Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Preparing for the Gog / Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39 by Dr. Lewis W. Moncrief

Purpose Of This Article
1. I believe that the ancient prophecy of Ezekiel 38 – 39 will unfold in this generation. This huge war in the Middle East will likely have dramatic impacts on other places in the world including the United States.

2. Recommend actions which the United States Government and other Federal governments in the West need to undertake to minimize the potential affects of such a war.

3. Recommend actions and attitudes of believers in Jesus Christ to ameliorate and respond to the affects of such a war locally, nationally and internationally.

The Prophecy
Sometime after 592 B.C., a man named Ezekiel wrote a series of prophecies which he claimed were from God. These messages were later codified into a book which was named for the author “Ezekiel”. It now appears in both Jewish and Christian texts as a part of canon scripture.

Ezekiel was a Jewish exile who was displaced from Judah to Babylon along with several thousand other Jews by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar. Ezekiel became a biblical prophet who authored the ancient text which bears his name and that we are discussing in this article.

The main point of this article is to propose the imminent occurrences of the prophecies in Ezekiel 38-39 because the military, political and religious environments all seem to be lining up at the present time.

I. The key questions are

1. Who is involved in this war?
2. When does this war occur?
3. What are the implications of these prophecies upon the nations of the world?
4. What God is saying through these prophecies to believers (His people)?

Who is Involved in this War?
Ezekiel proposes that a confederation of nations with names including
1) Magog 2) Rosh 3) Meshech 4) Tubal 5) Gomer 6) Beth-Togarmah
7) Persia 8) Cush 9) Put
will come together and attack Israel and will ultimately be decimated and defeated on the hills of Israel.

Who are these nations?
A detailed discussion of the controversies and alternate views of specific nations related to specific terms is contained in Appendix A. The list in this text is the most likely application for each name in the author’s judgment.

1. Magog - Russians of Scythian origin located north of the Black Sea and Caucus Mountains.
2. Rosh - geographic area of central eastern Russia including what is now Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and possibly Afghanistan.
3. Meshech - Turkey and possibly Azerbaijan
4. Tubal - SE side of the Black Sea (Turkey)
5. Gomer - Germany and/or select eastern European countries including possibly the Balkans.
6. Beth Togarmah - Turkey and/or Armenia
7. Persia - Iran
8. Cush - Ethiopia and/or Sudan
9. Put - Libya

There are three options if this attacking confederation is real
1. It happened in the past
2. It is presently materializing
3. It will occur at some point in the future

Does Ezekiel describe an ancient or long past invasion?
No such expeditionary force is documented in history.

Is the Gog/Magog War the Same as Armageddon?
Armageddon is explicitly discussed in Rev 16:12-16; Rev 19:11-21. It is referenced in Zech 12:1-9; 14:1-5, 12-15 and many other places.

Seven reasons are offered that establish that these are two different wars.
1. Different Combatants
Ezek 38-39 9 to 20 Nations
Armageddon All Nations of the earth, Zech 14
2. International Opposition
Ezek 38-39 Many nations oppose the confederation at least in word
Armageddon No national opposition
3. Number of Fatalities
Ezek 38-39 5/6 die
Armageddon whole army dies (much much larger army)
4. Purpose of War
Ezek 38-39 Take plunder
Armageddon destroy Israel, oppose God, and resist Jesus Second Coming
5. Different Battle Field
Ezek 38-39 Mountains of Syria and Northern Israel
Armageddon Valley of Jezreel or Megiddo
6. Spiritual Adversaries
Ezek 38-39 opposition described as men and nations
Armageddon Satan, Antichrist and False Prophets are the ring leaders
7. Different end to the leader
Ezek 38-39 buried in Israel – Zech 39:11
Armageddon cast alive into hell – Rev 19:20

Does such a confederation potentially exist in the present?
Yes - present day headlines would suggest the possibility of many of these players coming together in a proactive invasion force. Russia, Iran, Sudan, the “stan” nations, and Libya could easily be imagined to unilaterally come together under existing political and diplomatic posturing. Turkey, Germany, Armenia, Poland, Eastern Europe, and Ethiopia are another matter. For any or all of them to agree to be part of an attacking force alliance configurations, treaties and political circumstances would need to change to a greater or lesser extent to imagine them as a part of such an invasion force.

