The error in equating Magog with Russia can be easily discovered once we read the claims: they always stretch historyto encompass the desired geographic location. This is found in every anti-Russia prophecy material that espouses to use history.
To show the errors requires a book on its own, but perhaps one example will suffice; the departed prophecy author Grant Jeffrey quotes reputable historian Rawlinson, Jeffrey 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).” (Grant Jeffrey, Final Warning, p. 123) Although Jeffrey correctly quotes Rawlinson to only have a false conclusion while he ignored that Rawlinson is speaking of “southern” Russia, which today are all Islamic.
While Rawlinson identifies Meshech with Moschi, he outrightly rejects the idea that Moschi is Moscow:
Some have found in the Moshci the founders of Moscow, the ancestors of the present Muscovites. But this identification has no historical or ethnological basis, resting wholly on the similarity of the names. (Rawlinson, The Origin of Nations, p. 179, f)
They then love to reference formidable historians like Josephus, Philo, Hippolytus of Rome, Pliny the Elder, Maimonides, and Hesiod the father of Greek didactic poetry, but these either simply point to the Scythians as Magog or point to southern Russia and Asia Minor (Turkey).
But when we examine some of the greatest biblical reference manuals, like the Macmillan Bible Atlas, Oxford Bible Atlas,The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, The Moody Atlas of Bible Lands, The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary, the IVP Bible Background Commentary, The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, The Catholic Encyclopedia and The Matthew Henry Complete Commentary; they all locate Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Gomer and Beth Togarmah in Asia Minor or in the landmass between ancient Armenia and Media (1)—in short, the Republics south of Russia and north of Israel, comprised of Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Turkestan, Chechnya, etc. but all these are all Muslim nations.
The Bible then sets the record straight when we examine Ezekiel 30 comparing it to Ezekiel 38, we find “Cush,” “Put,” and “Lydia”. Lydia is not Russia but Turkey, which is the same as Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Togormah, and Gomer in Ezekiel 38.
It is the Bible itself that set the record straight. It is Islam that is slaughtering the saints, which is why we are in a detrimental situation, in which we must strive to help deliver our brethren. PLEASE DONATE TO SAVE CHRISTIAN LIVES
Some even try to stretch it by other means so they say that because the passage points to the “farthest north,” as referring to Russia. But the word “farthest” is not to be found in the Bible which states “north quarters” (v.6) and “north parts” (v.15) in which is the north sides. It is possible this refers to Antichrist who rules that region (Isaiah 14:13).
Gog, as the Bible mandates, is of the land of Magog, a very specific place, and he is the ruler, “chief prince” of his domain called “Meshech and Tubal” which 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. All these are given for locators to pin point the area and are not intended to lead us on a stretch as to where we follow all genealogical migrations. It is actually far simpler than some make it.
The error of the “Magog is Russia” theory arose from the Scofield Study Bible, which identifies Mesheck and Tubal with the modern Russian cities of Moscow and Tobolsk later to be popularized by Tim LaHaye and Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth. 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 and is not supported by history.
But perhaps the greatest twist in most of the works we see circulating the sphere of prophecy is that the battle in Ezekiel 38 is not a battle that erupts prior to Armageddon as is commonly claimed but is Armageddon.
Why do they insist that it erupts before Armageddon? The answer is simple; Islam as this unfolding prophecy according to the buffs, is concerned would someday partner with Russia’s evil Gog (Ezekiel 38) and would simply be a prelude or else how will we usher in the real threat, Europe(the Beast) headed by a European Antichrist.
This is the main problem that many prophecy teachers in the West teach that the invading coalition of nationsdescribed in Ezekiel 38-39 is not the army of Antichrist, but of another army entirely different, led by some other evil world leader who is destroyed prior to Christ’s coming todefeat Antichrist.
But this is pure gymnastics since they cannot overlook that Ezekiel 38-39, which clearly describes a Muslim coalition of nations does not support their European Antichrist paradigm. For this reason they are forced to find a way to divorce the entire battle of Gog and Magog from the main excitement they sold when the European Union began when Greece joined as the tenth nation. This theory fell apart when over twenty nations joined this union. The only backup they use to create their paradigm is that Daniel 9 alludes to a European coalition since the Romans—and by extention—Europeans are who destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem.
But even such references support my view, a close examination of Daniel 9, where the Bible says that it would be the “people of the prince to come” (v.26) are the people of the Antichrist who would destroy the Jewish Temple. In other words, the ethnic peoples of whom the future Antichrist would be the leader would destroy the Jewish Temple, which was fulfilled in 70 A.D.
But when we examine real history, we find out that the primary group that carried out this destruction was the tenth legion of the Roman army (Legion X Fretensis), which was stationed in Antioch. Antioch was also the area from which the tenth legion drew most of its recruits of these ethnic peoples.
These soldiers were primarily Syrians and Arabs. Today, Antioch is located within the borders of Turkey, on the southeastern corner of Turkey near Syria. As such, this is yet another nail in their coffin and a witness to the notion that the Antichrist would come from the region of modern Turkey and not Europe. Daniel 9 is also supportedby Daniel 11, where Antichrist was prefigured by Antiochus IV Epiphanies, the “King of the North” or the ruler of the Seleucid Division of the Greek Empire which covered a large portion of modern Turkey.
Zechariah 9 clearly lists Yavan/Ionia (Turkey) as the primary player in the Last-Days attack against Israel. Many will have missed this prophecy due to translation: “I will rouse your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece (Yavan, Ionia).”
Ionia is in Turkey.
The key aspect of this passage is that “Jehovah will appear over them”.
It also seems that Turkey will face Russia: “But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many … yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.” (Daniel 11:44-45)
North of Turkey would be most likely Russia. History will repeat itself and it will be the Russo-Turkish Wars all over again. The result is as the Bible declares; “yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him. (v. 45)” The end of Turkey is likely being at the hands of Russia (north) and other allies (Ezekiel 28:7-8).
(1) Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. Dictionary Edition Schaff Philip (1819-1893) Grand Rapids, MI: Baker. Book House, 1953 Volume 5 Page 14. See also Watson’s Biblical & Theological Dictionary, Catholic Bible Dictionary, P.p 324)
“Gog = Russia” is a false prophecy
You seem intent, on putting “Russia” into Ezekiel 38-38, when, indeed, it is not there. The “Russia” craze gained tremendous ground about around the time of the Jesus Movement. Much of this fervor was no doubt generated by Chick Tracts. Jack Chick, in turn, drew his theme from earlier interpreters of a particular bent:
“Those who found Russia in Ezekiel 38 rested their case in part on the
phrase “chief prince” in verse 3, a translation of the Hebrew nesi
rosh. The editors of the 1611 King James Bible rendered “rosh” as
“chief,” but later scholars argued that it was a proper name and that
the phrase should be translated “prince of Rosh”. […]
“[German Hebraicist] Gesenius, whose Old Testament lexicon of
1828 long stood as a standard reference work, viewed “Rosh” not
only as a proper name but as an early form of the word “Russia”. In
another step that would prove highly influential for prophecy
interpretation, he also claimed that “Meshech” and “Tubal” were
present day Moscow and the Siberian city of Tobolsk (Boyer, 1992,
“While certainly not an uncontested claim among scholars, the contention that Rosh was Russia made intuitive sense to many lay people not only because of the similarity in sound but also because Russia was definitively north of Palestine (as described in Ezekiel 38:15 – see the quote at the beginning of this paper) and in a position to attack the Holy Land.”
As you can see, this is a very recent understanding, hailing back to the “Adventist” days during which the Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists and the forerunners of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and others were peddling their end-times scenarios. “Rosh” (which does not mean and never has meant “Russia”) was mis-translated, because those early adventists needed a contemporary country to fill the place in their predictions. Britain, or Germany of course, could not be implicated; because those theologians were largely English- and German-speaking. The ball therefore landed in Russia’s court. Turkey, which at the time was the Ottoman Empire, was not even considered because it was in such a state of decay.
Most Evangelicals today are products, to some degree or another, of the Jesus Movement; and of pseudo-prophets such as Hal Lindsay and Jack Chick. Their predictions drew from those adventist-era theologians; but their vitality came from the Cold War. One would think that they would have changed their tune with the fall of the Soviet Union; but alas, Russia has been resurrected as a world bogeyman. Few believe that it actually is, seeing that it has a gross domestic product (PPP) of less than a sixth that of the US; but reality has seldom had much of an impact on people with deeply entrenched prejudices.
Is Russia north of Israel? Yes, it is: above Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and the Ukraine. In Ezekiel’s day, it did not exist. “Russia” came about during the Middle Ages, named after a Scandanavian tribe called the “Rus”. Curiously, the kingdom set up by the Rus was not even in Russia, but in what is now the Ukraine; its capital was Kiev. Also curiously, Israel didn’t exist during the days of the Rus either.
What is now Turkey, on the other hand, contained in Ezekiel’s day nearly all the countries mentioned by the prophet: “Magog” corresponded, by its association with other sons of Japheth, to Anatolia. Javan = Ionia, or the West Coast of Turkey; Tiras is usually placed at Troas or Thrace; Gomer was the Cimmerrii of the Pontic coast of Turkey; Meshech and Tubal were in Cappadocia, and Madai was in Kurdistan (mainly southeastern Turkey). It requires a real vacation from history, to place Magog anywhere other than Turkey.
Gog is described in Ezekiel as ruling in the land of Magog (Anatolia), and being the “chief prince” of Meshech and Tubal (in Central Anatolia). This Gog was the historical Gyges or Gugu, the founder of the ruling dynasty of Lydia in Ezekiel’s time; and Lydia was located in the western part of modern Turkey — including the area of the modern capital, Ankyra.
The United States is on the decline? Have you noticed how Russia is doing? GDP growth there, between January and July, 2014, was 0.7%; and their inflation rate was 7.8%. Their economy is based on petroleum and natural gas, an area in which they have just been surpassed by the US.
Now let’s look at Turkey: GDP growth was 4% in 2013, and is forecast to average 6.7% between 2011 and 2017. Their inflation rate is a mere 5-6%. Their per capita GDP was $19,080 in 2013, nearly as much as the $23,589 of Russia. Their economy is extremely diversified, being mainly in textiles, food processing, autos, electronics, tourism and mining. Far from comparing unfavorably with the US, Russia is likely to be surpassed by Turkey in a few years.
Finally, consider that Ezekiel 38-39 does not say anywhere that “Gog, the land of Magog, Chief Prince of Mesech and Tubal” is a major world power. It simply says it is a country that will attack Israel after the Jewish people have returned to their land and become prosperous.
Prophecies are not intended to be understood, until the time of their fulfillment is at hand. In this case, the time of fulfillment was not in the 1830s, when the “Russia” doctrine came into being, nor in the 1960s, when Jack Chick began publishing his comic tracts. At the earliest, it will be fulfilled in the coming years. Those earlier interpretations were based on a world that no longer exists.