For over a century our community has been watching and waiting for a situation of peace and prosperity to come to the regathered Jewish people living upon the mountains of Israel. This expectation has been drawn from a number of Bible prophecies, one of the more frequently referred to is the prophecy of Ezekiel 38. Ezekiel 38 comes near the end of a series of chapters that are prophecies of restoration of the Jewish people. This section leads into the final section of Ezekiel describing the glorious future temple, which is to be a house of prayer for all nations. A transformed land is described with water issuing forth from the temple sanctuary and healing the waters of the salt sea. These prophecies clearly were intended to describe the final return of the Jewish people to the land, when the Messiah would come and deliver the nation.
In Ezekiel 38 the situation of the regathered people is described with some detail. They are described as living in a state of security and being at rest. At the moment the invader Gog, from the far north, realizes they are dwelling this way he formulates an evil thought. Verse 14 says, " 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...” Verse 10 says, "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”.
In the day that the regathered Jews dwell in a state of peace and prosperity, Gog thinks an evil thought.
This prophecy however, is not a contest between the regathered Jewish people and Gog. It is a contest between the son of man and Gog. The second verse says, "Son of man, set thy face against Gog” Ezekiel as the “son of man”, is a representative figure. In the previous chapter the two sticks of Israel and Judah become one in the hand of the son of man. In Matthew 24:30, Jesus refers to himself as the “son of man”. In these prophecies of restoration then, the son of man is representative of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. In Ezekiel 37 the “son of man” prophecies to the house of Israel and they are filled with spiritual life. Here then, the “son of man” carries out the work of Christ and his resurrected sanctified ones who teach the house of Israel. When we come to Ezekiel 38 and the “son of man” sets his face against Gog, it demonstrates that the Lord Jesus Christ and his saints will defeat Gog and his armies. Putting this all together, the important point to take notice of for us, is that when the Jewish people have been regathered and reach a situation of peace and prosperity, it is at this point that Gog thinks and evil thought and at that time the resurrection has taken place and the son of man has set his face against Gog. Let’s condense that down and remember this, when a state of peace and prosperity comes to the regathered Jews, it is the time of the return of Jesus Christ.
Let’s ask another important question. What does Gog come down on the mountains of Israel for?
Verses 8, 11 and 12 provide the answer.
"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."
"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.”
Verse 13 reinforces these ideas and add more detail.
"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?”
Let’s look at a few of the words more closely. “Cattle", means possessions or wealth and is biblically always used for the possession of cattle. “Goods”, means acquisitions, purchases, possessions and wealth. “Spoil”, means spoil, prey or booty. “Prey”, means spoil of persons or wealth taken by an enemy. Taking this into account, verse 12 in Ezekiel 38 could be translated this way.
“To spoil a spoil, to plunder a plunder, to cause your hand to return upon the waste places that are now inhabited, and to a people gathered from the nations that have acquired cattle (wealth) and possessions dwelling upon the centre of the land."
Gog’s reasons for coming down on the mountains of Israel can be summarized with two main objectives.
1. A crusade against the mountains of Israel and the regathered Jews which live upon them.
2. To take a great spoil of wealth, silver, gold and possessions.
For these reasons then, it is with great interest that we watch the miracle nation of Israel become more wealthy and prosperous. The recent Abraham accords will definitely accelerate this trend, despite the shocks that Covid 19 is bringing to Israel’s economy.
The Israeli business daily “Globes” on September 17 interviewed the UAE’s Minister of Economy where the article says he, “...waxes enthusiastic about the possibilities that the peace agreement with Israel opens up.” The headline is a quote from the minister saying, "The only question is, why didn't we do this earlier?” The following are a few quotations from the interview.
"The feeling in the government and among the people is wonderful," he says. "This is a genuine historic moment and it's uplifting. It's a very important agreement for the two countries, Israel and the Emirates, for the region, and for the whole world…”
"I myself have met Israeli businesspeople in the past few weeks, and the rapport was immediate…”
"We are from similar cultures, people of the same region, and share characteristics such as curiosity about the world around us, a love of travel and seeing the world. We expect a wave of Israeli tourists, and you can expect many visitors from the Emirates. We are two peoples with a desire to learn, to invent, and to develop individual and public initiatives, and joining together is therefore obvious.”
"We are preparing an assessment of the degree of growth in trade and economic ties that this agreement will bring about. At first glance, it will lead to a substantial rise in growth and will generate thousands, if not tens of thousands, of jobs in the two countries."
The interview discusses some of the kinds of business that can be done between the two countries, which is in short, "innovative technologies”. Areas such as; agritech, water irrigation, desalination, and recycling; the field of health innovation; tourism and more.
Another article on Globes from September 13, discusses Bahrain and has the headline, "Israel's bridge to Saudi Arabia”. The article summary says, "In some ways, Bahrain holds greater potential than the UAE for Israeli business, but the great prize is the connection to its powerful neighbor.” The article concludes, "These agreements open up an almost direct economic and business channel between Israel and Saudi Arabia, even without a bilateral agreement…”
The Israeli left wing news site Ha’aretz, ran an interview with the president of Haifa University on September 25, the heading was, "‘UAE’s investment fund could be a game changer for Israel’"
Mubadala Investment Company is the UAE’s sovereign wealth fund which invests all over the world. "Mubadala’s assets amount to an estimated $230 billion, but counting the UAE’s other sovereign wealth funds total assets under management come to $1.3 trillion. They are under the control of the family of Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince and de facto leader of the UAE. It’s job is to diversify Abu Dhabi’s economy and ensure its economic future once oil runs out.”
On September 21 Globes reported that a "delegation from Abu Dhabi, was hosted in Israel over the past week and met with representatives from 50 high-tech companies.”
The sovereign wealth fund of the UAE is going to invest heavily in Israeli technology companies.
It is clear that the Gulf States need to diversify their economies. The innovation nation in the Middle East and indeed the world is the miracle nation of Israel and a partnership with Israel is key to success in the future Middle East. This is going to be a windfall for Israel’s already successful economy and is going to create the situation which Ezekiel describes.
The prophet Isaiah and his children were men of sign to Israel. Isaiah’s name means "Yah’s salvation”, very similar to Jesus, Yahshua, “salvation of Yah”, and he was typical of the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah 8:16 is quoted in the book of Matthew and applied to Jesus. Verse 18 follows and says, "Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.” Isaiah's two sons, were men of sign to Israel then. Their names were Shear-jashub “a remnant shall return” and Maher-shalal-hash-baz, “swift to the spoil, speedy to the prey”. This showing that in the future a deliverer “Yah’s salvation” would deliver Israel, a remnant would return and would be swift to the spoil and speedy to the prey, for those nations that would spoil them. So while Gog comes down to take a spoil, “Shalal” and a prey “baz”, they become a spoil and a prey to the returned remnant under the direction of “Yah’s salvation”.
We have seen how the developing situation of prosperity in Israel is a sure sign of the return of Christ to the earth, as it is when there is peace and prosperity that Gog thinks an evil thought. As we see Gog preparing and prosperity developing, we need to ask ourselves, “Am I prepared?”
This has been David Billington with the Bible in the News at www.bibleinthenews.com. Come back next week God willing!