Who are the Russians? How about those in Ukraine? Does the Bible give us any clues into their origins?
What is prophesied for Russia and Ukraine in the future? Do these peoples have any future military role? Will God call all the Russians and Ukrainians? Will most Russians and Ukrainians who ever lived be saved?
The Bible discusses the births of many people and many nations in Genesis chapter 10. Actually, many people refer to this chapter as the origin of nations. And it is here that we get some insight into who the Russian peoples are:
Now this is the genealogy of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And sons were born to them after the flood. The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras (Genesis 10:1-2, NKJV throughout unless otherwise indicated).
Starting with Adam (the first man), the above is basically repeated later in the Bible:
Adam, Seth, Enosh, Cainan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. (1 Chronicles 1:1-5)
Some believe that Meshech is the Hebrew term from whence came the name Moscow. Tubal is considered by some to also be associated with the Russian peoples.
Regarding Meschech, notice:
...the Muskai, or Moschians, who are probably identical with the Meshech of Holy Scripture (Rawlinson G. The Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World. Published 1881 by Dodd, Mead, and Company, New York Original from Harvard University (Google Books) Page 64).
Some 1000 years ago an ancient Slav tribe, the Meshchera, settled in these parts, not far from present-day Moscow. Since then the region has been called Meschera (Sputnik. Published 1997 by Novosti Press Agency Original from the University of California, Page 96).
Three times the Old Testament uses the expression "the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal" (Ezekiel 38:2,3;39:1). Here is one of them that also mentions Gog and Magog:
Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal (Ezekiel 38:2).
Notice also the following:
The Scythian Tauri in the Crimea were so called. The Araxes also was called "Rhos." The modern Russians may have hence assumed their name, as Moscow and Tobolsk from Meshech and Tubal, though their proper ancient name was Slavi, or Wends. Hengstenberg supports English Version, as "Rosh" is not found in the Bible. "Magog was Gog's original kingdom, though he acquired also Meshech and Tubal, so as to be called their chief prince. (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)
The late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:
"Gog" in the land of "Magog" is the vast regions of the U.S.S.R. in northern Eurasia extending from the Baltic to the Pacific. "Meshech" is Moscow, "Tubal" is Tobol 'sk (Armstrong HW. Why Russia Will Not Attack the United States, reprint 1980, p. 8).
The same reprint booklet states:
Rosh is the ancient Hebrew name for the Russ ("blonds") who settled in the plains of Eastern Europe in the ninth century A.D. They gave their name to the Russian nation. The people of Rosh are among the White Russians of Byelorussia today. Living next to the people of Rosh are Meshech and Tubal...Josephus calls them the Moschevi and Thobelites...Together, the Caucasian branches of Meshech and Tubal form the two distinct branches of the Great Russians of today (pp. 10,11).
It may be of interest to note that the official name of the Russian Federation is Rossiyskaya Federatsiya and hence bears a similarity to the Hebrew word Rosh.
Hally's Bible Handbook teaches:
Rosh is thought by some to mean Russia...Meshech is thought to mean Moscow; or Muscovy...Whatever may be the exact identification of these peoples, (Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Gomer and Rosh) Ezekiel speaks of them as dwelling in 'the uttermost parts of the north' (38:6, 15; 39:2), and there can be little doubt that he means nations beyond the Caucasus (mountains). A glance at the map makes it plain that he has in mind that part of the world known as Russia (Halley H.H. Halley's Bible Handbook, 23rd edition. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids (MI), 1962, p. 333).
Another book teaches:
The Hebrew lexicographer Gesenius says, "Rosh is the proper name of a northern nation mentioned along with Tubal and Meshech; without much doubt the same as the Russians, who are described by the Byzantine writers of the tenth century under the name, the Rhos, as inhabiting the northern parts of Taurus; and also by Ibn Fosslan, an Arabian writer of the same period, under the name Rus, as dwelling upon the river Rha, that is, the Volga." Koeppen says that "the Russians appear for the first time in the Byzantine historians of the ninth century under the indeclinable name Rhos. Later they were known as Russniacks, Ross, or, now, Russ-ians." The "Ross" were at first "among the many Sclavonian tribes who were driven northward from the Black Sea on the advance of the Chazars," Though at first a single tribe, the Ross at length gave name to that vast Sclavonian empire whose territory comprises the " north parts" of Europe and Asia...
It is worth remarking here that in ancient records the spelling of proper names varies so much that it need cause us no surprise to find Rosh turning into Rhos, Rus, and Russ. Nor are we to wonder to find Meshech of the Hebrew text changed into Moahok in the Samaritan, and Mosoch in the Septuagint. The people of Meshech were known to the ancient Greeks as Mosffhoi.
In the Assyrian inscriptions lately deciphered by Sir Henry Rawlinson, the same people are named Muskai, It is said that at one time the Muskai, in conjunction with their neighbors, the Tibareni, kept the inhabitants of Syria and Mesopotamia in continual dread of their ravages. One memeuto of this fact may be that exclamation in the 120th Psalm, ''Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech." By the advance of the Median and Persian powers the Moschoi were afterwards, about 700 to 650 B. C., compelled to cross the Caucasus and take refuge in that immense steppe region in which they had their origin. The descendants of the Moschoi figure in history as Muscovites. They built the old capital of Russia, Moscow, on their river, Moskwa, and from them Russia is still known as Muscovy throughout the east. Tubal has been identified with the Tibareni of Herodotus (Craig A. Writings and Addresses of Austin Craig. Published 1913 by The Christian Publishing association, Dayton Ohio:Pages 147-149).
An Islamic legend seems to identify Ros as a son of Japheth:
There are numerous Oriental legends about Japheth. According to Mohammedan writers he was the eldest son of Noah...They call him Aboultierk, and ascribe to him eleven sons, among whom are...Ros of the Russians—nations wholly unknown to the ancient Hebrews. They ascribe to his sons great wisdom (Kitto, John; Alexander, William Lindsay. A Cyclopædia of Biblical Literature, 3rd Edition. Black, 1876, p. 465).
In the first century, Josephus wrote:
Japhet, the son of Noah, had seven sons: they inhabited so, that, beginning at the mountains Taurus and Amanus, they proceeded along Asia...they called the nations by their own names...Now as to Javan and Madai, the sons of Japhet; from Madai came the Madeans, who are called Medes, by the Greeks... Thobel founded the Thobelites, who are now called Iberes; and the Mosocheni were founded by Mosoch...And so many were the countries that had the children of Japhet for their inhabitants. (Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews. VI, 1).
Those in the Ukraine seem to have some ties to the Medes. It may be of interest to note that the nation of Georgia is made up of peoples who were called the Iberes above (and Iberians below). Also, speaking of Georgia, it may be of interest to note that its capital is Tbilisi, which sounds like it ultimately may have been derived from the word Tubal.
The people of Georgia themselves claim to be descended from a great grandson of Japheth named Kartlos (whose father has been claimed to be Togarmah of Genesis 10:3; Togarmah. Wikipedia.):
Georgians call themselves Kartvelebi...and their language Kartuli ... According to legend, the ancestor of the Kartvelian people was Kartlos, the great grandson of the Biblical Japheth. Ancient Greeks (Strabo, Herodotus, Plutarch, Homer, etc.) and Romans (Titus Livius, Cornelius Tacitus, etc.) referred to early eastern Georgians as Iberians (Iberoi in some Greek sources) and western Georgians as Colchians (Georgia (Country). Wikipedia. viewed 03/09/08).
As far as the Medes go, they were once in a land called Media, which was near Persia (modern Iran). The Bible uses the terms "Medes" and "Persians" together five times in the NKJV (e.g. Daniel 5:28). The ancient empire of Media contained Persia, but did not go all the way to the land now known as Ukraine.The Median empire, around 600 B.C. stretched west from the southern center of the Black Sea (Crimea would have been north of that empire, but would have been accessible by a boat that would head straight north in the western portion) and went east almost to India. But there were also various migrations of peoples, which is why it is believed that at least some made it into the area of Ukraine and/or Crimea (and likely Russia itself as well as some of the nearby states).There were also descendants of Israel who were living in the land of the Medes at the time of Jesus. Notice the following account from the New Testament, circa 31 A.D.:
8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs — we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God. (Acts 2:8-11)
So, there were contacts from the descendants of Israel and the Medes in New Testament times.
The Medes and the Russians seem to have shared some history. But it is not clear to many. Notice the following:
The history of the Medes is dark and unknown. -- Dmitri Ivanovich Ilovaisky ...
In linguistic terms, the Russians are identified as East Slavs, that is, speakers of East Slavic, which eventually evolved into three distinct languages: Greater Russian, often simply called Russian; Ukrainian; and White Russian, or Belorussian (Belarus).
(Riasanovsky NV. Russian Identities : A Historical Survey: A Historical Survey. Oxford University Press, 2005, p.7)
The above is at the beginning of the first chapter in the book cited on the origins of the Russians and Ukrainians. The author, a professor of history emeritus from UC Berkeley.
It should be noted that part of the reason that Dmitri Ivanovich Ilovaisky and others are unclear about the connection is because of multiple migrations or peoples with differing names.
As far as names go, the historian Herodotus claimed that there were six different tribes/families of Medes. Herodotus identified the tribes of the Medes as Busae, Parataceni/Paratakeni, Struchates/Strukhates, Arizanti, Budii, and the Magi (Herodotus: A New and Literal Version with a Geographical and General Index by Henry Cary. Histories, book 1, chapter 101. Translated by Henry Cary. Harper, 1896. Original from the University of Virginia, Digitized Jan 23, 2009, p. 46).
Here is one report about the six tribes:
- The Busae group is thought to derive from the Persian term buza meaning indigenous (i.e. not Iranian). Whether this was based on an originally Iranian term, or their own name, is unknown.
