God set parameters for both the time period and the geographic location for the battle of Gog of Magog in Ezekiel 38-39, and as referenced in the final battle of Rev. 20. God set the purpose for this battle, which was the 2nd destruction of Jerusalem, “against My land” (Ezek. 38:16). So, we can know some very certain things about this prophesy.
In Part V of this series we have seen that the time frame for the battle of Gog of Magog could only have fit during the first century AD, specifically between AD 26 – AD 70. Those were the end days, the last days of the temple in Jerusalem, and of the old Mosaic covenant. See Part V here
In Part VI of this series we showed that the place names of the lands of Magog were the same lands which were called by the Persian names when the Ezekiel prophesy was given. These lands were all controlled during the last days of the Jerusalem temple by the ancient Roman empire. See Part VI here
Can we now determine who the head (rosh) prince of these armies were? I believe we can.
The prophesy of Gog of Magog was of a great battle which God had pronounced would destroy Jerusalem a second time. The first destruction of Jerusalem had already happened (approx. 586 BC) before this prophesy was shown to Ezekiel. The prophesy was defined in terms that Ezekiel and his generation would recognize for the lands as they were known in their day.
“15 And thou hast come in out of thy place, From the sides of the north, Thou and many peoples with thee, Riding on horses — all of them, A great assembly, and a numerous force.
16 And thou hast come up against My people Israel, As a cloud to cover the land, In the latter end of the days it is, And I have brought thee in against My land, In order that the nations may know Me, In My being sanctified in thee before their eyes, O Gog.” (Ezek. 38: 15-16, YLT)
Some scholars claim that Gog was king Gyges of Lydia (today part of southwest Turkey) who reportedly reigned during the 7th cent. BC. He was believed to have been killed by the Cimmerians in 644 BC. The scholars make the association between Gyges and Gog because of the “g” in both names, and link it to the Akkadian god “Gaga” and that the word “Magog” was the land of Lydia ruled by Gyges. Illogical circular reasoning, and not sound hermeneutic. Gyges did not live in the end days of the first century AD, nor did he rule all the lands of the prophesy. (1) We may discard this theory.
Other scholars make an argument for Haman of the book of Esther as he instigated a plot to kill all of the Jews during the reign of King Ahasuerus (possibly same as Artaxerxes I), during the 4th cent. BC. Again, the association is made because of the similarity of his name to the place name in Ezekiel 39:16 of Hamon-gog, which means multitude.
“And those passing by have passed through the land, and seen a bone of man, and one hath constructed near it a sign till those burying have buried it in the valley of the multitude of Gog.
16 And also the name of the city [is] The multitude; and they have cleansed the land.” (Ezek. 39:15-16, YLT)
However, Haman does not fit either the time frame, nor the role of Gog. Although Haman was a chief minister in the court of Ahazuerus, he was not a military leader of a multitude of armies. He planned the attacks, but he did not lead them, and he did not destroy the city of Jerusalem. We may discard this theory.
We have to identify a military leader of an army of multitudes of nations / lands that were identified in Ezekiel by their old Persian names, and which army destroyed Jerusalem a second time during the end of its days.
He was appointed by Caesar Nero, the sixth king who was ruling when Revelation was written (Rev. 17:10) and who was the representation of the 4th beast kingdom prophesied in Dan 7:7-25 that would arise and rule over the “earth” of Jerusalem during the days the Messiah would ascend to heaven (Dan. 7:1-14).
Vespasian led the Roman legions against Judea and Jerusalem to put down the rebellion against Roman rule. The Roman legions were based all across the ancient Roman empire. Some of these legions Vespasian led against Judea came from the eastern and southern provinces which had been the same land regions known to Ezekiel under their Persian names of Meshech, Tubal, Togarmah, Gomer, Phut, Cush, and Persia.
