Where is Russia’s war in Ukraine taking us?
Will it spill over into the Middle East conflict?
Russia, NATO, and world order politics
Vladimir Putin gave a speech in Moscow on October 27th in which he said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will “accelerate” the inauguration of a “new world order based on law and justice” in which economic and political gains will justify the losses sustained thus far.
“We’re facing a historic milestone. Ahead of us is possibly the most dangerous, unpredictable, and, at the same time, crucial decade since the end of the Second World War.”
The idea that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine will bring a New World Order based on law and justice sounds bizarre. The war has brought ruin and destruction to Ukraine and the first credible threat of nuclear war since the Cuban Missile crisis.
Far from creating a ‘new world order based on law and justice’ Russia’s army has been exposed as undisciplined, badly led and ill equipped, committing war crimes against civilians. Having failed to win on the battle field, Putin is now engaged in an attempt to ruin a fellow Slavic nation, using missiles and drones purchased from the Islamic Republic of Iran to destroy the cities and infrastructure of Ukraine.
Millions of Ukrainians have fled the country, while many of those who remain face the harsh winter without electricity, heat or running water, and the possibility of starvation, or freezing to death.
So, the opposite of a ‘New World Order based on law and justice.’
Where does Putin get his idea of a ‘New World Order’ from?
One of his aims is to restore Russia as a great power equal to the USA as it was in the days of the Soviet Union. Therefore, he has to bring Ukraine back to Moscow’s sphere of influence as it was in the days of the Soviet Union and prevent it from moving into to the western sphere of influence through membership of NATO and the EU.
Russia’s fear was that the western alliance intended to use Ukraine as a springboard to break up Russia and absorb it into the western based globalist order. This was not actually a baseless fear (although nothing justifies Putin’s invasion of Ukraine).
There is evidence that US based globalists have been trying to weaken Russia with the aim of absorbing it into their World Order programme. There was a plan set out in 1997 in a book called the Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brzezinski, former US national security adviser, founder of the globalist Trilateral Commission and Council on Foreign Relations.
The plan specifically involved bringing Ukraine into the western / NATO / EU orbit first, then use it as a base from which to destabilise and take down Russia. Russia would then be split into 6 separate regions, none of which would be able to resist American / NATO / EU domination.
Putin saw the 2014 Orange Revolution (see Maidan Revolution) which kicked out the pro-Russian Ukrainian government and brought in a pro-western government (with backing of the EU) as evidence of this being planned.
Russia invaded Ukraine and unleashed this war in order to prevent NATO advancing into what it regards as its territory. Nothing justifies this savage and horrible war, and it is clear that Putin has made a terrible error in judgement in starting it. However, there is a view that NATO and the US have interests in keeping the war going, as is claimed in this article by Walt Zlotow, ‘Why Did US Torpedo April Ukraine War Negotiated Settlement?‘ https://www.antiwar.com/:
That would seem to be a reasonable solution to the crisis. However, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson went to Kyiv on April 9th and advised Zelensky that the UK “was in it for the long run,” and would not be party to any Ukraine, Russian agreement since the “collective West” saw a chance to “press” Russia and make the most of it.
Two weeks later, the US sent Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin to Kyiv to reinforce Johnson’s warning and make clear the US and NATO were determined to use the war to “weaken” Russia and pledging US military assistance for this end.
NATO ally Turkey has blamed the US and UK for sabotaging a promising chance to end the war early on. In September Ukraine, boosted by weapons supplied by the west, began to push back Russia from areas it had occupied. A number of western analysts speculated that Russia could fall apart as a country if Putin is defeated in Ukraine.
Retired General Ben Hodges, former commander of the U.S. Army Europe, gave reasons to believe this when he told London’s Times Radio in September 2022 that the debacle in Ukraine could have grave implications for Russia itself:
It looks like some are really hoping this will happen which is why they are so keen to arm Ukraine and encourage it to keep fighting against Russia.
The Russians have responded by saying this could lead to a nuclear holocaust if the west continues to use the Ukraine conflict as a means of bringing down Russia. Putin warned western leaders that he was not bluffing about the nuclear threat and has ordered displays of his nuclear capability to intimidate the west.
Russia has responded to Ukrainian advances on the battle front with a barrage of missile attacks aimed at the destruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure. The US is responding with a plan to send the Patriot air defence missile system to Ukraine to counter Russian aerial assaults.
This represents a major escalation, and it is also being reported that the Biden administration has given the Ukrainian government the green light to conduct drone strikes deep inside of Russia. There have already been strikes on Russia’s Engels-2 and Dyagilevo airbases, where Russia houses key military facilities used in the war, as well as the attack on the Crimean Bridge linking Russia to Kerch in Crimea on 8th October 2022.
Needless to say, the Russians are not pleased at all about having to deal with drone strikes deep inside their own territory. Nor are they pleased with Ukrainians saying they intend to take back Crimea. They are talking of responding with a nuclear threat to Ukraine and the west. Prominent Russian voices are warning that the US and Russia are getting dangerously close to the unthinkable and that the Ukraine conflict could turn into a “full-scale nuclear war.” So let us pray for peace, because a global war in which hundreds of millions of people die is a horrible possibility.
So let us pray for peace, because a global war in which hundreds of millions of people die is a horrible possibility.
The Pope put out a statement to the UN that the Earth is already involved in a “piecemeal” World War III. He said,
According to the Bible the world will be plagued by wars and conflict in the last days of this age, which will threaten humanity with final destruction. Only the second coming of Jesus will save us from this fate. See Matthew 24, Revelation 6. From my understanding of prophecy, a full-scale nuclear war over Ukraine looks unlikely as the final conflict must take place over Israel. But there could be more serious destruction coming out of Ukraine.
Russia and China
Russia is working to resist the NATO / EU advance by building up its partnership with China and its BRICS allies (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). It hopes to create a power centre to rival or even defeat the US.
At the Beijing winter Olympics in January 2022, Putin and Xi, the world’s two most powerful autocrats, shared their vision for a new world order, no longer dominated by the West.
This was followed by a meeting between the foreign ministers of Russia and China, Sergei Lavrov and Wang Yi, at which Lavrov affirmed his country’s keenness on the steady and continuous development of relations with China.
He said that the two countries intend to move forward towards “a multipolar, fair, and democratic world order.” For his part, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Russian-Chinese relations
At the present time this is not going well for Russia. The performance of Russia’s army in Ukraine has exposed its weakness not its strength. China likes to back a winner and is becoming less than enthusiastic about Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia is also losing ground in Central Asia. The most significant state to emerge out of the former Soviet Union, Kazakhstan, is loosening its ties to Russia and getting closer to China. Kazakhstan has welcomed Russian citizens who have fled to avoid being mobilised for the war in Ukraine, which has greatly upset Putin. China is wooing Kazakhstan and other central Asian states into its sphere of influence, seeking to strengthen its domination in central Asia and ensure that the centre of power in the alternative world order project will be China not Russia.
In all this we see three major power blocs emerging, NATO, Russia and China. Interestingly George Orwell’s novel of the dystopian future, ‘1984’, written in 1948 gave a grim prediction of a ‘Big Brother’ dictatorship, with three power blocs constantly at war with each other. They are Oceania, which included the Americas allied to the British Isles, Eurasia, including the rest of the European continent and the Asian part of Russia, and Eastasia centring on China.
The countries in between are the subject of constant wars for control by these three power blocs. They have shifting alliances between each other and ensure that there is a constant state of conflict, with the slogan ‘War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength’.
This is not too far out from the current situation, apart from the fact that western Europe has been part of the NATO alliance (Oceania), set up to defend itself against the Soviet Union / Russia (Eurasia) and its allies. In 1989 we saw the fall of Communism in eastern Europe in 1989 and the dismantling of the Soviet Union in 1991.
This led to a large area from the Baltic States down to Bulgaria, which was once part of the Russian (Eurasian) influence being transferred to the western (Oceania) influence. The present war over Ukraine can be seen as a conflict between Russia (Eurasia) and NATO / EU (Oceania) for control over a strategic part of what Russia considers its sphere of influence, as Russia tries to regain the position it held in the days of the Soviet Union.
China (Eastasia) is in a current alliance with Russia, and also in a state of conflict with the western alliance (USA in particular), which may end in another conflict taking place over Taiwan or over the Korean peninsula. China’s alliance with Russia could quite easily shift, especially as we see central Asian countries that were part of the Soviet Union gravitating towards China instead of Russia.
All these powers are currently engaged in some way in the Middle East, which sooner or later will move towards the prophetic fulfilment in the coming conflict over Israel prophesied in the Bible in Ezekiel 38-39, Zechariah 14 and Revelation 16 and 19.
Russia, China, and the global economy
After the fall of Communism, Russia became increasingly linked into the global economy. Oil and gas exports accounted for around 40% of its income, with western Europe its biggest market. Germany imported 55% of its energy needs from Russia. Before the war Russia and Ukraine produced around 25% of the world’s wheat and corn. Countries in North Africa and the Middle East depended on this wheat for their bread supply. Russia and Russian sourced energy for western factories produced around two-thirds of all the world’s fertilizer, which is now in short supply, affecting agriculture around the world.
We are already seeing spin offs from this war that include energy shortages and rises in the cost of living in the west, the lack of grain supplied by Russia and Ukraine to Africa and the Middle East pushing up food prices in already poor countries and leading to the prospect of starvation to many. Euronews
The destruction of the Nord Stream pipe line means that gas can no longer be supplied from Russia to Germany affecting the whole European economy with skyrocketing energy costs and the shutdown of factories and production.
The world’s largest chemical producer, the German company BASF, is permanently downsizing in Europe, citing rising energy prices and supply problems as the reason. Nitrogen-based fertilizers they produce need natural gas for production. As they can’t get enough of this and the prices are too high, they are talking of closing down. The fertilisers BASF produce are used to grow the crops to feed an estimated 4 billion people across the planet. Without them there will be more global food shortages, famine and starvation.
The war is likely to leave Russia in a serious financial crisis with the probability of severe and prolonged recession in an already fragile economy. An estimated $330 billion of Russian money in foreign assets has been frozen, with one view that this money should be confiscated and used to rebuild Ukraine after the war.
Russian banks have been banned from using the SWIFT international exchange system, which enables countries to make large financial transactions across borders.
As a result of this Russia and its ally China are looking at alternative options for transfer of money on international markets, something global institutions like the IMF and World Economic Forum are also looking at. Russia and China are working on a system of digital transfers for international trade.
Zero Hedge wrote an article on the implications of this in May 2022: ‘SWIFT payments system may be replaced by CBDCs in Five years’:
The Russia – China alliance has an interest in pursuing this option, although once again it is China not Russia that is emerging as the dominant partner. It is about control of the financial system. At present the US dollar is used as the world’s reserve currency. To make large payments for oil and gas, nations have to convert their money into petrodollars which are then sold back to the USA, giving it a great advantage in the world trading system and helping America keep up its high standard of living while being so much in debt.
Russia and China want to change all this. China’s state sponsored digital currency is already being designed to challenge the dominance of the US dollar and replace the American based system. Its central bank stated in July 2021 that the digital renminbi is ready for cross border use.
If realised such arrangements could allow Chinese firms and their trading partners to reduce the usage of the US dollar for cross border transactions and circumvent payment channels to the US. Apart from the damage this would do to the US economy it would also shut off the weapon the US government is able to use at present of putting sanctions on countries whose behaviour is deemed harmful to the US led world order programme (as has happened to Iran and Russia).
The Chinese plan is to knock the US off its perch as world leader and to dominate the world itself. Russia is backing China’s plan in its quest to end what Putin has called the ‘unipolar world’ dominated by America.
Russia wants to get its allies in its ‘BRICS’ alliance on board (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa).
Iran is onside for China’s plan and even Saudi Arabia is looking at it as a useful alternative to the petrodollar system. China’s President Xi recently visited Saudi Arabia. If Saudi does go in with this it could be the end for the petrodollar.
All this could cause a weakening of the western alliance, which has sent huge quantities of its defence equipment to help Ukraine’s war effort, and also spent vast sums of money on the war, as well as the Covid Crisis, Climate Change measures and the rising cost of food and energy. If countries ditch the US dollar as the reserve currency, unwanted dollars would flood back into the US and the currency could crash.
The euro and the pound would be in bad shape too. If the US fails and China emerges intact (with Russia as a junior battered partner), it would be a victory for global totalitarianism and human rights abuse and the next stage in the suppression of Biblical Christianity.
The Book of Revelation, chapter 6 opens up the section of the book which goes through to chapter 19, describing the great tribulation that precedes the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to the earth. In the opening verses of chapter 6 the four horsemen of the apocalypse ride out. The rider on the white horse is the antichrist (not Jesus Christ) bringing worldwide deception in his quest for world power. He is followed by the red horse bringing war, the black horse bringing famine and the pale horse bringing mass death probably through disease. The result is the death of a quarter of the world’s population, on today’s count two billion people.
