Ezek. 39:1 Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:
This verse is a repeat of 38:3 (see comments in Post 1).
Ezek. 39:2 And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:
Again, emphasis is made that God’s sovereign hand is in control of the events taking place.
“leave but the sixth part of thee” – The natural reading of this verse to me says that only a sixth part of the army that comes against Israel will live through the experience; five-sixths or over 80% of Gog’s army will be destroyed. Imagine my amazement when I read through eight other translations and found no mention of a sixth part. So far, of the commentaries I have checked, only Matthew Henry has come to the same conclusion I did concerning this phrase.
Joe Focht explains that the language used was similar to saying that Gog’s armies will be decimated.
Ezek. 39:3 And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.
Ezek. 39:4 Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.
Ezek. 39:5 Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.
Verse 3 basically indicates that God is going to make the weapons of Gog ineffective. The Hebrew for fall in verse 4 is a reference to falling down dead. In other words, most, if not all (depending upon your understanding of verse 2) of Gog’s armies will die on the mountains of Israel; and the birds of prey and beasts of the field will feast on the carcasses. (yuk!) The armies will not be able to take cover; God will ensure that they fall in the open field. As He has spoken, so it will be done.
Ezek. 39:6 And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Not only will Gog’s armies in Israel be struck in judgment, the Lord will also send fire on Magog (Russia/Turkey), the land over which Gog rules, and upon those “that dwell carelessly in the isles.” Fire in the Hebrew means just what it says. I guess the question becomes—What kind of fire? Of supernatural origin, the forces of nature, the results of war, etc. Whatever the “source,” it will be coming from the hand of God.
“isles” = a habitable spot (as desirable); dry land, a coast, an island:—country, isle, island.
In my mind, the isles equated to islands or coastal lands, but it is basically a reference to anywhere people live. Carelessly again seems to reference a false sense of security. I would think that this would be a reference to the homelands of those that had joined Gog’s coalition, but this prophecy doesn’t clarify that. The purpose of this judgment is to make the nations recognize God as LORD.
Ezek. 39:7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.
God’s intervention will cause Israel to once again acknowledge God as LORD. He will not allow His name to be polluted by the Jewish people as a whole any more from the time that He delivers them from the armies of Gog. The Hebrew for pollute includes “profane” among other choices. In my mind, this connects directly with chapter 36:21-23.
Ezekiel 36:21–23 “But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.”
No longer will the nations be able to consider the God of Israel weak or powerless regarding His provision for His people. His Holiness goes hand-in-hand with His truthfulness, and all will be done according to His word. They will be made to recognize YHWH as God Almighty, THE God of Israel. I think this will result in part through recognition that biblical prophecy is being fulfilled.
Scripture tells us that when the Lord returns in glory as King, ALL of Israel will be saved and will never again break fellowship with God. Why? Because God is going to give them a new heart and a new spirit (cf 36:26-27).
Romans 11:26-27 “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”
Ezekiel 36:26–27 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
Ezek. 39:8 Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken.
I often have to remind myself that God is outside of time. Even as He is giving this prophecy to Ezekiel regarding the end times, God considers events as good as done. In human understanding, God is assuring us of the certainty of these events coming to pass just as He has foretold. The simple illustration I have heard most often: God is looking down on the parade of events on earth from a skybox view that allows Him to see the beginning and the end in one gaze.
(to be continued…)