Ezekiel - Lesson 38

Chapter 38:9-23

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  • Let’s dive back into our study of the section of Ezekiel commonly known as Ezekiel’s war

    • These chapters are part of a structure I gave us a few weeks back

      • In that structure I proposed that there was a pattern of revelation built on the  promises of the Abrahamic & Davidic Covenants

      • Those covenants promised Israel a king from the line of David, who shepherded God’s people properly

      • An eternal inheritance of land that would be free of competing claims and would bless Israel with great fruitfulness

      • A nation of descendants to fill the land and inhabit it in peace from her enemies

      • And the Lord dwelling among His people 

    • Chapters 33-48 explain this glorious future in great detail

      • And in the midst of these chapters we find a fascinating description of a coming war in the land of Israel

      • That war, commonly called Ezekiel’s War, occurs in Chapters 38-39

      • According to my structure, Chapter 38 is part of the peaceful inhabitation promise

      • While Chapter 39 is part of God’s description of His glory dwelling among His people

  • Last week we looked at the opening verses, including the four competing views of the timing of these events

    • Once again, I’ll list these four options, but we’re going to allow the text to guide us to a timeline

      • First, some claim this war never happens – in the sense that it’s not literal but merely symbolic representing God’s ultimate victory over Satan and Israel’s enemies in general

      • A second view is that the war happens in this age before the start of Tribulation

      • A third view says it happens in the time of Tribulation and is part of the destruction of that period

      • A fourth view says it happens near the end of the Kingdom period

    • And finally, by way of introduction, let’s take a second look at the actors involved in this war

Ezek. 38:1  And the word of the LORD came to me saying,
Ezek. 38:2 “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him
Ezek. 38:3 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.
Ezek. 38:4 “I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords;
Ezek. 38:5 Persia, Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet;
Ezek. 38:6 Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops — many peoples with you.
Ezek. 38:7  “Be prepared, and prepare yourself, you and all your companies that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them.
Ezek. 38:8 “After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them.
  • Our first actor in this drama is from the land of Magog

    • We know from the table of nations, this area is, widely-speaking, Eastern Europe including present day Turkey

      • Among Noah’s grandsons’ sons to settle in that region north of Israel included men named Magog, Mechech, and Tubal

      • This land, plus the land of Rosh in the same region, are all collectively ruled by a man called Gog, who is also called the prince of Rosh

    • The word Gog is a title, not a specific name, similar to Pharaoh or Caesar  

      • So the oracle is spoken against some world leader with the title Gog, who rules a vast land located in the region of present-day Turkey

      • That includes nations today like Syria, Georgia, Armenia, Russia and perhaps others

    • This king will be joined by allies from east and south of Israel

      • Persia is the name for present-day Iran

      • Ethiopia includes the nation of that name now but historically it also included neighboring Somalia and Eritrea

    • So altogether, this invading army consists of people from the north, south and east of Israel 

      • Since the Mediterranean Sea sits directly to Israel’s west, this means that nations are coming against Israel on land only 

      • And they are coming from every possible direction surrounding Israel

  • Next, notice that the Lord causes these peoples to assemble a great army to come up against Israel, yet the army is equipped in a very rudimentary way

    • First, the army will rely on horses, literally not symbolically

      • Secondly, the weaponry is very rudimentary by current standards

      • In Chapter 39 we learn that they carry into battle wooden clubs, wooden spears, wooden shields, wooden helmets, wooden bows and wooden arrows

      • In fact, everything used in the battle will be made of wood, not metal

    • And finally, notice that the attack will come against a land that has been restored from the sword

      • The word for restored is the Hebrew word shuv, which has many shades of interpretation

      • In this context, the best interpretation would be turned away from or to have put away

      • In other words, it’s a defenseless land; a land without military weaponry for none was needed

    • And why was none needed? Because v.8 goes on to say that the inhabitants of the land of Israel are living securely 

      • They had no need for weaponry because they had no expectation of attack

      • Nothing threatened their security

    • Furthermore, the inhabitants have been placed in their land from many nations, referring to the regathering of Israel 

      • And they are all living on the mountains of Israel, which is an interesting reference we will come back to later

      • And before they returned, the land was a continual waste before it was restored to something great and useful for Israel

    • Finally, notice the small phrase at the very end of v.8…”all of them”

