One fascinating point to consider is that the prophet Ezekiel is the same servant given special connection to both the Gog-Magog attack and to the Temples that will occupy the Mt. Moriah site at a time yet future. There must be profound reason the two factors are given to this one Old Testament prophet. The reason may be tied inextricably to the one who most hates both God and his chosen people.
Some scholars believe that Lucifer once had rule over a perfect, earth-type planet. He lost that dominion, as they would have it, when he led the rebellion against God in Heaven. Lucifer, some scholars believe, then came to a recreated Planet Earth to spoil it, causing man’s fall in the Garden of Eden, bringing death and the separation of God from the human race. Lucifer’s choice to rebel sealed his fate. Now known as “Satan,” he hates with a vengeance that cannot be measured.
The Lord made a way for lost mankind to be saved from their sin and instead be reconciled to Himself. He promised a redeemer who would one day come to offer salvation—but, not to Lucifer and the one-third of the angels who rebelled with him.
Satan now seeks to thwart God’s plan of salvation. He apparently thought he could do so by destroying God’s Son, who came to Earth as Israel’s Messiah. Satan worked through the Jews and all of mankind to have the Redeemer murdered.
Of course, Jesus resurrected from death on the third day after His crucifixion. Rather than God’s plan to redeem mankind being thwarted, it was sealed and delivered by the Lord Jesus Christ. When He said, “It is finished,” the redemption of all who would believe Christ and His resurrection would be saved from separation from God forever (Romans 10:9–10).
Satan’s hatred for the Jews—the people through whom the Savior came into the world—has grown more virulent with each passing century. He apparently, within his super-intelligent yet reprobate mind—thinks he can yet win, thus reverse God’s plan. If he can make God out to be a liar and a betrayer of truth, he, himself, can get out of the doom that awaits him.
Israel is at the center of his target. If he can destroy the Jews, he will have made God to be a liar, thus not God—for God has said He cannot lie.
This brings us to the reason for the Ezekiel tie to both the Gog-Magog attack and the Third Temple that is on the end-times drawing board. Satan’s plan is to destroy Israel once and for all. This plan has been formulated by God, Himself, who says He will put “hooks into the jaws” of Satan’s leader of the attack on Israel Ezekiel predicts. God will bring Satan’s forces against Israel in order for all but one-sixth of them to be destroyed. God will again prove that He, not Lucifer, is indeed God!
The Gog-Magog attack is aimed at Jerusalem, at the heart of which sits the Temple Mount. This, as said many times before, is God’s touchstone to humanity, His most sacred place. Taking control of that Third Temple—the Tribulation Temple— is Lucifer’s objective. He couldn’t usurp God’s heavenly throne like he claimed (Isaiah 14:14), but he still thinks he can usurp the holy place from where Jesus Christ will rule and reign in Jerusalem. It is where Satan will indwell his man of sin, Antichrist, when that last terrible tyrant enters the Third Temple and declares himself God and demands to be worshipped.
Again, the Temple is the focus of Ezekiel, who meticulously laid out the blueprint for that Jewish house of worship, just as is the Gog-Magog assault from the north of Jerusalem, which he describes in great detail. The congruency cannot be missed. Ezekiel’s prophetic thrust is undeniable. The forces arrayed against God’s chosen nation at the end of the current dispensation will be drawn by God, Himself, toward Mount Moriah, where the Third Temple will be placed.
Let us look closer at this force that, as we have seen, is even now beginning to coalesce to the north of Jerusalem. Those who study Bible prophecy have long anticipated an attack on Israel by forces from the north led by Russia. The attack, it is believed, will come when Israel seems at peace, with no fear of such an assault.
Dr. Jack Van Impe writes:
Early in the 20th century, Dr. Ironside wrote: In the last days, the final head of the Russian people will look with covetous eyes upon the great developments in the land of Palestine. They will determine that Russia must have her part of the wealth there produced. Consequently, we have the picture of a vast army, augmented by warriors from Persia, Cush, Phut, marching down toward Palestine.[i]
How can we know with such certainty that Russia is the nation the prophet Ezekiel pointed to in God’s indictment? The questions must be addressed:
- Who are Gog and all the players mentioned in Ezekiel’s prophecy?
- Where are the exact regions these players reside, in modern terms?
- Who is this leader called Gog?
- Where is the land of Magog?
- Where on a map can we find the cities of Meshech and Tubal?
- What nations was Ezekiel writing about when he stipulated Gomer and Togarmah as consort nations with the Gog-Magog coalition?
Genesis 10 presents a list of nations to begin with our investigation. Here we find the key names in Ezekiel’s prophecy:
Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. (Genesis 10:1, 2)
Employing the system that was the custom of the time, the editors of the Scofield Reference Bible presented the following information about the names we wish to examine in the table of nations. Customs of ancient times included a man’s descendants adopting his name as the name of their tribe. Historians and Bible students have thus been able to trace the movements of some of the tribes and can know with some certainty where their descendants can be found today. The following helps in considering these nations that will be part of the Gog-Magog attack.
- Magog – From Magog are descended the ancient Scythians or Tarters, whose descendents predominate in modern Russia.
- Tubal – Tubal’s descendents peopled the region south of the Black Sea from whence they spread north and south. It is probable that Tobolsk perpetuates the tribal name.
- Meshech – Progenitor of a race mentioned in connection with Tubal, Magog, and other northern nations. Broadly speaking, Russia, excluding the conquests of Peter the Great and his successors, is the modern land of Magog, Tubal, and Meshech.
Notes from the Scofield Reference Bible, published in 1909, indicate that Russia will be the main aggressor in Ezekiel’s end-time battle.
In the Oriental tongue, the name of the Caucasus Mountains that run through Russia means “Fort of Gog” or “Gog’s last stand.” If you were to ask a Russian what he calls the heights of the Caucasus Mountains, he would say, “the Gogh.”
The evidence builds.
The word that is translated “chief” in Ezekiel 38:3 is “Rosh” in the Hebrew language. For centuries, prophetic scholars have generally agreed that the word “Rosh” is a proper name. Allowing this long-accepted conclusion in the translation of this verse would make it read, “And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the Rosh prince of Meshech and Tubal.”
But who is Rosh?
“Rosh” was the name of the tribe dwelling in the area of the Volga. And “Rosh” is the word for “Russia” today in some languages of the world. In Belgium and Holland, it is “Rus.” Here, abbreviated, it’s “Russ,” and often appears in that form in the headlines of newspapers. An understanding of this moved Robert Lowth, bishop of London two hundred years ago, to write: “Rosh, taken as a proper name in Ezekiel signifies the inhabitants of Scythia from whom the modern Russians derive their modern name. The name ‘Russia’ dates only from the seventeenth century and was formed from the ancient name ‘Russ.’”
It is obvious to some, then, that Ezekiel was issuing a warning to the Russian prince (leader) of Meshech and Tubal.
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We have already seen from Scofield’s notes of 1909 that Tubal is the root of the name “Tobolsk,” but what about Meshech? In his note on Ezekiel 38:2, Scofield continues his identification, stating: “That the primary reference is to the northern European powers headed by Russia, all agree…. Gog is the prince, Magog his land, the reference to Meshech and Tubal (Moscow and Tobolsk) is a clear mark of identification.”
As has been already shown, Dr. Scofield was by no means the first to come to this conclusion. In 1890, Arno C. Gaebelein wrote a book on Ezekiel. Commenting on chapters 38 and 39, he declared: “This is Russia, Moscow, and Tobolsk.”
Another important voice of the past is that of Josephus. In Book I, Chapter VI of his work, this historian who lived almost two thousand years ago stated that the Scythians were called Magogites by the Greeks.
Why is that important?
The Scythians populated Russia.
Little wonder then that the weight of prophetic scholarship has gone with the conclusion that Russia is the chief aggressor named by Ezekiel in this end-time war with Israel. The allies of Russia in that fierce conflict will be Persia (Iran and Iraq), Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer (Eastern Germany and Slovakia), and Togarmah (Turkey).
It is interesting that Daniel adds Egypt to the names of nations coming against Israel and the final world dictator so that the invasion includes attacks from the north and the south, as well as the prospect of trouble from the east (see Daniel 11:40–44).
There is no need to marshal the scholars of the past to confirm the place or purpose of this war. Ezekiel explained:
After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. (Ezekiel 38:8)
What a clear and up-to-date description of Israel! It is certainly the land that is brought back from the sword, a former wasteland, gathered out of many people, and brought forth out of the nations.
