Jun 012015
 

“The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince (Rosh) of Meshech and Tubal’; prophesy against him and say: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army … Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops – the many nations with you. “Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them … In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land.” (Ezekiel 38:1-9)

One of the most popular prophecies of the Bible that has captured the attention of prophecy students is the “Battle of Gog and Magog” that is found in Ezekiel 38-39. The passage speaks of a coalition of nations that attack Israel, who are all led by the nation of “Magog”. Many prophecy teachers claim that Magog is Russia which will be destroyed alongside with Islamic nations. This must occur in order to usher in the Battle of Armegeddon and the coming of Christ. But these two arguments are unfounded and totally depend on pure conjecture.

So, is Russia the nation of the Antichrist? Or is the battle of Gog and Magog a separate battle distinct from the Battle of Armageddon? Are Gog and the Antichrist one and the same? Does Gog come from Russia? We will examine the main arguments?

DOESN’T RUSSIA ARM MUSLIM NATIONS?

The most common argument for this assumption is that Russia is supplying arms to Iran (Persia) and other Muslim nations. But selling weapons does not amount to primary evidence for anything Biblical. The United States supplied Saudi Arabia with weapons. They also gave weapons to Afghanistan during the Cold War in order to defeat Communism. In doing so, they aided the Mujahideen and indirectly created the Taliban. It was the United States that forced Israel to allow elections for the Arabs in Jerusalem – and now we have “Hamasistan” in Gaza. The United States twisted Israel’s arm to pull out of Lebanon and now we have Hezbollah practically running that country. The Unites States, under Jimmy Carter, gave the cold shoulder to the Shah of Iran and did nothing when Khomeni and the Mujadiheen-Khalq-Iran took over. But do these destructive acts of ignorance tie the U.S. into End Times prophecy? Yet in Joel Rosenberg’s runaway bestseller, Epicenter, it is this type of evidence that is used as the primary support for seeing Russia as the key player in the coming “Gog and Magog” battle against Israel. But circumstantial evidences cannot be used as substitutes for solid Scriptural evidences. Circumstances change, but God’s Word does not.

So do the above mentioned acts of the Unites States make them the Biblical Gog or the land of the Antichrist? Well, it certainly seems at times that the U.S. is under an Antichrist spell. And Satan certainly wants nothing more than to weaken the somewhat righteous nations that stand with Israel and spread the Gospel throughout the earth. But Western naiveté and mediocre minds of American politicians would be no match for fourteen centuries of Islamic deception. The Bible warned Christians long ago to be wary of their enemy’s pathological lies: “be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves,” (Matth. 10:16).

The only one who knows Russia’s future for certain is God. When Russia stood with Nazi Germany, many concluded that Hitler was the European Antichrist. They were wrong. As soon as Stalin was betrayed by Hitler, Russia fought against Germany. If so many prophecy analysts were wrong then, is there a chance that they are also wrong again? During the Cold War, numerous prophecy analysts focused on Communist Russia as a major player in the End-Times. Of course she was. She was the enemy of America and everyone knows that God is an American, right? But then the superpower collapsed and its Muslim parts created their own Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S.) Few pay attention to the fact that they all are mentioned by their ancient names in the Bible.

ISN’T “ROSH”RUSSIA?

This controversy has been brewing for years. Much of the controversy revolves around the way that the word “Rosh” in Ezekiel 38:2 is translated. Some Bibles translate the word as a proper noun, “Rosh” and others as “the chief prince.”

Those who argue that Rosh is a proper noun almost universally argue that it is referring to the modern nation of Russia.

Others object. Dr. Charles Ryrie, for example, takes issue with the translation of Rosh as a proper noun. He writes: “The prince of Rosh’ is better translated as ‘the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.'”

While the NASB translates this verse as, “the prince of Rosh” in Ezekiel 38:2 and 39:1, a marginal note in 39:1 reads, “chief prince of Mesech.” Yet Meshech and Tubal are not linked with a place called Rosh in any of its other occurrences in the Bible. (See: Gen.10:2; 1 Chron.1:5; Isa.66:19; Ezek. 27:13; 32:26). So it is extremely unlikely that in these two cases, Rosh would suddenly take on an entirely different meaning from that used elsewhere in the Old Testament.

In his book, Iran, The Coming Crisis, Bible prophecy teacher Mark Hitchcock refers to Wilhelm Gesenius, one of the most respected Hebrew scholars of modern times to support the position that Rosh should be translated as a proper noun. Hitchcock also points out that the Septuagint – first century B.C. Greek Translation of the Old Testament – also uses Rosh as a proper noun.

As impressive as a reference as Genesius is, it must be remembered that he was a lexicographer and grammarian, but not an authority on ancient history. Nor do other greatly respected lexicographers all agree with Genesius. Another equally respected Hebrew Lexicon is the Brown-Driver-Briggs (B-D-B) Lexicon. It is the work of three famous lexographers of the Hebrew language. The B-D-B Lexicon indicates that there is no identity known for the word “rosh” as a personal name.

The far  more reasonable translation of the Hebrew word rosh in Ezekiel 38 is, “head of” or “chief”. The word Rosh appears nearly 600 times in the Bible, and all but once, it is interpreted as meaning “head, chief, top, best” or something similar. Why, then, would we make an exception here and translate it as a proper noun? The word Rosh there is the Rosh that we find in the Rosh Hasjana – The chief day of the year – the Jewish New Year.

