The Gog and Magog prophecy of the 38th and 39th chapters of the book of Ezekiel is undoubtedly one of the most significant, yet widely misinterpreted, bible prophecies of this end-time. Many identify the country of Russia in this prophecy to lead a confederacy of nations and invade the nation of Israel in the Middle East. The Christian world believes that this gigantic invasion of the nation of Israel is about to come to pass. Even the Arabs know about this future event. This prophecy known as “Yājūj and Mājūj” is contained in their bible, the Qurʾān.
Similarly, The Philadelphia Church of God draws attention to the modern-day nation of Russia to spearhead this Gog and Magog war. Mr. Gerald Flurry even labelled Russian President Vladimir Putin as the prophesied “Prince of Rosh” or “Prince of Russia” who is currently playing a major role in the geopolitical arena.
He is viewed as a strong man “flexing his muscles,” a man rising on the scene, displaying his despotic power for all the world to see.
Observe how Mr. Gerald Flurry described Mr. Putin in his article entitled, “Is Vladimir Putin the Prophesied ‘Prince of Rosh’?”
“Russia’s president is taking on authoritarian power and restoring the Soviet empire. Biblical prophecy speaks of a tyrant from that area committing some shocking acts. Is President Putin going to fulfill that prophecy?
Back in 2005, the Russian president called the demise of the Soviet empire “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” Given the dozens of millions of Soviet citizens who were imprisoned, persecuted and murdered under that authoritarian system, most of us would say the opposite! Those hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian protesters certainly think the opposite. But not Mr. Putin. He not only mourns the USSR’s collapse—he is bent on rebuilding it and restoring the glory of imperial Russia!…
By all of these heavy-handed tactics, President Putin has not only brought Russia back into play as a world power, he has also secured his position at the nation’s helm.
This world has a lot of authoritarian rulers. But Vladimir Putin is one we need to keep a particularly close eye on. His track record, his nationality and his ideology indicate that he could—and I strongly believe he will—fulfill a linchpin Bible prophecy that was recorded millennia ago. The time frame of his rule makes it almost certain…
When you study these scriptures alongside current events revealing modern Moscow’s imperialist direction, you see that Vladimir Putin could well become the leader of that gigantic army of the East. I strongly believe Vladimir Putin is going to lead the 200 million-man army. Just look at the power he already has.
Can you think of any other Russian politician who could become so powerful and have the will to lead Russia into the crisis of crises? I see nobody else on the horizon who could do that. And only a tiny few years remain for the prince of Rosh to appear!
Such a man doesn’t appear overnight. It takes years for even a strong-willed leader to gain such control.
Vladimir Putin already has the power—and the will to use it. I believe there is not enough time for a competitor to arise and challenge him.”
Source: The Trumpet magazine, February 2014 issue
Three months later, Mr. Gerald Flurry wrote a follow up article on this subject in the May/June 2014 issue of the Trumpet magazine entitled, “A Message to the Prince of Russia—From God.” He directed this article to Mr. Putin and conveyed that God has a divine message for him.
“Russia’s President Putin is making some bold, dangerous moves. Does God have a specific message for him?
The Ukrainian crisis continues to dominate the news almost daily. That crisis was created by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Western world rejoiced because the Cold War was over. But not Putin. In 2005, he said, “The demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century.” Since he first became president 14 years ago, he has tried to recreate the geography of the Soviet Union. This is changing the course of history. A great superpower is rising before our eyes!
You realize just how perilous this development is when you grasp that it was prophesied.
Ezekiel 38:2 describes a vivid personality to appear on the scene in this end time: “the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal” (New King James Version). In modern terms, this is the prince of Russia (article, page 10; see also my February cover story, “Is Vladimir Putin the Prophesied ‘Prince of Rosh’?”)…
Also, Ezekiel’s book is for this end time. Only a type of Ezekiel could deliver his message today. Who is the “chief prince of Meshech and Tubal”? (Ezekiel 38:2). Someone must know. And who is the “son of man” that God says must prophesy against this prince in the end time?
The Prince of Rosh
It is easy to prove that Ezekiel is an end-time book. Ezekiel 38 is clearly an end-time prophecy. Verse 8 specifically mentions its setting in the “latter years”; verse 16 talks about the “latter days”—such statements are made throughout Ezekiel’s book…
This verse also mentions another Russian people with the Hebrew word Rosh. The King James Version translates this into the adjective “chief,” but the correct rendering used by the Moffatt, New King James and others uses the word as a proper noun: Rosh. The verse should read “the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.” Rosh was the ancient name of Russia, once called Rus. So who is this prince of Russia, Moscow and Tobolsk? The use of these three names shows that this man rules all the peoples of Russia, from west to east…
Can you think of a politician who could fulfill the role of the prince of Russia? One, and only one, comes to mind: Vladimir Putin…
The same Bible that accurately prophesied a powerful prince of Russia prophesied that an Asian superpower will do battle in a final world war—primarily against a German-led Europe. War is coming between Russia and China and a German-led Europe—war on a scale that is hard to imagine! Millions and even billions of people will be killed. Nuclear bombs and other weapons of mass destruction are going to impact every nation on Earth!
But the Bible also prophesies that at the end of all of these wars, the world is going to see the greatest event ever in the universe: the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! As Christ Himself said, if He didn’t return, there would literally be no flesh saved alive (Matthew 24:22; Moffatt). But before humanity annihilates itself, He will return and stop all this madness!
VLADIMIR PUTIN IS A SIGN, LITERALLY A sign THAT JESUS CHRIST IS ABOUT TO RETURN! This is one of the most inspiring messages in the Bible. What we are seeing in Russia ultimately leads to the transition from man ruling man to God ruling man! And it is almost here! It is just a few short years away.
The End of War
Ezekiel 38:23 says, “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.” This is clearly a prophecy yet to be fulfilled. People in general don’t know that God is the Lord today. This is a great transition about to occur.
It continues in the next verse: “And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech [Moscow] and Tubal [Tobolsk]” (Ezekiel 39:1; NKJV). God tells the son of man, Prophesy against Russia and the prince of Russia. Publicize the truth about what is going to happen in that region and the impact it will have on the rest of the world.”
Source: The Trumpet magazine, May/June 2014 issue
Mr. Flurry clearly identified President Vladimir Putin as the “Prince of Russia.” He said that Mr. Putin is literally a sign that Jesus Christ is about to return. And he is compelled to prophesy against him and to the nation of Russia.
THE CONTINUED RISE OF RUSSIA
As we watch world news, the rise of Russia on the world stage has not escaped the eyes of media, political analysts, and observers. A month ago, Russia made a decision to get involved in Syria’s war against the ISIS which is viewed by many as another act of “power play” on the part of its leader, Vladimir Putin and also seen as a failure on the part of the United States in the region.
by Charis Chang
October 21, 2015
“RUSSIA’S power play in Syria appears to be paying off with the superpower making inroads against Islamic State and other extremist groups, leaving its American rivals looking ineffective and highlighting US failures in the region.
When Russia decided to involve itself in the war in Syria, American officials accused it of “pouring gasoline on the fire” in Syria and being “unprofessional” for only giving the US an hour’s notice of its intention to launch air strikes. But just weeks later, Russia’s provocative move seems to be paying off. Professor Clive Williams of Macquarie University’s Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism told news.com.au that Russia’s support had helped Syrian armed forces make advances in some contested areas and “clearly it has made a difference for them”.
Earlier this year, commentators were writing off the Syrian army and suggesting that the government’s days were numbered.
With Russian air support, Syrians have been able to hit back against Islamic State in central and north-western regions, in a war that has stretched out for four years under the US’s watch.
The US is opposed to the Syrian regime headed by brutal President Bashar al-Assad and has so far refused to help its troops, but Prof Williams said it was better for the Assad regime to be in power, than for the likely alternative of jihadist groups Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra to prevail.
“We know what Islamic State is capable of, they are obviously ruthless and clearly have an agenda to dominate other opposition groups,” he said.
He said Russia’s success highlighted the US’s lack of strategy.
“America doesn’t really have a strategy but Russia’s is clear cut,” he said, adding that Russia aimed to support Assad’s regime and its own strategic interests…
HAS AMERICA FAILED?
Earlier this month, US President Barack Obama admitted that his efforts to help resolve the Syria crisis had so far failed, but defended his strategy and dismissed assertions that Russian President Vladimir Putin was now the dominant world leader.
“I didn’t say it was going to be done in a year,” Obama said in a US 60 Minutes interview. “Syria has been a difficult problem for the entire world community. What we have not been able to do so far — and I’m the first to acknowledge this — is to change the dynamic inside of Syria.”
But this week former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger argued in The Wall Street Journal that Russia’s military action was the latest symptom of the “disintegration of the American role in stabilising the Middle East order”.
He said the geopolitical alliances in the region were now in “shambles” and that four countries — Libya, Yemen, Syria and Iraq — had ceased to function.
“American policy has sought to straddle the motivations of all parties and is therefore on the verge of losing the ability to shape events,” Kissinger wrote.
“The US is now opposed to, or at odds in some way or another with, all parties in the region: with Egypt on human rights, with Saudi Arabia over Yemen, with each of the Syrian parties over different objectives.”
He said the US wanted to remove Assad but had been unwilling to generate effective political or military leverage to achieve that aim, or to put forward an alternative political structure to replace him. This had allowed Russia, Iran, Islamic State and other terrorist organisations to move into the vacuum.
When asked whether America had failed, Prof Williams said: “I don’t think its strategy in the Middle East is very effective”…
IS RUSSIA THE REAL WINNER?
Last month Russia announced an intelligence-sharing agreement with Syria, Iran, and Iraq in their fight against Islamic State, a move The New York Times says caught US officials completely off guard.
“It was another sign,” Michael Gordon wrote, that Russia “was moving ahead with a sharply different tack from that of the Obama administration in battling the Islamic State … by assembling a rival coalition that includes Iran and the Syrian government”.
On Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the US would meet with Russian, Saudi and Turkish leaders to seek an end to the conflict in Syria.
Allowing Syria to become a haven for terrorist operations would not benefit any of the nations, including Russia, which would be concerned that the influence of the extremist groups could reach into Muslim regions along its southern border.
When asked whether Russia would be the winner in Syria, Prof Williams said it was in a much better position to be there in the longer term than the US.
He said Russia had been accessing a naval base in Syria since the 1970s and was there at the invitation of the Syrian regime. The naval facility in Tartus has been in use since 1971, and it was Russia’s only spot in the Mediterranean where warships could stop for repairs and replenishment. This year Russia also established a forward air base nearby, in Latakia.
“It’s not like they suddenly appeared on the scene to make life difficult for the Americans,” Prof Williams said, adding that Russia had an enduring strategic interest in Syria.
“If it wants to be seen as a world player it needs access to foreign bases, access to the port in Syria is very important in that context.”
Ultimately, he said Russia would probably be more effective against Islamic State because it had a clear mission to protect its military assets and support the Assad regime.”
Observers have noticed this strategy of Russia of coalescing with Iran and Syria in fighting the Islamic State. With the aggressive move of Russia against the ISIS, which conducted air campaign in ISIS strongholds in Syria, the extremists reacted by downing a Russian Metroject Airbus 321-200 last October 31 in Egypt’s Sinai Desert which killed all 224 people on board. President Putin promised to track down the perpetrators of this ruthless crime. Notice his reaction to the bombing and his resilient stance to avenge the deaths of his fellow citizens:
by Lynn Berry
November 18, 2015.
“MOSCOW (AP) — A somber President Vladimir Putin vowed to hunt down and punish those responsible for a bomb that brought down a Russian passenger jet last month, “wherever they are hiding.” Intensified Russian airstrikes Tuesday hit the Islamic State group’s stronghold in Syria that also is being pounded by the French military.
Russia’s FSB security service confirmed for the first time that a homemade bomb caused the Oct. 31 crash of the Metrojet Airbus 321-200 in Egypt’s Sinai Desert and killed all 224 people aboard in what it called “a terrorist act.” The Islamic state had already claimed responsibility, saying it was punishing Moscow for its air campaign in Syria.
With Russia striking IS targets in reprisal for the Metrojet downing, France hitting militants in response to the attacks on civilians in Paris last week and the ongoing U.S.-led coalition bombings, the extremists were facing a stepped-up assault from at least three military powers. But the Kremlin said it was too soon to call it a de facto alliance.
Putin heard the report on the Metrojet bombing at a late-night meeting of his security advisers in the Kremlin that was shown on national television. He and his advisers stood for moment of silence for those who died on the plane, mostly Russian vacationers flying from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg.
An unusually subdued Putin called it “one of the bloodiest crimes,” and promised retribution for “the murder of our people in Sinai.”
“We will not wipe away the tears from our souls and our hearts. This will stay with us forever,” he said.
The FSB offered a $50 million reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible, and Putin said Russia would be relentless in its pursuit.
“We’re going to look for them everywhere wherever they are hiding. We will find them in any place on Earth and punish them,” he said.
FSB head Alexander Bortnikov said a bomb containing the equivalent of 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of TNT went off aboard the Airbus, causing it to break apart in the air, which explains why the fuselage was scattered over such a large territory. I can certainly say that this was “a terrorist act,” Bortnikov said…
Putin’s meeting at the Kremlin was held immediately upon his return from Monday’s summit with President Barack Obama and other world leaders in Turkey, where they vowed to work together to combat the Islamic State group following Friday’s attacks in Paris that killed 129 people. IS has claimed responsibility for those bombings and shootings.
Putin ordered the Russian missile cruiser Moskva, currently in the Mediterranean, to start cooperating with the French military “as allies” on operations in Syria. He said a French aircraft carrier task force was to approach the Moskva soon.
The plane crash and the Paris attacks clearly have raised Russia’s determination to fight IS, although Western concerns remain that its airstrikes also are hitting rebels who oppose Syrian President Bashar Assad but are not affiliated with radical groups…
Putin said that Russia’s air campaign in Syria “should not only be continued but should be intensified so that the criminals realize that retribution is inevitable.”
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russian bombers hit positions in the Islamic State’s stronghold of Raqqa, as well as in Deir al-Zour.
Russian warplanes fired cruise missiles on militant positions in Syria’s Idlib and Aleppo provinces, Shoigu said. The Islamic State group has positions in Aleppo province, while the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front is in Idlib province.
The cruise missiles that hit the Aleppo and Idlib positions were fired from supersonic Tu-160 bombers and from Tu-95s, long-distance turboprop strategic bombers that started from Russian territory, he added.
France’s airstrikes Tuesday in Raqqa destroyed a command post and training camp, said French military spokesman Col. Gilles Jaron. Later, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said there were new raids in the evening by 10 fighter jets. The aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle will depart Toulon on Thursday for the region.
French President Francois Hollande, who stayed away from the G-20 summit because of the Paris attacks, said he would travel to Moscow next week to help forge a military coalition against the Islamic State group…”
President Putin did not back down from the terrorist act committed against his countrymen. He said that Russia’s air campaign would intensify to send a message to the extremists that they will have to pay for the crime that they have committed. Indeed, Mr. Putin has the power and the will to use it.
Russia wanted a central role in a proposed anti-terrorist coalition with France as noted by Andrew Roth in an article written last November 21, 2015 in Washington Post. He said that Putin instructed his commanders in Syria to “make contact with the French and work with them as allies.”
And in the wake of another attack of Islamist militants in Mali last November 20, 2015 which killed 19 people including six Russians, President Vladimir Putin is now seeking a global cooperation to fight terrorism.
Russia is now in the forefront of these crises facing the world. It wants to play a major role in this fight against terrorism.
Is there any possibility that this continuing power play of Russia ultimately lead to the prophesied alliance which will eventually invade the nation of Israel as foretold in Ezekiel 38 & 39? – The notable prophecy concerning Gog and Magog, an event that God’s church and even the whole world are expecting to happen soon.
Mr. Gerald Flurry believes that there is not enough time for Russia with its strong-willed leader to rise on the world scene and lead a confederacy of nations that will fulfill the prophecy written in Ezekiel 38 and 39. The imminent emergence of such a leader is very much anticipated as expressed by Mr. Gerald Flurry:
“When you study these scriptures alongside current events revealing modern Moscow’s imperialist direction, you see that Vladimir Putin could well become the leader of that gigantic army of the East. I strongly believe Vladimir Putin is going to lead the 200 million-man army. Just look at the power he already has.
Can you think of any other Russian politician who could become so powerful and have the will to lead Russia into the crisis of crises? I see nobody else on the horizon who could do that. And only a tiny few years remain for the prince of Rosh to appear!
Such a man doesn’t appear overnight. It takes years for even a strong-willed leader to gain such control.
Vladimir Putin already has the power—and the will to use it. I believe there is not enough time for a competitor to arise and challenge him.” (emphasis mine in bold)
Source: The Trumpet magazine, February 2014 issue
Mr. Flurry firmly believes the current Russian President, Vladimir Putin, is the man who would fulfill this end-time prophecy in Ezekiel 38 and 39. He believes Mr. Putin is the prophesied “Gog” in this prophecy. And the Philadelphia Church of God anticipates Russia to assemble an Asian alliance in this end time. Apparently, the events that we see happening are not moving in that direction. Initially, we saw Russia merging with Iran and the Syrian government. But following more terrorist attacks, Russia is now seeking the “widest international cooperation” to combat terrorism in all fronts.
What is going on? Do these events, perhaps, preparatory to the anticipated alliance as foreseen in the Gog and Magog prophecy?
BASIS OF PCG’S BELIEF
Now, consider the foundation from where the Philadelphia Church of God has anchored its understanding of this Gog and Magog prophecy. Observe carefully what Mr. Gerald Flurry wrote:
“Scholars generally agree that Gog is Russia and that the land of Magog includes China. The descendants of Meshech and Tubal have been found together throughout history. In Assyrian and Greek histories, Meshech appears as Moscha, Moschi or Mushki—all names related to the Russian spelling of Moscow, as the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia shows. And east of the Ural Mountains lies the city of Tobolsk, named after the Tobol River, derived from Tubal. Tobolsk was once the seat of Russian government over Siberia, and was basically considered Russia’s Asian capital.
This verse also mentions another Russian people with the Hebrew word Rosh. The King James Version translates this into the adjective “chief,” but the correct rendering used by the Moffatt, New King James and others uses the word as a proper noun: Rosh. The verse should read “the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.” Rosh was the ancient name of Russia, once called Rus.
So who is this prince of Russia, Moscow and Tobolsk? The use of these three names shows that this man rules all the peoples of Russia, from west to east.” (emphasis mine in bold)
Source: The Trumpet magazine, May/June 2014 issue
Notice very carefully that the Philadelphia Church of God has founded its belief on what the majority of bible scholars had agreed in their interpretation of Gog in this prophecy. The PCG ministers did not even bother to look into the veracity of this concurrence of scholars regarding this subject. They did not bother to double check if the bible scholars’ understanding of this prophecy was accurate or not.
TWO OPPOSING VIEWS
For centuries now, there have been two clashing opinions with regard to the understanding of this Gog and Magog prophecy in Ezekiel 38 & 39. The widely held view says that this Gog and Magog prophecy applies to modern-day Russia. We may dub this view as the popular opinion. In contrast, the lesser view (unpopular opinion) categorically declares that the nation of Russia is not in any way connected to the Gog and Magog prophecy. So, we have two divergent views. One says, “It’s Russia.” The other says, “It’s not Russia.” The balance of opinion is decidedly in the favor of those who say, “It’s Russia.” Let’s examine closely these two differing opinions.
1. The Popular Opinion
What has been the basis for categorically claiming that Russia would lead an end-time invasion of Israel? How did the exponents of this popular opinion arrive at such an idea? Let’s understand why this view was already predominant even during the 18th and 19th centuries. On page 104 of a book written by Dr. Charles Wright, published in 1886, entitled, “Biblical Essays” he discussed these two conflicting concepts and identified how they arrived at their respective ideas.
“The proper names mentioned in Ezekiel’s prophecy appear at first sight to afford some basis for such an interpretation as that to which we refer. Gog and Magog, since the time of Josephus, have been interpreted to mean the Scythian tribes living in the
Caucasus and the districts between the Caspian Sea and the Sea of Asof, and the Arabic writers use almost the same designation, speaking of Yagug and Magug. Meshech has been supposed to point to Moscow, Tubal to Tobolsk, on the Tobol, the capital of Western Siberia, and it is quite possible to translate the words of Ezek. xxxviii. 2 as in the Revised Version : ” Set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.” The name Rosh has therefore been easily identified with Russia, and to the untrained mind the correspondence in all these particulars appears marvelous and striking.” (emphasis mine in bold)
There were three points raised in this book which, for centuries now, have become the very foundation of belief that Russia is what is being indicated in this prophecy. First, the reference to the Scythians as Magog which started in the time of Josephus and carried down through our time now.
“Gog and Magog, since the time of Josephus, have been interpreted to mean the Scythian tribes.”
Second, the association of Meshech with Moscow and Tubal to Tobolsk both of which are cities of Russia.
“Meshech has been supposed to point to Moscow, Tubal to Tobolsk, on the Tobol, the capital of Western Siberia …”
Third, the translation of the phrase, “the chief prince” in Ezekiel 38:2 to the phrase, “the prince of Rosh.”
“…it is quite possible to translate the words of Ezek. xxxviii. 2 as in the Revised Version : ” Set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.” The name Rosh has therefore been easily identified with Russia…”
Essentially, these ideas show how the earlier advocates of the popular opinion had attached Russia to Gog in this Ezekiel 38 and 39 prophecy. This view is carried down to our time. It has spread and became widely accepted in the Christian world. Note carefully that the justification used for the popular opinion mentioned in Dr. Wright’s book that Russia is what is being referred to in this prophecy is also the PCG’s basis for embracing the popular opinion as mentioned earlier in this article. Remember that the PCG has based its belief on what the scholars had generally agreed in their interpretation of this prophecy.
2. The Unpopular Opinion
Alternatively, Dr. Wright, who endorsed the lesser view, also presented on page 105 of the same book, the evidence from which the argument of the minority is based upon.
It must be acknowledged that no less a scholar than Gesenius was led astray by the similarity of the names Rosh and Russia, and was induced by the authority of Byzantine Greek writers of the tenth century to affirm that the Rosh of Ezekiel—which word the old Greek version (the LXX.) retains in the text—was a Scythian nation belonging to those living near the Taurus range of mountains. Gesenius, after Bochart, fancied that a trace of the name in earlier times might be discovered in the name of a Scythian tribe Rhoxalani, compounded of Rhos and Alani. It has, however, since been shown by scholars that the name of Russian is of Scandinavian origin, that it was borne by the Swedish founders of the Russian State who migrated there in the ninth century, and that through those emigrants into Russia it gradually became the name accepted generally by the Eastern Slavs. Hence there is no real connection between the names Rosh and Russia. Nor is it absolutely certain that the translation “Prince of Rosh” is the most correct rendering, although the balance of critical opinion is decidedly in its favour. It is to be noted that Smend, one of the latest critical interpreters of Ezekiel, maintains that the correct translation is that found in the Authorized Version, “the chief prince of Meshek and Tubal.”
These reasons formed the counter for the widely held view. Dr. Wright pointed out that Gesenius, a famed scholar, was also led astray into believing that Rosh refers to Russia. He further argued that the origin or derivation of the name Russia is Scandinavian. Scandinavia comprises the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Here is what Wikipedia says about Scandinavia.
“Scandinavia is a historical and cultural-linguistic region in Northern Europe characterized by a common ethno-cultural North Germanic heritage and related languages. It comprises the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula, whereas modern Denmark consists of Jutland and the Danish islands.
The term Scandinavia is usually used as a cultural term, but in English usage, it is occasionally confused with the purely geographical term Scandinavian Peninsula, which took its name from the cultural-linguistic concept. The name Scandinavia originally referred vaguely to the former Danish, now Swedish, region Scania. The terms “Scandinavia” and “Scandinavian” entered usage in the late 18th century as terms for the three Scandinavian countries, their Germanic majority peoples and associated language and culture, being introduced by the early linguistic and cultural Scandinavist movement. Sometimes in foreign usage, the term Scandinavia also includes Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Finland, on account of their historical association with the Scandinavian countries and the Scandinavian peoples and languages.
The name Russia, as probed by scholars, was only later introduced by the Swedish, their founding fathers. Dr. Wright also cited a renowned interpreter of his time upholding the Authorized Version’s translation of the phrase, “the chief prince” in Ezekiel 38:2 as the accurate translation and not “prince of Rosh.” Using these grounds as arguments, Dr. Wright and advocates of this unpopular opinion, upheld that there is no way Russia is the figure being discussed in this prophecy. We can see here in Dr. Wright’s book these two contrasting views already existing centuries ago and how both sides arrived to their respective beliefs.
UPTURN OF THE POPULAR OPINION
Despise of all the writings that negate the popular opinion, this view has continued to dominate and spread. What factors contributed to its rise and favorable reception of the people? What made the Gog=Russia view became the mainstream interpretation of this prophecy in Ezekiel 38 and 39? One major factor that contributed to the widespread acceptance and propagation of the popular opinion is the Scofield Reference bible.
“The Scofield Reference Bible is a widely circulated study Bible edited and annotated by the American Bible student Cyrus I. Scofield… Published by Oxford University Press and containing the entire text of the traditional, Protestant King James Version, it first appeared in 1909 and was revised by the author in 1917.
The Scofield Bible had several innovative features. Most important, it printed what amounted to a commentary on the biblical text alongside the Bible instead of in a separate volume, the first to do so since the Geneva Bible (1560) … Sales of the Reference Bible exceeded two million copies by the end of World War II.
The 1917 Scofield Reference Bible notes are now in the public domain, and the Bible is “consistently the best selling edition of the Scofield Bible” in the United Kingdom and Ireland.”
The sales of the Scofield Reference Bible surpassed 2 million copies already just by the end of World War II. What more after that? And now it is in the public domain which makes it available for everyone to view or download. Indeed, the spread of the popular opinion is to be credited to this Bible. Notice carefully what the Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition) says about Gog in connection with the passage in Ezekiel 38:2:
“That the primary reference is to the northern (European) powers, headed up by Russia, all agree. The whole passage should be read in connection with Zechariah 12:1-4 ; 14:1-9 ;Matthew 24:14-30 ; Revelation 14:14-20 ; 19:17-21, “gog” is the prince, “Magog,” his land. The reference to Meshech and Tubal (Moscow and Tobolsk) is a clear mark of identification. Russia and the northern powers have been the latest persecutors of dispersed Israel, and it is congruous both with divine justice and with the covenants (e.g.(See Scofield “Genesis 15:18″) See Scofield ” Deuteronomy 30:3 ” that destruction should fall at the climax of the last mad attempt to exterminate the remnant of Israel in Jerusalem. The whole prophecy belongs to the yet future “day of Jehovah” ; Isaiah 2:10-22 ; Revelation 19:11-21 and to the battle of Armageddon Revelation 16:14 See Scofield “Revelation 19:19 ” but includes also the final revolt of the nations at the close of the kingdom-age. Revelation 20:7-9 .” (emphasis mine in bold)
The Scofield Reference Bible categorically specified Russia as the Gog in this prophecy and using Meshech and Tubal to refer to the cities of Russia, Moscow and Tobolsk, respectively, as proof of identity. In his article, entitled, “The Truth About Gog and Magog” published on June 21, 2012, Mr. Joel Richardson noted how the popular opinion had spread significantly and favorably received after the Scofield Reference Bible was published.
“Throughout the Church today, a vast number of Christians believe that Ezekiel 38 and 39 predicts a Russian-led invasion of Israel in the last days. Ever since the release of the Scofield Reference Bible, this view has been echoed in dozens upon dozens of prophecy books, in thousands of end-time sermons, and today in countless online end-time discussion forums and articles. I cannot understate how well-established and influential the Russian-Gog view is.” (emphasis mine in bold)
In a book titled, “The Comets of God” by Dr. Jeffrey Goodman, a professional archaeologist and historian, he wrote:
“Promoted by the 1909 and 1917 editions of the Scofield Reference Bible, these erroneous associations are representative of a type of arm chair “name game” archeology that was quite popular during the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Based on the inappropriate transliteration of the Hebrew word rosh, which most translations of the Old Testament (KJV, NIV, and Hebrew Tanakh) properly translate as the word “chief”, the NAS translation mistakenly refers to a country called Rosh. Historian Paul Boyer notes that “Scores, and probably hundreds of post war prophecy writers made the Rosh = Russia connection, usually citing Gesenius, Bishop Lowth, Scofield, or all three.”
Dr. Goodman, in his article in his blog site entitled, “Debunking the Russia/War of Gog and Magog Myth”, noticed that “On this particular subject, too often what has been written about these countries constitutes secondary evidence and is not based on facts. In some instances statements are the product of mischief, bias or not studying all of the available information.” He added that, “Although opinions may abound, there is not one verifiable fact or any primary evidence to support the belief that Magog represents Russia.” These flawed association of countries came from secondary sources as noted by Dr. Goodman. They were not based on primary evidence or facts. So, which opinion is the correct one? Which opinion should we believe and uphold? Surprisingly, a very vital historical proof on this subject suddenly emerged!
EMERGENCE OF PRIMARY EVIDENCE
Again, in the book “The Comets of God,” Dr. Goodman wrote:
“This Bible interpretation calling for a Russian invasion of Israel was framed at a time when little was known about Magog, the Scythians, or Russian origins. Many who have held to this interpretation have also tried to understand who the other countries listed in Ezekiel 38-39 were (Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Togarmah). Some have associated Magog and/or Rosh with Russia, some also erroneously associate Meshech with the Russian city of Moscow, and Tubal with the Siberian city of Tobolsk.
For those who insist on the erroneous transliteration of the Hebrew word for “chief” that yields a nation called Rosh, ancient Asia Minor had several different localities that could answer to this name and fulfill the obvious Asia Minor context of Ezekiel 38:2, 3, and 6 without invoking Russia. It should also be noted again that unlike Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Togarmah and Gomer of Ezekiel 38-39, which are all mentioned in the Table of Nations in Genesis 10:2-3, a nation called Rosh is notably absent.
The first Russians were people of a different racial stock, linguistic stock, cultural stock, and time, than the Scythians. Based on excavations and historical records, archeologists and historians are absolutely sure that the progenitors of the modern Russians were the Scandinavians who border the Russians on the northwest. We know that Russia did not develop population centers until around 800 AD. By that time, the Scythians had died out, and the ancient nations of Asia Minor referred to in Ezekiel 38-39, (Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Togarmah) all had ceased to exist. It is not possible that any of these nations could be related to the origins of modern Russia.”
We now have primary evidence that makes this incontestable.
This is what Dr. Goodman wrote in his website:
“The popular identification of the nations of Ezekiel 38-39 is not correct. Despite the traditional viewpoint, professional archeologists know the identity of these nations from the Assyrian Royal Court records. The reliable, clear and detailed records of Assyrian Royal Court show they dealt directly with each of these nations about 100 years before Ezekiel wrote. These are the same records that are referred to in Ezra 4:15, 19 and 5:17-6:7. These passages tell how the Jews of the fifth century BC 538 BC–457 BC overcame opposition by the local Persian governor to the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem by referring to these same Assyrian cuneiform court records.
They are also the same records Bible scholars now use to provide independent verification and edification of the Bible’s historical accounts from about 805 BC to 530 BC.
The Assyrian Royal Court records provide direct evidence and represent an incontestable primary source on this subject, since they were written during the time period in question by people who were directly involved.
Primary sources have greater value than secondary sources, which can include generalizations, speculation and interpretations made long after the occurrence of the events.
The Assyrian Court records show dealings with Magog, Meshech, Tubal, and Togarmah (Ezekiel 38:3-6), the nations that stretched across ancient Asia Minor from west to east.” (emphasis mine in bold)
Dr. Goodman explained this further in “The Comets of God.”
“These Assyrian records show that Magog, Meshech, Tubal, and Togarmah (Ezekiel 38:5) were all nations of ancient Asia Minor that dealt with the Assyrian court. They stretched across Asia Minor. Gomer (Ezekiel 38:6 – Gimmiraia = Cimmerians) actually invaded Asia Minor by coming down from an area around the northeast shore of the Black Sea.
These nations all co-existed in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) at a time when Magog (also known as Ludu or Lydia in both the Bible and the Assyrian texts) was led by a militant leader called Gog (685-652 BC),about 100 years before Ezekiel wrote his book. Gog is the Hebrew spelling of the name of a militant leader from western Asia Minor known as Gyges of Lydia to the Greeks. This same leader and country was known as Gugu of Ludu to the Assyrians.  The Assyrians made great use of eponyms (i.e. words or names derived from the name of a person). They even published eponym lists.
In the Assyrian language “the land of Gugu” is rendered as Ma-gugu, just a “the land of Zamua” is rendered as Ma-zamua.* The Hebrew spelling of Magugu is “Magog,” and thus “Magog” simply means “the land of Gog.”
The ruler referred to in this “land of” eponym format was usually the very first ruler from this land to become known to the Assyrian court. Assyrian court records indeed show that Gyges of Lydia (Gugu of Ludu) was the first ruler from Lydia they ever met, since all dealings with western Asia Minor up to then were mediated by Meshech in central Asia Minor.33 However, after Meshech fell to Gomer, during the reign of Gyges, direct contact between Lydia and Assyria began, and Gyges became the first Lydian ruler known to the Assyrian Court. Hence, Lydia would have also been known as the “land of Gyges” and from this we get Ma-gog.*
When Ezekiel 38:2 refers to Gog from the land of Magog, as the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, the Scripture is referring to a specific geographic area – Asia Minor – and to a specific time period and ruler – when Magog, Meshech, and Tubal were all co-existent. The Assyrian records do speak of such a time period and person, and we now know that this Gog, the King of Lydia (Gugu of Ludu = Gyges of Lydia), led the defensive efforts of Magog (Lydia), Meshech, and Tubal against invading Gomer (the Cimmerians). This was a very narrow time period because Meshech fell to Gomer (the Cimmerians) and was taken over during the reign of Gog.”
What a remarkable discovery of historical evidence! This will definitely revolutionize the view of the advocates of the popular opinion if they come to know about this incredible find. This primary source of proof will completely expose the fallacy and discredit the long held view that Russia is the Gog in this prophecy. This Assyrian Royal Court records, as noted by Dr. Goodman, provide a detailed and reliable solid evidence on this subject.
The Assyrians, as indicated in these records, had dealings with the group of people or nations listed in Ezekiel 38, and these records clearly show that Gog or Magog is not Russia.
When Ezekiel prophesied about Gog, he was actually referencing a history which happened in the geographic region of Asia Minor about one hundred years prior to his time. The names of countries in the prophecy were names of countries which existed together in Asia Minor. His prophecy uses those names of people or countries as metaphors in its future fulfillment. He prophesied of a future Gyges of Lydia (Gog) who will lead a confederacy of nations in the latter days. Those nations will have a future representation as well.
Ezekiel’s prophecy has made reference to this historical event in Asia Minor which he knew, probably, from the same Assyrian historical records. Remember that the prophet Ezekiel was a prisoner in the land of the Chaldeans (Assyria) when he penned his prophecies in a book.
Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him. (Ezekiel 1:1-3)
IMPACT OF PRIMARY SOURCE
With the emergence of the Assyrian Royal Court records, things have started to change concerning this prophecy. We now see many Bible Dictionaries already revised their view on this subject and adopted the Gog = Gyges of Lydia explanation. Here is what Dr. Goodman has observed in these changes:
“Over the last couple of decades various Bible Dictionaries no longer associate Gog and Magog with Russia. Dr. Merril F. Unger, who wrote the preface to the first edition of The Coming Russian Invasion of Israel published in 1974 and lent his name to The Unger Bible Dictionary published in 1960, had believed the discussion of Gog and Magog identified a Russian led invasion of Israel during the end times. However, The New Unger Bible Dictionary published in 1988 (edited by R. K. Harrison) no longer associates Gog and Magog with Russia. Instead it correctly associates Gog and Magog with the ancient western Asia Minor nation of Lydia.
The New Unger Bible Dictionary says, “Gog is described by the prophet (Ezekiel) as belonging to the land of Magog, the situation of which is defined by its proximity to the isles of the Aegean. It is clear that Lydia is meant and that by Magog we must understand the land of Gog.” The capital of Lydia was Sardis.
The New Bible Dictionary, Second Edition published in 1982 says, “The only reasonable identification of Gog is with Gyges, the King of Lydia (c. 660 B. C.) – Assyrian Gugu; Magog could be Assyrian ma(t)gugu, “land of Gog.”
Harper’s Bible Dictionary published in 1985 also identifies Gog with the historical Gyges of Lydia, and identifies “Magog” as a phrase in the Assyrian language which means ‘land of Gog.’” A closer look at Gog and the nation of Lydia, as referred to in other places in the Bible, makes it quite clear that Ezekiel 38-39 referred to the historical king called Gog and the land of Gog [Magog], that is, the ancient nation also known as Lydia.)
Encyclopedia Judaica also identifies Gog with Gyges, the historical King of Lydia, and Magog, his country, with Lydia when it says: “Since in the list of the sons of Noah (Genesis 10:2), Magog is mentioned, the most reasonable identification put forward is with Gyges, also known as Gugu, King of Lydia; and Magog, was his country.”
With this amazing and very important development with regard to this prophecy, why do you think these news and information have escaped the attention of the PCG ministers? The reason is that God has poured out upon them a spirit of deep sleep as prophesied in Isaiah 29:10
For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. (Isaiah 29:10)
God has spiritually closed the eyes of the ministers of The Philadelphia Church of God! They could not see anymore. They could not even discern that there is no more new revelations being poured out to the PCG today.
And with the emergence of this primary evidence that undoubtedly confirm the claim of the minority that there is really no connection between Russia and the Gog and Magog prophecy, the popular opinion, which the PCG upholds, is considered debunked or discredited. What the PCG believes regarding the interpretation of this prophecy must now be thrown to the garbage bin.
With this solid evidence which we have come to know, how should we then view the Gog and Magog prophecy of Ezekiel 38 & 39?
For one, we are now certain that Russia has nothing to do with this prophecy. But should we change Gog to mean Turkey [Asia Minor] now instead of Russia and wait for this country to rise on the scene, form an alliance with the nations listed in Ezekiel 38, and lead them to an invasion of the nation of Israel?
CORRECT APPROACH TO PROPHECY
If we want to know for certain the correct interpretation of this prophecy, we must change the approach on how we must view this prophecy. We should not look at this prophecy in the geopolitical perspective. We must look at it in God’s perspective. We must view this prophecy spiritually. This is the manner by which all prophecies of God must be viewed. God has a specific audience which He wants to address. He is talking to His own people today. This prophecy must be viewed in relation to God’s own church in this end-time.
This prophecy concerning Gog is God’s message for the spiritual “Gog” in the Philadelphia Church of God ministry and to his army.
The correct reading of the Ezekiel 38 and 39 prophecy must be based in God’s word. Historical and archaeological data should only be used to back up what God has stated in His written word, the Bible. Notice the timing of this prophecy. The time frame for this prophecy is the latter days or latter years (Ezek. 38: 8, 16). This is referring to our time now just before Jesus Christ’s second coming. The fulfillment of this prophecy has to happen during this present time.
WHO IS SPIRITUAL GOG?
Who then is Gog whom Ezekiel prophesied about to come on the scene in this latter days or years?
Gog is a man inside God’s own church today. As Mr. Gerald Flurry said that, “Another indication that this is a specific individual is God’s command to prophesy against HIM.” The message contained in this article is directed to him and his army. Who is this man named Gog whom the Almighty God addresses here?
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: (Ezekiel 38:1-3)
In the Bible, the word “Gog” is mentioned in just 3 books, namely, I Chronicles, Ezekiel, and Revelation. It is mentioned once in Chronicles and Revelation and 7 times in Ezekiel. The name, Gog, is first mentioned in I Chronicles 5:4 who was a Reubenite. But nothing further was known about this Gog after his name was mentioned in this verse. The next reference to Gog is already in the 38th chapter of Ezekiel.
Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, (Ezekiel 38:2)
From the land of Magog
Notice the words, “Gog, the land of Magog.” According to Keil & Delitzsch Commentary, the construction “Gog of the land of Magog”, is an abbreviated expression for “Gog from the land of Magog.” Hence, this man, named Gog, is from the land of Magog. But, where is Magog or who was Magog? Magog was first mentioned in the 10th chapter of Genesis. He was the second son of Japheth, and a grandson of Noah.
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. And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. (Genesis 10:1-5)
Magog was from the tribe of Japheth. He was a Japhethite. In verse 5, the phrase, “isles of the Gentiles” is mentioned. By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. (Genesis 10:5)
This is the very first time the word “Gentiles” was used in the Bible. Note that the descendants of Ham were not yet mentioned when the word “Gentiles” was used. The Hamites were only mentioned starting in verse 6 after the word “Gentiles” was used.
Magog was a Gentile. In this prophecy, Magog denotes a region. It is a Gentile region or land. Therefore, this prophesied Gog will appear from a land of a Japhethite or from a land of the Gentiles.
Gog is in a Gentile land!
In page 10 of Mr. Herbert Armstrong’s reprinted article entitled, “Why Russia will not Attack America”, in the section Gog of the Land of Magog, he wrote:
“Ruling over all these allied peoples is Gog. Gog (meaning “mountain” or “high”) is described as a great prince, …. head of the vast region in question.”
Likewise, Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions defines Gog as “mountain.” A mountain is symbolic of government or an empire. Here is the etymology and meaning of the names Gog and Magog as discussed in Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary:
“The name Magog is the name Gog with a prefixed mem, which may be a particle of inquisition: מה (me), what, or מי (mi), who? Or it may come from the particle מן (min ; often abbreviated to a single mem), meaning from.
Where the name Gog comes from is not clear; BDB Theological Dictionary resolutely declares its root unknown. Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, on the other hand, points towards the Hebrew word גג (gag). This masculine noun גג (gag) means roof or top, or (as HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament puts it) the highest point of an edifice. Its root is unknown and it has no sibling derivations.
The noun גג (gag) denotes most commonly the flat roof of a building on which things can take place; usually to do with idolatrous worship (Judges 16:27, Joshua 2:6, 2 Samuel 11:2, 2 Kings 23:12, Jeremiah 19:13 and 32:29, Zephaniah 1:5; but also Acts 10:9)…”
This tells us that meaning of the names of Gog and Magog bear in them a negative image or association with idolatry. Therefore, this Gog is a man involved in idolatrous practices.
The Chief Prince
Gog is mentioned in verse 2 of Ezekiel 38 as the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. The word chief is rô’sh in Hebrew. Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions defines this Hebrew word rosh as follows:
1) head, top, summit, upper part, chief, total, sum, height, front, beginning
1a) head (of man, animals)
1b) top, tip (of mountain)
1c) height (of stars)
1d) chief, head (of man, city, nation, place, family, priest)
1e) head, front, beginning
1f) chief, choicest, best
1g) head, division, company, band
In Strong’s Concordance, it means to shake; the head (as most easily shaken), whether literally or figuratively (in many applications, of place, time, rank, etc.): – band, beginning, captain, chapiter, chief (-est place, man, things), company, end, X every [man], excellent, first, forefront, ([be-]) head, height, (on) high (-est part, [priest]), X lead, X poor, principal, ruler, sum, top.
While the word prince in Strong’s Concordance means an exalted one, that is, a king or sheik; also a rising mist: – captain, chief, cloud, governor, prince, ruler, vapour.
Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary defines this word as a lifted-up one, that is: a captain or chief prince. It says that this noun is used for general congregational rulers (Exodus 16:2, Numbers 1:16, Ezra 1:8) and for specific rulers such as Solomon (Kings 11:34) and Abraham (Genesis 23:6).
It comes from the word nasa which means to lift, in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively, absolutely and relatively: – accept, advance, arise, (able to, [armour], suffer to) bear (-er, up), bring (forth), burn, carry (away), cast, contain, desire, ease, exact, exalt (self), extol, fetch, forgive, furnish, further, give, go on, help, high, hold up, honourable (+ man), lade, lay, lift (self) up, lofty, marry, magnify, X needs, obtain, pardon, raise (up), receive, regard, respect, set (up), spare, stir up, + swear, take (away, up), X utterly, wear, yield.
Gog as “the chief prince” can mean any of the following:
- head king
- highest ruler
- company captain
- king of bands of people
Hence, this man named Gog represents the top ruler or regional director in the Philadelphia Church of God in the region or land of the Gentiles. Meshech and Tubal were also sons of Japheth. Therefore, they were Gentiles. These people or their land are part of the “isles of the Gentiles” mentioned in verse 5. And Gog is mentioned as “the chief prince” of Meshech and Tubal. He is the top man in the “isles of the Gentiles.”
Who were Meshech and Tubal?
The word Meshech, in Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions, means “drawing out.” And the name Tubal means “thou shall be brought.” Gog is the chief ruler of “drawing out” or “bringing forth.”
The people of Meshech and Tubal were known in the olden days as traffickers of slaves. They bought men and women in countries and sold them for slaves. Similarly, the prophesied Gog will be involved in buying and selling slaves.
Also included in the army of Gog are these people:
Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. (Ezekiel 38:5-6)
Among the Japhethites was Gomer and his son, Togarmah. The Persians were also found in the army of Gog. Another people in the alliance was what many English Bible translate as “Ethiopia.” The Hebrew word, however, is “Cush.” Libya should be translated as “Phut.” These are the black people. The Hamitic tribes are part of Gog’s vast army.
The army of Gog is a mixture of Japhetic (Asians) and Hamitic (Blacks) tribes. These are the bands of people gathered to Gog and attack the people of God.
Now, consider all these portrayals mentioned about Gog and his army. Can you think of such a man in the Philadelphia Church of God who perfectly matched such descriptions? Can you think of an “exalted” or “lifted-up” man today, the chief ruler, with an army of Asians and Blacks who fits perfectly the role of the chief prince of the Gentiles? One, and only one person, comes to mind: John Macdonald.
Yes, without a doubt, John Macdonald is the prophesied Gog of Ezekiel 38 and 39!
GOD IS AGAINST GOG
God is against John Macdonald and his legionnaires! And He directs a prophecy against them. In verse 2 of Ezekiel 38, the prophet Ezekiel was appointed by God to prophesy against Gog. He must tell him that God is against him. But Ezekiel’s message is for our time now. This tells us that there must be a “son of man” in our time who must tell this message to John Macdonald and his army. Here is what Mr. Gerald Flurry says about this son of man in his article in the May/June 2014 issue of the Trumpet magazine entitled, “A Message to the Prince of Russia—From God.”
“There is also another personality in these verses that we have not talked about as much. Yet this man has a stronger message with more power behind it than Vladimir Putin can even imagine!
Notice who that same passage in Ezekiel 38 addresses: “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man .…” This shows that God uses a man. When the prophecy was written, it was Ezekiel. But one of the fundamental keys to understanding biblical prophecy is to recognize prophetic duality. There is a latter-day fulfillment as well. This person, a type of Ezekiel, is receiving a message, and God commissions him to prophesy [against the prince of Russia in this end time.] God doesn’t come down and deliver this message Himself. He has a man do it.
We must remember that Ezekiel was taken prisoner when the Jewish nation was taken captive in 585 B.C. However, his book is addressed to the nations of Israel. The Jews, or biblical Judah, are only one tribe or nation of Israel.
Ezekiel could not possibly have delivered his message to the 10 tribes of Israel. They had been taken captive over 100 years before.
Also, Ezekiel’s book is for this end time. Only a type of Ezekiel could deliver his message today.
Who is the “chief prince of Meshech and Tubal”? (Ezekiel 38:2). Someone must know. And who is the “son of man” that God says must prophesy against this prince in the end time?
God’s commission begins in verse 2: “[S]et thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him.” This is for our day, and it’s talking about Gog and Magog. Who are they? People don’t know, but they could. It’s not that difficult. This verse also mentions a definite, specific man that God tells the “son of man” to prophesy against. How can the son of man do that unless he knows who this man is? How could he speak against Gog and Magog without knowing the modern identities of these peoples? These scriptures would be nonsense if we didn’t understand who these nations are in this end time. This son of man has to know in order to deliver God’s message…
THIS IS CRITICAL INFORMATION. GOD COMMISSIONS A SPECIFIC INDIVIDUAL TO SPEAK AGAINST THIS PRINCE …OF RUSSIA, ANOTHER SPECIFIC INDIVIDUAL. To do that job, this “son of man” must know who that man is—or at least have a very strong idea of who he is—and what he is going to do. How could a son of man even do the job unless he has that information?…
You can see a related command in Ezekiel 33:7: “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear THE WORD AT MY MOUTH, and warn them FROM ME.” God delivers this message through a “son of man,” and tells that man, This word is not from a man, it comes from My mouth! Son of man, you go to all these nations and tell them you have a message from the very mouth of God! If a message comes from God’s mouth, you can be sure that God is going to back it and support it 100 percent!”
Mr. Gerald Flurry tells us that we have to know the identity of this man in order to deliver or declare God’s prophecy against him and his army. Today, the son of man can deliver God’s message because he knows exactly the identity of this modern-day spiritual Gog in God’s church. This is God’s message to John Macdonald! If you were a part of John Macdonald’s legion, then, this message is for you as well. And God is telling you that He is against you, too!
GOD’S PURPOSE FOR GOG
God’s counsel for John Macdonald and his bands is covered in verses 3 to 9. God summoned John Macdonald to a crusade against the PCG – to invade His own church. The image here is the same as that in the 10th chapter of Isaiah wherein The Assyrian (John Macdonald) was called upon by God and sent against a hypocritical nation (PCG).
John Macdonald is represented here as an animal with hooks or rings attached to its jaws to compel or lead him and his army to attack God’s own people, the PCG.
And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: (Ezekiel 38:4)
John Macdonald is like an animal which cannot be controlled – “an unmanageable beast which is compelled to follow its leader,” as Kiel and Delitzsch Commentary puts it, or as a “refractory wild beast, which thinks to take its own way, but is bent by a superior power to turn on a course which must end in its destruction” as noted in Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary. He is forced to abide by what God has purposed him to do. This is what Gill Commentary says regarding this verse:
“I will put hooks in thy jaws, and “turn thee about” (f); and lead thee where and as I please; … but of his using him thus in his providence to draw him to the land of Israel, … as fishes are drawn with the hook out of the water. The sense is, that he would so work upon and influence the heart of Gog, that he should be inclined to be brought out and invade God’s people.
So the Targum, “I will persuade thee, and put hooks in thy jaws;” that is, incline his heart to take such a step, which should be to his destruction.”
Notice how John Macdonald’s army is described in verse 4. They are clothed with all sorts. It means perfection or most gorgeously. It also means clothed completely or perfectly with bucklers and shields. They are in full battle gear. Ready for war. They all handle swords and ready to kill the members of God’s church. So far, they have killed close to 300 people in God’s church in the Philippines alone. Add to that the numbers in other regions. Have these words already transpired? Have you seen the fulfillment of these words?
God has instructed John Macdonald and his army to make all the preparations.
Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them. (Ezekiel 38:7)
Barnes Commentary, John Gill’s Commentary, and Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary all agree that the phrase, “Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself” was spoken in irony. Though John Macdonald and his militia make all the necessary preparations for this war, it would all be in vain and to no purpose. They will all perish in the end. John Macdonald and his guerillas who are assembled to him shall be a guard to God’s people. The word guard in Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions means:
place of confinement, prison, guard, jail, guard post, watch, observance
- jail, prison, guard-house
- guard, guard post, act of guarding
Clearly, this verse tells us that the Philadelphia Church of God has become a prison house. John Macdonald and his soldiers are watching over God’s people as the jail warden and jail guards in the fortified PCG prison house. The members of the Philadelphia Church of God often say these words, “I often feel that somebody’s watching me.” They know that they are being watched by those people who are gathered to him.
John Macdonald and all his armies which are made up of his auxiliaries and allies are guarding the moves or actions of God’s people. He is making sure that he has total control of the situation. He devises policies in order that information, news, and problems do not come out of the fenced city.
As the General in his army, the phrase, “be thou a guard unto them” likewise applies to him. He has to guide and direct them. Guard and protect them in this war. His soldiers have to obey his word of command. This phrase is sarcastically said to him according to Gill Commentary, “signifying that let him use all the care and caution that a wise and prudent general can do, yet he and his army should perish.”
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. 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 38:8-9)
John Macdonald and his combatants will rise and come like a storm which comes without warning and cause horror and darkness throughout the land. He came to the Philippines unexpectedly and like a storm he destroyed many of God’s people. He caused great distress and terror among the members. He made a great noise and his dread is known all over the land. John Macdonald with his army were able to take control of the entire Philippines and all his territory in other countries and brought pain, anguish, sorrow, and oppression to God’s people.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: (Ezekiel 38:10)
Can you discern the evil thought of John Macdonald? Just looking at the number of people he has driven out of God’s church so far is already a clear proof of an evil mindset that he has. Satan is coming in the flesh of this man. Can you see that? This evil mind of John Macdonald is the same thing which God saw in the heart of The Assyrian. Here is what is written in our article entitled, “The Assyrian Unmasked!”
“The Assyrian has his own plan which he intends to accomplish. He is thinking only about his own plan. But God knew what’s in his heart. He knew about his plan. What God saw was a WICKED INTENTION in his heart! That’s why a WOE was denounced against him for this WICKED INTENTION.”
John Macdonald has allowed Satan to get into him and became his instrument in killing many of God’s own people. He rose against the “unwalled” congregations in many areas of the world under his jurisdiction.
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, (Ezekiel 38:11)
The congregations of the PCG were unwalled prior to the ascension of the 25 men of Ezekiel 8. The members of the church were at rest. After they took control of these villages, the church, as a whole, became a prison house – a fenced or fortified city. And John Macdonald has control over the two-thirds of the PCG in terms of the expanse of land. This talks about The Assyrian’s ambitious plans of universal conquest. Gog wants to conquer and take control of the entire Philadelphia Church of God.
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 38:12)
The phrase, “To take a spoil, and to take a prey” in Ezekiel 38:12 is the same exact words in Isaiah 10:6. This verse ascertains that Gog is The Assyrian of Isaiah chapter 10. This ties in perfectly with God’s purpose of sending the Assyrian against God’s own church as mentioned in Isaiah 10:6. Here is what is written in our article entitled, “The Assyrian Unmasked!”
“For this very purpose the Assyrian has been sent by God to this hypocritical nation:
I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. (Isaiah 10:6)
God has appointed this King of Assyria to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. These words are languages of war. To “take the spoil” means to “plunder them.” To tread down, according to Barnes Commentary, means the vanquished and the slain are trodden down by horses of the conquering army. Also, it means here, that the Assyrian would humble and subdue the people; that he would trample indignantly on the nation, regarding them with contempt, and no more to be esteemed than the mire of the streets.”
