A More Sure Word of Prophecy

by Joseph Hunting

There is no more intriguing aspect of the Holy Scriptures than prophecy. It has been said that the prophetic Scriptures and their fulfilment are like God's signature appended to His Word. Well did the Syrian prophet Balaam declare: "Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19).

No truer word has ever been spoken. And a Jewish prophet in the New Testament has summed it up with these words: "We also have the prophetic word made more sure, which you do well to heed as to a light that shines in a dark place ... knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (Second Letter of Peter 1:19-21).

An interesting discovery concerning the prophetic Scriptures is that they relate almost exclusively to Israel. It is true that Gentile nations enter the stage of history and play their role, but usually it is because they have become involved with Israel.

An example of this is Ezekiel's prophecy concerning Israel in the latter days when the nation is restored to its Biblical homeland. In his prophecy (chapters 38 and 39) the prophet specifically names Paras, Cush Put and Gomer as part of the invading army that attacks Israel. Their descendants may be identified today as Iran (Persia), Ethiopia, Libya and the eastern part of Germany.

And while Russia is not specifically named the prophet identifies a great northern power as the one who leads these satellite countries in the invasion. The leader of the invading force is "Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal ... will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you ... against my people Israel"(38:2,15,16). The far north may also be translated the hindmost north, or the uttermost north, and it is no coincidence that Jerusalem and Moscow are on the same 38th parallel of longitude.

The conclusion of this invasion of Israel by these hordes is one of the most amazing prophecies in Scripture. The world will witness a David and Goliath contest of gargantuan proportions. The invaders will be dealt a smashing blow that will be without doubt the most decisive defeat ever suffered by any army in the history of mankind to that time.

An important feature of this prophecy is that God claims responsibility for the invasion. "I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army ..." (38:4). "It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against my land, so that the nations shall know me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes" (38:16).

God also calls the land of Israel "my land", and the people of Israel "my people", and He claims responsibility for the terrible defeat that befalls the invaders, "'And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,' says the Lord GOD, 'that my fury will show in my face'" (38:18).

The description given by Ezekiel then reads like a nightmare come true. Not only is the invading army smashed by Divine intervention, when "every man's sword will be against his brother. And I will bring him to judgement with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire and brimstone", but He also sends fire upon the land of Magog.

Israel will spend seven months burying the dead: "For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land", with special squads set apart for the purpose, and they will spend years clearing the land of debris from the destruction. "Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and set on fire and burn the weapons ... and they will make fires with them for seven years." Surely, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!"

In spite of the tremendous odds against Israel's survival in the coming invasion, the "more sure word of prophecy" confirms God's faithfulness to His promise to Israel. "No weapon formed against you shall prosper ..." (Isaiah 54:17), and "I will contend with him who contends with you ..." (Isaiah 49:25).

In chapter 37 Ezekiel has a vision of Israel restored and revived as a nation, not only physically, but spiritually. During the period of Israel's statehood since 1948, the surrounding hostile nations have launched full-scale savage wars on Israel in an effort to bring to naught God's plan and purpose for Israel's ultimate redemption and in each war God has kept His promise that no weapon formed against them has prospered.

And it will be on the mountains of Israel that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will make bare His holy arm – the pierced palm will become a clenched fist to save His people. When the dark clouds gather, and the mighty northern army and its partners in the invasion march on Israel, let it be remembered that there is a "more sure word of prophecy, which we do well to heed."