Gog And Magog Are Now Coal, Gas And Oil – OpEd


Even if CO2 emissions were to be drastically cut starting today, the world economy is already stuck to an income reduction of 19% until 2050 due to climate change, a new study published in Nature finds. 

These damages are six times larger than the mitigation costs needed to limit global warming to two degrees.

Strong income reductions are projected for the majority of regions, including North America and Europe, with South Asia and Africa being the most strongly affected. Overall, global annual damages are estimated to be 38 trillion dollars in 2050. 

These damages mainly result from rising temperatures; but also from changes in rainfall and temperature variability.

Environmental activists calculate that five rich countries – the United States, Canada, Australia, Norway and the United Kingdom – that talk about cutting back emissions, are responsible for more than half of the planned expansion of oil and gas drilling through 2050. 

The United States accounts for more than one-third of it.

To fight climate change and reduce pollution, people have to stop burning fossil fuels. From coal mining to gas and oil drilling there’s nothing clean about fossil fuels like dirty coal and fracked gas. We need people across our planet to fight to replace our dirtiest energy sources with clean, renewable energy.

So are we headed toward a Gog and Magog climate war?

Various Christian sects have predicted the end of the world throughout the tumultuous 22 decades of the 19th-21st century; and in recent decades many Muslims have started believing that the Bible’s and the Quran’s war of Gog u-Magog in Hebrew, and “Yajuj and Majuj” in Arabic, will blow up in the 21st century. 

A recent Pew Research Center poll found that in South and Southeast Asia 55-60% of all Muslims believe in the Madhi’s imminent return; and in the Middle East and North Africa 51% are believers.

As two Hadith Islamic traditions state “Among the signs of the Hour are that knowledge will be taken away, ignorance will be widespread, and wine-drinking will be widespread.” [Bukhari]. And “The Hour will not come until a man  passes by a [another] man’s grave and says: Would that I was in his place.” [Bukhari].

Yajuj and Majuj are mentioned both in Qur’an and hadith. In Islam their appearance will be one of the signs of the end times. These events will transpire after the arrival of Dajjal, Mehdi and Jesus. Gog and Magog (“Gog u-Magog” in Hebrew and “Yajuj and Majuj” in Arabic) are names that appear in the Hebrew Bible, and in the Qur’an. 

They are sometimes personified as individuals, sometimes identified as nations, or as terrible natural catastrophes. All references in the Bible, Qur’an and Hadith (oral and then written tradition) clearly indicate that human caused Gog and Magog are very numerous in number, and nature caused catastrophes will come from the northern hemisphere, at the end of times, before the Days of Judgement: 

The very worst period of human caused spread of Gog and Magog was the 30 years between the autumn of 1914 and the summer of 1945, when 150 million people were killed in World War I and World War II. In addition, the nature caused spread of Gog and Magog according to Patterson and Pyle (1991) added between 24.7 and 39.3 million people worldwide who died from the Spanish flu pandemic.

“They said, “O Dhul-Qarnayn, indeed Gog and Magog are [great] corrupters in the land. So may we assign for you an expenditure that you might make a barrier between us and them?” (Qur’an 18:94) —[Dhul-Qarnayn] said, “This is a mercy from my Lord; but when the promise of my Lord comes, He will make it level, and ever true is the promise of my Lord. And We will leave them that day surging over each other, and [when] the Horn will be blown, We will assemble them in [one] assembly.” (Qur’an 18:98-99)

It is true that human society changed more rapidly, violently and fundamentally in the last 250 years than ever before in history. Doctors saved the lives of millions. Dictators sacrificed the lives of millions. Populations are exploding in Africa and populations are declining in Europe. Technology produces both worldwide prosperity and worldwide pollution at the same time.  

Should we look upon the future with optimistic hope or with fatalistic trepidation? Is the world and our society heading towards a wonder-filled new age, or toward a doomsday? Or are both occurring almost concurrently because breakdown is often a prelude to breakthrough?

Jews, whose prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures were the ones who first wrote about a future Messianic Age, recognize that the birth of a Messianic Age must be preceded by its birth-pangs. But the prophets of Israel also emphasize the glories of a future world living in peace and prosperity with justice for all. 

Ancient Jewish prophecies did proclaim that there would be an end to the world as we know it. But they did not prophesy that the world will come to an end, nor did the Prophets of Israel offer an exact date for the transition. 

