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The Mystery of Bagog

September 7, 2012

IMPORTANT NOTE:
I am neither a historian nor a bible scholar nor an expert on the things you are about to read.
Nevertheless I tried to be as accurate as possible.
I write this in the hope, that other people with more knowledge and more resources at their disposal can use this information and continue where I had to stop.

It all began in 2007 or 2008. I don’t remember exactly. All I remember is, that at that time I couldn’ care less about religion or prophecy.
In this period of time I was driving frequently through a city in southwest Germany where I saw a pub with the name Bagog. Somehow the name made me curious. Since many of the bars and pubs in that area are turkish I assumed, that this was some turkish spelling of the City of Bangkok. When I went in some day I asked the owner about the name and he said that it was the name of a mountain in the turkish part of Kurdistan. Roughly a year ago, when I saw some videos of Walid Shoébat in which he stressed, that Magog is probably in Asia Minor or in some of the former Soviet Republics which are muslim, I remembered Bagog and thought immediatly that it could somehow be connected. After reading further about Gog/Magog and after having digested a lot of insane bullshit (“The antichrist is Irish because their ancestors are the Scythians and Magog where the Scythians…”) I wanted to examine this thing for myself.
Finally in June 2011 I started my investigation.
The first real challenge was to find Bagog. I did not find it on any map that I had access to.
Searching on the internet the only useful information I found, was a page with information about the Yazidi, written in German. Here is an excerpt (Translation By Google Translator):

… “The Êzîdî lived in the districts of Midyat, Nuseybin, Sirnex and Idil.
The Êzîdî lived next to the Assyrians (Arama) and Kurdish Muslims, the mountain regions of Bagog (Turkish = Dibeg Dagleri) and the underlying flat plain between the towns of Midyat, Idil, Nuseybin and Cizre. This region is also known in Europe under the name of Tur Abdin.” …

Using Google Maps I found a mountain called Dibek in the mentioned region in Turkey.
But still this was not good enough for me.
After a very long and hard search I found the following news article, written in Turkish and fed it to the Google translator.

“Bagog Seven Days On MountainMount and seven days in Nusaybin Bagog fire broke out in places. From the town center to the rural areas, villagers tried to intervene on their own fire.Mardin-air temperature 40 ° passes Nusaybin Bagog Mountain and a week from place to place fire breaks out in Dera Çömera devastated villagers. Indicating that the fires in the region by its own means söndürdüklerini villagers said they were helpless against the fires.

The fire in the nearby hamlet of Kasrik suggesting that the station does not intervene Kasrikliler Nusaybin Governor Yucel Gemici phone for help. Forestry Administration and the Municipality of the introduction of sub-governor of Nusaybin come to the region on fire, firefighters tried to intervene.

Bagog Mountain and Mountain Creek Comer document, as well as inside the evacuated villages, Eskihisar, Üçyol, Kayadibi, Duzce Kasrik Mazra and Villages in the fires of grape, peanut and almond trees were reported burned.

Citizens with drought in the region largely victims of fires that the people of the region indicated that emergence.”

With this additional information I was able to pinpoint the exact location of the Bagog mountain.

Mount Bagog Map

Mount Bagog Map

So now that the location of Bagog is identified, we have a decision to make before we go any further.
Clearly Ezekiel spoke of future events.
But are the names he used for the nations involved the names used in his lifetime or are these the names that will be used for these nations in the future?

Let’s say, that the names used by Ezekiel to identify those nations involved in the Gog/Magog war
are the names which will be used to refer to them at the time when the prophecy will be fulfilled.
In contrast to the location of Magog, the locations of Meshech and Tubal have been well established to be in modern Turkey.
If Ezekiel would refer to future nations, then why would he talk about Meshech and Tubal instead of Turkey?
Why would he not talk about the name of the Turkish provinces that cover the area of ancient Meshech and Tubal?
Unless one believes, that there will be a time in the future when these countries or provinces are reinstituted under their ancient names one cannot hold this position.
It happens very rarely that nations reappear under their ancient quasi extinct names.
As far as I know there are only three cases in which this happens:

  • There is a people that identifies itself with the name because of their historical connection to a land.
  • There is a people without any connection to a land who identifies itself with the name of this land to make territorial claims.
  • A ruler decides for whatever reason to name a certain geographical area after a long extinct nation or people.

Two prominent examples for the first case are Greece and Israel.
Both of them ceased to exist for a very long time.
Israel didn’t exist for over 2000 years before she was reborn in her ancient place under her ancient name.
Greece didn’t exist for roughly 400 years (Ottoman occupation) before she was reborn under her ancient name in her ancient place in 1821.
Miraculously these two nations where reborn. Why?
Because these peoples never forgot who they were. They refused to drop their identity, history, culture and religion.
In the case of Turkey you have ABSOLUTELY NO ETHNIC GROUP today who would themselve identify with ancient Meshech and Tubal.

Two examples for the second case are the so-called Palestinans and the so-called Macedonians of the former Yugoslavia.
The ‘Palestinians’ are an Arab people with no connection whatsoever to the ancient Philistines.
The ‘Macedonians’ are Slavic and Albanian people with no connection whatsoever to the ancient Macedonians who were a Greek people.
Yet in both instances they use these ancient names to legitimize territorial claims against Israel and Greece.
Again, there is no one in Turkey or any other Country who uses the names used by Ezekiel to make territorial claims against turkey.

The same reasoning applies to the other nations which are mentioned by Ezekiel and which do not exist anymore.
Ask yourself how likely it is, that the nations of Cush, Put, Gomer and Beth Togermah will somehow be reinstituted under their ancient names.
Therefore I come to the conclusion that Ezekiel used the names which were used to refer to these nations or geographic locations in his lifetime or in even earlier times.

From this it follows that it doesn’t matter how a certain place is called today.
It matters only how it was called in Ezekiel’s times or before.

Since Gog of the land of Magog is the chief leader of Meshech and Tubal it is likely that Magog is near those places.

So the questions we must answer are these:

  • What was Bagog called in Ezekiels times or before his lifetime?
  • Where is Bagog in relation to Meshech and Tubal?

The Bagog mountain is located near the city of Nusaybin in an area called today Tur Abdin.
Tur Abdin is famous for its ancient christian monasteries and was known in ancient times for its wine.
Mentioned as early as 901 BC Nusaybin was in a strategically important location and was known in antiquity as Nisibis or Nasibina.
Tur Abdin was called different names at different times.
Moreover sometimes the names referred to the whole area and sometimes to a specific location in this area.
The Assyrians called it Kasyari Mountain while in the Bible it is referred to as Izla or Izalla (Ezekiel 27:19).
The Greeks called it Mount Masius (Strabo) while the Syrians called it Beth Gawgal or Beth Gaugal.
The name Beth Gaugal was used at least since the 5th century AD.
Philoxenus, bishop of Mabbogh (485-519) addressed a letter to the monks of Beth-Gaugal.
Also early church historian Sozomen (400-450) used the name Mount Gaugalion or Mount Gaugalios.
Could the name Beth Gaugal or Mount Gagalion have been earlier in use, possibly at the time of Ezekiel?
The answer is: yes, it could!
I quote from
“Monk and mason on the Tigris frontier: the early history of Tur Abdin” by Andrew Palmer, Pages 28-29:

“Strabo relates, amongst other customs, the tabogganing exploits of the inhabitants of Mt. Masius, but no ancient authority tells us, what kind of religion was practised there before the advent of Christianity. It is possible, that the ancient name Beth-Gawgal, which we find attached to the escarpment which looks southwards onto the Mesopotamian plain, may be evidence of the cult of an Assyrian deity*)49. Aramaic inscriptions copied in Midyat, Hesno d-Kifo and Sari yield some theophoric names and a date which Pognon interprets as c.200BC.
*)49:
Gugal or gugallu means ‘inspector of canals’ in Akkadian and is used as a title for the weather-god and for Abad, who is called ‘gugallu of heaven and earth’.”

Since Nusuaybin and Bagog were part of the Assyrian Empire from 852 BC to to 608 BC, it is quite possible that this place was named after a Mesopotamian deity and that the name was used at the time of Ezekiel(c.622 BC – c.570 BC).
So, how could Gog, Beth Gaugal and Bagog be related?
I came across an interesting comment at the blog “Joel’s Trumpet”.
In this comment the writer, who calls himself Alex, speaks about Ezekiel 38 in the different versions of the old testament.
One of the versions is the Peshitta Tanakh, the old testament in the Aramic language.
Since it is a lengthy comment, I quote only the relevant part:

Peshitta Tanakh:[38:2-3] Bar adam, set your face against the bayta (house/homeland/territory/seat) of Gaug, and against the land of Magug, the medabbrana (leader) and resha* (head/top/chief/) of Mushkhi** and Taubel, prophesy against him…Lo, I am against you Gaug, medabbrana (leader) and resha* (head/top/chief/) of Mushkhi** and Taubel.
[39:1] …Lo, I am against you Gaug, medabbrana (leader) and resha* (head/top/chief/) of Mushkhi** and Taubel. (own translation with the aid of CAL & SEDRA)*Aramaic word resha is the direct cognate of the Hebrew rosh and is applied only to the person of the highest authority, eg: the High Priest, Head of State or the Patriarch of the Church. I’m trying to get hold of the “Mosul Bible”, this is an Arabic translation of the Peshitta (OT & NT) done by the Iraqi Chaldean Catholics. I bet they translated medabbrana (leader) as imam (leader in Arabic), while the standard Arabic translations (Hebrew & Greek based like Smith & Van Dyk) undoubtedly have amir (prince, following the Masoretic Hebrew).

End Quote

Since I have no access to an English or any other translation of the Peshitta Tanakh, I cannot verify the above quote.
However, I have verified, that in the English translation of the Aramaic New Covenant, Gog and Magog is spelled exactly as in the above quote: Gaug and Magug.
I have no reason to believe, that the above quote is not credible.
Notice also, that the above quote does not only talk about Gaug, but the Bayta of Gaug.
In Aramaic and Hebew the words Bayta and Beth both mean literally house, but can also have much broader meaning, for example ‘House of David’.
Beth is often used as part of the names of cities or villages, for example Bethlehem.
Again I quote from this entry:

The Peshitta’s reading is differs significantly because it specifically states that Gog is both the leader and chief, while the Hebrew says “chief prince”, with a grammatical pause between the two words. Like the LXX the Peshitta Tanakh was translated from a much earlier Hebrew text than the one we use today (Masoretic text), and it was translated earlier than the Vulgate (around 100BC – 100AD). Could this have been the original reading of Ezekiel, which the LXX failed to get right? I find it especially intriguing that the Peshitta’s reading extends the prophecy even to Gog’s bayta, which is probably referring to the location of his seat of power, if not his very household!

End quote

We all know, that names can change when they are translated from one language into another.
Even in one and the same language, there can be variations of names.
Example 1:
The name of the city of Naples in different languages:
Greek: Neapolis (original name)
English: Naples
German: Neapel
Italian: Napoli
Example 2:
Two variations of the Greek name of the City of Salonica.
Both variations are in use today:
Thessaloniki
Saloniki
You see, that for conveniance, the speaker can drop the first part of the word.
Example 3:
Variation in the name of a person:
Greek: Demokritos
German: Demokrit

It is a fact, that Gog is spelled as Gog in one version of the bible while it is spelled as Gaug in another version.
It is a fact, that the place called Beth Gaugal in the Syriac language, became Bagog in the Kurdish language.
It is easy to imagine, that there was the name Beth Gaug as a short form.
It is equally easy to imagine, that the alternative Form Bayta Gaug eventually became Bagog.
If this is true, it means that Bagog will be the seat of Gog’s power and also that it was a Part of the ancient land of Magog.


Where is Bagog in relation to Meshech and Tubal?

Tubal is relatively easy identified.
Based on the assumed association with the ancient Tibareni tribe, some think, that Tubal was on the Black Sea coast of northern Turkey where the Tibareni supposedly lived.
Others link the ancient Tubal with the Neo-Hittite kingdom of Tabal, which existed at least since the 8-9th century BC. and was also located in Turkey .
I go with the latter opinion, since the first seams a little far fetched and because of the greater linguistic similarity of the latter name.
Concerning the location of Meshech there are more differences of opinion among scholar but most of them agree,
that Meshech was in Turkey.
Some associate them with the ancient Mushki people who in turn are by some associated with the Phrygians in Turkey.
Though it proves nothing, I want to mention, that Nusaybin was called by the Greeks Antiochia Mygdonia and the river that flows through the city was called the Mygdonius.
Interestingly the Mygdones were considered by some writers to be a part of the Phrygians.
Be it as it may. Ancient Tabal was close to Mount Bagog and Meshech was certainly closer to it than Russia.
Based on Josephus who said “Magog founded the Magogians, thus named after him, who by the Greeks are called Scythians.” many identify Magog with Russia.
But consider this:
1. Ezekiel is not talking about the Magogians but he talks explicitly about the Land of Magog.
2. Throughout the 7th century BC the Scythians were very active in the Middle East, were they launched campaigns and invasions even to the borders of Egypt influencing the Assyrians and Medians and eventually bringing down the Assyrian Empire.
So one could argue, that the Land of the Scythians was indeed in Turkey and the Middle East in Ezekiel’s time.

Who is Gog?

Frankly, I’ve got no clue.
So I am going to speculate, who he could be.
As stated before, gugal or gugallu was a title that was used for mesopotamian deities.
This would support those, who claim, that Gog is not a name but a title.
The mesopotamian pantheon with its thousands of gods and demons and conflicting legends is truly a mess.
It is far beyond my abilities to go into much detail here.
The title gugal or gugallu was mainly used for the weather god Abad.
It was also one of the 50 names of the highest babylonian god Marduk.
Marduk was not always the highest babylonian god.
But as he rose to become the highest deity, he assumed the titles of other gods.
Also there was the “Bull of Heaven”, called Gugalana.
The bull was worshipped in many different cultures.
One is the Minoan culture, from where the legend of the Minotaur originates.
The Minotaur was a creature with the head of a bull and a human body.
Another example is the worship of the Golden Calf, mentioned in the bible.
The star constellation of Taurus and the Taurus mountains (interestingly Bagog is part of these mountains) where named after the Bull.
Gog could represent all these false gods and false beliefs.
After all, God brings Gog to the land of Israel to show to the world who is boss.
The hole purpose is, to show to His people and to the world that He is the Lord.
From a biblical point of view it would make sense, that Gog would represent ALL false gods and beliefs and the ultimate false god lucifer, so that by elimination of Gog (and his armies), there would remain only one true God.

Conclusion:

I cannot prove conclusively that Bagog ist the Seat of Gog’s power (Magog) but the possible connection with Bagog and Magog definitively deserves further investigation.

Related Links:
Probable location of Magog (biblestudying.net)
The Nations of Ezekiel 38/39 (biblicalstudies.com)

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