The name thereafter occurs in Ezekiel’s prophecy concerning the stormlike attack by “Gog of the land of Magog” against Jehovah’s regathered people. It, therefore, 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.—Ezek. 38:2-4, 8, 9, 13-16; 39:1-3, 6.
From the time of the Jewish historian Josephus the “land of Magog” has been suggested to relate to the fierce Scythian tribes found in NE Europe and Central Asia. 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 derive from “Ashkenaz,” another descendant of Japheth (Gen. 10:2, 3), the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1959 ed., 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 authorities 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 (Vol. V, p. 14) comments: “The name ‘Scythians’ was among the ancients an elastic appellation, and so was the Hebrew ‘Magog.’”
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” (Ezek. 38:8) and the fact that the described invasion is not known to have taken place literally upon Israel, provides the basis for viewing the prophecy as relating to a future time in the Biblical ‘time of the end.’ Thus many commentators see in it a forecast of the final attack of the world powers upon the kingdom of God, and the land of Magog as representing “the world as hostile to God’s people and kingdom.”—A New Standard Bible Dictionary by Jacobus, Lane and Zenos, p. 307.
As shown in the article on GOG (which see), the land of Magog manifestly 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 and degraded would logically seem to point to a fallen state or position of debasement, analogous to the position assigned to Satan and his angels following the war in heaven from which debased position he wrathfully wages “war with the remaining ones of [the woman’s] seed,” as described at Revelation 12:7-17.
The final appearance of the term “Magog” is at Revelation 20:8, and here the connection with God’s prime adversary, Satan the Devil, is plainly stated. However, the vision here differs in that it relates events to occur, not in the ‘time of the end,’ but at the close of the thousand-year reign of Christ Jesus and subsequent to the loosing of Satan from the abyss. Rather than 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.”—Rev. 20:3, 7-10.