Could this all happen in the more distant future? Yes - other parts of the prophecy seem to suggest changes in circumstances before everything lines up to focus perfectly with the total prophetic picture. The changes are likely months and years away and not decades. I will discuss those other changes to be prophetically aligned later in this paper. (see section II.)

II. When Does This War Occur According To Ezekiel?

The following points bear on the timing of this war:
1. In the latter years after having been scattered to many nations of the earth, the Jews will be regathered. While the nation was gone from Palestine, the land became utterly desolate and a wasteland. Now Israel is in the process of being regathered back to the land of Israel. Ezekiel 38:8
2. The land (the real estate) is in process of being renewed into a land of milk and honey. Exodus 3:8; Ezekiel 38:8,12; 39:14
3. The Israelites are dwelling in the land in peace and safety. Ezekiel 38:8,11,14
4. The Israelites are dwelling in unwalled cities. Ezekiel 38:11
5. Israel is wealthy with gold, silver, cattle, goods and great spoil. Ezekiel 38:12,13
6. The text contains repeated references to “latter or last days (years)” Ezekiel 38:8,16,17
7. A total and complete regathering of all the Jews in the world back to Israel will occur after this great war Ezekiel 39:25,27,28
8. A contextual hint about timing is offered in Ezekiel 37 and 40, where the regathering is described in graphic detail in Ezekiel 37 as “dry bones” and the process of renewing life for the nation. Chapter 40 and following discusses the existence of a special temple with amazing features. In general terms, Ezekiel 37 has occurred but Ezekiel 40 certainly has not and nothing is in view to suggest that it is close to happening. Ezekiel 38-39 is an “in between” event.
9. The nation of Israel has a whole new national character as one people. They will not be of the northern kingdom (Israel) and the southern kingdom (Judah) as was true in much of their history. That emotional, political and ethnocentric distinction will have totally disappeared. They will be just one people – the Jews. (Ezekiel 36:6-38; 37:15-23)

Features That Confuse The Determination Of Timing Of A War That We Are Asserting To Be Near At Hand.

Probably the most prominent description of Israel in these chapters is that they are dwelling in safety. That is asserted three times forcefully. Ezekiel 38:8,11,14.

In the Spring and Summer of 2009 can it be said that Israel is living in peaceful co-existence with it’s many neighbors and enemies?

In my judgment the answer is “no”. I think something of a large political environmental change must occur before it can be said that Israel is living in peace and safety.

The second question as to indeterminant timing relates to the kinds of weapons and armaments that Ezekiel characterizes this invading army as possessing.
For example
  • Horses and horsemen with large and small shields, swords – Ezekiel 38:4
  • Shields and helmets - Ezekiel 38:5
  • All of them riding horses, a great horde - Ezekiel 38:15
  • Every man’s sword against his brother - Ezekiel 38:21
  • Strike your bow and arrows - Ezekiel 39:3
  • The above weapons burned as fuel - Ezekiel 39:9

This does not sound like the weaponry of modern warfare.
Is this
1. an ancient battle
2. modern military forces armed in a 19th century or earlier way
or just the case of
3. Ezekiel trying to describe warfare from an earlier time of 2600 years ago.

My assumption is that the third point is correct although a modern army might use cavalry and other non-conventional weaponry in rough terrain.

These two timing issues will be resolved and perhaps even quickly if the Ezekiel 38 – 39 war is at hand.

III. Features of this War as Ezekiel Described Them.

1. God is a very active presence in this war. Ezekiel 38:1-4, 16, 19,21-23; 39:1-8, 11,12,17,19-25, 27-29
2. Israel is apparently the sole target of this invading army Ezekiel 38:8,14,16,18,19; 39:2,4,9,11,12,17,22,23,25,29
3. The invaders are apparently coming for plunder of all kinds Ezekiel 38:12-13
4. The attacking force is a confederation of nine to twenty nations as discussed earlier and in Appendix A. The confederation is led by Russia and a dominant leader who is referred to repeatedly as Gog.
5. All of these nations are Islamic except for Russia, Germany, Armenia, Eastern Europe, and Ethiopia if some or all of them are included Ezekiel 38:2,3,5,6,8 and 39:1,2
6. Five sixth (a) of this vast army will be destroyed on the “mountains” of Israel Ezekiel 38:15-23; 39:1-5,10,12-21
7. The Middle Eastern nations that are not a part of the confederation is instructive – the Arabian Peninsula nations (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain), Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.
8. The Army is destroyed by a combination of
a. A great earthquake Ezekiel 38:19-20
b. Sword Ezekiel 38:21 (the army destroys itself)
c. Plague and bloodshed Ezekiel 38:22
d. Torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur Ezekiel 38:22
9. This invading force is diplomatically but apparently not militarily confronted by
a. Sheba and Dedan
b. Merchants of Tarshish
c. Tarshish’s villages or strong lions or merchants. The preferred rendering for the Hebrew word “kepire” is young lions.
10. A culminating feature of the war whose destruction at first is limited only to Israel; is that fire later falls upon
a. Magog
b. Those who dwell
i. in safety in the coast lands
ii. carelessly in the coast lands - Ezekiel 39:6
11. After the war ends, God is acknowledged by all the nations of the world as the ultimate victor in this war. Ezekiel 39:7,21,23,27,28
12. Israel’s attitude toward God is particularly affected. Ezekiel 39:13,22,25-29
13. Israel’s wealth and prestige is dramatically increased by this war. Ezekiel 39:9-10, 23-24, 27
14. It never says directly, that Israel did anything to militarily confront the invaders. Ezekiel says that God directly took the actions that destroyed the armies. (See points 1, 11 and 12)

IV. Does This Prophecy Have America In View As A Part Of Its Fulfillment?

1. There are at least two places where America would seem to be a likely presence - Ezekiel 38:13 and Ezekiel 39:6. In Ezekiel 38:13 it says “Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and her strong lions or villages, or merchants will say to you … ”.

Tarshish is mentioned over thirty times in scripture.
  • Genesis 10:4 - Tarshish is one of the sons of Javan, who was a son of Japheth and thus a great-grandson of Noah. Tarshish’s descendants are associated with maritime countries at first in the Mediterranean and Aegean areas.
  • The term is also associated with precious stones – Ezekiel 28:13; Exodus 28:20, 39:13; Dan 20:6.
  • There are ten references to large ships including e.g. – 1 Kings 10:22; 2 Chronicles 9:22.
  • It clearly refers to a place or places - 2 Chronicles 20:36-37
  • The term also seems to be associated with places known for large scale smelting of metals – Jeremiah 10:9; Ezekiel 27:12
  • Jonah fled to Tarshish – Jonah 1:3; 4:2
  • Places that have been suggested as locations for Tarshish are Carthage, SW Spain, Sardinia, Tarsus.
“Ictis (probably St Michaels Mount, Cornwall looking for Cornish tuis. Strabo records that in his day (circa 50 B.C.) tin mining was well advanced. The Casarterides, or Tin Islands) of ancient record are generally held to be the Scillies.” This location is Great Britain.(b)

Baker makes the point that “Part of the ambiguity of identification of Tarshish may well be the descriptive rather than the definite role of the names. It is used not to clearly identify one discrete geographical site, but rather to indicate that activity – smelting or refining went on in a location. The term could therefore very easily refer to any number of different sites.”(c)
  • Tarshish is used with other locations – Sheba, Dedan, and Seba in Psalm 22:10 and Ezekiel 38:13.
  • An understanding of Tarshish may be gained from knowing who Sheba and Dedan were and then infer a modern identity for each country.
  • Biblical Sheba or Saba is a kingdom in pre-Islamic southwestern Arabia. Its ancient capital was Ma’rib which lies 75 miles east of present day Sanaa in Yemen (Encylopedia Britannica)

So the conclusion I have drawn given historical possibilities and modern political configurations is that Sheba and Dedan are the Arabian Peninsula Nations and that Tarshish is Great Britain and the young lions are the British colonies including the United States.

