RUSSIA HAS A CAMEO APPEARANCE
IN BIBLE PROPHECY
Rise or Fall of American Empire?
DWIGHT PENTECOST – THE TWO CONFLICTS ARE THE SAME
On the other hand, fellow Premillenarian, Dwight Pentecost, in his voluminous Things to Come, has no problem in associating the war of Daniel 11:40-43 with Gog-Magog:
“To place the events in the middle of the week (i.e., Daniel’s Seventieth Week) is the only position consistent with the chronology of these extended passages. Such a view would lead us to this chronology of events: (1) Israel makes a false covenant with the Beast and occupies her land in a false security (Dan. 9:27; Ezek. 38:8, 11). (2) Because of a desire for spoil at the expense of an easy prey, the King of the North, satanically motivated, invades Palestine (Ezek. 38:11; Joel 2:1-21; Isaiah 10:12, 30:31-33; 31:8-9). (3) The Beast breaks his covenant with Israel and moves into the land (Dan. 11:41-45). (4) The King of the North is destroyed on the mountains of Israel (Ezek. 39:1-4). (Things to Come, Dwight Pentecost, Dunham Publishing Company, Findlay, Ohio, 1958, pp. 354-5).
Notwithstanding this initial clarity on Pentecost’s part, he confuses the text (and I think as a result of his chronological setting for Gog-Magog), and states:
“Verses 40-45 (Daniel 11:40-45) can hardly describe the activities of the combined forces of the Kings of the North and the South (Editor’s Note: Which they clearly do!), for the pronoun “they” would have been used. Since “he” is used, the passage must describe further the activities of the Willful King (i.e., Antichrist)” (Ibid. p. 356) (Editor’s Note: It is superfluous for Pentecost to state that “the combined forces of the Kings of the North and South” are not herein described working in concert, otherwise the use of the pronoun “they” would have served this purpose; instead, “he” is used which refers to Antichrist.)
On the one hand, Pentecost states that the Kings of the South and North are NOT working in concert, but on the other hand, as he further elaborates, they apparently are:
“From this passage (Daniel 11:40-43) several features concerning the movement of this invasion are to be seen. (1) The movement of the campaign begins when the King of the south moves against the Beast-False Prophet coalition (11:40), which, takes place ‘at the time of the end.’ (2) The King of the South is joined by the northern confederacy, who attacks the Wilful King by a great force over land and sea (11:40). Jerusalem is destroyed as a result of this attack (Zech. 12:2) (Editor’s Note: No, Jerusalem is NOT destroyed at this time—if it is the Gog-Magog War, which Pentecost affirms, Jerusalem is under the immediate protection of Antichrist, and she is spared at this time.), and, in turn, the armies of the northern confederacy are destroyed (Ezek. 39; Zech. 12:4). (3) The full armies of the Beast move into Palestine (11:41) and shall conquer all that territory (11:41-42) (Editor’s Note: Antichrist moves in to “protect” Israel and defend against Gog-Magog—as a full-blown subterfuge!). Edom, Moab, and Ammon alone escape. It is evidently at this time that the coalition of Revelation 17:13 is formed. (4) While he is extending his dominion into Egypt, a report that causes alarm is brought to the Beast (11:44). It may be the report of the approach of the Kings of the East (Rev. 16:12) (Editor’s Note: Pentecost completely omits “rumors” from the “north” because he simply does not know what to do with them, in that Russia, according to Pentecost, would have been destroyed as leading the King of the North in the Gog-Magog conflagration.), who have assembled because of the destruction of the northern confederacy to challenge the authority of the beast. (5) The Beast moves his headquarters into the land of Palestine and assembles his armies there (11:45). (6) It is there that his destruction will come (11:45).” (Ibid. 356)
Pentecost has the Gog-Magog War and the war of Daniel 11:40-43 (which he sees as the same conflict), taking place in the second half of Daniel’s Seventieth Week—after the Abomination of Desolation, whereas Walvoord has the Gog-Magog War taking place in the first half of Daniel’s Seventieth Week (p. 277 – Daniel, the Key to Prophetic Revelation); the war of Daniel 11:40-43 takes place “several years later than the battle described in Ezekiel” (p. 278 of Daniel, The Key to Prophetic Revelation); and, finally Walvoord’s “Great War” (Daniel 11:44-45) occurs after the Kings of the North and South are defeated by Antichrist in Daniel 11:40-43, who, subsequently, goes off to fight another conflict with a regrouped Russia and the “Kings of the East” (Daniel 11:44).
