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Today’s questions: How should we look at the Russia-Ukraine war in the light of prophecy? What is the relevance of these events when we think about the prophecies about antichrist and the nation of Israel?
Great questions. But they need a long answer. So, bear with me as I explain these events. The whole world is now looking at Ukraine. For the last three weeks, Russian forces have been pounding on the nation of Ukraine. The war tanks are rolling in. The fighter jets are wreaking havoc. The missiles have been destroying many buildings worth billions of dollars. Even hospitals are not spared. It is sickening and heart breaking.
Millions of people are fleeing Ukraine as refugees. Those who cannot flee are dying or starving or living in perpetual fear. We see parents who lost their children and children who lost their parents.
It has been impacting even other nations. Thousands of students from India have been studying in Ukraine. Suddenly they found themselves in the claws of a deadly war. Some of them lost their lives. Some of them joined the Ukrainian army. Many global technology companies like Microsoft, Google and Apple are under cyber attacks. Putin wants to nationalize their assets inside Russia. Nuclear power plants came under heavy attacks. Chernobyl is on everyone’s lips.
America and Europe reacted with economic sanctions. Many global corporations cut their ties and closed their operations in Russia. Russia’s economy took a nosedive. Ruble lost fifty percent of its value. China is supporting Russia. President Putin put his nuclear weapons on alert. Many analysts think a few missteps could lead us to the third world war.
How should we see these events in the light of Bible prophecies? How do these events prepare our world for the coming of AntiChrist? Prophet Ezekiel told us in Ezekiel 38 that in the last days, Russia and its allies will attack the nation of Israel. First, we must look at the heart of Bible prophecy in Matthew chapter 24. This famous sermon by our Lord Jesus Christ is called the ‘Olivet Discourse’. Let us read a few verses from this chapter:
6 And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you are not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places.8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
According to Lord Jesus Christ, that is how history ends. Our leaders don’t agree with Jesus. As Putin attacked Ukraine, I thought of two books I read many years ago. Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and The Last Man and Steven Pinker’s book The Better Angels of our nature.
Steven Pinker says that our essential human nature is to seek peace. We are progressing to create a peaceful world in which all nations come together and live in harmony. Nonsense. Jesus, our Creator, clearly told us about human nature. Unless we are redeemed and regenerated, we are inherently evil predisposed to violence.
In End of History, Francis Fukuyama says that after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, our world is going to embrace Western liberal democracy. Note the years. The Soviet Union fell in 1991. Fukuyuma wrote his book in 1992. He says, now we are going towards a world in which liberal democracy is the final form of government for all nations.
That is also nonsense. Jesus Christ our Lord clearly told us that is not how human history ends. He is the first and the last. Alpha and Omega. He knows exactly how it ends. It ends in war, destruction, tyranny and the kingdom of Antichrist.
So, in the last days we will hear of wars and rumors of wars. There shall be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in diverse places. We saw mass graves in New York during Covid. Now we are seeing mass graves in Ukraine. Where is God? Why did we come to this stage? Why did God allow us to come to this stage?
In Matthew chapter 5, our blessed Savior gave another famous sermon called ‘Sermon on the Mount’ or ‘Sermon on the Beatitudes’.
Let us read a few verses from that sermon:
Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted
Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled
Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy
Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
This is the manifesto for the kingdom of God. God wants poverty in spirit, humility, meekness, hunger for righteousness, being merciful, pure in heart and striving to be peacemakers. If we follow the precepts given in the Sermon on the Mount, there will be no wars in our world. Mahatma Gandhi was profoundly influenced by the Sermon on the Mount. You can still see the Bible he used in Gandhi Museum, Delhi. He sacrificed his life to bring peace in India based on the precepts of Jesus. Today many leaders in India detest Gandhi’s non-violence movement. The sermon on the Mt of Beatitudes is what God expects from humanity. But humanity rejected it. When we reject the Word of God, we can expect the judgment of God. That is what the sermon on the Mount of Olives is all about: The coming judgment of God on the nations of the world.
There are two Mountains here. The Mount of Beatitudes and the Mount of Olives.
-The Mount of Beatitudes is about what God expects from humanity
The Mount of Olives is about how God deals with humanity which rejected his expectations
-The Mount of Beatitudes is about the blessings of God
The Mount of Olives is about the curses from God
-The Mount of Beatitudes is about the Kingdom of God
The Mount of Olives is about the kingdom of man
-The Mount of Beatitudes is about the humility of God
The Mount of Olives is about the pride of man
-The Mount of Beatitudes is about the righteousness of God
The Mount of Olives is about the sin of man
-The Mount of Beatitudes is about the salvation of God
The Mount of Olives is about the judgment of God
-The Mount of Beatitudes is about peace of God
The Mount of Olives is about the war of man.
These two mountains encapsulate the history of the world. When we reject God’s message on the Mount of Beatitudes, we must walk to the Mount of Olives to receive his judgment. On the Mount of Olives, Lord Jesus Christ describes the end of humanity. Sadly, our world rejected this blueprint from God. It created its institutions without Christ. Once upon a time, we used to say BC – Before Christ and AD – After Christ. That is the Gregorian Calendar, established by Pope Gregory XIII. It demonstrates that the history of the world is pitched around the person of Christ. Nowadays, most people are saying Common Era and Before Common Era. There is no place for Christ in this new notation. Our secular leaders would like to see a Godless, Christless kingdom of man. But they cannot have their way.
Turn to Psalm chapter 2, verse 12:
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry.
Kiss the Son. Otherwise God will be angry. God commands us to honor his Son, Lord Jesus Christ. But how did human leaders respond? verse 2
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord, and
against his anointed
The kings of our world, the rulers of our world, set themselves against the Lord and His anointed. They have no regard for the Messiah. They created institutions without any regard to the Word of God. Those institutions will create a world which will put it on a collision course with the plan of God. They created,
First, the Politics without God. What does President Putin want? He wants a revived Soviet Union. He says that the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 was the most catastrophic geopolitical event of the 20th century. He would like to bring back the golden days of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was built upon a godless philosophy called Marxism. They destroyed thousands of churches across the Soviet Union. They massacred thousands of pastors. They imprisoned millions of people for dissenting with their ideology. They converted cathedrals into museums of atheism. They put Bibles to flames.
Education, healthecare, housing, clothing, food, agriculture, industries, banking, policing – Government must run every segment of society. How did it end?
Ukraine has been called the breadbasket of Europe. It feeds millions of people and exports wheat around the world. What did Joseph Stalin do to it? He took over millions of acres of land from farmers in his collectivization schemes. He took over their produce. He created an artificial famine. Millions of people started to die. It has been reported Stalin once told Winston Churchill that over ten million died in Ukraine due to his collectivization schemes. Millions of people were sent to gulags. Millions perished in those prisons in the icy cold wilderness across Siberia.
Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn described the horrors of these prisons in his novels – Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. He delivered a speech at Harvard University on June 8, 1978, entitled A World Split Apart. What a title: A World Split Apart. Don’t we see it today? He describes how the Soviet system resulted in totalitarianism. He also warned the Western society how its materialism will ruin its capacity to defend itself. Let me quote a passage from his speech,
“And yet — no weapons, no matter how powerful, can help the West until it overcomes its loss of willpower. In a state of psychological weakness, weapons become a burden for the capitulating side. To defend oneself, one must also be ready to die; there is little such readiness in a society raised in the cult of material well-being. Nothing is left, then, but concessions, attempts to gain time, and betrayal.
That was 40 years ago. He described our society in such precise terms. Wow, how wonderfully accurate he was in describing our times! A society raised in the cult of material well-being. What is left? He says, ‘Nothing is left, but concessions, attempts to gain time, and betrayal’. He was right on target. The Harvard audience should have given him a standing ovation. But they booed him because they were neck deep in Steven Pinker’s and Fukuyuma’s ideology.
Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union. It wanted its freedom. But the Russian leaders did not heed. Russian leader Leonid Brezhnev declared that force would be used to subjugate the nations which aspire to freedom. This is known as Brezhnev doctrine.
