Russia on Edge
By Tim LaHaye
This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, 0 Gog, chief prince of
Meshech and Tubal ... (Ezekiel 38:3).
More than 2,500 years ago, God gave the prophet Ezekiel an astonishing
prophecy to give to the world, one that would be fulfilled in "the latter days."
Many Bible scholars feel that prophecy, found in Ezekiel 38 and 39, is being
fulfilled in our lifetime. The prophecy involved a then-unknown nation that
would become powerful in "the latter days" or end times. Incredibly, that
prophecy, regarding the nation of Russia and her many allies in the Arab
nations of the world, began to be fulfilled during the Bolshevik Revolution of
1917, shortly after Israel began gathering back into the Holy Land.
Prior to Ezekiel 36 and 37, which predicted the regathering of the nation Israel
into her homeland, Ezekiel had issued many prophecies against the
longstanding enemies of Israel-the Assyrians, Egyptians, Chaldeans,
Babylonians and lesser city states that include Tyre and Sidon. Then
suddenly, in chapters 38 and 39, the prophet threw a historical hand grenade into the prophetic mix by singling
out the totally unknown nation of Russia, referred to as "Magog," a nation
mentioned only twice in all the Bible up to that point in Old Testament
Even after that prophecy, Russia remained obscure for two millennia! The
Babylonians and Assyrians passed off the scene of history and were
replaced by the Medo Persians, Greeks and Romans, just as another great
Hebrew prophet of that era, Daniel, had predicted. Now all of those nations
are extinct, and Russia, until recently, was a superpower. The thrilling part is
that Russia's rise to power occurred in the last 70 years.
If that doesn't sound incredible to you, it should. You can be sure that
skeptics would ridicule the Bible if Russia were not on the world scene today
as the global community runs wildly toward its planned one-world
government and, ultimately, to Armageddon itself. But what I find so
significant is that this prophecy came immediately after the prediction of
Israel's regathering (Ezekiel 36-37), as though the two prophecies were
related. And they are! For both Israel's rebirth as a nation and Russia's
ascension as a major player on the world scene were outgrowths of World
War 1. The first World War, as I explain in my book, Are We Living in the
End Times? was a fulfillment of our Lord's own prophecy of the first sign (or
"birth pain") of His "coming and of the end of the age" (see Matthew 24:18).
It was more than coincidental that of the 15,000 wars in human history, the
one unique enough to be a "sign of the end" (World War 1) plus the "super
sign of the end" (as some call Israel being regathered into the land) plus
Russia's rise to being a dominant player on the world scene all had their
beginnings in the years spanning 1914 to 1917. Add the fulfillment of other
signs that originated during that same timeframe, and we realize that was a
most significant time in human history. It was the beginning of the "birth
pains" that would increase like a woman in travail until the tribulation itself
begins-just seven years prior to the glorious appearing of Christ to this
Note that Russia didn't burst on the world scene at the same time Israel
became a nation. However, it is very significant that Russia
has broken all records in mankind's long history of its inhumane treatment of
its fellow man. For it was in communist Russia that Satan seemed to inculcate
all the evils of the ages in his grand scheme to control the world. Using the
power of government, its agencies, money and other influence, Russia
spread the most deadly atheistic ideology the world has ever known. Dr.
Bigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor for President Jimmy
Carter, called this communist-dominated century the most barbaric in all
human history. In his book Out of Control, he wrote, "During the twentieth
century, no less than 167,000,000 lives-and quite probably in excess of
175,000,000-were deliberately extinguished through politically motivated
carnage .... This is more than the total killed in all previous wars, civil
conflicts, and religious persecutions throughout human history."'
If you examine his list, you would find that the inhumane ideology called
communism, primarily fostered from Russia, was the foremost cause for these
deaths. For decades, the hard-core, world conquest communists conducted
world congresses on communism in their country for delegates from China,
India, North Korea, Asia and every other nation in the world, including the
United States. These congresses were little more than indoctrination
programs that showed delegates how to return home to overturn existing
governments and impose that atheistic form of socialism, or communism, on
their homelands. This ideology, which has been a fire in the minds of
godless people for more than 200 years, finally found its resting place in the
former Soviet Union and now resides big time in Russia and many other
countries to which it has been transported. There is no more satanically
inspired evil in today's world. Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan was
right when, in 1983, he shocked the world by calling Russia "an evil empire."
Do not be deceived by the fall of the Soviet Union. Communism is not dead.
It is still on its relentless path of satanically inspired world domination, just
as the Bible prophesied it would in the end time. In fact, if Russia is going to
do what the prophets predicted, which we will discuss in this chapter, it
better get to it soon or the nation will be discarded for other satanically
inspired centers like
Beijing, China. (But I predict Russia will fulfill this prophecy sometime in the next decade.)
The Coming Destruction of Russia
No rational person takes pleasure in the destruction of an entire nation, not even when that destruction is an act of judgment by a
righteous, sovereign God. Russia is
unquestionably the nation identified in the prophecies of Ezekiel 38 and 39. But it is not sufficient just to say that Bible
scholars for several hundred years have interpreted those
chapters as referring to Russia. We must be more explicit than that, for ascertaining the proper identity of "Gog" and "Magog" is
essential to the interpretation of this passage.
Therefore I suggest three reasons that confirm the identity of the nation predicted to invade Israel in the last days.
God said through the prophet Ezekiel, "Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and
Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say,
Thus saith the Lord GOD; behold, I am against thee, 0 Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal" (Ezekiel 38:2,3 KJV). We have
already seen in the Bible that God is against
"Magog" (the country) and "Gog" (the chief prince of the country). Why would a loving God who has always been for mankind be
against this nation? Because the nation is
against Him. Magog exhibits her antagonism toward God by opposing humanity, the especial object of God's love; defying God's Word;
and, above all, antagonizing God's
people, the nation of Israel. Philosophically and religiously, the nation of Russia qualifies in every way. It is antiGod,
anti-human, anti-Bible, and anti-Israel. But there is another
reason for recognizing Magog as Russia.
Russia's Geographical Location
A second significant reason to identify Russia as Magog is its geographical location. The Bible usually describes geography in
relation to Israel. For example, "south" means
south of Israel; "north"
signifies north of Israel. The only likely exception would come in this instance because Ezekiel was in Babylon when he spoke the
prophecy. A case could be made that the
prophet may have meant "north of Babylon" when he said, "You will come from your place in the far north" (Ezekiel 38:15) (for that
is where the prophet was when God gave him
this prophecy), or, "I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel" (Ezekiel 39:2).
Etymology, the study of linguistic changes and the history of words, is a third way to support the identity of the nation in
Ezekiel's prophecy. Magog is an ancient name for the
nation now known as Russia. Gog, as we've noted, merely means "the chief prince of Magog," or more literally, the chief prince of
"Meshech and Tubal."
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. It is
believed that these people intermarried and
became known as Magog, the dominant tribe. The name Moscow derives from the tribal name Meshech; and Tobolsk, the name of the
principal state, comes from Tubal. The
noun Gog is from the original tribal name Magog, which gradually became Rash, then Russ, and today is known as Russia.
Bible scholars anticipated Russia becoming a dominant power in the end time even when it was literally a nonentity as a nation.
Early in this century Russia was still a second-rate influence in the affairs of nations; in 1905 tiny Japan defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War.
Why Will Russia Attack Israel?
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: Persia, Ethiopia [Cush], and
Libya [Put] with them; all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer, and all his band; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and
all his bands; and many people with thee. Be thou prepared,
and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them. After many days
thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the
land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been
always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they
shall dwell safely all of them. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm; thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and
all thy bands, and many people with thee.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; it shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an
evil thought: and thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of
unwalled villages; I will go to them that at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars
nor gates, to take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon
the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and
goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. 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? Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; in
that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou
not know it? (Ezekiel 38:4-12 KJV).
During the past 80 years, Russian diplomats and foreign policy strategists have proven that they are much smarter than their Western
counterparts. It seems like every time diplomats engage
them in conference, the people lose land, friends, people or rights. What would make a former superpower like Russia at the end
time abandon the path of diplomacy and attack the nation of
Israel? There are three possible reasons.
1. Russia's Longstanding Hatred
History clearly shows that the Jews cannot be intimidated by the Russians or anyone else. We can be certain that the Russians are
not pleased with Israel's four military victories since 1949. It is
highly possible that the Russians will finally decide they cannot defeat the Israelis through their Arab allies without personally
engaging them on the field of combat. This decision could be the one
that summons them to march against Israel.
2. Plunder, Spoil, and Wealth
In Ezekiel 38:12,13 we read,
"I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock
and goods, living at the center of the land." Sheba and Dedan and the
merchants of Tarshish and all her villages will say to you, "Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to
carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to
seize much plunder?"
These verses seem to suggest two important possibilities. One is that the economic conditions of Israel are destined to improve and
those of the Soviet Union will deteriorate. We have already
seen that, as a result of the peace treaties made between the Jews and the Arabs, Israel will experience a time of phenomenal
material blessing, making her an object of greed on the part of the
Russian rulers and their Arab allies. In fact, today Israel's gross national product exceeds $100 billion annually. This is ten
times that of the nation's five closest Arab neighbors.
The future is not so bright for Russia. One way in which God has manifested His displeasure with Russia as a nation during the past
eight decades lies in her total economic failure under
communism. The Crimea was known under the czars as "the breadbasket of the world." The wheat harvested there was bountiful and more
than sufficient for the needs of the Russian people, and
large quantities were exported to other nations of Europe.
Since the Russian Revolution, however, that nation's severe weather has worsened, producing some of t he harshest winters on record.
Russia has become notorious for poor
wheat crops-partly because of the weather and partly because of the lack of motivation among the Russian people under communism.
Reports from Russia that scientists have
desperately tried to manipulate the weather are probably fraudulent. If they are true, they give evidence that the scientific
endeavors have not worked-and have even made the
situation worse. Economic judgment from God is destined to continue, bringing the need to purchase increasing quantities of foreign
3. God's Sovereign Will
The primary reason Russia will invade Israel is that God has decreed it. Ezekiel 38:3,4,8 declares:
This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ... I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army-your
horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a
great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords ... After many days you will be called to arms. In
future years you will invade a land that has
recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had
been brought out from the nations, and
now all of them live in safety.
Ezekiel 39:2 adds, "I will turn you around and drag you along. I will bring you from the far north and send you against the
mountains of Israel." Ezekiel 38:10 states: "This is what
the Sovereign LORD says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme." The attack on Israel is
conceived and mobilized by Almighty God.
This implies that God will stir the Russians' greedy plan, fulfilling Ezekiel 38:4, "1 will put hooks in your jaws and bring you
In studying these two chapters of Ezekiel, I sense that God will pour out His wrath upon Russia not only to demonstrate His power,
but also to heap judgment on those who have persecuted human beings, especially Israel.
The prophetic scenario is plain: Russia does not have Israel as her primary target. Russia's major objective has admittedly been
world conquest. One way in which the
communists have been consistent for the last 80 years is in their implacable movement toward that primary objective. God has
proclaimed that He raises up whom He will and
puts down whom He will (Ezekiel 21:26; Daniel 4:34,35). Even at the end time, when Russia reigns as a superpower, God will still be
in control, for He is able to "put hooks in her
jaw" and lead "her" to obey His will.
Russia's Allies in the Attack on Israel
From a careful study of ancient and modern national players in the Middle East region, we learn that a dominant leader called Gog,
described as the "chief prince of Rosh," is
going to arise and lead Russia into a vast northeastern confederation of nations including Iran, Ethiopia and other African
nations, Germany, Armenia, possibly Turkey,
conceivably some Oriental countries and whoever else can be included within the statement, "and many peoples with thee." This group
of nations, headed by Russia, will
advance against Israel in the last days.
The Russian Invasion of Israel
Some 2,500 years ago the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel described in considerable detail the circumstances under which communist Russia and
her hordes of anti-Semitic nations
would attempt to invade the little nation of Israel. (See Ezekiel 38:4,8,9,15,16.) There are two legitimate ways to interpret the
kind of weapons used in this prophecy-literally and
symbolically. Bible-believing scholars can be found on either side.
A literal interpretation of the passage suggests that modern methods of warfare will someday become obsolete, and man will return to
primitive weapons. That is not as far-
fetched as it may appear. For years, electronic scientists have reportedly been
working on long-range heat-ray devices that would have the capacity to render metallic surfaces so hot they could not be touched. If
such an invention were produced by the
West, Russia could not invade Israel with tanks, bazookas and modern weaponry. It would have to resort to horses. Metal weapons
would be replaced with wooden; these
would not be wooden swords and spears as used in ancient days, but implements fashioned with enormous strength out of basic wood
materials, seasoned with resin, or
lignostone, or other chemically treated woods that already are used industrially and have an amazingly long burn life.
If, on the other hand, the passage is to be taken symbolically, the prophet Ezekiel is merely describing implements of war in terms
meaningful to his contemporary audience. We
must always remember that the Bible was written to specific people at a specific time and must therefore relate to them. If the
prophet 2,500 years ago had referred to tanks, half - tracks, aircraft carriers and airplanes, no one would have understood what he meant.
Regardless of which approach we take in interpreting this passage of Scripture, we know that Russia will mount a massive military
attack on Israel, and only God will be Israel's
defense. God's supernatural intervention will save her.
"The Hordes" Who Join the Invasion
Russia almost never does anything alone. We have already seen that when it pursued a goal unilaterally, as in Afghanistan, it got
bogged down in an endless war. That is
usually not Russia's style. Instead, it prefers to supply the military technology and money to its satraps such as the Palestine
Liberation Organization, Cuba, Syria and Egypt.
Consequently, when Russia comes down to invade Israel, she will use the Middle East hatred of the Jews to her advantage and
inveigle these nations to help in the fighting.
This will probably be the most massive invasion army assembled in the history of the world-all in opposition to Israel, a nation of
less than 5 million people. For the first time
since World War 11, Israel will be betrayed by its friends.
Two Confederations of Nations
I am convinced that the invasion described by Ezekiel is not the battle of Armageddon, the warfare between Jesus Christ and the
nations described in Revelation 16. First, at this
time there will be two leagues of nations: the northeastern confederation that invades with Russia, and the western confederation
that has befriended Israel in the past. Second,
in Ezekiel's account, only a certain number from the armies of the world will march against the Jews. In the battle of Armageddon,
armies will come from all the countries of the
world against Christ-not Israel. Yet, while this warfare will not be the real battle of Armageddon, to the participants it will
seem like it.
We have already identified some of the nations of the Northeastern Confederation that will join Russia. The western confederation of
nations also appears in Ezekiel's prophecy.
"Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all her villages will say to you, 'Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered
your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and
gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?"' (Ezekiel 38:13).
Who are these nations that greet force with diplomacy? Little doubt the western confederation comprises the democracies of the West,
principally the United States, Great
Britain and Canada. "Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish" were the seafaring Phoenicians, many of whom migrated to
Europe, particularly the British Isles and
Spain. These countries, the colonizers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, provide the only vigorous anticommunist spirit
in the world today.
The King James version renders "Tarshish and her villages" in verse 13 as "Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof." For this
reason, many Bible scholars identify America,
Canada, Australia and other western democracies as the "cubs" of Great Britain and Spain, the colonizers of the West. Certainly
that is historically valid. Therefore, this
probably does identify the nations of the prophecy.
It stands to reason that Russia does not take the entire world in its war against Israel. At a time when two confederations of
exist-basically communist versus anticommunist-Israel is allied with the
anticommunists, as it is today. Unfortunately for Israel, instead of meeting
communist force with force, the western democracies will meet the invasion
with diplomacy. This historically represents the weak response of the
democracies in both the world wars and in almost every conflict since.
Instead of sending help at the moment when Israel needs support, its allies
will send a diplomatic note (perhaps through the United Nations) that
essentially inquires of Russia and her hordes, "What are you going to do in
little Israel-loot and carry away silver and gold and seize many riches?" This
may be the most breathtaking, dramatic moment in the history of modern
Israel. Until that time, that tiny nation could depend at least on the United
God Delivers Israel
The scenario that develops at this point in our prophetic story is exciting.
Confronted by overwhelming forces from Russia and forsaken by her friends,
Israel will turn to God, and He will do for modern Israel what He did for
ancient Israel. As the God over all forces, He will deliver Israel from the
hands of her oppressor. As certain as it is that Russia and her Middle East
hordes will come down against Israel, so it is that God will destroy the
invading forces and deliver Israel supernaturally. And the prophet doesn't
leave us in doubt as to the methods God will use in this destruction. It is
noteworthy that this is not the first time they will have been used by the
Almighty, for all of them have precedence in the Old Testament.
A Mighty Earthquake
In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great
earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the
beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the
people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains
will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground
Evidently, the Russians and their hordes are allowed to begin an airborne
invasion while the infantry launches a ground assault. But at a strategic
moment, God generates a powerful and destructive earthquake that causes
people to tremble at His presence. This catastrophe will manifest the power
of a supernatural God. Earthquakes were, of course, used by God in ancient
days; Amos 1: 1 and Zechariah 14:5 recount the terrible earthquake that
rocked the land of Palestine in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah. It was no
doubt a special intervention of God that caused that earthquake.
Jesus predicted that earthquakes would be one of the signs of His return and
the end of the age (Matthew 24:7,8). The record shows that we have
experienced an alarming increase in earthquakes during the past several
decades. (Read chapter 3: "Famines, Earthquakes, Pestilences" for more
information.) We should also remember that the book of Revelation predicts
that during the first quarter of the tribulation, a mighty earthquake will create
havoc throughout the entire world (6:12-17). Another earthquake in the
middle of the tribulation will rock the city of Jerusalem (Revelation 11: 13),
and still another at the end of the tribulation could well be the mightiest
earthquake ever to shake the earth (Revelation 16:17-21). Consequently, it is
not unreasonable that God might use His power to create earthquakes in
defense of Israel when Russia's armies come against her.
The Sword of the Lord
I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the
Sovereign Lord. Every man's sword will be against his brother (Ezekiel 38:21).
Nothing shakes man from his independence and false sense of security like
an earthquake, particularly one having the magnitude that God will provide
for Israel's deliverance. And because Israel is no match for the invading
hordes of military personnel about to devour it, the Lord will confuse its
enemies, and they will do battle with each other. If they are using tanks, they
will train them on each other. If they are using airplanes, they will dogfight
their own planes. Or if, as discussed earlier, they have reverted to more
primitive weapons of warfare, Israel's enemies will skirmish among
themselves rather than against their originally intended foe.
One precedent for such an incredible event appears in Judges 7:8-22, where
the story is told of a large army becoming so con fused that the soldiers
attacked each other and fled in fright from a mere 300 Israelites.
Plague and Bloodshed
I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed. (Ezekiel 38:22).
History shows that plagues have often accompanied the wanton killing of
human beings in battle. Human carnage, blood and the remains of a
battlefield breed disease. But in the case of Russia's invasion of Israel, the
plague seems to be something uniquely manipulated by God to further
destroy the effectiveness of the enemy. The next judgment to befall the
invaders is a plaguelike pestilence that causes much bloodshed. Pestilence
associated with the aftermath of war is similar to that foretold by our Lord in
Matthew 24. Those who survive the earthquake and the hand-to-hand
combat will certainly perish in the plague.
