Meshech, Magog, and Persia

TEHRAN. With the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ah...
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As we noted in an item a couple of days ago, several prominent rabbis in Israel see the Gog/Magog conflict spoken of in Ezekiel 38-39 coming down the pike pretty quickly.  Today, we see the alliance spoken of in that famous passage taking shape:

The word of the LORD came to me, saying, Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal: and I will turn you around, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you forth, with all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them handling swords; Persia, Cush, and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer, and all his hordes; the house of Togarmah in the uttermost parts of the north, and all his hordes; even many peoples with you.  (Ezk. 38:1-6)

Identification of the various nations spoken of here is a subject of great debate.  Persia, of course, is easy to identify as modern Iran, Cush as either Ethiopia/Sudan or southern Africa in general, Phut as Libya or northern Africa, and Gomer is generally understood to be part or all of Europe.  Many see Beit Togarmah to be a reference to the House of Targum, a name for Armenia.

Magog, Meshech, and Tubal, on the other hand, are a matter of some debate.  Magog is identified by Josephus (Antiquities I, ch. 6) as father of the Scythians, a people who dwelt in the steppes north and east of the Black Sea.  Other sources identify Magog with Anatolia (modern Turkey) and the northwestern extremes of Iran.

Meshech is usually identified with a people who started in Anatolia, but moved north and became known as the Moscovi (from King Masokh), from which the name Moscow is derived.

Tubal is a matter of some debate.  Most identify it with the region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, though another possibility is that it refers to Spain.  (In fact, I have seen several travel brochures from Spain advertising it as the Land of Tubal.)

While different scholars have slightly different views on the exact identification of each of these nations, the broad brush strokes–some alliance between Russia, Turkey, Iran, (Eastern) Europe, and Africa is generally agreed upon.   Up until recently, the big question was how Turkey and Europe would become involved.

In the last few days, we’ve seen a radical shift in Turkey’s alignment from a Westward-leaning nation seeking entry into the European Union, to becoming a strategic partner with Russia and Iran, even to the point of setting up its long-time ally in the region, Israel, with the flotilla media stunt designed at breaking the blockade that has long restricted arms to Hamas.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported,

ISTANBUL — Leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran convened at a security summit meeting in Istanbul on Tuesday in a display of regional power that appeared to be calculated to test the United States just one day before a scheduled American-backed debate in the United Nations Security Council on imposing tighter sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program.

In remarks at the gathering of regional leaders, the third of its kind dedicated to increasing cooperation and security in Asia, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran said a nuclear agreement brokered by Turkey and Brazil last month was a one-time opportunity and other countries had called to express their support for it.

Meanwhile, the Examiner was good enough to interpret a Persian news site article, stating:

A www.farsnews.com article on Monday reported that Iran’s President Ahmadinejad was calling for, “cooperation among world states to forge a new world order.” He had told this to reporters shortly before heading to Istanbul, Turkey so that he could participate in the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). The article also stated that the Kazakhstan initiated organization presently has 18 member states, one of which is Iran. A few other interesting members include Russia, China, Turkey, Afghanistan, Palestine and the United Arab Emirates. By the way, the US is an “observer” member and the UN, OSCE and League of Arab states are organizers of the CICA according to the CICA website.

Just in case anyone was wondering about that nuclear reactor that Russia has been helping Iran build, it’s moving right along on schedule, according to a www.breitbart.com article posted on Tuesday. It is still scheduled to “come online this summer.” Most likely, sometime in August.

All of this comes on the heels of this year’s Bilderberg Meeting (anyone else remember when only kooks believed in the Bilderbergers?).  Alex Jones thinks he detects the whiff of desperation.  That may be, but I don’t think its because the plebes are on to them; they’ve known they’d eventually have to drop the incrementalism and make a dash for the finish line for a long time.  No, it’s that “the” New World Order of secular socialism is facing a competing New World Order–this one originating in the East.

Alex Jones expects an attack on Iran soon; Chuck Missler mused along the same lines in this week’s K-Ration Update.  As Missler points out, if Obama did facilitate such an attack on Iran, it would earn him the gratitude of the Sunni Arabs and give him leverage over Netanyahu.  On the other hand, it would quite possibly put us in a state of war with Iran’s allies, including a former NATO member.  It’s a tense situation that has us watching Naval exercises in the Persian Gulf.

When Yeshua said that the Abomination of Desolation would happen again (Mat. 24:15), He wasn’t just pointing us to Dan. 11:31 and 12:11; He was pointing us to the whole set of prophecies about the King of the North who would set up (and ultimately become) the Abomination.  That ultimate idolatry is preceded by a war between the kings of the North and the South which may prefigure Magog and his allies against Egypt and his allies–the Arabs (who are notably absent from the nations attacking Israel in Ezekiel 38) and the West. In that battle, there will be no “good guys” to choose from among the nations, “for both these kings, their hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table” (Dan. 11:27).

Whether the coming conflict will be the war of Gog and Magog that Ezekiel talks about, whether it will be a relatively brief war followed by a long period of troop buildup (as in Gulf Wars I and II), or whether it will settle into another cold war for a space of years is yet to be seen.  But what we can see clearly is that at the same time that Israel has been restored to the Land and the Great Commission is being fulfilled, all of the alliances that the Bible has foretold are being forged right before our eyes.  It’s past time to play at being religious, and walk uprightly and with eyes open before our King.

Shalom.

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