Islam from a Biblical Perspective XV
Gog of Magog Part 3
What nations are involved? This will be a Turkish led Islamic invasion. Because God made it clear that the Gog invasion was spoken of by the former Biblical prophets, if proponents of the popular Russian-Gog theory cannot show a single verse by any of the previous prophets that speak of a Russian-led invasion, then simply stated, they have misinterpreted the passage. Because the phrase “Gog of Magog, the prince, chief of Meshech and Tubal” identifies Magog, as the region from where Gog the leader comes, the verse also requires us to identify the regions of Meshech and Tubal. They are all obviously related. Identifying the players Within the first six verses of Ezekiel 38, there are eight or nine ancient names given to identify Ezekiel’s invading coalition. The leader of the invasion is called Gog:
The leader of the coalition, again, is named Gog, from the land of Magog. The peoples or nations of his coalition are Meshech, Tubal, Persia, Cush, Put, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah. Does Magog refer to Russia? The primary support for this position is found in a comment made by Flavius Josephus. In discussing the various descendants of Japheth, Noah’s son, Josephus wrote, “Magog founded those that from him were named Magogites, but who are by the Greeks call Scythians” Historian K. Kristianson wrote, “the Scythians were not a specific people, but rather variety of peoples, referred to at a variety of times in history, and in several places, none of which was their original homeland”. In other words, referring to “Scythians” as if they all were one people is simply historically inaccurate. All historians today acknowledge that “Scythian” was a catch-all term loosely used to refer to a vast group of tribal peoples, often related by similar cultures, but not genetically.
The second problem with Josephus’ comments is that they were made in the first century. Ezekiel lived close to seven hundred years earlier than Josephus. In Josephus' identifications of the various descendants of Noah, he repeatedly spoke of those “who are now called by the Greeks” thus and such. In other words, his comments tell us nothing about how Ezekiel would have understood the term Magog.
In all of Philo’s works, no such reference to Magog exists; not mentioned once. This is for the scholars that try and link the Russian Magog theory to Philo.
Like Josephus, Herodotus is also often quoted in support of the Russian-Magog theory. But like Philo, Herodotus also never once mentioned Magog. After citing three conflicting theories concerning the origins of the Scythians, Herodotus expressed his preferred belief, not of a Russian origin, but of a Turkish one: “There is also another different story, now to be related in which I am more inclined to put faith than in any other. It is that the wandering Scythian once dwelt in Asia (Turkey)”. The Greeks referred to Asia Minor simply as Asia.
Maimonides identified Magog as being in Syria on the border of Turkey.
Pliny the Elder
He spoke of a city called “Bambyce, otherwise called Hierapolis; but of the Syrians, Magog” Ancient Hierapolis sat on the border of modern-day Turkey and Syria; thus, according to Pliny, so did Magog.
Hippolytus of Rome
Hippolytus of Rome, an early Christian theologian, in his Chronicon, written in the early their century, rejected Josephus’ identification of Magog with the Scythians, connecting them instead to the Galatians in Asia Minor, or modern-day Turkey.
Sir Walter Raleigh
In his History of the World wrote: “Yet it is not to be denied, that the Scythians in old times coming out of the north-east, wasted the better part of Asia the Less, and possessed Coelesyria, where they built both Scythopolis and Hierapolis, which the Syrians call Magog. And that to the Magog Ezekiel had a reference, it is very plain; for this city, Hierapolis, or Magog, standeth due north from Judea, according to the words of Ezekiel, that from the north quarters those nations should come”.
The origins of Magog seem to have been on the border of Syria and Turkey. After planting the self-named city of Magog, also called Hierapolis in Syria, near the border of Turkey, some Magog peoples migrated to central and western Turkey and planted the kingdom of Lydia, which occupied the whole western half of Turkey, and thrived during Ezekiel’s day.
Many popular prophecy teachers also attempt to draw a connection to modern Russia. To support this position, four points must be proven; the first two points are grammatical, and the second two are historical:
(1) The word rosh should be translated as a noun and not an adjective;
(2) as a noun, rosh should be translated as the proper noun “Rosh”;
(3) Rosh was a people well known to Ezekiel; and
(4) as a people, Rosh was most likely known by Ezekiel to refer to those from the region that is now Russia.
Even if Ezekiel understood Rosh to be a proper name, there are far more reasons to see Rosh as pointing to turkey than Russia.
Meshach and Tubal
It is important to note that today; nearly all scholars identify both Meshech and Tubal as relating to modern-day Turkey. To properly identify Magog, the homeland of Gog, we must first identify both Meshech and Tubal. Because both of these areas would have been understood by Ezekiel to be found in the region of modern Turkey, we can also deduce that Magog is also a reference to Turkey. Simply stated, if Magog refers to Russia, then the wording of the phrase simply doesn’t make any sense. The icing on the cake is God’s declaration to Gog is that he and his hordes are the ones who have been repeatedly referenced in previous prophetic scriptures.
While this statement of God has been an insurmountable problem for those who seek to paint this passage as a Russian invasion, it only serves to establish the case for a Turkish-led, Islamic invasion of Israel.
Persia, Cush, and Put
Persia refers to modern-day Iran. Ancient Cush, often translated as Ethiopia, is actually a reference to the region immediately south of Egypt: Northern Sudan. Put refers to Libya, and could possibly include other portions of Northern Africa.
Gomer and Togarmah
The last two nations, Gomer and Togarmah, once again refer to modern-day Turkey. The remote parts of the North
The phrase “uttermost parts of the north” in Hebrew is ‘yerekah yerekah tsaphown’, which many say this can only mean Russia.
The very same chapter has the exact phrase used of Togarmah and virtually all scholars agree that Togarmah was located in eastern Turkey or in neighboring Armenia. If Togarmah in Turkey is referred to as being in “the remote parts of the north”, then there is absolutely no basis to use precisely the same phrase to argue for a Russian identification of Gog. Because we know that the phrase “remote parts of the north” is used elsewhere in Ezekiel to refer to Turkey, it would also only stand to reason that the same phrase applied to Gog would establish him as coming from Turkey.
Magog = Turkey
Rosh (if a nation) = Turkey
Meshech = Turkey
Tubal = Turkey
Persia = Iran
Cush = Sudan
Put = Libya
Gomer = Turkey
Togarmah = Turkey, Armenia