Middle East Meltdown 015 – Ezekiel 39Ezekiel 39:3-7 • Dr. Andy Woods • May 1, 2022 • Middle East Meltdown
Middle East Meltdown 015 – Ezekiel 39
By Dr. Andy Woods – 05/01/2022
Alright! Well, let me open this up if I could in a word of prayer. Father, we’re grateful for today and grateful for your truth, grateful for a new month and I just pray that you’ll be with us at the Lord’s table and the main service that follows and the fellowship meal, that you might have your way in this church and you might accomplish what you would seek to accomplish. I do pray you’ll be with us during Sunday school as we look into your ancient prophecies. Pray that you’ll help us with understanding of these things and we do Father take a few moments of silence just to be private business with you, so that we might be prepared this morning to receive from your Word. We’re thankful, Lord, for the promise of 1st John 1:9 which doesn’t make us secure, but it does restore fellowship when it’s broken between the believer and You. So I just again ask that you’ll be glorified today and we look at all of these things up in Jesus’ name. God’s people said, Amen.
Well, good morning everybody! Happy May! Mayday, yeah that’s right! Let’s take our Bibles this morning and open them to the book of Ezekiel chapter 39, and verse 2 (Ezek 39:2) and during Sunday school, what we’ve been doing is a verse by verse study that we started really at the beginning of the New Year. This year, I might say, not last year, where we’ve been just going through these chapters, verse by verse, Ezekiel 36 through 39. So I did receive a phone call from Putin at the beginning of the year, he said alright Andy! I’m getting ready to invade Ukraine, so get your Bible study ready. No, it just so happens that we started the study when all that stuff broke out. So one of the reasons that we’re looking at this is these chapters, I believe, more than any other part of the Bible are in play as we speak. Not so much in terms of ultimate fulfillment, but in terms of stage setting. So one of the reasons, I think, God has given us prophecy, Bible prophecy, is basically to show us that He is in control of human history. Does anybody feel good about that? I do, cause the headlines can get very depressing and we staged that perfectly too. I said when I say depressing drop that big plastic thing back there. So everything you’re watching at this church is carefully choreographed and orchestrated. So we finished chapter 36 sometime ago.
- Israel to prosper again (1-15)
- Israel’s sins inhibiting prosperity (16-21)
- Israel to be restored: physically & spiritually (22-38)
That’s the tremendous chapter about the physical and spiritual restoration in the last days and from there, we moved into chapter 37, which is two metaphors describing the prophecies in chapter 36.
- 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)
So those would be the valley of the dry bones and the vision of the two sticks and so, by the time you get outside of chapter 37, you realize that God is going to restore Israel to her land (a) in unbelief and then (b) there’s a subsequent work where He’s going to bring the whole nation to saving faith. So we’re kind of living in between those two ideas. We’re watching the re-gathering in unbelief but the nation obviously of Israel is an unbelieving nation. So by the time you get to chapter 38, you’re wondering, well, what tool is God going to use to pull this off?
- 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)
Transition them from unbelief to belief and the answer is that northern invasion spoken of in Ezekiel, 38 and 39. So we have seen verses 1 through 13 of chapter 38 (Ezek 38:1-13) the invasion plan.
- Invasion Planned (Ezekiel 38:1-13)
- God’s intention (Ezek 38:1-9)
- Gog’s intention (Ezek 38:10-13)
God has an intention, verses 1 through 9 (Ezek 38:1-9), and the Gog has his intention verses 10 through 13 (Ezek 38:10-13). So, God is using Gog’s intention, Gog being the leader of this coalition from the north to execute His ultimate will and as we work our way through those passages, we’ve looked at all of the different names and players and we’ve explained how to identify those with modern nations that you see in your newspapers today and then, we moved to verses 14 through 16 (Ezek 38:14-16) where the invasion was executed.
- 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)
It’s no longer planned, now it’s being executed and then beginning in chapter 38, verse 17 (Ezek 38:17) all the way through chapter 39, verse 20 (Ezek 39:20) the invasion is defeated by God. 6:15
So all of this re-gathering of nations for war, you don’t have to fear it, be aware of it, but don’t fear it because you know who’s in control of this, God is and He will get the win at the end of the day for His glory. So as we look at this invasion defeated, we see the army’s destroyed, the weapons burned, the soldiers buried and the corpses of the soldiers eaten. So we are just in that initial part there as the armies are being destroyed and this took us last time out of chapter 38 into chapter 39 and this is why, I believe, there is so much confusion about this as people have a tendency to take both chapters as happening simultaneously. Almost every prophecy teacher I know of, with very few exceptions, does this. But I’m convinced that these are not happening simultaneously. Chapter 38 is a description of a war that breaks out when the Lamb in heaven breaks seal number two and brings forth God’s judgment to the earth as humanity, particularly Israel, transitions from peace that they’ve enjoyed under the antichrist to war. By the time you get to chapter 39, it’s no longer dealing with the front end of that. It’s dealing with the results of the invasion. In other words, what is the final product? And it doesn’t describe every little detail in between. To get the other details you have to consult other parts of the Bible, like the battle of Armageddon, Revelation, 16 and things like that. Zechariah, chapter 12. So it’s not going to fill in all those details. It’s going to leap over all those details and simply reveal what’s happening at the very end. What result is God seeking to bring as a consequence of this northern invasion and so I think, as you start moving through chapter 39, that’ll become somewhat obvious. I’ll point out some things that can only be describing the end of the tribulation period. So it’s a view that I would call the two phase view and that’s sort of the approach, you know, that I’m taking with it. But you might remember chapter 39 and verse 2 (Ezek 39:2) and this is by way of review, Ezekiel was told through God concerning these northern invaders, I will turn you around and drive you on and take you up from the remotest parts of the north… We studied that expression, remote parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel. Now, it’s very interesting here, God says, even though Gog is planning this invasion, God says, I’m actually in control of things and I’m the one turning you around and bringing you into the land of Israel. That is sort of described in metaphorical language early on in chapter 38, verse 4 (Ezek 38:4) as hooks into the jaw. So just as hooks go to the jaw of an animal and draw in a particular way, God is putting hooks into the jaws of these northern invaders to bring them against His elect nation, the nation of Israel, while Israel is in their land in unbelief, yet, don’t panic too much because there’s something really good that’s going to come out of this. God is going to use this to bring about the conversion and the salvation of the Jewish nation. 10:31
So there’s a lot of Christians that will read the church into here; this has nothing to do with the church. This has to do with the salvation of the Jewish nation in the end times. So what is the hook in the jaw? Well, back in chapter 38, verse 12 (Ezek 38:12) it tells you what the hook in the jaw is. This is what Gog is thinking as he is moving into the land of Israel. It says: to capture spoil, that’s wealth. To seize plunder, that’s wealth. To turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited against the people who are gathered from the nations, that’s Israel, who have acquired cattle and goods, that’s wealth, who live at the center of the world, that’s the nation of Israel. So what Ezekiel saw two thousand six hundred years ago is not just the fact that the Jews would be re-gathered to their land in unbelief but they would become phenomenally wealthy in that land and it’s envy over her wealth that stimulates Gog and these northern invaders to invade the land of Israel. That’s the hook in the jaw that God is using and so as a result, we’ve talked a lot about natural gas discovered on Israel’s northern coastline, we’ve talked about the discovery of oil in Zion, we’ve talked about mineral deposits probably worth as much as five trillion dollars in Israel’s Dead Sea. But verse 13 (Ezek 38:13) is something more specific because it mentions a particular metal that Gog is going to be interested in or metals and that’s silver and gold. So it says here: Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish with all its villages will say, have you come to capture spoil? That’s wealth… Have you assembled your company to seize plunder? Wealth again, but then it tells you what kind of wealth is in play here to carry away silver and gold and then it also says, to take away cattle and goods and to capture great spoils. You have to understand that when Mark Twain visited the land of Israel in 1867 and wrote about it in his book “Innocents Abroad”, 1869 and I’ve given you that quote many times from Mark Twain and he says, there’s absolutely nothing here but a barren wasteland and by the way, you’ll never see that Mark Twain quote on CNN, because the world community wants you to believe that Israel came and stole the land from somebody else. They display some kind of thriving population and Israel is obligated to give part of the land back. So they’ll never talk about Mark Twain, because Mark Twain was there in 1867 and he didn’t see anything. There was no population, there was no wealth. I think he said, we ran into a goat at one point and he kind of comments in his writings, it must be a goat that eats rocks, because there’s nothing out here to sustain the goat. But these prophecies all indicate that Israel will go back into her land in unbelief and shall become rich and one of the things beyond the other sources of wealth will be silver and gold. 14:15
Now, this is just fresh off the news March 25, 2022, it’s from Gold Telegraph and it says:
Breaking News: the Russian central bank will restart buying gold from banks and will pay a fixed price of five thousand roubles per gram between March 28 and June 30… So all of the sudden, Russia is saying, don’t pay us anymore in roubles, pay us in gold. All of the sudden, Russia, one of the invaders, has a tremendous interest in gold and so I find that very interesting because Ezekiel mentions the hooks in the jaw will be silver and gold and I ran across this article recently, this is by a rabbi in Israel and he says:
Billions of dollars of gold discovered under Eilat Mountains… Well, what are you going to do with that gold once you find it? Well, we’re going to use it to rebuild the third Jewish temple and if you know your Bible prophecy, you know what a big deal that third Jewish temple is, because that’s the temple that the antichrist is going to desecrate midway through the tribulation period. So you look at a headline like this and it mentions gold in Israel, it mentions the third temple and you sort of put that together with Russia all of a sudden being very interested in gold and now you have the exact circumstances that Ezekiel is prophesying two thousand six hundred years ago when he says the hooks in the jaw will be silver and gold and it’s just a matter of reading the reign of Solomon. You know, Solomon and his empire and remember Solomon was the last king of the United Kingdom. He reigned from 971 to 931 BC and when you read about his reign in the book of 1st Kings and you can read about more of it in the Chronicles books. There was gold everywhere in the land of Israel. In fact, gold had become so common that it was treated almost as if it didn’t really have much value, because everybody had it and when you studied Nebuchadnezzar coming against the land of Israel on the eve of the Babylonian captivity and you look very specifically at the genealogies given in Ezra and Nehemiah that tell you what the Jews took into the seventy year captivity, three hundred and fifty miles to the east in Babylon and what they brought back from the seventy year captivity, you see no description whatsoever of the massive Solomonic gold that was everywhere during the time of Solomon’s reign. So the big question is, well, what happened to it? What happened to all the gold? And A really viable conjecture is the Israelis hid it. They hid it somewhere. Now why would they hide it? They hid it because they didn’t want Nebuchadnezzar to have it and the problem is they hid it so well and Israelis are very smart, particularly with things like this, they hid it so well that subsequent generations lost track of where it was and so a really viable conjecture in all of this is within the land of Israel, as I speak, is massive gold somewhere about to be rediscovered. Glick, rabbi Glick thinks it’s there under the Eilat, I know I’m mispronouncing that, Mountains. But is there somewhere and it’s bound to be discovered and that will fit very nicely with Rosh or Russia saying we’re not interested in being paid in roubles anymore, we want to be paid in gold and so this desire to have this gold, once it’s discovered will be the hooks in the jaws that leads Rosh, Russia from the remote north and his coalition of nations into the land of Israel. And do I absolutely know it’s going to happen this way? No, I don’t know it’s going to happen this way, but I think these are very reasonable inferences when you put together all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, which is really what you do when you study prophecy. It’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle and you’re saying, oh! This piece goes over here and this piece goes over there and as you read through your headlines, you’ll say, oh! Yeah, that fits over here and that fits over there and you know basically how to sort the mail. It’s just a matter of learning a few fundamentals about the subject of Bible prophecy. 19:30
So that very well could be the hooks in the jaw that brings Gog into the land of Israel and certainly, we’re living in a time period where Russia has a tendency to invade nations to her south. I mean, didn’t that just happen, you know, with the Ukraine? And why wouldn’t she keep moving to her south downward coming from, looking at a map, from the north all the way into the land of Israel? I mean, the Ukraine is between Russia, as she currently exists, and Israel. Why would not Putin or Gog keep on moving? So we’re living in a time period where all of the sudden the things that Ezekiel saw, two thousand six hundred years ago under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they start making complete sense. Fifty years ago, a hundred years ago none of this made sense. That’s why most of the church allegorized it and pretended it wasn’t literal. But we’re living in a time period where you can see, Oh my goodness! This is literal. I mean, this is all going to happen exactly like God said it’s going to happen and you slip down to verse 3 of chapter 39 (Ezek 39:3) and God says, once this invasion happens: I will strike your bow from your left hand and dash down your arrows from your right hand… So in other words, God is going to de-weaponize these northern invaders. Now one of the big sticking points of the interpretation that I’m giving, which is a futuristic interpretation, is this language here “bows and arrows” and there’s different ways people handle this. A lot of people will say, well, you know, Ezekiel, he didn’t know how to use the term airplane or tank and so he just used weapons from his own day that he could understand and so many, many Bible interpreters, that I respect very much, hold to that view. I’m sort of in the minority camp in the sense that I think a lot of these things could be far more literal than we can fathom or imagine. You have something called EMPs, if you’ve heard of that, EMP, electro-magnetic pulse, I think is what it’s called and it has the ability to… I mean, once the trigger is pulled, everything electronic is shut down just like that and you can’t start your car, you can’t access Wi-Fi, you can’t turn on the lights, etc… I mean, that technology is real. It’s just a matter of studying a little bit and seeing it’s out there. I’m wondering sometimes if a lot of these events are happening under the banner of EMP technology and therefore the weapons, people would go back to primitive weapons. I mean, do I know it’s going to happen this way? Am I willing to start a new church over this? Not necessarily, I’m just offering it as a conjecture and a possibility, but whatever happens is God’s starts taking away their weapons. They’re firing their weapons and God is just batting them away and you move down into verse 4 (Ezek 39:4) and it says: You will fall on the mountains of Israel… And by the way, Mountains of Israel is also mentioned in verse 2 (Ezek 39:2), I will bring you from the remotest parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel, you will fall on the mountains of Israel… You and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you as food to every kind of predatory bird and beast of the field… And I have to be honest with you, as I’ve explained in prior studies, I read this for years and years and years and what has always escaped me for whatever reason is the mountains of Israel. Mark Hitchcock, I’ve given you this quote, and Arnold Fruchtenbaum saying the same thing. Both say: According to Ezekiel 39:2, 4, Israel must possess the ‘mountains of Israel’ when this invasion occurs.
