Stop and ponder that passage. How do you know it is true? Or…do you know it is true?
One of the ways we know God’s Word to be true is by looking back through history to see how God faithfully fulfilled promises in the past. He promised Noah He would be faithful to save those who entered the ark. He promised Abraham He would bless him and his descendants. He promised Moses He would guide and direct as he led the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage. He promised David a throne.
He fulfilled every promise. Will He stop now? No! Not for you, and not for Israel. God is faithful. We can take Him at His Word because He always keeps it. There are major promises in Ezekiel 38-39 and we’re on a mission to find them today! (If you are just joining us, back up a few days to review what leads up to this point.)
Today, you will do lots of thinking on your own, as you decide for yourself how trustworthy you believe the Lord is. Ezekiel provides a fantastic look at what God promises to Israel when that northern attack comes. Read Ezekiel 38:17-23 and Ezekiel 39:11-24.
- According to Ezekiel 38:18-19, what is the Lord’s state of mind as He rises in Israel’s defense? Does it seem harsh to you? Put yourself in Israel’s place. Have you ever needed a rescue? How would you feel if the Lord rose against your enemies with that vigor?
- Verse 20 speaks of the impact on nature that surrounds them in that day. Does this verse cause you to fear God, or to stand in awe of His magnificent power? If you had a discussion about this with a friend, how would you portray God’s actions? Why would you portray them that way?
- Now to Ezekiel 38:21-22 and Ezekiel 39:11-20. Read these verses slowly and meditate upon them. What thoughts and emotions run through your mind? Consider the course of history and God’s warnings to the nations, particularly those who have set their sights on destroying Israel since 1948. Consider the blatant threats to destroy the land and the people of Israel. (You will find several examples here.) God is a God of justice and He is jealous for His people. Would you want Him to be just as zealous in His defense of you against your enemies?
- As we inch closer to the day of this battle and you see what’s happening around us, what are your thoughts?
Now, we change gears! Read Ezekiel 38:23 and Ezekiel 39:21-24. The tone changes here.
- Note the difference as Ezekiel speaks the words of the Lord concerning His purpose and goal in rising to defeat Israel’s enemies. Make a list of promises found in these verses. (Don’t rush this! Meditate upon His promises.)
- What is God’s ultimate goal? Why do you think that?
- Do you recall God’s mandate upon Abraham and his descendants, found in the last phrase of Genesis 12:3? All the families of the earth are to be blessed through Abraham, and that blessing is the Messiah and His gift of salvation to the world. Here we see the Messiah, Jesus, coming on behalf of the ones He came first to save! Romans 1:16 tells us the Gospel of salvation came to the Jew first, but they did not receive it. As the attack from the north begins, they still will not have received it. But could it be a breakthrough for them when they see the One whom they rejected, moving miraculously once again on their behalf? I pray so, yet know God has shown Himself to be their miraculous protector in every war. Yet they still reject the deity of Jesus. But move on to the next section…
Ezekiel 39 comes to a close with Israel’s restoration! Read verses 25-29.
- What do you make of these phrases: “show Myself holy through them,” “they will know that I am the Lord their God,” “I will not hide My face from them any longer,” and “I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel.”
- Could this be the spiritual awakening when scales fall from their eyes and they see the Lord Jesus as their Messiah? We know that happens at some point, as Romans 11:26 tells us all Israel will be saved.
- Yet, we also know Israel’s salvation does not happen until the tribulation. Might that indicate the Ezekiel invasion (or at least this restoration phase) happens during the tribulation?
The fact is, the Bible is not clear on the timing of the invasion described by Ezekiel, and scholars much brighter than I have various theological positions. There does seem to be clear indication, though, that it will occur either just prior to the tribulation, or in the early stages of the tribulation. Regardless, what we DO know is the rapture precedes the tribulation. Thus, if the Ezekiel invasion happens during the early stages of the tribulation, believers will not be here to witness it. We just don’t know!
But, we don’t need to know, friends. We simply need to be ready. God has been faithful to His promises since before the foundations of the world! (Don’t believe me? Read Ephesians 1:4!) He is going to be just as faithful today and every day to come. We must be faithful in return.
Remember: ten virgins went out to prepare for the Bridegroom, yet only 5 kept oil in their lamps! The other 5 missed the wedding feast. (Matthew 25:1-13) The Holy Spirit is the oil. Keep your lamps filled, dear friends!
We are not done with our America, Israel and the Church study, but our focus is about to shift more squarely to the church and God’s instructions for us in these last days. As a Christian, do you feel the pressure building? Do you sense the battle rising up against us? If so, join us back here tomorrow as we transition once again!