This sermon is number 17 in a series of 24
Ezekiel - Part 17
"God's Judgement Of The Gentile World"
by David Legge | Copyright © 2001 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com
You will see from your study sheet that we will be studying right through chapters 25 to 32. Now let me just say this: as I've been going through the book of Ezekiel, it has been difficult. It has been difficult for me in the study, for there has been a lot of digging, and it has been hard to understand at times - his parables and his signs, and all the things that he has been doing and telling us. I assume that it has been the same for you at times. I hope I have tried to make it as simple as possible. We could question whether there is profit in studying a book such as this, and I have heard murmurings around the church that perhaps it is not profitable. Well, I would remind you of what Paul said to Timothy, that all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable. But I was pleasantly reassured today that God has been in this study, and you will see this from what we will do this evening.
This study was started I think, if I can remember, maybe a year ago or just under a year ago. We could not, and certainly I could not, have foreseen the circumstances that our world is in at this very moment in time - but it is amazing to me that the studies that we are going into this week, and in the subsequent weeks, correlate with the events that are taking place in our world today. I believe that that is truly of the Lord.
We're not having a reading, because we will be looking through the individual verses and picking some of them out of the chapters. So I want you to listen carefully, and do bear with me - it will be worth it in the end. We're looking this evening at God's judgement of the Gentile world. If you've not been in our studies up until now, let me share with you that we have been looking specifically at the nation of Israel, specifically of Judah, which is the Southern Kingdom here [on the map] - you see the orange and the green (and that's not any significance to the nation in which we are living here - it would be the other way around!). The Southern Kingdom here of Judah is where Jerusalem is. You remember that while David reigned there was a United Kingdom - in other words the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and the Southern Kingdom of Judah were united together. But then the kingdoms were broken apart, the Northern Kingdom, Israel up at the top, and Judah at the bottom. Well the specific prophecies that we have been looking at have been directed to the Southern Kingdom. Jerusalem is the capital of that kingdom, and most of the prophecies have been directed toward it.
So, the people of God have been instructed, and God has told them - you've seen it in Ezekiel's signs and parables - that God's people would be judged for their sin. God's judgement would come, He would not relent, He would not repent. Yes, there would be a remnant of God's people who would survive, restoration would come to Israel, the glory that had departed because of their sin would one day return - but nevertheless, God's judgement had to come. God had to judge His own people's sin.
In the last study we looked at how Ezekiel's dear wife died. God told him: 'I will take away the delight of your eyes', and that was speaking to the people, that He would take away the delight of Judah's eyes which was the city of Jerusalem - specifically the temple. That very night that Ezekiel prophesied about his wife dying, his wife died - and just subsequently after that the nation was sacked on the very date that the prophecy was given, Jerusalem was taken and many were taken captive into the land of Babylon. At that point you will remember that Ezekiel was told: 'You are no longer to say anything to Judah, you're to shut up, you're not to prophesy. I'm going to make you dumb'. Because of that, from chapter 25 through to chapter 32 that we'll be looking at tonight, God has nothing to say to Judah. Ezekiel says nothing to his people, but rather Ezekiel turns in his prophecies written for us in this book - probably not spoken, I'm not sure - but he turns to the Gentile nations, not to Judah or Israel, but to the Gentile nations and he prophesies what God is going to do with them. We will see in the weeks that lie ahead how, in chapter 33 on to the end, he turns back to Israel again.
We're looking specifically at what God has to say concerning His judgement to the Gentile world. As I was thinking about this, thinking of how God hitherto has been speaking to His own people and judging His own people, and now He's turning to the Gentile world and He's going to speak of judgement to them - 1 Peter 4 and verse 17 came very forcibly to my mind. Peter says: 'For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?'. If God judges His own people, Old Testament people, as we have seen - and He hasn't held back in any of His wrath - what will it be like for the nations around Israel, and the nations of this great planet when God judges them?
If these passages of scripture, chapters 25 through to 32, have anything to say to us in our world today, it is this: God always judges a nation's sin. Always! He judges a nation's sin against Himself, and He also judges a nation's sin against His own people Israel. It happened in the Gentile world then, as we're going to see this evening, and it will happen to this Gentile world - and I believe in a not too distant day, very soon in our future, this world will see Gentile judgement, if it is not seeing it already. A day of reckoning will come, God will come to judge the Gentile peoples, and it cannot be long - it cannot be long until judgement falls. It cannot be long in our own nation, we love it so much, but it cannot be long because the cup of iniquity is filling more and more - I think it must be overflowing, and crying out to God, like the blood of Abel, for judgement, for avenging for God's righteous and holy name!
The affairs in the Middle East, I believe, testify that judgement is coming soon. I don't know about you, and I have to be sensitive in what I say here this evening, but after the atrocity on September the 11th I have been astounded with the arrogance of some of the Gentile nations. Some of the statements that they make; some of the power that they seem to wield in the world, and think they can wield without any question; the hordes of riches that they have to themselves; and the apparent pride that they seem to emanate in their politics internationally. We see our own Prime Minister and other leaders of other nations in the world, running around the world committing - I believe - political adultery with nations around the world whose human rights records, religious records, political records, and war records are absolutely abysmal! Yet all of the world still forsakes Israel. Ariel Sharon said recently to his own people: 'You must know that we are on our own'. It amazes me that the nations without God behave themselves as if they were gods. You've heard these words said: 'We will be the determiners of our own destiny'.
The times of the Gentiles is a specific epoch in the history of scripture. Now, let me explain this for folk that are newly saved, or folk that are young in the faith. The Jewish people, Israel, were the centre of God's plan - always in the Old Testament they were His people, they would shine out His glory to the world around. But they were disobedient to God's law and they didn't follow Him and they didn't obey Him, and God brought in the time of Gentile dominance within the world. In other words, the Jewish race and Israel would no longer be the dominant nation, but Gentile races would rise up in empires. We see this in our book, when Israel comes under the Babylonian empire itself. The time of the Gentiles begins in this very book, it begins with the Babylonian exile when the Israelites are taken from Jerusalem into exile in Babylon. It starts here in this book, and it has run right through to this very day in which we're standing - 2500 years.
Even at the end of this book, when the Israelites are brought back in the sixth and fifth century BC, back from Babylon into their own land and back into Jerusalem, they are still ruled by Gentile overlords - there are still Gentiles over them. Then we find from that moment on, when they come home from exile, they are ruled by Persians, then we find they are ruled by Alexander the Great, then Egypt comes and rules them, and then Syria rules them. In the Gospels, the life of the Lord Jesus, we find that the Jewish people in Jerusalem are under Roman rule until 70AD. We even find in 135AD that they try another revolt against the Roman Empire, and it is at that point that the Jewish people - and it's prophesied in this book, that we will see later on in the book - they are scattered right throughout the nations of the world, and they have been for 2000 years. When the Jews were scattered all around the world, around the world they were also being ruled by Gentile nations. In fact, the Jewish people are unique in this respect: that they have almost been ruled by every nation upon the face of the earth! Wherever the wandering Jew went he found himself under Gentile dominion. Even way back in Ezekiel's day, God pronounced judgement on those Gentile nations. It came in Ezekiel's day, and the prophetic teaching - I believe - of this book is that it will come in a day that is coming very near, I believe. 'Then' - then! - 'they will know that the Most High God ruleth in the kingdom of men'.
So, we look tonight at the specific nations that God mentions in this book and in these chapters, and I believe that you will see a pattern emerging. The first that we find in chapter 25 verses 1 to 7 is the nation of Ammon. If you look up at this map, I know that you can't make everything out but I hope that you have a working knowledge somehow of the nation of Israel, you know that Jerusalem is round about here - just there - Ammon is this area here. It is a nation, which means it's an ethnic people - not specifically the land, but the people of Ammon, they resided just there. In verses 1 to 7 it tells us about this nation that is just east of Jordan and north of Moab. Now, what I want you to note tonight is the origin of this nation that God pronounces judgement upon - for you to know that we need to turn to Genesis chapter 19. Genesis chapter 19 and verse 38, we'll read from verse 35 which tells us the story of Lot and his daughters: '[His daughters] made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father'. Verse 38: 'The younger, she bore a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day'.
So this nation, Ammon, derives itself in origin from the incestuous relationship between Lot and his youngest daughter. You can see right away how the judgement of God would be coming upon that nation. As we go through the Old Testament we find that Ammon displayed hostility toward Judah in every opportunity that they could. You can see it in 2 Samuel 10, Amos chapter 1. We find in Ezekiel that Ammon as a nation joined with the Babylonians against Judah about 600BC - 2 Kings chapter 24 tells us that. So while these people were being taken into captivity their neighbours, Ammon, decided to get the boot in while they could, and they helped the Babylonians.
Now, the chief sin that God was judging this people for was not was not specifically their parenthood way back in Lot's incestuous relationship with his daughter, it wasn't even what they did when the people were going into captivity, but their chief sin was their devilish glee that they openly displayed over the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. When the Babylonians came in, wiped out the temple, what did these people do? They laughed while the people were being taken into slavery, while the people - men, women and children - were being slaughtered, the Ammon people stood back and laughed! In fact in Lamentations 2 and verse 15 we have their words prophetically, they said: 'All that pass by clap their hands at thee', Jerusalem, 'they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?'. They laughed at Jerusalem's calamity!
That is what many nations in the world do today, that is many nation's opinion of the nation of Israel as it sits in our world at this moment. Even God's spiritual people, the church, that is what the world thinks of us - they're laughing up their sleeve at us! Religion at large is laughed at today, except Christianity is seen in a special light of humour, it is seen as absolutely beyond the pale and fanatical - especially if you believe the word of God and you're a Bible-believing Christian. Because of this God would, He says in this passage, allow various Bedouin tribes from the desert to overrun the land of Ammon, to come in and destroy it. The capital city, Rabbath, which is right here, that's in modern day Jordan - the city of Amman that you hear about in the news, that's that city. God said that He would destroy it, He would turn it into a pasture for camels - and if you look right across that whole land, that is the desert of Arabia. It is desert today! Why? Because God judged it.
Then we have judgement against Moab in verses 8 through to 11 of chapter 25. Now if you're still in Genesis 19, you will see from verse 37 that 'the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day'. In other words, the oldest daughter of Lot who committed incest with him also had a son, and his name was Moab and he was the father of the Moabites. If you look up at the map, there was Ammon and Moab was just below. Their main sin was in disregarding Judah's God, Jehovah. What I mean by that is this: they just looked at Jehovah as an ordinary God. 'He's just like one of the other gods, like Baal or Ashteroth' - or Allah or Buddha, if you like, today. They just set Him in a cabinet equal to all the other gods and deities all around the world. God is a jealous God!
They believed He was a national tribe God, and that is what our world is doing today. 'Oh, Jehovah, He's the same as Allah'. I am absolutely astounded and appalled to hear some Christian missionary organisations telling Christians that Allah is just another name for God! Allah is not God! Yahweh is God! My friends, we have to be jealous for the name of our God because God is jealous. He does not adhere to a syncretistic religion, where there is a scotch broth of everything put in and there comes out this relative truth that 'You just believe what you can and you'll get there in the end'. God judged it! The same desert tribes that would overrun Ammon would be the ones who would come and occupy Moab and all the Moabite cities - that was God's judgement upon Moab.
So, Ammon is judged, Moab is judged, and then that brings us to Edom in chapter 25 and verses 12 through to 14, and also chapter 35 verses 1 to 15. Don't move away from Genesis just yet, because this nation Edom stems from Esau - you know Jacob and Esau. Esau was the twin brother of Jacob, and in Genesis 25 - if you turn to chapter 25 - and verse 22 you find that in the womb of Rebecca the two twin children struggled together within her. She said to God: 'If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger'.
So, Edom is the son of Esau. He is a nation, a separate nation to the nation of Judah. But God told them that because of their common ancestry, because they came from the one womb, they were not to fight one another. As Israel was on route to the promised land, to Canaan, they were told not to fight Edom as they were going there. Edom settled the territory - there we were in Ammon, there we are at Moab, and there is Edom right at the very bottom just at the tail of Judah. They settled in that land south of Moab just beside the Dead Sea, just under the tip - you can't see it, but the Gulf of Aqaba is just down there. They settled there, do you know where that is? If you have a modern map, I was trying to get one for tonight but I couldn't, but if you have a modern map that area down there - there's a border there - and that country there is Saudi Arabia, and that nation there is the nation of Jordan, remember I said that that is Amman that you hear about in Jordan? Well, there's Jordan and there's Saudi Arabia, please remember that for a few moments later.
In spite of their common heritage, in other words they were from the same womb, Edom was considered as the arch enemy of Israel - the top enemy right throughout the whole of Scripture. What were their sins? If you look at chapter 35 of Ezekiel quickly, chapter 35 and verse 15: 'As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee: thou shalt be desolate, O mount Seir, and all Idumea', that's simply another name for Edom, 'Idumea even all of it: and they shall know that I am the LORD'. Again, like the last two nations, they laughed at the calamity of Judah's falling, they laughed at the temple being destroyed. In fact, verse 5 of chapter 35 tells us more: 'Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end'. Not only did they laugh at the fall of the temple, but they themselves helped to butcher helpless Jews during the Babylonian invasion!
Then, if you look at verse 10: 'Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there'. This was their greatest sin of all, listen: they wanted to occupy Judah, they wanted to occupy the promised land, and the reason for that is that they wanted to push Jehovah out of Judah! Now, listen to me: you will see a pattern here tonight. We're only halfway through these seven nations, but do you see it beginning to take form? Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, Phoenicia, you've got all these nations and you've got Egypt down here - it's like a circle right around Israel, a circle of all these nations. These nations down here - if you go from the Dead Sea, right along here to the Persian Gulf where all the great vessels are at this very moment, all of that area is Muslim, all of that area is Arab - the descendants. Still the Arabs are the prime enemy of Israel, is that not right? They want to drive Yahweh, Jehovah, out of the land! In fact, they want to drive Israel out of the land!
I read a story today about 1939. A Viennese Jew entered a travel agent and asked the question: 'I want to buy a steamship ticket'. 'Where to?', the clerk asked. 'Well, let me look at your globe please', and every time the Jew suggested a country the clerk raised an objection, and said: 'Well, this one requires a visa, this one isn't admitting any more Jews, the waiting list for this one is 10 years'. Finally the Jew looked up and said: 'Pardon me, do you have another globe?'. That is the way the Jewish people feel even in the world today. It's hardly surprising. We witnessed in 1990 Saddam Hussein's assault on Israel by Scud missiles, but I wonder did you know that Saddam Hussein's uncle was the main influence on his life in his early years? His uncle was awarded the mayorship of Baghdad, but before he got that he published a booklet called - listen to this: 'Three Whom God Should Not Have Created - Persians, Jews, and Flies' - you wonder where his anti-Semitism comes from.
In fact, Saddam Hussein likes to trace his family tree back to the prophet Mohammed but, even above the prophet Mohammed, Saddam's favourite hero of all is King Nebuchadnezzar! In fact, at a road crossing at Hammurabi Museum in Iraq there is a big cut-out that shows Nebuchadnezzar II, Babylonia's mightiest King - and do you know what he's doing? He's handing a flower to a big cut-out of Saddam Hussein! Now, Nebuchadnezzar's empire stretched from the Dead Sea right to the Gulf of Persia that I was talking about, right across all of that Arabian Desert. He conquered the regions - modern day nations such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Israel. Saddam Hussein once remarked these words, listen: 'What is most important to me about Nebuchadnezzar is the link between the Arab's abilities and the liberation of Palestine. Whenever I remember Nebuchadnezzar I like to remind the Arabs, Iraqis in particular, of their historical responsibilities'. Link those two things: the liberation of Palestine and their historical responsibilities - he looks back to Nebuchadnezzar as his blueprint, as his role model for going into Israel, and putting the Jews out of it and taking the Jewish God away!
He needs to be watched! In the same way as he is hating the Jews, and he is around the same area on the map, God would judge his predecessors way back in Edom. God would punish them, He would allow other nations to fill the land, and it says in chapter 35 and verse 8, if you look at it, that God would allow dead bodies of Edomites to litter around the valleys, around the rivers, and around the mountains. That nation would become a barren nation.
