Russia's President Putin and the Gogian Style Rule
In a dramatic move Russia annexes Crimea.
March 22, 2014 - Audio, 19.50 MIN
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"Members of the Federation Council, deputies of the State Duma, citizens of Russia, residents of Crimea and Sevastopol, today, in accordance with the people’s will, I submit to the Federal Assembly a request to consider a Constitutional Law on the creation of two new constituent entities within the Russian Federation: the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, and to ratify the treaty on admitting to the Russian Federation Crimea and Sevastopol, which is already ready for signing. I stand assured of your support." The events we have been watching closely in recent editions of Bible in the News reach a dramatic climax as Russia annexes Crimea and sets the precedent for future activities which will see Russia fulfill its role mapped out in Bible prophecy. This is Matt Davies joining you amongst momentous times.
Russia in Bible Prophecy
Bible students who have considered the prophecies of the Old Testament have long looked for a dominant, powerful and arrogant Russia. This understanding of Bible prophecy seemed almost laughable even only 30 years ago but since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia's power has been on the rise. So much so that in recent events we see unfolding before our eyes the aggressive, ambitious and powerful Russia has now reached a stage where the other nations of the world can do little or nothing to keep her inline with their world view. This rise from the ashes of communism and dominance in the East is precisely what we would expect from examining Bible prophecy.
Back in 1849 Bible student John Thomas wrote the following in his book "Elpis Israel":
"The future movements of Russia are notable signs of the times, because they are predicted in the Scriptures of truth... When Russia makes its grand move for the building-up of its Image-empire, then let the reader know that the end of all things, as at present constituted, is at hand. The long-expected, but stealthy advent of the King of Israel, will be on the eve of becoming a fact; and salvation will be to those who not only looked for it, but have trimmed their lamps by believing the gospel of the kingdom unto the obedience of faith, and the perfection thereof in "fruits meet for repentance" "
How could John Thomas be so confident that a dominant Russia would arise before the return of Christ? Because of Bible prophecy and particularly an understanding of Ezekiel chapter 38.
Ezekiel 38 is indeed an amazing prophecy. We've summarised some of the criteria needing to be in place for it to be fulfilled as follows:
- An aggressive leader termed Gog will arise (v2)
- He will be the chief prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal - ancient names for the territory and peoples of Russia. (v2)
- He will raise a military force which will come against God's people of Israel (v4)
- He will be personally involved with its military activities (v7)
- The Jews will have been regathered to their land after a period of dispersion (v8)
- Working with Russia will be the nations located East of Israel termed "Persia" in v5 - the ancient territory of Persia covered the region of modern Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. (v5)
- Along with these the north African nations of Libya and Ethiopia will also be involved (v5)
- Also Working with Russia will be a group of European nations - mentioned using their name of Gomer (v6)
- As well as the peoples of Armenia under their ancient name of Togarmah. (v6)
- Gog will act as a guard to these nations (v7) and justify his aggression as self defence of them.
In effect this prophecy is talking of a massive confederacy of nations all under the control of the leader of Russia who will come and attack Israel. Clearly this is the time period we are actually living in now as the prophecy states it will only occur when the land of Israel is once again populated by the Jewish people. Such an event has only occurred in relatively modern times since 1948 when the state of Israel was declared. This part of the prophecy is a clear sign of the times and now, in the person of president Putin of Russia, we are seeing the rise of a Gogian style ruler in Russia.
In verse 18 we see that it is at this time when God will visibly act in human affairs and when we link the prophecy with companion chapters like Zechariah 12-14 we see that it is at this great crisis that Jesus Christ and the immortalised saints will appear to protect Israel.
A Recent History of Crimea
This week the West has been in shock. This man, the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin has just invaded part of the Ukraine. He has cleverly taken it over with such force that there was little bloodshed and now the Crimea is suddenly part of Russia. What can Europe and the West do - nothing!
The recent history of the events in Crimea go something like this:
This powerful and aggressive Russia is starting to behave in a way which is in harmony with its latter day role.
- 21 November 2013: President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych abandons an EU deal
- December 2013: Pro-EU protesters occupy Kiev city hall and Independence Square
- 20-21 February 2014: At least 88 people killed in Kiev clashes
- 22 February 2014: Mr Yanukovych flees; parliament removes him and calls election
- 27-28 February 2014: Pro-Russian, anonymously uniformed, gunmen seize key buildings in Crimea
- 6 March 2014: Crimea's parliament votes to join Russia
- 16 March 2014: Crimea voters choose to secede in disputed referendum
- 17 March 2014: Crimean parliament declares independence and formally applies to join Russia
- 21 March 2014: Russia formalises the takeover of Crimea and writes it in law.
History of Crimea
On Tuesday 18th of March President Putin and the new leaders of Crimea signed a bill to absorb Crimea into Russia. Shortly after, surrounded by pomp and ceremony, Putin gave a passionate speech to both houses of parliament at the Kremlin - part of which we heard at the start of this weeks Bible in the news. The emotional speech was punctuated by large periods of standing ovations and of the crowd chanting "Russia Russia".
In his speech president Putin explained the history of the situation and the justification for getting involved. Surrounded by huge flags of Russia and insignias of the ancient Byzantine logo of the double headed eagle he explained that Crimea had always been part of the Russian territory. When the region had all been united under the Soviet Union it was in fact controlled by Russia. The territory of the Crimea as well as Eastern Ukraine had, during that time, been taken by the Communist leaders from Russia and added to the Republic of the Ukraine in 1954. This was done as a political stunt - or as Mr Putin put it "a desire to win the support of the Ukrainian political establishment or to atone for the mass repressions of the 1930’s in Ukraine".
