Russia in Prophetic History.
by Cooper Abrams
I. THE INVASION OF GOG. (Ezekiel 38:1-16)
Ezekiel the Prophet gives the series of events concerning the invasion of Gog into Palestine in the Tribulation. This invasion from the north shall be the first in a series of invasions by the nations of the world into Palestine.
Israel will sign a peace treaty with the Antichrist who will head the Western, ten nation confederacy. This treaty will be a promise to protect Israel from her enemies. Palestine for a short time will bask in the peace achieved in signing the treaty with this powerful western bloc. This shows that Israel, as she has repeatedly in her history, will seek peace through alliances with other nations instead of seeking God's help. The present nation of Israel will be destroyed at the Second Coming of Christ. Jesus, the Messiah and Israel's true Savior, will set up a completely new Israel that will exist in Millennium. The Antichrist and the armies of the west, referred to as the Revised Roman Empire, until this time will have been unchallenged. Other references are also found in Daniel 11, Joel 2:1-27, Isaiah 10:12, 30:31-33, 31:8-9.
In Ezekiel 38:2-3 the leader of this northern confederacy is called "Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal." These are all tribal names found in Genesis 10:2. Gog is the name given of the commander of the invading army from the land of Magog which will attack Israel from the north. Magog in Gen. 10:2 was the second son of Japheth, one of the three sons of Noah.
Josephus, the Jewish historian states that Magog founded the people called the Magogites, who the Greek and Romans called the Scythians. Pentecost quoting Bauman, states that the Scythians traditionally came from Armenia and that they migrated north. As these people migrated north they were divided into two distinct races, the Japhetic or Europeans and the Juranians or Asiatic peoples. Bauman further states that the Japhetic peoples comprised the people called the Samaritans and they are the people today called the Slavs or Russians. Gog is called chief prince of the Meshech and Tubal.
Herodotus, a 5th century Greek philosopher is quoted as mentioning Meshech and Tubal. He identifies them with a people called the Samatitians and Muscovites who lived at that time in the ancient province of Pontus in northern Asia-Minor. Pliny, a noted Roman writer recorded that "Hurapolis, taken by the Scythians, was afterward call Magog." This again identifies the name Magog with the people of Russia.
Another evidence of Meshech being Russia is given by Wilhelem Gesenius, a 19th century Hebrew scholar. He said that Meshech was founder of the "Moschi", a barbarious people of the Moschean Mountains. He states the name "Moschi" was derived from the Hebrew name Meshech which is the source name for the city of Moscow. Tubal he says, was the son of Japheth, founder of the Tebereni people who dwell on the Black Sea to the west of Moschi. From these people came all the people of modern Russia.
Other evidence is found in the word "Rosh" translated "chief" in the KJV. The German scholar Dr. Keil states that frequently Byzantine and Arabic writers referred to a people call the "Ros" or "Rus" living in the country of Taurus and reckoned among the Scythian tribes. Rosh was the name of the tribes of the northern Taurus Mountains in southern Turkey, and Rosh is concluded to be "Russ", or the Russian people.
Bauman also made the interesting note that the decedents of Japheth had always seemed to have exclusively inhabited the region of Caucasus and Northern Armenia and the "Caucasus" means "Gog's fort." Geographically the land of Magog would indicate a nation in the locality of modern Russia. Ezek.38:6, 15; 39:2 refer to it as being in the uttermost parts of the north. It can be seen on any map that only Russia would qualify as being "utterly north" of Palestine.
With these geographical and linguistic evidences, it is generally held that Meshech refers to the modern city of Moscow, and Tubal to the present Russian province of Tobolsk. This leaves little doubt that the northern confederacy which will attack Israel will be headed be Russia.
If the invasion comes from the north as it is clearly indicated it will, there is a problem according to Dwight Pentecost in getting these supposed African allies north to be a part of the invasion. The Hebrew word translated Ethiopia in the KJV is "Cush" or "Kush." Cush is located in the North African region of Nubia, located in what is today northern Sudan.
Pentecost, quoting Bauman, makes note that Ethiopia may not be the African nation, but a country somewhere near Persia. Also the ally Libya could be a nation associated in Arabia in the area of Iran. Looking at present conditions in that area today it would seem highly probable that Russia will eventually take Iran and that Russia's intent is to take all the small Middle East countries one by one.
Over the centuries Russia has always systematically moved to secure additional territories in all directions. At the heart of Russia's expansionist designs has been the desire to become a naval power. Economically Russia seeks ports for world trade and she needs also the oil and minerals found in such abundance in the Middle East. In Ezekiel 38:10 she is said to have "and evil thought". The false and short-lived peace of the Antichrist will lure Israel into a sense of false security. Israel's guard is down and the stalking bear, Russia senses it. In verses 11-13 the prophet clearly shows Russia rushing into weaken Israel to plunder her riches.
