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Bible Commentaries

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Ezekiel 39

Verse 1

"And thou, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal: and I will turn thee about, and I will lead thee on, and will cause thee to come up from the uttermost parts of the north; and I will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel; and I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy hordes, and the peoples that are with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field; for I have spoken it, saith the Lord Jehovah. And I will send a fire on Magog, and on them that dwell securely in the isles; and they shall know that I am Jehovah. And my holy name will I make known in the midst of my people Israel; neither will I suffer my holy name to be profaned any more: and the nations shall know that I am Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, it cometh, and it shall be done, saith the Lord Jehovah; this is the day whereof I have spoken."

RECAPITULATION OF THE JUDGMENT OF GOG (Ezekiel 39:1-8)

Practically all of the previous chapter is repeated here, namely, Ezekiel 39:2-4,14-17, and Ezekiel 18-22. "The writer is describing not a second invasion by Gog but the same events from a different perspective. He especially elaborates the numbers of the enemy, shown by the quantity of weapons left behind and the long time required to bury the dead."

As Skinner stated it, "These chapters anticipate a world-judgment as the final scene of history."[16] This obvious certainty relative to the meaning of these chapters leads to the deductions that the mention of firewood for seven years and the required time for burying the dead are both inert features of the prophecy, designed to indicate the numbers of Gog's host and nothing else.

"I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured ..." (Ezekiel 39:4). This corresponds to the judgment scene given in Revelation 19:17,18, in which the mighty angel of God invites the birds and beasts to the "Great Supper of God"!

"And my holy name will I make known in the midst of my people Israel; neither will I suffer my holy name to be profaned any more ..." (Ezekiel 39: 7). This is an astounding statement, and it explains everything else in the prophecy. Why would it be necessary for God to make his name known in the midst of his people Israel? Simply because the Israel of that final period will no longer know the name of God in any real understanding of it. They shall have ignored God's Word, contradicted it, perverted it, mistranslated it, gone beyond it, forgotten and profaned it to the extent that the Final Judgment itself would he necessary to make known to the apostate Second Israel of that day even the holy Church of the Messiah, such an elementary thing as the name of God.

It was impossible, really, that Ezekiel could have recognized the complete meaning of such a prophecy as this.

Verse 9

"And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall make fires of the weapons and burn them, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves and the spears, and they shall make fires of them seven years; so that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any of the forest; for they shall make fires of the weapons; and they shall plunder those that plundered them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord Jehovah. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place for burial in Israel, the valley of them that pass through on the east of the sea; and it shall stop them that pass through: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude; and they shall call it the valley of Hamon-god. And seven months shall the house of Israel be in burying them, that they may cleanse the land. Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown in the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Lord Jehovah. And they shall set apart men of continual employment, that shall pass through the land, and, with them that pass through, those that bury them that remain upon the face of the land, to cleanse it; and after the end of seven months shall they search. And they that pass through the land shall pass through; and when any seeth a man's bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamon-gog. And Hamonah shall also be the name of a city. Thus shalt thou cleanse the land."

TOTAL DESTRUCTION OF GOG AND HIS HOSTS (Ezekiel 39:9-20)

We have already mentioned our conclusion that these rather long statements about the firewood for seven years and the seven months period of burying the dead are inert features of the prophecy designed merely to stress the great numbers of the hosts of Gog. We have discovered no other meaningful interpretation.

"On the east side of the sea ..." (Ezekiel 39:11). Keil informs us that the Hebrew from which this translation is taken literally means "on the front of the sea"[17] which, of course, means "east of the sea." See our full discussion of this under Genesis 2:14, where we have exactly the same Hebrew words (Vol. 1 of the Pentateuchal Series, p. 51). The "sea" here "Undoubtedly means the Dead Sea."[18]

"And it shall stop them that pass through ..." (Ezekiel 39:11). This is another one of the passages where translators thought they were improving upon the King James Bible when they were not! The KJV has this, "It shall stop the noses of the passengers." "This means that the strong odor of decay would arrest the attention and impede the progress of all who passed by."[19] This same author also pointed out that this burial place east of the Dead Sea was in the vicinity of the final resting places of Sodom and Gomorrah, both of those having also received terminal judgments from God because of their wickedness.

