Revelation of John 20:7-8 SBLGNT

7 Καὶ ὅταν τελεσθῇ τὰ χίλια ἔτη, λυθήσεται ὁ Σατανᾶς ἐκ τῆς φυλακῆς αὐτοῦ, 8 καὶ ἐξελεύσεται πλανῆσαι τὰ ἔθνη τὰ ἐν ταῖς τέσσαρσι γωνίαις τῆς γῆς, τὸν Γὼγ ⸀ καὶ Μαγώγ, συναγαγεῖν αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸν πόλεμον, ὧν ὁ ἀριθμὸς ⸀ αὐτῶν ὡς ἡ ἄμμος τῆς θαλάσσης.

Rev. 20:7 NRSV  When the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, in order to gather them for battle; they are as numerous as the sands of the sea.

SBLGNT/NA27 τὸν Γὼγ καὶ Μαγώγ;

Robinson-Pierpont Byz. Text: τον γωγ και τον μαγωγ

Forty years ago, Ralph H. Alexander, while working on a dispensational reading of Ezekiel, published an article on Gog and Magog in EZEKIEL 38 AND 39 in which he made some comments about the syntax of Rev 20:7-8 and the referent of Gog in verse 8. This question is primarily about the syntax, however the referent for Gog is a logical follow on question if we choose to accept Alexander’s analysis of the syntax.

Gog, in this case, is Satan who gathers “the nations which are in the four corners of the earth.” The appositional relation of “Gog and Magog” to the entire sentence (kai exeleusetai…tes thalasses) supports this thesis. Such an appositional relationship with the accusative is not uncommon in Greeks The phrase “Gog and Magog” is interjected appositionally by the apostle John to refer both to Satan, the understood subject of the verb, and to the nations from the four corners of the earth. These words in the accusative in no way have to agree syntactically with any specific aspect of the sentence ( not even to the infinitives which come before and after the appositional interjection). Though this construction may seem somewhat awkward, the student must remember that the gram­mar and syntax in the Apocalypse is characterized by seeming blunders.

  1. Cf. C.F.D. Moule, An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek (Cambridge: Uni­versity Press, 1959), pp. 35-36; William Watson Goodwin, Greek Grammar (Waltham, Mass.: Blaisdell Publishing Company, 1958), p. 199; Nigel Turner, Syntax, Vol. III of A Grammar of New Testament Greek, by James Hope Moulton (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1963), p. 245; and R. W. Funk, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1961), p. 245 (sic) see rather §480(6)).

    Ralph H. Alexander, A FRESH LOOK AT EZEKIEL 38 AND 39, JETS, 1974, p166.

A more mainstream analysis of syntax puts Gog and Magog in apposition to the nations τὰ ἔθνη rather than the whole “sentence” (clause).[2] We have many works published on this since 1974 and I am wondering what light we can shed on this issue of the parsing the long sentence. I am also wondering if Alexander’s parsing really “supports” identifying Satan with Gog.

  • 1
    Hi(again). Seeing as how your answer requires a syntactical exegesis, which in Greek is beyond my ability, I will forego answering your question. The answer(IMO) does not lie with syntax, but with figurative interpretation. "Gog and Magog" are figuratively refered to as the "Nations of the North", from where Israel's enemies come from. 'They' are representitive of Satan's being 'loosed' to deceive the nations, and it's them, who Satan is empowering, If you know who "Gog and Magog" is, then you will know what they represent in their conflict with the saints of God.
    – Tau
    Jun 6, 2015 at 1:48

2 Answers 2


It is parenthetical. Just as we might write "the leader of the United States - President Donald Trump - is announcing..." Its usage is originally from Ezekiel 38 who was sent to tell Gog - the leader of the land of Magog - that YHWH was against him. Gog was a wicked king, leader of idolatrous people. The prophesy of Ezekiel that Gog and Magog would come against Israel in their latter days (See Genesis 49:1-10) was the idolatrous nations which came against Israel in the prophesy of Revelation 20:7-8. Young's Literal Translation has Ezekiel 38:2 -

"2 `Son of man, set thy face unto Gog, of the land of Magog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy concerning him, 3 and thou hast said: Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Lo, I [am] against thee, O Gog, Prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal,"

Gog and Magog stood for the idolatrous nations which surrounded Judea on all sides, or "the four corners of the earth". Which "earth" was Judea and Palestine, from OT usage where "earth" was most often synonymous with Israel. As "earth" was Judea, the "sea" were the idolatrous nations which surrounded the "earth" of Judea as water surrounds the land.


There is evidence available now, not available to Ralph H. Alexander.

From the Assyrian Court records we know Magog was a people (a nation) along with Meshech, Tubal, and Togarmah [Eze 38:3-6] who the Assyrians had dealings with. They were nations stretching across the so-called fertile crescent, including ancient Asia Minor from west to east.

These records show ancient Gomer [Eze 38:6], an enemy of the Assyrians invading Asia Minor by coming down from an area around the northeast shore of the Black Sea. Archaeologists know the militant leader called “Gog” in [Eze 38/39] leading a confederacy of these nations against the invading Gomer.

Gog was the historical leader the Greeks called 'Gyges of Lydia'. This Gyges of Lydia was known to the Assyrians as “Gugu, King of Ludu” and “Gugu of Magugu" which is equivalent to the Bible's reference 'Gog of Magog'. In Akkadian 'ma' means 'land', so in Akkadian "Ma-gugu" means “the land of Gugu” which becomes our Ma-gog. “Magog” means “the land of Gog”.

Ralph H. Alexander was forced to spiritualize historical references he didn't understand, but scholarship and specifically Assyriology have come along way in 40 years saving us from the dangerous practice of taking these references too figuratively.

So, back to your question:

The nations Satan comes out to deceive at the four corners of the earth [Rev 20:7] are the nations of the House of Israel YHWH first scattered TO the four corners of the earth [Deut 4:27; 28:64; 32:26], [Isa 11:12], [Jer 23:8]:

[Isa 11:12] - He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

The sifting of these Israelite nations to the four corners of the world is described here:

[Isaiah 30:27-28] - Behold, the name of the LORD comes from afar, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke; his lips are full of fury, and his tongue is like a devouring fire; his breath is like an overflowing stream that reaches up to the neck; to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray.


[Amos 9:9] - For behold, I will command, and shake the house of Israel among all the nations as one shakes with a sieve, but no pebble shall fall to the earth.

So the deceit Satan has planned has the nations of the House of Israel and the nations of the land of Gog of Magog (of Asia Minor and of the North, meaning historically North of the Caucasus) being deceived so they wage war with one another.

So the war will be between the House of Israel and those of the land of Gog of Magog.

  • 1
    You need to supply sources for your assertions. Only Assyrian word I found remotely close to ma is mātu, but as you can see, they’re not identical.
    – user862
    Dec 28, 2016 at 5:12
  • Yes. Exactly. Mātu is the noun.
    – user34445
    Dec 28, 2016 at 5:17
  • So how does Matu Gog become Magog?
    – user862
    Dec 28, 2016 at 5:19
  • Ma is used as the prefix as eponym from Mātu. For example the Assyrian eponym for the land of the leader Zamua is Ma-zamua. So the Assyrian eponym for the land of the leader Gugu would be what?
    – user34445
    Dec 28, 2016 at 5:34
  • The example of Mazamua is taken from George Smith's "The Assyrian Eponym Canon" p.42 (Canon V, 811)
    – user34445
    Dec 28, 2016 at 6:13

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