The Who’s Who of Gog-Magog
By Jack Kinsella
According to the prophet Ezekiel, there will arise in the last days, a massive military and political alliance more-or-less formally known as the ‘Gog-Magog Alliance.’
“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)
According to Ezekiel, Gog and Magog will lead an alliance of nations in the last days in a disastrous [for them] invasion against the reborn nation of Israel.
In Ezekiel 38:3, Ezekiel clearly identifies Gog as a person, rather than a place; “the prince of Meshech and Tubal.”
The Scofield Reference Bible’s notes to Ezekiel claim that “Meshech” is a Hebrew form of Moscow, and that “Tubal” represents the Siberian capital Tobolsk.
That interpretation would make Gog both a ‘place’ — the Russian Federation of Nations — AND a ‘person’ — in the sense of a federated Russian leadership.
The Interlinear Bible (Hebrew – Greek – English) renders that verse as:
“Son of man, set your face toward Gog, the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; and prophesy concerning him.”
(In Hebrew, the word ‘Rosh’ meant, ‘chief prince’, or, the ‘chief of the chief princes.’)
Magog was a son of Japeth, who, together with his brothers Tubal, Meshech, and Togarmah (Genesis 10:2-3) settled what is modern-day Russia and the southern steppes of the Caucasus mountains.
And Ezekiel identifies ‘Gog’ as coming from the north of Israel. Following the compass due north from Jerusalem will take you through the center of Moscow.
The army of Gog and Magog primarily includes people from the nations of Gog, Gomer, Tubal, Meshech, and the house of Togarmah from the “north parts.” They will be joined by Persians from the East, Put from the West, Cushites from the South, and others.
“Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee…” (Ezekiel 38:5-6)
“Gomer” is mentioned in Genesis as well as Ezekiel. The Jewish-turned-Roman historian Flavius Josephus identified Gomer with the Galatians.
“For Gomer founded those whom the Greeks now call Galatians, [Galls,] but were then called Gomerites.” (Antiquities of the Jews, I:6.)
Ancient Galatia was an area in the highlands of central Anatolia (now Turkey). Galatia was bounded on the north by Bithynia and Paphlagonia, on the east by Pontus, on the south by Lycaonia and Cappadocia, and on the west by the remainder of Phrygia, the eastern part of which the Gauls had invaded.
The modern capital of Turkey, Ankara, is part of ancient Galatia.
Historically, ‘Gomer’ is also linked to the ancient Cimmerians. The Cimmerians eventually settled the regions north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea, in what is now parts of Russia and the Ukraine.
The Cimmerians are believed to have migrated north from the region now called Azebaijanaround the time of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
Both the ancient Cimmerians and the Gomerites spoke a form of the Thracian or Persian language.
Tubal was another son of Japheth who settled the area. Josephus wrote:
“Tobal gave rise to the Thobeles, who are now called Iberes”.
Josephus’ ‘Iberes’ settled in the area of the former Soviet state of Georgia.
Ezekiel begins his listing of Gog-Magog’s allies with Persia, or modern day Iran. Iran’s allies, according to Ezekiel, include “Ethiopia” and “Libya.”
The Libya of Ezekiel’s day wasn’t Muammar Ghadaffi’s Libya. Josephus writes:
“Phut also was the founder of Libya to the south and called the inhabitants Phutites, from himself.”
(Some versions of Scripture render ‘Libya’ (as does the KJV) whereas others render it ‘Put’ — a grandson of Noah.)
Put settled an area that included most of North Africa including Libya and parts of modern Egypt.
“Ethiopia” (also rendered by some versions as ‘Cush’) was a civilization centered in the North African region of Nubia, located in what is today southern Egypt and northern Sudan.
Cush was another grandson of Noah, and the father of Nimrod. Josephus gives an account of the nation of Cush, who is the son of Ham and the grandson of Noah.
“For of the four sons of Ham, time has not at all hurt the name of Chus; for the Ethiopians, over whom he reigned, are even at this day, both by themselves and by all men in Asia, called Chusites.” (Antiquities of the Jews I:6.)
In the 5th century AD the Himyarites, in the south of Arabia, were styled by Syrian writers as Cushaeans and Ethiopians, and it is certain that the present-day areas of Yemen and Eritrea were both ruled together by one dynasty at that time.
The African ‘Kush’ covered Upper Egypt, and extended southwards from the First Cataract. In addition, the Cushitic peoples, who live around the Horn of Africa and today comprise the Somali, Afar, Oromo and several other tribes, are popularly asserted to be the offspring of the Biblical Cush.
That the Biblical term was also applied to parts of Arabia is suggested by Genesis, where Cush is the eponymous father of certain tribal and ethnic designations that tend to point to Arabia.
Babylonian inscriptions mention the Kashshi or Kassites, and it was once held that this signified a possible explanation of Cush, the ancestor of Nimrod in Genesis chapter 8.