The famous Six Day war in Israel in 1967 helped set the stage for this to be fulfilled. Before the Six Day War, all the mountains of Israel, with the exception of a small strip of west Jerusalem, were in the hands of the Jordanian Arabs. Only since 1967 have the mountains of Israel been in Israel, thus setting the stage for the fulfillment of this prophecy… So it’s just a matter of looking at an old map of what Israel had after her war of independence in 1948 and before the Six Day war, before she gained what we call Judea and Samaria, what the world community calls the West Bank and Israel did not have control of Judea and Samaria. That changes June 5, 1967, when Israel, in a war of self-defense, gained back Judea and Samaria and when she gained back Judea and Samaria now, since 1967, we have a scenario where the mountains are in Israel, in preparation for this invasion. 25:44
Arnold Fruchtenbaum says the same thing, he says: where in the Land of Israel will the invading armies be destroyed? The exact location is revealed in Ezekiel 39:2, 4… The phrase ‘the mountains of Israel’ refers to the central mountain range that makes up the backbone of the country. In the Hebrew Scriptures, these mountains were known as the Hill Country of Ephraim and the Hill Country of Judah. Some of the famous biblical cities that lie within these mountains include… And he lists a whole bunch of Jewish name mountains that I’m not even going to try to pronounce this… (Dothan, Shechem, Samaria, Shiloh, Bethel, Ai, Ramah, Bethlehem, Hebron, Debir, and most importantly, Jerusalem, which seems to be the target of the invading army. However, from 1948 until the Six-Day War in 1967, these mountains were not in Israel, but in Jordan.
They are now referred to politically as the West Bank. In 1948, Jordanian forces took over these mountains and annexed them as part of Jordan. All Israel had was a small corridor leading west to Jerusalem. The border between Israel and Jordan ran down the foot of these mountains, then cut into the mountains, dividing Jerusalem in two, and then went out again and continued along the foot of these mountains. Israel had maybe five percent or less of the mountains, while the rest belonged to Jordan. Only since 1967 have the mountains of Israel been in Israel. Besides the Temple compound falling into Jewish hands,
…another by-product of the Six-Day War was that these mountains also fell under Israeli sovereignty. Therefore, not only could this prophecy not have been fulfilled before 1948… Cause there wasn’t any Israel in her land before 1948… but it could also not have been fulfilled before 1967…“The mountains of Israel (the West Bank) are yet to have a very important and relevant role in Bible prophecy. As for the present State of Israel, they became part of Israel in 1967. This is yet another way the modern Jewish State fits within Bible prophecy.”
So you can have this invasion before 1948, cause there wasn’t an Israel to invade and then even between 1948 and 1967, you can’t have this invasion because there weren’t the requisite mountains in Israel for these invaders to come against. But now, post 1967, the mountains are in Israel and the gold is in Israel and Russia is interested in gold and there’s report after report after report where the Jewish people think they know where the Solomonic gold is. You know, it’s sort of like how many times in your life can you be struck by lightning? It’s a statistical not improbability, it’s a statistical impossibility and I wish I could find one of our mathematical types and I know there’s probably some in here. Well, I won’t out anybody to look at this and just tell me mathematically what are the possibilities of all of these things happening concurrently in one generation. I mean, I’ve given you the statistics of eight Old Testament messianic prophecies fulfilled in Jesus Christ. It’s analogous to filling the state of Texas two feet deep with silver dollars, marking one, blind folding a man, letting him stumble all over the state of Texas in $2 bills two feet deep and randomly reaching down and pulling out the right silver dollar. That’s mathematically the possibility of just eight Messianic prophecies being fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. I would like to see a similar kind of mathematical computation concerning these end time prophecies lining up exactly like God said and then Donald Trump comes along and he basically tells Israel, you can have the Golan Heights.
The Golan Heights is not going to be considered international territory anymore the way the UN thinks about it, it’s yours and what do you have in the Golan Heights?
