|@September 29, 2023||ESV (2016)||ESV Prophets Plan 2023|
- Prophesy Against Gog
The chapter opens with God instructing Ezekiel to set his face against Gog and prophesy against him. Gog may most immediately refer to Gyges, king of Lydia, from the seventh century BC. Even so, the reference transcends this Gog’s historical circumstances to refer to a leader who will oppose Israel in the far future. A modern parallel would be for us to speak of a prominent but vile leader as a “new Hitler.” The only other occurrence of “Gog” is in Rev. 20:8. Gog seems to transcend historical categories, serving as a symbol of the forces of antichrist.
In Ezek. 38:4-6, Gog will be brought out to oppose God. Persia, Cush, Put and Beth-togarmah are mentioned as those who will join Gog from “the uttermost parts of the north” (Ezek. 38:6).
In Ezek. 38:7-9, God calls on Gog to be ready because He will muster him “after many days” (Ezek. 38:8). “In the latter years”, Gog and his army will go against Israel, “the land that is restored from war” (Ezek. 38:8). They will be like a cloud covering the land (Ezek. 38:9). The cloud and storm are common images in biblical literature announcing prophetic threats (Jer. 4:13).
Ezek. 38:10-13 describes the day of this attack. Gog will devise an evil scheme and declare his intention to “go up against the land of unwalled villages”, the land “without walls, and having no bars or gates” (Ezek. 38:11). Sheba, Dedan and Tarshish will look to team up with Gog in his campaign against the Israelites, asking if they have assembled their hosts to “carry off plunder” (Ezek. 38:13).
Ezek. 38:14-16 is of God’s instruction to Ezekiel to prophesy to Gog that he will come from his place “out of the uttermost parts of the north” to attack Israel (Ezek. 38:14-15). God makes clear that He is the one orchestrating Gog’s offensive against Israel, using his army to vindicate His holiness and that the nations will come to know Him through what He does with Gog (Ezek. 38:16).
The remaining section (Ezek. 38:17-23) is of how God’s bringing Gog against the Israelites fulfilled the prophesy “in former days” (Ezek. 38:18) and how God will use Gog to manifest His wrath against Israel. Along with the attack, God will bring naturalistic disaster in the form of an earthquake in the land of Israel (Ezek. 38:19), the mountains will be thrown down, cliffs will fall and every wall will tumble (Ezek. 38:20). It will be so disorienting that those who oppose God’s people will kill one another (Ezek. 38:21; ref. Lev. 26:37 and Deut. 28:29). God will show His power in this time of immense tumult, making Himself “known in the eyes of the nations” and that they will know that He is the LORD (Ezek. 38:23).
God would use Gog and his partnering nations to exact judgment on Israel. They would come like a cloud covering God’s people and God would amplify the impact with an earthquake and throwing down the mountains. All this to demonstrate His might and that the nations would know that He is the LORD.
In the middle of God’s preparation of Gog for his attack on Israel, God describes how Gog’s thoughts and declaration of attack will be against “the land of unwalled villages”, that the Israelites were “dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates.” (Ezek. 38:11). This gives the impression that the Israelites were completely defenseless, which lends to why Gog would assume a swift and easy plunder. But God was with His people (albeit allowing Gog’s attack to bring their correction and restoration). However, He was still with them and thus were actually more fortified than if they were under any earthly protection.
There is something important to see in this. It is the times where we feel most compromised that we need to see the Lord as entirely sufficient for protection. No other earthly means can touch His level of security. This allows us to operate at rest in any situation, knowing that the Lord is our eternal refuge and sanctuary.
Scripture Journal Notes
Commentaries & Resources Used
- ESV Study Bible. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008)
- Faithlife Study Bible (Lexham Press, 2016)
- Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 2016)
- CSB Study Bible Notes (Holman Bible Publishers, 2017)
- Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Guardian Press, 1976)
- The Bible: A Reader’s Guide (Sterling Publishing, 2011)
- The Infographic Bible (Zondervan, 2018)
- ESV Digital Scripture Journal (Crossway, 2019)