AS WE DRAW near to the last days of the Kingdoms of Men, it is good for us to search the Scriptures eagerly and prayerfully to endeavour to discover more of God’s wonderful plan with the earth. For the past 130 years the identity of Gog of the land of Magog has been seen to be the ruler of the Russian hordes, and his downfall by the intervention of Christ has been clearly expected. A problem regarding the understanding of Ezekiel 38:11 regarding the timing of the overthrow of Gog has frequently been expressed: “How can the nation of Israel be dwelling securely without bars and gates while they are under constant threat and harassment by the 80 million Arabs?”
A solution to this problem may be seen if we compare Scripture with Scripture and check the other places where Israel is described as “dwelling securely”.
- Jeremiah 23:5,6: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely”. See also Jer. 33:14-16 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfil the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring forth for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’
- Zechariah 14:9-11: “And the Lord will become king over all the earth; on that day the Lord will be one and his name one… And it (Jerusalem) shall be inhabited for there shall be no more curse; Jerusalem shall dwell in security.”
- Ezek 28:25,26: ‘Thus says the Lord God: “When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and am hallowed in them in the sight of the Gentiles, then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob. And they will dwell securely in it … when I execute judgments upon all their neighbours who have treated them with contempt. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God”.
- Ezekiel 34:23-28 “I will set up over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he shall … be their shepherd. And I the LORD, will be their God and My servant David shall be prince among them: I, the LORD, have spoken. I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods… and they shall be secure in their land: and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them. They shall no more be a prey to the nations nor shall the beast of the land devour them: they shall dwell securely and none shall make them afraid.”
These references, which should be studied in context, point in particular to two things.
- Israel dwell securely only when they are rescued from the hand of their neighbours;
- They are rescued by Jesus.
Ezekiel 35 & 36 describe in fuller detail the calamity which befalls Jordan (Mount Seir and Edom) when, at the time of Israel’s final punishment (Ezek. 35:5-6), they invade and possess the land. “Because you cherished perpetual enmity, and gave over the people of Israel to the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, at the time of their final punishment: therefore, as I live, says the Lord GOD, I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you:” Ezekiel 36 – 37 describes the resurrection of Israel from the ravages of the Arabs spoken of in the preceding chapter, with the establishment of Jesus (David the beloved) as their king.
These chapters provide the setting for the climax of the onslaught of God in Ezekiel 38-39. The neighbouring Arab states will have felt the hand of the LORD upon them, and incalculable riches of Arab oil wealth will be gathered to Jerusalem (Zech. 14:14). Gog will see a quiet nation dwelling without apparent means of defence and will give no thought to submitting to a Jewish “Messiah”. He will move against the land disregarding the warning prophesied in Psalm 2, and will fall on the mountains of Israel by the mighty hand of God.
If these conclusions are correct we can expect to see greater Arab militancy with the probability of a Holy War against Israel. Zechariah 13:8-9 describes the appalling devastation of the people before they turn to the LORD to save them. “In the whole land, says the LORD, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’: and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God’.”
This saving is described in Isaiah 59:15-20 and quoted in Romans 11:26-27, linking the saving of Israel with the resurrection. Isaiah 59:16-20 “He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intervene; then his own arm brought him victory, and his righteousness upheld him. He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon his head: he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in fury as a mantle. According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, requital to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render requital. So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the LORD drives. And he will come to Zion as Redeemer, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression, says the LORD.”
Romans 11:26-67 “And so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob’; ‘and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’”
Romans 11:15 “For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?”
Let us therefore carefully keep our eyes on Israel, for it seems that we may not have to wait for Russia’s final onslaught before Jesus will come. Judging by the way recent events have occurred in the Middle East, startling changes can come overnight. So we must keep awake, for the lord will come like a thief in the night to those who are not watching.
Derek Warr – written 1977