If you think about it says that a quarter of the population is going to be killed. What’s a quarter of the world’s population? Let’s say (to round up) that there are 8 billion people in the world at the time. A quarter is 2 billion people. Revelation 6.5-8
It goes on. Another passage says that a third of the world’s population will be killed after that. So, you could get down to half the world’s population, according to the numbers given in Revelation, being killed in these tragedies which are coming in the Great Tribulation period. Revelation 9.13-19
The war in Ukraine has been fuelled by deception, has brought war, with potential famine and mass death as a result. It is not yet the ‘four horsemen of the apocalypse’ but it is certainly something like it.
Russia and the EU
The Soviet Union was a Communist dictatorship which brought oppression and misery to millions and was a severe persecutor of Christians. Far from creating peace and equality, the Communist Party leaders became the new ruling class with power, wealth and control over society (as Putin and his oligarchs have today). They enforced this by a police state, the KGB and the gulag camps where political prisoners were held in the terrible conditions described by the writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn. By its hold over the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe after World War 2, Moscow became the controlling power over the Warsaw Pact countries, from Poland down to Bulgaria, separated from western Europe by the Iron Curtain.
Soviet President Gorbachev attempted to liberalise Communism during the 1980s with his ‘glasnost’ (openness) and ‘perestroika’ (restructuring) programme. People were already fed up with the stifling dictatorships in eastern Europe and rose up in revolution in 1989, as one country after another threw out the Communists. In 1991 Communist rule in the Soviet Union collapsed and the different republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) became independent countries. All of eastern Europe joined the EU, apart from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, including the Baltic States which had been part of the USSR.
Putin sees the fall of the Soviet Union as a ‘catastrophe of the century’ which has left Russia vulnerable on its western border where it once had client states like Poland, East Germany and Czechoslovakia and now has countries which have joined the EU and NATO. Russia wanted these buffer states to protect itself from invasion from the west, mindful of the terrible suffering it endured when the Nazis invaded in 1941, resulting in the death of around 28 million Soviet citizens.
From Russia’s point of view, the prospect of Ukraine joining the western alliance was a bridge too far and so Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 to stop this from happening. He hoped his tanks would swiftly roll into Kiev, replace Zelensky’s government with a Russian puppet government as the Soviets did in Czechoslovakia in 1968, when Czech leaders Dubcek and Svoboda tried to replace Soviet Communist control with ‘Socialism with a human face.’ He was not prepared for the strength of Ukraine’s resistance, nor for the united front of opposition to his war from Europe and America.
From the west’s point of view Russia’s move into Ukraine is seen as a threat to all the countries that left the Soviet orbit to join the western one, hence NATO building up its defence of countries like Poland and the Baltic states. Sweden and Finland, which are EU members but not until now in NATO, are seeking to join NATO to protect themselves from the Russian threat.
EU leaders are seeing the need to beef up Europe’s armies and strengthen European unity. President Macron of France has called for the creation of a united EU army to defend Europe, along with calls for deeper EU integration. EU president Ursula von der Leyen is now calling for the EU to unite to make itself independent from Russian oil, gas and coal.
Because of the crisis with Russia, Europe is looking for alternative sources of supply. The EU has approached Israel to supply it with gas via Egypt, which Israel’s government is currently considering. Israel’s Leviathan gas field is situated in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel in the north. There was a proposal to create a pipeline from Israel through Cyprus and Greece to Italy, where it would be used as a supply of gas to Europe.
Currently this has been suspended because of environmental considerations, objections from Turkey and a move against it by the Biden administration in the USA. If it were to be revived Russia may see it as a threat to its interests, a possible motivation for its involvement in the Gog and Magog war, when it comes to ‘take great plunder’ (Ezekiel 38.11).
The renewed threat from a belligerent Russia and the economic crisis now threatening Europe may cause the EU to push for deeper unity and to emerge as a power in its own right, in a country called Europe. Many students of prophecy see this as the Revived Roman Empire of prophecy, the seat of the Antichrist’s power in the last days (see Revelation 13, 17.9-14, Daniel 7.19-25). The Antichrist will negotiate the peace settlement which will set off the final seven-year period of the tribulation (Daniel 9.27). One view of prophecy is that this will come after the failed invasion of Israel by Russia and allies, prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39.
These issues therefore encourage deeper EU integration, as it tries to push its influence eastwards and towards Israel. In Daniel 8.9 we read:
Russia versus western liberal values
Putin has another justification for the war. Western pro LGBT ideology is said to be a threat to the stability of Russia. He accuses Zelensky and his government of importing this into Ukraine and says this will then be used to undermine Russia.
