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Is Russia Mentioned in Ezekiel?
March 5, 2014 | PhilipFreneau

Posted on 04/05/2014 11:10:17 AM PDT by PhilipFreneau

Is Russia Mentioned in Ezekiel?

A careful and literal reading of Ezekiel 38 and 39 reveal that modern-day interpretations that allude to Russia are misleading, at best. Oddly, most of those interpretations seem to come from those who claim to be "literalists.

As an example of the kind of misleading statements Christians have to contend with is this statement by Jennifer Rast in an article listed on the Contender Ministries website

"As we read the headlines in the newspapers of today, and witness the conflict in the Middle East, it's not hard to imagine that this invasion prophesied over 2600 years ago, could be fulfilled in our lifetime."

The key word is "imagine." What Jennifer didn't say is that it is easy to imagine the scriptures to mean anything, but generally difficult to prove.

Ms. Rast goes on to list some of the modern-day theories. This is #4:

"4. Russian Theory: The Hebrew word 'rosh' in verse 3 is identified with Russia, 'Tubal' with Tiblisi or Tobolsk and 'Meshech' with Moscow, therefore Gog and Magog refers to Russia. This is one of the most commonly held views and is based on a different interpretation of the Hebrew word Rosh (used as a noun rather than adjective), similarities in the pronunciation of words, and the Greek translation of Rosh referring to a tribe of people found in what is now Russia."

Let's examine the word "rosh'" in the Old Testament. Strong's Concordance lists the word as:

{7218} ro'sh, roshe; from an unused root apparently meaning to shake; the head (as most easily shaken), whether literal or figurative (in many applications, of place, time, rank, itc.): — band, beginning, captain, chapiter, chief(-est place, man, things), company, end, X every (man), excellent, first, forefront, ((be-)) head, height, (on) high(-est part, (priest)), X lead, X poor, principal, ruler, sum, top.

From all appearances, the correct translation for rosh would be: the chief, head, ruler, or similar adjective. For direct usage, the Septuagint provides the following:

"And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, and the land of Magog, Rhos, prince of Mesoch and Thobel, and prophesy against him, and say to him, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, Rhos prince of Mesoch and Thobel:" (Eze 38:1-3 SEP)

In that translation the word "rosh" (Rhos) is used ambiguously the first time; but is used as, what appears to be, an adjective in the second part. Now compare with the King James Version:

"And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:" (Eze 38:1-3 KJV)

Therefore, it is safe to conclude that the Hebrew word "ro'sh" means "the chief" in this instance; Gog would be the chief prince of Magog; and the King James Version is translated correctly.

The Strong number 7218 for the Hebrew word "rosh" is used over 500 times in the Old Testament, and the usage in the verses I examined was to define a "leader" (e.g., the chief baker;) as one's actual head (e.g., upon my head;) or as the highest point (as in, the top of a mountain.)


Rast said common interpretations of Meshech and Tubal are Moscow and Tiblisi (or Tobolsk) respectively. Let's examine an earlier Ezekiel reference to those two cities:

"And say unto Tyrus, O thou that art situate at the entry of the sea, which art a merchant of the people for many isles, Thus saith the Lord God; O Tyrus, thou hast said, I am of perfect beauty … Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs. Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, they were thy merchants: they traded the persons of men and vessels of brass in thy market. They of the house of Togarmah traded in thy fairs with horses and horsemen and mules. " (Eze 27:3, 12-14 KJV)

Tubal and Meshech are listed as two of the many merchants of Tyre. Guess who else was listed as a merchant?

"Judah, and the land of Israel, they were thy merchants: they traded in thy market wheat of Minnith, and Pannag, and honey, and oil, and balm." (Eze 27:17 KJV)

It does not appear that Meshech and Tubal are modern-day Russian cities.

Other claimed scriptural references for a modern interpretation are these which use the word "north:"

"And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee ... Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord God; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army:" (Eze 38:4-6, 14-15 KJV)

It should be noted that multiple invasions of Israel came from the north; for example, by Syria, Babylon, and Rome.

The land of Togarmah is mentioned in Ezekiel 27:14 as a merchant of Tyre for horses, horsemen and mules. Note also that in Ezekiel 38:4-6, the soldiers are not only riding horses; but are clothed with armour and carrying shields and swords. That sounds like an ancient army.

In verse 16 the Lord explains that He is bringing Gog against Israel:

"And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. " (Eze 38:16 KJV)

So, who is this mysterious Gog? Adam Clarke, in his commentary, stated it was Antiochus IV, king of Syria, who invaded Israel around 168 BC and defiled the temple. Antiochus was defeated during the Maccabean Revolt which, incidentally, marked the beginning of the feast of Hanukkah.

Some key fulfilments mentioned by Clarke include:

"And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every man's sword shall be against his brother." (Eze 38:16-18 KJV)

Clark: "Meaning Judas Maccabeus, who defeated [Antiochus'] army under Lysias, making a horrible carnage."

"So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel." (Eze 39:7 KJV)

Clarke: "This defeat of Gog is to be in Israel: and it was there according to this prophecy, that the immense army of Antiochus was so completely defeated. Ands I will not let them pollute my holy name any more— See on 1 Macc. 1:11, etc., how Antiochus had profaned the temple, insulted Jehovah and his worship, etc. God permitted that as a scourge to his disobedient people; but now the scourger shall be scourged, and he shall pollute the sanctuary no more."

Note that Daniel 11 & 12 also prophesied of Antiochus' profanation of the temple. Read Clarke's entire commentary on Ezekiel 37-39, for more information.

Another commentary that mentions Antiochus is Matthew Henry Volume IV. Henry's comments for Ezekiel 38:5-6 include this statement:

"Antiochus had an army made up of all the nations here named, and many others."

I am of the opinion that Gog is not a modern figure, but an ancient king or ruler: most likely Antiochus IV.

Philip


TOPICS: Theology
KEYWORDS: antiochus; ezekiel; russia
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1 posted on 04/05/2014 11:10:17 AM PDT by PhilipFreneau
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To: PhilipFreneau

Not the word Russia, if that’s what you mean.


2 posted on 04/05/2014 11:26:34 AM PDT by BeadCounter (morning glory evening grace)
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To: BeadCounter

>>>Not the word Russia, if that’s what you mean.<<<

No. That is not what I mean. What I mean is: nothing in the scripture that has anything to do with Russia.


3 posted on 04/05/2014 11:30:20 AM PDT by PhilipFreneau
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To: PhilipFreneau

The comming four blood moons as well as an eclipse in 2014 and 2015 may shed light on why theologians elude to Russia.
Very interesting. (3 sermons in 1)

FOUR BLOOD MOONS
(Passover) 4/15/2014, (Sukkot) 10/8/2014 Nison 1 ( 3/20/2015 (Passover) 4/04/2015 (Sukkot) 9/28/2014

The Coming Four Blood Moons (3 sermons in one)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK8NKXDinlE


4 posted on 04/05/2014 11:34:28 AM PDT by stars & stripes forever (Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.)
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To: stars & stripes forever

>>>The Coming Four Blood Moons (3 sermons in one)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK8NKXDinlE<<<

John Hagee? No thanks.

Philip


5 posted on 04/05/2014 11:47:17 AM PDT by PhilipFreneau
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To: PhilipFreneau

I agree that Rosh is a title, not a name for Russia. That said, I don’t think Eze 38 was fulfilled with the Maccabean Revolt. Eze 38 follows Eze 37, the rebirth of the State of Israel which took place in 1948. In fact, it is not time for Eze 38 yet, since God promised in Eze 39:28 that no Jew would be left behind. Another reason I don’t think the Maccabean Revolt was Eze 38 is that Israel was not “a land of unwalled villages; [...]a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates” (Eze 38:11). When do I think Eze 38 will take place? Well, not before Israel lives at peace, which makes me think that another war with Israel’s neighbors have to take place first. Psalm 83? Isa 17?


6 posted on 04/05/2014 12:11:18 PM PDT by Former Fetus (Saved by grace through faith)
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To: PhilipFreneau
In the Septuagint translation of 38.1, the name "Mesoch" could be "Mosoch" (both forms are found in the manuscripts--the Alfred Rahlfs edition prints Mosoch in the text and mentions the variant reading in the notes).

The word applied to Rhos, arkhonta, is a general word for "ruler" or "commander." It is the participle form of the verb arkho maning "to be first," "to lead the way,' "to begin," "to rule, be leader of."

7 posted on 04/05/2014 12:23:44 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: PhilipFreneau
No. That is not what I mean. What I mean is: nothing in the scripture that has anything to do with Russia.

Then, Brother, I ask you to again look at verse 15 in the 38th chapter: 15 You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army;

Where would the remote part of the north be? Any further north would be in the Arctic. And unless we're talking about mighty herds and collections of sea lions and polar bears, we're kind of stuck with Russia.
8 posted on 04/05/2014 1:20:01 PM PDT by righttackle44 (Take scalps. Leave the bodies as a warning.)
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To: righttackle44

Take Google Earth & draw a line due north from the center of Jerusalem to the most northern city & see where you end up.


9 posted on 04/05/2014 1:43:32 PM PDT by jimbobfoster
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To: jimbobfoster

Turkey, the Black Sea, and then Russia.


10 posted on 04/05/2014 2:16:10 PM PDT by MuttTheHoople (Nothing is more savage and brutal than justifiably angry Americans. Don’t believe me? Ask the Germa)
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To: Former Fetus
I agree. There are too many things left unfulfilled for the Maccabean Revolt to have been what Ezekiel, Psalms and Isaiah, not to mention Daniel, Zechariah, Jeremiah and other prophecies say will happen. To presume that ALL these are only figurative or allegorical instead of some being literal, fails to answer WHAT they were all supposed to represent. Clearly, there are many yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecies. God is not yet done with the Jewish people or Israel.
11 posted on 04/05/2014 2:20:46 PM PDT by boatbums (Simul justis et peccator.)
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To: Former Fetus
Israel was not “a land of unwalled villages;

It may be that Israel will not have peace until after the tribulation, this would mean Gog and Magog would still be around at the end of the thousand years as is suggested by Revelation 20:7-8. Maybe a big time gap in Ezekiel 37-38.
12 posted on 04/05/2014 2:26:31 PM PDT by Seven_0 (You cannot fool all of the people, ever!)
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To: PhilipFreneau

The problem with the acceptance of the word of God is the translations of the writers.