Mountains and where is this invasion going to come from? The north and so you see this invasion coming from the north and I’ve got to enter the mountains from the north. Is that not what Ezekiel, 39, verse 2 and verse 4 says (Ezek 39:2,4): I will turn you around, I will drive you on, I will take you from the remotest parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel… So as they’re making their trajectory, they have to hit mountains and the mountains have to be in the north of the nation and then, Donald Trump came along and told Israel, oh! by the way, the Golan Heights, which is sort of a very important mountain buffer zone, very strategic, between Israel and Syria in the north, by the way, those mountains belong to Israel and all of a sudden you can start seeing exactly what Ezekiel is saying when he keeps saying, over and over again, and every time we come to it I’ve tried to highlight it, mountains of Israel, mountains of Israel. He doesn’t just say Israel, he says mountains and God is moving the chess pieces around so the very specifics of His word will be fulfilled. Now, why would God move the chess pieces around so the specific details of His work could be fulfilled? It’s very simple. It is impossible for God to… What? To lie. God cannot lie, it’s impossible for him to do that. So everything in this prophecy has to happen exactly like God says or else God isn’t God and we’re living in a time period where the stage is being set, like I’ve never seen it being set before. I’m not a date setter nor the son of a day setter. But the truth of the matter is I have never, never seen things accelerate the way they’re accelerating right now. When you start looking at these little myopic details and very sadly as it’s all beginning to be set up, most Christians and their churches will hear absolutely nothing about this. They hear a lot about, you know, your best life now, how to be your own best friend or whatever, six steps to becoming self-actualized, whatever people are into today and they won’t say a word about this and yet, this is the most exciting thing, I can think of, to even talk about. In fact, of all the times in human history to be alive, this is it. I mean, prior generations of Christians could not even dream to see the things that we’re seeing in terms of the precision of Bible prophecy. 33:44
He continues on there in verse 5 (Ezek 39:5), back to 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; I will give you as food to every kind of predatory bird and beast of the field… Verse 5: You will fall on the open field; for it is I who have spoken, declares the Lord GOD… So you’ll notice this expression “the peoples who are with you” and I’ve taught before on this, when he says, the peoples who are with you, I don’t think he’s giving an exhaustive list of all of the nations that will invade. I think he’s mentioned the outer ring nations. But that would also include a simultaneous concurrent invasion of the inner ring nations, all at the same time.
There’s nothing in the text that precludes that because Ezekiel is not saying, only the outer ring nations invaded, because there’s a lot of people that are trying to develop two invasions here. inner ring, outer ring and I don’t think there’s a need to do that, because Ezekiel keeps saying, all the peoples who are with you. Here’s the major ones but it includes others as well and this two invasion idea is built on the mistaken premise, I would say, that Ezekiel is saying, only these nations will invade. That’s not what he’s saying. Yes, these nations on the outer ring will invade, but others will invade at the same time, because a lot of people ask, what about Egypt? What about Jordan? What about Syria? And it would include those inner ring nations as well. In fact, as you probably know, Russia has a massive presence right now in Syria and the current leader of Syria is basically a puppet, if you will, of Putin. So don’t worry about Syria, when she’s going to invade. Russia has a presence there and when Russia from the uttermost north invades, you can bet your bottom dollar that Syria will invade simultaneously given the presence of Russia in Syria. But it’s very interesting here he talks about God, not Gog now, God killing all of these invaders.
- Divine annihilation of the coalition (Ezek 38:19-22)
- Birds and beasts feast on the carnage (Ezek 39:4-5, 17-20)
- Seven-month burying of the dead (Ezek 39:11-12, 14-16)
- Seven-year burning of weapons (Ezek 39:9-10)
- Israel’s salvation and restoration (Ezek 39:22, 29)
Their animals are killed, they are killed, the horses that they are riding on are killed and they’re lying out in an open field and birds of prey come and begin to gorge themselves on these corpses. You’ll see that prophecy also being referred to by Jesus, I believe in Matthew, 24, verse 28 (Matt 24:28), where, as Jesus is describing the tribulation, says: Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather… And it’s also described by John in Revelation 19:17-19, where it says: Then I saw the angel standing in the sun and he cried out with a loud voice saying to all of the birds that fly in midheaven, Come assemble yourselves for the great feast of God that you may eat the flesh of kings and of the commanders, the flesh of the mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all people, both free and slave and small and great and I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against him who sat on the horse and against his army… So Jesus when He returns, speaks against the antichrist and all his armies just fall dead, they’re dead in an open field and the birds come, just like Matthew and Revelation say, and begin to gorge themselves on these corpses. Revelation, 19, verse 21 (Rev 19:21) says: And the rest were killed with the sword, which came from the mouth of him who sat on the horse and all the birds were filled with their flesh… So this destruction of life caused by Jesus and by the way, this is a picture of Jesus based on the full counsel of God’s word. Jesus is a lot more than the meek and mild Savior, who had no place to lay his head as portrayed in the gospels. Is that part of Jesus? Of course it is and thank God for that part of Jesus or we couldn’t be saved. But if you’re really interested in Jesus, you have to look at the full counsel of God’s word, where He is not coming back as a lamb, He’s coming back as a lion. He’s coming back with violent judgment and basically He’s saying to this Christ rejecting world, you enjoyed violence so much? Let’s take a look at my violence. My violence is a lot more powerful than yours and He speaks and people just drop dead, that are living on the earth at the time and they’re lying in an open field and the birds come and begin to, you know, gorge themselves on the carnage. So this is one of the things of many that are the result of this battle and what I would like you to see is verses 4 and 5, if I’m understanding this right and connecting the dots with Matthew and Revelation, 19, Matthew 24:28 portrays this at the end of the tribulation. Revelation, 19, which is a picture of Jesus coming back at the end of the tribulation period, Christ’s second coming, portrays this at the end of the tribulation.
