Jacob’s Trouble continued
“It shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen [or nations] may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes” (Ezek 38:8–12,14–16).
When these forces attack Israel, the eyes of the world will be upon them. Every nation will be watching. With modern satellite communications, internet and television, this can be literally true.
Ezekiel expresses it eloquently: “And it shall come to pass at the same time, when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face. 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 Israel. . . And I will plead against him [Gog] 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” (Ezek 38:18, 19, 22).
This is (generally and supposedly to be taken as) symbolic language (but in this particular case, is it? I believe that we are entering a time in which many things written will have both literal and symbolic fulfillments and that we would be wise to consider this and to be on the lookout for both so as not to be stumbled). The prophet uses the words fury, jealousy, wrath, a great shaking, pestilence, blood, an overflowing rain, great hailstone, fire, and brimstone. These were the most destructive things men knew at that time. Today men consider nuclear weapons and the rockets or missiles which propel them to be the ultimate in destructive force. Although Gog and his allies will be liberally equipped with these, they are but puny things indeed compared with the power of God. So we can only imagine the form in which this tremendous power of God will be expressed against the enemies of Israel. But we do know that it will be demonstrated in a most spectacular manner and that the whole world will witness it, will know that a most unusual thing has taken place—something that can be attributed only to God. What they see will convince them that it is indeed the Almighty God who is fighting for his people Israel.
Millions of atheists, agnostics and heathen the world over will be instantly converted to God. (Not necessarily to Christianity, but to a belief in THE God of Israel.)
“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” (Ezek 38:23). This is confirmed two chapters earlier: “And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen [or nations] . . . And the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes” (That is to say God will be sanctified, [i.e. set-apart] proven as the one and only true God in the eyes of the world when he miraculously intervenes on the part of the nation of Israel) Ezek 36:23. “The Future of the Nation of Israel”
“And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD that my fury shall come up in my face.” (Ezek 38:18)
As God said through Isaiah, “I have long time held my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once,” and so God’s fury will come up in His face (Isa 42:14). This expression is figurative because no man can see God’s face and live. The expression indicates that,
(1) God has had enough. He will lay bare His holy arm in the sight of all and execute judgment (Isa 52:10).
(2) A person can be angry, but that anger can be hidden and go undiscerned by others. However, for fury to come up in God’s face means an outward manifestation of His indignation against this invading host. God will be “seen” in this trouble. One of these ways in which he will be discerned is by means of “a great shaking [earthquake] in the land of Israel.”
“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 Israel; 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.” (Ezek 38:19, 20)
“The earthquake will be of such mammoth proportions and intensity in that selective area that birds, insects, fish, animals, and people in all conditions will feel the effects. All will shake at God’s presence (The possible literal fulfillment).
The symbolic fulfillment however is this, “The violence begun there will spread like a cancer, as the armies assembled against the Lord’s people turn one upon another, “every man’s sword against his brother” so too will this same sentiment spread throughout the world, “so that the fish of the sea (the unrestrained masses of humanity), and the birds of the heavens (the powers of spiritual control, both the seen and the unseen), and the beasts of the field (Gentile governments of the world), 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 (governments, kingdoms of this world) shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and EVERY wall (every shelter or place of seeming security and refuge, every man-made institution and/or organization whether secular or religious) shall fall to the ground.”
The Dome of the Rock and the city of Jerusalem, both new and old, will be leveled to prepare the topography for the Temple platform in the Kingdom. When the Mount of Olives splits, the Holy Remnant will find the valley that opens to be a place of refuge and safety. They will rush into that valley and be protected, while all around will be utter destruction. God’s method will be similar to the Israelites’ protection when the Red Sea opened and they crossed dry-shod in the Exodus. The “dry land” of the future will be the valley of safety between the two halves of the Mount of Olives.
Question: The end of Verse 19 defines the earthquake as being in the land of Israel, but Verses 20 and 21 sound as if the earthquake affects the whole earth. Doesn’t the qualification of Verse 19 apply to all three verses?
Answer: Yes. Zech 14:4, 5, 10 confirms the selectivity. “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee…. All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.”
