Gog and Magog Part 5By Pastor Boffey on Sunday, August 21, 2022.
XII. Dr. Scofield affirmed that the invading forces of EZE 38-39 had to be speaking about Russia and northern European powers in the far-distant future. A. “That the primary reference is to the northern (European) powers, headed up by Russia, all agree.” (SRB on Ezekiel 38:2) B. This slant on EZE 38-39 fit better with Dr. Scofield’s premillennial dispensational theory of an end-time regathering of Israel and the final establishing of the Messianic Davidic throne therein. C. But Scofield was wrong: all do NOT agree that modern Russia, etc. are in the prophecy. In fact, the consensus was otherwise. 1. “The Scythian Tauri in the Crimea were so called. The Araxes also was called “Rhos.” The modern Russians may have hence assumed their name, as Moscow and Tobolsk from Meshech and Tubal, though their proper ancient name was Slavi, or Wends.” (Jamieson, Fausett, Brown Commentary on Ezekiel 38:2). 2. “The Revelation [sic] David Martin, pastor of the Waloon church at Utrecht, concludes, after examining all previous opinions, that Antiochus Epiphanes, the great enemy on [sic] the Israelites, is alone intended here; and that Gog, which signifies covered, is an allusion to the well-known character of Antiochus, whom historians describe as an artful, cunning, and dissembling man. See Dan 8:23, Dan 8:25; Dan 11:23, Dan 11:27, Dan 11:32. Magog he supposes to mean the country of Syria. Of this opinion the following quotation from Pliny, Hist. Nat., lib. v., c. 23, seems a proof; who, speaking of Coele-Syria, says Coele habet Apamiam Marsyia amne divisam a Nazarinorum Tetrarchia. Bambycem quam alio nomine Hierapolis vocatur, Syris vero Magog. “Coele-Syria has Apamia separated from the tetrarchy of the Nazarenes by the river Marsyia; and Bambyce, otherwise called Hierapolis; but by the Syrians, Magog.” (Adam Clarke Commentary on Ezekiel 38:2) 3. Concerning Togarmah (EZE 38:6), “The Targum renders it here the province of Germany; as it is also interpreted in the Talmud, but wrongly.” (John Gill) 4. “It is by no means certain that Rosh, which AV renders ‘chief,’ is here a proper name, although nowhere else so used in the Bible. That as a proper name it stands for Russia is even more doubtful. Consequently, Scofield’s ‘all agree’ is a serious overstatement, unless it is taken to mean ‘all [Dispensationalists] agree.’” (Oswald T. Allis, Prophecy And The Church, p. 274)
XIII. The confluence of Judah’s spiritual and moral deterioration with the rise of Greek wisdom and cultural progressivism produced religious and political strife in the land, and also provoked God to bring a foreign power upon them to judge them, similar to ISA 10:5-7. A. Some 400 years had gone by since the prophecy of Ezekiel and the longsuffering of God which is meant to bring sinners to repentance (ROM 2:4) was disregarded or looked upon as a license for evil, per ECC 8:11. B. Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) was the man for the task. He was the prominent persecutor of the Jews in the intertestamental period. 1. He is particularly set forth in Daniel, though not named. 2. Dr. Scofield even recognized his significance in Daniel’s prophecy: “The ‘little horn’ here is a prophecy fulfilled in Antiochus Epiphanes, B.C. 175, who profaned the temple and terribly persecuted the Jews.” (SRB footnote on Daniel 8:9) 3. To ignore Antiochus Epiphanes or treat him as a “bit player” during the intertestamental period is a great disservice to both prophetic and profane history. a. The Apostle Paul may even have had reference to those who suffered under Antiochus (HEB 11:35) since there were some then who deferred their happiness to the resurrection rather than submit to Antiochus’s demand to eat swine’s flesh. b. “...Wilt thou eat before thou be punished throughout every member of thy body? But he answered in his own language, and said, No. Wherefore he also received the next torment in order, as the former did. And when he was at the last gasp, he said, Thou like a fury takest us out of this present life, but the king of the world shall raise us up, who have died for his laws, unto everlasting life. After him was the third made a mocking stock, and when he was required, he put out his tongue, and that right soon, holding forth his hands manfully, And said courageously, These I had from heaven, and for his laws I despise them, and from him I hope to receive them again... they tormented and mangled the fourth in like manner. So when he was ready to die he said thus, It is good, being put to death by men, to look for hope from God to be raised up again by him: as for thee, thou shalt have no resurrection to life.” (2 Maccabees 7:7-14) c. It is not a metaphorical resurrection of a “dead” nation or idea that is the hope of God’s Israel: it is the resurrection of the spiritless body (JAM 2:26) to eternal life, which is the better resurrection. ACT 26:6-8; 28:20. 4. Unlike the Assyrian (ISA 10) who was primarily bent on imperial expansion over all nations, Antiochus had an extraordinary hatred for the separatist Jewish people and their God: “...his heart shall be against the holy covenant...” (DAN 11:28), and “...indignation against the holy covenant...” (DAN 11:30). a. “Moreover, King Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people, and everyone should leave his laws. So all the heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king. Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the Sabbath... Then many of the people were gathered unto them, to wit, every one that forsook the law; and so they committed evils in the land.” (1Mac. 1:41-43, 52) b. Some devout Jews were not willing ecumaniacs as touching their laws, traditions and religion, unlike the heathen peoples who were willing to conform their systems to Antiochus’s dictates. c. NOTE: Biblical Christian religion is separatist in that it calls believers to separate from all forms and elements of unbiblical religion, be they outright paganism or corrupt hybrids of Christianity and paganism. 2CO 6:14-18. d. A “world” religion that unites all men without true repentance and faith will naturally look upon those, who on conscience will not conform, as being “enemies of all that is good.” e. Often, it is not what you do that perturbs the world but what you will not do, and hatred is gained by good works as well as by evil. 2TI 3:12. 5. Antiochus has been called “The Nero of Jewish History.”
