The Timing of Ezekiel 38 and 39

Ezek.38 and 39 is on the spot now.
I can see that is about what happens in the end of the tribulation.
But 38 is little confusing; is this in the end of millennium?
What are your thoughts about that?

Because of its parallel in essence and character, I believe the Spirit is applying to the end of the millennium, by way of analogy, only ‘some’ aspects of the battle that even John would have certainly understood to be fulfilled primarily at “the great day of God Almighty” (compare Eze 39:8 with Rev 16:14-17; and Eze 39:4, 17-20 with Rev 19:17-18). So much of the detail simply cannot be made to fit with the post-millennial destruction of Gog and Magog, which I believe is being used as a type and symbol for a post-millennial reiteration of what has taken place before the millennium, but with important differences.

For one thing, the seven months burying of the dead, and seven years burning of weaponry (Eze 39:10, 12-14) does not fit with the sudden termination of the millennium and immediate revelation and descent of the perfected city of God (Rev 19:9-21:2). But perhaps most telling of all is that the Israel that Gog attacks in Eze 38-39 does not yet know the Lord; whereas the Israel that is threatened (but not successfully invaded), at the end of the millennium have known Him a thousand years.

By divine design, we are piecing together a mystery that requires utmost caution and careful attention to detail, and certainly a trembling dependency on the Spirit’s merciful help. Because of Revelation’s post-millennial application of some aspects of the Gog Magog phenomenon, and because Eze 36 that precedes the vision is clearly millennial, as Eze 37 also ends in millennial glory, and not least because some of the language of security in the Land is so strikingly similar to it’s use elsewhere in the prophets, many interpreters conclude that the security of Eze 38:8, 11, 14; 39:26 is the final security of millennial promise.

This can be very misleading, because the security of Eze 38 & 39 is disrupted by the northern invader BEFORE the great day of God Almighty (compare Eze 39:9 with Rev 16:14-17), before Armageddon (Eze 39:4, 17-20 with Rev 19:17-18), and therefore before the surviving remnant of Israel comes to faith and lasting security in the Land, a security that though momentarily threatened, will “never again” be successfully disrupted (2Sam 7:10; Isa 54:14-17; Rev 20:9). Note that in context, the famous ‘no weapon that is formed against you will prosper” is a promise to millennial Israel. In contrast to God bringing the nations down at the time of Antichrist, the millennial promise is clear that the gathering of the nations at the end of the millennium is NOT by God’s hand (in the sense of judgment upon His own people). “Behold, they shall gather together, but NOT by Me …” (Isa 54:15).

No, the security described of pre-tribulational, pre-millennial Israel in Eze 38 is NOT the security of millennial righteousness, because it is not UNTIL Gog’s destruction (the Antichrist according to Eze 38:17) that all Israel (the surviving remnant) will know the Lord “from that day and forward” (Eze 39:22, 28-29). What day? Manifestly, the day of the Lord (compare Eze 39:8, 13 with Rev 16:14-17). On the contrary, this is the false peace of Dan 8:25; 11:23; 1Thes 5:3, and the “covenant with death and hell” of Isa 28:15, 18. It is the delusive false security that will prevail during the first half of Daniel’s 70th week. A correct translation of Eze 39:26 confirms that this is a peace that was sinfully abused and presumed upon, a situation hardly characteristic of redeemed Israel. “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.

It may well be that when the false peace comes, many jubilant Jews will presume that this is perhaps the beginning of the covenant promise of security in the Land. This will be answered by warnings from the remnant that no peace can last that is based on human agreements and trust in man (Isa 28:14-18 with Rev 11:2; note the eschatological ‘treading down’ of Jerusalem). Those of understanding will protest the vain presumption that lasting security in the Land can never be realized apart form the promised “everlasting righteousness” of God (Isa 45:17, 25; Jer 32:40; Dan 9:24), which righteousness can brook no mixture with the righteousness of man. This is God’s ancient controversy with His people come to its climax, and the presumption of security in Eze 38 is the prelude to the deepest shaking of that presumption that Israel has ever experienced.

What will it mean when, against all odds, what has been so long in coming is here at last, only to be so quickly and suddenly stripped away? (see Isa 63:18; 64:10-12). It is beyond conception the depths of anguish and shock that Israel will feel when lifted so high to be plunged so low, as the great landmarks of the covenant, so long awaited, and so recently restored, are destroyed once again before their eyes. It is then that the great gap between supply and demand will be closed, as the Lord will have His saints prepared to explain these things to an amazed and shattered people (Deut 32:36; Dan 11:33; 12:7).

Only amid such shaking, and in the full light of prophecy, can Israel begin to consider what (with man) has been impossible till now. “In the latter days you will consider it” (compare Isa 42:23-25 with Jer 23:20). It is the fruit of that long awaited consideration that will be life from the dead and exponential blessing to the nations.

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear

Filed under
Bible Study, Ezekiel, Gog, The Last Days, The Millennium
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