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Eze 38:2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him

Which are the countries/locations mentioned here in this verse? When I heard some sermon long back, the preacher was comparing it with some countries. What is the authenticity of that? What present day countries are where Gog and Mogag are/were/will be, and how can we verify this?

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I'll be interested in any answers, but to the best of my knowledge all offerings on this are speculations and simply: we don't really know –  Marc Gravell Jun 29 '12 at 6:18
    
Joel Rosenberg lays out a strong case for Gog being Russia in Epicenter –  warren Jun 29 '12 at 13:32

5 Answers 5

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I am a professional archeologist. Many end times aficionados believe that Magog represents Russia and that Russia will soon come to invade Israel. However, the ancient Assyrians had dealings with Magog, which was also called Lydia, and their Court records clearly identify Magog and it is not Russia. For decades Christians have been deceived and have been unwittingly deceiving others about who is to be involved in the prophesied invasion of Israel. Russia has absolutely nothing to do with Magog and being the nation that will lead an invasion of Israel.

The Assyrian Royal Court dealt with each of these nations directly about 100 years before Ezekiel wrote, and their records are reliable, clear and detailed. These are the same records that are referred to in Ezra 4:15 and the same records used to verify the historical events written about in scripture from circa 800 B.C. to 400 B.C. These records represent the primary source on this subject as opposed to secondary sources which are often not based on facts and very often the product of mischief, bias or lack of study.

Any reference to Josephus is of no avail because historians and archeologists know from a multitude of written records, that the Greeks (such as Herodotus) did not call Magog the Scythians. All of our earliest copies of Josephus come from eleventh century Monks and the passage that is often referred to is clearly a forgery for several reasons obvious to historians and archeologists who study the ancient Near East.

Please consider taking the time to read my report Debunking the Russia/War of Gog and Magog Myth on this important subject that recently appeared in the Christian Post Blogs on March 15, 2012. This report can also be found on my blog site for 2/9/12.

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+1. Thanks for the nice answer. welcome to the community. –  Jomet Jul 5 '12 at 5:38

I find that in a subject like this it is good to compare Christian speculations with Jewish speculations and see if there is any common ground. I found that both Jewish and Christian sources think the most likely location was present day Turkey.

For example here is a Jewish source I'm finding more and more useful for Jewish things:

“the most reasonable identification put forward is with Giges, also known as Gogo, king of Lydia, and Magog, with his country.”

Lydia is in present day Turkey.

Also a Christian view from Gills Exposition found here says this:

in Pliny (o), that the city of Hierapolis in Syria was called by the Syrians Magog; and they fancy the name of Gog is the same with Gyges a king of Lydia, whose country was called from him Gygea, or Gog's land, who was grandfather to Croesus; and which country came into the hands of Cyrus, and from the Persians into the hands of the Greeks, and so to the Seleucidae.

It would seem therefore that Gog, the King of Magog was a people that were attached to Israel in history, and therefore must have lived nearby. Yet even more importantly we should notice that Gog and Magog in ancient Rabinic literature always refers to the Gentiles who would opposed Messiah in the last days. In fact Jewish mystical interpretation (Kabbalah) superstitiously has a method of calculates numbers from Hebrew letters from the words Gog and Magog = 70. This means all the Gentiles. For details of what the Jews expected see this post.

Furthermore the New Testament also keeps up the theme. In Revelation we find Gog and Magog representing the Kingdom of the Devil about to wage war against God’s people. The only difference now is that Christians see themselves as spiritual Jews, so the historial meaning of Gog and Magog is very strong in terms of prophetic belief:

When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth —Gog and Magog —and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:7-10)

Conclusion: Maybe God has purposefully ensured that we have lost concrete history to truly identify this country, because we are no longer to take it literally. Rather we are to take it as representing the world during the last days.

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+1 I liked the conclusion very much! –  Jomet Jun 29 '12 at 17:45
    
This was an absolutely excellent post. Great work. +1 –  Jas 3.1 Jun 30 '12 at 5:47

Magog is included in the "Table of Nations" in Genesis 10 as one of the sons of Japheth after the Flood. It's generally accepted by conservative scholars that the descendents of Japheth were mostly caucasion people who ultimately settled in Europe, so Magog would likely be white and European.

The ancient Jewish historian Josephus says that Magog is the nation that the Greeks call Scythia. (Book 1, chapter 6) Scythia was on the northern coast of the Black Sea. They spread out north and east from there. Thus, their territory would overlap modern Russia. Many people who believe that Revelation will be fulfilled in the near future identify Magog with Russia. (I have no idea if modern Russians are descended from Magog or just occupy a similar territory, or if anyone knows.)