The invaders of Israel will come with immense air power:
Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. (Ezekiel 38:9)
They will also come in full confidence of victory:
And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. (Ezekiel 38:11, 12)
The allies of Russia in that fierce conflict will be Persia (Iran and Iraq), Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer (Eastern Germany and Slovakia), and Togarmah (Turkey).
Those curious about the Gog-Magog attack must ask some interesting questions, such as the following:
Question: What could cause the Gog-Magog force to attack?
Answer: First, Islam hates Israel passionately. The forces will be mostly Islamic, with Russia and Germany being the exceptions. These nations have vowed to wipe Israel off the face of the earth for millennia. They will join the attack with glee. Satanic hatred and rage will be the primary motivation.
Second, Israel is the doorway to Middle Eastern oil riches. Oil and gas finds within the Jewish state’s territory continue to grow. There is well-placed speculation that there could be vast quantities of petroleum beneath the land. Tremendous gas fields lay beneath the Mediterranean within Israel’s territorial waters. Russia would be in complete control of the oil of the region if it succeeded in conquering the area.
Third, Israel being the crossroads between three continents, Russia could, by conquering the region, construct a railroad connecting Moscow to the Sinai Peninsula. It might then take the Gulf of Suez Canal. It could then have sway over Mediterranean and Persian Gulf shipping, then extend its railroad into Egypt and on into all of Africa and control Africa’s many resources.
Fourth, Russia’s longtime desire to establish warm-water ports for expansion southward has made great strides by inserting itself into Syria. It has its warm-water port. But, a successful invasion of Israel could greatly expand its warm-water capability, thus securing it complete control of Mediterranean shipping.
And fifth, the mineral riches of the Dead Sea have long thought to be a prize worthy of capture by the Gog-Magog forces. This doesn’t seem as important as it once did in eschatological thinking, but the riches are there and would certainly add to the spoils of conquest. The trillions of dollars it might provide could provide funding for greater military power.
Question: Could Russia carry out this assault at present?
Answer: Such an attack would bring Israel’s nuclear weaponry into play. The Israeli Defense Force would almost certainly employ whatsoever weapon systems at their disposal to defeat such an attack.
The Gog-Magog attack will most likely take place following a disarmament by the prophesied covenant of peace confirmed by Antichrist. The Gog leader will then see that Israel can be assaulted with little fear of major resistance.
Question: Why are a number of nations, such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and others, not mentioned as part of the Gog-Magog coalition?
Answer: Not long ago, these would certainly have eagerly joined the Gog-Magog forces. But we have watched as forces within the Arab-Islamist regions have transformed. They have made new alliances because of, for example, the dangers presented by an increasingly threatening Iran.
Saudi has become much more Western-oriented, wanting protection from the Persian threat. It has been amazing to see the prophetic landscape changing in such dramatic fashion.
Overwhelming Gog-Magog Factor
Despite all the factors listed above, there is one overwhelming issue to consider in thinking on why God will determine to attack the Jewish state. That involves Lucifer’s rage against God’s people. His hatred of the Jewish people has been front and center for all the world to see throughout the ages and is ratcheting up at the present hour.
To repeat: Satan intends to usurp Christ’s earthly throne that will sit atop the supernaturally elevated and topographically altered Mount Moriah. The Gog-Magog forces, even if unknowingly, will earlier be drawn toward that spot and all but one-sixth of those forces will meet their doom. The fire of judgment—whether supernatural or nuclear—will fall upon the nations from which the Gog-Magog forces come.
The Third Temple—the one in which Antichrist will sit, declaring himself to be God and demanding worship—will likely sit atop Moriah at the time of the Gog-Magog attack. We get this idea because Ezekiel’s prophecy says Israel will be “at rest, in unwalled villages” when the attack comes. This means that Antichrist will likely have confirmed the covenant of peace and given his assurance that his forces will protect Israel.
It will, however, be Israel’s omnipotent God who does the protecting. Israel is invincible forever, because God cannot lie.
And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face.
For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;
So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.
And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every man’s sword shall be against his brother.
And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord. (Ezekiel 38:18–23)
NEXT: Tribulation and the Third Temple
[i] Dr. Jack Van Impe, “A Message of Hope from Dr. Jack Van Impe: The Coming War with Russia, Perhaps Today magazine.
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