Putin has said he is trying to save Russia from the West’s ‘woke’ values, in particular the promotion of homosexuality. He described this as an attempt to
Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov spoke of the need to protect Christian values from “same-sex values that are being imposed . . . coarsely and openly.” Commenting on this the liberal Boston Review wrote:
Ironically, after 70 years of Communist atheism warring against the church, Putin is now trying to promote Russia as carrying the torch of Christian civilisation after the West’s plunge into ungodly materialism, secularism, and individualism. He is encouraged in this by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, who supports the anti LGBT stand, and the war in Ukraine, which he says is being fought for ‘God and mother Russia.’ He said in a sermon on 25th September that those soldiers dying in the war are a “sacrifice in the course of carrying out your military duty. This cleanses away all sins.”
Margarita Simonyan, a Putin apologist with a strong profile on Russian TV, said it is better to die for Russia in Ukraine than be subject to an ultra-liberal dominated world of western values which are a threat to humankind. She said these are
This alignment against the LGBT agenda by Russia has caused some in the west who are opposed to the LGBT programme to be supportive of Putin. This is a big mistake. Putin is fighting for anything but ‘God, Christianity and Mother Russia.’ Minority groups, including evangelical Christians, are now suppressed by the state, while only the pro Putin Russian Orthodox Church has freedom.
After the Gorbachev era, there was the possibility of Russia becoming an open society with freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but due to Yeltsin’s incompetence and western meddling in Russian affairs, that turned out very badly. In his early years as President, Putin rescued Russia from economic and social collapse. Now he is taking it back to something close to Stalinism.
Russia is now a nation where news is controlled and people are cowed into submission to the state narrative under threat of imprisonment, (as in the days of the Soviet Union). The war has also had tragic results for Russia itself, with a crackdown on freedom of information and speech, suppression of dissent against the regime. Critics of Putin, like Alexei Navalny, who accuses him and his oligarchs of stealing Russia’s resources to build up their own incredible wealth, end up in jail or assassinated.
An estimated 7 – 900,000 Russians (mainly young wealth producing men) have fled the country to escape being conscripted into a war that has already killed and maimed over 100,000 Russian soldiers, and an equal number of Ukrainians.
Russia and the War of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38-39)
The question which now remains open is the role of Russia in the War of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38-39). I have written in the past how this prophecy in Ezekiel 38-39 points to a great power to the north of Israel (Russia) leading an alliance of nations including Persia (Iran) and Togarmah (probably the current territory of Turkey) against Israel in the latter days. See Light for the Last Days July 2022 edition, available in booklet format on request. It has been suggested that this will happen early in the tribulation period or even before the tribulation begins. Other options are that it is the same event as Armageddon and occurs at the end of the tribulation. Some interpreters say that the leading protagonist is Turkey not Russia. Or that it is the same event as Revelation 20.7-9, Satan’s last war on God. There are reasons why the event does probably involve Russia and may well happen before Armageddon. Also why it is different from Revelation 20.7-9.
This is what Ezekiel says:
The prophecy speaks about something that happens in the ‘latter days’, after the Jewish people have been brought back from dispersion to dwell in the land of Israel, including the ‘mountains of Israel.’ The mountainous part of Israel is the Golan Heights and the hill country of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) centering on Jerusalem.
We have now seen the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. In 1967 the Golan Heights and Jerusalem came under Israeli control as a result of the Six Day War.
At this time a hostile force will come from the north (the direction of Syria) and attack Israel. The leader of this force is ‘Gog of the land of Magog’. The word Gog in Hebrew refers to an exalted leader with an implication that he will be lifted up against God. The Hebrew word ‘gag’ means roof or something high and lifted up. In the context Gog is the ruler of a country called Magog and is against God and His people.
Magog was an area in biblical times which would have been known to Ezekiel. Ancient tribal groups occupied the area that now comprises southern Russia and Central Asia. Magog was the second son of Japheth, the son of Noah (Genesis 10.2), and his descendants are often referred to by their Greek name, the Scythians. The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews) identified Magog with the area of what is today Russia:
He went on to say these people lived in the northern regions above the Caucasus mountains, settling north of the Black Sea.
