In Parts V – VII of this series we saw that the specific parameters God set in the prophesy of Gog of Magog in chapters 38-39 limited the time, the geographical locations, and the object of the battle to Judea and Jerusalem of the first century AD. With those set limits there could be only one solution for the prophesy – Vespasian, commander of the Roman legions that attacked Jerusalem in the Roman – Jewish wars of 67-70 AD.
Therefore, all of the attempts made by scholars to fit the Gog of Magog prophesy to kings of certain lands, or to chief princes or rulers that lived in a given region or territory were looking at the problem of Ezekiel’s prophesy from the wrong perspective.
It was not that the chief prince of the prophesy was born in Meshech and Tubal, nor in Gomer, or Togarmah, nor in Persia, Ethiopia, Cush or Phut. It was not that he lived or ruled in any of those lands. The determining factor was that he was the leader of the legions and armies that were stationed in those lands, and that as the chief or head military commander Vespasian led four of those legions from those lands to the battle against Jerusalem.
Consider The Fall of the Roman Empire (See here)
I do not wish to review all the history of the Roman Empire, as volumes have been written that can be read at other sites such as the one above. However, I do believe there is much supporting evidence to propose that the Gog of Magog prophesy represents the decline and fall of the pagan cult-worship religion that characterized the Roman empire which blasphemed against God, culminating in its symbolic death outlined in Ezek. chap. 39.
As the fourth beast kingdom prophesied by Daniel chaps. 2, and 7, it was the pagan army which God used to carry out His judgment upon the wicked Jews, those who were of the synagogue of Satan (Rev. 2:9; 3:9), who had used the Romans to crucify Christ. God in turn used the Romans to destroy the evil ones in Jerusalem, and to tear down the temple which was no longer required once Christ became the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8).
It was during that 4th beast kingdom of the Roman empire during the 1st century AD when Christ’s everlasting kingdom was established and became the over arching kingdom, the stone cut out of the mountain which would break those beast kingdoms, and rule over all the kingdoms of men forever more.
“ 44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” (Dan. 2:44-45, KJV)
“All these kingdoms” of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream were a) Babylon, b) then Mede-Persian, c) then Greco-Macedonian, and d) the fourth- the Roman empire. Each empire was conquered and consumed by the next, until all of them were swallowed up and contained within the Roman empire. All of those elements present within the Roman empire was why it was both weak and strong, and why it could not stay welded together.
“ 7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.” (Dan. 7:7, KJV)
11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.
12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. (Dan. 7:11-12, KJV)
The devouring beasts were the symbols and figures God used to describe ungodly tyrannical rulers who metaphorically hunted and fed off the peoples of their lands through wars, murders, fraud, theft and taxation. The vision of the prophesy saw the 4th beast kingdom slain. It did not say when it was slain, just that it was.
“ And I will send a fire on Magog,…” (Ezek. 39:6, KJV)
Fire was the metaphor for God’s judgment (Lam. 2:3-4). Sending a fire on the lands of Gog (Magog) meant He was going to judge them.
“ 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.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Rev. 20:8-10, KJV)
The Roman empire continued as a pagan, emperor cult-worship system until Constantine declared for Christianity in 313 AD.(1) (Whether or not Constantine really was a Christian is beside the point.) The next emperor, born of Christian parents, Julian the Apostate (Flavius Claudius Julianus) rejected Constantine’s Christian edicts and tried to restore the traditional Roman pagan, idol worship practices for the three years that he ruled the empire (361-363 AD).(2)
Historians consider that the pagan religion of the Roman emperors ended with Julian’s death in 363 AD.(3) The size of the western Roman empire began declining, until the last Roman emperor Romulus Augustus was defeated in 476 AD. Many historians consider the rise of Christianity as one of the factors of the decline and fall of Rome. I would say so, as God had prophesied it.
For God’s prophesy of Gog of Magog – identified as the pagan heathen kingdom, the 4th beast kingdom of Daniel’s prophesies and all the nations it consumed – the death of that pagan polytheistic empire is the same as the death of Gog of Magog, the horde and multitude that destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70.
Trying to force the Gog of Magog prophesy into a literal constraint, tying it up in a literal box, and searching for ruling kings or princes that actually died and were buried on the earthly mountains of Israel is fruitless. The prophesy of the death of Magog, the lands of Gog, was not of an individual man, but collectively of the entire pagan kingdom.(4)
Although God’s prophecies do contain certain literal elements, most of the prophesies were very figurative, hyperbolic, and metaphoric. The grave provided for Gog in Ezek. 39:11 has to be viewed from the figurative, symbolic perspective.
Isa. 25:6-7, the prophesy of the gospel of Christ beginning at Jerusalem,
“6 And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.
7 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.” (KJV)
In prophesy, the mountains are symbols of kingdoms. God’s mountain stands for God’s kingdom (Isa. 11:9; 14:25; 65:9)
“Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee:…” (Ezek. 39:4, KJV)
In the judgment prophesied against Seir (Edom), God used this phrase for the land of Israel and Judah.
