11-8-2 Meshech And Tubal
This same possible sequence of events is outlined in Ezekiel- there
could have been the restoration promised in Ezekiel 35-37,
followed by the invasion by the surrounding nations in Ezekiel 38,
and then the judgment of those nations and establishment of the
Kingdom as detailed in Ezekiel 39. We want to explore this
sequence in more detail. Ezekiel 37 had its primary fulfilment in
the return under Ezra. Then, Israel was given “a quickening” (Ezra
9:9 LXX), in fulfilment of how the dry bones in captivity were revived.
At that time, Judah could have fully revived. But most
of them chose to stay in Babylon. If there had been a full revival,
then the events of Ezekiel 38 and 39 would have taken place. It
has been suggested that there was a primary fulfilment of
Ezekiel 38/9 in an unrecorded invasion of the land at the time of
the restoration. However, historical evidence for this is severely
lacking (1). And yet the Scythian tribes
such as Magog, Gomer, Meshech, Tubal etc. are all recorded as being
the scourge of the Middle East at that time (2).
They were marauding into more prosperous areas “to take a spoil”,
especially “cattle and goods”, at around Ezekiel’s time. They could
so easily have turned their attentions toward Israel. That invasion
could have happened; but it didn’t. But because Israel
were not faithful the temple was not built properly, and therefore
the Ezekiel 38 invasion didn’t happen, and therefore Yahweh’s intervention
and establishment of His Kingdom as described in Ezekiel 39 didn’t
occur. In some ways, the Ezekiel 38 invasion and 39 defeat
could have occurred but instead has been deferred until
the last days.....because through that invasion the establishment
of the Kingdom is led into. This suggestion makes sense of the thorny
problem of Ezekiel 38:11 stating that the invasion would come at
a time when Judah would be living in unwalled towns, without bars
nor gates, “at rest”- which is the very language of Jer. 30: 10,
that the restored Judah would be “in rest and be quiet”. The same
word is used in Zech. 1:11 to describe how the land was “at rest”
when the captives returned to rebuild Zion. Ezekiel 28:25,26 predicted,
in a restoration context, that Tyre would be judged, and then Israel
would plant vineyards and dwell “securely”. It seems that this was
potentially possible; Judah could have become Yahweh’s battle axe
against Tyre, the nations brought to fear Him, and then the Kingdom
conditions would have begun. The dry bones prophecy of Ezekiel 37
seems to be saying that after the intended spiritual revival of
Judah in captivity, they would become a “great army”; but by the
rivers of Babylon they lamented exactly in the spirit of Ezekiel
37:11: “Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off”.
Zech 2:4 had foretold that “Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns
without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein”, seeing
that Yahweh Himself would be as a wall of fire around her to protect
her from her adversaries (Ezra had recognised this promise, that
God would be a wall to them- Ezra 9:9). Note how this prophecy is
introduced by an Angel with a measuring reed measuring out the rebuilt
Zion (Zech. 2:1), just as we have in Ezekiel 40. But Judah disbelieved
the promise of a Divine wall of fire, and insisted on building a
physical wall to protect them; and the record in Nehemiah has plenty
of reference to their setting up of bars and gates in their fear
(Neh. 3:3,6,13-15). By doing so they disallowed the fulfilment of
Ezekiel 38:11, and thereby precluded what was prophesied as subsequently
following. If they had trusted Him and paid their tithes, their
cattle would have multiplied, and the Scythian tribes would have
come down to seek to take them, as Ezekiel 38:12,13 foretold. But
as it happened, their cattle were diseased and their agriculture
not blessed because of their dilatory attention to Yahweh’s house
that lay waste (Haggai 1:11). So therefore there was no invasion,
and no victory against the nations, and no Kingdom established at
There is one detail in Ezekiel 38 which definitely suggests that
prophecy could have been fulfilled at the time of the restoration.
Ezekiel 38:21 says that a sword will be called for against Gog and
thus he will meet his end. This is quoting from Jer. 25:29, where
the context is of a group of Arab nations invading the land and
a sword being called upon them. There are several other links with
the nations of Ezekiel 38 when we look closer at Jer. 25:19-26:
Edom, Moab, Ammon
Dedan & the merchants of Tarshish (vv. 22,23)- it is possible
to read the text as suggesting that Sheba, Dedan and the merchants
are part of the invading force in Ezekiel 38, not against it.
