Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel, and more specifically, is found in the first twenty-four verses of the chapter. The thirty-ninth chapter continues the prophetic discourse concerning the end times conflict of Gog and Magog—a conflict in which a tremendous force and massive army comes against the nation of Israel. Within these two chapters we find a massive army marching against and marching upon the nation of Israel during a time when they were living securely within their land without walls, without bars and without gates. Pause for a moment and consider the significance of what that actually means within the life of a nation—perhaps even within the life of an individual. Within the eleventh verse of the thirty-eighth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel we read these words—“And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates” (Ezekiel 38:11). THE LAND OF UNWALLED VILLAGES! THEM THAT ARE AT REST! THEM THAT DWELL SAFELY! ALL OF THEM DWELLING WITHOUT WALLS! HAVING NEITHER BARS NOR GATES! WITHOUT WALLS! WITHOUT BARS! WITHOUT GATES! Consider if you will—even if but for a moment—the tremendous place one finds themselves when they can live safely without walls. Consider what it would be like to live in such a place where you can experience rest without bars and without gates. To truly understand this reality, you have to understand that this place can only come after a series of conflicts have already been faced—perhaps even after a series of battles and wars have been faced and fought within one’s life. There is an Old Testament passage which I believe brings us face to face with what needed to happen in the earth in order for one to live and dwell in such a place. If you journey to the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel you will find a song which David penned at a latter point in his life—words that would be echoed and repeated in the eighteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms. I happen to find the words which we read in the twenty-second chapter of Second Samuel, as well as the same words which are repeated in the eighteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms to be incredibly powerful, for they were written from a tremendous place within the life of David. What’s more, is that it is one thing for such words to be written and penned once, but it is something else entirely for those words to be echoed and repeated again in Scripture. What’s more, is that it wasn’t simply a portion of those words which were repeated and echoed in the book of the Psalms, but the entire song which David sang. In all reality, there are two distinct songs found within Scripture that I feel we need to examine in order to truly understand the place the house of Israel found themselves in when the conflict of Gog and Magog occurs. The first passage is found in the eighteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms, as well as the twenty-second chapter of the book of Second Samuel. The second passage is found in the fifteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus.
Take a look at the words David penned in the eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms—words which were written “in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.” Before you can even venture into the actual chapter itself, it is important to take note, and make mention of the superscript which occurs before the first verse, for it is those words which set the context for the entire chapter. The exact words that serve as the heading for this particular chapter read as follows—“To the chief musician, a psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, who spake unto the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.” The words of this song were written by David, who was referred to as “the servant of the Lord”—words which the servant of the Lord wrote in a very specific day. WHEN THE SERVANTS OF THE LORD SING UNTO THE LORD IN THE DAY OF DELIVERANCE FROM THEIR ENEMIES. Consider now, if you will, the words which David wrote in this particular passage of Scripture—“I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: He heard my voice of His temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because He was wroth. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. And He rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness His secret place; His pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire. The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave His voice; hails stones and coals of fire. Yea, He sent out His arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils. He sent from above, He took me, He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me, because He delighted in me. The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath He recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His judgments were before me, and I did not put away His statutes from me. I was also upright before Hm, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His eyesight” (Psalm 18:1-24).
If you continue reading this passage of Scripture, you will discover that while this particular song began with David singing of the deliverance the Lord provided for Him through His own actions, you will notice a powerful transition take place. Whereas this song began as a powerful testimony of the Lord’s acts within David’s life and on his behalf, you will notice that David shifts gears—not concerning the acts which the Lord performed within his life on his behalf, but what the Lord enabled him to do. Consider the words which David speaks beginning with the twenty-ninth verse—“For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God I have leaped over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the Lord? Or who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh. My feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip. I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed. I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet. For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me. They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the Lord, but He answered them not. Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets. Thou hast delivered me from the striving of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me. As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me. The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places” (Psalm 18:29-45). One of the greatest truths contained within this particular chapter is that it wasn’t merely the Lord fighting all of David’s battles for him, but it was also the Lord enabling David to stand up for himself, David being able to rise up and defend himself, and David being able to stand and face the enemy himself. I think there are far too many men and women who believe that the Lord can, and the Lord will fight every single one of their battles for them. They believe that every day of their lives they need do nothing more than “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord,” and to “be still and know that I am God.” It is true that the children of Israel were encouraged to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, and it is true that we are called to be still and know that the Lord is God, but what we must recognize is that there are times when the Lord will cause us to see and experience His salvation through the conflicts, through the battles, through the wars we face and fight ourselves. There are times when even in the midst of the conflict and struggle we find ourselves facing, we are still instructed to be still and know that He is God. It is possible to be still and know that He is God—even when we are running through a troop and leaping over a wall. We can be still and know that the Lord is God—even when He teaches our hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken in our arms. We can still see the salvation of the Lord our God—even when we are pursuing our enemies and overtaking them.