Mikhail Gorbachev did not buy that doctrine. He became the President of the Soviet Union in 1991. He was raised in a Christian family. He realized that the Soviet Union was unsustainable for long term maintenance. He decided to dismantle it.
December 25, 1991 – on Christmas Day, the mighty Soviet Union collapsed under its own weight. People went back to churches to praise God. Pastors were able to open their Bibles and preach the Word of God. Ukraine got its independence and went on its own way. Putin should have learned from Mikhail Gorbachev. His foolishness is contrary to the wisdom of Gorbachev who realized that the Soviet Union was unsustainable. Putin took his inspiration from Brezhnev – use force if necessary to bring independent nations into your dominion.
Putin would like to revive that atheistic Soviet Empire. How is the West responding? Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher brought down the Soviet Empire without firing a shot because they trusted God and based their foreign policy on Christian worldview. Today’s Western political ideology has no place for God and the Bible. They do not even think about God and the coming kingdom of Christ. They have an apocalypse. But that is not a Biblical apocalypse. There is no God, angels, Satan, demons in that apocalypse. It is going to be a climate catastrophe, completely natural and secular. Salvation comes not from Christian evangelism, but from climate evangelism.
That is the spirit of AntiChrist. It believes in force and subjugation. This spirit will lead Russia to attack Israel as prophet Ezekiel predicted in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. After talking to Putin, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett advised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to call off his resistance and surrender to Putin. How will he respond if Putin attacked Israel? Surrender or fight?
Whether in the East or in the West, ‘Politics without God’ prepares the the platform for the coming of AntiChrist.
2. Education without God
Next, education without God. Our modern education has no place for God. Recently, I was walking on the campus of Harvard University. Francis Fukuyuma and Steven Pinker. Both were educated in that university. That university was started by Puritans, funded by a pastor called John Harvard to train Christian ministers based on a Biblical worldview. That was then. How is it now? All teaching at Harvard is based on Darwinian worldview. There is no God, no Creator. God is not running human history. We are just dancing to our DNA. They are consumed by materialism, secularism, environmentalism, paganism and narcissism. When Solzhenitsyn gave his speech in 1978, they mocked him and booed him. Communism was built upon Darwinism. We did not learn anything from its tragic consequences and its fall. The communists built their worldview on ‘hard Darwinism’. We built our education over ‘soft Darwinism’. This evolutionary, godless education sees no dignity in human beings. People are just another kind of animal. Putin is bombing hospitals. He has no regard for human life. Nothing is sacred. So, this ‘education without God’ prepares the stage for the coming of AntiChrist.
3. Science without God.
‘Education without God’ created the ‘Science without God’. Once upon a time, scientists like Newton, Boyle, Leibniz, and Kepler used science as a practice to honor God and his creation. Today’s science has no place for God. Dr.Fauci has become the patron saint. Our healthcare philosophy is completely atheistic. Our cosmology is atheistic.
Recently Russian forces were bombarding a nuclear power plant near Odessa in Ukraine. In Odessa, a famous scientist was born in the year 1904. His name was George Gamow. He was a brilliant scientist. He worked on atomic nucleus, radioactive decay, star formation, quantum tunneling, and genetics. He also laid the foundations of Big Bang theory. He was an atheist. He proposed that the universe came into being without God. He moved to Boulder, Colorado and taught as a university professor. Through his labors, the soviet cosmology which has no place for God has taken over both East and West. Today, walk into any university in Russia or the United States or Europe, they will teach you George Gamow’s godless cosmology. Universe has no purpose. Our purpose is to fulfill our own desires.
The Bible says, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. God gave us freedom and it is worth dying for. But a godless worldview, as Solzhenitsyn warned us, will make us wimps. Solzhenitsyn said, To defend oneself, one must also be ready to die; there is little such readiness in a society raised in the cult of material well-being.” In this godless cosmology, there is nothing worth defending or dying for. When Antichrist shows up, people will voluntarily become his slaves. Because there is no God in their lives or in their universe. The Puritans believed in God as the source of their freedom. Solzhenitsyn believed that God is the source of our freedom. Today, most people do not think like Puritans anymore because they are brainwashed by this Darwinian cosmology. They believe that the universe was born in the Big Bang.