" All the kings of the north, far and near" (v. 26).
These nations all had their part in the Babylonian invasion, which
is why they were to be punished in the end after Israel's restoration
from captivity (Jer. 25:12). Ezekiel was prophesying about the time
of the restoration- after 38,39 he goes on to give commands
about how to rebuild the temple on their return from captivity.
This is the context in which Ezekiel alludes back to Jer. 25.
(1) There are other
examples of Bible prophecies which apparently have no fulfilment
in conventional history, e.g. Egypt being desolate 40 years. My
previous comment on this has been that just because history has
some gaps in it [cf. Velikovsky's theories in Ages In Chaos
and Mankind In Amnesia], this doesn't mean that the prophecies
weren't fulfilled because history doesn't record it. But another
possibility is that these were prophecies which had conditional
fulfilments, and the preconditions were never attained by the men
and women concerned at the time.
the nations mentioned in this passage [Ezekiel 38], Magog, Meshech,
Tubal, Gomer and Beth-togarmah, were a barbarous people known as
the Scythians...Just about the same time that Ezekiel was born,
the Scythians terrorised Southwest Asia and the Middle East. Pouring
through the passes of the Caucasus mountains, hordes of Scythians
covered the fertile plains of the south. Known and feared for their
ruthless cruelty, they came like a flight of locusts, devouring
the countryside, consuming crops, slaughtering livestock, burning
homes and villages, and massacring the inhabitants of the land...All
carried a double curved bow, shooting over the horse's left shoulder.
Arrows and bow were carried in a case slung from the left side of
a belt. The Scyths also carried swords, knives and daggers and wore
bronze helmets and chain mail jerkins lined with red felt. They
carried round shields decorated with central gold emblems in the
shape of an animal. The Scythians were accomplished horsemen, being
among the first people to master the art of riding. This made their
approach seem unnaturally sudden and gave them the great advantage
of surprise attack [this is exactly the picture presented in Ezekiel
38]...During the time of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, the Scythians attacked
Syria...from their capital city of SaqqEzekiel Later, they attacked
Egypt...In the same year that the prophet Jeremiah was called (626
B.C.), swarms of Scythian invaders struck terror into the nations
surrounding the Assyrian empire [which could have included
Israel / Judah]. Having made a pact with the Assyrians, Scythian
horsemen were sent against Egypt...The inclusion of the nations
of Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, Beth-togarmah, Persia, Ethiopia and Put
in Ezekiel 38:3,5,6 is best understood in light of the historical
context of the Scythian invasion.
- In Genesis 10:2, Magog, Meshech, Tubal, and
Gomer are named as the sons of Japheth and are the founders of
the northern group of nations from which the Scythians descended.
- In Ezekiel 27:13, Meshech and Tubal are mentioned
as being sellers of slaves to Tyre; and in Ezekiel 32:26, they
are spoken of as " instilling terror in the land of the living."
- Meshech is thought to be a people called the
Moschi dwelling in the Caucasus mountain regions according to
- Tubal is thought to be a people called the
Tibareni dwelling on the Southeast shores of the Black Sea [perhaps
from whence modern Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia].
- Gomer is thought to have been the Cimmerians,
who occupied central Turkey in the days of the Assyrian empire
[the forerunners of the Kurds?].
- Beth-togarmah is thought to be Armenia.
- Persia is the people inhabiting the region
of modern day Iraq and Iran.
When the history of the Scythian people is examined,
it becomes apparent that they are the people described in Ezekiel's
prophecy. Herodotus, the Greek historian, refers to the suddenness
of the Scythians attack on the Assyrian empire. By examining this
passage in its historical and cultural context, it can be seen that
Ezekiel 38-39 describes the Scythian invasions during the time of
Jay Rogers , Is the Soviet Union Gog and Magog?
(Melbourne, FL, USA:Media House International, 1990).
Comments in square brackets are my own. A similar
summary of Scythian activity, commenting on how strangely Judah
avoided their invasions, is to be found in H.P. Mansfield, Zephaniah:
Prophet Of Doom And Destiny.