Gog is described as being ‘chief prince’ of Meshech, and Tubal, who comes from the uttermost north. The Hebrew for ‘chief prince’ is ‘nissi rosh’ which can also be translated as ‘prince of Rosh’. The place name Rosh (or its equivalent in the respective languages) is found at least twenty times in other ancient documents, referring to bands of the Rosh people who lived in an area to the north of the Black Sea. It has a linguistic connection to the name ‘Rossiya’ or Russia.
Meshech appears 10 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, including its first usage in the Table of Nations (Genesis 10.2). In Genesis 10, Meshech is listed as the 6th son of Japheth who settled in the north eastern portion of Asia Minor. His posterity extended from the shores of the Black Sea along to the south of the Caucasus. He was the father of the Rossi and Moschi, who dispersed their colonies over a vast portion of Russian territory.
Wilhelm Gesenius, the world class Hebrew scholar, whose Hebrew Lexicon has never been surpassed, identified Meshech as Moscow, the capital of modern Russia. He identified Tubal as Tobolsk, the earliest province in Asiatic Russia to be colonised, and also the name of the city in which Peter the Great built the old fortress after the pattern of the Kremlin in Moscow. Gesenius states that the Greek name “Moschi”, derived from the Hebrew ‘Meshech’, is the source of the name for the city of Moscow (Moskva in Russian). His conclusion was these people make up the modern Russian people. If you go due north of Jerusalem you will come to Moscow.
In Ezekiel 38, ‘Gog of the land of Magog’ leads this army which is an alliance of nations including Persia (Iran) and Togarmah (possibly the area of modern Turkey). These come against Israel from the north. At the time it says Israel is dwelling safely. The Authorised Version says ‘dwelling peaceably’. Some have said this cannot apply to Israel today, with the threats it faces from all sides. However, the Hebrew phrase used here has no connection to the word ‘shalom’ for peace, so this AV translation is questionable. The Hebrew is ‘la betach’ which has the idea of ‘with security.’ That does apply to Israel today. Israel has one of the strongest armies in the world with hi-tech equipment and a missile defence system which is without parallel. It is developing a new laser defence system which could destroy incoming missiles before they enter Israeli space.
According to Ezekiel 38.12-13 this invading army comes down to take a spoil.
Israel has discovered large amount of natural gas and oil off coast near Haifa in north, in the area settled by the tribe of Asher in Bible times. In the Bible there is a promise that ‘Asher shall dip his foot in oil’. Deuteronomy 33.24. The Hebrew word for oil used here is ‘shemen’ which meant olive oil, but it is the modern Hebrew word for oil used for industry. This could be of interest to Russia as it seeks to control the flow of oil and gas to the western world.
There is a view that Russia’s strategy in Ukraine is to create a corridor of power going down from Russia, through Turkey to Syria and then on to Israel and Egypt, in order to be able to control the oil and gas exports from the Middle East and Caspian Sea area.
The invasion is opposed (verbally not militarily), by Sheba, Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish. Sheba and Dedan in the Bible are in the Arabian Peninsula, corresponding to the Gulf states which are now in alliance with Israel. One reason for this alliance is that both are threatened by Iran. They are being helped by Israel with its missile defence system, which is also being offered to Saudi Arabia. Tarshish is an area to the far west of Israel. Biblical Tarshish was most likely located in modern Spain, but it has been suggested that this reference could refer to the western alliance, including Britain and America (young lions relates to the symbol of the lion associated with Britain).
These powers protest at what Gog is doing but they do nothing. They don’t need to because God acts, destroying the invading army.
In the following chapter it describes walls falling down, a great earthquake in the land and rain, hail and judgement falling on the invading army. Fire falls on Magog (Russia) and those who dwell securely in coastlands (USA?). The Spirit is poured out on the people of Israel as the Lord saves His people.
Is the current crisis in Ukraine connected to this event? If Russia prevails and gets its way in Ukraine, it could bring this war as its next move. If it does not it could make it further away as Russia is weakened by the disastrous effect its invasion of Ukraine has had, the poor performance of its army and the great worldwide hostility to Russia this has stirred up. Only the Lord knows, but this prophecy has never yet been fulfilled and it is specifically stated that it will be fulfilled in the latter days.
Interestingly the book of Joel also speaks of an event located in the last days, when a northern army comes against Israel and is defeated:
Following this event, the Spirit is poured out (Joel 2.28-32), before the final battle, involving all nations which is concluded with the coming of the Lord to Israel to bring deliverance and peace to His people (see Joel 3).
What’s happening now?