4.Economy without God:
In the last days, we see a world economy run by human greed. Russia has vast resources of gasoline and natural gas. Together, they form 65 percent of their exports. Forty percent of Europe’s fossil fuels come from Russia. 80 percent of the pipelines from Russia go through Ukraine. This is pipeline geopolitics. Putin and his oligarch friends are obsessed with amassing wealth to the tune of billions of dollars. God warned us against wealth accumulation in his word.
In James chapter 5, we read these words:
Go now, you rich men,
weep and wail for your miseries
that shall come upon you.
Your wealth has rotted,
and your garments are motheaten.
Your gold and silver is cankered.
And the rust of them shall be a
witness against you, and shall eat
your flesh as if it were fire.
You have heaped treasure
together for the last days.
God says, ‘you rich men, your wealth has rotted. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have murdered the innocent’.
These words perfectly describe the billionaires of our time. Putin’s friends, so called oligarchs, possess billions of dollars. They own yachts. The average price of these yachts is hundred million dollars. How much money will they give to missions? How much money will they donate to the poor in Russia or Ukraine?
The United States and Europe punished these oligarchs with sanctions. What can we learn from these sanctions? With their collective power, they can make your life miserable. This global interconnected financial system will be a great weapon in the hands of Antichrist. Read Revelation chapter 13. Antichrist will control the world’s economy.
5.A Religion without God
Next point, A religion without God. Jesus inquired in Luke 18:8, ‘When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?’. When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? Jesus was describing our age, the age of unbelief. Forget about atheists, Hindus and Muslims. Today, the majority of evangelicals do not believe in the verbal inspiration of the Bible or in the divinity of Christ or his second coming. A ‘touchy feely’ religion took over our generation. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat explains in his book, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, that we created a God Within religion. What is this God Within religion? It says this religion teaches that God is within us. It does not care for a God who is outside of us. It is a sort of pantheism with little resemblance to Biblical Christianity. It is not a ‘God Outside’ religion. This God has no moral force on our lives. This God has no commandments to restrict our behavior.
President Joe Biden said in his State of the Union speech, ‘As I said last year, especially to our younger transgender Americans, I’ll always have your back as your President so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential.’ John MacArthur said, accepting every sin under terms like equality, love, compassion and God-given potential will bring more judgment on America. MacArthur’s point is we are using God’s name in vain without heeding his righteousness.
Richard Niebuhr wrote in his book The Kingdom of God in America, “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross”.
We want a God without wrath
men without sin
Kingdom without judgment
Christ without a cross.
Christianity’s core message is God’s judgment is coming on unrepentant sinners. They must confess their sins and come to the cross of Christ for salvation. But if you make up a Christ without a cross, God is not pleased with such a religion. Let us go back to Olivet Discourse in Matthew chapter 24. Verse 2. ‘Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down’. The temple in Jerusalem was ranked among one of the most magnificent buildings in the world. Yet, Jesus was not impressed with it because God has no place in the religious system that flourished inside that temple. Lord Jesus said that the temple would be destroyed soon, not leaving one stone over another. It was a religion without God and God destroyed it.
In the last days, we will see such a religion without God. Read Revelation chapter 17. We see the Great Babylon, the harlot. She sits on a beast. Who is this harlot? She is the false religious system. And who is the beast? The beast is Antichrist. The false religious system sits over the antichrist. Read verse 2. The kings of the earth were sleeping with his prostitute. In other words, the leaders of the nation are prostituting with his false religious system.
