Middle East Meltdown 017 – Ezekiel 39Ezekiel 39:11-16 • Dr. Andy Woods • May 22, 2022 • Middle East Meltdown
Middle East Meltdown 017 – Ezekiel 39
By Dr Andy Woods – 05/22/2022
Good morning everybody! Let’s open up in a word of prayer and we’ll get started. Father, we are grateful for your truth, grateful for your word. We’re particularly grateful for prophecy that we’re looking at this morning. You tell us in 2nd Peter that prophecy is a light, a lamp if you will, shining in a dark place and so you tell us that we would do well to pay attention to it. So we recognize Lord that our world is in a dark place, but at the same time we don’t, you know, walk around as people that are hopeless in a hopeless age, because we’ve given due attention to your prophetic word and so I ask Lord that people would leave here this morning with optimism, knowing that if they’re related to the Lord Jesus Christ by way of faith, that they’re on the right side of human history and as Father, as we like to do, prior to many of our teaching times, we like to take a few moments of silence just so we can do personal business with you by way of the restoration of fellowship, if need be, so that we can receive today from Your Word. I just ask that you’d be with us this morning as we study. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise of the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name and God’s people said, Amen. 1:58
Alright! Well, let’s take our Bibles, if we could, and open them to the book of Ezekiel chapter 39, and verse 11 (Ezek 39:11), Ezekiel chapter 39, verse 11 and as you know, during the Sunday school hour, we’ve been taking a look at a study entitled “The Middle East Meltdown”, which basically is a verse by verse study through Ezekiel chapters 36 through 39 and you can see where we are in that.
- 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)
We’re almost finished with it, believe it or not. Just by way of review chapter 36 is that great prophecy about Israel’s physical and spiritual restoration in the last days.
- Israel to prosper again (1-15)
- Israel’s sins inhibiting prosperity (16-21)
- Israel to be restored: physically & spiritually (22-38)
Chapter 37 is an illustration of that restoration through two images, the valley of the dry bones and then the vision of the two sticks.
- 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 after you leave chapter 37 and you’ve read chapter 36 and chapter 37, I think our chronology is very clear that God is going to bring His nation back to its ancient homeland from worldwide dispersion in unbelief and yet these prophecies also say that after God does that, He’s going to sprinkle clean water on them and they will be clean which is speaking of the regeneration of the nation. So you kind of end chapter 37 and you’re wondering how God is going to or what tool is He going to use to bring His elect nation, the nation of Israel, gathered in unbelief into faith and that question is answered in chapters 38 and 39 which is a description of a northern invasion into the land of Israel in the last days through which the nation of Israel will actually call out for their Messiah, Jesus, who will return and rescue them.
- 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 chapter 38 is really a description of that northern invasion as is chapter 39 and it basically has four parts to it.
- Invasion Planned (Ezekiel 38:1-13)
- God’s intention (Ezek 38:1-9)
- Gog’s intention (Ezek 38:10-13)
We have the invasion planned verses 1 through 13 (Ezek 39:1-13), it’s planned by Gog, the bad guy, and ultimately by God, the good guy and we’ve worked our way through those different strange sounding names there in Ezekiel, 38 and we think we can identify them with many modern nations that you see regularly in your newspapers.
So after that invasion is planned, then it’s executed verses 14 through 16 (Ezek 39:14-16) and just at a time in history where it looks like Israel has no hope at all, God, once they call on Him, intervenes on their behalf and as He intervenes, you see God doing four things:
III. Invasion Defeated (Ezekiel 38:17‒39:20)
- Armies destroyed (Ezek 38:17‒39:8)
- Weapons burned (Ezek 39:9-10)
- Soldiers buried (Ezek 39:11-16)
- Soldiers eaten (Ezek 39:17-20)
(1) The armies of the invaders are destroyed and once you start reading about that, that takes us into chapter 39 and a lot of the events taking place in chapter 39 don’t fit with chapter 38. So the angle that I’ve sort of been coming from in these chapters is that chapter 38 is something that happens towards the beginning of the tribulation period, chapter 39 sort of flashes forwards to the end of the tribulation period, showing the results of this judgment. Some of those results that we’re going to look at this morning. So God defeats the invaders by destroying the armies and God’s destruction of this invading army is so comprehensive that there’s a prophecy that we studied last time, the last time we were in this study, chapter 39, verses 9 and 10 (Ezek 39:9-10) of the weapons of the invaders being burned for seven years. It’s a very specific number that’s given there and then, we pick it up here in chapter 39, verses 11 through 16 (Ezek 39:11-16) where we’re going to see the soldiers that are involved in this battle, the enemies that have come into the land of Israel, to metaphorically bury Israel, they themselves are buried in the land of Israel. Talk about irony and then once that discussion in Ezekiel’s prophecies, and remember Ezekiel saw these things two thousand six hundred years ago, and then that discussion paves way to the eating of the soldiers corpses by the birds of prey and we’ll see if we can get into that today in verses 17 through 20 (Ezek 39:17-20). 7:48
