Terror in the Land of the Living
By Chris Josephson
Please read this with your Bible open to Ezekiel chapter 32, as we will not quote fully the verses when commenting on them. This judgment sets the stage for Matthew 25:31-46. This article is the hardest I’ve ever written, but the compelling force is Ezekiel 3:18 & 19. Please read it.
Ezekiel 29:21 indicates that when Israel’s “horn” [strength, power] “buds” [becoming a state again] that the words of Ezekiel are to be heard.
Four words and expressions in Chapter 31 and 32 of Ezekiel occur over and over. Why? Let’s take a look. They are:
(1) The word translated “nether parts” (31:14,16,18; 32:18, 24) from the Hebrew, tachty can be “subway, bottom, sewer.” The Jewish commentator, Rashi, says the netherworld is Gehinnon.
(2) “pit” (31:14,16; 32:18, 23, 24, 25, 29) – Heb. bowr – pit, hole as a cistern or prison.
(3) “grave(s)” (31:15; 32:22, 23, 24 & 25) Heb. sheol in Ezk. 31:15, meaning “the world of the dead, subterranean”, and the Hebrew root kehber in the other verses 22, 23, 24 & 25 is sepulture, buying place.
(4) “hell” (31:16,17; 32:21, 27) Hebrew is also sheol.
These bring the Bible student up short. A search is needed to understand these terms.
One thing is very clear: those who cause “terror in the land of the living” will come to a worse death than falling in battle. The “Day of the Lord” is now bursting over the horizon, but it will bring on a fuller light of day, climaxing in the Messianic area – the 7th Day of Prophecy. “For when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9).
This “subterranean” judgment scenario begins in chapter 31 of Ezekiel. Again open your Bible and read:
V. 14, – the destiny of those who fight against God’s Law and people, those who ‘cause terror in the land of the living’.
In verse 16, the Hebrew reads: “From the sound of their fall I shake the nations with my casting him to sheol with them that descend to the pit.” I have struggled with the meaning of the word “comforted” in the latter part of this verse. The Issac Lesser version [to which Elmer Josephson referred many times] renders it, “comforted themselves.” Are the “trees” [symbolic of men] Islamic fanatics who say those who die in suicide attacks killing Jews go straight to paradise, thereby “comforting themselves” falsely?
We see the subject is primarily Egypt (31:18) and mainly continues in chapter 32:
V. 2, “…Thou art as a whale in the seas. [The Jewish commentator, Rashi, says, “A sea serpent has no dominion outside his marine habitat. So, too, Pharaoh (Egypt) should never have gone out of Egypt to invade other lands.”] You came forth with thy rivers and troubled the waters with your feet and fouled their rivers.”
Egypt, the mother country of the Arab nations, began this present conflict when she troubled and spoiled the waters by closing the Suez Canal and Tiran Straits, bringing on the Six Day War of 1967 when all Israel’s neighbors joined with Egypt to “push the Jews into the sea.” That war led to Israel receiving much of her God-promised land and which is now erroneously called, “occupied territories”. There is much talk of “giving BACK” this territory. Israel actually is the one who got it “back”. So is giving back what she’d gotten back the cause of present violence?
Israel herself has been at fault and sinned in this regard, i.e., listening to the nations instead of the Word of God.
NOTE: Get this clear: we do not hate Arabs. As brought out later in this article, they also are Abraham’s children. However, love has to be strong with Truth and Truth is tough love as it brings correction to all who will hear. What we or any other person says is not what is important, but rather “What saith the Lord?”
Continuing now in Ezekiel 32:
V. 3, “MY net” is twice in this verse. God is in control. His sovereignty cannot be eclipsed by man’s will. (This argument between man’s free will and God’s sovereignty is never settled!) But the verse says He is joined “with a company of many people, ” Stone renders it “assemblage of nations.”
V. 4, Isaac Lesser: “Then will I cast thee upon the land, upon the open field will I hurl thee…..” — where there are no Jewish settlement villages!
V. 5, “I will lay thy flesh upon the mountains….” Stone’s edition: “I will place your flesh upon the mountains and fill the valleys with your decay.” Mountains are the backbone, the heart of the Land. No wonder God is mad!
V. 6, Stone’s translation straight from the Hebrew continues: “The land where you swarm I will inundate with your blood until the mountains and the channels will be filled from you.”
Vs. 7 & 8, “With [the smoke of] your extinguishments I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not radiate her light. I will darken the bright lights of heaven because of you and will place darkness upon your land – the word of the Lord HASHEM/ELOHIM.” – So cataclysmic in scope it affects the cosmos. And upon whom was the darkness during the plagues of Egypt?
Vs. 9 & 10. “Then I will vex the heart of many peoples, when I announce your destruction among the nations, to lands that you never knew; I will cause many peoples to be astonished by you, and their kings will shake with trembling concerning you, when I brandish My sword in their presence; and each man will quake constantly on the day of your downfall.”
Let it be remembered, it was Egypt, the mother of the Arabs, who not only caused the Six Day War in ’67, but in 1973 on Yom Kippur, Israel’s most sacred Day of Atonement, Egypt literally struck at that Atonement. When most Israelis were in houses of worship, repenting and praying without a thought of war, Egypt hit Israel “on the blind side”.
Therefore, the judgment graphically given in these passages indicate that all hell will open and a lake of fire be revealed. God calls to the prophet:
V. 18: “Wail for the multitude of Egypt and cast them down, her and the daughters of the famous nations, unto the nether parts of the earth, with them that go down into the pit.” The destiny of those who fight God’s Truth.
V. 23, “Her graves are placed at the depths of the pit; her assemblage is all around her burial place, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, because they instilled terror in the Land of Life.” Instilled into the hearts of their young adults and children that by killing Jews in “Palestine” with acts of terror, they are pleasing “Allah” and honoring themselves and their people.
In verses 19 through 32 “uncircumcised” is mentioned in almost every verse. This speaks of Gentile nations such as Russia and Europe who join with the Moslem nations to destroy Israel. Why does it say “with the uncircumcised”? Are Arab nations classified differently? Yes, because they are of Ishmael and as such they circumcise at age 13. God is dealing with all of Abraham’s children.
The open pit reminds of Korah in Numbers 16. Moses said (verses 29-30), “If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men, then the LORD hath not sent me. But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth and swallow them up with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit, then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord.”
Verses 31 & 32: “And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up….” – The sin was denial of the authority of Moses and intrusion into the priest’s office. Pride brought on a religious war.
Back to Ezekiel 32:22: “all of them slain” Who? In Vs. 23, 25, 26, 27, all who cause “Terror in the land of the living”.
What and where IS “the land of the living” or “land of Life” (as Stone’s translation says)? Who are the living? What and Who is the Bread of Life? The God of Abraham, His Word and His Redeemer give LIFE. He said concerning His Torah (Instructions for living): “If a man do he shall live therein”. This is His LIFE-style for the inhabitants of this planet, and is that which makes “the Land alive.”
There are other parallel passages describing this judgment time in Ezekiel 38 & 39 (of which we have heard many times), also Joel 3 and many others. The fact that these nations which exist today are named as destined for judgment shows it reaches far beyond Ezekiel’s day to NOW.
Worse Than Death
There are worse things – a worse death – than falling by the sword. Read Zechariah 14:12.
Vs 28-30 say many will go down WITH those who fall by the sword. I cannot see this as speaking of innocent people. Though not all of the Moslem “Palestinians” carry a sword, the bulk of the population does hate Jews and teaches this hatred to children at home. [I personally witnessed this living among them.] They teach it in their school curriculum. They rejoice and dance in the streets and on rooftops when Jews are murdered.
Don’t miss the fact in this passage that judgment upon those who “cause terror in the land of the living”is mentioned FIVE times; and the sixth time is in the last verse. The climatic difference between the five times and the sixth is that this last time it is GOD’s terror: “For I have caused my terror in the land of the living ….” The terror is described in the four Hebrew words at the beginning of this article.
Chapter 33:4, 5 & 11 sound the shofar warning call, [When] “a listener hears the sound of the shofar but does not take heed and the sword comes and takes him, his blood will be upon his head. Had he taken heed, he would have saved his soul [life]. I do not desire the death of the wicked one, but rather the wicked one’s return from his way, that he may live. Repent, repent from your evil ways! Why should you die, O House of Israel.”
And that is the purpose of this warning. The call to repentance is also to the believers from the nations. Are we standing in the gap in practical ways with Judah today? Read Romans 15:27. -