2 readers online now  |  69 million page views

"Gog = Russia" is a false prophecy

Reader comment on item: Middle East threats, American retreat
in response to reader comment: The Gog Magog War

Submitted by Michael S. (United States), Sep 26, 2014 at 16:16

Hi, Lujack

I'm trying to catch up with some of these unanswered posts.

You seem intent, on putting "Russia" into Ezekiel 38-38, when, indeed, it is not there. The "Russia" craze gained tremendous ground about around the time of the Jesus Movement. Much of this fervor was no doubt generated by Chick Tracts. Jack Chick, in turn, drew his theme from earlier interpreters of a particular bent:

"Those who found Russia in Ezekiel 38 rested their case in part on the
phrase "chief prince" in verse 3, a translation of the Hebrew nesi
rosh. The editors of the 1611 King James Bible rendered "rosh" as
"chief," but later scholars argued that it was a proper name and that
the phrase should be translated "prince of Rosh". […]

"[German Hebraicist] Gesenius, whose Old Testament lexicon of
1828 long stood as a standard reference work, viewed "Rosh" not
only as a proper name but as an early form of the word "Russia". In
another step that would prove highly influential for prophecy
interpretation, he also claimed that "Meshech" and "Tubal" were
present day Moscow and the Siberian city of Tobolsk (Boyer, 1992,

"While certainly not an uncontested claim among scholars, the contention that Rosh was Russia made intuitive sense to many lay people not only because of the similarity in sound but also because Russia was definitively north of Palestine (as described in Ezekiel 38:15 – see the quote at the beginning of this paper) and in a position to attack the Holy Land."

-- http://www.acme-journal.org/vol6/JDi.pdf

As you can see, this is a very recent understanding, hailing back to the "Adventist" days during which the Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists and the forerunners of the Jehovah's Witnesses and others were peddling their end-times scenarios. "Rosh" (which does not mean and never has meant "Russia") was mis-translated, because those early adventists needed a contemporary country to fill the place in their predictions. Britain, or Germany of course, could not be implicated; because those theologians were largely English- and German-speaking. The ball therefore landed in Russia's court. Turkey, which at the time was the Ottoman Empire, was not even considered because it was in such a state of decay.

Most Evangelicals today are products, to some degree or another, of the Jesus Movement; and of pseudo-prophets such as Hal Lindsay and Jack Chick. Their predictions drew from those adventist-era theologians; but their vitality came from the Cold War. One would think that they would have changed their tune with the fall of the Soviet Union; but alas, Russia has been resurrected as a world bogeyman. Few believe that it actually is, seeing that it has a gross domestic product (PPP) of less than a sixth that of the US; but reality has seldom had much of an impact on people with deeply entrenched prejudices.

Is Russia north of Israel? Yes, it is: above Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and the Ukraine. In Ezekiel's day, it did not exist. "Russia" came about during the Middle Ages, named after a Scandanavian tribe called the "Rus". Curiously, the kingdom set up by the Rus was not even in Russia, but in what is now the Ukraine; its capital was Kiev. Also curiously, Israel didn't exist during the days of the Rus either.

What is now Turkey, on the other hand, contained in Ezekiel's day nearly all the countries mentioned by the prophet: "Magog" corresponded, by its association with other sons of Japheth, to Anatolia. Javan = Ionia, or the West Coast of Turkey; Tiras is usually placed at Troas or Thrace; Gomer was the Cimmerrii of the Pontic coast of Turkey; Meshech and Tubal were in Cappadocia, and Madai was in Kurdistan (mainly southeastern Turkey). It requires a real vacation from history, to place Magog anywhere other than Turkey.

Gog is described in Ezekiel as ruling in the land of Magog (Anatolia), and being the "chief prince" of Meshech and Tubal (in Central Anatolia). This Gog was the historical Gyges or Gugu, the founder of the ruling dynasty of Lydia in Ezekiel's time; and Lydia was located in the western part of modern Turkey -- including the area of the modern capital, Ankyra.

The United States is on the decline? Have you noticed how Russia is doing? GDP growth there, between January and July, 2014, was 0.7%; and their inflation rate was 7.8%. Their economy is based on petroleum and natural gas, an area in which they have just been surpassed by the US.

Now let's look at Turkey: GDP growth was 4% in 2013, and is forecast to average 6.7% between 2011 and 2017. Their inflation rate is a mere 5-6%. Their per capita GDP was $19,080 in 2013, nearly as much as the $23,589 of Russia. Their economy is extremely diversified, being mainly in textiles, food processing, autos, electronics, tourism and mining. Far from comparing unfavorably with the US, Russia is likely to be surpassed by Turkey in a few years.