- The second group is called the Paraetaceni, or Parae-tak-(eni) in Persian, and denotes nomadic inhabitants of the mountains of Paraetacene. This name recalls the Scythian Para-la-ti, the people of Kolaxis, believed to represent the common people in general, but whom Herodotus calls the "Royal Scythians".
- The third group is called Strukhat.
- The fourth group is the Arizanti, whose name is derived from the words Arya (noble), and Zantu (tribe, clan).
- The fifth group were the Budii, found also among the Black Sea Scythians as Budi-ni. Buddha was of the tribe Budha, the Saka (eastern Scythian) form of the name.
- The sixth tribe were the Magi...They were a hereditary caste of priests of the Zurvanism religion that evolved out of Zoroastrianism. The name Magi implies a link with the Sumerians, who called their language Emegir, over time becoming simplified to Magi. Hungarian tradition also traces pre-European Magyar (Hungarian) ancestry back to the Magi. In time, the Sumerian-influenced religion of the Magi was suppressed in favour of a more purely Iranian form of Zoroastrianism, itself evolved from its somewhat dualist beginnings into the monotheistic faith that it is today (also known as Parsi-ism). (History of the Medes. http://www.taroscopes.com/miscellanous-pages/medes.html viewed 08/31/14)
As far as the Russians and Ukrainians go, the late John Ogwyn wrote:
The Origins of the Russian People
We need to understand who the Russian people are and where they came from. In order to recognize Biblical prophecies about them, it is necessary to know their origin. Actually, several related tribes anciently migrated into European Russia and became the ancestors of the three branches of the Russian peoples: the Great Russians, the Little Russians and the White Russians. History, culture and language unite these people, though they initially sprang from different ancestors.
In earliest times we find two nations, identified in the Bible as Meshech and Tubal, dwelling in the easternmost part of Asia Minor along the southeastern shore of the Black Sea. These closely related nations were called Mushki by the Assyrians and Moschi by the Greeks. To their east were a related people, the ancient Medes, who dwelt between the Black and Caspian Seas. These peoples, under the leadership of the Medes, played a prominent role in the destruction of the Assyrian capital, Ninevah, in 612BC.
The fifth and fourth centuries BC saw increasing conflict between the Persian and Greek realms, with peoples such as Meshech, Tubal, Lud (Lydia), Medes and Elamites being drawn into the fighting. By the close of the fourth century BC the Greeks, under Alexander the Great, had triumphed over Persia. It was the subsequent Greek invasion of eastern lands that resulted in pressure on people living between the Black and Caspian Sea to migrate north into the Scythian plains. Many different peoples, including remnants of the exiled northern ten tribes of Israel, inhabited the vast plains of Scythia during the coming centuries.
According to the Cultural Atlas of Russia and the Soviet Union, by the second century BC an "...Iranian nomadic people...[whose] federation of tribes eventually seems to have included a strong Slavonic element..." (p. 34) were settled north of the Black Sea. This confederation of peoples was drawn from Elamites and Medes, together with Meshech and Tubal. By this time they must have been speaking a common language, proto-Slavic, akin to Old Persian. The name the Slavs call themselves comes from slovo, which means "word," and stresses the sense of a linguistic community that is distinct from "non-understanders," the meaning of nemets, the general Slav designation for Germans.
From north of the Black Sea the Elamites gradually spread west and south, giving rise to the Slavic population in central and southern Europe. The tribes who traced their descent from the ancient Medes moved a little north and west to lay claim to the rich farmland of Little Russia, the Ukraine. From Meshech and Tubal came the Great Russians, who spread north and east, eventually establishing Moscow and the principality of Muscovy. The River Moskva, named for the people of Meshech (called Mushki or Moschi anciently), gave its name to the city and principality (Ogwyn J. What's Ahead for Russia? TW Magazine, May-June 2000).
It should also be noted that some others do not believe that Russia or Moscow are close enough to the words in the Bible that some believe they came from. But, the Russian people did descend from one of the sons of Noah and the lands that they possess are mentioned in certain scriptures.
Some of the Russians themselves appear to have been from the Medes. Notice the following account:
But how are we to explain the name Russia? The old-fashioned view was to derive the word from the Rhoxolani. This, however, has long been abandoned. One thing is certain, namely, that these Rhoxolani were of Oriental descent, a Medic or Iranic tribe. They disappear from history, having, like so many other tribes — as, for instance, the Pechenegs and the Khozars—been swallowed up by the huge waves of immigration which overflowed the country (Morfill WR. Russia. Published 1890 by T.F. Unwin, London).
There are many disputes among academics as to who derived from whom, thus it is not completely clear, for example, that the Rhoxolani were Medes who went to Russia. The Bible has several end time prophecies concerning the Medes (Isaiah 13:17-19) and the kings of the Medes (Jeremiah 51:11, 28-29) that involve military action. Various ones in Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk, Russia, and elsewhere are part of the descendants of the Medes, as likely are some in Moldova.
However, if the Rhoxolani were Medes, then it would seem to be consistent with certain biblical prophecies.
Notice also the following:
Today the people who constituted the empire of the Medes may be found in western Russia, specifically the Ukraine and Volhynia. (White C. The Great German Nation: Origins and Destiny. AuthorHouse, 2007, p. 285)
While some/many in Ukraine descended from the Medes, so have some/many in Russia.
Wikipedia has the following about various peoples being in the area now called Ukraine:
During the Iron Age, the land was inhabited by Cimmerians, Scythians, and Sarmatians. Between 700 BC and 200 BC it was part of the Scythian Kingdom, or Scythia. Later, colonies of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and the Byzantine Empire, such as Tyras, Olbia and Hermonassa, were founded, beginning in the 6th century BC, on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea, and thrived well into the 6th century AD. The Goths stayed in the area but came under the sway of the Huns from the 370s AD. In the 7th century AD, the territory of eastern Ukraine was the centre of Old Great Bulgaria. At the end of the century, the majority of Bulgar tribes migrated in different directions, and the Khazars took over much of the land.
Kievan Rus' was founded by the Rus' people, Varangians who first settled around Ladoga and Novgorod, then gradually moved southward eventually reaching Kiev about 880. Kievan Rus' included the western part of modern Ukraine, Belarus, with larger part of it situated on the territory of modern Russia. (Ukraine, viewed 03/03/2014)
Certain ancient historians wrote about the Medes:
Herodotus wrote that the Medes were beginning to settle in the Ukraine even in his time. He main-tained that there were people who 'dressed in Median fashion' that live 'north of Thrace . . . beyond the Danube.' (Slytie P. The Three Edens. Xulon Press, 2011, p. 784)
Pliny mentions “the river Don, where the inhabitants are ... said to be descended from the Medes” (book 6, sec.11) (UKRAINE). (Hunt K. The Biblical Prophets for Today. iUniverse, 2011, p. 7)
Isaiah mentions a chariot drawn by asses, xxi. 7 ; and Herodotus, that the Medes used wild asses to draw their war-chariots ; both apparently referring to the dun variety, which can be traced even now in the Ukraine, (Lizars WH. W.H. Lizars, 1866. Original from the New York Public Library, Digitized Dec 4, 2009, p. 110)
Herodotus lived in the fifth century B.C. and has been called "the father of history." Pliny was a first century A.D. Roman nobleman and historian. Isaiah 21:2 is a reference to the Medes, hence there seems to be a tie into at least some part of Ukraine.
It should be pointed out that at least one historian, George Rawlinson, identified those in Ukraine as not necessarily descended from the Medes, but from the Gimri or Alani, who were possibly Medes or possibly not:
The nations of Japhetic stock which were developed at an early date are:
1. The Gimiri, (Gomer) or Kiramerians, who possessed the Ukraine ; 2. The Saka (Scythians), called in Scripture Magog; 3. The Mada (Madai) or Medes ; 4. The Yafones (Javan), the Ionians or Greeks ; 5. The Tuplai (Tubal) or Tibareni; 6. The Muskai (Meshech) or Moschi; and 7. the Thracians (Tiras) (Rawlinson G. Ancient History Volume 1 of A sketch of universal history. C.W. Deacon, 1887. Original from the University of Michigan, Digitized Jun 2, 2007, p. 21)
The Alani...in the south of Russia in Europe, in modern Ukraine...Some regard them as Medes, others as Teutons...(Rawlinson G. The sixth great Oriental monarchy; or The geography, history, & antiquities of Parthia. Spottiswoods, 1873. Original from Oxford University, Digitized Jun 28, 2006, p. 291)
Now, as I do not agree that the Scythians are Magog, there are problems with the above. But it is possible that the Ukrainians in the western portion of that country are not predominantly Medes.
Notice something I wrote in this article, prior to the Crimean, Donetsk, and Luhansk elections for separation:
If most of those in western Ukraine are not descendants of the Medes (and I have not seen DNA or specific genetic evidence on this, mainly reports from historians related to the general region), look for a split in Ukraine, with the western portion attempting to be part of the European Union--although Russia could stop this militarily. Even if those in the west are Medes and even if they do end up in the European Union, note that Bible prophecy teaches that the Medes will turn against the end time Babylonian power that will fully arise in Europe.
As far as Ukraine goes, it is in in a very strategic location. Ukraine borders Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova. All but the first two and Moldova are currently in the European Union–and Moldova applied in 2013 (see Georgia and Moldova sign up to join European Union, Ukraine does not). On June 27, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia signed trade and political deals with the European Union (see Ukraine, Moldova, and George sign deals with European Union; Russia not pleased).
The European Union has demonstrated a history and willingness to enlarge--and it is interested in Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia. This may also be consistent with biblical prophecy.
