Description
This chapter describes the defeat of the Antichrist and his armies at Armageddon, and the restoration of Israel at the beginning of the Millennium. Israel and the nations come to know Jesus as Lord, and God pours his Spirit on the people of Israel.
Commentary
This chapter continues the revelation, that began in chapter 38, of Gog as the Antichrist who will invade Israel in the end times. Chapter 39 expands on his defeat at the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16-21 and 19:17-21).

In verse 1, Gog is the Antichrist, as discussed in chapter 38. He is the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, meaning he is the ruler of Turkey. God says that he will bring Gog against Israel (v2). Gog's invasion is all part of God's plan to glorify his holy name in the midst of his people Israel (v7) and in the sight of many nations (v27). Gog and his armies are defeated on the mountains of Israel. A great battlefield scene is portrayed, with birds and wild animals scavenging over the corpses of the slain (v3-5 and 17-20). This is one of the end-time signs that Jesus described in Matthew 24:27 and Luke 17:37, where he taught that the birds circling over the battlefields will be visible from east to west like the lightning. God will then punish Magog (Turkey) with fire (v6). The nations will know that Jesus is the Lord, the Holy One of Israel (v7 - and Philippians 2:9-11). It is the 'day' God has spoken of, in other words, the 'day of the Lord' or the 'day of wrath' that many of the prophets spoke about (v8). The discarded weapons of Gog's armies will be so numerous that Israel will use them as fuel for seven years after this battle (v9-10). It is likely that the Great Tribulation will leave the earth's infrastructure in such a state of ruin that things will be quite basic at the beginning of the Millennium. The burning of weapons also indicates that Israel will be at peace and no longer face any ongoing military threat. Weapons will no longer be needed. As Micah 4:3 says, "…They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations will not use weapons against other nations, and they will no longer train for war." Israel will loot and plunder her enemies who plundered her (v10). It will take Israel seven months to completely gather up and bury all of Gog's fallen soldiers in a mass grave in Israel (v11-16).

Verses 17-20 are an invitation to the birds and wild animals to come and feast on the flesh and blood of the warriors and princes of the earth. This invitation is repeated in Revelation 19:17-18, which is another strong clue that Gog's war is in the Great Tribulation and his defeat is at Armageddon.

Jesus' defeat of the Antichrist and his armies will be visible to all the nations, and will reveal his glory to them (v21). The nations will know that Israel went into exile as a punishment for her sin and unfaithfulness (v23). This exile could be their near 2,000 year exile after the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, which Jesus prophesied would happen because Israel failed to recognise the time of their visitation from God (Luke 19:44). God hid his face from them and handed them over to their enemies to be killed by the sword (v23). Alternatively, it could be talking about their end-time exile after Antichrist's conquest of Jerusalem, since Zechariah 14:2 tells us that half the city will go into exile. God will allow Israel to be disciplined in due measure during the Great Tribulation (Jeremiah 30:11) because they have still not accepted Jesus as their Messiah. But from that day on, Israel will know that Jesus is LORD (Jehovah) (v22) - also see Philippians 2:9-11.

After the battle of Armageddon, God will have mercy on the entire house of Israel (all twelve tribes). He will be zealous for his name (his reputation) (v25) and will regather all the exiles of Israel (including the lost ten tribes) to their land, where they will live in safety, with no-one to make them afraid. Then they will bear (or forget?) their shame (v26). God will magnify himself in the sight of many nations by his deliverance of Israel (v27), language that reminds us of the Exodus. Israel will know that it was God who sent them into exile, but now they will know Jesus as Lord and he will regather all of them to their land without leaving any Israelite behind (v28). God will no longer hide his face from them (abandon them), and will pour out his Spirit on Israel (v29), just as he did upon the Church at Pentecost.