President Biden and President Putin. They are on opposite sides of this war. But both are prostituting with this false religious system. Biden says he is a Christian. Putin says he is a Christian. He wears a necklace with a cross. He projects himself as a Savior to protect Christianity. He dines with the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Ukraine has been a Christian majority nation for over a thousand years. In its pre-Christian times, it was practicing idolatry and human sacrifice. Then two missionaries Cyril (826 – 869) and Methodius (815 – 885) went to Russia and preached the gospel. Emperor Justinian’s Byzantine Empire sent these missionaries to convert the slavic people. Cyril translated the Bible into the local language. He invented the Glagolitic alphabet to publish this Bible. Russians and Ukrainians started to convert to Christianity.
During the days of Prince Vladimir, Christianity became the state religion in Russia and Ukraine. He sent some emissaries to Constantinople to see the church of hagia sophia. They were astonished to see the splendor of this beautiful church. They were so enthralled by the Christian music and hymns. The Russian ambassador (987) wrote in a report to Prince Vladimir of Kiev, ‘We did not know where we were, in heaven or on earth’. On hearing this report, Prince Vladimir becomes a Christian. He sends away his pagan wives. He abandons his pagan gods. He becomes a kind person. He gets baptism. Following his example, Russia became a Christian nation.
It has been said that Protestant Christianity appeals to mind, Catholic Christianity to the heart and Orthodox Christianity to the body. Russians and Ukrainians both became Orthodox Christians. Some corrupt leaders started to use Christianity for their political purposes. This is called symphonia. Stalin was a Communist atheist. Occasionally, he befriended church leaders to get things done. Now, Vladimir Putin is also using Christianity to continue his power. But Jesus warned us that such a system will be destroyed.
John the Baptist said, ‘produce fruits worthy of repentance’ (Matthew 3:8). When you really become a Christian, you should produce fruits worthy of your repentance. You should produce fruits worthy of your conversion. We are not seeing those fruits in the life of Vladimir Putin. He has been giving poison to his opponents, he has been imprisoning his critics, he is attacking even hospitals and churches. Stalin used to hunt and kill his enemies like Trotsky, for example. Putin is walking in his steps.
July 14, 2014. A Malaysian airlines plane was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. When it was over Ukraine’s airspace, Putin’s men destroyed the plane with a missile. 298 individuals died including women and little children. That is not Christian behavior. Those are not fruits of true Christian repentance. He is following a religion without God.
Finally, a Foreign Policy without God.
Ultimately, your worldview influences your foreign policy. Back in 1948, Harry Truman decided to recognize the State of Israel because he was influenced by a Biblical worldview. If Biden were President in 1948, I doubt he would have recognized the State of Israel. God made a covenant with Abraham, the father of Israel. Read through the Old Testament. God judged the neighboring nations of Israel based on their behavior towards Israel. Egyptians, Philistines, Ammonites, Moabites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans – God judged all of them. These are the sins you committed and these are the judgments I put on you. This is called the ‘judgment of nations’.
Russia’s foreign policy is not influenced by a Christian worldview. Read Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. Russia and its partner nations will attack the nation of Israel in the end times. 2500 years ago, prophet Ezekiel made this prophecy. He said that God would bring the children of Israel to Judea. He would call them out of the nations of the world. He would make them into one nation. That prophecy started to be fulfilled in 1948.
Now, the Jewish people are back in Israel. God would not allow any nation to destroy them or even throw them out of the land of Israel. So, no nation should try to destroy the nation of Israel or try to throw its people into the sea. But Russia, China and many Muslim nations would not heed this warning from God. As prophet Ezekiel told us in his book, they attack Israel to insult the West and to plunder its wealth. But God will intervene and destroy the Gentile nations. We do not know when this prophecy will materialize, but it will happen some time in the future.
So, when we look at today’s world, we clearly see different institutions becoming more and more godless and making themselves tools in the hands of the coming Antichrist.
Politics without God
Education without God
Science without God
Economics without God
Religion without God
Foreign policy without God
All these systems will be destroyed by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. Read Psalm 2:9
You shall break them with a rod of iron
You shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel
The Messiah is coming back as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He will break the godless nations of our world with his scepter of iron. He will dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
If you are not saved, today is the day of salvation. Come to Jesus, accept that you are a sinner, invite him as your Lord and Savior into your life. That is how you can escape the coming judgment of God in this world.