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A Revised Translation and Commentary by Fred P. Miller
EZEKIEL 38, 39 -- ARMAGEDDON
(This chapter written in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, May, 1988)
38:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 38:2 Son of man, set your face against Gog* hidden leader of the land of Magog,** Scythia, Ukraine, or South Russia, the Prince of Ros,*** Moscow and Tobolsk,**** and prophesy against him,
* Gog is a mystery word, appearing only here in these two chapters and in Revelation 20:8 as being a leader in the Battle of Armageddon. "He" is the epitome of the collective force led by Russia, Moscow, and Siberia, gathered from many nations to fight against God's people in a last but decisive battle leaving the people of God victorious and possessors of all the wealth and power of their devastated enemies.38:3 And say, Thus says the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against you, O Gog hidden leader, the Prince of Ros, Moscow and Tobolsk: 38:4 And I will turn you back, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you forth, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with various sorts of different national [armor] a great company [with] bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: fully armed. 38:5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: 38:6 Gomer, Celts and all his bands; the house of Togarmah the Turks of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with you. 38:7 You be prepared, and prepare for yourself, you, and all your company that are assembled unto you, and be you a guard unto them. 38:8 After many days you shall be visited: in the latter* years you shall come into the land [that is] brought back from the sword, [and is] gathered out of many people, against the mountains ** of [spiritual] Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.
**The land of Magog, not Magog as a personification but a location. Magog of the classical historians is Scythia, present day Ukraine.
*** The Hebrew word "Rosh" means "head" is translated "chief" by the KJV. Versions putting "Ros" follow the Septuagint which rendered the Hebrew as Prince of Ros rather than "chief prince." The Septuagint translators were aware of the nation of Ros.
**** There is little doubt that the Hebrew "Meshech and Tubal" are the Moschoi and Tabal of the classical writers. They are the ancestors of the Moscovites and Siberians whose capitol was (is) Tobolsk. Through almost two millenniums of the Christian era this prophecy has been attributed as a latter day prophecy to the Russian people. See Procopius.
*Reference to latter years could in some places refer to the latter years of the Jewish nation or the Mosaic Law or the end of some epoch. In the past there has been nothing of significance in Russian history of such scope as to be ascribed to leading the nations mentioned here. Certainly not in a "latter years" context. Taking atheistic leadership of many nations since 1917 in an attempt to destroy all religion in general and Christianity specifically is apparent for all to see. The fact that we are living in the fulfilling of this prediction is evidence that we are in the latter years, not to say the last years.38:9 You shall ascend and come like a storm, you shall be like a cloud to cover the land, you, and all your bands, and many people with you. 38:10 Thus says the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into your mind, and you shall devise an EVIL THOUGHT: 38:11 And you shall say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, defenseless.*
**These "mountains" refer to seats of authority within the realm of the Christian religion--perhaps to national churches. [This comment was made in 1988, long before the revival, current in 1993, began.]
*This verse could hardly refer to the modern Jewish state of Israel with its armies, war machines and atomic weapons. It is more likely the spiritual Israel of the church of Jesus Christ that is meant here.38:12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn your hand upon the desolate places [that are now] inhabited, and upon the people [that are] gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. 38:13 Sheba, and Dedan, Arabia and the merchants of Tarshish, Carthage, modern Algeria* with all the young lions thereof, shall say to you, are you come to take a spoil? have you gathered your company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?
* The Septuagint has Carthage here as in all other places where it translates Tarshish.38:14 Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog hidden leader, Thus says the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of [spiritual] Israel dwells safely, shall you not know it? 38:15 And you shall come from your place out of the north parts, you, and many people with you, all of them riding upon horses,* a great company, and a mighty army:
*Horses etc. not to be taken literally. It is a picture of military might.38:16 And you shall come up against my people of [spiritual] Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days,* and I will bring you against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in you,**(1) O Gog hidden leader, before their eyes.
* A further latter day statement causing expectation of the fulfillment of these events, not at the end of time but toward the end of the historical age that we are in. This prophecy is most certainly in process of being fulfilled since 1917 and is now nearing completion.38:17 Thus says the Lord GOD; [are] you he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of [spiritual] Israel, which prophesied in those days [many] years that I would bring you against them? 38:18 And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of [spiritual] Israel, says the Lord GOD, [that] my fury shall come up in my face. 38:19 For in my jealousy [and] in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking * in the land of [spiritual] Israel;
** The result of God's dealing will be that revival of the knowledge of God will come among the nations. Each place so mentioned in the text is bolded and numbered.