So with all that being said, let’s pick it up in Ezekiel chapter 39 and look at verse 11 (Ezek 39:11), if you could, it says: On that day I will give Gog a burial ground there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea, and it will block off those who would pass by. So they will bury Gog… Gog is the leader of this coalition… there with all his horde, and they will call it the valley of Hamon-gog… So it is somewhat ironic that they thought that they were going to bury Israel by way of bringing death to Israel, but the invaders themselves are buried in the land of Israel. That is an outworking, as we tried to explain of Genesis chapter 12, verse 3 (Gen 12:3) where God says of the nation of Israel when it first began in the book of Genesis, I will bless those who bless you but the one who curses you I will curse and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed and we understand that cursing is basically very real, very literal, very in time and you’ll see this all the way through the Bible, that everybody that wants to do Israel in, actually ends up being cursed with the curse that they thought they were bringing against the Jewish people. You remember in the book of Esther, Haman was hung on the very gallows that he had prepared for Mordechai and we’ve made reference to the fact that God in the book of Exodus, drowned the Egyptians. Why did He drown the Egyptians? Because that’s what the Egyptians were doing to His people in Exodus chapter one and you can go right on through the Bible and you could see this working out in real time. The last time I checked, there’s no statute of limitations on this cause a lot of people will say, Ah! That’s just Old Testament stuff, God doesn’t do stuff like that today, He doesn’t do stuff like that in the future and yet, here’s a futuristic prophecy where it happens again. They come to metaphorically bury the Jews and they’re the ones that actually end up getting buried themselves when God intervenes in the land of Israel and it goes on and it says: On that day I will give Gog a burial ground there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea, and it will block off those who would pass by. So they will bury Gog there with all his horde, and they will call it the valley of Hamon-gog… So you’ll notice that it’s talking about this burial happening east of the sea. We basically believe that it’s happening east of the Dead Sea.
It’s basically an area called the Jordan Valley. It’s slightly above the Dead Sea, sort of towards the northern tip of the Dead Sea but over to the east and that’s where these bodies apparently are going to be buried and this burial is so significant that that whole area there gets a name, Hamon-gog, to commemorate the destruction of these forces and their burial in the land of Israel and it actually talks here about a traffic jam. Yes, I mean, we know a little bit about that being in Houston. I’m from southern California which is a virtual parking lot. I don’t even call them freeways anymore, they are just parking lots and you know, our traffic congestion, traffic jams, is that mentioned in the Bible? Actually, it is mentioned in the Bible, it’s right here because there’s going to be so many deaths and so much need to, you know, round up these bodies and bury them that it’s actually going to cause traffic congestion. In other words, it’s going to be impassible for travelers for a season and from there you move down to verse 12 (Ezek 39:12), where it gives us more information, it says, for seven months. So notice how difficult it is to treat these verses as anything other than a literal. They want to be understood literally. Talks about seven months to bury the dead, verses 8, 9, talks about seven years to destroy the weapons. It’s talking about a literal valley that will be given a specific name and in fact, not only is there going to be given a name but there’s going to be given a name to a city in the valley, which we’re going to see a little later and so, a lot of people just look at these passages and they just sort of say, well, this is just, you know, the great struggle between good and evil or something like that and they just skip right over the details and they do that in the area of prophecy when they would never do that in any area of the Bible. So we at Sugar Land Bible Church hold to a consistent hermeneutic, a consistent method of interpretation, meaning that we don’t reverse our method of interpretation right in the middle of the book because it happens to concern something yet future. I mean, these things will happen very specifically in real time just as all the prophecies that have already happened in history have happened in real time. Jesus, it was predicted, would be born in Bethlehem of Ephrathah, that happened. We can go right on down the list and since God has this track record of 100% accuracy, these things are going to happen exactly like it says. The only thing that’s off, potentially, is our understanding of it. God’s word is flawless, my interpretations of it, may not be flawless. But no matter, you know, how it comes to pass, at the end of the day, when the smoke is cleared, you’re going to be able to look back at these prophecies and say, they were very literal. They happen exactly like God said. 14:51
So apparently, it’s going to take seven months to take all of these corpses and bury them.
