[ -top- ] [ -prev- ] [ -next- ] [ -bottom- ]
by Dr. John Thomas
The prophecy of Ezekiel concerning Gogue evidently relates to a power that is to arise hereafter; for the Lord says in his address to its chief, " In the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people , against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them".
In another verse of this chapter, the "latter years" are termed "latter days," as it is written: "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".
This testimony shows that there will have been a gathering of the Jews to some extent before Gogue invades their land; and that this gathering is subsequent to a long desolation of the country.
Hence, those acquainted with Jewish history will perceive directly that the prediction has not yet been fulfilled; but is yet in the future, and belongs to "the time of the end," which is synchronous with "the latter days".
The prophecy of Gogue synchronizes with the events set forth in the forty-first verse of the eleventh chapter of Daniel.
In short, Ezekiel's prophecy of Gogue is an amplification of Daniel's concerning the king of the north.
That these two powers are the same will be manifest from the following considerations: Gogue, or the Prince of Ros, is king of Meshech and Tubal, therefore he is the king of the north geographically; those countries being north of the Holy Land, which, according to the covenant, extends to Amanus and the Euphrates; Gogue is to invade the land of Israel "from the north parts" and "in the latter days"; and the king of the north is to enter into the same country at the same time; therefore, as they come against the same enemy and at the same time, they must be one and the same power; The Libyans and Ethiopians belong to Gogue's army; and Daniel testifies, that "the Libyans and Ethiopians are at the steps of the king of the north," that is, they march among his troops; Hostile tidings come to Gogue from Sheba and Dedan eastward; and from "the Merchants of Tarshish and the young lions thereof" northward: so, also, "tidings out of the east and out of the north," says Daniel, "shall trouble the king of the north"; Gogue is to "fall upon the mountains of Israel," where he and his multitudes are to be buried; so the king of the north having encamped "between the seas in the glorious holy mountain," the hill country, "comes to his end" there, "with none to help him"; and, Gogue unexpectedly encounters the Lord God in battle on the mountains of Israel; and the king of the north contends with Michael the great prince, who standeth up for Israel, and delivers them; they are both defeated and deprived of dominion by the same supernatural power.
Here, then, are six particulars, which clearly establish the identity of Gogue with the king of the north.
The multitudes they are destined to lead into the Holy Land are the "all nations" which Zechariah has predicted the Lord will gather together against Jerusalem, to destroy them in battle with a small exception, and whose slain are "the carcases of the men that have transgressed against the Lord, Zech.
whose worm shall not die, nor their fire be quenched; and who shall be an abhorring to all flesh," who pass through "the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea"; for the consumption of their bodies by the worm will commence while they are yet standing alive upon their feet; so that like Antiochus Epiphanes, the stench of their consuming bodies will "stop the noses of the passers by".
The prophet Ezekiel is addressed by Jehovah as the type, or representative, of him who is to vanquish Gogue on the mountains of Israel.
Hence He says to him, "Son of Man, set thy face against Gogue, of the land Magogue, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him" In this title to the prophecy, the antagonists are indicated, namely, the Son of Man on one side, and Gogue on the other.
But, while it is quite clear who the Son of Man is, it is but little understood what power is represented by Gogue.
It will, therefore, be my endeavour in the following pages to identify this adversary of Israel and their King; so that the reader may know which of "the powers that be" is chosen of God to personate the serpent's head when it is crushed by the woman's Seed.
The Jews appointed by Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, to translate the Old Testament into Greek, gave a different rendering of the title to that which appears in the Authorized English Version.
They rendered the original by Gwg, a]rcouta Rw;," Mesoc kai qobel ie., Gogue, Prince of Ros, Mesoch, and Thobel; so that the difference of the two translations turns upon the Hebrew word rosh being regarded as a proper, or a common, noun.
The Seventy were sensible that in this place it was not an appellative noun, but a proper name; and they rendered it accordingly by Ros.
But Jerome not finding any such proper name among the nationfamilies mentioned in Genesis, rather disputed the Septuagint reading, and preferred to consider the word Ros as a common noun; and his interpretation, established in the Latin Vulgate, has universally prevailed throughout the west.
Jerome, however, was more scrupulous then the editors of later versions, who have unqualifiedly rejected it as a common name; for although he inclined to the other rendering, he did not feel authorized to reject altogether one so ancient, and he has therefore preserved them both, translating the passage thus -- "Gogue, terram Magogue, principem capitis (sive Ros) Mosoch, et Thubal".
But the question between the phrases "the chief prince," and "the prince of Ros," has been long set at rest by the concurring judgment of the learned, who have adopted the primitive interpretation of the Alexandrine Jews.
And although the common English version has not the benefit of their decision, yet the title of the prophecy has been generally received among the erudite portion of the western nations for nearly 200 years, according to the ancient Greek interpretation; that is to say, as uniting the three proper names of nations, Ros, Mosc, and Tobl.
By the insertion of vowels, or vowel-points, the Hebrew words have been made to assume the different forms of Meshech, Mesoch, Tubal, and Thobel; but, as the meaning of Hebrew words depends not on the points, but upon the radical consonants, or letters, it may be as well to express these names by the forms and elements of the original words, for by so doing we keep nearer to the original idea, and are less likely to be mystified by hypothesis.