By Evangelos Evangelides
In this study note, we explore the principal actors in what is commonly called Gog of Magog. Subsequent notes will cover complementary information.
On January 2, 2012, I had breakfast with a friend who is involved in ministry with Muslims. During our conversation, he said that Erdogan, then prime minister and now president of Turkey, is from the country of Georgia (Georgia is in the mountain region of the Caucuses at the east of the Black Sea). When he said that, I immediately thought of Gog and Magog. This started me on a journey that with only a few days of research helped me link Erdogan with Gog and Magog.
Since then, I have studied the prophesies of Ezekiel 38 and 39 and Zachariah 12. I believe they correspond to events that will take place in the very near future, a significant time before the battle of Armageddon described in Revelation.
At the end of Ezekiel 39, God announces He will not hide His face from the house of Israel but will pour His Spirit on them. The chapters that follow (Ezekiel 40 to 46) describe the building of the third temple and other related facts.
2. STARTING POINT OF INVESTIGATION
I began my research by looking at the personal life of Erdogan in Wikipedia. The first paragraph about his personal life included the following phrase posted in January 2012: “When he visited Georgia in 2003, he allegedly said, ‘I am also Georgian too, my family is a Georgian family, migrated from Batumi to Rize in Turkey.’”
This statement reveals that Erdogan’s family were Turks living in Georgia at the city of Batumi and later migrated to the Turkish city of Rize.
EVIDENCE OF HIS BACKGROUND
See below the opening statements in Wikipedia concerning Erdogan’s personal life and his relationship with Georgia. The first statement was removed and reinstated several times, and now there is a new statement (February 17, 2022) that brings further confirmation of Erdogan’s link to Ezekiel.
A) Erdogan’s personal life (extract from 2012 and several years afterward)
B) Extract about Erdogan’s personal life from WIKIPEDIA on February 17, 2022.
3. INVESTIGATION OF NAMES
A) Statements about the origin of Erdogan
It is fascinating how the two statements about Erdogan’s personal origin, posted ten years apart, link him to the character of Ezekiel.
“I am also Georgian too, my family is a Georgian family, migrated from Batumi to Rize in Turkey.”
Following are the key words of this statement sequence:
- I am (Erdogan, the leader of Turkey)
-Georgian (I come from Georgia)
The new statement posted in 2022 about his personal life emphasizes that his family has settled in the Rize Province in Turkey, but originated from a Turkish tribe from Adjara, a region in Georgia.
B) Statements in Ezekiel
After reading Erdogan’s statement, immediately I compared that phrase with the following verses of Ezekiel:
Son of man, set thy face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. (Ezekiel 38:2–3, my emphasis)
Erdoğan was born in Kasımpaşa, a poor neighborhood of Istanbul where his family had moved in the 1930s. Erdoğan's tribe is originally from Rize Province (Adjara, a region in Georgia).
His parents were Ahmet Erdoğan (1905–1988) and Tenzile Erdoğan (née Mutlu; 1924–2011).
Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.
(Ezekiel 39:1, emphasis mine)
It seemed clear to me that Erdogan could have been identifying himself with the Gog of Magog by quoting Ezekiel 38:2 about himself without knowing it. The questions:
- Do the words Gog, Magog, Meschech, and Tubal match with the above four words in Erdogan’s declaration (leader, Georgia, Batumi (South Georgia), and region of Tubal)?
- Do the words (in the current Wikipedia version) of Province of Rize and Adjara relate to Tubal and Meshech?
In addition, it is important not to confuse names with locations, depending on the context. In the three verses quoted above in Ezekiel we find Gog (leader, see meaning later on) and chief prince. It is clear that the expressions above refer to a person and not a location.
We will examine the meaning of these words in the section below.
3. MEANING OF KEY NAMES
We must keep in mind that names in the Bible could mean names of persons or places depending on the context. In addition, some words of a generic nature can indicate something else (another location) depending on the author and the century when they were written. Gog and Magog are such words.
Several Bible scholars studying the names and locations in these prophetic scriptures project names of locations to places and regions where people migrated several centuries later, trying to prove certain popular interpretations of prophesy. I believe we need to be extremely careful doing this. We need to understand these names in the context at the time of the author (several centuries B.C.) and look at scriptures written before (for example, names in Genesis). People from the regions of the southern and eastern part of the Black Sea (North Turkey and Georgia) have migrated north to Scythia (Ukraine) and west to Italy, Iberia, and other European locations.
3.1 Gog and Magog
From the Abarim Publications online Hebrew and New Testaments words, we find the following definition of Gog:
. . . The masculine noun גג (gag) means roof or top, or (as HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament puts it) the highest point of an edifice. Its root is unknown, and it has no sibling derivations.
. . . The housetop seems to indicate a certain spiritual exposure. Someone on the housetop opens himself for something, preferable something soothing, or higher. Note that the ominous names Gog and Magog are derived from this root.
. . . Gog may be a region, and Magog is then said to mean From Gog (BDB Theological Dictionary). But Ezekiel 38:2 speaks of a man named Gog who is of the land of Magog (= the land of the land of Gog), which seems overly redundant.