* Shaking,-- revolution in world powers, and the church, with the overthrow of restraints imposed by government, ethics, religion, politics, and those things counted secure.38:20 So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that [are] upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground, all of which are to be figuratively fulfilled.*
* Those things indicated by the removal of "mountains, walls" etc. are the eradication of human divisions like East - West blocks, national boundaries, difficulties caused by nationalism and totalitarianism, borders, etc., which inhibit social and economic interaction and the spread of the gospel of Christ.38:21 And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains,* says the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother, civil war within and assaults from without.
* As well as the blows of nature and physical war described in verse 22 there will be an offensive strike from many parts of the world -- Christianity against the combined forces led by Gog. The central attack will be on the primary leaders,-- Russia and her companions assaulted from the principalities, "mountains," of the church of Christ.38:22 And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that [are] with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones,* fire, and brimstone,** all are physical calamities not figurative. 38:23 Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.***(2)
* See Revelation 16:21 which most probably refers to this same soon coming event. The context of shaking, islands fleeing, mountains not being found, and the plague of great hail points to physical calamities followed by a revolution of proportions not encountered before in history to this time. And this soon to happen -- in the lifetime of most people reading this document. Also notice that this is a part of God's pleading with the marshalled enemies. It is not the means of destruction which is mentioned in 39:6. God uses the physical calamities to plead with the wayward. He does not willingly afflict the sons of men.Chapter 39
** Pestilence, fire and brimstone, hail, blood etc. These are all physical calamities not to be spiritualized or fulfilled figuratively.
*** The material in the next chapter describes the total destruction of the invading forces and their burial and gathering of the spoils by the people of God. It was in 1966 at Elfin Lake in Vermont that I first publicly proposed that these passages refer to nations of our time, and their activities politically and religiously are described here as to current and near future events. Some of these events have occurred since that time. These events will be literally seen to come to pass. For instance in 1966 I predicted on the basis of these prophecies that Ethiopia would become a communist state and that Iran would oppose the western democracies. At that time listeners asked with dismay how a nation so closely allied to the USA as the Shah's Iran could turn so quickly. Just as the political events have partially unfolded, so the destruction of the forces of Gog will come to pass as well. However, it is the belief of this writer that the great destruction, although coincident with physical calamities with which God pleads with the Russian people, none the less, is spiritual and the burial etc. is a picture of conversion of the nation to Christ. We should look for a revival of the Church of Christ in the Russian nation. The next chapter explains why.
39:1 Therefore, you son of man, prophesy against Gog hidden leader, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against you, O Gog hidden leader, the Prince of Ros, Moscow and Tobolsk: 39:2 And I will turn you back, and leave but the sixth part* of you, and will cause you to come up from the north parts, and will bring you upon the mountains of [spiritual] Israel:
* That is, only 16 2/3% of those indicated will survive. The precise number precludes a hyperbole. It means the total destruction of 83% of those led by Russia, Moscow and Siberia; they will die. This great destruction is either spiritually to be fulfilled or it will literally happen soon.39:3 And I will smite your bow out of your left hand, and will cause your arrows to fall out of your right hand.*
*Not literally; what is indicated is that Russia will be rendered defenseless in the end of the battle.[spiritual] Israel, you, and all your bands, and the people that [is] with you: I will give you unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and [to] the beasts of the field to be devoured.*
*As in Revelation 19 where the same meal is spoken of this is not to be taken literally. What is seen is the complete destruction and spoiling of the enemies of God's people.39:5 you shall fall upon the open field: for I have spoken [it], says the Lord GOD. 39:6 And I will send a fire on Magog,* Scythia, South Russia, the Ukraine, and among them that dwell in indifference in the isles: that is the nations round about,** and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.(3)
* This has got to be the same FIRE as that spoken of in Revelation 20:8 where the same features are noticed: (1) direct intervention of God, it is fire out of heaven, (2) The fire of God is to be poured out in the Ukraine, Russia's industrial heartland. [Note: I have used this verse, since the 1970's, to predict a revival of the Christian religion beginning in the Ukraine in my own lifetime. It is on this point which the greatest disputes had risen with my contemporaries who still insist on a literal Palestinian Armageddon and the same insist there will be a revival of communism in Russia. Note added 1993]39:7 So will I make my holy name known (4) in the midst of my people [spiritual] Israel; and I will not [let them] pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I [am] the LORD,(5) the Holy One in [spiritual] Israel.*
** When this great destruction is to begin we do not know but it is near. The location of its beginning is here made certain. The fire of God is to be poured out in the Ukraine and its power to destroy his enemies will engulf all the armies posed against him as well as those who are indifferent to him.
