there. So it will be called the Valley of Hamon Gog.
seven months the house of Israel will be burying them in order
to cleanse the land. All the people of the land will bury them,
and the day I am glorified will be a memorable day for them,
declares the Sovereign LORD .
will be regularly employed to cleanse the land. Some will go
throughout the land and, in addition to them, others will bury
those that remain on the ground. At the end of the seven months
they will begin their search. As they go through the land and
one of them sees a human bone, he will set up a marker beside it
until the gravediggers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon
Gog. (Also a town called Hamonah will be there.) And so they
will cleanse the land’
The King James version says this valley is east of the
Dead Sea. If so it would be in Jordan, not Israel, and
even in Ezekiel’s day would have been outside Israel’s borders.
Yet verse 11 clearly locates the burial place in Israel.
Therefore I believe it’s more likely the one traditionally
called the Valley of the Shadow of Death (Psalm 23:4) that was part of Israel during Ezekiel’s time. If so,
it’s at the bottom of the old Jericho Road that still connects
Jerusalem with Jericho and is on the way to the Dead Sea. And
remarkably it’s in territory occupied by the Palestinians today,
another hint that due to the fulfillment of
Psalm 83 they will
have lost any claim to the West Bank before Ezekiel’s Battle
It will require the combined efforts of all Israeli citizens
for 7 months to bury the enemy dead. After that they’ll hire
professionals, some to decontaminate the land and some to search
for any bodies the people may have missed. They won’t touch any
bones they find, but will set up markers and call the
professionals to come take them away. This approach fits modern
Nuclear Biological Chemical Warfare decontamination procedures
to a tee. Did the Lord have Ezekiel write this to show us the
type of weaponry being used? Between this and the energy
reference above, it sure looks that way.
of man, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Call out to every
kind of bird and all the wild animals: ‘Assemble and come
together from all around to the sacrifice I am preparing for
you, the great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel. There you
will eat flesh and drink blood. You will eat the flesh of mighty
men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth as if they
were rams and lambs, goats and bulls-all of them fattened
animals from Bashan. At the sacrifice I am preparing for you,
you will eat fat till you are glutted and drink blood till you
are drunk. At my table you will eat your fill of horses and
riders, mighty men and soldiers of every kind,’ declares the
The carrion birds and scavengers will have a field day due to
the carnage left behind on the battlefield. Earlier the enemy
force was described as being a great horde, like a cloud
covering the land. Now that it’s been decimated there are dead
bodies everywhere. This is not unique in Israel’s history.
Josephus wrote that after the Battle of the Galilee in 68 AD
there were so many dead bodies floating in the Sea that you
couldn’t see the water.
will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations
will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay upon them.
From that day forward the house of Israel will know that I am
the LORD their God. And the nations will know that the people of
Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were
unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them
over to their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. I dealt
with them according to their uncleanness and their offenses, and
I hid my face from them.
“Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will now
bring Jacob back from captivity and will have compassion on all
the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name.
They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they
showed toward me when they lived in safety in their land with no
one to make them afraid. 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.”
Following this victory the Lord will complete the return of
His people Israel to their land, begun in the early 1900’s and
made official in 1948. Though He caused them to be scattered all
over the world, He’ll now bring them back, not leaving any
behind. Since about 55% of the world’s Jewish people currently
live outside of Israel this will be some homecoming. But having
witnessed His defeat of their enemies, Jews from all over the
world will flock to Israel and to Him, yearning for a
reinstatement of their Old Covenant relationship. And after
waiting for nearly 2000 years for them to return, He’s not going
to refuse them now.
Because of a peace treaty enforced on their behalf by a
coming world leader, they’ll soon build a Temple, Old Covenant
worship being impossible without one. If they follow the
40-48 as I believe, they’ll build the Temple in Shiloh,
about 12 miles (20km) north of Jerusalem. This is the Temple
that will be made desolate by the anti-Christ and later cleansed
at the beginning of the Millennium, just as the second Temple
was first made desolate and then cleansed in the time of the
for all the details.)
And so this battle will permit the beginning of Daniel’s 70th
week, the last 7 years of human history before the Millennium.
Having given this prophecy to Israel, Ezekiel doesn’t get into
any detail on its aftermath, especially as is relates to the
world’s subsequent reactions. But for we who are the Church
today, the Battle of Ezekiel 38-39 carries more significance in what Ezekiel didn’t say
than in what he did. And that’s the topic of our concluding
episode, next time. See you then.