Home > Book of Revelation, Ezekiel, Gog & Magog, Promised land > Burying Gog and Magog, and how the serpent’s flood is swallowed up

Burying Gog and Magog, and how the serpent’s flood is swallowed up

May 23, 2012

Could the burial of the hordes of Gog and Magog described in Ezekiel 39, and the earth swallowing up the serpent’s flood in Revelation 12, depict the same event? Each prophecy is about removing a threat to the church. Each alludes to the symbolic significance of the land. In Revelation 20, the hordes of Gog and Magog come from all parts of the earth, and compass the camp of the saints, and the beloved city, terms that apply to the church. In Revelation 12:14 the woman who flees to the wilderness is the church. In verse 16, the word γῆ or is translated earth in the KJV, and in most other translations, but the word also means land. The land that swallows up the serpent’s flood, and the land where the armies of Gog and Magog are buried, are metaphors, which represent spiritual and eternal things which the church inherits.

As the corpses of Gog and his army are buried, the land is cleansed. Ezekiel said, “Thus shall they cleanse the land.” [Ezekiel 39:16] In Revelation 12, the flood from the serpent’s mouth is spiritual; it is a flood of flawed interpretations, and superstition, and wrong beliefs.

Perhaps the armies of Gog and Magog represent pagan beliefs and superstitions that have influenced Christians during all the centuries since the time of the apostles. They come from areas remote from the land of Canaan, in all directions. Pagan traditions were brought into the church, as the gospel went out to all parts of the earth. This may be what the prophecy of the Gog and Magog invasion depicts.

Ezekiel said that they all ride upon horses, [Ezekiel 38:15] so they are horsemen. Horses depict people who lack understanding; the psalmist said, “Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.” [Psalm 32:9] This suggests there is a parallel with the army of Joel 2, which appear like horses, and they run like horsemen. As well, the first and second woes of Revelation 9 are connected with horses, and horsemen.

The armies of Gog and Magog provoke God’s indignation and wrath. They are rained on with an overflowing rain, and with fire and brimstone. God pleads against them with pestilence and blood. They fall upon the mountains, and on the plain. They are buried for seven months. Their corpses produce an awful stench, that “stops the noses of the passengers.” Their weapons are burned as fuel for seven years. Curiously, they then become God’s sacrifice, to which the birds and the beasts are invited. These things defy all attempts at a literal explanation. Perhaps the invaders represent superstitions, and traditions, that have their origin in paganism. They are the horsemen, and the horses they ride upon are people with no understanding.  In this interpretation, the hordes of Gog and Magog are spiritual in nature, not flesh and blood. And Paul explained that the saints do not wrestle with flesh and blood. [Ephesians 6:12]

Opinions of several scholars on the significance of the earth opening its mouth, and swallowing up the flood from the mouth of the serpent, are provided in the quotation below. [1]

Swedenborg, ‘Apocalypse Revealed,’ verse 15;

“‘And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be swallowed up of the flood,’ signifies, reasonings in great abundance grounded in falses, with a view to destroy the church.”

By the mouth of the serpent is signified preaching, according to Anselm Archbishop of Canterbury; or the persuasion induced by evil counsel, according to Ambrose Ansbert. So likewise Haymo, who says that by the mouth of the serpent is signified “his persuasion, by which the wicked are instigated to rage against the church.” So Gagneus, who says, that it is by “the suggestion of the serpent that rivers and whirlpools of persecution are raised up against the church.”

Marloratus, Apocalypse, chap. xii. y

“The serpent doth then cast a great waterstream out of his mouth, when he pronounceth sentence of heresy against the godly, when he excommunicateth them, when he curseth them, when he armeth the magistrate against them, and such other like things; and lastly, when he persecuteth them with open defiance. That he might cause her to be caught of his stream.’ That is to say, that by the violence and force of his most sharp disputations, and by the rigor of persecutions on the other side, he might make her to he carried away from the plain belief in the Mediator, Christ, unto pernicious treachery.”

Pareus, Apocalypse, chap, xii., p. 278;—
“For, as the doctrine of the Gospel proceeding out of the mouth of God is compared to streams of water, which none are able to resist, as Christ saith; ‘He that believeth on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water:’ so the heresies coming out of the dragon’s mouth, what are they but as a violent vomit or floods to swallow up the church?”

The Tract Society, Comments, Apocalypse, chap, xii., p. 600 ;—

“Or, this may be meant of a flood of error, by which the church of God was in danger of being overwhelmed and carried away. The church of God is in more danger from heresies than from persecutions; and heresies are as certainly from the devil as open force and violence. God openeth a breach of war, and the flood was in a manner swallowed up thereby, and the church enjoyed some respite. When men choose new gods, then there is danger of war in the gates, Judges v., 8. The devil, defeated in his designs upon the universal church, turns his rage against particular persons and places; his malice against the woman pushes him on to make war with the remnant of her seed. They were but a remnant, for superstitions and errors of various kinds and corruptions had increased exceedingly. This war was because they kept the commandments of God, and held the testimony of Jesus Christ. Fidelity to God and Christ, in doctrine, worship, and practice, exposed them to the rage of Satan and his instruments: such fidelity will so expose men still, to the end of the world, when the last enemy shall be destroyed.”

Again, in a note from Fraser;—

“This prophecy shows that the true church of Christ would be invisible, as a community, for a period of 1260 days; and during all that time a harlot, pretending to be the spouse of Jesus Christ, was to propagate her idolatries successfully and extensively throughout the world.”

Poole’s Synopsis, Apocalypse, chap, xii., p. 1859;—

“The foulest heresies (Pareus, Forbes, Cluverus, Mede, Durham), as appears from these things; 1, that the flood cometh out of the mouth of the serpent, namely, the devil, who is the father of all errors and lies,. 2, from the cotemporaneous prophecy of the first four trumpets. Errors moreover are compared at one time to a wind, as in chap. vii.; at another time, to turbid water, Jude 5, 13; at another, as in this passage, to a flood; to denote; 1, the abundance; 2, the sudden rise; 3, the impetuosity and vehemence; 4, the destructiveness of error, . . . &c. (Durham).”

By flood Andreas understands wicked men, devils, or temptations; and Joachim, certain errors and heresies.

Swedenborg, ‘Apocalypse Revealed,’ verses 16, 17;

“‘And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth,’ signifies, that the abundance of their reasonings come to nothing, when the spiritual truths adduced by the Michaels, of which the new church consists, are rationally understood: and the dragon was wroth against the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ,’ signifies, hatred kindled in those who think themselves wise from the proofs they have collected in favor of the mystic union of the divine and human natures in the Lord, and in favor of justification by faith alone, against those who acknowledge that the Lord is the God of heaven and earth, and that the Decalogue is the law of life; and their attempts on novitiates with intent to seduce them.”

Bede says, that by the earth may be understood the church helping the woman by her admonitions and prayers. There is a similar interpretation given by Gagneus; and Primasius also adduces it as one of the interpretations given to this passage. As however by the earth is meant the church, so it is not the same church with that signified by the woman, or the moon under her feet, but the earth of the wilderness; or which is the scene of the wilderness in which the woman is. As such, it is that church which is represented by the wilderness; and consequently signifies those of the desolated church who advocate some of the truths opposed by the dragon; just as the works of Bishop Bull, Baxter, Knox, Fletcher, and others, advocate the cause of the woman on the doctrine of justification by faith, or the second table of the law. (Apocalypse Explained, art. 764.)

The burial of the hordes of Gog and Magog spans seven months, the number seven alluding to the divine covenant, as Christ confirms his covenant with the church for one week, [Daniel 9:27] or seven times, just as Jacob labored for his bride Rachel for seven years.

References

1. Augustus Clissold. The spiritual exposition of the Apocalypse. Volume 3, Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1851. pp. 351-256.

 

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