Is There Evidence that Gog and Magog Are Russia?

Manfred E. Kober, Th.D.

In our spring 2004 issue of the SEED we showed that the second conflict in the Tribulation, known as the Battle of Gog and Magog, apparently will take place at the mid-point of the Tribulation. Many believe that a mighty Russian army with confederates attacks Israel and is decimated by God in the process. But is there reason to believe that Russia is involved?

Numerous Bible scholars see Russia as the main attacking force. They use several lines of support. One is the geographical argument. The attackers of Ezekiel 38-39, whoever they are, come from the “north quarters” (KJV, Ezk. 38:6, 15; 39:2). The literal rendering of the Hebrew term is “recesses of the north” or “most remote region” (Gesenius, Hebrew-English Lexicon [1846], 369). The invaders are not coming from Lebanon, Syria or Mesopotamia, but rather, from the uttermost part of the north. If one draws a line on the map from Israel to the far north, following the curvature of the earth, the line will go directly through Moscow!

There is a second proof that Russia is in view, the lexical argument. While Russia is not mentioned by name in the English Bible, Ezekiel uses the word rosh in 38:1 and 39:1. The King James Version translates rosh as an adjective, describing the “chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.” However, many lexicographers understand rosh as a proper noun and the root word for Russia. Gesenius defines rosh as “a proper noun of a northern nation, mentioned with Tubal and Meshech, undoubtedly the Russians” (Ibid., 272, emphasis in the original). The name Meshech is similar to the modern city of Moscow and Tubal appears to have been modernized into the name Tobolsk. Thus both the eastern and western capitals of Russia are mentioned, named after the descendants of Noah.

Space permits us to mention only briefly the theological argument. The invaders come against Israel because of an irrational hatred of God’s people. God says of the invader, “thou shalt think an evil thought” (39:10). It would be difficult to think of a more anti-Semitic nation than the former Soviet Union and attentive observers notice an alarming increase of anti-Semitism in a present-day Russia. The above factors suggest that after the rapture Russia will become a militaristic country and as it launches an attack against Israel, God will sovereignly intervene and punish her for the untold atrocities committed by the Communists.

© Manfred E Kober

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