*A revival of knowledge of the Lord and repentance among his own people and those who do not know him is indicated here.39:8 Behold, it is come, and it is done, says the Lord GOD; this [is] the day whereof I have spoken.*
*The Armageddon we are all looking for.39:9 And they that dwell in the cities of [spiritual] Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years: as fuel! 39:10 So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down [any] out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, says the Lord GOD.*
* They have no need for fuel due to the acquisitions from the armies of Gog.39:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in [spiritual] Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses] of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call [it] The valley of Hamongog. 39:12 And seven months shall the house of [spiritual] Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land. 39:13 Yes, all the people of the land shall bury [them]; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, says the Lord GOD.*
* The date will be marked as a "holiday" year by year among those members of spiritual Israel, that is, the church of Jesus Christ.39:14 And after the seven month season of universal involvement in the burying (baptizing) they shall hire salaried men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search.*
* As there is to be a wholesale destruction of the armies led by the Russians which will leave 83 1/3% dead and lying to be buried, one must hazard a guess as to whether the fulfillment is to be literal or figurative, spiritual. That is, are we reading here of the prediction of almost total destruction of a nation physically needing literal burying which is to involve every member of the church of Christ in the labor for many months, or is it a picture of one grand destruction of God's enemies through their death to self and consequent conversion? Time will tell.39:15 And the passengers [that] pass through the land, when [any] sees a man's bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamongog.*
* Note the division of labor. One class of itinerant simply finds the dead and leaves them with a sign for those who bury while they move on for further discovery of bodies.39:16 And also the name of the city [shall be] Hamonah. Thus shall they cleanse the land. 39:17 And, you son of man, thus says the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, [even] a great sacrifice upon the mountains of [spiritual] (2) Israel, that you all may eat flesh, and drink blood. 39:18 You all shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan. 39:19 And you all shall eat fat till you all be full and drink blood till you all be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. 39:20 Thus you all shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, says the Lord GOD.*
* As noted above this feast for the birds is laid out in Revelation 19 as accompanying the victory supper of the Lamb of God. It is likely figuratively fulfilled as it is unlikely that birds will eat chariots. It is a picture of the total destruction and annihilation of the enemies of God gathered by Gog. It pictures the moment of destruction to be followed by the time when the enemies of God's people will have disappeared and the people of God gained the ascendancy in the affairs of men. Daniel 7:18 says the saints shall take the kingdom. The chapter closes with the passing away of worldly kingdoms and the government being given to the people of God. Revelation 11:15 says of this moment, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ."39:21 And I will set my glory among the heathen, (6) and all the heathen shall see (7) my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them. 39:22 So the house of [spiritual] Israel shall know (8) that I [am] the LORD their God from that day and forward. 39:23 And the heathen shall know (9) that the house of [spiritual] Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword. 39:24 According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them. 39:25 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of [spiritual] Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; 39:26 After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made [them] afraid. 39:27 When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;(10) 39:28 Then shall they know that I [am] the LORD their God, (11) which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.*
* Israel after the flesh is thought by many to be referred to in these final passages. If the conversion of the Jews is referred to one must remember that they have been cut off from the root and need to be grafted back into the true and continuing Israel, the church of Christ. The majority, if not all the references in these two chapters must be seen in the context of the fulfillment as to the Israel whom God would recognize in the time-frame of that fulfillment. Neither the Jewish state nor the diaspora is the Israel of these prophecies nor of God.39:29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of [spiritual] Israel, says the Lord GOD.*
*These chapters speak of an attempt led by Russia to gather the nations against God's people due to an evil thought device. Referred to in Revelation and elsewhere this passage is taken to refer to the battle of Armageddon. The battle in all likelihood is spiritual and refers to an epoch rather than a moment, beginning in 1917 and ending in the not too distant future, probably within the lifetime of most of those reading this material. The current black outlook for the church in western Europe and the United States is due for a change to the victory side. The Ukraine is the place pinpointed where the intervention of God will begin. The wise will watch for revival. A great and sweeping world revival seems to be predicted as a result of the overthrow of the opposing powers whether by physical death or conversion. Young people have a great world to look forward to. Wise men will prepare for great things coming in the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ!
This chapter was written in: Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, May 1988
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