Skip to comments.The Bible on Gog and Magog
Posted on 10/27/2006 5:48:50 PM PDT by sionnsar
End times writers such as Hal Lindsay and Timothy LaHaye make much of Gog and Magog, the archetypal enemies of God. End times publications seem to be making lots of money for some people as the expense of good biblical exegesis, so it is time that we look into the matter of Gog and Magog.
These people groups, named in the Table of Nations (Gen. 10), have incited the imagination and entered into the arena of modern fiction and enduring legend. Legends surrounding Gog and Magog are found associated with countries as distant as Russia and Denmark, and with the figures of Marco Polo, Alexander the Great and even King Arthur. But what does the Bible actually tell us about these peoples?
Lets examine the significance of the names Gog and Magog, looking at Genesis and other biblical material that sheds light on these names. What socio-political structure do these entities suggest? And how did they come to symbolize forces opposed to God?
In the following references to the ancient territorial holdings of Gog and Magog, we discover the ascendancy of Gog over the other sons of Japeth.
Genesis 10:2-4 The sons of Japeth: Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. And the sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. And the sons of Javan: Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.
Ezekiel 38:1-4 The word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; and I will turn you about, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you forth, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great company, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords . . .
Ezekiel 39:1 And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal . . .
The words Meshech and Tubal appear in Assyrian inscriptions as Muschu and Tabal.
By the time of the prophet Ezekiel, Gog appears to have gained prominence over and is regarded as chief of the sons of Japeth. Notice that the name Gog doesnt actually appear in Genesis 10:2-4. Yet the Prophet recognized that Gog and Magog are associated. When encountering 2 names that are related it is necessary to look for a third related name because Genesis presents familial units in groups of 3. (Remember that the number 3 represents a unit or unity.) We find the third name, Og, in Exodus 21:33, so that we are able to speak of the familial confederation of Og, Magog and Gog, with Gog having prominence by the time of Ezekiel (593-571 B.C.).
Because Ezekiel specifically prophesies against this confederation, the names Gog and Magog came to represent forces that oppose God and Gods people. Consider this reference from the book of Revelation.
Rev. 20:6-10 Blessed and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and they shall reign with him a thousand years. And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be loosed from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth, that is, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city; but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Before 500 AD, references to Gog and Magog occur in the preserved sermons and letters of St. Jerome and other early Christians. These references indicated that the names had become associated with threats to Christendom. In other words, the names were used allegorically to represent invasion of Christian lands and/or oppression of Christians. Gog and Magog are used, as Rome and Babylon are used in the book of Revelation, as archetypes of worldly rebellion against God and Gods kingdom.
The names Gog and Magog are derivative names and suggest a third principle name. That name is Og, mentioned in Exodus 21:33. In the tradition of the Bedouins, Og is said to be the town of Koraki, about 2 days journey from the Jordan River. According to the Archimandrite Joachim Spetsieris, Og (Koraki) had about 400 families of both Muslim and Orthodox Arabs in 1890. In the late 1800s, an ascetical monk, Fr. Kallistratos, lived for 3 years in a cave across the Jordan near Koraki and the people of the village lowered food to him using ropes from above the cave. So we know where Og is located. The Bible speaks of Gog and Magog being to the north of Og and suggests that these territorial holdings were once a familial confederation, as is the case with groups of 3 in Genesis. Here are some of the familial units of 3 that we find in the Bible:
Cain Abel Seth (Gen. 4-5)
Ham Japeth Shem (Gen. 5-9)
Og Gog Magog (Gen. 10 and Ex. 21)
Haran Nahor Abraham (Gen. 11-12)
Ishmael Jokshan Isaac (Gen. 16, 21, and 25)
Jeush Jalam Korah (Gen. 36: 4-18)
Dedan Tema Buz (Jeremiah 25)
Let us look more closely at this last group: Dedan, Tema and Buz.
Uz is the homeland of Job according to Job 1:1 and is associated with the hill country of Edom. Genesis 22:20-21 tells us that Buz was one of Nahors sons by Milcah. This means that Buz was a contemporary of Ishmael, and since the preferred marriage arrangement was patrilineal parallel cousins, the Ismaelites and the Arameans intermarried. Both the Ismaelites and the Arameans are Arabs.
