When Russia invaded Ukraine, it expected to win within a few days. The war it started has now dragged on for over a year. That is a serious miscalculation.
An estimated 8,000 to 30,000 civilians have been killed since the invasion began on Feb. 24, 2022. The Telegraph believes more than 120,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or wounded. The United States estimates some 200,000 Russian casualties. The United Nations reports that over 8 million Ukrainians have fled and become refugees across Europe, and an estimated 5.3 million more have been displaced within the country.
This conflict has been far more devastating than anyone anticipated. Russia is desperate for victory, yet Ukraine shows no sign of conceding. In fact, as time goes on, other nations are becoming more supportive of Ukraine’s resistance. America has committed significant resources and recently promised to send even more into Ukraine to help battle Russia. So every indication is that the war could escalate even further.
Russia has threatened to use nuclear weapons if necessary. Some analysts say this could blow up into a nuclear World War iii.
Others say Russia has miscalculated and is doomed to destruction, certain that Putin is finished.
So much is unknown, and the stakes are high and rising.
Politicians, military experts and geopolitical analysts are making a range of predictions about how the war will play out. But they overlook the most important factor: What does Bible prophecy say?
Prophecy says a lot about the major nations involved in this conflict. Though many details remain unclear, Scripture gives solid guiding principles that can help us understand how we should view these events and where we can expect them to lead.
Putin Is Right
Many Americans today are upset with the Biden administration for making such bold and generous promises to Ukraine. It is easy to see why: This administration is doing so much to destroy the country that we should view just about everything it does with suspicion. (You can see why in my free book America Under Attack.) In this case, there is real concern that America is practically bankrupt and cannot afford to be writing blank checks to bankroll other nations’ wars.
There is much to criticize about the way America’s government is helping Ukraine. But to say it has no responsibility to help is failing to see the bigger picture.
We need to remember some important history. First we must acknowledge there are some things Vladimir Putin gets right.
When Putin ordered the offensive into Ukraine last year, in an address to his nation he recalled how nato attacked Serbia and dismantled Yugoslavia in the 1990s. He essentially said that the West cannot criticize his action in Ukraine—since it was basically the same thing nato had done in Yugoslavia.
This speech was full of self-serving lies, but he was right in condemning nato’s behavior. Yugoslavia was conquered by American military power. Under the banner of nato, the U.S. blasted the Serbs to smithereens so Kosovo and other states could break away. It was a terrible attack against the Serbs, who were America’s allies in World Wars i and ii!
The world is rightly outraged by Putin’s attacks on Ukrainian hospitals. Yet when nato bombed Serbia, they damaged 19 hospitals. Their patients tell harrowing stories of being rushed into bomb shelters while giving birth.
Russia is killing dramatically more people more quickly in Ukraine than nato did in Serbia. But America is not innocent of some of the crimes we see Putin committing.
But the most ominous part of all is that the United States conquered the Serbs basically on behalf of Germany, its bitter enemy in both world wars! For proof that Germany orchestrated the destruction of the Serbs and Yugoslavia, request and read my free booklet Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans. It powerfully explains what happened in Yugoslavia, and it is supported by facts—not opinions.
I challenge you to look honestly at the history Putin was citing and determine whether he is right on this point! What was America doing bombing the country that was our ally in World Wars i and ii? And why would we give Yugoslavia and the entire Balkan Peninsula over to the very nation that started the two world wars and was America’s bitter enemy?
A German-Russian Deal?
Today, even as practically the entire Western world has condemned Russia for attacking Ukraine, Germany has been conspicuously reserved. The world has been puzzled about how little Germany has done to help Ukraine against Russia’s attack.
This is similar to what occurred during the Yugoslav Wars. The Serbs and Yugoslavia were allied with the Soviet Union for years. Still, Russia did little to help the Serbs as Germany started a civil war between the Serbs and the rest of the Balkans.
Did Russia and Germany make a deal? Did Russia fail to aid the Serbs, as Germany has failed to aid Ukraine, because they made a deal?
Germany has been cozy with Russia in recent years. One of its former chancellors has worked for Vladimir Putin for years.
We need to remember how Germany and Russia made a secret deal just before World War ii began. Both countries then attacked Poland and shared control of that country. Russia also agreed not to interfere with Germany’s attack against the West.
So we should not be naive about Germany and Russia making more secret betrayals in this dangerous end time.
Germans persuaded the U.S. to use its power to lead the attack on the Balkans (including the Serbs) even though America strongly opposed that view in the beginning. Also, most of the West’s leaders were vehemently against supporting Germany. But they followed America’s broken will and caved in to a dangerous Germany rising again! And now we see that Germany—not America—controls the Balkans.
Germany has a history of betrayals and surprise attacks on its “lovers” and others. Bible prophecy tells us that a German-led Holy Roman Empire is going to attack its “lovers”—America, the British peoples and the Jewish state in the Middle East—if we don’t repent (Hosea 5:5; this is explained in our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy).
Germany is prophesied to lead a revival of the Holy Roman Empire militarily in this end time. America has given Germany nuclear bombs and sold them our most modern jets equipped to carry those bombs.
God has warned us specifically about our Assyrian, or German, “lovers”! They have a history of starting many wars. No nation has ever started more wars!
And yet we trust that nation more than we trust God.
Germany was the first country to perceive and demonstrate the depth of America’s broken will. Vladimir Putin also understands America’s horrendous weakness in foreign policy. He is exploiting it as the Germans did.
The Budapest Memorandum
America’s intervention in the Balkans was a terrible mistake. Putin is justified in calling us out on it. However, does this mean the U.S. should now sit back and allow Putin to take over Ukraine?
In 1994, in the midst of the Yugoslav Wars, U.S. President Bill Clinton, along with Russian President Boris Yeltsin and the leaders of the United Kingdom and Ukraine, signed the Budapest Memorandum. At the time, Ukraine had the world’s third-largest and most advanced nuclear arsenal. But in this agreement, Kyiv agreed to give up these weapons in exchange for their promise to uphold Ukraine’s territorial integrity—and for America, the UK and Russia to protect Ukraine against any future invasion. France later also joined the agreement.
Twenty years later, Russia was under new leadership. In the spring of 2014, Vladimir Putin directed Russia to annex Crimea and to actively destabilize the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine’s east. This directly violated the Budapest deal.
America, too, was under new leadership. And what did President Barack Obama do? He ignored America’s promise and left Ukraine defenseless. After telling Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons and pledging to defend it, America simply allowed Russia to waltz in. Many analysts denounced Obama’s failure to uphold the Budapest Memorandum. It was a startling display of America’s broken military will for the world to see!
When this happened, nations all over Europe, especially Eastern Europe, trembled with fear. They realized they could not count on the United States for protection against Russia.
In my May-June 2014 Trumpet article “The Crimean Crisis Is Reshaping Europe!” I wrote, “After they gained their freedom from the Soviet Union, Eastern Europeans trusted in America. Some of those nations became members of nato. Then they watched as Russia began to get aggressive again. They hoped to receive support from America, defending them from that aggression. But now they see America’s will is broken!”
Immediately, Europe buzzed with renewed urgency over how to protect itself apart from America by strengthening and unifying politically and militarily. The nations also began looking as never before for more leadership from Germany. This was truly startling after all that Germany has done to terrorize Europe in the past! Even nations like Poland, which had suffered so much at German hands, began to fear Russia’s aggression more than Germany’s warmongering history.
America’s weakness and Europe’s unification are both crucial prophetic trends. And they have both advanced as a result of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
A Change of Direction
I have often made the point that President Joe Biden is effectively a stand-in for Barack Obama. His administration is full of holdovers from the Obama years. About three-quarters of Biden’s top staffers are former Obama aides. Many people recognize that Biden is not savvy enough to be running his government and that his policies continue and intensify Obama’s disastrous policies.
So it is intriguing that Biden’s approach to Ukraine today is so different from Barack Obama’s. It has been the reverse: pro-Ukraine and anti-Russia. Mr. Biden personally visited Kyiv to express America’s support for Ukraine. We are actually seeing the support for Ukraine that Obama had denied just nine years ago. And Obama is surely endorsing this change.
What is motivating this? We cannot be certain, but some troubling evidence might provide some clues.
On Feb. 22, 2014, not long before Obama let Putin annex the Crimean Peninsula, Euromaidan protests forced Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych to flee the country. With Yanukovych in exile, one of his allies, Mykola Zlochevsky, needed protection from rival Ukrainian oligarchs. So he offered Hunter Biden, Vice President Joe Biden’s youngest son, a position on the board of the corrupt Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings llc. Hunter had no experience in Ukraine or the energy business, but Zlochevsky hoped the Biden family could supply the same type of protection that Yanukovych had. Zlochevsky started paying Hunter $80,000 per month, and Hunter began working on a number of shady projects for corrupt Ukrainian oligarchs. He played a key role in ensuring the medical research firm Metabiota was able to conduct pathogen research just a few hundred miles from the Russian border, and he helped the Obama administration dig up dirt on Donald Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that Ukraine was at the heart of the Russiagate scandal. Even former German Chancellor Angela Merkel noted that Ukraine was meddling in elections for Biden.
