Middle East Meltdown 013 – Ezekiel 38Ezekiel 38:13b-16 • Dr. Andy Woods • April 17, 2022 • Middle East Meltdown
Middle East Meltdown 013 – Ezekiel 38
By Dr. Andy Woods – 04/17/2022
There we go. Let’s take our Bibles, if we could, and open them to Ezekiel, 38, verse 13 (Ezek 38:13) and in Sunday school today were just going to continue with our Middle East Meltdown study. But don’t panic, we’ll be commemorating the risen Lord in our sermon in the second hour. But here we’re not talking so much about the resurrection of Jesus, we’re talking about the resurrection of a nation. The nation of Israel in the last days. So to help us understand that, we, beginning of the year, embarked on a study verse by verse through Ezekiel, 36 through 39 and we’ve seen chapter 36, which is Israel’s restoration physically and spiritually and you know what? I guess I didn’t pray, did I? That’s terrible, I’m surprised the Lord on resurrection Sunday didn’t hit me with a lightning bolt. So let’s do that, let’s pray. Father, we’re grateful for today, grateful for your truth, grateful for your word. Help us to understand that really as a Christian every day is resurrection day, because we have been identified into your death, burial, resurrection and ascension and because you live, we live as well and we have hope that the world doesn’t have, because of that empty tomb. So help us to leave here with that understanding and we’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory, we ask these things in Jesus’ name and God’s people said, Amen. 2:24
- Ezekiel recommissioned (33)
- False shepherds removed (34)
- Edom destroyed (35)
- Israel’s restoration: physical & spiritual (36)
- Israel’s restoration illustrated (37)
- Means of restoration: Northern invasion (38)
- Results of the Northern invasion: conversion (39)
- Millennial Temple (40‒46)
- Tribal land allotment (47‒48)
So, chapter 36 really is about the resurrection of a whole nation, physically and spiritually, chapter 36, something God is going to do in the end times.
- Israel to prosper again (1-15)
- Israel’s sins inhibiting prosperity (16-21)
- Israel to be restored: physically & spiritually (22-38)
Chapter 37, as we have studied, is two illustrations of the content of chapter 36, which is the valley of the dry bones vision and the two sticks coming together.
- Vision: Valley of the Dry Bones (Ezek 37:1-14)
- Vision (Ezek 37:1-10)
- Interpretation (Ezek 37:11-14)
- Sign: Two Sticks (Ezek 37:15-28)
- Sign (Ezek 37:15-17)
- Interpretation (Ezek 37:18-28)
Then the question is once Israel is re-gathered in unbelief, what is the tool that God is going to use to convert his elect nation and the tool is a northern invasion. That’s described in chapters 38 and 39 and so, if you’re here for the first time, this is actually part thirteen in our series on the Middle East Meltdown and so verses 1 through 13 (Ezek 38:1-13) basically is a description of this invasion.
- Invasion Planned (Ezekiel 38:1-13)
- God’s intention (Ezek 38:1-9)
- Gog’s intention (Ezek 38:10-13)
It’s planned in the mind of God, verses 1 through 9 (Ezek 38:1-9), it’s actually God drawing this northern confederation into Israel against his people Israel but verses 10 through 13 (Ezek 38:10-13) give you a description of that invasion from the perspective of the invaders. The invaders think that they’re calling the shots. But in reality, it’s God using the invaders as His tool to convert His people, fascinating development as we study this and as we worked our way through these chapters, we’ve identified all of the different invaders.
The Bible is very clear. Rosh or Russia will be part of this invasion as will Central Asia, as will Iran, as will the Sudan, as will Libya, just like Turkey is involved. So in prior teachings, we’ve taught you how to identify, how all of these strange sounding names actually fit nations that you read about regularly in your newspaper.
So our list of ancient names is almost complete but we run into a couple more in verse 13 and we come now to Ezekiel chapter 38, verse 13 (Ezek 38:13) and what does it say here? It mentions three more groups and it mentions what we would call there “lame protest”, meaning there are three groups or three nations that won’t like what’s happening and they will actually stage a protest. They won’t do anything tangible to stop it, kind of like how Russia just went into the Ukraine and no one’s really doing a lot to stop it. The same sort of thing is going to happen here, where these invaders come against the land of Israel and there’s a couple of groups, three, that speak up and that lame protest is described in verse 13, I think if memory serves, we barely got into verse 13 last time. 6:00
But it says there in verse 13 (Ezek 38:13): Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish with all its villages will say to you… Now the “you” is this coalition of invaders… Have you come to capture spoil? Have you assembled your company to seize plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to capture great spoil?… So last time we saw that there’s two more names mentioned here, Sheba and Dedan and we believe that Sheba and Dedan just because when you look up Sheba and Dedan today on a modern day map they’re part of the Gulf states right next to Dubai or the United Arab Emirates called Saudi Arabia.
So we’re confident, at least I’m confident, that when this invasion happens Saudi Arabia really isn’t going to like it and they’re actually going to speak up, they’re not going to do anything to stop it but they’re going to voice their protest and that’s what the prophet Ezekiel predicted in verse 13 two thousand six hundred years ago and that’s why when you look at your headlines, what you typically see is Saudi Arabia is non cooperative with these other nations.
