Prince of Rosh Gog

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In a former paper on, “The latter-day kings of Daniel” it was shown that “the king of fierce countenance,” of Dan. 8 is no other than the person generally called by the Jewish prophets “The Assyrian,” (Isa. 10:24; 14:2524Therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt. (Isaiah 10:24)
25That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders. (Isaiah 14:25)
; Mic. 5:5, 65And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. 6And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders. (Micah 5:5‑6)), and that he “appears to be the political enemy of restored Jews, and energetic leader of the confederate nations North and East of the Holy Land,” who say “Come and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the house of Israel may be no more in remembrance” (Psa. 83:44They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. (Psalm 83:4)). But cruel and despotic though he be, “the Assyrian” will not be a truly independent potentate. For the word declares “his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power” (Dan. 8:2424And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. (Daniel 8:24)). From this we may safely conclude, therefore, that his power is a delegated one. As in the case of the Beast and the false prophet, the latter is the vassal of the former and receives his support, so the king of the north is the servant of another and does his bidding.
Now the question arises, Who is this mighty monarch that is more powerful than even the king of the north, and at the same time an equally bitter enemy of God's people the Jews? The book of the prophet Ezekiel (chaps. 38; 39) gives the answer to this question, and adds many interesting details on the last invasion of the land of Israel by their united foes.
In the opening of chap. 38 the prophet's attention is called to “Gog of the land of Magog,” the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal” (A. V.). Many scholars, however, follow the Septuagint or the oldest translation of the Old Testament extant, in rendering “chief” as a proper name instead of an appellative as in the common Bible (A. V.), thus “prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.” Young in his version gives the same; Newcome in his translation of our prophet, over one hundred years ago, understood the verse in the same way. So did W. Lowth, who wrote one hundred and fifty years ago. Again, without mentioning the long list of names that might be adduced in favor of this rendering, one would call attention to the last revision of our English Bible which also reads “prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.”
Hence it is that many scholars taking it as a proper name, see in “Rosh” the Russian people or nation without any sound reason for doubt.
Objectors to this, however, argue that “Rosh” Should not be thus translated, but rendered as in the A. V. The word, they say, occurs in scripture between four and five hundred times, and is nowhere else rendered as a proper name. But this is really of no force, for the word would not be used as a proper name where no occasion called for such use. Here no other meaning can make tolerable sense nor agree with the rest of the context.
Still it seems desirable that the earlier names mentioned in these chapters should be examined a little more fully, both historically and geographically, in order to arrive at a more definite conclusion respecting the point at issue.
First then as to Gog, Michaelis compares the name Gog with Kak or Chak, the general name of kings among the ancient Turks, Moguls, Tartars, and Chinese; just as “Pharaoh” was the title given to the kings of Egypt in ancient time. “In our day the name is thought to have been discovered in cuneiform inscription which reads—Larisi and Pariza sons of Ga-a-gi, a chief of the Saka (Scythians) (Speaker's Comm. vi. 155).” Some writers make its origin to be Semitic, and derive it from Ga (to be high) and associate it with Gag (a roof) Josh. 2:66But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof. (Joshua 2:6), (top of an upperchamber) 2 Kings 23:1212And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the Lord, did the king beat down, and brake them down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron. (2 Kings 23:12), and Gog (high, a mountain). From this we may safely conclude that, when applied to a person, the word would mean an exalted and mighty one, an appellation particularly appropriate to the Autocrat of the Russias. By some the name is said to be symbolic; if so, it may be aggression and self-exaltation, in which case it would be most suitable to the above dignity.
Magog was the second son of Japheth and is said to have given his name to a land and people of the extreme north beyond the Caucasus. Josephus says “Magog founded those that from him were named Magogites, but who are by the Greeks called Scythians” (Ant. i. 6, 1).
Of these we have three principal tribes mentioned. The first in order and importance is Rosh. Now we are informed by an early writer that the Tauri inhabiting the Crimea were a Scythian people known by the name of Ros. Another traces this name to the Rha or Volga (some say Araxes) in the neighborhood of which this tribe lived. Gesenius makes Rosh to be “undoubtedly the Russians who are mentioned by Byzantine writers of the tenth century, under the name of οἱ Ῥώς dwelling to the north of the Taurus.” It is generally supposed also that the Basses mentioned in the book of Judith were the same people, with the name slightly altered. “To the north of the Tauri or Ros, between what is now the Dnieper and the Don was another tribe, the Roxolani, a mixed Sarmatian or Slavonic race called Scythians by Greek and Roman writers; and these are also said to have been progenitors of the present Russian race.” Thus may be gathered that the modern Russians can be traced to tribes in eastern Sarmatia, and that their name, or resemblances to it, present themselves among these tribes from at least the second century before Christ downwards. Hence too the name may be accounted for, as used in the Septuagint.
