Russia in the Bible

From Rosh to Russia

The name of Magog is not the only tribe or people that Ezekiel mentions.  He also says that the future nation of Magog would be the principle leader of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.  Actually, in many Bibles this portion of verse 2 is typically translated as “…Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal”.  However, the word “chief” is really a proper name and many marginal notes say that the verse should be translated alternately as “…Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal”.  This seemingly minor difference is actually very important when trying to discover the geographical territory Magog represents.  If the word chief is written properly as the name Rosh, then the aspect of Russia figuring into the prophecy becomes even clearer. 

In studying the early history of Russia the curious name of “Rus” continually comes into play. 

“Russian legend says that the Rus were first asked to come to Novgorod by the local population to put an end to their internal feuds.  Rurik was the first prince of Novgorod. 

“The term Rus was…used to designate the southern outpost of the whole system of defense”

(from Encyclopedia Britannica, 1972 ed., vol. 19, s.v. “Russian History”).

Historically, the terms Rus and Rosh are too similar to ignore.  Considering the other evidence for the identity of Magog and Russia, we will soon correlate the two names to see an amazing accuracy of this prophecy concerning the Rus.  It is primarily in this portion of Ezekiel’s prophecy that we will find a connection tying together the ancient time period of the Scythians with the more recent development of modern Russia. 

By the eighth century A.D., the Vikings of Scandinavia began to move toward the east.  According to legend, these “Varangians”, as they were called, came east by invitation to protect the Slavic people from their enemies, especially the Khazars.  The man who became the new leader of northern Russia at this time was Rurik.  He and his followers were the ones who first became known as the “Rus”.  It is from these events that we find the earliest roots for the name of Russia.  Again, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica:

“Russia (originally Rus, latter Rossiya) was for centuries a multinational state of eastern Europe and the northern part of Asia.  At first a loose confederation of principalities it became in 1480 a sovereign tsardom (Tsarotvo Russkoe) governed centrally from Moscow and in 1721 an empire (Rossiiskaya Imperiya) that was destroyed in the revolution of 1917″.

Therefore, the name Rus eventually became Rossiya and then Russkoe and Rossiiskaya and finally Russia.  Ezekiel’s term Rosh serves to relate the ancient inhabitants of that territory, namely the Scythians or Magogites, with the future development of modern Russia or the former Soviet Union.  Today, the “Great Russians” still dominate even the new Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which stretches from Europe through Asia.  

Meshech and Tubal

Similarly, the terms “Meshech” and “Tubal” from Ezekiel’s prophecy also point directly to Russia.  The Encyclopedia Britannica goes on to say:

“The oldest references to peoples of Paleocaucasian stock are found in Assyrian sources and in the Bible;  e.g., the name of the biblical Meshech (Ezek. 39:1; in Assyrian sources Mushki) survives in the present-day Meskhi, one of the southernmost subdivisions of the Georgian Kartlians”.

John Lawrence said that the tribe of Meshech (Meskhi) was among those who were originally persecuted by the 1917 communist take-over.  He went on to say that some of the people in Russia…

 “…have lost their national territory, such as the Soviet Germans, the Crimean Tartars and small tribes such as the Meskhi, the Biblical Meshech, who are not allowed to return to their mountainous home in the Caucasus” .

Lawrence, John T. (1969) History of Russia, Signet, ISBN-10: 0451606175

Some historians even have found some hint that the name of Meshech was the root word for the naming of the city of Moscow, but this is less clear.  In any event, this ancient Biblical tribe definitely migrated north of the Caucasus with their brothers, the Magogites, and ultimately became a part of the expanding Russian territories. 