“SAUDI PRINCE: ‘I’LL SIDE WITH ISRAEL’ AGAINST PALESTINIAN UPRISING, [AND] IRAN.”
So one headline reads, from the Saudi prince: I’ll side with Israel against Palestinian uprising and Iran. So there’s Saudi Arabia saying, if Iran invades Israel, we will side with Israel. Kind of an interesting headline in light of what Ezekiel saw here two thousand six hundred years ago as described in verse 13.
Here’s another headline, I think I shared this with you last time, it says:
TIMES OF INDIA
online: http://tass.com/politics/932980. December 01, 2017 , accessed 12 December 2017.
“Saudi Arabia intercepts second Yemen missile in a month. Saudi Arabia on Thursday intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile fired from war-torn Yemen, state media reported, the second such attack this month claimed by Iran-backed Huthi rebels.”
So here is one of Iran’s proxies, firing weapons and here is Saudi Arabia disrupting that process and when you see things like this in the headlines, you have to go back to verse 13. This is exactly what Ezekiel, 38, verse 13 (Ezek 38:13) is predicting. Saudi Arabia’s non cooperative. Now, the biggest thing that’s happened within the last few years is something called the Abraham Accords, have you heard of these?
We’ve talked a little bit about them. They’re a little tricky because the Abraham Accords were largely brokered through Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. They’re not really peace treaties with Israel; that’s a common misconception, because these countries entering into these Abraham Accords, typically are little tiny countries and they were never at war with Israel. What they are are normalization agreements, where Israel says to these little countries, a lot of them in the Gulf states, right next door to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates has entered into one of the Abraham Accords, I think Bahrain is entered into one of the Abraham Accords and everybody that follows this says Saudi Arabia is the next one to follow. But these are not peace treaties, these are normalization agreements, where Israel. says to these little states, all you got to do is recognize our existence, because as you probably know, the nation of Israel doesn’t even show up on most Islamic maps. So all you have to do is recognize our existence and if you recognize our existence, then we will open up to you the four T’s. Those stand for: Trade, Travel, Tourism and Technology. So, relationships between Israel and these countries that enter into these accords, prospers both Israel and these little countries because suddenly the four T’s are opened up and that benefits Israel and it benefits these tiny countries as well and all you have to do is recognize that we exist and we’re going to call them the Abraham Accords because the belief is Abraham is the tie that binds, right? Abraham is recognized in Islam, most of these countries if not all of them are Islamic and Abraham is also recognized in Judaism. So Abraham is sort of an ecumenical figure that’s picked for the purpose of getting these nations to enter into these normalization agreements. So this is what’s so interesting about Sheba and Dedan protesting. When you look at these nations that have entered into these normalization agreements, look how close they are to Saudi Arabia and everybody says, Saudi Arabia is the next one to fall or to enter into these agreements and so what you have really within just the last couple of years and I’ve been surprised at how fast it’s happened, because we always knew Saudi Arabia would be a protester we just didn’t know why and all of a sudden, the Abraham Accords come into existence and by the way, when I mentioned Jared Kushner and the Trump administration, you need to just sort of take off your political hat for a moment, can we do that? Take off the political hat, this is not partisan. This is studies of prophecy and I’m just showing you how God is using key figures to set the stage for his end time program, because I’m here to tell you that every specific thing, that this book talks about, will happen and we’re going to see that in the second hour, because as we present the case for Jesus culminating in the resurrection, we’re going to see that Jesus walked into a script, that was written about Him hundreds and thousands of years in advance. Specific things, where He’d be born, specifically. How he would die, specifically and all of those prophecies and I think you’ll see a lot of them today in the sermon, happened exactly like God said. So if that happened exactly like God said, why would God switch horses in midstream and suddenly the details of the prophecies, yet to come, won’t happen. 13:20
So what is my point? My point is the Abraham Accords now put into existence a reason why Sheba and Dedan or Saudi Arabia would protest. Of course they would protest because they are benefiting from Israel, economically because of the four T’s, thank you the Abraham Accords. So the Abraham Accords themselves, as a lot of people have been fumbling trying to figure out how these fit, I’m trying to give you an explanation how they fit. They set the stage for verse 13 and we continue on with verse 13 and it mentions another group there. Sheba and Dedan and the merchants, you got to look at the language very carefully, it’s the merchants of Tarshish. More on the merchants in a second. Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish with all its villages will say to you, ‘Have you come to capture spoil?… So not only do Sheba and Dedan protest but so does Tarshish or her merchants. Does the name Tarshish ring a bell at all? Well, if you’ve been studying the book of Jonah. Jonah chapter 1, verse 3 (Jonah 1:3), that’s where Jonah fled to when God said go preach to the Ninevites. Jonah, 1, verse 3 (Jonah 1:3) says: But Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish… So God says, go east and Jonah says, no I’m going to go west. He did the exact opposite of what God said, he couldn’t have been further out of the will of God and so, as you know, God took Jonah and put him into time out, I guess we could say, for about three days and then after time out, he was ready to do God’s will. So it’s always easier, it’s the path of least resistance to do God’s will right out of the gate. Maybe God won’t have to put you in time out. But anyway, Tarshish is where he went to. So we believe the Tarshish is modern day Spain and Charles Ryrie in his Ryrie Study Bible indicates that Tarshish is:
Tarshish = Spain
Ryrie Study Bible, p. 1,421.
