I was excited when I heard that the next Narnia movie to be made would be Prince Caspian, although I haven’t heard much about it lately. The thought of a golden age of rulers followed by a period in time when the people forgot about the wonders of the kingdom has caused me to envision what the post-millennial world will really be like. Consider that Christ will have personally reigned on the earth for 1000 years, during which time the fruitfulness of the earth has been restored, Christ has judged the nations in a completely blameless way, and evil influences are bound in the bottomless pit. Then it seems that the total depravity of man (I’m not a Calvinist really, I just like the phrase) takes over again once Satan is released from the bottomless pit. The nations that walked in the light of the LORD suddenly fall under the dark cloud of Satan’s influence once again.
Let’s look at the text of Ezekiel 38:8-23. What are the scriptures saying to us? The phrase that I’m relying the heaviest on is "after many days". It is identical to the phrase found in Isaiah 24:22. The context there is the judgement of the earth and beginning of the Messianic reign, but with one flash-forward when speaking of the judgement of the host of the high ones. Here is the passage.
19 The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. 20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. 21 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. 22 And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. 23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.
Here the host of the high ones are punished, but in the following way. First they are gathered together, imprisoned in a pit, but their final judgement will not be until "after many days". It is at this time, when the host of the high ones are imprisoned, that the LORD will begin His reign in mount Zion and in Jerusalem. From our New Testament [premillennial] perspective, we understand what this passage means. Satan, and all unclean spirits (Zech. 13:2), will be bound in the bottomless pit, but will not be ultimately judged until after the thousand year reign of Christ.
Ezekiel 38:8 After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword,
So when we come to Ezekiel 38:1-8, we understand that there is an invasion from Magog, headed up by Gog, which will attempt to invade Israel. God will put hooks in the jaws of this army and turn them around. Then we have the phrase that is identical to the phrase in Isaiah. "After many days" and then the mention of a visitation for the purpose of judgement just as we saw in Isaiah 24:22. So Ezekiel has not only looked here into the last days, he has looked into the latter years of the last days after the millennium when the final judgement is taking place. So the verses which follow the turning around of Gog in chapter 38 sort of skip to the final Gog/Magog conflict after the millennium when Satan is once again released. The verses which follow the turning around of Gog in 39 are what happens immediately after that at the battle of Armageddon.
I will turn you around and after many days will be the time of your final visitation for punishment. In those latter years you will be brought back into this land only under very different circumstances.
Note also: thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword. Here Gog and company are entering a land that has recovered from a great conflict. There was a great war, but this land has been brought through that. It is a thing of the past for them. …is gathered out of many people. The regathering of Israel has occurred and is a part of the history of this land now. This must be during or after the millennium. After the judgement of the heathen, the LORD will gather all Israelites out of every corner of the earth from every nation. See my last post. …against the mountains of Israel which have been always waste. Without getting too much into detail, this simply cannot be at this time. There will be a judgement during the judgement of Babylon which will result in a completely uninhabitable section of land, Isaiah 13:19-22, 34:9-14, Jeremiah 50:38-40, and Revelation 18:21-23. It is here in this wasteland which occurred at the judgement of Babylon that the passage refers to. There is no such section right now. They shall dwell safely all of them. This must be at a time when all Israelites are safe, not just some. Simply put, in verse 8, we have a description of Israel that cannot and will not occur in this age, only in the age to come.
9 Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.
This corresponds with "the number of whom is as the sand of the sea", Revelation 20:8.
10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:
Here we have a new influence in the mind of Gog. Suddenly, after all this time, an evil thought comes into his mind. This is the influence of the newly released Satan and horde. I’ve covered verse 11 in my last post. Note verse 12 tells us the sole reason for the invasion is to take spoil. This is not an attack to try to destroy the people of Israel as we see again and again in the PreMillennial scenario. This is a march to take the riches of a people living completely at peace with each other. Verse 13 shows us something quite unlikely in any situation in this age. Some of the nations are sort of protesting as Gog marches toward the people of Israel. Contrast that with Israel’s current situation.
Verse 17 is a testimony against Gog. It’s like the LORD is saying, "Aren’t you the one that I said would do this so many ages ago? My prophets foretold of this very time and now you are doing exactly what I said you would do."
Note that the judgement of verse 22 is almost an exact description of the judgement of Revelation 20:9. There is one other detail in Ezekiel 38:21 which shows that the armies of Gog will fight against themselves. But the judgement of fire from heaven is consistent in both Ezekiel 38:22 and Revelation 20:9. In Ezekiel 38 there is no mention of a mass slaughter as we have at the battle of Armageddon. That is PreMillennial and the description of that is confined to Ezekiel 39, which matches the PreMillennial event in Revelation 19:17-21.
Again I submit that those prophecy scholars who are interpreting from this passage that there will be this era of extended peace and security for Israel before the end of this age are quite mistaken. These prophecies of safe and secure dwelling for Israel will be fulfilled in the Millennium. The section of Ezekiel 38:8-23 will occur after the Millennium has expired and Satan is released from his prison. There is only one thing for Israel to expect right now, and it’s not good. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman