Russia in Bible Prophecy (Cont¨d)


Dr. John Hoole


If you were to look down on Israel from space, you come to realize just how small it is. Israel stretches only 263 miles from north to south, and its width ranges from 71 miles at its widest point to only 9 miles at its narrowest point.


To the northeast, Israel faces a 47-mile border with Syria. To the north and northwest, a 49-mile border with Lebanon. To the east, Israel has a 247-mile border with Jordan. And to the southwest, Israel has a 130 miles border with Egypt.


Although Egypt and Jordan have treaties with Israel, none of her neighbors are really Israel's close friends. Israel is living in a tough neighborhood. Israel is locked in tight in their small piece of real estate.


Earlier we had lessons on what the Bible says about Israel. We noted that the Bible tells us the Jews were going to be dispersed into all the world. But God says He would preserve them, even though they would fear for their lives.


We also learned that dozens of Scriptures said God would bring them back to their land. And on May 14, 1948, that happened. And ever since, the countries that surround them have been mostly hostile.


Those of us who believe whole-heartedly that the Bible is indeed the infallible and inspired Word of God also realize that when the Bible declares something is going to happen, it is going to happen!


To date, Bible prophecy has been fulfilled with 100% accuracy. It has never been wrong. But, it has not only been accurate every time, we know it was accurate because it was fulfilled literally.


This is another reason I believe we should look at Bible prophecy with a more literal mind-set rather than only figurative. Because Bible prophecies have been fulfilled literally that gives us every reason to believe this trend will continue with the yet to be fulfilled prophecies in God’s Word.


One such prophecy is found in Ezekiel 38 & 39, which was written some 2,600 years ago. It details an attempted surprise attack on the nation of Israel. However, it is not a surprise for any student of God’s Word. This Passage in Ezekiel gives the reader, in great detail: WHO is involved – WHAT they will do – WHY they will do it – and HOW they will be defeated. It even details the clean-up activity following the battle.


In some Christian circles, Russia’s actions in Ukraine have reignited interest for a kind of end-times speculation that attempts to sync contemporary events with various aspects of biblical prophecy.


After the Cold War, Russia lost its superpower status, making the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy seem unlikely in some people’s eyes. However, recent events have shown that Russia is gaining strength, and many believe that the invasion of Ukraine is just one step in Russia’s plan to restore its dominance in that hemisphere.


Although the evil plan mentioned in Ezekiel 38 related to Israel, and not Ukraine, Putin’s current plan provides hints of a similar sinister and larger attack probably in the near future that will be directed towards Israel.


Here is what Ezekiel 38 & 39 say:


A multi-national army, including a massive Islamic alliance, is going to invade Israel !!


If I had made this statement seventy-five years ago, it would have seemed ridiculous. First of all, I was only 6 years old 75 years ago.


But more to the point, it would have seemed ridiculous because there was no nation of Israel to invade. Who could have imagined that a few years later the Jews would have part of their own homeland back.


At the same time, none of the Islamic nations that are so dangerous today, were even blips on the international radar screen. All the oil that has made them rich, had not yet been fully discovered.


But the world, and especially the Middle East, is today like a powder keg with an already-lit fuse. And present conditions all over the world indicate that the fuse could burn its way to the end very soon.


Although the rise of militant Islam has shocked and surprised many people around the world, the God of Scripture has not been taken off guard. Through the prophet Ezekiel, God predicted events that are strikingly foreshadowed by what we see every day on the evening news.


The prophet Ezekiel ministered during the final years of Jerusalem, before and shortly after the city was besieged and conquered by the Babylonian army.


Chapters 1–24 are given before Jerusalem’s fall and contain pleas for repentance written to the city’s final generations (e.g., 18:21–23, 32).


Chapters 25–32 are directed against Judah’s neighbors who gloated over and even actively participated in their destruction.


Lastly, chapters 33–48, which contain the passage in question (Ezekiel 38–39), give hope to the remnant of Israel in exile.


In Ezekiel 36, we are told of the dispersion of the Jews throughout the world. Halfway through this chapter, God speaks of His gathering them back to their land.


In Ezekiel 37 we read a fascinating vision given to this prophet about some of the details of the regathering of the Jews to their own homeland.


Ezekiel sees a vision of a valley with many very dry bones. In verse 11, God tells Ezekiel, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.” There is no doubt this text is speaking only of the nation of Israel.


God asked Ezekiel a strange question:   “…can these bones live?” (verse 3)  Ezekiel responded to God by saying, “O Lord God, You know.” Then God asks Ezekiel to do something also strange. He tells him to preach the word of the Lord to these bones. It was a message to the deadest congregation in the history of preaching.


Ezekiel 37:7-8 NKJV


7    So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone.

8    Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.


The dry bones in Ezekiel’s vision represent the nation of Israel during the diaspora (their dispersion, their scattering), beginning in A.D. 70. Gradually the bones came together, and the sinews and flesh came upon them.


Then, in Ezekiel 37:21 (NKJV), we read:


21      "Then say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land;


This was fulfilled on May 14, 1948, at 4:32 p.m. The state of Israel became a nation once again. And this prophecy continues to be fulfilled as people are Immigrating to Israel every month. This is known in Hebrew as Aliyah ha Eretz Yisrael – Immigration to the Land of Israel.


Notice again what we read in verse 8 just a moment ago.


Ezekiel 37:8 NKJV


8    Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.


This is where most of Israel is today – they are physically being ushered back to their homeland but they are still spiritually dead.


But God depicts several methods by which the Jews will come to recognize their need of God, as well as helping them under-stand that Jesus is their Messiah. One of those methods is to bring a hoard of people from many nations, led by an evil man with an evil plan from the “farthest north” into Israel.  Through this activity, Israel and other nations will know He is God.


The prophecy about this is found in the two chapters– Ezekiel 38 & 39.


Let’s read verse 23 of chapter 38.


Ezekiel 38:23


Thus, I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.


This is a theme mentioned several times in these two Ezekiel chapters. It is mentioned in 38:17; 39:6, 7, 13,21, 22, 23, 27, 28.


So, who are the players whom God will use to make Himself and His name known to Israel and the nations. Let’s read them from chapter 38, verses 1,2,5,6.


Ezekiel 38:1-2 NAS


1    And the word of the LORD came to me saying,

2    "Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him


In this second verse, we have five of the names in this alliance. Look at verse 5-6 for the remaining five who are involved in this invasion of Israel.


Ezekiel 38:5-6 NKJV


5    Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet;

6    Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops — many people are with you.


In all, we have 10 names. One of them is the leader of this group. The others will follow the direction of the leader. You might say that this list of names is God’s 10-most-wanted list.


God says of this leader Gog, in both Ezekiel 38:3, and again in 39:1, “I am against you.” This Russian leader and his followers have been tried in the supreme court of the universe and found guilty. All that remains is for the sentence to be executed, and the one who will execute judgment is God Himself. When these nations come against Israel, they meet their final doom.


In our next lesson, we will begin to identify who these players are. All of these names are found elsewhere in the Bible, which will help us in identifying them.


Actually, we have already identified the leader, Gog and where he is from. But in subsequent lessons, we will unpack this person more thoroughly.