The Ryrie Study Bible indicates that Tarshish “is located in the S of Spain near Gibraltar, 2,500 mi. (4,000 km) W of Palestine [or Israel] and the opposite direction from Nineveh.”
So what you’re starting to get a picture of is not only does Saudi Arabia protest this invasion from the north against Israel when it happens but the merchants of Tarshish in Spain don’t like it either. Now, look at the language very carefully Sheba and Dedan and it doesn’t just say Tarshish, it says the merchants of Tarshish and again it’s one of those prophecies that you look at it and you wonder how such a thing could come into existence. Well, the Abraham Accords, again, did something that further clarifies the meaning of this. So Charles Feinberg in his outstanding commentary on the book of Ezekiel, I’d highly recommend this to you, if you’re interested in this topic, written all the way back in 1966, says:
Charles L. Feinberg
The Prophecy of Ezekiel: The Glory of the Lord, Paperback ed. (Chicago: Moody, 1969; reprint, Chicago: Moody, 1984), 223.
“The young lions of Tarshish are taken to mean either the strong leaders and princes or greedy rulers of these commercial communities.”
So Feinberg says, it’s not just Tarshish, it’s the money men of Tarshish. It’s the people in commerce, the business people, the banking people in Tarshish who are going to voice opposition to this invasion from the north and again the Abraham Accords furnish an explanation as to why the merchants of Tarshish would enter into this protest, because the very last nation that has entered into these Abraham Accords is a nation called Morocco.
So you see Israel there in red and if you just go west you see Morocco. So the United Arab Emirates has entered into the Abraham Accords, Bahrain, a Gulf state has entered into the Abraham Accords. Everybody’s just waiting for Saudi Arabia to enter into the Abraham Accords and the last nation to enter into this normalization agreement with Israel was Morocco. Morocco is right underneath what? Right, underneath Spain, is not that interesting?
So Morocco is in a trading relationship with Spain. In other words, the Abraham Accords are helping Morocco become wealthy. As Morocco’s becoming wealthy so are the merchants of Spain. So all of a sudden just like that, you have an explanation as to why the merchants of Tarshish would voice opposition to this coalition coming against the nation of Israel. So we’re literally living in, I hope people understand this, I’m not a date setter, nor the son of a date setter, but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we are living in literally messianic times, where we are seeing things come together on the world stage that prior generations have never seen before because that’s how close we are to the end is what I’m saying and God is moving his hand in history to set everything up so that the tiny minutia, the tiny specifics of His work will be fulfilled, because God at the end of the day can’t lie. God is going to move heaven and earth to see that His word is fulfilled and all these people running around here, all of these world leaders, whether they’re in the United States or whether they’re abroad, they think they’re in charge. You know, they really think that they’re calling the shots and in reality it’s God calling the shots. It’s God using the ideas in their minds to set the stage for His end time program. You know, Judas when he betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, probably thought it was his idea and he acted on that and he actually in so doing, we covered this Wednesday night in Zechariah, in so doing he fulfilled the prophecy of the betrayal of Christ for thirty pieces of silver that had been written five hundred years before it happened and God is doing the exact same thing right now in this very exciting era of biblical prophecy or eschatology. 20:34
Now, here is something very interesting, it says in Ezekiel, 38, verse 13 (Ezek 38:13) it’s describing the protest: Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish with all its villages will say to you, ‘Have you come to capture spoil? Have you assembled your company to seize plunder, to carry away… Look at the language here… silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to capture great spoil?… So when they protest the invasion, they’re saying, have you come to seize Israel’s silver and gold? Now, when we’re in verse 12, I told you that Israel had to become very, very wealthy. If you look back at verse 12 (Ezek 38:12) it says: To capture spoil, to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited and against the people who are gathered from the nations who have acquired cattle and goods who live at the center of the world… And I was showing you last week that in fact, Israel has become wealthy. Her gross domestic product outstrips that of her neighbors. We saw some charts to that effect last time. There are trillions of dollars of mineral deposits in the Dead Sea, we saw that last time. Israel has discovered natural gas, we saw that last time in her area or her land, she’s discovered oil in her land and I was on with my friend Brandon House on his TV program and we were talking about this and there came to our attention later a very acerbic website piece against what we were saying. It was written by Gary Demar. If you know anything about Gary Demar, he’s basically a preterist, meaning he thinks this whole invasion already happened. He thinks it happened in the book of Esther and what do I know about preterism? Preterism means past. I know more than I wish I knew about it, let’s just put it that way. I did my master’s thesis against preterism, concerning Revelation, 13. I did my doctoral dissertation against the preterist interpretation of Revelation, 17 and 18 and so I wish I didn’t know what I know about preterism, because it’s a lot of time to devote in your life to a bad doctrine. But I had to graduate, Amen? That was something, because they say this, they say we want you to make an original contribution to graduate and I’m thinking original contribution? Didn’t Solomon said there’s nothing new under the sun? So I decided to react against the new heresies and so I got my diploma, praise God and they were happy with that. But one of the things Gary Demar noted is he says, you know, Andy Woods and Brandon House, they obviously don’t take the Bible literally, because it actually says here: silver and gold and there’s no silver and gold in Israel. So we’ve gone on and on about oil discoveries, natural gas, we’ve gone on and on about mineral deposits but Gary Demar comes on the scene and he says, no the text actually says: wealth in terms of silver and gold and these guys, they claim to take the Bible literally, you know, ha ha ha what buffoons, because they’re not interacting with silver and gold and actually, when you hear something like that and when someone like comes out in print, you know, and attacks you, you know, it’s not like with these preterists, it’s not like a friendly dialogue among the brethren, it’s not like that at all. I mean, it’s a war that’s a propaganda war where they’re out to totally discredit you and make you look as dumb as you could possibly look so no one will ever listen to you again and I have to admit that when I got wind of this blog that he wrote, I thought well, he actually has a point. It says silver and gold and we claim to be literal interpreters and so I just sort of, you know, like most things you just file it in the back of your mind and think, okay, maybe the Lord will give me an answer down the road. Well, I think I have an answer to this silver and gold. It’s not mine. I learned this through my involvement with steeling the mind conferences. My friend Bill Perkins of Compass Ministries, runs that ministry and he has put out these little books, I think there’s four volumes, he calls them Steel on Steel and in volume III, chapter 4, which was sitting on my shelf but Bill is the one that brought this to my attention. He has this absolutely fascinating article on inevitable discoveries, eminent discoveries of gold and silver in the land of Israel and, you know, he goes into a lot more detail on it and explains it a lot better than me but his basic premise is when you study the Solomonic empire. Okay, that Solomon was the last king of the United Kingdom. Israel reached its highest levels of prosperity and its greatest border expansion under the reign of Solomon and when you study the Solomonic empire in the book of 1st Kings, the Chronicles books, you’ll see gold and silver, particularly gold everywhere, it’s mentioned. 26:37
Then on the eve of the Babylonian captivity in the genealogies as recorded in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, there’s a description there of things that the nation of Israel brought with them into captivity and brought back with them from captivity and it does mention the silver and gold but it doesn’t at all mention the volume of silver and gold that existed in the time of Solomon. So the question is, well, what happened to the silver and gold? And Bill Perkins contention is the Israelis, at that point in history, because they knew that the Babylonian captivity was inevitable, they took the silver and gold and they hid it. In fact, they hid it so well that the next generation didn’t even know where it was hidden and how does he reach this conclusion? He reaches this conclusion by looking at all the passages that talk about silver and gold under Solomon versus the passages that talk about the silver and gold that was taken into captivity and brought back from captivity and what they took into captivity and brought back from captivity is a pittance, it’s slim pickings compared to all of the gold and silver Solomon owned and so the question is, well, what happened to it? And the premise is and it’s just a working thesis, I don’t know if I would start a new church, you know, over this, is that the Israelis hid it. They didn’t want Nebuchadnezzar to have it so they hid it and if they hid it somewhere, it’s still there and it’s just a matter of time according to this thinking, that Israel will come upon a tremendous discovery of silver and gold and the invaders will come against Israel, not just for wealth because of silver and gold and when that happens I’m going to write my own blog piece. I mean I’ve got it all written. I just have to wait for the discovery. Against our critics saying, you know, na na na na na na. So I just find that interesting and I’ll just submit that to you for your consideration. It’s just a theory and don’t take everything I say in terms of these theories as gospel truth, but it’s just a working theory. It would not surprise me in the least to find out one day Israel has natural gas, Israel has the oil, Israel has the mineral deposits in the Dead Sea and oh! By the way, there’s been this massive discovery of gold and silver. That would not surprise me given what I’ve tried to explain, because that’s how God works. Somehow when this whole thing happens, we’re going to step back and we’re going to say wow! Look at what God did, to see that the myopic details of His word will be fulfilled. 29:50
So we move from there down to verses 14 through 16 where we’ve talked about the invasion planned by God and by Gog, the leader and now we go to verses 14 through 16 (Ezek 38:14-16) where we see the invasion executed. So notice, if you will, Ezekiel chapter 38 and notice verse 14 (Ezek 38:14), it says: Therefore prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog… By the way, as I’m reading I can really use a little more air up here, if that’s within the realm of possibilities, if not, I’ll just preach a sermon on hell. It says: Therefore prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog, Thus says the Lord GOD, On that day when My people Israel are living securely, will you not know it?… So Gog, who is Gog? As we’ve talked about, Gog is the leader, the human being that is leading this coalition. Is Putin Gog? I don’t know but he sure is acting very Gog-like in my opinion. So the human leader comes against Israel and its very clear in verse 14, they come against Israel when Israel is living in security and this is a major clue, because everybody wants to know when this is going to happen. This is not the first time we run across this term security. It was mentioned in verse 8 (Ezek 38:8): But it’s people were brought out from the nations and they are living securely… That’s the Hebrew word batach, all of them. Verse 11 (Ezek 38:11), it says: And you will say I will go against the land of unwalled villages, I will go against those who are at rest… That’s a different word shacat… That live securely… batach again… all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates… So you’ve got these major clues telling you when this is going to happen, it’s a time period when Israel is actually living in security. She’s not just living in security, she’s living at peace and at rest. She’s not just winning wars, she’s living in a time period where she doesn’t need to fight anymore. Where there’s no more terrorist attacks, the land of Israel is quiet and undisturbed, that’s what shacat means. Batach means security, sometimes translated unwalled villages, but there’s two Hebrew words here, there’s a second word called shacat, at peace and at rest. Obviously, that second word doesn’t describe Israel today, because Israel if you’ve been following Israeli news, right now, is under severe terrorist attacks. So this shacat is obviously not happening today, well, when is it going to happen? It’s going to happen when they enter into the deal of the century with the antichrist. This deal of the century or deal of the millennium probably, we could call it, is predicted in Isaiah, 28, verse 15 (Isa 28:15) which says: Because you have said, We have made a covenant with death, And with Sheol we have made a pact… Verse 18 of Isaiah 28 (Isa 28:18): Your covenant with death will be canceled, And your pact with Sheol will not stand… So there’s coming a time in history where the nation of Israel reaches out to the antichrist who guarantees her survival, which means the nation of Israel has to be put under duress to give up part of her land in exchange for the illusory promise of peace, to be in a psychological preparation, where she’s reaching out to the antichrist for her survival and Blinken said, March 28th, as he was talking with the leadership of the PLO, that the two state solution, it’s his own language not mine, is back on the table. The two state solution is forcing Israel to give up what’s called the West Bank, we call it as Christians, Judea and Samaria in exchange for the promise of peace. So I believe this, that the two state solution so called, which will take the width of Israel and reduce it to less than ten miles, if this goes through and my pilot friends tell me, you need more than ten miles to shoot down an incoming plane that’s there to attack you. This two state solution once it goes through, I don’t know when it’s going to go through, how it’s going to go through, I just know it’s back on the table, will put Israel in a position where she’s almost indefensible. She can’t defend herself anymore and that will create the incentive by which, she will reach out to the antichrist when he shows up for her survival and once that happens the seven year tribulation period launches. There is a clock that God gave to Daniel with four hundred and ninety years on it. Four hundred and eighty three have already elapsed stopping at Palm Sunday, leaving seven years yet future, as God is at work with the church, God’s finger is on that pause button.
But one of these days, his work with the church will end, the church will be translated to heaven through the rapture and God will put His hand back on the start button and God’s finger does not go back on the start button until Israel enters into this deal with the antichrist, that the prophet Isaiah calls a pact with Sheol or hell itself, because at that point in history, Israel will mistakenly think that their Messiah is the Antichrist and through this process, God is going to bring them to an awareness that the antichrist is not their Christ, their Christ came two thousand years ago and when the antichrist double crosses them, right in the middle of the tribulation period, by desecrating their temple, their eyes get opened. So God, a great piece of theology that was given to me when I first got saved, was God knocks us down so we look up. That’s how God works, it’s worked that way in all our lives if we’re honest and the same thing is about to happen with Israel. She will enter into this peace treaty. She will be betrayed by the man who guaranteed her security and her eyes get open in the second half of the tribulation period, but this peace treaty is what launches this seven year time period. So this I believe, is the time period that Ezekiel is seeing, when he talks about the invasion happening when Israel is dwelling in unwalled villages at peace and at rest, because it’s a peace to be sure but it’s a false peace. It’s a temporary peace. 38:00
6 Timing Clues
- Restoration section (33-48)
- Latter times (Ezek 38:8a)
- Last days (Ezek 38:16)
- After Israel’s regathering in unbelief but before her final restoration (Ezek 38:8b; 39:22, 29)
- During God’s wrath (Ezek. 38:18-19)
- While Israel is living securely and peacefully (Ezek 38:8c, 11)
So that sort of takes this event that we’re reading about here and anchors it down to the first part, I should say, of the tribulation period. I believe that this battle will take place subsequent to the first seal.
The first seal judgment is the antichrist showing up as a rider on the white horse who brings temporary peace. But when the second seal is opened up by Jesus Christ in heaven, global war breaks out the peace was obviously very temporary and what starts this global war is this very invasion that we’re speaking of here. So I don’t think this is something that could take place before the tribulation period starts as many you’re teaching today. I don’t think it’s something that could take place before the rapture. I think it’s something that is actually anchored down to the tribulation period itself and so that becomes this transition from peace to war, becomes one of the major clues whereby you can pinpoint when this event will take place and it goes on there in verse 15 (Ezek 38:15) and it says: You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north… I mean, Ezekiel, this issue of the, not just the north but the far north, has been repeated by Ezekiel a number of times, the first time we saw it was in chapter 38, verse 6 (Ezek 38:6) remote north. Not just north, remote north. The second time we saw it is right here in verse 15 and then you see it again in chapter 39, verse 2 (Ezek 39:2) where he says: I will turn you around and drive you on to take you up from the remotest part of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel. So this invader is coming not just from the north.
