Ezek. 38:17 mentions the Israelite prophets who prophesied about Gog, but no prophecy earlier than Ezekiel’s prophecy talks about Gog. Then who were those Israelite prophets and why did Ezekiel not name them?


I do not know for sure what prophets Ezekiel is referring to.  He does not tell us.  However, it is important to note that this material in Ezekiel 38-39 is clearly apocalyptic literature, which means that these are highly symbolical/metaphorical visions, not a literal reality.  Gog is a metaphor for the leader of any people who oppose God’s people and who tries to destroy God’s people.  Magog is a metaphor for any people led by Gog who are trying to destroy God’s people.  The re-use of the Gog/Magog symbolism in Revelation 20:7-10 proves decisively that Gog and Magog are symbolic representatives of God’s people’s enemies, not a specific person or nation.
For this reason, when Ezekiel says that God’s prophets have prophesied against Gog and Magog for years, it could be almost any of the prophets!  For example, Jeremiah and Isaiah prophesied against many of those who opposed God’s people and tried to destroy them.  The same is true of Joel and Micah and others as well.  Ezekiel did not name names, and he did not have to.  What he is saying is that God has always opposed Gog and his people Magog, and God has always protected his people, as declared through his prophets.  This is what Ezekiel 37 and 38 is about.  It is about the fact that God will protect his seemingly-powerless people against their enemies.  This the message of Ezekiel 37-38, or Revelation 20, or Zechariah 2 and many other prophecies.
I know where this criticism is coming from. It is coming from Muslim critics of the Bible.  We should stop listening to such disingenuous critics who do not care about the truth, but are only searching for potential dirt on the Scriptures which Muhammad himself said that the people of the Book should honor.
John Oakes

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