Are we Living the Gog U’Magog War?

December 4, 2023

This is not business as usual.

Though Israel has fought many small wars against Hamas, everyone understands that the current war is different. After Hamas slaughtered 1,200 innocent Israelis on October 7, nations throughout the world immediately felt the reverberations. This is a war with global implications, pitting Jews and Christians, the people of the Bible, against Muslims and secular progressives, who reject the Bible and all that it stands for.

Could this finally be the war of Gog and Magog, the great war of the end of days?

In chapters 38 and 39 of the Book of Ezekiel, the prophet describes a great war that will take place at the end of days. Gog of the land of Magog from the north will lead a host of nations in battle against Israel and God; a war that will bring about the final redemption. God’s wrath will come down upon the invaders who will die in a series of supernatural plagues.

“Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal… And you will come from your place, from the utmost north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding horses; a great assembly and a mighty army. And you will ascend upon My people Israel like a cloud to cover the earth; at the end of days it will be, and I shall bring you upon My land in order that the nations recognize Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog” (Ezekiel 38:1, 15-16).

For thousands of years, rabbis, pastors and Bible scholars have made confident claims about the identity of Gog and Magog, assuming that the great wars of their generation must be the fulfillment of this prophecy. But with the passage of time and the stubborn refusal of the final redemption to arrive, their speculations fell flat. That said, the current war aligns with the Gog and Magog prophecies in ways that are truly eye-opening. Though we cannot make predictions with any certainty, the connections are hard to ignore.

“’Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say: Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal… Persia, Cush, and Put are with them; all of them with buckler and helmet. Gomer and all its wings, the house of Togarmah, the utmost parts of the north and all its wings, many peoples with you.” (Ezekiel 38:2-3, 5-6)

What is the identity of the land of Magog? And who are these other nations that are destined to participate in this monumental war against Israel?

Interestingly, Israel’s traditional Biblical enemies are not mentioned in these verses. There is no mention of the Moabites, Ammonites, Egyptians, Philistines, Midianites or Amalekites. These ancient adversaries are replaced by new enemies, who will invade the ingathered nation of Israel from afar.

This is a very significant shift. In earlier times, Israel battled neighboring tribes and peoples in conventional struggles for land and resources. But the final battle against Gog will be a global war of far greater significance.

The rabbinic sages identify the Land of Magog as “Germanya” (Targum Yonatan). Yechiel Zvi Hirschenson, a 19th-century scholar, asserts that “Germanya” refers to Kerman or Kermania, the second largest province in modern Iran, whose main city is called Kerman to this day. This identification follows the rules of ancient Hebrew, in which the letters G and K are interchangeable.

Given modern Iran’s genocidal stance toward the State of Israel and its sponsorship of the three groups currently attacking Israel – Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis of Yemen – the identification of the land of Magog with the Islamic Republic of Iran is compelling.

What about the other nations that will join with Gog in the war against Israel? Persia, of course, is Iran, which corresponds with the identification of Magog as an Iranian province. Put is traditionally identified with northern Africa, while Kush usually refers to the lands south of Egypt, including Sudan, Yemen and the entire Arabian peninsula. Historically, Meshech and Tubal were Scythian tribes from Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey.

Based on rabbinic tradition and historical research, it is reasonable to conclude that “Gog of the Land of Magog” is an Iranian leader who will attack Israel together with many Arab allies and Turkey. This aligns closely with today’s political reality, in which all of these nations and terror groups seek the destruction of Israel.

But the connection between Iran and Magog goes even deeper. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935) explains that Gog and Magog’s motivations for attacking Israel will be different from those of other nations that have attacked Israel throughout history:

“All of the opposition of earlier enemies who attacked Israel derived from self-serving motives: to advance themselves through Israel’s destruction, to prevent Israel from succeeding at their expense, or to prevent the weakening of their strength as Israel grows spiritually stronger. But the war of Gog and Magog will derive purely from a desire to cause harm and destruction… It will come at a time when Israel is back in its land and seeks peace with its neighbors. But [Gog and Magog] will desire only to cause evil and will be jealous of the glory of God that will be increased through Israel. (Ein Ayah, Brachot I, 173)

Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah are not afraid that Israel will conquer their lands, nor do they seek economic benefits from attacking Israel. Hamas’ attacks have only brought death and destruction to the Gaza Strip. They are driven by pure hatred of Israel, seeking only to murder and destroy. As Yahyah Sinwar recently said, “The leaders of Israel should know this, October 7 was just the general rehearsal.” His goal is simple: to murder as many Jews as possible.

Fortunately, God will save His people, and the enemies of Israel will pay for their deeds:

“So says the Lord God: Lo! I am against you, O Gog, prince and head of Meshech and Tubal. And I will unbridle and entice you and lead you up from the utmost parts of the north and bring you upon the mountains of Israel… Upon the mountains of Israel shall you fall, you and all your hordes, and the people that are with you; to the birds of prey, to all the winged creatures and the beasts of the field have I given you to be devoured… And I will send fire on Magog and on those who dwell in safety in the islands, and they will know that I am the Lord. And I will make known My Holy Name in the midst of My people Israel, and I will no longer cause My Holy Name to be profaned, and the nations will know that I, the Lord, am holy in Israel.” (Ezekiel 39:1-2,4,6-7)

May we merit to see these miracles with our own eyes!

Rabbi Elie Mischel

Rabbi Elie Mischel is the Director of Education at Israel365. Before making Aliyah in 2021, he served as the Rabbi of Congregation Suburban Torah in Livingston, NJ. He also worked for several years as a corporate attorney at Day Pitney, LLP. Rabbi Mischel received rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Rabbi Mischel also holds a J.D. from the Cardozo School of Law and an M.A. in Modern Jewish History from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. He is also the editor of HaMizrachi Magazine.

Rabbi Elie Mischel

Rabbi Elie Mischel is the Director of Education at Israel365. Before making Aliyah in 2021, he served as the Rabbi of Congregation Suburban Torah in Livingston, NJ. He also worked for several years as a corporate attorney at Day Pitney, LLP. Rabbi Mischel received rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Rabbi Mischel also holds a J.D. from the Cardozo School of Law and an M.A. in Modern Jewish History from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. He is also the editor of HaMizrachi Magazine.

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