And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.[Matthew 24:4-8]
The escalating war between Russia and Ukraine is all the buzz now — dominating the official media narrative. Funny how we suddenly forgot about Covid — just like that — it’s over in case anyone was asking.
Never mind the past two years of Covid insanity, tyrannical lock downs, economic hemorrhaging, absurd mask mandates, media manipulation and lies, big tech control and censorship, asinine vaccine mandates, gross violations of constitutional and human rights … oh and millions of lives ruined as collateral damage for the “globalists” agenda.
For the perceptive eye, Russia and Ukraine — although significant in it’s own right — is a major distraction. Covid has been losing steam … many if not most people are over it or have come to terms with it and are ready to “move on.” Governments are starting to relax sanctions and the CDC and WHO have quietly begun to backtrack on the official narrative based on all the supposed “science,” all but acknowledging that their policies were never about science but only the control and manipulation of mankind.
It was a social experiment and we were treated like lab rats. Rounded up. Isolated. Put in a maze and forced to take their drugs. But we aren’t rats. We are mankind and image bearers of God. And the world is beginning to wake up to the truth of who we are and what has been happening, and why we can never let it happen again.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict buys the globalists a little more time to see how to proceed and pivot off Covid and spin the momentum in another direction. Surely the Great Reset remains in full view and the technocratic billionaires will use every resource necessary to carry out their power grab of the globe. Mystery Babylon in the making.
But until we see what direction the world turns next, I do have a few considerable thoughts about the Russia-Ukrainian conflict from a prophetic point of view. Anytime Russia flexes its muscles, the prophecy world erupts in a frenzied chatter about the end of the age and World War III and Ezekiel 38-39 — the battle of Gog of Magog.
But is that how we should view end-times events in general and more specifically this Russian invasion?
I am not discounting the obvious potential for this conflict to trigger a chain of events that could descend into a legitimate nuclear threat. But from my view, Russia and Ukraine are not a sign of the end. My prophetic perspective, although unconventional, is nonetheless Biblical and I stand on God’s word, not the popular prophecy pundits or the preferred paradigm of the day. Here are two thoughts to consider.
- Jesus Himself goes out of His way to tell us that wars and reports of wars are not signs of the end — but only preliminary signs and the beginning of sorrows. [see Matthew 24:4-8 above]
- Ezekiel chapters 38 & 39, which describe the war of Gog of Magog, has absolutely, positively nothing to do with the land, people, or king of Russia.
RUMORS of WARS and LABOR PAINS
When we view the end of this age and great tribulation through the metaphorical lenses of pregnancy, we get a better understanding of Jesus’ teaching. Just like it is inevitable for an expecting mother to face her time of “sorrow,” it is inevitable for the creation itself to enter into its own definite time of trouble. At first, the labor pains are typically mild and infrequent. There could be some false labor with what is known as Braxton Hicks contractions. But when real labor hits, there is no turning back. The intensity and frequency of the pain is felt with every passing breath.
The final hour of agony arrives, and the delivery is difficult. But in the end a child has been born and everyone is filled with joy. All the sorrow has been turned to joy. So it will be at the return of the Son of God.
Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.[John 16:20-22]
Jesus reminds us that when we see wars and hear rumors and reports of war, these are only the beginning of the labor pains — NOT the END. In other words, it will get a lot worse before it ever gets better, so don’t be unnecessarily alarmed but rather be kingdom minded, as we strive to be gospel witnesses to all nations — such as Russia and Ukraine!
And while we should expect to hear of wars and famines and pestilences and earthquakes in diverse places all over the world, let us remember that these are only the beginning of birth pains. Jesus said the end is not yet. More definite signs, supernatural disclosures, and catastrophic events will culminate before the climax of redemptive history when Yeshua returns to wage war against the house of the wicked. All of creation will collectively be groaning in agony and the whole earth utterly shaken from its place when the Son finally arrives. And then our sorrows will be turned into great joy! For the Son has come to save His people and reconcile everything in heaven and on earth.
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.[Romans 8:22-23]
GOG is NOT the KING of RUSSIA
The word of the LORD came to me: 2“Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him 3and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.[Ezekiel 38:1-3]
There is a saying in theological circles. In the essentials — we have unity. In the non-essentials — we have diversity. In all things — we have charity.
The prophetic interpretation of Ezekiel 38 & 39 may not qualify as an essential doctrine, but it is profitable and practical for every believer, especially for those living in the last days.
I wouldn’t necessarily assume that an obscure prophecy in the book of Ezekiel is being exegeted in any modern church context, much less the mainstream evangelical church. I’ve never heard a pastor teach from … much less teach through the book of Ezekiel.
Yet a peculiar portion of Ezekiel’s prophecy has received an unusual amount of attention over the past 50 years or so, especially in dispensational circles. In Ezekiel 38 and 39, we discover important details about a significant war in Israel in the last days. There is one antagonist in particular who comes into full view — a character named Gog of the land of Magog.
Without going into all the details, somewhere along the way Gog became identified as the Prince of Rosh [see Ezekiel 38:2 American Standard Version] — which then somehow evolved into the President of modern-day Russia — which now is being interpreted as Vladimir Putin and his invasion of Ukraine. To hear the prophecy gurus tell it, this war is the beginning of the Gog of Magog war. Ezekiel’s prophecy is being fulfilled before our eyes. It is interesting that this popular view of prophecy was never suggested until western dispensationalists began propagating it during the tensions of America’s cold war with Russia.
Having written substantially on this topic in the past, I have provided my 4-part series on the Gog of Magog here.
Gog of Magog — Part 1
Gog of Magog — Part 2
Gog of Magog — Part 3
Gog of Magog — Conclusion
I strongly encourage you to read them for a deeper discovery of Ezekiel’s prophecy.
The bottom line is this. There is no Prince of Rosh. Rosh doesn’t exist. And it certainly is not modern-day Russia. Every single respectable translation of the Hebrew text — with exception to the American Standard — appropriately translates the Hebrew word rosh — רֹאשׁ — as head or chief.
This word rosh is used nearly 600 times and never once does the meaning of the word deviate from “head” or “chief” or “top” in the Biblical text. Why would Ezekiel only use the word rosh in this one random instance as a proper name of a place that never existed to begin with? Obviously he wouldn’t, which is why every single translation of Ezekiel 38 & 39 correctly renders Gog as the “chief prince” — not the Prince of Russia!
We have come from one bad translation, through a cold war with Russia, to a theological echo chamber that has a large portion of the evangelical community convinced that Ezekiel 38 & 39 is a Russian-led invasion of Israel, when it is anything but.
Ezekiel’s prophecy is about the very end of the age, the invasion of Israel by the Antichrist, the return of Jesus and the battle of Armageddon.
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