During the End Times, two groups of people are foretold to appear and assail the People of Israel.
They are Gog and Magog.
Who are these people?
What are these people?
What are Gog and Magog?
Gog and Magog are the nations composed of thsoe people who have harbored the devil within them. They are spread over the whole world and lack a distinct location. They will try to destroy God’s faithful during the end times. Their assault will be the last battle.
A lot of religions foretell that a great war will cover the world in the End Times. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are among them. The great army that will appear to assail the faithful comes from the peoples of Gog and Magog.
So, what do we know about them?
Their Role in The Old Testament
The Old Testament has this to say about Gog and Magog:
“Son of man, direct your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince, leader of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy concerning him. Say: Thus said the Lord: Behold, I am against you, Gog, the prince, leader of Meshech and Tubal … Persia, Cush and Put will be with you … also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you.” -Ezekiel 38-39
Here Gog is a person, and Magog is his land. They are treated as enemies to be met in the future, although no more detail is given.
Who Are Gog and Magog in the Book of Revelation?
The peoples also appear in The Book of Revelation (20:7-10).
“When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the Earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore.“
And they are foretold to be seduced by Satan and come from all over the Earth. They will be very many in number.
St. Augustine’s Understanding
Most Christians do not know this, but St. Augustine wrote about these peoples in The City of God. He devotes a section of the work to Gog and Magog, and he has the following to say:
City of God, Book 20 – Chapter 11
“And when the thousand years are finished, Satan shall be loosed from his prison, and shall go out to seduce the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, and shall draw them to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.”
This then, is his purpose in seducing them, to draw them to this battle.
For even before this he was wont to use as many and various seductions as he could continue. And the words he shall go out mean, he shall burst forth from lurking hatred into open persecution.
And this persecution, occurring while the final judgment is imminent, shall be the last which shall be endured by the holy Church throughout the world, the whole city of Christ being assailed by the whole city of the devil, as each exists on earth.
For these nations which he names Gog and Magog are not to be understood of some barbarous nations in some part of the world, whether the Getæ and Massagetæ, as some conclude from the initial letters, or some other foreign nations not under the Roman government.
For John marks that they are spread over the whole earth, when he says, The nations which are in the four corners of the earth, and he added that these are Gog and Magog.
Augustine On the Names “Gog” and “Magog”
The meaning of these names we find to be, Gog, a roof, Magog, from a roof,— a house, as it were, and he who comes out of the house.
They are therefore the nations in which we found that the devil was shut up as in an abyss, and the devil himself coming out from them and going forth, so that they are the roof, he from the roof.
Or if we refer both words to the nations, not one to them and one to the devil, then they are both the roof, because in them the old enemy is at present shut up, and as it were roofed in; and they shall be from the roof when they break forth from concealed to open hatred.
The words, And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and encompassed the camp of the saints and the beloved city, do not mean that they have come, or shall come, to one place, as if the camp of the saints and the beloved city should be in some one place; for this camp is nothing else than the Church of Christ extending over the whole world.
And consequently wherever the Church shall be — and it shall be in all nations, as is signified by the breadth of the earth,— there also shall be the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and there it shall be encompassed by the savage persecution of all its enemies; for they too shall exist along with it in all nations — that is, it shall be straitened, and hard pressed, and shut up in the straits of tribulation, but shall not desert its military duty, which is signified by the word camp.
Key Takeaways from Augustine’s Understanding
- Satan will muster Gog and Magog for battle
- They will be subdued for a time, then they will rise quickly
- Their war agaisnt the church will cover all the world
- They will in the end times before the final judgment
- They are not specific nations which we can currently identify
- Gog and Magog people will be found everywhere
- The devil will come out of the Gog and Magog people
- They will not converge on one place
- The members of the church will need to maintain their military duty to resist Gog and Magog
Where do Gog and Magog Live?
Gog and Magog do not live in a single place. Nor will they. They are races of people made of the wicked members of the other races of mankind. They will assail the right believers of the Word in the End Times. The peoples of Gog and Magog will appear wherever a race with wicked members exists.
What Are Gog and Magog in Islam?
The peoples of Gog and Magog are different in Islam than in Judaism and Christianity.
Here’s the Muslim legend pertaining to them:
Alexander the Great (Dhul-Qarnayn) conquered so many lands that he finally came to the edge of the world.
There, he met a people who were threatened by Gog and Magog (Yajuj and Majuj). They asked for him to defend them.
So Alexander built a wall to hold out the wicked peoples. Yet he warned that Allah would remove the wall in the end times. Then Gog and Magog would overrun the world.
So the legend goes.
Now, some Muslim scholars have created fantastical stories about these peoples, but they are not supported by the Quran or the canonical hadith. Therefore, they are not part of the Sunnah.
Who Are Gog and Magog in the Quran?
The Quran mentions these nations a couple of times.
They said, “O Dhul-Qarnayn, indeed Gog and Magog are [great] corrupters in the land. So may we assign for you an expenditure that you might make between us and them a barrier?”
Until when [the dam of] Gog and Magog has been opened and they, from every elevation, descend
And in the hadith?
The Sahih Muslim has this to say about the Gog and Magog peoples:
Then a people whom Allah had protected from him would come to Isa, son of Maryam, and he would wipe their faces and would inform them of their ranks in Paradise and it would be under such conditions that Allah would reveal to Isa these words: I have brought forth from amongst My servants such people against whom none would be able to fight; you take these people safely to Tur, and then Allah would send Gog and Magog and they would swarm down from every slope. The first of them would pass the lake of Tiberias and drink out of it. And when the last of them would pass, he would say: There was once water there.
Here, the peoples of Gog and Magog are predicted to come after Jesus returns to the Earth. Jesus will bring the right believers to a safe place before the world is overrun.