He’s coming from the far north. He’s coming from the remote north and we know from verse 12 (Ezek 38:12), as we saw last time, and Ezekiel, 5, verse 5 (Ezek 5:5), as far as God thinks, the center of the earth is Israel. All of these directional issues in prophecy, north, south, all that stuff, you have to have the right starting point. The starting point is Israel which God says is at the center of the earth and then it’s just a matter of going to the remote north and what nation do you run into? You run into Rosh or Russia, which just rolled right over Ukraine.
Google maps is helpful sometimes and there is Israel and just go straight north and you don’t just run into Russia, you run into Moscow. Sort of interesting, isn’t it? And we spent a lot of time explaining why Rosh, contrary to what a lot of people are saying, really is Russia. So this expression, remote parts of the north is mentioned again in verse 15 and then you look at the second part of verse 15 (Ezek 38:15) and it says: …many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses… Now we’ve mentioned horses, because people say well, how could this be a future warfare when it’s describing ancient battle weapons like horses. Well, the devil is in the details, isn’t it? Because as you study this very carefully, it talks there chapter 39, verse 2 (Ezek 39:2) on the mountains of Israel. Israel, because of the Golan Heights being annexed into the land of Israel, now has bodacious mountains and so it kind of makes sense that they would come on horses, because horses are better capable of handling mountainous terrain. So what do horses mean? I think horses mean horses. In fact, our own CIA, back in 1980 to do battle in the Middle East, actually brought horses into the Middle East that were born and bred, bred and born in the state of Tennessee. So all these people just mock this and say, how could there be horses? There’s actually a logical reason why there would be horses and then it says there in verse 15 (Ezek 38:15): …and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army… So what I’m seeing here in Ezekiel, 38, is not something that’s exhaustive. He’s not giving every single nation that’s involved. He’s mentioning the major players but he’s not mentioning for example, those nations in the inner ring, closest or adjacent to the land of Israel nations like Jordan, Egypt, because a lot of people are arguing that there’s two wars here.
First, there’s a war for the inner ring, they invade first, they try to tie that into Psalm, 83, and then there’s the Ezekiel, 38 and 39 war, which happens later and I’m really not of that persuasion because, I think when these nations invade, they will all invade concurrently. They will invade simultaneously, because Ezekiel when he mentions these different names doesn’t say Rosh and only Rosh. Persia and only Persia, Magog and only Magog. You know, he’s basically just summarizing in a non-exhaustive way the major players but that would include nations in the inner ring as well, so there’s no need to develop another battle here. Psalm, 83 and I’ve tried to explain this in prior lessons, is largely a distraction. Psalm, 83 is just an imprecatory prayer, not even a prophecy, against God’s perennial enemies. There’s no need to go to Psalm, 83 and develop an alternative war here; the action is in Ezekiel, 38 and 39. So that’s why I think Ezekiel keeps saying “and all the peoples with you.” He says that in chapter 39, verse 4 (Ezek 39:4), you will fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you… He says that in chapter 38, verse 6 (Ezek 38:6), verse 9 (Ezek 38:9), verse 15 (Ezek 38:15), verse 22 (Ezek 38:22) and also right here in chapter 39 and verse 4 (Ezek 39:4) and then you go down to chapter 38, verse 16 (Ezek 38:16), as we’re trying to study this verse by verse, as this war is now being executed, it’s no longer planned. Now it’s being executed. The planning stages are in verses 1 through 13. We’re past that. God’s plan and Gog’s plan. Now we’re into the action stage and it says in verse 16 (Ezek 38:16): You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog… As God through Ezekiel is addressing Gog, the leader of this invasion. 46:21
You’ll notice that when this invasion comes against the land of Israel, it’s going to be like a cloud and we’ve seen that imagery earlier, haven’t we? If you back up to verse 9 (Ezek 38:9), a couple of similes were used to describe this invasion. You will go up and you will become like a storm. You will be like a cloud and then you slip down to verse 16 (Ezek 38:16) and you know what a simile is, right? It connects two things through the expression like or as. So this is what it’s going to be like it’s going to be like a cloud, it’s going to be like a cloud covering, it’s going to be like a storm. In other words, it’s going to descend upon Israel with such velocity like a storm, that there’s absolutely no hope that they have, but God, right? And that sort of the point, to push him to this point, where they have no hope at all against this giant storm cloud rapidly overtaking them, other than to cry out to the Lord for help and this is how the Lord is going to bring salvation to the Jewish nation, which is one of the great purposes of the great tribulation. The great tribulation is not just to judge planet earth for its sins, although they’ll be plenty of that, believe me. But it’s to bring salvation to the Jewish nation. God, when he had planned the events of the great tribulation period always had in mind this purpose. You can it in find many places in the Bible like Jeremiah chapter 30, verse 7 (Jer 30:7). A time of unparalleled distress for Jacob. They’ll be none like it but he will be saved out of it and so, man thinks he’s executing his plan but he’s actually executing God’s plan. He’s putting into motion the events that will lead to the conversion of the nation of Israel and once that happens, oh my goodness! Then you have the prospect of the millennial kingdom being established on the earth and