Ezek. 39:17 And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.
Ezek. 39:18 Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.
Ezek. 39:19 And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.
Ezek. 39:20 Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD.
As I was spending time yet once again in this section of scripture, I realized that verse 17 could represent a jump in time similar to the passage from which Jesus read in the synagogue in Nazareth from Isaiah 61:1-2. He stopped reading at a comma that has represented almost 2000 years at this point in time. Revelation 19:17-18 seems to mirror this passage in Ezekiel.
Revelation 19:17–18 “And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.”
As you can see, the next verse (v21) declares that this sacrifice is followed by God “setting His glory among the heathen.” I now believe this is in reference to establishing Jesus on His throne in Jerusalem to reign as King of kings. In fact, the rest of this chapter flows beautifully with that thought. Verse 22 helped affirm my thinking. Ezekiel states that “the house of Israel shall know that “I am the Lord their God from that day and forward.” That statement was always one of those puzzle pieces that just didn’t fit in connection with Gog’s attack. It fits perfectly, however, with Armageddon and the return of Jesus as King when He fills the people of Israel with His Holy Spirit.
Ezek. 39:21 And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.
The word heathen is a reference to all non-Jewish peoples. God is declaring that His glory, His honor, is upheld before the nations when His word is brought to pass just as He has foretold when He intercedes to defeat the armies of the heathen at this time.
Ezek. 39:22 So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward.
Also at that time, the people of Israel will again know that YHWH is their God—faithful to His covenants with their fathers. Though they might not understand why God has chosen to act as He has over such a long period of time, they will no longer doubt that He has been and continues to be in control of their future as a nation.
Ezek. 39:23 And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword.
This is a very interesting verse to me. In it God declares that the nations of the world will know/understand that Israel was dispersed among the nations because of their choice to disregard God’s law. They will understand the reason that God “hid His face” from them for a time and gave them over to the persecution of their enemies that resulted in the death of millions.
In spite of all the evidence of fulfilled prophecy, people still choose to reject the truth of God’s word. This ties in with other thoughts I have about the rapture and the tribulation. The information that is available as to the truth of God’s word and the widespread dissemination of that information makes it very hard to understand how the Antichrist will be able to deceive the nations. How can people continue to reject God’s word when it is playing out before their very eyes? I am amazed that more people don’t connect events in the Middle East in particular with the truth presented in scripture. Things such as the strengthening of ties between Russia and Turkey and the purposeful investment Russia is making in other countries identified as part of the Russian-led coalition. Things such as the Saudis, a strong Muslim nation, publicly recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a nation since Ezekiel declares that they will question Gog’s attack on Israel.
The prophecies concerning end times that began with the formation of the state of Israel are forthright. In fact, there is nothing in scripture that would cause people’s expectations to be anything other than for events to come down exactly as foretold. When Jesus came as the Messiah the first time, the people of Israel were blinded by their expectation of a coming King and deliverer. There is no room for misunderstanding events as they unfold according to end time prophecies. Although there is room for different understandings of different aspects as to timing and details, I think the biblical picture is clear enough on the major points as to make them recognizable as fulfillment takes place.
Ezek. 39:24 According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them.
Again, it is interesting to note that the Lord is speaking of the events being prophesied in the past tense. God’s word is sure.
Isaiah 14:24 “The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand….”
Again, point is made that God’s judgment of His people is in accordance with their actions; in other words, the punishment fits the crime.
Also important to note is that God chose to hide His face from them; He chose to allow His people to experience the reality of being outside the fence of His protection and care. As a parent, and as a child of God on the path of spiritual growth, I understand that to be a loving act on the part of the Father.
Proverbs 13:24 “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”
Hebrews 12:5–7 & 11 “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?…Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
We are so prone to a spirit of pride and independence that we do not seem to learn and grow without experiencing the fire of judgment and/or trials. Paul expressed this truth in his letter to the Romans.
Romans 5:3-4 "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope….”
Ezek. 39:25 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name;
Ezek. 39:26 After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.
These verses declare that this time of judgment upon God’s people is to be of specific duration; it will come to an end. God is going to again bring His people together as a nation in the land of Israel. This will be an act of mercy on His part; in other words, their actions deserve more, but the mercy of God will cause Him to intervene on their behalf. Why? In honor of His holy name.
God set Israel apart among the nations and made unconditional covenants with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David. His honor is connected to the keeping of those covenants. After causing them to bear the shame of their rejection of Him in spite of His abundant provision for and faithfulness to them, He will again begin to intercede on their behalf. They were safe in the protection of His arms and had no reason to fear any enemy. Pride intervened and they began to think themselves outside the sphere of God’s judgment due to their chosen position and His patience and longsuffering. I believe this is a true statement regarding many “Christians” today. They presume upon God’s love and patience; they feel their position “in Christ” protects them from the consequences of sin and disobedience. They haven’t learned the truth presented by the writer of Hebrews quoted above.
Ezek. 39:27 When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;
Ezek. 39:28 Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.
The time is coming when no one will be able to doubt the holiness of God based on the truth of His word. Though He has caused His people to be scattered among the nations, He will again bring them back as a whole nation to the land of Israel. Not one Jewish person will be left outside the land. No one will doubt that it is the power of God that has brought this about. This will be fulfilled at the establishment of the Messiah’s Kingdom on earth for 1000 years.
Ezek. 39:29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.
Never again will the people of Israel experience the withdrawal of God’s hand of provision and protection. Why? Because God is going to fill each and every Jew with His own Holy Spirit to empower them.
Ezekiel 36:24–28 “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 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. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”
Again, this is a very thought-provoking verse to me. These people will not be in resurrected bodies. They will still have a sin nature and be subject to the things of the world.
1John 2:16 “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life….”
In other words, they will be living with the same empowerment that we have as Christians today. This is very convicting to me. We/I have no excuse to succumb to sin. True, the devil will be bound and Messiah will be on the throne ruling with a rod of iron. But we basically say that the power of God is not sufficient if we try to justify our sin for any reason since we possess the power of God within us through the Holy Spirit. I am certainly looking forward to a new body that is no longer influenced by the sin nature, but until that time I truly want to learn to yield to the power of the Holy Spirit in my life to live a life that honors the Savior. I have to call it like it is----Success is dependent on taking self off the throne of my life and yielding to God as LORD in my life in every aspect.