Question: What is Gog and Magog? The answer is referred to in Ezekiel chapters 38-39 and in Revelation 20:7-8.
In Ezekiel, Gog is the name chosen to designate the leader of the heathen hosts who would attack the restored Jewish state after the return of the exiles. We read, “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it? Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army. You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes” (ch. 38:14–16).
The word Gog occurs 13 times in the Scriptures. All these Bible references shed no light on the identity of Gog, and the only indication as to his origin is in chapter 38:15, where the statement is made, “Thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts.” Efforts to identify Gog with any historical character have not been successful. The root from which the name is derived is also unknown.
Gog is described as “of the land of Magog.” “Magog” occurs five times in the Scriptures. It is used twice in Ezekiel (38:2 and in 39:6) as the land of Gog; once in Revelation 20:8, of the nations of the wicked; and in Genesis 10:2 and 1 Chronicles 1:5 as one of the sons of Japheth.
In secular sources, contemporary with Ezekiel or earlier, no character by the name of Gog is found. However, several names resembling it have been found. Therefore, we can conclude that Gog is most probably a descriptive name by which Ezekiel describes the leader of the heathen hordes who make a final onslaught upon Israel after their restoration, and at a time when they are enjoying the prosperity promised by God upon condition of their obedience.
In Revelation 20:7-8, we read,”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.” In this verse, God and Magog, represent the hosts of the unsaved of all ages who come forth at the second resurrection.
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