By the way, there is geographically the valley of Hamon-gog, where we think this is going to happen and there’s another picture over there as you saw earlier and it says it’s going to take seven months to bury the dead. So if you look at verse 12 (Ezek 39:12) it says: …So that the land will be cleansed… I mean, Israel is really not fit to have Jesus from there reigning on David’s throne and over all the earth, you know, if there’s a bunch of dead bodies lying around and when you go through Judaism and the Old Testament and even how you see martyrdoms of Jewish Christians like Stephen in the book of Acts, they were always buried. You know, to leave a corpse out was something that the Jews never did. Now, Saul’s enemies did that to him in 1st Samuel, I want to say around chapter 31, at Beth Shan. They hung his body on a wall out of disrespect, but that wasn’t a typical practice within the nation of Israel. The two witnesses in the book of Revelation chapter 11, are going to die at the hands of the beast and not be buried, I think it says for three and a half days, out of disrespect for those two witnesses. So to not bury someone was a sign of disrespect and so that’s why you see God giving information here about this comprehensive burial that’s going to take place from this army that has invaded the land of Israel and it’s going to take seven months to do it and as this happens, verse 12, it’s going to cleanse the land. By the way, here’s my slide that I like to use, concerning what’s going to happen.
- 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)
The divine coalition will be annihilated, we’ve already talked about that. The birds and the beasts are going to feast on the carnage, we will talk about that today, Lord willing. It will take seven months to bury the dead, we are talking about that right now. It will take seven years to burn the weapons of these invaders, we talked about that the last time we were in this study together and at the end of the day, you’re going to have a saved and restored Israel, we will talk about that most likely next week because that’s the end game as far as God is concerned. That’s why He’s allowing this to happen. He wants a believing nation and that’s why this section ends with the conversion of the nation of Israel. So this is not just suffering for the sake of suffering. It’s suffering to bring about an intended result and the intended result is a restored Israel. So I very much appreciate that about God that suffering, as far as His purposes are concerned, and some of you in your personal lives may be suffering, we all suffer to one extent or another, so many times we asked the question why, why did God allow such and such to happen. You may not know the reason why it happened, but you can rest on this at the end of the day, that God is going to use it in some way to expand His purposes through you. You may not fully grasp exactly what He’s doing, He may just say trust me through it, but He will and it’s contrary to His nature to think any other way about it, He will use it for some greater good and the greater good that’s coming out of this terrible Middle East Meltdown is a converted Israel. 19:15
So when you read the book of Daniel, it’s sort of interesting, it talks about the tribulation period of seven years being divided in two and then the Bible will draw attention to either section of the tribulation period through the expression one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
So when it says one thousand two hundred and sixty days it’s either referring to the first half of the tribulation period or the second half and that’s factoring in a thirty day month, forty-two months total, three and a half years. It’ll keep saying one thousand two hundred and sixty days, another section will say one thousand two hundred and sixty days and my eighth grade English teacher, Mrs Ream, that’s quite a name for a teacher, isn’t it? She reamed me a couple times if I remember right. I do very specifically remember her saying to me, don’t introduce a new idea at the conclusion of your paper. At the conclusion of your paper, you’re supposed to summarize what you’ve already said. If you come out with something new, that’s not how you’re supposed to write. Well, Daniel obviously had never taken her class, because Daniel at the end of the book just throws a whammy at you. It’s like, wow! Where did this come from? Because he starts talking about not one thousand two hundred and sixty days you can see it underlined there, he talks about one thousand two hundred and ninety days and if that weren’t enough, a verse later he talks about one thousand three hundred and thirty five days and you come to the end of the book of Daniel and you say, where would this come from? These new numbers. So Daniel 12:11-12 says: From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up… Now, I would have expected to read one thousand two hundred and sixty days but it doesn’t read that. It says: …there will be 1,290 days… So he’s talking about an additional thirty days after Jesus comes back and then he says in verse 12: How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!… Now, he’s talking about forty five more days after those thirty days until someone can be blessed. So what is he dealing with here? Because what he’s talking about is an extra seventy five days.