Satan being evicted. So it’s going to come like a cloud to cover the land. Now what’s very interesting is you have to look very carefully at verse 16, it says: my people, my land, because there’s a mindset out there called replacement theology which says the Jewish people in unbelief, the nation I’m talking about, rejected their king two thousand years ago and so God is through with the Jew. Go is through with the nation of Israel. In fact, most Christians by way of denominational affiliation are taught this around the clock. That explains one of my involvements with a group in Australia and here I can’t remember the name of the group. It’s got the name Israel in it anyway. Well, it come to me in a second. But they’re trying to start a group, they’ve been having a group where they’re trying to focus on Israel and the church and when I was there, they said that this group is so needed because all of our denominational seminaries crank out these replacement theologians and amillennialists around the clock and so we desperately need a group within Australia that believes correctly theologically in God’s plan and program for the nation of Israel. Yeah! Thank you very good, Awake to Israel and I wasn’t very awake myself since I couldn’t remember the title, Awake to Israel. See, is this not a great associate pastor, right there? Was that you, brother Jim? Thank you and that’s what associate pastors are supposed to do as Moses arms get tired, they’re supposed to lift him up. So you can prevail against the Amalekites. So we appreciate the ministry of brother Jim, so that’s wonderful. 51:05
So what I’m trying to show you is replacement theology can’t be true because Israel here is still in unbelief, right? They haven’t been converted yet in this prophecy and God calls them, my people Israel and He calls the land of Israel, my land and that is how you look at the modern state of Israel. You don’t look at them as unbelievers, you look at them as what God is going to do through them and for them in the future. You have to look at the Jewish people or the Hebrew people through the eyes of faith. That is exactly what Paul tells us to do in Romans, 11, I believe it’s verse 28 (Rom 11:28), when he describes Israel, he says: From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers… They might be causing you all kinds of trouble in the book Acts, Paul says as recorded in the book Acts, but you look at them as if they are chosen by God. In other words, when you look at the Jewish state you don’t go on a rant about, look at those Jews over there, they’re in unbelief, they haven’t trusted Yeshua, they’re so blind. You look at them in terms of what God is going to do for them, yet future, in terms of removing the blinder on their eyes and when you understand that, then you understand how could you have anything different in your heart other than a love for the Jewish people. Replacement theologians will never take you that direction. They’ll just talk about how bad they are, what they did to Jesus, how they rejected Jesus. The last time I looked, I think we all rejected Jesus, because Jesus died for the sins of the world. He died for my sins, I’ve put Him on the cross just as much as a Jewish person that rejected Him in the first century put Him on the cross. But see, replacement theology never goes this direction and just talks about how bad Israel is and at the height of their unbelief, God keeps saying of them, my people, my land, because of the covenant that He made with them in the book of Genesis. 53:34
Charles Feinberg again, Hebrew, Christian interpreter of the Bible, brilliant scholar, says in His Ezekiel commentary concerning this verse:
Charles L. Feinberg
The Prophecy of Ezekiel: The Glory of the Lord, Paperback ed. (Chicago: Moody, 1969; reprint, Chicago: Moody, 1984), 224.
“Do not fail to notice ‘my people’ in verses 14 and 16, and ‘my land’ in verse 16. The godless nations have had little idea how involved God is in all the concerns His people and His land. This has been true throughout their national existence but will be all the more evident when God finally decides to intervene decisively into the affairs of men in the consummation of the prophetic program for the earth.”
Yes, they are in unbelief but no, they won’t stay in that position forever and therefore God keeps looking at them through all these years of national disobedience as His land and His people, because He is God and He is the One that bequeathed that land to the nation of Israel in the Abrahamic Covenant. You have another timing clue there in verse 16 (Ezek 38:16) where it says, it shall come about in the last days. So we have our list of factors that we look at to try to pin down exactly when this is going to happen and there’s another clue right there in verse 16, that it’s going to happen in the last days.
6 Timing Clues
- Restoration section (33-48)
- Latter times (Ezek 38:8a)
- Last days (Ezek 38:16)
- After Israel’s regathering in unbelief but before her final restoration (Ezek 38:8b; 39:22, 29)
- During God’s wrath (Ezek. 38:18-19)
- While Israel is living securely and peacefully (Ezek 38:8c, 11)
Now, you got to get your last days straight. Every time the Bible uses the word last days, it’s not talking about the same thing. For example, the Apostle Paul in 2nd Timothy, 3, verse 1, says: But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come… When Paul used that expression, he was talking about the last days of the church age. Essentially the time period that we’re living in now. That’s not what last days means when Ezekiel or the prophets use the term. They’re not talking about the end of the church age, because they couldn’t see the church age, because the church age, Ephesians, 2 and 3 is called a what? Mystery. Something veiled but not fully fleshed out until the writings of the apostle Paul. So a lot of people will look at a prophecy like this and they’ll make it about the last days of the church and Ezekiel himself couldn’t see the church. It’s what Ezekiel saw.
