1. Ezekiel 38 is in a series of chapters, which contain prophecies of Israel’s restoration. These result in: a new everlasting covenant being made with Israel; the areas surrounding God’s mountain being a blessing; the children of Israel living safely in the land of Israel, no longer being a prey to the nations; the nation being cleansed from all their uncleanness and God putting his spirit within them — pouring out his spirit on the whole house of Israel; God being Israel’s God and they being his people; the nations knowing God is sanctifying Israel; God’s sanctuary being in the midst of Israel forevermore; the LORD God magnifying and sanctifying himself and being known in the eyes of many nations, and no longer hiding his face from Israel. (Ezekiel 34:25-31; 36:25-29,33; 37:13-14, 26-28; 38:23; 39:27-29) From these passages, it is clear that these prophecies have to do with Israel’s final restoration and not the restoration that took place under the Persian Empire at the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.
2. After these prophecies of Israel’s final restoration, Ezekiel presents a glorious picture of the magnificent future “house of prayer for all people” — Ezekiel 40-48. At that time water flows from the sanctuary and cleanses the main body of the Dead Sea. Ezekiel 47:1-12
3. Ezekiel 38:8 says that this is a prophecy for the “latter years”. The prophet says that this is a time when the Jewish people will have been gathered out of many peoples and brought back from the sword of the exile.
4. The regathered children of Israel being brought back from exile will dwell in desolate places that are now inhabited. The word desolate means “ruins or desolate place”. They will dwell in the mountains of Israel, which have been “always waste”.
5. The group of nations led by Russia or Rosh and including Iran or Persia, that invade the land of Israel in Ezekiel 38 and are defeated by the God of Israel, are known in recent history for antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment. Iran has threatened to “wipe Israel off the map” and has waged a proxy war against Israel through Hezbollah.
6. Ezekiel 38 contains a second group of nations which question Russia’s invasion of the mountains of Israel. This includes Sheba and Dedan (identified as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States); and the trading nations of Tarshish (identified as Great Britain and the English speaking nations that come from her). This includes the United States whose vessels Russia and the Iranians are harassing.