1 “And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 2 And I will turn you about and drive you forward, and bring you up from the uttermost parts of the north, and lead you against the mountains of Israel. 3 Then I will strike your bow from your left hand, and will make your arrows drop out of your right hand. 4 You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples who are with you. I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. 5 You shall fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Lord God. 6 I will send fire on Magog and on those who dwell securely in the coastlands, and they shall know that I am the Lord.
7 “And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. 8 Behold, it is coming and it will be brought about, declares the Lord God. That is the day of which I have spoken.
9 “Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and make fires of the weapons and burn them, shields and bucklers, bow and arrows, clubs and spears; and they will make fires of them for seven years, 10 so that they will not need to take wood out of the field or cut down any out of the forests, for they will make their fires of the weapons. They will seize the spoil of those who despoiled them, and plunder those who plundered them, declares the Lord God.
11 “On that day I will give to Gog a place for burial in Israel, the Valley of the Travelers, east of the sea. It will block the travelers, for there Gog and all his multitude will be buried. It will be called the Valley of Hamon-gog. 12 For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. 13 All the people of the land will bury them, and it will bring them renown on the day that I show my glory, declares the Lord God. 14 They will set apart men to travel through the land regularly and bury those travelers remaining on the face of the land, so as to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make their search. 15 And when these travel through the land and anyone sees a human bone, then he shall set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon-gog. 16 (Hamonah is also the name of the city.) Thus shall they cleanse the land.
17 “As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord God: Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field: ‘Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. 18 You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth—of rams, of lambs, and of he-goats, of bulls, all of them fat beasts of Bashan. 19 And you shall eat fat till you are filled, and drink blood till you are drunk, at the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you. 20 And you shall be filled at my table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all kinds of warriors,’ declares the Lord God.
21 “And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. 22 The house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God, from that day forward. 23 And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt so treacherously with me that I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword. 24 I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them. – Ezekiel 39:1-24 ESV
Gog, this future world leader, who will form an alliance of nations to attack the reestablished nation of Israel, will find himself with a very powerful enemy: God Himself. So, God has Ezekiel write down a message for this as-yet-to-be-born, self-appointed conqueror of Israel.
“I am your enemy, O Gog, ruler of the nations of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around and drive you toward the mountains of Israel, bringing you from the distant north.” – Ezekiel 39:2-3 NLT
From this point forward, God makes it clear that everything Gog does will be according to His plan. Repeatedly, God states, “I will…,” declaring His sovereign plan to use Gog as a means of accomplishing His preferred and predetermined end. Having Ezekiel record this message in written form ensures that it will last long after the prophet’s death. As a divinely inspired portion of Scripture, the message is eternal as well as reliable. What God has said will actually happen. And whether this man, Gog, ever receives this message from God, all those who read it over the centuries will know that both his ambition and ultimate annihilation are the work of God.
God will be the driving force behind this entire end times event. The participants will not be unthinking pawns in His hands, operating like automatons or robots. They will be acting out their own selfish desires and operating according to what they believe is their own free will. But God will be using them to accomplish His predetermined will. When Gog and his allies make the fateful decision to come against the defenseless people of Israel, they will find themselves in a battle with God Almighty.
“I will knock the bow from your left hand and the arrows from your right hand, and I will leave you helpless. You and your army and your allies will all die on the mountains. I will feed you to the vultures and wild animals. You will fall in the open fields, for I have spoken, says the Sovereign Lord. And I will rain down fire on Magog and on all your allies who live safely on the coasts. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” – Ezekiel 39:3-6 NLT
This will be a lopsided battle ending in the total annihilation of the enemy’s army and the divine destruction of their homeland. This day of judgment will deliver a powerful message to every person who happens to be alive at the time. Even at this late date in human history, the world will be filled with idolatrous and unrighteous people who have refused to acknowledge Yahweh as the one true god. The apostle Paul provided Timothy with a description of the spiritual climate in those days.
…in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. – 2 Timothy 3:1-5 NLT
But with His utter destruction of Gog and Magog, God will send a message to the world.
“I will make known my holy name among my people of Israel. I will not let anyone bring shame on it. And the nations, too, will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.” – Ezekiel 39:7 NLT
It will be painfully clear that this display of supernatural destruction is the work of God, just like the judgments of the seven trumpets and seven bowls recorded in the book of Revelation. No one will be able to miss the message God is sending. He is God alone and no one can resist His sovereign will.
In verses 9-16, Ezekiel records the horrific aftermath of this one-sided battle. The bodies of the slain will cover the ground as far as the eye can see, and it will take seven months to bury all the dead. The size of Gog’s fallen army is so great that the Israelites will be able to use the wood from their shields, spears, bows, and arrows as fuel for a period of seven years. The valley in which the bodies of the fallen will be buried will be called, “The Valley of the Multitude of Gog.” And for seven months after the last body has been interred, a special team of men will scour the land looking for any last bones that may have been missed, marking their location so the burial detail can complete their grisly work.
This imagery stands in stark contrast to that found in Ezekiel 37. There Ezekiel describes his vision of the valley of dry bones. He sees a landscape covered in dry, scattered bones that are intended to represent the spiritual state of God’s people. But in this case, rather than burial, the bones are miraculously rejoined together.
The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies… – Ezekiel 37:7-8 NLT
Then Ezekiel watched as God breathed new life into the newly formed bodies of His people.
…breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army. – Ezekiel 37:10 NLT
What a glaring contrast between these two scenes. One is a prediction of a literal event that will take place in human history. The other is a vision of a spiritual transformation that will take place among God’s chosen people. Both are real and guaranteed to take place. But where Gog and his allies will suffer defeat, death, and the dishonor of burial in a mass grave, the people of Israel will enjoy the blessings of a revitalized relationship with Yahweh made possible by His gracious transformation of their hearts.
God reveals the details of this end times event to His prophet so that he can share it with the exiled people of Judah. This entire section of Ezekiel’s book was meant to provide the helpless and hopeless people of God with encouragement by reminding them that He had not forgotten or forsaken them. God assures them, “I will demonstrate my glory to the nations. Everyone will see the punishment I have inflicted on them and the power of my fist when I strike. And from that time on the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God” (Ezekiel 39:21-22 NLT).
Yes, they had been punished for their sin. Their status as exiles was proof of that fact. But God wanted them to remember that He was not yet done. Their judgment would be followed by their justification. He would one day redeem and restore them, cleansing them from all their impurities and providing them with new hearts that will allow them to worship Him alone.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.