End times writers Hal Lindsay and Timothy LaHaye have made much of Gog and Magog as the archetypal enemies of God in Reveltaion 20:8. End times publications profit at the expense of good biblical exegesis, so in this essay we look into the identity of Gog and Magog.
The first thing to note is that Gog and Magog are joined by a third - Og - mentioned in Numbers 21. Og, Gog and Magog comprise a tribal unity, as do each of the three-son confederations listed in Genesis. Magog is the best known, being claimed as the ancestor of the Kushitic (Kushan) Scythians. Magog is named in the Table of Nations (Gen. 10) as a descendent or son of Japheth.
Legends surrounding Magog are found in countries as distant as Russia and Denmark, and are associated with Marco Polo, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and even King Arthur. The most credible claim involves Magog as the ancestor of the Hungarians through the Afro-Asiatic kingdom builder Nimrod. Genghis Khan married into the Olkut Hun (Hun Tribe) so the connection to that historical figure can be verified.
The following biblical references identify Magog with the people of Japheth, Kush and Shem, whose lines intermarried.
Genesis 10:2-4 tells us that "The sons of Japeth: Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. And the sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. And the sons of Javan: Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim."
Here we note the blood relationship of Magog with two names that help us to make connections to Kush and Shem. The name Tubal is a Hamitic or Kushitic name and Meshech is a Semitic name. The names Meshech and Tubal appear in Assyrian inscriptions as Muschu and Tabal.
Here is how the relationship of the peoples is explained in the Hungarian Legend of the White Stag:
The Legend of the White Stag ascribes the origin of the Hungarians to the merging of three peoples: Huns, Magyars and Alans. Since the Alans, together with the Yazyg and Roxlans are classified as Massagetas in early records and as Sarmatians in later ones, henceforth the terms "Alan", "Yazyg", "Roxlan" and "Massageta" will be mentioned as "Sarmatian" in order to make this essay more intelligible, avoiding synonymous or quasi-synonymous terms (unless specification is required). They are identified with the Moshkhi of the Assyrian chronicles and Meshekh of the Bible. (From here.)
The connection of the three strands descending from Noah are also mentioned in Ezekiel 38:1-4: The word of the LORD came to me: 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; and I will turn you about, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you forth, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great company, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords . . .
Ezekiel 39:1 "And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal . . ."
By the time of the prophet Ezekiel, Gog appears to have gained prominence over and is regarded as chief of the sons of Japeth. Notice that the name Gog doesn’t actually appear in Genesis 10:2-4. Yet the Prophet recognized that Gog and Magog are associated.
When encountering two names that are related it is necessary to look for a third related name because Genesis presents familial units in groups of three. We find the third name, Og, in Numbers 21:33, so that we are able to speak of the familial confederation of Magog, Gog and Og, with Gog having prominence by the time of Ezekiel (593-571 B.C.).
Because Ezekiel specifically prophesies against this confederation, the names Gog and Magog came to represent forces that oppose God and God’s people. Consider this reference from the book of Revelation.
Rev. 20:6-10 “Blessed and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and they shall reign with him a thousand years. And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be loosed from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth, that is, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city; but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
Before 500 AD, references to Gog and Magog occur in the preserved sermons and letters of St. Jerome and other early Christians. These references indicated that the names had become associated with threats to Christendom. In other words, the names were used allegorically to represent invasion of Christian lands and/or oppression of Christians. Gog and Magog are used, as Rome and Babylon are used in the book of Revelation, as archetypes of worldly rebellion against God and God’s kingdom. This is the time when the Roman Empire was seriously weakened by invaders from the north. However, to equate the Huns and Magyar (Magog) with anti-Christ goes too far since there were Christians among these northern peoples. The Keraits, allies of Genghis Khan, converted to Christianity in the 11th century. One of their leaders, Toghrul, gained fame as far west as France and Spain for his victories over the Muslims.
The name Og is mentioned in Numbers 21:33. According to the Bedouins, Og is the town of Koraki, about 2 days journey from the Jordan River. According to the Archimandrite Joachim Spetsieris, Og (Koraki or Horaki) had about 400 families of both Muslim and Orthodox Arabs in 1890. In the late 1800s, an ascetical monk, Fr. Kallistratos, lived for 3 years in a cave across the Jordan near Koraki and the people of the village lowered food to him using ropes from above the cave.
An ancient legendary hero, Csaba, (from whom the Hungarian Scholar Hagrita Csaba is descended) is said to trace ancestry back to the Horites. Csaba was a shepherd priest who was a guardian of the people. He married a Khwarezmian woman, and Khwarezm was founded by the Horites. This is evident in the Old Persian word Huwarazmish which is related to the Ancient Horite word for ruler-priests (Harwa) who controlled the major waters systems in the Afro-Asiatic Dominion. Various versions of khwar/khar/khor/hor are used around the Persian Gulf for tidal flats, marshlands, or tidal bays (e.g., Khor Musa, Khor Abdallah, Hor al-Azim, Hor al-Himar, etc.). There are also Indian Scythians of the Csaba tribe from Khwarezm who migrated eastward and settled in India.
The Magyar-ab, or Tribe of Magyar (Magog), still live along the Nile River in Egypt and Sudan. Their ancestors moved east and north during the time of the Afro-Asiatic expansion under Nimrod the Kushite and the Sudra (Sudanese) and Dravidians.
Magog, Gog and Og are Afro-Asiatic peoples who settled along the Ural and Atlas Mountains. This explains why Hungarian is not an Indo-European language. It is in the same language family as Finnish, Samoyed, and languages of western Mongolia.
Magog, Gog and Og are one of many 3-part confederations based on kinship. Consider this list:
Cain Abel Seth (Gen. 4-5)
Ham Japeth Shem (Gen. 5-9)
Og Gog Magog (Gen. 10 and Nu. 21:33)
Haran Nahor Abraham (Gen. 11-12)
Ishmael Jokshan Isaac (Gen. 16, 21, and 25)
Jeush Jalam Korah (Gen. 36: 4-18)
Korah Moses Aaron (Ex. and Nu.)
Dedan Tema Buz (Jeremiah 25)
The biblical material we have examined has a specific cultural context and is very old. Although allegory and legends have developed around Gog and Magog, there is no reason to doubt the historicity of these peoples or of any of the peoples mentioned in the Table of Nations (Gen. 10). However, the textual evidence does not support the notion that all the peoples of the earth come from Noah since all the peoples listed in Genesis 10 are in only two of the 17 languages families: Afro-Asiatic and a few in the Altaic-Uralic group. Nor should Gog and Magog be regarded as anti-Christ forces destined to play a role at the end of time. Instead these represent a 3-clan confederation of peoples whose worldview is essentially Afro-Asiatic and who have blood connections to Abraham and his Horite people.
1. Two trends among American Evanglicals undermine good Biblical interpretation: Dispensational End Times theology and Young Earth Creationism.
2. There appears to be a linguistic connection between the words olkut, ogor and orkut, words meaning tribe, clan or community. These are not close to the Nubian word for tribe which is ab, so I suspect they are related to the Kandahar dialect, which is related to Tir-hari. Tir is a form of the name Tiras, mentioned in Genesis 10 and hari is a form of the word for Horite.