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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Ezekiel 38

 

 


Verses 1-23

Ezekiel 38:2. Set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog. Gog is here taken for the king, or collectively for the princes of Scythia, Iberia, and the east. The Scythians descended from Magog. Genesis 10:2. They inhabited mount Caucasus, and the country east of the Black sea. The Mogul Tartars are also called Magog. The primitive fathers of the church give us no explication of Gog and Magog, except vaguely and figuratively referring the names to heretics, and to the persecutors of the church. Magog is most assuredly the country inhabited by the progeny of Japheth’s second son; and it would seem, for I speak with deference, that when the Jews shall be rëestablished in their own land, the Turks here alluded to, or the Turks and Tartars, will unite their forces to afflict the Jews, who are supposed to be but partially converted to christianity when this shall happen; and that the Messiah will, by some transient and visible appearance, destroy the unhallowed host, as he once destroyed the blaspheming Assyrians. This and the following chapter seem to import as much; and Zechariah appears also to speak decidedly on this point: Zechariah 14:3-15. The conversion of the Jews, it is then supposed, will be perfected by looking on Him whom their fathers have pierced. A finishing stroke will be given to infidelity, and the glorious millennium will immediately commence: yet there is no proof of Christ’s personal reign a thousand years on earth. I mention these glosses of prophecy merely as a ground of hope; the Lord will rectify our well-intended mistakes in the day of his glory.

Ezekiel 38:3. Behold, I am against thee, oh Gog. Professor Cocceius, whom I follow with pleasure, gives us quite another idea of Gog, Meshech, and Tubal. He cites cardinal Bellannine, De Romans Pont. lib. 3. cap. 18, who admits that this prophecy belongs to new-testament times, as is stated in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of the Revelation, where it is said that Satan is gone out to seduce the nations from the four comers of the earth: as though he had in view those nations, the identical Gog and Magog of whom the prophet Ezekiel had spoken. We find in both those books the same invitation to the fowls of heaven, to gather themselves together to the supper of the great God, when the beast and the false prophet shall be taken alive, and cast into the abyss burning with fire and sulphur. All these events were to happen “in the end of the days, and in the last times.” How preposterous then must it be in Grotius and other Arians, to contend that Antiochus was the Gog of Ezekiel. After his days the calamities of the nations were not abated, but one woe followed another. After his days we hear of no Goel, no Redeemer coming to Zion, to those that turn from transgression in Jacob. Isaiah 59:20. By consequence, if the beast and the false prophet be the true Gog and Magog, the enemies of truth and righteousness, who spurn the easy yoke of Christ, they must expect a day of visitation, tremendous as the grace which they despise.

Ezekiel 38:5. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya. These comprise the Mahomedans in Asia and Africa, and therefore indicate to us, that the Turkish religion, propagated by the sword, shall be put down by the sword. But infidel christians are equally aliens to the covenant and the promises, and shall therefore drink of the bitter cup. In this view the beloved city may prove to be, not Jerusalem beneath, but the new-testament church, whose wrongs the Redeemer will avenge, and so renew the evidences of revelation as to chace atheism and crime from the earth.

Ezekiel 38:6. The house of Togarmah. Gomer and Togarmah are the descendents of Japheth. Genesis 10:1-3. Gomer is generally identified with the Germans, and the descendents of Togarmah are supposed to inhabit the northern parts about the Black sea. These united are all that remain of the three first monarchies, the Babylonian, the Persian, and the Grecian, and are eventually to be confederate with Gog, the prince of Mosc and Tubal, inhabiting the land of Magog, the region between the Volga and the Don, to invade the land of Palestine after the return of the Jews, “to take a prey and to take a spoil,” but who are instantaneously to be destroyed by the immediate interposition of providence, in a manner similar to that of the ancient Sodomites: Ezekiel 38:22.

Ezekiel 38:8. After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years. Surely this, and to the fourteenth verse, cannot be restricted to the times of Judas Maccabeus, full of blood and tumult. No doubt it is a prediction that the Jews shall be gathered in the latter day, and that the Turks shall in part be destroyed.

Ezekiel 38:16-17. Oh Gog—art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets? Of whom have the prophets spoken, as drinking the cup of red wine from the Lord’s hands? Answer: all the enemies of the church, of whatever name or nation. It is especially noticed that God would now be sanctified in Gog, and by his visitations all the nations should know the equity of his judgments.

Ezekiel 38:19-20. Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel. Not in Palestine alone, but in all the earth; for the shaking shall reach the fishes of the sea, the fowls of heaven, and the creeping things of the earth. What can that be but the shaking of all nations, and the luminous introduction of a new æra into the annals of redemption? Jerusalem below is too confined a spot for the Redeemer’s arm to be made bare, and all his enemies to be put under his feet. The Lord therefore, as in Ezekiel 38:23, will magnify himself in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that he, and he alone, is the Lord, the Christ, the King of kings, the blessed and only Potentate.

Ezekiel 38:22. I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood. These most terrific judgments on the Turks, who may regard the Jews as obtruding on their country, are as just as they are terrific. They have had christians scattered about in their country, and they have oppressed them in every city. They have had the light, but have resisted it, and have instituted the most bloody laws against any Turk who may embrace the christian faith. Justice will therefore one day drench them with the dregs of vengeance.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezekiel 38:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/ezekiel-38.html. 1835.

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