Appendix 1: The identification of the nations of Ezekiel 38

Nine specific ancient nations are mentioned in Ezekiel 38:1-6. He used ancient place names that would be familiar to the people of his day. While the names of these places have often changed over time, the geographical territory stays the same. God speaks to people in language they can grasp. He used the ancient names of these places, to clearly identify the geographical areas that will invade Israel in the end times. Since many of the nations named in this Prophecy are no longer identified as such, we need to discover which are the equivalent modern-day countries. The modern nations that inhabit the same geographical territory as these ancient peoples and nations will invade Israel. 

After the Flood, Noah's sons and grandsons dispersed to various parts of Asia, Europe, and Africa. Genesis 10 records the ancient genealogy of the nations. All of Ezekiel’s nations and their ancient geographical territories are mentioned in this Table of Nations. Ancient historians, including Herodotus and Flavius Josephus in his Antiquities of the Jews, tell us where most of the tribes ultimately settled. Bible scholars and historians can trace the names of Noah's sons to certain people groups and regions and thus identify them with modern nations. 

While the identification of some of these peoples is somewhat debatable, there is a general measure of agreement as to their identification: Rosh and Magog = Russia and its satellites; Meshech and Tubal = Russia or Turkey; Persia = Iran, Cush = Sudan; Put = Libya; Gomer and Togarmah = Turkey. 
The leading nations are the grandsons of Noah through his son Japheth (Genesis 10:1,2). Magog is the 2nd son; Tubal the 5th; and Meshech is the 6th. These names are not fiction, but they have turned up in many archaeological discoveries in very early accounts of ancient history. The families of these forefathers adopted their names as tribal names: the family descended from Magog became known as the tribe of Magog.

From this list, it seems that Russia will have five key allies: Turkey, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and the nations of Central Asia. Amazingly, all of these nations are Muslim nations - and Iran, Libya, and Sudan are 3 of Israel's most ardent opponents. Iran is one of the “axis of evil” nations, trying so desperately to develop nuclear weapons. Many of these nations are hotbeds of militant Islam and are either forming or strengthening their ties with each other and with Russia as these words are being written. This list of nations reads like the Who's Who of this week's newspaper. It certainly doesn't take a very active imagination to envision these nations conspiring together to invade Israel in the near future.
There can be little doubt that Ezekiel was identifying a coming alliance to be dominated by a power occupying territory in “the remote parts of the north” (Ezekiel 38:6,15). This in itself firmly identifies the main nation in the alliance, and much of the rest of the identification given below is simply embroidery. All geographical references in Scripture are stated in terms of Israel. Only one country occupies a position in “the remote parts of the north” as far as Israel is concerned; and that nation is Russia, whose land mass stretches all the way from the Baltic to the Bering Sea. The identification of Magog, Meshech, Tubal, and Rosh are therefore interesting and confirmatory, but not essential to the understanding of prophecy.