Here we go, we're going round a circle - Ammon, Moab, Edom, and now we're coming to Philistia, just along the West Coast there where the Philistines lived. In chapter 25, if you go back to 25, verses 15 to 17 you find it there. Now, if Edom topped God's enemy list, Philistia came a very close second. The hostile nation of the Philistines is mentioned right throughout the Old Testament, you will know that. They were a thorn in the flesh of the Jew more than any other nation. They constantly harassed God people and oppressed them, right to the reign of King David - and King David sorted them out in the end. But because of their long-standing hatred and persecution of the Jewish people, God was going to execute awful vengeance upon them. You see that in verse 17 of chapter 25: 'I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them'.
Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, and then Tyre. Now, Tyre is in Phoenicia which is this yellow bit here - that's Tyre there, and that's Sidon there. So, the Lord prophesies about Tyre in chapter 26 this time, verse 1 to chapter 28 and verse 19 - two whole chapters. What is the history of Tyre? Let me go quickly through it. It's the ancient history of the Phoenicians. In Ezekiel's day it was the greatest commercial centre in the whole of the Old Testament. The word 'Tyre' means 'rock', and it was the centre of the Mediterranean world - it was the New York, if you like, of the Ancient Near East. Ezekiel tells us in verse 13 of chapter 26 that they were music lovers, Isaiah tells us that as well. They exerted great influence over the whole world, and even over David and Solomon - and we find King Hiram helped David and Solomon build the temple. So much riches, so much political and religious influence in those days.
Now, what were the sins of Tyre? Again, verse 2: 'Son of man, because that Tyrus hath said against Jerusalem, Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the people: she is turned unto me: I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste'. Again, they laughed, they rejoiced at the downfall of the Jewish people. Now, do you know why they did that? Because with the downfall of Judah their trade route was clear. They could bring their caravans down from Tyre right through to Africa and all the known world, and with Judah's demise not only was the route cleared but they had no longer to pay any 'interstate tax' - they could go through free of charge.
The ruler at this time was Ithobaal II, and we find that in chapter 28 he boasted himself to be a God. He says: 'I shall be a God!' - chapter 28 and verse 2: 'Say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God. With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: By thy great wisdom and by thy traffic hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches'. Now the history of Tyrus is a man, a King of Tyre and a nation of Tyre that, because of their riches, because of their political influence, they were filled up with pride and they thought they were God! That was the fruit of their downfall. You can go right throughout the Old Testament, you can look at King Sennacherib, you can look at Nebuchadnezzar made to eat from the ground, you can see Herod even in the New Testament in the book of Acts - and men that were lifted up with pride, God brought them down. Let me say tonight that the nations of our world need to beware! I don't care whether they're the United States, or Great Britain, or any of the nations of Europe - they must beware of inflated self-sufficiency and pride!
Turn with me to 2 Thessalonians and chapter 2. Paul the apostle is speaking prophetically of the antichrist, the one who will come and present himself to Israel as Messiah. It says of him: 'He opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God'. This is the characteristic of future antichrist, to set himself up as God in pride and self-sufficiency. For that reason God would punish Tyre, and God tells us in chapters 26 through to 28 that the various nations will come up against Tyre like ocean waves and destroy it. Let me tell you this: Tyre is that city there, but Tyre was two cities. There was a little island off the sea that was also called Tyre - they were both specifically called Tyre. There's this picture of the nation and the island being overridden by the waves of God's judgement - it would come upon them!
Now listen, do you see when Ezekiel prophesied this? Two hundred and twenty-five years had to pass and there was no fulfilment of this prophecy, but as we look into our history books tonight we look at the year 322 BC, and we see Alexander the Great. Do you know what he did? He arrived at the scene of this island city, he destroyed Tyre on the shore - do you know what the Bible says he did? He built a land bridge leading from the shore out to the island of Tyre with the coastline of the nation of Tyre. He got all the debris of the destroyed city and buildings and homes, and he threw it into the sea, and he climbed over that debris onto the little island and he destroyed the island there.
Let me read to you chapter 26 and verses 3 to 5: 'Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD: and it shall become a spoil to the nations'. God scraped the coastline clean! Some years ago Edward Robinson, an archaeologist, do you know what he discovered underneath the water between Tyre on the shore and Tyre on the island? He discovered 40 or 50 marble columns beneath the water along the shore of ancient Tyre. After that seven month siege all that debris was there, and Alexander the Great walked across it to the little island and destroyed it! From that point, even today, that coastal area of Tyre has been used by local fishermen to spread their nets! What did the Lord say? 'It shall be a place for the spreading of nets'.
Ezekiel stated that the city would never again be inhabited, never be rebuilt. Do you know what there is today near Tyre? I don't know whether you've ever heard of it, but there's the Rose Lane Water Springs where there's 10,000 gallons of fresh pure water daily, but even that hasn't attracted people to break God's prophecy - there's nobody living in it. The amazing thing about this passage in chapter 26 is that Ezekiel says that the entire known Western world will lament and wail the destruction of Tyre. They will cry, it says in verse 18, 'the isles tremble in the day of thy fall; yea, the isles that are in the sea shall be troubled at thy departure'. All their trade has gone, and some scholars have reason to believe that the British Isles, even way back then, was involved in trade with Tyre - and they were crying! In Revelation chapter 18 we are told that during the tribulation period - seven years of judgement that will come upon this earth for this earth's sin, for the spirit of Babylon that is in this world - that the whole Western world will wail at the fall of Babylon: 'Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen!'.
We will look next week at the sinister force which is the devil behind Tyre, we don't have time to look at it tonight. So, we've looked at Tyre, now we go up the map to Sidon. Twenty miles north of Tyre, it was founded - you find in Genesis 10:15 - by Canaan's firstborn. It was the headquarters of Baalism, Baalite idolatry. You know Jezebel, who was a fanatic after Baal, she was a Sidonian - she came from there. In addition to Sidon that was the centre of Baal worship, it was also the centre of Astheroth worship, and Tammuz worship - and God sent an epidemic of disease and an army to destroy her, and in 351 BC we have the records of history that at that time the city was put to the torch by the Persians because of disease that was in her.
Then we have Egypt, finishing the circle - Ammon, Moab, Edom, Phoenicia which is Sidon, Tyre, Philistia the Philistines, and down here at the top North-East of Africa you have the nation of Egypt. She was judged at this particular time by Nebuchadnezzar, because Egypt's sin like that of the other nations was pride. Chapter 29 verse 3, they were puffed up with it. In fact, you remember, that it was Egypt that convinced King Zedekiah at the time to make a pact with them against Babylon. They were trying to get the fleshly way out of being taken captive, because of that God Himself would judge them. God would conquer them.
Now, the prophecy is that Egypt one day would be restored to its wealth, but it would never ever have the glory that it had in the ancient times. It would remain a minor kingdom. Now this is remarkable, this is all prophetic, because you look at the nation of Egypt tonight - look at the glory she once had in the pyramids, in the engineering, in Tutankhamen's tomb and all the riches that were found in it, and look at it today! And we say: 'God's word standeth sure'. Her future punishment is found in chapter 30, for Egypt will be punished in a future day. I know the name Nebuchadnezzar appears in chapter 30 and verse 10, there's another phrase that appears and it is in verse 3, this statement: 'The day of the Lord'. Now almost every time you find the statement 'the day of the Lord' in scripture it refers to that seven years tribulation period, after the rapture of the church, when this old world will be judged by God for seven years. During that tribulation period Ezekiel says that the nation of Egypt will be judged again. According to Daniel chapter 11, we don't have time to look at it, specifically verses 41 and 42 God says through Daniel that Egypt will indeed be destroyed during the tribulation, and at that time again - she's experienced it in her past, she's experiencing it in our present at this moment, the gold has grown dim, and she will experience in the future - she will be judged of God.
My friend, look, I know all this is difficult to understand - but surely you understand this much: God's word stands sure! It's amazing, isn't it? It's not amazing at all...the tragic end of Egypt is found in chapter 32 and verses 20 and 21: 'They shall fall in the midst of them that are slain by the sword: she is delivered to the sword: draw her and all her multitudes. The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell' - a picture of Egypt falling into the depths of hell with all the other nations - 'they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword'.
