The Evil Intent of Gog and Magog (Continued)
How are we to understand the Lord’s description in the words of Ezekiel 38:10-13? (See end of former installment). Does this mean that the prophet is here speaking of an undertaking on the part of the Gog and Magog during the times when Israel dwells safely in the land of Palestine, and that, too, during the post exile times before the coming of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D.? Or is the prophet perhaps referring to a time at the end of history, during the so-called millennium period, as alleged by Chiliasm?
The fact of the matter is that the prophet here speaks of Israel dwelling safely in the “navel” of the earth without walls, and, in one-breath, speaks of the global nations of three continents: Sheba, Dedan and Tarshish. To our mind this raises the question as to what is the relationship and inter-relationship of the land of Israel and of these global nations.
If we hold that Revelation 20:8 speaks of the end of history, the end of the New Testament dispensation “when Satan is loosed for a short season,” and if during the entire New Testament Dispensation the church is being gathered out of every tongue and tribe and people and nation, we will have no difficulty to understand the inter-relationship to which we have just referred. Truly, in the New Testament dispensation the church does not dwell within walled cities, but lives in the open plain as did Israel in the desert journey from Egypt to Canaan. The only protection was the “presence” of the Lord in the cloud from heaven, which was more than sufficient, as became abundantly evident in the destruction of Pharaoh and all his hosts in the Red Sea. Only in the typical land of Israel did Israel dwell within walled cities. However, after the coming of Christ, the “Israel of God” no longer dwells thus. Israel dwells amongst all nations without any national walls and boundaries! The prophet speaks of a people “gathered out of many peoples upon the mountains of Israel.” (Ezekiel 38:8) See also verse 12b where we read, “. . . and against the people that are gathered out of the nations, that have gotten cattle, that dwell in the midst of the earth.” The church dwells in the midst of the nations who are the “haves” in distinction from those who are the “have-nets!” For the church dwells in the very center of history and not at the outer periphery! Thus the church shares in the abundance of the nations which have commerce, money, education, etc. These nations have the great task of accumulating all the earth’s goods that God may give it to the righteous, adding all these things unto them. Matthew 6:33;Ecclesiastes 2:26.
It thus happens that the nations, Gog and Magog, go up to war against the nations Sheba, Dedan and Tarshish which are near the center of the circle while Satan has in mind the utter destruction of the “Israel of God gathered upon the mountains of Israel.” Thus the two are so inter-related that the latter cannot be attacked without the former also being the object of plunder. And thus the Satanic purpose of the forces of hell and the evil intent of Gog and Magog coincide. The threefold influences from the mouth of frogs is here seen as portrayed in Revelation 16:13: the dragon, the beast and the false prophet!
Sheba, Dedan and Tarshish see only the earthly evidence of the intent of Gog and Magog. Hence, they ask: “Hast thou assembled to take the spoil, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods,—to take away great spoil?” However, Satan has another purpose. He will deceive these nations to make a confederacy: a league of nations, united nations, one world! And that will be proclaimed to be the kingdom of peace. And all who will not bear that mark of the beast will not be able to buy or sell. And thus all the nations, Gog and Magog, will come into the land of Israel, all over the world where the church dwells, close in upon her, surround her as the “camp of the saints,” the beloved city!
There shall be no place to flee!
When all these things come look up, for your redemption is nigh!
It was the consensus of opinion in our study, while in the field at Houston, that what we are witnessing in our day in the uprising of the Orient, in Africa, and the phenomena in our own country in the Civil Rights Movement fits in with this picture of “Gog and Magog,” and that we are living in that period when the nations are being deceived, and the waters of the Euphrates are being made dry so that the kings from the rising of the sun may rise up against the western nations; and it is Satan’s purpose to surround the church in the New Testament dispensation living in every tongue, tribe, people and nation! And the church, which has only the testimony of the word and faith in Jesus, is utterly helpless in this situation. Hers is the victory by faith, and by faith alone! Israel shall dwell in safety alone, and must not confederate with all the non-Christian churches who look like the Lamb, but who speak like the Dragon! (Revelation 13.)
Ours is the duty to give heed to this prophetic word, which shines as a light in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day-star arise in our hearts. Then the Lord Himself is our strong tower, a refuge in the time of storm! Let us be sober, and watch unto prayer!