Gog has been identified with the Goths, a Germanic people who originally came from Scandinavia but then migrated south and settled on the west coast of the Black Sea. (It was Alaric the Goth who sacked Rome and is generally credited with destroying the western Roman empire.)

Note this puts Gog and Magog occupying adjacent lands. (A fact that I must admit I never noticed until today.) It would thus be plausible for Ezekial to name them together.

The above is not by any means the only interpretation. I just did some Yahoo searches and found several Moslem sources that identity Gog and Magog with the United States. I found another source that put Magog in modern Turkey. Etc. But I think the theories I mention above are the most popular in conservative Christian circles.

Disclaimer: I'm far from an expert on this subject. If someone here knows more, I'm interested to hear it.

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Yahoo??? Seriously??? –  Ignatius Theophorus Jun 29 '12 at 7:02
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(-1) It bothers me a little to get an answer on C.SE that includes "I just did some Yahoo searches" and "I'm far from an expert on this subject". I feel like this should be deleted. –  Jas 3.1 Jun 30 '12 at 5:51
    
@Ignatius Umm, why is it illegitmate to use Yahoo to search for information on the Internet? If you don't believe that it is possible to find useful information on a web site, why are you visiting this one? I rather thought one of the big values of the Internet was that it made it possible to store vast amounts of information from many sources and people can access it through search engines. –  Jay Jul 5 '12 at 4:28
    
@Jas3.1 What a curious objection. RE "Yahoo searches" See my reply to Ignatius. Or do you mean that you think it is cheating to do any research before posting an answer? As to my admission that I am not expert, surely most of the posts on this site are by people who have not spent their lives studying the particular question. I posted what I knew with a frank admission of the limitations of my knowledge. Do you only make posts here on subjects on which you are a recognized international expert? –  Jay Jul 5 '12 at 4:34

Ezekiel

Gog and Magog are described in the Book of Ezekiel. Here, Gog can not be a place, as Gog was the putative king of Magog, prophesied to be defeated by Israel, as we see in Ezekiel 39:11:

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog.


Ezekiel 38:15 says that Gog will invade Israel from the north:

And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army:

Apart from Egypt, all nations likely to invade Israel (Judah) were to the north, so verse 38:15 is very little help in locating Magog. Gog is also described (Ezekiel 38:2) as the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, which should further help identify the location of Magog, except that no one knows where Meshech and Tubal were, and all attempts to locate them are no more than speculation.

This site contains several maps showing the wide range of locations in Asia Minor that people have suggested for Magog, Meshech and Tubal, but Georgia and Russia have also been suggested.

Because Ezekiel 38:15 says that Gog and all his army will be mounted on horses, it must refer to ancient, pre-mechanised warfare, and in that case the prophesied attack has already taken place and we should be able to identify the nation concerned. However, there is no record of Israel or Judah ever defeating such a mighty army, and the scenes of carnage described have never taken place. This strongly suggests that Ezekiel's narrative of Gog and Magog was purely narrative, intended to give comfort to the Jews in exile in Babylon. Following the story of the defeat of Gog, Ezekiel promises (Ezekiel chapters 40-48) a New Jerusalem and a grand new temple to be built there.

Revelation

Revelation 20:8 talks of the nations of Gog and Magog, which are in the four quarters of the earth:

And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

Now we see that Gog and Magog are both nations, and Satan will deceive them, but there is no indication even as to their direction from Israel. This brief passage seems to use Gog and Magog as metaphors for all the nations on earth, rather than as individual nations.

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Ezekiel 38:2 is giving us information about Gog. He is the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal ruling in the land of Magog. Only one country, Magog, is mentioned. There could be more then one tribe in Magog, but the chief prince of the tribe of Meshech and Tubal is ruling at that time. It is obvious that the tribes of Meshech and Tubal were united or mixed together, and has only one leader.

Ezekiel 38:4
And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:

This Magog is doubtless the present day Turkey, the ancient Lydia. It could not be Russia, because Russia have never invaded, conquered and ruled over the Holy Land, but Turkey had. Hence Turkey can fulfill the ‘turn thee back’ but not Russia in Ezekiel 38:4. How to turn the Russians back home, when they have never invaded, conquered or ruled in the Holy Land before, but the Ottoman Turks had. God had turned the Turks back home, and will soon put hooks into their jaws, and will bring them forth to the Holy Land again to punished them. This time the Turks will come with many declared enemies of Israel.

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