Ezekiel

Ezekiel - Lesson 39

Chapter 39

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  • Let’s return to Ezekiel’s War, as some refer to Chapters 38-39 of Ezekiel

    • We’re endeavoring to study these chapters according to an understanding of what the Lord is revealing overall in this section

      • To understand that structure, I’ve provided a chart as you’ve seen in past weeks

      • The chart relates each chapter to the fulfillment of God’s covenants with Israel

      • In the covenant with Abraham and later with David, the Lord promised a king of power, a land of prosperity, a people of peace, and a God living among them

    • As my chart shows, the Lord addresses each of these promises in two parts

      • The first two chapters covered the promise of a king

      • The next two chapters covered the land of prosperity

      • The next two chapters address the people of peace

    • And then we move into the final section, a God dwelling among His people

      • This section is the longest section but it too has two parts

        • The first part, a single chapter, shows how God makes Himself known to the Gentile nations of the earth

        • And the second part, which is nine chapters by itself, explains how God will dwell among Israel

  • Last week in Chapter 38 we studied the first half of Ezekiel’s War, but that chapter was also the second part of the section on the people of peace

    • And when we overlay this organization to the text, we gain a better understanding of both the timing and purpose of these events

      • At the start of the kingdom, the Lord establishes a new peace covenant with the people of Israel

      • The Lord promises that nothing will disturb the peace of the Kingdom age for His people

Ezek. 37:25 “They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever.
Ezek. 37:26 “I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever.
Ezek. 37:27 “My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.
Ezek. 37:28 “And the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.”’”
  • This is a fulfillment of what God has promised in earlier covenants

    • Like all covenants, the Lord will show Himself faithful to His promise to protect Israel from enemies

    • To do that the Lord allows His enemies to attack the nation at the end of the Kingdom, so that He might defend the nation

  • So the timing of the war and the purpose of the war both point us to a period of fulfillment at the end of the 1,000-year kingdom

    • The Lord defends Israel from her enemies to show Himself faithful to His peace covenant to Israel

    • And He accomplishes it at the end of the Kingdom period so that He may put all enemies under Jesus’ feet

    • As David wrote describing Jesus’ rule in the Kingdom:

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.
  • Jesus rules a Kingdom that still includes enemies, until the end of that period when the enemy is finally crushed

    • That final moment gives God opportunity to be seen as faithful to Israel

    • But this way also serves the purpose of revealing the Lord to all nations in the Kingdom

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.”
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.”’
  • By His defense of Israel, the Lord reveals Himself to the nations on earth in a new and mighty way

  • The Lord is among the peoples of the earth, and through His defense of Israel He makes Himself known to the world

  • So looking at our chart, the Ezekiel War accomplishes two purposes

    • It shows God faithful to His peace covenant (Chapter 38) and to making Himself known to the nations of the earth (Chapter 39)

      • We studied Chapter 38 last week, where we saw the invasion begin and come to an abrupt end

      • The events certainly demonstrate God’s faithfulness to His peace covenant

      • He promised to defend Israel from her enemies and ensure that no one took the nation’s peace in the Kingdom

      • And certainly, the Lord shows Himself faithful to that promise by destroying the invading armies before they ever reach their targets

    • That leaves us in the second half of the war tonight, which is the first part of the last section of the chart

      • We now move into the final part of the Abrahamic Covenant, the Lord’s promise to dwell among His people

      • And this promise is also addressed in two parts

        • The first part is the second half of the Ezekiel War, as the Lord reveals Himself to the Gentile nations of the earth

  • So in Chapter 39 the Lord brings the war to an end, but in the way He does it, He produces a testimony to all Gentile nations

Ezek. 39:1  “And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal;
Ezek. 39:2 and I will turn you around, drive you on, take you up from the remotest parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel.
Ezek. 39:3 “I will strike your bow from your left hand and dash down your arrows from your right hand.
Ezek. 39:4 “You will fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you as food to every kind of predatory bird and beast of the field.
Ezek. 39:5 “You will fall on the open field; for it is I who have spoken,” declares the Lord GOD.
Ezek. 39:6 “And I will send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coastlands in safety; and they will know that I am the LORD.
  • The first part of the chapter restates material from Chapter 38

    • And before we look at the text itself, we should ask why does the Lord repeat Himself here in that way?

      • The logical conclusion is that there must be a division taking place in the narrative between Chapters 38 and 39

      • And therefore, as we move into Chapter 39 the Lord takes a moment to remind us of the circumstances of the battle

      • So that then He may move the narrative in a new direction 

    • And that new direction is the final topic of our outline, the Lord dwelling among His people

      • Beginning with this chapter, the Lord now describes how He will fulfill His promise to live among Abraham’s descendants 

      • And by His relationship with Abraham’s family, He brings a blessing to all nations on earth

      • And since He gives a great deal more detail to Israel’s situation, He saves Israel for last

      • So this chapter is God revealing Himself to the Gentile nations

  • And the circumstances of that revelation is a great war that ends the Kingdom period

    • And the Lord reminds us of how that war ended

      • The Lord sets Himself against Gog of Magog and the surrounding regions

      • In v.2 the Lord says He turns against this leader, and drives him on into war

      • The Lord takes the man and his army up from the remotest parts of the north and brings them against Israel’s mountains

    • But even as this vast army invades, the Lord defeats them easily and quickly even before they reach their objective

      • In v.3 the Lord says He will strike the bow and arrows from their hands

      • This reminds us of what we learned in Chapter 38, that the war is executed in very rudimentary ways

        • The warfare involves horses, spears, bow and arrows

    • This is not modern warfare, which means the events do not happen in our present age of sophistication

      • Nor do they happen in the past, since these events have no parallel in history

      • So they must happen in the future, in a simpler time, a time when warfare has returned to a very crude form

      • And as we saw in Isaiah last week, the time of the Kingdom is a time of ignorance when it comes to war

    • So as Gog has determined to go up against Israel and has recruited a vast army, his army must rely on the simplest of tools

      • They ride horses and they bring bows and arrows to battle

      • Why do they think they can win with such simple tools? 

        • Simply because no one has anything better in this day and age

        • The art of war and the implements of war have become lost in the 1,000 years of the Kingdom

  • But for the same reason, the spectacle of millions and millions of people rising up to conquer Israel using only wooden tools highlights their powerlessness 

    • It’s reminiscent of the people of Babel building a tower to reach to the heavens

      • At a point the Lord “came down” to see what mankind has built

      • That tower was so far from reaching Heaven it served to mock mankind’s arrogance and impotence

      • Likewise, an uncountable army carrying wooden armaments invading an Israel protected by God Himself is hopeless folly

    • And as this army invades and attacks, they are struck down en mass 

      • The bodies of so many people will be left exposed so that vultures will be enlisted by God to clear the earth

      • Now this reference causes some to draw a connection between this war and the one mentioned in Revelation 19

Rev. 19:17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God,
Rev. 19:18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”
Rev. 19:19  And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.
Rev. 19:20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.
Rev. 19:21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.
  • This passage describes a war that concludes the seven years of Tribulation when the Antichrist is defeated by Christ’s return

    • We commonly call this war Armageddon, and it’s a culminating event of Tribulation

    • This moment has parallels to the one we’re studying in Ezekiel 39

    • Both involve a massive loss of human life at the hand of God alone

    • Both result in a land covered by dead bodies and birds feasting on the remains

  • So for that reason perhaps more than any other, some believe this prophecy is another view of the war of Armageddon

    • But that interpretation fails to address the overall context of Ezekiel

    • Specifically, why would Ezekiel break out of his Kingdom prophecies to engage in a two chapter discussion about a war of the past?

