Ezekiel 38 & 39 (Part 10)

Dr. Thomas Ice


Gomerwith all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with allits troops-many peoples with you.

-Ezekiel 38:6

There is onefinal entity listed as among those going down to attack Israel with Gog. Beth-togarmah is the last nationlisted.

Beth-togarmah

Beth-togarmah isthe English transliteration of two words from the Hebrew text. Beth is the common Hebrew word for"house" or "place of" that is used over two thousand times in the Hebrew Bible.[1] Togarmah is a noun used four times inthe Hebrew Bible.[2] Twice it is uses in a genealogy inwhich Togarmah is said to be a son of Gomer (Gen. 10:3; 1 Chron. 1:6). The final two occurrences are inEzekiel (27:14; 38:6). The prefix"Beth" occurs only in the two uses in Ezekiel, thus rendering the compound as"house of Togarmah." Ezekiel 27:14refers to their trade and says: "Those from Beth-togarmah gave horses and warhorses and mules for your wares." In fact, "Herodotus mentions [Togarmah] as famed for its horses andmules."[3]

"Most Biblescholars and scholars of ancient history relate biblical Togarmah to theancient Hittite city of Tegarma," notes Mark Hitchcock, "an important city ineastern Cappadocia (modern Turkey)."[4] Jon Mark Ruthven agrees: "elements ofthe 'house of Togarmah" may have been part of the great 2nd and 1stmillennium BCE Japhetic movements far to the north, and assimilated into modernRussia and Turkey."[5] Hitchcock traces the migration ofTogarmah as follows:

Togarmah was both the nameof a district and a city in the border of Tubal in eastern Cappadocia. Togarmahwas known variously in history as Tegarma, Tagarma, and Takarama. The ancient Assyrians referred to thiscity as Til-garimmu. One of themaps of the Cambridge Ancient History locates Til-garimmu on the northeastborder of Tubal in the northeast part of modern Turkey. Gesenius, the Hebrew scholar,identified Togarmah as a northern nation abounding in horses and mules, locatedin ancient Armenia. The ancientarea of Armenia is located in the modern nation of Turkey.[6]

"Butwhile scholars have differed slightly on the exact location of ancientTogarmah," concludes Hitchcock, "it is always associated with a city ordistrict within the boundaries of the modern nation of Turkey."[7]

It is interestingto note that none of the nations that will go down into Israel with Russia areArab nations. However, all of theRussian allies are Islamic nations. Iran is not an Arab nation, but instead they are Persian.

The Remote Parts ofthe North

In this passageBeth-togarmah is said to come from "the remote parts of the north." This Hebrew phrase is composed of twowords. The word for north meanswhat it says, while the word for "remote parts" has the sense of the extreme, "far part," or most distant part of whatever is beingreferred to in the context.[8] When these two words are combined in aphrase, it is used five times in the Hebrew Bible (Psa. 48:3; Isa. 14:13; Ezek.38:6, 15; 39:2). The Isaiah use isfound in one of the five "I wills" uttered by Satan in his revolt againstGod. "But you said in your heart,I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and Iwill sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north." The Psalmist says of Jerusalem:"Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion in the farnorth, the city of the great King." Mount Zion was on the Northern edge of ancient Jerusalem. The other three uses are found inEzekiel 38 and 39. The other tworeferences in Ezekiel 38 and 39 refer to Gog and say: "And you will come fromyour place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you,all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army" (Ezek.38:15). "And I shall turn you around,drive you on, take you up from the remotest parts of the north, and bring youagainst the mountains of Israel" (Ezek. 39:2). Therefore, Beth-togarmah is said to come from the remoteparts of the north as will Gog who is Russia.

"Doesn't thisstatement mean that Togarmah must come from the former Soviet Union sinceRussia is the farthest geographical point north of Israel," asksHitchcock? He says in his answer:"The answer to this question is no. Forcing a geographical location upon Togarmah that is totallyinconsistent with the clear witness of ancient history would be grosslytwisting the evidence. Moreover,modern Turkey fits the description given because it is clearly to the far northparts of the Promised Land."[9]

With All its Troops

The last part ofverse 6 says that Beth-togarmah will come from the north parts "with all itstroops-many peoples with you." TheHebrew word for "troops" is only used six times in the Hebrew Old Testament andall of them are found in Ezekiel (12:14; 17:21; 38:6, 9, 22; 39:4).[10] All but two uses appear in Ezekiel 38and 39. Some scholars say thatthis word is related to a "wing" or "parameter,"[11]but it clearly is a reference military troops in these contexts. Some suggest that it may connote thetroops on the flank or wings of a military unit and would be a Hebrew idem forall of one's forces. The pointwould be that if one brings his troops on the wing,[12]then those would include all the forces one could muster. The translation of troops (i.e.,military) is the clear meaning of this word.

The final phrasein verse six is clear that the sum total of the house of Togarmah will includemany peoples with him. This phraseis found two other times in the Hebrew Bible, both of them in Ezekiel 38 (verses9 and 15). Verse 9 refers to theentire coalition that will attack Israel, while verse 15 the many peoplesrefers to the coalition members that are led by Gog. The use of "many peoples with you" in verses 9 and 15 differslightly from verse 6 since their constructions are prefaced with the use ofthe "and" conjunction. The use ofthe phrase in verse 6 does not have a conjunction, which means that the phrase"many peoples with you" is in apposition to the preceding phrase "with all itstroops." Thus, the text is sayingthat the "many peoples with you" is descriptive of the troops thatBeth-togarmah will bring with them in their attack on Israel.

Talking Turkey

Having nowcompleted a study of the list of nations that will join the Russian led attackagainst Israel, we see that four of those names refer to descendants that makeup the modern nation of Turkey. Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah all strongly point to modernTurkey as a member of the diabolical coalition. But, does Turkey's involvement seem possible given thealignment of the nations today?

Currently Turkeyis not aliened with Russia and Iran since it technically became a secular statewith a Muslim heritage after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire at the end ofWorld War I. Turkey has long beena member of NATO and has desired to identify with Europe rather than Asia, mostlikely for economic reasons. Turkey is a nation in which a small part of it is in Europe while mostof it is in Asia. Turkey hasapplied for membership in the European Union, however, since membership in theEU would mean that anyone within the Union are able to move freely to any otherpart of it. The rest of the EU isconcerned that if they admit Turkey then it will be a conduit through whichMuslims would be able to flood into the rest of Europe. Even though they are still goingthrough the motions of application, it is certain that the EU will eventuallyreject Turkey's admittance. Oncethey are rejected, Turkey will seek alignment with Russia and their Islamicbrethren.

The last fewyears has seen an Islamic majority emerge in Turkey's Parliament and an IslamicPrime Minister is now in place. The breakup of the former Soviet Union included the independence of fiveIslamic republics: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kirghizia, Turkmenistan, andTajikistan. Hitchcock notes that"Turkey has clearly been drawn to these former Soviet republics for economicreasons, Turkey also shares strong linguistic and ethnic ties with thesenations. All of these nationsspeak Turkic languages with the exception of Tajikistan, where the language issimilar to Iranian Farsi."[13] Turkey sees itself as the economicdeveloper of the vast natural resources like gold, silver, uranium, oil, coal,and natural gas that are found in these five new states. Once Turkey is spurned by Europe, shewill have motive enough to enter into league with Russia and their Islamicbrethren which will set the stage for the fulfillment of this prophecy. Maranatha!

(ToBe Continued . . .)

ENDNOTES

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[1] 2,047 times according to a search conducted bythe computer program Accordance,version 7.3.



[2] Based upon a search conducted by the computerprogram Accordance, version7.3.



[3] S. Fisch, Ezekiel: Hebrew Text & Englishtranslation with an Introduction and Commentary (London: The Soncino Press, 1950), p. 182.



[4] Mark Hitchcock, After The Empire: BibleProphecy in Light of the Fall of the Soviet Union (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1994), p.63.



[5] Jon Mark Ruthven, The Prophecy That Is ShapingHistory: New Research on Ezekiel's Vision of the End (Fairfax, VA: Xulon Press, 2003), p. 102.



[6] Hitchcock, After The Empire, pp. 63-64.



[7] Hitchcock, After The Empire, p. 64.



[8] Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, TheHebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, electronic version (Leiden, The Netherlands:Koninklijke Brill, 2000).



[9] Hitchcock, After The Empire, pp. 64-65.



[10] Based upon a search conducted by the computerprogram Accordance, version7.3.



[11] Koehler and Baumgartner, Hebrew Lexicon.



[12] C. F. Keil, Ezekiel, Daniel, Commentary on theOld Testament, trans. JamesMartin (Reprint; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982), p. 161.



[13] Hitchcock, After The Empire, p. 66.