Why Should The Reference To The Young Lions Of Tarshish Be Understood This Way?
If Tarshish is Great Britain the “young lions” reference may have to do with the royal coat of arms of England, of the Commonwealth of England, and of the British Empire.(d) These coats of arms have always contained lions as its dominant feature since 1154. It’s present coat of arms is as shown in the following picture.

The assumption is that the young lions are the various countries that have been part of the British Empire and later British Commonwealth.

2. The second sense in which the United States may be in this prophecy is in Ezekiel 39:6. In that passage it says, “I will send fire on Magog and on thoese who live safely (carelessly) (securely) in the coastlands and they will know that I am the Lord.” This verse describes a set of events outside of Israel as the war in that country is coming or has come to an end.

The first observation is that Ezekiel said that God said he had done this thing. This is consistent with assertions throughout this reading that declares God “did” the thing being described. Ezekiel 38:3,4,16,17,19,21,22,23; Ezekiel 39:1-4, 6-8, 11,17,19-25,27-29. Exactly half the total verses contain these claims.

There are two senses in which these declarations might be interpreted:
1. God initiated and carried out personally everything that He said happened. This is certainly understandable regarding earthquakes, rain, hail and etc. It is another matter to say that God sent fire, brimstone, summoned swords and a number of other assertions of like nature.

2. It could mean that God prompted the things, but people carried them out. My sense is that Ezekiel 39:6 carries that connotation. Fire fell on certain places but it was the result of some kind of military exchange. The mother country of the invading force, Magog, is a specified target and “those who dwell…” specifies what appear to be unnamed but other multiple countries. These unnamed countries are characterized as coastlands, and that the people are dwelling “safely”, “securely”, or “carelessly”. Different Bible versions give each of these characterizations because the Hebrew words will permit any of these various renderings.

What nation or nations have noteworthy coastal lands (as measured absolutely or proportionally)?
Coastland countries that would be possible enemies of Magog given present political configurations would include six countries of the top twenty in terms of total coastline.e They are Canada(1), Australia(7), United States of America(9), New Zealand(11), United Kingdom(14), and India(20). In contrast Russia and Turkey are the only possible Magog confederation members of the top 20 at numbers 4 and 19.
Secondly what nations might be described as dwelling “safely”, “securely”, or “carelessly”? Are these unnamed countries allies of Magog or are they Magog’s perceived enemies? It is clear that Israel is not a nation affected by references to “fire”, because Israel and Israeli citizens carry on afterward for months (7) Ezekiel 39:12 and years (7) Ezekiel 39:9 in very routine and matter of fact ways. The horrifying implications of this verse is that a nuclear exchange occurs between Magog and its perceived enemies who are blamed for the loss of the war. It is almost like a knee jerk last gasp reaction as Magog goes down in utter defeat and then whoever is attacked retaliates. Geographically this would actually occur outside the sphere of an Israel based war.

If one were to infer that Magog is modern Russia, it would suggest they were going down to irreversible defeat and they were attacking their arch enemies because they believe the enemies are the cause of their Israel war defeat. If that perceived enemy then counter attacked with “fire” who would that country or countries likely be from among all the nations of the world? Guess!

This is how absolute that defeat is. Even Gog himself, the mythical learder of this coalition, is buried along with 5/6 of his many hundred thousand and perhaps even a million man army in a valley in Israel dedicated to their burial. Ezekiel 39:11

When we consider the historical “safely”, “securely”, or “carelessly” issues from Ezekiel 39:6 as it relates to the United States, they all seem like relevant descriptors.

Since the War of 1812, the United States has never been invaded. We have been attacked but, for the most part, without lasting effect (Pearl Harbor and 9/11/2001). Because we are a continent distanced thousands of miles from historical hot spots the American people have suffered relatively little from world wide military calamities. So America has been dwelling safely and securely for 200 years in an otherwise very unsafe world.

In the matter of “dwelling carelessly”, I grieve because I believe the Biblical injunction, “that to whom much is given, much will be required” is true. I believe America is guilty of some most egregious sins, the most blatantly abominable being 50,000,000 abortions. We have killed many more people than the Nazis ever did and our victims have been totally innocent in every way. I wonder if we will pay for this abomination? Anyway, whoever is a part of this prophecy can be described as dwelling carelessly whatever that means.