I have purposefully gone into great deal here to elaborate upon the confusion within the Premillenarian camp regarding these texts and the fixation upon Russia. Likewise, the convoluted misinterpretation of the name “Rosh” and its transliteration into “Russia” has compounded the confusion, along with faulty exegesis of the tribes, tongues, nations and peoples mentioned in Ezekiel 38.
GOG and MAGOG . . . THEIR IDENTITY
Gog (Ezekiel 38:2-3, 14, 16, 18, 39:1, 11; Revelation 20:8) is a satanic principality (Cf. Daniel 10:13, 20). Behind the operations and implementations of the image/kingdoms witnessed in Daniel’s visions (Daniel 2:32-45; 7-8; 10:10-11:45) are those vile inspirations spoken of in Ephesians 6:12 and alluded to in Colossians 1:16, 2:10, 15; Romans 8:38; Ephesians 1:21, and 3:10. They, like their antitheses, Michael and Gabriel (Daniel 10:13, 21, 12:1, Jude 9, Rev. 12:7; Daniel 8:1, 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26) occupy the highest angelic capacities (Gog/Satan; Michael and Gabriel unde the Almighty’s command). These are the “Archangels” mentioned in Scripture (I Thessalonians 4:16; Jude 9); whereof G. H. Pember comments in his text, Earth’s Earliest Ages:
“In the tenth chapter of Daniel we read of the Satanic Prince of Persia, and also of the Prince of Grecia; but the angel of the Lord who opposes the former does not take a similar title. Nay, from his own words we may see that his post is no permanency; he is merely sent down for a special purpose, and retires when it is accomplished, leaving the Prince of Grecia unassailed. And how deeply significant, how worthy of our most solemn thought, is his complaint that, upon his entrance into the heaven of our earth, he found, with a solitary exception, all its principalities either hostile or indifferent! (Dan. x. 21.) From the whole region of the vast rebel empire there came forth but one loyal prince of God to aid him in his conflict with the power of darkness. This faithful archangel was Michael; nor is it difficult to account for his presence in the regions of the air. For he is described to Daniel as “your prince,” and afterwards as “the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people” (Dan. x. 21; xii. 1). It appears, then, that he is the spiritual ruler of Israel; and so, that when God chose a people upon the earth for Himself, He took them out of the jurisdiction (Acts xxvi. 18; Col. i. 13) of Satan, and appointed one of His own princes to govern and protect them. Hence with fierce enmity the Prince of Darkness seems to have matched himself against Michael, and to have directed in person his desperate assaults upon the alienated principality. One of his victories is recorded in the Book of Chronicles, where we are told how he ‘stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel’ (I Chron. xxi. 1).” (G. H. Pember, Earth’s Earliest Ages, Kregel Publications, pp. 43-44 and Chapter 2).
Gog is referred to in Ezekiel 38:2 and 38:3 as the “chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.”
“. . . set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal . . . I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.”
Furthermore, the recitation of Revelation 20:7-8 suggests not only is Gog and his allies, Magog, beyond the frame of fallen humanity and principality, but the very “spiritual essence” and personhood of Satan himself reveals Gog’s true identity; for Satan is bound a 1,000 years and released from his prison after his Millennial incarceration:
“Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea” (Revelation 20:7-8 also 20:9-10).
Thence, we are persuaded that behind these earthly kingdoms (e.g., Persia, Greece and the prophetic Meshech and Tubal) is an archangelic figure, the fallen Prince of this World and of the Power of the Air (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; Ephesians 2:2) whose warlike identity/descriptions constrains us to see this is but an amplification of his activity, and thusly, we conclude this is none other than Beelzebub, the “PRINCE OF THE DEVILS” himself (Matthew 9:34, 12:24; Mark 3:22)!
Babylon’s great political “Ruler of this World” description fits that of the King of Babylon (Isaiah 14:3-23; Jeremiah 51:25, 44); and of the Prince and King of Tyre—Babylon’s “Commercial Empire” of the Last Days (Ezekiel 27 and 28) wherein it is said: “You were the anointed cherub who covers . . . you were on the holy mountain of God . . . you were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you . . . by the abundance of your trading (merchandise) you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stone” (Ezekiel 28:14-16).
Gog “are” his actions, but behind the activity of his name is the “Destroying Mountain”–the Prince of Meshech and Tubal, of all those who follow in his train (Magog) and profane with disgust what God has chosen. For as “the Dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born . . . her Child (Jesus) was caught up to God and His throne (His ascension) . . . so the Great Dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him . . . and the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God (Israel) and have the testimony of Jesus” (the Church) (Revelation 12:4, 9, 17).
Thus, he as Gog has come to devour Israel, though they are a “Valley of Dry Bones” and deceptively do they assume their “safety” and have taken down their walls (Ezekiel 38:11); likewise, to persecute those who “have the testimony of Jesus” (i.e., the Church).
Now, let us identify the armies of Gog: Magog. But prior to our departure, may I confirm these discoveries by the exegesis of the great Bible expositor, former editor of Eternity Magazine, and Senior Pastor of Philadelphia’s 10th Presbyterian Church, whose “Expositional Commentary on the Revelation” is perhaps his foremost eschatological accomplishment and gift to the Church in these Last Days, the late Donald Grey Barnhouse:
“We do not think that the portion of Dr. Scofield’s note which would make Gog the prince and Magog the land will stand the test of careful scrutiny after reading the chapters. The phrase ‘the land of Magog’ no more means that Magog is land than the phrase ‘the land of Hitler’ would mean that Hitler was the land. We believe that both Gog and Magog must be looked upon as personalities, whether human or of the spirit realm remains to be seen . . . .
“Gog and Magog in Ezekiel clearly refer to personages who are active a thousand years before this scene in the Apocalypse (Ref. Revelation 20:7-10). There can be no doubt whatsoever that the great struggle in which they are involved in the Old Testament prophecy is that which leads up to the battle of Armageddon. This is clearly indicated by the statements that after the destruction of the armies of these leaders, ‘The house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day and forward’ (Ezek. 39:22). The thousand years most certainly follow the incidents concerning Gog and Magog in Ezekiel’s prophecy.
“But we also see, in Ezekiel, that Gog and all his multitude is buried (Ezek. 39:11) at the time he is destroyed. This would give clear indication that there is a human being involved. But we believe that there is more than this. Not from speculation but from legitimate inference we can discern one or two other details. In Ezekiel we have two beings, Gog and Magog, who are leaders in the revolt against God and His people. They come under the wrath of God and their forces are destroyed. But a thousand years later, in the end of the final test of man, we find Satan loosed from his prison and somehow involved with characters with these same names. We believe, therefore, that just as Satan entered into Judas (John 13:27), whether personally or through one of his mighty principalities and powers we do not know, and as Satan clothed the human being called the wild beast, with his power, his throne, and great authority (Rev. 13:2), thus making him the Antichrist, so Satan possesses some princeling, perhaps named Gog, through one of his mighty angels who own his sway. A more striking example may be found elsewhere in Ezekiel where we see a being who is clearly a man, the prince of Tyre, leading us on to a description of another being, the king of Tyre, who is clearly Satan.
“That, then, which has satisfied our minds in this matter, is that some of Satan’s mighty angels, principalities, or powers which rule the darkness of this world (Eph. 6:12), take hold of earth’s dictators, use them for their ends, and are defeated by God at the great conflict of the destruction at Armageddon. The human instrumentalities are destroyed, but the demon forces live on, held back by the power of God until Satan is released after the thousand years. Whereupon they seize again some willing earthling and seek to lead the peoples against God in their final rebellion” (Donald Grey Barnhouse, Revelation, An Expositional Commentary, Zondervan Publishing House, pp. 387-8)
Dr. Barnhouse’s exegesis does not vary from our own, only in that we have determined, without caveat, that behind and within the fallen human and principality is their incarnate Thief . . . . “And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (John 10:10; II Corinthians 11:14-15).
Furthermore, the transcendent nature of this satanic plot is noteworthy in these respects: (1) Gog and Magog, though their identities and destruction are clearly delineated in Ezekiel 38 and 39, their names resurface after the thousand-year millennial reign (as Satan is “loosed” for a season, Revelation 20:7-10) in final rebellion against Messiah’s direct rule upon the earth; therefore, we must conclude that Dr. Barnhouse’s conclusions bear significant insight—behind any human personage (e.g., Gog) and his allies (Magog) there is undeniable evidence to conclude the “Prince of this World” lurks in satanic motivation, cause, and spirit; and (2) The Antichrist/Beast is indeed, during the final 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation/Jacob’s Trouble the incarnated embodiment, having inhabited the slain body of Antichrist, while falsifying the resurrection—giving rise to the full manifestation of the unholy trinity and the “ministry” of the Mark of the Beast (i.e., the Dragon/father, the Antichrist/Beast/son, and the Second Beast/False Prophet, the antitype of the Holy Spirit), as well as that final manifestation of the Image of the Beast and its worship vs. the Image of Christ, the Church). (Antichrist and the Gog-Magog War, The Tribulation Network, Doug Krieger)
“ROSH” IS NOT RUSSIA
Please excuse me by elaborating on Russia’s ill-conceived involvement in the Gog-Magog War and the faulty identifications attributed thereto by what can only be described as American Cold War enthusiasts determined to corner Russia as the aggressor in all things eschatological. The Grace Online Library refutes the contention that “Rosh” refers to modern-day Russia:
“LaHaye (i.e., Tim LaHaye) writes that one way we know that Ezekiel 38 and 39 ‘can only mean modern-day Russia’ is because of ‘etymology,’ that is, by studying the origin of words. The Hebrew word rosh that is found in Ezekiel 38:2 is said to be a people-group that refers to modern-day Russia. Part of the argument rests on the belief that rosh sounds like Russia. Those who hold this view translate Ezekiel 38:2 this way: ‘Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.’ The key phrase is ‘prince of Rosh,’ which they would have us to understand as the ‘leader of Russia.’ A more accurate translation, the one followed by the King James Version, based on the way rosh is used elsewhere in the Old Testament, would read this way: ‘Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.’(7) Even scholars who would agree with LaHaye on many other prophetic points admit that rosh does not refer to Russia. Charles Ryrie even takes issue with the New American Standard translation of Ezekiel 38:2 when he writes: ‘The prince of Rosh’ is better translated as ‘the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. While the New American Standard Bible uses ‘the prince of Rosh’ in Ezekiel 38:2 and 39:1, it has a marginal note in 39:1 which reads ‘chief prince of Meshech.’ Meshech and Tubal are not linked with a place called Rosh (8) in any other place in the Bible (Gen. 10:2; 1 Chron. 1:5; Isa. 66:19;8 Ezek. 27:13; 32:26), so it is extremely unlikely that in these two cases alone rosh takes on an entirely different meaning from the way it is used elsewhere in the Old Testament.
“This interpretation is not unique to LaHaye. Hal Lindsey popularized the interpretation in his Late Great Planet Earth.(9) LaHaye follows Lindsey’s view to the letter. LaHaye writes the following in his The Beginning of the End:
‘The name Moscow comes from the tribal name Meshech, and Tobolsk, the name of the principal state, comes from Tubal. The noun Gog is from the original tribal name, Magog, which gradually became Rosh, then Rus, and today is know as Russia. In the very interesting book The Late Great Planet Earth, my friend Hal Lindsey presents a lengthy discussion of the identity of these nations. I was so impressed by the accuracy of his sources and his readable style that I obtained permission to quote him at length, with numbered footnotes indicating his sources.’(10)
“The Rosh=Russia interpretation was introduced to Christians in the first edition of the Scofield Reference Bible in 1917. Scofield wrote that ‘The reference to Meshech and Tubal (Moscow and Tobolsk) is a clear mark of identification (i.e., with Russia).’ (11) The views of Scofield, Lindsey, and LaHaye are not supported by Bible-believing Christian historians, archaeologists, and linguists. Edwin M. Yamauchi, professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, is an authority on the subject, and disagrees with Lindsey's analysis. He writes that the Hebrew word rosh ‘can have nothing to do with modern ‘Russia.’ This would be a gross anachronism, for the modern name is based upon the name Rus, which was brought into the region of Kiev, north of the Black Sea, by the Vikings only in the Middle Ages.’(12) Other evangelical scholars agree:
“There is no evidence from the ancient Near East that a country named Rosh ever existed. Some would understand rosh as modern Russia. Proponents of this view usually appeal to etymology based on similar sounds (to the hearing) between two words. Such etymological procedures are not linguistically sound, nor is etymology alone a sound hermeneutical basis on which to interpret a word. The word Russia is a late eleventh-century A.D. term. Therefore, the data does [sic] not seem to support an interpretation of rosh as a proper name of a geographical region or country.(13)
Rosh is a common Hebrew word that is used hundreds of times in the Bible and means ‘chief,’ ‘head,’ or ‘beginning.’ For example, Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year. It is described as a ‘high holy day’ because it is the chief or head holy day of the year. It literally means ‘head of the year’ or ‘first of the year.’ Jews also celebrate Rosh Hodesh, the beginning of the new month in the Jewish calendar and celebrated during the morning worship time in a Jewish synagogue (1 Sam. 20:5).
Any concordance will show that rosh is never used as a proper name that refers to a nation.(14) There are priests in Israel and there are ‘chief priests.’ The word for ‘chief’ is rosh (2 Kings 25:18; 1 Chron. 27:5; 2 Chron. 19:11; 24:6; 26:20; 31:10; Ezra 7:5; Jer. 52:24).
Immediate footnotes to the above:
7. Charles C. Ryrie, ed., The Ryrie Study Bible (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1978), 1285.
8. Some editions of the New American Standard Bible include 'Rosh' in Isaiah 66:19: ‘Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Rosh, Tibal, and Javan.’ No other translation includes 'Rosh' in this listing. The Hebrew text does not include 'Rosh.' The Lockman Foundation's on-line version of their updated translation of the NASB does not include 'Rosh' in Isaiah 66:19.
9. Hal Lindsey, Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1970), 59-71.
10 Tim LaHaye, The Beginning of the End, rev. ed. (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1991), 65.
11. The Scofield Reference Bible, ed. C. I. Scofield (New York: Oxford University Press, 1917), 883n.
12. Edwin M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier: Invading Hordes from the Russian Steppes (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1982), 20.
13. Ralph H. Alexander, ‘Ezekiel,’ The Expositors Bible Commentary, gen. ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, 12 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1986), 6:930. For a discussion of five contemporary views of this battle, see Ralph H. Alexander, ‘A Fresh Look at Ezekiel 38 and 39,’ Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 17 (Summer 1974), 162-65.
14. One of Benjamin's sons is named ‘Rosh’ (Gen. 46:21), but no one identifies him with Russia. Russia was not settled by Jews from the tribe of Benjamin.
The strategic isolation of Russia serves no primary geopolitical purpose whatsoever—aside from the Ships of Tarshish and their ability to subsume more nations into her economic orb. Once again, a supernatural hand aligns the nations of the earth for the final countdown to the Treaty of Hell and Death. Russia’s reaction was and is altogether predictable—as much as her former satellites is a sure forecast of wrenching antagonism toward her dominance and immediate acquiescence to all that is Western. Georgia knew precisely what she was doing, and America calculated her move with cheese-like brilliance. The Putin-Medvedev game plan seems altogether an overdue and even measured response—but who fell into whose trap?
The Europeans think the USA did when Georgia appears to have overplayed her hand. Alas! CHECKMATE!
Not until “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Messiah (the Christ)” shall there be true peace and harmony among the nations, peoples, tribes of the earth. American Evangelical Christianity is so mesmerized by the Russian bear, that like Walvoord and a host of leading eschatologist (do a Google search and you will readily tell), Russia’s behavior toward Georgia and Iran bespeaks the utter fulfillment of the future Gog-Magog War.
In a word: NO! Russia shall be reserved until “rumors from the north” shall trouble him—then and then only shall she fulfill her “bit part” in the end-time scenario. Antichrist plays the chief roll – end of story – until the image is destroyed:
“And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great god has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure” (Daniel 2:44-45).