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We have in this Chapter the Lord's judgment upon Gog, and his folly is exposed, in his threats against Israel.
The curious in searching for the discovery of what is concealed, more than for the improvement of what the Lord hath made known, have been much puzzled and perplexed to explain what is meant by Gog and Magog. Some have contended, that this is the same Gog and Magog mentioned in the Revelations. Chapter 20:8. Others insist upon it, that they were princes in the neighborhood of Israel. But while curious unenlightened men have presumed to be wise above what is written, it will be a safer path, in prosecuting our subject, to leave the prophetical part of this, and the following Chapter, until the Lord (as in all his other prophecies hath done,) shall explain the prediction by the event; and take the words here delivered in a general way. We have in them a very plain scripture before us, if we accept what is here said as the Lord's declaration against all the enemies of God's Christ; whether Turks or Russians, Jews or Greeks. When Jehovah saith, Behold, I am against thee, as in this scripture: this is enough to prove the utter destruction of that nation, or people, who fell under this awful sentence. Reader! let you and I be more concerned to discover, whether in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, we are freed from this decree, than to enquire what nation or people is meant for Mesech or Tubal, Persia or Gomar. For what a dreadful thing will it be in the end, if men, professing Christianity, and even writing their opinions upon the prophecies , be found among those concerning whom the Lord saith, Behold, I am against thee! See Matthew 7:22-23 .
I do not presume to say as much, but I would with reverence humbly ask, is not this a sweet promise to the Lord's people in the midst of the Lord's sore judgments to his enemies? Genesis 49:1 .
It will not militate against may humble thoughts on the foregoing verses, to suppose, that the Lord is speaking here of his people and of the enemies of Israel in the former. The transition from one to another, and that suddenly made, is not uncommon in the sacred writings. The presumptuous boast of the enemies of God is strongly expressed. We have a similar passage, Exodus 15:9 . There is a great beauty in the expression, unwalled villages, in allusion to the Lord's Israel. For the Church of Jesus, though the perfection of beauty, and joy of the whole earth, is in the eyes of the heathen, but a poor contemptible village. Is this Zion (say they) whom no man looked after, and none regarded? Nevertheless, Jerusalem though unwalled, and having no frontiers, no garrisons, no fortress, yet was in herself invulnerable, because the Lord himself was her wall of fire round about, and glory in the midst. Psalms 48:2 ; Isaiah 33:21-22 . What is said in this passage, concerning Judea, as in the midst of the land; (or as the margin of our old Bibles very properly hath it, the navel of the land,) may serve to teach us the vast propriety of the Lord Jesus making his appearance in substance of our flesh, when he came to redeem our nature in this centre of the world. For as all Geographers, both ancient and modern, have shown, the holy land is the navel, that is, the middle of the whole earth. Thus, therefore, by the Lord's appearing in the centre, it meant to show, that like the Sun at mid-day, whose rays of light extend in every direction, to illumine the whole hemisphere; so the Lord Jesus Christ, in his blessed influence, reached both East and West, and North, and South. The Reader of gracious views will, I am sure, forgive me if I add, that in a yet higher view we may consider the subject, and behold Christ as the centre or middle person of the Godhead, thus standing between the person of the Father, and of the Holy Ghost. For here Christ is as the land of unwalled villages, in whom his people rest; and to whom there is no obstruction to approach. He is indeed the centre of the whole Church on earth, and the centre of all glory in heaven, for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and his people, his Church, are complete in him, Colossians 2:9-10 .
We have here the Lord's sore judgments denounced upon Gog. But as they are the same in greatness, and in multitude, as the Lord through the whole word of scripture uniformly holds forth to all the enemies of God's Christ, I do not think it necessary to enlarge upon them in a way of comment. All the Lord's judgments are to one and the same purport. Say ye to the righteous it shall be well with him. To the wicked it shall be ill with him. This is enough for our purpose. More than this, as the Lord hath not thought proper to explain, becomes not us to enquire. There is, it must be confessed, a strong propensity in every man's heart, to enquire how the Lord will accomplish his latter day dispensations, and when the time shall be? But there is one general answer, and given by the Lord himself to the enquiry of Daniel, which men of curious minds would do well to regard. Daniel 12:8-9 .
READER! instead of being wise above what is written, and spending our time in fruitless and unbecoming researches concerning the person of Gog, and the kingdom of Magog: let us accept what probably God the Holy Ghost meant to teach the Church by this scripture; that the eye of the Lord is upon his people to defend them from all their enemies; and that at a time when the waters of the sanctuary run low, and the foe seems to threaten with an high hand; that then the Lord is more particularly coming forth for their defense; for Jehovah hath declared himself to be against all Israel's enemies for his own sake. You and I cannot stand in the day of exercise in our own strength, or attempt anything in our own power: but hear what the Lord saith; I will put hooks in thy jaws, O Gog, and turn thee back, and all thine army with thee. Precious Lord Jesus! be thou to all thy people the sure hiding place from every storm, and the covert from every tempest; that when the enemy cometh in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord may lift up a standard against him. Then shall thy people dwell in safety in the land of unwalled villages; because the Lord himself will be a wall of fire round about, in a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night, for upon all the glory shall be a defense. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ezekiel 38". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany