In the Bible, Revelation 20:7-9 indicates that during the so-called “Last Days” of the world immediately following the millennial (1,000-year) reign of Jesus Christ after He returns to the earth, Gog and Magog will be threatening to attack Jerusalem (“the beloved city”). This raises the question as to which current nations the Bible refers to as Gog and Magog.
Wikipedia provides the following commentary regarding Gog and Magog:
Gog and Magog appear in the Hebrew Bible and the Quran as individuals, tribes, or lands. In Ezekiel 38, Gog is an individual and Magog is his land; in Genesis 10, Magog is a man and eponymous ancestor of a nation, but no Gog is mentioned; and centuries later Jewish tradition changed Ezekiel’s “Gog from Magog” into “Gog and Magog.”
Josephus refers to Magog son of Japheth as progenitor of Scythians, or peoples north of the Black Sea. According to him, the Greeks called Scythia Magogia. [Our note: With regard to Scythians, Wikipedia says, “The Scythians . . . were an ancient nomadic people living primarily in the region known as Scythia, which today comprises the Eurasian steppes of Kazakhstan, the Russian steppes of the Siberian, Ural, Volga and Southern regions, and eastern Ukraine.”]
An alternate identification derived from an examination of the order in which tribal names are listed in Ezekiel 38 “would place Magog between Cappadocia and Media.” According to Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried . . . , Magog refers to the Mongols. He cites an Arab writer who refers to the Great Wall of China with the name ‘Magog’.
Thus, Wikipedia indicates that Josephus, a first-century Romano-Jewish historian and military leader, refers to Magog as the ancestor of the Scythians who were the subsequent ancestors of the people in the region of Russia, whereas a nineteenth century rabbi named Ganzfried associates Magog with China.
In addition to Josephus, many other sources express the belief that Magog refers to Russia, rather than to China. One such source is Jack Kelley, a publisher of more than 9,000 Bible studies. In a Bible study entitled “An In Depth Look at the Modern Equivalent to Biblical Names in Ezek. 38,” Kelley states,
[T]here are over 130 historical references tying Magog to the ancient Scythians . . . . The Great Wall of China was known as the “Ramparts of Magog” in ancient times and was built to protect China from Magog. . . . Magog was a son of Japeth and inhabited central Asia. His children, the Scythians, are the ancestors of today’s Russian people.
Also, with specific regard to Magog, Godwin Jireh, a self-professed “consultant, Christian educator & minister of the Gospel,” in a publication entitled Modern day Gog and Magog, quotes Ines Ehrlich, who is a writer for Israel’s largest online news website, as saying,
“Magog, according to some scholars, refers to Russia and the republics of the former Soviet Union, or perhaps Turkey. Others will argue that the exact location has not been fully ascertained and that the word Magog may simply be a generalization for an enemy of Israel. . . .”
Jireh then states,
Though opinions are divided over which present day countries are/were/will be Gog and Magog, many end times proponents are united in their belief that Magog represents Russia.”
And, the following comments by the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) website also support the belief that Magog pertains to Russia:
Why is Russia believed to be Magog by so many?
If you take out a map and look to the north, ([several] scriptures note Gog comes from the “far north”), you’ll find Russia and former Soviet territories. So it’s not surprising to see so many Bible experts point to this region.
The website Got Questions likewise indicates that Magog refers to Russia, as follows:
Magog is a land “in the far north,” from Israel’s point of view (Ezekiel 38:15; 39:2). Most Bible commentators interpret “Magog” as Russia—and, indeed, Russia is straight north of Israel, all the way up to the Arctic Circle. According to this view, “Rosh” is a reference to Russia. . . .
Others see “Magog” as a general term used in Ezekiel’s day to identify barbarians living near the Black and Caspian Seas. Regardless of the exact locations of Magog, Tubal, and Meshek, there is no doubt that the general area includes portions of Russia and the former Soviet Union, and possibly some Arab countries.
In contrast with the previously mentioned sources, a number of other sources believe that Gog and/or Magog refer to unspecified enemies of God’s people.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica,
Gog and Magog, in the Hebrew Bible, [is] the prophesied invader of Israel and the land from which he comes, respectively; or, in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament), evil forces opposed to the people of God.
Again, with regard to Gog and Magog, Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible says,
The word “Scythians,” among the ancient writers, is a collective word, to denote all the northeastern, unknown, barbarous tribes.
Among the Hebrews, the name “Magog” also would seem to denote all the unknown barbarous tribes about the Caucasian mountains.
All that is needful to be understood is, that [in Revelation 20:8] John means to say that at the time referred to there would be formidable enemies of the church who might be compared with the dreaded dwellers in the land of Magog; or, that after this long period of millennial tranquility and peace, there would be a state of things which might be properly compared with the invasion of the Holy Land by the dreaded barbarians of Magog or Scythia. It is not necessary to suppose that any particular “country” is referred to. . . .
John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible has a similar opinion, stating,
Gog and Magog: not the same which are mentioned in Ezekiel 38:1 though there is an allusion to them, and from thence the names are taken, and some of the figures borrowed, and design the enemies of God’s people, who will be in the world at this time; so the Jews b speak of a Gog and Magog, that will come up against Jerusalem in the days of the Messiah, whom they still expect, by whom they shall be destroyed.
Similarly, the following comments by Matthew Poole’s English Annotations on the Holy Bible pertain to unspecified enemies of the people of God:
There are disputes who are meant by Gog and Magog [in the Book of Ezekiel]. The Jewish rabbies [sic] apply the terms to some nations whom the Messiah (expected by them) shall encounter and overcome. . . . The best interpreters . . . rather think, that Antiochus, and the race of Seleucus . . . is . . . a great enemy to the Jews after their return from Babylon; yet some think, that . . . Ezekiel prophesied of the same Gog and Magog . . . [who will] be the last enemies of the church. The papists . . . make Gog and Magog . . . signify some king or kings that shall join with antichrist when he appeareth. Others think that Gog and Magog . . . signifies more generally, a . . . mixed company of all wicked men, a very great multitude, who shall come from all parts [of the world], only typified by the Gog and Magog in Ezekiel, as being like them.
A number of the sources that we have cited – and many others – indicate that the biblical reference to Gog and/or to Magog in Revelation 20:7-9 pertains to one or more nations in the region that includes modern-day Russia. This suggests that there is reason to believe that Russia will be one of the principal nations, if not the principal nation, that will be involved in the final confrontation with Israel. However, other sources that we have cited express the belief that Gog and/or Magog are biblical references to an unspecified group of nations which during the Last Days will be enemies of God’s people, who may include Christians, as well as Jews. Therefore, it is possible that armed forces from a number of adversarial nations will be at the final confrontation with Israel and these nations may or may not include Russia.