Is recent Russian aggression first step toward Armageddon?
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. ⁷ For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. ⁸ All these are the beginning of sorrows. – Matthew 24
Much of the world was aghast on Feb. 24 when Russia invaded Ukraine, but Dr. Rob Lindsted and other Bible prophecy authorities were not at all surprised. The Bible prophet Ezekiel predicted Russian – or Rosh-ian – aggression, and Jesus foretold what He called “the beginning of sorrows” in Matthew’s gospel. The combination of war, famine, disease and natural disasters will set the stage for end-time travail.
In 1989 as the Russian economy collapsed, Lindsted says, it looked to the world like this part of Bible prophecy would not come true. “In 1989-91, everyone said, ‘Bible prophecy is out,’ ” he recalls. “The Soviet Union had collapsed, and it appeared that they would never recover, never be strong enough to invade Israel. I said at the time, ‘Don’t worry. Everything in God’s Word will be accomplished in His time and just as He says it will.’ ”
In 2014, after years of steady and sometimes stealthy rebuilding, Russia came alive to face off with Ukraine for possession of Crimea, a mostly Russian-speaking part of Ukraine. In 2015, an uneasy peace treaty was forged, ending open hostilities.
Fast forward to 2022, when Russia started its New Year by filtering troops into Crimea.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was more than prepared. The Russians boast 280,000 military personnel, while Ukraine has 145,000, says The Guardian. Russia has 2,840 battle tanks, Ukraine 858. Russian fighting vehicles number more than 5,000 and artillery pieces over 4,500. Ukraine fights with barely over 1,000 vehicles and 1,800 pieces of artillery. Russia lists over 1,500 air defense surface-to-air batteries, compared to Ukraine’s 75-plus, while Russia has 150 ballistic missiles to Ukraine’s 90.
Since February, Russia has been bombing Ukraine military outposts, airports and civilian areas, displacing thousands of Ukrainians. Ukraine has retaliated. Late July estimates by U.S. intelligence put Russian casualties around 15,000 with as many as 60,000 injured, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s senior advisers say its military casualties are about 9,000.
“This is the biggest war in Europe since 1945,” says longtime journalist Luke Harding, foreign correspondent for The Guardian.
And yet, Lindsted says that the ultimate goal of Russia is not Ukraine. “We know from God’s Word that they will eventually invade Israel,” he says. “As they were starting the invasion into Ukraine, at the United Nations meeting, Russia stated that Israel should not have the Golan Heights, their area on the north and east. Now, how is it right for Russia to invade Ukraine and for Israel not to have its own backyard?”
Russia also claimed that Israel should not have control of Jerusalem. “Wait a minute. Jerusalem is Israel’s capital city,” Lindsted says. “It is the place where the Temple was built and where in 2 Chronicles, God said, ‘I have chosen this Temple, that my name may be here forever.’
“The Ukraine invasion is real, but it is a smokescreen to take our eyes off of what they really want. The real treasure that Russia wants – look at Ezekiel 38 and 39 – is Israel. They want the spoil. They want the wealth of Israel. They want the natural gas. Russia is known for supplying energy to the world and there will come a time when they will want and even need the oil and gas fields of Israel.”
To further prove Lindsted’s theory of Russia’s ultimate intentions, Putin met in March with Iranian and Israeli leaders regarding nuclear power. “Now Iran says, ‘We’re only going to use it for peaceful means,’ ” Lindsted says. “I don’t trust the devil and I don’t trust Iran.”
In May, French President Emmanuel Macron revealed his own ambitions, essentially volunteering to be the peacekeeper in the Middle East, as well as sharing his vision of a European political community.
The Washington Post printed an article saying Macron should be the leader of the European Union – the revived Roman Empire, the New World Order. “Many people think that Macron will be the person to lead the way,” Lindsted says. “Macron actually says, ‘I want to make peace there. I think I am the man to do it.”
The stage is set, Lindsted believes. “I’m not trying to predict who the Antichrist is, but the Bible says he is the one who will make peace with Israel. I’m just saying that there are players on the stage right now who want to fulfill that role.”
Like so many Americans, Lindsted is watching international news closely these days. Bible scholars are increasingly fascinated and anticipatory – since these wars and rumors of war could be that “beginning of sorrows,” the “prequel” to the Tribulation.
“It’s amazing to see what happens in the news as Russia becomes more aggressive, but it’s even more amazing to see what the Bible has to say about it all,” he says. “The hostility we see from Russia toward the world, especially toward Israel, is what the Bible recorded 2,500 years ago.”
And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, ² Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, ³ And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: ⁴ And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: ⁵ Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: ⁶ Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. ⁷ Be thou prepared … – Ezekiel 38
Prophecy in the News founder J.R. Church, in the late 1970s, prodigiously proclaimed, “The Russians Are Coming,” as he noted the miraculous turnaround for Israel and the Jewish people with the return of their Promised Land in 1948 and their first successful wars in centuries – in 1956 and 1967.
“The Jews are back in the land,” Church said in one of his TV segments. “The next event in God’s calendar, of God’s prophecy, is the Russian invasion of Israel. It is recorded in the 38th and 39th chapters. Meshech, Tubal, the chief prince will come down with a great horde and a great land army and he goes on to list all the people who will come down with him.”
The Bible doesn’t use modern day titles but, “it mentions … that they will come with united forces,” Lindsted says. “I’m watching pictures of Putin with the leaders of Turkey and Iran. What do they have in common? In most cases, they actually hate one another, but they have a common enemy and that’s Israel.
“We can see Israel’s main enemy in the last days by looking at Ezekiel 38:2: ‘Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him.’
“Gog is a man, a leader. Magog is the land of Magog. Is it Putin? I don’t know. He may be put down and another come up. Gog is a name like Pharaoh. It’s not a first name. It is the leader of Magog. The words ‘chief prince’ means ‘Rosh,’ exactly the same word that in your Bible that says in the last days Rosh – that’s Russia – will come against Israel.”
Meshech in modern day is Moscow and Tubal is now Tobolsk, two Russian capitals, Lindsted says – “one a political capital we know as Moscow. The other is an industrial capital. This is pretty good for [something written] 2,500 years ago.”
Other countries will join the united horde. “The Bible says Persia – we now know it as Iran – would come,” Lindsted says. “Cush, now Ethiopia, will come. Then there’s Turkey – Togarmah – and East Germany/Gomer.
“Every one of those countries we can trace back, and within the last year or two, we have seen them make bargains with Russia. I really believe we are seeing the earmarks of the Tribulation … the beginning of sorrows.”
And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, 12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. 15 And 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. 16 And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days … – Ezekiel 38
A time of peace precedes the concerted attack, according to Ezekiel. First, however, Christ must come in the clouds for His church, the dead in Christ and believers alive on Earth – all in the twinkling of an eye.
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other … 40Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. –Matthew 24
Then, with the believers temporarily off stage and all the players arrayed, the Antichrist will want a “great reset,” Lindsted says.
“We are set up for the New World Order because most of the world leadership is weak. Even though we have a person like Putin who seems strong, he is a madman. He wants power and he wants money. You might say he already has power and money but he wants more. The Antichrist will use someone like this to facilitate his plans.
“When sin came in, Adam and Eve were not hungry. They were well-fed, but they wanted the only food they were forbidden to take. Here’s Judas. He sells Jesus. He didn’t need money. Here’s Putin. He doesn’t need more money or land. He’s got a huge territory. But there’s never enough when Satan gets involved. There is no one right now who could stop Russia.”
As the appointed time for this long-predicted battle approaches, Russia will take advantage of the fact that Israel wants peace. The Bible speaks about Israel dwelling “in unwalled villages,” rather than the protected fortresses they dwell in now. “Of all the countries in the world that Russia’s not going to sneak up on – it is Israel,” Lindsted says. “Israel is armed to the teeth. I would not want to be in a war with Israel. They just won the last four wars against them, against insurmountable odds.
“The Antichrist is going to deceive Israel and convince Israel to put down their weapons. That is how the Tribulation begins. The Bible says when they talk about peace and safety, there’s going to be sudden destruction.”
Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: 2And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: – Ezekiel 39
When Russia and all of its allies come against Israel at the end of the Tribulation, one-sixth will live. “That means five-sixths will die,” Lindsted points out. “It could be that 5 million people will die in one war, and I think it could happen and I think it could happen very soon.”
God, he says, is fulfilling His Word. “In Ezekiel 39:1-3, the Bible says the world is going to become a graveyard. It says that of all these armies that come against Israel – Iran, Turkey, Germany, Ethiopia, Libya – as a matter of fact, Zechariah says the whole world. Even the U.S. may come against Israel.
“The Bible says five-sixths of the armies will die in one dreadful battle called Armageddon. The name Armageddon comes from the place where the battle will take place, Megiddo Valley. It says the blood will be to the bridle of a horse. That valley is 186 miles long and extends from the Mediterranean Sea through Megiddo to Jerusalem. We know this is the place because if you measure the valley it exactly fits the description given in Revelation 14 to the mile. It is a huge area, and it will be filled with blood!”
And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. ⁴ Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. ⁵ Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD. -Ezekiel 39
A haunting sign that the battle of Armageddon is imminent is the gathering of birds, Lindsted says. “The Israeli government’s official website had an article titled, ‘Half a billion birds pass through Israel’s skies on their way to Africa,’ ” he says. “These birds are flying right through the Valley of Megiddo. Revelation 19:17-18 talks about the angel calling the birds to the ‘supper of the great God.’
“When you read these verses, you realize just how much death will occur during this final battle, and it is coming! Not just the Russians, but a multinational army with death and destruction to follow.
“God has given us all these headlines because something is going on. What we are watching is a setup for an Antichrist to come. I don’t think Mr. Putin is the Antichrist. I think the Antichrist will use Mr. Putin, because Mr. Putin thinks he is the smartest man on the Earth, but there is going to be one smarter than him and Satan is going to indwell him.”
The “beginning of sorrows” is becoming real to all of us. It is affecting anyone and everyone who eats or uses any kind of energy. “Gas prices are though the roof, food is scarce and becoming unaffordable and inflation is skyrocketing,” Lindsted says. “If nuclear war breaks out, everyone on the planet will likely be affected.
“Flesh will melt from people’s faces. Eyeballs will hang out of their sockets. Recently, we have been within a hair’s breadth of it. When all these things come to pass, look up. Be ready.”
But never fear, J.R. Church and Lindsted both say that Israel with the help of almighty God will be able to stop its attackers.
“We are about to see fulfillment of [Ezekiel’s] boldest, most dramatic visions enacted by whole nations,” Church said. “Can these bones live? Can a people dispersed without a common culture all those centuries pull themselves together again? Can dead things come back out of the grave and be restored to their ancient land?
“Only by an act of God as promised in Ezekiel 37, verses 13 and 14. Something is going to happen. Something spectacular. Something that smacks of a miracle … and the coming war with Russia from Ezekiel 38 and 39 will be a miracle war and that vast army of the north will lose.”
Having the Bible, its guidance and its prophecies, places responsibility upon the reader and hearer, Lindsted believes. “I think we are going to be the most accountable generation,” he says. “We have the written word of God. We have the words of Jesus in the Gospels. We have the predictions of God by the prophets, including Ezekiel, Daniel, Isaiah and Jeremiah.
“Ezekiel made it so clear that God would have a judgment that would come upon the Earth, a time called the Tribulation, and it will include the aggression of Russia not just into Ukraine but into Jerusalem and Israel.
“As we watch this take place, you are accountable, just like when Noah was telling the people it was going to rain. When the flood came, when the door was closed; oh, how they wished they would have gone into the ark!”
Despite the ominous clouds of wars, hunger, disease and natural disasters, Christians must not give up hope nor give up the fight for every soul. “God is not willing that any should perish,” Lindsted says. “He is so patient and is fulfilling His Word right before our eyes.
“Our hope is not in a political party or in a situation. Our hope is the hope of the Bible and the hope of the Bible is Jesus Christ.”