Our journey together continues! Welcome back, sojourners. We’re taking a deep dive into Ezekiel 38-39 and we identified the players in yesterday’s post, Setting the Stage for a Great Invasion. If you missed it, I encourage you to review it in order to know who’s who in the prophetic narrative into which we are diving deeper today. Otherwise, if you are familiar with both the Biblical and modern-day names of nations and people groups, here is our map of reference:
Now that you know who’s who, let’s seek to understand the prophecy of the Lord, spoken to Ezekiel for God of Magog. (Ezekiel 38:1-2, 14; Ezekiel 39:1) Our focus is Ezekiel 38-39, where we find several iterations of the prophecy repeated, yet each with a little different twist. So, now is a great time to read straight through both chapters, uninterrupted. At this point, don’t stop to study verses, just read the narrative. It should take you only 5 minutes or so. Go ahead…we’ll wait!
Good job, faithful Bible students! Now you have the narrative, you know the events and you know how it ends! So, let’s break it down and see what nuggets we can mine from the richness of the text.
Based on Ezekiel 38:1-4 and Ezekiel 39:1-2:
- What is God’s command to Ezekiel?
- How is Gog described in those verses?
- Do you recall who Gog is, and of what modern-day nation he will be chief prince?
- According to Ezekiel 38:15 and Ezekiel 39:2, from where will Gog be drawn?
- Take a look at the map above. What modern-day nation is the “remotest part of the north” from Israel?
- Find the locator tabs labeled “J” and “M.” Those designate capital cities. Can you guess what cities they are? (Hint: capitals of Israel and Russia! Oops…I hope I didn’t just give it all away!)
- Who leads Gog out of the north, and how?
- To where will Gog and his troops be led?
Did you catch that? It is God Himself who will drag Gog out of the far places of the north! That northern place is modern-day Russia, and if you know anything at all about current events, you know that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been “posturing” for many years as the rising Russian czar. In fact, in early-2020, the Russian Prime Minister and the entire parliament resigned to enable “constitutional changes,” believed by many to give Putin full power and control. Putin’s legal term as president ends soon, thus, he is pulling out all stops (including changing Russia’s constitution) to remain in power.
So, it begs the question: Is Vladimir Putin Gog? It is too soon to know for sure, but he is certainly Gog-esque!
Currently, there is an interesting scenario playing out in Syria. As you may or may not know, Russia, Iran and Turkey…the “big three” in the coalition to ultimately attack Israel…all have troops in Syria, and and have various “reasons” to be there. Russia, though, is the known kingpin because they have the strongest military of the three, and Putin is exercising power and control. Nothing happens in Syria without Russia knowing.
Israel, meanwhile, has declared they will not allow Iran to set up shop on their northern border. Yet, Iran has a constant flow of weapons and equipment into Syrian bases controlled by the Iranian regime. Because Israel must frequently go into Syria to take care of business (ie – blow up Iranian targets!) they have a working agreement with Russia not to fire upon one another’s aircraft and other assets! Thus, it is with Russia’s full knowledge that the IDF goes on mission to destroy Iranian weapons, communication equipment, military facilities, etc.
So, while Russia is a primary supplier of elements of Iran’s nuclear facilities, they don’t seem to be concerned that Israel destroys Iranian military weapons and equipment! In many ways, Russia, Iran and Turkey are already allied to some degree, but they do not have common goals and motives in attacking Israel. (We’ll talk more about that later.)
Here is something even more interesting! Stop to think for a moment…what is Israel’s history book? It is the Old Testament, and the Jewish people know it very well! Even secular Jews understand not only Biblical history (their history!), but also the law and the prophets! They have read Ezekiel 38-39 and, in fact, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been known to quote portions of Ezekiel when speaking in public.
Yet, they know that without timely alliances, they likely don’t survive. Therefore, befriending Russia in order to avoid unintended confrontation with them is wise if they are to successfully defend against their greatest threat: Iran!
Let’s finish our study today by focusing on Ezekiel 38:7-9 and Ezekiel 39:3-6. Based on those verses:
- According to Ezekiel 38:8, describe Israel’s history.
- How are the people of Israel living at the time of the invasion?
- What two things happen on the mountains of Israel, according to 38:8 and 39:4?
- The nation of Israel is the size of New Jersey, and the mountains are in the northernmost part of Israel. Looking at the map below, do you see the Golan Heights? What nations neighbor the Golan Heights?
- Damascus Syria is less than 40 miles from the Golan Heights, and Iranian terror proxies such as Hezbollah often encroach upon Israel’s border, particularly from Lebanon.
Finally, Ezekiel 38:4 mentions predatory birds. Near Gamla, in northern Israel, is a federally protected area where Griffon vultures nest and bear young. These gigantic birds have 10′ wingspans and are imposing figures in the skies above Gamla. (Here is one we saw on a visit to Gamla several years ago.) I am reminded of those huge birds when I read about Israel’s foes being given as food for the predatory birds. It will not end well for those who attack!
Nice job today, friends! Thanks for joining us on the journey and please check back in tomorrow as we continue our study of Ezekiel 38-39.