Ukraine has been one of the world’s most notoriously corrupt countries. It appears President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been trying to clean things up, but even that has yet to be proved. Still, the Biden administration is now flooding the country with an enormous amount of money with little accountability. It is quite possible this is not the altruistic operation that Biden claims it is.
Surely there are some more hawkish conservatives who are willing to overlook all this ugliness simply because they are eager for a chance to bring down Putin’s Russia.
What is most important prophetically is this reality: The broken will America demonstrated after Russia’s 2014 invasion has not been healed. We cannot look at the aid America is promising and sending to Ukraine today without recognizing this truth.
A Cursed Nation
Based on the Bible, Herbert W. Armstrong—editor in chief of the Trumpet’s predecessor newsmagazine, the Plain Truth—often prophesied that World War ii was the last war America would win. He stood by that statement throughout the stalemated Korean War, the Bay of Pigs debacle, the shameful Vietnam spectacle, the embarrassing Iran hostage crisis and conflicts with Grenada, Libya and Lebanon in the early 1980s, before he died in 1986. Soon after the Trumpet began in 1990, we reiterated this prophecy throughout the 1991 Gulf War, the “war on terror” that began after the 9/11 attacks, and other crises that America has gotten involved with since.
We stand by that prophecy: America has won its last war.
This long-standing forecast is based on the fulfillment of Leviticus 26, a crucial end-time prophecy that applies directly to America and Britain today. In this chapter, God says that if our peoples rebel against Him, He will correct us by pouring out curses!
In verses 18-20, God warns, “And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power … And your strength shall be spent in vain ….”
America has been suffering from these curses for decades now, and we have only increased in our sins against God! Our nation is far more defiant in rebellion today than in any previous generation. The wickedness of our leaders is another terrible curse because of our sin.
Apparently America’s leaders today think they will be able to bring down Putin’s Russia by supplying Ukraine with money and weapons. Bible prophecy screams that this is a false hope!
The American people have been fighting continual wars ever since we were attacked by terrorists in 2001. We sacrificed nearly 7,000 soldiers’ lives and sank some $3 trillion into wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet today, Iraq is controlled by terrorist-sponsoring Iran, and Afghanistan is ruled by Taliban extremists! With the pride in its power broken, America could not achieve victory against either of these third-rate powers—and an immense amount of America’s strength was spent in vain!
In fact, by removing Saddam Hussein and leaving Iraq leaderless, America inadvertently succeeded in increasing the power of the far more dangerous nation of Iran! This actually accelerated that nation’s fulfillment of the biblically prophesied role of “the king of the south,” which we will look at later in this article.
After all these costly and protracted failures, Americans are deeply war-weary. They have no interest in getting involved in Ukraine, no matter what promises have been made or how valuable the fruits of victory would be. The U.S. certainly has the military might to decisively end Russia’s attack and break the back of Putin’s government. But it will not use it because it is cursed with a broken will.
So, as in every other conflict since World War ii, it is intervening with ineffective half-measures.
No matter how much money and munitions America sends to Ukraine, this too will prove in the end to be vainly spent.
Prophecy gives no indication that America will succeed in toppling Russia’s dictator or downgrading Russia’s power to any significant degree.
This may not necessarily guarantee that Russia will win, since European and Ukrainian power could drive the Russians out. Some analysts now believe this could be a long war—even lasting years. We may still be in its early stages.
However deep America’s involvement, its strength will be spent fruitlessly. Bible prophecy shows that America will not be the decisive factor in this war. But as we will see, its actions could end up hastening the fulfillment of other Bible prophecies.
Now let’s look at what prophecy says about Russia under Vladimir Putin.
The Prince of Rosh
The Russia-Ukraine War is giving the world a vivid picture of the scale of evil Putin is willing to commit.
Russia is inflicting some terrible atrocities against Ukrainians. It is deliberately bombing civilian structures, including apartment buildings, hospitals and schools. It is laying mines in areas it retreats from, putting innocent lives at risk. It has forcibly taken at least 6,000 Ukrainian children to Russia and is paying Russian families to adopt and “reeducate” them, a crime that international law actually labels as genocide. The European Union’s justice commissioner says that 65,000 suspected war crimes—violations of international law—have been reported since Russia launched its invasion.