      • All of Israel is dwelling in this place, not just some Jews but all Jews

      • Here again, that’s another important clue to the timing of these events

  • Now let’s move to the invasion itself

Ezek. 38:9 “You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you.”
Ezek. 38:10  ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “It will come about on that day, that thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan,
Ezek. 38:11 and you will say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates,
Ezek. 38:12 to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.’
Ezek. 38:13 “Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish with all its villages will say to you, ‘Have you come to capture spoil? Have you assembled your company to seize plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to capture great spoil?’”’
Ezek. 38:14  “Therefore prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “On that day when My people Israel are living securely, will you not know it?
Ezek. 38:15 “You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army;
Ezek. 38:16 and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog.”
  • In v.9 we read about the movement of a vast army of people so great that it covers the ground like a cloud

    • But that verse serves as an overview statement or introduction to the details of the invasion

      • Beginning in v.10 we see how this invasion unfolded in detail

      • First, as always, a thought enters into the mind of evil men, specifically the mind of Gog

      • He devises a plan to invade Israel and that plan takes shape based on opportunity and greed

    • Gog sees opportunity because he notes that the land of Israel is entirely unguarded

      • Gog notes that the land is at rest, which means quiet, unsuspecting

      • The land is also unwalled; no bars, no gates

      • By their nature, walls are the most basic of protective measures intended to defend against an enemy attack

    • So unwalled villages indicates a complete lack of concern over enemies

      • It would be like building a house without a front door

      • It says you have no concerns about someone taking your possessions

      • So Gog sees opportunity to invade unchallenged against an unsuspecting people

  • Secondly, Gog’s greed gives him reason to seize upon that opportunity

    • In v.12 Gog notices the abundance of the land, the cattle and goods amassed in the land

      • This chapter comes immediately after a series of chapters describing the abundance of the land in the Kingdom

      • If we allow that context to inform our thinking, we can make better sense out of these nations’ interests

    • The abundance of Israel in the Kingdom will be second to none, the Bible says

      • The land will produce without equal and the people of Israel will be blessed above all other nations in that time period

      • So in that context, Gog’s desire for the spoil makes good sense

    • Furthermore, the text notes that Israel was previously a waste place and that it was inhabited by people taken from all the other nations

      • Some would argue that is an accurate description of present day Israel, and it is to a degree

      • For many years, Israel was largely wilderness and today it is flourishing 

      • And the nation has been repopulated by Jews coming from around the world to settle back in the land

    • But it’s that question of degree that drives our interpretation in a different direction

      • Yes some of Israel live in the land today

        • But in this chapter we’re told at the time of the evasion that all of Israel is living in the land (v.8)

      • Yes, the land of Israel is prosperous today

        • But in this chapter we’re told that Gog is so attracted by Israel’s wealth that it causes him to invade

      • The wealth of Israel today is substantial, but it’s not so substantial that it compels nations like Russia or Turkey or Iran to invade

      • In fact those nations collectively possess far more wealth than Israel today

      • An invasion by six nations to split up the limited resources of modern day Israel simply doesn’t make strategic sense

  • Beyond these issues, there are other details that tell us this can’t be a war of our age and time

    • First, there’s the issue of Israel being completely unguarded, without walls and without any defenses

      • This is completely opposite of the truth in present-day Israel

      • First, they have walls…massive walls running miles

      • If anything, Israel is famous for its walls

    • Secondly, Israel’s defense forces are the envy of the world

      • No nation would dare invade Israel in our current day for fear of the reprisals, up to and including nuclear retaliation 

      • In short, Israel is one of the most defensively fortified nations on earth

    • Thirdly, Israel of today is not dwelling in quiet and peace in their land as described in this passage

      • Yes, they have established a degree of security but it’s certainly not a peaceful, quiet existence in the land

      • The people of Israel are conspicuously aware of how tenuous their security is

      • And that tension and worry over security is exactly the opposite of the situation described in this chapter

      • So in terms of timing, all indications are pointing to a time in history very different to the one we are in now…to the time of the Kingdom

    • Fourthly, we’re told that Israel is considered the center of the world in v.12

      • Certainly Israel lies at the center of the Bible’s geography

      • And it’s also the focus of the Christian’s world

      • Nevertheless we can hardly say Israel is the center of the world today by most measures

    • Today, we would say China or the U.S. or maybe the E.U. lies at the center of the world in terms of power, wealth, or attention