According to Bible scholar Dr. Merrill F. Unger, “Linguistic evidence for the equation [of Rosh with Russia] is confessedly only presumptive.”

So who then is right? Is Rosh a proper noun? Or does Rosh mean “chief?”

Theologian and historian Edwin Yamauchi notes that even if one translated the Hebrew rosh as a proper name, it can have nothing to do with modern Russia. He writes, “This would be a gross anachronism, for the modern name [of Russia] is based upon the name Rus, which was brought into the reign of Kiev, north of the Black Sea, by the Vikings only in the Middle Ages.” That means that it would have been nearly two thousand years after the time of Ezekiel that the supposed “Rosh peoples” became the “Russians.”

Prophecy teacher Mark Hitchcock argues that Yamauchi”s argument stands in direct opposition to the arguments presented by the Hebrew scholars Gesenius, James Price, and Clyde Billington. But do these scholars really substantiate Hitchcock’s arguments? When one actually looks them up, they do not.

Hitchcock quotes Billington, “Those Rosh people who lived to the north of the Black Sea in ancient and medieval times were called the Rus/Ros/Rox/Aorsi from very early times … From this mixture with Slavs and with the Varangian Rus in the 9th century, the Rosh people of the area north of the Black Sea formed the people known today as the “Russians.” Did you notice that? Billington admits that the “Rus” did not even become “Russians” until they migrated and intermarried with Slavic peoples from the north in the 9th century. That is over fifteen hundred years after Ezekiel penned this prophecy.

While Hitchcock conveniently selected quotes from Billington to support the idea that the ancient Rus peoples through intermarriage, and migration eventually became “the Russians,” he failed to explain that Billington did not place “Rosh” geographically in Russia at the time of Ezekiel. Instead Billington argues that the Rus peoples lived to the north of the Black Sea: “From a variety of sources it is known that a people named the Ros or Rus lived in the same area near the Black Sea where the Tauroi people lived.” Geographically north of the Black Sea would be the Ukraine. Billington adds “early Byzantine Christian writers identified the Rosh people of Ezekiel 38-39 with an early group of people of southern Russia whom they called ‘Ros'”.

While this may true, the Byzantine era was thousands of years after Ezekiel. Why must those who support a Russian presence in Bible prophecy jump forward nearly two thousands years to twist Ezekiel’s words? At best, Billington puts Rosh in the Ukraine, north of the Black Sea or possibly in southern Russia which would be the Muslim regions of Georgia and Chechnya.

And what about Bible scholar James D. Price, whom Hitchcock simply mentions as a refutation to anyone who objects? In an article in the Grace Theological Journal, Price identifies Rosh as “a well-known land in antiquity on the banks of the Tigris river, bordering on Elam and Ellipi, “in the far western part of modern Iran. So now Rosh is Iran? Why does Hitchcock only cite Billington but not Price? One man’s argument might sound good, until they are examined by another.

But ultimately here’s the real problem with Hitchcock’s approach: In all of the names mentioned in Ezekiel 38, Hitchcock locates were they existed in Ezekiel’s day and then identifies the nations that now occupy those regions as key players in the Gog Magog invasion. So if during Ezekiel’s day, Magog was located in Asia Minor, then Magog comes to represent modern day Turkey. This is the geographical method of identifying the names listed. Hitchcock uses this method to identify every one of the eight names – except Rosh.

When we get Rosh, then Hitchcock’s methodology is suddenly switched up. With Rosh, Hitchcock’s method is to use “the ancestral migration” method. So although the Rosh peoples of Ezekiel’s day may have lived in the region that is modern day Ukraine, (others as we just saw, argue otherwise) Hitchcock does not identify them with the Ukraine. Instead he identifies them with the nation that their ancestors – after migrating and intermarrying with the Slavic people to the north – eventually founded, which is Russia. But why suddenly change methods? If we applied the ancestral migration method with every other name, we would have an absolute mess. Tracking the intermingling and migration of numerous ancient peoples is often an exercise in futility. The history of this world is the story of the intermingling and migration of every race tribe of people. As, such, the regional method is by far preferred and should be stuck with.

So even if Rosh is interpreted as a proper noun, it could point to the Ukraine, Chechnya or Georgia and possibly even Iran. But to point to one small tribe that possibly lived north of the Black Sea as proof to point to the vast nation that is Russia is highly irresponsible. Now let’s examine the identity of the other nations that will be involved in the Great Battle.

MAGOG

Magog encompasses Asia Minor. But some prophecy teachers try to claim that Magog is also pointing to Russia. Tim Lahaye, author of the best-selling Left Behind series, points to Josephus’ identification of Magog as “the land of the Scythians – the ancient northern nomadic tribes who inhabited the territory from Central Asia across the southern Steppes of modern Russia.

Lahaye’s assessment of the Scythians is accurate, yet it proves the point that if Magog is the Scythian territory, then this land mass is in the southern region of the former USSR, but not Russia proper.

The problem with using this method to see Russia in Ezekiel’s prophecy, however, is that the southern Steppes of modern Russia include portions of the former USSR. Still, it is not of modern Russia proper. These Muslim states split from Russia when Communism fell.

Ancient Scythia includes the regions if Asia Minor (Turkey) and the several Central Asian states (Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, etc.). These are all Muslim nations.

Analysis that supports the “Magog Russia theory” uses correct references, but draws faulty conclusions. The theory is based on the assumption that Russia proper would always control the southern Muslim states, but to everyone’s surprise, Communism fell and the Soviet Union collapsed. The unexpected split seems not to have effected Western analysts’ interpretation of the end-time events.

