“And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: 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 38:15–16
In Ezekiel 38–39, God describes an army led by Gog from the land of Magog, “the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal”, an army that will come against the unwalled villages of Israel with a thirst for plunder. The inhabitants of Saudi Arabia and far off lands will wonder and ask, “Art thou come to take a spoil?” (Eze 38:13).
Throughout history, there have been many ideas about the specific identities of Gog and the constituents of his great army. We don’t have a Togarmah or Tubal on our maps anymore, after all. However, these ancient tribal names from chapter 10 of Genesis were historically associated with certain areas round about the Middle East and can be generally named today.
Magog, Gomer, Meshech and Tubal were all sons of Noah’s son Japheth, who moved up into lands north of Syria. The Greek poet Hesiod (who predated Ezekiel) identified Magog with the Scythians of what is now southern Russia. Magog’s descendants the Cimmerians rode their horses across the Crimean Peninsula in what is now southern Ukraine. Meshech, Tubal and Togarmah can all be traced to various parts of present-day Turkey and Armenia. The Iranians are still called Persians today. We know that the children of Ham’s son Phut settled in northern Africa, in the areas claimed by Libya and even Algeria today. Cush is often translated “Ethiopia” in our King James Bible, but it actually refers to the land of Nubia on the upper Nile, in what is now northern Sudan.
Note that those swarming down on Israel in Gog’s enormous army are not from Edom (Jordan) or Egypt or Syria or the land of the Philistines, the direct neighbors of Israel. They are from southern Russia, Turkey, Persia, Sudan and Libya. They are an army of invaders with greed and piracy in their hearts.
It’s an interesting prophecy. Israel is not currently a country dwelling in safety, but it is truly a land brought back from waste and desolation, filled with people brought forth out of the nations as Ezekiel describes.
Even so, it’s valuable to watch how the countries of Gog’s future army are faring these days:
Chechnya: Muslims from the Russian republic of Chechnya are among the fighters filling the ranks of the Islamic State (IS) currently overrunning Syria and Iraq. A young ethnic Chechen named Omar al-Shishani is one of the most notable, visible commanders of the IS, making appearances on the group’s online videos in the place of the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdad of Iraq. In a video posted online at the end of June, Shishani declared, “Our aim is clear and everyone knows why we are fighting. Our path is toward the caliphate.” After years of fighting Russia, the Chechens are considered among the toughest of the fighters warring against Syria. Al-Shishani hails from Georgia, and his chosen name means “Omar the Chechen.”
Libya: In 2011, Muammar al-Gaddafi was shoved from power after 42 years of ruling, and the new government has been too weak to bring in line the multitude of various factions and militant groups that have sought to gain control. A Sufi mosque was bulldozed in Tripoli in broad daylight in 2012, and on September 11, 2012, more than 120 terrorists attacked the American consulate in Benghazi and killed the American Ambassador to Libya.
Since July 13 2014, militants have battled over the Tripoli airport, damaging planes and infrastructure and forcing the cancellation of all flights. A coalition of Islamic militias continue to fight for control of the airport, using mortar rounds and tanks. Stray rockets from the attacks have hit nearby homes, and after a year of violence across the country, there is a very real threat of full-out civil war.
Sudan: An estimated 300,000 people have been killed during the years of war against the Christians and animists in the southwest Darfur region of Sudan, and nearly 3 million people have been displaced. Yet while Khartoum’s war against the southern Sudanese Christians has long been on the world’s radar, Sudan is not widely named in the direct enemies of Israel. On several occasions, however, Israel has struck Sudanese targets to halt the delivery of weapons to Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Most recently, on Friday Israel blew up a warehouse containing ammunition for Hamas. Unnamed Sudanese sources told the London-based daily Al-Arab that Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir met with a Hamas leader in Doha, Qatar earlier this month.
Turkey: Decades of friendly relations between Israel and Turkey are spiraling as tensions continue to mount between the two countries over Israel’s struggle with Gaza. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Mayor Melih Gokcek of Ankara have both accused Israel of genocide worse than Hitler. Turks in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir have rushed to the streets in mobs to demonstrate against Israel, and police have had to use tear gas and water canons to disperse crowds throwing rocks at the Israeli embassy in Istanbul. As danger rises in Turkey, Israelis are canceling their trip plans to Turkish resorts in favor of Greece and Cyprus and Barcelona. The U.S. State Department has called Erdogan’s Nazi comments, “Offensive and wrong.”
Gog may not be ready to descend on the unwalled villages of Israel right now, but even today the players are peoples suffering massive discontent and poverty, peoples filled Islamic anger at Israel, whole nations of young men used to fighting and destruction and willing to plunder a land where Jews just want to mind their own business.
- Chechen Is Prominent Commander In Breakaway Al-Qaida Group
- Israel Said To Bomb Sudan Weapon Warehouse
— The Times of Israel
- Erdogan Calls Israel More Barbaric Than Hitler, But Defends Turkish Jews
- Israelis Canceling Turkey Vacations In Droves After Erdogan’s Anti-Israel Remarks
- Tripoli Airport Rocked By Fresh Violence
— IOL News
- MH17 crash: Did Russia pull the trigger? Ukraine says yes