“ And thou shalt know that I am the Lord, and that I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume.” (Ezek. 35:12, KJV)
But, God continued in the very next verse to further clarify this being the same as taking a stand and speaking against Him.
“Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me, and have multiplied your words against me: I have heard them.” (Ezek. 35:13, KJV)
So, when YHWH used the phrase “on the mountains of Israel” again in Ezek. 39:4, He was speaking figuratively. God meant that the collective pagan nations of the Gog of Magog imagery had taken a stand against, and spoken against Him.
Falling upon the mountains of Israel did not mean that all of the enemies of God literally died on those earthly mountains in Judea. The phrase was used as a metaphor for opposing the will of the Father, YHWH.
I believe it was used figuratively for the enemy pagan nations that spoke against God, stood against God, and therefore those nations fell under His judgment fire because they opposed His will.
- As Gog of Magog was identified in Ezekiel chaps. 38 & 39 as the chief prince that led the army to the battle that would destroy Jerusalem, and
- As Ezek. 38:8 set the time in the end of the latter years (YLT) which have been defined in scriptures as the end of the temple in Jerusalem in the first century AD (see all previous posts in this blog), and
- As the armies that came against Jerusalem in the first century AD have been identified from secular history as the Roman Legions who fought in the Roman-Jewish war of 67-70 AD, and
- As those Roman Legions are identified from secular history as having been stationed in the lands previously known by their Persian names of Meshech, Tubal, Togarmah, Gomer, Cush and Phut; and
- As the chief or commanding military leader has been identified from secular history as Vespasian, followed by his son Titus; and
- As Vespasian and Titus and their Roman legions were the ones who destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70; and
- As Vespasian and Titus did in turn become Caesars of the pagan Roman empire; then
- We can positively state that the lands of Gog, that is Magog, were those lands ruled by the Roman empire of the first century AD, and that
- God’s judgment against Gog of Magog was the judgment against the Roman empire for its blasphemies speaking against God, and for deceiving the whole inhabited earth of the Roman empire into worshiping those emperors as sons of their pagan gods.
Further, I believe the valley of passengers, the traveler’s way on the east of the sea of Ezek. 39:11 is the same as the King’s Highway that ran from Egypt up through the Transjordan valley east of the Sea of Galilee to Damascus and onto Babylon at the Euphrates river. The outposts of the Roman legions were those stationed in the region of the King’s Highway (later part of the Via Traiana) all along the southern and eastern borders of the empire as pointed out in Part VII of this series here.
Those positions and outposts of the Roman empire fell and faded away until the power of their army was left in the dust of time. The symbolism of Ezek. 39:12-16 of their un-buried bones left for the vultures and beasts of the fields, and cleansing the land counters the symbolism of the resurrection of Israel’s dry bones of Ezek. 37. The prophesy is an affirmation that the pagan Roman legions and the pagan Roman empire would not be resurrected.
As God prophesied, the word of the gospel of Christ went forth from Jerusalem to conquer the kingdoms of men (Isa. 2:1-5; Micah 4:1-2). His mountain, His everlasting kingdom was established during the last days of the Mosaic covenant, the last days of the animal sacrificial temple in Jerusalem of the first century AD.
After the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, the bride of Christ, the beautiful city of the new Jerusalem came down to be with men, and all those that are in Christ are those within that spiritual city.
“ 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” (Rev. 21:2-3, KJV)
“ 22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” (Rev. 21:22-23, KJV)
As all who are in Christ are now the Israel of God (Gal. 3:26-29), then any nation or kingdom that stands against Christ’s everlasting kingdom will die on God’s mountain, on the mountains of Israel.
1) Constantine’s religious tolerance – here
2) Julian the Apostate – here
3) Julian the Apostate – here
4) Foy E Wallace – on Gog and Magog, Rev. 20:8 :
“This part of the vision was descriptive of the battle with heathenism, hence the reference to Gog and Magog (a combination of one name), the mythical ruler of heathendom, and which title was so used in similar symbolic reference, by the prophet in chapter 38 : l-23, prophesying the threat of heathenism to Israel from Gog and Magog. As the beast was symbolic of the Roman empire, personified in the persecuting emperors, so was the Gog and Magog personification symbolic of the spiritual forces of heathenism launched against the church in the “battle” of verse eight, in which the heathen forces of Gog and Magog were represented to be in number as the sand of the sea, which symbolized the proportions of the conflict and its challenge to the church; and verse nine stated that they compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city. The reference to the “beloved city” here could not mean Jerusalem–the apostate harlot Jerusalem was no longer “beloved,” and was no more. This beloved city was the church, the New Jerusalem, which was compassed about with heathenism, in the midst of its idolatries, surrounded by all of its antagonism to the church.” Source: The Book of Revelation, by Foy E. Wallace, p. 418 (1966)