We can see from this definition that Gog corresponds to top, roof top and when referring to a person, the head, the chief, leader, etc.
Looking at Magog by extrapolation, if it refers to a place, it could mean the country from the top (north or in the mountains). As this is a generic name, it depends on the use in a relative context. For example, somebody based in Rome can refer to some reference as north (higher) meaning Milan; at another context the Alps; in another context Germany (the other side of the Alps); or even Scandinavia.
Therefore, regarding the names of places in Ezekiel (sixth century B.C.), we need to look at maps of the ancient Hebrews of that time.
The historian Josephus, who lived during the first century (six centuries after Ezekiel), referred to Magog as a place that could and does refer to locations further north of Ezekiel such Scythia (Ukraine, southern Russia). Therefore, the descriptions of the north countries by Josephus seven centuries later are not the same northern countries as described by Ezekiel.
3.2 Locations of Magog, Meshech, and Tubal known to the Hebrews (according to the Mosaic account)
You will see below , in a separate page the map of the world as known to the Hebrews (according to the Mosaic account). This map was composed by Biblical scholars about 150 years ago and shows how the locations referred to in Ezekiel were understood by the Hebrews at the earlier times.
Map 2 shows the geological map of the present country of Georgia. It can be found in the north part of the country in the Caucasus mountain range. On the coastline is the port of Batumi. The old Hebrew map clearly indicates that the area of Georgia was referred to as Meshech (or Mesech) Gog Magog. As the Caucasus mountain range is the predominant feature that linked the whole country of Georgia and the port of Batumi, this could be the region of Meshech. The town of Rize on the northeast corner of Turkey on the coast of the Black Sea is located at the exact spot as Tubal (Thubal) on the Hebrew map
As we can see from Abarim Publications, the meaning of Meshech is departed, drawn out.
The names Mash and Meshech: Summary
• Meaning: Departed, Drawn Out
• Etymology: From the verb מוש (mush), to depart, or משה (masha), to draw out, or משך (mashak), to draw or drag.
From other sources we see that Meskhetians (modern name of Meshech) are an ethnic group of Georgia. They are divided into Georgians (Christians) and Meskhetian Turks, the inhabitants of the Meskheti region of Georgia, bordering Turkey. Most of them were dispersed after World War Two.
• Meskhetians or Meskhs (Meskhi) are a subgroup of Georgians, the indigenous population of Meskheti. They speak the Meskhetian dialect and are mainly Georgian Orthodox Christians in religion, while part of them are Catholics.
Meskhetian Turks are the former inhabitants of the Meskheti region of Georgia along the border with Turkey. They were deported to Central Asia during November 15–25, 1944, by Joseph Stalin and settled within Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Of the 120,000 forcibly deported in cattle trucks, a total of 10,000 perished. Today they are dispersed over a number of other countries of the former Soviet Union. There are 500,000 to 700,000 Meskhetian Turks in exile in Azerbaijan and Central Asia. Most Meskhetian Turks are Sunni Hanafi Muslims.
The etymology of the word Tubal is very difficult, according to Abarim Publications, possible meanings indicate perversion and confusion.
Therefore, we can see a match of the four words from a geographical point of view.
. . . The masculine noun תבל (tebel) occurs in Leviticus 18:23 and 20:12 only, where it describes people having intercourse with animals or in-laws. This word is commonly translated with "perversion" or "confusion" but it seems that the author was less infuriated and indignant than generations of translators, and instead calmly instructs his audience that humans and animals are not compatible in that way: an animal female cannot absorb a human male, and vice versa.
. . . The masculine noun תבלל (teballul) occurs in Leviticus 21:20 only and describes a mass of undissolved material in a person's eye.
From the map, we find out that Tubal is the region of Turkey bordering the Black Sea and the area south of there.
4. THE LINK
Remember, when he visited Georgia in 2003, Erdogan allegedly said, “I am also Georgian too, my family is a Georgian family, migrated from Batumi to Rize in Turkey."
The declaration was made by the leader of Turkey ( GOG means leader)
He has said he originates from Georgia ( land of Magog)
He has migrated from Batumi ( region of Adjara, in southern Georgia , ancient name Meshech)
To Rize ( the region of Turkey that Tubal is connected)
In addition, we see this person is called prince of Meshech and Tubal. As mentioned above, the former inhabitants of the region of Meskheti (Meshech) were Turks, and the inhabitants of Tubal are Turks. With his ideology, Erdogan can be described as a prince to the Islamic Turks.
Map 2: Geological Map of Georgia (present time)
5. RELATED ACTORS
A) An Islamic alliance
The actors that will join him in a war against Israel are identified in Ezekiel 38:5-6.
Looking at these names from the map and from previous knowledge, we find that this person, the leader (Gog) and prince of its people, is bringing with him in an alliance consisting of Persia (modern Iran) and Cush (Ethiopia or Sudan).
Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you. (Ezekiel 38:5–6 (NIV)
Put (Libya): notice how Turkey has created an alliance with Libya, the government of Tripoli, in the last few years.
