The Army of Gog

The picture begins to come into focus. The hordes of Magog will be led by a supernatural entity called Gog by the prophet Ezekiel and the Beast by John the Revelator. This does not mean humans will play no part in the great war led by Gog of Magog. Far from it. While we haven’t settled on a particular timeline for when in the last days this devastating war will be fought, it seems clear that it will happen after the Rapture of the church.

We hold to a premillennial, pretribulational view of prophecy, but we don’t have the full picture. None of us do. With all due respect to the great scholars of Bible prophecy, some of whom we are honored and blessed to call friends, God in His wisdom has not disclosed the fine details of His plan to the world.

As evidence, we point to the reactions of the apostles to the arrival of the Messiah. They learned directly from Jesus for more than three years and they still didn’t get it:

Jesus presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

Acts 1:3–6

You can almost hear Jesus sigh before He replied. They were still looking for a geopolitical savior. The concept of the suffering servant was as alien to Jews then as it is now, which is why most of them rejected Jesus as the Messiah. In other words, the apostles, who had the best teacher of theology in all of history, didn’t understand the prophecies of Messiah’s coming. But here’s the key point: The Fallen didn’t get it, either:

None of the rulers [archons] of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

1 Corinthians 2:8

The rulers Paul referred to weren’t politicians and bureaucrats. The Greek word, archōn, is the same word used by Jesus in John 12:31 and 14:30 to describe Satan. It’s likely that Paul was telling the church at Corinth that the principalities, powers, rulers, thrones, dominions, and their demonic henchmen thought they’d won a major victory when they manipulated their human dupes into putting Jesus on the cross. But that’s exactly what He wanted them to do.

The takeaway is this: The apostles, who learned directly from Christ, and the evil intelligences who’d been plotting against Him for millennia didn’t understand the prophecies of Messiah’s First Coming. We don’t understand the prophecies of His Second Coming any better. It’s a military thing. Information is released on a need-to-know basis. Yahweh is called LORD of Hosts, which means “Yahweh of Armies.” He’s the greatest military mind in history, and we will know His plans in due time.

So, please take our analysis in that light. We reserve the right to change our mind as new information becomes available or as we grow in wisdom.

That said, we believe the texts from the ancient Amorite kingdom of Ugarit confirm our hypothesis that the giants of the ancient world, the Nephilim/Rephaim, have a role to play in the last great battle of human history. The clue is the location of Magog’s defeat.

The picture is almost of a reluctant adversary:

And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. And I will turn you about and drive you forward [or, “drag you along”], and bring you up from the uttermost parts of the north [yarkete tsaphon, Baal’s mount of assembly], and lead you against the mountains of Israel. Then I will strike your bow from your left hand, and will make your arrows drop out of your right hand. You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples who are with you. I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. You shall fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Lord GOD. I will send fire on Magog and on those who dwell securely in the coastlands, and they shall know that I am the LORD.…

On that day I will give to Gog a place for burial in Israel, the Valley of the Travelers, east of the sea. It will block the travelers, for there Gog and all his multitude will be buried. It will be called the Valley of Hamon-gog.

Ezekiel 39:1–6, 11 (emphasis added)

“The Valley of the Travelers, east of the sea.” Many of us have read that verse and paid little attention to the name of Gog’s burial place, assuming it was symbolic or just giving it a mental shrug. Okay, someplace “east of the sea.”

If you assume the sea is the Mediterranean, that could be anyplace from Dan to Beersheba—in other words, just about anywhere in Israel. This has allowed prophecy scholars to keep the war of Gog and Magog separate from Armageddon, which many still incorrectly place at Megiddo. But “east of the sea” actually means ancient Moab, which was east of the Dead Sea. This opens a fascinating new look at the war of Gog and Magog. 

The Hebrew word rendered “traveler” is ōbĕrîm, a plural form of the verb ʿbr, which means “to pass from one side to the other.”[1] In this context, then, a Traveler is a spirit that passes from one plane of existence to another, in the same sense that the ancient Greeks believed the dead had to travel across the River Styx to reach or return from the underworld.

It is interesting that this was the very place, just northeast of the Dead Sea, where Israel camped before crossing the Jordan to begin the conquest of Canaan. How do we know this? Because places where Israel stopped after the Exodus refer to the dead, and specifically to the Travelers.

And the people of Israel set out and camped in Oboth. And they set out from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim, in the wilderness that is opposite Moab, toward the sunrise.

Numbers 21:10–11

Oboth has the same sense as ōbĕrîm, although it’s more specific. The name derives from ʾôb, which refers to necromancy, the practice of summoning and consulting with spirits of the dead.[2] ʾÔb, in turn, is related to the Hebrew word ʾab, which means “father.” In the Old Testament, the word “fathers” most often refers to one’s dead ancestors. For example:

And when the time drew near that Israel must die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “If now I have found favor in your sight, put your hand under my thigh and promise to deal kindly and truly with me. Do not bury me in Egypt, but let me lie with my fathers [ăbōṯ].

Genesis 47:29–30 (emphasis added)

Oboth, then, literally means “Spirits of the Dead.”[3] And you’ve probably already noticed that the second half of the compound name Iye-abarim is very similar to ōbĕrîm. Excellent work! Iye-abarim means “heaps (or ruins) of the Travelers.”[4]

Not coincidentally, this area east of the Jordan Rift Valley, from ancient Moab to Bashan, southeast of Mount Hermon, is home to thousands of dolmens, megalithic tombs made from slabs of basalt and limestone that weigh as much as fifty tons.[5]

While dolmens are found all over the world, there are more of these tombs in Jordan and the Golan Heights than anywhere else. They are simple structures, mostly in a trilithon formation—two standing stones and a capstone, like a “table” across the top, with no cement holding the slabs together. Sometimes additional stones are placed at the front and back, occasionally with a porthole cut to include a frame around the opening cut to hold a removable flat stone. Skeletal remains have been found at enough of them to conclude that the primary function of these intriguing structures was burial of the dead.[6]

Or, perhaps, as portals—to help the Travelers “cross over” into our realm.

[1] Spronk, K. (1999). “Travellers.” In K. van der Toorn, B. Becking, & P. W. van der Horst (Eds.), Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (2nd extensively rev. ed.) (Leiden; Boston; Köln; Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge: Brill; Eerdmans), p. 876.

[2] Tropper, J. (1999). “Spirit of the Dead.” In K. van der Toorn, B. Becking, & P. W. van der Horst (Eds.), Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (2nd extensively rev. ed.) (Leiden; Boston; Köln; Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge: Brill; Eerdmans), p. 806.

[3] Spronk (1986), op. cit., p. 229.

[4] Major Contributors and Editors. (2016). “Iye-Abarim.” In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press).

[5] Schuster, R. (2017). “Monumental Carved Dolmen More Than 4,000 Years Old Found in Golan Rewrites History of Civilization.” Haaretz (March 6, 2017),, retrieved 3/26/18.

[6] Yassine, K. (1985). “The Dolmens: Construction and Dating Reconsidered.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 259 (Summer, 1985), pp. 63–69.


  1. Wow, Dereck, wonderful research. Especially the intelligent way you avoid being prophetic. I love the wonderful mystery God has kept too Himself. No one knows the day or the hour. Your clearheadedness is exceptional. I really appreciate your efforts and style. God Bless you guys! Keith, Post Falls, Idaho

  2. Very interesting. Thank you for your hard work disseminating the details. God bless you

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