Eschatology Studies (29)

It is written:

You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, Drink the blood of the princes of the earth, Of rams and lambs, Of goats and bulls, All of them fatlings of Bashan. (Ezekiel 39:18)

There are many clues from Ezekiel 38 and 39 that Gog and his army will be demonically strengthened in their war against God and His people.

The first clue we will notice is from this passage here in Ezekiel 39:18. Notice the phrase “the mighty.”

The “mighty” of Ezekiel 39:18 are further identified back in chapter 32:

Ezekiel 32:21-The strong among the mighty Shall speak to him out of the midst of hell With those who help him: ‘They have gone down, They lie with the uncircumcised, slain by the sword.’

Notice that “the mighty” are specifically identified as those who are associated with the dead warriors of old. This takes us back to Genesis 6:

Genesis 6:1-4-Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, 2  that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. 3  And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” 4  There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.

The “sons of God” in this passage are angels. The phrase used here is “bene elohim,” which (at this point in Genesis) had specific reference to angels (cf. Job 1:6; 2:1-2; 38:4-7). These sons of God rebelled against the Lord and brought forth nephilim (half-angelic and half-human beings) who continued their rebellion against Heaven by enslaving and destroying humanity. These giants were killed during the Flood, and (according to the book of Enoch) their spirits were left on Earth to become demons which would afflict and attack mankind.

This all goes to remind us that this army is demonically guided and empowered.

“First, note the description of the army of Gog: “The mighty” is Hebrew gibborim, a word used in Genesis 6:4 to describe the Nephilim of the distant past….The imagery Ezekiel employed in his prophecy of the cataclysmic war of Gog and Magog are so intriguing that many of us have overlooked clues that the prophet salted throughout the preceding chapters. For example, if we turn back to chapter 32, we find that the prophet helpfully offered some information about just who the gibborim are. This is a long section, but trust me—it’s worth reading….The phrase translated “mighty chiefs” in verse 21 is ’ēlê gibbôrîm, literally, “rulers of the Gibborim.” The verse echoes Isaiah 14:9–11, where “the shades”—the Rephaim—were “stirred up” to welcome the rebel from Eden when he was cast down….“Back to Ezekiel 39. Did you notice in verse 18 that the rams, lambs, and he-goats representing the princes of the earth are described as “fat beasts of Bashan?” Remember, Bashan was considered an evil place, the literal entrance to the underworld. It belonged to the god Rapi’u, who, according to some scholars, was believed by the Amorites to be the founder of the Ditanu/ Tidanu, the ancient tribe that produced their kings and gave its name to the old gods of the Greeks. By linking the princes of the earth to Bashan, Ezekiel again made a theological point: The warriors fighting for Gog will be sold out to the god of Bashan, whether his name is Rapi’u, El, Dagan, Kronos, or Baal Hammon. Remember Psalm 22 and the prophecy of the “strong bulls of Bashan” we discussed earlier? As we noted, those bulls were not cattle; they were the Gibborim of Ezekiel 32, demonic warriors of Satan/ Baal.” (Derek P. Gilbert, Last Clash of the Titans: The Second Coming of Hercules, Leviathan, and the Prophesied War Between Jesus Christ and the Gods of Antiquity, 3405-3460 (Kindle Edition); Crane, MO; Defender Publishing)

Second, notice that the text in Ezekiel reminds us that this army is tied directly with the “Valley Of Travelers.”

Ezekiel 39:11-“It will come to pass in that day that I will give Gog a burial place there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea; and it will obstruct travelers, because there they will bury Gog and all his multitude. Therefore they will call it the Valley of Hamon Gog.

Ezekiel 39:11 (CEV)-After Gog has been destroyed, I will bury him and his army in Israel, in Travelers’ Valley, east of the Dead Sea. That graveyard will be so large that it will block the way of anyone who tries to walk through the valley, which will then be known as “The Valley of Gog’s Army.”

Notice that the “valley of the travelers” has specific reference to the spirits which travel back and forth between Hades and Earth.