The Bible prophesied that a little horn would develop into what apparently is becoming a European entity. Actually what is now the EU began as a small organization involving three small countries located in the northern and western regions of Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, called the Benelux nations)--they then helped form the European Economic Community. Which expanded into the European Union.
The late Dr. Herman Hoeh while in the old Radio Church of God taught that the little horn of Daniel 8 would expand and become the power that would become the final European King of the North:
Turn in your Bible to verse 9: "And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land." ...
The King of the North
The little horn in Daniel 8 is none other than the LAST KING of one of the four divisions of Alexander's Empire. He is, in fact, the final "King of the North" described in Daniel 11. ... A great European Church-State union will be in control of Palestine and the whole Western World. (Hoeh H. The 2300 Days. Plain Truth, August 1965)
A power in Europe is rising up, despite the fact it is prophesied to have problems (e.g. Daniel 2:41-43).
Notice that, in Daniel 8, the Bible prophesied that a little horn would mainly expand South and East:
And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered (Daniel 8:9-12).
And while the above has had a past fulfillment, this prophecy seems to be dual (compare with Daniel 11:27-39). Anyway, the European Union has mainly expanded south and east of the Benelux nations. Now, approximately 500 million people are now under a new, single (though not completed united) government, called the European Union, headquartered in Brussels. Ukraine is mainly east of much of the EU–thus its geography is consistent with being part of the EU. And Moldova and Georgia are south and east, which is also consistent.
From a prophetic perspective, we appear to be seeing some separation between some of the peoples that live within the borders of Ukraine as well as Georgia and Moldova. According to Bible prophecy, those that appear to have descended from the ancient Medes will ultimately align with Russia.
This does not mean that some or all of Ukraine, etc. will not be part of the European Union, at least for a time.
The European Union has demonstrated a history and willingness to enlarge–and it is interested in Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia. The USA keeps encouraging all of this, but this will not end well for the USA (cf. Daniel 11:39; Isaiah 10:5-11).
Not all in Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia want to be part of the European Union, some prefer to be in Russia's upcoming Eurasian Union. Those that become disillusioned/disappointed by the EU may ultimately back out of it.
Biblically (because of prophecies involving the Medes, some of which are in Ukraine, and some in the “north and east” in Daniel 11:44), it would seem that Russia would be closer to at least parts of Ukraine (like some of the eastern portions of it) in the end than many realize. There is also a YouTube video available titled Ukraine in Prophecy?
Russia is a large, primarily Gentile nation. And while it is basically known religiously as being "Russian Orthodox" (hence has many of the same teachings as the Eastern Orthodox churches), it is not always the same and seemed to tolerate seventh-day sabbath-keeping longer than other branches of the Orthodox Church.
For example, Sabbath-keeping was reported in Russia in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. And most likely began much earlier than that. Here are two fifteenth century reports:
One crisis developed as of the year 1492 approached. Byzantine and Russian society had been taught that the world would end 7,000 years after the time of creation. The year 7000 in the Orthodox calendar corresponded to the year AD 1492.
Anticipation of the apocalypse was mixed with confusion, dread, and doubts about the veracity of Orthodox teachings. In this atmosphere a group of religious dissidents known in the historical literature as Judaizers, gained momentum and new adherents, especially among the clergy of Novgorod... From Novgorod they spread to Moscow when Ivan III having annexed Novgorod in 1478, transferred two Novgorodian priests who had espoused the heretical views...to Moscow...Ivan's daughter-in-law, the mother of his grandson Dmitry, and the state secretary (d'iak) and the diplomat, Feder Kuritsyn, were among those influenced by their beliefs.
In 1487, Gennadii (Gennadius), the second archbishop to be appointed by Moscow to lead the still discontented Novgorodian church, launched an aggressive campaign to root out dissidents, whom he labeled as heretics for their alleged iconoclasm, anti-Trinitarianism, Sabbatarianism (i.e., observing the Sabbath on Saturday rathern than Sunday), and rejection of the year 7000 (1492) as the date of earthly destruction. Using torture among other inquisitorial techniques, he identified the heretics and convinced the grand prince and the new metropolitan, Zosima (1490-94), to convene a Church council to suppress their movement. The council of 1490 found nine accused Novgorodians guilty. (Martin J. Medieval Russia: 980-1584, 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press, 2007, pp. 290-291)
Ivan Kuritsin a prominent Russian theologian, and a leader of the religious uprising was arrested and locked in a cage. The tsar - Ivan the Great - found this movement already well established in Novgorod when he seized control of that city around 1480. Gennadii, Russian Orthodox archbishop of Novgorod was a zealous, even fanatical, enemy of the Sabbath-keeping reformers. He calls for extreme measures. In some of his letters addressed to the Russian tsar, Gennadii venerates the methods of Spanish Inquisition and insisted that the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian state should apply these methods towards the Russian Sabbath-keeping movement. Russian Orthodox church leaders met at the Council of Moscow and condemned the reformers as heretics. The Sentence of the Council details the charges: "... some of you said blasphemy against many holy icons, and some of you cut the holy icons and burned them with fire... And you have all honored the Sabbath more than the Resurrection Day of Christ." Council of Moscow, 1490. (Sabbath Rest for Weary Russia. Light of Hope International Television Ministry, Copyright 2011 http://www.lightofhopetv.com/sabbath.shtml viewed 03/31/12)
...1503...the leader of the Possessors was Abbot Joseph of Volokolamsk...a rather severe ascetic who imposed...the burning at the stake...the sect of the Judaizers...Judaizers...in Russia in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries...denied the Trinity (Fanning S. Mystics of the Christian Tradition. Routeldge, New York. 2001, reprinted 2006, pp. 49, 255).
Whether or not the persecuted Russians were part of the COG is uncertain, but being anti-trinitarian, Sabbath-keeping, iconoclasts that did not agree with aspects of Russian Orthodox eschatology hints that perhaps some of them could have been.
Notice this nineteenth century report:
The ancient Russian name for this people was Strigolniks. Dr. Murdock says of them:--
"...The earliest of the schismatics first appeared in Novogorod, early in the fifteenth century, under the name of Strigolniks. "A Jew named Horie preached a mixture of Judaism and Christianity; and proselyted two priests, Denis and Alexie, who gained a vast amount of followers. This sect was so numerous that a national council was called, towards the close of the fifteenth century, to oppose it. Soon afterwards one Karp, an excommunicated deacon, joined the Strigolniks, and accused the higher clergy of selling the office of the priesthood, and of so far corrupting the church, that the Holy Ghost was withdrawn from it. He was a very successful propagator for this sect."
...What was the origin of these Russian Sabbath-keepers? Certainly it was not from the Reformation of the sixteenth century; for they were in existence for at least one century prior to that event. We have seen that the Waldenses, during the Dark Ages, were dispersed through many of the counties of Europe. And also, were the people called Cathari, if indeed, the two were not one people. In particular, we note the fact that they were scattered through Poland, Lithuania, Sclavonia, Bulgaria, Livonia, Albania, and Sarmartia. These countries are now part of the Russian empire. Sabbath-keepers were numerous in Russia before the time of Luther (Andrews, p. 469).
"There is a sect of Greek Christians in Siberia who keep the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday)..."(Semi-Weekly Tribune, May 4, 1869. Cited in Andrews J.N. in History of the Sabbath, 3rd edition, 1887. Reprint Teach Services, Brushton (NY), 1998, p. 505)
What the Adventist scholar failed to mention, however, is that those who kept the Sabbath and were called Judaizers did not believe in the invented doctrine of the trinity (see also Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning):
Judaizers...in Russia in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries...denied the Trinity (Fanning S. Mystics of the Christian Tradition. Routeldge, New York. 2001, reprinted 2006, p. 255).
Sadly there was persecution of Sabbath-keepers in Russia back then:
"The accused [Sabbath-keepers] were summoned; they openly acknowledged the new faith, and defended the same. The most eminent of them, the secretary of state, Kuritzyn, Ivan Maximow, Kassian, archimandrite of the Fury Monastery of Novgorod, were condemned to death, and burned publicly in cages, at Moscow; Dec. 17,1503." Geschichte der Juden" (Leipsig, 1873), (Cited in Andrews pp.117-122).
However, I believe that knowledge and observance of the Sabbath was in Russia long before that.
One reason is that the Russian language, like many others, essentially uses a term for Sabbath to mean what we in English term Saturday. Notice the following two reports:
105 Languages: In over 100 languages the name for the day that we call “Saturday” is "the Sabbath." For example, “Saturday” in the Spanish language is "Sabado," which means “the Sabbath.” In Italian, it is "Sabbato," which also means “the Sabbath.” In Russian it is, "Subbota." In Polish, "Sobota,” etc. Interestingly enough, in Ghana the day for Sunday, literally translated, means “White man changed this day!” (Wohlberg S. Can We Know What Day is the Sabbath? White Horse Media)
Some believed that Monday is the first day of the week. I showed them from the Spanish, Swahili and Tagalog that Saturday in all those languages can be identified with the word “Sabbath.” In Spanish the word for Saturday is “Sabado.” In Swahili the word for seven is “sabad” (though Saturday is called “Jumamosi” or “Moses’ Day”) and in Tagalog the word is the same as in Spanish, “Sabado”. (King, R. United Kingdom Update. World Ahead Update, August 16, 2007).
суббота is how the Russian word Saturday was translated by two online dictionaries for me--but this is using “Russian” characters—using our characters it comes out as Subbota.
There simply is no serious reason to use a term that means Sabbath for Saturday unless there was knowledge of the Sabbath in Russia.
Notice the following:
The reign of Vasily (1505-1533) was characterized by cruelty and a return to ignorance. His son and successor Ivan IV (1531-1584) turned out to be a bloody ruler who terrorized all Russia, earning from history the infamous title, Ivan the Terrible. Even during his reign, there were people in Russia who were true to the teachings of the Bible, especially the Sabbath. The “One Hundred Head” Church Council, called in 1551 during the reign of Ivan IV, adopted a resolution which until today has not been annulled by the Russian Orthodox Church. This regulation states that the people, besides worshiping on Sunday, could also worship on Saturday in the confines of the Russian Orthodox Church—a statement which was recognized by the church council as authorized by the Apostles Peter and Paul (Kozhachnikov, D. E. ed., Stoglav [Source: One-Hundred-Head Council] (St. Petersburg: Tipografiia Imperatorskoi Akademy Nauk, 1863), pp. 270, 271. As cited by Zhigankov, Oleg. Ahead of their time? The 15th century Reformation in Russia. College and University Dialogue Journal).
Notice that the practices of Peter and Paul are mentioned. They kept the Sabbath. But one still may wonder how the Orthodox Church could possibly condone Saturday. Well, because Saturday had been observed by those in Asia Minor for centuries, and even after the area mainly became part of the Greco-Orthodox confederation of Catholics, in Constantinople (the primary see, "first among equals" in its words of the Orthodox Churches) the Sabbath often was kept along with Sunday. And since the Russian Orthodox had historical ties with Constantinople, apparently it was felt that Sabbath observance would still be tolerable.
Interestingly, The Catholic Encyclopedia admits that some of the Paulicians did end up in the Russian controlled area of Armenia:
There were Paulician communities in the part of Armenia occupied by Russia after the war of 1828-29 (Fortescue A. Paulicians. The Catholic Encyclopedia).
But the reality seems to be that the Sabbath-keepers in Russia to a great degree probably compromised to become part of the Orthodox church. Though some faithful probably remained in Armenia (more information is in the article The Pergamos Church Era).
Related to the Church of God, Seventh Day:
1922: Activity Expands...Some 150 letters were sent to prospective ministers in foreign fields forty-two to Germany, twenty-eight to Russia, three to Denmark, and others to Norway, Sweden, China, Africa, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Japan, Philippines, western and eastern India, South America, and other places...These were Sabbath-keeping ministers...(Nickels R.C. History of the Seventh Day Church of God. 1988, p. 98-99)
So, there were Sabbath-keeping ministers and presumably members in Russia in the early portion of the 20th century.
Throughout the centuries, the Russian Orthodox Church has tended to have a close relationship with the Russian government. This carries forward to this day as many believe that Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill assisted greatly in Vladmir Putin's 're-election.' Furthermore, as far as the situation in Ukraine goes, notice the following from April 20, 2014:
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attended a Russian Orthodox Easter service at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow where Patriarch Kirill led prayers for Russians in Ukraine and called for - in his words - an "end to the designs of those who want to destroy Holy Russia." (http://www.voanews.com/content/christians-celebrate-easter/1897124.html)
Essentially, Patriarch Kirill is praying that the government in Kiev as well as the EU and USA will let Russia take control of as much as Ukraine and other areas as it can get.
Interestingly, while the Orthodox Church formally denounced millenarianism (also called chiliasm) at the Second Ecumenical Council in 381, it is still believed by many Russian Orthodox.
Notice that news reports confirm that millennial beliefs are found within Russian Orthodoxy:
Marat Shterin, an expert in Russian religion at Kings College London, said, says: "The Russian Orthodox Church tends to be quite anti-sectarian, but on this occasion there seems to be a degree of understanding that while this manifestation of millenarian beliefs - belief that we live in 'the end time' - is extreme, some the group's views are shared by many within the Church."
He says that millenarian beliefs are fairly widespread in Russian Orthodoxy, both within the formal structures of the Church and outside it (Waiting for Armageddon. BBC - Nov 21, 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7101727.stm).
The Continuing Church of God also believes in millenarianism.
The Russian Orthodox, even though they seem to have the most members, is not considered to be one of the main leaders of the Orthodox as the Orthodox church there is of a much later origin and no one seems to claim that it was founded by one of the apostles or their immediate successors. While it has many of the same beliefs as the other Orthodox churches, it does not always act as they do and teach everything the same as the others do.
Interestingly, the Russian Orthodox, while earlier indicating a desire for more closeness with Rome, may be distancing itself:
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican, which has been accused of aggressively seeking souls in Russia and some other countries, said Friday it has every right to spread its message and accept converts but that non-Catholics must never be forced to embrace the faith...
With the fall of Communism and subsequent end to bars on religious practice across Eastern Europe, the Russian Orthodox Church has accused Catholics of improperly seeking converts in traditionally Orthodox areas — a claim the Vatican has always rejected (Vatican Defends Right to Spread Message. Associated Press - Dec 14, 2007).
(Also, please see the 11/16/07 news item Orthodox Closer to Accepting Papal Authority).
Here are some statements of interest by Metropolitan Kyrill, former foreign minister of the Russian Orthodox Church (and now its Patriarch):
Less than 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, the number of churches has quadrupled, we now have twice as many dioceses, and the number of monasteries has grown by a factor of 32 -- to 700 -- today. Fifteen thousand young people are studying theology. On the other hand, even though 80 percent of newborns are baptized in Russia, only 60 percent of Russians call themselves Orthodox Christians, and less than 10 percent attend church regularly -- even fewer in some provinces...
We, as the Orthodox Church, are opposed to all attempts to establish a unipolar world. It would constitute the introduction of a forced entity that would level the differences among religions, cultures and civilizations (The Bible Calls it a Sin'. Spiegel. Interview was conducted by Martin Doerry, Christian Neef and Matthias Schepp in Moscow. January 10, 2008. http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,527618,00.html).
I hope and pray that the Russian Orthodox will still oppose "a unipolar world" when the European Beast power arises.
Furthermore, note the following comments:
Likely Moscow patriarch stresses differences with Catholic belief
Moscow, Jan 23, 2009 / 07:03 am (CNA).- An Orthodox prelate considered to be the most likely successor of Patriarch of Moscow Alexy II has said that while Orthodox Christianity shares similarities with Catholicism, there are a “great number of differences” on which “there is no room for compromise.”
...Metropolitan Kirill said: “unfortunately, differences in religious doctrines and practices have increased between orthodoxy and other confessions.”
...While noting that the social positions of Orthodox Christianity and the Catholic Church are “more close,” the metropolitan said, “nevertheless, we have be accountable for a great number of differences in doctrine and practice between the Orthodox and the Catholic Churches and, in this regard, there is no room for compromise.” http://catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=14865
Hence, there is hesitation about accepting the authority of Rome by the Russian Orthodox. But, this may temporarily change (and indeed, this has changed since I originally wrote this).
An article that also may be of interest is Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God; this article also has some specific quotes and comments related to the Russian Orthodox Church.
Although Russia sold Alaska to the United States in the 1800s, there have been reports that it wants it back.
Apparently, even Stalin may have wanted to regain it according to the following story:
Atlanta Journal Constitution - Aug 7, 2010 excerpt...
Nearly 60 years ago, Alexander Vitebsky was a young Soviet officer stationed in Siberia, part of a massive force assembled to try to fulfill Joseph Stalin’s dream of invading Alaska.
“It was very secretive,” said Vitebsky, who, for decades afterward, also carried a secret — he dreamed of coming to America. “We didn’t buy what we were told about America.” (http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/atlantas-public-housing-is-587310.html)
In more recent times, a Russian Professor has forecast it:
MOSCOW -- For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart...Prof. Panarin, 50 years old, is not a fringe figure. A former KGB analyst, he is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry's academy for future diplomats...
When the going gets tough, he says, wealthier states will withhold funds from the federal government and effectively secede from the union. Social unrest up to and including a civil war will follow. The U.S. will then split along ethnic lines, and foreign powers will move in...
"It would be reasonable for Russia to lay claim to Alaska; it was part of the Russian Empire for a long time." A framed satellite image of the Bering Strait that separates Alaska from Russia like a thread hangs from his office wall. "It's not there for no reason," he says with a sly grin.
(Osborn A. As if Things Weren’t Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S. Wall Street Journal, Dec 29, 2008 http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123051100709638419.html).
It is certainly possible that if Russia makes a deal with the rising European Beast power that it may end up with Alaska. Bible prophecy indicates that the Anglo-lands will be divided in Daniel 11:39 and other scriptures (for details see Will the Anglo-Nations be Divided?). Russia may well end up with some of all of Alaska and maybe even parts of Canada.
Russia wants more than Alaska:
After annexing Crimea and with troops massed on the border of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin will not stop trying to expand Russia until he has “conquered” Belarus, the Baltic states and Finland, one of his closest former advisers has said.
According to Andrej Illarionov, the President’s chief economic adviser from 2000 to 2005, Mr Putin seeks to create “historical justice” with a return to the days of the last Tsar, Nicholas II, and the Soviet Union under Stalin.
Speaking to the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, Mr Illarionov warned that Russia will argue that the granting of independence to Finland in 1917 was an act of “treason against national interests”.
“Putin’s view is that he protects what belongs to him and his predecessors,” Mr Illarionov said.
“Parts of Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States and Finland are states where Putin claims to have ownership. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/vladimir-putin-wants-to-regain-finland-for-russia-adviser-says-9224273.html
The desire for an expanded empire is part of the reason for the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union, which Belarus has signed up for.
Is Russia mentioned in biblical prophecy? (Is Russia the King of the North? Some claim it is. But what does the Bible teach? Here is a link to a video, also titled Is Russia the King of the North?)
The peoples of Russia are directly and indirectly mentioned in many biblical prophecies. However, since it is NOT the prophesied King of the North, it is NOT about to takeover the tiny nation of Israel. The Bible is clear that the “Great Sea,” where the Beasts of Daniel 7 come from, is the Mediterranean Sea (e.g. Joshua 9:1, 23:4; Ezekiel 47:15). The Beast power is not a nation like Russia, which does not border the Mediterranean Sea, but Europe which does (see also The King of the North and Europa and the Beast--you can also watch the video Can You Prove that the Beast to Come is European?).
Prior to the formation of Babylonian European Empire, Russia will receive the witness of the gospel message. Notice what the Bible records:
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).
The "end" being discussed above is the end of this church age, as the time of tribulation begins (see vs. 21) then. What this means for the Russians (and all other peoples) is that they will have had a witness just prior to the tribulation. This witness will ultimately help them understand what really will be happening in the world and will set the stage for the ultimate conversion of nearly all the Russians.
Interestingly, the Bible identifies the ancient ancestors of the Russians as traders in the future:
Javan, Tubal, and Meshech were your traders. They bartered human lives and vessels of bronze for your merchandise. Those from the house of Togarmah traded for your wares with horses, steeds, and mules (Ezekiel 27:13-14).
Today, Russia is a major trader of commodities such as oil and gold. It also exports copper, which is the major component of bronze.
Note that the Bible says that all trading nations will have become wealthy trading with Babylon (the restored European Empire--not Asia) that really prospers in the beginning of the great tribulation:
For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury (Revelation 18:3).
Thus, Russia is prophesied to attain wealth from the coming restored European Empire, but it will not then be the most powerful block of nations in the world. The Russians do want a closer relationship with the European Union. Notice something from Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russia's Ambassador to the UK:
June 21, 2015
As Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera, we have always proposed a serious relationship to Europe. For a long time we have been talking about the need to deepen Russia-EU ties. It seems today nobody objects.
In practice, we face many obstacles created by our European partners and EU bureaucracy. For us it is absolutely clear that the relationship should be built on a long-term basis, not in an atmosphere of confrontation, but in a spirit of mutually beneficial cooperation.
Being the largest geopolitical entities on the European continent, the Russian Federation and the European Union are naturally interdependent in many ways, linked by their common civilizational roots, culture, history and future. Russia and the EU are two major political and economic power centers on the continent. The development of a strategic partnership with the EU has always been one of Russia's foreign policy priorities.
It’s true that Russia and the EU now have different positions on some international issues, including the Ukrainian crisis. But that does not mean that the sides should limit their political dialogue, diplomatic contacts and practical cooperation.
We believe that the "point of no return" has not been passed yet and will never be, and we are ready to work together with the EU and all of its member states on topical international issues, provided that the principles of equality, respect for each other’s interests and truly collective action are observed.
Traditionally, the EU has been our main economic partner. Bilateral trade exceeds €300 billion a year. Russia is the third biggest trading partner of the EU. The EU is the largest consumer of our energy exports. Russia firmly holds the position of EU’s No. 1 supplier of natural gas, satisfying one-quarter of the EU’s overall demand. It also remains the second most important exporter of crude oil and oil products to Europe. European businesses are broadly represented virtually in all areas of Russian economy. ...
We believe that the "point of no return" has not been passed yet and will never be, and we are ready to work together with the EU and all of its member states on topical international issues, provided that the principles of equality, respect for each other’s interests and truly collective action are observed.
Traditionally, the EU has been our main economic partner. Bilateral trade exceeds €300 billion a year. Russia is the third biggest trading partner of the EU. The EU is the largest consumer of our energy exports. Russia firmly holds the position of EU’s No. 1 supplier of natural gas, satisfying one-quarter of the EU’s overall demand. It also remains the second most important exporter of crude oil and oil products to Europe. European businesses are broadly represented virtually in all areas of Russian economy. ...
Moscow is ready for an even closer cooperation with Brussels and other European capitals. This is why Russia strongly supports eventual economic integration between the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the EU. That will be an integration of the two blocs’ integration processes. We believe that there are no contradictions between the two models of cooperation, since both of them are based on similar principles and norms, including those of the WTO. The two unions could effectively complement each other. Direct dialogue and practical cooperation between the EEU and the EU would contribute to the resolution of many urgent global and regional issues. (Yakovenko A. Supporting closer ties between the EU and Eurasian Economic Union. Russian Times. June 21, 2015. http://rt.com/op-edge/268594-eu-economy-ties-putin/)
The Russians clearly want to cooperate with the Europeans. And yes, this is partially because the Russians would like USA influence reduced--and Europe will do that more than most Russians probably think is possible (cf. Daniel 11:39; Revelation 13:3-4).
When people in Russia and elsewhere see the Beast power they will marvel:
8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is (Revelation 17:8).
3... And all the world marveled and followed the beast. 4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him? (Revelation 13:3-4)
They will marvel because of the great wealth, because they did not think Europe would gain such prominence or military success, and because its leadership will have performed various signs and wonders. Hopefully, those of you reading this article will not be among those who will be deceived. Note the following:
Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved (2 Thessalonians 2:3-10).
Because of these actions, people throughout the world, including in Russia will (to some degree) worship a false leader.
In the fourteenth century, "Sergius, the patron saint of Russia" (an Orthodox saint), also claimed to have seen Mary (Fanning, p. 47). It was after seeing an apparition that he claimed was Mary that the Orthodox saint Sergius became “the real architect “ of getting Russia to embrace the Orthodox Catholic faith and who “helped spread through Russia“ the “importance“ of "icon painting" (Tradigo A. Icons and saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Getty Publications, 2006, p. 355), and hence getting the Russians to accept something the Bible warns against (1 John 5:21)--an icon-based religion. Furthermore, it has been reported that "an icon representing the appearance of the Virgin to Saint Sergius always accompanied the Russian armies" (ibid, p.47).
It is therefore quite possible that some apparition claiming to be Mary may be a sign that some in Russia will follow. The Catholics of Rome have a prophecy that an apparition of Mary help getting the Russians to accept the pope and the Roman Catholic Church:
Mary apparition in Fatima (20th century): But in the end my Immaculate Heart shall triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, she will be converted, and a certain period of peace will be in the world (Connor, Edward. Prophecy for Today. Imprimatur + A.J. Willinger, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno; Reprint: Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford (IL), 1984, p. 14).
Mary apparition in Hrushiv, Ukraine (20th century): The conversion of Russia will save Christian culture in the West and will be a push for Christianity throughout the world. But the Kingdom of Christ the King shall establish itself through the reign of the Mother of God (Flynn T & L. The Thunder of Justice. Maxkol Communications, Sterling (VA), 1993, p. 34).
The Bible shows the universal acceptance (though it will be temporary) of a false leader:
Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:1-8).
Perhaps it should be mentioned that the Catholics of Rome have other prophecies that those all over the world, and specifically those in Russia will become part of the revised ecumenical "Catholic" Church:
Bl. Anna-Maria Taigi (19th century). Whole nations will come back to the Church and the face of the earth will be renewed. Russia...will come into the Church. (Dupont Yves. Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement. TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 1973, p.45)
Elizabeth Canori-Mora (19th century)."...All men shall become Catholics, and they shall acknowledge the Pope as Vicar of Jesus Christ." (Dupont, p.35)
But this acceptance of the "Catholic" leaders will not last. Perhaps I should mention that even many Catholic writers have warned that one that they call an "antipope" will lead a changed church calling itself "Catholic" that will be an ecumenical world religion that many all over the world will follow, but should not follow (see also Catholic Prophecies: Do They Mirror, Highlight, or Contradict Biblical Prophecies?).
In order to provide light to people, such as the Russians, God will provide a strong witness to the entire world at that time:
3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth... 7 Now when they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves (Revelation 11:3-4,7-9).
Hence when you see the two witnesses rise up performing miracles and preaching against the future European Beast power, you personally should resist. The Bible is clear that people of "of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues" (Revelation 7:9) will respond to God during this time. And even more Russians will respond to God after they are resurrected from the dead.
Lest any have the misimpression that the Russians and their end time allies are not discerning, it needs to be understood that even if they temporarily accept the authority of Rome, they will be among the first to recognize the falsehood of this European power. And they will apparently cooperate with others in Asia.
Interestingly, one of the reasons may include a 20th century Russian Orthodox prophecy:
Archbishop Theopan of Poltava (1930): The coming of the Antichrist draws nigh...But before the coming of Antichrist, Russia must yet be restored - to be sure, for a short time (Tzima Otto, H. The Great Monarch and WWIII in Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Scriptural Prophecies. The Verenika Press, Rock Hill (SC), 2000, p. 54).
Well, Russia as its own nation was restored in the late 20th century, hence Russians should realize that according to one of the Orthodox bishops, the time for the final Antichrist power to emerge is very soon. The reason I mention this is that according to Bible prophecy, this leader is due quite soon. So once he does, relatively soon, the Russian peoples will realize (before many others) that he represents something truly opposed to Jesus Christ.
But before then, Russia may increase ties to other nations like China and India, and it has been doing so (see also The Eurasian Union, the Kings of the East, and Bible Prophecy).
It may be of interest to note that Russia is the largest supplier of arms to India (Foreign military observers laud Indian military war game Sify, India - Mar 20, 2008).
Apparently the Russians, and nearly certainly the Chinese and Indians will finally see that the European Beast power, also called "the King of the North" in the Bible, is not something to be worshiped or trusted.
This may happen once a “loathsome sore” (Revelation 16:2) and the other bowls affect those who either worshipped the Beast or had his mark (Revelation 16:2-11)—and this would affect some in Asia. It will likely be that the Asians will realize that once this and the other events in Revelation 16 come to pass, that the “great” Western leaders that they have been following do not have the power to stop this and thus finally conclude that they do not really represent God.
Perhaps I should add here, that contrary to the claims of people such as Hal Lindsey, Russia is NOT the King of the North?
Why do we of the Continuing Church of God teach that? Because there are certain verses in both the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation that appear to be discussing Asia and the European Beast power.
Notice from the Book of Daniel:
40 "At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. 41 He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. 42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. 44 But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. 45 And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him (Daniel11:40-45).
Notice that the end time King of the North (the European Empire) will overwhelm the King of the South (a Moslem empire), but that those from the east and the north shall later trouble the King of the North. This appears to be referring to China and Russia, and possibly other Asian nations like India. And notice that they will be used to help cause the King of the North to come to his end. There is no major power north of the King of the North (the European Empire) except the Russian Federation and the major powers east of the European Empire are Russia, China, and India (Japan and other nations may also play a role).
The Catholic Priest Paul Kramer reported that a Marian apparition to "Sister Elena Aiello, who died in 1961" stated (bolding in source):
Our Lady revealed to her that Russia would wage a sudden war, would overrun all of Europe. (Kramer P. World War III and Worse? The Fatima Crusader Interviews Father Paul Kramer. The Fatima Crusader, 82, Spring 2006, p. 57)
And this is consistent with biblical prophecy (though others will also support this).
Russia also will apparently lead a type of Eurasian union and has taken steps to make this happen. An agreement was signed by three nations in May of 2014 for the formal start of the Eurasian Union on January 1, 2015. For some details, please check out the article: The Eurasian Union, the Kings of the East, and Bible Prophecy. More nations will ultimately align with Russia, whether or not they join this union.
The Bible uses terms like kings of the sunrise (Revelation 16:12), kings of the Medes (Jeremiah 51:11), and "many kings" associated with of the north (Jeremiah 50:41). More than one nation is involved.
In recent years, Russia has been repeatedly trying to become stronger and gain more influence and military cooperation throughout Asia (see also Russia Strengthening Ties to China and India, Russia Strengthening Ties to Pakistan, Russia Strenthening Military Ties with North Korea, and Russia’s Putin Still Working for Eurasian Union). The final time of the Gentiles is rapidly approaching (Luke 21:24) and a group involving eastern leaders is prophesied to form.
While some believe that Russia will start World War III (WWIII, see also World War III: Steps in Progress), actually it will be part of something that could be called World War Four (WWIV)--it will be involved in the destruction of Europe and the gathering at Armageddon.
Notice the following:
12 Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. 15 Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." 16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-16).
Here we see that the kings of the East are those that need to cross the Euphrates. Russia, China, India, Japan, and others are from the north and east and also probably "kings of the East." And others Asian nations, as well as possibly Ukraine, may also be involved. Destruction will follow.
There is a Russian prediction made a over century ago that Russia and China will take over Europe:
…one of the causes which will eventually lead to a regenerated China attacking Europe will be the predominance of males over females in the Celestial Kingdom…for China is bound to make a memorable appearance on the world’s stage , and it is indispensable that Russia bind herself in close unison with China until China “overflows her shores and pours down in a torrent on Europe.” (DR. MENDELEYEFF'S STRIKING PROPHECY, Dead Chemist Foretold the Attack of Europe by a Regenerated China. WILL FIRST FIGHT INDIA Preponderance of Males the Cause -- Japan, Not an "Originator Power," Can Never Be Great. New York Times, August 11, 1907. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9B03E1DF103EE033A25752C1A96E9C946697D6CF viewed 04/21/09 August 11, 1907 ).
There is also an interesting Orthodox prophecy that suggests that the Russians will turn on the City (probably "new Babylon," a term that some Orthodox use for Constantinople and some fewer, Rome):
Orthodox St. Andrew Fool-for-Christ (4th century): I personally believe that some day the City will be invaded by the Blond Nation, whose name begins with the 17th letter of the Alphabet (P). Well, the Blond Nation will enter the City and it will cut down its inhabitants (Tzima Otto, H. The Great Monarch and WWIII in Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Scriptural Prophecies. The Verenika Press, Rock Hill (SC), 2000, p. 112).
The 17th letter of that alphabet, "P" is the Greek letter "rho"--it is an "r" sound. Hence, this might suggest that at least one Orthodox prophet believed that the Russians would turn against the coming Beast power.
The Catholic Priest Kramer also predicted that Russia, along with China, will attack Europe:
Priest Paul Kramer (21st century): Unanimously, in all the prophecies of the saints down through the ages, and in the most secure and certain apparitions of Our Lady, it is revealed that there is going to be a tremendous great World War. It will break out suddenly, from East to West...The Russians already have an army of Special Forces and Arab terrorists that they have trained, along with the Communist Red Chinese. They have a vast army, secret armies, who are waiting for the day when the signal is given...And they will attack Europe. In the morning it will appear that the world is at peace. By the evening, the entire world will be plunged into war. (Kramer P. The Imminent Chastisement for Not Fulfilling Our Lady’s Request. An edited transcript of a speech given at the Ambassadors of Jesus and Mary Seminar in Glendale, California, September 24, 2004.THE FATIMA CRUSADER Issue 80, Summer 2005, pp. 32-45 http://www.fatimacrusader.com/cr80/cr80pg32.asp viewed 05/13/10)
Other parts of the Bible also show that this "Babylonian/European" empire will be destroyed by a northern power (apparently Russia and its allies as Russia is really the only powerful nation north of Europe):
50:41 "Behold, a people shall come from the north,
And a great nation and many kings
Shall be raised up from the ends of the earth.
42 They shall hold the bow and the lance;
They are cruel and shall not show mercy.
Their voice shall roar like the sea;
They shall ride on horses,
Set in array, like a man for the battle,
Against you, O daughter of Babylon.
43 "The king of Babylon has heard the report about them,
And his hands grow feeble;
Anguish has taken hold of him,
Pangs as of a woman in childbirth..."(Jeremiah 50:41-43).
Thus, the European empire (the "daughter of Babylon") is to be destroyed by a northern (apparently Russian led) force. And probably one that cooperates with nations in the East, maybe Iran, and possibly the Ukraine. Ukraine will likely have some European cooperation, but because of prophecies related to groups like the Medes, it is more likely that it will be allied with Russia and not the Europeans in the end. Similarly, Belarus is nation of those that primarily support the Russian Orthodox Church, whose Patriarch Kirill is based out of Moscow. Since there are religious, cultural, military, and economic ties between Russia and Belarus, Belarus will also seem to be a supporter of the end time apparently Russian-led confederation.
Jeremiah 50:1-3 and 51:7–11 indicate that a northern nation or northern nations (Jeremiah 50:9,41) (those Ezekiel 38/39 refers to those of the"far north"; only Scandinavia, Inuit areas, or countries once in the old Soviet Union are north of the King of the North) will destroy Babylon and could be in the forefront of what may be a nuclear attack on Rome itself (cf. Revelation 18:9–10). And although many nations are north of Jerusalem (and most prophetic biblical directions seem to be centered in Jerusalem), it would seem that the expression "far north" is pointing to those that inhabit the northern extremes of Eurasia. The Scandinavian nations, such as Finland, would be expected to be hit quite hard, but so will much of end-time Europe.
Notice also that the Bible shows Babylon tied together with birth pains/pangs to a group from a far country:
1 The burden against Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.
2 "Lift up a banner on the high mountain, Raise your voice to them; Wave your hand, that they may enter the gates of the nobles. 3 I have commanded My sanctified ones; I have also called My mighty ones for My anger--Those who rejoice in My exaltation." 4 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, Like that of many people! A tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together! The LORD of hosts musters The army for battle. 5 They come from a far country, From the end of heaven--The LORD and His weapons of indignation, To destroy the whole land. 6 Wail, for the day of the LORD is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. 7 Therefore all hands will be limp, Every man's heart will melt, 8 And they will be afraid. Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them; They will be in pain as a woman in childbirth; They will be amazed at one another; Their faces will be like flames (Isaiah 13:1-8).
Thus, both the accounts in Jeremiah and Isaiah seem related to the same invaders. This is referring to an end time confederation that has a distance to travel--apparently a type of union of powers from the east including Russia, who is also the major power of the far north.
Furthermore, a "far country" also seems to be tied to the powers of the east elsewhere in Isaiah:
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it. (Isaiah 46:11)
Those called Medes are also shown to destroy the final Babylon according to both Isaiah and Jeremiah:
1 The burden against Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw...
17 "Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them,
Who will not regard silver;
And as for gold, they will not delight in it.
18 Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces,
And they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb;
Their eye will not spare children.
19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms,
The beauty of the Chaldeans' pride,
Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. (Isaiah 13:1, 17-19)
11 Make the arrows bright!
Gather the shields!
The Lord has raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes.
For His plan is against Babylon to destroy it,
Because it is the vengeance of the Lord,
The vengeance for His temple. (Jeremiah 51:11)
The fact that there are multiple kings of the Medes indicates that multiple powers involved in this end time confederation represent multiple governments. Perhaps, such as Russia, Belarus, Crimea, etc.
Catholics may find it of interest to note that even among their scholars, it is taught that the "Babylon" of Jeremiah 51:11 is referring to a European power: "the Roman Empire" (Kurz W. What Does the Bible Say About End Time? A Catholic View. Nihil Obstat: Hilarion Kistner, Imprimatur: +Carl Moeddel, July 19, 2004. Servant Books, 2004, pp. 48-49)
Notice that the Bible clearly states there is a group from the far north:
3 O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal...6 from the far north and all its troops--many people are with you (Ezekiel 38:3,6).
14 Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog...15...you will come from your place out of the far north... (Ezekiel 38:14-15).
1 O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; 2 and I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the far north (Ezekiel 39:1-2).
A Russian confederation is that only place on the planet that is in the far north and currently has massive military power. A northern confederation (that appears to be led by Russia and probably includes the far north and far east/Pacific coast portion of Asia) will destroy the European Babylon. The following passage may also apply:
9 For behold, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon
An assembly of great nations from the north country,
And they shall array themselves against her;
From there she shall be captured.
