The 39th chapter of Ezekiel contains a powerful prophecy about God’s judgment against Gog and his armies. In this chapter, we see that even though God may allow evil to persist for a time, ultimately justice will prevail. God is sovereign over the nations and will not let wickedness go unpunished forever.
Ezekiel 39 depicts God’s judgment against Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal (likely references to tribes in Asia Minor or southern Russia). Earlier, in Ezekiel 38, God pronounced judgment against Gog for his pride and arrogance in seeking to attack and plunder Israel. Now, in chapter 39, we see the fulfillment of this judgment as God decisively defeats Gog and his vast armies.
This chapter has crucial insights for us today. It reminds us that God is completely sovereign over the nations and that evil will not triumph indefinitely. Even massive armies are like dust before the Lord Almighty. God defends and preserves His people, and ultimately justice will prevail on the earth.
Key Takeaways from Ezekiel 39:
- God will defeat those who arrogantly oppose and attack His people
- God is sovereign over the nations and judges evil
- God will restore and bless His people Israel in the messianic kingdom
- Magog likely refers to tribes in Asia Minor or southern Russia
- Gog as an eschatological figure who will violently oppose God’s people before being defeated
- God will be proved holy through the judgment against Gog
- God’s annihilation of Gog will demonstrate His glory and power
With this foundation laid, let us now walk through Ezekiel 39 verse-by-verse to understand the meaning of this important prophecy.
God’s Judgment Against Gog (Ezekiel 39:1-8)
Ezekiel 39 opens with God declaring His judgment against Gog, likely a symbolic name referring to a confederacy of nations who attack Israel:
“And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal”‘” (Ezekiel 39:1).
God makes it clear that He stands against Gog and will defeat him utterly. God in His sovereignty will summon Gog to attack Israel so that He can judge Gog and reveal His glory and might (Ezekiel 38:4, 16). Yet Gog will face total destruction.
God pronounces that He will turn Gog around, leaving but a sixth of his armies intact (Ezekiel 39:2). God will strike Gog’s bow out of his left hand and make his arrows fall from his right hand (Ezekiel 39:3). Gog’s vast armies will become food for the birds of prey and beasts of the field (Ezekiel 39:4). God will give Gog over to death on the mountains of Israel, as He strikes Gog’s armies with pestilence, flooding rain, hailstones, fire, and brimstone (Ezekiel 38:22, Ezekiel 39:4-6).
So great will be the slaughter that it will take seven months for Israel to bury all the dead and cleanse the land (Ezekiel 39:12). God’s judgment against Gog will be total and encompassing. God will utterly vindicate His name and glory before all nations by destroying the vast armies of Gog that dared to come against Israel. The nations will see and know that God defends His people (Ezekiel 38:16, 23).
The Aftermath of God’s Judgment (Ezekiel 39:9-24)
The next section of Ezekiel 39 details the aftermath of God’s devastating judgment against Gog’s armies. So many weapons will be left behind that Israel will use them for fuel for seven years (Ezekiel 39:9-10). The slaughter will be so great that special teams will be appointed to bury the corpses over a seven month period (Ezekiel 39:11-16). Birds of prey and beasts of the field will feast on the defeated armies of Gog (Ezekiel 39:17-20).
God says that His judgment against Gog will reveal His glory and power before the nations, so that they will know He is the Lord (Ezekiel 39:21-24). Though He allowed Israel to be punished for her sins, God will not let her be wiped out. He will defend His honor and His people. Gog’s arrogance could not withstand the might of the Lord God Almighty.
God Will Restore Israel (Ezekiel 39:25-29)
After judging Gog and his armies, God will fully restore the fortunes of Israel. Ezekiel 39:25-29 promises a day when God will regather all the Jewish exiles to their land and pour out His Spirit on them:
“‘Now I will bring back the captives of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel…For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness…And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord God” (Ezekiel 39:25-29).
This is a glorious prophecy of Israel’s national spiritual restoration. Though Israel endured judgment for her sins, God’s covenant love remains. He will never permanently reject His people (Romans 11). This passage looks forward to the messianic kingdom when Israel will return to the Lord in faith and become a holy nation under the New Covenant. Jesus fulfilled aspects of this prophecy in His first coming, but its ultimate fulfillment remains future. What a glorious day that will be!
Gog and Magog in Revelation 20
While Ezekiel 38-39 refers to historical nations that opposed Israel, the names Gog and Magog take on symbolic significance in the book of Revelation. In Revelation 20:7-10, Satan deceives “Gog and Magog” at the end of the Millennial Kingdom to come against Christ and His people. But fire from heaven consumes them, and Satan is thrown into the lake of fire.
Just as God judged Gog in Ezekiel’s day, so He will ultimately judge all His enemies and throw Satan into eternal punishment. Evil will not triumph. God will be proved holy and sovereign over history.
Lessons for Today
What insights can we gain from Ezekiel 38-39 today? Here are some key applications:
- Trust God’s sovereignty over the nations. No matter how powerful wicked rulers may seem, God is over all and their pride will come to nothing.
- Depend on God’s protection. The Lord guards His people. He will defeat every enemy that comes against us.
- Look for Christ’s return. These prophecies have partial fulfillment in history but await ultimate fulfillment in the second coming of Christ. Maranatha!
- Live holy lives. Israel was judged for her sin. We must walk closely with Christ and reject wickedness.
- God cares for His reputation. He acts so all will know He is the holy Lord. May we live to proclaim His glory!
Ezekiel 38-39 are sobering chapters. They remind us that evil will not go unpunished. God will judge the wicked and vindicate His name in history and at Christ’s return. Let us walk in holiness and proclaim His greatness as we await the glorious day when every knee will bow!
Ezekiel 39 is a monumental chapter, revealing God’s awesome power and glory. In it, we see that God is sovereign over the nations and will judge those who arrogantly oppose His people. Though He may allow evil for a time, His justice will prevail. Gog and his armies are no match for Yahweh, the Lord Almighty.
This chapter assures us that God cares for His reputation and acts to vindicate His holy name in history. He will defend His people Israel and one day restore them, as His Spirit is poured out on them. Ezekiel 39 points to the future messianic kingdom when righteousness will fill the earth.
As we await Christ’s return, may this prophecy lead us to greater reverence and trust in our mighty God. Let us walk in holiness and faithfully proclaim His marvelous works, so that all may know He alone is God and worthy of all glory.