The Imminent Invasion of Israel

Chapter 2: WHO are the INVADERS?

Ezekiel 38:1-6: “Now the Word of the Lord came to me, saying, Son of man, set your face against GOG, of the Land of MAGOG, the Prince of ROSH, MESHECH, and TUBAL, and prophesy against him, and say, “Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the Prince of ROSH, MESHECH, and TUBAL. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. PERSIA, CUSH, and LIBYA are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; GOMER and all its troops; the house of TOGARMAH from the FAR NORTH and all its troops: MANY (other)PEOPLES (NATIONS) are WITH YOU.” 

Here we see an impressive coalition of nations, led by a man called GOG. Gog originally meant mountain, then later a strong ruler. This is his title like Pharaoh or Czar. He is a powerful dictator who will hatch an "evil plan" to invade and destroy Israel (38:10). God confronts Gog and says: “I am against you, O Gog.” If God is against you, you are in trouble!

God is only against those who have risen up in pride against Him. We can understand why God is against the ruling prince of Gog, for we shall show that Gog is the Prince of Russia. Since 1917 Communist Russia embraced and promoted militant atheism, rejecting God, as well as persecuting and killing God’s people, both Christians and Jews.

Although the nations involved are described by their ancient names, it is largely possible to identify their modern equivalents. God is going to judge Gog and the nations that follow him, because of their hostility to God and His People Israel (the apple of His eye). He will do this by breaking them against the anvil of Israel, for: “all who bless Israel will be blessed and all who curse Israel will be cursed” (Genesis 12:3). See also Obadiah 1:15.

God judges nations by their attitude and actions towards His People, especially Israel, and in the end-times this Judgement will be especially manifested when they come against Israel.

Zechariah 12:1-3: “Thus says the Lord who stretches out the heavens lays the foundation of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him: Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. 

And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.” 


God will sovereignly bringing these nations into Judgement by “putting hooks into their jaws” and bringing them down to invade Israel. This literally described what conquerors used to do a defeated, captured enemy to lead them where you wanted them to go. Thus, we see that God is still in ultimate control of the nations.

More detailed information and academic references about these important identifications can be found in the Appendices.

The origin of many of the names of these invaders are given in the Table of Nations after the Flood in Genesis 10. 

Genesis 10:2-5: “The sons of JAPHETH were GOMER, MAGOG, Madai, Javan, TUBAL, MESCHECH, and TIRAS (RAS). The sons of GOMER were Ashkenaz, Riphath, and TOGMARAH. The sons of Javan were Elishah, TARSHISH, Kittim, and Dodanim. From these the coastland peoples of the Gentiles were separated into their lands, everyone according to his language, according to their families, into their nations.”

GOG comes from “the Land of MAGOG”, and is “the Prince of ROSH, MESHECH, and TUBAL” (Ezekiel 38:2,3). These are all ancient tribes known in historical records that settled in the area of the former USSR and Turkey (Herodotus, Josephus, and Pliny). The name Gog is a title for the Ruler from the Land of Magog. It could be likened to a Pharaoh from Egypt. Ezekiel gives us the names of countries involved in the invasion of Israel led by Gog. Listed in order, they are Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Persia, Cush, Put, Gomer, and Beth Togarmah, as well as: “many nations with you.”

MAGOG. The first century Roman historian Josephus said the "Magogites" were the peoples whom the Greeks called: “the Scythians", a fierce civilisation that settled north of the Black Sea in what is now Russia, and the now mostly Islamic republics of the former USSR, possibly also including TURKEY.

 


ROSH. Because ROSH means CHIEF in Hebrew, some translations call him: ‘the Chief Prince’ (v2,3), rather than ‘the Prince of Rosh.’ However the ‘Rus’ were well known people, and Gesenius says that these are undoubtedly the Russian people, so it is better and more natural to translate it: ‘the Prince of Rosh.’ There is of course a strong history of anti-semitism in Russia and recently relations between Israel and Russia has suffered, with Russia needing to please her Islamic allies, which include most of the former Soviet Republics (also a third of Russians are Muslim and that proportion is rapidly on the rise due to greater birth-rates). 

Opinion is divided on MESHECH and TUBAL. 
*One possibility is that they were in Southern Russia, 
whereas Rosh is Northern Russia. 
Then the modern names that descended from them would be:
ROSH = Russia, Meshech = Moscow, Tubal = Tobolsk.

*The other possibility locates them in modern TURKEY.

It makes no difference to our final conclusion because we will see other members of this coalition are GOMER (the ancient Cimmerians in present day TURKEY) and TOGARMAH (ancient ARMENIA which is mostly in Turkey today) - v6. 

So TURKEY will definitely be a major part of this Coalition led by RUSSIA! 

The identification of RUSSIA as the leader of this invasion is further confirmed by it being described 3 TIMES as being an invasion from the FAR NORTH or: “the uttermost parts of the north” (KJV). This must be measured relative to Israel. 

“From the FAR NORTH” (Ezekiel 38:6). 

“You will come from your place out of the FAR NORTH’ (38:15). 

“I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the FAR NORTH, and bring you against the mountains of Israel” (Ezekiel 39:2).

 

From Israel’s standpoint, Lebanon (Hezbollah) is directly north of Israel, further north still is TURKEY, but further still is RUSSIA. Therefore, the far north (“the uttermost parts of the north”) can only be Russia. Moscow is exactly due north of Jerusalem. 

So Russia will lead a confederacy of nations against Israel. 

This is a prediction that Russia must be a major power in the end-times, in order to lead all these nations. This also has only become true since Word War 2 in the 20th century). The Rabbinic view is also that Russia will be the leader of the Ezekiel Coalition.

Ezekiel 38:5,6 describe other nations along with Russia: 
“PERSIA, CUSH, and LIBYA are with them...
GOMER and all its troops; the house of TOGARMAH.... 
MANY PEOPLES are WITH YOU.”

(1) Significantly the first (main) nation that is mentioned with RUSSIA is PERSIA = IRAN. 

Present day Iran would not hesitate to join this Coalition. Iran is a close ally with Russia, resulting in Russia protecting it from coming under stronger sanctions. Until the Islamic Revolution, Iran was pro-Israel and pro-western, but now it is the exact opposite and its President Ahmedinajad has announced that his greatest desire and declared ambition is to see the total destruction of Israel. If Iran gains nuclear weapons, it would have the means to do this, either directly or by giving them to terrorists. Iran desires to lead the Islamic nations in unity against Israel. Again we see that the present world-conditions have aligned perfectly with what is described in Ezekiel 38.

(2) CUSH was the area south of Egypt, now called SUDAN, 
also a fundamentalist Islamic State, very hostile to Israel. 

(3) PUT = LIBYA, another Islamic State that is very anti-Israel.

(4) As we have already noted, GOMER and TOGARMAH represent modern day TURKEY, which is large Muslim nation. 


 

TURKEY, although mostly Muslim, is a secular state and is part of NATO, making it an ally of the West, and a major strategic ally of Israel. This meant that world-conditions were not lined up perfectly for this invasion. However, recently that has rapidly been changing. Since the fundamentalist Islamic party has come to power, and especially in 2009/2010, Turkish foreign policy has moved away from the West in favour of closer relations with Iran and Syria. Most significantly, Turkey’s relationship with Israel has been going steadily downhill. It now looks very realistic that Turkey, in her present state of animosity toward Israel would join in this invasion. Moreover, Turkey and Russia are now strengthening their ties. 

*It is this turn of events in TURKEY, along with the imminent crisis of IRAN being close to obtaining nuclear weapons, that compels me to give this warning that Ezekiel 38 could fulfilled soon! 

Four of Ezekiel’s nine invading nations occupy modern Turkey and possibly some of the southern Russian regions near the Caucasus Mountains, as well as some of the Turkic nations of central Asia. Obviously the Lord highlighted Turkey as significant. 3 other nations mentioned - Libya, Sudan, and Iran - together with Turkey form a perfect circle around Israel. Turkey covers Israel's entire northern horizon, while Iran lies to the east of Israel, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Israel finds herself surrounded on all 4 sides by these Islamic nations, that will be led by Russia in the far north. 

The political situation is coming into alignment, and things are coming to a head now with Iran. A pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear installations could trigger the Ezekiel 38 invasion, or else it could be a combination of Israel’s increasing unpopularity in the world over the Palestinian issue, and America’s decreasing strength and support of Israel, that makes it possible for this Russian Coalition to invade Israel. Perhaps it will be under the guise of a UN Coalition put together to liberate the Palestinians, just like the USA led a Coalition of nations to liberate IRAQ. By putting together a Coalition of many nations rather than just doing it all herself, RUSSIA will not just smooth the way for her army to go through the nations between her and Israel, and create an overwhelming army, but also provide the appearance of a moral justification to the rest of the world, making it harder for others to stand in its way. 

Russia would need to go through IRAN and TURKEY to reach Israel. Likewise, it would need to go through LEBANON andSYRIA which are on the northern border of Israel (with JORDAN being a bonus). Although these nations are not directly named, they are very likely be part of the Coalition because of their location.

In fact, twice God says to Gog that there will be: 
“MANY PEOPLES (NATIONS) WITH YOU” (v6,9). 

This implies that there are a number of other nations as well as those named. The alignment of SYRIA with IRAN, and the increasing strength of IRAN-controlled HEZBOLLAH in LEBANON, and IRAN-controlled HAMAS in GAZA, probably means that when God mentions PERSIA (IRAN), also included under that designation is SYRIA, LEBANON and GAZA.

