Ezekiel, Magog and the Scythians

Joel Richardson WND

The prophecy of Ezekiel 38 and 39, often referred to as the Battle of Gog and Magog is hands-down, one of the most influential end-time prophecies in all of Scripture. But it is also arguably one of the most misinterpreted prophecies. In previous articles, I’ve explained that while many prophecy teachers claim that Ezekiel is speaking of a Russia-led invasion of Israel, the historical record and modern scholarship show that it is in fact a Turkish-led invasion. As previously discussed, the popular but faulty line of reasoning many follow to conclude a Russian-led invasion is as follows:

1. Magog and the Scythians are one and the same.
2. The Scythians lived in Russia.
3. Gog, the leader of Ezekiel’s invasion, comes from Magog.
4. Thus Ezekiel’s prophesied invasion is led by a leader from Russia.

The problem with this line of reasoning is that history tells us that the Scythians were a nomadic migratory people who rarely stayed in one place for very long. The question is not if the Scythians ever lived in the region that has become modern-day Russia, but rather, where did the Magog/Scythian people live specifically in Ezekiel’s day? We are not concerned with where the Scythians lived several hundred or even thousands of years after Ezekiel. Our only concern is to discover where they lived during Ezekiel’s day. Lets review a small sampling of historical sources to see where they placed the Magog/Scythian people during Ezekiel’s day.

Herodotus (484– 425 B.C.)

Herodotus, the Greek historian, lived roughly 150 years after Ezekiel. In his day, he placed the homeland of the Scythians in the region extending from eastern Europe to Moldova and the Ukraine. According to Dr. Michael Kulikowski, department head of History at Pennsylvania State University, “Herodotus’ Scythians were to be found in a bit of modern Bulgaria and Romania, and across the grasslands of Moldova and Ukraine” but not Russia. Another essential point is that while Herodotus also discusses Meshech and Tubal, two of the regions that Magog is ruler over, and placed them squarely in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey).

Pliny The Elder (d. A.D. 79)

Pliny the Elder, a first-century Roman military commander, author, naturalist and philosopher, referred to the Turkish city of Hieropolis as the heartland of Magog. Hierapolis was an ancient Greco-Roman city in Phyrgia near Laodicea. Hieropolis was also known as Scythopolis, (City of Scythes) which the peoples of that day referred to as Magog. One would think that this would be crucial information to consider and mention, yet in the numerous popular books and treatments of Gog and Magog I’ve reviewed in my studies, I have never once seen this important historical reference cited.

Hippolytus (d. 235)

Roughly a hundred years after Pliny, Hippolytus, one of the most important Christian theologians of the early third century, spoke of Magog. In his work known as “The Chronicon,” Hippolytus also connected Magog to Asia Minor – modern-day Turkey. One would also think this to be a crucial reference to cite. Hippolytus is one of the most prolific early Christian writers concerning the last days. Yet again, in the many popular works arguing for a Russian Magog correlation, I have never once seen it mentioned.

Maimonides (d.1205)

Maimonides, also known as Rambam, the revered Jewish sage, in “Hichot Terumot,” also identified Magog as being in the modern nation of Turkey.

John Wesley (1755)

In fact, this connection between modern-day Turkey and Magog was well-known among Christian theologians for centuries. In his “Explanatory Notes” on Ezekiel 38 and 39, John Wesley says the following:

Magog is, at least, part of Scythia, and comprehends Syria, in which was Hierapolis taken by the Scythians, and called of them Scythopolis. It is that country, which now is in subjection to the Turks, and may be extended thro’ Asia minor, the countries of Sarmatia, and many others, under more than one in succession of time. And in the last time under some one active and daring prince, all their power will be stirred up against Christians.

Modern scholarship

It is because of this fact, ignored by virtually all modern-day popular prophecy teachers, that the homeland of the Scythians during Ezekiel’s day was in western Asia Minor, that so many modern scholars place Magog in Asia Minor or specifically in the ancient Kingdom of Lydia (Western Turkey). In a previous article, I re-created maps from several of the best modern-day Bible atlases, showing how they each placed Magog in the region of modern-day Turkey.

Below is another map showing the migration pattern of the ancient Scythians and where they lived during Ezekiel’s days:

Scythian migration pattern:

1. 8th century B.C.: Scythians migrate south out of the Caucasus.
2. 7th century B.C.: Scythians invade Asia Minor.
3. 7th century B.C. (in Ezekiel’s day), Scythians founded Hieroplois / Scythopolis near Laodicea.
4. Late 6th century B.C.: Scythians driven into Europe by the Persians.
5. 4th-3rd centuries B.C.: Scythians spread north to European and Russian Steppes.

Through consulting a wide range of ancient sources, including Assyrian records, scholars today acknowledge that before Ezekiel’s day, the Scythians had pushed down out of the Caucasus and invaded Asia Minor, or modern-day Turkey. There they dominated and settled the city of Hierapolis, also known as Scythopolis, in the western Anatolian Kingdom of Lydia, which was for many years known as Magog. Sometime after Ezekiel’s day, a Persian invasion pushed the Scythians out of Asia Minor, west and north into Europe around the Black Sea. Eventually they would reach Russia. But this was hundreds of years after Ezekiel’s day.

In conclusion, Ezekiel spoke of a Turkish-led invasion of Israel. Genuine students of the Scriptures who make it their goal to always seek truth, even when it is in conflict with their own traditions, will recognize the flaws with the popular view. It is imperative that students of the Bible take the time to study Ezekiel’s prophecy. In my newest book, “Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist,” not only do we examine many essential, but often-ignored historical, geographical and exegetical elements of the passage, but even more importantly, its application and relevance for the Church and the world today.

As the days the prophets warned us of draw ever closer, it is imperative that every Christian believer pay careful attention to the roadmap and many prophetic warnings so clearly laid out before us. The Lord has given us this roadmap; it is our duty as his students of the Scriptures not only to make ourselves aware of it, but most importantly, to follow it.

31 Comments
  • Joel Varner
    Posted at 02:41h, 31 August

    Good article, Joel! That migratory map alone is enough to show the Russian Magog fallacy.

    God bless, brother!

  • Joel's Trumpet | JohnsRevelation.org Prophecy Blog
    Posted at 06:40h, 31 August

    […] Ezekiel, Magog and the Scythians […]

  • Perry Brown
    Posted at 12:13h, 31 August

    Ezekiel’s office as a prophet was during the first 20 or 30 years of the exile of Judah in the land of Babylon. He probably received a word from the Lord, which is recorded in chapters 38 and 39 of his book, probably right after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

    Some of the pre-requisites for the fulfillment of this prophecy, which can be found in verses 38:8, 11, 12, are the restoration from the sword, the return of the people to the Land (mountains of Israel) which had been a continual waste, the gathering out from many nations, the dwelling safely in unwalled villages and the initial restoration of basic economic life (cattle and goods).

