This series of seven blog posts is an update of my study of Ezekiel 38-39 concerning the coming attack of Gog’s coalition on Israel as foretold in scripture. The approach is verse-by-verse.
Ezek. 38:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Ezek. 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,
“prince” = properly, an exalted one, i.e. a king or sheik; also a rising mist:—captain, chief, cloud, governor, prince, ruler, vapour
I put the definition of “prince” first because it directly refers to Gog. I think it is interesting to note that the definition includes “a rising mist…chief…prince…vapour.” This ties in directly to my thoughts about this being. I believe it is a term that references the powerful evil spirit in the forces of Satan that rules over the land. It would seem that we often forget that there are spiritual forces at work that have a direct impact on happenings on planet earth. Daniel teaches this concept clearly. He had a revelation that caused him great mourning that was followed by a vision in which he had an encounter with a spiritual being.
Daniel 10:10–13 “And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.”
Gog and Magog are again referenced in Revelation.
Revelation 20:7–8 “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.”
This being is active in his land again after the millennium—after Satan is loosed for his last hurrah.
In updating my notes on Revelation, I found some information pertinent to this section. An excerpt from my journal on Revelation follows.
I found this note by Darrell Young of Focus on Jerusalem Prophecy Ministry in an article on “Iran in Bible Prophecy.” It will reference Amos 7:1, so I am showing it as stated in the KJV to preface his quote.
Amos 7:1 “Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king’s mowings.”
“…an earlier translation of the OT into Greek, known as the Septuagint, embodies a different rending of Amos 7:1, “thus the Lord showed me, and behold a swarm of locusts were coming and behold one of the young devastating locusts was Gog, the King.” [end excerpt]
This fits in with my belief that these locusts are evil spirits. Scripture declares that normal locusts have no king.
Proverbs 30:27 “The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands.”
Magog is listed as one of the sons of Japheth, brother to Meshech and Tubal. It would seem that the brothers and their descendants were located in adjoining areas. Magog probably occupied the dominant position (e.g., as did Ephraim among the tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel). Verse 15 identifies Magog as in “the north parts.”
I have most often heard it taught that Magog is a reference to the land of the Scythians which later became known as Russia, and most of my research supports that teaching. The following is quoted from an article at www.harpazo.net/magog.html. (As of 5/09, this is no longer an active link.)
“One of the earliest references to Magog was by Hesiod, "the father of Greek didactic poetry"who identified Magog with the Scythians and southern Russia in the 7th century B.C. Hesiod was a contemporary of Ezekiel.
In the 5th century B.C. Herodotus of Harlicarnassus, known as "Father of History,” wrote extensively about the the Scythians and how they terrorized the southern steepes of Russia from the 10th century B.C. to the 3rd Century B.C.
"No one confronting them can escape on foot, and if they wish not to be discovered it is impossible to engage with them. The reason is that they do not build towns or fortresses, but all of them are mounted archers and carry their homes with them... How can they fail to be invincible, and immune from attack?" - Herodotus, 5th century B.C.
Another well known source is Josephus Flavius, who records that the Magogians were called "Scythians" by the Greeks.
"Magog founded the Magogians, thus named after him, but who were by the Greeks called Scythians…..But even the Scythians, who delight in murdering people and are little better than wild beasts, nevertheless think it their duty to uphold their national customs." - Josephus Flavius, 1st century A.D.
[end quote from article]
“In the north parts” could also include a reference to Turkey as part of Asia Minor. The NIV Commentary makes the following observation: “The sparse data imply that Meshech and Tubal refer to geographical areas or countries in eastern modern Turkey, southwest of Russia and northwest of Iran. This, however, gives no basis for identifying these place names with any modern country. There is no data to support the contention of some that Meshech and Tubal refer to the modern Russian cities of Moscow and Tobolsk. It can be concluded that Gog is a person from the region of Magog and that he is the prince, the chief ruler, over the geographical areas of Meshech and Tubal. These land areas or countries appear to be located generally toward the south of the Black and Caspian Seas, in the modern countries of Turkey, Russia, and Iran.”
David Legge (www.preachtheword.com) has this to say in his commentary on Ezekiel: “Greek writers have told us that Tubal was located in the central part of Turkey…Tubal, historically, is in the central part of Turkey, immediately west of what we read in Ezekiel of being Togarmah.”
Again, from the article at Harpazo: “Josephus also identifies the descendents of Meshech as dwelling in Eastern Turkey….Assyrian inscriptions refer to it [Tubal] as Tabal, West of Meshech in Eastern Anatolia.”
This reference to the land of Magog and the references to Meshech and Tubal could be referencing the combined land mass of Russia south to include Turkey as the area governed by this demonic prince.
(9/08) I was listening to Jimmy DeYoung on John Ankerberg this morning. He made reference to finding a map in Turkey that identified the land areas comprising ancient Turkey as Meshech, Tubal, Gomer and Togarmah. This supports the conclusion that the reference is to Russia and Turkey as stated above.
As we continue to study these two chapters, it will become clear that these events are yet to happen. I think it is important to note that this prophecy is against “him.” That tends to give further support to the idea that Ezekiel is prophesying against a spiritual being that will still be functioning at the end of the millennium.
Ezek. 38:3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:
Ezek. 38:4 And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:
The Lord GOD establishes Himself in direct opposition to Gog. He also asserts that He is the One in authority because He is able to force Gog into action that the wording indicates is not of his choice—“I will turn thee back and put hooks into thy jaws.” The JFB Commentary had this note for the phrase “turn thee back”: “as a refractory wild beast, which thinks to take its own way, but is bent by a superior power to turn on a course which must end in its destruction.” (refractory = obstinate in disobedience)
In my mind, this description would apply more to the man that is being used or possessed by Gog at the point in time being referenced.
Gog is represented as having a great army that is well prepared defensively and has many offensive weapons at its ready. Though the reference is to horses and horsemen, there is room in the Hebrew to allow for vehicles (both for land and air) and those who operate them.
The Hebrew for horses states: “from an unused root meaning to skip (properly, for joy); a horse (as leaping); also a swallow (from its rapid flight)”
For horsemen: “a steed (as stretched out to a vehicle, not single nor for mounting; also (by implication) a driver (in a chariot)”
This army is also described as having skilled soldiers—“handling (manipulating) swords.” The Hebrew for handling also includes the idea of using these weapons “unwarrantably” (not justifiable; illegal; unjust; improper). This is a valid description of their attack upon Israel.
(to be continued…)