Exposition of Ezekiel (21): Gog and Magog
Gog and Magog - Exposition of Ezekiel (part 20)
Dr. Gregg Strawbridge xyzz December 2, 2007 (Ezekiel ch. 38-39)
“Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. (Ez. 38:1-3 ESV)
Identifying the Best Interpretation - There are basically three ways of interpreting this: 1) Futurist (Premillennial - “end times” fulfillment). 2) Spiritualist (Amillennial) or 3) Preterist (Postmillennial) - seeks a historical fulfillment in the past. Among these approaches, the details vary among interpreters. This last approach fits the exegesis of Ezekiel best, since we have seen the historical fulfillment of all 37 chapters previously. Further, the “new exodus pattern” we have seen from ch. 32-36, places this attack analogous to the Amalekite attack in the Exodus and so it should not be futurized or fictionalized, but we should expect a historical fulfillment. 1. Exodus from Egypt (Ex. 12-15), 2. Attack of Amalek (Ex. 17), 3. God Appears and Tabernacle built (Ex. 18). Ezekiel in context, has: 1. Return from Exile, 2. “Amalek” (Gog) attacks, 3. Victory and temple building (chapters 40ff). God’s purpose for the Gogite attack is, “that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes” (38:16).
Identifying the Best Individual - From the description, “Gog” is a princely person whom God raises up to attack Israel for His own glory among the nations. The battle is set against Israel in the Land and includes sundry nations and peoples, “you and all your hordes, and many peoples with you” (Ez. 38:9). Following prince Gog, Meschech and Tubal, along with the United Nations of Persia, Cush, Put, Gomer, Beth Togarmah attack while the traders Sheba, Dedan and Tarshish await opportunity to benefit from the “fall” of Israel. The attack is motivated by greed (38:12) and when Israel is victorious by the power of God, the nations know YHWH. Does any historical event fits this pattern during the exillic times? Yes. The whole world of the United Nations attacked the Jews in the times of Esther under the influence Haman. “For Haman the Agagite...the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them” (Esth 9:24). Further, Gog’s burial place is called, “Hamon-Gog” (Ez. 39:11), the same ancient Hebrew word for “Haman the Agogite” (no vowels in old Hebrew). Haman “cast Pur” (lots), so God directed him through that means. Jews did not take the spoil of their victory over the enemies (Est. 9:15-16), implying that was used to build the temple. Vindication was the result of their victory: “And in every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and a holiday. And many from the peoples of the country declared themselves Jews, for fear of the Jews had fallen on them” (Est. 8:17).
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more
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