... I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and
on his troops and on the many nations with him (Ezekiel 38:22).
The portion of the invading force left after the earthquake, the fighting and
the plague will be destroyed by hailstones and burning sulfur. For those who
interpret Ezekiel 38:22 literally, there are Old Testament precedents both in
the destruction God rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah and in some of
the battles of Israel. For example, Joshua 10:11 states that when Joshua's
armies fought against the Amorites, "The Lord hurled large hailstones down
on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were
killed by the swords of the Israelites."
This final stage in God's judgment on the invaders could create not only a
muddy terrain that would bog down any military advance, but also flooding
conditions that would imperil human life.
The use of burning sulfur as a means of judgment recalls the destruction of
Sodom and Gomorrah, with both earthquake and fire and brimstone (burning
sulfur). The troops who survive the other four judgments will die as a result
of the falling sulfur. No wonder God says in Ezekiel 39:4: "On the mountains
of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you."
These five judgments of God will result in the annihilation of the armies of
Gog and their allies. This will undoubtedly be the greatest holocaust fulfilled
in a single day in the history of the world.... But there is more.
God Destroys the Spies "in the Isles"
"Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also
Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its
troops-the many nations with you" (Ezekiel 38:5,6). As a special
demonstration to the world of God's omnipotence, Ezekiel gives the unusual
prophecy that God will not only destroy the entire army of Magog, but He
will also consume with fire those who "live in safety in the coastlands." Bible
scholars understand the word coastlands to mean "the nations"; some
older translations render it "in the isles."
Who would qualify as those who live in nations not involved in the conflict?
They could be individuals who live in safety or security on islands, or this
could refer to uninvolved coastland nations. The verse probably refers to the
many communist/socialist spies and sympathizers who live in the western
democracies who regularly take advantage of their freedom by pursuing
subversion for the cause of world socialism. Such spies or communist
occupy many key positions throughout America-in the burcaucracy, universities and colleges and the media-and subvert the minds of
our citizens. One national magazine has
said there are more Marxist professors in American colleges and universities than any other country in the world.
These people who have spent much of their adult life betraying the country that gives them freedom and safety will suddenly be
consumed by fire. The United States will not
have to reactivate tile House Committee on Un-American Activities to administer justice. Rather, the God who knows "the thoughts
and intents of the heart" will judge these
traitors by fire. We can only imagine the number of vacancies that will occur in one day in the federal and state governments and
in the 3,000 universities and colleges of
America. In all likelihood, this same judgment will create similar vacancies in Canada, Australia and the British Isles. At the
United Nations, divine fire judgment will suddenly
fall and reveal the identity of those who really are communist/socialist spies or sympathizers. Such an event will create
The World in Chaos--Time for the Antichrist
Can you imagine the chaos into which the world's nations will be plunged the day after God destroys not only the invading armies of
Russia, but also the communist spies in
the western world? On the one hand, the skeptical attitude of the secular humanists toward the existence of God will suddenly be
confronted with irrefutable evidence of a
supernatural God. There will be absolutely no other explanation for these events. In addition, many trusted leaders in key
positions of influence will have been destroyed by
fire because they were traitors to their country.
Probably the greatest result of this chaos will be the transition of surviving western democratic leaders into positions as dominant
world leaders. The threat of worldwide
communism will have been destroyed in a single day, leaving Israel and the western confederation of nations in a world-dominating
We cannot be certain what will occur politically immediately after this awesome event. But I believe that the rising tide of
interest in world government under the guise of "the
new world order" will suddenly find little opposition. With communism removed as a world threat, the socialistic, humanist
politicians of the world may naturally assume that a
one-world government-within either the United Nations or its replacement-should provide the solution to this planet's ills. All
this will prepare the way for the Antichrist to
consolidate the nations in preparation for the day when he signs a covenant with Israel and ushers in the great tribulation period
spoken of so frequently by our Lord and the
Of this we can be certain: All the world will momentarily stand in awe of the supernatural God in heaven who, after 1,900 years of
silence, has spoken in terms that even the
most unbelieving can understand. Hopefully, millions of honest souls will seek the Savior during this time, resulting in what could
be the greatest soul harvest of all time.
When Will Russia Be Destroyed?
Whenever we discuss the future events of Bible prophecy, someone immediately asks, "When will this take place?" Admittedly, Bible
teachers do not concur as to the "when"
of the destruction of Russia. But for at least four reasons, this event cannot be fused with the battle of Armageddon.
1. Annageddon is not directed against Israel, but constitutes an attack on the part of the world's nations against Christ (see
Revelation 16:12-21; 19:11-21). The deception of the Antichrist and his insane hatred of Jesus Christ at the end of the tribulation period will culminate with his bringing together-even from the Orient over the
dried-up River Euphrateshordes of people against Jesus Christ, the coming King-but not Israel. That the Antichrist will utterly
fail is clearly predicted in Revelation 19.
However, this Scripture passage should not be confused with Ezekiel 38 and 39, which to even a casual reader plainly states that
Israel is the object of Gog and Magog's hatred.
These two attacks
are unique and distinct, and I believe they will occur at least ten or more years apart.
2. No one-world government is functioning during the events in Ezekiel 38 and 39. The destruction of Russia, as revealed by God to His prophet, will come at a time when, as we have already seen, Israel is the
central focus of two confederations of nations. These two
confederations, the northeastern confederation of Russia and her hordes versus the western democracies that do not come to the aid
of Israel, cannot coexist in the one-world government predicted
by our Lord and His prophets for the seven-year tribulation.
3. Gog comes from the North, the Antichrist from Europe.
Gog the prince and Magog the country are predicted to come from the "north parts" (Ezekiel 38:15). According to Daniel 7:8,24,26,
the Antichrist comes out of Rome, a mixed blood of Romans,
Greeks and possibly Jews,'
4. It takes seven years to burn the implements of war (Ezekiel 39:8-10).
Armageddon occurs at the end of the tribulation period just before the millennium. This in turn, according to 2 Peter 3, begins with
a renovation of the earth by fire. It is certain that the Jews will
not spend the first seven winters of the millennium burning the implements of war left over from the tribulation.
Considering these four reasons, we can conclude only that Ezekiel 38 and 39 are not to be confused with Armageddon. Instead, they
occur ten or more years earlier, prior to the
When Does Israel Burn War Implements?
In Ezekiel 39:8-10, we find that after Russia has been supernaturally destroyed, "those who live in the towns of Israel will go out
and use the weapons for fuel and burn them
up.... For seven years they will use them for fuel." Obviously, the Israelis are not going to pile all the war implements together
and make an enormous bonfire. They will use the
weapons for firewood for seven seasons instead of gathering wood from the forests.
Two facts stand out in bold relief. First, Israel will enjoy seven years of peace after Russia is destroyed; second, for seven
winters the Israelis will be reminded of God's
supernatural intervention on their behalf as they burn the implements of war. It is vitally important that we locate these seven
years chronologically, because they are the key to
the period in which Russia will be destroyed.
God has not left us without information regarding His plans for the future. The Next Major Prophetic Events chart (page 166)
reflects the major events accepted by almost all
scholars who hold a pretribulationist view of prophecy. The chart specifies that the Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel
during the latter three-and-one-half years of the
tribulation. According to Revelation 12, this event will unleash the harshest anti-Semitic persecution the world has ever known-a
fiery furnace arranged for the Jews by the
Antichrist. Russia will have to be destroyed at least three-and-one-half years before the tribulation begins, for the Jews to have
seven years in which to burn the implements of
On the Seven Years of Burning chart (page 167) this detail has been added with the thought in mind that there is no reason
necessitating the Jews' burning the weapons during
the first three-and-one-half years of the tribulation. The entire seven-year period of burning could occur before the tribulation
begins, but there is no way to be certain of this.
We can only speculate as to whether the seven-year period occurs entirely before the tribulation; we know it cannot extend beyond
What About the Rapture?
Most premillennial. scholars place the rapture of the church before the tribulation. The biggest misconception of some
pretribulationists is that the second coming of Christ for
His church (the rapture) and the beginning of the tribulation period are simultaneous. They may be, but no passage of Scripture
requires it. We must remember that the
tribulation is not started by the rapture of the church, but by the signing of the covenant between the Antichrist and Israel.
Admittedly, I Thessalonians 4:17,18 and 2 Thessalonians 2- which describe the rapture, the tribulation and the revelation of the man
of sin or the Antichrist-parallel the signing
of the covenant. But it is important not to tie them together. The rapture could take place several years prior to the tribulation
period. The closer we get to the actual occurrence
of these events, however, the more we are inclined to believe they could happen in close succession. If they do occur in close
proximity or simultaneously, the church will still be
on earth when Russia invades Israel and is destroyed by God.
Remember Any chronology of the rapture and the invasion of Israel is speculative and should be given wide flexibility.
When Will God Destroy Russia?
Having considered the possibilities for the seven years when the implements of war are burned, we can speculate on the possible time
of the invasion of Israel and the
subsequent destruction of Russia. Although we know they will take place a minimum of three-and-one-half years before the
tribulation, no one can predict when the tribulation
will occur; the exact time of our Lord's return is known only to God.
I believe that the next major event on the prophetic calendar will be the peace treaty between Israel and the Arab world. This
cessation of hostilities may likewise signal a short
time of peace throughout the whole world. For example, in speaking of the end time and the coming of Christ, 1 Thessalonians 5:2,3
says that the day of the Lord will come "while
people are saying, 'Peace and safety."' Further, "Destruction will come on them ... and they will not escape." This indeed suggests
that before the holocaust known as the
tribulation period, a time of peace and safety will encompass this earth, interrupted only by Russia's invasion of Israel.