The other passage I find to be absolutely imperative to consider when seeking to understand the thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of the prophetic book of Ezekiel is found in the fifteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus. It is within this chapter where we find the song which Moses and the children sang unto the Lord after they had experience the salvation of the Lord at the Red Sea. After the Lord had caused the enemy which was at one point before them, to never be seen again, Moses and the children of Israel sang these words unto and before the Lord: “I will sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation/; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is His name. Pharaoh’s chariots and His host hath He cast into the sea: His chosen captains also are drowned in the Rex Sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters. Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. The Lord shall reign for ever and ever. The for the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea” (Exodus 15:1-19).
These two passages—one sang by Moses the servant of God and the children of Israel, and the other sang by David the servant of God—must be carefully considered if we are to truly understand what we read in the thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of the prophetic book of Ezekiel. Each of these songs speak of the people of God—whether on an individual basis, or on a corporate level—finding themselves in a place of rest, finding themselves in a place of safety, and finding themselves sin a place of security. David penned the words recorded in the twenty-second chapter of the book of Samuel—words which are echoed in the eighteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms—after the Lord had delivered him from and out of the hand of all his enemies. When seeking to understand the reality behind the Temple which Solomon built atop mount Moriah in the city of Jerusalem, we must recognize and understand that the Temple was built because David had engaged in countless wars and conflicts against the enemies and adversaries of the Lord’s people. David—along with the army of Israel—went out in battle against countless enemies and foes which were round about Israel, and brought them under the dominion, the authority, and the government of the nation and kingdom of Israel. In all reality—when David reigned from the throne within the city of Jerusalem, he reigned over the nations which were round about israel as well. When the Lord delivered David out of the hand of all his enemies, and when the Lord had given David victory over all his enemies, the nation and kingdom of Israel experienced a tremendous respite, and a tremendous period of rest. When David died and went the way of his fathers, there were no more wars which needed to be fought within the earth, for David had essentially fought them all. In fact, we don’t read of Solomon experiencing any wars or conflicts until the Lord judged him for his idolatry and transgression before Him because of his love for foreign women. When the Temple of the Lord was built, it was built during a time of great rest, great peace, great safety, and great security, for the hands of David—Solomon’s father—had shed much blood. It was precisely because David’s hands had shed much blood that he was prohibited from building the sanctuary of the Lord. How absolutely incredible it is to consider the fact that the Temple of the Lord could only be built during a time peace, during a time of rest, during a time of security after all the battles, all the wars, and all the conflicts had come to an end.
These two songs—the song of David, and the song of Moses—each help paint the picture and lay the foundation for the reality which the prophet Ezekiel presented to us within this portion of Scripture. The prophet Ezekiel spoke of a land of unwalled villages, and of a people which were at rest. Moreover, the prophet Ezekiel also spoke of a people which dwelled safely, and of a people which dwelt without walls. Furthermore, the prophet Ezekiel spoke of a people who lived having neither bars nor gates. The conflict we read within the thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of the prophetic book of Ezekiel describe a conflict that ensued within and upon the earth against the nation and people of the Lord during a period of tremendous rest, tremendous safety, and tremendous security. The enemy and adversary came against the people of God during a time when they were perhaps most vulnerable, susceptible, and perhaps even most exposed, for they were living in safety, as well as rest. I feel the need to present a reality unto you at this juncture, for I am convinced we oftentimes get rest and security confused. There are a number of men and women who believe that our being at rest, and even our dwelling safely and with security means the enemy and adversary can and won’t come against us. There are men and women who think that being still and knowing that the Lord is God means the enemy and adversary can and won’t come against them. If there is one thing this particular passage in the prophetic book of Ezekiel reveals, it’s that even in times of peace—even in times of safety and security—the enemy and adversary can and may very well come against us with everything he has. THE ENEMY’S LAST STAND! One of the realities I find to be so incredibly interesting about this particular passage of Scripture is that it seems to be the last assault—the last attack—against the people of God within and upon the earth. By the people of God, please know that what I am speaking of is the nation and people of Israel, and not the collective people of God which make up the corporate body of Christ upon the earth. When I speak of the people of God in this manner, that which I am speaking of is the nation and people of God who was originally chosen to be the Lord’s representative within and upon the earth. When I read this passage of Scripture I find what is perhaps the nations’ last stand and assault against the nation and people of Israel within the earth. The nation and people of Israel have faced enumerable conflicts, battles, and wars throughout the years since they found themselves enslaved within the land of Egypt. From the time they were slaves in the land of Egypt, the nation and people of Israel have faced continual conflicts, struggles, battles, and even wars which were brought against them.