The rhetorical question, “Can the Cushite change his skin?” in Jeremiah 13:23 implies people of a notably different skin color from the Israelites, most probably an African race.
Also, the Septuagint Greek translation of the Old Testament, made by Greek-speaking Jews between 250 BC and 100 BC, uniformly translates Cush as “Ethiopia”.
So, this is what we know. We know that Ezekiel predicts that, ‘in the latter days’ the chief of chief princes of an alliance called Gog-Magog will arise from a location to the uttermost north of Israel.
We know that due north of the city of Jerusalem on the same longitude is the modern city of Moscow.
We know that Gog will be reluctantly drawn into a conflict with Israel. Ezekiel says Gog will be ‘drawn’ as if he ‘had hooks in his jaws’ into this conflict.
The Gog Magog alliance includes modern Russia, the Ukraine, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, North Africa, and the Middle East extending from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf.
We also know that the target of the Gog Magog Alliance is the restored nation of Israel. And finally, we know the time frame. Ezekiel says it will take place ‘in the latter days’. Here is something else we know. Ezekiel’s alignment of nations was never possible in previous generations.
To begin with, Ezekiel’s scenario demands the existence of Israel, “the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations…” (Ezekiel 38:8-9)
From Ezekiel’s day until May 14, 1948, there was no place on earth called ‘Israel’. Prior to 1948, Russia had little interest in the Middle East. The Middle East had been part of the Islamic Ottoman Empire since the time of Columbus.
Ezekiel lived one thousand years before Mohammed introduced Islam to the world. Ezekiel lived twenty-five hundred years before David ben-Gurion announced the rebirth of Israel on May 14, 1948.
The fulfillment of Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog prophecy depends entirely on the simultaneous development of two concurrent events; the rebirth of Israel and the rebirth of Mohammedan-style radical Islam.
Look at Ezekiel’s main protagonists. There are three.
The first is Gog and Magog, the modern Russian federation. Gog and Magog’s participation in the invasion force, according to Ezekiel, comes as a result of God’s promise to, “turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth…” (Ezekiel 38:4)
I’ve often pondered the phrase, ‘turn thee back’ (Hebrew ‘paqad’ or ‘call to remembrance’). I recall writing a piece for This Week in Bible Prophecy in 1992. The story was about the new Russian parliament suddenly breaking mid-session to rush out to the halls of the Duma where newly-admitted Western missionaries were handing out free New Testaments.
Having just emerged from a lifetime of godless Communism, Russians were eager to hear the Word of God and Christian missionaries were welcomed with open arms.
For several years, Russians were offered this ‘call to remembrance’ of Scripture before former KGB operative Vladimir Putin slammed the door shut on foreign missionaries. The Russian Orthodox Church — which was heavily inflitrated by the KGB during the Communist era — the only legal Christian religion in Russia.
The ‘call to remembrance’ was over. When Moscow later entered into its nuclear agreement with Iran, the hook was set.
The second of Ezekiel’s protagonists is the alliance itself.
Look at the list carefully. Every single nation and region named as Gog-Magog allies is part of the Islamic world. Every single one of them.
Islamic North Africa, [Ethiopia and Libya] including the Sudan, whose Islamic government is currently conducted genocide against its Christian population.
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and the heart and soul of radical Wahabbist jihadist Islam.
Turkey, (ruled by the Islamic Party), together with most of the Russian Republic’s Islamic ‘stans’.
Persia, or modern Iran, the ‘hook’ in Gog’s jaw. Iran’s nuclear program was built by, overseen, guarded and maintained by Russian scientists, technicians and military forces. Iran’s leader has made it something of a habit to mention the destruction of Israel in every speech.
That brings us to the third protagonist in Ezekiel’s scenario — Israel.
According to Ezekiel, the entire invasion force is assembled to one purpose. The destruction of Israel. Israel has but two choices facing it.
Israel can gamble that the rest of the world will restrain Iran’s mad mullahs from pulling the nuclear trigger against them. Or Israel can act militarily to remove the threat itself.
A third possibility, although not among Israel’s choices, is that the United States will act to remove Iran’s nuclear facilities before Israel faces the point of no return. The possibility the US will act in time is just that — a possibility.
Israel’s entire existence has been a gamble, but gambling that the world will protect them from Iran is an unacceptable bet. Gambling on US intervention is a long shot, but the odds are within acceptable ranges, so Israel can afford to sit tight for the time being.
But Israel will only gamble with its existence for so long before it is forced to push all its chips into the middle and take out Iran’s Russian-built, Russian-staffed and Russian-guarded nuclear facilities.
Setting the hook in Gog’s jaw and bringing all three protagonists together ‘against the mountains of Israel’ exactly as Ezekiel predicted would take place ‘in the latter days’.