Meshech, a word meaning “to draw out (hence possibly to be “tall of stature"), was the name of Japheth's sixth son. Coupled with this is generally found the name of Japheth's fifth son Tubal which means “flowing forth” (i.e.” increase and diffusion of a race”).
These two brothers are generally admitted to have been the progenitors of the Moschi and Tibareni respectively, tribes constantly associated under the names of “Muskai and Tuplai,” in the Assyrian inscriptions, just as Meshech and Tubal are in scripture. “They can, therefore, scarcely fail to belong to one and the same ethnic family: so that if we can succeed in distinctly referring either of them to a particular branch, we may assume the same of the other. Now the Muskai (or Μόσχοι of the Greeks) are regarded on very sufficient grounds as the ancestors of the Muscovites, who built Moscow, and who still give name to Russia throughout the East. And these Muscovites have been lately recognized as belonging to the Tψhad or Finnish family, which the Sclavonic Russians conquered and which is a well-known Turanian race."1
From the above may be gathered, then, that the consensus of testimony, both Ancient and Modern, is in favor of the opinion that the present nation of Russia is composed mainly of descendants from the Japheth mentioned first in Gen. 10 and repeated in Ezek. 38 as well as in other places in the Old Testament.
The vision which the prophet records here, however, refers to the time of the end, and is connected with the judgment of the nations prior to the millennium. Now when the descendants of Noah were scattered, we read “By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands.” And as God had His people Israel in view when He divided the nations: so will they be found in connection with that nation in the latter days. Then there will be two great confederacies of nations, that of the last under the “Assyrian” or “King of the North;” and that of the West under the first Beast of Rev. 13. The former will be the sworn enemy of the Jews, but the latter their then firm ally. However, they both perish by the hand of the Lord, at different times, it is true, but previous to the invasion here mentioned. This of the Russian leader will probably take place just on the eve of the millennium. Gog (the last representative of the Assyrian policy) will gather to his standard a mighty army of infantry and cavalry fully equipped with all modern weapons of destruction. There will be representatives of the various peoples that will comprise Russia at that time, or be under her influence (38). And so great will be the multitude of men and horses that they are described, by the prophet, as a cloud covering the land (ver. 9). In this invasion their leader will be but carrying out the well-known Russian system of steady aggression and acquisition, particularly in The East. Greed impels him to come up from the north quarters upon the mountains of Israel; and the plunder of an externally defenseless, but reputedly rich, people will be the object of the expedition. Their apparently unprotected condition will cause Gog to anticipate an easy victory, and a rich spoil for his armies (vers. 11, 12). But he will discover, to his dismay and utter discomfiture, that “He who keeps Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.” For the LORD will lead His people and go forth to fight against him and his mighty army which will be destroyed with a great destruction. The slaughter will be so vast at this time that seven months will be occupied in burying the dead. Gog himself will also find his grave in the valley of Haman-Gog, where his followers will be buried with him: a wholly different end from that of Isaiah's Assyrian or Daniel's king of the north. Judgment will he executed at the same time on the land of Magog [i.e. the land of Russia] and among those that dwell carelessly in the isles,” and they shall know that I am the LORD.” He says thus will the Lord deal in righteousness with the enemies of Israel and clear the way for His reign of peace. The dream of a millennium introduced by “pacific principles” is not based on revelation in any way. On the contrary, scripture declares, “let favor be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness.” “When thy judgments are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isa. 26:9, 109With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. 10Let favor be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord. (Isaiah 26:9‑10)).
At present God is dealing with man in grace, but how few comparatively profit by this favor! Soon the day of grace will close, however, and He will mete out judgment to the rejecters of His gospel and the despisers of His Son—judgment by that Son whom they will oppose. Thus they will be punished with everlasting destruction from His presence and from the glory of His power (2 Thess. 1:99Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (2 Thessalonians 1:9)). Such is the doom that awaits the Prince of Rosh and his followers, the last of His enemies previous to the millennium. The Gog and Magog of Rev. 20 are judged subsequently to the thousand years of the Messiah's reign: a symbolic N. T. designation of the multitudinous hordes in Satan's last deception. How blessed to know the heavenly saints will be kept from the hour of trial which precedes all judicial dealings on a guilty world! W.T.H.