Ezekiel 39:1. Behold, I am against thee, oh Gog. This second apostrophe to Gog denotes the superintending providence of God over the enemies of his church, and the certainty of their final overthrow. From Ezekiel 39:7-16, we have a view of the reformed state of the church. This is followed by the judgment on Gog; out of whose ruins the church arises with resplendent beams, and her “sun shall no more go down.”
Ezekiel 39:2. I will leave but the sixth part of thee; a small remnant to show the mercy of God, and to instruct the heathen in his justice. But the Munster and the Zurich old bibles read, “I will punish thee with six plagues;” and as there is no mention of six either in the Hebrew or in the Septuagint, it is thought they gather the reading from the pestilence, the blood, the brimstone, the fire, the hail, and the deluge mentioned in Ezekiel 38:22.
Ezekiel 39:3. I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. This phrase is equivalent to the total routing of an army when they cast away their arms, and run for their lives. The use of the bow still subsists in some tribes of Asia. When the French were fighting the Russians in Poland, a body of Cossacks let fly on the French a shower of arrows, which failing of effect from the distance, our soldiers, says Napoleon, burst out into laughter.
Ezekiel 39:6. I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles. The isles of Chetim, now Greece, appear to be intended, and all the coasts of Europe in the Mediterranean seas. By consequence, the war of the Lamb with the nations of Gog, Tubal, and Meshech, shall not be confined to Judea; it shall extend to all unbelievers, whether called christian or heathen. Such is the high decree of heaven respecting the Messiah and his church. “The nation and the kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.” Isaiah 60:12. The knowledge of the Lord cannot cover the earth, as waters cover the sea, till the old leaven of atheism is purged from all the circles of society; till they all know the name of the Lord and worship him, from the least to the greatest.
Ezekiel 39:9. They shall burn them with fire seven years. It is of no avail for Arian critics to refer this chapter to occurrences under the Maccabees. After making all the deductions for hyperbole which the laws of language will allow, nothing has yet occurred in the jewish history to justify the language of the text. Here all the learned opposers of the glory of the latter day lose their labour. Their efforts tend to destroy the force of prophecy in general, and to lower the riches of divine grace.—It may also here be added, that the good men of that age shall not only burn their military armour, but all their books, as did the jewish exorcists under Paul’s ministry at Ephesus—their novels, their travels, their sciences, all of which are empoisoned with atheism and impiety. Then shall be fulfilled the promise made in both testaments: The meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Psalms 27:11. Matthew 5:5.
Ezekiel 39:11. The valley of the passengers. The great road leading to Damascus, and east of the sea of Galilee.
Ezekiel 39:15-16. The valley of Hamon-gog, and also the name of the city— Hamonah. The LXX read, Polyandrion, a compound word from πολυς, many, and ανηρ, and ανδρος, man. It may apply to a graveyard full of bones. But why not repeat the prophet’s own words, in Ezekiel 30:15, and Nahum 3:8; No-hammon, or populous No? As Noah-hammon was the first city of that patriarch, then we find Africa included, as well as Asia and Europe, in the war of the Lamb.
Ezekiel 39:25. Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and collect them under the wings of the Messiah, as was seen in a former vision: chap. 1, 10. They shall also be fully delivered from the long afflictions of the Roman captivity, if the words of their own rabbins may apply here. The prophet also adds, I will have mercy upon the whole house of Israel. St. Paul repeatedly associates here the whole christian world as now brought nigh by the blood of Christ, engrafted on the stock of Abraham, and received into the commonwealth of Israel.
Ezekiel 39:27. When I—am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations. The glory of the millennium, or as St. Peter says, The times of the restitution of all things shall commence, of which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:21. See the General Reflections at the end of Isaiah.
REFLECTIONS.—CHAP. 38, 39.
These two chapters contain Ezekiel’s vision of the war of the Lamb, with the last enemies of his church, as when he once pleaded in the valley of Jehoshaphat with all nations, which composed the Assyrian army; and when in one night his angel slew one hundred and eighty five thousand. These were but a faint figure of what he will do in the great day of his wrath. For as Gog and No-hammon designate multitudes, so the slain of the Lord shall be many.
This war shall be levied against all the unbelieving jews, who continue to blaspheme the name of Jesus, and call our christian scriptures the book of Aven, or wickedness. It shall be against Tubal and Meshech, the Turks of Asia and the Indian priesthood, if they shall finally resist the gospel. It shall be against the multitude of No, the bloody Turks and rebels of Africa. It shall be against the isles of the gentiles, for so the nations of Europe were designated in the phrases of the Hebrews.
What then shall be thy fall, oh altar, altar!— the French Academy that with one hand shook the throne, and with the other the church? The voice is to you, and all your sceptical offspring, scattered throughout christendom. Oh children of reason, gods of science; you, you have the power to exterminate religion, to burn the bible, to supersede the sabbath, to dissolve the covenant of marriage! Drink wine, sing the song, that wine is better than all the Latin in the Sorbon. Oh kings, live for ever. Eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow you die. Oh illustrious scribes of nature, tutors of Europe, can you read the hand-writing? You are weighed in the balances, and found wanting; your kingdom is numbered and finished. Patrons of music, can you hear the sound of the trumpet? The Lamb is become a lion; he roars out of Zion; he utters his voice from Jerusalem. Immanuel, at the head of his armies, is in full march against you. His banners, the lightnings of an angry God, shine out. He has long kept silence: now his thunders speak. He is on his white horse; his vesture is baptized in blood; his sword has two edges; he will fight in the ranks like a captain. Let your hearts faint with fear; hide in the caverns of the earth. The pestilence, the malignant cholera marches before him; the fire devours; the sword shall be bathed in blood. When he begins he will also make an end: revolt and atheism shall exist no more. The sentence is pronounced that all his enemies shall be slain before his face. But, oh my soul, how shalt thou appear! Let Zion put the question; “Who may abide the day of his coming?” Malachi 3:2.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezekiel 39". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany