A Fresh Look At Ezekiel 38 And 39 -- By: Ralph H. Alexander
JETS 17:3 (Summer 1974) p. 157
A Fresh Look At Ezekiel 38 And 39
Western Conservative Baptist Seminary Portland, Oregon
One of the perennial enigmas of biblical prophecy has been the Gog and Magog event described in Ezekiel 38 and 39. The plethora of interpretations for this passage caution the student concerning dogmatism in his conclusions. With this admonition in mind, a fresh look at this prophecy will be ventured. Hopefully this inquiry will provide new insights and create renewed investigations into this ever-challenging text of Scripture. It is always possible that the suggestions made in this article may raise more questions than they answer. But even that consequence is valuable to scholarly pursuits.
Students of biblical prophecy are familiar with the major two-fold problem within these chapters: the identity of Gog and the position of his invasion in the time continum of biblical eschatology. The former is dependent upon the latter; thus if the temporal factor can be resolved, the identity of Gog has been greatly circumscribed.
Various solutions have been submitted for the fulfillment of the Gog and Magog event. The majority of evangelical commentators have chosen a mid-tribulational position or have related these events to some aspect of the battle of Armageddon. The most predominant view among non-evangelicals, apart from dismissing the passage as a figurative enigma, has been the post-millennial Gog of Revelation 20.
In approaching this issue, basic guidelines must be established. First, the primary data for identifying the time for the invasion of Gog must come from the principal passage of Ezekiel 38 and 39. Second, the details of any time period set forth as the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 and 39 must be in complete harmony with the particulars found in the Ezekiel account. Third, any exposit reference or allusion to Ezekiel 38 and 39 located elsewhere in Scripture must be examined carefully in order to explain why that correlation exists. Fourth, normal grammatical, historical, cultural hermeneutics should be followed. Fifth, hypotheses should be kept to a minimum and should not provide the major bases for an explanation.
The format of this essay will be to evaluate each significant traditional view by these guidelines. The major arguments supporting each position will be examined along with...
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