Some commentators propose that an Israeli retaliatory conquest resulting in greatly expanded borders would give Israel
more peace and security (by subduing Islam and bringing millions of Allah worshippers under docile control).
In fact, the opposite would be true. Expanded borders would ultimately endanger Israel even more because her enemies would know full-well that an army the size of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) could not handle the massive number of enemies that would need to be controlled within greatly expanded borders.
Israelis would be even more on guard and less secure than they are today. It is during the Gog-Magog invasion that Islam will take a serious hit—by God Himself. This will happen when Israel has a security agreement(s) as she has now.
In the future, just prior to the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation period, Scripture tells us that Israel will sign what will be more of a peace (shalom) covenant with the Antichrist (Daniel 9:27). Of course the Antichrist will break that covenant.
Israel is living securely today, but not peacefully.
“After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them.
And you will say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates, therefore prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: On that day when My people Israel are living securely, will you not know it?’” (Ezekiel 38: 8, 11, 14 emphasis added).
What does “living securely” mean in reference to Israel and the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39 (the Gog-Magog war)? We see in the previous passages that the Lord says Israel will be living “securely” when attacked.
In verse 14, He states even more specifically, “My people Israel are living securely.” The word for secure or safe when translated into Hebrew is “batach.”
In the Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon – New American Standard the word batach is not defined as peace. The word batach is defined in this way: “to trust in,” “be secure,” “be careless.” The word for safe (as some translations have it) or secure, as used in the three verses above (NASB) is not the Hebrew word “shalom” (peace).
Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum (and many others) agree that Israel is dwelling securely right now, as you will read next:
They dwell securely (38:11, 14). This has often been misconstrued as meaning a state of peace, but this is not the meaning of the Hebrew root batach. The nominal form of this root means “security.” This is not the security due to a state of peace, but a security due to confidence in their, own strength. This, too, is a good description of Israel today.
The Israeli army has fought four major wars since its founding and won them swiftly each time. Today Israel is secure, confident that her army can repel any invasion from the Arab states. Hence, Israel is dwelling securely. Israel is dwelling in unwalled villages (38:11). This is very descriptive of the present-day kibbutzim in Israel. (Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Footprints of the Messiah, pages 121-122.)
Notice that Dr. Fruchtenbaum does not say that the nation of Israel will be more secure or safer because she will conquer the enemy nations that surround her. He makes an excellent point that Israel is already dwelling securely because of the confidence in her ability to protect herself.
As soon as Russia and the Islamic hordes march against Israel fulfilling the Ezekiel 38 and 39 prophecies, those who are waiting for Israel to be “safer” or more at peace as a prerequisite for the Gog-Magog war will realize they have not understood the meaning of the Hebrew word batach.
The Israelis will not be living peacefully when they are attacked by the Russian-led coalition prophesied by Ezekiel. But they will be living under a sense of “security” or “securely” with generally secure borders as would be implied by already having a number of security agreements, going as far back as to the Camp David Accords.
In 1978 at Camp David a treaty between Israel and Egypt was negotiated (known as the Camp David Accords), setting the groundwork for a final agreement between Egypt and Israel. On September 17, 1978 Egyptian President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Israeli Premier Menachem Begin signed the pact at the White House in Washington D.C, and again on March 26, 1979 they signed the final official, document reflective of the Camp David Accords, formally ending the state of war between Egypt and Israel.
Unfortunately, it also included a provision for Israel to withdraw from the Sinai-Peninsula, which she did in stages in exchange for the promise of more “secure” borders. The news cameras broadcasted and witnessed these historic events to the entire world. And there have been other treaties since.
Although the treaties with Israel often contain the word “peace,” all the so-called peacemakers seem to really want is for Israel to give up more land for the hollow promise of more peace. Peace is not really part of the equation. Land grabbing is, however. Israel is a tiny nation about the size of New Jersey surrounded by enemies who have large parcels of land. Israel could fit into the state of Florida 8 times.
We read in Ezekiel 38:14: “On that day when My people Israel are living securely, will you not know it?” In essence this prophetic verse has been fulfilled. Security agreements have been signed and we “know it.” The Camp David Accords were not peace (shalom) treaties, but rather security agreements. Secure borders were established.
Even the security fences that have been constructed throughout parts of Israel over the years denote a feeling of security, despite the endless and frequent missile attacks launched by the Palestinians. Having protective fences as Israel has now in some areas does not create an isolated existence, as would be the case when an entire nation or “village” is living behind “bars or gates.”
