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.