    • The war of Armageddon has no contextual connection to the rest of Ezekiel at this place in the book

    • And beyond the contextual problem, there are timing issues in the rest of the chapter which we will see soon enough

  • Notice in v.6 the first of what will be multiple references in this chapter to the Lord’s purpose in these events

    • He says He destroys Magog, and those who come with that army, with fire so that they will know the Lord

      • The reason for the war and the reason the Lord destroys these invaders in such a visible, dramatic fashion is to make a point

      • And He explains that point in the next two verses

Ezek. 39:7  “My holy name I will make known in the midst of My people Israel; and I will not let My holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.
Ezek. 39:8 “Behold, it is coming and it shall be done,” declares the Lord GOD. “That is the day of which I have spoken.
  • The Lord says that this war will serve several purposes

    • First, the Lord will make Himself known in the midst of Israel 

    • Now at first that may seem a strange goal if this is the Kingdom period

    • After all, we’re told that all Israel will know the Lord dwells among them during this time

Jer. 31:31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
Jer. 31:32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD.
Jer. 31:33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Jer. 31:34 “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
  • During the time of the Kingdom, all Israel will know the Lord in the New Covenant

    • None will need to be taught about the Lord 

    • Everyone will know Him among Israel

    • Therefore, why does the Lord need this war to make Himself known in the midst of Israel

  • Take a look at your chart for the answer…the audience the Lord is playing to is not Israel but the other nations of the world

    • Notice the phrasing of v.7…the Lord will make Himself known in the midst of my people

    • It’s not the people of Israel that need to know the Lord…He’s already in their midst just as He promised

    • The problem is that the other nations have not recognized that the Lord resides in Israel

  • But how is it possible that other nations would not acknowledge the Lord is residing in the Kingdom?

    • Doesn’t the whole world see and know Jesus as Lord? Not at all

      • As we’ve already established in earlier lessons, there is a world of unbelievers born in the time of the Kingdom

      • And these unbelievers do not acknowledge Jesus as King

    • Moreover, as we will learn in a future chapter of Ezekiel, Jesus will not be visible in the Kingdom

      • He is not a suffering prophet walking the earth or riding a donkey

      • In the Kingdom Jesus will be a conquering King, residing in the temple at all times

      • No one will see Him, so as it is today, the world must have faith in Jesus according to the word of God

    • Under those circumstances, the Lord’s statement makes good sense – and for that matter, so does the war

      • After 1,000 years the world has been repopulated and many are unbelievers

      • These unbelievers are the ones Satan deceives who come up against Israel to attack

      • This is the first and only act of war and violence during the entire 1,000 year Kingdom

      • And in this moment, the Lord displays His power and might in protecting Israel

    • As a result, the world will know without a doubt that the Lord dwells amidst His people Israel

      • This is the day the Lord has spoken about, the day He’s spoken about throughout Scripture

      • This is day that Psalm 110 promised when Jesus would put all His enemies under His feet

      • This is the day Isaiah spoke of, when the purpose of the Kingdom would be fulfilled for Israel’s sake

Is. 9:2  The people who walk in darkness 
Will see a great light; 
Those who live in a dark land, 
The light will shine on them.
Is. 9:3  You shall multiply the nation, 
You shall increase their gladness; 
They will be glad in Your presence 
As with the gladness of harvest, 
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
Is. 9:4  For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, 
The rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian.
Is. 9:5  For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, 
And cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.
Is. 9:6  For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; 
And the government will rest on His shoulders; 
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Is. 9:7  There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, 
On the throne of David and over his kingdom, 
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness 
From then on and forevermore. 
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
  • Notice v.5 of Isaiah 9 speaks of a battle in the midst of Christ ruling

    • And interestingly, Isaiah also mentions that the debris of the war will become fuel for a fire

      • Which leads us into the next section of the chapter

Ezek. 39:9  “Then those who inhabit the cities of Israel will go out and make fires with the weapons and burn them, both shields and bucklers, bows and arrows, war clubs and spears, and for seven years they will make fires of them.
Ezek. 39:10 “They will not take wood from the field or gather firewood from the forests, for they will make fires with the weapons; and they will take the spoil of those who despoiled them and seize the plunder of those who plundered them,” declares the Lord GOD.
  • After the Lord has vanquished the invading armies, the wasteland of dead leave behind an almost endless supply of fuel

    • And the people of Israel come out to scavenge from these weapons

    • Notice the people of Israel weren’t involved in the battle at all since the Lord did the fighting

    • They stayed securely in their unwalled villages while the Lord fought the battle for them out in the plain 

  • The people of Israel collect weapons of all kinds, including shields, bows, arrows, war clubs, and spears

