Middle East Meltdown 019 – Ezekiel 39Ezekiel 39:21-29 • Dr. Andy Woods • June 12, 2022 • Middle East Meltdown
Middle East Meltdown 019 – Ezekiel 39
By Dr Andy Woods – 06/12/2022
Let’s open with a word of prayer and we’ll get started. Father, we’re grateful for today and… I see that wind blowing. I think that’s the fan so I’m moving this way. I thought that was the wind of the Holy Spirit. Alright! Let’s try it again. Lord, we just thank you for today and ask for your hand of blessing on class this morning and we do ask that you bless the main service. We’re just going to pause for just a few moments, Lord, for a few moments of silence, so that we can, if need be, restore broken fellowship with you so that we can learn from Your Word today unencumbered. We thank you, Lord, for your church. Thank you for the fact that the church is the pillar of truth, 1st Timothy, 3, verse 15 (1 Tim 3:15) and we pray that today we will learn the truth, stand in the truth. We’re grateful for VBS and ask for your blessing on it this week. We will be careful to give you all the praise of the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name and God’s people said, Amen. 1:36
Alright! Let’s see here, is there a way to turn this fan down? Anybody know how to do that? Oh good, I appreciate it. I really do. It’s just, it’s going to make a wind sound like the Holy Spirit in Acts, 2. It gets picked up on the microphone but then maybe you guys would rather listen to that anyway, I don’t know. Alright! Let’s take our Bibles and open them to the book of Ezekiel chapter 39, verse 21 (Ezek 39:21). For those of you watching online, you probably see all this stuff behind me. So those aren’t props for my lesson. This is VBS, which we’re going to be doing this week. So are you guys excited about VBS? Alright! People have been working hard to get it going, so whatever prayers you can do for VBS this week, we would really appreciate it. How’s my microphone working? Is that okay? Okay, I guess there’s an issue with the microphone cutting in and out, but now that I’ve embarrassed everybody up there. Alright! Well, I’ll do my best and if you guys need me to repeat something, just put your hand up. Alright! And we can always go to the pulpit mic, if it gets to be a problem. Let’s go to the book of Ezekiel chapter 39, and verse 21 (Ezek 39:21) and of course we’re coming to the end, I’ve said that for three months but we’re coming to the end of our study on Ezekiel, 38, 39, the Middle East Meltdown.
- 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)
Chapter 36 is the restoration of Israel in the last days, physically first and then spiritually.
- Israel to prosper again (1-15)
- Israel’s sins inhibiting prosperity (16-21)
- Israel to be restored: physically & spiritually (22-38)
That restoration is spoken of in the form of two illustrations in chapter 37:
- 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)
The Valley of the Dry Bones and the two sticks coming together. So as I’ve said a number of times, by the time you get outside of Ezekiel, 37 you know that there’s going to be a twofold re-gathering of Israel in the last days. First Israel is going to be restored as a nation and then the order of these prophecies, I think it’s very clear that secondarily they will be indwelled by the Holy Spirit. So the question then becomes, once Israel is restored politically, which I believe that we’re seeing take place in our very lifetimes, would you all agree with me on that? Once the nation of Israel is restored politically, then what is the tool that God is going to use to bring His unbelieving nation into faith? And the answer to that question is going to be a northern invasion during which the nation of Israel is going to be put under so much pressure, in terms of being overwhelmed, that the only hope that they’ll have is reaching out to the Lord and so this is the famous Gog Magog invasion and this is the tool that God is using to bring His unbelieving nation to faith.
- 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 that’s where we found ourselves the last several weeks, Ezekiel, 38, verses 1 through 13 (Ezek 38:1-13) is the invasion plan.
- Invasion Planned (Ezekiel 38:1-13)
- God’s intention (Ezek 38:1-9)
- Gog’s intention (Ezek 38:10-13)
God is actually planning it, verses 1 through 9 (Ezek 38:1-9), even though these wicked rulers think they’re planning it, verses 10 through 13 (Ezek 10-13) and that’s the section that has all of these strange sounding names, Put, Cush, Persia, Magog, Rosh, Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, Togarmah and then you’ll say, well, pastor I haven’t read about these in the newspaper lately, because they’re very strange sounding names, but we have shown you how you can identify each of those nations with common nations today.
So there are about fourteen or so nations described and you can actually, through using some scholarly methods, identify what those nations are today and once you do that, your headlines will start making a lot more sense, when you read the newspaper. You’ll see the hand of God moving history around in such a way for the eventual fulfillment of this prophecy; and then verses 14 through 16 (Ezek 38:14-16) is Ezekiel’s prediction of the invasion being 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)
We’re no longer in the planning phase but the execution phase and it seems like the nation of Israel is about to be buried, but God, God shows up. God shows up when no one else will help Israel and that invasion is defeated by God, beginning in chapter 38, verse 17 all the way through chapter 39, verse 20.
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)
The armies are destroyed and once you start getting into this section of the prophecy, it sort of flash forwards away from beginning of the tribulation period events, which I think is where chapter 38 fits to the aftermath of the battle. So it’s sort of giving the outer edges of the tribulation period and it’s not going to tell you every little detail of the tribulation period. So to figure out where the other pieces fit, you can’t just stay an Ezekiel, 38, 39 you’ve got to go to other areas of the scripture. 8:43
Chapter 38 is the beginning of the tribulation, chapter 39 as we’ve tried to argue is the end of the tribulation. Chapter 39 is sort of the outcome of these things. So the armies are destroyed, the weapons are burned for seven years, verses 9 and 10 (Ezek 39:9-10). The soldiers themselves are buried, chapter 39, verses 11 through 16 (Ezek 11-16) and this is where you start getting a lot of detail about the burial process.
The actual place where they’re going to be buried is a place called Hamon-Gog, which is sort of north east, if you will, of the Dead Sea area, there’s another potential picture of it and so this area called Hamon-Gog is going to be sort of a memorial throughout the millennial kingdom of what God did to rescue Israel from an invading horde and not only is that particular valley going to be a place of memorial, but there’s also going to be a city in that area that’s going to be set up as a memorial and every time we’re in the millennial kingdom and we travel through that area, we’re going to say, well, praise the Lord.
Look at what God did to help His people against overwhelming odds and it’s encouraging to study this because God is the same yesterday today and forever. So if you find yourself today in circumstances that are totally beyond your control and no one is there to help you other than God, you’re actually in a pretty good place, Amen? And then you get information about the soldiers themselves being eaten, the birds of prey are going to sort of be summoned at this point and as the soldiers are being buried, the birds of prey are going to gorge themselves on the corpses of the deceased and as we looked at that chapter 39, verses 17 through 20 (Ezek 39:17-20), I tried to show you that other passages that deal with that prophecy, put this gorging by the birds of prey, not at the beginning of the tribulation period, not at the middle of the tribulation period, but at the end of the tribulation period. So essentially what you have here are prophecies that are given, which are descriptive in chapter 39 of the end of the tribulation period and then we come this morning to chapter 39, verses 21 through 24 (Ezek 39:21-24), where we have the results.
- 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)
- Invasion’s Results (Ezekiel 39:21-29)
- God’s glory manifested (Ezek 39:21-24)
- Israel restored (Ezek 39:25-29)
I mean, what are the results the God is seeking to bring about by allowing these events to take place? And the ultimate result and the reason God is allowing all of these things is so two things can happen. Number one: God’s glory can be manifested; and number two: the nation of Israel can be restored. So by the time you get to the end of these chapters, you see that Israel is not just restored to the land, but now she has been restored to the Lord and the tool that God has used to bring His unbelieving nation to faith is this overwhelming northern invasion. 12:47
So notice, first of all, verses 21 through 24 as God’s glory is manifested. Chapter 39, verse 21 (Ezek 39:21), it says: And I will set… And notice by the way, as we read this verse how many times it says My… I will set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them… Notice it says My three times. Number one: My glory; Number two: My judgment; and number three: My hand. God is vindicating the nation of Israel in the presence of the nations in such a way that people will say, the only way Israel could have been rescued here must be the hand of God and so who ends up getting the glory at the end? God does. You notice that the Israeli army doesn’t get the glory? America supposedly riding to Israel’s rescue at the last minute doesn’t get the glory. Only God receives the glory. Isaiah chapter 42, and verse 8 (Isa 42:8) says of God’s glory: I am the Lord that is My name. I will not give My glory to another nor My praise to idols… So that is one of the reasons God puts us into circumstances that we can’t control. So that will cry out to Him in the midst of those circumstances, so that He rescues us in such a way that your intelligence doesn’t get the glory, your business acumen doesn’t get the glory, your academic credentials don’t get the glory, your prowess doesn’t get the glory, your talents and abilities don’t get the glory but only God gets the glory and so if you find yourself in circumstances that are beyond you, it’s actually a wonderful place to be in when you think about it, because God is getting ready to glorify himself in your life, because God is the same yesterday, today and forever and what is taking place here in Ezekiel, 38 and 39 is sort of a type, if you will, of how God works in all of our lives constantly. We call this in our circles the doxological purpose of God. Doxa means glory.
The doxological purpose of God is the teaching that says God works in human history to glorify Himself. So our system of theology, dispensationalism, which comes from a consistent literal approach to the whole Bible, reveals that the church is distinct from Israel and that God’s overall purpose is to bring glory to Himself. Everything God does in human history is to glorify Himself, including our trials and tribulations.
By the way, including our salvation, because once we believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ so as to be saved, who gets the glory? God does. 16:37
I’ve used these quotes here from Charles Ryrie but there were reviewing. Charles Ryrie says: God’s ultimate purpose for the ages is to glorify Himself… And this is why, this next sentence here explains why this type of teaching is in decline today in most places… Scripture is not human-centered… You see that there?… Scripture is not human-centered as though salvation were the principle point, but God-centered, because His glory is at the center… Now, we’re living in the generation today that really doesn’t want to hear this, because we want to think that it’s all about me. If I come to a church and I listen to a pastor preach he better start dealing with my problems and my needs right out of the gate or I’m just going to tune him out. You know, don’t go on and on talking about other things that don’t particularly pertain to me, because after all our Holy Trinity consists of Me, Myself and I and when you start to tell people, well, you can’t really approach the Bible that way because we’re not in every passage. I mean, not every passage is aimed at me. If I’m going to make every passage in the Bible aimed at me, I’m no longer doing Exegesis but I’m doing Narcigesis. I have to see myself in everything and it’s sort of a stunner to realize that, you know, life is not all about me. I mean, I’m part of it but it’s not all about me. It’s about the glory of God. So God’s ultimate purpose for the ages is to glorify Himself, that’s what we’re seeing in this passage here. Scripture is not human- centered as though salvation were the principal 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… Now, a lot of people will look at the Bible and they’ll say what unifies the Bible is our salvation. Well, that’s an inadequate explanation, because salvation doesn’t explain everything in the Bible. You know, if you’re going to come up with something that explains everything in the Bible, you can’t pick salvation, because if you pick salvation, you have no explanation for God’s dealings with the good angels and the fallen angels, which the scripture talks about and salvation has nothing to do with that because the plan of salvation is not open to the angels. Jesus, you know, when He died on the cross, you know, at the point of the virgin conception, added to eternally existent deity, humanity, the incarnation, but He never became an angel. So the plan of salvation is not open to the angels. So if salvation is the point that you use to explain everything in the Bible, you have no explanation for God’s dealings with the good angels and the fallen angels. So you have to take your concepts and make it broader than just salvation. So a concept that will explain everything in the Bible is God’s doxological purpose. Salvation itself needs to be subsumed under God’s doxological purpose because when we get saved, God gets the glory. He 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… Notice he mentions that… and nations all manifest His glory… So I’ve used many, many times this chart, put together by Dr Mike Stallard, who was just here not long ago, our last Wednesday evening, where we did the Council on Dispensational Hermeneutics Regional Conference here, he’s executive director of that group but I appreciate this pyramid that he put together, because it shows you that everything that God does in human history or any history at all is to glorify Himself.
So God’s glory, you’ll notice, is at the pinnacle of the triangle up top and as you work your way up the left side, you’ll see God’s work in creation. He creates the world, Genesis, 1. He creates the nations, Genesis, 10. He creates the nation of Israel, Genesis chapter 12. He creates the church, Acts chapter 2 and what is all of that point to? It points to His glory and then on the other side of the triangle there, you’ll see God’s work in redemption. We have the redemption of creation, Romans, 8. We have the judgment of the nations, Matthew, 25. We have the restoration of the nation of Israel, Romans, chapter 11. We have the rapture of the church, 1st Thessalonians chapter 4. These things are describing God’s work not just in creating things but actually entering human history as the God man to redeem what we messed up with the fall of man in Genesis, 3; and if you work your way up the opposite side of the triangle, it’s leading to the same place, the glory of God. 23:13
So everything that God is doing, whether it’s His plan for the angels, His plan for the ages, His plan for the lost, His plan for salvation, all of it relates to one central purpose that if you understand it, it unifies the whole Bible and that’s the doxological purpose of God. So that’s what verse 21 is talking about at the end of this Gog-Magog invasion in God’s rescue operation for Israel. That’s why He says, verse 21 (Ezek 39:21): I will set My glory among the nations and all the nations will see My judgment, which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them… So just like anything else, the Gog-Magog invasion fits under the doxological purpose of God. That takes us to verse 22 (Ezek 39:22), where it says: And the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God from that day onward… So we’re no longer dealing with, by the time we get to the end of this, a recycling of the nation into their own land in unbelief. That’s what we’re seeing today, but that’s only a prefigurement of what’s to come. By the time you get to the end of it, the nation of Israel will not just be in their land but they will actually know the Lord. By the time you get to the end of the seven year tribulation period, you’ll have a scenario in place where every single physical descendant, living physical descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be in faith. It’s the salvation of the whole nation. Something in human history that probably has never happened before. The closest you could come to probably would be the repentance of the Ninevites in the book of Jonah, but Nineveh is not a whole nation and it was just a city within the nation of Assyria, you’ll notice it’s not just the salvation of Jerusalem here, it’s the salvation of the whole Jewish nation. That’s the end game. That’s the end result and that concept, verse 22, is going to receive a lot more development in verses 25 through 29 and this becomes the problem of placing these chapters before the tribulation starts. Here are the different views on the timing of these chapters and there are many, many people, very good people, that will basically tell you that this invasion takes place before the tribulation period even begins.
Well, that explanation has never made a lot of sense to me for the simple reason that the purpose of the tribulation period is the salvation of the Jewish nation. So you’re giving me the salvation of the Jewish nation before the tribulation period even starts. Remember what Jeremiah chapter 30, verse 7 (Jer 30:7) says? A famous tribulation period passage, it says: Alas! for that day is great, There is none like it… So clearly a reference to the seven year tribulation period and it says: And it is the time of Jacob’s distress… Who is Jacob in the book of Genesis? The nation of Israel… But he… Who’s the he? Who is the nearest antecedent of the he? It’s Jacob, Israel… But he will be saved from it… And this is the problem trying to insert the church as many people do into this time period. This time period has nothing to do with the church, it has to do with the salvation of the Jewish nation, it has to do with Jacobs’ distress and Jacob being saved from it. You’re not Jacob, I’m not Jacob, the church is never called Jacob and so the whole purpose of this tribulation period is not just so God can glorify Himself, which is enough of a purpose in terms of legitimacy, but it’s also to bring the nation of Israel to faith. That’s why God is bringing this seven year tribulation period upon the earth. So if you’re going to put this before the seven year tribulation period even starts, you’ve got a converted Israel before the tribulation period even begins and that to me seems very, very odd, seems very, very strange because it ignores the purpose of the tribulation period which is the salvation of the Jewish nation. So people that try to put these chapters before the tribulation period even begins have to start fudging on the language of verse 22. They have to start fudging on the language of verses 25 through 29. 29:16
So here is Stanley Maughan and he wrote a dissertation at Dallas seminary, fairly recently. It’s a very good dissertation, I read through the whole thing and he has a lot of wonderful things to say in this dissertation, but he’s trying to argue, as so many today are trying to argue, that Ezekiel, 38, 39 is going to happen before the tribulation period even begins. So if the Ezekiel, 38 and 39 war is going to happen before the tribulation period even begins, how do you explain the result of the war which is the conversion of the Jewish nation before the tribulation period even starts when the purpose of the tribulation period is to bring Israel to faith? Well, they have to look at the language of verse 22 and they have to sort of fudge on it. Well, that verse 22 is really not a real conversion, that’s what they say. My goodness! Does that look like a real conversion to you in verse 22? The house of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God from that day onward? Does that seem like a real conversion? Just to leap ahead look at verse 29 (Ezek 39:29): I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD… Is that a real conversion? That’s a real conversion folks, but if you put this before the tribulation even starts, you have to start arguing, well, it’s really not a real conversion. I just want not to pick on this guy cause I like what he says, generally speaking, but I just want to give you an example of how people have to do this when they come up with a scenario that’s put together before you let the biblical data speak; and I understand why people are putting this before the tribulation, it’s much more exciting that way. I mean, Russia is going to invade in any second and I mean, that’ll sell, that kind of stuff, and you don’t want someone like myself coming along and raining on everybody’s parade, you know, kind of thing, but at the end of the day, I mean, I’m a Bible guy, this is Sugar Land Bible Church, I don’t really see what value a scenario is if it’s not adequately supported by the biblical text. So Stanley Maughan writes:
Stanley A. Maughan – “Selected Expert Perspectives on Ezekiel 38‒39 Related to Current World Events with Resulting Influence on Ministry Practices” (D. Min. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 2012), 107.
