The Imminent Invasion of Israel

Appendix 5: Where is ROSH?

The name Rosh, because of a translator's preference, does not appear in the KJV, but does appear in numerous other versions including the ASV which reads, “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him” (Ezekiel 38:2). William Kelly said that while the name Rosh can be taken as a title meaning “head” or “chief,” such a rendering here introduces unnecessary confusion. He insisted that in Ezekiel 38-39 Rosh must be taken as a proper name, the name of a race. This rendering is strengthened by the namesMeshech and Tubal, which precede and follow the word Rosh. Since these are names, then Rosh must be taken as a name, rather than a title. which gradually became “Rash,” then “Russ,” and today is known as “Russia.”

Some claim we only identify Rosh as Russia because the two words sound alike, but the view that Rosh in Ezekiel 38-39 is Russia is not based on this fact. 

There are 2 substantial reasons for identifying ancient Rosh with Russia: (1) Wilhelm Gesenius, considered by Hebrew scholars as one of the greatest scholars of the Hebrew language, unquestionably believed that Rosh in Ezekiel was a proper noun identifying Russia. In his ancient Hebrew lexicon, he said that “Rosh was a designation for the tribes then north of the Taurus Mountains, dwelling in the neighbourhood of the Volga”; also that Rosh in Ezekiel 38-39 is a: “northern nation, mentioned with Meshech and Tubal; undoubtedly the Russians, who are mentioned by the Byzantine writers of the tenth century, under the name the Ros, dwelling to the north of Taurus, as dwelling on the river Rha (Wolga).” This identification by Gesenius cannot be passed off lightly. He had no eschatological axe to grind. Yet objectively he says without hesitation that Rosh in Ezekiel 38-39 is Russia. He concluded that in this name and tribe we have the first historical trace of the Russ or Russian nation. In his original Latin version of the Lexicon titled Thesaurus Linguae 

Hebraeae et Chaldaeae Veteris Testamenti, Gesenius has nearly one page of notes dealing with the word Rosh and the Rosh people mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39. This page does not appear in any English translation. Those who disagree with him have failed to refute his sizeable body of convincing evidence identifying Rosh with Russia.

(2) There is considerable historical evidence that a place known as Rosh was very familiar in the ancient world.While the word has a variety of forms and spellings, it is clear that the same people are in view.

In Egyptian inscriptions, Rosh (Rash) is identified as a place that existed as early as 2,600 BC. There is a later Egyptian inscription from about 1,500 BC that refers to a land called Reshu that was located to the north of Egypt. The place name Rosh (or its equivalent in the respective languages) is found at least 20 times in other ancient documents. It is found 3 times in the Septuagint, 10 times in Sargon's inscriptions, once in Assurbanipal's cylinder, once in Sennacherib's annals, and 5 times in Ugaritic tablets. Clearly Rosh was a well known place in Ezekiel's day. In the 6th century BC, when he wrote his prophecy, several bands of the Rosh people lived in an area to the north of the Black Sea. Many scholars have traced a direct connection between these people and the people from which Russia derives its name. 

An ancient group of people known as the Sarmatians were known as the Ras, Rashu, and Rus who inhabited the land of Rasapu. These people inhabited the area that today we know as southern Russia. 

Jon Ruthven, after his in-depth investigation, says: “But other indications, such as geographical location, ethnography, and the general description of the culture, provide us with some confidence that there is a direct connection between theRosh of Ezekiel and the tribal Rus from which the modern Russia derives its name. Indeed this is the suggestion of one Russian historian, who states: “The first reference to the . Russ, the ancestors of the Russian rulers, is found in Ezekiel 38:2ff.”

The German scholar Dr Keil says after a careful grammatical analysis that it should be translated as a proper name, i.e., Rosh. He says, “The Byzantine and Arabic writers frequently mention a people called R-s-, dwelling in the country of Taurus, and reckoned among the Scythian tribes.” 

Historical evidence points to a people in ancient times called the Rus/Ros/Rox who lived in the area of modern Russia. This people group can be historically traced and identified with the people called Rosh in Ezekiel 38. After providing extensive evidence of the origin and early history of the Rosh people, and then tracing them through the centuries, Clyde E Billington Jr. concludes: “Historical, ethnological, and archaeological evidence all favour the conclusion that the Rosh people of Ezekiel 38-39 were the ancestors of the Rus/Ros people of Europe and Asia. The Rosh people who are mentioned in Ezekiel were well known to ancient and medieval writers by a variety of names which all derived from the names of Tiras and Rosh. Those Rosh people who lived to the north of the Black Sea in ancient and medieval times were called the Rus/Ros/Rox/Aorsi from very early times. From this mixture with Salvs and with the Varangian Rus in the 9th century, the Rosh people of the area north of the Black Sea formed the people known today as the Russians.”

