Ezekiel 38 and 39 is a highly symbolic account of the final conflict in Israel prior to the establishment of God's Kingdom on the earth. The people mentioned in Ezekiel 38 are descendants of Japeth and Ham, Noah's sons, (see Genesis 10:2-7) indicating that an attack against Israel will come from Europe, with mixed allies which would include the Middle East and Africa. The motivation for the attack is to capture the wealth and prosperity of Israel, which has been increasing since statehood in 1948. God's purpose in permitting this trouble against Israel is threefold 1) to show his favor to the regathered nation of Israel 2) to open the eyes of all to His mighty power and 3) to dissolve the present order in favor of His.
Ezekiel 38:1-7 presents the characters in this great battle. The people described are representative of all nations gathered against Israel. These are the descendants of Noah's sons, Ham, Shem and Japeth. Ham's descendants are Sheba and Dedan, the north Africans. Shem's offspring would be represented in Persia, Lybia, Israel and the Asiatic countries. Japeth's heirs are mentioned as people from the North, the Europeans.
Ezekiel 38:8 describes the regathering of the Jewish people to their homeland, Israel. The catalyst for this event was the Balfour Declaration in 1917, a pro-Zionist declaration by the British. Followed in 1948 by the British relinquishing their mandate over Palestine and the UN partitioning Palestine into independent Arab and Jewish states. Then, on May 14, 1948, the Jewish people declared, through the National Council, the establishment of the state of Israel.
Ezekiel 38:9-13 shows the invasion of Israel with the intent to capture Israel's wealth and disrupt their sense of security.
Ezekiel 38:14-17 mentions in that day, a reference to the latter days after the regathering of the nation of Israel ( see vs 8). Here we see described the attitude of the nations against Israel. They think that Israel is easy prey and have come to plunder and destroy her.
Ezekiel 38:18-23 reveals God's anger at the invaders. The great shaking refers to social and moral revolutions occurring throughout the world and the fear instilled in the hearts of men. Verse 20 goes on to describe how the "the fishes of the sea"; "fowls of the heaven"; "beasts of the field" and "all creeping things" shall shake ( see Joel 3:16 ). Anarchy will be the result of this turmoil (vs 21). Verses 22 and 23 declare that God's enemies and their methods shall be destroyed and his kingdom established.
Ezekiel 39:1-8 describes the outcome of the battle and God's favor toward Israel. Verse one specifically mentions that God is against Gog, the invaders of Israel (see Zechariah 12:9). The "sixth part" of verse two implies that there will be a great multitude of invaders. Perhaps five out of six of the population of the invading nations shall be represented in this battle. Verses 3-6 declare God's defeat of the invaders. Verse six suggests that the battle will spill into neighboring countries, "they that dwell carelessly in the aisles." Verse seven informs us that the nation of Israel will recognize their God as their deliverer and that all the nations of the world will come to recognize the one true God, Jehovah.
Ezekiel 39:9-10 show us that man's weapons of war will be destroyed. Verse nine says that it will take seven years for the destruction of the weapons of war. Seven is a symbol of perfection or completeness in this case. Seven is also referred to in the scriptures (Num 19:11) as the period of time for cleansing after contact with dead.
Ezekiel 39:11-16 details cleansing of the aftermath of this symbolic battle. Verses eleven, fourteen and fifteen mention the passengers, or travelers, on the east of the sea, the Dead Sea, and how their noses shall be stopped, or give pause to the passengers. This suggests that those witnessing the aftermath of this great battle shall surely have their attention drawn to the dramatic effects of God's omnipotence. The words Hamongog (vs 11, 15) and Hamonah (vs 16) imply the multitude or vastness of the armies involved. Again, we see the number seven, verses seven and fourteen, directing the reader's attention to the complete destruction of the ways of those opposed to righteousness and God's everlasting Kingdom. Verses fifteen and sixteen suggest that the cleansing of the carnage of man's ways will be complete. The implication is that the defilement of God's people, God's land and eventually the entire world of mankind, will be erased.
Ezekiel 39:17-20 depict the total destruction of warfare. This final battle will consummate in man's realization that their methods of ruling over one another have failed. They will have had their fill of strife and contention symbolized by verse 19, which states that the "ye shall eat fat till ye be full" and "drink blood till ye be drunken". The animals eating the carnage of the battle shows that nothing remains of man's fallen rule.
We see the recurrent theme in Ezekiel 39:21,22 of God delivering his nation, Israel from their enemies and the eventual recognition of Jehovah by all.
Ezekiel 39:23,24 takes us back into the pages of time when Israel, as a nation, was rejected by God as His favored people and allowed to languish at the hands of their enemies due to their sins and their unfaithfulness as a people.
Ezekiel 39:25-29 finalizes the results of this great battle. We learn that Israel has been regathered as a nation. They have received God's punishment for their transgressions. They will recognize and worship their God. Israel shall become the blesser nation to all in bringing ALL the peoples of the earth back in harmony with God.