War erupted in Europe on Thursday, February 24. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of his neighboring country. This was an unprovoked act of war. Russian troops poured over the border, and Russian planes and missile launchers attacked Ukrainian cities and airports. The attacks spanned much of the country, far beyond the border provinces where there has been sporadic fighting between the nations for years.
Russian troops entered the nation of Ukraine from the north, east and south. Military targets and cities were hit with airstrikes, missiles and artillery. The obvious goal is complete conquest of another sovereign nation.
The question naturally arises: does this invasion of a sovereign democracy have prophetic implications. I believe it does.
A New Old-Style War
30 years ago, when the Iron Curtain fell, Ukraine voluntarily surrendered their nuclear arms in return for a promise from Russia not to ever invade. Russia has failed to keep its promise. This war is a violation of international law and Russian-signed agreements safeguarding the territorial integrity of Ukraine, including the 1991 Belavezha Accords that established the Commonwealth of Independent States, the 1975 Helsinki Accords, the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances and the 1997 Treaty on friendship, cooperation and partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
The US and Western nations told Russia not to do it, but Russia has no fear of Western powers. Russia ignored our warnings and threats of sanctions. It shows us that Russia would not be deterred from Armageddon by Western threats, sanctions, and begging. Our threats and sanctions today are merely brushed aside, as Russia believes the US to be weak and crumbling.
Are sanctions really a match for missiles and bullets? Putin warned other countries that interfering with the invasion would bring about “such consequences as you have never before experienced in your history.” Some analysts believe that line amounted to a threat to use nuclear weapons.
There have been dozens of wars in the almost 80 years since World War II ended. Why is this one so important? What is different about this war? Well. this unprovoked Russian invasion is different from almost all wars in the last eight decades. It is another sign that the world may be entering an alarming new era in which authoritarianism is on the rise and the clout of democracies is diminishing.
This invasion by a totalitarian state into a democratic nation is to further Russia’s goal of being a dominant world power. Russia will surely win, and then will either annex Ukraine or establish a puppet government.
Throughout history, up to World War II, nations used war to expand their boundaries and set up client states in their region. But in the last 80 years, they have mostly abided by the international treaties and rules established in the 1940s. The relative world peace since 1945 has provided peace and stability, created surging living standards, and gave people longer, healthier and more comfortable lives. That relative world peace and prosperity was called “Pax Americana.”
The Russian invasion of Ukraine looks like the kind of war that has been largely absent in the past 80 years but was once common. It is a sign that Vladimir Putin believes that Pax Americana is over and that the U.S., the European Union and their allies have become too weak to exact painful consequences. Maybe he is right.
Former President Obama turned a blind eye to Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea. Putin may feel that Biden and the Western nations are even weaker now. Putin and his inner circle believe that liberal democracies are in decline, a view that Xi Jinping and other top Chinese officials share.
It seems we are once again entering a time when countries make decisions to do whatever their military power allows them to do. You can be sure that China is paying close attention, and will soon decide whether to invade Taiwan.
Putin wants Russia to be a global power. It can strengthen its geopolitical power by acquiring control of Ukraine’s deep warm water port of Odessa. Otherwise, it is limited in its ability to project power very far. In the North, it is impeded by harsh winters where her naval ports freeze up; in the East by a dominant China; in the West by NATO; in the Black Sea by uncooperative actors; and in the Mediterranean by unreliable allies.
However, from Odessa’s warm-water port, Russia can take on additional missions beyond the Black Sea at any time in the year, especially sealift operations and amphibious landings in the Mediterranean. This gives it access to the ME.
For years Bible scholars thought the Soviet Union would bring on Armageddon. But then the USSR collapsed, and left America as the world’s only superpower. But that isn’t true anymore. Russia and China are determined to be superpowers – and probably already are. The Russian bear is growling again – after 30 years of silence.
The old USSR was very interested in asserting power in the Middle East, but seemingly forgot that in the collapse of the Iron Curtain. But once again, Russia interests are being pulled back to that biblical region.
We believe Russia to be the Magog of Ezek. 38:2: “Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him.” “Gog” is a man – the ruler of “the land of Magog” and of “Meshech and Tubal” (Ezekiel 38:2-3, 39:1). Some believe Meshech to be modern Moscow.
Genesis 10 helps to establish the identity of these people. Magog was the second son of Japheth who, according to Josephus, the great Jewish historian, settled north of the Black Sea. Tubal and Meshech were the fifth and sixth sons of Japheth, and their descendants settled south of the Black Sea. The area is now the nations of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. But the violence of Middle East wars over the centuries drove these people north. The region of Meshech is now often identified as being north of the Black Sea (southern Russia and Ukraine and possibly the Republic of Georgia), and Tubal as an area in central Turkey.
Another significant reason for identifying Russia as Magog is her geographical location. The Bible usually describes geography in relation to Jerusalem. Ezekiel said, ” thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army.” Ezekiel 38:15. “And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel.” Ezekiel 39:2.
