Since this article has to do with prophecy, those who read it must understand that prophecies in the Bible are often written in a way which makes them very foggy when looking forward, but very clear when looking back on the events after they happen. The differences of opinion on issues concerning who are the nations in the last day battles, especially when talking about Gog and Magog, is not something new. In 1706 Matthew Henry acknowledge the difference of opinion between scholars and believers as to the location of God and Magog:
“Some think they find them [Gog and Magog] afar off, in Scythia, Tartary, and Russia. Others think they find them nearer the land of Israel, in Syria, and Asia the Less [Turkey].”
I would suppose that if this was true in 1706, it didn’t just pop up in that year, but that the differences had been there for some time.
My point is, if you don’t agree with what is in this article, don’t get angry and turn us off. I realize that the idea that Magog is Russia is a well established belief in present day prophecy circles. The purpose of this article is to challenge those who read it to study and see if there could be another scenario that fits just as well, or even better, with what we find in the Scriptures on this subject.
Ezekiel Chapters 38 and 39 reveal what is often referred to as the battle of Gog and Magog. It is one of the most well known of the end time battles. Many Bible Prophecy teachers say that it refers to a Russian-led invasion of Israel. The common teaching is that Gog is the leader of the land of Magog, and this land is in Russia.
M ost Bible atlases place Magog in what is now Turkey. The map on this page is just one example of this. I could give others showing roughly the same locations for these places. As you can see, they don’t place Magog in Russia, the place it in modern day Turkey.
Where does the idea that Magog is in Russia come from? It comes from the idea that Magog and Scythians are the same people, and the Scythians lived in Russia. The assumption is that this must mean that Russia will invade Israel in this battle.
Ezekiel is talking about Magog at the time of the writing of this prophecy. The Scythians were a nomadic, migratory people, and at that time Magog was a land in modern day Turkey as shown in the map above. In later days the Scythians lived in the regions north of the Black Sea, primarily in the area that is now Ukraine. To properly understand the prophecy, we must recognize the nomadic characteristic of the Scythians, and where they were in the days of Ezekiel.
The reason the Hebrew word “rosh” is thought to be Russia comes from a dispute of the translation of the Hebrew word “rosh” in Ezekiel 38:2.
Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, (Ezekiel 38:2)
The phrase “the chief prince” is where we find the dispute. Some Hebrew scholars say it should be translated prince of Rosh. The Hebrew word “rosh” is found 598 times in Scripture. The King James Bible translates it in this passage as the chief prince of Meshech. Other translations translate it as the Prince of Rosh.
Of the 598 times rosh is found in the Scriptures it is translated company or companies 12 times, and in every other case it is translated to mean something similar to chief or head. The reason I mentioned companies is, these are the only places where the translation of this word refers to a group of people. I must point out the these companies are not nations, they are divisions in armies, just like today.
Not only that, but nowhere in Scripture to we find a nation called Rosh. In light of these to facts it is reasonable to believe that the translators of the King James Bible got it right when they translated it as chief prince.
Magog, Meshech, and Tubal are people groups. They are related to one another as brothers and cousins. They were the first families to move out and resettle the world after the flood. They all settled together in today’s Turkey. These people groups, at the time of Ezekiel’s prophecy were still located in Turkey
The leader of Turkey today is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He became Prime Minister of Turkey in 2003. He is a devout Muslim and is moving Turkey toward becoming and Islamic state. He has strong animosity toward Israel. He is also a man with a violent temper. He has been outspoken in his public discourse about his hatred toward Israel.
Today, Turkey’s leaders are urging all Islamic nations to unite against Israel over the killing of more than 60 violent Palestinian protesters in Gaza. Turkey’s President, Erdogan, called for a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to discuss the matter. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said, “The Islamic world should move as one, with one voice, against this massacre” (“Turkish PM Calls,” National Review, May 16, 2018). Yildirim also said that the United States is “a party to this crime against humanity.” In a speech broadcast on Turkish state television, Erdogan irrationally called Israel’s self-defensive action “genocide.”
If it weren’t for God’s protecting hand, Israel would long ago have been wiped from the face of the earth, but Israel is God’s nation and He has chastened her for 2,000 years in His sovereign will and will yet convert her as He has so solemnly promised.
Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever (Jeremiah 31:35-36).
This is a little off subject, but you will notice that it is considered a crime against humanity when someone defends themselves against Islam, but it is not a crime for Islam to try and eradicate a whole people group, the Jews. It is beyond me now so many people can’t see that Israel is just defending itself from the attacks of Islam.
