We ought just here to stop and notice the flow of Ezekiel’s book. Written for Jewish captives living in Babylon, the first twenty-four chapters contain God’s promise of judgment and total destruction against Jerusalem. Chapters 25-32 expand the destruction to the nations that surround Israel. Chapters 33-37 detail the restoration and blessing of God’s people who return to the land and, according to chapters 38-39, live there in peace and prosperity.
But chapters 38-39, while mentioning Israel’s restored blessing, are mainly about a huge military force that comes against the people of God. The force is made up of seven nations: three (Meshech-Tubal, Gomer, and Beth-Togarmah) come from the north. Put and Cush come from the southwest. Persia comes from the east. Effectively, these are the nations surrounding Israel. Their army is imposing and fearsome. Their leader, Gog, is an ancient “Terminator.”
What is Israel to do?
The answer is: “Nothing.” In their restored state, God is their protector. They must simply life in a way to show that their Lord is Holy. Before they can strike a blow against the Lord’s people, He disposes of the foreign army. All Israel is called to do is buyr the dead, thus cleansing their land.
If you follow the flow of thought in the book, God’s point is not that this is a real event, but it is simply a dramatic assurance of the loving protection of God. Other interpretations are legion, but all who look for a precise event in history are doomed to failure. No matter what the enemy, God’s people have nothing to fear.