Zech 14:10 11 shows that Jerusalem will be rebuilt, Gog and Magog will come down to Jerusalem; they will not be interested in Tiberias or Haifa, for example, but the main capital. “The city shall be taken” (Zech 14:2)—what city? Jerusalem. All the land in that environs will be lifted up and the land completely reallocated. A literal earthquake will occur in the future as it was a literal earthquake in the days of Uzziah (Zech 14:5; Amos 1:1).
So specific shall the judgments be that near the end the inhabitants of earth will know it is the Day of the Lord. “Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come” (Joel 1:15). “And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward [to me in that day, saith the LORD] ” (Isa 8:21).
“And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man’s sword shall be against his brother.” (Ezek 38:21)
The particular intent is the destruction of Gog and those with him, as well as the unholy Jew (Ezek 20:38) and not necessarily of Sheba, Dedan, and Tarshish especially (the various peace-keeping forces on the scene in and around Israel at the time). “Every man’s sword shall be against his brother.” This statement indicates that utter confusion and panic will cause Gog’s own “sword,” the very weapons of destruction and violence, to be turned against one another. We are reminded of the Gideon-Midianite account where God gave Israel a great victory by causing the enemy to become so confused that they slaughtered each other.
It is conceivable that many of the great literal occurrences of the Old Testament will have a brief, concentrated, literal, limited application in Israel in Jacob’s Trouble to show it is the God of nature and the God of Israel who is manifesting power.
Remember God’s promise, “Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle (i.e., as he did in the days of old).” Zech 14:1-3
And it will soon become very obvious that a miraculous power is protecting each of the Holy Remnant. For example, if one of the Holy Remnant is in a building and the building collapses, killing all of the others, that one individual will survive. Each of these may escape death several times over the period of this trouble. When this mutual class realizes they are being protected and then get into the valley between the split Mount of Olives, they will know they have been saved, covered, by the Lord’s hand. And the surviving eyewitness Gentiles will discern this miraculous protection.
“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.” (Ezek 38:22)
God will plead against Gog in various ways. Some will die by “pestilence” (disease) and others by “blood” (violence—war, battle, accidents, and etc.). Overflowing rain suggests a flood; a torrential downpour will occur reminiscent of the Deluge in Noah’s day, drowning some.
This is a very distinctive possibility recall what we had mentioned in one of our previous post with regards to “The Healing waters and Trees”, and the bringing of life back to the Dead Sea, that either by canal (under peaceful conditions) or earthquake water from the Mediterranean Sea could rush in to the low lying areas reaching from a point about 20 miles south of the Dead Sea to a point about 10 miles north of the Sea of Galilee flooding the entire area. If this were caused say by an earthquake this could happen almost instantly without warning cutting off and drowning a large proportion of Gog’s band of followers.
The hailstones that will fall upon Gog and his band will be like that which fell upon the armies of Gibeon in which more of the enemy perished from the hailstones than were killed by the sword, thus suggesting the sheer size of some of these hailstones, See Josh 10:11. Fire and brimstone (i.e. sulfur) indicate the earthquake will spew out lava, which will fall destructively as in the demise of Sodom and Gomorrah. What happened to Lot’s wife may very well happen again. These occurrences will disprove the idea that the Old Testament accounts were merely fables devised simply to judge the ungodly and to instill good morals upon mankind that they never really i.e. literally took place. All of these calamities will happen to Gog and to “his bands,” the many people confederate with Gog. The inauguration of Christ’s Kingdom will be one of the most dramatic occurrences of history as there will be sample reenactments of the various miracles that occurred in Israel’s past. In all of the confusion and destruction, those whose names are written in the book of life (the remnant of Israel) will survive. Each one will know he has been specially spared and will thus repent and mourn for Jesus as for an only son. The Holy Remnant will mourn as being responsible, as a people, for Messiah’s death (Zech 12:10–13).
“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.” (Ezek 38:23)
Thus will God magnify and sanctify Himself and be known in the eyes of many nations. So much for those who think the Kingdom will gradually come in! Ezekiel 38 is very STRONG and SPECIFIC in its language. To say the Kingdom will glide in means that such are not really reading Scripture and that they are babes in understanding. The nominal system has had the view that the Kingdom will come when everybody is converted. Go out and evangelize, they say, and eventually, when enough are evangelized, the world will know Christ. But the reality is far more DRAMATIC! (“The Book of Ezekiel” by Brother Frank Shallieu, Pages 222-224)