“The takeaway for this section is this: For at least a thousand years, people living in lands the Bible identifies as the home of Rephaim tribes built burial tombs with massive slabs of limestone and basalt. And those huge burial tombs inspired place names linked to the dolmen-builders (Iye-Abarim, “ruins of the Travelers”) and to the restless dead (Oboth, “Spirits of the Dead”). Get this: Even the place where Moses died was called the Mountain of the Travelers….Here’s a thought: Moses was buried in the Valley of the Travelers, a place where the Rephaim spirits reputedly crossed over to the land of the living. Is that why Satan, lord of the dead, thought he had a right to claim the body of Moses after his death?[283] Another question comes to mind: Were all those dolmens up and down the Jordan Rift Valley thought to be portals to the underworld? Here’s another connection between this valley and the realm of the dead: Remember the prophecy of Balaam? After the king of Moab tried to buy a curse from the pagan prophet, Israel began drifting away from Yahweh again. While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. (Numbers 25:1–3, ESV) Who was Baal of Peor? Remember, baal in Hebrew simply means “lord.” So, the Lord of Peor was a local deity linked to a mountain near Shittim in Moab, northeast of the Dead Sea. The clue to the character of Baal-Peor is in the name. Peor is related to the Hebrew root p’r, which means “cleft” or “gap,”[284] or “open wide.”[285] In this context, that definition is consistent with Isaiah’s description of the entrance to the netherworld: Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened [pa’ar] its mouth beyond measure. (Isaiah 5:14, ESV) Since we’re looking at a place associated with the dead, it’s worth noting that the Canaanite god of death, Mot, was described in the Ugaritic texts as a ravenous entity with a truly monstrous mouth…Yes, the Canaanites believed the entrance to the underworld was at Bashan. But both Molech (or Milcom) and Chemosh, the national gods of Ammon and Moab, which controlled most of the land east of the Jordan from the Dead Sea to Mount Hermon, demanded child sacrifice. Veneration of the dead and appeasing the gods of the dead through human sacrifice appear to have been the norm in this region east of the Dead Sea….That brings us back to the point: We’ve identified the area that Ezekiel called the Valley of the Travelers as the east side of the Jordan Rift Valley, specifically ancient Moab east and just northeast of the Dead Sea. And by now you’re asking, “Why are we spending all of this time identifying the area and unraveling the meaning behind the word Travelers?” Here’s why: It’s the link that connects the Rephaim, and thus the Titans, to Ezekiel’s prophecy of Gog and Magog. How? The Rephaim texts from Ugarit specifically refer to the spirits of the Rephaim as “travelers….This is key to understanding Ezekiel’s prophecy: He was shown that the hordes of Magog would be slaughtered and buried in the wilderness near Moab, east of the Dead Sea. This area is connected to the dead—and not just the dead, but dead spirits who “traveled,” or “crossed over,” to the land of the living. Why? Because it that’s where the Travelers—i.e., the spirits of the Rephaim/Nephilim—and those who venerated them in the days of Abraham and Moses, lived when they walked the earth….You’re probably already ahead of me here, but in the interest of clarity, let me spell it out: It appears that Ezekiel’s vision of the ultimate destruction of Gog and his horde involves an army of the dead….If, as we believe, demons are the spirits of the Rephaim, the demigod sons of the Titans who died in Noah’s Flood, then the horde of Gog will essentially be an army of the living dead.” (Derek P. Gilbert, Last Clash Of The Titans: The Second Coming Of Hercules, Leviathan, And The Prophesied War Between Jesus Christ And The Gods Of Antiquity, 2963-3098 (Kindle Edition); Crane, MO; Defender Publishing)

Finally, notice how Gog’s armies are identified with Bashan:

Ezekiel 39:18-You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, Drink the blood of the princes of the earth, Of rams and lambs, Of goats and bulls, All of them fatlings of Bashan.

To the Hebrews, Bashan was considered the gateway to the underworld. As such, Bashan often conjured the idea of demons to the Jewish mind.

Mount Hermon is the mountain in the book of Enoch where the fallen angels decided to enter into their covenant against God by having sexual relations with humans and producing the nephilim. This mountain is located in Bashan (modern day Syria).

Furthermore, the Old Testament clearly connects Bashan with the nephilim in several passages.

For example:

“Joshua 13:11–12, 30–31 describes Og’s general kingdom as the region of Bashan, which encompassed sixty cities. In the Ugaritic language, the location of Ashtaroth and Edrei was not spelled Bashan but was pronounced and spelled Bathan . The linguistic note is intriguing since Bashan/Bathan both also mean “serpent” so that the region of Bashan was “the place of the serpent.” On this point, Ugaritic scholar Gregorio del Olmo Lete observes: “This place ʿštrt is also treated in [tablets] KTU 1.100:41 ; 1.107:17 ; and RS 86.2235:17 as the abode of the god mlk , the eponym of the mlkm , the deified kings, synonym of the rpum . For the ‘Canaanites’ of Ugarit, the Bashan region, or a part of it, clearly represented ‘Hell’, the celestial and infernal abode of their deified dead kings, Olympus and Hades at the same time. It is possible that this localization of the Canaanite Hell is linked to the ancient tradition of the place as the ancestral home of their dynasty, the rpum ” (del Olmo Lete, “Bashan,” DDD 162 ). See also James H. Charlesworth, “ Bashan, Symbology, Haplography, and Theology in Psalm 68 ,” in David and Zion: Biblical Studies in Honor of J. J. M. Roberts , ed. Bernard Frank Batto and Kathryn L. Roberts (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2004), 351–72 . Further, Ashtaroth and Edrei appear together in the Ugaritic text KTU 1.108 as the seat of the chthonic deity Rapiu. Hermann writes, “Dietrich and Loretz have shown that Baal is called rpu in his capacity as leader of the rpum , the Rephaim (1980:171–82) . They find the epithet in KTU 1.108:1–2 and guess KTU 1.113 belongs to the same category of texts. The Rāpiʾūma (Hebrew rĕpāʾîm ) are the ghosts of the deceased ancestors, more especially of the royal family. Baal is their lord in the realm of the dead, as shown by the circumlocution zbl bʿl arṣ (‘prince, lord of the underworld’).” See W. Hermann, “Baal,” DDD 139 .” (Michael S. Heiser, Demons: What the Bible Really Says About the Powers of Darkness, 10943-10960 (Kindle Edition); Bellingham, WA; Lexham Press)

In the Psalms, we are reminded of the wicked spirits that would surround the Lord when He would be crucified:

Psalm 22:12-Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me.

