Scripture Query and Answer: Ezekiel 38-39

Ezekiel 38‑39  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Q. Isa. 28; 29—If these chapters are mainly prophetic of the last days, how is it that the first attack of the Assyrian falls on Ephraim? Will the ten tribes be in the Holy Land when “the king of the north” comes against “the king?” Can his second attack and fall be identified with the invasion and ruin of Gog in Ezek. 38; 39? Will the millennial reign begin before that invasion, or will there be a transition, after the judgment of the beast and the false prophet, before the Lord reigns with His saints over the earth? Maohthi
A. The question is a very natural one, and the first part of it more obscure, for me at least, than many parts of prophecy. I give my answer under correction—I mean the precise, relative time of the return of the ten tribes. My present impression is that chapter 28 does not refer to the ten tribes as returned as such, but to the Jewish people localized in Ephraim. They are treated as the twelve tribes, and by a word expressing a whole even in the New Testament. Anna was of the tribe of Asher. In Chronicles several of the tribes have their part in the return from the captivity. Further, it is recognized in Ezekiel and as distinct from the ten tribes proper. (Chap. 38:16) We have the stick of Judah and for the children of Israel his companions; and another for Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and the whole house of Israel his companions. They are then united and are all recognized as children of Israel, which is the subject of Ezekiel, not properly Judah. This final union takes place after the deliverance by judgment, when they then come under one head. The ten tribes are purged from transgressors before coming into the land. (Ezek. 20:33-3833As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you: 34And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. 35And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. 36Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord God. 37And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: 38And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the Lord. (Ezekiel 20:33‑38).) The Jews are purged from transgressors in the land. (Zech. 13; 8:9, and many passages.) Hos. 1; 2, confirms the thought that the final union under one head is at the close of all this process of purging, as it naturally must be if Christ is to take them. (Comp. chap. ii. 19-24.) If this be so, the ten tribes as distinguished from the stick of Judah will not be in the land when the king of the north comes up: their rebels never enter the land. I believe the last coming up of the Assyrian is Gog. The term is geographic, whoever is king of the north. In Dan. 1 do not believe it is yet directly Gog, though perhaps dependent on him; for he is mighty, but not by his own power. (Comp. Ezek. 38:1717Thus 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? (Ezekiel 38:17)) Of course, the millennial reign will not commence before that invasion, but the then destruction of the beast by Christ from heaven will cause the Assyrian, or Gog, to find Him, the Lord, in Jerusalem, so as to be destroyed by divine power, but by that of His earthly government in Jerusalem. Christ will have established His power there; but He will yet have to destroy Cog and purge intruders out of the country belonging to Israel,