The Ukrainian crisis continues to dominate the news almost daily. That crisis was created by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Western world rejoiced because the Cold War was over. But not Putin. In 2005, he said, “The demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century.” Since he first became president 14 years ago, he has tried to recreate the geography of the Soviet Union. This is changing the course of history. A great superpower is rising before our eyes!
You realize just how perilous this development is when you grasp that it was prophesied.
Ezekiel 38:2 describes a vivid personality to appear on the scene in this end time: “the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal” (New King James Version). In modern terms, this is the prince of Russia (article, page 10; see also my February cover story, “Is Vladimir Putin the Prophesied ‘Prince of Rosh’?”).
There is also another personality in these verses that we have not talked about as much. Yet this man has a stronger message with more power behind it than Vladimir Putin can even imagine!
Notice who that same passage in Ezekiel 38 addresses: “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man ….” This shows that God uses a man. When the prophecy was written, it was Ezekiel. But one of the fundamental keys to understanding biblical prophecy is to recognize prophetic duality. There is a latter-day fulfillment as well. This person, a type of Ezekiel, is receiving a message, and God commissions him to prophesy against the prince of Russia in this end time. God doesn’t come down and deliver this message Himself. He has a man do it.
We must remember that Ezekiel was taken prisoner when the Jewish nation was taken captive in 585 b.c. However, his book is addressed to the nations of Israel. The Jews, or biblical Judah, are only one tribe or nation of Israel.
Ezekiel could not possibly have delivered his message to the 10 tribes of Israel. They had been taken captive over 100 years before.
Ezekiel was a prisoner when he wrote his book to the nations of Israel: specifically America and Britain. (Request our book The United States and Britain in Prophecy for a full explanation. All of our literature is free.)
Also, Ezekiel’s book is for this end time. Only a type of Ezekiel could deliver his message today.
Who is the “chief prince of Meshech and Tubal”? (Ezekiel 38:2). Someone must know. And who is the “son of man” that God says must prophesy against this prince in the end time?
The Prince of Rosh
It is easy to prove that Ezekiel is an end-time book. Ezekiel 38 is clearly an end-time prophecy. Verse 8 specifically mentions its setting in the “latter years”; verse 16 talks about the “latter days”—such statements are made throughout Ezekiel’s book.
God’s commission begins in verse 2: “[S]et thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him.” This is for our day, and it’s talking about Gog and Magog. Who are they? People don’t know, but they could. It’s not that difficult. This verse also mentions a definite, specific man that God tells the “son of man” to prophesy against. How can the son of man do that unless he knows who this man is? How could he speak against Gog and Magog without knowing the modern identities of these peoples? These scriptures would be nonsense if we didn’t understand who these nations are in this end time. This son of man has to know in order to deliver God’s message.
Scholars generally agree that Gog is Russia and that the land of Magog includes China. The descendants of Meshech and Tubal have been found together throughout history. In Assyrian and Greek histories, Meshech appears as Moscha, Moschi or Mushki—all names related to the Russian spelling of Moscow, as the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia shows. And east of the Ural Mountains lies the city of Tobolsk, named after the Tobol River, derived from Tubal. Tobolsk was once the seat of Russian government over Siberia, and was basically considered Russia’s Asian capital.
This verse also mentions another Russian people with the Hebrew word Rosh. The King James Version translates this into the adjective “chief,” but the correct rendering used by the Moffatt, New King James and others uses the word as a proper noun: Rosh. The verse should read “the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.” Rosh was the ancient name of Russia, once called Rus.
So who is this prince of Russia, Moscow and Tobolsk? The use of these three names shows that this man rules all the peoples of Russia, from west to east. Another indication that this is a specific individual is God’s command to “prophesy against him.”
This is critical information. God commissions a specific individual to speak against this prince of Russia, another specific individual. To do that job, this “son of man” must know who that man is—or at least have a very strong idea of who he is—and what he is going to do. How could a son of man even do the job unless he has that information?
Can you think of a politician who could fulfill the role of the prince of Russia? One, and only one, comes to mind: Vladimir Putin.
The book of Joel describes an army called God’s army (Joel 2:11, 25). The context shows that this is the same army headed by the “prince of Rosh.” That means that even though God commands His servant to prophesy against him, God is actually using this “prince of Rosh” for His own purpose.
The Ezekiel 38 commission continues: “And say, Thus saith the Lord God [not man], Behold, I am against thee, O Gog [Russia], the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws” (verses 3-4).
These verses reveal something extraordinary. This prince of Russia is clearly a man with a lot of power—but the son of man has far more power! Why? He has no power of his own; he is merely a puny man. But he has the power of Almighty God behind him!
God is not awed by nations with great physical power. He says all nations are as a drop in a bucket (Isaiah 40:15). Their supposed greatness doesn’t faze Him.