An extra seventy five days in between the coming of Christ and when Christ will establish His kingdom on the earth. So here’s my best take on this seventy five day interval. The peace treaty is entered into between antichrist and unbelieving Israel and once that happens, you got exactly one thousand two hundred and sixty days until the beast desecrates the temple. Once the beast desecrates the temple, then you have an additional one thousand two hundred and sixty days until the personal return of Jesus Christ. But then after Jesus returns, there’s thirty days and additional forty five days until Jesus sets up His kingdom. Now, almost every prophecy chart I’ve ever seen, including the ones I put up, never gives you this idea. We always draw them as Jesus is coming back and then right away He sets up His kingdom, but what I think is being spoken of here is a seventy five day delay in between the return of Jesus but before His kingdom is set up and the reason I think it’s talking here about the setting up of the kingdom is Daniel uses the word blessed. How blessed is he who keeps waiting to attain the one thousand three hundred and thirty five days. 23:39
So what does he mean by blessed? Well, there’s a clue in Matthew, 25, the sheep and the goat judgment. It says in Matthew, 25, verse 31 (Matt 25:31): But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne… And then verse 34, which is a description of Jesus separating the sheep from the goats. The sheep are believers, as evidenced by the fact that they help Christ’s brethren, the Jews, during the tribulation. So the sheep as believers go into the millennial kingdom, the goats are cast off the earth into Hades, those would be unbelievers and Matthew, 25, verse 34 (Matt 25:34) says: The King will say to those on His right… Those are the believers… Come, you who are blessed… It’s the same word that’s used here in verse 12, of course Matthew was written in Greek, this was written in Hebrew, but the concept of blessed is the same… Then the King will say to those on His right, Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the… What’s the next word? …kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the earth… So there is this seventy day period where something happens during the first thirty days and something happens during the next forty five days before the kingdom comes and I think one of those things that will happen during that interval is the sheep and the goat judgment, because there will be people that survive the tribulation and the Lord has to make a determination, are these people believers? Or are these people unbelievers? The unbelievers are cast off the earth into Hades and only believers and their mortal bodies enter the millennial kingdom and that process of a judgment is going to take some time. So I think that’s one of the things that’s going to happen during this seventy five day interval. So Arnold Fruchtenbaum says it like this in his book “The Footsteps of the Messiah”:
Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum – Footsteps of the Messiah, 355.
“The Millennium will not begin the day immediately following the last day of the Great Tribulation…” And Arnold I wish you hadn’t said that cause now we have to redraw all of our prophecy charts… “The Millennium will not begin the day immediately following the last day of the Great Tribulation because there will be a seventy-five day interval. During this time between the Great Tribulation and the start of the Messianic Age, a number of events will occur. The existence of this interval is demonstrated in Daniel 12:11-12”
Written by a prophet who never had Mrs. Ream for eighth grade composition. So what exactly is going to happen during this seventy five day period?
The 75 DAY Interval Daniel 12:11-12
- The Beast cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:20)
- The False Prophet cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:20)
- The binding of Satan (Rev. 20:1-3)
- The Judgment of the Jews (Ezek. 20:33-44)
- The Judgment of the Gentiles (Matt. 25:31-46)
- Resurrection of OT saints (Dan. 12:2) & Tribulation martyrs (Rev. 20:4-5)
- Rewarding of OT saints & Tribulation martyrs (Dan. 12:3)
Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah, 356-66
At least seven things, maybe more and it takes time, I guess, for these things to happen. (1) The beast will be cast into the lake of fire; (2) The false prophet will be cast into the lake of fire; (3) Satan is going to be bound, because we know from the book of Revelation that he’s going to be bound throughout the thousand years; (4) There’s going to be a separation between believing Jews and unbelieving Jews in the wilderness, Ezekiel, 20, verses 33 through 44 (Ezek 20:33-44); (5) There’s going to be a separation between believing Gentiles and unbelieving Gentiles in the sheep and goat judgment that we just made reference to, Matthew chapter 25; (6) There’s going to be a resurrection of Old Testament saints and tribulation martyrs; (7) There’s going to be a rewarding of Old Testament saints and tribulation martyrs. So these are all things that hypothetically could be taking place in this seventy five day interval and one of the things that will start happening, I believe, during this seven day interval is the burying of the dead. Now, when you do the math on this, you didn’t know Bible study involved math, I never really liked math until I started figuring out how God is so into math. I mean, the Bible has got to be one of the most mathematical books ever written in terms of its calculations. When you do the math on this, it takes seven months to bury the dead. Now, that’s, last time I checked, around two hundred and ten days and this is only dealing with an interval of seventy five days. So the activity of burying the dead is even going to exceed this seventy five day period. So I guess sort of how I envision it, is the Lord says, right we’ve got seventy five days here, let’s get the process started. Let’s start burying all these people. But the task is so enormous, it exceeds the seventy five day interval and actually continues on into the millennial kingdom, where the burial process actually continues on into the millennial kingdom as does the burning of the weapons, because it’s going to take seven years to burn these weapons. Seven years is greater than seventy five days. So I think the weapons destruction burning process and the burial of the dead will hypothetically start during the seventy five day interval. I mean, do I know that for sure? No, that’s just my best guess of it. 29:58
Would I start a new church over that issue? Probably not. You know, we’re the first church of the burying and burning during the seventy five day interval. That would be cutting a little close. You’d have a pretty lonely church, me and my wife and then her and I don’t agree on anything so just be me and Jesus, right? So, I would see this burning and burial starting during the seventy five days but these weapons and these bodies, there’s so many of them that God has brought into destruction that the burning and burying process is going to exceed the seventy five days and is even going to go into the millennial kingdom itself and I don’t have a big problem with that, a lot of people do. A lot of people say, we’ve got to get the weapons burned and the bodies buried, we’ve got to do it fast because you can’t have that going on in the millennium. I don’t have a problem with some of these things continuing on in the millennium. For reasons that we talked about the last time we were together in this study, the millennial kingdom is not an ex nihilo new creation.
