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In part 2, we focused upon the merger between Judah and Edom which occurred in 126 B.C. That historical event had huge legal implications in the overall history of Jewry. But there was another merger some centuries later that was to have a great impact upon Jewry. This was the conversion of the Khazars (or Chazars).
Some historians date this event in 620 or 630 A.D., while others say it occurred in 740 A.D. The date itself is unimportant, as it does not seem to be tied to any particular prophetic time cycle.
I first learned of this when I read Arthur Koestler’s book, The Thirteenth Tribe, written in 1976. The title intimated that the Khazars seemed to be another tribe added to the original 12 tribes of Israel. Yet, of course, ten of those tribes had already been “lost” to historians. Beginning with the king and his nobles, the Khazars adopted Judaism, and within a few centuries Judaism spread among the common people in what is now Ukraine and southern Russia.
So the Khazars became Jews, not Israelites. The lost Israelites were never Jews, and in their exile, being cut off from the temple in Jerusalem, they largely reverted to false gods, fulfilling the prophecy in Deut. 28:64,
64 Moreover, the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known.
The Jews too were scattered after they revolted against Rome in 70 and again in 132 A.D. However, they did not lose their basic identity or their religion. The Khazars converted to Judaism and, unlike the Edomites before them, voluntarily became Jews. In fact, this branch of world Jewry soon outnumbered those Jews who had been scattered by the Romans.
The Khazar Jews became known as the Ashkenazim, while the original Jews were known as the Sephardim. There are some who insist that the Ashkenazim are not real Jews, but the fact is that Jewry has many converts from many nations and from many different ethnic groups. Jews are not a homogeneous racial group; they are people united by religion and the culture that springs from it.
The Khazars brought to Jewry another prophetic element besides Edom. As we will see, Khazaria is the Gog and Magog of Ezekiel 38, 39. When they immigrated as Zionists to Palestine a century ago, it was the great invasion of Gog and Magog. Most people failed to recognize it simply because they were expecting an armed invasion of Russians wearing military uniforms. No one expected an invasion of Russian Jews who conquered Palestine by immigration.
The Jewish Encyclopedia, under “Chazars,” says this:
“A people of Turkish origin whose life and history are interwoven with the very beginnings of the history of the Jews of Russia. The kingdom of the Chazars was firmly established in most of South Russia long before the foundation of the Russian monarchy by the Varangians (855).”
Again, the same article speaks of the conversion to Judaism, saying,
“It was probably about that time that the chaghan [king] of the Chazars and his grandees, together with a large number of his heathen people, embraced the Jewish religion…”
The article goes on to tell how God appeared to the king in a dream and how he invited envoys from Judaism, Islam, and Christianity to present their reasons why their religion was the best. The article states:
“As each of the champions believed his religion to be the best, Bulan separately questioned the Mohammedans and the Christians as to which of the other two religions they considered the better. When both gave preference to that of the Jews, that king perceived that it must be the true religion. He therefore adopted it.”
In Kevin Alan Brook’s book, An Introduction to the History of Khazaria, we read further,
“Under the leadership of kings Bulan and Obadiah, the standard rabbinical form of the Jewish religion spread among the Khazars…. King Obadiah later established synagogues and Jewish schools in Khazaria. By the 10th century, the Khazars wrote using Hebrew-Aramaic letters. The major Khazar Jewish documents from that period are Hebrew.”
The Khazar language is Yiddish, now written with Hebrew letters in the same way that Latin and English are two distinct languages that use the same letters.
This Khazar Kingdom extended for a million square miles from the Black Sea to Poland. But it was not to last. The Rus (Russians) came down from the north and gradually ate up Khazaria until it had consumed the whole nation. Mr. Brook says this:
“The Rus inherited most of the former Khazar lands in the late 10th century and early 11th century…. Despite the loss of their nation, the Khazar people did not disappear.”
The Khazars are still identifiable today because of their adoption of Judaism. By and large, the Khazars are the eastern Europeans Jews, known as Ashkenazim, and they now form an estimated 85% of world Jewry today. In fact, the majority of Israeli Jews today are Ashkenazim.
In 960 A.D., just as the Rus were beginning to encroach upon Khazaria, a Jewish doctor in Cordova, Spain, heard of a Jewish kingdom in the east. His name was Hasdai ibn Shaprut. This rumor piqued his interest, so he sent a letter by courier to the king of Khazaria. Arthur Koestler wrote of this on pages 64, 65 of The Thirteenth Tribe:
“This is the so-called ‘Khazar Correspondence’; an exchange of letters in Hebrew, between Hasdai ibn Shaprut, the Jewish chief minister of the Caliph of Cordova, and Joseph, King of the Khazars…
“The exchange of letters apparently took place after 954 and before 961…”
Koestler continues on page 66,
“According to his own account, Hasdai first heard of the existence of an independent Jewish kingdom from some merchant traders from Khurasan in Persia; but he doubted the truth of their story. Later, he questioned the members of a Byzantine diplomatic mission to Cordoba, and they confirmed the merchants’ account, contributing a considerable amount of factual detail about the Khazar kingdom, including the name—Joseph—of its present king. Thereupon Hasdai decided to send couriers with a letter to King Joseph.
