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.
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). 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.