Gog and Magog appear in the Hebrew Bible and the Quaran as individuals, tribes, or lands. In the book of Ezekiel chapter 38, Gog appears to be an individual and Magog being his land; diving into the book of Genesis chapter 10, Magog appears to be a man and eponymous ancestor of nation, but heading towards the last book of the Bible, Revelation 20:8, no Gog was mentioned. Jewish tradition had long since changed Ezekiel’s “Gog from Magog” into “Gog and Magog”.

Talking about the Gog prophecy, it is meant to be fulfilled at the approach of the “end of days” and not necessarily the end of the world. The Jewish eschatology viewed Gog and Magog as enemies to be defeated by the Messiah. The christianity’s interpretation is more of making Gog and Magog look like nations rather than individuals, allies Satan against God at the end of millennium as the Book of Revelation described.

During the time of the Roman period, a legend was attached to the Gog and Magog, that the Gates of Alexander were erected by Alexander the Great to repel the tribe. The Romanized Jewish historian, Josephus, knew them as the nation descended from Magog the Jephetite, as inscribed in the book of Genesis and explained to be the Scythians. To the early Christian writers, they became apocalyptic hordes. Throughout the Middle Ages, they were mostly known to be the Vikings, Huns, Khazars, Mongols, Turanians or other nomads, or even in cases as the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.

Gog and Magog and the gates were also interpolated into the Alexander romances. In a version, “Goth and Magothy” are Kings of Unclean Nations that are driven beyond a mountain pass by Alexander and blocked from returning by his new wall. They (Gog and Magog) are said to engage in human cannibalism in the romances and derived literature. Gog and Magog have also been represented on Medieval cosmological maps or mappae mundi, sometimes alongside Alexander’s wall.

The conflation of Gog and Magog with the legend of Alexander and the Iron Gates was disseminated throughout the Near East in the early centuries of the Christian and Islamic era. They appear in the Quaran chapter Al-Kahf as Yujuj and Majuj (Arabic: يَأْجُوجُ وَمَأْجُوجُ; Yaʾjūj wa-Ma’jūj), primitive and immoral tribes that were separated and barriered off by Dhul-Qarnyan (“He of the Two Horns”) who has been mentioned in the Quran as a great righteous ruler and conqueror.


Senior journalist and editor.

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