This was no problem when the whole region was dominated by Russia through the Soviet Union. However with the collapse of the Soviet Union Russia suddenly finds itself without the Crimean peninsula. Due to the strategic placement of the Crimea next to the Black sea, Russia was very upset by this. Mr Putin says that "Millions of people went to bed in one country and awoke in different ones, overnight becoming ethnic minorities in former Union republics, while the Russian nation became one of the biggest, if not the biggest ethnic group in the world to be divided by borders." He also stated "It was only when Crimea ended up as part of a different country that Russia realised that it was not simply robbed, it was plundered."
Since that time things had continued relatively peacefully with Russia seeking to dominate the area by proxy. It seems though that the Ukrainian government was seeking ways to un-entangle itself from Russian influence as it looked West to Europe to help in this ambition making plans to integrate with the EU. The Ukrainian government introduced a draft law to revise the language policy of the Ukraine which would have meant that the use of the Russian language would have been suppressed. The draft law did not go through but did enrage the Russians as they saw it as a way of separating the Ukraine and the territory it still regarded as its own even further. The plans to join Europe were left in tatters after Russian clamped down on its borders and upped its energy prices upon hearing of this idea. The Ukraine only stopped its progress towards the EU after Putin brokered a deal with the Ukraine to keep them alongside (see Bible in the News dated 24th Jan 2014).
According to Mr Putin these steps to move away from Russia were conducted by "impostors" who "are often controlled by radicals". He said: "We understand what is happening; we understand that these actions were aimed against Ukraine and Russia and against Eurasian integration."
Those Russian speakers in the Crimea were feeling more and more marginalised. He claims they were pleading with Russia for help. "Naturally, we could not leave this plea unheeded; we could not abandon Crimea and its residents in distress. This would have been betrayal on our part."
We can see then the characteristic of "being a guard" coming to the fore then in these recent events.
Another point the president made was that: "we have already heard declarations from Kiev about Ukraine soon joining NATO. What would this have meant for Crimea and Sevastopol in the future? It would have meant that NATO’s navy would be right there in this city of Russia’s military glory, and this would create not an illusory but a perfectly real threat to the whole of southern Russia. These are things that could have become reality were it not for the choice the Crimean people made, and I want to say thank you to them for this."
So Russia is keen to keep up its military dominance in the Black sea area.
After the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine abandoned progress towards the EU and the riots in Kiev broke out he fled. Pro-Russian forces then appeared on the ground. Some were volunteers but most looked suspiciously organised like the official Russian army wearing green khaki uniforms with their insignias stripped off. They also donned black balaclavas. These forces surrounded Ukrainian army bases rendering the Ukrainian army useless. A referendum was then held in Crimea to leave Ukraine and join Russia. This has sparked the biggest East-West showdown since Cold War, with the US and its European allies now threatening to impose sanctions. However with Russia's dominance as a supplier of energy to Europe it looks like any sanctions will have little or no impact on these events. President Putin is clearly unmoved declaring in his speech:
"Obviously, we will encounter external opposition, but this is a decision that we need to make for ourselves. Are we ready to consistently defend our national interests, or will we forever give in, retreat to who knows where? Some Western politicians are already threatening us with not just sanctions but also the prospect of increasingly serious problems on the domestic front. I would like to know what it is they have in mind exactly: action by a fifth column, this disparate bunch of ‘national traitors’, or are they hoping to put us in a worsening social and economic situation so as to provoke public discontent? We consider such statements irresponsible and clearly aggressive in tone, and we will respond to them accordingly."
A defiant, dominant leader then is setting the precedent for Bible prophecy to unfold. A single man at the head of a military power is dominating the nations. It can only be a matter of time before the events foretold in the scriptures come to pass.
The best the EU has been able to do is put asset freezes and travel bans on about 30 Russian individuals it holds responsible. In an article entitled "Putin laughs off sanctions as he signs bills to transfer Crimea to Russia" The Guardian newspaper reported Putin was jovial about the sanctions and even made jokes on the issue. He knows he is dominant and the West can do nothing of impact.
Putin's justification for the actions in Crimea is one of help for Russian speaking peoples who feel oppressed and not represented by the political authorities who are over them. He stated in the speech:
"Let me say one other thing too. Millions of Russians and Russian-speaking people live in Ukraine and will continue to do so. Russia will always defend their interests using political, diplomatic and legal means."
This is an interesting justification. There are reportedly over half a million Russian speakers living in Israel. Is it too difficult to imagine a time when the Russians will storm into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to 'protect' these Russian speakers from so called oppression. Could this be a way that Gog justifies its invasion of Israel in the time just before Christ returns?
Future Ambitions of Russia
Mr Putin was also reported to have said on March 18th:
"Together we have done a lot, but a lot more remains to be done, more tasks to resolve. However, I am certain that we will overcome all the problems, and we will do it because we are together."
Clearly he has further ambitions. It is widely reported he is obsessed with restoring the ancient Russian Empire using the Eurasian union to bring this about. He has also been reported to be obsessed with the ancient Czars of Russia who claim to be the rightful descendants of the Emperors the Cae-czars of the Roman Empire.
Indeed this ruthless leader with grand ambitions is exactly what we expect to see. Whether Putin is the actual Gog of Ezekiel 38 remains to be seen but if he is not then he is certainly setting the scene for Gog to arise.
Let us continue to watch as the pieces of the prophetic jigsaw puzzle are slowly put into place. We are in the latter days. Israel have been restored to their land. The nations of the world are in perplexity. Russia is calling the shots. Putin is in charge. A Gogian style leader has emerged on the world scene.
We are reminded by the words of the prophecy of Habakkuk:
"For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry." (Habakkuk 2:3).
Indeed soon the Lord Jesus Christ will return as the prophecies explain.
Continue to watch with us and join us again for another Bible in the News next week God willing.
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