Russia used military force to invade the former Soviet nation of Georgia in August 2008. In our October 2008 Trumpet issue, I wrote, “Russia’s attack on Georgia in August marks the beginning of a dangerous new era in history. This was the first military strike of a rising Asian superpower and there will be more. … Will the Georgia strike actually spark European unification? Will a crisis occur over Ukraine? That area is the breadbasket of Russia, and surely it is willing to wage war over that, as well.”
I wrote that in 2008 because of the Bible’s prophecies, and because you could see the rising power of the prince of Russia. Now, we are seeing a crisis in Ukraine.
This prince considers Ukraine and Georgia part of his union of nations. So there were bound to be problems with countries in that area, and there will continue to be—you can count on that. The movement from Gog and Magog is building—and where it is leading will be at the heart of World War iii!
The same Bible that accurately prophesied a powerful prince of Russia prophesied that an Asian superpower will do battle in a final world war—primarily against a German-led Europe. War is coming between Russia and China and a German-led Europe—war on a scale that is hard to imagine! Millions and even billions of people will be killed. Nuclear bombs and other weapons of mass destruction are going to impact every nation on Earth!
But the Bible also prophesies that at the end of all of these wars, the world is going to see the greatest event ever in the universe: the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! As Christ Himself said, if He didn’t return, there would literally be no flesh saved alive (Matthew 24:22; Moffatt). But before humanity annihilates itself, He will return and stop all this madness!
Vladimir Putin is a sign, literally a SIGN that Jesus Christ is about to return! This is one of the most inspiring messages in the Bible. What we are seeing in Russia ultimately leads to the transition from man ruling man to God ruling man! And it is almost here! It is just a few short years away.
The End of War
Ezekiel 38:23 says, “Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord.” This is clearly a prophecy yet to be fulfilled. People in general don’t know that God is the Lord today. This is a great transition about to occur.
It continues in the next verse: “And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech [Moscow] and Tubal [Tobolsk]” (Ezekiel 39:1; nkjv). God tells the son of man, Prophesy against Russia and the prince of Russia. Publicize the truth about what is going to happen in that region and the impact it will have on the rest of the world.
In verses 6-8 God says, “[A]nd they shall know that I am the Lord. So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; … Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord God; this is the day whereof I have spoken.” God is going to intervene! Man has proven he cannot rule over man. This is the day God talks about throughout the Bible: the day He rules man and brings peace, joy, abundance and happiness to all mankind!
Sadly, most people will have to endure a nuclear holocaust before they will finally begin to understand and submit to God!
Once Christ returns, He will destroy the military power of Russia and China and other nations once and for all. He will show the world what power really is! “And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers” (verse 9). This is what will happen to all those military armaments at the start of the Millennium (described in Revelation 20:4, 6). It is going to take a lot of force to put down these gigantic armies that would otherwise end up killing every last human being!
God has this all planned out, and He has the son of man delivering a message about it. When that man is speaking as He commands, God puts His power behind every word of it!
“And it shall come to pass in that day [another reference to the end time], that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call it The valley of Hamon-gog. And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land” (Ezekiel 39:11-12). It will take seven months just to bury the soldiers of this massive army! What an amazing prophecy! And notice what it ultimately leads to.
‘They Shall Know That I Am the Lord’
After that period, “the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 39:22). Today, Israel—whose modern descendants include Britain, America and the State of Israel—doesn’t know God. But at that time, they will know that God is the Eternal.
Ultimately, these scriptures are very inspiring. Read all of chapter 39, and notice the happy ending! “Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them” (verses 28-29). Right now, God hides His face from the nations of Israel. Why? Because they rebel and don’t want God to be part of their lives. But that is about to change dramatically.
Ezekiel concludes this part in Ezekiel 40:4: “And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee for to the intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.” God says, Declare it all! God sends this son of man to declare His message and all these wonderful prophecies that are about to come to pass.
You can see a related command in Ezekiel 33:7: “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.” God delivers this message through a “son of man,” and tells that man, This word is not from a man, it comes from My mouth! Son of man, you go to all these nations and tell them you have a message from the very mouth of God! If a message comes from God’s mouth, you can be sure that God is going to back it and support it 100 percent!
In verse 11, God makes it clear that He is talking about the death of nations. “Why will you die?” He asks Israel. This is what that son of man must prophesy today. And God will bring every bit of it to pass. Every iota of this Bible prophecy will be fulfilled.
These are some terrible prophecies—but what a glorious outcome they produce. In the end, not only will Israel know God, but even the heathen will know God! And nobody will make anybody afraid anymore.
There is a lot of trouble and destruction ahead, but the book of Ezekiel also has so much to show how this is not a gloomy, negative message. Jesus Christ is about to return!