    When Ezekiel prophesied Ezek 38 and 39, most of Jews were in captivity in Babylon, scattered within the nations (Babylon, and also the Northern Kingdom was already scattered when Assyria took them captives) and smitten by Nebuchadnezzar’s sword. After 70 years, the Jews were aloud to go back to their Land and restore the nation and rebuild what was wasted.

    This prophecy would only become possible for fulfillment after the return to the Land, 70 years latter from the first deportation to Babylon. The Jews in captivity knew that their chastisement from the Lord in Babylon would only last 70 years because Jeremiah prophesied this and (Jer 25:8-12) and wrote a letter to them (Jer 29:1-10). Ezekiel probably knew about the 70 years.

    The Jews in captivity understood that after the 70 years period they would be restored to the Land and restart living again, living in safety and start to acquire cattle and goods for a while, then soon a band of nations and armies would come and invade the Land, plunder their goods, commit destruction, but at the end the Lord would come for the deliverance and defeat the invaders and oppressors. The question is, did this happen in their life time? No, it did not. We know that, because we can read about history that happened 2,000 to 2,500 years ago. We know that, but they didn’t. They thought it could happen any time after they would be gathered back to the Land and start to prosperous and feel secure.

    Said that, for us Bible students in the 21st century to identify correctly the nations and kingdoms involved in the Israel invasion of this prophecy, we need to understand what exactly the Jews from those days forward understood. For us, specifically the Japhetic descendent nations (Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Gomer and Togarmah), this task is harder, since Scripture hardly mentions these nations/peoples. Historically, these Japhetic descendents did not directly interact or relate much to Israel. They were never Israel’s enemies. That’s why we do not have much information about them in the Bible. That makes the task much harder. However, we can easily know the geographic limits or broad borders of these nations collectively from Scripture and secular basic historic literature. The other nations/kingdoms/peoples involved are very easy to identify, since Cush, Put and Persia are fairly agreed by most historians and scholar.

    The collectivity of kingdoms/nations/peoples listed within the companions with Gog in the invasion of the Land of Israel, could be of two natures: first, only one whole governmental realm that encompasses all listed names, or second, a coalition or confederation of individual kingdoms/nations/peoples.

    As I mentioned before, the Jewish understanding of Ezekiel’s generation was that the prophecy of Ezek 38 and 39 could only be fulfilled after the restoration to the Land, 70 years latter from the first deportation. When the 70 years was about to come to its end the Medo-Persian Empire conquered and took over Babylon, and Cyrus decreed in 536 BC the return of the Jewish people back to their own Land. Only from this point onwards the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy is possible to be fulfilled. We can reasonably identify the limits or borders of the whole land under the Persian Empire in Scripture and historic literature. Half a century after, the Persian Empire dominated the all land from India to Ethiopia (Cush), over 127 provinces (Esther 1:1).

    From this perspective, all of the nations/kingdoms/peoples listed in Gog’s alliance in Ezek 38-39 (Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, Togarmah, Persia, Cush and Put) must be included within the borders or limits of the Persian Empire, since it was the first dominant empire at the time of the restoration of the Jews to their Land.

    Did then the prophecy fulfill in the days of the Persian Empire domination? No, not at all. Actually, the prophecy emphasizes that Gog, the chief prince, was from Magog and leader of Meshech and Tubal, and not of Persia. In the prophecy, Persia is not the leading nation/kingdom/people of this coalition or unified Empire. Persia was only one of the nations that was together with Gog. Persia was east, not north. In reality, this prophecy could not even be fulfilled in the Persian Empire period.

    We know what happened that made the Persian Empire fall. The Macedonian-Grecian kingdom, under Alexander, the Great, defeated the Persian Empire and took over the whole empire. Alexander conquered all the land that was under the control of Persian Empire. But, suddenly he died, and his kingdom after some years was split. After the Diadochi wars, the Grecian Empire was divided in to 4 kingdoms. After some many smaller independent kingdoms started to split even more the whole Hellenistic world, specifically within Asia Minor/Anatolia. Kingdoms such as Brytnia, Pontus, Cappadocia, Pergamon, Armenia and others. In the east, the Parthians took over much of the Seleucid Empire.

    Could the Ezekiel 38-39 be fulfilled in the Grecian/Hellenistic world periods? More so than the Persian Empire. The leaders of the unified Grecian Empire and the major empire from the divided Hellenistic period, the Seleucid Empire, were from the north. Was the prophecy fulfilled within the Grecian/Hellenistic period? No, not at all.

    Again, the nations/kingdoms/peoples listed in Gog’s alliance could only be within the geographic limits and borders of the Grecian/Hellenistic Empires.

    On the downfall of the Hellenistic Empires, the Roman Empire took over the western part of the Grecian/Hellenistic world. Could the Romans fulfill Ezekiel 38-38 prophecy? No. As we know the leader of the Gog alliance is from the north, and Rome was from the west. Even more, to fulfill the prophecy, the Roman Empire would have to come under agreement with their most immediate enemy, the Parthian Empire.

    My whole point here is to try to understand what would have been the mindset of the Jews of the 5 last centuries before Christ in regard to the fulfillment of Ezek 38-39 prophecy in relation to the identification of the nations/kingdoms/peoples involved.

    In conclusion, the expectation of the Jews regard to the identification of these nations was within the limits/ borders of the common geographic realm/domain of the Medo-Persian, Grecian and Roman Empires. Any modern day attempt to identify any of these nations/kingdoms/peoples (Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, Togarmah, Persia, Cush and Put) outside the limits/borders of the Medo-Persian Empire, Grecian/Helenistic Empires and eastern portion of the Roman Empire is not from a sound biblical approach.

    Perry Brown

  • alan cobb
    Posted at 13:44h, 31 August

    Excellent article! I recently heard Russia has as much oil as Saudi Arabia and therefore has no need to invade the middle East to forcible takeover the oil fields there. It seems in Daniel 11 the AntiChrist invades Israel because of indignation for “the covenant,” not oil. I’m not sure if this is the exact interpretation. Anyone else agree/disagree?

  • Steve Golay
    Posted at 15:39h, 31 August

    This from the respected (if recent on the scene) online journal Gatestone. Worth factoring in to the thesis of your article.

    http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3319/turkish-journalist-sos

  • R. B. Gannon
    Posted at 16:17h, 01 September

    The problem I see with the scenario is that the war of Gog and Magog actually happens after the millenium or close to it. Revelation 20 makes it clear.
    Rev 20:7 And when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be loosed out of his prison.
    Rev 20:8 And he will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle. The number of them is as the sand of the sea.
    Rev 20:9 And they went up over the breadth of the earth and circled around the camp of the saints, and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of Heaven and devoured them.

    The Israeli’s are not living in unwalled cities and safety at this time. At the end of the millenium thy will be.
    Also, the prophecy is for the “latter years” as we see in Eze 38:8 After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you shall come into the land turned back from the sword, gathered out of many peoples, on the mountains of Israel, which have always been waste. (But he has been brought out of the peoples, and they shall dwell securely, all of them.)
    Remember also (if it is in time sequence) Ez. 37 just dealt with the general resurrection of the dead that we also find in Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, the small and the great, stand before God. And books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

    My opinion: Ez. 37,38,& 39 go hand in hand with Revelation 20. and pertain to the latter years at the close of the millenium. The war that happens before Christ returns is found in Rev. 19, the battle of Armageddon: Rev 19:11 And I saw Heaven opened. And behold, a white horse! And He sitting on him was called Faithful and True. And in righteousness He judges and makes war.
    Rev 19:12 And His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head many crowns. And He had a name written, one that no one knew except Himself.
    Rev 19:13 And He had been clothed in a garment dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
    Rev 19:14 And the armies in Heaven followed Him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
    Rev 19:15 And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, so that with it He should strike the nations. And He will shepherd them with a rod of iron. And He treads the winepress of the wine of the anger and of the wrath of Almighty God.
    Rev 19:16 And He has on His garment, and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
    Rev 19:17 And I saw one angel standing in the sun. And he cried with a great voice, saying to all the birds that fly in mid-heaven, Come and gather together to the supper of the great God,
    Rev 19:18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of commanders, and the flesh of strong ones, and the flesh of horses, and those sitting on them, and the flesh of all, both free and slave, both small and great.
    Rev 19:19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth and their armies, being gathered to make war against Him who sat on the horse, and against His army.
    Rev 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet doing signs before it, (by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast), and those who had worshiped his image. The two were thrown alive into the Lake of Fire burning with brimstone.
    Rev 19:21 And the rest were slain by the sword of Him who sat on the horse, it proceeding out of His mouth. And all the birds were filled from their flesh.
    This war is headed by the BEAST as we find in Rev. 19:20 and in Rev 17:12 And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, who have received no kingdom yet, but will receive authority as kings one hour with the beast.
    Rev 17:13 These have one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.
    Rev 17:14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them. For He is Lord of lords and King of kings. And those with Him are the called and elect and faithful ones.
    I know many today would disagree with what I wrote above, but that if how I see it from the Bible.

  • Joel Varner
    Posted at 21:41h, 01 September

    R.B.

    Have you considered these similarities?

    Ezekiel 39:17-18, 20 NET

    “As for you, son of man, this is what the sovereign Lord says: Tell every kind of bird and every wild beast: ‘Assemble and come! Gather from all around to my slaughter which I am going to make for you, a great slaughter on the mountains of Israel! You will eat flesh and drink blood. You will eat the flesh of warriors and drink the blood of the princes of the earth – the rams, lambs, goats, and bulls, all of them fattened animals of Bashan. You will fill up at my table with horses and charioteers, with warriors and all the soldiers,’ declares the sovereign Lord.

    Revelation 19:17-21 NET

    Then I saw one angel standing in the sun, and he shouted in a loud voice to all the birds flying high in the sky:
    “Come, gather around for the great banquet of God,
    to eat your fill of the flesh of kings,
    the flesh of generals,
    the flesh of powerful people,
    the flesh of horses and those who ride them,
    and the flesh of all people, both free and slave,
    and small and great!”
    Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to do battle with the one who rode the horse and with his army. Now the beast was seized, and along with him the false prophet who had performed the signs on his behalf – signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. Both of them were thrown alive into the lake of fire burning with sulfur. The others were killed by the sword that extended from the mouth of the one who rode the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves with their flesh.

    The description of the armies being killed and eaten by wild animals is very similar. Revelation 19 is definitely talking about the Anti-Christ.

    Also, consider this text from Ezekiel…

    Ezekiel 38:17 NET

    “‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Are you the one of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days that I would bring you against them?”

    If Gog is someone other than the AC and who comes after the Millennium then where are the prophecies before Ezekiel that God made about him?

    That’s where I see a problem with associating Ezekiel 38-39 with Revelation 20. I could be wrong though.

    Be blessed,

    Joel Varner

  • Joel
    Posted at 21:44h, 01 September

    R.B. Gannon,

    Although I do disagree with your view, it is not a disrespectable view, and there are certainly others who take this view.

    Rather than simply explain why I reject it, I will simply present my case in questions and then address your one objection:

    (1) First, can you explain the reasons and meaning of the differences between the Gog OF Magog of Ezekiel 38,39 and the Gog AND Magog Revelation 20?

    (2) In Ezekiel God tells Gog that he is the same guy that all of the other previous prophets were talking about:

    “‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Are you not the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel? At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them. —Ezekiel 38:17

    Can you list a few of these passages where any of the pre-Ezekielian prophets spoke of a post-millennial invasion and defeat?

    (3) Revelation 19, the Battle of Armageddon, almost quotes verbatim from Ez. 39 concerning the great feast of the birds and beasts on the flesh of kings and warriors. How do you explain the same feast found in both passages if they are not related?

    (4) At the end of the Great Trib, all of the mountains are leveled:

    The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. —Revelation 16:17-20

    Yet at the end of the Gog of Magog invasion in Ezekiel 39, every mountain is said to “fall down” or be thrown down.

    How would you explain this contradiction? Would it not seem more reasonable to see Ezekiel 38,39 simply coordinate with the other example of mountains being thrown down, rather than there being two cases when mountains are leveled?

    (5) At the conclusion of the Gog of Magog Battle, it is said that the Nations, both Israel and the gentiles will all “know the LORD”. Does it seem reasonable that this does not occur until after Jesus has literally been ruling the earth for 1000 years, and after the time when Isaiah describes “the knowledge (or knowing of) God will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.”?

    (7) As a direct result of the destruction of Gog and his armies, the final Jewish exiles and captives are delivered into the land of Israel. Does it seem reasonable to say that there are Jewish captives throughout the 1000 of Jesus’ reign?

    Now, let me briefly address your objection:

    You said: “The Israeli’s are not living in unwalled cities and safety at this time. At the end of the millenium thy will be.”

    I disagree. The wall that runs through Samaria does not disqualify today’s Israel from not matching Ezekiel’s description. Israel cities are not walled cities in the ancient / classic sense that Ezekiel was speaking of.

    The safety they feel is not a real safety, but perceived. If someone were standing outside of your bedroom window as you slept peacefully, about to smash into your bedroom window and kill you, could it be said that you are sleeping in genuine safety? Or would this only be a false sense of safety? This false perceived sense of safety also lines up perfectly with several other key texts which speak of the Antichrist attacking Israel after deceitfully wooing her into a false sense of safety:

    When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses–but only for a time. —Daniel 11:24

    He will cause deceit to prosper… When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power. —Daniel 8:25

    While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. —1 Thessalonians 5:3

    I hope this has sparked some further study and consideration.

    Blessings to you sir!

  • Joel Varner
    Posted at 21:54h, 01 September

    Another problem would be that according to the end of Ezekiel 39, God would have to send Israel into exile sometime during the Millennium.