The generation that saw Israel become a nation will not pass away until the Lord has come, according to Matthew 24. So signs of
peace and safety in Israel should appear soon
in order that the false period of prosperity that precedes Russia's invasion can begin to
take shape. It is impossible to say when such an eventuality will come. What can be predicted, however, is that Russia will be
destroyed before the Antichrist arrives on the
scene and signs his covenant with Israel. There is no simple and dogmatic answer to the question of whether Russia's destruction
comes before Christ's return. The Bible does
not offer conclusive evidence, and my suggested answer should be regarded as somewhat speculative.
The rapture may occur in any of four possible time sequences: before Russia is destroyed, immediately afterward, long afterward, or
simultaneously with the signing of the
covenant between the Antichrist and Israel.
I personally believe Christ's return will occur after Russia is destroyed, as I explain more fully later. I am convinced that the
destruction of Russia will appear as a supernatural
event that will cause all the world to know that God has acted. During the aftermath of this catastrophe, millions of people will
seek the Lord. In fact, the greatest soul harvest in
the history of mankind may result from that moment of divine retribution. If so, there will be a need for harvesters. Because this
event takes place before Israel's conversion and
the sealing of the 144,000 during the first half of the tribulation, who will be better equipped to do the harvesting than the
church of Jesus Christ and its worldwide host of
The Results of God's Destruction of Russia
I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay upon them [Gog,
the chief prince of Russia, and the spirit of the evil one that
indwells him, along with Russia and her allies] (Ezekiel 39:21).
For 1,900 years the God of the universe has been silent-at least in ways our sophisticated world can understand. The apostle Peter
warned: "First of all, you must understand
that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, 'Where is this "coming" he
promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything
goes on as it has since the beginning of creation"' (2 Peter 3:3,4).
The secular humanist intellectuals of our day are among the greatest scoffers the world has ever known. Unless they see a worldwide
flood, a Moses who rolls back the Red
Sea, the ten plagues of Egypt, the daily manna sent down from heaven to feed three million Jews, the closed mouth of Daniel's lions
or the fiery furnace that cannot destroy the
three Hebrew children they will not believe in a supernatural God.
It is easier for these skeptics to look up at the stars and announce "accident," survey the marvels of nature and proclaim
"spontaneous life," analyze the amazing human body
and conclude "evolution" than to profess God. The Bible calls such people fools: "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is
no one who does good" (Psalm 14:1).
We have already noted two of God's purposes for destroying the invading armies of Russia and their allies:
1. To judge Magog (Russia) and Gog (the chief prince of Russia and the spirit that drives all evil leaders).
2. To save the nation of Israel politically and spiritually.
Now we should examine the most important reason of all: "And the nations will know that I am the LORD'' (NASB). Eight times in
Ezekiel 38-39 God announces that this is His
true purpose in destroying the invading forces of Russia (see 38:16,20; 38:23; 39:6; 39:7; 39:21; 39:221 39:27,28). God, in
remaining generally silent for the past 1,900 years, has
chosen to make the skeptics believe in Him by faith rather than by physical demonstration. The destruction of Russia will be a
The Most Memorable Day in Modern History
This world has known many memorable days: the creation of the earth, the flood in the days of Noah, the death and resurrection of
Jesus Christ. Since then, nothing in the
physical world shows the irrefutable hand of God in terms that the most sophisticated unbeliever can understand. When our Lord
walked on the earth, He performed such
mighty miracles that even His greatest enemies had to
acknowledge that He was endowed with supernatural power. People who saw Him walk on water, calm the troubled storms, multiply a
boy's lunch to feed thousands of people,
heal all manner of diseases, cast out demons, and even raise the dead were forced to admit, "No one could perform the miraculous
signs You are doing if God were not with
Infallible Miracles vs. Ordinary Miracles
God has for nearly 20 centuries chosen in His sovereignty to require that man believe in Him through His printed and spoken word and
through the power of the Holy Spirit.
During this period of time, the Lord has performed millions of ordinary miracles (for example, miraculous healings and other
life-saving interventions). But to my knowledge, at
no time has He provided an infallible proof miracle---one that would force even the greatest skeptic to acknowledge the
supernatural existence of God. However, one day God
will perform an infallible proof miracle: the destruction of Russia's invading armies on the mountains of Israel.
The Coming Harvest
Through the tremendous communication technologies that continue to develop, every country of the world will receive the electrifying
news that God has destroyed Russia's
The aftermath of such an event can only fulfill the purpose of God when the millions of souls who have been deceived by secular
humanist philosophy suddenly realize that a
supernatural God reigns over the universe. I have no question that literally multiplied millions will be driven to their knees to
call upon the name of the Lord. Those who have
heard the gospel prior to that time may spontaneously look to the Lord for salvation. Others will need the printed page-the Word of
God, church services, television and radio
programming and personal witnessing.
