Gog and Magog
- This article deals with the Biblical and Qur'anic figures Gog and Magog; for the Gogmagog of British folklore, see Gogmagog (folklore); for the range of hills in Cambridgeshire, see Gog Magog Downs; for other uses, see Gog and Magog.
Gog and Magog (//; //; Hebrew: גּוֹג וּמָגוֹג Gog u-Magog; Arabic: يَأْجُوج وَمَأْجُوج Yaʾjūj wa-Maʾjūj) are names that appear in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), the Book of Revelation and the Qur'an, sometimes indicating individuals and sometimes lands and peoples. Sometimes, but not always, they are connected with the "end times", and the passages from the book of Ezekiel and Revelation in particular have attracted attention for this reason.
In some interpretations from ancient times to the late Middle Ages, Gog and Magog were identified with Eurasian nomads such as the Khazars, Huns and Mongols; in Islam, they where sometimes identified first with Turkic tribes of Central Asia and later with the Mongols, although others interpretations exist. Throughout this period they were conflated with various other legends, notably those concerning Alexander the Great, the Amazons, Red Jews, and the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, and became the subject of much fanciful literature. In modern times they remain associated with apocalyptic thinking, especially in the United States and the Muslim world.
- 1 The names Gog and Magog
- 2 Judeo-Christian texts
- 3 Judeo-Christian tradition from antiquity to the early modern period
- 4 Yajuj and Majuj: Gog and Magog in the Qur'an
- 5 Gog and Magog in hadith
- 6 Gog and Magog in Muslim tradition
- 7 Other views
- 8 See also
- 9 References
The names Gog and Magog
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In the Book of Ezekiel Gog is the name of an individual and Magog the name of his land; in Genesis 10 Magog is a person, and in Revelation both Gog and Magog are nations ("the hostile nations of the world"). 1 Chronicles 5:4 features a descendant of Reuben who is called Gog or Goug.
The meaning of the name Gog remains uncertain, and in any case the author of the Ezekiel prophecy seems to attach no particular importance to it. Efforts have been made to identify him with various individuals, notably Gyges, a king of Lydia in the early 7th century, but many scholars do not believe he is related to any historical person. The name Magog is equally obscure, but may come from the Assyrian mat-Gugu, "Land of Gyges", i.e., Lydia. Alternatively, if Gog is derived from Magog rather than the other way round,"Magog" might refer to Babylon, by turning BBL ("Babylon" in Hebrew script, which originally had no vowel-signs) into MGG (Magog).
Ezekiel and the Old Testament
The Book of Ezekiel records a series of visions received by the 6th century BCE prophet Ezekiel, a former priest of the Temple in exile in Babylon. The exile, he tells his fellow captives, is God's punishment on Israel for turning away from him, but God will restore them to Jerusalem when they return to him. After this message of reassurance, chapters 38–39, the Gog oracle, tell how Gog of Magog and his hordes will threaten the restored Israel but will be destroyed, after which God will establish a new Temple and dwell forever with his people (chapters 40-48).
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.
In all the books of the Old Testament Gog appears only in these chapters. (The Gog son of Reuben in I Chronicles 5:4 is an Israelite, and can hardly be the same as the Gog of Ezekiel). Of Gog's allies, Meshech and Tubal were 7th-century kingdoms in central Anatolia to the north of Israel, Persia is located to Israel's east, and Cush (Ethiopia) and Put (Libya) to the south; Gomer is the Cimmerians, a nomadic people north of the Black Sea, and Beth-Togarmah was on the border of Tubal. The confederation thus represents a world-wide alliance against Israel. "Why the prophet's gaze should have focused on these particular nations is unclear," but possibly their remoteness and reputation for violence and mystery "made Gog and his confederates perfect symbols of the archetypal enemy, rising against God and his people." The theological message of the Gog oracle is that even Gog is under God's will, and its placement before the Utopian future of chapters 40-48 (the restoration the Temple and God's eternal presence with his people) emphasises the eschatological character of that event.
Internal evidence indicates that the Gog oracle is substantially later than the chapters around it and was composed between the 4th and 2nd centuries BC. The author has created his list of Gog's allies by blending names from Genesis 10, the "Table of Nations"–Magog, Meshek, Tubal, Cush, Put, and Gomer–with the names of Tyre's trading partners in Ezekiel 27, which includes all these names except Magog, plus Persia–and has decided they are the end-time enemies of Israel by means of Isaiah 66:19, which has several of the names and, like the Gog prophecy, addresses an eschatological future.
Gog and Magog from Ezekiel to Revelation
Over the next few centuries Jewish tradition changed Ezekiel's Gog from Magog into Gog and Magog. The process, and the shifting geography of Gog and Magog, can be traced through the literature of the period. The 3rd book of the Sibylline Oracles, for example, which originated in Egyptian Judaism in the middle of the 2nd century BCE, changes Ezekiel's "Gog from Magog" to "Gog and Magog" and places them "in the midst of Aethiopian rivers"; this seems a strange location, but ancient geography did sometimes place Ethiopia next to Persia or even India. A second mention, with a very uncertain text, links them with the "Marsians and Dacians", in eastern Europe. The Book of Jubilees, known from about the same time, makes three references to either Gog or Magog: in the first, Magog is a descendant of Noah, as in Genesis 10; in the second, Gog is a region next to Japheth's borders; and in the third, a portion of Japtheth's land is assigned to Magog.  The Book of Enoch, another intertestamental work, tells how God stirs up the Medes and Parthians (instead of Gog and Magog) to attack Jerusalem, where they are destroyed. The 1st-century Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, which retells Biblical history from the Adam to Saul, is notable for listing and naming seven of Magog's sons, and mentions his "thousands" of descendants. The Samaritan Torah and the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible made during this period) occasionally introduce the name of Gog where the Hebrew original has something else, or uses Magog where the Hebrew has Gog, indicating that the names were interchangeable. Chapters 19:11-21:8 of the Book of Revelation, dating from the end of the 1st century CE, recounts a vision in which Satan is released from the abyss and rallies "the nations in the four corners of the Earth, Gog and Magog," to a final battle with Christ and his saints:
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.
Judeo-Christian tradition from antiquity to the early modern period
By the 1st century Jewish circles had identified Gog and Magog with the Scythians, horse-riding barbarians from around the Don and the Sea of Azov, who were supposed to have been locked up behind iron gates in the Caucasus Mountains by Alexander the Great. This story can be traced in a fragmentary form in the works of the 1st century Jewish historian Josephus, and was vastly elaborated in later versions such as the Alexander Romance and the Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius.
After the failure of the anti-Roman Bar Kokhba revolt in the 2nd century CE, which looked to a human leader as the promised messiah, Jews began to conceive of the messianic age in supernatural terms: first would come a forerunner, the messiah of Joseph, who would defeat Israel's enemies, Gog and Magog, to prepare the way for the messiah of David; then the dead would rise, divine judgement would be handed out, and the righteous would be rewarded. The aggadah, homiletic and non-legalistic exegetical texts in the classical rabbinic literature of Judaism, treat Gog and Magog as two names for the same nation who will come against Israel in the final war. The rabbis associated no specific nation or territory with them beyond a location to the north of Israel, but the great Jewish scholar Rashi identified the Christians as their allies and said God would thwart their plan to kill all Israel. Much later, in the early 19th century, some Chasidic rabbis identified Napoleon's invasion of Russia as "The War of Gog and Magog."
Early Christian writers (e.g. Eusebius) frequently identified Gog and Magog with the Romans and their emperor. After the Empire became Christian, Ambrose (d.397) identified Gog with the Goths, Jerome (d.420) with the Scythians, and Jordanes (died c.555) said that Goths, Scythians and Amazons were all the same; he also cited Alexander's gates in the Caucasus. (The idea that Gog and Magog were connected with the Goths was longstanding; in the mid-16th century, Archbishop of Uppsala Johannes Magnus traced the royal family of Sweden back to Magog son of Japheth, via Suenno, progenitor of the Swedes, and Gog, ancestor of the Goths). The Byzantine writer Procopius said it was the Huns Alexander had locked out, and a Western monk named Fredegar seems to have Gog and Magog in mind in his description of savage hordes from beyond Alexander's gates who had assisted the Byzantine emperor Heraclius (610-641) against the Saracens.
As one nomadic people followed another on the Eurasian steppes, so the identification of Gog and Magog shifted. In the 9th and 10th centuries these kingdoms were identified by some with the lands of the Khazars, a Turkic people who had converted to Judaism and whose empire dominated Central Asia–the 9th-century monk Christian of Stavelot referred to Gazari, said of the Khazars that they were "living in the lands of Gog and Magog" and noted that they were "circumcised and observing all [the laws of] Judaism". Arab traveler ibn Fadlan also reported of this belief, writing around 921 he recorded that "Some hold the opinion that Gog and Magog are the Khazars." According to the famous Khazar Correspondence (c. 960), King Joseph of Khazaria claimed that his people were the descendants of "Kozar", the seventh son of Togarmah.
After the Khazars came the Mongols, a mysterious and invincible horde from the east that destroyed Muslim empires and kingdoms in the early 13th century; kings and popes took them for the legendary Prester John, marching to save Christians from the Saracens, but when they entered Poland and Hungary and annihilated Christian armies a terrified Europe concluded that they were "Magogoli", the offspring of Gog and Magog, released from the prison Alexander had constructed for them and heralding Armageddon. Marco Polo traveled in the Mongol empire when the initial terror had subsided: he at first dismisses any connection between the Mongols and the hordes of Gog and Magog locked up by Alexander and guarded by the Queen of the Amazons, but then claims that the names Gog and Magog are translations of the place-names Ung and Mungul, inhabited by the Ung and Mongols respectively.
Some time before the 12th century the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel became identified with Gog and Magog. The Franciscan traveller William of Rubruck reported that he had seen Alexander's wall in Derbent on the shores of the Caspian Sea in 1254, and that there were other walls holding back Jews that he been unable to visit; William shared his information with Roger Bacon, who urged the study of geography to discover where the Antichrist and Gog and Magog might be found. The author of the Travels of Sir John Mandeville, a 14th-century best-seller, said he had found these Jews in Central Asia where as Gog and Magog they had been imprisoned by Alexander, plotting to escape and join with the Jews of Europe to destroy Christians.
Yajuj and Majuj: Gog and Magog in the Qur'an
There are two Surahs (chapters) in Quran which mention Gog and Magog. The first one the story of Dhul Qarnayn (the Two-horned one) who travels in three journeys, in the 18th chapter (Surat al-Kahf, "The Cave") And the second one in the Surat Al-Anbiyā (The Prophets) which is the 21st Surah of Quran.
They will ask thee of Dhu'l-Qarnayn. Say: "I shall recite unto you a remembrance of him."(83) Lo! We made him strong in the land and gave him unto every thing a road.(84) And he followed a road(85) Till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout. We said: "O Dhu'l-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness."(86) He said: "As for him who doeth wrong, we shall punish him, and then he will be brought back unto his Lord, Who will punish him with awful punishment!"(87) "But as for him who believeth and doeth right, good will be his reward, and We shall speak unto him a mild command."(88) Then he followed a road(89) Till, when he reached the rising-place of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had appointed no shelter therefrom.(90) So (it was). And We knew all concerning him.(91) Then he followed a road(92) Till, when he came between the two mountains, he found upon their hither side a folk that scarce could understand a saying.(93) They said: "O Dhul-Qarnayn! Lo! Gog and Magog are spoiling the land. So may we pay thee tribute on condition that thou set a barrier between us and them?"(94) He said: "That wherein my Lord hath established me is better (than your tribute). Do but help me with strength (of men), I will set between you and them a bank."(95) "Give me pieces of iron" - till, when he had leveled up (the gap) between the cliffs, he said: "Blow!" - till, when he had made it a fire, he said: "Bring me molten copper to pour thereon."(96) And (Gog and Magog) were not able to surmount, nor could they pierce (it).(97) He said: "This is a mercy from my Lord; but when the promise of my Lord cometh to pass, He will lay it low, for the promise of my Lord is true."(98)
In sura 21, Al-Anbiyā (The Prophets), the wall is mentioned again: there Allah tells his Prophet (Muhammad) that there is a "prohibition upon [the people of] a city which We have destroyed that they will [ever] return, until [the dam of] Gog and Magog has been opened and thou shall see them, from every higher ground, descending." According to Islamic tradition (in Saḥīḥ al-Bukhāri), Gog and Magog are human beings, and the city mentioned in sura 21 is Jerusalem.