It is a renovation of this current earth and this current earth has imperfections in it, doesn’t it? Ever since the fall and so God actually rules through Jesus Christ, God the Father through Jesus Christ over this imperfect earth before it’s finally dissolved by fire and replaced by the new heavens and new earth in Revelation, 21 and 22. So with that being the case, there’s really not much of a problem with Babylon burning during the millennial kingdom. There’s not much of a problem with the burying of the dead continuing into the millennial kingdom. There’s not much of a problem with weapons being burned during the millennial kingdom. There’s actually going to be death to a limited extent on the earth, not amongst those in resurrected bodies but rather amongst the mortals on the earth at the time, Isaiah, 65, verse 20 (Isa 65:20) and there’s actually going to be the slaughter of animals in the millennial temple during this time period. So with that being the case, why not allow the burning of the weapons and the burial of the dead continuing on into the millennial kingdom? Now if you put that into the eternal state, the last two chapters of the Bible then it becomes a problem because the Bible is very clear that there’s no more death in the eternal state. So there are a lot of interesting things, prophecies that really don’t fit today, they don’t fit the eternal state, the only place it could logically fit is in the sort of transitionary time period called the millennial kingdom and this is the problem that I have with so many theologians today that are just jamming the millennium and the eternal state together, as if they were one in the same. They call it the eschaton and they just use the ram jam and cram method and they make it all one event, you can’t do that. Once you start doing that, you start to see that there are certain prophecies that don’t fit that time period and if they’re not happening today where are you going to put them? The only place they fit is in that transitionary one thousand year time period. So you have to understand that if you start to oversimplify eschatology as many do, you know, they call themselves Pan Millennialist. It’s all going to pan out at the end is their mindset, they don’t want to study the details. Actually, I believe that mindset is a sin and the reason I think it’s a sin is because they’re turning God into a liar. They’re saying, well, who cares about these details, they’re not going to happen exactly like God says. That’s an assault on God’s character whether people realize it or not because God can’t lie. It’s impossible for God to lie. That’s why this doctrine of a transitionary one thousand year time period, actually is a big deal from that standpoint. 34:37
You drop down to verse 13 (Ezek 39:13) and look at the amount of people that have to get involved in this burial process in the land of Israel, it says: Even all the people of the land… That’s the land of Israel… will bury them; and it will be to their renown on the day that I glorify Myself, declares the Lord GOD… So notice that to cleanse the land, it’s going to involve the whole nation involved in the burial process. I mean, you would think that would be assigned to city sanitation or public works or whatever but, I mean, the job is so big that everybody in the nation of Israel is going to roll up their sleeves and get these dead bodies buried because God has killed all of these people that have invaded His people and have invaded His land and then at the end of verse 13, you come really to, perhaps, one of the most important statements in the Bible because it shows you what God’s purposes in human history are, it says: …It will be to their renown on the day that I glorify… What? I glorify Israel. It doesn’t say that. Glorify my servants, it doesn’t say that. Glorify my gifted ones, it doesn’t say that. Glorify my word, it doesn’t say that. It says: glorify Myself, declares the Lord GOD… That’s God’s purpose in allowing all of these things to happen so God Himself can be magnified. Isaiah, 42, and verse 8 (Isa 42:8) says of God: I am the Lord, that is my name. I will not give my glory to another nor my praise to idols… So as we like to say, and we’ve talked about this before, God’s purposes in human history are doxological. Here’s the three tenets you have to believe in, to accept the kind of teaching that we give from this church:
You have to believe in the consistent use of the plain, normal, literal, grammatical, historical method of interpretation. You have to apply that method consistently and by the way, this Wednesday night there’s going to be a group meeting here at Sugar Land Bible Church called the Council on Dispensational Hermeneutics. The meeting is going to start at 1:00 PM this coming Wednesday and go probably to about 8 or 8:30 covering our normal Wednesday night study time and the purpose of this group is to defend number one. I’m actually giving the final presentation on why the literal method of interpretation even applies to the book of Revelation. So we’re hoping, Lord willing, to live stream and record these speakers will be: Dr. Joe Parle; Dr. Elliott Johnson, who was my professor; Dr. Michael Stallard, who’s the head of this particular group and then I’m the last one. But the whole focus of it is to defend a literal interpretation of the whole Bible, because if you don’t defend a literal interpretation of the whole Bible, you can’t understand the type of teaching that we’re giving here. This kind of teaching only makes sense, it’s only a logical deduction, if the literal method of interpretation, taking into account figures of speech when they are conspicuous in the text, is defended through the entire Bible. So we’re opening this up to you know, whoever wants to come. If you’re a normal Wednesday night person, this would be a great thing for you to watch and sit in on and if you want to come early at 1:00, you can do that as well. So the consistent use of the literal method of interpretation which reveals that Israel is distinct from the church. Andy, what’s the matter with you? How come you haven’t interpreted these like everyone else? How come the valley of the dry bones you haven’t made the day of Pentecost? I haven’t done that, because the church is not in these passages. These passages have nothing to do with the church. These are things that God is going to do in and through Israel after the church has already been raptured to heaven. Well, Andy, why would you think that way? Because of number one, I’m interpreting the Bible literally. It keeps saying Israel, mountains of Israel, over and over again. Jerusalem, House of David, I mean, the Presbyterians and Methodists and Baptists and everyone else are not even mentioned here and then, once you move in that direction you start to see that God’s overall purpose in human history is to glorify Himself.
This is what we call the doxological purpose of God. Doxa means glory. You see it there in verse 13, not making it up. When God allows all of these things to happen, He says, I will glorify myself. God’s ultimate purpose for the ages is to glorify Himself. Scripture is not human centered as though salvation were the principal point but God centered because His glory is at the center. Yeah, but Andy, don’t you understand that if you want your church to grow, you have to take the scripture in a way that applies to people’s felt needs week after week after week? Cause after all, at the end of the day, it’s all about us, right? So why don’t you do that at Sugar Land Bible Church. Why do talk about Ezekiel, 36 through 39? How does that relate to my life? How’s that going to help me get ahead on the job? Well, the answer is me. Did you hear the word me in there? Sometimes our holy Trinity consists of me, myself and I and if that’s your whole focus and you’re anthropocentric and man centered, you don’t really have much need for scriptures like this. But if you understand that God’s purposes in human history are to glorify Himself and that our purpose on the earth is to bring glory to God, then all of a sudden scriptures like this become very interesting to you. You have to move away from “Your Best Life Now” mindset and I love the way the Westminster confession summarizes this, it says, the chief end of man. The chief end, what is that? Man’s purpose. I mean, isn’t that what everyone wants to know? What’s my purpose? Why am I here? Rick Warren wrote: The Purpose Driven Life, a runaway bestseller, cause everybody wants to know their purpose. Well, here’s your purpose: The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. That’s why you were created. That, by the way, is why God went out of His way to save you, because through your salvation, He wanted to glorify Himself and as you continue to walk with the Lord, post salvation in newness of life, God wants to keep glorifying Himself through you. So it’s not all about our happiness, it’s about the glory of God. So you run into a trial or a problem in life and instead of saying you know, gee Lord, why me? And why did this happen? And getting on to a pity party, so to speak, you just say to yourself, well, the Lord brought this into my life for a purpose. I may not understand the specific purpose of it but I know at the end of the day God is going to glorify Himself in everything. So Lord have your way, just go ahead and glorify Yourself in my life. Now you start to step out like that and now you’re discovering why you were born. That’s why you were born. That’s why you were created, to glorify God. Even your salvation itself glorifies God. 43:50
It says here, this is Charles Ryrie where I’m getting this from: God’s purpose in human history is not even to save people. Obviously, God wants people saved, the Bible says that. But when a salvation occurs, that event in and of itself is subsumed under the doxological purpose of God, because God gets the glory in that. Yeah, but Andy, you know, I go to this church over here and they don’t do the music the way I like it and I go to this church over there and I don’t like their music and here at Sugar Land Bible church, I like this song but I don’t like that song. Do you understand how that mindset, how off that is? If you’re here to glorify the Lord and the words in the song are glorifying to the Lord, whether it’s done on a piano, whether it’s done on an organ, whether it’s done acapella, is that how you say that? Acapella? It should not matter, because worship, what it’s about is getting into the presence of the Lord with God’s people and wanting to praise God. Now I can do that with no musical notes at all, it’s painful to listen to but, I can do that and we’re so, you know, we get so myopic, we get so petty about our preferences and a lot of it comes down to the fact that we have gotten our eyes off why we’re here. We’re here to glorify Him and He deserves it, don’t you think? He is the Creator and if that weren’t enough, He’s the Redeemer. Hey! That’s Revelation, 4 and 5. Jesus is the Creator, Revelation, 4; Jesus is the Redeemer, Revelation, 5. So what does heaven do? It just explodes into praise to the Lord through the angels, the four living creatures and the twenty four elders and that’s actually freeing, when you start to think that way. It’s not about me, it’s not about my tastes, it’s not about my likes, it’s not about my preferences, it’s all about Him. So Charles Ryrie says: 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… That, by the way, is why I love this portrait put together by Dr Michael Stallard, who is organizing this event on Wednesday, where it shows you God’s purpose in His actions.
