The Ezekiel 38 and Psalm 83 Prophecies/Part 4
|By: John G Weldon, PhD; ©2011|
|We will now proceed with a more in-depth discussion of this prophecy.|
The Ezekiel 38/Psalm 83 Prophecies: Russia, Iran and Muslim Nations in Biblical Prophecy
We will now proceed with a more in-depth discussion of this prophecy.
The first item listed in Ezekiel 38 is “Gog of the land of Magog,” and the land is described as being to the “far north” of Israel. If you would, take the time to look at him at a map. The only option for such a nation-galvanizing power existing to the “far north” of Israel today is Russia, and it’s not likely going anywhere soon. (Note that Togarmah (whether in southeastern Europe or Turkey is also said to be to the “far north;” geographically Turkey is parallel with southern Russia, and southeastern Europe is north of Turkey.)
Assuming we are approaching Israel’s last days, because of its military power, strategic interests, and siding with Iran and Muslim nations against Israel, Russia seems to be the only nation that can possibly fulfill the particulars of the prophecy in Ezekiel 38-39, such as leading a confederacy of nations (e.g., Islamic, North African) against Israel. Many and perhaps most authorities agree such as Dr. Thomas McCall and Zola Levitt (The Coming Russian Invasion of Israel), Dr. John Walvoord (Armageddon), and Dr. Thomas Ice in his series at the Pre-Trib Rapture Center (www.pre-trib.org).
Noted biblical scholar Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum is the author of several excellent texts, including Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology, Messianic Christology and The Footsteps of the Messiah. He argues somewhat differently, but not out of harmony with the general picture.
In addition, there seems more than sufficient historical evidence to identify the land of Magog as being that of Russia. Ancient authorities such as Josephus and Herdotus and several modern experts identify Magog as being associated with the ancient peoples known as the Scythians, peoples from the area of Russia. “One of the earliest references to Magog was by Hesiod, ‘the father of Greek didactic poetry’ who identified Magog with the Scythians and southern Russia in the 7th century BC. Hesiod was a contemporary of Ezekiel. In the 5th century BC Herodotus of Harlicarnassus, known as the ‘Father of History’ wrote extensively about the Scythians, and how they terrorized the southern steppes of Russia from the 10th century BC to the 3rd Century BC.”
Mohammed himself apparently referred to the Great Wall of China as the “Great Wall of Magog,” so named because it was built to keep out the Russians. Ancient writers referred to the Great Wall of China as the “ramparts of Gog and the Magog.” Again, the wall was built to keep the “Magogians” out.
Wilhelm Gesenius, one of the greatest scholars of the Hebrew language in history, has apparently never been refuted in the evidence he supplied that Rosh is Russia. Further, “Historical, ethnological, and archaeological evidence all favor the conclusion that the Rosh people of Ezekiel 38-39 were the ancestors of the Rus/Ros people of Europe and Asia….the Rosh people of the area north of the Black Sea formed the people known today as the Russians.”
In Epicenter: 2.0 Mideast prophecy expert Joel C. Rosenberg also offers a persuasive discussion documenting from many sources involving linguistic, textual and historical evidence that we are “with a high degree of confidence” dealing with Russia and the former Soviet Union. Thus, “there is no doubt that the ancient prophet was referring to the nation we now know as Russia” and, “There is widespread agreement among leading Bible scholars and prophecy experts that Magog and Rosh do in fact, refer to Russia and the lands and people of the former Soviet Union, and that Gog is the dictator at their helm.” Interestingly, Rosenberg points out that President Ronald Reagan was a devout Christian whose favorite book of prophecy was Ezekiel, and that the late president naturally asked, “What other powerful nation is to the north of Israel [besides Russia]? None.”
Looking at the nations listed in Ezekiel 38, some concluded a potentially startling fact that in the last days, Egypt would apparently not be a member of this particular coalition of nations that comes against Israel. Given its wars against Israel, it was impossible to imagine that Egypt would not be willing to wage war against Israel. But in 1979, after fighting multiple wars against Israel, Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel that has held to this day. On the other hand, as we have seen, simply because a nation isn’t mentioned in the list, doesn’t necessarily mean it will not be taking part – as we saw Ezekiel 38 refers to “other [unidentified] nations”; nor can anyone conclude that Egypt has at any time been a true friend of Israel or that it could not turn on her at any point. Even as I write, Egypt seems to be in the process of siding with the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood that has already threatened war against Israel. Plus, Egypt does seem to be in the list of nations in the Psalm 83 war against Israel. (See below.)
