Is PUTIN Ezekiel's Gog?
Updated: Jul 7
From the onset of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, some have suggested that President Putin will not stop just with his ‘special operation’ there but will continue moving into parts of Europe and ultimately, he will make his way down to attack Israel. Some of this speculation is based on Putin’s own words in wanting to retake lands which were part of the former USSR. But predictions of an invasion of Israel at this time arise from a vague understanding of the prophecy concerning “Gog of Magog” in Ezekiel 38-39. So, what should we make of this? Is Russia thinking of invading Israel soon? To be specific, Is Putin Ezekiel’s “Gog”?
As with ALL questions on biblical prophecy, we must go back to God’s Word to search for answers, because speculation without investigation in these matters often produces confusion and unnecessary concern. So, what do we know of Gog from the Bible? Though the word appears in three different passages (1 Chron 5:4; Ezek 38-39; Rev 20:8), our only clear biblical source of information about Gog comes from Ezekiel. The word “Gog” is of uncertain origin, and while we know from 1 Chron 5:4 that it can be a name (“a descendant of Joel”), in Ezekiel, most commentators agree that it is probably a title given to the rulerof Magog. Technically, in our day, ‘Gog’ could perhaps be substituted by ‘President.’ The fact that Gogis repeated (11x) reminds us of other prophecies in which titles are used, rather than a person’s name. For example, “a lamentation for the king of Tyre” (Ezek 28:12) and “I am against you, O Pharoah, king of Egypt”(Ezek 29:3)
He is referred to as, “the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.” (38:2-3; 39:1) There are some variations postulated concerning the exact boundary of these ancient homelands but, many identify the region of Meshech as being north of the Black Sea (including the southern part of Russia and Ukraine and possibly the Republic of Georgia), and Tubal as an area in central Turkey. Since “rosh” in Hebrew means “chief” or “head”or “foremost,” most modern translations tend to not include “Rosh” as a geographic area (except NKJV and as a variant). Nevertheless, Russia is certainly included as part of Magog, identified by Josephus as the land of the Scythians and by Ezekiel as, “the far North” (38:15; 39:2). So, Russia is clearly involved in the prophecy and Putin originates in the same basic geographical area as Gog.
We are told that Gog’s motivation to attack Israel is based on the fact that they, “dwell safely… without walls” (Ezek 38:11) and his desire is, “to plunder and take booty” (v 12). But God has a different purpose: “I will bring you against My land so that the nations may know Me…” (v 16). In his invasion of Ukraine, Putin has certainly been motivated, at least in part, by gaining the bounty of that resource-rich country, but this is not Israel. Israel currently does have ‘walls’ and very powerful ones. According to globalfirepower.com, Israel is currently ranked 18th in the world in overall power and would not be an easy adversary to overcome by present-day measures. This tells us that, whatever time in history Ezekiel foresaw, it is not Israel as she is today. One would not expect Gog or Putin to attack Israel any time soon!
When Gog attacks, he will lead a huge composite army comprising Russia, Turkey, Iran, Nth Sudan and Libya (Ezek 38:5-6). Right at this point in time, while they agree concerning their opposition to the USA, and while there are mutually beneficial financial arrangements among the ‘big three’ of these (Russia, Turkey, Iran), there is actually no formal defence pact or alliance between them. As well, Turkey, as a member of NATO, is officially opposed to Putin’s war in Ukraine, though they have not imposed sanctions on Russia. These geo-political factors alone suggest that Ezekiel’s war of Gog and Magog is not imminent.
Whoever Gog is, we do know the way he and his forces will come to their end! God has declared His opposition to Gog and his evil plans (Ezek 38:3, 10, 21; 39:1) and this yet-future invasion will fail because of God’s supernatural intervention (38:19-39:6). Gog himself will fall and be buried in Israel (39:11). As it is now with the Russian struggle to dominate in Ukraine, it is not likely that any other front will be under consideration in the near future.
So, is Putin Ezekiel’s Gog? We cannot yet say definitively as circumstances may change in the coming years. But at this point, he does NOT fulfil all the requirements! What we do know now is that Putin’s war in Ukraine is unjust, evil and self-serving and has devastated a sovereign and peaceful nation. Over 5M have fled to neighbouring countries and thousands of Jews are making Aliyah to Israel. Mr Putin certainly has a lot to answer for but not, at this time, as Ezekiel’s Gog.