Summary: The war of Gog and Magog demonstrates God's sovereignty, which is the only true source of security.
In just a few moments, we’ll be looking at Ezekiel 38, so go ahead and turn to that chapter in your Bibles. But before we look at that passage, I’d like us to pause for a moment and remind ourselves of how this passage fits into the overall scope of this current sermon series. Since we began our look at the Old Testament prophets about 8 months ago, it’s easy for us to lose sight of the bigger picture and to fail to see how each week’s message fits into our overall study of God’s final word – the Book of Revelation.
That’s why I have periodically used the “Connections” Bible study time to review where we’ve been and to try to show how all the passages that we’ve been looking at fit together and how they provide the necessary background for our study of the Book of Revelation. But since we have new people coming into our body all the time and because I know that some of you can’t always be here every week, I’m convinced that there are some additional things that I can do to help all of us stay on the same page as we progress through our study.
One of those things is to prepare a monthly roadmap that will show where we’ve been and where we’re headed on our journey. The first attempt at such a summary is included in your bulletins this week and I will also be posting each month’s summary on the church website. As you can see I’ve also given you some links that you can use to go back and review any messages that you’ve missed. I hope that you’’ also feel free to contact me with your questions as we progress on our journey.
For the next two weeks we’ll be looking at Ezekiel 38 and 39, one of the most well-known, yet at the same time, one of the most mysterious prophecies that deals with the end times. In fact, this prophecy is so hard to understand, that I’ve found that most pastors just don’t deal with it in their preaching. For instance, the internet site, Sermoncentral.com, where I post the text version of all my sermons has tens or possibly even hundreds of thousands of sermons posted on the site. And if you go on that site and search by passage, you’ll find that there are 107 sermons on Daniel chapter 2, 171 on Daniel chapter 3, 56 on Daniel chapter 7, 22 on Daniel chapter 8 and 78 on Daniel chapter 9. These are all passages that we’ve looked at recently. There are even 142 sermons on Ezekiel 37, which we’ve looked at the past two weeks. But there are only a total of 3 sermons on Ezekiel 38 and 39 combined.
But I am going to deal with these two chapters over the next two weeks, not because I have some special insight into the passage or because I have it all figured out. In fact, as you’ll see, there is a lot here that we just can’t be dogmatic about. But since we know that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for us (2 Timothy 3:16, 17), I am convinced that we shouldn’t just ignore the passage.
This passage describes an alliance of nations that is going to gather together to wage war against Israel. We’ll examine the passage in sections, which will allow us to identify the most significant aspects of the prophecy and then we’ll see how we can apply this passage to our everyday life.
The nations identified (vv. 1-6)
God begins this prophecy by revealing to Ezekiel the nations that will be involved in this attempted attack on Israel:
1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him 3 and say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 4 And 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 clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords. 5 Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6 Gomer and all his hordes; Beth-togarmah from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes - many peoples are with you.
As we attempt to identify these participants, we have to keep in mind that they are identified here by the territories that they occupied during the late 6th century BC when God revealed this prophecy to Ezekiel. With the exception of Persia, every single land identified in this passage can be traced back to the genealogies that we find in Genesis, which is a great help in helping us to identify the location of these peoples in Ezekiel’s time. We can then move on to the last step of identifying the countries that currently occupy those areas.