    Ezekiel 39:21, 23-29 NET

    “I will display my majesty among the nations. All the nations will witness the judgment I have executed, and the power I have exhibited among them. The nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile due to their iniquity, for they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies; all of them died by the sword. According to their uncleanness and rebellion I have dealt with them, and I hid my face from them.
    “Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob, and I will have mercy on the entire house of Israel. I will be zealous for my holy name. They will bear their shame for all their unfaithful acts against me, when they live securely on their land with no one to make them afraid. When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will magnify myself among them in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations, and then gathered them into their own land. I will not leave any of them in exile any longer. I will no longer hide my face from them, when I pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the sovereign Lord.”

    This part of the prophecy seems to indicate that God will destroy Israel’s enemies who exiled them in order to restore them to Israel. Now it is my opinion that God will use the Anti-Christ to scatter the Jews and then defeat him at His second coming and bring back the displaced and scattered captives to Israel.

    What do you think?

  • Joel Varner
    Posted at 21:56h, 01 September

    Sorry Joel, I didn’t realize you had posted your response before I submitted my 2nd response. Good argument, though!

  • Joel
    Posted at 22:06h, 01 September

    No, great thoughts as always Joel. Bless you!

  • Perry Brown
    Posted at 22:17h, 01 September

    R.B. Gannon,

    The mention Gog and Magog in Revelation 20 does not mean that the Old Testament prophecy of Ezekiel 38 and 39 is a direct parallel to the same event. What it simply means is that at the end of the millennium, Satan will be released to deceive many nations and gather them together for a battle, in the likeness as he did deceiving and gathering the nations with the Antichrist at Armageddon, 1,000 years earlier. The apostle John never intended for his readers to make a direct link and think that what Ezekiel prophesied was the same event he was describing.

    Perry Brown

  • artaxes
    Posted at 18:44h, 08 September

    Hi, Joel.
    I enjoy reading your articles and I mostly agree with you concerning Gog and the location of Magog.
    However, I think you are wrong concerning the location of Hierapolis.
    According to Encyclopedia Britannica there were two ancient cities that were called Hierapolis:

    Hierapolis, modern Pamukkale, Hierapolis: Roman amphitheatre at Hierapolis, Turkey [Credit: Andrew Ward—Life File/Getty Images]Hierapolis: travertine terraces [Credit: Travel Ink/Gallo Images/Getty Images]ancient Phrygian city in southwestern Turkey, about 6 miles (10 km) north of the ruins of Laodicea. Situated on the Coruh River, a tributary of the Buyuk Menderes (Maeander) River, it was probably established by Eumenes II of Pergamum in 190 bc. It became a sacred city (hieron), its chief religious festival being the Letoia, named after the goddess Leto, a local variant of the Great Mother of the Gods, who was honoured with orgiastic rites. There was also a worship of Apollo Lairbenos. Hierapolis was rebuilt during the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius in … (100 of 174 words)

    Hierapolis, ancient Syrian city, now partly occupied by Manbij (Membij), about 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Aleppo. The place first appears in Greek as Bambyce, but its Syrian name was probably Mabbog. The Seleucids made it the chief station on their main road between Antioch and Seleucia-on-Tigris. As a centre of the worship of the Syrian nature goddess Atargatis, it became known to the Greeks as the Holy City (Hierapolis).

    In the 3rd century ce, Hierapolis was one of the great cities of Syria, but it thereafter declined. Hārūn al-Rashīd restored it at the end of the 8th century. Crusaders … (100 of 144 words)

    Since you state, that Pliny the Elder referred to Hierapolis as the heartland of Magog, I think you confused the two cities.
    As far as I know, Pliny refered to the latter city (Manbij) as Mabbog.
    Also Pliny wrote about Mabbog, not Magog.
    As I am no scholar and have no access to the original sources of Pliny but only to some texts on the internet, I cannot be dogmatic about that.

    Also I want to share with you all, that I wrote an article about a place called Bagog in southeast Turkey on my blog
    http://www.artaxes.wordpress.com .
    In my article I explore the possibility, that this place could have something to do with Ezekiel’s prophecy.

    Sincirely
    Artaxes

  • Joel
    Posted at 20:17h, 08 September

    Artaxes,

    Thanks for your comments. There was also a Nysa-Scythopolis founded by Sycthes in modern day Israel in what is now called Bethsan.

    Pliny’s actual comment reads as follows:

    “Bambyx (a part of Lydia) the other name of which is Hierapolis, but by the Syrians called Magog.”

    So after much researching, I think you are incorrect that Pliny’s / Maimonides’ / Wesley’s / Raleigh’s Heirapolis/Scythopolis/Bambyce sat on the border of Turkey and Syria. It was in fact the Heiropolis in Lydia.

    This also helps to explain why Hippolytus links the Scythes with Galatia in central Turkey and why so many other scholarly other sources have linked Magog with Lydia (and thus king Gyges) in Western Asian Minor. Either way, whether having dominated Western or central Asia Minor, we arrive at the same result. Gog is from Magog which is the chief, the prince of Meshech and Tubal, which are undoubtedly in Turkey. Just a few further references:

    Daniel I. Block, perhaps the premiere living scholar of the Book of Ezekiel, in the New International Commentary, says, “It seems best to interpret Magog as a contraction of an original māt Gūgi, ‘land of Gog,’ and to see here a reference to the territory of Lydia in western Anatolia [Turkey].”

    The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary states, “Magog, possibly meaning ‘the land of Gog,’ was no doubt in Asia Minor [Turkey] and may refer to Lydia.”

    The IVP Bible Background Commentary lists Magog, Meshech, Tubal, and Togarmah as “sections or peoples in Asia Minor” [Turkey].

    The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, under the entry for “Magog,” states, “It is clear that Lydia [Turkey] is meant, and that by ‘Magog,’ we must understand, ‘the land of Gog.’”

    The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary places Magog in Anatolia, or modern-day Turkey.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia states, “It seems more probable that . . . Magog should be identified with Lydia [Turkey]. On the other hand, as Mosoch and Thubal were nations belonging to Asia Minor, it would seem from the text of Ezechiel that Magog must be in that part of the world.”

    After going abck and working through my references, I think that the Heirapolis/Scythopolis of Pliny is the one near Allepo on the border of Syria and Turkey. This would have been founded when the Scythes made a southern incursion from Asia Minor. It is also when the other Scythopolis may have been founded in Israel.

    But as I always say, in our efforts to figure out precisely where Scripture is pointing as to the region from which the AC will come, it may be Turkey, but my second guess is Syria. While today, Turkey makes much better sense, things could certainly change. One thing is clear, whether Turkey or Syria, we can be quite confident that Magog is not Russia. People will cite ten thousand sources, but they all are references to where Scythia was located hundreds of years after Ezekiel. And that is simply poor hermeneutics, as I am sure you agree.

    Thanks again for your comments.

    In all things, God knows best.

    Bless you!

  • Joel Varner
    Posted at 21:01h, 08 September

    Hey Joel, I think Syria would have more of a claim to being “a little horn” than Turkey would in a Middle Eastern context. But if we are talking in an international context then I think Turkey would also be considered “a little horn.” Also, the fact that the Ottoman Empire was ruled from Turkey gives credibility to Turkey being the head of the revived beast. Turkey’s relative tolerance in the region would also give Israel the go-ahead in letting Turkey lead negotiations with Israel and her neighbors when things get a lot worse. I don’t see America leading Middle Eastern negotiations if present foreign policy continues in the direction we have been going. I could see America encouraging a so-called “Moderate” Turkey to take the wheel in Middle Eastern affairs.

    If the uprising in Syria has the same outcome as Egypt, Libya and Tunisia then I don’t think they would be a source of hope or security for Israel during duress. I don’t have many reasons to think that Syria will have a different outcome than an Islamist leadership.

    So right now I am focusing on Turkey but I would agree with you that Syria does have potential, especially being located in Biblical Assyria which is spoken of numerous times in end-time passages.

    But as you said, either way, Russia is irrelevant to the text.

    Bless you!

    Joel V.

  • Joel Varner
    Posted at 21:06h, 08 September

    Oh, I forgot to mention something very important in regards to Turkey being the leader of the beast. The fact that God chose seven churches in Turkey as the recipients of the Book of Revelation isn’t insignificant.

  • Joel
    Posted at 21:08h, 08 September

    Right. The last thing I would want to do is develop a theory and then become its most ardent defender, becoming so calcified in my need to be proven right that I repeat what is now being done with Russia by some of our more populist and insecure brethren. It can be sad to see the reactions of some when their theories are challenged, or worse yet, debunked. I am convinced that as we seek to discern truth, humility is the absolute key. Without it, we have so missed the point. In the end, I would rather be proven wrong and have my humility intact, than to be right and filled with pride on the Day of Judgment. Oh Lord, what utter loss that would be.

  • Joel Varner
    Posted at 21:26h, 08 September

    Exactly. Without humility God will never give revelation. Humility and obedience to Christ are the two most important foundations for receiving revelation. Those two things have been ignored for far too long.

  • Jeffrey Goodman
    Posted at 21:16h, 10 September

    I am a professional archeologist. Many end times aficionados believe that Magog represents Russia and that Russia will soon come to invade Israel. However, the ancient Assyrians had dealings with Magog, which was also called Lydia, and their Court records clearly identify Magog and it is not Russia. For decades Christians have been deceived and have been unwittingly deceiving others about who is to be involved in the prophesied invasion of Israel. Russia has absolutely nothing to do with Magog and being the nation that will lead an invasion of Israel.
    The Assyrian Royal Court dealt with each of these nations directly about 100 years before Ezekiel wrote, and their records are reliable, clear and detailed. These are the same records that are referred to in Ezra 4:15 and the same records used to verify the historical events written about in scripture from circa 800 B.C. to 400 B.C. These records represent the primary source on this subject as opposed to secondary sources which are often not based on facts and very often the product of mischief, bias or lack of study.
    Any reference to Josephus is of no avail because historians and archeologists know from a multitude of written records, that the Greeks (such as Herodotus) did not call Magog the Scythians. All of our earliest copies of Josephus come from eleventh century Monks and the passage that is often referred to is clearly a forgery for several reasons obvious to historians and archeologists who study the ancient Near East.
    Similarly, the oft quoted statement that has the ancient Roman historian Pliny in his work The Natural History that connects Magog with the Scythians is another forgery. Nineteenth century Scottish Reverend John Cumming is credited as being a leading promoter of the Bible interpretation that calls for Russia invading Israel. In his book The Destiny of Nations Cumming quotes a passage from Pliny’s book about Magog which he purposefully altered.
    Reverend Cumming on page 126 wrote: “Pliny says ‘Hierapolis taken by the Scythians was afterwards called Magog.'”
    Pliny on page 439 actually wrote: “Bambyx (a part of Lydia) the other name of which is Hierapolis, but by the Syrians called Magog.”
    Pliny’s statement has been misquoted by Cumming in a way that makes it seem that Magog was related to the Scythians rather than the Lydians. Unfortunately, this same misquote of Pliny has been carried forward in time and appears in Hal Lindsey’s book The Late Great Planet Earth (page 53). This alteration is easily verified by going to a copy of Pliny’s book and seeing how key words were changed and switched around. It is difficult to believe that none of the many authors of books that discuss Ezekiel 38/39 and the war of Gog and Magog have not discovered this sleight of hand and exposed the deception. The correct identification of Magog with Lydia and not Scythia is consistent with the ancient texts of the Assyrians, who at various times were either the allies or the foes of the Scythians, but had peaceful dealings with the Lydians, who they also referred to as “Magog.” Within academia today, no professional archeologists, historians or serious Bible researchers associate Magog with the Scythians or the Scythians with the Russians. The truth is that modern scholars have unequivocally documented that a group of Scandinavian Viking traders called the Rus began the Russian state during the mid AD 800’s, and gave their name to Russia. Therefore there is no historical or factual basis for any connection of Russia to Magog.

    Please consider taking the time to read my report Debunking the Russia/War of Gog and Magog Myth on this important subject that recently appeared in the Christian Post Blogs on March 15, 2012.The link is http://blogs.christianpost.com/guest-views/debunking-the-russia-war-of-gog-and-magog-myth-8754/#more. This report can also be found on my blog site for 2/9/12: http://www.newscientificevidenceforgod.com/search?updated-max=2012-03-19T18:07:00-07:00
    A chart that illustrates how The Battle of Gog and Magog and the Battle of Armageddon is one in the same war that occurs at the end of the tribulation can be found at: http://www.newscientificevidenceforgod.com/2012/03/chartthe-war-of-gog-and-magog-and.html#links
    There are also free downloads on this subject at http://www.thecometsofgod.com Blessings