This is exactly what John Macdonald has done to God’s people which is described as people who “have gotten cattle and goods and dwell in the midst of the land.” (Ezek. 38:12)
“which have gotten cattle and goods”
The word cattle in Strong’s Concordance means something bought, that is, property, but only live stock; abstractly acquisition: – cattle, flock, herd, possession, purchase, substance. And the word goods means creation, that is, (concretely) creatures; also acquisition, purchase, wealth: – getting, goods, X with money, riches, substance.
The phrase “which have gotten cattle and goods” means that these people became “rich and increased with goods.” This is a description of the Laodiceans. That’s why the Philadelphia Church of God is the true Laodicean church of this day and age.
“that dwell in the midst of the land”
The words, “midst of the land” literally means “the navel” – the central point or the middle. God’s church is set in the midst of the land or the center of the whole earth. – being a praise of the whole earth. In God’s eyes, His church is viewed as the center of the whole earth.
But for what end has God led Gog to invade His own people?
And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. (Ezekiel 38:16)
God’s purpose of bringing John Macdonald and his multitude against His church is for the heathen (The Remembrancers) may know God when He will appear holy and just through the punishment being inflicted on His enemies, John Macdonald and his bands. He will sanctify Himself upon him by judgment.
The word sanctified, in Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions, may mean:
- to show oneself sacred or majestic
- to be honoured, be treated as sacred
God will be honored and His holiness will be manifested for the judgment which He will lay on Gog. God’s Remembrancers will know and witness the vengeance of God which will be meted out on Gog with his throng for what they have done to God’s church and for bringing them into captivity. God is behind these events in His church. He is the one orchestrating what is happening and what is about to happen for His own purpose and glory. The Remembrancers understand that the Philadelphia Church of God had gone into captivity by giving them into the hands of His enemies because of their sins to God.
And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them. (Ezekiel 39:23-24)
And God’s glory will be set among the Remembrancers. God will display His glory on them.
And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them. (Ezekiel 39:21)
Ezekiel 38:16 and Ezekiel 39:23 tell us that the Gentiles (The Remembrancers) will come to know and understand this first. This ties in with what the Apostle Paul said in Romans chapter 11 that blindness in part has happened to the members in God’s church of Israelitish descent.
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: (Romans 11:25-26)
This is a great mystery to all! The apostle Paul alluded to this event as a mystery. The fullness of the Gentiles has to happen first before the salvation of spiritual Israel. The word fullness as used here has a very deep meaning. This word is plērōma in Greek and is defined in Thayer’s Greek Definitions as follows:
1) that which is (has been) filled
1a) a ship inasmuch as it is filled (i.e. manned) with sailors, rowers, and soldiers
1b) in the NT, the body of believers, as that which is filled with the presence, power, agency, riches of God and of Christ
2) that which fills or with which a thing is filled
2a) of those things which a ship is filled, freight and merchandise, sailors, oarsmen, soldiers
2b) completeness or fulness of time
3) fulness, abundance
4) a fulfilling, keeping
It comes from the word plēroō which means:
1) to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full
1a) to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally
1a1) I abound, I am liberally supplied
2) to render full, i.e. to complete
2a) to fill to the top: so that nothing shall be wanting to full measure, fill to the brim
2b) to consummate: a number
2b1) to make complete in every particular, to render perfect
2b2) to carry through to the end, to accomplish, carry out, (some undertaking)
2c) to carry into effect, bring to realisation, realise
2c1) of matters of duty: to perform, execute
2c2) of sayings, promises, prophecies, to bring to pass, ratify, accomplish
2c3) to fulfil, i.e. to cause God’s will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God’s promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfilment
In Strong’s Concordance, this word plēroō means to make replete, that is, (literally) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (figuratively) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.: – accomplish, X after, (be) complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply.
The meanings show us that God’s work in this end time will be accomplished, caused to abound or flourish, and completed to the full through the Gentiles. God is using His Two Witnesses to execute an office, which is the Office of a Prophet, to fulfill His sayings, promises, and prophecies. These servants, backed up by The Remembrancers, will carry out some undertakings according to God’s commands. They will finish their tasks for a period of 42 months and confirm or verify God’s word through predictions or prophecies. This will cause all Israel to be saved (Romans 11:26). God has brought forth His Deliverer from His own church, the PCG, for the purpose of removing wickedness from it.
God is speaking today! He’s sending out the fire of His wrath against John Macdonald and his army. This article is another plague being delivered to the proud and lofty people in the Philadelphia Church of God. God’s church will continue to shake greatly.
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; (Ezekiel 38:18-19)
God, at this moment, is doing a strange work with His little group in the wilderness known as the Remembrancers. God is greatly shaking His people inside the PCG. His presence will be felt and manifested in the destruction of John Macdonald and his legionnaires. And God’s people will convulse and become agitated when this happens.
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. (Ezekiel 38:20)
The words in verse 20 are in metaphors. The images of fishes, fowls, beasts, creeping things, and men all refer to God’s people who are inside the Philadelphia Church of God. God is telling them that they will shake and tremble when He sends this fire of His wrath upon them. The steep places should be rendered as “towers.” The mountains, wall, and these towers symbolize the PCG ministers who will fall down as God unleash His wrath upon them in His jealousy.
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. (Ezekiel 38:21-22)
The word plead in Strong’s Concordance means to judge, that is, pronounce sentence (for or against); by implication to vindicate or punish. It also means to litigate (literally or figuratively), avenge, execute (judgment), (be a) judge (-ment).
God is executing judgment upon John Macdonald and his army right now. God is judging him with pestilence and blood. The word pestilence means plague. God’s plagues, which afflict, harass, and torment, are being poured out to him. The overflowing rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone are on the scene. The depiction here parallels the following verses in Isaiah 66 and Jeremiah 25.
For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many… And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. (Isaiah 66:15-16, 19)
For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts. Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground. (Jeremiah 25:29-33)
God brings evil to the Philadelphia Church of God (Jeremiah 25:29). This is the spoiling God and breaking to pieces. The phrase, “all the inhabitants of the earth” refers to God’s people all over the whole world. God’s sword, referring to God’s word, shall be upon the wicked in God’s church (Jer. 25:31). It’s being brought to them through these prophesies (Jer. 25:30). He is roaring to them and uttering His voice through these articles being sent to them. This is the noise coming from the ends of the earth (The Philippines) because God has a contention with them (Jer. 25:31).
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 38:23)
This is what God will do in this period of His judgment upon Gog and his legion. He will magnify himself! Why is it that God wants to magnify himself? It is because John Macdonald and his bands have magnified themselves instead of God. They have taken God’s honor and glory. Do you notice how members in the PCG look to their ministers as gods? They fear them more than they fear God! And God is so angry for what these men have done. Hence, in this time of God’s recompense, He has called for a sword upon them. God’s going to lift Himself up and take back the glory which was taken from Him by Gog and his army.
The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: (Isaiah 2:11-12)
God alone will be exalted in this day of His vengeance! The lofty looks and haughtiness of John Macdonald and his men will be abased or humbled.
The 39th chapter of Ezekiel further details the outcome of God’s judgment upon John Macdonald and his army. God will reduce his army to just a sixth part of its number (Ezek. 39:2) and will make them unable to fight (Ezekiel 39:3) and ultimately crushed them (Ezekiel 39:4).
And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD. And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD. (Ezekiel 39:2-6)
Through God’s judgment being carried out by His loyal and faithful Remembrancers, God will again make known His holy name in the midst of His church. He will remove the abomination or various pagan practices being observed by His people. He will not allow them to pollute His name again. He will have mercy upon them after they have repented of their sins and be ashamed of what they’ve done.
So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken. (Ezekiel 39:7-8)
God’s people are in captivity today because of their sins and rebellion. And God is hiding His face from them. But that is about to change dramatically.
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 39:25-29)
God will ultimately bring them out of their captivity when they have acknowledged their transgressions against Him. They will know that God is behind this work being done through His Gentile remnant, His Remembrancers. After they have borne their shame or disgrace, God will bring them out of prison. He will not leave not even one of them in the hands of John Macdonald and his army. He will not hide again His face from His people and will pour out His spirit upon them. This will all lead to a happy ending!