Ezekiel chapters thirty-eight and thirty-nine are most known for the prophecy regarding Gog and Magog. There is much discussion over who is Gog and what is Magog. But Ezekiel 38:12 is very clear as to who is being discussed.
“And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.” – Ezekiel 38:11-12These verses are speaking of a future time, and yet they are partially fulfilled today. The “desolate places that are now inhabited” are in Israel today. “The people that are gathered out of the nations” are the descendants of Abraham that are being allowed, even encouraged, to return to their homeland.
And they “dwell in the midst of the land.” As I have noted before, the Hebrew language only has about four thousand words, compared to the approximately one-hundred thousand words found in the English language. As a result, some words have a broad meaning. For example, in 38:12 the word translated “land” is eretz (Strong’s H776), which can mean the land, the country or even the world.
Even more interesting is the word translated “midst” (tabbuwr - Strong’s H2872) which is variously translated midst, center, navel or summit. (The root of the word suggests piling up something. The top of the pile is the summit.)
Here in Ezekiel 38:12, the prophet is telling us that Israel, the desolate place that is now inhabited, is the center, the navel, the summit of not only the land, but the world. The British think that Greenwich, England is the center of the world. But the Lord declares that Israel is the very navel of the world. When Jews and other Hebrew descendants return to Israel they say that they are making aliyah, which means they are “going up.” They are going up to the summit of the world, Israel.
The concept of Israel being the center of the world is helpful when reading geographic descriptions in the Bible. Directions (north, south, east, west) are frequently in reference to Israel. For example, in Daniel 8:5 a figurative goat came from the west. The goat represented Alexander the Great of Greece. Greece is west of Israel.
Not only does the Lord consider Israel to the be very center of the earth, it is the most precious real estate on earth. The world leaders that wish to take all or part of Israel from its inhabitants should be aware of what the Prophet Zechariah said. “… he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye.” (Zechariah 2:8)
I personally look forward to the day when the Lord Jesus reigns over the entire world from Jerusalem, or Zion, the Center of the World. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!