Most of the world can recognize the wickedness of such acts.
This is all being directed by Vladimir Putin. This man has been working to rebuild the Soviet empire for years now, including taking over territory from former Soviet states. But now in Ukraine, for the first time, he is encountering real resistance, and he is showing himself willing to keep escalating the brutality to achieve his goals.
As one Russian journalist put it, Putin “is a supersize model of the kgb.” This man has given enormous support to the suicidal religious extremist regime ruling Iran, including its nuclear weapons program. In Chechnya, an Islamic separatist region of Russia, Putin lashed out in warfare that killed more than 80,000 of his own people! He has crushed Russia’s independent media and taken control of it, including allegedly ordering the murder of dozens of journalists. He is also widely considered responsible for the 2004 poisoning of Ukraine’s opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko.
Putin is an evil, ruthless, vindictive agent with Soviet-style methods of psychological warfare, assassination and war. He has disgusting and devastating policies that are sick to the core and even satanic!
Did you know that he is fulfilling a prophetic role forecast many centuries ago?
If you can believe it, a perfect description of 21st-century Russia and its tyrannical dictator is recorded in the sixth-century b.c. book of Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 38:8 says, “After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years ….” Notice that Ezekiel was writing not for people who lived at that time, but to those who would read his book “in the latter years.” That is our time today.
“Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him” (verses 1-2; New King James Version). God will send a man in the latter years to prophesy against “the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.” This prince is a powerful leader who is prominent in world news.
The Bible prophesies of a “prince” in our lifetime and says he will be revealed during a period called the end time. It also prophesies that there will be a messenger who will prophesy against this leader. You can’t understand this prophecy unless you know who this prince is.
Ezekiel is specific here. There are two individuals, a “son of man” and this “prince.” If you can identify the message of Ezekiel to this prince, then you can also identify God’s messenger in the 21st century. God reveals this message to His messenger. No human being can just figure out these prophecies and discern anything from them. Only God can unlock what these prophecies mean.
This passage mentions “Gog” and “Magog.” Ezekiel is using the ancient names of these nations. What modern nation or nations do these peoples represent? The Bible says Gog and Magog must be warned. So God’s messenger has to know who these two great nations are and who this prince is.
This is an electrifying prophecy that discusses super-powerful nations in the latter years. This is the leader of Gog, the leader of Meshech, the leader of Tubal, the leader of Rosh! This is the prince of Russia.
This individual controls an enormous swath of land in Asia, east to west. The territory described in your Bible sounds much like that of the former Soviet Union, the territory Russia dominates or wants to dominate. This “latter years” prophecy about Gog, Magog and the prince of Rosh, including Meshech and Tubal, indicates that Russia may conquer more former Soviet satellites.
I have believed for years now that Vladimir Putin is this “prince.” You can read more about this in my free booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia.’
Because of this, I believe the people who say Putin has overplayed his hand and expect him to lose are mistaken. From what I see in prophecy, we should expect Russia most likely to win the war and for Putin to remain its leader. However, even if Russia loses this specific war, it is conceivable that the nation could regroup and Putin could remain in power and still lead Asian nations in future wars, which means the overall prophecy in Ezekiel 38 and 39 will still come to pass.
Prophecy shows that when men like Vladimir Putin rise, the world is entering a very dangerous time! God describes the men who lead such powers as “beasts”—they think like wild animals, wanting to conquer, pillage, burn and destroy. As the U.S. falls in power, it is being replaced by leaders who act like wild, raging beasts!
We all must recognize this reality. Yet most people don’t believe God and fail to see clearly the evil that human beings are capable of.
Donald Trump recently boasted that, during his presidency, Russia didn’t attack. “Don’t forget, under Bush they [took] over Georgia. Under Obama they took over Crimea. And under Biden, they’re taking over everything,” Mr. Trump told Sean Hannity. “And under Trump, you know what they took over? They took over nothing. Russia. First time, first president in a long time …. He [Putin] understood. He would have never done it.”
Perhaps that is true. President Trump did have a bolder foreign policy in some areas. But he was also woefully wrong in other areas, as we will see. Anyone who thinks that Trump can single-handedly restore America’s standing in the world—and heal the national will and pride in our power that God Himself has broken because of our sins—is terribly mistaken!
In that interview, Mr. Trump added, “That’s without even negotiating a deal. I could have negotiated. At worst, I could have made a deal to take over something; you know, there are certain areas that are Russian-speaking areas …. And now Ukraine is just being blown to smithereens.”