Strategically, Russia also knows that whoever controls the Middle East is in a good position to control Europe, Asia and Africa. Another reason closely related to this would be the desire to challenge the power of the Antichrist and the 10 nation Western Confederacy. A quick victory in the Middle East would give Russia a decisive advantage over the West Bloc.
No invasion of Palestine has occurred as prophesied in the Ezek.38-39 account. Thus the invasion is yet future. Pentecost concludes that the context places these events in the middle of the Tribulation period. Chapter 37, the "dry bones chapter" is shown of Israel being regathered into the land of Palestine. This also is a future event. Dan. 11:44 refers to "many" Jews in Palestine during the Tribulation. Today there are estimated to be 17 million Jews in the world and only 3 million of these are now in modern Israel.
Pentecost further concludes that based on the fact that it takes place first in the "latter day" (Ezek.38:11) of Israel (meaning the Tribulation). Second, it will be a time of peace in the land (referring to the 3 ½ years of false peace from the Antichrist). Third, this peace ends at the middle of the seven year period, thus it could be the invasion will begin then.
There are numerous views as to the chronology of the preceding events and also of who are the actual participants. We will discuss the views of Willmington and Pentecost being they are most generally held.
As stated earlier, Russia sees Palestine as weak and unsuspecting. Israel feels secure in the peace assured by the treaty signed with the Antichrist and his western allies. Then Russia with all her mighty armies and allies shall swoop down and devastate the land of Palestine. The invasion shall come be land and sea. (Dan. 11:40b)
In Daniel 11:40a the King of the South, presumed by Willmington to be Egypt shall also attack from the South. In the light of current trends in the Middle East, (2005-2007) Russian is seeking closer trade relations with Egypt. In this passage in Daniel, Egypt appears to be the ally of Russia and the enemy of her current friends in the West. In the past Egypt and Russia were enemies, but current events are shifting and Egypt is changing its loyalties to the Russians.
Egypt will be surprised and betrayed in her friendship with Russia because Daniel 11:42-43 states: Russia will continue her thrust south into Egypt after her swift victory in Palestine.
After the Northern army successfully pushes through Palestine it continues south and begins to loot the riches of Egypt. Daniel 11:44 states that the Northern General will receive news from the east and north (Palestine) which shall disturb him. He then with his armies will return to Palestine and make his headquarters outside of Jerusalem. (Dan.11:45, Holy Mountain).
In the Dan.11:36-45 passage it seems difficult to determine who the "he's" are which refer to the participants in the situation.
Pentecost believes that the northern King does not join with the southern King, but that they both move against the Beast/False prophet coalition and that they move south into Egypt and that it is the Beast who gets this disturbing report and it is the Beast who returns north and makes his headquarters outside Jerusalem. (Ezek. 39; Zech.12:1-4)
This view seems to better fit the scriptures. One problem it solves is the Revelation 13:7 reference to the Beast having world-wide power. If the northern army does indeed attack around the middle of the Tribulation and is destroyed by the beast it would allow for the Beast to indeed have accomplished world domination. Another evidence is that in Isaiah 30-31 and Joel 2-3 the northern army is destroyed and then the nations of the world are destroyed. In Rev. 19:20 Christ, at his coming deals specifically with the Beast and the False Prophet which suggest that the King of the North has already been destroyed. It would also seem to tie in with Rev. 16:12 in which the armies of the East are shown coming against the Beast.
Also, if the Beast makes his headquarters outside of Jerusalem this would draw all the nations of the world there for the final battle of Armageddon. (Zech.14:1-3)
The final battle of the Tribulation period is referred to as the Battle of Armageddon which will take place outside of Jerusalem in the valley of Jezreel and the plain of Esdraelon in the area of Mt. Megiddo. Actually, it is not one battle, but a series of battles at the close of the Tribulation. As stated earlier, Christ at His Second Coming will himself destroy all the remaining armies. It will be the worst blood bath in the history of the world. However, the King of the North will have already been destroyed militarily on the mountains of Israel, (Ezek. 39:1-4). At the Second Advent Christ will destroy all resistance to Him on earth with involves all world nations. This judgment will include Russia as a world (Gentile) nation, (Matt.25:31-46). Thus Russia will be involved in the battles of Armageddon and will meet her ultimate end at the hands of Christ.
After the final purging of the earth at the battle of Armageddon, Christ will then set up and begin His millennial reign on earth, (1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Thess. 2:2; 2 Peter 3:10). Going into this age will only be saved people. All unsaved Gentiles will be cast into the Lake of Fire, (Matt.13: 48-50; 25:41-46). The 144,000 Jews who will evangelize the world during the Tribulation must reach people in Russia with the Gospel and thus at Christ's Second Coming He will find saved Russians who will go into the Millennium in their natural bodies.