Malaysia Airlines Flight mh17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in eastern Ukraine on July 17. The tragedy killed 298 people in what was either a disgusting mistake made by some of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s zealots, or an intentional act of terrorism. Either way, Putin created the conditions that led to the disaster and bears responsibility.
The outcry from the West was loud, but toothless. And Putin didn’t back down or show even a hint of remorse. He was utterly unfazed by Western protests over the tragedy. Instead, he and his government offered the most outlandish explanations for the downed civilian plane that you can imagine!
At the crash site, things were even worse. “[T]here are indications that vital evidence has not been preserved in place,” said Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai two days after the attack. He said officials were “deeply concerned that the crash site has not yet been properly secured.” Report after report confirmed that it was pro-Russia forces in Ukraine, which Putin covertly commands, who were tampering with evidence and obstructing investigation. It all seemed designed to give Putin time to cover his tracks.
Still the West did nothing! America enacted some very weak economic sanctions against some Russian companies. If there was any doubt that this response was too feeble to cause Putin and his followers any concern, proof came quickly. Within just a few days, pro-Russia forces shot down two Ukrainian fighter jets—just 16 miles from the crash site of the mh17!
Putin knows the West is weak! He doesn’t fear other nations. He is totally undeterred in his quest to destabilize Ukraine. He is single-handedly preventing that former Soviet republic from aligning itself with Europe. This year he redrew the map of Europe by making Crimea—what was a semi-autonomous part of Ukraine—officially part of Russia. He is steadily rebuilding the Soviet Empire.
Under President Putin’s reign, nuclear-armed Russia is transforming its military machine into a modern, technological, 21st-century force. Through heavy-handed tactics, Putin has not only brought Russia back into play as a world power, he has also secured his position at the nation’s helm by getting a choke hold on Russian media and emasculating Russian parliament.
The question that is becoming more relevant every day is this: Who is Vladimir Putin, and why is he having such a deep impact on global affairs?
This world has a lot of authoritarian rulers. But Vladimir Putin is one we need to keep a particularly close eye on. His track record, his nationality and his ideology indicate that he has already fulfilled a linchpin Bible prophecy that was recorded millennia ago.
A Prophesied ‘Prince’
Back around a.d. 90, the Apostle John recorded an amazing prophecy: “And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them” (Revelation 9:16). That means an army of 200 million men!That is more people than were alive in the world when that prophecy was recorded. This is an end-time prophecy that we are certain to see fulfilled very soon.
The Bible gives some important details about this largest army ever assembled on Earth. It tells us which nations will contribute soldiers to it. It shows it will include the combined forces from several Asian nations. It refers to this Asian confederacy as the “kings of the east” (Revelation 16:12). It also reveals that it will have one lead country—and one individual at the head.
A prophecy in Ezekiel 38 gives us some of these important details. “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him” (Ezekiel 38:1-2). These verses begin in the latter days (verses 8, 16) before the Great Tribulation, the Day of the Lord and Christ’s Second Coming.
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 Musku, Muski or Mushki—all names related to the Russian spelling of Moscow, as you can read in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. What about Tubal? On the eastern side 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.
One other Russian people is mentioned in Ezekiel 38:2. There is controversy over how the Hebrew word rosh should be translated in this verse. The King James Version uses the adjective “chief.” But the correct rendering (used by the Moffatt, New King James and others) uses the word not as an adjective, but as a proper noun: Rosh. Thus, that verse should read, “the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.”
Rosh was the ancient name of Russia, once called Rus. Many encyclopedias and commentaries (such as the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary) recognize this. So who is this “prince” of Russia, Moscow and Tobolsk? The use of all three names states that this is an individual ruler of all the peoples of Russia, from the west to the east. Ezekiel’s command to “prophesy againsthim”further indicates aspecific individual.
When you study these scriptures alongside current events revealing modern Moscow’s imperialist direction, you see that Vladimir Putin could well become the leader of that gigantic army of the East. At least we know he was prophesied to raise up a large part of that army! I strongly believe Vladimir Putin is going to lead the 200 million-man army. Just look at the power he already has.
Can you think of any other Russian politician who could become so powerful and have the will to lead Russia into the crisis of crises? I see nobody else on the horizon who could do that. And only a tiny few years remain for the prince of Rosh to appear!
Such a man doesn’t appear overnight. It takes years for even a strong-willed leader to gain such control. Vladimir Putin already has the power—and the will to use it. I believe there is not enough time for a competitor to arise and challenge him. Over 80 percent of his people support his leadership.
This much is absolutely certain: The restoring of Russia’s power by Vladimir Putin—the prince of Russia—was prophesied! He has already solidly allied Russia with China. The prophecy about the prince of Russia includes that main alliance.
Other nations are leaning toward an alliance with Russia. Several of them are prophesied to join.
The only question is whether or not Putin personally finishes the entire prophecy.
The ending of that mighty “kings of the east” powerhouse is also prophesied. It should fire the imagination and inspire every person who understands this article!
Details about this massive army are revealed in passages such as Revelation 9:13-21, Revelation 16, Daniel 11, Jeremiah 50 and Joel 2. In verse 11 of Joel 2, this 200 million-man Asian force is actually called God’s army. God is the one who is raising up this war machine! Why?
God is going to use this colossal Asian force to confront the military of united German-led Europe, which will also be on the scene at this time. It will obliterate Europe, but not the main European armies. These armies will meet to fight at Armageddon, but Christ will bring them to Jerusalem to fight Him and be defeated. This is God’s punishment on the Europeans for their sins—especially for their brutal treatment of His people Israel, specifically the nations of America, Britain and the Jewish nation (e.g. Revelation 18:5-6; Jeremiah 50:29-31).
Current events show this army taking shape already. You can see it in Putin’s growing authoritarianism, and also in his outreach to other Asian powers. Russia has supplied China with many military armaments over the last decade or so; it also helped the Chinese go nuclear. For many years the Russians have been allied with China, at least to some degree.
But there will also be other powers involved. Ezekiel’s prophecy says the Russia-led army will include “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya … Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people” (Ezekiel 38:5-6). Gomer refers to Japan, which wields some of the world’s most advanced weaponry and technology. Ethiopia and Libya should be translated “Cush” and “Phut.” Though some of Cush and Phut migrated to African nations, the rest settled in parts of India. The context of this passage shows that it refers to modern-day Indians (and perhaps Pakistanis) rather than Africans.
We need to deeply think about the fact that God calls this Asian forceHisarmy.It shows who is really orchestrating all of these cataclysmic events, and who is really behind the overall picture. Is it Vladimir Putin?No, it is the Almighty God!
The Armageddon Armies
This immense war between European and Asian forces will end in the return of Jesus Christ! But here is something shocking: Even after most of Earth’s population has been personally afflicted by nuclear war and complete destruction, the survivors will still be unwilling to turn to God! Revelation 11:15-18 show that, as Christ descends to Earth, the nations will be wrathful toward Him. What is left of the European and Asian armies will actually join forces to fight against Christ after He returns.
Revelation 17:12-14 and Daniel 8:25 prophesy that Christ will defeat these powers. The conclusion of that battle will mark the beginning of a peaceful and prosperous new age for the entire Earth!
“After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them” (Ezekiel 38:8). “After many days” (several years), Gog and his allies make another attack on Jerusalem. This occurs after Israel has been “brought back from the sword” and is ruled by Christ from Jerusalem.
Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 discuss a time before and after the coming of the Messiah.
God’s people must warn the world for the Creator because of this terrible, terrible future. He commands, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand” (Joel 2:1). This is a message for “every inhabitant on Earth,” the Anchor Bible says. The alarm and the warning must go out! There is no time to lose.
Verse 2 shows that this prophecy is about Gog and his allies, and the worst catastrophe in mankind’s history: “A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.”
Verse 3 says a “fire devoureth before them.” What kind of fire? Look at the context: “[A]nd behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.” Not even a blade of grass is going to escape them. This is clearly talking about a nuclear attack!
A Garden of Eden lies before them, but after they have passed over it, only a barren wasteland remains. Can you imagine such a thing happening on this Earth? Well, if you look around and see the choices our nations are making, you would expect that to happen. Just look at how rapidly we are proliferating nuclear weapons! Russia, China, India and Pakistan all have nuclear bombs. The Pakistanis will probably be allied with Gog, and India almost certainly will.
Verse 6 says that “all faces shall gather blackness.” This is a bleak and sorrowful time. “The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining” (verse 10). This describes a nuclear winter. People won’t even see the stars because of the nuclear fallout.
Envy Spawns an Uprising
If you study Ezekiel 38 and 39, you see that much of this prophecy takes place after Christ’s Second Coming. These chapters make plain that the end-time “kings of the east” will also play a key role in a second end-time war! The first is just before the return of Jesus Christ. The second is a short number of years after it.
Ezekiel 38 makes plain that after Jesus Christ defeats the European and Asian armies in the battle at Jerusalem, He will allow the surviving Asian forces to return to their homelands. Ezekiel 38:4 states, “I [God] will turn thee back” in the first Jerusalem battle. (But in the second battle of Jerusalem, He destroys all of their armies, as we will see.) Then Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords, will gather His scattered people, the end-time descendants of Israel, around Jerusalem. He will start His global restoration by blessing that area.
