Just one verse?
For today, yes. And it is a “hard” one to interpret, at that. I know what I “hope” it means, but that does not count! I know what the army of “commentators” say of it, but they are often wrong! So we must study the words, the names, and see how the Lord leads us.
But we also need to keep 2 Peter 1:20 in mind. “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” I have not the right to demand that my unique little “idea” is infallible! That I “alone, privately, without any consultation” can decide with all authority what this little verse means! I require (in my human frailty) the Holy Spirit’s illumination! And the wisdom of others (godly men) who have through the years studied this amazing Text.
But, what Text?
“Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee (Russia and her allies), Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” Ezekiel 38:13, to decimate little Israel?
First, let’s see if we can first determine the identity of these places. “Sheba” is a Semitic word meaning “seven,” or an “oath.” It can also be a proper name. It is thought to be a nation in southern Arabia.
“Dedan” is also oriented toward the “sons of Shem,” meaning “low country,” the place is likely another smaller Arab nation who refuses to take part in the upcoming invasion. For whatever reason, we are not told.
Then “Tarshish,” which really means “precious stone.” This is probably a European nation! Some say “Spain.” Others believe “England!” (This is how it was taught when I was a younger Bible student!) “England” with all her “young lions,” with all her “offspring.” Members of the once mighty British Empire! (If this interpretation is accurate, the United States would be included under that “umbrella!”)
I pray so!
Because these national entities at least “question” what Gog and Magog and that wicked horde are planning to do! “Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” As in: “What do you think you are doing? Your aggression is illegal, a violation of international law!”
Opposition … to Russia (clearly much of the area covered by the former USSR) and her allies … may have just surfaced!
I pray America always stands as a supporter of Israel. As a lover of the people from whom Jesus our Lord was born, humanly speaking. (“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing … and I (the Lord) will BLESS them that BLESS thee, and CURSE him that CURSETH thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3)
Now, it would only be honest for me to tell you I have shared (taught) today what is a “minority” view. Increasingly so, in fact. Many today believe that Sheba, Dedan and Tarshish are merely trying to invite themselves to the “spoil,” to the booty of Russia’s conquest. Just 3 more voracious predators!
Other “scholars” now do not see Spain or England or any other European nation in the mix, not at all. But many of these “professors” are not pro-Israel any longer, either! And some may not even be saved!
I’m sticking to my upbringing! To the old fashioned Preachers of bygone years.
“Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish (Britain), with all the young lions (members of her once-mighty Empire) thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” Ezekiel 38:13, maybe they’ll not just “say” … but “do something” stronger!
I must close for today.
But let’s at least observe (obey) this verse today. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” Psalm 122:6, where “pray” is indeed an “imperative” verb!
— Dr. Mike Bagwell