XIV. Antiochus is prophesied of in various places in Daniel. The historical fulfillment of these prophecies is so detailed and congruent with the prophecies that it cannot be overlooked. A. He was the egomaniacal tyrant predicted in DAN 8:9-12. B. He was a cunning politician who manipulated weaknesses in men and nations to his own advantage. DAN 11:21-24. C. “In the prophecy (Dan. 11:21, 23) it was foretold that, ‘he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries...and after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully.’ This was fulfilled quite literally, for Josephus relates that the king (Antiochus), having determined to make war on the king of Egypt, ‘came up to Jerusalem, and, pretending peace, got possession of the city by treachery’ (Bk. II, 5, 4). The Cambridge edition of the Bible cites II Maccabees 4:7, 10, 23-31 in connection with the foregoing verses.” (Philip Mauro, The Seventy Weeks And The Great Tribulation, p. 128) D. He even exploited the Jews’ own differences among themselves as they struggled for power and priesthood in the midst of their Grecian intoxication. DAN 11:30-32. 1. “1. AT the same time that Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes, had a quarrel with the sixth Ptolemy about his right to the whole country of Syria, a great sedition fell among the men of power in Judea, and they had a contention about obtaining the government; while each of those that were of dignity could not endure to be subject to their equals. However, Onias, one of the high priests, got the better, and cast the sons of Tobias out of the city; who fled to Antiochus, and besought him to make use of them for his leaders, and to make an expedition into Judea.” (Flavius Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book I) 2. “Men like Alcimus, the high priest after Menelaus, were transgressors of the sacred covenant, and were corrupted by the flatteries of Epiphanes. He used them to gain the people over to his views. But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. Even when Epiphanes seemed most nearly successful, there was a deep-seated opposition to this Hellenizing process.” (Pulpit Commentary on Daniel 11:32) E. Contrary to his predecessors who had not violated the temple and the Jews’ religion or customs, he ran roughshod over them and plundered the temple, spreading its wealth. DAN 11:24. 1. He terminated the daily sacrifice and forbade any book of the Law. DAN 8:11-12; 11:31. 2. “He also commanded them not to circumcise their sons, and threatened to punish any that should be found to have transgressed his injunction...[examples of brutal atrocities here]... And if there were any sacred book of the law found, it was destroyed; and those with whom they were found, miserably perished also.” (Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XII, Chap. V) 3. “And (2 Macc. 5:15, etc.) Antiochus went into the most holy temple, Menelaus, that traitor to the laws and to his own country, being his guide... Then he set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar (1 Macc. 1:54), even an idol altar (v. 59), and called the temple the temple of Jupiter Olympius, 2 Macc. 6:2.” (Matthew Henry Commentary on Daniel 11) a. This dedication of the temple of God unto a heathen deity was on December 25, 167 B.C. b. Merry christmas: God’s house converted to paganism. 4. “And when the king had built an idol altar upon God’s altar, he slew swine upon it, and so offered a sacrifice neither according to the law, nor the Jewish religious worship in that country. He also compelled them to forsake the worship which they paid to their own God, and to adore those whom he took to be gods; and made them built temples, and raise idol altars, in every city and village, and offer swine upon them every day.” (Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XII, Chap. V) 5. “ ‘From Jerusalem, the persecution spread throughout the country: in every city the same barbarities were executed, the same profanations introduced; and, as a last insult, the feast of the Bacchanalia, the license of which, as these feasts were celebrated in the later ages of Greece shocked the severe virtue of the older Romans, was substituted for the national festival of tabernacles. The reluctant Jews were forced to join in these riotous orgies, and carry the ivy, the insignia of the god. So near was the Jewish nation, and the worship of Jehovah, to total extermination.’ ---Milman.” (C.B. and S. Hassell, Church History, p. 163) 6. “We quote here from Dr. Taylor’s well-written account of the deeds of this atrocious character: ‘When he was informed of the satisfaction with which the news of his reported death was received by the Jews, and especially of the attempt made by the rightful high priest to regain his position, he chose to believe that the entire Jewish nation had revolted; and, marching with all haste, he laid siege to Jerusalem and took it, slaying in three days more than forty thousand persons, and taking as many more captives to be sold as slaves. Not content with this, he forced his way into the Temple, entered the very Holy of Holies itself, and caused a great sow to be offered in sacrifice upon the altar of burnt-offering, while broth, made from the same unclean flesh, was sprinkled by his order over the sacred precincts for the purpose of defiling them. On his departure he took with him the altar of incense, the golden candlestick, the table of shew bread, and other sacred vessels,... Two years after the commission of these enormities, returning from another invasion of Egypt, where he had been checkmated by the Romans, he vented his disappointment upon the Jews and detailed his army, twenty-two thousand men, under Apollonius, with orders to destroy Jerusalem... the streets were filled with blood.’” (Philip Mauro, The Seventy Weeks And The Great Tribulation, pp. 130-131) 7. Of the above enormities and violations of righteous religion and living, Antiochus’s war against the Scripture was a crucial breakpoint, since God magnifies it above His own name and will fight against those who despise it. PSA 138:2; PRO 13:13. F. It is upon this chain of events that a priest named Mattathias defiantly put a stop to an unlawful sacrifice by killing the apostate offerer and the Seleucidan officer on scene. He fled to the hills with his five sons and called for resistance. 1. This family is known as the Maccabees or Asmonean princes. One son, Judas Maccabeus, was a masterful military leader. 2. The success of the relatively small army of the Maccabees over vastly larger forces is the stuff of legend, almost unparalleled in history. 3. “Seron, another general, was sent with an army by the Syrians but Judas defeated them at Beth-horon. At this time Antiochus Epiphanes was engaged in his Persian campaign and appointed Lysias as regent while he was gone from the capital. The regent was ordered to destroy the Jews who had revolted. Half of the Syrian army was left with Lysias to accomplish the task. “Lysias sent an army of 50,000 men under three generals to exterminate the Maccabean guerrillas. So certain of victory were they that slave traders were brought with the army to carry off the Jewish captives to the slave auction markets. While one of the generals headed a detachment in search of Judas, who was encamped at Mizpah, the Maccabeans attacked the main force at Emmaus. With his 6,000 warriors, Judas surprised the vastly superior forces, entrapped them, and utterly defeated them. The general who had been on the searching mission fled to Philistia. The year was 163 B.C. and Judas had gained control of the land. Lysias himself later assembled an army of 5,000 cavalry and 60,000 infantry and came south to personally wipe out the rebels. Judas met the Syrian forces near Hebron with a force of 10,000 infantry and decisively defeated them, killing over 5,000 and driving the remainder back to Antioch.” (Henry C. De Puy, A Steady Progress from Creation to Christ, p. 237) 4. 2Mac. 15:21-34 describes Judas Maccabeus’s plea to God defeat Nicanor, calling to remembrance the sudden defeat of 185,000 Assyrians by the angel of God in Hezekiah’s day. The Maccabees slew at least 35,000 of the enemy in the field. 5. Such massive amounts of dead bodies and abandoned implements of war are a reasonable answer to the prophecy of EZE 39:1-22 which described a protracted season of burying the dead and utility of enemy weaponry/armor for firewood. 6. The Maccabean forces eventually re-took the temple, purified it and rededicated it to God, an event celebrated thereafter as the feast of the dedication. JOH 10:22. a. [Antiochus], hearing that the Jews had cast the image of Jupiter Olympius out of the temple, where he had placed it, was so enraged at the Jews that he vowed he would make Jerusalem a common burial-place, and determined to march thither immediately; but no sooner had he spoken these proud words than he was struck with an incurable plague in his bowels; worms bred so fast in his body that whole flakes of flesh sometimes dropped from him; his torments were violent, and the stench of his disease such that none could endure to come near him. He continued in this misery very long. At first he persisted in his menaces against the Jews; but at length, despairing of his recovery, he called his friends together, and acknowledged all those miseries to have fallen upon him for the injuries he had done to the Jews and his profaning the temple at Jerusalem. Then he wrote courteous letters to the Jews, and vowed that if he recovered he would let them have the free exercise of their religion. But, finding his disease grow upon him, when he could no longer endure his own smell, he said, It is meet to submit to God, and for man who is mortal not to set himself in competition with God, and so died miserably in a strange land, on the mountains of Pacata near Babylon: so Ussher's Annals, A.M. 3840, about 160 years before the birth of Christ. (Matthew Henry Commentary on Daniel 8:23-25) b. This was much like God’s judgment upon Herod who lifted himself up in pride and gave not God the glory. ACT 12:23. c. “Your worm is your only emperor for diet: we fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots: your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service, two dishes, but to one table: that's the end.” (William Shakespeare, Hamlet) d. That Antiochus should not die in war or by assassination agrees with, “...he shall be broken without hand” (DAN 8:25). 7. Mind that the Jews’ success in this instance was not the same as their return from Babylon to rebuild, an effort that was “...Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (ZEC 4:6). a. The best political liberty comes by spiritual revival according to the Word. b. The heroics of the Maccabees and the fortitude of the intertestamental saints aside, our Lord Jesus Christ overlooked them in establishing the canon of the O.T. Scriptures by the death of God’s prophets. LUK 11:50-51. c. No prophets = no inspired writings.