So when Ezekiel starts talking about this, I think what Ezekiel is seeing here is things happening at the end of the tribulation. In fact, one of the things that’s going to happen as we get to the end of this chapter, hopefully before these events happen here, is Israel is going to be converted. Now, that is an event, Matthew 23:37-39, which happens at the end of the tribulation, because Israel in faith is going to call Jesus back to the earth to rescue them from the beast. That’s at the end of the tribulation. So you see what I’m trying to do here. I’m trying to show you that once you get into chapter 39, it’s no longer talking about the beginning of the tribulation. Chapter 38 had a lot to say about that. It’s talking about the end of the tribulation. So what I’m seeing here is 38 and 39 are not simultaneous, they are not concurrent. You’re dealing with chapters that bracket the tribulation period itself. Most of chapter 38 towards the beginning, most of chapter 39 dealing with the results that God is seeking to produce, happening at the very end and so chapters 38 and 39 are describing a process. Yeah, but pastor, what about the battle of Armageddon and everything else? We’ll go to other passages to discover that. Ezekiel is not going to tell you about that. That’s why Ezekiel’s prophecy is the outer edges of the tribulation. If you want to understand the rest of the tribulation, you have to consult other passages, as you put together your prophetic jigsaw puzzle and you see, I think this is the mistake that most Bible prophecy interpreters are making, because they’re trying to make these passages all happen at the same time. 42:35
Chapter 36 is a process, wasn’t it? Israel regathered in unbelief and then later regenerated. That doesn’t happen all at once, that’s a process. Chapter 37, the valley of the dry bones is a process. Israel regathered in unbelief first and then regenerated, that doesn’t happen all at once, that’s a process. So chapter 36 is a process, chapter 37 is a process. I mean, am I going out too far on a limb here to say that chapters 38 and 39 are also a process? Chapter 38, the beginning of the process, chapter 39, on the end of the process and at this point, I could really use a little cool air up here or else as I’ve said before, you might get a sermon on how hot hell is. But I won’t do that today. But you’ll notice that these animals and these… and I’m getting an Amen over here cause I see them, some going like this, so, as the Bible says, let the matter be established by two witnesses. So witness A is me, witness B are these nice folks over here and say, well. Andy, why don’t you take off your jacket? Well, the reason I don’t take off my jacket is I don’t want to let you guys see how much I’m sweating, number one and number two, Lewis Sperry Chafer, when he founded Dallas seminary, used to be a Presbyterian and Presbyterians wear these robes and he got really kind of bothered that they took his robe away, because he went into an independent Bible teaching movement, so he wore his jacket all the time as a substitute for the robe he used to wear. So that’s why at Dallas seminary in the old days, you would see guys like myself in coats all the time. So that’s a little confession there of my current behavior and what does that have to do with this study? Absolute nothing. But what’s interesting is five years from now, this is the part of the study you’ll remember. You’ll remember that but you’ll forget everything else that we said. So the truth of the matter is these bodies are lying out in an open field and you have to understand that in the ancient Near East, when you didn’t bury somebody, that was a total insult. So God is allowing these enemies to not be buried as a total insult to who they are and their purposes against God. Remember Saul? When he hung himself? Or he didn’t hang himself, he fell on his sword. Remember what it says in 1st Samuel, 31, verse 10 (1 Sam 31:10)? It says: They put his weapons in the temple of Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan… And I’ve actually been to Beth-shan in Israel, which is the location where Saul’s body was fastened to a wall and the reason it was fastened to a wall, it was designed to show total disgrace for Saul, because everybody in the ancient Near East received a proper burial and when you just allow a body to lie out there in the open, it’s a sign that you’re insulting the enemy. That’s what God is doing here; He’s not allowing them to be buried immediately, before their corpses are gorged upon by the birds of prey. By the way, remember the two witnesses in Revelation, 11, verse 9 (Rev 11:9)? It says: Those from the peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and yet will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb… So when the beast kills the two witnesses and doesn’t let them be buried for three and a half days, the beast is basically insulting the two witnesses and so God is basically saying, well, two can play that game, when I come back, I will speak, the armies of antichrist will be instantaneously destroyed and I will not allow you to be buried, just like you didn’t bury my two witnesses and so it’s a sign of God’s sarcasm, if you will, and we’re going to see more about this in verses 17 through 20 (Ezek 39:17-20) but take a look if you could at verse 6, chapter 39 (Ezek 39:6), it says: I will send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coastlands in safety; and they will know that I am the LORD… So you’ll notice this expression Magog and when we were studying Magog, I was trying to communicate that Magog represents Central Asia.