Mr. Trump believes he could negotiate with Vladimir Putin, giving him sections of Ukraine and expecting this to pacify him. That reveals a total lack of comprehension about who he is dealing with.
President Trump said that Putin is a man that he “got along really well with.” Is that true? Is that wise? Should anyone get along with an evil man like the prince of Russia?
Can God get along with the devil?
Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump had a consistent message for Europe: You must step up militarily. He complained that America was paying too much for nato and that Europe wasn’t pulling its weight. He particularly pushed Germany to remilitarize. He encouraged it to increase its military spending to 4 percent of its gross domestic product—a figure that would make this nation, against whom America and the Allies fought in World War ii, the third-greatest defense spender in the world after America and China! Even 2 percent would make it a bigger spender than Russia. But combine such spending with the other nations of the EU, and Trump was advocating transforming Europe into a military superpower!
What Donald Trump doesn’t realize is that Bible prophecy shows that it is not Russia America needs to be concerned about, or even China. The power we most need to watch out for in end-time events is Europe.
During his term, Trump had limited success in encouraging gargantuan spending increases in Germany and the rest of Europe. But then Russia invaded Ukraine. This provoked several European states to boost their militaries and intensify their military cooperation considerably. The Biden administration is pushing them to militarize all the more. The money and armaments it has been pouring into Ukraine is also heightening what is essentially an arms race between Europe and Asia.
Prophecy shows that America’s efforts will backfire spectacularly. The superpower that is prophesied to destroy and dethrone America and take its place in dominating the world is a German-led European alliance!
Just as with Iran, it is a broken-willed America that is unwittingly contributing to the rise of this major end-time power, called in prophecy “the king of the north.”
The king of the north and the king of the south not only both prominently feature in end-time prophecy, they also feature in the Bible’s forecast about what will trigger the next world war.
How World War III Will Start
Ukraine is not specifically described in biblical prophecy. However, it could factor in significantly in one way.
The present-day European power called the king of the north is also portrayed in Daniel 2 as the 10 toes of a great statue. These toes represent 10 European “kings”—five in one geographic area and five in another (verses 41-44), united briefly in an unwieldy, fractious alliance of iron and clay.
So prophecy instructs us to watch for a transformation in Europe from its present composition of 27 member states to a leaner, pared-down alliance of 10 powers under 10 rulers: five in Western Europe, five in Eastern Europe.
Daniel 11:40-41, a prophecy about “the time of the end,” describes a mighty clash: the king of the south, a radical Islamic alliance led by Iran, provoking the king of the north, the 10 European kings led by Germany, into a catastrophic war that destroys Iran and swallows many other Middle Eastern nations. Other prophecies show that this clash will mark the beginning of this European power’s world domination—which will include the destruction of America, Britain and the Jewish state of Israel! (You can read about this in our free book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy.)
This, according to prophecy, is how World War iii will begin.
Many prophecies show that nuclear weapons will be used in this coming war. (Read my free booklet Nuclear Armageddon Is ‘At the Door’) However, this war will not be initiated by a nuclear strike from Russia. In fact, Russia’s nukes won’t factor into these events until later.
Once that European power has conquered mightily and is bestriding the Middle East, it will then hear troubling “tidings out of the east and out of the north” (verse 44)—that is, from an Asian alliance described in Revelation 16:12 as “the kings of the east.” This power will be led by Russia and, secondarily, by China.
Prophecy warns of catastrophic world war then enveloping these two remaining great powers!
The precise dividing line between these 10 European kings and the kings of the east, which will certainly include some former Soviet states, is still to be determined. It will be decided by events in the time between now and the outbreak of that nuclear world war.
I believe Germany has already given Ukraine to Russia in a secret deal.
The Ukraine conflict has brought the kings of the east closer together: China has proved itself willing to defend Russia even against opposition from the rest of the world.
This is the overarching picture that prophecy gives us of end-time events. Watch closely how America’s fundamental weakness hinders its effectiveness in aiding Ukraine. Watch for Europe to continue augmenting its military capability and cooperation. Watch for Russia, with Vladimir Putin at the helm, to emerge victorious, or at least unbroken. Watch for the dividing line between Europe and Asia to be solidified. Watch for this powerful Asian alliance to continue to strengthen.
And realize that all of these events are happening according to the prophecies of the great God, who is bringing them to pass! These are momentous signs of God’s mighty power—signs that He gave for us to watch, signs of the final days of this age of man! As Daniel 2:44-45 promise, “And in the days of these [10 European] kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.”