      • But in the Kingdom, the Bible says Israel is by all definitions the center of the world

Zech. 8:20  “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘It will yet be that peoples will come, even the inhabitants of many cities.
Zech. 8:21 ‘The inhabitants of one will go to another, saying, “Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts; I will also go.”
Zech. 8:22 ‘So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD.’
Zech. 8:23 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’”
  • This is a picture of Israel atop the world and without peer, but that is not the case today

  • Finally, it’s worth noting that not one of the nations invading with Gog is Arab

    • If an alliance formed in our day to invade Israel, we should expect Arabs to readily join in the battle, yet none are mentioned

    • On the other hand, their absence makes perfect sense if the context of the invasion is the Kingdom period

    • Ezekiel has already promised Israel that in the Kingdom Arab nations will never again threaten or harm Israel

  • Back to the passage, in v.13 we’re told that other nations will inquire of the invaders as they gather on Israel’s border

    • Sheba and Dedan describe northern Arabia, directly to the east of Israel 

      • While the merchants of Tarshish probably refers to ships sailing across the Med from Spain

      • We can’t tell the exact reason they ask the question except perhaps out of surprise and disbelief at the unfolding events

      • If so, then v.13 indicates to us how out of the ordinary this action is given the circumstances of that day

    • Then in v.14, we hear the Lord’s challenge to Gog, and that challenge lies at the heart of my interpretation

      • The Lord asks rhetorically, will Gog disrupt the peace that God has given to His people Israel?

      • Remember last week I told you that the Lord promised that Israel would have peace in the land as part of His covenant with them

      • In fact, the Lord establishes a peace covenant with His people Israel to inaugurate the Kingdom period

    • But I also told you that if God is to be understood to be faithful to that promise, then there must be an enemy or threat to Israel

      • Without a threat to Israel’s peace, there is no way for God to demonstrate His faithfulness to that peace covenant

      • It’s like God promising He will cure you of cancer – but until you contract cancer, God can’t show Himself faithful to that promise

      • Likewise, God has said He will protect Israel from her enemies, but to show Himself faithful, Israel needs an enemy to invade

    • So the Lord said He will call Gog to invade, and now in v.14 the Lord says to Gog will you, indeed, disturb the peace of my people Israel?

      • And of course, the answer to Gog and to Israel is no

      • The Lord will ensure that His people will be preserved and saved just as the Lord promised

    • So here again, the invasion serves an important purpose in the Kingdom 

      • It gives opportunity for the Lord to show Himself faithful to the peace covenant

      • As He says at the end of v.14, will Gog (and Israel) not know that they are living securely in the land?

      • By how the Lord defends Israel against Gog’s invasion, everyone will come to see just how securely the people are dwelling in the land

  • Next, look at the nature of warfare in this coming day

    • In v.15 the Lord describes the invasion as many peoples all riding horses

      • The Hebrew word translated as horse means…horse

      • There is nothing in the text to indicate this is a symbolic reference to something else

      • The text is speaking plainly and literally

      • Which means we must imagine a day of warfare in which the horse has once again become a chief means of transportation

    • Once more, if we suppose this battle happens in the present day, then we have a very difficult time explaining this reference

      • Certainly, the modern nations mentioned in this prophecy could not possibly expect to prevail against Israel riding horses

      • The Israeli Defense Forces are among the most modern and sophisticated in the world

      • Moreover, the armies of Russia, Turkey, Iran, Libya, and even Ethiopia possess tanks, armored vehicles, aircraft, etc. 

      • It’s foolish to assume they would abandon all these tools in favor of horses

  • So either our interpretation must retreat far back in time to pre-industrial revolution times, or advance far forward into the Kingdom age

    • First, the Kingdom age seems to be marked by a simpler life

Is. 66:18  “For I know their works and their thoughts; the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory.
Is. 66:19 “I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations: Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they will declare My glory among the nations.
Is. 66:20 “Then they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a grain offering to the LORD, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the LORD, “just as the sons of Israel bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD.
  • Notice again the mention of some of the same nations as we’ve seen mentioned in Ezekiel, and these nations will know the Lord’s glory

  • And they will come to the holy mountain of God in horse-drawn chariots

  • Animals will be the mode of transportation in the Kingdom

  • Secondly, Isaiah confirms that the Kingdom age will not possess technology for warfare whatsoever

