How might the rantings of a grumpy prophet in ancient Babylon come to throw light on who was really to blame for a murder in a quiet Leicestershire town in 2005? Or, for that matter, how might it help us figure out what the enigmatic UMDIP might be?
In one, short paragraph, the gist of a particular prophecy given by Ezekiel (38-39) is this: In the ‘latter times’, God will cause Gog of the land of Magog, in league with many other countries around the world, to besiege and attack Israel. God will then cause great losses among the attackers, by both turning them against each other and giving them some mysterious disease. Thus Israel will prevail and the whole thing will, once and for all, demonstrate to Israel and the whole world that God is their God and Israel will no longer profane His name and incur such punishment again.
It’s important to remember that, according to St Paul (Romans 11) and subsequent Church teaching, true Christian gentiles around the world have been ‘grafted onto’ the faithful of Israel as one might graft a branch from one olive tree onto another. Whenever Christians read of Israel in the Bible, they see it as a reference to themselves as much as a reference to the ancient tribe of Israel. It is because of this that over the centuries, Christians, who always see themselves as living in the ‘latter times’, have had a lot of fun speculating who the Gog of Magog of their own day might be.
During the Cold War, for example, western fingers pointed most commonly at Russia. This game is not, however, as simple as just choosing your favourite bogeyman. There are a few other things to be considered. They have to come from ‘the north’, for example, and they have to be in league with a lot of other countries.
When I was first throwing some ideas around for writing the novel I Am Not Gog, I was inspired by my interest in a certain global phenomenon that was manifesting violence upon people in our own era and I was speculating whether that phenomenon could fit the bill of being our ‘latter times’ Gog of Magog. (As I have mentioned elsewhere, that phenomenon must remain unnamed, so I have given it the acronym UMDIP, from ‘unnamed modern-day international phenomenon’.)
After an enormous amount of deep research into UMDIP and its background, it led me to have a complete turn around in my understanding of the nature and causes of UMDIP, so I had to have a complete break from the writing of the novel until I could figure out how to move forward with it in light of what I had learned.
It then dawned on me that my own process of discovery reflected aspects integral to UMDIP itself, and that Lydia, my protagonist, must unwittingly go on her own voyage of discovery to find who is the true ‘Gog of Magog’ of her ‘latter times’. Who that turns out to be, in the novel and in our own lives, is for the reader to decide.
This was the third in a series of five blogs looking at the overall allegorical scheme and the four strands of allegory running between Lydia’s story (source) and UMDIP (target). A general overview of the allegorical scheme is here, the second in the series is here, the fourth is here, and the last one is here.