When the Church began at Pentecost (Acts 2), it was an entirely Jewish movement. Some years later, God revealed to Peter that he wanted to include Gentiles (Acts 10). In Ephesians 2:11-22, the Apostle Paul pictures the Church as a new movement that joins the Jews and Gentiles into one new group that he calls 'one new man'. By about the 4th century AD, the Church had lost most of its Jewish identity, but in the end times, Israel will be restored to pride of place within the Church. During the Millennium that follows, think of Church still as that inclusive 'one new man', with Israel at its centre. In the end times, Jesus will restore not only the Jews, but all twelve tribes of Israel (e.g. Isaiah 11:12-13, Jeremiah 3:17-18, Zechariah 10). He will confirm the New Covenant with the whole nation of Israel, as in Jeremiah 31:33, "But I will make a new covenant with the whole nation of Israel after I plant them back in the land,” says the Lord. “I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts and minds. I will be their God and they will be my people". At that point, 'the whole nation of Israel' will include all twelve tribes of Israel plus Gentiles. It is the 'one new man' which the New Testament calls the Church, in its millennial state.
Tags
Places: Israel, Magog, Turkey
Symbols:
Tags: Armageddon, Defeat of Antichrist, Israel plunders her enemies, Millennium, Antichrist as Gog, Glory of Jesus seen by all nations, Defeat of Antichrist seen by all nations, Great Tribulation, Restoration of Israel and Judah, Lost tribes of Israel, End-time exodus, Israel accepts Jesus as Messiah, Gog and Magog, Holy Spirit outpouring
1 “As for you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal!
2 I will turn you around and drag you along; I will lead you up from the remotest parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel.
3 I will knock your bow out of your left hand and make your arrows fall from your right hand.
4 You will fall dead on the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the people who are with you. I give you as food to every kind of bird and every wild beast.
5 You will fall dead in the open field; for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord.
6 I will send fire on Magog and those who live securely in the coastlands; then they will know that I am the Lord.
7 “‘I will make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.
8 Realize that it is coming and it will be done, declares the Sovereign Lord. It is the day I have spoken about.
9 “‘Then those who live in the cities of Israel will go out and use the weapons for kindling – the shields, bows and arrows, war clubs and spears – they will burn them for seven years.
10 They will not need to take wood from the field or cut down trees from the forests, because they will make fires with the weapons. They will take the loot from those who looted them and seize the plunder of those who plundered them, declares the Sovereign Lord.
11 “‘On that day I will assign Gog a grave in Israel. It will be the valley of those who travel east of the sea; it will block the way of the travelers. There they will bury Gog and all his horde; they will call it the valley of Hamon-Gog.
12 For seven months Israel will bury them, in order to cleanse the land.
13 All the people of the land will bury them, and it will be a memorial for them on the day I magnify myself, declares the Sovereign Lord.
14 They will designate men to scout continually through the land, burying those who remain on the surface of the ground, in order to cleanse it. They will search for seven full months.
15 When the scouts survey the land and see a human bone, they will place a sign by it, until those assigned to burial duty have buried it in the valley of Hamon-Gog.
16 (A city by the name of Hamonah will also be there.) They will cleanse the land.’
17 “As for you, son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Tell every kind of bird and every wild beast: ‘Assemble and come! Gather from all around to my slaughter which I am going to make for you, a great slaughter on the mountains of Israel! You will eat flesh and drink blood.
18 You will eat the flesh of warriors and drink the blood of the princes of the earth – the rams, lambs, goats, and bulls, all of them fattened animals of Bashan.
19 You will eat fat until you are full, and drink blood until you are drunk, at my slaughter which I have made for you.
20 You will fill up at my table with horses and charioteers, with warriors and all the soldiers,’ declares the Sovereign Lord.
21 “I will display my majesty among the nations. All the nations will witness the judgment I have executed, and the power I have exhibited among them.
22 Then the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God, from that day forward.
23 The nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile due to their iniquity, for they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies; all of them died by the sword.
24 According to their uncleanness and rebellion I have dealt with them, and I hid my face from them.
25 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob, and I will have mercy on the entire house of Israel. I will be zealous for my holy name.
26 They will bear their shame for all their unfaithful acts against me, when they live securely on their land with no one to make them afraid.
27 When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will magnify myself among them in the sight of many nations.
28 Then they will know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations, and then gathered them into their own land. I will not leave any of them in exile any longer.
29 I will no longer hide my face from them, when I pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
(NET)