Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse
Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages
“On that day I will give Gog a burial place in Israel, in the valley of those who travel east of the Sea. It will block the way of the travelers, because Gog and all his hordes will be buried there. So it will be called the Valley of Hamon Gog.” ~Ezekiel 39:11
These two chapters in Ezekiel have created a lot of debate among biblical scholars. Discussion surrounds the identities behind the cryptic names “Gog” and “Magog.” No records of a King Gog exist, which does not mean he did not exist, but the lack of record makes the matter more complicated for scholars. Further muddying the scholarly waters is the fact that Ezekiel names Gog as the king of Magog, while in Revelation, John uses the names to refer to people (or peoples) who oppose the church at the end of time.
I took a personal interest in this puzzle when, during my sabbatical at the University of Cambridge, my youngest son was granted a membership to Gog Magog Golf Club, a private golf course built on two large hills. I didn’t come to any conclusions about the biblical names themselves, but I learned that they gave rise to a British fairy tale. In the lore, Gog and Magog were two giants and legendary guardians of London who were buried—you guessed it—where the golf course now stands.
The biblical writers probably didn’t imagine the speculation and mythology that their words would spark, but it is likely they were being intentionally cryptic. Gog and Magog are probably archetypes or personifications, in the same way that the word “Judas” refers to a traitor or “Sodom” is used to refer to any perverse city. (None of this means that Gog was not a real person or that Magog was not a real place, person, or place named after a real person.) If this is the case, then what the prophet is telling the people of God is that a fierce unnamed king—like the “legendary” Gog of Magog—will someday try to take advantage of them. God will defeat this fearsome warrior and preserve peace in the land. In other words, when God resettles His people in the land, they will still have enemies.
Despite the enigmatic nature of these two chapters, there is a clear application. The glory of God and the good of God’s people are inseparably bound up together. Even though His people will be bothered by fierce enemies, God will glorify Himself by coming to their aid both now and in the future. God defeats our enemies because we trust in Him, and He can never let down His own people because His name is at stake.
So when you face “Gog from Magog,” do not fear. The Lord is on your side. Pray to Him, trust in Him, and wait for Him to deliver you from your enemies.
Peter calls us to be pure because the end is near. The Lord will return and hold us accountable for our lives, rewarding the righteous and punishing evildoers. If we stay true to Christ, even through fiery trials, we will be overjoyed when He returns. Let us look forward to our blessed hope.