Is. 2:2   Now it will come about that 
In the last days 
The mountain of the house of the LORD 
Will be established as the chief of the mountains, 
And will be raised above the hills; 
And all the nations will stream to it.
Is. 2:3  And many peoples will come and say, 
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, 
To the house of the God of Jacob; 
That He may teach us concerning His ways 
And that we may walk in His paths.” 
For the law will go forth from Zion 
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Is. 2:4  And He will judge between the nations, 
And will render decisions for many peoples; 
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. 
Nation will not lift up sword against nation, 
And never again will they learn war.
  • In this age, the people will be guided by the Lord’s rule, which is so perfect and absolute that sin will not be able to run far

    • The Lord will render decisions in such a way that conflict never goes far enough to invite physical violence

    • Therefore, there is no need to prepare for war, and all creative energy will be spent elsewhere

    • The people will turn swords into farming equipment and no one will train for war

  • This detail helps explain better a couple of things we’ve already heard so far

    • First, it explains the defenselessness of Israel in this day

    • There would be no reason for Israel to take defensive measures in a day when no warfare takes place or is even planned

  • Secondly, it explains the curiosity of the other nations as they ponder over Gog’s invading army 

    • Truly, such an invasion would be unprecedented and altogether unfamiliar to the people of the Kingdom 

    • No one has even contemplated such a thing during this period, according to Isaiah…no one even trains for war

    • So it makes more sense that these other nations would marvel at Gog’s audacity

  • But if the Lord’s rule prevents such uprisings, how is this war even possible?

    • Remember how the chapter started?

      • In v.4 the Lord said this was His war…He is starting it by bringing these armies out to attack Israel

      • He instigates it so that He can defeat the invasion and thereby demonstrate His faithfulness to protect Israel’s peace 

    • But the Bible also tells us that the Lord never tempts anyone to sin

James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
James 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
James 1:15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
  • The Lord has taken credit for instigating Gog to undertake a sinful act, but we know the Lord does not tempt us into sin

  • So the Lord is saying He appointed these events by His sovereign will and set the timing of their occurrence 

  • But then how did the Lord bring them to pass without being the direct cause of Gog’s sin?

  • I believe Revelation 20 gives us the answer:

Rev. 20:7  When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,
Rev. 20:8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.
Rev. 20:9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.
  • The Lord determines the manner and timing of this war by deciding the timing of Satan’s release

    • Satan is bound for 1,000 years in the abyss during the Kingdom

    • His absence make possible the peaceful existence of Israel and all nations in this age

  • But at the end of the age, the Lord releases Satan for a time

    • Have you ever wondered why the Lord lets him go to start a war?

    • Now we see why…Ezekiel tells us that the Lord is using Satan to accomplish His purpose in displaying His faithfulness to Israel

    • And to reveal His glory to the other nations who watch how the Lord defends Israel and glory Him for it

  • It’s also worth noting that the only two places in the Bible where the leader Gog of Magog is mentioned is in Ezekiel 38 and Revelation 20

    • That connection all by itself demands our attention and an explanation

    • Those who say this battle happens in our age rather than in the Kingdom believe the connection is a foreshadowing 

    • The Gog of Ezekiel foreshadows the Gog of the Kingdom, but there is nothing in the text to suggest that connection

  • On the contrary, given the similarities of the situation, the more obvious and logical connection would be these are the same individual

    • In fact, John mentions the name Gog with no explanation as if to refer to the earlier prophecy 

    • He seems to expect his readers to know who Gog is

  • Which brings us to the second major purpose the Lord has in bringing this war to pass

    • Notice in v.16 the Lord says that through His defense of Israel from Gog’s attack, the nations may know the Lord

      • The Lord will be sanctified, or set apart as holy, by the other nations when they witness how the Lord defends Israel

      • Taking another look at our chart, notice that Chapter 39 shows how the Lord will be gloried among the nations

      • That chapter leads us into Chapters 40 and beyond, which show how the Lord is gloried in Israel

    • So now we know how the Lord intends to be glorified among the nation in the Kingdom

      • He will orchestrate this conflict so that as the nations ponder over Gog’s invasion, much as Dedan and others did, they will sanctify the Lord

      • His response will remind the nations of God’s power and His faithfulness to His people Israel

