It has been well said that Israel is God’s “clock”. In other words, if you want to know where we are on God’s timetable for human history, just look at what’s happening with the nation of Israel. Nowhere is this “clock status” more obvious than in the latter chapters of the book of Ezekiel.
Immediately following some chapters that speak of Israel’s punishment, and the dispersion of the Jewish people among the nations, we come to chapter 37 – Ezekiel’s vision of “The Valley of the Dry Bones”. We are told in 37:11 that these bones represent – you guessed it – the entire nation of Israel – persecuted and killed among the nations, and seemingly without hope.
Now remember, this prophecy was given many generations before anything of this magnitude had ever happened to the Jews. Now that we have the benefit of hindsight, there is actually no better picture of the Holocaust than what we read in these passages! In fact, after World War II, many people found themselves asking the same question as the one we find in 37:3. Can these bones live?”
Not to worry. As the narrative continues, we see that God promises to revive the Jewish people, bring them back to their ancestral homeland, defend them against attack, and cause them to rule the world in glory under the leadership of their Messiah (which the New Testament tells us is Jesus). All of this is promised to the Jewish people elsewhere in the Old Testament (e.g. Isaiah 2:1-4 and Daniel 2).
Looking back, the Jewish people were indeed driven out of their homeland, dispersed by the Romans in 70 AD, and have suffered much persecution thereafter. However, following the Holocaust, the State of Israel was re-established – again as predicted – in 1948, and the world-wide re-gathering of the Jewish people began in earnest! Today, the massive attack yet-to-come that is predicted in chapter 38-39 is particularly interesting in light of current events.
More specifically, I agree with those who assert that the land of Magog, from which this massive attack will come, is speaking of Russia. After all, the first-century Jewish historian Josephus identified Magog as the land of the Scythians, the region north and northeast of the Black Sea and east of the Aral Sea – i.e., Russia. In addition, Ezekiel twice speaks of this invasion as coming from the “extreme north” (38:6 & 39:2) – again only Russia occupies that real estate. Finally, the countries Ezekiel described as those who would be the future allies of Magog are a veritable “Who’s Who” of Russia’s friends and victims today: Persia – modern Iran, ancient Ethiopia (modern Sudan), Put (Libya), Gomer (Turkey and the Ukraine), and Beth Togarmah (Syria).
If I am right, we should all become doubly determined to live for Jesus, because events surrounding Israel are unfolding even as we speak. To put it another way, “God’s clock” is ticking, and it’s later than we think!