“While certainly one outcome of this war will be the salvation of many Jews, it does not require the wholesale conversion of all Jews…It is better to understand this as a recognition among all that God is at work, without necessarily experiencing a genuine conversion… Nevertheless, God will use the dramatic events of this war to help bring many Jews to faith, whether in the immediate aftermath, or in conjunction with other events during the period of the Great Tribulation.”
While certainly one outcome of this war will be the salvation of many Jews… Now remember, he’s saying this is happening before the tribulation starts… It does not require the wholesale conversion of the Jews… That’s what he’s saying… It is better to understand this… What’s this? Verse 22 and verse 29… It’s better to understand this as a recognition among all that God is at work, without necessarily experiencing genuine conversion. Nevertheless, God will use the dramatic events of this war to help bring many Jews to faith, whether in the immediate aftermath, or in conjunction with the other events during the period of the Great Tribulation… The key line here is: Without necessarily experiencing genuine conversion. Verse 22 he’s saying is not a genuine conversion. Verse 29 is saying is not a genuine conversion. Well, I’m sorry I can either believe what he says or believe what Ezekiel says. It is a genuine conversion and the reason it’s genuine conversion is it’s a conversion that happens at the end of the tribulation period, where Israel will actually call Jesus or Yeshua back to the earth to rescue them. That can’t happen without a genuine conversion and then, we go down the verses 23 and 24 (Ezek 39:23-24) and it says: The nations… God speaking through Ezekiel… will know that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me, and I hid My face from them; so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and all of them fell by the sword… verse 24: According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I dealt with them, and I hid My face from them… Now, what is this describing here? This is describing the curses in the Mosaic covenant that God entered into only with the nation of Israel.
In fact, I wasn’t going to go there but over in Psalm, 147, verses 19 and 20 (Psa 147:19-20), what you’ll see is the exclusive nature of the Mosaic covenant. He says at the end of Psalm, 147: He declares His words to… Who does it say there?… To Jacob. His statutes and His ordinances to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any nation and as for His ordinances they have not known them, praise the Lord… Translation, the Mosaic Covenant is a covenant between God and Israel. Period. Now, certainly we are indirectly blessed by this covenant, but God never made this covenant with us, we weren’t even around when He made this covenant. It’s a covenant only between God and Israel at Mount Sinai and the covenant has contained within it blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. The blessings for obedience are spelled out in Deuteronomy, 28, verses 1 through 14 (Deut 28:1-14). The curses for disobedience are spelled out in Deuteronomy, 28, verses 15 through 68 (Deut 28:15-68) and very, very sadly there’s a lot more curses there than blessings. It’s almost like God knew what was going to happen in terms of Israel’s response to His laws and essentially these curses will sort of roll up like a snowball and will finally reach a point where Deuteronomy, 28, verses 49 and 50 (Deut 28:49-50) a nation whose language you don’t not understand will come against you and ultimately displace you from your land and if you understand what God said to Israel in Deuteronomy, 28, all of a sudden everything that’s happening in the Bible, particularly the Old Testament and some into the New Testament, starts making perfect sense.
