--by James Arendt
I used to believe that Gog and Magog which invades Israel as depicted in Ezekiel chapter 38 is Russia. This is a popular belief taught by famous evangelists and Bible teachers such as Chuck Missler. But from December 13, 2014 when I learned that Daniel 9:27 is referring to Jesus Christ, not the Antichrist as I was taught, and when I learned that today's misinterpretation of Daniel 9:27 was formulated by a Jesuit priest named Francesco Ribera in 1585 for the purpose of getting Protestants to stop thinking of the Popes as antichrist but to think of the Antichrist as a single individual who rises in the future, I have come to seriously question all interpretations of Endtime Bible prophecy I have been taught over the past 40 years! The prophecies in Ezekiel 38 is one of them. Is Gog and Magog really Russia? I learned this doctrine has been around only from a couple hundred years ago!
The text below is from http://blogs.christianpost.com/guest-views/debunking-the-russia-war-of-gog-and-magog-myth-8754/
The erroneous belief that Russia is Magog can be traced back to a small group of 18th and 19th century theologians who wrote long before the primary evidence from the ancient Assyrian records was discovered, translated and made available to the public. Instead, they based their assertions on secondary sources, historical works written over 500 years after the time of Ezekiel, and to make matters worse some of these sources had come to be purposefully altered. These altered references include statements attributed to the first century AD Jewish historian Josephus, and first century AD Roman historian Pliny.
In his book The Antiquity of the Jews Josephus says that the Greeks called the "Magogites" the "Scythians" despite the fact that the Greeks did not call the Magogites the Scythians. In this same passage there are other errors in the identification of other ancient nations of Asia Minor. This passage shows that the author did not understand that Ashkenaz is the Hebrew word for the Scythians. (Interestingly, the Assyrian word for the Scythians, Ishkuza or Ashguza is similar to the Hebrew word for the Scythians – Ashkenaz.) This passage also comes into conflict with what the ancient Greek historian Herodotus who after living with each group wrote about the Scythians and the Lydians in his book The History. Since Josephus used Herodotus' book as a reference, one can only speculate how and why these obviously wrong statements are in Josephus' book. Were these inaccurate statements the products of Josephus' imagination, or were they the result of alterations to the few copies of Josephus' work that existed in medieval times? (Jews did not preserve the writings of Josephus because they considered him to be a traitor.) Beginning in the 11th century these surviving manuscripts were copied by Catholic monks, and obviously altered in some places to suit prevailing beliefs. Ecclesiastical acceptance of the erroneous connection between Magog and the Scythians traces back to Saint Jerome of the late fourth century AD. Unfortunately, the oft quoted statement that has Josephus connecting Magog with the Scythians is an act of document forgery.
Similarly, the oft quoted statement that has the ancient Roman historian Pliny in his work The Natural History that connects Magog with the Scythians is another forgery. Nineteenth century Scottish Reverend John Cumming is credited as being a leading promoter of the Bible interpretation that calls for Russia invading Israel. In his book The Destiny of Nations Cumming quotes a passage from Pliny's book about Magog which he purposefully altered.
Reverend Cumming on page 126 wrote: "Pliny says 'Hierapolis taken by the Scythians was afterwards called Magog.'"
Pliny on page 439 actually wrote: "Bambyx (a part of Lydia) the other name of which is Hierapolis, but by the Syrians called Magog."
Pliny's statement has been misquoted by Cumming in a way that makes it seem that Magog was related to the Scythians rather than the Lydians. Unfortunately, this same misquote of Pliny has been carried forward in time and appears in Hal Lindsey's book The Late Great Planet Earth (page 53). This alteration is easily verified by going to a copy of Pliny's book and seeing how key words were changed and switched around. It is difficult to believe that none of the many authors of books that discuss Ezekiel 38/39 and the war of Gog and Magog have not discovered this sleight of hand and exposed the deception. (While many contemporary Evangelicals gave Cumming's books on prophecy favorable reviews, an article in the Westminster Review in 1855 about Cumming attacked him for his "intellectual dishonesty, anti-Catholic bigotry, and moral and spiritual perversion.")
The correct identification of Magog with Lydia and not Scythia is consistent with the ancient texts of the Assyrians, who at various times were either the allies or the foes of the Scythians, but had peaceful dealings with the Lydians, who they also referred to as "Magog." Within academia today, no professional archeologists, historians or serious Bible researchers associate Magog with the Scythians or the Scythians with the Russians. The truth is that modern scholars have unequivocally documented that a group of Scandinavian Viking traders called the Rus began the Russian state during the mid AD 800's, and gave their name to Russia. Therefore there is no historical or factual basis for any connection of Russia to Magog.
ANCIENT NATIONS OF EZEKIEL 38/39 Ezekiel 38/39 makes reference to a group of ancient nations that are all found in Asia Minor: Magog (Lydia), Meshech, Tubal, Togarmah and Gomer. The correct identification of these nations comes from the "Royal Court Records of the Assyrians"; the primary source on this subject. These same Assyrian Court records are referred to in the Bible (Ezra 4:15, 19).
LYDIAN MIGRATION TO ITALY An early Lydian dynasty experienced a prolonged famine which caused half of the Lydian population to migrate to the west coast of Italy, just north of Rome. The Romans called these Lydian migrants "Etruscans." The Etruscans settled in an area called Tuscany and they helped found the city of Rome and jump start the Roman civilization. Hundreds of years after this migration, the Lydian population in Asia Minor came to be ruled by a militant ruler whom the Greeks called "Gyges of Lydia." To the Assyrians this same leader was known as "Gugu King of Ludu," and "Gugu of Magugu." Ezekiel referred to this same leader as "Gog of Magog" where "Magog" means "the land of Gog."
Read more: http://blogs.christianpost.com/guest-views/debunking-the-russia-war-of-gog-and-magog-myth-8754/#ixzz3Ym7ZzkO7
My name is James Arendt. I was raised in the Hegewisch neighborhood on the southeast side of Chicago, Illinois, served in the USAF from 1970 to 1974, and became a full-time missionary for Christ living 40 years in Japan, 3.5 years in Russia, and a few months in other countries such as Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China where I also served the King of Kings, Jesus, as an Ambassador for His Kingdom.
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