Another thought held today by some is that many Islamic nations will attack Israel. These Islamic nations make up the lands occupied by Magog, Gomer, Togarmah, Meshech and Tubal. Either a Jordanian, Iraqi, or Turkish personage will lead this coalition of nations. The enemy from the north refers to areas of Iraq with portions of Turkey and remnants of Syria included.
Another theory matches Gog and Russia together. The Hebrew word for chief prince, "rosh", mentioned in the Ezekiel account, is identified with Russia, 'Tubal' with Tiblisi or Tobolsk and 'Meshech' with Moscow, therefore Gog and Magog refers to a leader and his country, Russia. This theory most closely matches Magog with the Russia of today.
Combinations or variations of the above theories also exist. When Jesus' disciples asked him what would be the signs of His return and the end of the age (see Matthew 24) Jesus, enjoined His followers to watch. The war described in Ezekiel is part of the end of the age. While there may be real and reasonable differences of opinion on exactly who participates in this war, it should be easy enough to recognize when some group of nations forms or looks like they are forming against Israel and then match some of those countries against known peoples mentioned in Ezekiel. No one needs to be a political science expert to read GOD's word, pray and watch what's going on in the world today. In fact with the explosion of the various media choices, including the Internet, and the readily available Bible anywhere in this country there is really no excuse not to read, pray and watch. With the recent emphasis on the "fight on terror" in this country and the rising scepter of Islam dominating much of the world, along with most of the world siding together against the tiny country of Israel, some reading, praying and watching are most definitely in order for any of us.
The following is a more detailed look at the nations and peoples described in Ezekiel, overlaid, where possible, by the politics and events of the day. This look is from one perspective only and is in fact opinion based on personal reading, prayer and watching. It is your responsibility, as you choose, to form your own opinions, by your reading, your prayer and your personal watching. The hope is that you will be encouraged to read the relevant scripture and meditate on it yourself. The events described in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 could happen at any time, and could, in fact, come to pass very soon.
The war described in Ezekiel includes specific nations that invade Israel. First mentioned, is the land of Magog. The most common identity for Magog is in Central Asia. The Jewish historian Josephus said, "Magog founded the Magogians, called Scythians by the Greeks. Scythians were a nomadic tribe who inhabited the ancient territory from Central Asia across the southern part of ancient Russia." Today the former Soviet Republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and possibly northern parts of Afghanistan inhabit this region. All of these nations that make up the land of Magog have one interesting bond in common.that being the religion of the Prophet Muhammed, Islam. Militant Islam has been on the rise in these countries since the fall of the Soviet Union. Prior to the fall of the Soviet Union Islam was practiced in secret. That is no longer the case. Radical Islamic groups such as the Islamic Renaissance Party, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islam are working to reunite central Asian nations and ultimately the entire Muslim world. It is possible that a leader from this part of the world will arise to bring together a great coalition of nations to invade Israel.
Some translate the Hebrew word "rosh" (chief prince in the KJV), as a noun, and connect to a place in Russia. The only support for this view is that Rosh sounds like the modern-day name Russia and Meshech sounds like Moscow. The word rosh is treated as a proper name. The Greek translates Rosh as the proper name Ros. Because the ancient Sarmations were known as the Ras, Rashu, and Rus and inhabited Rasapu, which is now Southern Russia, some feel this verse points to Russia as the prince of Rosh. Another support sited for this view is that Ezekiel writes that the invasion will come from remote parts of the north, and Russia is more remote than other places nearer to Israel.
Others have translated 'rosh' as an adjective. In this case 'rosh' is translated head or chief as it is over 400 other times in the Old Testament.
If your understanding is that 'rosh' should be translated as a proper noun you may find the interpretation that Russia will be a major player in this coalition against Israel most reasonable. If your belief is that 'rosh' is better seen as an adjective, the only concern remaining is who Meshech and Tubal are today, in order to identify the countries.
Meshech and Tubal were the names of the 5th and 6th sons of Japheth, the son of Noah. Ezekiel elsewhere mentions Meshech and Tubal as trading partners with Tyre, which is in modern Lebanon. It's likely that Meshech and Tubal refer to the ancient Moshi/Mushki and Tubalu/Tibareni peoples who dwelled in the area around and primarily south of, the Black and Caspian Sea in Ezekiel's day. Today these nations would be in the modern country of Turkey, parts of Southern Russia and Northern Iran. All these areas are now Moslem strongholds (see previous map above).
Next, we are told that "Persia, Ethiopia (Cush) and Libya (Put) with them". In 539 B.C. the Persians conquered the city of Babylon. You only need look at a map of the ancient Persian Empire to see that it was centered in the nation known today as Iran. In fact Iran was called Persia until 1935 when it was changed to Iran and then to the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 during the Iranian Revolution. It's no secret that Iran hates Israel and the West, and is a supporter of the Palestinians in Israel. The Iranians are actively working to get other "Arab (actually Moslem)" countries to change thinking and actions regarding any cooperation with the U.S. and Israel whatsoever.
The ancient kingdom of Ethiopia, or Cush in Ezekiels time, was the land just south of Egypt on the Nile River. Today this land is occupied by Sudan. Sudan is home to the National Islamic Front, is ruled by an Islamic military dictatorship, a strong supporter of Iraq, home to Osama Bin-Laden from 1991-1996, and harbors countless Islamic terrorist groups. Many may not recognize that backed by Muslim clerics, the National Islamic Front regime in the Arab and Muslim north of Sudan declared a jihad, or holy war, on the south part of the country back in 1989. Since 1983, an estimated 2 million people have died from war and related famine. About 4.5 million have become refugees. Christians are killed and tortured daily in this country. Don't see that on the daily news reports do you! Sudan would easily fit into any anti-Israel bloc of countries, as it is already close allies with Iran, trading military supplies for docking rights on the Red Sea shipping routes.
Ancient Put was the land just west of Egypt, or what is today Libya. Libya is another sponsor of terrorism, and openly refuses to recognize Israel's right to even exist. Libya announced on December 19, 2003 it would dismantle its weapons of mass destruction and its ballistic missile program. This start to a "re-integration to the world community" is most likely only temporary and when a coalition against Israel is formed, Libya won't have to be asked twice to join.
Next Ezekiel adds Gomer and Togarmah (Beth-Togarmah) to the coalition. Gomer was the first son of Japheth. The Gomerites were the ancient Cimmerians, expelled in 700 B.C. from the southern steppes of Russia into what is today Turkey. Togarmah was the 3rd son of Gomer. The Hebrew word for "house" or "place of" is "beth", thus the Beth-Togarmah reference. In Ezekiel's time there was a city in Cappodocia (Modern Turkey) known as Tegarma, Tagarma, Til-garimmu, and Takarama (very close in spelling to Togarmah).
The possibility that four of the names mentioned in Ezekiel are now in Turkey (Meshech, Tubal, Gomer and Beth-Togarmah) makes a pretty convincing argument for Turkey being a part of the invasion of Israel (even if one or more of the four is located elsewhere.Gomer being the Germanic peoples in Europe for instance). Current circumstances in modern Turkey also lend this view some credibility. Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, Turkey has been gaining inroads into Central Asia (the possible people of Magog). It is also linked to Central Asia both ethnically and linguistically, and has a growing number of political parties that support opposition to Israel, establishment of a Turkish Islamic Republic, and the worldwide rule of Islam.