God’s purpose in His actions in creation, as you move up the left side there of that triangle, whether it be the creation of the world, the nations, Israel or the church, at the pinnacle of the whole thing is His glory and God’s purposes in redemption, whether it be His making of a new creation, His judgment of the nations, His restoration of Israel or even the rapture of the church itself, what’s at the top there is the glory of God. The doxological purpose of God and if that’s how God works to glorify Himself, that kind of simplifies your life, because instead of worrying all the time about, should I take job A? should I take Job B? What about this salary, what about that salary? What about this insurance plan? What about that insurance plan? You just say, enough of all that, Lord, you take care of that stuff. The Bible says, seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you… What are we going to eat? What are we going to drink? What are we going to wear? What are we going to put on? What about gas prices? What about inflation? That’s not your problem, that’s God’s problem. Your issue is, you just say to the Lord, Lord, whatever you’re going to do, I just want you to glorify yourself through my life and if that becomes your focus, and you entrust the other little things, because they aren’t the big things, we make them the big thing, but they aren’t the big thing. The big thing is at the pinnacle of that triangle, that’s the big thing. The big thing is the doxological purpose of God, the glory of God and you have that heart before the Lord, it’s amazing how simplified life becomes cause you’re walking in the purpose for which you were created and by the way, as a side benefit, if you walk in the purpose for which you were created you know, what’s going on in your heart? You’re joyful. That’s a side benefit. You look at this world, people are not walking in joy. They’re upset, they’re angry. Just try to get in front of them on the freeway and watch the reaction. You know, the slightest inconvenience, people just want to, you know, explode into anger over the slightest inconvenience. They’re obviously dealing with people that aren’t walking in joy and how could you walk in joy when you’re living outside of the purpose for which you were created. That’s like taking a hammer and trying to use it as a screwdriver. It’s not working, I’m upset, well that’s not what it’s designed for. It’s not designed to screw and unscrew screws. It’s designed to hammer nails and you’re using a tool that was designed for something else for something it was never intended for and so that’s why there’s so much frustration with our lives cause we’re living outside why we exist and we wonder how come Christianity is not working for me? It’s working for everybody else but it’s not working for me. Well, maybe it’s this issue right here and you can see there in verse 13, none of this is being made up, God says it at the end of verse 13 (Ezek 39:132): I will glorify myself and then when you go down to… That was verse 13, you go to verse 14 (Ezek 39:14), the burial of the dead keeps being predicted. It says: They will set apart men who will constantly pass through the land, burying those who were passing through, even those left on the surface of the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search… So this burial process goes on for seven months and then they say to themselves, I think we’ve got it all now, Lord, we buried everybody. But you know, we better send out a search party just in case. Maybe there is a corpse or two lying somewhere that we missed and then when you look at verse 15, this is fascinating and those of you with a military background might see something there in verse 15 (Ezek 39:15) that looks familiar, it says: As those who pass through the land pass through and anyone sees a man’s bone… So not a body but a bone… then he will set up a marker by it until the buriers have buried it in… which valley?… The valley of Hamon-gog… Now, I was listening to a gentleman at Duluth Bible Church, via live stream, talking about this. He has a military background, he is a lay leader there in the church and as he got to this passage, he pulled out his military manual. He’s a doctor in the military, part of his career and he read it and it’s exactly what verse 15 says. I mean, that’s like spot on for military procedure. That’s what you do when you find a bone, right down to the setting up of the marker and summoning everybody else and I wish I had the military background to understand all that. But I found that to be very, very interesting and then you drop down to chapter 39 and verse 16 (Ezek 39:16) and it says: And even the name of the city… Now we’ve got the name of the city… will be Hamonah. So they will cleanse the land… So you’ll notice here we don’t just have a valley named Hamon-gog, that commemorates this burial, but we’ve got a specific city within the valley that commemorates this burial.