This is confirmed by Jeremiah 25:15-26. For thus said the LORD, the God of Israel, to me: Take this cup of foaming wine from my hand, and have all the nations to whom I will send you drink it. They shall drink, and be convulsed, and go mad, because of the sword I will send among them. I took the cup from the hand of the LORD and gave drink to all the nations to which the LORD sent me: Jerusalem, the cities of Judah, her kings and her princes, to make them a ruin and a desert, an object of ridicule and cursing, as they are today. Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and his servants, his princes, all the people under him, native and foreign; all the kings of the land of Uz; all the kings of the land of the Philistines, Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod; Edom, Moab, and the Ammonites; all the kings of Tyre, of Sidon, and of the shores beyond the sea; Dedan and Tema and Buz, all the desert dwellers who shave their temples; all the kings of Arabia; all the kings of Zimri, of Elam, of the Medes; all the kings of the north, near and far, one after the other; all the kingdoms upon the face of the earth
Buz is related to Uz and is grouped with the northern Arabian groups of Dedan and Tema. Lacking information about Abrahams nephew, Huz (Gen. 22:21), the confederation is not identified as Uz, Huz and Buz, but rather as Dedan, Tema and Buz because this familial confederation was easily identified by appearance and life style. Dedan means cave dwellers.
It is clear from the Biblical record that all the peoples mentioned in Genesis 10 are peoples of the Afro-Asiatic language family. There is 3-part configuration that supports the hypothesis of 3 group familial confederations among the Afro-Asiatics of the Paleo-Dominion. Other familial confederations are suggested by the names Sab-tah (Gen. 10:6) and Sab-teca (Gen. 10:7), and Le-hab (Gen. 10:13) and Le-sha (Gen. 10:19). We are able to identify Le-tu (Gen. 25:3) as the third group in the Le confederation. Letu is an 8th generation descendent of Noah through his sons Shem and Ham.
The biblical material we have examined has a specific cultural context and is very old. Although allegory and legends have developed around Gog and Magog, there is no reason to doubt the historicity of these peoples or of any of the peoples mentioned in the Table of Nations (Gen. 10). However, the textual evidence does not support the notion that all the peoples of the earth come from the 3 sons of Noah. Nor should Gog and Magog be regarded as literal entities destined to play a role at the end of time.
Confused about what this has to do with China...
And a question: are Chinese descendents of Ham (Hamites) or is that just a coincidence? Both Chinese and Koreans call themselves "Han people" and the Chinese writing script is called Hanzi (Kanji in Japanese).
"Han" in Korean language means "Number One." So, they are calling themselves the most important people.
However, the textual evidence does not support the notion that all the peoples of the earth come from the 3 sons of Noah. Nor should Gog and Magog be regarded as literal entities destined to play a role at the end of time.
Is this coming from a theologically orthodox/conservative Anglican or a lib? If this is deemed the conservative position, then the Anglican denomination is in a deeper trouble than I previously thought. Mind you, one of the two original founders of the pre-trib Dallas Theologically Seminary was Anglican, J.N. Darby studied in an Anglican seminary, and a retired Anglican Canon that our family personally know frequently preaches about the rapture.
That sentence stuck with me too...while the biblical evidence cited in the article may well show Gog and Magog is not Russia or other nations imagined by the dispensationalists, it says nothing that I can find to say the world could be descendent of anyone people but Shem, Ham, and Jepheth...if one accepts the Bible's account of the Flood.
As a matter of fact, I'd warrent if one does not accept the universal Flood, than conservative or orthodox does not apply.
"The Ezekiel Option", 2005 by Joel C. Rosenberg, has a good derivative explanation of Gog and Magog and other names, wether people or places. Interesting read.
If I correctly understand what he is saying, the author doesn't accept OT scripture as textual evidence.
Genesis clearly indicates that all the earth's tribes are descended from Noah's three sons. The only way that could not be true would be if Noah's flood was merely a folk fable adopted by Moses to spice up his story, or was allegorical, or was literal but confined to a limited region, or was literal but Moses left out part of the story.
The Genesis flood account says it was both literal and universal, and I choose to believe divinely inspired holy scripture over any man's opinion no matter how learned he may be.
Ping - Gog and Magog
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