Let me bring this all together in the moments that remain. There is this circle of Gentile nations around God's people. In 1948 the nation of Israel that we know today was given independence and the people were back in the land. Since that 1948 date there have been five wars that the nation of Israel has been involved in. In 1948 was the War of Independence - do you know who was against them in the War of Independence? Listen carefully: Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. As soon as Israel had declared its independence, it had roughly a half a million people in the nation of Israel at that time, and it was surrounded by 40 million Arab people! They were determined to drive the Jews out of their land, and as far they could, into the sea if they possibly were allowed to do it. That's the first war, 1948, then you come to 1956 - the Suez Crisis, where Israel wasn't allowed down the Suez Canal. Again Egypt was the culprit - Egypt again! In 1967 you have the Six Day War - who was involved in that? Egypt, Syria, Jordan! In 1973 the Yom Kippur War, who was involved? Egypt, Syria assisted by Iraq, Jordan, Algeria, Morocco, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia! The last war was Israel against Lebanon - but from 70 AD when they were put out of the land until 1969, listen to this, Palestine has been ruled by 40 different nations! Today it's under Israeli control by the will of God, and since their independence in 1948 they have fought five wars - and against all the odds they've won every one of them!
My friends, you listen to me tonight: some day soon, at the end of the seven-year tribulation, at the very end of the battle of Armageddon, that little nation at the very bottom there will be surrounded in exactly the same places of Ammon, Moab, Edom, right around. The Arab nations and all the nations of the world will surround her and come against her. I want you to turn with me, as we close our meeting, to Zechariah chapter 14, God says through His prophet: 'Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south'.
I read today, you know Holiday Inn? They've opened one in Belfast near the BBC, they tried some years ago to build a Holiday Inn on the Mount of Olives. They sent their engineers up to that mountain, and they had to call the whole thing off, do you know why? There is a fault line running right down the middle of the Mount of Olives, and some day it's going to split in two. Joel said that one of these days in the valley of Jehoshaphat, near Jerusalem, Messiah will finally destroy the world's armies and the Gentile nations. The battlefield - you think about this in your mind - the battlefield will stretch from Meggido, which is up here, right down to the very bottom of the tip of Edom. The whole of the nation, 200 miles long and a hundred miles wide! The battle smoke of war will extend right down to the south of the Dead Sea, over the Gulf of Aqaba, into the very fort of Elat that some of you have been at and sunbathed in - there will be a dark cloud of war! Why? Can you please picture this scene? The Lord Jesus climbs the Mount of Olives, He cries tears from His heart, and says: 'Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem. Oh Jerusalem, how often would I have brought thee to myself as a hen gathers her chickens, but ye would not. Because of that your house is left unto you desolate until you say, 'Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord''. On that day the nations of the world will surround, but their Saviour - hallelujah - will come and deliver them and the nations of the world will be judged. Let me say publicly tonight, not that anybody will listen to me - it doesn't matter - but our nations and our leaders need to pay attention that God's word says that there is a terrible day coming of the wrath of the Lord, and whether they like it or not God's word stands forever and Christ is coming! Surely it cannot be long! Even so, come Lord Jesus.
Let's bow our heads. I don't know if there's anybody here that's not saved, but do you know something? You'd need to be blind if you can't see that the stage for all this is being set. It may not come to pass right away, but for all history the devil has been pushing this, surrounding Jerusalem - until one time God will let him do it for His own divine purposes, and this may be the time. Your question is: are you ready if the Lord should come? Believer, the hour is at hand, the day is short, the night is far spent, let us put off the unfruitful works of unrighteousness and put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Father, we thank Thee that Jesus is coming, He's coming again - and we thank Thee that we're going and we'll not be around for all of this. We thank Thee that even though we cannot see it, we have from Thy word been told all that will befall this world. We pray that upon it we would go out and win the lost while there is time and, Lord, that we will live godly lives. Seeing these things shall be dissolved, what manner of men and women ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness? Help us Lord, that we will be found ready when You come, Amen.
Preach The Word
This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the seventeenth tape in his Ezekiel series, titled "God's Judgement Of The Gentile World" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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