I mean, that’s just somebody’s rendition of where the city could be but one of the things that’s interesting about the Lord is the Lord is into memorials, because when you go into this valley in the millennial kingdom and you go to the city in the millennial kingdom, you’re supposed to remember what God did an Ezekiel, 38 and 39. How He rescued Israel against all odds and I think that’s one of the reasons why God doesn’t just come back and bury everybody Himself right away. He allows it to go on for seven months, because as you’re burying the dead your memorializing, your commemorating what God did. That’s one of the reasons why He doesn’t just destroy the weapons right away. He allows them to be burned for seven years because it’s commemorating what God did in this particular judgment. That, by the way, is why God comes back and Babylon is destroyed, Babylon keeps burning, Revelation, 19, verses 2 and 3 (Rev 19:2-3) throughout the millennial kingdom because you’re remembering, oh yeah! That’s what the Lord did in bowl judgment number seven. When the animal sacrifices are functioning again in the millennial temple, during a time period when death is sort of almost nonexistent, you’ll be able to go into that temple and you’ll be able to see those slaughtered animals being slaughtered around the clock and then you’ll say, oh yeah, that reminds me of what Jesus did to make this whole wonderful millennial kingdom a possibility. So that’s why there’s all this information about the valley where this is going to happen, the city that’s going to exist where this is going to happen and it just shows you that God is interested in memorials, memorial markers. By the way, that’s why we take communion together, right? Because Jesus said do this in remembrance of me. 56:31
You remember what the sons of Israel did when they passed through the Jordan River in Joshua, 4? Remember what God said? Take stones and set them up here, because one of these days your kids are going to come along and they’re going to say, Hey dad! Hey Mom! What are the stones doing here? And mom and dad are supposed to take that as a teaching opportunity to say, oh yeah, those stones represent what the Lord did here in terms of drying up the Jordan and by the way, that’s a reminder of what he did for us forty years earlier in Egypt when He parted the Red Sea and when you look at Joshua, 4, verses 19 through 24 (Josh 4:19-24) very carefully, which is the instructions concerning these memorial stones, it says specifically there: …Thus the knowledge of the Lord will fill the whole earth through these memorials… As parents are now actively teaching their children what these memorials represent. Now, it’s somewhat terrifying to think about but that generation, Joshua generation, ultimately was followed down the road by the Judges generation, where it says of the Judges generation that the youth of that time period had lost the knowledge of the God of Israel. So everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes. What happened? I mean, how could God part the Red Sea, do the miracle of the Jordan and then you have a whole generation that arises in the book of Judges that did not know the Lord? You’ll see that Judges, 1, mostly in Judges, 2. How could that happen? Well, they may have followed the instructions related to the memorials but the parents for whatever reason, maybe it was career, maybe it was community softball, gee, we’re really getting close to home here, aren’t we? There’s a softball folks meeting over there? I can’t see. Maybe it was entertainment, whatever the reason was, they quit instructing the youth according to the memorials that God had set up. So a whole generation arises that knows absolutely nothing about the things of God. That’s why these memorials are such a big deal. That’s why partaking of the Lord’s table, which we do here on a monthly basis, is such a big deal because you’re receiving pictorial reminders of things God did. That’s why you look out on a quasi-rainy day, drizzling day, you see the rainbow and your kids or grandkids saying well, how did that emerge in the sky? And most parents at that point give this long lecture on science and moisture, which is interesting but it has nothing to do with the memorial. You tell your kids and grandkids, well, that’s God sign given in Genesis, 8, Genesis, 9, where God took this whole world and put it under water and God promised He’d never do it again based on this Memorial in the rainbow and now your kids instead of going to sleep on you because you’re going in to all this information about science, I’ve got their eyes this big saying did that really happen? I mean, is there actually evidence that this whole world was under water at some point? And that’s where you access the works of Answers in Genesis or the Institute of Creation Research which show you an interpretation of the fossil record that’s undeniable of catastrophe. But unless you take the incentive as a parent or a grandparent based on the memorial, those kids and grandkids will grow up maybe with some sort of knowledge about moisture and water density, but they won’t know anything about the global flood and if they don’t know anything about the global flood, they’ll grow up not understanding that God actually intervenes in human history to bring judgment, that’s what the flood represents. Oh! And by the way, if God intervenes in human history to bring judgment, He’s going to do it in the end time too. Not with the global flood, He promised He wouldn’t do that again but other means and that’s your segue way now into eschatology, protology moving into eschatology, you don’t even have to use those fancy words with your kids and grandkids. You just take advantage of the memorials that God has set up. So that’s why when you read passages like this about, you know, a city named Hamonah and you read about a valley called Hamon-gog, it’s actually a big deal, because it’s consistent with God’s pattern of operating concerning memorials.
So I hope at this point, there, verse 16, you’re seeing very clearly that you can’t deliteralize this stuff. Seven month to bury the dead, seven years to destroy the weapons. A valley east of the Dead Sea, a city in that valley east of the Dead Sea as a memorial. I mean, these memorials are just as real and just as literal as was the memorial set up in Joshua chapter 4. They’re just as real and just as literal as the memorial concerning the Lord’s table. So with all of that being said and I think we’ve said a lot, Amen? You say, but pastor I want to hear about the soldiers get eaten, I want to hear about the birds gorging on the corpses. I can’t wait for that. Well, we’ll look at that next time, amen? Let ‘s pray. Father, we’re grateful for Your word, Your truth. We’re grateful for prophecy and why You’ve given it. Help us to walk out these things this week with the right attitude. 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.