6 “This is what the Lord says, He who is the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of armies:~Isaiah 44:6-7
‘I am the first and I am the last,
And there is no God besides Me.
7 Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it;
And, let him confront Me
Beginning with My establishing of the ancient nation.
Then let them declare to them the things that are coming
And the events that are going to take place.'”
Our ship has made the turn, my friends, and we’re headed right into the Ezekiel 38 storm! Over the past two days (here and here), we studied what some consider the most significant prophecy related to end times: the rebirth of the nation of Israel. (Ezekiel 36-37) Why is that prophecy so important? Because end time events cannot take place unless and until Israel is back in the land. The land of Israel must be invaded (according to Ezekiel 38-39), those enemies must die on the mountains of Israel (Ezekiel 39:4), and Jesus must return to Israel in His Second Coming to step foot on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:1-5) and hear His people proclaim His coming (Matthew 23:37-39).
So, as we study through Ezekiel 36-39, we find ourselves at this moment lingering between chapters 37 and 38. Likewise, in real life, we are perched precariously between world history (Israel’s rebirth) and Bible prophecy (the invasion of Israel from the north). Notice the passage of Scripture at the top.
- How is the Lord described in Isaiah 44:6 (NASB and NLT)?
- In verse 7, what is the “ancient nation” of which He speaks?
- Based on the verse, what do you think is important about that ancient nation?
- Verse 7 in the NLT provides a bit more detail. What do you learn from that verse, in the NLT?
Indeed, Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord of heaven’s armies is making Himself known, and declares the events relative to His Kingdom! The King is returning one day, but there is business to take care of before then.
While living in between Ezekiel 37 and 38, we realize how prophetic it is that Israel is back in the land. In fact, despite the pandemic during which Israel has been almost totally shutdown, plane loads of Jewish people continue to make aliyah (return to the homeland). Ezekiel 36-37 are not completely fulfilled yet, as there are still Jews who have not returned, and Israel is not yet alive spiritually, as Ezekiel 37:14 (and other passages) predict.
Yet, even still, nothing prohibits the beginning of the invasion described in Ezekiel 38-39. So, turn there in your Bible and let’s hear what the Lord of heaven’s armies declares. Please read verses 1-6.
- Gog is a title, not a location, and another name or description of Gog is “czar.” We don’t use that term often in America, but what is a czar?
- List the nations and people groups found in verses 2-6. Below is a map of Biblical places named in Ezekiel 38 overlaid on modern-day nations. What modern-day nations can you identify as attackers?
- Do you hear news of those nations today? If so, what are you hearing?
- Can you find Israel on the map? (Hint: look for the “J” marker. You’ll understand the purpose of that marker later!)
Notice the surrounding countries that are not highlighted as Ezekiel 38 attackers. Do you find that interesting? Here are some tidbits that might help explain:
- Egypt: Though Egypt was involved in every war against Israel from 1948-1973, and though they were much more powerful militarily, Israel miraculously defeated Egypt (and others) over and over again! Thus, in March 1979, Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel. Relations have not always been warm, but cooperation has existed since then.
- Jordan: The Hashemite Kingdom was also involved in virtually every war against Israel following her independence in 1948. However, like the Egyptians, Jordan suffered loss after loss, and realized Israel had much to offer in terms of water rights and agricultural cooperation. So, in October 1994, Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel.
- Syria: Another war enemy of Israel’s, Syria has remained adversarial toward Israel. In fact, Russia, Iran and Turkey (the “big three” in the Ezekiel alliance) now occupy positions in Syria just across Israel’s border. So, why isn’t Syria named among the attackers? Many believe Isaiah 17:1 holds the key. What does that verse tell us about Syria’s capital city of Damascus?
- Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, UAE: All those nations make up the Arabian peninsula. Drop down to Ezekiel 38:13 which describes people groups who will not attack, but will stand back and question those who do. Sheba and Dedan represent none other than the Arabian peninsula. (Tarshish is parts of western Europe, perhaps the UK and/or Spain.)
Knowing those things, is it any wonder those nations are not listed as attackers? Who would have ever predicted peace treaties between Arab nations and Israel 50 years ago? Yet we have witnessed recent treaties with major prophetic implications just in the last 6 months! Amazing! Our Bible is more relevant than the news!
That’s the lay of the land, fellow travelers! Tomorrow we’ll jump right back into Ezekiel 38, so keep your Bible handy and meet us back here tomorrow. We’ve got lots more ground to cover and lots more Bible prophecy to uncover!