While looking at a map it is easy to see that north of Jerusalem is the broad expanse of Russia and the client nations of the former Soviet Union. Moscow is almost directly north of Jerusalem. Unquestionably the invading forces that will march against the nation Israel will be led by Russia.
And clearly, the Lord said he would pull Magog back into a military presence in the Middle East. Ezekiel 38:4: “And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords.” Warm water ports with good access to the Mediterranean Sea gives Russia the resources needed to expand toward the holy land.
Let me be clear: what is happening in Europe today is not the beginning of Armageddon. Too many Bible prophecies have to be fulfilled before Armageddon. But in describing the “beginning of sorrows” that precedes end-time events, Jesus said in Matthew 24:6: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
And again, this war marks the beginning of a potential major shift in the global order. This isn’t Armageddon, but the resurgence of Russia opens the potential for a world war as described in the Bible, and called Armageddon.
So does the strengthening of China – as I have said in several previous Bible studies. (Space limitations preclude going into the mentions of China in Bible prophecy here. Suffice it to say China could well be one of the “kings (plural) of the east” who will gather armies to Armageddon. Revelation 16:12.)
Ezekiel 38 lists some of Magog’s allies in the Armageddon conflict. See verses 5-6. The first is Persia (modern Iran) which is rapidly developing nuclear weapons capability. Others listed include Ethiopia, a biblical name for black African nations, and Libya, a biblical name for Arab African nations. Togarmah is modern Turkey, and Gomer with all his bands is a reference to Baltic or eastern European nations.
The reference to “Gomer and his bands” may have reference to what Russia is doing in Ukraine and eastern Europe. Some say this refers to southern Russia; others say it is a region in modern Turkey. But I believe it refers to European nations – especially eastern European nations that were once part of the USSR.
The Jewish Talmud, Yoma 10a, says Gomer is Germany or Germanic people. Some ancient ancient historians (Herodotus, Strabo, Plutarch, etc.), say they were the original settlers north of the Black Sea – which would mean the region of Ukraine.
The Gomer of Genesis 10:2-3 was the son of Japeth and grandson of Noah. One of his sons was Togarmah. His descendants were in modern Turkey. Another of Gomer’s sons was Ashkenaz, probably the founder of the Germanic tribes. Even today, Ashkenaz is the Hebrew word for Germany, and a Jewish person of central or eastern European descent is called Ashkenazi.
Gomer’s descendants formed the principal branch of the population of Southeastern Europe. This is significant because I believe Russia will come to dominate Southeastern Europe – either through annexation, or puppet governments who ally themselves closely with Moscow. This is prophetically-significant, because as you look at a map, you will see that Ukraine puts Russia just one step closer to the land of the Bible and the epicenter for the future Battle of Armageddon.
I also see this war as the first step in establishing a new world order. Russia and China are now uniting in their desire to diminish US power. The new alliance is far different from the Sino-Soviet bloc of the 1950s. Now Russia has considerable leverage because it is the major supplier of natural gas and oil to Europe. And China is NOT the impoverished, war-ravaged nation it was 70 years ago. It is a major global manufacturing powerhouse with a powerful and growing military.
In order to deploy troops against Ukraine, Putin has shifted military units away from Russia’s Chinese border. This shows increasing trust and cooperation between those two major powers. Russia and China intend to reshape the global order to their advantage. Maybe they will succeed.
I see a prophetic role for Russia and for China in Armageddon. But I don’t see a big role for the USA in Bible prophecy. Maybe because it didn’t exist when the Bible was written, or maybe the US is going to diminish as a world power.
In Ezekiel 38, western nations seem willing to try diplomacy and economic sanctions, but are reluctant to get involved in an actual military conflict. “Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” Ezekiel 38:13.
The same questions could be asked today: “Russia, are you coming to take a spoil? Is the nation of Ukraine the spoils of war?” Asking questions, sounding warnings, and imposing some sanctions, is all we are willing to do for Ukraine; and it won’t be enough to deter the Russian bear.
If we aren’t willing to go to war to protect this country, like nations weren’t willing to go to war when Hitler annexed Austria, and appeased him when he took over Czechoslovakia, then we won’t go to war to stop China when it takes Taiwan.
Where will the next dominos fall? And in the future, will we go to war to stop Magog, and the kings of the east, in Armageddon? Time will tell
So, in conclusion, I say to all, “It is time to get very serious about serving God.” If you have drawn back, if you are not currently serving Him in the body of Christ, please come back to your church. You need your relationship with the Lord to be strong and secure. We will welcome you with open arms.
The book of Daniel assures us repeatedly that God rules in the kingdoms of men. This isn’t happening outside of God’s will. He knows; and this is part of His plan. The beast is rising. End-time events are going to happen – just as prophesied in Revelation and other Bible prophecies.
The body of Christ is aware; and is concerned; but is fully-confident in God’s control and His divine protection for His people.