Oh! That’s why God divided the nation between the north and the south when Solomon became disobedient. God brought discipline upon His own nation, Oh! That’s why the northern tribes were scattered by the Assyrians in 722 BC, God brought discipline upon His nation exactly like He said He was going to do. Hey! That’s why the remaining southern tribes, Benjamin and Judah, primarily Judah, were taken into the Babylonian captivity in 586 BC. That’s what God said He would do all the way back at Mount Sinai. Hey! That’s why Jesus is riding into Jerusalem on a donkey on Palm Sunday weeping, because He says, you didn’t recognize the time of your visitation, your enemies will build an embankment about you, they will not leave one stone upon another. They will actually take the babies inside of you and strangle them to death, that’s a very loose translation of course, but when you read Luke 19:41-44 that’s the kind of thing Jesus is talking about. Why is Jesus talking this way? Because He knows Deuteronomy, 28. Rome is coming for the nation’s rejection of their king in violation of their covenant. 38:34
So as that great theologian Yogi Bear said, it’s deja vu all over again. Why does this keep happening? Because God said that would happen in Deuteronomy, 28 and so when you read Ezekiel, 39, verses 23 through 24 (Ezek 39:23-24), that’s a manifestation of the discipline that the nation would experience at the hands of God and it says in the midst of all of that, I hid my face from them, verse 23 and if that’s not enough, it’s repeated in verse 24, I hid my face from them. So when you study Deuteronomy, 28, what you’ll see is it’s like the spine of the Old Testament. It articulates all of these curses and all the rest of the Bible is doing is saying God is making good on these judgments and one of the things God said He would do is He said He would hide His face from His own people in their time of disobedience. Deuteronomy, 28, verse 23 (Deut 28:23) says, the heaven which is over your head… This is in their time of discipline… The heaven which is over your head shall be bronze and the earth, which is under you, shall be iron… In other words, you’re going to try to pray to Me, but it’s not going to do any good because the heavens itself will become like brass or bronze, it’s like you’re trying to look into heaven to pray to God and you can’t get through because there’s this giant piece of metal, you know, blocking the relationship between God’s people and the Lord. This is what Ezekiel is describing here in their history and Ezekiel is completely justified in describing this, because all he’s doing is referencing what God said He would do all the way back in Deuteronomy, 28, which was basically, you know, a thousand years earlier roughly, God said these things are going to happen. So I’m going to hide My face from you. It’s like when you’re out of fellowship with somebody or you’re upset with someone, I know this never happens at church, but you’re upset with someone, you don’t even want to be around them, you know, they walked down the same hall that you’re walking down a you make every excuse not to run into that person, you want to look the other way. You’re out of fellowship with that person. Now, I know you guys are not that way, I’m talking about the church down the street. So this idea of hiding your face from somebody is being out of fellowship with God, which by the way, is why we started our lesson, you know, by restoring fellowship, 1st John chapter 1, verse 9 (1 John 1:9), because I can’t receive from God or really teach his word when I’m out of sorts with Him because of simple choices. 1st John chapter one, verse 9 (1 John 1:9) doesn’t make me more of a Christian but it restores broken fellowship. Israel is always going to be God’s nation forever, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t get out of fellowship with Him and in their own covenant God says, when you’re out of fellowship with me, the discipline will be very severe to the point where you’ll pray to me and the heavens will be just like bronze. I will hide My face from you and then you move to verses 25 through 29 where you see the ultimate result that God is looking for in all of this, it is the salvation of the Jewish nation. 42:40
- Invasion’s Results (Ezekiel 39:21-29)
- God’s glory manifested (Ezek 39:21-24)
- Israel restored (Ezek 39:25-29)
So notice if you will verse 25 (Ezek 39:25). Boy! We’re getting towards the end of this: Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on… What’s the adjective in front of House of Israel?… the whole house of Israel… There’s no partial conversion here… and I will be jealous for My holy name… Now, as Israel comes back into the faith, we pave a way away from the curses of the Mosaic covenant, Deuteronomy, 28, verses 15 through 68 (Deut 28:15-68) to the blessings of the Mosaic covenant which are a lot more enjoyable to read, Deuteronomy, 28, verses 1 through. 14 (Deut 28:1-14). What we’re dealing with here is Israel’s salvation. So as we’ve been working our way through this, I have this slide on the screen here, the what question: What is the end result of these things?
Look at all the things God has accomplished, the divine annihilation of the coalition; the birds and beasts will feast on the carnage; There will be a seven month burying of the dead; there will be a seven year burning of weapons but the ultimate thing that God seeks to do beyond glorifying Himself is He wants Israel to be restored to Him. So we have Israel’s salvation and restoration and that’s what we’re reading about here. When Israel is back in the faith having accepted their Messiah which nationally they’ve rejected for two thousand years, everything is different; she’s no longer under discipline but she’s under blessing. Why? Because that’s what God’s covenant said would happen back in Deuteronomy, 28. Deuteronomy, 28, verse 13 (Deut 28:13) says: And the Lord will make you… That’s Israel… the head and not the tail and you will only be above and not underneath. If you listen to the commandments of the Lord, your