Gomer is Turkey itself (western part of Turkey) and Beth Togarmah is the house or the people connected to eastern part of Turkey.
As the prophesy indicates, it concerns a person, a leader (the Gog), who forms an alliance that includes present Turkey by referring to Gomer and Beth Togarmah. The term Beth indicates the families of Togarmah, which points to ethnic groups of that region. These groups include ethnic Islamic groups in eastern Turkey and further north of the Caucasus regions.
It is noticeable that these groups consist mainly of both Suni and Shiite Islamic ethnic groups with limited Islamic Arabic nations.
B) Other actors (sponsored groups)
Ezekiel 38:13 refers to the surprise of the young lions of Sheba, Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish.
Looking at the Hebrew map (above), please note the identification of the following:
- Sheba (South Arabia today)
- Dedan (Emirates, including Qatar)
The merchants in the region have always been recognized as the Lebanese. From Lebanon, they have gone to many destinations such as Spain, referring to Tarshish. However, scholars have been looking at the destination out of Lebanon instead of the origin. Tarshish’s origin is found in Esther 1:14, where it is identified as one of the seven princes of Persia.
The merchandise of Tarshish could be linked to ideology out of Persia (Iran) propagated by a Lebanese group.
The three protagonists are represented by young lions (as young fighters represent sponsored groups), but they are not the countries themselves. It seems they represent fighters (paramilitary groups) sponsored by the three entities from Saudi Arabia, from the Emirates (including Qatar), and by the ideologs of Iran (Hezbollah in Lebanon).
Could these young lions be groups such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah (the merchants of Iranian ideology)?
6. BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF KEY ACTIONS BY ERDOGAN
From the beginning of his ascent to power, Erdogan has had an Islamic agenda of establishing again the Ottoman Empire and the Islamic Caliphate and taking Jerusalem for the Moslem world. This is the final goal of his life, above any economic or other goal.
In the initial phase of his ascent to power, he progressively Islamized the education system. He is a great supporter of the Islamic Brotherhood and Hamas (just as Qatar is also a major supporter of Hamas).
When Morsi came to power in Egypt, over a period of 12 months, Erdogan gave him one billion dollars for his Islamic agenda. Turkish troops symbolically entered Syria on August 24, 2016, (on the 500th anniversary of the Ottoman troops entering Syria on August 24, 1516, starting the Ottoman Caliphate and eventually conquering Jerusalem).
He is in a very close relationship with Qatar, including military collaboration.
He intends to progressively move into Syria and then collaborate with Persia (Iran) to move toward Jerusalem.
In December 2018, another door suddenly opened to him that appears will allow him to continue slowly entering Syria.
In recent years he has been fully supporting the government of Libya (the Tripoli- based government) against the group from Cyrene (eastern part of Libya) in their civil war. He is in close relationships with the ethnic groups in the Caucasus (such Azerbaijan) and supported them against Armenia.
Thus, Erdogan seems to be progressively positioning himself with the Ezekiel actors.
This was reported on June 1, 2015, before a Parliamentary Election in Turkey (and defines his absolute personal goal):
Turkey’s Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called for the “liberation” of Jerusalem during a rally ahead of Turkish parliamentary elections later this week.
“Conquest is Mecca, conquest is Saladin, it’s to hoist the Islamic flag over Jerusalem again; conquest is the heritage of Mehmed II and conquest means forcing Turkey back on its feet,” Erdogan said in a campaign speech on Saturday, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
7. MAGOG FROM GENESIS (Complementary Evidence)
A second witness to the connection of the names of Gog and Magog with Turkey and the region of its capital, Ankara, comes from Genesis. These links are also potentially relevant in the context of this study.
Now let’s examine the name Magog (location) from the perspective of the name of a person given in Genesis. The name Magog is referred to in Genesis as one of sons of Japheth (Genesis 10:2).
SEE below note on the origin of the name Magog.
Below are maps of Turkey:
-Maps 3 and 4 show the maps of Lydia at about 600 B.C. (The time of Ezekiel’s writings. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lydia for identification of the period.)
-Map 5 shows a modern map of Turkey with Ankara, the capital clearly indicated. It is from here that Erdogan exercises his power. Ankara is in the central dominant location within Lydia when we put Ankara in the ancient maps from the time of Ezekiel.
Therefore, Magog of Ezekiel 39:6 points to Ankara and Turkey. See the punishment of this Magog.
Magog (/ˈmeɪɡɔːɡ/; Hebrew: מגוג [maˈɡoɡ]; Greek: Μαγωγ) is the second of the seven sons of Japheth mentioned in the Table of Nations in Genesis 10.
I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am the LORD. (Ezekiel 39:6 NIV)
The origin of the name Magog is unclear. It may come from the Akkadian mat Gugi, "land of Gog", that is, the land of Gyges: Lydia.
Map 3: Lydia sixth century B.C.
Map 4: Lydia sixth century B.C.
Map 5: Map of Turkey today, showing location of Ankara situated in the same place as Lydia of sixth century B.C.