Friday, May 26, 2017

Ezekiel 39 is the Prequel to Ezekiel 38.

The name Gog is in The Bible besides Ezekiel and Revelation.  Everyone knows Magog is, as a son of Japheth.  However I have realized that Gog is as well (and I'm not referring to those Septuagint additions either, this is in the KJV and the Masoretic Text).  But first the main topic for this study.

I did a post on Ezekiel 38 and 39 being after the Millennium, in the context of Chris White's argument.  I wavered there a bit but ultimately came to agree with Chris.  Back then I still supported identifying Magog, Rosh, Meshech and Tubal with Russia, but I've now come to be more willing to agree with White's identifications for the locations of the nations involved also.

I alluded in that post to having once seen but forgotten where an assessment that Ezekiel 39 takes place before Ezekiel 38.  I've now found a website making that argument but I don't think it's what I originally saw.  It argues Ezekiel 39 is Armageddon and Ezekiel 38 is the post Millennial invasion.
I haven't looked at other articles on that site.  I suspect there is plenty else I disagree with, I'm here endorsing only possibly this article.  I left a Comment that may or may not ever get approved where I made some incorrect statements since I didn't think them through well enough.  I'll try to say what I meant to better here.

First, when making an argument like this, it's useful to state that you're aware the modern chapter divisions aren't in the original text.  In this case the first verse of Chapter 39 does make sense as a partial change of topic, and the last verse of 38 does sound kind of like a conclusion.

Now I have dedicated this Blog to arguing Revelation needs to be interpreted Chronologically.  But the reason I emphasis that is because it's what's distinct about Revelation from other Prophetic books.  Others aren't even all one vision unless it's really short.  And even within one vision or revelation there are reasons why it could suit Yahuah to show some things out of order.  The difference in Revelation is John is being shown a clear sequence of events.  And that the Book defines itself as how to make sense of the rest of The Bible.

So I'm not 100% sure I agree with this view of Ezekiel 38 and 39 yet, but I want to have a conversation about it.

As for why would God show Ezekiel these battles out of order?  Why do so many Historical movies not start at the beginning of what they're going to show?

To the objection that implies it's inaccurate to define Armageddon as an invasion from the north, I wouldn't address that how this article did at all.  The Hill of Megiddo is not the site of the battle but the gathering place of The Beast's Armies.  They are planning to attack Jerusalem, though they may be cut off at Bethel before they get there.  Or they are headed to The Woman's hiding place in The Wilderness (Arabia).  Either way, they are coming to their target from the North, Megiddo was in the Northern Kingdom, close to the northern extremity of what was allotted to Western Manasseh.

It's possible, though maybe a stretch, that Gog is only really an individual in chapter 39, that Ezekiel 38 means Gog as a geographical or tribal indicator.  Some things said in 38 might be a little difficult to interpret that way, but it's possible.  There are other Prophecies where Yahuah seems to speak to nations as if they were individuals.  Also remember that translators sometimes add more pronouns than the original Hebrew directly justifies.

Revelation 20 definitely seems to be using Gog not as a person but as a location or tribe, that is why it (and never Ezekiel) says the three word phrase "Gog and Magog", they are refereed to as two of the same kind of thing.

Meanwhile Ezekiel 39 describes the place where Gog will be buried being named after him.  That will be important later.

Also Ezekiel 39 never directly refers to Magog as being part of the invasion, it says that when the invaders are destroyed he'll also send fire on Magog and "them that dwell carelessly in the Isles".  39 also never mentions Persia, Cush, Phut, Gomer and Togarmah, Tarshish or Sheba and Dedan.

Revelation 20 gets mistakenly claimed to have all nations involved.  It's just Nations in the four Corners, Ezekiel 38's alliance represents all four corners, Phut in the West, Cush in the South, Persia in the East,  and Gog, Gomer and Togarmah are associated with the north.

I also think Armageddon may not be as absolutely everyone as people assume.  I've talked on this blog about how I view the 6th Bowl of Wrath in Revelation 16 as being about the Scattered House of Ephraim returning to their land, in Northern Manasseh.

Meshech and Tubal can both be associated with ancient Uratu, in modern Kurdistan, near where the Assyrians took the Northern Tribes they deported, and where the Kingdom of Adiabene emerged in the first century.  Uratu also had four ancient Kings named Rusa.  So maybe "Prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal", should instead be "Prince Rosh of Meshech and Tubal"?  But also one of these Rusas had a location named after him, Rusahinili.  There is also a Rosh of the tribe of Benjamin mentioned in Genesis.

This article unlike others seeking to identify a Gog invasion with Armageddon, insists Gog can't be The Beast since The Beast is cast into the Lake of Fire, and not killed or buried.  Indeed, it may instead be that Gog is one of the Kings of The East, along with Rosh.  But maybe there are other ways to look at it, who knows.

There is no doubt in my mind that Ezekiel 38 is about the post Millennial Gog and Magog invasion of Revelation 20.  Ezekiel 39 is either more on that, or it's Armageddon, but there is no Pre-Trib or Mid-Trib Gog and Magog invasion.

Ironically we are now in an era where it's liberals who are paranoid about Russia.

Now what about that reference to Gog I promised?  It's in 1 Chronicles Chapter 5 verses 4-6.  The context is talking about the Tribe of Reuben at the time they were deported by Assyria in about 745 BC.
The sons of Joel: Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son, Micah his son, Reaiah his son, Baal his son, Beerah his son, whom Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria carried away captive: he was prince of the Reubenites.
So it seems Joel was a Prince of Reuben at the time of the captivity, and he and his seven sons were carried away into captivity.  And his second Son was named Gog.  The word for Prince used here is Nasi, same as in Ezekiel 38 and 39.

Why am I certain this isn't just a coincidence of names?  Because Ezekiel 39:11 says the place where Gog is buried in east of the sea, all scholars agree the Dead Sea is meant here.  Reuben was one of the trans-Jordan tribes, and the only one who was far enough south to be east of the Dead Sea.  My English language Jerusalem Bible has a footnote here implying that the river Arnon is specifically mentioned.  I'm not sure why it thinks that, might be something lost in translation, but I mention it cause it's consistent with what I just said, the Arnon was meant to be the southern border of Reuben, the border between Reuben and Moab.

So the reason Gog is being associated with persons or peoples separated by over a Thousand Years is I think because it's identifying descent from Gog ben Joel of the Tribe of Reuben.

People who want to interpret Ezekiel as just referring to his own time like to see Gog as Gyges of Lydia.  Well Gyges, who was called Gugu in Assyrian inscriptions, died before Ezekiel's time.  But I do think Gyges could be the same individual as the Gog of 1 Chronicles 5.

The deportation of the Trans-Jordan tribes was in 745 BC.  Gyges reigned from 716 to 678 BC.  If he was Joel's second born son he could have been between 7-20 years old when deported.

Gygyes' story in Greek sources has a lot of myth mingled in.  Needless to say I don't think he was the son of a Dascylus.  The story of him being a Bodyguard could be plausible, sometimes kings have used foreign mercenaries as Bodyguards, like Caligula, and Israelites living in Exile could be attracted to such a job.

The versions of his rise that involves him sleeping with the prior King's wife, have the potential to remind a Biblically literate reader of Reuben's sin.  That could mean one of two things.  The story is made up but Gyges encouraged it out of affinity with his ancestor. Or that it's a trait he inherited.

Gyges could be an ancestor of Cyrus.  A later king of Lydia from his dynasty, Alyattes, had a daughter named Aryenis who married Astagyes of Media and may have been the mother of Cyrus's mother Mandane.  A daughter of Cyrus married Dairus I and was the mother of Xerxes, who was probably an ancestor of Apamea royal wife of Seleucus I, who I've shown were ancestors of Charlemagne.  In that line from Seleucus to Charlemagne were princes of Galatia.

Cyrus went on to conqueror Lydia, ending Gygyes' dynasty.   At that point you could argue he fully became a successor of Gyges.

Making a Reubanite prince an ancestor of Charlemagne would be interesting to Britam supporters, since they like to make France Reuben.  France having it's own River Arnon is an interesting coincidence.  And it's also interesting here how both Eugene Sue in Les Mysteries du People and Paul Feval in Anne of the Isles (Translated into English by Brian Stableford published by BlackCoatPress) construct fictional narratives with a mythical patriarch of a clan of Pre-Christian and Pre-Roman Gallic (specifically Bretan) France named Joel.

But as interesting as that all is, I think the Gog(s) of Ezekiel and Revelation will be attacking from Turkey or Northern Iraq.

Update: More on Lydia

The city of Sardis wasn't always called that it seems.  Homer called it Hyde, and I agree with the theory that Homer was contemporary with Gyges.  The oldest surviving reference to it being called Sardis is in the 470s BC.

I've talked on my Revised Chronology Blog about the Sherden/Shardana of the Seas Peoples being linked to both Sardis and Sardinia and possibly descending from the Sardite clan, descendants of Sered of the Tribe of Zebulun in Numbers 26:26.

In Gyges time however the Sherden were not yet native to Sardis, but were among the foreign mercenaries he was using and also recommended to Psamtick I of Egypt (Seti I in my chronology).  The son of a Reubanite prince using members of other Tribes as mercenaries would certainly be interesting.

The Hebrew spelling of Gog is Gimel-Vav-Gimel, and Magog is Mem-Gimel-Vav-Gimel.  But the vav like yot was sometimes used like a vowel in the Masoretic text, so some people theorize for words like this the vav might not have been used originally.  This factors into two theories about the etymology of Gog and Magog.

One is the idea that Magog is a Hebrew code for Babel (Babylon).  If the Vav is dropped then you get Magog from taking the next letter after it in the alphabet for each letter of Magog and then turning it backwards.  Gog then becomes just Bab, which means gate in the pagan etymology of Bab-El.  Makes me think of the Persian false prophet known as The Bab.

The other is the theory that Agag might be a related name.  The Septuagint replaces Agag with Gog in Balaam's oracles, in Numbers 24:7.

In the context of looking for Gog in Media or Persia, it's interesting to remember that Haman was called an Agagite (technically his parent, presumably father, was).  The Septuagint additions to Esther has the Persian King call Haman a Macedonian.  Maybe Makedon could be related to Magog somehow?  But also a Macedonian princess named Gygaea married a Persian noble and was the mother of another Persian noble.  Gygaea was also an ancient name for Lake Mamara in Lydia.

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