The Word Made Fresh
1The word of the LORD came to me: 2“Son of man, look toward Gog in the land of Magog, the chief ruler in Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him. 3Declare that the LORD says, ‘I am against you, Gog, ruler of Magog and Tubal. 4I will turn you around, put a hook in your jaw and lead you away, along with your army, including the horses and horsemen, all of them wearing full armor with shield and buckler, and all of them wearing swords. 5Persia, Cush and Put are with you, clothed in armor and helmets – 6all the armies of Gomer and Beth-Togarmah from the ends of the earth with all its soldiers and people are with you.
7“’Be prepared, and stay prepared, you and all the groups gathered around you. Keep yourselves in reserve for them. 8Many days will pass, and you will be called to arms. In the years to come you will go against a land that was restored after battle, a land where people were taken captive from many nations and gathered on the mountains of Israel – a land that had been laid waste. But its people were brought out from among the nations and are now living in safety. 9You will advance like a storm blowing in, covering the land – you and all your armies and the peoples with you.’”
10The LORD God says, “On that day ideas will come to your mind, and you will begin to plan a wicked scheme. 11You’ll declare, ‘I will go and attack the unwalled villages around the countryside and capture the quiet people who now live in safety, but have no walls or bars or gates. 12I will take everything of value when I attack the once empty places where they are living now, those people who came here from all directions and are accumulating cattle and wealth now that they live at the center of the world. 13Sheba and Dedan and the tradesmen of Tarshish, along with their inhabitants will say, ‘Have you come to rob us? Have you assembled this army to carry off our belongings – silver and gold, cattle and goods?’
14“So, prophesy to Gog: This is what the LORD God says: At a time when my people are safe and secure you will take note. 15You and many others with you will come from the remotest lands of the north, riding on horses, a great and mighty army. 16You will attack my people Israel, coming like a cloud covering the earth. In those far-off days I will bring you against my land. Then the nations will know me, for I will use you to show my holiness to them.”
17The LORD God says: “Aren’t you the one I spoke of in days gone by through my servants, the prophets of Israel? For years they said I would bring enemies against them. 18And on that day, when Gog attacks the land of Israel, the LORD’s anger will be aroused. 19In jealousy and burning anger, God declares, the land of Israel will be shaken. 20The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the animals of the fields, every creature that creeps along the ground, and every human on the face of the earth will quake at my presence. The mountains will be thrown down. The cliffs will collapse. Every wall will tumble to the ground. 21Then I will summon the battle against Gog over all my land,” says the LORD God, “and the enemy’s soldiers will turn against each other. 22I will judge Gog with disease and bloodshed, and I will pour down heavy rain and hail stones, and send fire and sulfur against him and his troops and others with him. 23That is how I will show my greatness and my holiness, and will reveal myself to many nations. And then they will know that I am the LORD.”
1-6: Of course, the heavenly estate cannot be expected to exist without challenge, for the nations stubbornly worship other gods and sooner or later war must come. Gog, the prince of a land called Magog, will be a future threat to the existence of Israel and to God’s sovereignty. Gog and Magog appear in other ancient near-eastern literature, and basically represent the ultimate threat that all nations fear. God tells Ezekiel to prophesy against this threat and the alliance of nations with it — Persia and Cush (Ethiopia) most notably, for they are in opposite directions from Israel.
7-9: But Israel is not alone. Many nations gather in the mountains of Israel and advance against Gog.
10-13: God is speaking to Gog, reading his mind and analyzing his plans. Gog will see helpless villages in the mountains of Israel and covet them, joined by trading nations eager to examine the spoils.
14-16: God summons Gog out of the north. It seems that, except for Egypt and Cush (Ethiopia), all Israel’s threats have come from the north — Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and the Greeks under Alexander the Great. Gog is summoned so that God’s holiness can be displayed before all the nations. In other words, God’s might and very existence is most evident when Israel is under attack. God had given them up to Assyria and Babylon because of their wickedness, but as a result the nations said Israel’s God was essentially worthless. God is looking for an opportunity to make a demonstration.
17-23: God looks forward to the demonstration, an opportunity for God’s greatness to be displayed. Gog will be utterly defeated, and God will be made known “in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.”
God’s people will never be wiped out; a faithful remnant will always be in place to provide an arena for God’s power and presence to be displayed.