The advent of the Messianic Age is not knowable because humans have free will and thus the exact time and manner of God’s redemption cannot be determined in advance. Much depends on what we humans do. 

The beginning of the Messianic Age marks God’s optimistic promise of a time of transition from one World Age into another. How we move through this transition, either with resistance or acceptance, will determine whether the transformation will happen through cataclysmic changes or by a gradual religious reform of human society; which will lead to a world filled with peace, prosperity and spiritual tranquility.  

In most religious traditions, redemption is defined in terms of individual enlightenment or personal salvation.  However, the Prophets of Israel presented redemption as a transformation of human society that would occur through the catalyst of the transformation of the Jewish community.  

This transformation, which will take place in this world at some future time, is called the Messianic Age. The transition to the Messianic Age is called the birth pangs of the Messiah. The birth of a redeemed Messianic world may be the result of an easy or difficult labor.  If everyone would simply live according to the moral teachings of his or her religious tradition, we would ourselves have helped bring about the Messianic Age.  

But, if we will not do it voluntarily, it will come anyway through social and political upheavals, worldwide military conflicts and generation gaps. The Messiah refers to an agent of God who helps bring about this positive transformation.  

The Jewish tradition teaches that this agent of God (together with several forerunners and many disciples) will be a human being, a descendant of Prophet David, with great qualities of national leadership similar to Prophet Moses and Prophet Mohammed.  

The arrival of the Messianic Age is what’s really important, not the personality of the agents who bring it about, since they are simply the instruments of God, who ultimately is the real Redeemer. 

The Messianic Age is usually seen as the solution to all of humanity’s basic problems. This may be true in the long run but the vast changes the transition to the Messianic Age entails will provide challenges to society for many generations to come. 

For example, if you had told Soviet Jews a generation ago that the Communist regime would collapse, the Soviet Empire disintegrate, and hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews would emigrate to Israel, they would have conceived it only as a Messianic dream. 

In our own generation therefore we have seen the dramatic fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy:  “I will bring your offspring from the (Middle) East and gather you from the (European) West. To the North (Russia) I will say ‘give them up’ and to the South (Ethiopia) ‘do not hold them’.  Bring my sons from far away, my daughters from the end of the earth.” (Isaiah 43:5-6) 

The classical rabbinic exegetical text Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer, attributed to the late first century Jewish sage, Rabbi Ishmael ben Elisha, contains references that prophesied the rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple not just by Jews; but also by bnei Yishmael, (the sons of Ishmael). The Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer final chapter 30, lists 15 things that the sons of Prophet Ishmael will do in the holy land at the End of Days. 

One is particularly interesting: “Rabbi Ishmael said: The sons of Ishmael will do fifteen things at the end of days…. They will rebuild the breaches in the wall of the beyt hamikdash (bayt al maqdis); and build a broadcast structure near the central sanctuary of the Holy Temple” This broadcast structure could be in the near future, a virtual reality broadcast station from a small physical building on some open space near the Dome of the Rock. 

Just as millions of Muslims can join every day with tens of thousands of Muslims pilgrims praying and circling around the cube-shaped Kaaba at Islam’s most sacred site; Jews would be able to strap on a headset and enter the holy city of Jerusalem, and see and hear Jewish prayers at the Western Wall, and someday God willing, as broadcast from the virtual reality Jerusalem Temple, without ever leaving their own homes.

The Qur’an refers to Prophet Abraham as a community or a nation: “Abraham was a nation/community [Ummah]; dutiful to God, a monotheist [hanif], not one of the polytheists.” (16:120) If Prophet Abraham is an Ummah then fighting between the descendants of Prophets Ishmael and Isaac is a civil war and should always be avoided.

If we can live up to the ideal that religious hope for a peaceful future is the will of God, we can help fulfill the 2700 year old vision of Prophet Isaiah: “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt, and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. On that day Israel  will join a three-party alliance with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing upon the heart. The LORD of Hosts will bless them saying, “Blessed be Egypt My people, Assyria My handiwork, and Israel My inheritance.”…(Isaiah 19:23-5)

Rabbi Allen S. Maller

Allen Maller retired in 2006 after 39 years as Rabbi of Temple Akiba in Culver City, Calif. He is the author of an introduction to Jewish mysticism. God. Sex and Kabbalah and editor of the Tikun series of High Holy Day prayerbooks.

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