Ezek 38.1-23 gives us an account of an enemy of Israel called Gog and Magog, along with other nations who will invade Israel after they have settled in the land. Ezekiel is told to prophesy against Gog (the leader) and that the Lord is against him. This invasion was prophesied to happen by the prophets before Ezekiel, so there must be Scriptures that refer to this invasion and will give us a clue as to who it is and what nation they portray in the last days. As a result, this chapter has many eschatological implications that will be pointed out as we move through the chapter. We believe that this invasion is referring to a coming Russian invasion of Israel during the birth-pains (tribulation) of the Messiah, and the invasion of Judah by Assyria is a picture of that invasion. Eschatologically, the invasion by Russia may happen at the end of the third year of the birth-pains, going into the fourth year, and it will be during the month of Tishri, right after Rosh Ha Shanah, and they will be defeated by Yom Kippur by Yehovah himself. This defeat will cause Israel to rejoice at the festival of Sukkot (Isa 9.1-7). Jewish and Christian teachers saw this chapter as relating to Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah, where Sennacherib is Gog and Assyria as Magog. This chapter is the haftorah reading for the intermediate Sabbath of Sukkot. For a more detailed look at this prophetic scenario, we refer you to the Artscroll Tanach series book called “Yechezkel” or Ezekiel, Mesorah Publications, Chapter 38 and 39; Everyman’s Talmud by Abraham Cohen; Talmud Sanhedrin 95b; H.A. Ironside Expository Commentaries).
v 1…And the word of the Lord (Yehovah) came to me saying,
v 2…”Son of man (mortal human being; Ezekiel is representing the people), set your face toward Gog (against Gog the leader) of the land of Magog (a people in Gen 10.2 descended from Japheth and believed to be the Scythians), the prince of Rosh (Russia, or it could be translated as “chief prince”), Meshach and Tubal (Gen 10.2 and prophesy against him
v 3…and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God (Adonai Yehovah), “Behold (take note and see), I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshach and Tubal.
v 4…And I will turn you about (manage you) and put hooks into your jaws (like Sennacherib in Isa 37.9) and I will bring you out (of your land), and all of your army, horses and horsemen (cavalry), all of them splendidly attired (with ornaments), a great company (large army) with buckler and shield (large and small defenses), all of them wielding swords (offensive weapons).
v 5…Persia (now Iran), Ethiopia (Hebrew “Cush” could be Arabia Chusea between Egypt and Judah, where Midian was in Saudi Arabia, or it could be Iraq in Mesopotamia) and Put (Libya with them, all of them with shield and helmet (fitted and ready for war);
v 6…Gomer (northern Ashkenazic or Germanic) with all of its troops; Beth (house)-togarmah (Serbs, Yugoslavia, Ukraine or Russian satellite nations north of Asia Minor), from the remote parts of the north with all its troops-many peoples with you (see Oba 7; Psa 83.1-8; Mic 4.11).
v 7…Be prepared, and prepare yourself, you and all your companies that are assembled about you and be a guard for them (use caution that any good commander would use to protect your army, but in the end it won’t matter).
v 8…After many days you will be summoned (by Yehovah in the birth-pains), in the latter days (or “after years” or the “acharit shanim” and this corresponds to the “acharit yamim” or latter days of v 16. Both are eschatological terms for when the Messiah comes) you will come into the land (Israel) that is restored from the sword (the rightful owners of the land have returned), gathered out of many peoples (nations) to the mountains of Israel which had been a continued waste (but is now inhabited); but its people were brought out of the nations, and they are living securely, all of them (having very little to fear-certainly not like it has been since 1948, but during the birth-pains they will be confident and without any aggressive designs towards any nation. Israel has a military treaty with Europe and the False Messiah, and it is possible that Russia will cause the Arabs to step back from acts of terrorism until the invasion).
v 9…And you will go up (suddenly into Israel), you will come like a storm (threatening danger); you will be like a cloud covering the land (dark, ominous), you and all your troops, and many peoples with you (his army collectively).”
