Allen S. Maller

The Gog and Magog people are gone and it is time now for Isaiah’s visions

Gog and Magog (Hebrew: גּוֹג וּמָגוֹג, or Yajuj and Majuj (Arabic: يَأْجُوجُ وَمَأْجُوجُ, ) are a pair of names that appear in the Bible and the Quran, variously ascribed to individuals, tribes, lands or nature’s catastrophes. In the first mention of these peoples Ezekiel 38, Gog is an individual and Magog is his land. By the time of the New Testament’s Revelation 20:8, Jewish tradition had already changed Ezekiel’s “Gog from Magog” into “Gog and Magog”.

The Book of Ezekiel records a series of visions received by Prophet Ezekiel, a priest of Solomon’s Temple, who was among the captives during the Babylonian exile. Chapters 38–39, tell how Gog of Magog and his hordes will threaten the restored future Israel but will themselves be destroyed, after which God will establish a new Temple and dwell with his people for a period of ongoing peace.

The Gog prophecy is a frightening warning of the “end of days”, but not the end of the world. Jewish eschatology viewed Gog and Magog as enemies to be defeated by God’s Messiahs, which would usher in the Messianic Age.

Many Evangelical Christians, make Gog and Magog, nations rather than individuals, allies of Satan against God at the end of the millennium, as described in the Book of Revelation.

The first century Jewish historian Josephus knew Gog as a nation descended from Magog the Japhetite, as in Genesis 10, and explained them to be the Scythians invaders from the north.

Early Christian writers made them apocalyptic hordes. Throughout the Middle Ages, they were variously identified as the Huns who sacked Rome or by Muslims as the Mongols who destroyed Bagdad. Gog and Magog appear in the Quran in chapter Al-Kahf as Yajuj and Majuj, primitive and immoral tribes that were isolated behind iron barriers by Dhu al-Qarnayn.

The classical rabbinic literature treats Gog and Magog as two names for the same nation who will come against Israel in the final war before the Messianic Age of peace and prosperity. But now that the Jewish People has been revitalized on the Land of Israel, and is threatened by many forces that seek to destroy the state of Israel, we need to see with much greater clarity.

The very worst period of human caused wars spread by Gog and Magog was the 30 years between the autumn of 1914 and the summer of 1945, when 150 million people worldwide were killed in World War I and World War II.

In addition, the spread of Gog and Magog nature catastrophes according to Patterson and Pyle (1991) added between 24.7 and 39.3 million people world wide who died from the Spanish flu pandemic. So the whole world has passed through the worst three decades in human history; and thus Gog and Magog worldwide wars will not occur again.

So we may now be entering the more optimistic peaceful visions of the Messianic Age symbolized in a small way by the recent event of a high-level Saudi delegation arriving in the occupied West Bank for the first time since Israel captured the territory from Jordan in the 1967 war; on the same day that Israel’s tourism minister landed in Saudi Arabia for a UN event, thus reminding us of Isaiah’s Messianic vision:

“In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt, and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel  will join a three-party alliance with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing upon the heart. The LORD of Hosts will bless them saying, “Blessed be Egypt My people, Assyria My handiwork, and Israel My inheritance.”…(Isaiah 19:23-5)

The Qur’an refers to Prophet Abraham as a community or a nation: “Abraham was a nation/community [Ummah]; dutiful to God, a monotheist [hanif], not one of the polytheists.” (16:120) If Prophet Abraham is an Ummah; then fighting between the descendants of Prophets Ishmael and Isaac is a civil war and should always be avoided because prior to the 20th century Arabs and Jews never did make war with each other.

If all Arabs and Jews can live up to the ideal that ‘the descendants of Abraham’s sons should never make war against each other’ is the will of God; we will help fulfill the vision of Prophet Micah: “The Torah will be broadcast from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor train for war anymore.

Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD GOD has spoken. All the (other) nations may walk in the name of their gods, but we (Jews, Christians and Muslims) will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.” (Prophet Micah 4:1-5)

Now that 46% of the Jewish people have returned to the Land of Israel, and resurrected a Jewish State, one might think that rebuilding a temple of the site where Solomon originally built one almost 3,000 years ago, would be relatively simple.

And it would, except for the fact that a Muslim shrine, called The Dome of the Rock stands on the site presently. The Dome of the Rock is regarded by Muslims as the third holiest site in the world. Any attempt to replace it would provoke Muslims to a war of cataclysmic proportions.

There is, however, a lot of open land between the Dome of the Rock, which stands on top of the site of the Jerusalem Temple’s Mount, and the Masjid Al-Aksa which is several hundred feet south of the Dome of the Rock. A Jewish broadcasting station could be built between the Dome of the Rock and the Masjid al-Aqsa that would reflect Prophet Micah prophecy: ’Then many nations will go and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the House of the God of Jacob! Then He will direct us in His ways, and we will walk in His paths.” For Torah will be broadcast from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Micah 4:2)

About the Author
Rabbi Allen S. Maller has published over 850 articles on Jewish values in over a dozen Christian, Jewish, and Muslim magazines and web sites. Rabbi Maller is the author of "Tikunay Nefashot," a spiritually meaningful High Holy Day Machzor, two books of children's short stories, and a popular account of Jewish Mysticism entitled, "God, Sex and Kabbalah." His most recent books are "Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms' and "Which Religion Is Right For You?: A 21st Century Kuzari" both available on Amazon.
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