The Roman Empire under Hadrian 125 AD & the Roman Legions (Copied with permission from XII Fulminata under the GNU Free Documentation License)
The legend from the map show the Roman Legions stationed along the eastern and southern Imperial borders in 125 AD as follows:
#20 The XV Apollinaris – guarding the Euphrates at Satala south of the Black Sea
#21 The XII Fulminata (the thunderbolt 12th) – guarding the Euphrates in Cappadocia at Melitene
#22 The XVI Flavia Firma – on the Euphrates at Samosata in Syria
#23 The IV Scythica – on the Euphrates at Zeguma in Syria
#24 The III Galica – at Raphana in Syria
#25 The VI Ferrata – at Raphana in Syria
#26 The III Cyrenaica – at Bostra in Judea
#27 The X Fretensis – at Hierosolyma (Jerusalem) in Judea
#28 The II Traiana – at Alexandria in Egypt
#29 The XXII Deiotariana- at Alexandria in Egypt
#30 The III Augusta – at Lambaesis in the African Proconsularis
The Legions Vespasian led against Judea in the first Roman-Jewish war, and which his son Titus used in the siege of Jerusalem were the X Fretensis (the bull / boar), the V Macedonica (the eagle), the XII Fulminata (the thunderbolt – “fire from heaven”), and the XV Apollinaris (probable symbol Apollo) .
The X Fretensis along with the V Macedonica were ordered relocated by Vespasian from Alexandria in Egypt to Caesarea in Judea, and during the siege was camped on the Mt. of Olives. The X Fretensis were then stationed permanently at Jerusalem.
The XII Fulminata, originally based in Turkey (Meshech and Tubal) regained their fame in the Roman – Jewish wars, but afterwards Vespasian sent them along with the XVI Flava Firma to guard the Euphrates border. (2) (3)
The XV Apollinaris whose main base was in Saddaq, Turkey (again Meshech & Tubal) captured the Jewish general at Jotapata who later became known as Josephus Flavius.
So, Vespasian was a military general, a leader or head prince under the command of Caesar Nero during the fourth beast kingdom, the ancient Roman empire who in turn commanded Roman legions of those areas which were at one time called Meshech, and Tubal (Turkey), of Cush where Alexandria was located, and of Phut (Lybia).
The Ezekiel prophesy of Gog of Magog foresaw a great battle under a military leader who directed warriors from many nations spanning the regions that had been called by their Persian names at the time the prophesy was given. When the battle finally happened in AD 67-70, those place names for the same regions were different, but they were still the same land areas. And, the military leader who led that battle against Jerusalem was Vespasian.
When Vespasian returned to Rome in 69 AD to prevent the fall of Rome, he left his son Titus in charge of those same legions to finish the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Titus was under the direction of his father, and so Caesar Vespasian was still the chief prince of that multitude of armies whose individual soldiers came from all of the provinces of all the captured nations under the ancient Roman empire. But, Titus was part of the Gog imagery.
The soldiers of their army were of the gentile nations that had been conquered by Rome.
“ And thou hast gone up — as wasting thou comest in, As a cloud to cover the land art thou, Thou and all thy bands, and many peoples with thee.” (Ezek. 38:8, YLT)
“8 and he shall go forth to lead the nations astray, that are in the four corners of the earth — Gog and Magog — to gather them together to war, of whom the number [is] as the sand of the sea;
9 and they did go up over the breadth of the land, and did surround the camp of the saints, and the beloved city, and there came down fire from God out of the heaven, and devoured them;” (Rev. 20:8-9, YLT)
The gentile nations were figured in prophesy as “the sea.” The number as the sand of the sea represented the warriors of the gentile nations. Coming up over the land was the earth that was surrounded by the sea, or Judea surrounded by the gentile nations. The four corners of the “earth” were the borders of Judea as explained in my post The Four Corners of the Earth
The camp of the saints and the beloved city was none other than Jerusalem. Revelation foretold the second destruction of Jerusalem during the 4th beast kingdom prophesied from Daniel, and under Gog’s army foretold by Ezekiel. It was the battle that would end the animal sacrificial system of the Mosaic Jewish temple worship, and those evil ones who so despised God’s Messiah and fulfilled His purpose in crucifying Jesus.
The evil and wicked generation upon which Christ laid all of the blood shed from Abel to Zacharias (Matt. 25:35) was repaid in blood during the Roman-Jewish wars which destroyed their city and the temple under Vespasian’s campaign in Judea and the siege of Jerusalem carried out by his son Titus as was prophesied by the vials of blood in Rev. 16:6.
“because blood of saints and prophets they did pour out, and blood to them Thou didst give to drink, for they are worthy;'” (YLT)
But, you may say that neither Vespasian nor his son Titus died in Judea. No, they did not. We will look at the figurative imagery God presented as the grave provided for Gog on the mountains of Israel in the next part VIII.
1) Gyges of Lydia – https://www.britannica.com/topic/Gog
2) Legio XII Fulminata – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legio_XII_Fulminata
3) List of the Roman Legions – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Roman_legions