As the years go by, the Asian powers start to become envious of all the wealth they see in Jerusalem. They see a prosperous but unarmed area—and, in another burst of rebellion, decide they want to take it. So they muster their forces for one final attempt to overthrow Christ’s rule in the Holy City. God allows them to come into the Holy Land. But their plan is doomed!
This second attack by a Gog-led army might involve a somewhat smaller number of soldiers than the earlier 200 million-man army. However, the populations of these Asian nations are so large that, even after their defeat in the battle at Jerusalem, it may not take very long for them to replenish their numbers and to be back around 200 million.
But why will God allow this rebellion to happen? It is for a very clear reason!
The prophecy continues with God telling Ezekiel to “prophesy and say unto Gog … thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army” (verses 14-15). Then verse 16 gets to the purpose behind this. It shows why God allows this attack: “[A]nd I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me ….”
How is God going to use this situation to ensure that the rebellious peoples of the world finally know Him? By speaking the only language they understand: the language of force. The nations are going to know because of the total victory God will have over Asia’s burst of rebellion.
The nations of Israel also had to learn the hard way: “And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity …” (Ezekiel 39:23; see also verses 27-28). Israel also had to get to know God by being conquered in a nuclear war. (Israel is much more than the little Middle East nation. If you don’t know who Israel is, request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.)
Who Will Be Buried?
During the Cold War era, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev famously said to America, “We will bury you!” But this Ezekiel prophecy shows that it will actually be the great army of Russia, China and other nations that will be buried! And it will be buried in a place and at a time they would never imagine.
In Ezekiel 39:11, God says, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel ….”
This is where God buries this massive army—just east of the Dead Sea (verse 11). It will give new meaning to the name Dead Sea! And the number of fallen is so huge that it will take seven months to bury all the bodies and to clean up the area! (verse 12). What an unbelievable spectacle!
God lets this bloody attack happen because it is the only way He can make some rebellious peoples finally believe that He is God! He allows it because it is the only way He can get the heathen to know Him! You can see in these verses that is what He says: They get to know me. That is what it takes to get through to the people He calls “the heathen” in Ezekiel 38. And everybody today, it seems, is acting like the heathen. They certainly are not obeying God.
Do you realize how astounding it is that modern conditions make the fulfillment of these key prophecies possible? God prophesied these things through His Prophet Ezekiel about 2,500 years ago. At that time, no one could even conceive of such widespread and rapid destruction. But now nuclear bombs and chemical weapons are capable of destroying all life on this planet. God knew these technological advancements would come about, and He told Ezekiel about it and gave him that understanding.
This Gog-led uprising against Jerusalem will be the last great rebellion on Earth for nearly a thousand years.
Zechariah 14:16-17 show that after this event, God is going to begin to teach the whole world. He will cause all nations to come up to Jerusalem and keep the Feast of Tabernacles each year. That festival will be observed all over the world by these Gentile nations as well as Israel, and what an amazing time that will be! You need to understand that Feast of Tabernacles through our booklet Pagan Holidays—or God’s Holy Days—Which? (free upon request). It will show you God’s master plan, and will inspire and move you as nothing else could.
Joel 2:12 explains what all of this is about: “Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.” That’s God’s message to the people of the world. He wants us to turn to Him. All of this is about getting the men and women of the Earth to turn to God. God is a God of love.
“[H]e is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil” (verse 13). This merciful, kind, gracious God wants us to turn to Him because of all the emptiness and suffering we are bringing on ourselves! Right now, He lets us go our own way because that’s what we chose. All right, God says, You go ahead, and I’ll let you see that you cannot rule yourself.
“Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly” (verse 15). This verse commands the very elect to make some noise and tell the people what God prophesies to us! How often do you hear a Bible-based message such as this from any religious body of this world? Never.
God says in Ezekiel 38 to prophesy against him in the latter days because this is going to be cataclysmic! The Asian power that is already rapidly solidifying will be like nothing this Earth has ever experienced.
We need to watch Vladimir Putin closely. He is the “prince of Rosh” that God inspired Ezekiel to write about 2,500 years ago! We need to watch what is happening in Russia and how Europe responds to it. Daniel 11:44 talks about “tidings out of the east” troubling Europe. Mr. Putin’s tactics in Ukraine, Georgia, the Middle East and elsewhere are already deeply troubling to Europe. If you study Moscow’s foreign policy under Putin’s leadership, it is plain that the ultimate goal is to eventually conquer the whole world. Europe is certainly aware of this goal and is closely watching its neighbor to the east. Russia’s resurgence—which we see happening in headlines every day—shows that end-time Bible prophecies are rapidly being fulfilled!