In Ezekiel 38:8-23, the section that I believe will be fulfilled post-millennially, we have a reference to "the land of unwalled villages", "them that are at rest", and those "that dwell safely". When is this time when Israel is dwelling safely with no thought of invasion? Many prophecy students take this to mean that there will be a time of peace for Israel during which she will drop her guard as she thinks she is at peace with her enemies. Then after she has agreed to terms of peace, then there will be this Gog and Magog invasion which will lead into the time of Jacob’s trouble.
It is true that there is an invasion by the land of Magog, headed up by a leader referred to as Gog into the land of Israel. This is what is described in Ezekiel 38:1-7. Then we have a flash-forward to a period in time which occurs "after many days". Gog has been turned around and dealt with, vs. 4, yet "after many days", this people will be brought once again to the mountains of Israel. This time, "after many days", the situation in Israel is peaceful.
During the Millennial Kingdom, not all nations will submit themselves to the rule of the King of Kings. Magog will be one of those nations that helps lead the final revolt against the beloved city. The nations surround the camp of the saints and the fire of the LORD descends and devours them. I’ll get into specific post-millennial distinctives on my next post on Ezekiel 38-39, but right now I’m excited about another aspect of this that I’ve been studying.
Will there be a time of peace for Israel before Daniel’s seventieth week? I don’t suppose we can say for sure, but I don’t believe the scriptures that people cite for peace for Israel apply to a time before Daniel’s seventieth week. They only apply to a period in time after Israel has entered into the new covenant with the LORD, which is at the end of Daniel’s seventieth week. Consider the following study. The word translated as safely in Ezekiel 38:11, 14 is Strong’s #0983. It occurs in the following circumstances.
In Isaiah 32, it is translated "assurance".
15 Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. 16 Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. 17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. 18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;
Notice that the peace and security which Israel experiences here is linked to the pouring out of the spirit and the restoration of the fruitfulness of the earth. These are characteristics of the Messianic Kingdom.
In Jeremiah 23, we have a link between the safe dwelling of Israel to the Messianic reign.
5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. 7 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; 8 But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.
Notice here that this safe dwelling is during a time after which there has been a supernatural gathering of Israelites from every corner of the earth to the promised land. This cannot be characteristic of this age. The reference to the Messianic reign here could not be clearer.
Jeremiah 32 mentions this gathering as well.
37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: 38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: 39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. 41 Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.
Here another link is established, namely, the establishment of the everlasting covenant with national Israel. This is the time when the LORD gives them a new heart.
Jeremiah 33 has almost identical language to Jeremiah 23.
15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness. 17 For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; 18 Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.
Here we have the additional revelation that the Levitical priesthood would be established alongside the Davidic rule. Some semblance of the Levitical priesthood may be established in this age, but the fulfillment of the rule of David will not occur until the Messiah’s earthly reign.
Ezekiel’s use of the word should be important to us since that is the book we are trying to determine an answer for. Consider this reference in chapter 28.
25 Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob. 26 And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God.
Again the reference to the gathering, but this time the definite timing of the judgement of the heathen, which we know to occur after the time of Jacob’s trouble at the day of the LORD. So Israel will not dwell safely until after the judgement of the heathen and subsequent regathering out of all nations to the promised land.
Ezekiel 34 is a good one as well with the word occurring three times.
23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. 24 And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it. 25 And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. 26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27 And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. 28 And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid. 29 And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. 30 Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD. 31 And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.
Here we have similar themes to what we have already seen. The fruitfulness of the earth, the breaking of the yoke of the heathen, and the relationship between the LORD and Israel are all signs to point us to the Messianic reign. Whether you believe that David being prince will be fulfilled vicariously through Messiah or directly through the resurrection, either way we are clearly after Messiah has established His reign. BTW, I believe both. Note also that Israel will be in such a state of peace that they will be able to sleep in the woods at night with no fear of attack from any enemies. All year long CAMPING!
The reference in Ezekiel 39 follows the description of Armageddon in 39:17-20. After Ezekiel 38:8-23, which is PostMillennial, the language turns back to the PreMillennial event of the first time that Gog was turned around. The prophecy in chapter 39 is strictly PreMillennial.
23 And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword. 24 According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them. 25 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; 26 After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. 27 When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; 28 Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. 29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.
The pouring out of the spirit, the judgement of the heathen, the regathering of Israel, they all precede the safe dwelling of the nation of Israel. In this context, the shame of Israel is a thing of the past. For those serious students, feel free to look up Hosea 2:18 which is at the future marriage of Israel, and Zechariah 14:11 which occurs after the day of the LORD wrath when the LORD will be King over all the earth.
I believe that Israel will agree to a covenant which will turn out to be a covenant of death for them. However, I do not see the scriptures foretelling a time of peace for Israel prior to the Messianic Kingdom. The scriptures are unified that this time of safe dwelling for Israel will occur during the Messicanic rule after the heathen have been judged, after the pouring out of the spirit upon Israel, after the fruitfulness of the earth is restored, and after Israel has entered into the new covenant with the LORD.
I don’t see why people think I’m so off-base in applying Ezekiel 38:8-23 to conditions during the Millennium, and to a Post-Millennial invasion attempt correlating with Revelation 19:7-9.
For those of you who keep looking for the conditions of Ezekiel 38:11, 14 to occur before Christ returns, you might as well give up. When the Prince of Peace comes, then there will be peace. Jerusalem will be trodden down until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled, Luke 21:24.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman