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Russia in the Bible?
Our attention is centered upon Ezekiel 38. This chapter, which is often linked with Daniel 11, has been a particular focus for Bible students in all ages. And no wonder, for it is one of the most dramatic chapters in the Bible. It portrays God’s people of Israel gathered back to their own land in the latter days, and then being attacked by a large confederate army led by Gog of the land of Magog. The main invading force comes from the north. The AV says they come from “the north parts”, but more recent translations render this as “far north” or “the recesses of the north” or “uttermost parts of the north”.
World War 2 and the Rise of Russia
The Second World War was thrust upon Europe by Germany in August 1939. Mr. Churchill again and again had warned this country of Hitler’s intentions, but all in vain as the then Prime Minister, Mr. Neville Chamberlain was the chief apostle of “appeasement” and did not see the obvious danger. Only nine months before the war, Churchill referred to Hitler’s anti-Christian philosophy in these words: “This is a power which turns Christian ethics, which clears its course by barbarian paganism, which vaunts the spirit of conquest, which derives its strength from perverted persecution.”
Gog of the Land of Magog
“Gog of the land of Magog.” Such is the descriptive name given by the inspired prophet to the leader of the great Northern host which will invade Palestine in the latter days.¹
Further Notes on Gog of the Land of Magog
We are grateful to our good friend R. Overton for the following extracts from “The Geographical System of Herodotus” written in 1830 by Major James Rennell, Surveyor-General in Bengal.
Or Perhaps “the Prince of Rosh"
Being an adherent of the “Russian” view of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39, I would like to give my reasons for accepting the rendering of the Hebrew word “Rosh” of ch. 38:2 and 39:1 as a proper name. It is quite true that Jerome, in his Latin Version of the 3rd century A.D. translates that word by “capitis” (“chief”). But, as Dr. [John] Thomas remarks,¹ Jerome did not feel authorised to reject altogether the idea that it was a proper name; and therefore he inserts, after “capitis,” the bracketed words (“sive Rosh”), “or perhaps Rosh”.
(ראשׁ, rō'sh; Ῥώς, Rhṓs, variant (Q margin) κεφαλῆς, kephalḗs; Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) capiris):
Russia, one of the largest empires of the world, containing in 1881 an area of 8,500,000 square miles, and a population of 103,716,232 souls, has under its rule about one sixth of the entire surface of the earth, and still continues to expand in Asia. It is in point of territory about equalled by the British empire, but is more than twice as large as any other country. Among the Christian nations it is the foremost standard bearer of the interests of the Greek Church, being not only the only large state in which this Church prevails, but containing within its borders fully seventy-seven percent of the aggregate population connected with it. More than any Catholic or Protestant state, the government of Russia uses its political influence for advancing the power of its official Church at home as well as abroad; and has recently not only cooperated in the reestablishment of a number of independent coreligious states in the Balkan peninsula, but is rapidly planting the creed of the Greek Church among the subjected tribes of Asia, and also, to some extent, in the adjacent countries. The Russian empire, by its vast conquests in Europe and Asia, embraces a variety of religions, even the Mohammedan and heathen. The relation of the state to other forms of religion is deter, mined by Article 40 et seq. of the first volume of the Russian law, as follows: “The ruling faith in the Russian empire is the Christian Orthodox Eastern Catholic declaration of belief. Religious liberty is not only assured to Christians of other denominations, but also to Jews, Mohammedans, and pagans, so that all people living in Russia may worship God according to the laws and faith of their ancestors.” This law, however, is interpreted in such a manner as to mean that religious liberty is assured only so long as a member of an umnorthodox Church adheres to the faith in which he was born; but all unorthodox churches are forbidden to receive as members proselytes from other churches. A severe penalty is imposed upon any one who leaves a Christian for a non-Christian religion.
In the Bible, Meshech or Mosoch (Hebrew: משך [meˈʃex] “price” or “precious”) is named as a son of Japheth in Genesis 10:2 and 1 Chronicles 1:5.