As I read this particular passage of Scripture, I can’t help but find what is perhaps Israel’s final earthly conflict upon the earth, but also what might very well be Israel’s greatest conflict upon the earth. WHEN THE FINAL CONFLICT IS THE GREATEST CONFLICT! WHEN THE FINAL STRUGGLE IS THE GREATEST STRUGGLE! WHEN THE FINAL BATTLE IS THE GREATEST BATTLE! WHEN THE FINAL WAR IS THE GREATEST WAR! The more I read the thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, the more I am convinced that what we read here is perhaps the single greatest conflict the nation of Israel has every faced. The war of Gog and Magog may very well be the single greatest threat the Jewish people have faced within and throughout their entire history as a nation and people within the earth. What’s more, is that it almost appears to me that the enemy and adversary waged his greatest war against the nation of Israel in one final attempt to utterly and completely destroy them. During the second half of last year I wrote a book which was centered upon the reality and concept of “Satan’s Last Stand,” and how I believed that within the lives of countless men and women, Satan is making his last stand against them. I firmly believe that there are countless men and women right now who are experiencing what they can only describe as hell throwing everything it has against them. There are men and women who right now feel as though the enemy has come and is coming against them with absolutely everything he has. It is true Jesus spoke of the gates of hell not being able to prevail against His Church, but what happens when it isn’t just the gates of hell that seek to prevail against you, but all of hell itself? The conflict and struggle we read of within this passage of Scripture can very well be perceived as the single greatest conflict the tiny nation of Israel has ever, and will ever face. It is true that throughout the years the nation and people of Israel have faced an overwhelming series of conflicts, struggles, wars and battles that have been waged against it, as if you look at the geographical location of Israel, you will notice that she has literally been placed upon the earth in a location where she is surrounded by enemies and adversaries. What do you do when the inheritance the Lord promised you—while it may be a land flowing with milk and honey—is surrounded by enemies and adversaries which seek to bring about your destruction and annihilation? What happens when the inheritance the Lord promised you seems to be found in that place between impossibility and inevitable conflict? The tiny nation of Israel had their inheritance between the Mediterranean Sea, which formed their western border, and Lebanon, which formed their northern borders, and Egypt and Philistia which formed their southern border, and Moab, Ammon and Edom which formed their eastern border. Today in this generation, the nation of Israel still has the Mediterranean Sea as her border to the west, but her borders to the north, south and east are Gaza with Hamas, Lebanon with Hezbollah, Syria with ISIS, as well as Iran and Iraq. The tiny nation of Israel is still to this day surrounded by enemies and adversaries which vow her utter destruction and complete annihilation.
Within the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ there are two distinct conflicts and battles we read upon the earth. The first battle we read of is one that was initiated and instigated by the beast and the false prophet, while the second battle is one that was initiated by the dragon and all his forces. Beginning with the seventeenth verse of the nineteenth chapter we read of the first conflict and battle which took place upon the earth—“And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against His army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, which which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh” (Revelation 19:17-21). When you come to the seventh verse of the very next chapter you will read of the final conflict—the final war and battle which the saints and people of God will ever face for all eternity. Consider the words which are recorded in the twentieth chapter, beginning with the seventh verse—“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and all shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Mago, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:7-10). With each of these passages we see the final two conflicts the people of God will face upon the earth before the Lord finally puts all enemies under His feet for all eternity. What we read within the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of the prophetic book of the Revelation describe the final two wars—the final two conflicts—which were and would be waged against the people of God for all eternity. What’s more, is that these final two conflicts would be the absolute greatest conflicts the people of God would ever face, for the first conflict would be led by the beast himself—along with the false prophet. The second and final conflict would be led by the dragon himself—Satan, who is called the devil and the serpent. The beast and the false prophet engaged in this conflict with all the kings of the earth, while Satan engaged in the final conflict with all the nations which were in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog also being included.
When reading these two chapters within the prophetic book of Ezekiel I can’t help but view this is perhaps the single greatest conflict the nation of Israel has ever faced, and will ever face. This final conflict would be led by Gog of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and would be accompanied by a number of nations along with their soldiers. There is a scene from the movie 300 where we read one of the Persians speaking to one of the 300 Spartans who accompanied Leonidas king of Sparta. This particular Persian declared unto the Spartan that a thousand nations of the Persian empire descended upon Sparta, and that their arrows would blot out the sun. I feel it absolutely necessary to present these particular words, for these words help accurately and adequately describe the tremendous conflict the people of Israel will face when they encounter the great conflict of Gog and Magog. What I so love about this particular passage, however, is that despite the fact that the prophet Ezekiel saw the greatest conflict the nation and people of Israel have ever faced and will ever face, he also saw the greatest salvation—the greatest deliverance they have experienced. THE GREATER THE CONFLICT, THE GREATER THE OPPORTUNITY FOR VICTORY! THE GREATER THE STRUGGLE, THE GREATER THE DELIVERANCE. Notice what the enemy declared concerning the children of Israel when he dared pursue them into the parted waters of the Red Sea—“The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.” Notice also how Moses and the children of Israel sang with great joy how the Lord hurled both the horse and the rider into the sea, and how the Lord destroyed the chariots of Egypt with the same waters which parted for the children of Israel. Notice if you will how the greatest conflict the nation and people of Israel have ever faced will also result in the greatest intervention the Lord has ever performed on their behalf. “And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God. And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the Lord. So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen s hall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord God; this is the day whereof I have spoken. And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the buckler, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years: so that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and robe those that robbed them, saith the Lord God” (Ezekiel 39:3-10). While these two chapters present us with Israel’s greatest conflict ever within and throughout their history, it also presents us with their greatest salvation and deliverance, for the Lord Himself would intervene on their behalf, and would destroy all but a sixth of that horde, which He would leave upon the earth in order that He might have a testimony. Let him who has ears to hear, hear what the Spirit is speaking unto the churches in these Last Days.