Hooks into thy jaws
To lead out
By Craig C. White
Ezekiel chapter 38 describes a multi nation invasion into Israel. Ezekiel says that this invasion will be led by the primary governor of Turkey. I’m going to tell you right now that this Turkish ruler is the Antichrist. In Ezekiel chapter 38 God says that he will “put hooks into the jaws” of the invading armies to turn them back. Most people read these verses and conclude that God will use some political event to draw these armies into Israel. Bible students wring their hands as they try to guess what the “hook” might be. I think that we might not understand what Ezekiel is telling us.
Ezekiel 38:4 And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:
Notice that there are three separate declarations made at the beginning of this verse. 1. And I will turn thee back. 2. And put hooks into thy jaws. 3. And I will bring thee forth. It is a little difficult to understand in the English translation but none of these statements mean that God is going to bring these armies into the land of Israel. Instead they are saying that God is going to bring these armies out of Israel.
The first declaration in Ezekiel 38:4 is easy to understand. God will turn the invading armies back from where they came. In the second declaration the notion of “putting hooks into thy jaws” could be said as “putting a ring in your nose (or cheek)”. God will lead these invading armies out of Israel just like a farmer would lead a bull by a ring in its nose. The third declaration in Ezekiel 38:4 confuses us. It sounds as if God is leading theses armies forward. The Hebrew term that is translated as “bring thee forth” doesn’t mean “to bring forward” or “to bring into”. Instead the term “bring thee forth” means “to bring out” or “to get out” or “to carry out” or “to get away” or “to lead out” or “to pull out” or “to pluck out”. I hope that you can see that “bring thee forth” doesn’t mean to bring into but instead it means to bring out of.
The saying to put a hook into the jaw (or cheek) and to bring forth is used in other passages in the Bible. It always means that God will remove an army from the land of Israel or that God will remove a nation from its own land. It never means that God will lead an army into the land of Israel. It is a declaration of removal and not a depiction of entrance.
The Old Testament prophet Isaiah compares the Antichrist to the ancient Assyrian Kings. The Ezekiel chapter 38 invasion into Israel is similar to the ancient Assyrian invasions described by Isaiah. In Isaiah chapter 37 God leads the Assyrian army out of the land of Israel just like a farmer leads a bull by the ring in its nose. In the following verse God is speaking about Sennacherib king of Assyria.
Isaiah 37:29 Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult, is come up into mine ears, therefore will I put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.
Notice that God is turning the king of Assyria back in the way that he came from.
We can stop speculating about what sort of hook that God will use to bring an invading army into Israel. Yet we can begin to understand how God will remove this invading army out of Israel. In Isaiah God killed most of the Assyrian army as they slept. That was enough to turn them around and send them back to their hometown. Notice that in Isaiah 37:37, Nineveh was the capital city of the Assyrian Empire.
Isaiah 37:36-37 Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. 37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.
So God will use a hook to remove the invading army described in Ezekiel chapter 38. But how will he do it? Ezekiel tells us how. God will use a great earthquake. He will cause the invaders to fight each other. God will make the invaders sick. God will make it rain and hail on them, and God will fight them with fire and brimstone.
Ezekiel 38:21-22 And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man’s sword shall be against his brother. 22 And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
We shouldn’t try to identify the hook that God will use to bring an army into Israel. Instead we should understand that God will fight against the invading armies causing them to retreat back to where they came from. In Ezekiel chapter 38 it is important to see that God will fight to save Israel.
Leviticus 26:12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
God promised to take care of Israel forever. Throughout their history Israel has suffered at the hands of other nations. In the near future the nation of Israel will once again suffer but in the end God will save them and finally secure their land forever.