Prophecy author Grant Jeffry, who also interprets Magog as Russia by quoting Rawlinson, says, “The areas … that were ruled by the Scythians are located south of Russia and in the southern republics of the Commonwealth of Independent states (the former USSR).” Although Jeffrey correctly quotes Rawlinson, he insists on seeing Russia in Ezekiel’s prophecy since this theory had become a standard interpretation.

The Latin Church Father Jerome says that Magog denotes, “Scythian nations, fierce and innumerable, who live beyond the Caucasus and the Lake Maeotis, and near the Caspian Sea, and spread out even onward to India, which represents the Assyrian Mat Gugi, or ‘country of Gugu’, ‘the Gyges of the Greeks.'”

The Matthew Henry Complete Commentary speaks of this diversity of opinion. “Some think they find them [Gog and Magog] afar off, in Scythia, Tartary, and southern Russia. Others think they find them nearer the land of Israel, in Syria, and Asia the Less Turkey. (Matthew Henry, Bible Commentary)

Josephus also points to the Scythians as Magog: “Magog founded the Magogians, thus named after him, but who by the Greeks are called Scythians.”

But again, where was the “Scythian” territory of Magog? It was not Russia.

The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, citing ancient Assyrian writings, places the location of Magog in the landmass between ancient Armenia and Media – in short, the Republics south of Russia and noth of Israel, comprised of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Turkestan, Chechnya, Turkey, etc.

I agree with all these quotes and I add; these are all Muslim nations.

Many who support the “Magog Russia theory” also use Hesiod as an example. Hesiod, the father of Greek didactic poetry, identified Magog with the Scythians in the 7th century B.C. Philo as well, in the first century, identifies Magog with Turkey and the southern steppes of the former USSR – that entire northen region is described in Ezekiel 38 as the “remote parts of the north.

Some argue that because the passage points to the “farthest north”, it must be referring to Russia. But the word “farthest” is not to be found in the Hebrew.

Another interesting point is that in Ezekiel 39:18 the dead bodies of the fallen soldiers of Magog are called, “fatlings of Bashan”. While most Bible encyclopedias identify Bashan with Syria, there is also an area called Bashan in the Caucasus or the Causasian Region. But one cannot call Russians “fatlings of Bashan.

If we examine some of the greatest Biblical references, like the Macmillan Bible Atlas, Oxford Bible Atlas, and the Moody Atlas of Bible Lands, they all locate Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Gomer and Beth Togarmah in Asia Minor, and not Russia.

Are they all wrong?

Another important point is that Meshech and Tubal must be tied to Magog, yet these are in Asia Minor and not Russia. Magog is specifically referred to as the region of “the land of Magog, chief prince (head or leader of) of Mesech and Tubal” (Ezekiel 38:2). Because Meshech and Tubal are regions of Turkey – Magog must thus be related to Turkey. Otherwise the passage would make little sense. How could Russia be the head over regions of Turkey? It makes better sense to conclude that Gog is a leader from the land of Magog and the leader of Meshech and Tubal, all of which are in Turkey.

When it comes to the geographic location of Meshech and Tubal, you will never find a serious historian, Bible dictionary or Bible map that would agree with any of the proponents for a Russian location. What you will find written by supporters of the Magog Russia theory are words like “probably” “possible” and “maybe” interspersed throughout their arguments.

One common denominator in the argument over the Gog and Magog story is that everyone at least agrees that Gog is Prince of Meshech and Tubal. No serious historian would argue that Meshech and Tubal are not in Turkey. If we go with the translation that Gog is “prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal” are we then to say that Gog rules both Russia and Turkey?

You might want to counter that Gog could indeed be the chief over this whole confederacy. But apart from the fact that these two nations have warred against each other from time immemorial, why didn’t the Bible then give him the title of “prince of Rosh, Meshech, Tubal, Persia, Phut, and Cush”?

Gog is of the land of Magog, a very specific place, and he is the ruler of his domain; “Meshech and Tubal”, which must be associated with Magog. All these are given for locators and are not intended to lead us into a wild goos chase or a genealogical and historical puzzle.

It is actually far simpler than some make it.

The error of the Russian theory arose from the Scofield Study Bible, which identifies Meshech and Tubal with the modern Russian cities of Moscow and Tobolsk. The only basis for this interpretation is the somewhat similar sound of the two words. Thus: Meshech sounds like Moscow, and Tubal sounds like Tobolsk. However, one cannot simply take a word from an ancient Semitic language (in this case, Hebrew) and find a correlation to a modern name from a drastically different language (in this case an early form of Scandinavian) simply because the two words “sound the same.” While this may be convincing to some for the sole reason of phonetics, it is very irresponsible hermeneutics.

Tim LaHaye for example explains the reason that we may know that Ezekiel 38 and 39 “can only mean modern-day Russia” is because of “etymology,” that is, by studying the origin of words.

If phonetics is the yard stick to prove where Gog comes from, then Meshech fits best with the ancient Moschi/Mushki far better than it does with Moscow. Likewise Tubal fits far better with the ancient Tubalu peoples than it does with modern Tobolsk, especially because the two locations were well known regions of Asia Minor Ezekiel’s day. There is no need to look further.