“But the psalmist wasn’t shown a vision of angry bulls from the Golan Heights surrounding Christ on the cross. He was given a glimpse into the future at spirits from Bashan, demonic entities represented by bulls, who surrounded the cross to celebrate what they thought was their victory over the Messiah. Confirming this interpretation of Psalm 22: 12, Old Testament scholar Dr. Robert D. Miller II recently used archaeological and climatological evidence to prove that “the phrase Bulls of Bashan refers not to the bovine but to the divine, [and] moreover that Iron Age Bashan would have been a terrible land for grazing and the last place to be famous for beef or dairy cattle.” (Derek P. Gilbert, Last Clash of the Titans: The Second Coming of Hercules, Leviathan, and the Prophesied War Between Jesus Christ and the Gods of Antiquity, 1764-1769 (Kindle Edition); Crane, MO; Defender Publishing)

Speaking of these bulls of Bashan in another work, Gilbert notes:

“Herne is another version of a more widely worshiped being called Cernunnos, whose name derives from the Pillar of the Boatmen, a Roman column erected in Lutetia (modern-day Paris) in honor of Jupiter, but features images to other gods as well, including a horned man in a seated position. This being is listed on the pillar as Cernunnos. He is a god of fertility and the woodlands, associated with animals and plants (according to the pillar’s imagery) and wearing torcs or rings on his antlers. Other depictions show him wearing a torc round his neck and holding another in his right hand. His name refers to his horned state (cern being etymologically related to the proto-Indo-European word krn). He is also associated in imagery with the “ram-horned serpent,” and less frequently with bulls, dogs, and rats. The god’s horns represent power, virility, and aggression.” (Sharon K. Gilbert & Derek P. Gilbert, Veneration: Unveiling the Ancient Realms of Demonic Kings and Satan’s Battle Plan for Armageddon, 1960-1965 (Kindle Edition); Crane, MO; Defender Publishing)

It is also beneficial to remember that the bull was venerated in many other religious contexts in the ancient middle eastern world:

“Calves and bulls played a prominent role in the art and religious texts of Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Phoenicia and Syria. In the biblical narrative, golden calves were worshiped under Aaron at Sinai (Ex 32) and later under Jeroboam I (1 Kings 12). In both cases the calves were identified as representations of Yahweh and linked to his power in bringing the people out of Egypt. The calf, as the issue of the powerful bull (see Ox, Oxen), functions as a symbol of potential power and perhaps even symbolizes the relationship of the king to deity with overtones of divine kingship. A calf ’s head decorated the back of Solomon’s *throne (1 Kings 10: 19). Calflike feet contribute to the wonder of the composite creatures in Ezekiel’s (Ezek 1: 7). The second of the four living creatures surrounding the heavenly throne in the Apocalypse has the features of a calf (Rev 4: 7 NASB).” (Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit, Tremper Longman III, Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, 132 (Kindle Edition); Downers Grove, Illinois; IVP Academic)

In Amos, the Prophet writes:

Amos 4:1-Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, Who oppress the poor, Who crush the needy, Who say to your husbands, “Bring wine, let us drink!”

There is a connection here also with the bulls of Bashan:

“Since the “cows of Bashan” are said to speak to their “husbands,” scholars are universally agreed that Amos is specifically addressing upper-class women of northern Israel who were idolaters of the golden calves of Bashan. I wouldn’t disagree with that necessarily, but there’s more to the wording than that. Amos could be targeting temple priestesses who served the gods along with male priests. It is also quite possible that the cows of Bashan are the deities themselves in the form of the idols. This possibility is strengthened by noticing their crimes: “oppressing the poor [ dallim ]” and “crushing the needy [ ebyonim ].” These same two Hebrew words are used in Psalm 82 , where the corrupt elohim are accused of exactly these same crimes ( Psa 82:3–4 ). 3 For our purposes, what we know for sure about Bashan is that it has secure associations with demonic powers….“The implication is that Jesus, at the moment of agony and death, was surrounded by the “bulls of Bashan”—demonic elohim who had been the foes of Yahweh and his children for millennia.” (Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, 5302-5316 (Kindle Edition); Bellingham, WA; Lexham Press)

When all of these facts are considered together, it becomes clear that Gog and his invading army will be guided and empowered by demonic forces. While many in our day and age would have us believe that all demonic activity in the world of man was brought to an end when Jesus died on Calvary, the testimony of Scripture testifies to the fact that such will continue-yea, increase-until the Second Coming of Christ.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

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