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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Ezekiel 38

 

 


Verses 1-29

Ezekiel 38:1-23; Ezekiel 39:1-29. There will be at that time of restoration a great and final invasion of the land of Israel. Gog and Magog will invade the land “that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people.” The invaders come “against the mountains of Israel which have always been waste; but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely, all of them.” In Ezekiel 38:11, the evil purpose of the invader is made known. From all this we learn that the invasion takes place at the time when the Lord has brought back His people and resumed His relationship with the remnant of Israel.

The invasion will happen some time after the beastly empire with its beast head, the revived Roman empire, in its final ten kingdom form and the clay, with the little horn as leader Daniel 7:1-28; Revelation 13:1-18 and the false prophet, the personal Antichrist Revelation 13:11, etc. have been dealt with in judgment Revelation 19:19-21. The stone out of heaven has then fallen upon the feet of the great dream image of Nebuchadnezzar; and as far as the western confederated world power is concerned, it is now ended. But other nations gather now for an assault. It is a northern confederacy which sweeps southward to invade the land, as Antiochus Epiphanes did in the past, as well as the Assyrian in the days of Isaiah. These final invading hosts, under the leadership of a powerful king, come like a storm, and like a cloud to cover the land.

But who are they?

The leader is the prince of Rosh (not as the Authorized Version has it “the chief prince”) of Meshech and Tubal. This prince is the head of the confederacy and with him allied are Persia, Cush, Phut, Gomer and Togormah. They come out of the north, or, as it is in Hebrew, “out of the uttermost north” (Ezekiel 38:15). Inasmuch as the Prince of Rosh is addressed in Ezekiel 38:3 as Gog, we take it that Gog is the name given to this prince and leader of these nations. His dwelling place is in the land of Magog. We know from Genesis 10:2, that Magog was the second son of Japheth. Gomer, Tubal and Meshech were also sons of Japheth; Togormah was a grandson of Japheth, being the third son of Gomer. Magog’s land was located in what is called today the Caucasus and the adjoining steppes. And the three, Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal were called by the ancients Scythians. They roamed as nomads in the country around and north of the Black and the Caspian Seas, and were known as the wildest barbarians. We learn from this that the invading forces, which fall into Israel’s land in the future, when Israel has been regathered, come from a territory north of Palestine which today is in the hands of Russia. And here we call attention to the prince, this northern leader, or king, who is the head of all these nations. He is the prince of Rosh. Careful research has established the fact that the progenitor of Rosh was Tiraz Genesis 10:22, and that Rosh is Russia. All students of prophecy are agreed that this is the correct meaning of Rosh. The prince of Rosh, means, therefore, the prince or king of the Russian empire. But he also is in control of Meshech and Tubal, which are reproduced in the modern Moscow and Tobolsk. Russia, we may well conclude from this, will furnish the man who will lead this confederacy of nations. We write this at a time when Russia is passing through horrors upon horrors. A revolution changed the autocratic government into a democracy, and that gave way to anarchy, produced by satanic powers. From what is written in this chapter, we learn that Russia will ultimately return to the old regime, and will once more become a monarchy to fulfill her final destiny as made known in this sublime prophecy. Well known it is that Russia has been in the past the most pronounced and bitterest enemy of the Jewish people. What she passes through today is but a fulfillment of what the Lord has spoken: “I will curse them that curse thee.” Today, the Jews in Russia may have bright hopes of getting their rights and complete emancipation at last. For a time this may come to pass, but ultimately Russia will turn against them; and, as Pharaoh did, when Israel had left his domain, so this coming king of the north, the prince of Rosh, when Israel is back in the land, will turn against them.

With him come the other nations. Persia, which is even now in part occupied by Russia, will finally be a vassal to this prince of Rosh. Ethiopia and Phut are also in this confederacy. There also is Gomer and all its bands. Gomer, says Delitzsch, “is most probably the tribe of the Cimmerians, who dwell, according to Herodotus, on the Maeotis, in the Taurian Chersonesus, and from whom are descended the Curmi or Cymry in Wales and Britain, whose relation to the Germanic Cimbri is still in obscurity.” Valuable information is given in the Talmud; Gomer is there stated to be the Germani, the Germans. That the descendants of the Gomer moved northward and established themselves in parts of Germany seems to be an established fact. All this is of much interest. Germany did not belong to the Roman empire, at least the greater part of Germany was never conquered by Rome. She will therefore not participate in the Western confederacy. Will she then become united to Russia and march under the prince of Rosh into the land of Israel? We cannot be sure about all these things. This, however, we know, that a powerful confederacy of nations, under the leadership of the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, will come up against Immanuel’s land, when Israel has been restored and dwells safely.

The judgment and destruction of the invading hosts are vividly pictured in the thirty-fourth to thirty-ninth chapters as well as their burial. Compare Ezekiel 39:17-20 with Revelation 19:17-18; though the great supper in Revelation and Jehovah’s sacrifice here in Ezekiel are not identical, yet both are judgments. The final paragraphs of this chapter (Ezekiel 39:21-29) give the promise of glory.

The last verse contains an important statement. The Lord says that He hides His face no more from them. This in itself shows that all this is not yet here; for still He hides His face from them. The hiding of His face from them will be no more when His Spirit is poured upon them. “I have poured out My Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.” There comes then a time when the house of Israel, the literal descendants of Abraham, will receive an outpouring of the Spirit of God. Such is also the message of Joel, in which restoration and spiritual blessing, through the outpouring of the Spirit are blended together Joel 2:1-32). We call attention to another passage which should be linked with the statement in this chapter.Isaiah 32:13-20 is a very striking prophecy. There is an announcement made first of all concerning the judgment which is to fall upon Israel’s land. “Upon the land of My people shall come up thorns and briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city,” etc. But this is not to last forever. An “until” follows. “Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high.” This is the same future outpouring of the Spirit of God. Up to now it has not been. The Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost came to form the body of Christ; but this outpouring in connection with Israel has another significance.

 


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Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Ezekiel 38:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/ezekiel-38.html. 1913-1922.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 21st, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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