Sunday, August 10, 2014

Gog and Magog: After the Millennium or before?

Chris White has been making a good argument against the popular notion of Ezekiel 38 and 39 happening before or during the 70th Week, and that it is fully the same as Revelation 20.

And his arguments are very good and have me convinced. Still I do think it's possible that there may be a near lesser fulfillment, but Doctrinally I have come to think mainly it's about the end of the Millennium.

The concept of Double Fulfillment is generally only applied to Prophecies where the near fulfillment has already happened. Where we see the final fulfillment as being in the 70th Week or the
start of the Millennium. But I think we should consider that it does apply to other areas as well.

Chris makes more of a point then he should, I think, out of Ezekiel 38&39's relationship to the immediately proceeding chapters of Ezekiel, 33-37 mainly. "And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying" is always referring to a new vision. That there isn't a date given here probably means he had it the same day as the earlier visions, but it's still a distinct vision. But also even within a single vision what's foretold isn't always purely chronological. And even with the context of the Gog and Magog Prophecy, I've seen people argue that Ezekiel 39 actually happens before 38, though I'm not sure I understand that logic.

It's funny actually because we keep using the phrase "God and Magog" in specific reference to Ezekiel 38&39 even though Biblically that exact phrase appears only in Revelation 20. In Ezekiel it's clear that Magog is the name of the Land and Gog an individual from there who rules Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. And I keep seeing people read that same distinction into Revelation 20, we should use Scripture to pertinent Scripture but not in conflict with the clear Grammar of a phrase. Grammatically in Revelation 20 ""Gog and Magog" both refer to the location or tribes.
I see this inconsistency in usage as perhaps explained by Ezekiel 39. "And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog."

People like to talk about how seeing the Gog and Magog invasion in modern Times requires allegorizeing the references to Bows and Arrows and Horses and stuff. And Chris suggests that technology will sort of phase out during the Millennium so that solves that problem.

First off I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the suggestion that technology would die out during the Millennium or even New Jerusalem. This sounds like a somewhat Hippie minded notion of what a Utopia would be, and carries the implication that maybe God doesn't like technology. The Law of Moses made Ancient Israel as technologically sophisticated as a nation could be at that time, so no I don't think technological advancement is inherently bad.

And the people who think it must be allegorized are ignorant of the Hebrew Language. The word for "Arrows" is even in the KJV translated a variety of different ways. "Missile" is in fact the most literal translation of what the word means, and the word for Bow means anything used to launch said missile. Jeremiah 50:9 says "their arrows shall be as of a mighty expert man; none shall return in vain." if you study the Hebrew words here and the grammar, what it's literally sayings is the Arrows themselves have intelligence, and it never misses it's target. Before the last century the only interpretation of this was that God was doing it supernaturally, but the text doesn't explicitly define it that way.

Also the words referring to horses and horsemen can simply mean Cavalry, we use the the word Cavalry today to refer to motorized mobile military unites. And Helicopters are called "Air Cav". Also the Hebrew word translated "Chariot" can mean more then just horse drawn carriages, and it is what the modern Israeli army calls their Tanks.

Now I want to make clear I don't support all the places people like to read Nuclear warfare into Bible Prophecy. When Jesus said "lest those days be shortened no flesh should be saved" that's not about technology, that's about the effects of the Bowls of God's Wrath, in which among other things all water on Earth becomes undrinkable. And Zachariah 14 is talking about when God destroys the enemies of Israel.

In Ezekiel 39, it's not to me about any perceived description of the Nukes themselves. This Chapter is the only time, ever, The Bible describes the clean up after a battle. And what's interesting is there is no way to make sense of it without the possibility of nuclear radiation.

Ezekiel 39:24-15"And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search. And the passengers that pass through the land, when any seeth a man's bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamongog." People are going to have full-time employment making sure all this stuff is buried. And it seems to be imperative no untrained person actually touch anything if they find something.

What's also interesting is that it's now known that the half life of the Nuclear materiel in Russia's Nukes is 7 years. It fits this Prophecy perfectly.