Even Hitchcock admits that Meshech and Tubal are in modern Turkey, or possibly in parts of southern Russia and modern Iran. Yet Hitchcock chose Russia for Rosh and Turkey for Meshech and Tubal. As I mentioned above, this forces a strange reading of the passage that combines Turkey and Russia under a single ruler as Gog is the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.

I presume that knowledge and refinement are increasing the closer we get to the actual events. What is missing is a humble stern gradual correction and refinement as we watch the Middle East. I am not saying that our Western Christian prophecy authors have tried to hide something or had any hidden agenda. That would be unfair to say, they are simply teaching what they have been taught by their teachers who taught the same false conclusions. Much of the other material on prophecy presented by Hal Lyndsey, Tim Lahaye, Grant Jeffrey and Mark Hitchcock are excellent and worthy of the edification of the Church. But on this point, the wild geese have migrated and they are wasting their time chasing them so far to the north. Turkey is far enough!

MESHECH

Meshech appears in Assyrian texts as Muski or Musku from 1200 B.C. onwards. The people of Musku were known to be aligned with Tubal. There is litte doubt that the frequent Biblical association of Meshech and Tubal (Genesis 10:2; Ezekiel 27:13; 32:26; 38:2-3; 39:1; 1 Chronicles 1:5) reflects this ancient political alliance in cental Asia Minor during Ezekiel’s day.

Like Magog, the support for Meshech and Tubal to be in Asia Minor gains the blessings of historians even in Ezekiel’s day – Herodotus tells us that the name of the of the Cappadocians (Katpatouka) was applied to them by the Persians, while they were termed by the Greeks “Syrians” or “White Syrians” (Leucosyri). One of the Cappadocian tribes that Herodotus mentions are the Moschoi, associated by Flavius Josephus with the Biblical figure Meshech, son of Japheth, “and the Mosocheni were founded by Mosoch; now they are Cappadocians.

Cappadocia of course, is in Turkey. Yet some still try to associate Mesheck with Moscow. Again, unless one can legitimately trace the roots of a particular word back to its Hebrew origin, then the argument is based on extremely weak evidence. This error is caused by relying on words similar in their sounding, a common thing within certain prophecy circles. Some have even gone so fas as to claim that “Gomer” is referring to Germany. This position has some serious flaws. First, in order to make the root word for “Gomer” to work with “Germnay” one must reverse the “R” and the “M”. Ezekiel wrote of GMR not GRM. Such a reversal is completely unwarranted. Furthermore, this similarity and inversion is based upon a comparison of Ezekiel’s GMR with a modern English (from Latin) designation for Deutschland. Clearly, the similarity is only superficial and only serves to highlight the American-centric mentality of so many American prophecy teachers who forget that the Bible was not written for English speakers. These two errors rule out, absolutely, any possible identification of Gomer with Germany.

Imagine how foolish the use of this methodology could become: One could even go so far as to make Biblical Javan be referring to Japan or Saksin be Anglo-Sakson -after all, they sound similar, do they not? Another could argue that Scythia is in Scotland, which is inhabited by “Scots” since “Scyths,” and “Scots” can be mildly manipulated to sound similar. Yet some serious Bible teachers follow this flawed approach and equate Tubal with “Tblisi” in Georgia.

But try to follow the logic: Even if it were true, that some particular modern nation adapted a name that related to its ancient ancestors, it does not override its original location. This would be like saying that because there is a Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, the Messiah must be from Pennsylvania. Scythia is in Eurasia and not in Scotland or Siberia. Even Spain of the Iberians are of Anatolian origin (Celtiberian) and descend from Gomer. So are the Celtic, the Gaels, the Irish, the Welsh, the Britons and the French who trace themselves to Gomer part of the Gog coalition also? And if not, then why are we including Russia simply because she may have descended from the Rosh? There is no difference between the two.

If phonetics and migration patterns are the yardstick that God has ordained for us to identify these nations, then we are in serious trouble because we will be forced to ultimately include virtually every nation in Europe. Then by adding Cush and Phut who are the children of Ham, we can also include all of Africa in Gog’s coalition. We can even theorize that China came from Mongolia who is linked to the ancient Magogite/Scythians as well. In fact, if we continue with the lineage and migratory path then we might as well include the whole globe. The U.S. has peoples from every ancient people imaginable, so is the U.S. also part of the Gog coalition?

But if the ancestral, migration method is the method that we need to be using, why then would the Bible go through all of the effort of giving us the names of nations? Why not simply say that Gog is chief prince of the entire globe, and then forget about providing us with all of these ancient names? Why simply pick on the Russians? Who not the Scots, the Irish, the Eskimos…?

Had God intended a European nation to be included in the Gog coalition, He would have simply mentioned them. Iberia is mentioned in the Bible. So is Chittim, which was the ancient name for Rome – did God forget to mention it in this prophecy?

Now, if we take the Scyths equal Scots argument and make a Study Bible that declares this as if it is fact, when it becomes popular, would it thus become true?

Popularity and truth have always struggled with each other. Churchill was not popular when he pointed out the facts regarding Nazism. Lady Aster told him that she hated him, that his opinion is not popular, and that if she were his wife, she would poison his tea. Churchill obliged and responded with “Ma’am, if I was your husband, I’d gladly drink it.”

The argument falls not from only historians who would refute the Meshech is Moscow argument, but from the Bible itself and even many who support the Russia theory since Meshech and Tubal are mentioned in Ezekiel 27:13 as trading partners with ancient Tyre. Tyre was in what is today Lebanon. No serious teachers are willing to say that Moscow traded with Lebanon thousands of years ago. Even Hitchcock agrees: “It is highly doubtful that ancient Tyre was trading with people as far north as Moscow and Tobolsk.

