WHEN???... Israel's "exceedingly great army"Ezekiel 37:10
When Will Israel’s “Exceedingly Great Army” Conquer “all the surrounding peoples”?...
The answer is found in 4-Great Prophecies…
The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones...Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life." So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life, and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. (Ezekiel 37:1, 9-10)
Who is this "exceedingly great army"?When will it arise?Three other prophecies (Psalm 83; Isaiah 11; Zechariah 12) answer the timing question?
When any of the above 4 passages are seen in isolation from the others, the doors open wide to all sorts of speculation--speculation usually driven by the latest headlines.
But when Scripture is lifted to the top, and the whole of the prophetic Biblical picture is given priority and prominence to speak on its own, a very clear picture of the "exceedingly great army" emerges out of--and apart from--the chaotic theories that plague Bible Prophecy today.
"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it… The land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [Holy Possession]" (Preamble & Article 11) …
These quotes, from the official Charter of the Islamic Hamas organization, sum up the 3500-year-long everlasting hatred directed at Israel by her surrounding nations. Today these nations-- all of them Muslim--continue to seek to "drive Israel into the sea."
However, according to God’s future plan, that won’t happen.
Four (4) Great prophecies tell of a time when Israel’s “exceedingly great army” will conquer, once and for all time, those “round-about” nations. That term, “round-about” (Hebrew = “a circle, neighbor”), is the meaning of the term “surrounding” peoples in the Zechariah 12:6 passage below. David Reagan rightly equates “all the surrounding peoples” of Zechariah 12:6 with “the immediate neighbors of Israel”, who are the same nations as those listed in Psalm 83:6-8 who share “a common border with Israel”.
Compare David Reagan, The Man Of Lawlessness, Lamb & Lion Ministries, 2012, p.83 ,with Reagan, Wrath & Glory, second edition, Lamb & Lion Ministries, 2016, p.135. (These two references contradict each other on the timing, but Reagan’s Wrath & Glory 2016 reference is the most recent, and is the correct one)
This understanding of “surrounding peoples” is made clear in 2 Chronicles 17:10. Thus, the subject-nations of Zechariah 12:6 and Psalm 83:6-8 are equated, and are to be distinguished from “all the nations of the earth” (Zec. 12:3). Here are those two passages, followed by the modern names of the nations involved,
"In that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves, so they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples, while the inhabitants of Jerusalem again dwell on their own sites in Jerusalem. (Zechariah 12:6)
They have said, "Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more."
The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab, and the Hagrites; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them…[and] the children of Lot. (Psalms 83:4-8)
The nations involved according to Psalm 83:6-8, and equated with the “surrounding peoples” of Zechariah 12:6, with their modern place-names, are:
Edom, Moab, Gebal & Ammon (Jordon); Ishmaelites & Hagrites [Saudi Arabia]; Amalek [Egypt]; Philistia [Gaza, Palestine]: Tyre [Lebanon]; Assyria [Syria, Iraq]; Children of Lot [scattered among the Mideast nations].
According to these two prophecies, these nations will be sacked and conquered by Israel sometime in the future. The basic question regarding these prophecies is not fulfillment, but timing. Some say that Israel’s suppression of these neighboring enemy nations will be the next event on the prophetic timetable. We all agree that God will fulfill that prophecy precisely, but the theory that it is the next great event is not what the Scripture says (see “TIMING” below).
Now let’s look at the third prophecy of these Four (4) Great Prophecies.
Then it will happen on that day that the Lord Will again recover the second time with His hand The remnant of His people, who will remain, From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, And from the islands of the sea. And He will lift up a standard for the nations, And will assemble the banished ones of Israel, And will gather the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth. Then the jealousy of Ephraim will depart, And those who harass Judah will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, And Judah will not harass Ephraim. And they will swoop down on the slopes of the Philistines on the west; Together they will plunder the sons of the east; They will possess Edom and Moab; And the sons of Ammon will be subject to them. (Isaiah 11:11-14)
The first thing we see is that the nations listed in Isaiah 11 agree with those listed in Psalm 83, and are necessarily implied in the phrase “surrounding nations” in Zechariah 12. Here is the list, (above right)...
These 3 passages, then, are dealing with those same enemy nations which continue today as those countries which border or immediately surround Israel .
Who is the "exceedingly great army" of Israel, and when will they rise up to conquer these “surrounding peoples" ? The answer to this question is found in our fourth passage,
The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD
and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones...Then He said to me,
"Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord GOD,
"Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life."
So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life,
and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. (Ezekiel 37:1, 9-10)
There is a very clear sequence to the restoration of life of the “dry bones” in Ezekiel 37’s prophecy—and the creation of Israel’s “exceeding great army.”
1. First, there is the vision of Israel as a vast valley of “dry bones,” which is the graveyard of the nations into which Israel was dispersed for 1900 years. (37:1-2)
2. Next comes the reassembling of the bones into flesh covered bodies, physically alive (37:7-8), but still spiritually dead, and interpreted by the passage itself as “the whole house of Israel” returned to their homeland. (37:11-12)
3. Finally, the salvation of Israel occurs, when the “breath [of] my spirit” (37:9-14), is imparted to Israel by God. Only at that point—at the Second Coming of Christ (Rom. 11:26; Zec. 12:10) —does Israel become the “exceeding great army”—the God-enabled army of Jews seen in our other 3 passages
1) Psalm 83— the army which will rout those nations as in the days of Gideon (v9-11);
2) Isaiah 11— the army which will “swoop down” on them (v14);
3) Zechariah 12— the army which will ”consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples” (v6).
Thus, at the Second Coming of Christ Israel is regenerated spiritually and becomes the “exceedingly great army” that destroys once and forever those bordering nations which surround Israel with a perpetual hatred. Ezekiel 37’s “exceedingly great army” has a perfect timing fit with our first three prophecies (Psalm 83, Isaiah 11 and Zechariah 12).
In confirmation, let’s look more specifically at the timing of those first three prophecies.
of the Conquest of
"All the Surrounding Nations"
by Israel's "Exceedingly Great Army"
There are two keys to the timing of this passage (bold-highlighted words below),
1. “with Thy storm...O LORD, Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever... and perish” (v14-17).
The Hebrew word (for “forever”) translates “eternity, everlasting, evermore, perpetually, and world without end.” Two Scriptural examples point out the force of this word:
1. Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; (Psalms 45:6)
2. For a child [Jesus] will be born to us, ...His name will be called ... Mighty God, Eternal Father, (Isa. 9:6)
The Psalm 83 nations will “perish” as enemies of Israel forever. That can only happen at Christs’ Second Coming.
2. That they may know that Thou alone, whose name is the LORD, Art the Most High over all the earth (v18).
At the time the Psalm 83 nations are destroyed “forever,” they will know only one Name lifted above all names (v.18). Parallel passages point out that the exaltation on the earth of Christs’ Name above all other names will only occur at His Second Coming.
1. And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. (Isa. 2:11; 17)
2. ...the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one. (Zec.14:9)
Pslam 83 occurs when the Lord's Name is the only Name, lifted above all Names, and therefore must be scheduled for fulfillment at the Second Coming of Christ.
Isaiah 11—TIMING 1
Isaiah 11:11-14 actually says Israel will destroy the Isaiah 11/Psalm 83 nations (listing them by name, v.14) at the time when Israel is saved (12:2-3). That epoch event occurs at the Second Coming of Christ (Rom. 11: 26-27). Furthermore, the whole passage is linked into a single time context by the phrase “on that day” (11:10-11; 12:1), “that day” being set in a clear Second Coming-Millennial context (Return of Christ to inaugurate the Millennial Kingdom).
Zechariah 12—TIMING 2
Zechariah 12:1-10, is also a Second Coming passage, linked into a single time context by “in that day” (v. 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11; 13.1, 2). The term “that day” is a prophetic term for “at that time”. The context defines what period of time is in view—and it is clear. The entire chain of “that day” terms are self-described as the time when “all the nations of the earth will be gathered against [Jerusalem] (12:3)”, and Israel will “look on” Christ and Israel will be saved (12:10; 13:1). There is only one time in history when these events will occur, and that is at the time of the Second Coming of Christ. Israel’s defeat of “all the surrounding peoples” (v.6) occurs “in that day”.
According to Zechariah 12:3-10, "In that day” when all nations are gathered against Jerusalem, when Israel is saved as they look on Christ at His return, Israel shall devour all the peoples round about--those peoples known as the Psalm 83 nations--on the right hand and on the left”. “In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them”—Can Israel ever have a more "EXCEEDING GREAT ARMY" than this?
