MAGOG and ASHCHENAZ

According to Josephus, the Magogites were later known to the Greeks as Scythians (Herodotus: Skythai). The Scythians have since come to be identified with the Aschenazithe Ashguz (Ashkuz) of Assyrian inscription. It is more likely, according to Bill Cooper, “that the early Magogites were assimilated into the peoples of Ashchenaz and thus making up merely a part of the Scythian hordes.”

Furthermore, early Irish Celts trace their ancestry from Japheth through the line of Magog. (To help crystallise the mental picture, see this image at Brit-Am.) In the map directly below, Ashkenaz is equated with the Phrygians — between the Black and Mediterranean Seas.

Image: The World as known to the Hebrews – Historical Textbook and Atlas of Biblical Geography (1854) by Lyman Coleman [Public Domain]

The descendants of Ashchenaz first settled in modern-day Armenia. In later Jewish writings, Gomer and his son (Aschenaz) were associated with the Germanic races, and Germanic Jews are to this day known as Ashkenazim. In the 7th century (BC), the Askuza  joined forces with the revolting Mannai. Here, the Bible (Jer 51:27) and Assyrian inscription overlap.

Other early sources confirm their place of settlement to be the area later known as Pontus and Bythinia, where the peoples of Ashchenaz gave their name to the lake and harbour of Ascanius, and to the land of Ascania. Josephus tells us that they were subsequently known to the Greeks as the Rheginians.

The Jews in Central Europe (1881) – Richard Andree (1835–1912). Image by User: Olahus [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

The name “Magog” appears five times in five verses in the Bible (WebBible Encyclopedia):

Gen 10:2 — The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.

The verse in Chronicles mirrors that of Genesis:

1 Chr 1:5 — The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.

In Ezekiel, Gog of the land of Magog is also the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, both of which we identify with Turkey:

Ezek 38:2 — Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,

Ezek 39:6 — And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.

In the Apocalypse (this is during the Millennial reign, well after the War of Gog and Magog has concluded), we have more the imagery of a multitude of peoples rather than one land:

Rev 20:8 —  And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

[Ed: the word Magog simply means “land of Gog”, which is rather non-specific in terms of trying to locate it. The better option, it would seem, would be to try and work out who Gog is, and from there extrapolate to the land(s) or peoples involved].

Magog was a grandson of Noah (Genesis 10:2), whose descendants settled to the far north of Israel, likely in Europe and northern Asia (Ezekiel 38:2). Magog seems to be used to refer to “northern barbarians” in general, but likely also has a connection to Magog the person. The people of Magog are described as skilled warriors (Ezekiel 38:15; 39:3-9). —Got Questions

In End Times’ parlance, Gog u Magog (Gog of Magog) is a reference to the antichrist (gospels, 1 John, 2 John, 2 Thessalonians, book of Revelation) king of the north (book of Daniel, chapters 11 and 12). There are various interpretations of just how far “north” this means, varying from Turkey to Europe and Russia. My impression is that this may be speaking of Turkey (because of all the other Turkish peoples implicated in Ezekiel 38 — Meshech, Tubal, Togarmah) or eastern Europe rather than Russia, but it may be someone connected to these lands by extension (i.e. one who comes in the name of “Rome”) rather than inhabiting them: someone who will lead a unified force that may consist of Turkey and Europe [think of things like a European Union, NATO, perhaps a Mediterranean Union, a more tenuous connection may be the United Nations]?


Annotations

There is a fresh water glacial lake located between Newport, Vermont, United States and Magog, Quebec, Canada, given the name Lake Memphremagog from the local traditional Abenaki language for “large expanse of water” or “large lake”. [The English word “skunk“, attested in New England in the 1630s, is probably borrowed from the Abenaki seganku]. This perhaps points to the origin of the word “magog” from a large expanse of water. In biblical imagery, a large expanse of water may refer to a large number of peoples, particularly of evil inclination. In this sense, Gog is less a ruler of a land than chief of the nefarious masses.

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Featured Image

An illustration from the Birds’ Head Haggadah, c. 1300, illustration of the Book of Exodus, Menachem Parchment. [The image is in the Public Domain and is provided by User:Seforim, Wikimedia Commons]

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