Ezek. 39:1 Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:
This verse is a repeat of 38:3 (see comments in previous chapter).
Ezek. 39:2 And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:
Again, emphasis is given to the fact that God’s sovereign hand is in control of the events taking place.
“leave but the sixth part of thee” – The natural reading of this verse to me says that only a sixth part of the army that comes against Israel will live through the experience; five-sixths or over 80% of Gog’s army will be destroyed. Imagine my amazement when I read through eight other translations and found no mention of a sixth part. So far, of the commentaries I have checked, only Matthew Henry has come to the same conclusion I did concerning this phrase.
Other commentaries basically agreed with John Gill’s exposition of this section:
….meaning, not that a sixth part only should escape the vengeance of God, and all but a sixth part be destroyed in the land of Israel; for it looks as if the whole army would be utterly destroyed, and none left; but that, when he should come out of his own country upon this expedition, a sixth part of his subjects only should be left behind; five out of six should accompany him; so numerous should his army be, and so drained his country by this enterprise of his. Some render the words, "will draw thee out with an hook of six teeth”; that is, out of his own land, and this clause stands in the same place and order as the phrase and "put hooks into thy jaws" does in (Ezekiel 38:4) and so may be thought to explain one another, and agrees with what follows: for, as for the sense of it given by Joseph Kimchi and others,
`I will judge thee with six judgments, (Ezekiel 38:12), pestilence, blood, an overflowing rain, hailstones, fire, and brimstone,''
it must be rejected; seeing as yet the account of his punishment is not come to….
(10/12) While listening to Joe Focht, he explained that the language used was similar to saying that Gog’s armies will be decimated (in reference to a tenth).
Ezek. 39:3 And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.
Ezek. 39:4 Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.
Ezek. 39:5 Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.
Verse 3 basically indicates that God is going to make the weapons of Gog ineffective. The Hebrew for fall in verse 4 is a reference to falling down dead. In other words, most, if not all (depending upon your understanding of verse 2) of Gog’s armies will die on the mountains of Israel; and the birds of prey and beasts of the field will feast on the carcasses. (yuk!) The armies will not be able to take cover; God will ensure that they fall in the open field. As He has spoken, so it will be done.
Ezek. 39:6 And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Not only will Gog’s armies in Israel be struck in judgment, the Lord will also send fire on Magog (Russia/Turkey), the land over which Gog rules, and upon those “that dwell carelessly in the isles.” Fire in the Hebrew means just what it says. I guess the question becomes—What kind of fire? Of supernatural origin, the forces of nature, the results of war, etc. Whatever the “source,” it will be coming from the hand of God.
“carelessly” = a place of refuge; abstract, safety, both the fact (security) and the feeling (trust); often (adverb with or without preposition) safely:—assurance, boldly, (without) care(-less), confidence, hope, safe(-ly, -ty), secure, surely.
“isles” = a habitable spot (as desirable); dry land, a coast, an island:—country, isle, island.
I thought these definitions helped broaden the understanding of this verse. I know I have tended to equate the isles to islands or coastal lands, but it is basically a reference to anywhere people live. Carelessly seems to reference a false sense of security. I would think that this would be a reference to the homelands of those that had joined Gog’s coalition, but this prophecy doesn’t clarify that. The purpose of this judgment is to make the nations recognize God as LORD.
Ezek. 39:7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.
God’s intervention will cause Israel to once again acknowledge God as LORD. He will not allow His name to be polluted by the Jewish people as a whole any more from the time that He delivers them from the armies of Gog. The Hebrew for pollute includes “profane” among other choices. In my mind, this connects directly with chapter 36:21-23.
Ezekiel 36:21–23 “But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.”
No longer will the nations be able to consider the God of Israel weak or powerless regarding His provision for His people. His Holiness goes hand-in-hand with His truthfulness, and all will be done according to His word. They will be made to recognize YHWH as God Almighty, THE God of Israel. I think this recognition will come in part through recognition that biblical prophecy is being fulfilled.
Scripture tells us that when the Lord returns in glory as King, ALL of Israel will be saved and will never again break fellowship with God. Why? Because God is going to give them a new heart and a new spirit (cf 36:26-27).
Romans 11:26-27 “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”
Ezekiel 36:26–27 “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.”
Ezek. 39:8 Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken.
I often have to remind myself that God is outside of time. Even as He is giving this prophecy to Ezekiel regarding the end times, God considers events as good as done. In human understanding, God is assuring us of the certainty of these events coming to pass just as He has foretold. The simple illustration I have heard most often: God is looking down on the parade of events on earth from a skybox view that allows Him to see the beginning and the end in one gaze.
Ezek. 39:9 And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years:
Ezek. 39:10 So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord GOD.
Interesting to note in these verses is that these weapons are going to supply fuel for Israel for seven years. One can’t help but try to make a connection with the 7 years being mentioned and the 7 years of Daniel’s 70th week known as the tribulation. I’ve always reasoned that this would put this war before or near the beginning of that tribulation period, but there is no clarification in this prophecy in that regard. However, people living on planet earth are still going to need fuel during the millennium, so I don’t think one can be dogmatic. Another reason I tend to place it at the beginning of the tribulation period is because I don’t see Israel living in a time of security (true or false) and rest until the 7-year covenant brokered by the Antichrist.