Gog and Magog in hadith
Gog and Magog appear in several hadith works incluging Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan ibn Majah, and a single hadith in the book of Sunan Abu Dawood.
in Sahih Bukhari
There are several Ahadith mentioned in the works of Bukhari, including these ones below:
"Narrated by Abu Said Al-Khudri “The Prophet said “The people will continue performing the Hajj and ‘Umra to the Ka’ba even after the appearance of Gog and Magog.” . Narrated Shu’ba extra: The Hour (Day of Judgment) will not be established till the Hajj (to the Ka’ba) is abandoned. Volume 2, Book 26, Number 663."
"Narrated by Zainab bint Jahsh, “That the Prophet once came to her in a state of fear and said, “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah. Woe unto the Arabs from a danger that has come near. An opening has been made in the wall of Gog and Magog like this,” making a circle with his thumb and index finger. Zainab bint Jahsh said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Shall we be destroyed even though there are pious persons among us?” He said, “Yes, when the evil person will increase.” Volume 4, Book 55, Number 565."
"Narrated by Abu Said Al-Khudri, “The Prophet said, “Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection), ‘O Adam.’ Adam will reply, ‘Labbaik wa Sa’daik’, and all the good is in Your Hand.’ Allah will say: ‘Bring out the people of the fire.’ Adam will say: ‘O Allah! How many are the people of the Fire?’ Allah will reply: ‘From every one thousand, take out nine-hundred-and ninety-nine.’ At that time children will become hoary headed, every pregnant female will have a miscarriage, and one will see mankind as drunken, yet they will not be drunken, but dreadful will be the Wrath of Allah.” The companions of the Prophet asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! Who is that (excepted) one?” He said, “Rejoice with glad tidings; one person will be from you and one-thousand will be from Gog and Magog.” The Prophet further said, “By Him in Whose Hands my life is, hope that you will be one-fourth of the people of Paradise.” We shouted, “Allahu Akbar!” He added, “I hope that you will be one-third of the people of Paradise.” We shouted, “Allahu Akbar!” He said, “I hope that you will be half of the people of Paradise.” We shouted, “Allahu Akbar!” He further said, “You (Muslims) (compared with non-Muslims) are like a black hair in the skin of a white ox or like a white hair in the skin of a black ox (i.e. your number is very small as compared with theirs).” Volume 4, Book 55, Number 567."
"Narrated by Zainab bint Jahsh “That the Prophet came to her in a state of fear saying, “None has the right to be worshiped but Allah! Woe to the Arabs because of evil that has come near. Today a hole has been made in the wall of Gog and Magog as large as this.” pointing with two of his fingers making a circle. Zainab said, “I said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Shall we be destroyed though amongst us there are pious people? ‘ He said, ‘Yes, if evil increases.” Narrated by Um Salama: The Prophet woke up and said, “Glorified be Allah: What great (how many) treasures have been sent down, and what great (how many ) afflictions have been sent down!”" – Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 797.
"Narrated by Ibn Abbas: Allah’s Apostle performed the Tawaf (around the Ka’ba while riding his camel, and every time he reached the corner (of the Black Stone) he pointed at it with his hand and said, “Allahu Akbar.” (Zainab said: The Prophet said, “An opening has been made in the wall of Gog and Magog like this and this,” forming the number 90 (with his thumb and index finger). Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 63, Number 215."
