In fact if you look in the Bible in the News archives the second podcast we ever produced was on January 2006 by Paul Billington and was entitled “Russia Will Overpower Europe Says Prophecy”. And here we are. Just like that, the things we have read of, written of, and spoken of, are happening right before our very eyes.
This expectation is of course now coming to pass because it was based on the Bible. Specifically the prophecies of Daniel and Ezekiel 38. (This is discussed on the audio edition)
And long before 2006 there is much evidence that Bible students were expecting the same thing. Consider the following:
Lowth’s commentary, printed in 1739 (over 280 years ago), identifies Russia as the head of the northern confederacy in the prophecy of Ezekiel 38. This is what it says:
"The LXX (Septugint) Interpreters take the Word Rosh, commonly translated Chief, for a Proper Name; so they render the Sentence thus, The Prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. Rosh, taken as a Proper Name, signifies those Inhabitants of Scythia, from whence the Russians derive their Name and Original.”
John Thomas in Exposition of Daniel, 1854, on the title page:
“Russia Triumphant, and Europe Chained!!!
Being an exposition of Daniel; showing the inevitable fall of the French and Ottoman Empires, the formation of a Russian Latino-Greek confederacy, its occupation of Jerusalem and its holy shrines; and subsequent destruction on the mountains of Israel."
And inside the book he wrote the following:
“By turning to a map of Europe and Asia, the reader may trace out the territory of the Kingdom of Babylon as it is destined to exist in its last form under the King of the North in his Gogian manifestation. The names of countries furnished by Ezekiel will lead him to a just conception of its general extent. Besides "All the Russias", it will take in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Prussia, Austria, Turkey, Persia, Tartary, Greece, the Roman Africa, and Egypt. This will be a dominion of great magnitude, extending from the North Sea to the Wall of China and Afghanistan, and from the Ice-Sea to the Deserts of Africa and Arabia.”
Another writer, Robert Roberts in Christendom Astray, 1862:
“"...the …supremacy of Russia is foretold... She is to vanquish many countries, and hold a protectorate over them, as indicated by the words, "Be thou a guard unto them." Those countries include all the nations of the Continent. "Gomer and all his bands, the house of Togarmah of the north quarters," will be found, on reference to ancient geography, to embrace nearly every country in Europe; and, in addition to these, there are "Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them," showing that at the time, Russia will have attained to something like universal dominion.
Graham Pearce, Russia the Vatican and Invasion of Israel, 1970, commenting on John Thomas’ writing in Exposition of Daniel:
"Thomas’ description of this time of which we are now speaking is: “Russia triumphant, Europe in chains”. This is a true reflection on what the prophets say. Europe is to come under cruel bondage, with freedom suppressed, after the style of Czechoslovakia today. We remember the parable of the latter-day “king of Babylon” of Isaiah 14. He smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he ruled the nations in anger, he made the world a wilderness and destroyed cities, he opened not the house of his prisoners. Habakkuk also in his second chapter sees this “proud man” gathering unto himself all the nations and heaping unto him all people. So the lights are to go out in Europe, it is to be “in chains”. This may not take place immediately when Russia takes over Western Europe. But as the occupation proceeds, and is consolidated over some years, then the chains will be found to be brutally there.”
One could maybe say that the above was fantasy at the height of the cold war, however it is in line with the expectations of writers 100 years or more before this time. And even after this time, when the Soviet Empire had collapsed, Paul Billington wrote the following in 1992:
‘That Russia has for the moment been “turned back” should not delude us into thinking that the Scriptures will not be fulfilled after all! We can be quite certain that she will yet be brought forth to establish her image empire, the aspect of which will be terrible exceedingly.”
And now here we are witnessing a revived and resurgent Russia. As we have said she will not be turned back now. She may pause her campaign along the way but she is not in retreat. It was Putin himself who said in 2005 – “The demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” It is now clear that he is bound and determined to fix that, to the point he is threatening nuclear war.
Graham Pearce further writes in 1970 of the realignment of the nations:
“What we could reasonably then expect is a general large scale re-orientation of strategic positions, Britain and the U.S. re-establishing themselves in the Near East. This would bring into being the two great Power blocs as a King of the North and a King of the South. This would include co-operation with Israel, and possibly an ‘occupation’ of Egypt again. At this time, too, relations between Israel and ‘Arabs’ may be changing.”
Especially at this time, I really think it is powerful to look at these earlier writings to confirm that this is really truth. Based on the solid reasoning of Bible Prophecy all these predictions are near perfect in their now visible fulfilment. And that being the case what then follows we can also be sure of – Russia’s further push west to ultimately subdue all of western Europe, the taking of Istanbul, an alliance with the Vatican, and its following venture moving through Israel right into Egypt. And during these ventures the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Israel.
As John Thomas writes:
“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.”
The burning question we all have is “how long” until the return of Christ? We may not know the day or the hour, but having now witnessed these events we can know we are in the era. It may or may not be this week, or this month, but it is certainly a very significant mile marker on the way. So very, very significant actually!
But the real question that we need to ask is what we are doing with the time we have left. For when Christ returns we are told that he comes to judge the nations, but first judgement begins at the household.
May we take the days ahead to recommit ourselves to filling our minds with his word, drawing our families and congregations around the word, and reaching out to those around us, or that have fallen away.
The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:8, his last letter before his death – “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
May we be one of those that loves his appearing.
Join us again next week, if the Lord be willing, for another edition of the Bible in the News.