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Isaiah also speaking of Gog and his destiny, under the name of the Assyrian, speaks saying (10:12), "Wherefore it shall come to pass that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks."
The Assyrian of Hezekiah's day was a fitting type of the Assyrian of the latter days. The Lord brought him up against Judah, but when he blasphemed the Holy One of Israel, the Lord sent a blast upon him, and the Lord said of him, “Whom hast thou reproached, and blasphemed, and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? Even against the Holy One of Israel. By thy messengers, thou hast reproached the Lord, and hast said (for the Lord knew the motions of his heart), With the multitude of my chariots I am come up to the heights of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon, and will cut down the tall cedar trees (the chief men in Judah) thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof. And I will enter into the lodgings of his borders, and into the forest of his Carmel. I have digged and drunk strange waters, and with the sole of my feet I have dried up all the rivers of besieged places."
But what saith the Lord to this boasting Assyrian? “Hast thou not heard long ago how I have done it, and of ancient times that I have formed it? Now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste cities into ruinous heaps. Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded; they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb; as the grass on the house tops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up. But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me. Because thy rage against me and thy tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest" (II Kings 19: 22-28); (verse 35), “And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.”
Thus did the Lord rebuke the Assyrian of old, who is but a type on a small scale of what will be manifested in the latter days on a grand scale, and it will be noted that the Lord says that it was himself that made the way of the Assyrian of old to prosper, to conquer and put down nations, and bear down all before him. But the Assyrian glories in himself and claims to have done all these things by his own power; and this also will be a distinguishing feature of Gog, or the great Assyrian of the latter days.
After the Lord has made his way prosperous, and he has overspread the countries and finally broken down and destroyed the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, then he boasts himself, as the Lord hath testified by the mouth of his prophets, saying first, by Moses in the song concerning his rebellious people (Deut. 32: 26-27), “ I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men, were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the Lord hath not done all this." These words of Moses have special reference to the latter
days and to that manifestation of pride and self-glorification that the enemy will show after the Lord hath made his way prosperous.
The prophet Habakkuk also in his vision, speaking of the Assyrian of the latter days under the name of the Chaldeans, shows how they will glorify themselves and to what they will impute their success, saying (1:6), “ For lo, I will raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of thy land to possess the dwelling places that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves. T'heir horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall come from afar; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. They shall come all for violence; their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand."
Then note particularly what transpires, for the prophet says (verse 11), Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god ”; but adds the prophet, “ Art thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, thou hast ordained them for judgment: and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.” 1 The prophet Isaiah also points out especially this boastful spirit of the Assyrian, or Gog, when he reaches a certain point in his successful career, as already mentioned, for afterwards the Lord speaks of the latter day Assyrian as follows (10:5-6), “O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets."
But the Assyrian being ignorant of God's ways and purposes views things in a very different way, and therefore it is said of him, “ Howbeit he (the Assyrian) meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so, but it is in his heart to destroy, and cut off nations not a few. For he saith, Are not my princes altogether kings?” Truly they are; Gog, or the Assyrian, is the head of a vast confederation of nations who are under kings, all of whom are marshalled under the Assyrian's banner, and so he saith, “ Is not Calno as Carchemish? is not Hamath as Arpad ? is not Samaria as Damascus? As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria; shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols ?
"Wherefore it shall come to pass, that, when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom: for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man: and my hand hath found, as a nest, the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth: and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped."
But what saith the Lord to all this boasting? “Shall the axe boast itself 1 To prove further that Habakkuk is speaking of the future, see Hab. 2: 14.
against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood. Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire. And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day: and shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth. And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them.” That is, a child instructed in the Scriptures can write that five-sixths of his vast army will fall upon the mountains of Israel, insomuch that only one-sixth of his hosts will escape to return and tell among the nations the terrible things that their eyes have seen in the judgments that the Lord hath visited upon the house of Israel and the nations in the holy land, to make his great name known among all nations (Ezek. 39:2).
THE MODE OF PROPHETIC INTERPRETATION Now before we proceed further in the interpretation of the vision of Ezekiel concerning Gog and all his multitude, we must first call attention particularly to what the Lord says (38:17), “ Thus saith the Lord God. Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them?” Again the Lord says after the judgment is past when a third part of Jerusalem and her people have fallen by the sword of Gog, a third part perished by famine and pestilence, and a third part have been scattered into all winds, into captivity among all nations, and after Gog and his multitude are destroyed upon the mountains of Israel, — at that standpoint the Lord speaks and says (39:8), “Behold, It is come, and it is done, saith the Lord God; this is the day whereof I have spoken." The importance of these two passages cannot be overestimated as a guide to the interpretation of the prophecies, for here we learn the great and important lesson, that this great confederation of nations has been the familiar topic of prophecy by the prophets of Israel in old time, who prophesied in those days many years that they should come to pass.
