This chapter continues and concludes the prophecy against Gog and Magog – a representation of those great spiritual foes, in whose destruction, God crowns His favor to His people. Here again, it is foretold that the Lord will bring this enemy up against His people, and that there their ruin will be completed; and this is the subject which is here enlarged upon. Their soldiers shall be disarmed and disabled, and rendered unable to fulfill their mission of destruction. Assuredly, the weapons that are formed against the Lord’s people shall not prosper.
The Lord declares that this formidable foe and the majority of his army would be slain in the field of battle (verse 4). There would be such a general slaughter made that only 1/6 of the enemy soldiers would be left (verse 2); the rest would all be cut off. Never before was an army so totally destroyed as this! And for its greater infamy and reproach, their bodies would be left as a feast for the birds of prey (verse 4). But in addition to this, the enemy’s own country shall be made desolate (verse 6). Gog and Magog intended to destroy the people of God; however, not only would they be defeated in that intention, but they would also have their own land destroyed by fire or some other consuming judgment. They would be made to know – by dearly-bought experience – that Jehovah is a God of power, and His people’s Savior. It is in vain for the greatest earthly potentates to contend with Him, for no one ever hardened their heart against Him and prospered!
By all of this, God would advance the honor of His own name among His people; they would hereby know more of His power and goodness, His care of them, His faithfulness to them, and His Providence concerning them. They would know Him as a God of perfect purity and rectitude, Who hates all sin; and then it would rightly follow that these people who know Jehovah’s holy name would not dare to profane it. This is God’s method of dealing with lost souls. He first enlightens their understandings; and by that means, He influences the whole person.
In order to represent the defeat of this great enemy as being very great, there are three things that are here specified as the outcome of it. It is God Himself Who causes the defeat; we do not find that His people drew a sword or struck a stroke. Nevertheless, after the battle was over and won, they would burn the enemy’s weapons. They would not lay them up in their armories, nor reserve them for their own use; for then they might be tempted to put their confidence in these worldly crutches. No, they would burn them – but not all at once. They would use them as fuel to heat their homes, instead of firewood; and there would be so many of these weapons that they would have no need to chop wood out of the forests for seven years (verse 10). And then every time they put fuel in their fireplaces and warmed themselves, they would be put in remembrance of the number and strength of their enemies, and of their imminent danger of falling into their hands. This would help to enlarge their hearts in thankfulness to God, Who had so wonderfully and seasonably delivered them. As they sat by their fireside with their children around them, they would thereby have an occasion to tell them what great things God had done for them!
In addition to the burning of the weapons, notice is also taken of the burying of all the dead soldiers. The slaughter among the ranks of the enemy would be so great that there would not even be a sufficient number of their comrades left alive to bury those who had died. Therefore, it will be left to the people of God to bury them, as a part of their triumph in their overthrow. There would be such a multitude of dead bodies putrefying above ground, that travelers passing by would be forced to plug their noses. The burying-place for all these bodies will be called the valley of Hamon-gog – that is, “the multitude of Gog” – for the thing to be particularly remembered was how numerous the forces of the enemy were, which God defeated and destroyed for the defense of His precious people!
But it is also noted that the birds and beasts of prey would feast upon the carcasses of the slain, while they remained unburied. A general invitation is given to them to come to God’s sacrifice and feast; for the judgments of the Lord – executed upon sin and sinners – are a sacrifice to His justice, and a feast to the faith and hope of God’s people. These enemies had counted the people of God as an easy prey, but now they themselves would become an easy prey to the birds and beasts.
In verses 23-29, we have the conclusion of all that has gone before – not only in reference to the predictions concerning Gog and Magog; but also to all of Ezekiel’s prophecies concerning the captivity of the house of Israel, and their restoration and return out of that exile. When the people repented and returned to Him, He would bring them back to their own land; and He would work great salvations for them, such as their deliverance from the attempts of Gog and Magog against them. No sooner do God’s people humble themselves under His rod of love, than He returns to them in mercy. He assures them of the great favor that He has in store for them, notwithstanding the troubles which He had brought them into. He will be sanctified in their reformation, and glorified in their restoration; and then God and they will never part. He will pour out His Spirit upon them, to prevent them from departing from Him ever again!
Thank You, Lord Jesus, that we enjoy the blessed hope of a triumphant outcome in the great struggle between the Church and the forces of this wicked world! Amen.
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