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Chapter 38:10-16 (ESV)

Posted on April 04, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 38:10-16 (ESV) - Thus says the Lord God: On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates,’ to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth. Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all its leaders will say to you, ‘Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hosts to carry off plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to seize great spoil?’

“Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say to Gog, Thus says the Lord God: On that day when my people Israel are dwelling securely, will you not know it? You will come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great host, a mighty army. You will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land. In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.

Question to consider: How has the church made waste places habitable?

I commonly teach that the Day of the Lord has a threefold fulfillment. The first was the crucifixion of Christ when God poured out His wrath upon His only begotten Son who had pledged Himself to become sin so that we could become His righteousness. At the end of the first generation of the church came the second fulfillment of this Day. Those who belonged to Christ followed His command to flee Jerusalem where God had gathered the armies of Rome to destroy the earthly city and temple. There was no more need for the earthly temple since Christ was reigning from the heavenly Jerusalem and served as our great high priest in the heavenly temple (which we’ll talk about in a few chapters). The final fulfillment of the Day of the Lord will occur when Christ returns to judge the living and the dead. I believe this chapter of Ezekiel refers to the war against Christ’s church that occurs before this final Day. As I wrote yesterday, the ruler Gog, corresponds to the release of Satan for a time to deceive the nations under a ruler the Lord called Gog according to both Ezekiel and the apostle John.

The apostle Paul taught about our heavenly dwelling in his second letter to the Corinthian church, “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-10)

I would argue that the land of the unwalled villages was a reference to the universal church, those who belong to Christ throughout the world. Wherever there have been “waste places”, the church has sought to redeem them through the gospel and to bring life and prosperity wherever it goes. If you go by modern media, you would think that all Christians are angry and judgmental, bringing destruction in their wake, but this is not an accurate picture. It is not a coincidence that the original hospitals and institutions of higher learning were given Christian names or that many of the greatest artists and inventors throughout history did their work for the glory of God. It is also not a coincidence that as cities have moved away from the Lord, they have become full of poverty and violent crime, and aesthetic beauty has been deconstructed into violent and hideous imagery. The image of Gog bringing the hordes against the people of unwalled villages and seizing their treasures seems to line up with the enemies of Christ who have been systematically overtaking and destroying its nations, cities and institutions.


Dear heavenly Father, we ask that You protect and sustain us during this time of persecution, and that we are faithful to protect and sustain one another with the gifts You have given us. Most of all, may we put on Your full armor to stand in faith and not be overcome by the enemy. Amen.