Even though Hitchcock argues for Russia being Rosh, he admits that Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Beth Togarmah are all in Turkey. He’s ninety percent there.

Taking Hitchcock’s argument that the word “Rosh” is Russia, then Gog of the land of Magog who is the prince of all “Russia” and ‘Meshech/Tubal’ (Turkey). Such a merge must occur between these nations that have always been in conflict with each other. Yet a merging with Turkey and other Turkic Muslim nations is quite plausible, especially that Turkey could be rejected from the E.U.

In fact, it is questionable whether or not Moscow and Tobolsk were even populated in Ezekiel’s day. Hitchcock then identifies a more reasonable solution. “A closer study of these names reveals that Meshech and Tubal are the ancient Moschi/Mushki and Tubalu-Tibareni peoples who dwelled in the area around, primarily south of, the Black and Caspian Seas in Ezekiel’s day.

Thes nations today are in the modern country of Turkey, possibly parts of southern Russia and northen Iran.

Admittedly and correctly Hitchcock writes “Magog today probably represents the former underbelly of the Soviet Union: Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Uzebekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. All these are Muslim.

Meshech was located near what was known as Phrygia, in central and western Asia Minor (Turkey), while Tubal was located in Eastern Asia Minor (Turkey). So with Meshech and Tubal, we are dealing with portions of modern Turkey. Today this region is all Muslim.

GOMER

Gomer is in Turkey not Russia or Germany. This is the land of ancient Kimmeria. Gomer, it seems to be almost universally agreed upon among scholars “refers to the Celtic Cimmerians of Crim-Tartary.” Gomer is well known to the ancient world as Gimarrai of north central Asia Minor (Cappadocia). These people are also known as the Cimmerians. This seems to be the simplest, most obvious interpretation. So Gomer is Gimarra or Cimmeria in Cappadocia. Cappadocia is simply central Turkey, again, another Islamic region.

TOGARMAH

Beth Togarmah is also in Turkey. Togarmah or Tilgarimmu was a city state in Eastern Anatolia (Asia Minor, modern Turkey), more specifically, as Ryrie states, “the south-eastern part of Turkey near the Syrian border.” This identification is generally acknowledged by all. Once more then we have another region that is in present day Turkey.

THE LITERAL EVIDENCE

But beyond so much of the geographic weight of this prophecy falling on Turkey, the Bible also ties this coalition to modern day Turkey in a very direct way. Zechariah 9:13 confirms that the final end time battle will be between Israel and Yavan/Ionia (often translated as Greece) which is in Turkey today:

  • ‘I will bend Judah as I bend my bow and fill it with Ephraim. I will rouse your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece [Yavan, Ionia], and make you like a warrior’s sword.” (Zechariah 9:13).

According to Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary: Javan – the Ionians or Greeks: for the Ionians of Asia Minor were the first Greeks with whom the Asiatic peoples came in contact with.

The key element of this passage is the reference to the sons of Zion (that is the Jews) fighting against the sons of Greece (Yavan, Ionia) – which is in Asia Minor or modern Turkey.

The other important argument that I need to make here is that if the Bible indeed intended a lineage of Javan; “sons of Javan”, then we must apply the same for “sons of Zion”. Yet there is no such person named Zion. The Bible is pointing to geographic locations and not lineage. This is a common problem with many of the m0dern Western analysts of prophecy.

What is translated as Greece is the Hebrew word Yavan.

First, let me clarify, when the Bible translation says “Greece,” this should not be confused by popular Western thinking as Athens or Cyprus. Yavan was a descendant of Noah who came to live on the Western coast of Asia Minor, or modern Turkey in the area that came to be known as Ionia.

While Yavan is a term that can, in a broader sense, imply all of the ancient Greek Empire, it is most specifically a reference to Ionia in Asia Minor, or Turkey. Again, the verse that we are discussing is ultimately for the Last-Days. As such, it is most clearly speaking about citizens of Israel fighting against the Turks who are attempting to occupy their land. And so once again, we have a very clear and direct passage that points very specifically to Turkey as the lead player in this Last-Days invasion.

One cannot separate Zechariah 9 from Ezekiel 38. In both passages, the Messiah is present. We will discuss this in more details as we move on.

The casting of the Ezekiel 38 alliance into hell is mentioned in Ezekiel 30 where the literal name Lydia is associated with several of the nations in the Ezekiel 38 coalition: “Cush and Put, Lydia and all Arabia, Libya and the people of the covenant [league] land will fall by the sword along with Egypt.” (Ezekiel 30:5). Lydia undisputedly refers to the western region of Turkey. The same event is seen in Jeremiah: “Come up, ye horses; and rage, ye chariots; and let the mighty men come forth; the Ethiopians and the Libyans, that handle the shield; and the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow.” (Jeremiah 46:9).

Here, the Bible clearly connects the Gog coalition with Lydia (Turkey). “There is Meshech, Tubal, and all her multitude: her graves are around about him: all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword, though they caused their terror in the land of the living.” (Ezekiel 32:26). Why do we have Meshech, Tubal, Beth-Togarmah and Gomer included, yet Russia, the supposed leader of this coalition missing? These nations are “in league” (KJV, NASB, ASV, DBY, JPS, WBS, WEB) or “covenant” and allied with Egypt. In fact, the prior chapter (Ezekiel 29) also identifies Turkey with Meshech: “Javan (Ionia, Turkey), Tubal, and Meshech, they were thy merchants: they traded the persons of men and vessels of brass in thy market.” (Ezekiel 29:13).