You can go back into the archives and see why and it represents the Stans: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and I need to add one here, Afghanistan. Afghanistan. What happened recently in Afghanistan? Ah! I know, America pulled out of there and decided to, you know, get the army out first and get the citizens out second, that makes a lot of sense, right? Unless and they decided to leave all of the weapons, billions of dollars and weapons, in the hands of those in Afghanistan. Muslims, in other words. In other words, what the United States of America did with that pull out, not getting our weapons out first, not getting the citizens out first, is we basically armed, we armed the invaders for the Magog invasion, because one of those invaders will be Magog and Magog as we’ve studied includes the stans of Central Asia and it would also include Afghanistan and you look here at chapter 39, and verse 6 (Ezek 39:6) and it says: I will send fire upon Magog and those inhabitants of the coastlands… Look at that… in safety and they will know that I am the Lord… What coastlands are we talking about? Probably islands, west of Israel in the Mediterranean Sea. Islands of the Mediterranean. 50:00
So you’ll notice what is going on here, is God’s judgment is bigger than just Magog. Yes, He judges Magog, but His judgment is so big that it affects these islands of the Mediterranean, these coastlands. So the consequences of the invasion, as far as God is concerned, is going to be bigger than the invasion itself. God doesn’t just judge these different outer ring nations, His judgment falls on other countries as well or other groups and in this case, the islands of the Mediterranean. Why is God doing all of this? Well, it’s why God does anything. It’s in verse 7 (Ezek 39:7): My holy name I will make known in the midst of My people Israel… Notice there that Israel is still God’s people even though they don’t currently know His holy name. They are God’s people; they have always been God’s people, because God issued or entered into with them the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis, 15. That’s why Israel in unbelief cannot be cut out of your eschatology, because a lot of people are running around today saying, well, how can you have an eschatology that revolves around Israel, when Israel is in unbelief. Well, it’s because of what He says in verse 7, they’re still my people even though my name is not yet manifested among them. So when you look at Israel, you have to say to yourself, well, it’s too bad they don’t know Christ right now, but that’s going to change and you start to look at Israel through the eyes of faith and as you look at Israel through the eyes of faith, what develops in your heart is love for the Jewish people. That by the way, May 14 and 15 at Sugar Land Bible Church, Israel’s birthday is why we’re doing our prophecy conference on that very subject, to deal with the subject of Israel, past, present and future. Yesterday, today and tomorrow. If you look at Romans, 11, verse 28 (Rom 11:28), Paul tells you how to look at the Jewish people. He says: From the standpoint of the gospel they.. That’s Israel… are enemies for your sake… In other words, Paul is saying, yeah, it’s true, the unbelieving Jews are causing a lot of trouble for the church. Just read the book of Acts and you’ll see Paul’s greatest adversaries are always unbelieving Jews. They hassled him and troubled him no matter where he went and they drove them out of almost every ministry situation in the book of Acts. From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice, what choice is that? That’s God’s unilateral choice to enter into with Israel His unconditional covenant called the Abrahamic Covenant, Genesis, 15. From the standpoint of God’s choice, they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. That’s how you look at Israel. As a project that’s incomplete. As a group of people that are problematic and difficult for the Christian church early on, but at the same time, you still love them, because you look at them the way God looks at them, that God is not finished with them yet and when you look at them from that angle, you see the folly of many modern day denominations who are now, as I speak, involved in formal economic boycotts against the nation of Israel, through the BDS movement, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions. Israel, we’re told is an apartheid state, not true by the way, and therefore we need to boycott Israel just like we boycotted South Africa in the 1980’s. This is going on all over on college campuses. In fact, your children and grandchildren are being hit with this narrative constantly and the great tragedy of our day is churches are jumping on board. It’s called Christian Palestinianism. Jesus was a Palestinian. Many pulpits are moving that direction and the reason they’re moving that direction is they don’t emphasize eschatology. If you have a correct eschatology, you see Israel correctly as a work of God yet incomplete. Eschatology is simply the study of the future. If you snip that perspective out, all you see are troublesome Jews now and if all you see are troublesome Jews now and you don’t look at them through the right lens then, you move into Christian Palestinianism, the BDS movement and it eventually paves the way into antisemitism. This is why Satan is trying to destroy the subject of eschatology from the Christian church. He is trying to get the Christian church involved in worldwide hatred against the Jewish nation and so once you understand that, you kind of see the need for our conference that we’re dealing with on this particular topic, on this particular subject. 56:09