Finally, consider that Ezekiel 38-39 does not say anywhere that "Gog, the land of Magog, Chief Prince of Mesech and Tubal" is a major world power. It simply says it is a country that will attack Israel after the Jewish people have returned to their land and become prosperous.

Prophecies are not intended to be understood, until the time of their fulfillment is at hand. In this case, the time of fulfillment was not in the 1830s, when the "Russia" doctrine came into being, nor in the 1960s, when Jack Chick began publishing his comic tracts. At the earliest, it will be fulfilled in the coming years. Those earlier interpretations were based on a world that no longer exists.


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Submit a comment on this item

Reader comments (41) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Middle-East Threats Coming To Life In Bible Prophecy [39 words]Lujack SkylarkJun 11, 2014 12:50215334
"War coming to the Middle East" is hardly prophetic [354 words]Michael S.Jun 24, 2014 14:48215334
2Biblical Prophecies Are Coming True [208 words]Lujack SkylarkJun 24, 2014 23:34215334
1We have found the enemy, and he is US [386 words]Michael S.Jun 28, 2014 09:37215334
1Present Middle-East Situation [158 words]JohnJun 28, 2014 13:02215334
2The Gog Magog War [140 words]Lujack SkylarkJun 30, 2014 15:44215334
1Prophecies or History [1177 words]Michael SJul 1, 2014 13:59215334
3The 10 anti-Semitic kings. Daniel 7:20 & Revelation 17:12 [539 words]Lujack SkylarkJul 2, 2014 22:51215334
The MIddle East: Facts vs. Prophecies [945 words]Michael SJul 6, 2014 15:41215334
Many false messiahs [102 words]Michael SJul 6, 2014 16:25215334
The End: It's obvious [940 words]Michael SJul 7, 2014 14:30215334
1Many False Messiah's [176 words]Lujack SkylarkJul 10, 2014 20:08215334
1End Time Prophecy [62 words]Lujack SkylarkJul 10, 2014 20:27215334
Psalms 83 -- what's the big draw? [58 words]Michael SJul 11, 2014 03:19215334
"False Messiahs" and modern realities [838 words]Michael SJul 13, 2014 01:39215334
1Thank you [396 words]Michael SJul 13, 2014 04:19215334
"The False Messiahs" [242 words]Lujack SkylarkJul 13, 2014 23:29215334
The Jews are not the "Antichrist" [87 words]Michael SJul 21, 2014 08:57215334
1End Time Prophecy [129 words]Lujack SkylarkJul 22, 2014 00:31215334
Of Popes and Beasts [779 words]Michael SJul 24, 2014 04:38215334
Actually [14 words]RFSJul 24, 2014 16:18215334
Rise Of The Beast [178 words]Lujack SkylarkJul 27, 2014 21:13215334
Ah, yes [19 words]MIchael SJul 28, 2014 02:05215334
Nuclear War and Breakfast on the Table [597 words]Michael SJul 29, 2014 16:40215334
Jerusalem In Prophecy [125 words]Lujack SkylarkJul 31, 2014 22:08215334
What are you talking about? [15 words]Michael SAug 3, 2014 00:18215334
Just Comparisons Being Made [21 words]Lujack SkylarkAug 5, 2014 00:18215334
Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood [76 words]Tom SkylarkAug 9, 2014 15:12215334
We disagree re Jordan prophecies [151 words]Michael SAug 17, 2014 11:53215334
No personal attacks have been made [24 words]Michael SAug 17, 2014 11:57215334
Jordan In Bible Prophecy [165 words]Tom SkylarkAug 18, 2014 11:44215334
Many sepculations [87 words]Michael S.Aug 20, 2014 05:08215334
1"Gog = Russia" is a false prophecy [942 words]Michael S.Sep 26, 2014 16:16215334
Daniel 8:25, and confusion in Washington [662 words]Michael S.Sep 27, 2014 19:32215334
1Trouble With Obama's Policy [50 words]Lujack SkylarkMay 12, 2014 00:30214796
Three things [100 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
David W. LincolnMay 9, 2014 18:21214760
Attempted clarification [86 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
David W. LincolnMay 10, 2014 12:45214760
forced maturity [116 words]David W. LincolnMay 11, 2014 17:34214760
An alternative View of the American Jewish vote [217 words]Stu FaginMay 7, 2014 23:24214747
Difference between Baker and Kerry [72 words]PezDispenserMay 4, 2014 10:08214707
2Pleasing Islamists [118 words]dhimmi no moreMay 2, 2014 07:33214684

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to "Gog = Russia" is a false prophecy by Michael S.

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List


eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2019 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)