V. Has Any Nation In History Been A More Dominant Merchant Of International Trade Than Great Britain?

The villages and young lions of Tarshish signify parent-like role for Tarshish which is exactly what the British Empire inferred with its colonies (United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, other African and Asian countries).

Given the contemporary economic and political alignments Sheba and Dedan are taken to be the Arab nations in the Saudi Peninsula and Tarshish is presumed to be Great Britain and the “young lions” are its empire colonies which are scattered all over the world. Obviously the most dominant of these nations is the United States of America. In any present conflict as depicted in this article, it is hard to imagine a more likely diplomatic and later military combatant to the Magog confederation than the United States of America and its western allies.

Modern Saudi Arabia and its Arabian Peninsula neighbors, in one respect, are odd bedfellows as alliance members with Great Britian and her allies since Saudi Peninsula countries are all devout Muslim countries and Saudi Arabia, tacitly is the mother country for all Islam. The western allies are tacitly Christian, capitalistic and huge consumers and distributors of oil resources. At the same time most of the Russia confederation is Muslim and undoubtedly is acting out of profound religious and ideological vendetta toward Israel and perhaps a lesser extent the United States. Apparently the threat to oil resource balance of power trumps religious devotion in the minds of Sheba and Dedan (Saudi Arabia). Of course the threat to their personal oil reserves may be a much larger issue for the oil confederation than the concern for Israel.

VI. What Non-Aligned Nations To The Magog Confederation Should Do
If this invasion does occur and unaligned but potential target nations believed the prophecy and made preparation, what might that preparation look like.
1. Prepare for likely nuclear exchange
a. Anticipate cities as likely targets and take appropriate action to defend, protect and decentralize critical centers and resources
b. Exhaust the potential for a nuclear missile interception deterrent as soon as possible.
c. Do not do anything to repudiate or in any way weaken Israel’s right to exist and to prosper in the Land.
d. Do not unilaterally disarm or act from a place of indefensibility
e. Anticipate and make plans to address nuclear winter and other possible attendant environmental crises

2. The nations would take the whole matter of “God” a great deal more seriously than seems to be the case anywhere in the West right now, if we believed this prophecy was truly going to happen.

VII. What Believers Should Do In Anticipation Of The War of Ezekiel
38-39 If It Is Assumed to Occur in Our Generation?
The following questions need to be answered by every believer.
1. Do I have a closeness to Jesus that permits me to hear his voice? This may be the most critical need for each individual.
2. I should pray for Israel; for our “enemies”; for our leaders; for those who serve as – military, police, EMS, health workers; public safety; utilities; and for other focuses as they unfold. Pray specifically for your area and other locations, as you are led that they may be spared the “fire”.
3. Am I living where I am supposed to be located?
4. Am I doing what I was created to do?
5. Do I have resources adaptable to acute catastrophe or does my lifestyle require a steady state no shaking kind of environment to function?
6. Do I have a social network that will operate under life and death crises?
7. Do I have a home and community environment that can function at least somewhat in a self sustaining way?
8. Do I have at least a minimal understanding of eschatology and Biblical prophecy so that I can understand and prepare for whatever “next season” that I will have to adapt to?
9. Do I have faith and a history of “trusting in the Lord” no matter what? If I don’t, do I at least recognize the need for and a willingness to grow in that dimension? Such a heart will be indispensable in the days ahead.
10. Do I have a commitment to see the gospel preached in all the world as a high priority? God will honor, supply and protect those with such a heart.
11. Do I have a heart to encourage, support and defend Muslim people in America after this devastating war given the political / religious contributions of that belief system to this crisis?
12. At no time are believers ever given permission to “fear” anything except God. This article could produce fear mongering in the extreme but God would not be pleased. In spite of the dire implications of these interpretations, what would He say to us in terms of our attitudes and behaviour?
13. The Bible is full of examples of God permitting the wicked to be judged and sometimes in horrific ways while at the same time He protects the righteous. If the “fire” is coming that doesn’t mean people can’t influence the magnitude and places of devastation. God has always promised to hear intercessions, prayers, claims of His promises spoken back to him, confession of sin, repentance and lament.