In the light of the abundant evidence, it is no wonder that men, centuries before Russia rose to its present state of power, foresaw its end-time role in history. Before current events could have influenced the interpreter's ideas, they recognised Ezekiel's prophecy about the northern commander referred to Russia. In The Destiny of Nations, Dr John Cumming (1864)writes: “This king of the North I conceive to be the autocrat of Russia. That Russia occupies a place, and a very momentous place, in the prophetic word has been admitted by almost all expositors.” Bishop Lowth of England wrote in 1710,“Rosh, taken as a proper name, in Ezekiel signifies the inhabitants of Scythia, from whom the modern Russians derive their name.” Rev Chamberlain was another who saw this. They were ridiculed by their contemporaries. After all, who could have imagined then that Israel would be restored as a nation and that Russia would rise to be an anti-God (atheistic) superpower? In 1857 Rev. F.E Pitts delivered 2 sermons on prophecy before a joint session of the houses of the U.S. Congress. His was one of the most respected prophetic voices of his day. 60 years before the Communist conquest of Russia, he had the boldness to warn the US Government of the coming day when Russia would be a dominant world power. He had insight derived from Ezekiel and access to prophetic literature of his time, showing that over 100 years ago Rosh was identified as Russia.

It should be remembered that most of these quotations were written many years before the Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of Russia to power. Bible scholars anticipated Russia becoming a dominant power in the end time while she was a nonentity as a nation. Early in the 20th century she was still a 2nd-rate power.

The identification of Rosh, Magog, Meshech and Tubal is to be determined from the fact that these tribes of the ancient world occupied areas of modern day Russia. Rosh was in what is now northern Russia. The name Rosh is the basis for the modern name Russia. Magog, Meshech, and Tubal initially settled in Turkey and Central Asia (the republics of the former Soviet Union) and some later migrated north into southern Russia. Thus it is very possible that the tribes of Meshech andTubal later gave names to cities that today bear the names of Moscow, the capital, and Tobolsk, a major city in the Urals in Siberia. These names, then, also cover the modern territories of northern and southern Russia in Europe and Siberia to the east in Asia. The modern nation of Russia encompasses all these areas of Ezekiel. 

As if to avoid any further possible doubt, Ezekiel 38:6 adds that these invaders come from the uttermost parts of the north. This is repeated in Ezekiel 38:15 and 39:2. From Israel the uttermost parts of the north are in Russia, with Moscow being almost on a straight line due north from Jerusalem. Hence, Russia is the leader of the northern confederacy, with Gog as the leader of Russia. 

This has also been the rabbinic view. The Artscroll Commentary on Ezekiel: “The Goonim had a tradition that these controls were indeed located in Russia. One tradition passed down from the Vilna Gaun states: When the Russian navy passes through the Bospores (that is, on the way to Dardanelles), it will be time to put on Sabbath clothes (in anticipation of the coming of the Messiah).”

One tradition said that in the Gog and Magog War, Messiah the son of Joseph will be killed which will then bring the coming of the Messiah the son of David.

How could Ezekiel 2,600 years ago have forecast so accurately the rise of Russia to its current military might and its direct and obvious designs upon the Middle East, especially coupled with the fact that it is now allied with the implacable enemies of Israel?

On December 25, 1979 the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, but when she withdrew in 1989 the mighty empire had suffered a great humiliation. 2 years later, in December 1991, the Soviet Union was dissolved. Many believed then that the Russian bear had gone into permanent hibernation. But today it is in some ways a much more dangerous bear than ever before. She is like a mother bear robbed of her cubs. As a result, she is desperately seeking to re-exert her influence, especially in the 5 former Soviet republics in Central Asia and also in the Middle East. Russia is alive and well today. She competes vigorously with the U.S. and China for influence in and access to Central Asian policy and resources. 

The Russians are indeed coming to invade the land of Israel - in one all out attempt to crush God's chosen people and grab God's ancient land. 

The Russians are indeed coming but they won't be alone. They will be joined by a vast Islamic alliance of nations. When the smoke clears, however, it will be the attackers who find themselves crushed. And this time Israel won't have to fire a shot.

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