We must also mention a few caveats that indicate some additional changes are necessary before this attack on Israel occurs. As noted, in Ezekiel 38 Israel is dwelling “without walls” and in safety whereas it currently has a 400-plus mile long wall 25 feet high to keep out terrorists (quite successfully I might add), and of course it is continually shelled with thousands of missiles by the Iranian terrorist proxies Hezbollah and Hamas. As to why the Syrians, Saudi Arabians, Jordanians, Lebanese and Palestinians are not mentioned, a discussion of this will have to wait for Psalm 83 that discusses Israel’s surrounding neighbors in a different context and with a different agenda than in Ezekiel 38.
Clearly however, it can be argued that the stage does seem to be setting up for the war of Ezekiel 38. The Bible clearly predicts that at some future point in history a massive military invasion of Israel will occur from the North (with a significant coalition of other nations from the East and South), in which God will miraculously destroy the invading armies. Notice again that the specific description given of Israel in Ezekiel aligns closely, but not perfectly, with her current condition: “a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety.”
Anyone who examines what the Bible says in Ezekiel 38 and looks at the current world conditions can’t help but be intrigued or even impressed. According to leading biblical prophecy expert Dr. Mark Hitchcock, a former attorney, current pastor, and author of over 20 books on the end times, as well as an adjunct faculty member of Dallas Theological Seminary, the Ezekiel prophecy is almost certainly in the process of being fulfilled today:
“Ezekiel 38-39 predicts an invasion of the land of Israel in the last days by a vast confederation of nations from north of the Black and Caspian Seas, extending down to modern Iran in the east, as far as modern Libya to the west, and down to Sudan in the south. Therefore, Russia will have at least five key allies: Turkey, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and the nations of Central Asia.” And, “Events in our world today strikingly foreshadow the prophecy of the battle of Gog and Magog in Ezek. 38-39. All of the necessary antecedents for the fulfillment of this prophecy are in place or are moving in that direction. The Jewish people have been regathered to their land in unbelief, the Middle East peace process is front and center in international diplomacy, and the invaders in Ezek. 38 are identifiable nations who have both the desire and the potential to fulfill the Gog prophecy.”
In a similar fashion, according to biblical prophecy expert Dr. Thomas Ice:
- “The Battle of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39 is a prophecy about an attack upon the land of Israel led by Russian with a number of nations joining them, (Ezek.38:1-6). Russia will have five key allies: Turkey, Iran, Libya, Sudan and the nations of Central Asia. Amazingly, all of these nations are Muslim nations and Iran, Libya and Sudan are three of Israel’s most ardent opponents. It is not surprising that Iran is one of the nations that are included in the list of those attacking Israel in the last days.”
- Writing prior to the breakup of the Soviet Union: “The identification of Magog, Rosh, Meshech and Tubal is to be determined from the fact that these tribes of the ancient world occupied the areas of modern-day Russia. Magog, Rosh, Meshech and Tubal were between the Black and Caspian seas which today is southern Russia. The tribes of Meshech and Tubal later gave names to cities that today bear the names of Moscow, the capital, and Tobolsk, the major city in the Urals in Siberia. Rosh was in what is now northern Russia. The name Rosh is the basis for the modern name Russia. These names, then, cover the modern territories of northern and southern Russia in Europe and Siberia to the east and Asia. The modern nation of the Soviet Union encompasses all these areas in Ezekiel.” (Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of the Messiah: a Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events, 1982 p. 70).
- Darrell G. Young, “Iran in Bible Prophecy: The Prince of Persia,” October, 2004; http://focusonjerusalem.com/iraninbibleprophecy.html
- For more documentation see e.g.: Dr. Mark Hitchcock, “The Battle of Gog and Magog,” Pre-Trib Research Center; http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/battle-of-gog-and-magog.
- Joel C. Rosenberg, Epicenter 2.0, p. 87.
- Ibid., p. 82ff.
- Ibid., p. 86.
- Ibid., 286-287.
- Dr. Mark Hitchcock, “The Battle of Gog and Magog ,” Pre-Trip Research Center; http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/battle-of-gog-and-magog.
- “Russia, Iran and War with Israel”; http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/russia-iran-and-war-with-israel.