This is the “exceeding great army” of Ezekiel 37:10
which arises in the power and salvation of the Lord.
According to Isaiah 11:11-15, when the Lord performs His final regathering of the Jews “from the four corners of the earth” at His Second Coming (Mat. 24:31; Isa. 27:12-13), Israel will proclaim that God “has become my salvation” (12:1-3) and energized as the “exceeding great army” of Ezekiel 37:10, Israel will “swoop down” on the slopes of Philistia, Edom, Moab, Ammon, Egypt, Assyria, all the other Psalm 83 nations. Those nations will be judged and defeated finally and forever at that time as Christ Returns. Today’s Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are not the saved, Holy Spirit empowered “exceeding great army” of Ezekiel 37.
According to Psalm 83, as it is fulfilled in tandem with the three passages above, there will be no other name in all the earth exalted—except “Thou alone” (v.18). Today, however, there now is among men and nations many names exalted above God and His Son Jesus Christ. And this deplorable situation will most surely continue to be the case until the dispatch of the Antichrist at the Return of Christ. At that time, the time of Psalm 83, Isaiah 11, Zechariah 12 and Ezekiel 37, the Glory and Name will be God’s alone—He will not “share it with another”—no people, no person, no nation, no army (Isa. 42:8). May His be the Glory!
BELOW: 4 Prophecies—Same Event: Israel’s “exceedingly great army” conquers “all the surrounding (bordering) peoples”
Also note in the Scripture-harmony graph above that we have shown, along with the 4-Prophecies (Psalm 83; Isaiah 11; Ezekiel 37; Zechariah 12), a 5th Prophecy--the Magog passage of Ezekiel 38-39, and how it fits with the other 4.
Foremost--the Grace that God displays to Israel--past, present and future--is a centuries-old historical guarantee of the Grace He performs in the personal life of each and every believer in Jesus Christ. Praise His Name for His faithful promises to Israel, and to we who believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died for our sins, and was resurrected to Life to freely give Eternal Life of all who believe in Him!
1. The ISAIAH 11 PASSAGE--
1. The restoration of Israel in the time when Christ reigns on earth will follow His second coming (vv. 10-16)...[The Jews] will bring into subjection their former enemies (v. 14, ...Philistia...People to the east...Edom...Moab, and the Ammonites... [Psalm 83 nations])
John F. Walvoord, The Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, Isa. chapter 11, p. 98.
2. ...we are now carried forward to the Second Coming of Christ...Judah and Israel (Ephraim) will live together in peace, and will subdue their enemies--the Philistines, Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites ... [Psalm 83 nations].
William McDonald, Believers Bible Commentary, Isaiah 11:1-16, p. 948-949
3. [Isaiah 11:11-12] will be a second and final worldwide regathering for the messianic kingdom...[when] Israel and Judah will become united in battle against their opponents--the Philistines to the west, and Edom, Moab and Ammon to the east. [v. 14, i.e., Psalm 83 nations] Arnold Fruchtenbaum, “Isaiah, Popular Bible Prophecy Commentary, ed. LaHaye, Hindson; p. 129
OTHERS WHO AGREE... on the Timing and Activities of Isaiah 11:11-12:6 as noted by the commentators above,
John A. Martin
Grant R. Jeffrey
2. The ZECHARIAH 12 PASSAGE--
The Real “exceeding great army”, and the Identity of "all the surrounding peoples".
1. “all the surrounding peoples” [equated with] “the immediate neighbors of Israel” [Psalm 83 nations]
David Reagan, The Man Of Lawlessness, Lamb & Lion Ministries, 2012, p.83 (Zec. 12:6).
2. “...God will supernaturally empower the meager Jewish forces to fight against overwhelming odds...”
Randall Price, Jerusalem In Prophecy, p. 161 (Zec. 12:6-8).
3. “...God will so energize the Jewish forces that ...the ‘feeble among them,’ the weakest people, ‘in that day will be like David’...the Davids among the Jews will be able to fight with the power of the Messiah Himself.”
Arnold Fruchtenbaum, The Popular Bible Prophecy Commentary, Tim LaHaye, Ed Hindson, gen. ed., p. 308 (Zec. 12:6-8).