XV. Combining the prophetic information of Ezekiel’s contemporary (Daniel) with the well-known events and people of historical record, it is reasonable to conclude that Gog and Magog refer to the Seleucid regime and particularly its notorious King Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Consider: A. Gog’s armies would come from the north (EZE 39:2). Syria was north of Israel. B. Gog would attack a people gathered out of many nations and dwelling safely (EZE 38:8, 14), which describes the Jews in their post-captivity restoration. C. The belligerent armies would be large (EZE 38:15-16) and Antiochus’s forces were massively greater than the Maccabees. D. Gog would come upon a land of unwalled villages (EZE 38:11) which was typical of Israel in those post-captivity days. EST 9:19. E. Gog’s forces would intend to take captives and spoil (EZE 38:13), which Antiochus did. F. “Antiochus had an army made up of the very nations here named, and many others. These people had been at variance with one another, and yet in combination against Israel.” (Comprehensive Commentary on EZE 38:4-6). G. Ezekiel described God having a direct hand in destroying Gog (EZE 38:18 – 39:3), and the amazing underdog victories of the Maccabees would be hard to explain without divine help.
XVI. Antiochus Epiphanes (God manifest) is a fitting type of the final Antichrist whose forces shall come against the camp of the saints. REV 20:8-10. A. His heart was swelled with pride at his success and cunning even as the man of sin, of which he is a type, “opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped” (2TH 2:4) c/w DAN 8:25. 1. He stood up against the “Prince of princes” (DAN 8:25) when he profaned his temple at Jerusalem, forbad His worship, persecuted and destroyed His people, and set up an idol in His temple to be worshipped, and destroyed copies of Scriptures. 2. God destroyed him, even as God shall destroy the man of sin. 2TH 2:8. B. “Ezekiel’s prophecy of Gog as the last great oppressions of the people of God before the First Advent, is typical of the last great death-struggle between Paganism and Historic Christianity just before the Second Advent. The armies of Gog and Magog were numerous, and therefore, adequately symbolize the world-wide univeral opposition to the people of God in the end of the Christian era. The tribulation under Antiochus Epiphanes, though very severe, was, nevertheless, of very brief duration: hence, it foreshadows the brief final tribulation which will occur at the close of our present dispensation. The armies of Syria met an unexpected and complete defeat; likewise, its antitype---a godless world arrayed against the Church---comes to a sudden end. Just as Antiochus, the Illustrious, tried to stamp out the Mosiac [sic] worship, so will Satan in the last great conflict, between truth and error, endeavor to stamp out Christian worship.” (George B. Fletcher, The Millennium: What It Is Not and What It Is, p. 26) C. “ ‘As the first, or Old Testament Antichrist, Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria B.C. 176- 164, whose career is circumstantially predicted by Daniel in the eighth, eleventh and twelfth chapters of his prophecy, was the product of the highest ancient Greek civilization, so the last New Testament Antichrist is to be the product of the highest modern civilization, ignoring and despising God and vital religion, and substituting therefor a false liberalism in faith and practice, a growing laxity of morals, and a worship of money and of human science and art and invention, degenerating into avowed atheism and an unholy alliance with the Pope of Rome, for the extermination of the Church of Christ.’---A. R. Fausset.” (C.B. and S. Hassell, Church History, p. 144)
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