By Benjamin H. Liles
As we get nearer the end of the study of Ezekiel and the prophecies we see God getting more active on Israel's behalf. It goes back to where in Ezekiel 27 we read, about a prophecy God levels on Tyre, "Those from Persia, Lydia, and Libya were in your army as men of war; they hung shield and helmet in you; they gave splendor to you...Tarshish was your merchant because of your many luxury goods. They gave you silver, iron, tin, and lead for your goods. Javan, Tubal, and Meshech were your traders. They bartered human lives and vessels of bronze for your merchandise. Those from the house of Togarmah traded for your wares with horses, steeds, and mules. The men of Dedan were your traders; many isles were the market of your hand. They brought you ivory tusks and ebony as payment" (Ezekiel 27:10, 12-15, New King James).
I recall saying and even believing Tarshish was Spain, but the more I have thought on this it doesn't make a lot of sense. For one Ezekiel, in terms of the Western mind, was alive between 622-570 BCE. The Hebrew calendar would place 622 BCE in their year 3139-3140. Nations which Ezekiel would have known around Israel at this time would have been: Egypt, Elam (Persia), Tyre (Lebanon), Assyria, Babylon (Iraq), Lydia (Turkey), Median Empire (would eventually become Persia), Urartu (East of Turkey, Armenia). It's not certain if Ezekiel knew of Greece, Corinth, Macedonia, Sparta, or Rome.
In short it would make sense the places mentioned within Ezekiel would be closer by to Israel. For that reason when we hear of nations "from the far north and all its troops—many people are with you" (Ezekiel 37:6b), it stands that those nations being mentioned are fairly within reach of Israel. So those nations God has Ezekiel mentioning must therefore be in close relation. When we read of nations such as Sheba and Dedan in Ezekiel 38:13, and considering the fact the Queen--Sheba--visited Solomon, it stands that these nations are within the Arabian peninsula. It makes me think there would have been an overland route with Tarshish, unless I'm told otherwise.
As you read of the places a bit closer to Israel, in relation, you find that Persia is mentioned by it's actual name, Ethiopia and Libya as well (depending if you read from the New King James, Ezekiel 38:5). Consequently, when you read, "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog," this man is a prince of these other places, "Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal" (Ezekiel 38:2), you get the sense that those places mentioned--Magog, Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal are all in one central place and not this far off place that's not even mentioned in scripture. There are a few maps that suggest these four places or confined to the land of Turkey. It also means two other places as well are also within the borders of Turkey as well: "Gomer and Togarmah" (Ezekiel 38:6).
If we therefore understand this, then, it looks like those conglomeration of nations would be allies with one another (and still are even now): Turkey, Persia (Iran), Ethiopia, and Libya. Other nations siding with these should and may also be present considering many nations are allied with these predominantly Arab nations, one of which supplies their armies and not necessarily mentioned in scripture, like the former Soviet Union called Russia.
Then of course we come across this within Ezekiel, "Thus says the Lord God: “On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan: You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates’— to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land" (Ezekiel 38:10-12). Other nations listed such as Sheba, Dedan and Tarshish are mentioned as they ask this question: "‘Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder?’" (Ezekiel 38:13). It's why I truly believe anymore that Sheba, Dedan and Tarshish are all within the borders of Saudi Arabia, and makes sense as well as we see what scripture calls the men from these places: "all their young lions" (Ezekiel 38:13). Lion in this sense means ruler.
While we are on the subject, in relation to the nation of Israel, since she has been reborn as a nation and taken her right to the land God has given her: overall, Israel has been sitting within peace, relatively speaking. But here's one small thing I need to address, if Israel is living in untold peace that has "unwalled villages...a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates" (Ezekiel 38:11) what does that tell us about the time frame, in which the world is living in?
This is one thing I dwell on as I start to close this out: we're told by God in Heaven, "I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains,” says the Lord God. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother. And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord" (Ezekiel 38:21-23).
The biggest clue to me of these days in which Ezekiel is being shown to record by the hand of God is what Jesus Christ tells us about the end of the age, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (Matthew 24:29). Since all prophecy either mentions Israel or Jesus Christ most of these things that happen are very much to the nation and the people therein. The reason Jesus even tells the disciples, His men who will go forth and proclaim the gospel message is that there is coming a time when those who fully believe in Him will suffer at the hands of not only the Antichrist but those who are also in his image who do not do the will of God in the least bit in their lives (Sorry, that sentence is a mouthful).
The point to all of this is that as I've stated in other articles that I feel led by God to write is that truly God doesn't desire any to perish. The problem is when men think in their hearts, all the time, they know far better than God as to what's right eventually God will hand them over to their own lustful desires, where they no longer hear or will take counsel from Him. And this so happens to be also the counsel from those who are His, such as myself, Pastors, Professors, people who serve Christ in a myriad of ways from healthcare, weddings, funerals, programming, so forth and so on. We're just as numerous as all other peoples within this world.
The difference is we aren't lacking in God's grace or power. We have found there is more in this life and we want Him seen visibly in our lives. It is always my intention to make Jesus Christ known, before I had my gall bladder surgery and even now after. I know without a shadow of a doubt I love Him far more now than I did before. It's because He wanted to see which way my faith would take me, toward Him or away from. I chose to go toward because, in truth, who wants to live without Him, His power and glory for all eternity. I pray this blesses and encourages you in knowing the truth and that it helps set you free. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.