By Nathan Jones
We can learn a lot about God through the Gog-Magog story. Listed are twelve attributes of God that my study of Ezekiel 38-39 has yielded.
1) God knows what is in the minds of men (Ezek. 38:10).
If you think that you are having private thoughts, you're not. God knows what you are thinking. He knows what you are planning. He knows who you are looking at. He knows what you are saying under your breath. While God almost sounds like Santa Claus, He is not. He is God and He knows what is going on in your mind.
2) God knows ahead of time what will happen (Ezek. 38:11-16,18-23; 39:2-6).
Can you surprise God? In Ezekiel God is laying out this whole battle 2,600 plus years before it is ever going to happen. He knows what is going to happen. He also knows what is going to happen to you tomorrow. When you pray to God, "Oh, God, I have lost my job." Or, "I don't know where my next meal will come from." Or, "I am having this terrible relationship with this person and it is only going to end in disaster." Well, God knows how every situation you're in will turn out, so take comfort that He's in control and will provide what you need.
3) God let's us know before He acts (Ezek. 38:1,17; 39:1).
Isn't it interesting that God tells us before He does something big? He warns us ahead of time. Nothing just springs up on us when we read the Bible. When we study the Bible, we know what is going to happen next. No surprises!
4) God is mad at the nations (Ezek. 38:3-5,18-22; 39:1-6).
Some believe the God of the Old Testament was just an angry, cranky, old person who sat up there in Heaven with His long flowing beard, and that Jesus is the God of the New Testament who comes for hugs and everything is just yippity-do-dah-day. This just isn't the case — they are the same God! And, He is mad at the nations because they have rebelled against Him. We continue to rebel against Him, and so He is understandably mad about our misbehavior.
5) It is God Himself who entices the Gog-Magog coalition to war and their own destruction (Ezek. 38:4,16; 39:2).
Truthfully, doesn't that sound kind of nuts? All of Iranian President Ahmadinejad's screaming and yelling about destroying Israel, could it be that God is fueling something in him to act this way so that he can one day be destroyed? The text is crystal clear that God is behind this anti-Semitic rage.
This can be a difficult concept, that God can be goading the destruction of the evil and the sin people have who have long turned away from Him in rebellion. Not that God is causing this rage, as it's certainly satanic in nature, but that God is allowing a superheating of their own twisted desires to the point where they end up bringing judgment upon themselves. God theatrically loves the ironic.
6) God can be provoked to acting on His anger (Ezek. 38:18-19; 39:7,23-24).
I'm asked this all the time, "Why isn't God back yet? Why is He talking so long?" It comes to a point in time where God has like this cup and as He fills it up with His anger it finally reaches the top, and that is when He is ready to tip it over and pour out His wrath. That is the time when His anger will finally be released. God isn't going to always forgive all the wrongs of this world. At some point He will act.
Now, if you're a believer in Christ and know God's wrath no longer lies on you (Jn. 3:36), then you are like, "Yes, finally!" But, if not then you are the one who is still subject to His wrath, which is pretty scary. Remember, God will act one day. Are you under His wrath, or under His grace?
7) God will reveal His glory in no uncertain terms (Ezek. 38:23; 39:6-7,21-24,27-28).
As believers, when Jesus comes back for us in the Rapture, we will know God's glory. The world will also know, but unfortunately only because of the judgments He pours out on them during the Tribulation. At the Second Coming, everyone left alive who survived will see Jesus as He truly is. No matter if one is for or against Jesus, they will know of God's glory and power.
8) God will defeat His enemies (Ezek. 39:12-20).
Now, I get e-mails from atheists now and then and one of them was really honest with me when he said that he wanted a third option. He almost pleaded, "I just want to have God leave me alone, don't judge me, don't bring me to Heaven, just leave me alone." But, the old adage is true, that if you are not for God you are against Him. And so, God will surely bless his children as well as judge His enemies one day. There is no third alternative.
9) God promises to restore Israel to the land and the land from desolation to bounty (Ezek. 36:34-35; 38:8; 39:25-29).
Isn't this neat? I've got to tell you I've been to Israel twice now, and I'm a guy who likes flowers. I know, not very manly, but I like gardening. And so, when I drove down those Israeli highways and saw along the embankments solid walls of flowers, well it was absolutely brilliant to behold.
Crops of all kinds are everywhere throughout Israel. In March one can already pull fruit from the trees. Food is just all over the place.
Who would have imagined that just a century ago Israel's countryside was a desolate, barren wasteland. Settlers could even count the total number of trees that were there because so few trees were alive. Now there are 7,587,000 Jews back in Israel according to the Central Bureau of Statistics reporting in a Sunday April 18th report. God is fulfilling prophecy this very day, and as we read in Ezekiel, God will continue to bring every one of them back to their promised land.
10) God provides for His covenant people (Ezek. 39:9-10,25).
God provides for His covenant people. If God has made you a promise, if He has made an agreement with you, He will keep it absolutely and totally 100% of the time. Guaranteed!
11) God will again pour out His Spirit on Israel (Ezek. 39:29).
This characteristic is very important in relation to timing the Gog-Magog Battle. If God's Holy Spirit is on the Church right now, how can it be on Israel? God has to take the Holy Spirit from the Church to move it to Israel, so that is why the Rapture will happen before the Gog-Magog Battle. The restraining work of the Holy Spirit through the Church will be gone, and the Holy Spirit can then focus on Israel.
12) God fulfills His promises (Ezek. 39:8,23-25).
What promises has God made to you? He promised that He loves you and that He will always take care of you (Jn. 10:28-29). He says he will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5). He promised if you asked Him to save you from your sins and to be your Savior that He will do just that (Rom. 10:9-10). Have you grabbed hold of these promises?
How do we overcome then? Who is it that overcomes the world? Only He who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (1 Jn. 5:5). And so, I ask you, do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Do you believe that He has made promises to save you from your sins, to bring you to Heaven, and to save you from all that terribleness that is coming up ahead? Have you accepted that?
Now is the time if you haven't yet accepted. You need to ask Jesus to be your Savior. He loves you. He wants you to ask for the forgiveness of your sins, and to be your Savior. That is all you have to do. It is quite simple. You just have to in your heart change from an attitude of rebellion to an attitude of love. Say, "Dear Jesus, forgive me of my sins, be my Savior." Do that today, because we don't know exactly when all these world shattering events are going to happen, do we. But, we read about them and know they are going to happen pretty soon, and you don't want to live in the Tribulation. You don't want to wait for the proof of the Rapture and so miss it. And, most of all, you don't want to be against God and have to spend eternity separated from Him in Hell.
Today, confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved. Tell someone today, so they know that you have been saved.
And, if you are a believer, when Jesus comes back, what is He going to find you doing? How are you spending your time? If you know we only have days, months, weeks — what are you doing with your time? Are you living it holy? Is he going to see you reading or watching something you shouldn't, or wasting your time. Now is the time to get out there and tell other people about Jesus Christ. Do that today — right now!