Why does the Bible so consistenly group these nations and regions together? The answer is that they were closely related in Ezekiel’s day and were understood by any who read the book in its original context.

I have much doubt that Russia would lead any Islamic invasion of Israel and threaten its own existence. When the Gog and Magog invasion occurs, the primary player will be Turkey which I have argued for years. I first predicted that it would turn toward fundamental Islam which it increasingly has, particularly over the past few years. I had concluded these things during the days when the world viewed Turkey only as a secular and moderate Muslim nation. Sadly, many still do.

The emphasis on a Turkish ruler being called “The Assyrian” would validate our Turkey argument because the Assyrian Empire and Turkey significantly overlap, but Russia and Assyria are two entirely different geographic locations that never overlap.

Obviously, the Lord directed Ezekiel to significantly highlight Turkey with the combination, “of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.” The other three nations mentioned: Libya, Sudan and Iran, together with Turkey form a perfect circle around Israel. Turkey covers Israel’s entire nothern horizon, while Iran is east of Israel, Sudan is south, and Lybia is to the west. Israel finds herself surrounded on all four corners by the Islamic coalition. While many Bible teachers have for years prophesied a coming invasion of Israel headed by Russia, we see that the Bible simply does not substantiate this position. Instead, we see an Islamic Invasion of Israel, most likely led by Turkey and involving Iran, Lybia, Sudan, Syria and several other Islamic nations.

GOG

Gog or “Gygez” was a real historic person from Turkey. This is perhaps the name preserved in Scripture as “Gog” (Ezekiel 38:2). “Gog” is the reference used in the past to refer to “Gugu” of Lydia in Turkey. Esarhaddon (681-668 BC) records his defeat of the Cimirrai, while King Ashurbanipal tells us in his records of the Cimmerian invasion of Lydia in the days of the Lydian King Gugu (Gygez, Gogaz) around the year 660 BC. This is the same general period that Ezekiel was writing his prophecy.

Like other places in the bible in which God refers to the Antichrist as the Prince of Tyre, or the king of Babylon, or the Assyrian, here He is calling the Antichrist “Gog” as a throwback to Gyzeg, a real historic figure from Lydia (Turkey). In fact, the Gomer were Turkic peoples who were descendants of tribes people recorded in history as the Oguz.

They founded the Gokturk Empire in the 6th century, 522 CE, and were defeated in 745 CE by the Uygurs, an ethnically related Turkic tribe. “Gokturk,” with the “Gok” part being the distinguishing name of this particular Turkic tribe, is remarkably similar to “Gog”and again reinforces the point that the Biblical Gog is a ruler from the Turkic region of Asia Minor.

After several conquest among the diverse Turkic tribes, the Ghaznavids, under the leadership of Sevuktekin in 963 AD, established the first Muslim Turkish state. The Oguz Empire emerged once more upon the defeat of the Ghaznavid dynasty in 1040 CE and was assimilated by the Oguz. After the expansion of Islam, the empire came under the leardership of Tugrul Bey and Cagry Bey, grandsons of Seljuk, whose name was adopted for the Seljuk Dynasty. The Empire covered the region of Anatolia, Northern Iran, Syria, Iraq, Southern Caucasus, and Azerbaijan under Turkish rule under the leadership of Alp Arslan and Malik Shah in the 11 century.

The Seljuk Dynasty declined during the 13th century and the land of Seljuk Sultanate was divided among chieftains. The Mongol conquest in 1243 marked the end of the Seljuk Dynasty. Ertugrul Gazi ruled the lands around Sogut, a division of the Seljuk Sultanate. Upon his death in 1281, his son, Osman (Uthman), expanded the territory known by his name as the Ottoman Empire. (Guide Martine, History, the Seljuks)

Archaeology can sometimes be the best forensic science when examining prophecy. In the case of Gog, the Bible uses the past names, past leaders, and past locations to be introduced in the future. Gyges was first known to the Greeks as “tyrant” and the one who introduced “tyranny” to the Greeks: he was called “tyrannous” or the tyrant one  Archagetes means to be “further” and is applied both to divinities and to military leaders – in other words, a military leader who makes himself to be further, or greater than he is – a god.

This is exactly how the Antichrist is portrayed in the Bible (Isaiah 14). The same is said of Nimrod in Micha 5. Thus, after all that we have so far discovered, we are not surprised to learn that Gyges of Lydia (Turkey), the first to be called a tyrant, bears a striking similarity with the Biblical Antichrist.

Turkey is far more qualified to lead an Islamic coalition than Russia could ever be. All of the nations allied with Magog and all the alliances throughout the Bible are Muslim. Why would Ezekiel 38 be any different? “I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops – many people are with you.” (Ezekiel 38:4). In Ezekiel 38 we have Persia, Phut and Cush. Persia is very easy to identify:

PERSIA-IRAN

Essential, Persia is modern-day Iran. Many Iranians in America, if asked where they are from, will simply say they are Persian. In fact Iran was still called Persia until 1935. Obviously Iran is an Islamic fundamentalist nation.

