Ezekiel 38 & Psalm 89

Ezekiel 38

    The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords. Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all his hordes; Beth-togarmah from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes—many peoples are with you.

    “Be ready and keep ready, you and all your hosts that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them. After many days you will be mustered. In the latter years you will go against the land that is restored from war, the land whose people were gathered from many peoples upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste. Its people were brought out from the peoples and now dwell securely, all of them. You will advance, coming on like a storm. You will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your hordes, and many peoples with you.

    “Thus says the Lord GOD: On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates,’ to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth. Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all its leaders will say to you, ‘Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hosts to carry off plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to seize great spoil?’

    “Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say to Gog, Thus says the Lord GOD: On that day when my people Israel are dwelling securely, will you not know it? You will come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great host, a mighty army. You will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land. In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.

    “Thus says the Lord GOD: Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them? But on that day, the day that Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord GOD, my wrath will be roused in my anger. For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence. And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground. I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Lord GOD. Every man's sword will be against his brother. With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur. So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.

(Ezekiel 38 ESV)

Psalm 89

A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

    I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever;
        with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.
    For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever;
        in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.”
    You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
        I have sworn to David my servant:
    ‘I will establish your offspring forever,
        and build your throne for all generations.’” Selah
    Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD,
        your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
    For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD?
        Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD,
    a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones,
        and awesome above all who are around him?
    O LORD God of hosts,
        who is mighty as you are, O LORD,
        with your faithfulness all around you?
    You rule the raging of the sea;
        when its waves rise, you still them.
    You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
        you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
    The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours;
        the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.
    The north and the south, you have created them;
        Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
    You have a mighty arm;
        strong is your hand, high your right hand.
    Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
        steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
    Blessed are the people who know the festal shout,
        who walk, O LORD, in the light of your face,
    who exult in your name all the day
        and in your righteousness are exalted.
    For you are the glory of their strength;
        by your favor our horn is exalted.
    For our shield belongs to the LORD,
        our king to the Holy One of Israel.
    Of old you spoke in a vision to your godly one, and said:
        “I have granted help to one who is mighty;
        I have exalted one chosen from the people.
    I have found David, my servant;
        with my holy oil I have anointed him,
    so that my hand shall be established with him;
        my arm also shall strengthen him.
    The enemy shall not outwit him;
        the wicked shall not humble him.
    I will crush his foes before him
        and strike down those who hate him.
    My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him,
        and in my name shall his horn be exalted.
    I will set his hand on the sea
        and his right hand on the rivers.
    He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father,
        my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’
    And I will make him the firstborn,
        the highest of the kings of the earth.
    My steadfast love I will keep for him forever,
        and my covenant will stand firm for him.
    I will establish his offspring forever
        and his throne as the days of the heavens.
    If his children forsake my law
        and do not walk according to my rules,
    if they violate my statutes
        and do not keep my commandments,
    then I will punish their transgression with the rod
        and their iniquity with stripes,
    but I will not remove from him my steadfast love
        or be false to my faithfulness.
    I will not violate my covenant
        or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
    Once for all I have sworn by my holiness;
        I will not lie to David.
    His offspring shall endure forever,
        his throne as long as the sun before me.
    Like the moon it shall be established forever,
        a faithful witness in the skies.” Selah
    But now you have cast off and rejected;
        you are full of wrath against your anointed.
    You have renounced the covenant with your servant;
        you have defiled his crown in the dust.
    You have breached all his walls;
        you have laid his strongholds in ruins.
    All who pass by plunder him;
        he has become the scorn of his neighbors.
    You have exalted the right hand of his foes;
        you have made all his enemies rejoice.
    You have also turned back the edge of his sword,
        and you have not made him stand in battle.
    You have made his splendor to cease
        and cast his throne to the ground.
    You have cut short the days of his youth;
        you have covered him with shame. Selah
    How long, O LORD? Will you hide yourself forever?
        How long will your wrath burn like fire?
    Remember how short my time is!
        For what vanity you have created all the children of man!
    What man can live and never see death?
        Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah
    Lord, where is your steadfast love of old,
        which by your faithfulness you swore to David?
    Remember, O Lord, how your servants are mocked,
        and how I bear in my heart the insults of all the many nations,
    with which your enemies mock, O LORD,
        with which they mock the footsteps of your anointed.
    Blessed be the LORD forever!
Amen and Amen.

(Psalm 89 ESV)

 The following is taken from D.A. Carson's For the Love of God series...


CHAPTERS 38—39 OF EZEKIEL are among the most difficult chapters in the entire book. In many ways they stand apart from what comes before and after. Perhaps the simplest explanation is the following. Chapters 40—48 are so much later than most of the book (the twenty-fifth year of exile, 40:1) that they are almost like an appendix to the rest of the visions and oracles. If so, then chapters 38—39 must be seen as a conclusion to the preceding thirty-seven chapters, but not necessarily as a bridge to chapters 40—48. Precisely how this prophecy against Gog serves as a conclusion to all that comes before it in Ezekiel depends very much on how these two chapters are interpreted. Even to catalog the possibilities would turn these brief meditations into a commentary, so I must largely restrict myself to some tentative conclusions.

It cannot have escaped notice that in several previous chapters I chose not to comment on certain sections. In part this was nothing more than selectivity based on my restricted space. But in part these passages belong to the same genus, and can usefully be thought about together.

For instance, 37:25-28 anticipates the time when Israel, under God’s servant David, will live in the land “forever,” and “David my servant will be their prince forever.” God’s “sanctuary is among them forever.” Such language must either be taken at face value — a temple in Jerusalem, with a Davidic king, the throne and temple enduring forever — or it points beyond itself. For reasons that will become clearer, I am inclined to think that these and similar prophecies look forward to the glorious messianic future, but are largely cast in terms of the familiar categories of the old covenant. These same categories, the New Testament writers insist, have a predictive function fulfilled in Jesus the son of David and all that he brings.

Along similar lines, Ezekiel 38 begins by denouncing “Gog, chief prince of Meschech and Tubal” (38:3). The suggestion that these names refer to Moscow and Tobolsk is without linguistic merit. The pair of names appears elsewhere (Gen. 10:2; 1 Chron. 1:5; Ezek. 27:13; 32:26) and refers to the known tribes of Moschoi and Tibarenoi. Gog is perhaps to be identified with Gyges, king of Lydia (called Gûgu in some ancient records). More importantly, this anticipated horde of opponents to God’s people comes from the “far north” (38:6) — which is the direction from which the worst of Israel’s foes always came. The chapter ends in apocalyptic imagery (38:18-23) — which begins to make the scene feel like an idealized and final outbreak against the people of God, in which God vindicates his name and his cause. Thus all previous outbreaks anticipate, and are concluded by, this final apocalyptic struggle.