“The letter… contains a list of questions about the Khazar state, its people, method of government, armed forces, and so on—including an inquiry to which of the twelve tribes Joseph belonged… Joseph, not being of Jewish descent, belonged, of course, to none of the tribes; in his Reply to Hasdai, he provides, as we shall see, a genealogy of a different kind…”
Koestler then relates King Joseph’s answer in regard to the genealogy of the Khazars (page 72).
“Though a fierce Jewish nationalist, proud of wielding the ‘Scepter of Judah,’ he cannot, and does not claim for them Semitic descent; he traces their ancestry not to Shem, but to Noah’s third son, Japheth; or more precisely to Japheth’s grandson, Togarma, the ancestor of all Turkish tribes. ‘We have found in the family registers of our fathers,’ Joseph asserts boldly, ‘that Togarma had ten sons, and the names of their offspring are as follows: Uigur, Dursu, Avars, Huns, Basilii, Tarniakh, Khazars, Zagora, Bulgars, Sabir. We are the sons of Khazar, the seventh’…”
So Khazar, the seventh son of Togarmah, converted to Judaism, establishing the Jewish Ashkenazim.
Togarma himself was the son of Gomer, son of Japheth in the genealogy of Gen. 10:3,
3 The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz and Riphath and Togarmah.
Note that Ashkenaz and Togarmah were brothers. That is why eastern European Jews are known as Ashkenazim. Their uncles (Gen. 10:2) are Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. Some of these names are mentioned specifically in Ezekiel 38:2,
2 Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him.
Prophecy teachers often identify Rosh as Russia, Meshech as Moscow, and Tubal as Tobolsk, a city much farther east in Russia. I do not know if these teachers are correct or not, but this is why they assume Russia is the invader in Ezekiel 38, 39.
Ezekiel 38:5 also says that the invaders will come from “Persia, Ethiopia, and Put” (i.e., Libya). Again, teachers assume this means the “Russian” invaders will have allies from other nations, when, in fact, the prophet described Jewish immigrants from all of these countries.
Finally, Ezekiel 38:6 says,
6 Gomer with all its troops, Beth-togarmah [House of Togarmah] from the remote parts of the north with all its troops—many peoples with you.
Many teach that Gomer is Germany, although I strongly dispute this. There were two nations called Gomer. The first is Gomer, the son of Japheth in Gen. 10:3.
The second was the unfaithful wife of the prophet in Hosea 1:2, 3, whose failed marriage illustrated God’s failed marriage with Israel. In fact, Gomer (Gomri, Khumri, Cymbri) was their official name in the Assyrian records.
The name, Beth-Khumri, appears on the Black Obelisk of Shalmanezer and upon the Moabite Stone. It means “House of Omri.” Omri was the king of Israel who set up diplomatic relations with the Assyrians. We read this in Merrill Unger’s book, Archeology and the Old Testament, page 243,
“… The initial contact between Israel and Assyria evidently occurred during Omri’s day, for from that time on, Israel appears in cuneiform records as Bit-Humri (“House of Omri”). This official appellation was applied to Samaria, the capital city. Moreover, the designation of an Israelite King became Mar Humri (‘son,’ i.e., ‘royal successor of Omri’). Tiglath Pileser III’s reference to the land of Israel over a century later by its official name Bit Humria evidences the significance of Omri as a ruler in the history of Israel.”
As for the Moabite Stone, The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia (1970 edition) tells us under “Omri,” on page 1471,
“According to the Moabite Stone, he [Omri] subdued Moab. The Assyrians called the kingdom of Israel by his name for the rest of its existence.”
Omri, at that time, was pronounced Ghomri and later softened to Khumri or Humri. This is asserted by Theophilus G. Pinches in his book, The Old Testament in the Light of the Historical Records and Legends of Assyria and Babylonia (1902), where he wrote:
“Omri was likewise pronounced in accordance with the older system, before the ghain became ayin. Humri shows that they said at the time Ghomri.”
Hence, Gomer (Khumri, Humria), Hosea’s wife, was named prophetically to identify her with Gomri-Israel. The Assyrians called Israel by her name more than a century before they conquered Israel and deported the people.
Once deported to Assyria, there was no reason to alter their name. Hence, Gomer was the captivity name of the lost tribes of Israel, and the land where they lived was known as Gamir.
All of this was prophesied through Hosea’s wife, Gomer.
