DIG: What does Gog stand to gain from the invasion? What nations protest? Why? Do they ever get beyond the protest stage?
Next, Ezekiel answers the question as to why Russia invades Israel.
As stated earlier, Gog will be diverted away from his original plan. He will plan an attack in one direction, perhaps toward the north. But Adonai ELOHIM says: I will turn you around and put hooks in your jaws (Ezekiel 38:4a). God is pictured as being so much in control that Gog can do nothing else. As a wild beast is turned around from his natural desire for prey; as a result, Gog will be seduced from his initial purpose. On that day thoughts will come into his mind and he will devise an evil scheme (Ezekiel 38:10).
Throughout the centuries Isra'el has time and again been the plunder of one nation after another. Yet in every case God’s wrath against that nation has been unmistakable. But it seems that the nations have not fully learned their lesson as far as hatred of Isra'el is concerned and will try once more. Satan will unwittingly urge them on again to their doom because of his hate of the Jewish people. All will see that the LORD curses those who curse Abraham’s seed (Genesis 12:3a). Let us seek their blessing.
Once Gog is turned around, his goal will be to commit atrocities against the defenseless that will be attacked where they least expect it. Isra'el will become very secure in her ability to defend herself. Gog will say to himself: I will invade a land of unwalled villages. I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people – all of them living without walls and without gates and bars (Ezekiel 38:11). These unwalled villages are a good description of the kibbutzim in Israel today.
Gog will say to himself: I will plunder and loot. There is a play on words here in the Hebrew text. Literally it reads, I will plunder the plunder and loot the loot. He will turn his hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods. The phrase rich in livestock and goods, refers to animals in general and to material wealth in general. There has been much speculation about the content of the plunder and loot. But in reality, we have no idea what it is. YHVH withholds no good thing from us. Therefore, we can be confident in the fact that if He wanted us to know what it was, He would have told us. We will learn soon enough.
An interesting phrase is used to define the place where Adonai ELOHIM's people will be living. It is called the center of the Land (Ezekiel 38:12). This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her (Ezekiel 5:5). The Land of Israel is in the center of the earth as far as the LORD’s purposes for the world are concerned (Deuteronomy 32:8). The rabbis teach that just as the navel is set in the center of the human body, so is the Land of Israel the navel of the nations. It is situated in the center of the nations, and Jerusalem is the center of Israel, and the Sanctuary is in the center of Jerusalem, and the most holy place is in the center of the Sanctuary, and the ark of the covenant is in the center of the most holy place, and the foundation stone (or the Torah) is in the center of the ark because from it the world was founded.133
Another group of nations are in view here. Whereas the nations in verses 1-6 are the nations of the alliance against Isra'el, these nations protest against the invasion. The first nation mentioned is Sheba. He was the grandson of Abraham through Keturah according to Genesis 25:3, and his descendants are located in Saudi Arabia today. The second country mentioned is Dedan. He was also a grandson of Abraham through Keturah according to Genesis 25:3, and his descendants have also settled in Saudi Arabia. So Sheba and Dedan will protest. Their protests will not be out of love for Isra'el, but because they will be uncomfortable with having this invading force nearby.
The third group that protests the invasion of Isra'el will be the merchants of Tarshish and all her villages. The phrase and all her villages is a Hebrew idiom for the nations that came out of Tarshish and was the name given to colonies of the Phoenicians around the Mediterranean Sea. There were three such colonies, one on the east coast of Africa, one in England and one in Spain. They will say to Gog: Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder (Ezekiel 38:13)? These protesting nations will recognize the real purpose of the invasion, the political and economic interests of Russia. However, these nations will never get past the protest stage. Gog and his alliance will succeed in invading Isra'el, and the invading forces will be destroyed with no help from the protestors.
But like the Master chess Player, Ha'Shem has maneuvered Gog into checkmate. And similar to a black belt in karate, Adonai ELOHIM will use the chief prince of Meshech’s own aggression against him to reveal His ultimate purpose next.
The Teaching Ministry of Jay Mack 2006-2017