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) also provide a sense of confident security. Certainly the Jews in Israel are more secure today than they have been in the past, considering prior to their re-gathering in 1948 they were dispersed throughout the world seeking a safe-haven. Nowhere were the Jews in more danger than in Europe when they were hunted down, brutally tortured and murdered by Hitler and his bloodthirsty, satanically driven henchmen.
Since that time, the Iranian hierarchy and its proxy nations and allies have been the most vocal enemies in their intention to totally destroy Israel and murder Jews. On July 27, 2012 the U.S. president signed a politically motivated bill to strengthen SECURITY cooperation with Israel: H.R. 4133, the United States Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012. Once again the word “security” is the dominating word.
Amir Tsarfati, whom I have often quoted as far back as 2009, is an Israeli born Jewish believer who resides in Jerusalem. He is a former deputy governor of Jericho and captain in the Israeli army. While Amir was deputy governor, the Israeli government entrusted him with what are now known as the famous Oslo Accords documents.
Amir is highly aware of what is going on in Israel and her surrounding nations, and has many times declared publicly at his speaking engagements at various churches that nothing has to happen before the Gog-Magog invasion takes place. Even when Hamas is firing missiles into Israel, she is secure in her ability to retaliate and protect her citizens.
Many Israeli citizens are armed and can protect themselves if necessary. Internal violence in Israel, particularly in Jerusalem brought on by Muslim aggressors is escalating but that does not negate the fact that Israel has secure borders and are living securely.
More walls within Israel may be built to protect Israelis from Arab assaults but that will give them more security. We are primarily talking about the borders around Israel which are secure. But that does not mean internal violence from Muslim terrorists who reside in Israel will not increase. We can expect that it will.
Unwalled Villages Defined
Before modern Israel was reestablished nearly everyone in ancient Israel lived in walled villages. Jerusalem was surrounded by walls until 1860 when Sir Moses Montefiore built the first dwellings outside its walls. Throughout Israel today, most all of the population lives in unwalled towns and cities. In Ezekiel’s time villages were surrounded by walls built from heavy rocks for protection to fend off her enemies.
More recently when the Jews began to return to Israel they established new Jewish settlements. In order to protect against Arab attacks, watchtowers and stockade fences were built, especially used at night. These settlements were essentially small villages based on agriculture but were primarily established for defense, and were surrounded by a wall or fence.
The first kibbutzim (plural of “kibbutz”) were founded some forty years before the establishment of the modern State of Israel (1948). Degania (from the Hebrew “dagan,” meaning grain), located south of Lake Kinneret, was established in 1909 by a group of pioneers on land acquired by the Jewish National Fund.
In contrast, modern Israel is a nation consisting of unwalled settlements (villages) and cities. This is true despite the security checkpoints that control entry into some of the settlements, and also true regardless of the wall(s) that Israel has between certain Jewish and Palestinian-controlled areas. Walls, bars and gates still exist, but they do not play the same first line of defense position that they did in ancient times or in the recent history of Israel when the Jews began to return to their land.
Additionally, to a great extent modern weapons have made the protection provided by walls, bars and gates of little effect. They do not provide protection from rockets, mortars or missiles. So when Ezekiel wrote that Israel would be living in “unwalled villages” when attacked it is correct to say they once did live in “walled villages” but do no longer.
Today Israelis live in “unwalled villages,” secure borders as Ezekiel described when he said that at the time of the Gog-Magog invasion the nation of Israel would be living “securely” and in “unwalled villages” and “without bars and gates.”
Living in Peace Is Not the Same as Living Securely
Some commentators say that the Gog-Magog war cannot take place until Israel is living in peace. But they are not reading Scripture as it is written. Ezekiel 38:11 states:
“You will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates—”
The Scripture states a “peaceful people,” not that Israel is living in “peace.”
At some point in the not too distant future, God’s wrath will pour down upon the Gog-Magog alliance, which will significantly and overwhelmingly change the world as we know it, accelerating last days events.
Considering the anti-Israel, pro-Iran nuclear deal made by the Obama White House in 2015, the Gog-Magog war may not be too far off, especially since the ongoing threatened extinction of Israel by the Iranian demonically-infested thugs has now become a more imminent possibility. (Iran is part of the Russian-led coalition prophesied by Ezekiel.)
In an article written by Daymond Duck some time ago titled “Gog’s Evil Thought,” he brilliantly stated (emphasis added):
Some say “dwelling safely” means after the Antichrist confirms the seven-year covenant with many for peace in the Middle East (Daniel 9:27). But it doesn’t have to mean that because Israel is dwelling safely now under the protection of God who will not allow her to be defeated (Amos 9:15).
When Does This Invasion Take Place?
“Therefore prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord God, ‘On that day when My people Israel are living securely, will you not know it? You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army; and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog’” (Ezekiel 83:14-16 emphasis added).
This invasion takes place when Israel is back in the land, re-gathered as a nation as she is today. This war is supernatural in nature and will take place when God Himself says it is time—when God in His sovereignty brings down the invaders. We need not look for any particular circumstances for God to decide to act. Israel does not need to be richer or bigger. She has plenty right now that her enemies would want to plunder.
“I will put hooks in your jaws and bring you down” (Ezekiel 38:4a).
Israel is right now in a position of “dwelling securely” (Ezekiel 38:8-11, 14). The Hebrew word to study is not SHALOM (“dwelling at peace”).
The word to study is the Hebrew word, BATACH, meaning dwelling securely, with a secure border; which is essentially what Israel has today. Israelis will never forfeit their weapons by thinking they are suddenly “safer” because some people have the notion that having more land will lull their protective instincts to sleep. We must keep in mind that Scripture states “they shall dwell securely” (as in secure borders).
“After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, that is gathered out of many peoples, upon the mountains of Israel, which have been a continual waste; but it is brought forth out of the peoples, and they shall dwell securely, all of them” (Ezekiel 38:8 emphasis added).
The late Grant Jeffrey stated this in his book, Prince of Darkness – Antichrist and the New World Order (pp.193-194):
A final question concerns the timing of this future war of Gog and Magog. Some writers conclude that the battle will occur during the seven-year treaty period leading up to the battle of Armageddon. However, there is no mention of the Antichrist or his seven-year treaty to protect Israel. If this battle takes place within the seven-year treaty period leading to Armageddon you would expect the prophet to refer to either (1) the Antichrist defending Israel against this attack or, (2) to his betrayal of Israel by refusing to protect them as agreed in his treaty.
Ezekiel’s prophecy about the war of Magog is silent about the Antichrist or the Messiah although they are central figures in the period leading to the battle of Armageddon. This silence convinces me that the war of Gog and Magog will occur at some point in time prior to the Antichrist arising to conclude his fateful seven-year treaty with the Jews.
Does the phrase “dwell safely” mean that Israel has found true lasting peace with her neighbors? In the light of the grim history of the Middle East during the century it is unlikely that Israel will disarm to any degree before the Messiah returns.
Israel will remain an armed camp surrounded by enemies committed to her destruction until God changes the hearts of mankind. The phrase “dwell safely” may simply indicate that Israel will be living in an expectation that they will not be attacked at that time, perhaps because of the recent peace agreement with the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization).
Many years have passed since Grant Jeffrey wrote those words, yet they still ring true today. Now with the new upcoming Trump Administration it is possible that Israel will breathe a great sigh of relief knowing that one of Israel’s greatest enemies—Barack Hussein Obama, is no longer the U.S. “president.” The Israelis might be more inclined to feel even more secure.
President-elect Trump and Prime Minister Netenyahu obviously have a warm respectful regard for one another. I would not be surprised if the president-elect takes some strong measures against those who have demonized Israel. God’s perfect plan will continue to unfold as we watch the moves on God’s chessboard.
We cannot second guess God on how the specific details related to the Gog-Magog prophecy will come to pass, but we know that He will be seen as the Victor in that battle. He makes it clear that many nations will know that He controlled its outcome.
“I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the Lord”’ (Ezekiel 38:23).
Endnotes Select excerpts taken from Israel’s Guaranteed Glory. (First printing June 3, 2016, September 2016 distribution, World Bible Society)
Footnote: “Anyone who loves God’s chosen people will want to read Israel’s Guaranteed Future Glory. Kit R. Olsen’s wonderful new book highlights the State of Israel showing that God’s prophetic promises have not been broken, and that He still has a plan for mankind. The history of the Jews proves the validity of His Holy Word; and the geopolitical climate unfolding today falls in line with God’s prophetic messages. Kit has been my dedicated editor/writer for the site since 2012, and I am very pleased to share some of her additional work with our readers and feature her new book on the site.” –Todd Strandberg