So you’ll notice back in chapter 39, verse 7 (Ezek 39:7), God says: even though My name has not yet been manifested upon them they are still my people: My holy name I will make known in the midst of My people Israel; and I will not let My holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations… Look at this… will know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel… God’s purposes in human history are to glorify Himself. God works in human history to glorify Himself, we call that the doxological purpose of God. Listen to me very carefully, God does not work in human history ultimately to save souls. Now He does that and thank God for it. But when a lost sinner through faith alone in Christ alone goes from death to life, who gets the glory? God. Even that purpose needs to be subsumed under the larger category of the doxological purpose of God. If you don’t have that in your thinking and if you think God’s highest purpose is salvation, which reformed theology teaches, God’s ultimate purpose they’ll tell you is soteriological. Okay, well then, how do you explain God’s dealings with the angels? Good and bad angels, fallen angels, angels reserved into judgment. How do you explain that? Because the plan of salvation is not open to the angels. When you have to put that in some kind of category, you can’t put it in a salvation category. Oh! I know where it fits, its doxological, because everything God does is doxological. So this is a model that we call traditional dispensationalism and you notice number 3 there, God’s overall purpose is to bring glory to Himself.
Charles Ryrie says: God’s ultimate purpose for the ages is to glorify Himself. Scripture is not human-centered, as though salvation were the principle point, but God-centered, because His glory is at the center. The glory of God is the primary principle that unifies all dispensations, the program of salvation being just one of the means by which God glorifies Himself. Each successive revelation of God’s plan for the ages, as well as His dealing with the elect, non-elect, angels, and nations all manifest His glory…
Dr. Michael Stallard summarizes it as follows, as you work your way up one end of the triangle, whether it’s God’s working creation or work your way down to the opposite side of the triangle, whether it’s God’s work in redemption. What is the ultimate purpose of all of it? At the pinnacle of the triangle it’s for God to be glorified and by the way, He has the right to do that because He’s God and His nature is perfect. It’s not narcissistic like our nature is and self-centered. His character is pure and if you come from that vantage point, you understand why God works in human history ultimately to glorify Himself. Charles Feinberg, and I’ll end with this quote here, says on verse 7 of Ezekiel 39 (Ezek 39:7):
Charles L. Feinberg – The Prophecy of Ezekiel: The Glory of the Lord, Paperback ed. (Chicago: Moody, 1969; reprint, Chicago: Moody, 1984), 228
“Though the judgment on the enemies will occur in Israel, the catastrophe will extend far beyond to the ends of the earth to accomplish the purpose of God. Once more the Lord will relate His purpose in Israel to that for all the world. It is the concept of concentric circles where that which is accomplished at the very center reaches out irresistibly to the farthest confines of the circumference. God is the Lord of the nations. His true character will appear in its proper light as both righteous and mighty. Such emphasis is made of this thought throughout the book of Ezekiel because this is the design of God in all history, and there is no more important concept in all the universe.”
Though the judgment on the enemies will occur in Israel, the catastrophe will extend far beyond to the ends of the earth to accomplish the purpose of God… That’s why the catastrophe spills over from Magog, Central Asia, into the Mediterranean coastlands. The judgment of God and this goes further than the invaders. Why would God do that? To glorify Himself… Once more the Lord will relate His purpose in Israel to that of all the world. It is the concept of concentric circles… Have you been working with your concentric circles lately? I mean, we are homeschool family, we get to do cool stuff like this and it’s more my daughter teaching me or causing me to remember what these things are. It is the concept of concentric circles where that which is accomplished at the very center reaches out irresistibly to the farthest confines of the circumference. God is the Lord of the nations. His true character will appear in its proper light as both righteous and mighty. Such emphasis is made of this thought throughout Ezekiel because this is the design of God in all history… And look at this last clause here, it’s so wonderful, he says: And there is no more important concept in all the universe… In other words, what we’re looking at right here according to Charles Lee Feinberg is the most important thing you can look at, because God’s purposes in history are to glorify Himself and we’re learning about the circumstances where His name is going to be magnified throughout the earth and so, I don’t know, this stuff should be exciting, shouldn’t it? Yeah! But pastor, I want to hear about the weapons burning. Well, we’ll get to that, we’ll have a fireside chat next week and we’ll talk about the burning weapons. 1:02
So let’s pray. Father, we’re grateful for your truth, your word, prophecy Israel what it means in terms of your glory. Help us have right thinking on this as your people, who are privileged to see all of these things coming together in the last days. 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.