Prophecy Studies Series: The Magog War & Babylon-America’s Demise Chapter 2
Prophecy Studies Series
The Magog War
The Gog-Magog Confederation
What Nations Are Involved?
The Identity of Magog
There are various theories circulating that attempt to identify the modern-day equivalent to the term “Magog” as found in Ezekiel’s prophecies in chapters 38 and 39. The most prominent identity theories for Magog are:
The idea that Russia is Magog rests primarily on the mistranslation of the Hebrew word “rosh.” It is primarily translated as “chief” such as “chief priest” or “chief high priest” in the Old Testament.
Many Hebrew scholars note that the term does not refer to a land or a people. Yet, some commentators have made such a claim, in part based on the phonetic similarities with the ancient tribal name “rus” which signifies the Russian peoples. Proponents of such views note that the Greek Septuagint translation of Ezekiel translates the term as “prince of Rosh.”
For those who hold to the view that the Hebrew word “rosh” means a name of a people or a land, think again. As we’ve discussed already in our dissertation in Part 1 about Gog and the phrase “chief prince”
we simply want to add that a prime example of the Hebrew meaning of the word is the Hebrew name of the New Year – Rosh Hashanah. In this sense, the literal English translation is “head of the year.” It is the first of the High Holy Days. See Wikepedia’s listing for verification – LINK HERE.
Now that understanding falls right in line with the lexical definition of the word.
Noted theologian, retired Dallas Theological Seminary professor and one of the most published Christian authors of the past 100 years is Charles Ryrie.
Charles Ryrie even takes issue with the New American Standard translation of Ezekiel 38:2 when he writes: ‘The prince of Rosh’ is better translated as ‘the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. While the New American Standard Bible uses ‘the prince of Rosh’ in Ezekiel 38:2 and 39:1, it has a marginal note in 39:1 which reads ‘chief prince of Meshech.’ Meshech and Tubal are not linked with a place called Rosh in any other place in the Bible (Gen. 10:2; 1 Chron. 1:5; Isa. 66:19;8 Ezek. 27:13; 32:26), so it is extremely unlikely that in these two cases alone rosh takes on an entirely different meaning from the way it is used elsewhere in the Old Testament.
See Reference: Charles C. Ryrie, ed., The Ryrie Study Bible (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1978), 1285
Another noted theologian is Edwin M. Yamauchi. Yamauchi is a professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, is an authority on the subject, and disagrees with the idea that Rosh is proper name. Yamauchi explains that the Hebrew word rosh” “can have nothing to do with modern ‘Russia.’ This would be a gross anachronism, for the modern name is based upon the name Rus, which was brought into the region of Kiev, north of the Black Sea, by the Vikings only in the Middle Ages.”
Reference: Edwin M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier: Invading Hordes from the Russian Steppes (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1982), 20.
Now Yamauchi is note alone. Many other evangelical scholars agree with Ryrie and Yamauchi. It should be noted that Lexical-Concordances never cite rosh as a proper name that refers to a nation or a land. Instead, we find extensive connections to such usages for the priesthood of Israel. Within the priesthood of Israel are priests and there are “chief priests” and “chief high priest.” In this usage, the word for ‘chief’ is rosh (2 Kings 25:18; 1 Chron. 27:5; 2 Chron. 19:11; 24:6; 26:20; 31:10; Ezra 7:5; Jer. 52:24).
The Expositors Bible Commentary also supports the view of “chief” as being the proper understanding for Ezekiel’s use of the word “rosh.”
“There is no evidence from the ancient Near East that a country named Rosh ever existed. Some would understand rosh as modern Russia. Proponents of this view usually appeal to etymology based on similar sounds (to the hearing) between two words. Such etymological procedures are not linguistically sound, nor is etymology alone a sound hermeneutical basis on which to interpret a word. The word Russia is a late eleventh-century A.D. term. Therefore, the data does not seem to support an interpretation of rosh as a proper name of a geographical region or country.”
See Reference: Ralph H. Alexander, ‘Ezekiel,’ The Expositors Bible Commentary, gen. ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, 12 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1986), 6:930.
Now as for as this author is concerned, there is only one identity for Magog, Iran. To understand why this should be the proper conclusion see the following link to an article on Magog’s identy from a rabbinical perspective. This link is to a Jewish-oriented website – LINK HERE
I believe the author of that article sufficiently proves that Magog is indeed modern-day Iran as well as Pakistan and Afghanistan, home of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
The Gog-Magog Confederation Allies:
Names of Key Allies of the Confederation
Meshech, Tubal, Gomer and Beth Togarmah can be identified with real 8th and 7th century peoples, kings or kingdoms of Anatolia, or modern Turkey. Some believe that Magog is the overall name to be applied to all of these peoples. Your author here has long held to the idea that Turkey was indeed Magog until recent revelations suggested Magog was Iran.
Other named allies include:
Persia, Cush and Put.
Persia should be somewhat self-explanatory. We’ve known all along that Persia is the ancient name for modern-day Iran. However, the actual “persia” only encompassed what is today a small part of Iran. It is essentially the Fars province of modern-day Iran. The western part of Iran that borders Iraq was known as Media and Elam. The far eastern section of Iran, southwestern Afghanistan and western Pakistan – according to ancient rabbinical sources was the original homeland of the Magogites – ie. Magog.
We should note that the extended Persian empire of Cyrus included the Land of Magog – which was not just eastern Iran but the empire extended into portions of modern-day Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Persian empire also extended to all of modern-day Iraq, Syria, Lebanon as well as Israel and Egypt plus a portion of Greece. Since Persia is listed separately, it makes no sense to list Persia and then mention all the various tribal names within the Persian empire as allies. Instead, it is more logical to believe that the reference to Persia is a reference to its original homeland territory.
Cush was the name of the original southern area of Egypt which included some of Ethiopia (Eritrea) and the Sudan. Both are now hotbeds of Islamic fanatics. Put is identified as modern-day Libya. It was a land west of Egypt along the northern coast of Africa.