By Nathan Jones
Ezekiel 38:18-23 is God's unveiling of Himself to the world in a most dramatic fashion. Hopelessly outnumbered by the combined armies of Russia, Iran, Turkey, Sudan, Lybia and other Muslim nations and led by a demonically driven leader named Gog, Israel has no possible hope of surviving on their own. Then, God steps in. He smashes the armies with supernatural devastations of biblical proportions. The whole world then knows "that I am the LORD."
What will be the fallout for Gog and what are God's purposes for such a public display of His power? Ezekiel 39:1-8 describes the tremendous aftermath.
Ezekiel 39:1-6 — Raining Fire
"1Son 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. 2I will turn you around and drag you along. I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel. 3Then I will strike your bow from your left hand and make your arrows drop from your right hand. 4On 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. 5You will fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD. 6I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am the LORD.'"
Chapters 38 and 39 combined are unique to the whole Bible because they give the most lengthy and detailed description of any prophetic battle, way moreso even than the Battle of Armageddon.
Ezekiel 39 begins by adding more details to the Gog-Magog Battle and the armies' subsequent destruction.
How will God drag Gog and his armies down to invade Israel? When God says "drag you along" we refer back to the hooks mentioned in Ezekiel 38:4. The ancient Assyrians used to like to humiliate the peoples they conquered. The Assyrians would put hooks into those they'd conquered's mouths or through the skin between their shoulder blades on their back. The "hooked" would then in humiliating defeat pull the Assyrian chariots all the way back to their homeland. And so, God is saying here that He is going to humiliate the Gog-Magog coalition.
If you've ever seen the Indiana Jones movie where he was being dragged behind a truck or a tank or a plane (Indiana Jones was always being dragged around behind something), it is just like that. God is dragging the armies down so He can decimate them. He drags them down to the "mountains of Israel," indicating where the battle field will be — on the mountains of Israel.
The Gog-Magog coalition comes with an incredible amount of weapons. But, even though they come bearing a lot of weaponry, those weapons will become useless. Before the armaments are even drawn, before an arrow can be place on a bowstring, before a turret can be aimed, God knocks the weapons from their hands in verse 3.
In verse 4 and 5, God kills the invading armies, leaving their bodies lying in the fields to be eaten by carrion birds and wild animals. They are soldiers who receive no honorable burial, having their bones picked at by animals and spread across the battle field.
In verse 6, God promises to "send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands." And so, not only does God decimate this international army when it reaches Israel, but He goes back and starts decimating by fire their home countries as well. God starts blowing up Russia and Iran and Turkey and all those nations involved. Joel 2:20 even alludes to the aftermath of God's victory in the Gog-Magog Battle, resulting in one sixth of the invaders being driven into Siberia, "a land barren and desolate with his face toward the east sea."
One-sixth of the invaders is all that will survive Gog's foiled invasion. The Gog-Magog Battle is a very thorough and complete victory for God Almighty!
Ezekiel 39:7-8 — That the Nations Know
"7'I 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. 8It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD. This is the day I have spoken of."
God's entire purpose for causing the Gog-Magog Battle is summed up in this key textual passage. The purpose is three-fold:
- Israel will leave its secular humanism and return to God the Father (though not yet to His Son).
- God will no longer tolerate His name being misused as the Third Commandment instructs (Ex. 20:7).
- The world will know that God protects Israel. The end result of God defeating Israel's enemies is so that He will be glorified, honored and praised.
In all things, to God be the glory!
What will it take to clean up after nearly three-quarter million to a billion people die by God's hand on the mountains of Israel? In the next part of this "Impending Invasion of Israel" series we'll study Ezekiel 39:9-20 to unearth the gory funeral purification rituals.