On today’s podcast, Gary responds to an article’s assumption that Russia and the current invasion of Ukraine are fulfilling Bible prophecy based on Ezekiel 38-39.
The twentieth century is replete with books and articles assuring readers that Russia is clearly mentioned in the Bible. Nearly every modern-day prophecy book comes to the same conclusion. Russia is Ezekiel’s “Gog,” with its leader being the “prince of Rosh.” The Hebrew word rosh found in Ezekiel 38:2–3 and 39:1 is said to be a people-group that refers to Russia. H. L. Ellison has described this view as “an excellent example of the wish being the father to the thought.” There is no nation or people group named Rosh mentioned in the Bible.
In order to link Ezekiel’s use of rosh with a modern nation, many prophecy writers appeal to the great lexicographer Wilhelm Gesenius (1786–1842) who identifies rosh as “a northern nation, mentioned with Tubal and Meshech; undoubtedly the Russians.” Following Gensenius, Clyde E. Billington devotes three long articles to a defense of the rosh = Russia thesis. He admits, however, that “In searching for the Rosh people in ancient documents, one must keep in mind that the name Rosh could be and was spelled in a variety of ways in the ancient world. As James Price points out, the name Rosh was even pronounced differently and spelled differently in the various Semitic languages used in the ancient Middle East.” Of course, none of this means that Ezekiel’s use of rosh has anything to do with these claims. We must ask how the Bible is using rosh.
The Gog and Magog End-Time Alliance
Jet planes … missiles … and atomic weapons. You will search in vain in Ezekiel 38 and 39, and you will not find them. You will, however, find horses, bows and arrows, shields, clubs, and chariots. If the Gog and Magog prophecy was written for a time more than 2500 years in the future from Ezekiel’s day, why didn’t God describe the battle in terms that we could relate to and understand? Why confuse Ezekiel’s first readers and us?