Others equate this invasion with Armageddon, but that doesn’t fit the prerequisite condition for Israel. Israel will be a place experiencing the despotic rule of the Antichrist at the time of Armageddon.
Point is also made that the Jewish people will gain from the spoil taken from Gog’s armies. This is another example of reaping what you have sown. Gog and his armies had attacked to spoil and rob the Jewish people; but they would become the ones spoiled and robbed.
Ezek. 39:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog.
The number of dead from Gog’s armies will be so great that there will have to be a valley in Israel designated as the burial site. It is said to be located east of the “sea.” The Hebrew for sea includes a reference to the Mediterranean but also indicates that it could reference any large body of water or even a large river. Some commentaries try to locate this valley to the east of the Dead Sea, but that would place the burial place in Jordan—not Israel. The location of this valley is not a significant issue in my mind except that God declares it will be in Israel. The significant point is that such a large place will be needed to bury the dead of Gog’s armies.
Ezek. 39:12 And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.
Ezek. 39:13 Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Lord GOD.
Ezek. 39:14 And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search.
Ezek. 39:15 And the passengers that pass through the land, when any seeth a man’s bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamongog.
The number of dead will be so great that it will take seven months for Israel to bury them all. I liked the wording of the NLT for verse 13:
Everyone in Israel will help, for it will be a glorious victory for Israel when I demonstrate my glory on that day, says the Sovereign LORD.
All the people are involved in getting the dead buried, but there will be men hired to handle the actual burials. After burying remains for seven months, a search will be made throughout the land to ensure that all the dead have been buried. Those who notice human remains will set up signs or markers to let the hired workers know that they have work to do at that location. This does seem to be a very specific process, and is a very interesting description considering today’s nuclear capabilities.
Jack Kelley at www.gracethrufaith.com/ikvot/the-battle-of-ezekiel-38-39-part-3 made these comments regarding this scripture:
It will require the combined efforts of all Israeli citizens for 7 months to bury the enemy dead. After that they'll hire professionals, some to decontaminate the land and some to search for any bodies the people may have missed. They won't touch any bones they find, but will set up markers and call the professionals to come take them away. This approach fits modern Nuclear Biological Chemical Warfare decontamination procedures to a tee.
Point is made twice in these verses that this process will cleanse the land. It’s a reminder to me that God is dealing with Israel under the Old Testament teachings. Dead bodies were considered unclean. Everything associated with God, including His chosen land, is to be clean and pure.
Num. 19:16 And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.
This is just another affirmation that the place of burial will be in Israel.
Ezek. 39:16 And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah. Thus shall they cleanse the land.
Evidently this valley will be marked by a city called Hamonah, which means multitude in reference to the number of dead. Again, emphasis is given to the fact that the land will be cleansed. This emphasis on “clean” vs. unclean gives indication to me of a mindset that would normally accompany temple practices and the keeping of the law as in Old Testament times (which will be the case in that 70th week).
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.
In verse 4 Gog was told that the remains of his armies would be given to the ravenous birds to be devoured. These verses are the “invitation” to the birds and beasts to gather together to eat the sacrifice that God has provided for them. The Hebrew for the word translated as sacrifice in verse 17 simply means “slaughter.” Point is made that the “meal” being provided the birds and beasts will consist of those considered mighty (powerful, warrior, strong) and princes (captains, chiefs) and “rams (mighty men), lambs (captains), goats (leaders) and bullocks.” Because the reference is to the armies of Gog, I think we can make these choices from the Hebrew as inclusive of the men comprising those armies at all levels.
Verse 19 declares that there will be sufficient quantity to satisfy their hunger and cause them to rejoice at the abundance of the provision. It also makes the point again that this “slaughter” has been provided at the hand of God.
Verse 20 is a bit more perplexing with its reference to “horses and chariots.” The Hebrew for chariots can also be a reference to the driver. In context, as referencing the meal being provided the birds and beasts, the reference to horses would seem to have to reference the animal. It is hard for me to imagine that being the mode of transportation in current times, but considering the possibility of rendering present day technology inoperable, it is certainly not out of the realm of possibility. I will leave this to the category of “time will tell.”
(7/12) As I was working on a blog post this past January and 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 be a mirror passage to this one in Ezekiel—though not as detailed. 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.
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? Even as I watch events unfold in this current outbreak of war between Hezbollah and Israel, I am amazed that more connection is not made to the truth presented in scripture. Things such as the Saudis not siding with their Muslim brothers in their attack on Israel fit right in with what scripture teaches regarding Gog’s coalition. 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.
Is. 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.
Prov. 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Heb. 12:5 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:
Heb. 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Heb. 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
Heb. 12:11 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.
Rom. 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
Rom. 5:4 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.
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.