I find that many unsaved souls are becoming intrigued by Bible prophecy today and are more open to accepting the claims of Christ.
As a result of reading the Left Behind
series of prophetic
novels about the end times (Tim LaHaye/Jerry Jenkins), many readers are
receiving Christ and many others are rededicating their lives to winning
others to Him. The reasons are threefold, I believe: 1) the realism with which
the events are depicted; 2) the dawn of the new millenium; and 3) the
obvious signs of the Lord's soon return. As one writer says, "These are
indeed the times of the signs!" If we are seeing such incredible results
already, can you imagine the number that would respond to the Savior as a
result of Russia and its hordes being destroyed in an obvious display of
supernatural power on the mountains of Israel?
The Opposite of Revival
We must not be confused about these future events. They are not
harbingers of a worldwide revival. In fact, nothing in the prophetic
Scriptures indicates that the world will get better and better at the end time.
Instead, it teaches quite the opposite-that "perilous times shall come" (2
Timothy 3:1 KJV).
In the same way that the skeptical Pharisees of Jesus' day observed His
supernatural demonstrations of power and rejected Him, so millions of
people will spurn the truth after God's striking intervention in that day. We
may hope and pray that more than a billion souls will call upon the name of
the Lord, but what about the other three to four billion people on the earth?
Very likely, the majority will heed the lying devices of Satan and begin to
explain away those supernatural events. In the final analysis, it is not
enough just to believe in the supernatural power of God; one must repent of
his sins and surrender his will to God. And that humble gesture clashes with
man's innate sense of pride.
No human being can long entertain the conflict of mind between what he
truly believes and what he does. For example, many people reject the Lord
today, not for lack of evidence, but for love of sin. As Peter has warned,
"Scoffers will come ... following their own evil desires." And rather than give
up self-love to follow their beliefs, many will change their beliefs to justify
During the crucial days after this memorable moment in world history, there
will be two realms of action: the political and the
spiritual. Politically, as we have already seen, the world will amalgamate into
a universal kingdom and prepare for the reign of the Antichrist. How long
that will take no one knows; it is doubtful whether it will extend to more than
In that same era, many people will come to grips with the spiritual
significance of the events and welcome salvation, but the majority will not.
The current status of people who will witness the events of that day
determines in large part what they will do. If they have already heard the
gospel countless times and have not responded to it, they likely will not
respond this time either. Abraham said to the rich man in Luke 16:31: "If they
do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if
someone rises from the dead." Probably the billion or so people who I pray
will respond to Christ will be those who are being deceived now about the
existence of God or who have never heard the truth.
If [we] confess with [our] mouths, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in [our] hearts that
God raised him from the dead, [we will be] saved. For it is with [the] heart that [we]
believe and are justified, and it is with [the] mouth that [we] confess and are saved
It May Be Later Than We Realize
As we approach the dawn of a new millennium, the nation of Russia is
falling on hard times. In spite of the massive bailouts and handouts from
their many liberal socialist friends in our government and on Wall Street,
that nation's tightly controlled communisttype of economy is plunging the
nation into dire poverty. Many Russians still do not have adequate jobs,
housing and food, which is always a formula for a revolution or a takeover
by a dictator. Popular hard-core communists, including General Alexander
Lebed, are waiting for the opportunity to become leaders of Russia if Yeltsin
should stumble, die or resign. These leaders would undoubtedly lead the
country in a more militant and aggressive manner. General Lebed is very
popular with the 55 million Muslims of the country and could easily wield
the force to go down and attack Israel.
Regardless of who the Russian leader is, no economist sees any way the
Russian economy can improve without the grant of more freedom, which
communists are usually unwilling to give. Consequently, Russia has lost its
superpower status due to economic troubles, and will, if continuing in its
present direction, soon become a third-world country without the resources
to fulfill the prophecies of Ezekiel. How long can the soft-core communist
leadership or even a hard-core replacement continue? Only God knows-
perhaps ten years or so; but, unless there are massive changes in the
country soon, it will be too late. By then Russia will be so bankrupt it will not
be able to fulfill its prophetic destiny, which means one thing loud and clear:
Very soon Russia can be expected to seize the moment and look greedily on
the little nation of Israel. The Russians would fan anti-Semitic fervor among
their Arab allies and fulfill the attack of Ezekiel 38 and 39, as predicted 2,500
Late in 1997, one of the most reliable Middle East sources of information, The
Intelligence Digest, actually predicted that Russia and its Arab friends
would attack Israel within 18 to 36 months. Conditions have arisen that have
lengthened that time frame temporarily, but the fact that people are even
thinking about it publicly is most significant. One thing you can count on is
that Russia and its allies will soon go down to attack Israel. The Bible
predicts itand the time could be very close at hand. And so could the rapture
of the church, either before or after it takes place. Make sure you are ready in