  • artaxes
    Posted at 22:43h, 10 September

    Hi Joel.
    I appreciate your willingness to correct yourself, when in error.
    That shows me, that you are committed to the Truth, as we all should be.
    Of course my statements take nothing major away from your arguments and correct conclusions.
    I just think, that in seeking the truth, we should be as accurate as possible.
    Concerning the “Magog is Russia”-theory I completly agree with you, that this theory is neither backed by scripture nor by history.
    In fact it is ridiculous at best and evil and deceiptive at worst.
    But we shouldn’t be dogmatic about Turkey either.
    I believe, that Magog covered areas of modern day Turkey and Syria.
    The folks at biblestudying.net have a map with the probable location of Magog, which shows just that.
    The middle east is in a state of flux with unpredictable outcomes.
    In light of the last view years (the “arab spring”, a potential Israel/Iran-war with the potential to trigger a series of wars in Lebanon and Gaza and major shifts in Egypt) it is easy to envision an invasion and de facto occupation of northern Syryia by Turkey (for humanitarian reasons of course /sarc).
    Another possibility would be an independent kurdish state in northern Syria spreading into Turkey and triggerring a turkish military response with a permanent turkish occupation of northern Syria as a result.
    No one knows. The situation is so unstable and chaotic, that anything could happen.
    Now, back to Magog.
    When it comes to identifying the location of Magog, (correct me if I’m wrong) it boils down to two approaches.
    1. Associating Magog with the Scythians and by studying where they primarily lived at Ezekiels time, arriving like you at the same conclusion.
    2. Associating Gog with the Lydian King Gyges or Gugu and arriving at the conclusion, that Magog was in Lydia.
    Both approaches seem not very convincing to me.
    The first one is based only on a single quote of Josephus, who lived centuries after Ezekiel.
    The second one does not make much sense.
    Why should Ezekiel prophecy against a King, who was already dead before Ezekiel was born.
    Imagine me saying today: “Son of man, prophecy against Napoleon and the land of the Gaul”.
    Would that make sense?
    Many say, that Gog was a title.
    But then again, Gyges or Gugu was the real name of a real king and not a title like cesar, pharaoh or emperor.

    So I want to propose a third approach which is independend of the Scythians and Gyges:
    In Turkey there is today a Mountain which is called Bagog by the local Kurds and by the turkish press.
    This Mountain is near the City of Nusaybin on the Turkish/Syrian border in an area, which is called Tur Abdin and is famous for its ancient christian monasteries.
    This Area and specifically Maunt Bagog was called Beth Gaugal in the syriac language since at least the 5th century AD.
    Philoxenus, bishop of Mabbogh (485-519) addressed a letter to the monks of Beth-Gaugal (just google Beth Gaugal).
    Early church historian Sozomen (400-450) also mentioned Mount Gaugalios or Mount Gaugalion.
    Interestingly in the Aramaic New Convenant Gog is spelled as Gaug.
    Andrew Palmer states in his book “Monk and mason on the Tigris frontier: the early history of Tur Abdin”, that it is possible that Beth Gaugal was named after a mesopotamian deity and that Gugal or Gugallu was a title for the god Abad.
    Gugal was also one of the 50+ names of the highest Babylonian God Marduk.
    In my view it makes much more sense, that Ezekiel spoke of a title like Gugal, than the real name of a king, was already dead at the time of his prophecy.
    The word Beth or Bayta means in both Hebrew and Aramaic House but it can have a broader meaning (like House of David).
    So Beth Gaugal could mean Gaugal’s seat of power.

    Now, as I said, I am not a scholar and I could be completly wrong.
    But I think my proposal deserves at least a closer look.

    Sincirely
    Artaxes

  • Joel
    Posted at 22:51h, 10 September

    Jeffrey,

    Thank you very much for your work. We are in agreement! Could I send you one of my new books?

    Blessings!

  • Joel
    Posted at 22:54h, 10 September

    Artaxes,

    I’ve been chewing on various historical references in this issue for so long… Your theory could have merit, but then again, there are several other similar arguments that would also seem to have some merit. I would have to chew on it a bit more.

  • artaxes
    Posted at 23:09h, 10 September

    thanks

  • Jeffrey Goodman
    Posted at 21:18h, 11 September

    Joel,
    Thank you for looking at my material. I would love to go over one of your new books. And if it is OK with you I would like to send you my last book, “THE COMETS OF GOD-New Scientific Evidence for God: Recent archeological, geological and astronomical discoveries that shine new light on the Bible and its prophecies” Please email me directly where to send it.
    In case you did not get to my article link I believe that Gog and Magog, Meshech and Tubal are historical types of the end times antichrist and his empire. Herodotus tells how part of the population from Lydia (Magog) migrated to Rome and became the Etruscans who jump started the Romans. This now makes Ezekiel 38/39 consistent with Daniel. Recently, DNA of Etruscan human skeletal material and DNA from Etruscan cattle has been shown to match the human and cattle DNA from Lydia. You have a lot of intelligent readers who have done some homework, and can follow complex material so below is the article I referred to. I do not want to impose on you or interfere with your work so if this is too much just edit it out. I can’t get the map to copy but it can be seen on the Christian Post article or book download.

    Debunking the Russia/War of Gog and Magog Myth

    by Christian Post Guest Voices

    By Jeffrey Goodman, Ph.D.

    One of the more popular topics among Christians today is the “end times.” With each significant news story, a correlation between it and end times events prophesied in the Bible is sought. Because of recent military activities and tensions in Russia and Israel, the end times event prophesied in the Bible called “The War of Gog and Magog” is now a red hot topic. Ezekiel 38/39 tells how Gog, the powerful leader from the land of Magog, will lead a confederacy of nations to invade Israel during the end times and start a war of unprecedented size and devastation.

    Many end times aficionados believe that Magog represents Russia and that Russia will soon come to invade Israel. However, the ancient Assyrians had dealings with Magog, and their Court records clearly identify Magog and it is not Russia. For decades Christians have been deceived and have been unwittingly deceiving others about who is to be involved in the prophesied invasion of Israel. Russia has absolutely nothing to do with Magog and being the nation that will lead an invasion of Israel.

    While many may picture Russia as an “evil empire,” personal opinions, traditional views, incomplete research, and current events cannot be the basis of the identification of Gog and Magog and the interpretation of Ezekiel 38/39. The correct identification and interpretation of Ezekiel 38/39 must be based on scripture, with the aid of the archeological and historical context of these scriptures.

    While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, everyone is not entitled to their own set of facts. Although opinions may abound, there is not one verifiable fact or any primary evidence to support the belief that Magog represents Russia. Any interpretation of Ezekiel 38/39 requires recognition of the historical truth.

    The brief report below explains the great deception about Russia and the War of Gog and Magog. Complete details about this topic and other end time events are available in my new book THE COMETS OF GOD.

    Russia and the War of Gog and Magog

    While most end times Bible prophecy authors have argued that Russia’s origins trace back to the ancient nation of “Magog” described in Ezekiel 38-39, this is simply not true. This myth that traces back to the mid 1800’s is built on historical statements that were deliberately altered, and on the assumption that the similarity of certain words could mean something else in another language. Although ancient records have been found that tell a different story about the identity of Magog and about Russia’s origins, the “Russia is Magog” myth persists.

    Assyrian Court Records

    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. 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.

    The Assyrian Court records show dealings with Magog, Meshech, Tubal, and Togarmah (Ezekiel 38:3-6), the nations that stretched across ancient Asia Minor (modern Turkey) from west to east. From these records we also learn that the ancient nation of Gomer (Ezekiel 38:6), an enemy of the Assyrians invaded Asia Minor by coming down from an area around the northeast shore of the Black Sea. Archeologists know that the militant leader called “Gog” in Ezekiel 38/39 led a confederacy of these nations against invading Gomer.

    Who and what are Gog and Magog?

    Gog is a historical man who the Greeks called Gyges of Lydia. In Gyges of Lydia we have the leader the Assyrians called “Gugu, King of Ludu,” and “Gugu of Magugu,” who is referred to in the Bible as Gog of Magog. “Magog” simply means “the land of Gog.” In Akkadian ma means land, so in Akkadian Ma- gugu means “the land of Gugu,” which becomes our Ma-gog. (Just as the Assyrian eponym for the land of the leader called Zamua is rendered as Ma-zamua). Magog is an eponym for the ancient nation of Lydia that was in the westernmost part of Asia Minor. The Assyrians often referred to a new land by the name of the first leader they learned of from this land. The Assyrians dealt with Lydia through Meshech, who were subsequently defeated by Gomer, and thus the Assyrians finally came to deal with Lydia directly. In the prophecy of Ezekiel 38/39 Gog is being used as a “historical type” of the “antichrist” who is prophesied to come during the end times, and Magog is being used as a “historical type” of “the land of the antichrist.”

    It has been mistakenly believed that the ancient nation of “Magog” in western Asia Minor was the ancient “tribal name” of the “Scythians,” a group of Iranian speaking nomadic tribes from Central Asia (north of Iran) that traveled across the Russian steppes, and came to live in the territory north of the Black Sea. Then, in turn, and again in error, it has been believed that the ancient Scythians were the progenitors of the modern Russians. In Foes from the Northern Frontier Dr. Edwin Yamauchi, a professor of history at Miami University in Ohio emphatically explains that none of the ancient nations referred to in Ezekiel 38-39 can possibly be related to modern Russia. Further, Yamauchi says:

    “Even if one were to transliterate the Hebrew rosh as a proper name (as does the NAS) rather than translate it as ‘chief’ (as does the KJV, NIV, and Hebrew Tanakh), it can have nothing to do with modern ‘Russia.’ This would be a gross anachronism for the modern name is based upon the name Rus, which was brought into the region of Kiev, north of the Black Sea, by the Vikings only in the Middle Ages.”

    Daniel I. Block, a professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois in The Book of Ezekiel writes,

    “The popular identification of Tubal with Tubolsk in Russia (H. Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth 1970, p.53) is ludicrous . . . The popular identification of Meshech with Moscow (of Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth p.53) is absurd.

    How did Russia become associated with Magog?

    The erroneous belief that Russia is Magog can be traced back to a small group of 18th and 19th century theologians who wrote long before the primary evidence from the ancient Assyrian records was discovered, translated and made available to the public. Instead, they based their assertions on secondary sources, historical works written over 500 years after the time of Ezekiel, and to make matters worse some of these sources had come to be purposefully altered. These altered references include statements attributed to the first century AD Jewish historian Josephus, and first century AD Roman historian Pliny.

    In his book The Antiquity of the Jews Josephus says that the Greeks called the “Magogites” the “Scythians” despite the fact that the Greeks did not call the Magogites the Scythians. In this same passage there are other errors in the identification of other ancient nations of Asia Minor. This passage shows that the author did not understand that Ashkenaz is the Hebrew word for the Scythians. (Interestingly, the Assyrian word for the Scythians, Ishkuza or Ashguza is similar to the Hebrew word for the Scythians – Ashkenaz.) This passage also comes into conflict with what the ancient Greek historian Herodotus who after living with each group wrote about the Scythians and the Lydians in his book The History. Since Josephus used Herodotus’ book as a reference, one can only speculate how and why these obviously wrong statements are in Josephus’ book. Were these inaccurate statements the products of Josephus’ imagination, or were they the result of alterations to the few copies of Josephus’ work that existed in medieval times? (Jews did not preserve the writings of Josephus because they considered him to be a traitor.) Beginning in the 11th century these surviving manuscripts were copied by Catholic monks, and obviously altered in some places to suit prevailing beliefs. Ecclesiastical acceptance of the erroneous connection between Magog and the Scythians traces back to Saint Jerome of the late fourth century AD. Unfortunately, the oft quoted statement that has Josephus connecting Magog with the Scythians is an act of document forgery.

    Similarly, the oft quoted statement that has the ancient Roman historian Pliny in his work The Natural History that connects Magog with the Scythians is another forgery. Nineteenth century Scottish Reverend John Cumming is credited as being a leading promoter of the Bible interpretation that calls for Russia invading Israel. In his book The Destiny of Nations Cumming quotes a passage from Pliny’s book about Magog which he purposefully altered.

    Reverend Cumming on page 126 wrote: “Pliny says ‘Hierapolis taken by the Scythians was afterwards called Magog.'”

    Pliny on page 439 actually wrote: “Bambyx (a part of Lydia) the other name of which is Hierapolis, but by the Syrians called Magog.”

    Pliny’s statement has been misquoted by Cumming in a way that makes it seem that Magog was related to the Scythians rather than the Lydians. Unfortunately, this same misquote of Pliny has been carried forward in time and appears in Hal Lindsey’s book The Late Great Planet Earth (page 53). This alteration is easily verified by going to a copy of Pliny’s book and seeing how key words were changed and switched around. It is difficult to believe that none of the many authors of books that discuss Ezekiel 38/39 and the war of Gog and Magog have not discovered this sleight of hand and exposed the deception. (While many contemporary Evangelicals gave Cumming’s books on prophecy favorable reviews, an article in the Westminster Review in 1855 about Cumming attacked him for his “intellectual dishonesty, anti-Catholic bigotry, and moral and spiritual perversion.”)

    The correct identification of Magog with Lydia and not Scythia is consistent with the ancient texts of the Assyrians, who at various times were either the allies or the foes of the Scythians, but had peaceful dealings with the Lydians, who they also referred to as “Magog.” Within academia today, no professional archeologists, historians or serious Bible researchers associate Magog with the Scythians or the Scythians with the Russians. The truth is that modern scholars have unequivocally documented that a group of Scandinavian Viking traders called the Rus began the Russian state during the mid AD 800’s, and gave their name to Russia. Therefore there is no historical or factual basis for any connection of Russia to Magog.

    ANCIENT NATIONS OF EZEKIEL 38/39 Ezekiel 38/39 makes reference to a group of ancient nations that are all found in Asia Minor: Magog (Lydia), Meshech, Tubal, Togarmah and Gomer. The correct identification of these nations comes from the “Royal Court Records of the Assyrians”; the primary source on this subject. These same Assyrian Court records are referred to in the Bible (Ezra 4:15, 19).

    Missing illus-see free download or Christian Post Blog

    LYDIAN MIGRATION TO ITALY An early Lydian dynasty experienced a prolonged famine which caused half of the Lydian population to migrate to the west coast of Italy, just north of Rome. The Romans called these Lydian migrants “Etruscans.” The Etruscans settled in an area called Tuscany and they helped found the city of Rome and jump start the Roman civilization. Hundreds of years after this migration, the Lydian population in Asia Minor came to be ruled by a militant ruler whom the Greeks called “Gyges of Lydia.” To the Assyrians this same leader was known as “Gugu King of Ludu,” and “Gugu of Magugu.” Ezekiel referred to this same leader as “Gog of Magog” where “Magog” means “the land of Gog.”

    Why understanding Gog and Magog is important

    As for comparing Gog and Magog of Ezekiel 38/39 to Gog and Magog of Revelation 20:7-10, two different wars are being referred to and the terms Gog and Magog are not being used literally but being used as “historical types.” As referred to in Ezekiel 38-39, the historical Gog who was a “prince” of the nations of Magog, Meshech, and Tubal, serve as “historical types” of the “antichrist” and the multi-national confederacy over which the antichrist is to rule during the tribulation period. The Bible uses the historical leader Gog as a historical type of the antichrist to come in the exact same ways the Bible uses the historical King David as a type of Jesus’ Second Coming (Ezekiel 34:23 and Ezekiel 37:22-24). Similarly, in Matthew 11:14 (also see Malachi 4:5) and Matthew 17:10-13 (“if you will receive it”) Jesus in effect says that John is a historical type of Elijah. In other words, “Gog and Magog” (remember in Akkadian “Magog” means “the land of Gog”) in their most basic meaning, are taken to be types or references to any “antichrist” and “the land of this antichrist;” just as I John 2:18, 22, 4:3, and II John 7 says “there are many antichrists.” Thus, Revelation 20 tells of a second and separate battle involving another Gog and Magog, that is, a different battle involving another antichrist and the lands of this antichrist that takes place around 1,000 years after the battle of Gog and Magog of Ezekiel 38/39. The Gog or antichrist of Ezekiel 38 is involved with one war that is to occur before Jesus returns, and the Gog or antichrist of Revelation 20 is involved with another war that is to occur after Jesus returns and dwells with mankind for one thousand years.

    The bottom line for what is said in Ezekiel 38/39 is that just as a real person called Gog led a confederacy of nations around 660B.C., Ezekiel is using Gog as a historical type of the antichrist, and Magog as a historical type of the nations the antichrist is to lead, for a war that Ezekiel is prophesying to occur during the end times. This could be fulfilled by the appearance of an antichrist and a confederacy of European nations representing a revived Roman Empire. Ecclesiastes 1:9 and 3:15 teach that which is to be hath already been and that there is nothing new under the sun. Has such an invasion of the Holy Land and effort to kill Jews by a confederacy of European nations ever occurred before? Yes, deadly invasions of Israel have taken place a number of times. These invasions are called the Crusades of the Middle Ages. A confederacy of European nations has invaded Israel before and according to scripture it seems that these nations will do so again. While Russia’s anti- Israel actions regularly appear in the news, it is interesting to note the ever growing anti-Israel attitude and actions of the European Community.

  • Perry Brown
    Posted at 20:42h, 23 December

    Isn’t Lydia the descendants of Lud, son of Shem? Or not? What is the connection between Lud, son of Shem and Magog, son of Japhet? Or there is none? Or did the descendants of Magog conquer the kingdom of Lydia?

    Does not the Hebrew word ‘Lud’ (son of Shem) refer to Lydia in Isa 66:19; Eze 27:10 and Eze 30:5? Or not? Why did Isaiah and Ezekiel not mention Magog instead of Lud, when referring to Lydian Kingdom? Or they did not refer to Lydia in those verses, and referred to someplace else?

    Are most Bible dictionaries wrong to associate Lud (son of Shem) with Lydia?
    Or, in reality, are the Lydian people and Kingdom a Japhetic people, instead of Semitic?

    Perry

  • Perry Brown
    Posted at 22:38h, 23 December

    References to two cities called Hierapolis for the possible location of Magog of Ezekiel 38/39. One in western Asia Minor (in ancient Lydian Empire) and the other in Syria, close to the modern day border with Turkey.

    But, were not both cities founded by Greeks in the 3nd or 4rd century BC? Or they weren’t? Or were the cities founded by Magog descendants or Scythians. When was this? Don’t we have to locate Magog in Ezekiel’s day, in the 6th or 7th century BC? Why identify Magog with 3rd or 4th century BC cities.

    Isn’t Magog a land, instead of a city?

    My questions are not provocative. With so much written about Magog, Turkey, Russia, Scythians, etc. by Bible Scholars, Bible prophecy students, historians, from the past and from the present, and with so many different opinions, even contradictory, it makes a thorough study much harder.

    Blessings,

    Perry

  • Gary Shogren
    Posted at 21:11h, 12 January

    Dear Perry, the fact is that Syrian Hierapolis was NOT called Magog by anyone. I have in front of me the Latin version and the Bostock translation of Pliny’s Natural History 5.19. “Bambyx the other name of which is Hierapolis, but by the Syrians called Mabog.”

    An older version has it “Bambeyeè, otherwise called Hieropolis; but of the Syrians, Magog.” (Holland edition, p. 74; but Bostock points out that it isn’t Magog, but Mabog).

    There is no connection between Scythians and Magog and Hierapolis.

  • Gary Shogren
    Posted at 21:18h, 12 January

    Dear Perry, It is typical of some prophecy students to make too many distinctions.

    Some say that the New Covenant Hebrews is not the New Covenant of Jer 31 – so I was taught at a Dispensationalist Bible college.

    Some say there are two Second Comings, a secret rapture and then a visible coming, as far as I can see, with no evidence.

    Some say there are two invasions of Gog and Magog, one in or around the Tribulation, one at the end of the millennium. You say “the apostle John never intended for his readers to make a direct link and think that what Ezekiel prophesied was the same event he was describing, which I find odd – how ELSE would a Bible student have read Rev 20? And if there is a prior invasion of Gog and Magog, then where is it in Matt 24-25, 1-2 Thessalonians, Revelation, etc.

  • Gary Shogren
    Posted at 21:20h, 12 January

    By the way, we took a Seven Churches of Asia tour, and our guide pointed out a huge funeral mound: “That is the tomb of Gyges, a great and viscious king from the 7th century.” I’m blogging on the Gog and Magog issue shortly, and will mention that I’ve seen the tomb of Gog.

  • Gary Shogren
    Posted at 21:21h, 12 January

    Can someone give me a hand with Herodotus? I see references to Scythians in his Histories, but no Meshech and Tubal, which, supposedly, are referenced by him.

  • Mark Seagoe
    Posted at 21:21h, 14 March

    Actually, Pliny the Elder says the Scythians inhabited an area adjacent to the Barent’s Sea. “The whole of the western ocean is now navigated, from Gades and the Pillars of Hercules, round Spain and Gaul. The greater part of the northern ocean has also been navigated, under the auspices of the Emperor Augustus, his fleet having been carried round Germany to the promontory of the Cimbri; from which spot they descried an immense sea, or became acquainted with it by report, which extends to the country of the Scythians, and the districts that are chilled by excessive moisture.”

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