The Bible is clear that there will be an end-time coalition of nations against Israel. The goal of this coalition will be to wipe Israel and the Jewish people off the face of the earth. They will almost succeed, but at the last minute God will intervene and Israel will be saved. I believe the Bible teaches that this physical salvation will result in Israel’s spiritual salvation. They will turn to Jesus Christ, who gave them the victory over their physical enemies, and receive Him as their spiritual Saviour.
For the last seventy years, Islam has been stirred to violence because of the creation of Israel as a nation. The restoration of Israel in the last days is clearly described in Scripture. (See also Deuteronomy 30:1-3, Isaiah 14;1-2, 49:22-24, 56:8, Jeremiah 12:15, 16:14-15, 23:3-4,7-8, 30:1-3,11,18, 31:8-10, Ezekiel 20:34-40, 28:24-27, Ezekiel 36:10-12,24,33-36, 37:12-14,21-22, 38:8, 39:23-29, Hosea 1:10-11, 11:9-10, Amos 9:9, Micah 5:3-4)
The Old Testament was completed about 1000 years before the birth of Mohammad. In spite of this, the role Islam plays in Israel’s future is unmistakable. The nations which were the enemies of Israel in the Old Testament, have reemerged from history, and are again Israel’s enemies. These nations nations are all Islamic nations today.
Let’s take a look at those nations:
Lebanon Then: The name comes from the snow caped mountain range to the north of Israel. Lebanon means whiteness in Hebrew. Lebanon was the northern border of Israel. Hiram, the King of Tyre in 2 Samuel 5:11, was from this land. He supplied the wood for Solomon’s temple. Jezebel, the daughter of the King and priest of Sidon (I Kings 16:31), caused Ahab, King of Israel, to corrupt Israel. Tyre and Sidon were known as trading merchants and for their pride. The King of Tyre is a type of Satan’s pride and glory in Ezekiel 28:12-17.
Lebanon today, In 1943, France granted Lebanon its independence. Today Lebanon is about 60% Muslim and 40% Christian. Iran and Syria, sworn enemies of Israel, along with Hezbollah, have control over much of the country. Hezbollah is armed and funded by Iran and Syria and sworn to the destruction of Israel.
Syria Then: Israel and Syria were at war with each other many times in the past (I Kings 11:25). They are a Semitic people, from the same stock as Israel. Jacob is called a Syrian (Deuteronomy 26:5), who went down into Egypt. The gods and goddess of Syria were a constant threat to the nation (Judges 10:6).
Syria Today: Syria became a nation in 1946, after France granted the country independence. The country is 74% Muslim 16% Christian. The population is 90% Arab, numbering about 18.8 million. Syria and Iran have both signed a mutual defense pact, if either nation is attacked by Israel, they will consider it as an attack on the other. Israel occupies the Golan Heights and the Shaba farms, which Syria lost to Israel during the 1967 war with Israel.
Egypt Then: Egypt is an ancient nation, traced back to the son of Ham, Mizraim (Gen. 10:6). It is in Egypt that Israel became a nation when it was brought out under Moses following 400-years of captivity. Egypt tried to destroy Israel, after the population became too large, first by killing every male child (Exodus 1).
Then when the nation was delivered, Egypt pursued Israel into the Red Sea where its army was destroyed (Exodus 14:23). In the wilderness, Israel often wanted to turn back into Egypt, rejecting God’s leadership under Moses (Exodus 14:11-12). Israel constantly looked to Egypt, rather than to the Lord for help with their conflicts with Babylon and Assyria.
Egypt Today: Egypt was under British control until 1922. After WWII, it became a sovereign nation again. The population is 78.8 million and 90% Sunni Muslim. It signed a piece agreement with Israel, which caused Egypt to be rejected by many of the Arab nations. Egypt is the second largest recipient of American’s foreign aid, which is a bribe to keep them at peace with Israel.
Jordan Then: In the Bible this area was known as Ammon, Moab, and Edom. All three nations have a common ancestor with Israel. Ammon (Gen. 19:38) and Moab (Gen. 19:37) are the descendants of Lot, through his daughters, and Edom is from Esau (Gen. 25:30, 36:1), Jacob’s brother. All three nations were adversaries with Israel (I Samuel 14:47). The capital of Jordan is Amman, after the nation of Ammon.
Jordan Today: Jordan became a nation in 1946 and adopted the name of Jordan in 1950. They were one of the nations to attack Israel on the first day they became a nation in May 1948. The population numbers about 5.9 million, with 92% being Muslim, and 98% Arab. They, along with Egypt, signed a peace agreement with Israel.
