A significant recent archeological discovery in western Turkey may hold a prophetic hint as to the nation from which the Antichrist will someday burst forth onto the world scene.
According to a recent report by Fox News, archeologists have uncovered the ancient “gate to hell.” Not literally, of course, but rather they’ve discovered an ancient pagan temple known as “Pluto’s Gate,” the cave that was believed to be the portal to Hades, in Greco-Roman mythology.
According to the Greek geographer Strabo, the cave emitted a thick vapor that would kill any who came into contact with it. According to Francesco D’Andria, the archeologist who discovered the gate, “We could see the cave’s lethal properties during the excavation. Several birds died as they tried to get close to the warm opening, instantly killed by the carbon dioxide fumes.”
Some students of prophecy have noted the similarity of the gate to hell to the “Abyss” as described in the book of Revelation:
“When [the angel] opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions.” (Revelation 9:2-3)
What is more interesting about this find as it relates to biblical prophecy is the fact that the gate was discovered in modern-day Pamukkale, Turkey, known in ancient times as Hierapolis. According to the first-century historian known as Pliny the Elder, Hierapolis was also known as “Magog.”
In fact, it was specifically this ancient Turkish-Magog connection that informed the understanding of a wide range of Jewish and Christian theologians concerning the region from which the armies of Gog and Magog would descend into the land of Israel.
Gog and Magog, according to the biblical prophet Ezekiel, are armies of the final antagonists of the Jewish people, who would invade the land of Israel just prior to the return of Jesus. While many prophecy teachers today hold to the idea that the Battle of Gog of Magog is a preliminary and distinct battle from the final Battle of Armageddon, this belief is actually a relatively new minority view within church history. Consider the following partial survey of theologians, both Christian and Jewish, who have long looked for the Antichristian armies of Gog of Magog to come from the land of Turkey:
Hippolytus of Rome (170–235), an early Christian theologian, in his Chronicon, connected Magog with the Galatians in Asia Minor, or modern-day Turkey.
Moses Ben Maimonides (aka Rambam) (1135–1204), the revered Jewish sage, in Hichot Terumot, identified Magog as being on the border of Syria and modern-day Turkey.
Nicholas of Lyra (1270–1349), a Hebrew scholar and renowned biblical exegete, believed that Gog was another title of the Antichrist. Lyra also affirmed that the religion of the “Turks,” a term used to refer to Muslims in general, was the religion of the Antichrist.
Martin Luther (1483–1546), understood Gog to be a reference to the Turks, whom God had sent as a scourge to chastise Christians.
Sir Walter Raleigh (1554–1618), in his History of the World, also placed Magog in Asia Minor, or modern-day Turkey:
“Yet it is not to be denied, that the Scythians in old times coming out of the northeast, wasted the better part of Asia the Less, and possessed Coelesyria, where they built both Scythopolis and Hierapolis, which the Syrians call Magog. And that to this Magog Ezekiel had reference, it is very plain; for this city Hierapolis, or Magog, standeth due north from Judea, according to the words of Ezekiel, that from the north quarters those nations should come.”
John Wesley (1703–1755), in his Explanatory Notes on Ezekiel 38 and 39, identified the hoards of Gog and Magog with “the Antichristian forces” who would come from the region of modern day Turkey.
Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758), one of American history’s most renowned theologians, also viewed modern-day Turkey as the nation from which the coming Gog Magog invasion would come forth.
John Nelson Darby (1800–1882), the British-Irish evangelist and a father of modern Dispensationalism and Futurism, in his Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, views Gog as the final Antichristian forces God will bring against Israel:
“Gog is the end of all the dealings of God with respect to Israel, and that God brings up this haughty power in order to manifest on earth, by a final judgment, His dealings with Israel and with the Gentiles, and to plant His blessing, His sanctuary, and His glory in the midst of Israel.”
C.I. Scofield (1843–1921), author of the Scofield Reference Bible, viewed the oracle of Gog of Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39 as speaking of the Battle of Armageddon. Scofield, spoke of Ezekiel’s oracle thusly:
“[T]hat destruction should fall at the climax of the last mad attempt to exterminate the remnant of Israel in Jerusalem. The whole prophecy belongs to the yet future ‘day of Jehovah’; Isaiah 2:10-22; Revelation 19:11-21 and to the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:14).”
Charles Lee Feinberg (1909–1995), a prominent Messianic Jewish expositor in his commentary on Ezekiel, states, “The armies of chapter 38-39 would appear to be included in the universal confederacies seen in Zechariah 12 and 14.”
Charles Ryrie, in his Ryrie Study Bible, views Gog and his hordes as one and the same with the Antichrist and his armies.
Dave Hunt, apologist, author and radio commentator, identifies the Gog of Magog Battle with other Antichristic prophecies and views it as a reference to the ultimate battle of Armageddon.
Many other prominent Christian theologians could be cited. If all of these theologians are correct, and Antichrist/Gog does come forth from the modern nation of Turkey, then it would certainly seem appropriate that Turkey is the home to the mythological location of the ancient gateway to hell.