(23 verses, 3:30 to read)
What I am about to READ
Through the prophet, the Lord speaks against all the forces of evil, personified by Gog.
MARK and LEARN
This chapter along with the following chapter (ch. 39), speaks of the end times just before the return of Christ and the final judgement on all flesh. Many commentators will be tempted to try and equate the events described here with social and political happenings in the middle east, but this does not do justice to what the scriptures say here, which are clearly apocalyptic.
In this chapter the Lord will draw out the forces of evil, personified by Gog, as a fisherman draws a fish out of water (vs. 4), and muster them against his chosen people, personified by Israel. This is the holy Christian Church of the latter days, who stand alone and endure against all the forces of evil allied against her. Indeed, she unlike the nation of Israel has “no bars or gates” and dwells securely “without walls” (vs. 12) for her hope is in the Lord God and not in the strength of any army. For even Nehemiah built a wall around Jerusalem, tipping us off that this prophecy deals with a final eschatological battle and is not simply a battle among men.
This content of this prophecy is again preached in the Revelation to St. John (Rev. 20:7-10) where it is revealed that the Lord will release Satan from his dungeon so that he can muster his forces, Gog and Magog (also mentioned in Ezekiel 38) against the Church. In both Revelation and Ezekiel, the Lord is in complete control over these final days and all things go according to his bidding, to the vindication of his saints and the final overthrow of all evil.
This final battle will commence near the end of all time “in the latter years” (vs. 4) when God’s holy Church, as she always is, will be weak according to the world’s standards, but strong in the faith. For the Lord promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against her (Matt. 16:18). Then the Lord will return and the Church will celebrate the final eschatological victory and the resurrection of all flesh.
The Church looks poor according to the world, but if she has the promises of God, the Word and Sacraments, she is mighty indeed. She has a hope not rooted in might or power, but in the promise of life to come in her Lord Jesus.
Pr. Brandon Ross
Faith Ev. Lutheran Church