Palestine then: There was no place called Palestine in Bible times. The word is used one time in the Bible, and it actually means Philistine. The Philistines were the ancient enemies of Israel known as the “Sea peoples.” They came from Crete to populate the coastal area of what is now called Palestine. (Genesis 10:14, Jeremiah 47;4). They were a constant threat and enemy to Israel. They occupied the area known as Gaza (Judges 16:21), including the cities of Ashdod and Asheklon. After Alexander the Great’s conquest, they were no longer a threat to Israel. Hadrian, Emperor of Rome from 117 to 138, tried to revive the name in his attempt to eliminate Israel from being a nation again.
Palestine Today: The Arab populations of the land of Israel declare their name to be Palestinians today. They refused to be called Palestinians until they saw it was to their political benefit. Two factions are fighting for control of the people, Fatah a secular Palestinian group and Hamas a militant Muslim group, allied with Syria and Iran. Both groups have a history of wanting to destroy the nation of Israel.
Iran Then: Until 1935 Iran was known as Persia. Persia, under Cyrus the Great, (Isaiah 44:2, 45:1) defeated Babylon, and created an Empire, which encompassed all of Israel and the Middle East. Cyrus allowed the Jews to return and rebuild the Temple (Ezra 1:1-8). During the reign of Xerxes (486-465 B.C.), Haman the prime minister of the of Persia attempted to eliminate the Jews (Esther 3:8). They were saved when Esther, a Jew became queen of Persia and intervened.
Iran Now: Today Iran is leading the charge against Israel, threatening to wipe her off the map. Currently Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, along with other sophisticated weapons, for the purpose of waging war against Israel. Iran is allied with Russia, who is helping them with nuclear technology. Syria and Iran are both avowed enemies of Israel. The population of Iran 68.6 million, 51% Persian, 89% are of the Shia sect of Islam. The current leader sees himself as one to usher in the end of the age, with the coming of the Shia “Messiah”, the Mahdi. They believe Mahdi along with Jesus will vanquish the enemies of Islam, including the West and the Jews.
Assyria and Babylon Then: Babylon and Assyria were two ancient rivals who battled each other for control of the Middle East. Jonah the prophet went to the Capital of Assyria, Nineveh to proclaim its downfall, the city repented (Jonah 1:2, 4:11). The nation of Babylon defeated Assyria, under the leadership of Nebuchadnezzar, at the battle of Carchemesh (605 B.C.). Daniel was taken captive to Babylon, that same year. Ezekiel was taken captive to Babylon in 597 B.C., and in 586 B.C., Babylon destroyed Solomon’s Temple and the city of Jerusalem. Daniel became prime minister in the land of Babylon during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel was in Babylon when it fell to Persia in 539 B.C. (Daniel 5)
Assyria and Babylon now: Both Assyria and Babylon are in the nation of Iraq, which became a nation after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1932. The population is 97% Muslim, and 75% Arabic, 15-20% Kurdish. The majority are from the Shi’a (60%-65%) sect. The rest are of the Sunni sect (32%-37%). Most Jews fled Iraq following the rise in anti-Jewish feelings in the 1940’s. The lands of Babylon and Assyria are currently going through a transition. So the final outcome is not sure. In the book of Revelation chapters 17 and 18, Babylon is shown to be a player in the end-times, in both in a religious and geographic sense. Southern Iraq is Shiite, allied to Iran, while the North is Kurdish, descendants of the Medes. If the U.S. was not in Iraq the south would be absorbed by Iran.
As I said at the beginning, prophecy is not always clear looking forward, but is always clear looking back after it is fulfilled. It is unwise to be too dogmatic about those parts of prophecy that are subject to various understandings.
When we consider that the nations which align themselves against Israel in end-time prophecy are Muslim nations today, and when we see the attitude of the leaders in Turkey, it is not unreasonable to think that this land will also be aligned against Israel at that time.
At the time of Ezekiel’s prophecy, Gog and Magog were in what is today the land of Turkey. Russia is not a Muslim nation and, therefore, would be out of place among the end time alignment of nations against Israel. This is not to say that Russia will not be on the side of these nations, but the way things are lining up today, it seems that the leader of the coalition would more likely be Turkey (Gog, Magog, Gomer, Togarmah, Tubal, and Meshech) as shown on the map at the beginning of this article.
The truth on this matter will be seen as we approach the actual end time battles. For now, the idea that Gog and Magog are not Russia, but Turkey is surely worth considering.
Copyright © 2017 Fortress of Faith