The Battle-Field And Utter Destruction of Gog and Magog
It should not surprise us that Gog and Magog shall be utterly destroyed!
Such is the burden of the Lord against Gog and Magog in all of the prophets; thus it was already as announced by the Lord against Satan, that old Serpent, in Paradise after the Fall in the Protevangel. The Seed of the woman will crush the head of the Serpent and destroy the evil world powers.
Moreover, thus it is also repeatedly stated here in Ezekiel 38, 39, as well as in Revelation 20:9, 10. We do well to take note of these expressed declarations of the Lord that He is “against” Gog and Magog.
Space hardly allows us to quote all the references here to this utter destruction of Gog. Suffice it to call attention to the introductory words of this prophecy by the Lord as given in the beginning of both chapters 38 and 39 of Ezekiel. In the former we read, “Son of man, set thy face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, behold I am against thee, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal: and I will turn thee about, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth. . . . Persia, Cush and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all his hordes; the house of Togarmah in the uttermost parts of the north, and all his hordes; even many peoples with thee.” (Verses 2-5.) And, again, we read in Ezekiel 39:1-6 as follows, “And thou, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: behold I am against thee, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and I will turn thee about, and will lead thee all, and will cause thee to come from the uttermost parts of the north; and I will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: and I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and I will cause thy arrows to fall out of thy right hand. And thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy hordes, and the peoples that are with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field; for I have spoken it saith the Lord Jehovah. And I will send a fire on Magog, and on them that dwell securely on the isles: and they shall know that I am Jehovah.” And, to complete the record, we also notice what John sees in the vision of the isle of Patmos, as recorded in Revelation 20:9, 10, “and fire came down out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where are also the beast and the false prophet; and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
These passages call for a bit of interpretation. It should be evident to the careful reader that the “destruction” concerning which the Scriptures here speak is not inflicted by human hand or armies of the nations. Nor was such a victory ever given to David in all his conquering of the foes of Israel. The nearest victory that approximates this kind of destruction of the enemies in the land of Israel is that of the destruction of the Assyrian hosts, the 185,000 who lie dead about Jerusalem in the days of Hezekiah. There too the beloved city had been surrounded, and the Lord fought from heaven for His people. This is no common battle. It is rather the final battle of “God Almighty” which will be the end of history, the taking of the church into heaven and the casting of all the hordes of Gog and Magog into hell forever!
That this cannot be any but that final and complete victory of Israel over all her foes is abundantly evident from Revelation 20:9, 10. After this “battle” there shall be battles no more! It will be the eternal state. History will be finished!
That the battle-field is described as being in the land of Israel, the mountains of Israel should not surprise us in the light of the nature of prophecy. For the types and shadows and the victories of the Lord were all fought in the land of Israel against those who rose up against the beloved city to surround the camp of the saints. And ever the enemies fell in the land of Israel! It is indeed the battle field of the nations in the Old Testament times when the world consisted of three continents as to the actual recorded history.
The victory will be so complete that the land will be renovated and cleansed utterly and completely. It is the picture of the land of Canaan sought and obtained by Abraham and the patriarchs, that is, the heavenly. Heb. 11.
It should also be observed that the battle field becomes a “burying-place” of these nations, Gog and Magog! It will be called the “valley of Hamon-gog,” that is, the multitude of Gog. And what a stench these bodies are portrayed to be in the land. Hence, there will be a great cleansing of the land. It will be a new heaven and a new earth where the former things shall be remembered no more. The “signs” of the great hordes in the land will be utterly removed. It is true that prophets speak of the cleansing as if it were to be done by human hands. However, the reality is on higher ground.
Pray, what does it mean that “they shall set apart men of continual employment, that shall pass through the land, and with them that pass through, those that bury them that remain upon the face of the land, to cleanseit?” And why is here spoken of “seven months” except that it is the symbolic number of the attainment of the eternal rest, the eternal Sabbath in the Land, where the gates are never closed, and where there shall be no night, neither sorrow nor crying! If this were meant literally why not six months and fifteen days?! Yes, hell has a memorial name here: it is Hamon-gog! And the land shall be cleansed to be defiled nevermore!