CUSH: SUDAN, SOMALIA

Not to be confused with modern Ethiopia, Cush of Ezekiel’s day was simply the region immidiately south of Egypt often called Nubia. In Scripture, Cush was often associated with Egypt and was a border nation to her: “I will make the land of Egypt a ruin and a desolate waste from Migdol,” (Northern Egypt) “to Aswan,” (Today in southern Egypt) “as far as the border of Cush.” (Ezekiel 29:0-10). The only legitimate identification of Cush then is modern Sudan, officially known as The Islamic of Republic Sudan since 1989. While Sudan does have a large Christian minority, it is ruled by the Muslim majority. Today Sudan is an absolute cesspool of Islamic oppression toward Christians and anyone who is not an Arab Muslim. The Sudanese Arab Muslim Government is even killing the native African Muslim. The region of Cush could also extend to the south of Sudan into Somalia. Somalia is a rabidly Islamist nation that may very well be included in the invasion.

PUT OR PHUT

Biblically, Put (or Phut) is the region west of Egypt. Today this is the nation of Libya. The Septuagint translates the word Put here as Libue. Most modern scholars seem to agree with this interpretation. Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Mauritania could also be included here as well. Once again, we again have another region that is entirely Muslim.

God’s War on Terror – Islam, Prophecy and the Bible – Walid Shoebat

www.shoebat.com

………………………………………………………

ISRAEL ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS

This year 2012 may be become one of the most pivotal year in Israel’s short history yet …

I. There may be a short and decisive battle with Syria and the Hizbollah in the near future. As a result of the coming attack by Syria and the Hizbollah there will be many dead, especially in Israel’s nothern cities and Tel Aviv, but eventually it will lead to the counter offensive by Israel’s Defense Forces flattening in reprisal much of Lebanon’s infrastructure and Damascus for its vile and murderous aggression.

II. The Egyptian people may choose this month Mr. Mohammed Mursi, a key figure of the Muslim Brotherhood, to be their President. Mr. Mohammed Mursi has announced that he will initiate, once chosen to be Egypt’s next President, a movement under Egypt’s patronage of the United Arab States with Jerusalem (not Mecca!) but as the Muslim Arab capital. This may cause the scenario of the prophet Isaiah 19 to be fulfilled in our time when it says it will turn the Egyptians against the Egyptians and the land of Judah will be as a terror to the Egyptians.

  • ‘The burden against Egypt. Behold, the Lord rides on a swift cloud, and will come into Egypt; the idols of Egypt will totter at His presence, and the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst. I will set Egyptians against Egyptians; everyone will fight against his brother, and everyone against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom’ (Isaiah 19:1-2).
  • ‘In that day Egypt will be like women, and will be afraid and fear because of the waving of the hand of the Lord of host, which He waves over it. And the land of Judah will be a terror to Egypt; everyone who makes mention of it will be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the Lord of hosts which He has determined against it. And the Lord will strike Egypt, He will strike and heal it; they will return to the Lord, and He will be entreated by them and heal them’ (Isaiah 19:16-17, 22).

The following are some quotes from an excellent article “War in the Middle East“, written by journalist David Dolan:

I have been getting inquiries concerning the possible connection of the growing Syrian conflict with prophecies found in Isaiah 17, Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39. As some of you will know from reading the aforementioned books, or other articles or public talks I’ve given over the years, I have long felt that Isaiah 17 is most likely the next major end-time biblical prophecy that will unfold in the turbulent Middle East. This prophecy seems to be echoed by a similar one found in Jeremiah 49, verses 23-27, which tells of a future time when “panic” would grip the Syrian capital city, Damascus, as its “young men fall dead in her streets” and the city’s wall’s are “set on fire.”

The potential for a massive armed conflict between Israel and Syria at this time is quite obvious. I was struck by the comments from a senior Israeli army commander recorded in last Friday’s Jerusalem Post newspaper and other Israeli media outlets. Addressing his troops at the end of major military exercise held in the Jordan Valley to prepare for possible war with Syria and Lebanon, Nahal Brigades commander Colonel Yehuda Fuchs said: “We are prepared for war, which draws closer with every day that passes.” This came two days after air raid sirens were sounded all over Jerusalem last week as part of a three day drill to test the capital city’s readiness for a major missile attack. While I knew from the news that such action would take place, many others missed that information, causing some momentary panic as the loud rising and falling wailing went on for around two minutes just before 5:30 in the afternoon.

An earlier commentary by one of Israel’s most respected columnist, Chemi Shalev, focused on the dept of conflict that is at the center of the current fighting inside Syria. Writing for the Ha’Aretz (The Land) newspaper on June 1, he pointed out the escalating conflict is mainly about the survival of the minority Alawite Assad regime in the face of majority Sunni Muslim attempts to topple it. He noted that he the two rival Islamic groups have been viciously battling each other for many centuries. With each contemporary Alawite atrocity (the sect is an offshoot of the Shiite wing of Islam), the chances that Assad will obey Hillary Clinton’s repeated demands, echoed by many other Western officials, to immediately give up power fade ever further into the waning sunset, he wrote. The Syrian dictator and his cronies are not about to forget what happened last year to Hosni Mubarak or to  the late  Muamar Kadaffi. Shalev opined instead that the international demands are mainly forcing Assad and his cronies into a corner (which I agree is the case), and the only way out might be an attack upon Israel. He warned that the vicious Syrian regime has a huge army at its disposal – at least 300,000 men, about twice the size of Israel’s fulltime forces — and one of the world’s largest chemical weapons arsenals, plus a massive stockpile of long, medium and short range missiles, mostly supplied by Russia.

