Friday, March 21, 2014

The Road Map

And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.
Ezekiel 33:33

 Where are we as far as Bible prophecy, and the fulfillment of the Gog/Magog war as recorded in Ezekiel 38-39?  At a place very close to the coming of the LORD!  In order to understand this we should look at the entire last section of Ezekiel starting at chapter 33 and finishing with chapter 48.  One thing to note about prophecy is that it does at times have a dual fulfillment, so there is a SMALL portion of this section that was fulfilled after the Babylonian Captivity. Yet, most of these chapters looked well beyond to the return of Christ. Also, there is an actual chronology to these chapters and one could use it as a prophetic road map. 

starting at verse 21 of chapter 33 we get insight into why Israel was to be judged by being dispersed from their native homeland. This comes on the heels of a message of individual accountability. Though God may judge the nation, those faithful at an individual level are blessed of the LORD even in trial. The rest of this chapter is dual prophetic in nature. God is giving the nation a message on the eve of the destruction of Jerusalem. This also would replay with the Roman destruction under Titus in 70 AD. Notice 33:33! When Jerusalem was destroyed, many would understand that there had been a prophet among them. What Prophet delivered the detailed message of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans? Jesus Himself, and His predictions were fulfilled to the letter!

The next few chapters are in chronological order. Some folks call these the "good news" chapters because each ends with good news for Israel who has been judged for its sin and is now being returned home by the incredible grace of God.

Chapter 34 rebukes false shepherds, but the "good news" is that "As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day (34:12). This is exactly what Christ has been doing with Israel and the world for the 2000 years of the church age--shepherding his people during the scattering (pinpoint on the Jews here). "Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD."

Chapter 35 is good news for the LAND of Israel as God judges those who claim the Covenant Land as their own. First, God will deal with the squatters on His land (Edom). They have taken possession of Israel and claim it as their own. This did happen during the Babylonian Captivity, but it also happened when Israel was dispersed after the Roman diaspora. Yet, here is this same issue again presently--"Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there:" They get thumped as a result!! "I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return: and ye shall know that I am the LORD." "As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee: thou shalt be desolate, O mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it: and they shall know that I am the LORD." This is the PSALM 83 War!! Parts have been fulfilled and parts have not--dual aspect of prophecy as the two dispersions end.

Chapter 36 is still good news for the land according to verse 1. God will begin to restore the land to the Israelites. The Jews and the land are inextricably linked. When Israel is gone, the land is barren. Again, the land was barren after the Babylonian Captivity, but it was even more so after the Roman Diaspora. Google search Mark Twain's description of the land of Israel from 1867. Yet, as God begins to bless the land and return the Jews, it will bloom incredibly. Verses 8-10 and 35 mention this clearly as well as the fact that God will begin to return the Jewish people by great numbers. This is matter of historical record and is STILL being fulfilled. God began to bless the land around the early 1900s as soon as a trickle of Jews began to return. Now, in harmony with other prophetic passages, the desert has bloomed like a rose. 

Chapter 37 is good news for the children of Israel, but, sadly, it comes with a price. The dry bones of Hitler's ovens literally fulfilled this passage. From this, the LORD set in motion the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy that the nation would be born in a day. Yet this passage is still being fulfilled. God has not yet brought a spiritual awakening to Israel. They are like a fully formed body without the breath of life. So, we are in the midst of chapters 34-37 being fulfilled around us--exciting!!

38-39 have NO historical fulfillment to the degree to which the prophet gives. Find me any war after Israel's return to the land where God brought an earthquake, and sent storms, fire, and brimstone shortly after the Babylonian captivity. When did Israel's oppressors lose 83% of their invading armies upon invading from the north? It hasn't happen. Furthermore, since there is a chronology here, these chapters are related to the following chapters, 40-48, which is a description of the fulfilling of the land grants to Abraham and the rebuilding of the Millennial Temple by none other than Messiah Jesus. GOOD news Israel--when it seems your back is against the wall and you have been depleted to the point that it is apparent you cannot help yourself--God works No Atheists Day! 
 "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." 38:23

The last chapters are in an ancient literary form known as a chiasm. This is actually a device used frequently by the writers of both testaments. All of them are future and end with the last revealed special case name of the LORD.

1. Millennial Temple measurements (40:1-42:20)
     2. Arrival of the LORD's presence from the East (43:1-12)
          3. Temple rules and guidelines (43:13-44:31)
               4.Measurement's of the Holy Section of Messiah (45:1-12)
          3. Temple rules and guidelines (45:13-46:24)
     2. Departing river to the east (47:1-12)
1. Measurements of the entire land of Israel (47:13-48:35)

The book ends with the greatest single portion of good news in the entire Good News section--the 8th single mention name of the LORD. YHWH Shammah--The LORD is There!
It is at this time when the verse above, Jeremiah 33:33, will be fulfilled in its entirety for all Israel will know that the Suffering Savior of Mt. Calvary was the prophet like unto the suffering Joseph.  As always, He is Soon2Come!