God, which I am commanding you today to follow them carefully. So today Israel is in a time period called “the times of the Gentiles” where she’s being trampled down by various Gentile powers, she’s not the head she’s underneath, but when she’s in the faith and the curses are repealed and the blessings are brought into Israel’s national life, suddenly she will find herself on top rather than the bottom. That’s why there’s all these prophecies in the book of Zechariah where the nations will go to Jerusalem to worship the king. Zechariah chapter 8, I think is verse 23 (Zech 8:23) says: In that day, ten Gentiles will grab the garments of a single Jew and say, we’re going to go with you, cause we have heard that the Lord is with you… Isaiah, 49, around verses 22 and 23 (Isa 49:22-23) says: The Gentiles will lick the dust from the feet of the Jewish people… Now, I’ve been a Christian for a long time, I’ve never heard any Protestant pastor ever, ever preach on that particular verse but that’s what your Bible says and this is what Ezekiel is predicting. Notice here God says, I’m jealous for My own name. Why is God acting here? What’s His purpose in history? It starts with a D, doxological. See if God doesn’t do what He says He would do it’s Him with egg on His face at the end of the day, something that God can’t allow to happen. So in Ezekiel 36:22, that wonderful passage about the re-gathering of the Jews in the last days, it says: Therefore say to the house of Israel this is what the Lord God says, it is not for your sake house of Israel that I’m about to act… I’m not doing this for you primarily, is what He is saying, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went and so God is working in history doxologically to glorify Himself. Now, when I talk about this I get a lot of emails from people and they’ll say, well, isn’t God narcissistic to glorify Himself? You can’t transfer our sin nature on to God. I mean, if I worked in history to glorify myself, I would be doing it for self-serving reasons. God’s character is perfect. He’s not, you know, encumbered by the same sin nature that we are encumbered with. So don’t read narcissism into God. That’s just simply transferring our sin problem on to God which is an impossibility because God’s character is completely upright and completely perfect in everything that He does, Amen? 49:05
And then we come to verses 27 and 28 (Ezek 39:27-28): When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer… So here’s something interesting, if the exile was literal, doesn’t this passage here mention the exile? I mean, it mentions the word exile right there in verse 28. If the exile was a historical event that actually happened and all of Christendom accepts that, there was a real exile; and if the same exact verse mentions the restoration to their own land, shouldn’t we also take that just as literally? Because as you probably know there’s a belief out there, which basically says, God is through with Israel and anything the Bible says concerning Israel’s re-gathering is just spiritual. It’s been spiritually transferred to the church, we’re the new Israel. Replacement theology. Do you see how impossible that is? You can’t take the exile as a historical literal fact and then turn right around in the middle of the verse and say the re-gathering is allegorical. Deuteronomy, 30, and verse 3 (Deut 30:3) says: Then the Lord God will restore you from captivity and have compassion on you and will re-gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord God has scattered you… Now, ever since Augustine, back in the fourth century, Christendom has read this verse as when it says the Lord will gather you, oh, that’s not literal, but then you keep reading from all the places where the Lord God has scattered you. Well, that’s literal. Scattered, literal. Gathered, allegorical. Does that make any sense? It makes no sense at all. In fact, everything that God did for Israel in terms of discipline and you can read about it in the book of Lamentations, where the temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and it’s called the book of Lamentations cause there’s a lot of crying going on. Right in the middle of the book of Lamentations it says, thy compassion fails not, your mercies are new what? Every morning. Now, what’s that verse doing in the book of Lamentations? Why would you have a verse like that right in the middle of the book which is lamenting the destruction of temple number one? The reason that verse is in the middle of that book is to demonstrate that just as God kept His word to Israel via discipline and God changes not, He is going to keep His word to Israel for restoration. That’s why that verse is there. When you look at how God has dealt with Israel in discipline, it’s sometimes terrifying to read but it’s also hopeful because the same God that disciplined is the same God that’s going to restore. You also see a reference here to their land. Did you see that in verse 28? Chapter 39? I gathered them again to their own land… That’s exactly what Ezekiel said back in chapter 36, verse 24 (Ezek 36:24) For I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. You have to understand how completely antithetical that statement is to the way the world system works, because when you watch CNN, and I don’t recommend it, and if you watch MSNBC, and I don’t recommend that either, what they’ll say over and over again is Israel took the land from somebody else. She is an occupier, she is an illegal occupier. I doubt CNN would ever hire Ezekiel as a political commentator, because Ezekiel is very clear that when God brings them back, He’s not bringing them back into someone else’s land. This idea that the land over there doesn’t belong to Israel is mythology, it’s made up. Your Bible is very clear that God is going to recycle them to their own land and then he says, verse 27 (Ezek 39:27): I shall be sanctified… Once again, the outworking of the doxological purpose of God. 55:03