Furthermore, the tribe of Tubal mentioned in Ezekiel’s prophecy is seen in Assyrian writings as the “Tabal” tribe, or in the Greek language, “Tibarenoi” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., vol. IX, s.v. “Tabal”).  It is said that Tabal was an “ancient Anatolian kingdom that was absorbed into the Assyrian Empire in 713 B.C.”.  The Anatolian culture actually represents the beginnings of the Turkish or Armenian people.  Living mainly in Asia Minor and northern Syria, they spoke a sub-set of the Indo-European languages and thus can be properly considered descendants of Japheth.  Over time, the Armenian people migrated north and east, finally stretching even beyond the Caucasus Mountains and into central Asia.  In the former Soviet Union, one of the subdivisions comprising the union as a whole was the Armenian Republic in the south.  Today, the CIS also includes these regions that stretch along the southern border of Russia, north of the Middle East and central Asian countries.  Some have even said that the original name of Tubal survives in the present-day city of Tobolsk, which lays in central Russia.  If true, Tubal may represent the Soviet Union in the east (i.e., in Siberia) while Meshech (Moscow?) may refer to the Russians of the west. 

In every sense, the description Ezekiel gives us with regard to the kingdom of Magog points directly at the Russian empire of recent history.  Even the geographical locations are described correctly in the Bible.  Ezekiel says that Magog’s future attack will come upon Israel from “out of the north parts” (Ezek. 38:15).  There can be no question that the only nation out of the north capable of launching such a full-scale invasion of the Middle East is Russia (or the present consolidated CIS countries). 

On a map, the capital of Russia, Moscow, is almost due north of Jerusalem.  In our world today, no other people living to the north of Israel could even attempt such an invasion and hope to succeed.  In addition, since Daniel already described how Syria would attack and be defeated, and then only afterwards the Antichrist would hear tidings out of the north which would trouble him, the only significant power left toward the north to do any further battle is Russia.  Thus, everything points directly toward Russia and the Commonwealth States as being the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s Magog. 

Despite the dramatic events that have taken place since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 to change the political landscape of the world, Russia still is predicted to be a primary instigator of World War III.  The temporary decrease in East-West tensions brought on by the dissolution of the Soviet Union now is being replaced by a renewed Russia intent on being a power broker throughout the Middle East.  The so-called fall of communism and the opening of economic relations between the East and West may only serve to bring the world closer to accepting the final world order, which will temporarily unite the entire world under the Antichrist.  The peace and euphoria that will materialize when the Empire of the Beast arises is presaged by the elimination of the cold war.  Even though the world is full of new dangers, both the East and the West will support the new age with open arms and unmitigated enthusiasm. 

However, when the Antichrist proclaims himself to be God incarnate in the Jewish Temple, the peace of the new world order will quickly dissolve away through the fires of war.  The old tensions between the major power brokers of the world will arise anew to spiral the world toward conflict and destruction.  The Western Alliance will not be able to prevent it.  The CIS will not be able to stop it.  China and the nations of the East will have no effect.  The United Nations will be powerless.  No force on earth will be able to deter the prophecies from being fulfilled exactly as written.

Allied with Russia

Russia is not predicted to be alone in their invasion of the Middle East at the end.  Ezekiel also says that there will be a number of nations aligned with Russia in the attack.  Among the Russian allies he lists Persia, Cush, Put, Gomer, and Togarmah.  With a little research, most of these ancient countries can be rather easily traced to their modern-day equivalents. 


The nation of Persia is perhaps the simplest to locate.  For thousands of years Persia existed under its original name.  In the early part of the Twentieth Century, however, the Persians asserted their independence from outside powers and through the Constitutional Revolution in 1906 decided to change their country’s name to “Iran”.  In the last days, Ezekiel says that this nation (Persia or Iran) will be aligned in the Russian camp against the Western Alliance.  Until the latter half of the 1970’s this prophecy would have seemed almost impossible to achieve.  At that time, the Iranian government was one of the staunchest allies that the U.S. and the West had in the Middle East outside of Israel.  However, with the sudden Iranian revolution and the fall of the Shah that situation changed dramatically.  Today, Iran considers the United States and its allies as the “Great Satan” of the world.  Of course, they also are staunch enemies of Israel, threatening to build a nuclear weapon to annihilate the Jewish people from off the face of the Earth.  At the time of the end, Ezekiel says that Iran will be allied with Russia in their attack on Israel (and also on the Empire of the Beast).  This is not surprising given recent political history. 

More to come…