Their arrows shall be like those of an expert warrior;
None shall return in vain. (Jeremiah 50:9)
Notice the following about a Russian-led military confederation:
Russia wants CSTO to be as strong as NATO
RIA Novosti – May 29, 2009
MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) – Russia is planning to build a strong military contingent in Central Asia within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) comparable to NATO forces in Europe, a Russian business daily said on Friday.
The CSTO, a post-Soviet regional security bloc comprising Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, has already agreed to create a joint rapid-reaction force, but Russia is preparing a new, larger-scale project.
“The work is being conducted in all areas, and a number of documents have been adopted,” the Kommersant newspaper quoted an unidentified source in the Foreign Ministry as saying.
“It will be a purely military structure, built to ensure security in Central Asia in case of an act of aggression,” the source said.
Russia already has joint military contingents with Belarus and Armenia in the CSTO framework.
The new force will comprise large military units from five countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
“It will include armored and artillery units, and a naval flotilla in the Caspian Sea,” CSTO press secretary Vitaly Strugovets said earlier.
The creation of a powerful military contingent in Central Asia reflects Moscow’s drive to make the CSTO a pro-Russian military bloc, rivaling NATO forces in Europe. http://en.rian.ru/russia/20090529/155118377.html
Thus, there is currently a growing Russian-led military confederation. And more are likely to support Russia in the future. It may be of interest to note that Armenia is part of CSTO. Armenia (called Ararat below) and others are also referred to below as part of the confederation that goes against end time Babylon:
27 Set up a banner in the land, Blow the trumpet among the nations! Prepare the nations against her, Call the kingdoms together against her: Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz. Appoint a general against her; Cause the horses to come up like the bristling locusts. 28 Prepare against her the nations, With the kings of the Medes, Its governors and all its rulers, All the land of his dominion. 29 And the land will tremble and sorrow; For every purpose of the Lord shall be performed against Babylon, To make the land of Babylon a desolation without inhabitant. (Jeremiah 51:27-29)
Herbert Armstrong commented that the confederation is associated with the 200 million-man army--which means also that it will include nations not currently confederate with Russia (like apparenly the Chinese and other Asians):
The second woe, with its symbols of horses and horsemen...and is also referred to as an event in the Day OF THE Eternal in Joel 2:4. This refers to a tremendous military power--also to the NORTH--due north! They come with an army of two hundred million! Think of it--an army of two hundred million! (Armstrong HW. The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last! 1972 edition. p. 38-39).
Notice something else from Joel that is related to this:
20 "But I will remove far from you the northern army,
And will drive him away into a barren and desolate land,
With his face toward the eastern sea
And his back toward the western sea;
His stench will come up,
And his foul odor will rise,
Because he has done monstrous things." (Joel 2:20)
This is related because the northern, King of the North army of Europe, will be facing forces from the east--these would be forces most likely led by Russia.
While few aspects of biblical prophecy come with a clear date of fulfillment, there are several reasons to suspect that Russia is likely to fulfill its role in Daniel 11:44 in the latter half of the next decade.
We in the Continuing Church of God accept the belief of many associated with the early church that God has given humanity 6000 years to rule itself, followed by a 1000 year millennial reign of Christ (Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?). According to biblical chronology, this 6000 years is likely to be over by the end of the next decade if not sooner (for specific calculations, with biblical support, please see Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End?).
Currently, Russia is intending to have new, more powerful, military in place by around 2016 or so:
Russia to rebuild army by 2016 19:48 | 22/ 01/ 2009
MOSCOW. (Nikita Petrov for RIA Novosti) - The financial crisis has affected Russia's military reform plan. That became clear after Dmitry Medvedev signed a corresponding decree, now posted on his website.
In contrast to Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov's order issued last year to finalize the army and navy reforms by 2012, the new presidential decree sets the date at January 1, 2016...
According to the plan, the first stage will involve the creation of three military training and research centers for the Army, Navy and Air Force.
The bulk of the funding will apparently be allocated for the establishment of a Naval Academy on Kotlin island in the Kronshtadt district outside St. Petersburg, which will include five military schools, professional officer courses, three naval research institutes, the Nakhimov Naval Academy and St. Petersburg-based Naval Cadet Corps.
The transfer will require the construction of educational and laboratory buildings, houses and dormitories. The infrastructure will include operational models of surface ships and submarines and separate compartments. The project requires enormous funding, and it is unclear what the amount will be. The transfer of naval schools from St. Petersburg to Kronshtadt will be performed only after the new station is commissioned. It could take three to five years. It is clear that the military education reform cannot be finalized by 2012, let alone the military reform itself.
Along with the naval training and research center, other branches of the armed forces need similar facilities. Additional funding is needed to finance troop exercises, including sea exercises and aviation training, and also to purchase modern combat equipment.
Military experts regard the presidential decree signed on December 29, 2008, as reasonable. There is no need to hurry, as there's no large-scale war in sight, and quality is therefore a higher priority than time. http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20090122/119758746.html
Thus, both biblical prophecy and current Russian military plans indicate that by the latter half of the next decade, that Russia will be prepared to fulfill its role in Daniel 11. Recall that the Bible shows that the leader of the final Babylonian European Empire will be called "the King of the North" and that he will be troubled by those from the north (Russia) and the east (China and other Asians):
...the king of the North... 43 He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. 44 But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. 45 And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him (Dan 11:40,43-45).
This fulfillment of Daniel 11:44 is likely to occur about 3 1/2 years after the Great Tribulation begins. Also note that this seems consistent with Jeremiah 50:41-43 quoted earlier.
For several biblical reasons, since the Great Tribulation cannot begin prior to 2017 (see Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2013, 2014, or 2015?), this would indicate that the earliest that Russia could fulfill Daniel 11:44 would be 2020 or after.
So, while a few years are left. There may only be a relatively few.
Since the Asian nations, like Russia and its allies, are prophecied to be involved with Babylon and various wars, what about you?
Does this mean that you are doomed?
No. God does not require "group salvation." The Apostle Paul wrote:
...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling... (Philippians 2:12)
Thus, your personal relationship with God is not determined by what your fellow countrymen do.
Can, will, God help you during the coming tribulation?
Notice the prophecy for this latter time tribulation in the Hebrew scriptures:
29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice 31 (for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them. (Deuteronomy 4:29-31)
Thus, help from God during these hard times will be available to the truly sincere who really strive for it.
In Revelation 16, we also see that God will issue punishment to nearly all of humanity after Babylon (the European Empire) falls:
17 Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done!" 18 And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. 19 Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. 20 Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great (Revelation 16:17-21).
God sent the punishments to get all men, including the Russians, Belarussians, and Ukrainians, to repent, but they refused at first:
And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory (Revelation 16:9).
Apparently Russia and its Asian allies will be involved with the 200 million man army (Revelation 9:16) at least part of which will gather at Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-16). Those who are persuaded by demonic signs and wonders (Revelation 16:13-14) and fight against the returning Jesus will be destroyed (Revelation 19:19-21).
After the battles and punishments, the tribulation and Day of the Lord will end. And Christ will return:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matthew 24:29-30).
And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:16).
Christ's return will usher in a kingdom that will be established for 1,000 years:
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years (Revelation 20:4-6).
This is the millennium that many Russians and Ukrainians are even now looking forward to.
And people of many nations, including those of Russia and Ukraine, will be part of this kingdom. Notice:
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb (Revelation 7:9).
John Ogwyn wrote:
There are other prophecies, in Ezekiel 38 and 39, which describe an alliance of the Russians with the Mongol-descended nations of China and the Far East. The timing of this particular prophecy, with its description of an invasion of regathered Israel, is actually...after Christ’s return, NOT before it. This is made plain when we see in Ezekiel 38:11–12 that Israel (all 12 tribes, not just the Jews) is described as having been regathered from the nations. They are settled in a land of prosperity and peace without any apparent defenses, or for that matter, even locks on the doors.
After the returning glorified Christ destroys the armies that had gathered at Armageddon (Revelation 16:16, 19:19–21). He will regather the remnant of captured Israelites and bring them back to the ancient land of their fathers. He will establish a Kingdom headquartered at Jerusalem, which will ultimately spread out to the whole earth...
The Russian people have had a long and turbulent history. Ground down and exploited by oppressive, autocratic rulers and hollow and bankrupt ideologies, they have had to struggle to endure and survive. The time will come when, like all nations, they will no longer be deceived, but will finally experience the good news of the Kingdom of God. Not until that time will the Russians undergo a real religious, cultural, political and economic rebirth. Finally, Russia’s sad and difficult history will have a happy ending! (Ogwyn J. What's Ahead for Russia? Tomorrow's World Magazine, May-June 2000).
Eventually, sadly, Russia and apparently Iran, certain African powers, certain Asian powers and others will fight again:
1 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, 3 and say, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. 4 I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. 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.
7 "Prepare yourself and be ready, you and all your companies that are gathered about you; and be a guard for them. 8 After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely. 9 You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you."
10 'Thus says the Lord God: "On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan: 11 You will say, 'I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates' — 12 to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land. 13 Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you, 'Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder?'"' (Ezekiel 38:1-13)
Perhaps it should be mentioned here that certain Protestant writers/preachers claim that Ezekiel 38 will be fulfilled either now or prior to the time that the seven-year deal of Daniel 9:27 is fulfilled. This is not the correct time period. Amongst other reasons, the tiny modern nation of Israel simply does not have enough gold or silver that Russia and its allies would want to attack it to take away "great plunder." Furthermore, Israel is not now a "land of unwalled villages" with "a peaceful people" who "dwell safely" (Ezekiel 38:10-11)--nor will it be until after Jesus' Kingdom gets established on the earth. As far as more information about Ezekiel 38 & 39 and the timing of this, please check out the article Ezekiel 38: For Russia & Iran in Our Day?