The bible might be the word of God, but man translates translations. And then we translate it into English. And then we translate into modern English.

It is ridiculous.

We should read the bible for its purpose. Anyone taking the words as literal is wasting their time and kidding themselves.

Lets focus on the parts where it says to love each other, as we would be loved.

The rest is pretty much secondary.

Just my opinion. I am prepared for most everyone around here to go all fundamentalist on me.


13 posted on 04/05/2014 2:32:22 PM PDT by Vermont Lt (If you want to keep your dignity, you can keep it. Period........ Just kidding, you can't keep it.)
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To: Former Fetus
>>>Eze 38 follows Eze 37, the rebirth of the State of Israel which took place in 1948.<<<

How did you get that out of Ezekiel 37? That is quite a stretch.


>>>In fact, it is not time for Eze 38 yet, since God promised in Eze 39:28 that no Jew would be left behind.>>>

This is the context:

"After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there." (Eze 39:26-28 KJV)

What are the names of the enemy lands where Jews are held captive today? New York City? LOL!

The Lord sent Antiochus (Gog) against Israel (Eze 38:16) because they had become complacent after more than 300 years of peace: peace that began during the reign of Darius. Antiochus had taken captives (Dan 11:33,) and in this prophecy the Lord promised they would all be allowed to return. Regarding the captives, Josephus said:

"And when he had pillaged the whole city, some of the inhabitants he slew, and some he carried captive, together with their wives and children, so that the multitude of those captives that were taken alive amounted to about ten thousand." [Antiquities XII.5.4]

Recall that under Cyrus all were allowed to return, but many chose not to. I assume the same here. When the Lord says "he left none any more there," I would be hesitant to take that as if he dragged them back into Israel. Rather, I see it as simply releasing them from captivity.

Of course, if you insist on taking that literally, and you have exhausted all Hebrew and Greek translations and have assumed there is no ambiguity; then should you not also take 39:9-13 literally?

For example, imagine the size of the army where Israel would need no firewood for seven years, but the wood of the army's shields, bucklers, spears, handstaves, and bows and arrows (Eze 39:9-12.) Can you think of any army today that carries any kind of wood? Even rifle stocks are plastic these days. And does Israel even use firewood these days?

Now imagine the number of corpses from Gog's army that are scattered about that would require all the people of Israel (millions of Israeli's) a total of 7 months to bury (Eze 39:11-15.)

Either it is all literal, or it is all figurative. You can't have it both ways.


>>>Another reason I don’t think the Maccabean Revolt was Eze 38 is that Israel was not “a land of unwalled villages; [...]a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates” (Eze 38:11). <<<

I recall the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt during Ezra, but I don't recall the villages having walls. Do you have scriptural references for that?


>>>When do I think Eze 38 will take place? Well, not before Israel lives at peace, which makes me think that another war with Israel’s neighbors have to take place first. Psalm 83? Isa 17?<<<

I understand there was a great period of peace for Israel, beginning in the reign of Darius, that lasted over 300 years, even during the reign of Alexander. That peace ended upon the invasion of Antiochus IV.

Philip

14 posted on 04/05/2014 2:43:49 PM PDT by PhilipFreneau
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To: Vermont Lt
The rest is pretty much secondary.

Do you have a method to decide which parts are primary and which parts are secondary?
15 posted on 04/05/2014 2:48:32 PM PDT by Seven_0 (You cannot fool all of the people, ever!)
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To: Verginius Rufus

Thanks. I notice both variations you listed are used in my translation, which is Brenton, 1851.

Philip


16 posted on 04/05/2014 2:52:27 PM PDT by PhilipFreneau
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To: boatbums

Invaders from the north?

Possibilities include Hittites (empire long destroyed before David), Macedonians (considered rough country cousins at best by the Athenians and other southern Greeks), several empires governed from Damascus, I will also add groups like the Huns and Mongols who would have approached by crossing the Caucus region.


17 posted on 04/05/2014 2:53:53 PM PDT by Fraxinus (My opinion, worth what you paid.)
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Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

To: righttackle44
>>>Then, Brother, I ask you to again look at verse 15 in the 38th chapter: 15 You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army;<<<

>>>Where would the remote part of the north be? Any further north would be in the Arctic. And unless we're talking about mighty herds and collections of sea lions and polar bears, we're kind of stuck with Russia.<<<

It all boils down to what the "remote parts of the north" really means. The King James Version translates it as "out of the north parts," which is not the same as your New American Standard. One thing should be clear: it was mostly like not too far away since they were all riding on horses:

"Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord God; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army:" (Eze 38:14-15 KJV)

Philip

19 posted on 04/05/2014 3:22:18 PM PDT by PhilipFreneau
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To: Vermont Lt

bttt


20 posted on 04/05/2014 3:42:44 PM PDT by ConservativeMan55 (In America, we don't do pin pricks. But sometimes we elect them.)
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