  • So all signs (in my estimation) point to this invasion happening during the Kingdom, which brings us to the Lord’s response

Ezek. 38:17 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Are you the one of whom I spoke in former days through My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days for many years that I would bring you against them?
Ezek. 38:18 “It will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD, “that My fury will mount up in My anger.
Ezek. 38:19 “In My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare that on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel.
Ezek. 38:20 “The fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence; the mountains also will be thrown down, the steep pathways will collapse and every wall will fall to the ground.
Ezek. 38:21 “I will call for a sword against him on all My mountains,” declares the Lord GOD. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother.
Ezek. 38:22 “With pestilence and with blood I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire and brimstone.
Ezek. 38:23 “I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the LORD.”’
  • The Lord reminds Gog that the Jewish prophets predicted his destruction for many years, so that causes us to ask which prophets?

    • We could says that these words were being spoken as if during the Kingdom

      • In which case, then we would say that “the prophets” refers to Ezekiel himself

      • But that conclusion seems recursive in a way we rarely see in prophetic Scripture

    • So a better conclusion is that other prophets prior to Ezekiel predicted this same calamity

      • And if we look for parallels we do find some examples

Psa. 110:1  The LORD says to my Lord: 
“Sit at My right hand 
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
Psa. 110:2  The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, 
“Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”
Psa. 110:3  Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power; 
In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, 
Your youth are to You as the dew.
Psa. 110:4  The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, 
“You are a priest forever 
According to the order of Melchizedek.”
Psa. 110:5  The Lord is at Your right hand; 
He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.
Psa. 110:6  He will judge among the nations, 
He will fill them with corpses, 
He will shatter the chief men over a broad country.
Psa. 110:7  He will drink from the brook by the wayside; 
Therefore He will lift up His head.
  • Psalm 110 seems to describe a war in the time of Christ’s rule over the nations

    • If so, then it would be a prophet speaking of Gog’s destruction

    • There are other examples we could find, but the point is made…

    • The Lord has been indicating there would be a battle at the end of the Kingdom period

  • So then the Lord displays His might in defeating Gog

    • His wrath begins with an earthquake in the land of Israel

      • The earthquake will be so severe that the entire earth will shake

      • Every living thing on the earth will be shaken

      • Mountains will fall to the ground the world over

      • Every wall (presumably referring to the structures of homes and the like) will fall down too

    • This is truly a calamity of biblical proportions (by definition)

      • Some see the scale of these events as evidence that this battle takes place during the Tribulation period 

      • Obviously, we do see similar catastrophes in that time of history

      • So the connection seems plausible, but we will look at the question of that theory in Chapter 39

    • The earthquake is planet-shaking, but it’s just a prelude to the army’s destruction

      • The Lord then turns the swords of the invading army against themselves

      • Remember, these invaders are the only ones on the planet with swords

      • So when swords are met by swords, we’re talking about the army being confused by God so that they attack one another

      • We’ve seen the Lord do similar things in defense of Israel during the time prior to kings

    • Finally, the Lord settles the matter entirely by bringing hailstones and fire from heaven to destroy the entire army 

      • The Lord fights this battle on behalf of Israel

      • The people of Israel are defended and do nothing of their own to defeat their enemy

      • The Lord supernaturally does all the fighting for Israel

      • For the first time in the entire 1,000 years of the Kingdom, warfare and bloodshed has come to pass

      • It will no doubt be stunning to the Kingdom inhabitants to watch unfold

  • The effect of this move is that the Lord magnifies Himself and sanctifies Himself and makes Himself known to all nations 

    • All the world now knows the Lord is the only one

      • Now if this is the Kingdom, why would the Lord need to make this known?

      • Wouldn’t the entire world know that the Lord is the only One?

    • Remember, in earlier nights we learned that this age will include unbelief

      • While there will be those glorified citizens (like the Church) who know the Lord and others who come to faith in the Kingdom

      • There will also be some (many?) who do not believe that Jesus is Lord

    • And that unbelief is possible for the same reason it’s always been possible

      • Jesus won’t be personally visible…as we learn later in Ezekiel, He dwells in the temple out of sight

      • Secondly, faith is still required – and faith is confidence in things unseen

      • So though the world will operate differently, to someone born into that world these differences will seem “normal” to them

    • And so once again they must put their trust in the word of God

      • The only difference between unbelievers in the Kingdom day verses unbelievers today is where we are in the program of God

      • Today, we show unbelievers the word of God and tell them they sit between Christ’s first coming and second coming

      • But we have no proof we can offer of either event outside the testimony of the word of God itself

    • In the Kingdom, we will tell unbelievers that they sit after Christ’s first and second comings

      • But again, we will have no proof to offer them apart from the testimony of the word of God

      • The only difference is that in their day we will sit further along the path of God’s plan than we do today

  • So in Chapter 38 the Lord brings the war to an end abruptly and dramatically

    • It serves His purposes to show the people His power and to demonstrate to Israel His faithfulness 

      • It also brings the entire Kingdom period to an end in dramatic fashion

Rev. 20:7  When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,
Rev. 20:8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.
Rev. 20:9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.
Rev. 20:10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Rev. 20:11  Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.
Rev. 20:12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.
Rev. 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.
Rev. 20:14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
Rev. 20:15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
  • The events that end the Kingdom serve a greater purpose in the narrative of God’s plan for the earth

    • The final event of this earth before the heavens and earth are destroyed is the conquering of Satan

      • And with Satan’s end comes the end of death 

      • And the end of judgment for sin, which is personalized by Hades – the holding place for the dead sinner 

    • Paul explains the purpose in these events in 1 Corinthians

1Cor. 15:24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
1Cor. 15:25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
1Cor. 15:26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.
1Cor. 15:27 For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.
1Cor. 15:28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.
  • In this passage, Paul has been explaining the order of resurrections in the land of God, and at v.24 Paul says “then comes the end”

    • In my English translation, we also see the word “comes” inserted in the text, but in the original Greek that word is not there

      • The actual phrase in Greek is “then the end”

      • Paul is brushing over some details in this discussion for the sake of brevity

    • But elsewhere in Revelation 20 we learned what specifically happens “at the end”

      • According to Revelation 20, the Kingdom of Christ will last on Earth for 1,000 years, but it must come to an end

      • Then in v.24 Paul says the end of the Kingdom means Christ handing all authority back to the Father

      • The Father abolishes all power and authority in His Creation apart from His own

    • This is a fascinating insight into the distant prophetic plan for Creation

      • After Christ’s Second Coming to earth, He sets us a kingdom to rule over humanity on earth

      • Christ presides over a world that still exists in sin, though resurrected saints will not possess sin

      • Yet natural men and women in the kingdom will still have sin, necessitating Christ’s judgment and our ruling with Him

  • The final and greatest enemy of God is death itself, and the author of death who is Satan

    • So Christ must rule until that final enemy is conquered

      • The moment Satan and death are conquered comes at the very end of the Kingdom

      • For if it came any sooner, then the Kingdom would end at that point

      • Once death and the source of death has been judged, there is no longer a point in Christ ruling in any capacity

      • The need for “rule” ends when opposition to God ceases

  • Once the victory is won, the purpose of the Kingdom has been fulfilled

    • And at that point Jesus hands back authority to the Father

      • In v.27 Paul quotes from Psalm 8

      • The pronouns cause some confusion at first, but if we replace them with proper nouns, it makes easier reading

1Cor. 15:27 For [the Father] HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER [Christ’s] FEET. But when [the Spirit] says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that [the Father] is excepted who put all things in subjection to [Christ].
  • Paul says that the goal of the Kingdom is to put everything under Christ’s rule

    • But of course, the Father Himself is not to be subjected to Christ’s rule

    • Therefore, once the final enemy is gone, the Son obediently returns all authority to the Father

  • At that point, v.28 says the Son obediently subjects Himself to the Father once again, and Paul says God returns to being “all in all”

    • It’s not clear what this moment means for the Godhead

      • But the simplest explanation is that the manifestation of the Godhead into the Creation becomes a singular expression

      • The Three Persons of the Godhead still exist, of course, as they always have existed

      • But they no longer express themselves into Creation separately 

    • Instead, the Godhead expresses itself as One, in a manner similar to the way God existed at the beginning of Creation

      • When the Godhead said “Let Us make man in Our image”

      • In other words, Christ came to earth as a man to die and resurrect and rule so that as a man, He could conquer all the enemies of God in Creation

      • And once He completes this mission, His purpose to exist in the form of man is met

      • And then He will return to the Oneness with the Father that He has enjoyed since before the beginning