The first clue is based on the Hebrew word "mushach."13 This word means "led along according to someone else's will." It indicates that the people of this nation are led to do things not by their own free will, but by the will of someone else. The people of this nation are not free.
The second clue, "smooth-skinned" (or hairless), comes from the Hebrew word "morat,"14 This word probably means smooth, or hairless. The people of this nation are either clean-shaven, or, more probably, they do not naturally grow facial hair and body hair.
The third clue is that its people are "feared from himself and beyond." The Hebrew phrase reads, "nora min-hu vahalea." The descriptive Hebrew root-words are "yare" and "min...halea."15 The people of this nation are afraid of their own government and the nation is feared worldwide. Their nation may be a world power.
The fourth clue, "a nation that stretched measuring lines and subjugated," is from the Hebrew words "kav-kav" and "mevusa."16 he combination of these words indicates that this nation stretched measuring lines (like a carpenter does before he cuts a piece of wood) and then subjugated, or subdued [people].
The fifth clue, "whose land the rivers have plundered" is based on the Hebrew word "bazu." The verb "bazu" is found nowhere else in the Old Testament except in this chapter in Isaiah. The word, however, is similar to the noun "baz,"17 which means "loot," or "plunder." The verb "bazu," therefore, probably means "looted," or "plundered." The passage indicates that rivers will have plundered, or carried off the wealth of this nation's land before messengers from Cush arrive. The rivers of the 'mystery nation' will have severely flooded.
Let us review all the clues. When messengers from Cush go to this 'mystery nation,' the nation has the following characteristics:
The nation is not a free (or democratic) society.
The nation's people are smooth-skinned (have little or no facial and body hair).
The nation is a world power.
The nation stretched measuring lines and then subjugated or subdued [people].
The nation will have just experienced massive river flooding.
If this prophecy is imminent, China may be the modern nation that best fits the Biblical description of the mystery nation of Isaiah 18.
Isaiah 18 continues, giving further insight into the Gog/Magog war.
"All you people of the world, you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and when a trumpet sounds, you will hear it. This is what the LORD says to me: "I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest." For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives, and cut down and take away the spreading branches."* (Isaiah 18:3-5 NIV)
* This sentence may give a clue to the time of year of the Gog/Magog defeat.
"They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey and to the wild animals; the birds will feed on them all summer, the wild animals all winter. At that time gifts will be brought to the LORD Almighty from a people tall and smooth-skinned, from a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers*— the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the LORD Almighty." (Isaiah 18:6-7 NIV)
* again the 'mystery nation' passage is better translated: "...a nation led along according to someone else's will, smooth-skinned (or hairless), a people feared from himself and beyond, a nation that stretched measuring lines and subjugated, whose land the rivers plundered." (Isaiah 18:2 & 7)
Cush (כּוּשׁ "Dark,") was the eldest son of Ham, brother of Canaan and the father of Nimrod, mentioned in the "Table of Nations" in Genesis 10:6 and in I Chronicles 1:8. It is usually considered to be the eponym of the people of Kush. Six Arabian tribes are also sons of Cush.