The Effect Of This War On The World And On Islam
If this is a nuclear war it goes without saying that the devastation will be intercontinentally horrific. Depending on the nuclear targets, those places would be ruined for decades and perhaps centuries. The nuclear radiation would spread via generally westerly winds that blow worldwide. The nuclear winter would affect crop production, rainfall and many other climatic and health variables for the years and perhaps decades.

Obviously if Russia and the western coalition led by the United States are destroyed or severely retracted this will leave a political vacuum in the entire world. If this war occurs during the Biblical “end of the age” but before what the Bible calls the tribulation period (the last 7 years) of this “age”, then a last great leader (the Antichrist, among other descriptors) will arise who will lead one of the two last empires in world history. This empire will likely be based in Europe and the Middle East. The other great empire which is even larger is led by the “Kings of the East” (Revelation 16:12)

Islam will be greatly affected by this war. The most hard-line elements of that religious following will likely be in Israel for what they believe is the annihilation of Israel. Beyond formal armies there could likely be thousands and hundreds of thousands of irregular troops (guerrillas, terrorists and jihadists) who will come to the invasion to be part of the kill.

Islam at its heart is an invasive and triumphalist religion. The doctrines of Islam promulgate the belief that in the long run Islam will be the only religion left standing as history unfolds.

What will be the effect of the Ezekiel war on such a mind set, if the defeat is as complete as is implied and if the “whole world” (Ezekiel 39:21) sees this defeat and concomitantly the protection of Israel (Ezekiel 39:22-23) and that God sovereignly did it. Clearly this would be an utter repudiation of Islam spiritually. The whole world will be pressed to reexamine their world views and spiritual presuppositions.

APPENDIX A The Nations In The Gog / Magog Confederation


The Nations In The Gog / Magog Confederation

The nations in the Gog / Magog Confederation are in order of appearance in Ezekiel 38-39:
Magog Ezekiel 38:2
Rosh Ezekiel 38:2
Meshech Ezekiel 38:2
Tubal Ezekiel 38:2
Persia Ezekiel 38:5
Cush Ezekiel 38:5
Put Ezekiel 38:5
Gomer Ezekiel 38:6
Beth-Togarmah Ezekiel 38:6

This list is 2600 years old. Are there modern nations that represent these ancient descriptors? There is much scholarship available that suggests the answers. As is often the case there are differences of opinion as well.

As the author of this article, let me give you my philosophy about this discussion. My goal is not to get every answer “right” as if this is a trivia quiz. I believe this prophecy in Ezekiel 38-39 is of critical importance.

The prophecy is given to
vindicate God is all things by demonstrating his total sovereignty and power,
to warn us with the hope of repentance and preparation where that is appropriate
as a marker in the unfolding of the coming Kingdom of God to the earth
to establish hope and faith, and
to press us to pursue personal relationship and direction from God in the midst of the unfolding of events.

In light of these prophetic purposes, patterns, and principles are more important than getting every last detail right. So I can live with dissonance of not knowing “for sure” every detail unequivocally about which nations are included as long as I can see clearly enough to respond to the God of real prophecy.

Most of the nations are first noted in the Table of Nations as outlined in Genesis 10. (See Appendix A)

Magog As Russia
Dictionnaire philosophique under "Concatenation of Events", Voltaire
Antiquities of the Jews; Book 1, Chapter 6, Josephus,
After the Empire: Bible Prophecy In Light Of The Fall Of The Soviet Union; Mark Hitchcock, (Wheaton IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1994
Genesis 10:2; 1 Chronicles 1:5
Often referred to by their Greek name, the Scythians
Keil, C.F., and Delitzack, F.; Biblical Commentary On The Prophecies of Ezekiel, T. and T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1891, Volume 2, p.157
Gesenius, Wilhem, A Hebrew And Greek Lexicon Of The Old Testment. Crocker and Brewater; Boston, 1872, pages 534, 626, 955, 1121
Scofield, C.T. ed., The Schofield Reference Bible, Oxford University, 1917, p. 883
F.W. Gingrich and Frederick Danker, K, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 1957.
Quotes Hesiod, “father of Greek didactic poetry,” who identified Magog with Scythians and southern Russia in the 7th century B.C.
Jerome, Commentary on Ezekial 38:2
The Magogites, Scythians, Cimmerians, Caucasus are all interchangeable at different times but in the same place. Caucasus from which the people and the same named mountains is derived from the term Gog – hasan or Gog’s Fort Dr John Gill, A Commentary on the Old Testament, 1748.