When the great library of Nineveh was excavated from 1900-1930, they found thousands of tablets, which took some time to sort out. The results were published by the University of Michigan Press in 1930 in four volumes titled, Royal Correspondence of the Assyrian Empire, by Leroy Waterman. There we see that the exiled Israelites had been resettled in what came to be known as the land of Gamir. It was the land of Gomer, the people known as Ghomri, Gimirri, Cymri, Khumri, etc.
A summary and book review of these four volumes is in Prof. E. Raymond Capt’s book, Missing Links. Capt was a biblical archeologist and a good friend of mine.
The people living in the land of Gamir were not the same people as the Gomer of Gen. 10:3. Yet the Scofield Study Bible’s notation on Gen. 10:3 identifies that Gomer in this way:
“Progenitor of the ancient Cimerians and Cimbri, from whom are descended the Celtic family.”
Dr. Bullinger made the same mistake when he compiled The Companion Bible in the late 1800’s. (This was done prior to the excavation of Nineveh.) In his notation on Gen. 10:3, he writes,
“Gomer. In Assyrian, Gimirra (the Kimmerians of Herodotus), Progenitor of the Celts.”
This is simply wrong. Both Scofield and Bullinger confused the two Gomers. Their mistaken view has left readers with the belief that the Celtic peoples will invade the Jewish state, along with Russia, Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya. That is a serious mistake.
In fact, it is the other Gomer—the father of Togarmah and Ashkenaz—who has invaded Palestine under the banner of Zionism. Jews have come from all these nations listed in Ezekiel. They came as immigrants and conquered the Palestinians in 1948-1949.
The fact that Khazar King Joseph identified his kingdom as being descended from a son of Togarmah is solid proof that the Khazars were to be among the invaders of “the mountains of Israel” (Ezekiel 38:8).
There are some major details in Ezekiel 38 which do not seem to describe the old land of Canaan/Palestine. For example, Ezekiel 38:11, 12 speaks to the invaders, saying,
11 and you will say, “I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates, 12 to capture spoil and to seize plunder…
The cities of Canaan/Palestine have had walls since they were first built in ancient times, and to this day it can hardly be claimed that it is a “land of unwalled villages.” where the inhabitants “are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls.”
It has been a war-torn land for thousands of years, and many of the ancient walls are still visible to this day. The most obvious modern wall is the one that the Israelis built as a security measure beginning in 2003.
When, since the establishment of Israel in 1948, has that nation ever lived securely? When has the land ever been at rest? When has there ever been no need for walls?
Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians can claim to be living in a land of unwalled villages. If, as many claim, the invasion of Gog and Magog is yet future, then the Israeli wall has defied Ezekiel’s prophecy.
In order to fit prophecy with the current state of affairs, we would have to look outside of Israel/Palestine. Yet most of the old world is full of walled cities or walled castles. It is only in North America that we find no significant stone walls. This has led some to conclude that the America would be invaded, and the proponents of this view usually assume that Russia will be the invader.
But what if the invasion already took place a century ago, not by Russians themselves, but by the Ashkenazi Jews from Russia and Eastern Europe? What if they invaded not only Palestine but America as well? What if World War 2 was fought to dislodge these Jews from their homes in Europe so that they would emigrate both to Palestine and America?
Ezekiel 38:15, 16 says further,
15 You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army, 16 and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land…
I remember back in the 1960’s how prophecy teachers were claiming that Russia was breeding millions of horses in order to invade Israel on horseback. From a military standpoint, this was a ridiculous claim, of course. Horses became obsolete after World War 1, as they were replaced by motorized vehicles and tanks.
So regardless of one’s viewpoint, horses are not to be taken literally. Ezekiel lacked the terminology to describe military tanks and other vehicles that men may ride.
When Ezekiel 38:8 speaks of “the mountains of Israel,” it is unclear whether this refers to the physical territory of ancient Israel or if this is a prophetic term where mountains are nations. If this refers to end-time nations of Israel, then we must look not to the old land but to the modern nations formed by the “lost” tribes of Israel in the West.
If this has a dual fulfillment, then it could refer to immigrants from Eastern Europe to Palestine and to America.
The most important factor is to understand that the Jews are not Israel. The name Israel was given to the sons of Joseph in Gen. 48:16. Only those tribes in union with Ephraim can claim to share the name Israel. When Judah and Israel split after the death of Solomon, Judah no longer held this right.
Hence, the only way to understand the invasion of the nations of Israel is to know who’s who. If we misidentify the nations prophesied in Scripture, we will certainly have an incorrect view of prophecy and its fulfillment.
In fact, this has been a big problem for a long time. Yet God Himself caused this problem and even foretold what He intended to do long before it happened. Joseph’s son, Manasseh, was named as a prophecy that the tribes of Joseph-Israel would forget their identity. Gen. 41:51 says,
51 Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.”
The pattern of Manasseh himself set the pattern for the tribe that he founded. When Israel was exiled to Assyria, they forgot their father’s house on a large scale.