Mr. Allan M. Ure of North Bay, Ont., continues his series of prophetic studies on “The Assyrian.”
The Outline of Ezekiel
Our particular concern centers upon four chapters, Ezekiel 36 & 39, of which we shall presently consider a very brief outline.
A message is first addressed to the mountains and to the whole land of Israel (Ezek. 36:1-7). No longer shall the land be the possession of the heathen. The residue of the heathen and all Idumea which have appointed my land into their possessions (v. 5) shall be driven out. The Arab nations of today are fulfilling this role. “My people Israel; … they are at hand to come” (v. 8). The fruit of the land and the people shall be multiplied (vv. 9 & 15). Israel was dispersed because of idolatry, but the Lord will restore them, “For my holy name’s sake” (v. 22), He says. This statement applies especially to the ten tribes of the northern kingdom (vv. 17-20). The other two tribes, those of the southern kingdom, remained in the land until the crucifixion of their Messiah, the Saviour of the world, and then they were scattered. Israel is to be regathered from among all countries, cleansed and made recipients of a new birth and fully restored to the Lord through repentance (vv. 24-31).
The desolate land shall become as the garden of Eden (v. 35). This is becoming true in a small way today. The land then will extend far beyond the present borders of Israel. The land (v. 11), the heathen (v. 23), redeemed Israel (v. 38) shall all know that I am the Lord, asserts the Lord.
Ezekiel is carried by the Spirit to view a valley full of dry bones in chapter 37. He is told to prophesy over that valley. “O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord… Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you and ye shall live (vv. 1-6). The bones will be miraculously shaken together, sinews, flesh and skin will return. Again Ezekiel will prophesy, “Come from the four winds, O breath… and breath shall come upon them and they shall live, and stand upon their feet, an exceeding great army” (vv. 7-10). It is interesting to note that the three words used in the AV as wind, breath and spirit are all from the one word “rujach” in the Hebrew.
Ezekiel now is informed that “these bones are the whole house of Israel” (v. 11). Despite their lost hope, they are to be resurrected nationally and brought again into the land of Israel. “Then shall ye know,” says the Lord, “that I am the Lord.” There indeed will be a new birth through the ministry of the Holy Spirit (vv. 10-14).
The prophet is to take two sticks; he is to label them Judah and Ephraim. They are to be joined; they will become one stick in his hand. The stick of Joseph which is in the hand of Ephraim and the ten tribes of Israel, his fellows, are to be put with the stick of Judah (the two tribes) which are already in the land of Palestine. The children of Israel are to be brought from among the heathen wither they had gone, and to be brought back into their own country. “I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be over them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all” (v. 22). “All Israel shall be cleansed, so shall they be My people, and I will be their God” (vv. 15-23).
“David my servant shall be king over them.” This could refer to the Lord Jesus reigning in person, but more probably to a regent of the House of David acting as the Lord’s earthly representative. Israel shall be in the land and an everlasting convenant shall be theirs. The sanctuary and the dwelling place of Jehovah shall be with them. “I will be their God, and they shall be my people,” saith the Lord. “The heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel” (vv. 24-28). The gifts and the callings of God are without repentance.
Ezekiel, under divine guidance, now addresses Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. The version of the New American Standard Bible adds the name Rosh, with a marginal note to the effect that Rosh is the chief prince of Meshech. Rosh in the Hebrew indicates the “prince or the principal one.” Magog, Meshech and Tubal are sons of Japheth, listed in Genesis 10:2 and I Chronicles 1:5. His message to Gog states, “Behold, I am against thee, O Gog. I will turn thee about, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring you out” (Ezek. 38: 3-4, NASB). Many nations are involved. Ethiopia is probably the eastern Cush from the region north of Assyria. The NASB translates the striking statement: “Gomer with all his troops; Bethtogarmah from the remote parts of the north” (v. 6). This, of course suggests Russia.
The great army that is gathered is entirely under the Lord’s control (v. 4). He will destroy it completely (v. 22). After many days they will be visited (mustered, RSV). In the latter years they shall invade the land that is brought from the sword, the land whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations and gathered on the mountains of Israel (v. 8, NASB).
According to Ezekiel (chap. 36), Israel is to be taken from among the heathen and brought into their own land (v. 24). They will return with the riches of the Gentiles (Isa. 60:16-17 & 61:6). The millennial reign of Christ will then begin with the uniting of the twelve tribes in their own land. There shall still be enemies, enemies beyond the normal range of prophesy, representing the heathen from among whom the last remaining Israelites have been removed to Palestine. They shall have an evil thought: “I will go up to the land … to them that are at rest, that dwell in safety … to take a spoil” (vv. 10-12).
Of the vast army that shall be gathered from the northern parts, the Lord says, “I will bring thee against my land … that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes” (vv. 14-16).
The Lord addresses Gog, and says, “Art thou he of whom I have spoken of old times by my servants the prophets of Israel?” They prophesied “that I would bring thee against them” (my people) “[This portion of Ezekiel is dated about 570 B.C.]. Israel prophesied of the destruction of the Assyrian on the mountains of Israel (Isa. 14:24-17).
This event is still future; historically Assyria was overthrown by Babylon at Nineveh. Micah prophesied that “this Man, the Lord Jesus, shall be the peace when the Assyrian shall come into the land” (Micah 5:5). The Lord Jesus is not the peace of Palestine today, not until the millennial kingdom is established.
There is no attempt on the writer’s part to identify the nations mentioned in these studies in terms of modern political entities. It is sufficient to say that these prophecies will literally be fulfilled in a soon coming day.
God’s fury shall deal with the invaders. “I will 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” (vv. 18-23).