Verse 29 (Ezek 39:29), look at this! We’re almost finished, can you believe it? I can’t believe it myself: I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD… This is the national conversion of Israel. It’s spoken of many times in the Bible, Zechariah chapter 12, and verse 10 (Zech 12:10) says: And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and of pleading, so that they will look at Me whom they pierced; and they will mourn for Him, like one mourning for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn… Joel chapter 2, verses 28 through 32 (Joel 2:28-32) says: It will come about after this, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh… Speaking, I think, primarily there of Israel… And your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions, even on the male and female servants I will pour out my Spirit in those days. The day of the Lord I will display wonders in the sky and on earth blood, fire, columns of smoke, the sun will be turned into darkness, the moon into blood… So those of you into the blood moons, there we go. The moon will be turned to blood. I’m not into the blood moons, by the way… I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth blood, fire and columns of smoke, the sun will be turned to darkness, the moon will be turned to blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes and it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered; For on Mount Zion in Jerusalem there will be those who escape. As the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls… Now many Christians think, well, this was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, because Peter quoted this on the day of Pentecost. Folks, it was not fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. Zion was never delivered on the day of Pentecost. In fact, the Romans came forty years later and destroyed the city of Jerusalem and Zion completely. The moon did not turn blood red on the day of Pentecost. So why would Peter quote this on the day of Pentecost? Peter, I don’t think on the day of Pentecost, is saying this is the fulfillment of Joel, 2. What Peter is saying on the day of Pentecost is you ought to be aware of what the Holy Spirit is doing in your midst, because the Holy Spirit is going to be doing something analogously or similarly at the end of the tribulation period in the millennial kingdom. On the day of Pentecost, they were speaking in tongues. Tongues is not even predicted in Joel chapter 2 and why is Peter going this direction? Because when you backup to Acts, 2 around verse 14 or so, when the Spirit of God was poured out on the new church on the day of Pentecost the Jews were saying, well, these people are drunk and Peter says, they’re not drunk because number one, it’s 9 o’clock in the morning and number two, you ought to read your own Bible because the Spirit of God is going to be doing something not identically but analogously on the day of Pentecost. So Joel, 2 is actually a prophecy about the conversion of the Jewish nation at the end of the tribulation period. The day of Pentecost is a fantastic thing to study, but I’m here to tell you that it is small potatoes compared to what we’re studying here. On the day of Pentecost, there were three thousand conversions, which is great, over probably a million people in Jerusalem at the time. This is talking about the conversion of an entire country. The day of Pentecost, as wonderful as it was, was not the conversion of the whole city, it was not the conversion of the whole nation. The day of Pentecost pales in comparison to the conversion of the nation that we’re reading about here. 1:00:15
So Charles Feinberg and this is my final quote, says of these verses:
Charles L. Feinberg – The Prophecy of Ezekiel: The Glory of the Lord, Paperback ed. (Chicago: Moody, 1969; reprint, Chicago: Moody, 1984), 231-32.
“Verses 25–29 teach that the complete return of Israel will occur after the defeat of Gog and his Confederates. Ezekiel summarized his prophecies of hope and restoration. When he stated that God will have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, he had in mind that all previous restorations were partial. Now a universal and final restoration will take place. It was God who allowed them to go into captivity; it is he who will see to it that they are regathered; indeed, it is he who will insure that not one is left out of the land…In conclusion, to summarize all the benefits promised, Ezekiel spoke of the outpouring of the Spirit upon the house of Israel (italics added).”
Do you see how difficult it is to put this before the tribulation period starts and make this a partial conversion? It’s not what it’s saying. This is talking about a national conversion that will far, far eclipse anything God has ever done in the church age including the day of Pentecost. So my goodness I never thought this would happen, that takes us to the end of our study of Ezekiel, 36 through 39. When I get to the end of a study, I usually give the gospel so, but you guys are all saved so I don’t have to worry about that. Maybe we will do the gospel later on today, but here’s what I want you to do. I want you to take your questions which I know are many and I want you to send me an email. Awoods@slbc.org and I want you to put in the subject line, just put MEM or Middle East Meltdown question or something so I know, you know, why you’re emailing me and I’m going to take all these questions and we’re going to do a Q&A next week. Is that okay? And so cause I’ve gone through this and I know a lot of questions are out there. So send me an email and we’ll move into a Q&A and if you can make your question about Ezekiel 36 through 39 I’d appreciate it. If you ask me about the Nephilim and Ham and all this stuff, that would be outside the topic. Can I get an amen on that? Alright! Let’s pray. Father, we’re thankful for Your word, thankful for Your truth, thankful for these prophecies. We stand in awe of the things yet future, and help us to tuck these things into our minds as we grow in our faith and our understanding of Your Word. 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. Happy intermission.