The current situation in Ukraine would appear to make it unlikely that Russia could get involved in another war in its present state. The Ukraine war has turned into a disaster for Russia with its army weakened, its morale and weaponry destroyed, and its economy in trouble. An estimated 100,000 soldiers have been killed or seriously injured and an estimated 700,000 men have fled Russia to avoid being called up into the army. The war is increasingly unpopular in Russia.
Despite the constant pro war propaganda on the Kremlin controlled media, news is getting back to the people of the suffering of its soldiers and the misery Russia has inflicted on its fellow Slavs in Ukraine. Those who can have already fled the country to avoid the draft into the army. The Russian army has been humiliated and exposed as badly led and ill equipped. Although any anti-war movement is being suppressed, more defeat for Russia in Ukraine, and more hardship within the country as a result of the war, could lead to unrest and rebellion against the Putin regime.
We note also that Iran is also in crisis, as the people reject their Islamic rulers and cry out for freedom from the imposition of Islamic tyranny. Very few people in Iran, especially the youth, now believe in the values of the Islamists. Their main achievement since the 1979 Islamic Revolution has been to make Islam hated and feared by the majority, who now either want a secular western style government or are open to Christianity and the Gospel.
Whether the Iranian regime will fall or not is an open question at the time of writing. The state is unleashing its power of repression against the people, making it even more unpopular. If the army and even some in the Revolutionary Guards turn against the regime (possible) and join the protests, it is finished. If not, they may be able to suppress the protests and carry on. Russia is becoming more involved in Iran and has a strong interest in keeping the present regime in power. The West has made feeble protests against the crimes of the regime but it is clear that the US will not try to help the demonstrators.
The Iranian regime says it is Israel and the West who are behind the unrest, which is clearly untrue. The unrest is caused by the people’s opposition to the repressive Islamic regime. However, Israel has built up an alliance with Arab regimes against Iran, including Saudi Arabia, and with Azerbaijan, situated to the west of Iran. Israel sees Iran as its main enemy in the region.
If the Islamic regime falls and Russia is defeated in Ukraine it would make it very difficult for the Gog and Magog war prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39 to happen in the immediate future.
On the other hand, there are things happening which suggest things could move in this direction. In January 2022 Iran, Russia, and China held their third combined naval drill in the northern Indian Ocean, amid speculation that the three countries are teaming up in the face of growing regional tensions with the United States.
Since coming to office in June 2021, Iran’s hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi has pursued a policy to deepen ties with both Moscow and Beijing. In July 2022 Putin visited Iran to shore up his alliance and show that he is interested in continuing to operate in the Middle East region.
Iran has openly stated its intention to eliminate the state of Israel. It has supplied large quantities of missiles to its proxies in Lebanon, its forces are active in Syria and in Iraq and Yemen. Israel is involved in a proxy war with Iran, hitting targets inside Syria where Iran has bases, including a major attack on Damascus airport in June 2022 to destroy missiles being shipped in from Iran to supply Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Israel is already engaged in a behind the scenes sabotage inside Iran, using cyber warfare and attacks on its infrastructure and threatening to bomb its nuclear facilities.
Russia has naval bases in Syria at Latakia and Tartus and an air base at Khmeimim. In February 2022 the Russian military deployed long-range nuclear-capable bombers and fighter jets carrying state-of-the-art hypersonic missiles to Syria for massive naval drills in the region. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived in Syria to oversee the drills that mark the biggest Russian naval deployment to the Mediterranean Sea since Cold War times. Shoigu met with Syrian President Bashar Assad to inform him about the drills and discuss plans for further military-technical cooperation.
Russia is now getting help from Iran in supplying drones to attack Ukraine. As Russia becomes ever deeper involved with Israel’s main enemy in the Middle East, Russia itself has become more hostile to Israel. It has shut down the Jewish Agency in Russia, which defends Jewish interests in Russia and helps any Russian Jews who want to emigrate to Israel. With Russian troops already in Syria as well as Russia being in support of Iranian encroachment on Israel’s border, Putin is now applying even more pressure to the Jewish state by offering military assistance to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. While there would be no way for Russia to actually deliver this sort of military assistance, the prospects of Russian interference in Judea and Samaria should be frightening to everyone. Russia has issued a severe warning to Israel not to get involved in the Ukraine conflict and not to supply any weapons to Ukraine. Eyal Hulata, Israel’s national security adviser, has said that now that Iran has begun supplying ballistic missiles to the Russians for their ongoing invasion of Ukraine,
in order to shoot them down.