Verse 17

"And thou, son of man, thus saith the Lord Jehovah: speak unto the birds of every sort, 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 Israel, that ye may eat flesh and drink blood. Ye 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. And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. And ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord Jehovah."

Although repeated here with variations, this is the same prophecy given in Ezekiel 39:4, foretelling The Great Supper of God.

There are two Suppers which God has provided for human beings: (1) the Lord's Supper in his kingdom to which all men are invited to come, regardless of race or any other merely human classification, and (2) the Great Supper of God. The first is optional for men. If they desire redemption from their sins, the Lord's Supper is given for their nourishment and teaching; but if men through wickedness reject this supper, there is yet another, the Great Supper of God; it is not optional. Those who miss the Lord's Supper will most certainly be present for this one, only they shall not be the ones who eat it; they shall be the piece de resistance! The picture here seems to be "Based upon Isaiah 36:6 and Jeremiah 46:10."[20] Also, Revelation 19:17-19 has another graphic presentation of this Great Supper of God. Feinberg's opinion that, "These events shall transpire at the end of the great tribulation, and just before the Millennial reign of Messiah,"[21] cannot possibly be correct, for the New Testament plainly states that it will happen "when the thousand years reign of Christ are finished" (Revelation 20:7).

Verse 21

"And I will set my glory among the nations; and all the nations shall see my judgment which I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them. So the house of Israel shall know that I am Jehovah their God, from that day and forward. And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity; because they trespassed against me, and I hid my face from them."

"And the nations shall know ..." (Ezekiel 39:23). "The big lesson the nations needed to learn was the fact of Israel's having been abandoned by their God, delivered to the sword of the invader; and taken into exile, was not because of Jehovah's inability to protect them, but because of their wickedness which had caused God to hide his face from them."[22]

Most of the nations had already found out that God was mightier than their pagan deities.

Verse 25

"Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Now will I bring back the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for my holy name. And they shall bear their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they shall dwell securely in their land, and none shall make them afraid; when I have brought them back from the peoples, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations. And they shall know that I am Jehovah their God, in that I caused them to go into captivity among the nations, and have gathered them unto their own land; and I will leave none of them any more there; neither will I hide my face any more from them; for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord Jehovah."

ISRAEL TO RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT (Ezekiel 39:25-29)

This final paragraph is not a part of the Gog prophecy. "The prophecy here returns to the point of view in Ezekiel 33-37."[23] "These verses also form a fitting conclusion to the whole prophecy of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1-39) down to this point."[24]

"I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel ..." (Ezekiel 39:29). This promise had already been conveyed to Israel in Ezekiel 6:27 and in Ezekiel 37:14, also in Joel 2:28 and Zechariah 12:10; and, "The citation of Joel's words by Peter on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17) prove that he regarded the remarkable effusion of the Holy Spirit upon that day as a fulfillment of the promise here recorded by Ezekiel."[25] Therefore, we must construe the verb, "I have poured out" in this promise as a prophetic perfect, in which a promise of God is given as something already done.

There is no evidence whatever that Israel as a whole ever manifested any evidence of being possessed of the Spirit of God during the pre-Christian centuries, nor in their wholesale rejection of the Christ when he came.

Returning, for a moment to the Gog, Magog prophecy, we should observe that Gog is depicted as "the last enemy," "at the end of the times," and that it is presented as gathering together against God and his people the nations from the "uttermost parts of the earth." All of the ancient enemies of Israel such as Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Antiochus, all long ago departed from the stage of human affairs and had presumably perished. But notice also another tremendously important deduction that is required by this. "The boundaries of Israel, at that remote time, shall stretch far beyond the limits of ancient Palestine"![26]

For those who wish to pursue further the implications of this remarkable prophecy, we refer to that place in the Apocalypse of the Apostle John (Revelation 20:9,9), where according to Keil, and also according to the conviction of this writer, the Gog, Magog prophecy is concluded.

Copyright Statement
Coffman's Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Ezekiel 39". "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bcc/ezekiel-39.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.