Gog's Invasion in Ezekiel's Prophecy--Part 1
Jun 30, 2008
Jeremiah 19 and Isaiah 29 speak of the final destruction of Jerusalem. Obadiah, Malachi, and Isaiah 34 speak of the destruction of Edom, which, as we have seen, can only be fulfilled by the Israeli state.
With that in mind, one would expect that Ezekiel 38 and 39 would be a prophetic reference to this final destructive war in which Jerusalem is destroyed. In fact, Ezekiel's prophecy is the precursor to Jerusalem's destruction. In fact, it is the primary reason for Jerusalem's destruction.
Ezekiel 38 and 39 is often referred to as "The Russian Invasion of Israel." Ezekiel 38:2 says,
"Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him."
In verses 5 and 6 we read,
" (5) Persia, Ethiopia, and Put [Libya] with them, all of them with shield and helmet; (6)Gomer with all its troops; Beth-Togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops--many peoples with you."
These are identified specifically as the ones invading "the mountains of Israel." It appears that "Rosh" in verse 2 is the Rus, the tribe from which we get the name "Russia" today. It is situated to the north of Palestine, and so verses 6 and 15 speak of at least some of these invaders coming from the NORTH.
The main problem is that the Rus are not genealogically related to Magog and Tubal in Genesis 10. The Rus were a Varangian tribe that moved south from Scandinavia. We are told this in The Encyclopedia of World History, by Peter Stearns, p. 224,
"The eastern Slavs settled on the territory of present-day European Russia from the 5th to the 8th centuries. In the 8th century some of the eastern Slavs were under the protectorate of the Khazars, an Altaic people who established a strong and prosperous state along the lower Volga. After the end of the 8th century, the northern part of Russia began to be penetrated by the Scandinavian Vikings, called in the old Russian chronicles Varangians or Rus [hence the name of Russia].
We read further that in 957 . . .
"The Russian princess Olga visited Constantinople and was converted to the Christian faith." A few years later, in 965 her son Sviatoslav "defeated the Khazars on the lower Volga and proceeded to establish a Russian state in place of the Khazar Empire."
This a very important event in prophetic history, because the Khazars--by their own admission--were descended from Togarmah, one of the main invaders listed in Ezekiel 38:6. In other words, the Rus themselves, being Scandinavian Vikings, were ex-Israelites of the dispersion. There is no evidence that they had any connection either with the Magog of Gen. 10:2 or the Gomer of Gen. 10:3.
Japheth had seven sons listed in Gen. 10:2: Gomer, Magog, Madai (the Medes), Javan (Greeks), Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras (Tyre).
Gomer's sons were Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. So Togarmah was the grandson of Japheth.
Keep in mind that this Gomer, son of Japheth, has no connection with the wife of the prophet Hosea, who lived a thousand years later. Hosea's wife, Gomer, was named for the official name of the House of Israel, for we know that the Assyrians called Israel GMR. By inserting vowels, it is either Ghomri, Gomer, or Gamirri. Yet we also know that the name derived from Israel's King Omri, which at that time was pronounced Ghomri.
Ezekiel's Gomer, associated with Beth-Togarmah (House of Togarmah) in Ez. 38:6, is obviously the son of Japheth, not the wife of Hosea. This Gomer is associated with his uncles, Magog, Tubal, and Meshech. But most importantly, Gomer is associated with his son, Togarmah, in that verse.
There is no way to understand Ezekiel 38 without knowing the genealogy of Japheth in Genesis 10. The names are strange to most of us, but we cannot bypass this problem if we really want to understand Ezekiel's prophecy.
So the Rus were Scandinavian Vikings. If this is the "Rosh" of Ezekiel 38:2, then either Ezekiel was dead wrong, or perhaps we have misread the prophet. Note that Gog is said to be "of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh." This says only that Gog, the invader, comes from the land of Magog, prince of Rosh. Gog was living in the land of Magog and ruled by the prince of Rosh--but was actually a separate people that had previously been conquered by the prince of Rosh.
This, to me, is the only way to preserve Ezekiel's integrity as a prophet of truth.
In Peter Stearns' quotation above, he mentioned that the Rus had conquered the Khazar Empire by 965 A.D., shortly after Princess Olga had visited Constantinople and had converted to Christianity. The Khazar Empire was one of the great empires of the past, but few people had even heard of it until 1976, when Jewish author, Arthur Koestler wrote his book, The Thirteenth Tribe. He wrote how the Khazar leaders had converted to Judaism around 740 A.D., and how the rest of the people soon followed the example of the leaders.
Koestler's premise was that the Russian Jews of today are the descendants of those Khazar converts to Judaism. They and all eastern European Jews are known as the Ashkenazi Jews, while the others who centered in Spain, are known as Sephardic Jews. The Sephardic Jews trace their lineage to those Jews who were dispersed by the Romans in the first century. But the Ashkenazi Jews are traceable to the Khazar converts to Judaism in 620 or 740 A.D.
The Jewish Encyclopedia, under the heading of Chazars (i.e., Khazars), reads this way:
"A people of Turkish origin whose life and history are interwoven with the very beginnings of the history of the Jews of Russia. The kingdom of the Chazars was firmly established in most of South Russia long before the foundation of the Russian monarchy by the Varangians (855). . . .
"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 ('Measef 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 . . ."
So we see here that Koestler was not being historically creative when he said that the Chazars converted to Judaism in 740 A.D. The Jewish Encyclopedia had written this information long before Koestler. The Jewish Encyclopedia also acknowledges the existence of King Joseph's letter, which Koestler quotes extensively. It appears that the Jewish doctor in Cordova, Spain (the seat of the Muslim government during that time), heard about the Jewish Kingdom north of the Black Sea. He wrote a letter to the king and sent it by Arab courier.
King Joseph received the letter and replied, revealing his ancestry. Koestler writes on page 72,
"Joseph then proceeds to provide a genealogy of his people. Though a fierce Jewish nationalist, proud of wielding the 'Sceptre of Judah,' he cannot, and does not, claim for them Semitic descent; he traces their ancestry not to Shem, but to Noah's third son, Japheth, or more precisely to Japheth's grandson, TOGARMA, the ancestor of all Turkish tribes."
The letter says that Togarma had ten sons. "We are the sons of Khazar, the seventh," Joseph informs us.
To my knowledge, this is the only verifiable historical evidence of the identity of Togarma today. Togarma, one of the invaders in Ezekiel 38, are not Russians as such, but Jews from Russia. It appears that Ezekiel's invasion may already have taken place, and that we know it today as Zionism.
This is the first part of a series titled "Gog's Invasion in Ezekiel's Prophecy." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones