The terms “Gog and Magog” seem to factor into biblical prophecy quite a bit. Do a Google search for them, and you’ll come up with quite a few conflicting (and sometimes fanciful) articles. Most speculation attempts to tie Gog and Magog’s appearances in Ezekiel and Revelation to a specific geographical location or country.
Gog and Magog: a mysterious northern force of evil
Two passages in the Bible have cemented Gog and Magog in our minds when we think of the apocalypse: Ezekiel 38–39, and Revelation 20. Both passages reference a figure named Gog, and a huge army that attacks the people of God.
- Through the prophet Ezekiel, God says to Gog (of the land of Magog), “You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land” (Ezekiel 38:15–16).
- Toward the end of our Bible, John the Revelator sees in a vision: “When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore” (Revelation 20:7–8).
These prophecies are well-known and much-disputed. There’s plenty of debate over who Gog is, what Magog represents, and what these prophecies ultimately refer to.
But are we modern readers missing something that the original readers would have naturally picked up on?
According to Dr. Michael S. Heiser, author of The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, we can’t really understand Gog and Magog without first getting a grasp on how ancient Hebrews would have understood the supernatural idea of a Northern foe. The following post is largely adapted from chapter 40 of his book….
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