in Sahih Mulim
Following are the hadith mentioned regarding Gog and Magog in the Sahih Muslim:
Hudhaifa b. Usaid Ghifari reported: Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) came to us all of a sudden as we were (busy in a discussion). He said: What do you discuss about? They (the Companions) said. We are discussing about the Last Hour. Thereupon he said: It will not come until you see ten signs before and (in this connection) he made a mention of the smoke, Dajjal, the beast, the rising of the sun from the west, the descent of Jesus son of Mary (Allah be pleased with him), the Gog and Magog, and land−slidings in three places, one in the east, one in the west and one in Arabia at the end of which fire would burn forth from the Yemen, and would drive people to the place of their assembly.– Bk 41, Number 6931
... Every non−believer who would smell the odor of his self would die and his breath would reach as far as he would be able to see. He would then search for him (Dajjal) until he would catch hold of him at the gate of Ludd and would kill him. Then a people whom Allah had protected would come to Jesus, son of Mary, 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 Jesus 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 Tibering and drink out of it. And when the last of them would pass, he would say: There was once water there. Jesus and his companions would then be besieged here (at Tur, and they would be so much hard pressed) that the head of the ox would be dearer to them than one hundred dinirs and Allah’s Apostle, Jesus, and his companions would supplicate Allah, Who would send to them insects (which would attack their necks) and in the morning they would perish like one single person. Allah’s Apostle, Jesus, and his companions would then come down to the earth and they would not find in the earth as much space as a single span which is not filled with their putrefaction and stench. Allah’s Apostle, Jesus, and his companions would then again beseech Allah, Who would send birds whose necks would be like those of bactrin camels and they would carry them and throw them where God would will. Then Allah would send rain which no house of clay or (the tent of) camels’ hairs would keep out and it would wash away the earth until it could appear to be a mirror. Then the earth would be told to bring forth its fruit and restore its blessing and, as a result thereof, there would grow (such a big) pomegranate that a group of persons would be able to eat that, and seek shelter under its skin and milch cow would give so much milk that a whole party would be able to drink it. And the milch camel would give such (a large quantity of) milk that the whole tribe would be able to drink out of that and the milch sheep would give so much milk that the whole family would be able to drink out of that and at that time Allah would send a pleasant wind which would soothe (people) even under their armpits, and would take the life of every Muslim and only the wicked would survive who would commit adultery like asses and the Last Hour would come to them. – Bk 41, Number 7015
This hadith has been narrated on the authority of Jabir with the same chain of transmitters but with this addition that:
... Gog and Magog would walk until they would reach the mountain of al−Khamar and it is a mountain of Bait−ul−Maqdis (Jerusalem) and they would say: We have killed those who are upon the earth. Let us now kill those who are In the sky and they would throw their arrows towards the sky and the arrows would return to them besmeared with blood. And in the narration of Ibn Hujr (the words are):” I have sent such persons (Gog and Magog) that none would dare fight against them. – Bk 41, Number 7016.
Gog and Magog in Muslim tradition
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 era, mentioned in Surah 18 of the Qu'ran. In Islam Alexander may be associated with Dhul-Qarnayn, "the two-horned one"– the name is taken from the Syrian legend and describes his journeys from one extremity ("horn") of the world to the other. Dhul-Qarnayn (Alexander), having journeyed to the ends of the world, meets "a people who scarcely understood a word" who seek his help in building a barrier that will separate them from the people of Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog) who "do great mischief on earth" and live across the mountain. He agrees to build it for them, but warns that when the time comes (Last Age), Allah will remove the barrier and Yajuj and Majuj will swarm through. The early traditions were summarised by al-Qazwini (d. 1283) in two popular works called the Cosmography and the Geography. Gog and Magog, he says, are a people who can be counted only by God, but only half the height of a normal man, with claws instead of nails and a hairy tail and huge hairy ears which they use as mattress and cover for sleeping. Their land was explored by "The Two-Horned One," who found them living near to the sea that encircles the Earth. They scratch at their wall each day until they almost break through, but each night God restores it; but when they do break through, they will be so numerous that "their vanguard is in Syria and their rear in Khorasan."
When Classical writers identified Yajuj an Majuj with real peoples it was the Turks, who threatened Baghdad and the Muslims in northern Iran: "He (Magog) will be followed by people who have rough and broad faces." Later, when the Mongols destroyed Baghdad in 1258, it was they who were Gog and Magog. The wall dividing them from civilised peoples was normally placed towards Armenia and Azerbaijan, but in the year 842 the Caliph Al-Wathiq had a dream in which he saw that it had been breached, and sent an official named Sallam to investigate. Sallam returned a little over two years later and reported that he had seen the wall and also the tower where Dhul Qarnayn had left his building equipment, and all was still intact. It is not entirely clear what Sallam saw, but he may have reached the Jade Gate, the westernmost customs point on the border of China. Somewhat later the 14th-century traveller Ibn Battuta reported that the wall was sixty days' travel from the city of Zeitun, which is on the coast of China; the translator notes that Ibn Battuta has confused the Great Wall of China with that built by Dhul-Qarnayn.
In the unofficially translated "Tablet of the River [Tigris]" Baha'u'llah mentions Gog and Magog in metaphorical tongue: "The intensity of the sorrow and grief that have befallen me during these days has left me sorely tried between the Gog of silence and the Magog of speech. I beseech God to send down an Alexander who will erect a protecting wall."
Comparison with Hindu figures
Early 20th century scholars Emil Abegg and Jean Przyluski noted similarities between Gog and Magog and the Hindu figures Koka and Vikoka, and French metaphysician René Guénon went further, comparing analogically the concept of the "great wall" (which in extrabiblical tradition protects humanity against Gog and Magog) with the Hindu notion of a "circular wall" (Lokâloka) which separates the "world" (loka) from "outer darkness" (aloka).
In Europe expectations of the end-times have receded with the advance of a secular worldview during the 19th century. This has not been the case in the U.S., where a 2002 poll indicated that 59% of Americans believed the events predicted in the Book of Revelation would come to pass. During the Cold War the idea that Russia had the role of Gog gained popularity, since Ezekiel's words describing him as "prince of Meshek"—rosh meshek in Hebrew—sounded suspiciously like Russia and Moscow. Even some Russians took up the idea, apparently unconcerned by the implications: "Ancestors were found in the Bible, and that was enough." Ronald Reagan, then Governor of California, told state legislators in 1971:
"Ezekiel tells us that Gog, the nation that will lead all of the other powers of darkness against Israel, will come out of the north. Biblical scholars have been saying for generations that Gog must be Russia. What other powerful nation is to the north of Israel? None. But it didn’t seem to make sense before the Russian revolution, when Russia was a Christian country. Now it does, now that Russia has become Communistic and atheistic, now that Russia has set itself against God. Now it fits the description of Gog perfectly."
Post Cold War-millenarians still identify Gog with Russia, but they now tend to stress his allies among Islamic nations, especially Iran. For the most fervent, the countdown to Armageddon began with the return of the Jews to Israel, followed quickly by further signs pointing to the nearness of the final battle–nuclear weapons, European integration, Israel's seizure of Jerusalem, and America's wars in Afghanistan and the Gulf. In the prelude to the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush told Jacques Chirac that Gog and Magog were at work in the Middle East: "This confrontation is willed by God," he told the French leader, "who wants us to use this conflict to erase his people's enemies before a New Age begins." Chirac consulted a professor at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) to explain Bush's reference.
In the Islamic apocalyptic tradition the end of the world would be preceded by the release of Gog and Magog, whose destruction by God in a single night would usher in the Day of Resurrection. Reinterpretation did not generally continue after Classical times, but the needs of the modern world have produced a new body of apocalyptic literature in which Gog and Magog are identified as the Jews and Israel, or the Ten Lost Tribes, or sometimes as Communist Russia and China. One problem these writers have had to confront is the barrier holding Gog and Magog back, which is not to be found in the modern world: the answer varies, some writers saying that Gog and Magog were the Mongols and that the wall is now gone, others that both the wall and Gog and Magog are invisible.
Winston Churchill's speech
On November the 9th 1951, Winston Churchill made a speech at the Lord Mayor of London's Banquet at the Guildhall, marking the occasion of the restoration of the effigies of Gog and Magog to their traditional places of honour in the west end of the Guildhall in the City of London. They had been removed during the Blitz to prevent them from being damaged. Earlier figures had been destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. The present pair were carved by Richard Saunders in 1708.
"It seems that they (i.e. Gog and Magog) represent none too badly the present state of world politics. World politics, like the history of Gog and Magog, are very confused and much disputed. Still, I think there is room for both of them. On the one side is Gog, and on the other is Magog. But be careful, my Lord Mayor, when you put them back, to keep them from colliding with each other; for if that happens, both Gog and Magog would be smashed to pieces and we should all have to begin all over again and begin from the bottom of the pit." (Source: The Times, London, for 10 November 1951)
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