In Conclusion, Ezekiel 38 is a Prophecy that in the End Times, after Israel has been regathered from the nations to her Land, there will be a massive invasion from the North by a number of Nations led by Russia, composed of many Republics of the former Soviet Union (most of which are Islamic), Turkey, Iran and those under her wing, such as Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, Sudan and Libya. 

If we look at these nations today, 2 things immediately strike us: 
(1) All these nations have a good relationship with Russia, and are under her sphere of influence, and so are good candidates to join her Coalition on this basis.

(2) All these nations (except Russia itself) are strongly Islamic, with a hatred for Israel. They would like to see Israel destroyed. this again makes them excellent candidates to support this Russian invasion to destroy Israel.

Why would Islamists ally themselves with Russia. Muslim forces have battled the Russians in both Afghanistan and Chechnya. Also Communism's atheism is diametrically opposed to Islam. A plausible explanation is that Russia and the Islamic enemies of Israel share a profound anti-Semitism. Hatred of Israel is on the rise and is prophesied as a sign of the last days (Matthew 24:9 10). Their shared hatred of Israel causes many of these Islamic nations to depend on Russia to advance their own ends, especially in the the weapons they use and as a protective shield. Thus Russia has gained a great influence in these nations. Whereas in previous wars, Russia has supported the Arab attacks upon Israel from behind the scenes, by now she will realise that she can only defeat Israel through her Arab allies, by personally engaging her on the field of combat.

In this prophecy given 2600 years ago, God described a war in which He would destroy the armies of Russia and her Islamic allies invading Israel. Today there are abundant signs that the stage is being set for this War. The International Scene is now perfectly aligned for this Ezekiel 38 invasion of Israel. Thus it could take place at any time. Ezekiel’s description of the invasion and the main nations involved makes perfect sense in the light of current world conditions and politics. It could easily be the contents of tomorrow’s newspapers.

Let us look at Ezekiel 38:1-6 again inserting the modern names of the nations involved: 

“Now the Word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face against Gog of the Land of MAGOG(RUSSIA and its satellites including many of the former Soviet republics), the Prince of ROSH (RUSSIA), MESHESH, and TUBAL (RUSSIA and/or TURKEY), and prophesy against him, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the Prince of ROSH (RUSSIA), MESHESH, and TUBAL (RUSSIA and/or TURKEY). I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. PERSIA (IRAN), Cush (SUDAN), and LIBYA are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the FAR NORTH and all its troops (TURKEY), many (other) PEOPLES (NATIONS) are with you.”

From these names, it appears that RUSSIA, along with TURKEY and IRAN will be the major players of this Coalition.

*Bows and ARROWS? Does the vocabulary of warfare in this passage mean that they will come on horses, using shields, helmets, swords (38:4,5,21), bows, arrows and javelins (39:3,9) as in ancient warfare? No! The prophet was limited to his own language, which did not have specific words for tanks, guns and missiles, since they did not exist in his day. So he used the most appropriate words to communicate their armament. In any case, the Hebrew words are flexible enough to include their modern equivalent. 

For example, the word: ‘soos’ translated horse, actually means leaper, it can also mean bird, or even chariot-rider. This is 2,500 year old language being used to describe a mechanised force. Even today we call motorised infantry ‘Cavalry.’ Israel’s main battle Tank is the ‘Merkeva’ or ‘Chariot.’ 

The sword (‘chereb’) is a generic term for any weapon or destroying instrument.

Arrow (‘khatis’) which can mean a piercer, is occasionally used for a thunderbolt. It could be translated today as a missile or bullet. 

Bow (qeh-sheth), is what launches the ‘khatis’ (corresponding to a gun or missile-launcher today). 

So we could legitimately translate Ezekiel 39:3 today, as, 
“I will smite your launchers out of your left hand, 
and cause your missiles to fall out of your right hand.” 

Just as we interpret the names of ancient tribes and nations in terms of their modern equivalent, likewise for weapons of warfare and kinds of transportation. The modern horse is armoured vehicles. The tank is a mechanised horse. The sword represents an implement of military warfare. Bows and Arrows are projectile weapons like guns and missiles. The language used by Ezekiel tells us this is a massive, well-organised and equipped army. The fact it has ‘horses’ as well as foot-soldiers would be impressive to the original hearers. 

Home

Books

About Us

Events

Teachings

Bible Commentary

Media

Shop

Donate

Contact

Print

OBC Office

363 Banbury Road
Oxford - England - UK
OX2 7PL
Telephone: +44 (0)1865 515086
Fax: +44 (0) 8721 107068
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Print

Sunday Services

Sundays at 11am and 6pm
Cheney School Hall
Cheney Lane - Headington
Oxford - England - UK
OX3 7QH