Now Benjamin Netanyahu has returned to power as Israel’s Prime Minister. Netanyahu previously warned that he will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, knowing that the prime target for the Islamic regime to fire such a weapon would be Tel Aviv. According to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Iran has enough nuclear material for more than one nuclear weapon. Iran has broken the agreement made with the international community over its nuclear programme by shutting down cameras monitoring its nuclear sites in defiance of the IAEA. The IAEA also warned that Iran is in the process of installing hundreds of new IR-6 centrifuges at its underground Natanz uranium enrichment plant.
This new activity will bring Iran even faster to the so-called ‘breakout capacity,’ and from there it’s only a matter of time before the Islamic Republic will be able to produce a nuclear warhead that it can mount on one of its long-range missiles.
Israel hoped the international community would resolve the Iran problem through diplomatic channels by bringing the issue to the UN Security Council. However, since this is unlikely to happen, the government in Jerusalem reserves the right to end Iran’s nuclear programme through its own direct action.
This is not an empty threat and it is becoming increasingly clear that the Israeli military apparatus is currently preparing for a major confrontation with Iran and the bombing of nuclear facilities in the Islamic Republic.
In November 2022, the Israeli Air Force conducted its largest joint aerial drills in years with the US Air Force involving a mock mission to take out Iranian nuclear sites. According to military statements,
Aerial refuelers from both sides also assisted, in addition to fighter jets – given the militaries will simulate operations that would theoretically reach all the way across the Middle East into the Islamic Republic. The US and Israel have meanwhile lately pledged closer military and intelligence cooperation, with Washington vowing to assist the Jewish state with missile defence if it ever came under attack.
Iran’s response to such an attack (if it happens) could involve strikes on Israel from Iran’s proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, and potentially drag Russia into the fray. With Russia already indebted to Iran for its supply of drones to launch against Ukraine, an Israeli – US attack on Iran could lead to Russia coming in to help Iran in its fight against Israel.
The Jerusalem Post (11/12/22) reported that the Iran-Russia alliance now relates to Russia providing “unprecedented” support for Iran.
That might increase the risk to US partners in the Middle East, in particular Israel which is the obvious target in Iran’s sight. Iran has also increasingly used drones as a threat and exported not only precision-guided munitions to Hezbollah in Lebanon, but also moved militias and weapons into Syria and Iraq.
This includes ballistic missiles, air defences and other systems, such as drones. Against this, Israel is developing a very powerful and effective missile defence system and also hi-tech missiles of its own capable of pinpoint accuracy in locating and destroying enemy targets.
Sooner or later these developments could precipitate the War of Gog and Magog, in which an alliance of nations comes against Israel and is supernaturally destroyed by God’s intervention of Israel’s behalf. This army will be led by a power coming from the uttermost north in alliance with many anti-Israel nations including Persia / Iran. It will meet its doom on the mountains of Israel.
In this case Russia’s power will be broken, possibly the US as well, as the prophecy speaks of fire falling on Magog (Russia) and the coastlands of the sea (a way of describing distant lands whose names were unknown in the days of the Bible). The EU may emerge as a dominant power, in conjunction with the UN and the World Economic Forum, while China rises in the east. Out of this the antichrist emerges, makes a peace covenant with Israel which sets off the final seven-year period of the tribulation before the return of the Messiah.
As far as the Russian and Ukrainian people are concerned, we pray that many of them will seek God for salvation at this time and read their Bibles and find the true way to God. We have produced a translation into Russian and Ukraine of my booklet ’10 Signs of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ’ which is being distributed Ukrainian refugees and Russians fleeing the war. We also have copies to use here and are contacting Russians online and pointing them to the booklet on our website at https://lightforthelastdays.co.uk/publications/booklets/10-признаков-второго-пришествия-иисуса/
As far as Israel is concerned we stand by the right of the Jewish people to live in peace and safety in the land of the Bible, but we also recognise that prophecies of the end times point to a conflict along the lines of the one we have described in this article. God will preserve Israel as a nation, despite the power of their enemies, but only the return of the Messiah will bring deliverance from this conflict. The Messiah has been once before in the person of Yeshua / Jesus. He is coming again, this time as King of kings and Lord of lords with all power to put down the forces of antichrist and set up His Messianic kingdom. Be ready.
December 2022. Light for the Last Days, Box BM 4226, London, WC1N 3XX