September 11, 2007
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- The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
- And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
- And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
- Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
- Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
- And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
- So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
- And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
- Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
- So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
- Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
- Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
- And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
- And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
- The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,
- Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
- And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.
- And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?
- Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.
- And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.
- And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
- And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:
- Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
- And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
- And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
- Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
- My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
- And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.
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- And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
- Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
- And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:
- And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:
- Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:
- Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.
- Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.
- 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 safely all of them.
- Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.
- Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:
- 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,
- To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.
- Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?
- Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it?
- And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army:
- 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.
- Thus saith the Lord GOD; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them?
- And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face.
- For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;
- So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.
- And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother.
- And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
- Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.
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- Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:
- And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:
- 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 shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in 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 bucklers, 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 rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord GOD.
- And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamon-gog.
- And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.
- Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Lord GOD.
- And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search.
- And the passengers that pass through the land, when any seeth a man's bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamon-gog.
- And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah. Thus shall they cleanse the land.
- And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.
- Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.
- And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.
- Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD.
- And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.
- So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward.
- 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.
- According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them.
- Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name;
- After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.
- When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;
- Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.
- Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.
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Thought for the day:
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The chapters in today's reading contain numerous prophecies concerning the Tribulation and Millennial periods. Chapter 38 discusses some of the armies that will be represented at the Battle of Armageddon, which will be the culmination of the Tribulation Period and will bring about an end to the kingdom of the Antichrist. Verses 8-12 indicate that these nations will gather together against Israel (8). The Jews will be living in relative peace at this point (8), but that will be disrupted by the storm generated by these Gentile nations. These that hate Israel will think evil thoughts against her (10), and will desire to attack her because of her unprotected condition (11). They will assume that she will be "easy pickings" and that they can take advantage of the land and spoil it (12).
Who are these attacking nations? They are listed as Magog, Meshech and Tubal, Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya, Gomer and the house of Togarmah. While there may always be room for some debate, the identities of most of these groups are pretty well agreed upon. Several of them are listed in Genesis 10:2 as being the descendents of Japheth, Noah's son, so we would need to look in that general direction. The sons of Ham went to Africa, the sons of Shem stayed in the Middle East, and the sons of Japheth headed north. The area of Magog, Mechech and Tubal was believed by the Jews of a later date to refer to the Scythians, who made their home up near the Black Sea. Countries that were historically considered to make up Scythia were Kazakhstan, Ukraine ,Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Poland, and Bulgaria. It is easy to recognize that several of these countries were formerly part of the Soviet Union, and others would have been considered part of the communist block. In general the Slavic people are thought to be the people who live in this area identified by Ezekiel. While the Bible may not specifically refer to Russia, it certainly appears to be a country up in that general direction. Persia is modern Iran. Of course, Ethiopia and Libya are still around today. Gomer seems to have reference to the area west of Magog, including Germany. Togarmah probably refers to the Armenians and Turks and others near the Caspian Sea.
At the end of the Tribulation period these nations, along with many others from western Europe and the far East will descend upon Israel to destroy it. God will ultimately intervene however, and destroy the enemies of the Jews. Ezekiel 39:1-4 states,
"Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: 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."
At that point the Lord will establish His kingdom, and give His chosen people peace in their land. Ezekiel 37 speaks of this event in the prophet's vision of the valley of dry bones. Verse 11-14 of that chapter reads,
"Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land."
The Jews believed that they would never be restored to the land following their scattering by God. Yet these verses promise that they will return to the land once again. This prophecy was partially fulfilled when the nation of Israel was restored in 1948, but its ultimate fulfillment is yet to come.
As we see the return of Israel to Palestine, the growth of Islam, and the re-emergence of Iran on the world scene, coupled with the re-strengthening of the former communist block nations, it gives us further proof of the reality of Scripture. What ever God says will happen takes place, and we can be assured of that
Pastor Mark J Montgomery