GOG CALLED BY DIFFERENT NAMES Now as Gog is not spoken of by any of the prophets of old, save Ezekiel, by that name, it follows that this same combination of nations is spoken of in other places by different names and titles. How then shall we know how to identify Gog when he is spoken of in other places and by other names? We reply that there is a simple method by which we may commonly determine this very important fact: first, by determining whence this great confederation of nations comes,— from the north parts; second, against whom they come, — against the people of Israel; third, the time when they come against them,- in the latter days; fourth, the destiny of this power after their work is done, they are miraculously destroyed, and few of them left: fifth, by the fact that the house of Israel is to be punished and destroyed by the hand of this combination of nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples, because they have gone after other gods to serve them. These are some of the principal features by which we may know when other prophets are speaking of the same gathering of nations by other names and terms than those found in the thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of Ezekiel, although there are frequent allusions to this confederacy where all of these features do not obtain. We will now, therefore, endeavor to identify Gog and his people, to whom he is a guard, in other places.
FIRST, “THE ASSYRIAN The prophet Isaiah speaks of him and calls him the Assyrian, although Assyria was situated in a north-easterly direction from Jerusalem. But the only points of the compass that the Scriptures recognize, as a general thing, are north, south, east and west, and therefore if a line were drawn east and west, and north and south through Jerusalem, the pivotal point of the land of Israel, the capital where the Lord's throne and David's throne was, these lines would indicate the four quarters of the earth, and all nations dwelling north of the line drawn east and west would be comprehended in “the north parts," as is said of Gog, “ Thou shalt come from thy place, out of the north parts (Ezek. 38:15); and kings whose dominions lay east of a line drawn north and south through Jerusalem would, or could be, called kings of the east, and as Assyria lay in a north-easterly direction from Jerusalem, that country would be comprehended in the term," the north parts," and their
” kings would be reckoned either among "the kings of the north,” or as “ kings of the east."
The Assyrian, therefore, comes from the north parts against the house of Israel, as God's rod of correction upon his rebellious house; but after his task is completed and his work is done upon Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he, like Gog, is destroyed, all but a remnant. Therefore as the characteristics of Gog and the Assyrian are identical, we conclude that they are one and the same people, and what may be said of Gog can equally be said of the Assyrian, and whatever is said of the Assyrian may be said also of Gog, for all of these references to that great power vary. One prophet describes certain features
this great confederation of all the families of the north, and other prophets describe certain other features, for this is the manner of the Holy Scripture, which contains “here a little, and there a little," so that in no one place is there a full account of all that obtains, and all the wonderful things that then transpire. And herein is the wisdom of God manifest, for this necessitates study, thought, and reflection, comparing spiritual things with spiritual, that is, Scripture with Scripture, to rightly divide the word.
The place where the Assyrian of the latter days is to be destroyed, and the manner of destruction, we will now point out. First, Isaiah testifies (14: 24-27), "The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: that I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders. For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?”i Thus the
1 For proof that this is future, read Isaiah 14:1-24.
place where the Assyrian falls, with all the nations that are under his domination and command, is upon the mountains of Israel, which is the same place where Gog and all his multitude falls.
The Manner of the Assyrian's Destruction If Gog and the Assyrian are one and the same power, then the manner of their destruction as described by different prophets, must be the same. And so it is, for Isaiah speaking of the overthrow of the Assyrian says, “Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy; his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire: and his breath as an overflowing stream shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err (the same as is to be in the jaws of Gog). ...
And the Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones. For through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod. And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it. For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared (that is, for the king of Assyria, or Gog, or the Beast); he hath made it deep, and large; the pile thereof is fire and much wood: the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it” (Isa. 30: 27-33).
Again this same prophet in another place (10:26) adds another feature to this account of the destruction of the Assyrian and his multitude, saying,
The Lord of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him, according to the slaughter of Midian, at the rock of Oreb”: And what was that? It is said when Gideon and his three hundred blew the trumpets and dashed the pitchers to pieces, “The Lord turned every man's sword against his brother." Thus all the elements of destruction that are employed to overthrow Gog and his multitude, the prophet tells us are to be employed for the destruction of the Assyrian; and they fall in the same place, and at the same time because, as we have said, it is one and the same power, as we shall see when we return to consider further what the Lord says of the destruction of Gog.
For the day when Gog comes up against the house of Israel is the day of judgment when God will judge his people and repent himself for his servants when he seeth that their power is gone and that there is none shut up or left. Therefore the things that shall then come to pass are many and mighty, and the various things that the prophets have spoken of touching these times would fill a volume, for the Lord himself says, “This is the day whereof I have spoken " (Ezek. 39:8). The just and the unjust rise from the dead in connection with these eventful times, and concerning the things that the assembled nations of the earth shall then behold the Lord says, “It shall come that I will gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come and see my glory” (Isa. 66:18). The old Mosaic heavens and earth pass away in these times, and the new heavens and new earth are established, consisting of the