Chapter 39:1-20 (ESV) - And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. And I will turn you about and drive you forward, and bring you up from the uttermost parts of the north, and lead you against the mountains of Israel. Then I will strike your bow from your left hand, and will make your arrows drop out of your right hand. You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples who are with you. I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. You shall fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Lord God. I will send fire on Magog and on those who dwell securely in the coastlands, and they shall know that I am the Lord.
“And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. Behold, it is coming and it will be brought about, declares the Lord God. That is the day of which I have spoken.
“Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and make fires of the weapons and burn them, shields and bucklers, bow and arrows, clubs and spears; and they will make fires of them for seven years, so that they will not need to take wood out of the field or cut down any out of the forests, for they will make their fires of the weapons. They will seize the spoil of those who despoiled them, and plunder those who plundered them, declares the Lord God.
“On that day I will give to Gog a place for burial in Israel, the Valley of the Travelers, east of the sea. It will block the travelers, for there Gog and all his multitude will be buried. It will be called the Valley of Hamon-gog. For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. All the people of the land will bury them, and it will bring them renown on the day that I show my glory, declares the Lord God. They will set apart men to travel through the land regularly and bury those travelers remaining on the face of the land, so as to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make their search. And when these travel through the land and anyone sees a human bone, then he shall set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon-gog. (Hamonah is also the name of the city.) Thus shall they cleanse the land.
“As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord God: Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field: ‘Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth—of rams, of lambs, and of he-goats, of bulls, all of them fat beasts of Bashan. And you shall eat fat till you are filled, and drink blood till you are drunk, at the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you. And you shall be filled at my table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all kinds of warriors,’ declares the Lord God.
Question to consider: Why would Israel bury these enemies of the Lord?
To reiterate the word given in chapter 38, the Lord again focuses on the chief prince of the armies that would go up against God’s people. The Lord would be the one who allows Gog to rise up with his worldly army to wage war against the saints. However, at the last moment, the Lord said He would disarm him and all of the hordes and cause them to die in the open field and become prey for the birds and beasts. The Lord would then send fire down on Magog much like He did on Sodom and Gomorrah. All of this He will do as a witness to all nations that His name is holy and would not be profaned anymore.
God’s people would then survive off of the very spoil that had been despoiled, and they would begin to bury the dead in a great valley outside of the land after the birds and beasts had eaten their fill of the flesh and blood of those who opposed the Lord. This would not be out of respect for the dead but to cleanse the land.
This mighty feast of the birds and beasts seems to coincide with John’s vision in Revelation 19:17-21, “Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, ‘Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.’ And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.”
I haven’t done a complete, in-depth study of Revelation yet because I think it’s necessary to understand all of the Old Testament references before the vision will provide a proper understanding. However, I do know from books like 1 Peter, that the early church spoke of Rome as Babylon the Great because the Lord would use Rome as His sword against Jerusalem much as He had done with Babylon during Ezekiel’s day. Though much of my understanding related to Revelation is about God’s judgment against Jerusalem in AD 70, I do think of the release of Satan to deceive the nations and this final battle is centered around the return of Christ to judge the living and the dead. As much as I’d like to definitively point to rulers and events in our time which could relate to this vision, I wouldn’t be able to do unless there was some ruler who manifested himself as a type for “Gog” on the world stage.
However, I can say with certainty that nothing is happening outside of the Lord’s sovereign hand, and as bleak as things may look in our world today, we can continue to put our hope in Christ Jesus in the midst of it.
Dear heavenly father, please help us to understand the times in which we live and to continue to trust in Your sovereign hand which is faithfully delivering us to the day when Your good creation will be restored in glory. Amen.