2. A name that occurs in Ezekiel’s prophecy concerning the stormlike attack by “Gog of the land of Magog” against Jehovah’s regathered people. It appears to be used by the prophet to indicate a land or region in “the remotest parts of the north,” out of which Gog’s host comes forth, his plundering forces described as “riding on horses, a great congregation, even a numerous military force” employing sword and bow.—Eze 38:2-4, 8, 9, 13-16; 39:1-3, 6.
From the time of the Jewish historian Josephus, it has been suggested that “the land of Magog” related to the Scythian tribes found in NE Europe and Central Asia. (Jewish Antiquities, I, 123 [vi, 1]) Classical writers of Greek and Roman times described the Scythians as northern barbarians, rapacious and warlike, equipped with large cavalry forces, well armored, and skilled with the bow. While the name Scythian may originally have been derived from “Ashkenaz,” another descendant of Japheth (Ge 10:2, 3), the 1959 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (Vol. 20, p. 235) states that “throughout classical literature Scythia generally meant all regions to the north and northeast of the Black sea, and a Scythian (Skuthes) any barbarian coming from those parts.” Other reference works likewise show that the term “Scythian” was used rather flexibly to embrace generally the nomadic tribes N of the Caucasus (the region between the Black and Caspian Seas), similar to the modern use of the term “Tartar.” Hence The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge comments: “The name ‘Scythians’ was among the ancients an elastic appellation, and so was the Hebrew ‘Magog.’”—Edited by S. Jackson, 1956, Vol. V, p. 14.
Symbolic Use. The fact that the definite location of “the land of Magog” is left uncertain and indeterminate to us in the Bible (as well as in secular history), along with the prophet’s reference to “the final part of the years” (Eze 38:8), and the fact that the described invasion is not known to have taken place literally upon Israel, provide the basis for viewing the prophecy concerning Magog as relating to a future time in the Biblical ‘time of the end.’ Because of this, many commentators see in it a forecast of the final attack of the world powers upon the Kingdom of God, and they see the land of Magog as representing “the world as hostile to God’s people and kingdom.”—Funk and Wagnalls New Standard Bible Dictionary, 1936, p. 307.
Thus, the land of Magog clearly has a symbolic significance. The fact that the term “Scythian,” with which Magog is usually associated, came to be used as a synonym for that which is brutal, rapacious, and warlike would logically point to a position of strong opposition to God’s people. The nations of the world will find themselves in such a position when, at the instigation of the foremost opposer of God, Satan the Devil, they launch a final attack on earth against true worship of God.—See GOG No. 2.
3. A term used at Revelation 20:8 in relation to events to occur at the close of the Thousand Year Reign of Christ Jesus and subsequent to the loosing of Satan from the abyss. Instead of referring to a particular land or location, “Gog and Magog” here is used to describe those on earth who yield to the released Adversary’s influence and rebel against God’s rule as expressed through “the holy ones and the beloved city.”—Re 20:3, 7-10.