In conclusion there are hundreds of references of Magog as having to do with Scythians which is almost universally is agreed are Southern Russian (white Russian) peoples.

In the New International Version, the King James Version, and several other modern versions, “Rosh” is not used. The New King James Version, New American Standard Version, Amplified Bible, and others use “Rosh”. The difference seems to be based on the question of whether the word is a noun or an adjective based on the fact that Rosh can mean a specific place or it means “head,” “top,” “summit,” or “chief”.

“Translations based on the Greek Septuagint (LXX) follow the noun form while those based on the Latin Vulgate follow the adjective form.” Dr. Ron Rhodes, “Northern Storm Rising, (Eugene, OR, Harvest House Publishing, 2008) p.105

Rosh - Southern Russia and Ukraine, Clyde E. Billington, Jr., “The Rosh People In History and Prophecy,” Michigan Theological Journal 4:1 (Spring 1993) “an ancient people whom the Greeks called Tauroi/Turenoi were Identical to the people known as “Tireas” in the Bible (Genesis 10:2)…

For example note the names of these people given by other people groups Taruisha (Hittite), Turus/Teresh (Egyptian), Taurai/Tursenoi (Greek), and Tauri/Etruscau (Latin) Billington, The Rosh People (Part Three) pages 44,48,50,51

These people were long understood to be inhabitants of the Black Sea – Russian – Ukraines – Crimea area.

As we speak of different groups from Russia, Turkey, etc., we are talking about different tribes who inhabit a common land.

It is noteworthy that Ezekiel 38-39 gives Magog the national point position in this confederation but the key leader is referred as from Rosh or Mesbech or Tubal. Its counterpart example would be Stalin who led what became the USSR but he was actually from Georgia, a tiny contributor to the overall confederation.

Meshech and Tubal

It is of consequence that these two groups seem to be allied with Magog more closely than the other nations. Magog, Tubal, Rosh, and Meshech are all cursed with a focused severity, “I will turn you back and put hooks in their jaws …” Ezekiel 38:4

Meshech is referenced in Psalm 120:1-7 and describes them as hostile and for war in every way while the psalmist (as representative of Israel) is for peace.

Many authors link Meshech with Moscow. The contrast with Rosh can be used as an adjective but Meshech and Tubal are always used as places. This configuration possibly refers to the tribal groupings in south central Russia and including all the modern Islamic “stan” nations.

Ezekiel seems to emphasize far distance when he says they “will come from the remote parts of the north (Ezekiel 38:6)

These nations are repeatedly mentioned in the Bible as trading together with Tyre. Josephus indicated they were Cappodocians “… Mesek must be located in the Moschian Mountains near Armenia.” Mark Hitchcock, Ibid, p.56 Hitchcock says they also occupied territory in what is today Turkey.

Tubal also seems to provide population for what is today Turkey but southwest of the Black Sea in more western Turkey.

Persia - Modern day Iran.
There is little debate about this as Persia has always been the Iranian land mass and the people speak their own unique and ancient language – Farsi. Iranians are not Arabs but are devout Shiite Muslims.
Cush – Sudan and Ethiopia
Almost universal agreement that Cush represents these two modern countries. Cush is repeatedly referenced in scripture and several versions translate Ezekiel 38 as Ethiopia. Probably more related to the modern nation of Sudan than Ethiopia.

Put – Libya and possibly a broader area of North Africa.
Several versions translate it directly as Libya.

Gomer – Eastern Germany, Eastern Europe
“The Son of Japheth, Genesis 10:2
He was the father of the Cimmerians who settled originally on the shores of the Caspian Sea. They were later driven out by the Elamites. At the time of the Babylonian Exile, the Jews knew them as the tribes that dwell in “the uttermost parts of the north” (Ezekiel 38:16).

