As I was preparing for this final article on Gog & Magog, thanks in part to a comment by one of my readers, I realized that in my article last week, Gog and Magog in the Millennium, I had completely overlooked an important piece of the evidence for determining when Israel will be dwelling in their land securely (yashab betach). That piece of evidence is found in Ezekiel 28 and frankly it’s embarrassingly obvious. See if you can find what I missed:
Thus saith the Lord YHWH; 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 [yashab] in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob. And they shall dwell [yashab] safely [betach] 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 YHWH their God. (Ezekiel 28:25-26)
Notice the chronological order found here in Ezekiel 28. First YHWH gathers the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered and He is sanctified – in Israel – in the sight of the heathen – then – Israel will dwell securely. This message is repeated again in Ezekiel 36.
Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord YHWH; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them;
…and the heathen shall know that I am YHWH, saith the Lord YHWH, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. (Ezekiel 36:22-28)
Now contrast YHWH’s sanctification in Israel found in Ezekiel 34 & 36 with YHWH’s sanctification in Gog as found in Ezekiel 38.
After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell [yashab] safely [betach] all of them… [all the house of Israel]
And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. (Ezekiel 38:8 &16)
From these passages it becomes apparent that first YHWH gathers the entire house of Israel from the nations and is sanctified in them. Then after they are dwelling securely Gog and Magog comes to attack but this time YHWH is sanctified in Gog. But there is more in Ezekiel 38 which I believe helps us determine the timing of Gog and Magog’s invasion.
Take a look at Ezekiel 38 one more time. Ezekiel explains that Gog & Magog come against Israel in the “latter years”.
After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter [achariyth] years [shaneh] thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. (Ezekiel 38:8)
There are several important pieces of information in this text but first let’s look at the phrase “latter years” (achariyth shaneh).
In the Biblical text “latter years” (achariyth shaneh) is a rather rare expression found in only one other place in the Biblical text. This expression comes from Deuteronomy 11:12 where it describes YHWH’s eternal care for the land of Israel.
A land which YHWH thy God careth for: the eyes of YHWH thy God are always upon it, from the beginning [re’shiyth] of the year [shaneh] even unto the end [achariyth] of the year [shaneh] . (Deuteronomy 11:12)
What I’d like to focus in on here is the term shaneh as used in the context of YHWH’s everlasting care for the land of Israel. Shaneh is used primarily to designate a year. But as you can see in the meaning chart to the right, shaneh, depending on context can also have a wider meaning of prophetic time. In Deuteronomy 11 shaneh is clearly used in the sense that YHWH is always watching out for the land of Israel, from the beginning of the year (time) to the very end of the year (time).
With this perspective in mind Ezekiel’s use of “latter years” takes on much more definite meaning. Its usage here implies the latter period of time in YHWH’s watchful care for the land of Israel. In the Bible, YHWH’s last recorded act of protection for the land of Israel is recorded in Revelation 20 where YHWH destroys the armies of Gog and Magog. After this the Bible describes the eternal state where Satan and sin are no longer factors in mankind’s existence. The end of times indeed!
Now that we’ve seen some of the deeper context of achariyth shaneh as used in Ezekiel 38 there is one more aspect of this passage I think is worth looking at before moving on. We’ll turn our attention to that next.
A Land Brought Back from the Sword
As we just learned Gog and Magog attack Israel in the “latter years” and as Ezekiel describes it, Israel at that time is the land, “brought back from the sword”. Once again we have a passage with a distinctive meaning in the Bible. Let’s turn back to Leviticus 26 once again where we find our contextual basis for this subject.
If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell [yashab] in your land safely [betach].
And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. (Leviticus 26:3-6)
Last week we looked at the above passage in the context of YHWH’s promise that Israel will dwell in the land with “none to make them afraid”, if they kept His statues and commandments. Notice that included in this passage is a promise that YHWH would protect Israel from the “sword”. In Leviticus 26:27-33, YHWH further clarifies this promise by explaining the negative consequences to Israel if they do not keep the commandments. Here take a look:
And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.
…And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. (Leviticus 26:27-33)
It is evident then from these passages that it is YHWH who brings the sword against Israel because of their transgressions. So in this context the idea of a “land brought back (returned) from the sword” as mentioned by Ezekiel 38:8, refers to a time when Israel is blessed because they keep YHWH’s statues and judgements. This judgement by the sword is further explained in the following passages.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith YHWH: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of YHWH hath spoken it. (Isaiah 1:18-20 )
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. (Ezekiel 39:23)
The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of YHWH’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. (Isaiah 2:1)
…and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:1-4)
And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. And I will betroth thee unto me for ever;
….and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God. (Hosea 2:18 – 3:1)
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: And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: (Jeremiah 32:37-38)
As you can see “a land brought back from the sword” is clearly another marker which points to the reign of Yeshua during the Millennium. A time when all Israel proclaims: “Blessed is He who comes in the name of YHWH.”
Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Luke 13:35)
Israel during the Millennium
In research for these past three articles I am struck by how clear the Biblical record is regarding Israel’s return to the land during the Messianic age. Ezekiel especially had a vision for what the millennium would be like and Israel’s place in it. Further it has become apparent to me that these visions given to Ezekiel by YHWH have clear contextual ties to YHWH’s original promises given to Israel in the book of Leviticus as well as those promises given by the prophets throughout the Old Testament.
With these considerations in mind I find it exceedingly difficult to make a reasonable argument that the invasion of Ezekiel 38-39 refers to a time before 2nd coming of Yeshua. I’ve come to realize that any argument which places the Gog & Magog invasion before the millennial reign must ignore the contextual evidence of these facts:
- Both invasions are led by Gog & Magog
- Both invasions include nations from the four points of the compass
- Both invasions take place at the same location
- Both invasions take place when the whole house of Israel has been regathered into the land
- Both invasions take place when Israel is dwelling securely in their land
- Both invasions include armies of horsemen with rudimentary weapons (by today’s standards)
- Both invasions take place when the land of Israel is “brought back from the sword”
- Both invading armies are destroyed by fire from YHWH.
- The Messianic context of yashab betach (dwelling securely) as described by Ezekiel
- The Messianic context of yashab betach (dwelling securely) as described by in the rest of the Old Testament
- The Messianic context of a “land brought back from the sword”
- The context of the “latter years”
Exploring Gog & Magog as Bereans
I know I haven’t addressed every difficult issue related to the timing of the Gog and Magog invasion but it is my hope that I’ve challenged you to look at the subject with an eye to seeing its deeper context. In light of the day and age in which we live this is a subject which deserves the respect and consideration of any believer who considers themselves a Berean of YHWH’s prophetic world.
You know, as I was writing this article I couldn’t help but think that the true purpose of prophecy lies not in our often short sighted attempts to use it to predict the future, but rather the confidence it gives us in seeing YHWH’s hand at work in the past. The prophetic record is evidence of YHWH’s love as reflected in His redemptive plan for mankind as worked out through the Biblical ages. The fulfilled prophecies of the Bible prove that we can trust YHWH!
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Gog & Magog and the Biblical Jubilee Cycles
Before I end this subject I’d like to offer you one last aspect of the subject to consider. Many of you have read my articles related to the Jubilee cycles as prophetic milestones in YHWH’s redemptive plan for mankind. For instance, in my article 41 generations to the Messiah I showed that the Apostle Matthew arranged Yeshua lineage to show that He was 41 generations from Abraham and that those 41 generations represented 41 jubilee cycle in actual Biblical chronology. We also learned that Abraham was born in the 41st jubilee Adam and soberingly our generation is living in the 41st jubilee cycle from Yeshua.
In another article on The Jubilee Code I explained how:
- The 43rd Jubilee from Adam saw the birth of Isaac
- The 83rd Jubilee from Adam the Destruction of the 2nd Temple
- The 50th Jubilee from Adam saw the birth of Moses
- The 52nd Jubilee saw the completion of the tabernacle
- The 62nd Jubilee saw the completion of Solomon’s Temple
- The 72nd Jubilee saw the completion of the 2nd Temple
- The 82nd Jubilee the birth of Yeshua and his “dwelling” with mankind
- The 70the Jubilee originated the:
- The 70 years captivity of Judah
- The 70 years of YHWH’s divine anger
- The 70 years between destruction of the 1st temple and completion of the 2nd
- The 72nd Jubilee saw YHWH’s divine command to “restore & build” Jerusalem, right at the halfway point in a 7000 year redemptive plan.
- The 41st Jubilee from Adam saw the birth of Abraham
- The 82nd Jubilee from Adam saw the birth of Yeshua (41×2)
- The 144th Jubilee potential marking the coming of the New Jerusalem
In consideration that most of the pivotal events in YHWH’s redemptive plan for mankind were marked by specific Jubilee cycles it seems worth mentioning that the very start of the 8th millennium is marked by the 144th Jubilee cycle. Further if the jubilee cycles were overlaid on this 8000 year chronology the 144th Jubilee cycle begins in the 7008th year from Adam.
Let’s look at this another way. If mankind’s labor under the curse of sin and influence of Satan is represent by 6000 years and Yeshua reign during the Messianic age by another 1000 years, then the 144th jubilee would begin 8 years later in the 7008th year from Adam.
In Ezekiel 38-39 Ezekiel’s YHWH’s judgment of Gog & Magog results in a 7 year period during which Israel burns Gog & Magog’s weapons of war. In Revelation 20, at the end of the 1000 years, YHWH judges Gog & Magog and then the New Jerusalem comes to earth. Keep in mind this city is 12K x 12K furlongs or 144 thousand square furlongs.
Is it possible that 7 years between the end of the 6000 millennium and the start of 144th Jubilee is the period of time when Israel burns Gog & Magog’s weapons and cleanses the land of Israel? I frankly don’t know but looking back on it from eternity I am confident we will clearly see the hand of YHWH at work in history of mankind.
Until then, Maranatha!
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If you would like to learn more about the Jubilee cycles as they related to Bible’s redemptive message you can subscribe to my blog and when it is released I’ll send you a free digital copy of my upcoming book: The Jubilee Code: Prophetic Milestones in the Bible.
I hope you’ll join the adventure!