v 10…”Thus says the Lord God (Adonai Yehovah), “It will come about on that day (an eschatological term for the “Day of the Lord” and the last one thousand years of the seven thousand year plan of God called the Atid Lavo or “coming age”, also the Millennium in Christian eschatology) that thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan (they believe Israel can be defeated and Russia will move into position to strike. The Arabs have been “disarmed” in a deception with Russia, and Israel feels secure and will be at rest, reducing the risk for the Masada Complex to be activated. But really wants to wipe Israel out like Assyria tried-Isa 10.7; Oba 7).
v 11…And you will say, “I will go against the land of unwalled villages (meaning they can be easily conquered). I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely; all of them living without walls and have no bars or gates;
v 12…to capture spoil and to seize plunder (they are covetous), to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center (navel) of the earth (dwelling on the highest and strongest part of the land, like Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, etc.).
v 13…Sheba and Dedan (Arabs and rich traders), and the merchants of Tarshish (possibly Tartessus in Spain who traded by sea with Tyre and Sidon and the Israeli coastlands) with all its villages (or in Hebrew “young lions” and refers to all the aggressive traders who “roared” for business), will say to you, “Have you come to capture spoil? Have you assembled your company to seize plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to capture great spoil (knowing how covetous Gog and Magog are)?”
v 14…Therefore (punishment is going to be announced now), prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog (the leader of Russia), ‘Thus says the Lord God, “On that day (the Day of the Lord) when my people Israel are living securely, will you not know it (that Israel dwells securely and has much goods)?
v 15…And you will come from your place out of the remotest parts of the north (Russia), you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses (military power), a great assembly (horde, company) and a mighty army;
v 16…and will come up against my people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It will come about in the last days (acharit yamim and an eschatological term for when the Messiah comes) that I will bring you against my land (Yehovah is in control to reveal his glory), in order that the nations may know me when I shall be sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog (when they see his kedusha and justice as he overthrows Gog and Magog, especially the Jewish people who have been warned by the 144,000 and the two witnesses that Russia was going to be destroyed and Yeshua is the Messiah. It will be proof that Yehovah has spoken).”
v 17…’Thus says the Lord God, “Are you the one of whom I spoke in former days (before Ezekiel) through my servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for in those days for years that I would bring you against them (the name “Gog and Magog” are not mentioned in any previous prophecy, but Yehovah said he did predict this, but how? We believe he did through the prophesies concerning Assyria and Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah. Eschatologically, this has been seen in Num 24.22-24 and all the prophecies about Assyria by Isaiah, Amos, Micah and Obadiah).
v 18…And it will come about on that day (the Day of the Lord) when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” declares the Lord God, ‘that my fury will mount up in my anger (nose, face)!
v 19…And my zeal (jealousy) and in my blazing wrath I declare (not against Israel, but Gog and Magog on that day there will be a great earthquake in the land of Israel (at the revelation of this wrath like at Sinai in Exo 19.6).
v 20…And the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at my presence (the terrible phenomenon that goes with God’s wrath; remember, this is the birth-pains or “tribulation”); the mountains will also be thrown down (as mountains sometimes do earthquakes-Zech 14.2), the steep pathways will collapse, and every wall (cliffs and steep heights) will fall to the ground.
v 21…And I shall call for a sword against him (Gog) on all my mountains (the land of Israel),” declares the Lord God, “every man’s sword will be against his brother (the army of Gog will turn on themselves, like with Midian in Judges 7.22).
v 22…And with pestilence (as with Assyria in Isa 10.16) and with blood I will enter into judgment with him; and I shall rain on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones and brimstone (Josh 10.11; Gen 19.24).
v 23…And I shall magnify myself, sanctify myself (by showing a power that cannot be duplicated), and make myself known in the sight of the many nations and they will know that I am the Lord (Yehovah’s great and unmatched power will be seen, and it will be proof that he is the only true God of Israel).”