Who Are Gog and Magog?

With Russia’s attack on the Ukraine looming large in news coverage, it seems that everyone and their dog is speculating about the end times, especially our dispensational friends.

If you, too, are wondering, what all this Gog and Magog business is about, and what it has to do with Russia, the following article may be of interest to you. (Hint: it’s not what you think it is.)


“An ancient reader would have noticed that this invasion would come at a time when the tribes had been united and dwelt in peace and safety within the promised land—in other words, once the period of exile had ended.

The battle of Gog and Magog would be something expected after the initiation of Yahweh’s plan to reclaim the nations and, therefore, draw his children, Jew or gentile, from those nations. The Gog invasion would be the response of supernatural evil against the messiah and his kingdom. This is in fact precisely how it is portrayed in Revelation 20:7–10.

Gog would have been perceived as either a figure empowered by supernatural evil or an evil quasi-divine figure from the supernatural world bent on the destruction of God’s people. For this reason, Gog is regarded by many biblical scholars as a template for the New Testament antichrist figure.

The foe-from-the-north theme is also picked up in Daniel 11, a passage that many scholars believe in some way relates to the antichrist. Daniel’s eschatological foe is connected to the north many times.

The known invasion of Jerusalem by Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) in 167 BC follows many elements that are detailed in Daniel 11. Antiochus attacked from the north (he was from the northern, Seleucid Empire in Asia Minor). He committed the abominable act of profaning the temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar (cf. Dan 9:24–27) and made Jewish customs such as circumcision punishable by death.

These offenses started a rebellion in Jerusalem that led to a short period of Jewish independence. Therefore, those who saw the Gog enemy in Antiochus may also have been led to think of the new Jewish independent state as the final kingdom of God. History informs us clearly that it wasn’t. Moreover, despite the elements of precision noted by scholars between the invasion of Antiochus IV and Daniel 11, there are clear contradictions between the record of Antiochus’s invasion and parts of Daniel 11.”

Read the full article and explanation here, from Logos and the FaithLife staff.

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