Friday, October 5, 2012

deliverance from the far off storm

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.
Ezekiel 38:8-9

In the recent context of the prophet Ezekiel, God has affirmed His restorative love for Israel. He has promised a people, in captivity in Babylon, that they will be returned to their homeland and restored as a nation. The hope is real. But we also see that it is eschatological. All through Ezekiel's prophecies there have been hints of a "far future" as well as a "near future" fulfillment to God's promises. Chapters 38 and 39 are the clearest explanation of the "far future" aspect of these promises.

God talks about a future enemy of a restored Israel. The identity of Gog and Magog is mysterious. We aren't quite sure where these strong military powers reside. The clues geographically seem to place them North and East of Israel. That puts Eurasia and Asia in the mix of biblical prophecy. When we read this text, the world seems to be watching these powers as they move against Israel. The words used to describe these conquests and alignment against Israel show us a massive army, respected and feared in the world, and bent on destruction.

Yet even in this overwhelming force, God will move to save Israel, literally from apocalypse. As Gog moves to sweep into the nation of Israel, earthquakes, storms, hailstones, fire, and sulphur rain down from the heavens destroying the army. God keeps true to His faithful love for His people, in the nick of time, even in a "far off" future.

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