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Gog and Magog

Gog and Magog

Gog and Magog appear as evil figures in the mythology of several different cultures. In the book of Revelation in the Bible, Gog and Magog are the evil powers that will battle God at the end of the world. In Islamic mythology, they appear as forces called Yajuj and Majuj that are fighting against Allah (God).

Britain's Gog and Magog were the last survivors of a race of evil giants. After slaying the other giants, the legendary hero Brut brought Gog and Magog back to London to serve as his gatekeepers. According to tradition, Brut, or Brutus, was the founder of London. London's Guildhall has housed monumental figures of Gog and Magog for nearly 500 years.

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Gog and Magog

Gog and Magog in the Bible, the names of enemies of God's people. In Ezekiel 38–9, Gog is apparently a ruler from the land of Magog, while in Revelations 20:8, Gog and Magog are nations under the dominion of Satan.

In medieval legend, Gog and Magog are opponents of Alexander the Great, living north of the Caucasus.

The names are also used for two giant statues standing in Guildhall, London, from the time of Henry V (destroyed in 1666 and 1940; replaced in 1708 and 1953), representing either the last two survivors of a race of giants supposed to have inhabited Britain before Roman times, or Gogmagog, chief of the giants, and Corineus, an ally of the legendary Trojan hero Brutus.

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Gog and Magog

Gog and Magog. Apocalyptic character and territory in the vision of Ezekiel. According to Ezekiel 36–8, God would wage war against ‘Gog of the land of Magog’ at the end of time. In the New Testament (Revelation 20) the war of Gog and Magog takes place one thousand years after the first resurrection. They are represented in giant statues at the Guildhall in London, as porters of the royal palace and descendants of giants.

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Gog

Gog, in the Bible. In the Book of Ezekiel, Gog is a leader, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal who will attack Israel and be defeated in the last days. Magog is his country. The same theme surfaces in the Book of Revelation, where the assailants are Gog and Magog. They represent the nations of the world pitted against God in the final days.

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Gog and Magog

GOG AND MAGOG

GOG AND MAGOG (Heb. גּוֹג וּמָגוֹג). Gog and Magog are first mentioned together in Ezekiel 38–39 in the vision of the end of days, where the prophet describes the war of the Lord against "Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal." After the ingathering of Israel Gog will come up against Israel with many peoples from the furthest north to plunder it and carry away spoil. The Lord Himself will go to war against Gog and punish him "with pestilence, and with blood, and with overflowing rain," and His name will be magnified and sanctified in the eyes of many nations. Gog will die in the land of Israel and his place of burial will be called "the valley of hamon Gog" and for seven years the inhabitants of Israel will use the weapons of the enemy for fuel.

Since, in the list of the sons of Noah (Gen. 10:2), Magog is mentioned as the brother of Gomer and Madai, the most reasonable identification put forward is with Giges, also known as Gogo, king of Lydia, and Magog, with his country. That, however, does not affect in any way the symbolic nature of the name and the special character of Ezekiel's vision. Gog and his people are not historical enemies of Israel, like Babylonia and Assyria. They will attack simply out of a lust for violence and with the intention of destroying a peaceful kingdom. Indeed, other prophets prophesied about a people that would come up from the north to besiege Israel in the end of days, but Ezekiel, who prophesied after the destruction of the Temple, fixed the date of the last war after the ingathering of the exiles and the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

In the Septuagint the name Gog appears in two other places where it is not mentioned in the Hebrew text. In Numbers 24:7, Gog appears instead of Agag, and in Amos 7:1, the reading is "Gog," instead of gizei ("the mowings"). These variants indicate the antiquity of the connection between the war of Gog and the advent of the Messiah. Descriptions of the decisive, final war occupy an important place in the Apocrypha (En. 56:5; iv Ezra 13:5), but the names Gog and Magog appear only in the vision of the Hebrew Sibylline Oracles (3:319 and 512), and even there only as the name of a country between the rivers of Ethiopia, a country saturated with blood, for which a bitter fate is in store. In the aggadah, the names Gog and Magog were reserved for the enemy of Israel in the end of days, but the details are very different from those in Ezekiel. In Ezekiel, Gog is the king of Magog; in the aggadah, Gog and Magog are two parallel names for the same nation. Moses had already seen Gog and all his multitude coming up against Israel and falling in the valley of Jericho (Mekh. Be-Shalaḥ, 2), and Eldad and Medad prophesied concerning them (Sanh. 17a). The war of Gog and Magog is in essence a war against the Lord, and the whole of Psalm 2 is interpreted as referring to it (Av. Zar. 3b; Tanh. Noah 18; Pd-rk 79); God Himself will do battle with this enemy. The last of "the ten occasions of the Shekhinah's descent to the world" will be in the days of Gog and Magog (arn1, 34, 102). R. Akiva was of the opinion that the judgment of Gog would endure for 12 months (Eduy. 2:10). This judgment will bring great calamities upon Israel that will cause all previous calamities to fade into insignificance (Tosef., Ber. 1:13). Eliezer b. Hyrcanus connects it with the pangs of the Messiah and the great day of judgment (Mekh., Be-Shalaḥ 4: Shab. 118a). The war of Gog and Magog will be the final war, after which there will be no servitude, and it will presage the advent of the Messiah (Sif. Num. 76, Deut. 43; Sanh. 97b). In the Palestinian Targums the Messiah plays an active role in this war. Gog and Magog and their armies will go up to Jerusalem and fall into the hands of the Messianic king, but the ingathering of the exiles – contrary to what is said in Ezekiel – will come only after the victory (Targ. Yer., Num. 11:26; ibid., Song 8:4). A kind of compromise is found in the Targum, namely, that the house of Israel will conquer Gog and his company through the assistance of Messiah the son of Ephraim (Targ. Yer., Ex. 40:11; cf. also Targ. Song 4:5). In the New Testament vision of John (Rev. 20), the war of Gog and Magog takes place at the end of a millennium after the first resurrection, and in Sefer Eliyahu ("Book of Elijah"; J. Kaufmann (Even Shemuel), ed.), Midreshei Ge'ullah (19542), 46) Gog and Magog come after the days of the Messiah but before the final day of judgment.

From the biblical sources and the tradition of the rabbis, the stories about Gog and Magog passed to the Church Fathers. At the time of the Gothic migrations it was customary to identify the Goths with Gog and Magog. An ancient Christian tradition also identified Gog and Magog with the barbarian peoples whom Alexander the Great locked away behind iron gates next to the Caspian Sea but who are destined to break forth in the end of days. During the Islamic conquests, Christians identified the Muslim armies with Gog and Magog.

bibliography:

Kaufmann Y., Toledot, 3 (1954), 578–83; Ginzberg, Legends, index; P. Volz, Die Eschatologie der juedischen Gemeinde im neutestamentlichen Zeitalter (1934), 150ff.; J. Klausner, The Messianic Idea in Israel (1955); M. Waxman, Galut u-Ge'ulah (1952), 218–33. add. bibliography: J. Lust, in: ddd, 373–75.

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