The "Russian Chapters" of Ezekiel
Aug 26, 2006
During the Cold War in the past century, the evangelical prophecy teachers taught that Russia would invade the Israeli state. They got this from a misunderstanding of Ezekiel 38 and 39. The invaders are not Russia, but “Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal” (Ez. 39:1). Also included in the list of invaders are Persia, Ethiopia, Put (Libya), Gomer and the house of Togarmah (Ez. 38:5, 6).
The Cold War gave the appearance that Gog was Russia, but this view of prophecy began to decline when the Soviet Union itself imploded. So in more recent years, there has been a shift in focus from Russia to China. China is the new rising star of the prophecy teachers. But once again, to send an invading army across many nations for thousands of miles just to invade a tiny land of Palestine seems remote. In today's world, the preferred method of warfare is by long-range missile, not an invading army--except for America, which, in recent years, has demonstrated its willingness to do this in two Gulf Wars.
So let us look at these chapters and see if we can identify Gog historically.
Gog represents a people who come from various nations. Gen. 38:2 says that they come out of theland of Magog (the prince of Rosh, or Russia), Meshech (Moscow) and Tubal (Tubolsk), cities ofRussia. They also come out of Persia (Iran), Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, and the house of Togarmah. But they are not Russians, Persians, Ethiopians, Libyans, or Germans themselves. They are, in fact, Jewish-Zionist immigrants, who have left these countries to invade Palestine in an immigration war.
Menachem Begin called it “The Revolt.” Nearly everyone called it a “struggle.” It was certainly a war, and it was certainly an invasion of “the mountains of Israel.” But perhaps the real key is in seeing who Togarmah is today. The house of Togarmah from the north is mentioned in Ez. 38:6 as one of the invaders of the mountains of Israel.
During the Middle Ages, from about 600 to 1200 A.D., there existed a kingdom in southern Russia all the way south to the Caspian Sea known as Khazaria. It reached its peak about 960 A.D. After this, the Rus, a Varangian tribe that evolved into the Russian people, began to conquer the Khazars and incorporate them into Russia. According to their own records, the Khazars were descended from Togarmah.
Khazaria was a nation ruled by Khazars (or Chazars) who had converted to Judaism. Some historians say this occurred around 630 A.D., while others say they were converted around 740 A.D. The precise date of this conversion to Judaism is not important for our purposes. The fact that the Khazar leaders were converted to Judaism is not disputed by any credible historian—Jewish or otherwise. The Jewish Encyclopedia, under the heading of “Chazars,” says this about them:
“It was probably about that time that the chaghan [king] of the Chazars and his grandees, together with a large number of his heathen people, embraced the Jewish religion. According to A. Harkavy (‘Meassef Niddahim,’ i.), the conversion took place in 620; according to others, in 740. King Joseph, in his letter to Hasdai ibn Shaprut (about 960), gives the following account of the conversion . . .
“Some centuries ago King Bulan reigned over the Chazars. To him God appeared in a dream and promised him might and glory. Encouraged by this dream, Bulan went by the road of Darlan to the country of Ardebil, where he gained great victories [over the Arabs]. The Byzantine emperor and the calif of the Ishmaelites sent to him envoys with presents, and sages to convert him to their respective religions. Bulan invited also wise men of Israel, and proceeded to examine them all. As each of the champions believed his religion to be the best, Bulan separately questioned the Mohammedans and the Christians as to which of the other two religions they considered the better. When both gave preference to that of the Jews, that king perceived that it must be the true religion. He therefore adopted it.”
There seems to be no other identifiable nation in ancient times that carried the banner of Togarmah, other than the Khazars. When their nation was conquered by the Rus, the people were scattered throughout Eastern Europe, with many migrating to Poland, Germany, and Hungary. This branch of Jewry became known as the Ashkenazi Jews.
Is it not significant, then, that among the relatives of Magog, Togarmah, Meshech, and Tubal are also the people called Ashkenaz? This is the name the Eastern European Jews call themselves. In Genesis 10:3 we read that Ashkenaz was the nephew of Magog, Meshech, and Tubal.
This is the first part of a series titled "The Russian Chapters of Ezekiel." To view all parts, click the link below.