This leads Shalev to conclude that Syrian strongman Bashar Assad may choose what he calls the “doomsday option.” He wrote that “Faced with his own political demise and convinced that his people may face murderous retribution, it is not too outlandish to imagine a scenario in which Assad comes to believe that a conflict with Israel or an all-out regional war is his best remaining option. He is, one should never forget, capable of wreaking havoc and destruction not only on most Israeli cities but also on Turkey, Cypres, Jordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia – and this before one factors in Hezbollah, with its 50,000-plus stockpile of rockets and short range missiles, and Iran, which views the Assad regime as an irreplaceable strategic asset and which may also come around to viewing a regional conflagration as a way of overcoming crippling sanctions and growing isolation.”

However with over 100,000 Syrian refugees now pouring into the small, financially troubled country, and with revolution and upheaval sweeping most parts of the Arab world, the changes for instability and political chaos in Jordan increase every day. The ascent of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt (amazingly facilitiated by the US and other Western powers) surely strengthens radical Islamic Arab forces everywhere in the region, with the stepson Hamas movement – which is very popular with many Jordanians who claim Palestinian descent – increasingly active in the country. It should also be noted that even if the Assad regime is somehow overthrown in Syria despite strong support from Russia, Iran and Hezbulloh, any replacement Sunni Muslim government seems increasingly likely to be at least as hostile to Israel as Assad has been, meaning the seeming military clash alluded to in Isaiah 17 would remain an active possibility at any time. Of course, a military strike by Israel and/or the United States and its allies upon Iran’s multiple nuclear sites – increasingly likely as defiant Tehran digs in its heels – could spark off a regional war that ends with the destruction of Damascus. Only time will tell, but with the way things appear at present, it might not be a long time!

III. The third important matter will be the likely change in leadership to occur in the United States as a result of the coming elections in November. That, as we all pray, a God fearing Esther-like person will be seated as a result of those elections in the White House and save the United States a few more years of grace, as we all fervently pray.

IV.  In the midst of all this the so called ‘Palestinian’ leadership under Abu Mazen will try to use the upcoming general assembly of the United Nations to push the nations of the world to force Israel to cede a Palestinian State, judenrein, on what the nations call the West Bank – Judea and Samaria – to the very detriment of these nations as God warns clearly in His Word that those who vote for such a division of His land will reap His fiery judgement!

  • ‘For behold, in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land’ (Joel 3:1-2).

All this seems to be set to happen possibly still this very year and yet, as the prophecies indicate, it will lead to some of the most glorious events for Israel.

V. It is against the background of all these ferocious threats that the Lord will pour over Israel and us grafted in Gentile believers the Spirit of grace and supplications as Zechariah prophesied:

  • ‘And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn’ (Zechariah 12:10).

As also worded by Joel:

  • ‘Now, therefore, says the Lord, Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him – a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God? Gather the people, santify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing. Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God’?’ (Joel 2:12-14, 16-17).

It is then after this time of weeping, fasting and pleading that it says that the Lord will be zealous for His land and pity His people and “remove far from them the northern army” (Joel 2:20) and then He announces this wonderful promise:

  •  Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you – the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls’ (Joel 2:23, 28-32).

But not only Israel and the grafted in Gentile believers will experience soon this announced double portion, the former and the latter rain in the same month, which we have believed for years will be the month in which Succoth, the Feast of Tabernacles, is celebrated, but the whole Middle East after this short and very destructive next war with Syria, Hizbollah, Hamas and Egypt will receive a tremendous revival in the midst of the earth as Isaiah 19 ends his prophecy:

  • ‘In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria – a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance’ (Isaiah 19:23-25).

What a wonderful, wonderful prospect indeed for both Israeli’s, Arabs and Gentile believers!

Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director International Christian Zionist Center (www.israelmybeloved.com)

……………………………………….

See also: The Damascus Phase of End-Time Prophecy – by Ernest L. Martin; November 1, 1999 – edited by David Sielaff, March 2005 – www.askelm.com

http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p991101.htm

What Does the Damascus Prophecy in Zechariah 9 to 14 State?

This prophecy to all those who live in “The Fertile Crescent” begins with a time when Israel and Juda are reckoned to be in exile for their sins and when the Temple is not functioning properly. The prophecy is for the End-Time because it is a prediction of how God will in a step-by-step way again set up His domicile in Jerusalem. He gives events leading up to the seismic disturbances of Zechariah 14 that accompany the return of God (in the person of Christ Jesus) to His residence in Jerusalem …

A Great Destruction … page 10 – (1-14).

Gerard J.C. Plas

 

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  7 Responses to “Literal References for Ezekiel 38-39 – The Controversy Over Rosh – Israel on the road to Damascus – The Damascus Phase of End-Time Prophecy”

  1. Good article. Could you give further information on your statement “The B-D-B Lexicon indicates that there is no identity known for the word “rosh” as a personal name.” When I look at the BDB it seems to indicate that the word is n.pr.gent which means it is a noun, proper name, of a nation or people.
    Thanks
    John D

  2. http://www.raptureforums.com/forum/gog-magog/61824-where-we-towards-ezekiel-chapter-38-39-fullfillment-7.html (POST 131) Latest Update on where Russia is right now in Bible prophecy.

  3. Informative article, totally what I needed.

  4. Thank you for a very useful post!

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  7. Turkey is the northern nation that unites the islamic sects to form a treaty with Israel and the world. Erdogan is prime candidate for Antichrist.

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