Scholars are in disagreement as to what nation Gog and Magog refer to. We know from the table of nations in Geneses that Magog and Meshech were sons of Japheth,
The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras
Gog we are told, was from the land of Magog, the land where Magog settled. Possibly Gog was an ancient fierce king over the land of Magog at one time, but currently no historical records have been found today to confirm that.
Josephus (1st century Jewish historian) said the land of Magog was Scythia (western Turkey today). Most Bible scholars accept this today. Other students of Bible prophecy, including myself, believe Gog and Magog to be the land of Russia today. They say Rosh is an ancient name for Russia, Meshech an ancient name for Moscow, and Tubal an ancient name for Tobolsk, another major city in Russia. Most Bible scholars and commentaries today do not agree with this interpretation. They take what Josephus said as gospel truth even though Josephus has been proven wrong on a number of occasions. Nor is there any record of ancient Scythia having any involvement or interest in the land of Israel. Nor was Scythia north of Israel while Russia is.
“Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, 'Thus says the Lord God: "On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it? Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army”’” (Ezek. 38:14-15).
Furthermore, Togarmah, one of the nations aligned with Rosh, is believed by many commentators to be the modern land of Turkey, a known enemy of Israel.
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 (Ezek. 38:5-6).
Persia, as is well known, is modern day Iran, which is not only a sworn enemy of Israel and has threatened to wipe her off the map; but it is also an ally of Russia today.
I want to examine the Hebrew word for north used in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Strong’s Dictionary says,
From H6845; properly hidden, that is, dark; used only of the north as a quarter (gloomy and unknown): - north (-ern, side, -ward, wind).
The word that it is derived from, is defined as follows:
A primitive root; to hide (by covering over); by implication to hoard or reserve; figuratively to deny; specifically (favorably) to protect, (unfavorably) to lurk: - esteem, hide (-den one, self), lay up, lurk (be set) privily, (keep) secret (-ly, place).
I particularly find the fact that it means “to hide by covering over” interesting. In Hebrew the word “Gog” also means “to cover.” The revered Hebrew scholar, Rabbi Hirsch, in his commentary on Numbers 29:13 said, “In the name gog, Gog, one recognized the word gg, roof . . .” According to Hitchcock’s Bible Names, it means “roof” or “covering.” According to The Exhaustive Dictionary of Bible Names, it can mean a “roof” or the “surface of an altar.” I think Russia intends to make itself an altar for Israel in the future, and God plans to make all the invading nations a sacrifice!
Gog is the “chief prince” of Rosh. The “chief prince” Michael, an angel, had to fight with the “chief prince” of Persia, a fallen angel, when Daniel prayed,
Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia” (Dan. 10:12-13).
We see from this passage that a “chief prince” can be an angelic being, either fallen or holy. Therefore, we do not need to look in the past to find some ancient king named Gog, nor do we need to look for a future king named Gog. It is not a man but rather the name of the fallen angel that is the demonic “chief prince” over Russia. It is that ancient spirit from tsphon, “dark,” “gloomy” (like communism) who is a demonic “covering” (Gog) that has control over the spiritual principality of Russia.
The basic meaning of tsphon is to hide or conceal something. The Hebrew Lexicon, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, says about this word:
It means to conceal something with a definite purpose, either for protection or for sinister reasons.
Russia is constantly concealing their true intentions, such as mobilizing in Syria for the stated reason of fighting ISIS. They certainly have a much larger agenda than that in mind. TWOT goes on to say,
Ezk too places Israel’s foes who will fight the last climatic war as coming from the far places of the north (Ezk 38:6, 15). The north then, becomes a harbinger of evil. In various mythologies it is the seat of demons. . . . In Canaanite mythology the north was considered to be the place for the meeting of the assembly of the gods. The gods assembled on Mount Sapan (tsaphon) . . . This concept of the divine assembly on Mount Sapan is alluded to in Isa’s oracle against Babylon in which he pictures the proud king saying, “I shall sit on the mount of assembly in the far north” (14:13).
