Ezekiel’s prophecy about Gog and Magog has been interpreted by some as referring to Russia which, so they believe, will invade Israel in these last days. But is Gog Russia? There are several references to these places and kings in the Bible. The one in EZEKIEL 38-39 goes into great detail about Gog coming against Israel and YHWH smiting him. A further reference is in REVELATION 20:8-9. Here we read of a great battle (as in EZEKIEL) where Gog and Magog surround the saints and the ‘beloved city’.
To unravel the mystery of who Gog is, we should first go to II PETER 1:20 as with every question concerning Scripture: Knowing this FIRST, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. Remembering, as Peter also wrote (1:19): We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.
In other words, always initially use Scripture to interpret Scripture. It is written to expose mysteries, so that when the events prophesied come to pass we shall recognize them at once. And we shall be prepared for them. It’s wonderful isn’t it? Father tells us what is going to happen so we can be as ready as was Noah building the ark.
Let us return therefore to Gog and examine it under the light of Scripture. The Bible account ends more or less when YHWH creates His new Heaven and Earth at the close of the thousand-year reign of Messiah. The prophecy of Ezekiel could therefore be fulfilled any time before today and one thousand years hence.
The prevailing opinion is that Gog is Russia because at the time of Ezekiel’s prophecy, Gog was a prince of Scythia. The Scythians were descendants of Magog, a son of Japheth (GEN. 10:2; I CHRON. 1:5). Scythia was situated north of the Black Sea in the area of the present day Ukraine. It was composed of a number of nomadic tribes of the Russian steppes which colonized Parthia and Central Asia to the Chinese border. The Great Wall of China in Arabic is called the Wall of Al Magog for it was built to keep put the armies of Magog. They were a savage, blood-drinking, barbaric race which practised human sacrifice.
This opinion further states that Russia with a coalition of other nations will invade Israel:
- Tubal – the old Soviet Union states;
- Persia – present day Iran;
- Cush – which is Ethiopia and parts of central and southern Africa;
- Put – Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco;
- Gomer – Germany and Austria;
- and Torgamah – Turkey and Turkestan.
What the USA, Great Britain, and other nations are doing during this enormous war in the Middle East is occurring is anybody’s guess. Perhaps they are all ‘sitting out’ as it appears are Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and the ‘young lions’ (38:13). Sheba and Dedan are places in present day Saudi Arabia. The merchants of Tarshish are said to be Britain. And the young lions may well symbolize Britain and America where much of the tribes of Israel now reside. Great Britain’s Coat of Arms has a lion in it. America is a former colony of hers and they are comparatively young nations.
Ezekiel states that Gog is the leader or king (chief prince) over Meshach and Tubal in the land of Magog. Because the particular event prophesied about here has not yet occurred, we may assume that Ezekiel is using the ancient names of the land and the cities for modern or future ones. Or is he? Sometimes in prophecy YHWH will overlay a physical event with a spiritual one such as in ISAYAH 14:12 where Lucifer’s fall from Heaven is illustrated by the fall of Babylon, and in EZEKIEL 28 wherein Lucifer’s fall illustrates Tyre’s end. Obviously these two cities, Tyre and Babylon, had been ruled by satanic principalities. That is also, I believe, the underlying meaning of the Gog prophecy. Gog is the demonic principality that ruled the Scythians in their era, indeed up to the present day. For we know how insatiable for blood the satanic spirits of Communism and Islam have been, which control most of Asia and the Middle East even now.
There is a little known Scripture in AMOS (7:1) that refers to Gog, but it is in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament: Thus YHWH showed me, and behold a swarm of locusts were coming, and behold, one of the young devastating locusts was Gog, the king.
PROVERBS 30:27 states the locusts have no king. These locusts of AMOS 7, therefore, because they DO have a king, cannot be literal winged crop-eating locusts. The locusts of REVELATION 9:3-11, however, have a king and we know they are demons from the bottomless pit (v.2). Their king is Abaddon, or Apollyon in the Greek, the prince of Hell or destruction, as his name means.
So we have a demon prince named Gog with a principality of demons and a multitude of people from a number of nations attacking and invading Israel in the latter years. Are these latter years in our time or one thousand years hence?
Look first at Gog’s army. They are riding horses (EZE. 38:4). Not since the Australian Light Horse and the British Cavalry in World War I have modern armies used horses ridden by horsemen. Perhaps this is merely symbolic. But I believe in the thousand-year Messianic reign, we shall no longer use gas-driven vehicles that pollute the atmosphere. For YHWH has promised to destroy those who destroy the earth (REV. 11:18). The people of the Millennium will return to using horses, cattle, and horse-drawn transport just as do the Amish in America today.
Now examine Gog’s army’s weaponry: bucklers (a type of hook or large shield), swords (38:4), bows and arrows (39:9) that can be burned with fire (39:9). This too may be symbolic, but if the event was taking place at the end of the Millennium, most guns and high technology weaponry would have long since vanished, having been made into ploughs and pruning hooks (MIC. 4:4). Compare the war of Gog with the description in ISAYAH 29:6 of a modern battle: Thou (Yerushalem) shalt be visited of YHWH of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.
Which brings us to Israel at the time Gog invades. Some passages do rightly apply to modern Israel: gathered out of many people (38:8); and without walls, bars, or gates (v.11). Although at the time I was in Israel in 1983-4, the kibbutzim were surrounded by high fences. However, Israel at present is certainly not DWELLING IN SAFETY, nor is she AT REST (v.11). Being surrounded by the Islamic Arab nations that hate her and long to see her demise, the armed forces of Israel are in a constant state of readiness for war. They depend, not upon YHWH, but on their own might of arm–their own strength, and the support of the United States. Opinion has it however that there will be a peace treaty in the Middle East, and Israel will than dwell in peace for a time.
We can definitely know the time frame for Gog’s battle if we ascertain what is to happen to Israel in our day. In the Ezekiel battle, Israel barely has to lift a finger until YHWH calls for them to take up their swords (38:21). Most of the destruction of Gog’s army is conducted straight from Heaven in a brilliant display of what sounds like a nuclear war at the hand of YHWH. Israel and her people are protected, safe, and unharmed. Is modern Israel to enjoy the same blessing in our day?
We will find out in my next post.