It’s a lot like looking at two mountains in the distance with the larger one in the back and you can see the two mountain peaks but you cannot see the valley between the mountain peaks. If you want to know what’s going on in the valley you got to read Paul and you’ve also got to study the inter-advent parables that Jesus gives in Matthew, 13, which are also called a mystery. So when he says last days, it’s not the last days of the church. If you want to know about the last days of the church read Paul, you don’t read Ezekiel. When Ezekiel uses the expression last days, he’s talking about the last days of Israel and when you track that expression through the prophets, what you’ll discover is that expression “last days” always refers to Israel’s discipline and restoration. That’s how it’s used in Isaiah 2:2: It will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established… That’s the restoration of Israel. That’s how it’s used in Jeremiah, 23, verse 20 (Jer 23:20): In the last days you will clearly understand it, The anger of the LORD will not turn back Until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart… That’s how it’s used in Jeremiah 30, verse 24 (Jer 30:24) and Hosea, 3, verse 1 (Hos 3:1) and Micah chapter 4, verse 1 (Micah 4:1). “Last days” is the discipline and the restoration of the Jewish nation. So if that is true, Ezekiel just gave us another clue as to when this is going to happen. It must be a tribulation period event leading to the millennial kingdom, because that’s what is meant here by “last days”. 58:28
- Invasion planned (Ezek 38:1-13)
- Invasion executed (Ezek 38:14-16)
- Invasion defeated (Ezek 38:17‒39:20)
- Invasion’s results (Ezek 39:21-29)
So we have seen here an invasion planned, an invasion executed and then beginning in verse 17, you see the invasion defeated. I mean it looks absolutely overwhelming. It’s coming against the Jewish people like a dark storm cloud. There seems to be no hope and sight and then God shows up and as this invasion is defeated, that prophecy begins in verse 17 (Ezek 38:17) and really stretches all the way through chapter 39, verse 20 where we are going to see the following four things: (1) God is going to destroy these armies. I mean, they think they’re pulling off some great victory. They don’t understand the brick wall that they’re about to run into and how God does it is described in chapter 38, verse 17 (Ezek 38:17) through chapter 39, verse 8 (Ezek 39:8) and guess what? There’s going to be a giant bonfire, because God is going to take all of their weapons and burn them. I think they are going to burn for seven years in chapter 39, verse 10 (Ezek 39:10). Oh no Andy! The timing interpretation that you gave, that puts the burning of weapons in the millennial kingdom and we can’t have that. We can’t have burning weapons in the millennial kingdom, really? Babylon, Revelation, 19, 2 and 3 (Rev 19:2-3) is going to burn throughout the whole millennial kingdom, as a commemoration to God’s destruction of the wicked city of Babylon. What’s wrong with having some weapons burn for seven years? It’s a memento. It’s looking backward to what God did, that by the way, is why there’s going to be animal sacrifices in the millennial kingdom. Looking back to what God did concerning the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. Babylon is going to burn, animals are going to be sacrificed in the Jewish temple and weapons themselves are going to burn for seven years. Everybody is upset about this and so they want to readjust this war to some sort of pre-rapture or pre-tribulation event I have absolutely no need to do that because I have no problem with seeing weapons burn in the millennium alongside other things that are going to burn. See, the thing to understand about the millennium is it’s not the eternal state. The eternal state is an ex-nihilo new creation. The millennial kingdom is a renovation of this existing earth. In fact, non-resurrected people actually will die in the millennial kingdom, Isaiah, 65, verse 20 (Isa 65:20). So you’ve got death in the millennial kingdom to a limited extent, you’ve got animal sacrifices in the millennial kingdom, you’ve got Babylon burning for the whole time period. So why is everybody so uptight about some weapons burning? It’s not a problem at all, I don’t see the big issue everybody makes of these weapons burning and then the soldiers are going to be buried, chapter 39, verses 11 through 16 (Ezek 39:11-16) and the procedure through which the soldiers are buried, I have a friend in Duluth, Minnesota, when I go to their conference I stay at his home. He’s a military guy, he teaches Ezekiel, 38 and 39 and when he teaches it, he pulls out his military manual, which describes how to mark the deceased before burying them and he reads the part of the military manual how this is done and it’s exactly the same, concerning what Ezekiel is talking about in chapter 39, verses 11 through 16 and then the soldiers will be eaten, chapter 39, verses 17 through 20 (Ezek 39:17-20) some buried, some eaten, it’s the birds come of prey, the vultures and they begin to gorge on the corpses of the deceased. Now, that imagery is at the end of the tribulation. Matthew, 24, puts it at the end of the tribulation. Revelation, 19, puts it at the end of the tribulation. So you can see what I’m doing here. I’m not saying that Ezekiel, 38 and 39 is all fulfilled at the same time. This is a process and I think this process brackets the tribulation. Chapter 38 is essentially talking about something that’s going to happen towards the beginning. Chapter 39 and related scriptures are talking about something that’s going to happen at the end and so I am seeing chapters 38 and 39 as a process with chapters 38 and 39 bracketing the outer edges of the tribulation period. It’s a view that most people have never heard before. It’s not original with me, I picked this up from my professor, the late Harold Hohner and speaking of late, it’s three minutes over so let’s pray. 1:04
Father, we’re grateful for your word, grateful for your truth and help us to understand that this is not just fantasy football, this is something that’s actually going to hit planet earth and help us to understand that you mean business. These things are very real and I pray that in the service today as we set forth the case for Jesus Christ and His bodily resurrection that many, many people when the gospels is given today, whether they’re here in the building or listening online would be saved on the special day, resurrection day. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name and God’s people said, Amen.