We can begin to understand that besides the meaning of “Gog,” the word for “north” is also loaded with insightful meanings that back up my assertion that Gog is a spiritual principality. Gog is like a roof over Russia or like a dark cloud covering over it. In fact, this is precisely the language Ezekiel uses to describe Gog.
“You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes” (Ezek. 38:16).
Why is all this even worth discussing since, according to Revelation, this war will not take place until after the thousand-year millennial reign of Jesus? Personally, I am not too concerned about what is going to happen over a thousand years from now.
Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea (Rev. 20:7-8).
However, is Ezekiel speaking about the same war as John? I don’t think so. Since Gog is an evil spiritual prince and not an earthly king, he can certainly have activity in more than one millennium. In fact, we should expect that, just like the evil prince of Persia keeps raising its ugly head to threaten Israel over the millenniums.
Another reason I don’t believe that it is the same war as mentioned in Ezekiel is because of current events. Ever since I began to study Bible prophecy over thirty years ago, I expected Russia to mobilize towards Israel for the prophesied invasion of Gog and his hordes. Now, suddenly in our lifetime, it has moved troops and military equipment into a bordering nation of Israel right before our eyes with little fanfare. In other words, the prophecies of Ezekile 38 and 39 have begun to be fulfilled.
Russia has moved a small but significant military force to Syria already and has set up bases. As of Sep. 2015, it has moved the following to Syria:
** 28 cutting edge SU-34 fighter-bomber jets capable of hitting targets on land, air, or sea
** over 20 ground attack jets
** six of its most advanced T-90 tanks
** 15 pieces of artillery and other ground equipment
** armored personnel carriers
** hundreds of troops and has set up housing for 1,500 so far
Besides these, Russia has sent part of its Black Sea Fleet of war ships into the Mediterranean Sea. This flotilla includes the Black Sea’s flagship, the Slava class cruiser Moskva (Moskow). It also includes 2 Krivak class frigates, 1 Kashin class destroyer, a couple amphibious landing crafts and smaller patrol vessels. Even before this, Russia has had 10 permanent war ships in the Mediterranean since 2012. Russia has also fired missiles at ISIS bases from submarines in the Mediterranean. In other words, on one side of Israel, they have a growing build-up of Russian military equipment, and on the other side, Russian war ships and subs. A steady stream of military weapons and personnel continues to pour into Syria. This is just the beginning. If I were Israel, I would be getting a little nervous now. I believe the invasion of Israel by Gog is still several years away; however, the preparations have already begun.
In Ezekiel 38 God commands Gog to “prepare” itself for invading Israel,
“Prepare yourself and be ready, you and all your companies that are gathered about you; and be a guard for them” (Ezek. 38:7).
I find the following passage in Ezekiel particularly confusing:
“'Thus says the Lord God: “On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan: You will say, 'I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates’— to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land”’” (Ezek. 38:10-12).
Israel is not known to have open borders (unwalled villages). They have very tight security—they have to for their very survival. The U.S. on the other hand, has become famous for having open borders since Obama’s occupation of the White House. So is the prophecy speaking of Israel, the U.S., or both as is often the case with prophecy? In any case our nation has become a nation of “unwalled villages.”
The rabbis have long used Gog as a generic name for their enemies from the north. They point out that the gematria (numerical value) of the word “Gog” is “70.” They believe one of the meanings of 70 is the symbolic number of Gentile nations. It is quite possible that when Russia and its allies do invade Israel, they will do it under the authority of the United Nations, who will then be united against Israel. The reason God is commanding Gog and the nations to attack Israel is so He can wipe all their united armies out at once to show His power. It is also to show that all the nations united together are no match for His power or ability to protect Israel.
I find the Greek gematria of Gog interesting. In Greek the value is 806. This number contains the digits 6, the number of unregenerate man, and 8, which can mean “resurrection.” This speaks to me that Gog will resurrect again in some unregenerate, evil man who controls a lot of weapons for war. It seems there is never a shortage of men willing to play host for the demonic princes and their agendas. How can I prove that Russia is fulfilling Gog in Ezekiel? “The proof is in the Putin!”