The Assyrians referred to them as the Gimirraya. Esarhaddon (681-668 BC) records his defeat of the Gimirrai; whilst King Ashurbanipal tells us in his records of the Cimmerian invasion of Lydia (see Shem 5) in the days of the Lydian king Gugu around the year 660 BC (see Map 1)”

Ashchenaz (Son of Gomer)

“His descendants first settled originally in what is now Armenia, although in later Jewish traditions he was associated with his father Gomer with the Germanic races. Hence, Germanic Jews are still known as Ashkenazim. More immediately, the Assyrians tell us in their inscriptions of the Askuza, a tribe who allied themselves with the Mannai in a revolt during the 7th century BC, an incident also mentioned in Jeremiah 51:27. Indeed, it is in this statement that Jeremiah incidentally confirms the identity of the Ashkenazim with the Askuza. This name Askuza of the Assyrian records, later became the Skythai (Scythians) of Herodotus. Other early sources confirm their place of settlement in what was later to become Pontus and Bythinia, where the peoples gave their name to the Axenus or Euxine Sea (the modern Black Sea) on whose shores they first settled. Josephus tells us that they were subsequently known to the Greeks as the Rheginians (See map in back).” Bill Cooper, The Table of Nations, www.biblebelievers.org

Germany and Eastern Europe (Gomer and Its Hordes)
“Gomer was the eldest son of Japheth and the father of Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. These people make up an extremely important part of the future Russian invasion force. Most recent archeological finds seem to indicate that the people of Gomer settled on the north of the Black Sea, and then spread themselves southward and westward to the extremities of Europe. Gesenius speaks of "Ashkenaz" (Gen. 10:3) as being part of Gomer's "hordes." He says that Ashkenaz is "...the proper name of a region and a nation in northern Asia, sprung from the Cimmerians who are the ancient people of Gomer. The modern Jews understand it to be Germany, and call that country by this Hebrew name..."; i.e. "Ashkenaz." Josephus called the sons of Ashkenaz "the Rheginians," and a map of the ancient Roman Empire places them in the area of modern Poland, Czechoslovakia and Germany to the banks of the Danube River. So also does the Jewish Talmud.”
www.goldenminutes.org/; Israel And Prophecy, Lesson 5, Russia And The Middle East In Prophecy - Ezekiel 38:1-39:16

Southeastern part of Turkey near the Syrian Border. This interpretation is quite common in linguistic literature.

Appendix B The Timing of This Article

Appendix B
The Timing of This Article

A little background information may be instructive as you consider the message of this article. I do not consider myself to be a prophet but I do experience prophetic sensitivity from time to time. In the Spring of 2009, I was 2000 miles from my home at a family reunion and I had discussions with over a dozen family members and others about their plans and near future hopes. As I prayed about this flood of information that was shared with me and I was being asked to make inputs, I was waked up at 3:00 am one night with what I took to be a word from God. The message I got was that as people make plans they should be sensitive to what God has for thousands of years said would unfold prophetically. Ezekiel 38 – 39 came to mind immediately. In that context, I have thought about and taught about this Biblical passage from time to time but I had never written anything about it. I had not done anything with the subject for months. So the first targets of this article seem to be for me and my own family and friends. The message is “as you plan your life be sure to note the larger contexts out of which you will live your life.” That would and should apply to everyone.

I don’t know if Ezekiel 38 – 39 will occur next year, ten years from now or when. I personally believe it will happen in short years and not decades. Whether it happens as soon as any authoritative person believes or not, wouldn’t it be wise to live the injunctions of section VII. What Believers Should Do In Anticipation Of The War of Ezekiel 38-39 If It Is Assumed to Occur in Our Generation (p.10)?

Every question is relevant but wouldn’t it be wise to give particular consideration to items 1,3,4,8,9,10 and 11 of section VII? In my judgment, life should be lived with those dimensions in full view whether any part of this prophecy occurs as I am interpreting it. Please read all of this with prayer and spiritual sensitivity. May God bless us all.