I love how people try to make it sound like those of us seeing the region of modern Russia are torturing the data. Yes people have been identifying this Prophecy with various Boogeymen throughout history, but by no means every Boogeyman. What's interesting to me  is no one saw Islam in this passage before Soviet Russia started supplying support to various Muslim enemies of Israel during the Cold War. Because the main three allies mentioned became Islamic regions over a Thousand before, the core of the Prophecy was always understood as being about the North.

The Caspian Gates legend can be traced back at least to the time of Josephus who alludes to it if I recall correctly towards the end of Wars of the Jews. And that Legend is always defined as Alexander making this Gate to keep the "Hordes of Gog and Magog" locked up in the North. Now this legend isn't real, Alexander built no such gates, but both of the structures suspected of inspiring the Legend (or commonly identified with it) are located where everything North of them is modern Russia, between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea.

All of the main "boogeymen" identified with this Prophecy have had some connection to the area of modern Russia. And I could get into it a lot more it if I wanted to but I think that's for another study. The Point is, even if the timing of the Prophecy refers only to After the Millennium, that land North of the Black Sea (and the supposed Caspian Gate) is still the only land I see Magog as referring to. It's actually one of the more consistently interpreted Prophecies geographically speaking.

Josephus said Magog was the Scythians.  I know the Greeks used Scythian as a broad term so maybe not all Scythians were of Magog (I suspect both Tubal and Meshech were considered Scythians, and some of Ashkenaz was connected with that region).

The ONLY reason any Scholars try to move what Magog means to Asia Minor/Anatolia/Modern Turkey is because of the desire of Preterists and Bible Skeptics to say Gog refers to Gyges/Gugu a King of Lydia.  Problem is the Lydian King with that name lived before Ezekiel's time not during it or soon after.

Also even if I was open to a Preterist or History written after the fact interpretation of Ezekiel 38-39.  I would still find it idiotic to look for Gog's name in history.  Likewise as a Futurist I do not expect that to be Gog's real personal name, either for a near fulfillment or after The Millennium.  Because it's clear from the text itself Gog is just a nickname used as a pun on the name Magog.  It's not just in English it looks like Magog with the first part removed.  In fact it's more so in Hebrew, without the vowels it is literally just one letter, Mu, that is removed.  So looking for Gog's name in secular history of any time period is a futile effort.

Gyges was king of Sardis/Lydia, which Biblically is Lud a son of Shem not Japheth.

The thing about Prophecies with a double Fulfillment is, core details apply to both events. Certain ones apply only to the Finale Fulfillment, mostly only that one fits the full Epic Scale of the Prophecy. But details can also only strictly apply to the near fulfillment. Those mostly relate to the background of the Prophecy. Like Daniel 8 and the Little Horn, any sense by which The Antichrist can be said to come from the Seleucid Dynasty (or any other Hellenist Kingdom) is going to be very, very, very indirect.

That is why, I do still think we need to pay attention to modern Russia and it's Alliance with Iran and Shiite Islam. Regardless of how much other evidence points to a post Millennial Fulfillment.

The thing is, lots of Extra-Biblical Prophecies seem to me to be setting the stage for the Antichrist and/or The False Prophet to claim the credit for defeating Gog and Magog. Muslims today associate Dajjal with the West and Gog and Magog with the Communist world (which like many westerners they still associate Russia with). And Rabbinic Judaism sees either Gog or Armilus killing Ben-Joseph to be later defeated by Ben-David.  Chris White thinks it's possible a fake Gog and Magog invasion could be used by The Antichrist.  I think maybe that "fake" invasion could be the near fulfillment.

And I do see in Daniel 11:36-45 a possible Biblical Basis for this. Where the Libyians and Ethiopians are at his steps, and tidings Trouble him out of the North and East (The King of the North who is Syria and possibly parts of Iraq he's already defeated at this point, so this is further North). So for that reason, I think it's important not to minimize the Post-Millennial significance. But I see these tiding as also possibly tying into the Medes/Modern Kurds role in Isaiah 13 and Jeremiah 50-51, and the destruction of Elam (southern Iran) in Jeremiah 49:34-39.  Iran now by porxy controls much of Shiite Iraq.

[Update September 2016: The last Paragraph there involved assumptions I've long since abandoned about Daniel 11.  But my views on the Kurds and Elam/Jeremiah 11 haven't changed much.]

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