    • And for seven years Israel will use these tools as fuel for fire

    • This is confirmation that the tools used by the invading army are made of wood

    • Wood burns, obviously, but steel does not

  • In fact, in v.10 the Lord says that the people won’t even bother to take wood from the field or gather firewood from the forest afterward

    • They have enough wood from these implements to satisfy their needs for fuel

    • The tools will become spoil for Israel

    • So this detail confirms that the invaders use wood tools only and that the age in which this event takes place is rudimentary 

    • Wood is the primary fuel of the Kingdom age

    • And therefore, the chance to collect so much wood is a great advantage to the people of the Kingdom

  • Also, notice that there were enough invaders that the materials collected keep all Israel supplied with wood for burning to last seven years

    • That’s a huge quantity of wood, and it tells us how vast this invading army must have been

      • But this reference to seven years of burning is a critical detail in the overall account for other reasons

      • It eliminates another option for interpreting the timing of these events

    • You remember I said that there are four primary interpretations for when this war takes place in history

      • First, some claim this war is only symbolic representing God’s ultimate victory over Satan and Israel’s enemies in general

      • A second view says the war happens during our present age before the start of the seven-year Tribulation

      • A third view says the war happens at the end of the Tribulation

      • A fourth view, which you see me advocating, says this war is the Gog and Magog war at the end of the Kingdom period

    • The details of seven years of burning would appear to rule out option #3

      • If the burning of the wood requires seven years, then the aftermath of the battle would extend far beyond the years of Tribulation

      • Tribulation itself is only seven years and the battle at the end takes place on the very last day of that period

      • So then how could we find time for an additional seven years of burning 

      • That detail would appear to eliminate that possibility

  • Now some might make a similar argument against my view, option #4

    • They would ask how can these events fit within the Millennial Kingdom if they are the last events of the 1,000 years?

      • The answer is found in Revelation 20

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.
  • The events of this war take place after the end of the 1,000 years

  • In other words, the Kingdom overall lasts longer than 1,000 years, but the time of peace without Satan is 1,000 years

  • After that 1,000 years is complete, then Satan is let loose, Revelation says

    • And then the war follows after that point, which means we’re off the clock

    • There is no time limit for the war or the burning that follows

    • Only after the events of this war have concluded do we move beyond the Kingdom time

  • But we can’t say the same thing about the end of Tribulation

    • Daniel 12 teaches that the destructive events of Tribulation come to an end within 75 days following the war of Armageddon

    • That leaves no room for the seven years of burning

  • But for that same reason, we can’t put these events in our time

    • We wouldn’t expect an army in our day to fight with wooden weapons

      • Furthermore, even if such an event took place today, people in modern Israel wouldn’t collect the spoil of the army to burn them

      • Modern Israelis don’t forage in forests for fuel

      • Modern homes are heated with natural gas and lit by electricity generated in modern plants

      • Cars run on gasoline, aircrafts use jet fuel

    • There’s simply no way to see the nation finding interest in burning wooden tools for any length of time, much less for seven years

      • Clearly we’re looking at a time of history very different than the one we have today

      • And that argues for the Kingdom more than any other detail in this account

    • And the next passage continues to make that case

Ezek. 39:11  “On that day I will give Gog a burial ground there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea, and it will block off those who would pass by. So they will bury Gog there with all his horde, and they will call it the valley of Hamon-gog.
Ezek. 39:12 “For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them in order to cleanse the land.
Ezek. 39:13 “Even all the people of the land will bury them; and it will be to their renown on the day that I glorify Myself,” declares the Lord GOD.
Ezek. 39:14 “They will set apart men who will constantly pass through the land, burying those who were passing through, even those left on the surface of the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search.
Ezek. 39:15 “As those who pass through the land pass through and anyone sees a man’s bone, then he will set up a marker by it until the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamon-gog.
Ezek. 39:16 “And even the name of the city will be Hamonah. So they will cleanse the land.”’
  • Gog and all his multitude of army will be buried in the land of Israel where they fell

    • The location of burial will be in a valley east of the sea

      • The sea is the Mediterranean Sea, and the most prominent valley east of the Med. is the Jordan River valley

      • So more than likely, that’s the valley in mind here

    • And the bodies in that area will be so numerous that the burial ground will block the passage of people through the valley

      • Remember, a Jew may not traverse over graves, so the number of bodies buried in this region is so great that it makes passage impossible

      • They will rename the valley Hamon-gog

      • Hamon means multitude or uproar

      • So the valley is called the multitude of Gog

    • The dead will be so numerous that the burial process will require seven months

      • Israel will go through the land meticulously looking for unburied bones of the fallen so they might cleanse the land

      • And as they find a bone, they will mark it carefully to prevent a Jew from stumbling across it and becoming defiled

      • Then having marked the bone, it will then be buried in the valley where no one may go

  • So why is Israel intent on these burials? Notice the Lord gives a reason in v.13

    • The Lord says that all the people of Israel will bury their oppressors

      • And the care by which Israel takes to dispose of the bodies of the slain will be to the renown of Israel

      • Israel will make a name for itself among all the nations by how they respond to these circumstances

Jer. 33:7 ‘I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel and will rebuild them as they were at first.
Jer. 33:8 ‘I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned against Me and by which they have transgressed against Me.
Jer. 33:9 ‘It will be to Me a name of joy, praise and glory before all the nations of the earth which will hear of all the good that I do for them, and they will fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace that I make for it.’
  • Jeremiah says that when the fortunes of Israel are restored and their iniquity cleansed that He will give them praise among the nations

    • That praise comes knowing all that God does for Israel and all the peace they receive

    • This is a description of the Kingdom situation of Israel 

Zeph. 3:17  “The LORD your God is in your midst, 
A victorious warrior. 
He will exult over you with joy, 
He will be quiet in His love, 
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
Zeph. 3:18  “I will gather those who grieve about the appointed feasts — 
They came from you, O Zion; 
The reproach of exile is a burden on them.
Zeph. 3:19  “Behold, I am going to deal at that time 
With all your oppressors, 
I will save the lame 
And gather the outcast, 
And I will turn their shame into praise and renown 
In all the earth.
Zeph. 3:20  “At that time I will bring you in, 
Even at the time when I gather you together; 
Indeed, I will give you renown and praise 
Among all the peoples of the earth, 
When I restore your fortunes before your eyes,” 
Says the LORD.
  • The Lord is a victorious warrior in the Kingdom

    • And He will deal with Israel’s oppressors, turning Israel’s shame into praise and renown

    • The promise to bring Israel renown in her day in the Kingdom is completed at the end when they are renown for grace in victory

  • Once more, what’s the point of this chapter? Showing the nations that God is the God of Israel, dwelling among His people Israel

    • And as the battle is won supernaturally, the Lord shows Himself strong

    • And as the people of Israel burn wood for seven years without foraging, the nations see that the Lord is on Israel’s side

    • And as Israel patiently spends seven years burying their enemies’ bodies, the world praises Israel’s name

    • All of these details support the overall purpose of the chapter and the war as a whole…to sanctify the Lord among the nations

  • Turning back to the text, the Lord adds one more detail to help us understand how the Lord cleansed the land

Ezek. 39:17  “As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Speak to every kind of bird and to every beast of the field, “Assemble and come, gather from every side to My sacrifice which I am going to sacrifice for you, as a great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood.
Ezek. 39:18 “You will eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, as though they were rams, lambs, goats and bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan.
Ezek. 39:19 “So you will eat fat until you are glutted, and drink blood until you are drunk, from My sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.
Ezek. 39:20 “You will be glutted at My table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all the men of war,” declares the Lord GOD.
  • In the Bible, the Lord directs people to make a sacrifice of animals

    • Our sacrifices of bulls and goats were intended to remind us of our sin and the need for a covering of blood

      • Now in this final act of war the Lord turns the tables

      • Remember, this event is the final moment of this world – the last event of human history on planet earth

    • And in that final moment, the Lord makes humanity a sacrifice to the animals

      • The animals gain the benefit while man pays the price

      • And God is the One making the sacrifice

      • The message is that the need for sacrifice of any kind has come to an end

      • The Lord Himself conducts the final sacrifice and the final offerings are those who oppose Him

    • And that final act of judgment to close the age gives opportunity for the Lord to be glorified 

Ezek. 39:21 “And I will set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them.
Ezek. 39:22 “And the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God from that day onward.
Ezek. 39:23 “The nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me, and I hid My face from them; so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and all of them fell by the sword.
Ezek. 39:24 “According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I dealt with them, and I hid My face from them.”’”
  • To end the chapter the Lord summarizes His purpose in the war and in defending Israel

    • First, He is setting His glory among the nations

      • Those who observed this battle will not see the judgment that the Lord executed 

      • They see the result of the battle and the way the Lord handled the aftermath and they glorify Him for it

    • Secondly, the house of Israel will know the Lord is their God 

      • This isn’t to say that the people of Israel didn’t know their Lord prior to this moment

      • The Lord is summarizing the entire Kingdom period, culminating in the final battle

    • The Lord says in v.23 that when the people of Israel see how easily the Lord defeated the invading army, they will realize that the Lord has always had this power

      • And if the Lord has always had the power to defeat Israel’s enemies, then when those enemies prevailed it must mean God permitted it to happen

      • Therefore, the time Israel spent in exile under Babylon’s authority were appointed times 

      • The Lord was still in control and He continued to watch over Israel even while in exile

      • But they were there for good reason, ultimately because of their sin

    • This is the consequence of appreciation for God’s sovereignty 

      • We come to understand that even the tragedies in our life are God-ordained for good purposes

      • And when you understand that the “bad” things in life were appointed by God, then you make an effort to understand how God intended these things to bless us 

      • We search for the meaning, and in that search we come to understand the lesson

  • That’s what the Lord wanted Israel to do in Ezekiel’s day

Ezek. 39:25  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name.
Ezek. 39:26 “They will forget their disgrace and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me, when they live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid.
Ezek. 39:27 “When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations.
Ezek. 39:28 “Then they will know that I am the LORD their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer.
Ezek. 39:29 “I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD.
  • This is the Lord’s summary of how His grace will manifest in the hearts of His people as they see what He does for them in the Kingdom 

    • Once they see how the Lord provides for them in the Kingdom to preserve them as a people, they will understand His previous judgments

      • Notice v.28…they will know the Lord is their God because they were taken through exile and then back into the land

      • In other words, with the benefit of hindsight, the people of God will see the undeniable wisdom of all that God did for them

      • And in that understanding, they will know He always acted out of love for them

      • But in the end, the Lord will not hide His face from them, having poured out His spirit upon them

    • So to summarize the war in Chapters 38-39…

      • The Lord instigates an attack from among the unsaved on the earth at the end of the 1,000 year kingdom

      • Using Satan as His instrument for deception, the Lord causes Gog to assemble an uncountable army

    • That army consists of men and women who have never seen warfare before nor have ever contemplated it

      • But because of Satan’s influence, they come to desire Israel’s wealth and believe the people of Israel to be vulnerable since they are unguarded

      • They fashion rudimentary weapons from wood and the sea of people advance upon the nation of Israel from all sides (on land)

    • But the Lord has purposed this attack so that He might demonstrate His might and faithfulness to protect Israel

      • So as they approach, they are struck down with fire from heaven

      • They are a sacrifice of God, made for the sake of Israel, and they become a feast for birds

  • In the end the attack accomplished two purposes to conclude the Kingdom

    • First, the battle serves to demonstrate the Lord’s faithfulness to His promise concerning peace in Israel

      • He promised Abraham that his descendants would find peace in their land

      • And He promised Israel in the Kingdom a peace covenant

      • So this battle serves to demonstrate the Lord’s faithfulness to that covenant 

    • Secondly, the Lord makes Himself known throughout the earth as the God Who dwells in the midst of Israel

      • As Psalm 110 says, Christ rules until all enemies are put under His feet by the Father

      • This is the final act of rebellion against Christ and therefore it is the final battle where Christ prevails and destroys His enemies

      • And now that He has defeated all foes, everyone on earth glorifies and sanctifies the Lord