Notice something from the late Hebert Armstrong decades ago, during the time of the old Soviet Union, titled Why Russia Will Not Attack the United States:
For decades now, the prospect of war between Russia and the United States has continually heightened and lessened.
Many who claim to be authorities on prophecy assure people a war involving Russia and the United States, Canada and England is prophesied in Ezekiel 38.
The United States, Britain and other democracies of north-western Europe, they recognize, are nations descended from the lost Ten Tribes. Therefore, they conclude, the prophecy of Ezekiel 38 foretells a military invasion of the North American continent from the Soviet Union. But this is not what prophecy says...
But this very fact - that this invasion will not come until after the Second Coming of Christ - will seem preposterous to many, at first thought.
That is because we have been accustomed merely to assume things that are not true. We have blindly assumed that when Christ comes, there will be no opposition. Every person and power on earth, we have thought, will simply submit meekly and instantly to him and his power. But that is not true!
Some gentile nations understandably shall not submit until forced to. The final restoration of the Roman Empire shall be subdued and conquered at a battle commonly called “Armageddon." But the populous nations of Eurasia that the Almighty God up to this point has not dealt with shall still have to be brought to submission.
"Gog in the land of "Magog" is the vast regions of the U.S.S.R. in northern Eurasia extending from the Baltic to the Pacific. "Meshech" is Moscow, "Tubal" is Tobol'sk.
Notice the allies who come with them in this future battle. You will find "Gomer” “Togarmah," "Magog," "Meshech” “Tubal" identified in Genesis 10 as the sons of Japheth, father of the Eurasians. Ethiopia and Phut (mistranslated Libya) are descended from Ham.
Therefore, this prophecy of Ezekiel 38 shows who shall finally succeed in marshaling peoples of each major race into a gigantic invasion upon our people.
When God begins to rule the world, through Christ - with His chosen people restored to prosperity in the land of Israel, the very center of the land surface of the earth (verse 12, Moffatt translation) - this, great Eurasian union of nations shall finally be tempted to use their mighty air force. (Armstrong HW. Why Russia Will Not Attack the United States, article).
Some Bible scholars assert falsely that these prophecies of Ezekiel were fulfilled anciently. They never were. Others believe they are about to occur but some years before Armageddon. Both views are erroneous. The events of Ezekiel 38 and 39 are without question still future - for the "latter days" (38: 16) and "latter years" (38:8). Moreover, Ezekiel 38:14 describes the time setting as being "in that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely." This is certainly not the situation in the State of Israel to- day! The Israel described by Ezekiel is a nation that dwells in security, in unwalled villages, totally unprepared for war (38:8, 11, 14). Read it for yourself! (Why Russia Will Not Attack the United States. WCG booklet)
Ezekiel 38 is for the distant future--and and right at/after the millennium (cf. Revelation 20:7-9; see also Ezekiel 38: For Russia & Iran in Our Day?; a related video is also available titled Ezekiel 38: For Russia, Ukraine, & Iran Now?). But that does not mean that there cannot be military conflict between the USA and Russia now (and there may be some).
So what is the basic time frame for Ezekiel 38?
After the thousand years of the millennium are over, but prior to the second resurrection, apparently a Russian-led confederation will rebel and attempt to attack God's people (apparently in Jerusalem)--but they will not be successful--this is the fulfillment of much of Ezekiel 38 and 39 that many erroneously teach happens prior to the 1000 year millennium. The Russian invaders and their allies will be destroyed, but will be raised in the second resurrection. This will be the last battle by the Russians and anyone else as Satan, who deceives the whole world, will be taken away:
7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Revelation 20:7-10).
But then all the people who ever lived will be resurrected:
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works (Revelation 20:11-13).
It is important to note that all remaining humans are judged at the second resurrection, but not all are condemned. If they are not condemned, then what happens?
However, war is not the ultimate destiny for most Russians and their allies. Deification is.
The mainstream "Christian" view correctly teaches that there is salvation in no other than Jesus (Acts 4:10-12), as "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (vs.12).
But what happens to the multitudes in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and elsewhere who have not even heard the true name of Christ? What about those who do not respond per Deuteronomy 4:29-31? And what happens to those born before Christ's earthly ministry? Recall that the Bible teaches that after Adam sinned, humankind was blocked from the tree of life as God had it guarded so that humans would not be able to access it on their own (Genesis 3:22-24).
Even the basic Protestant view is that unless one professes belief in Jesus prior to the first death, then salvation will be unavailable. It is perhaps because of the difference between this view and that of the genuine Church of God, that Protestants tend to label Church of God groups as cults.
The Philadelphia remnant of the Church of God, as represented by the Continuing Church of God, teaches that God is only calling a relatively few during this age with the Day of Pentecost (also called the Day of Firstfruits, Numbers 28:26) partially explaining this. "Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures" (James 1:18).
Jesus and the real Church of God teach, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (John 6:44). And that will be few at this time, "For many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14), "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:14).
Protestants and Catholics tend to feel, correctly, that God uses ministers to preach (Romans 10:14). Yet, the message is not always clear. In Isaiah 6:9-11 God teaches,
"Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed." Then I said, "Lord, how long?" And He answered: "Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, The houses are without a man, The land is utterly desolate".
In other words, the bulk of the people are not to understand until after a time of great desolation.
Furthermore, the Bible reveals that God has prohibited idolaters to have proper understanding:
And the rest of it he makes into a god, His carved image. He falls down before it and worships it, Prays to it and says, "Deliver me, for you are my god!" They do not know nor understand; For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, And their hearts, so that they cannot understand... 22 I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, And like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you. (Isaiah 44:17-18,22).
They have no knowledge, Who carry the wood of their carved image, And pray to a god that cannot save (Isaiah 45:20).
Thus, is God going to condemn those who worship before idols, like the Orthodox often do, for what He has not let them understand?
Protestant and Catholic theology tends to say yes.
Those in the Continuing Church of God say no (cf. Isaiah 47:22).
Unless the idolater has committed the unpardonable sin (which is unlikely) they will be judged as other uncalled people are. Perhaps it should be mentioned that many Russians, Belarussians, and Ukrainians are Russian Orthodox--and the Russian Orthodox, like all of the Eastern Orthodox, have many idols (which they call icons) as part of the religious religious worship practices. (There are also Roman Catholics and others involved with idols in Russia.)
The Bible clearly teaches that salvation will be offered to all. And that includes the Russians. Notice the following scripture:
And all flesh shall see the salvation of God (Luke 3:6).
Those who were uncalled in this age (including most people and nearly all of the Russians, including those that have long been dead) will be offered an opportunity for salvation (two related articles of interest may include Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis and Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants).
And nearly all of them will accept it. The Continuing Church of God teaches that God will ultimately give every individual an opportunity for salvation--and that nearly every individual will accept that opportunity. The vast majority of human beings will ultimately be in God's family.
This means that ultimately that nearly all Russians will be in the permanent kingdom of God. Notice some of the descriptions from the Book of Revelation:
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:2-4).
Russia has been an important nation throughout history. In the 21st Century, its wealth and influence is prophesied to increase. The Russians will most likely be among the first to benefit from the coming European Empire, as well as be among those who see that it is not what it pretends to be.
God apparently plans to use Russia and others in Asia as part of a coalition of kings of the East to put an end to the King of the North's military ambitions. However, war is not their ultimate destiny.
Just because the whole world (and not just Russia) will be deceived by the rising European Beast power, you do not have to be. Hopefully this article has given you some reasons to look at the world and your life and will motivate to come to God now on His terms. To learn more about what happened to Christianity, a good place to start may be The History of Early Christianity page. May God call you today and grant you the understanding so that you will "pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36).
Sadly, because most in Russia do not strive know the true God now, God will punish them as well as the other inhabitants on the Earth. And apparently many will also rebel at the close of the millennium, but will not succeed.
Since God is a God of love, we in the Continuing Church of God realize and teach that He ultimately intends to resurrect the Russians, Ukrainians, Belarussians, Georgians, Moldovians, and all others and offer them salvation. A salvation that nearly all will accept as nearly all the Russians/Ukrainians/Belarussians who ever lived will be in the kingdom of God. A kingdom without fear or death or sorrow. A glorious kingdom. Deification is to be obtained by most Russians. And that is the prophesied future for nearly all of Russians, Belarussians, Moldovans, Georgians, and Ukrainians.
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Thiel B. Russia: Its Origins and Prophesied Future. www.cogwriter.com/russia_in_prophecy.htm 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014/2015 0903
Note: There are daily news, doctrinal, and prophecy updates at the Church of God News page for those interested in how world events are fulfilling Bible prophecy. And this sometimes includes updates involving Russia at that page. There is also a YouTube video available titled Ukraine in Prophecy? Here is a link to a YouTube video titled Is Russia the King of the North?
Several items of possibly related interest may include:
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Does God's plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account? Is there eternal torment?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.
Is Russia the King of the North? Some claim it is. But what does the Bible teach? Here is a link to a video, also titled Is Russia the King of the North?
Ezekiel 38: For Russia & Iran in Our Day? Is Ezekiel 38 about to be fulfilled? A related video is available titled Ezekiel 38: For Russia, Ukraine, & Iran Now?
The Eurasian Union, the Kings of the East, and Bible Prophecy Is there a Eurasian union that will be formed? Is one being formed right now? Are any leaders working on that in the 21st century? Does the Bible teach that there will be a Eurasian union? If some type of Eurasian union is formed, who might it benefit and who will it destroy? A related video would be Is The Eurasian Union Rising?