RUSSIA HAS A CAMEO APPEARANCE
IN BIBLE PROPHECY
Rise or Fall of American Empire?
ESCHATOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS - AMERICA’S BIT PART?
So, prior to our imbibing in prescient forecasts of prophetic import – let us, once again, rehearse the vacuous comments brought to us afresh in World Net Daily…
“America faces threats from mad bombers, mad dictators, a unified Russian-Chinese military adversary and a host of other threats. Who wants to be the one to say that, biblically speaking, there is no reason to think one of them isn't going to happen? But America is not a major player in the last days -- she hasn't even a bit part. I personally believe that one explanation could be that our country and its leadership will be so decimated following the Rapture that we will simply cease to be a major influence overnight.” (America in Prophecy, Hal Lindsey, WorldNetDaily, August 6, 2008)
Shocking, isn’t it? Trying to seize the last pipeline to NATO nations and Israel (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline), thereby avoiding the Federation. Mother Russia seems utterly determined to reassert control over her former satellites, rekindle the Cold War and isolate herself from the rest of Europe, including Ukraine and all her former Eastern European and Caucasus client states—thence, taking center stage on the prophetic landscape, leaving American believers raptured, America’s economy in shambles and retreating to her prophetic role as less than a “bit player” as her final recourse. Alas! As much as American eschatologists implicate Russia as the central figure of end-time scenarios—she is, nevertheless, conspicuously absent from the role as aggressor; instead, she is the repeated victim of Antichrist! Please pay shockingly close attention (though it is difficult to follow) of these elaborate eschatological considerations—nuances relative to Russia’s exoneration as the “evil empire” of the last days. She is NOT the aggressor nation of Antichrist; instead, she is the victim of the Beast!
As this e-book series has readily acclaimed: America is front and center in Bible Prophecy. Russia scarcely plays a “bit part” in the final countdown. Surprised? Of course you are—and rightly so, because up to this point in Premillenarian eschatology, the Bear has played the dominant role in descending upon Israel as the primary belligerent of Gog-Magog, whereas America gets off scot-free (at best – a veiled allusion found somewhere among “all their young lions” – Ezekiel 38:13), while disintegrating as a world power because of a secret rapture of believers prior to Antichrist’s eruption on the world scene. All this allows Western Europe and a loosely affiliated WEU to produce a Javier Solano-style Antichrist figure who has affirmed some sort of “treaty” with Israel, commencing the Seventieth Week of Daniel…whereas, the Tribulation Network finds this scenario ludicrous and wholly outside the biblical parameters of the Last Days. For starters, Antichrist’s “treaty” with Israel is not an “economic accord” but a DEFENSE PACT (sorry, the Euro-Centric folks at Fulfilled Prophecy may be in their own Seventieth Week, but it’s NOT the Seventieth Week of Daniel’s prophecy).
Instead, American evangelical eschatologists, who took their initial cues from Nineteenth Century Premillenarians within colonial Europe foresaw a “Revived Roman Empire” – a sort of Holy Roman Empire – which would dominate the earth and constitute the final manifestation of Gentile World Power—the very seat of Antichrist. Furthermore, and as Soviet Communism arose in post-World War I Europe, she became the fulcrum of Gog-Magog – the evil force from the “far north.” Elaborate epistemological constructs were conceived by American anti-communists—everything from the historian Josephus’ remarks…
“Magog founded the Magogians, thus named after him, but who were by the Greeks called ‘Scythians.’” (Josephus, Antiquities, 1.123)
… to C. I. Scofield and Hal Lindsey:
“According to one modern theory of dispensationalist Biblical hermeneutics, Gog and Magog are supposed to represent Russia. The Scofield Reference Bible’s notes to Ezekiel claim that ‘Meshech’ is a Hebrew form of Moscow, and that ‘Tubal’ represents the Siberian capital Tobolsk. During the Cold War this identification led Hal Lindsey to claim that the Soviet Union would play a major role in the End Times. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the retreat of Russia from the role of a military superpower, some commentators have attempted to cast some other country in the role of Gog. Apocalyptic author L. Bauman claimed that the word ‘Caucasian’ came from the Arabic term ‘gog-i-hisn’ for the mountains there which means ‘fortress of Gog’. However, this identification is unanimously rejected by even the most conservative of credentialed biblical scholars working in accredited institutions of higher learning.
As we shall discover – reinforcement of Russia’s dominant role in the Gog-Magog scenario, buttressed by American suspicions of Soviet communism and now a resistive Russia – has generated renewed angst that the “Russian role” as the leading figure of the Gog-Magog War is on the move. This is all the more reinforced by her northern Arab alliance with Iran and Syria wrought by her outrage of America’s incursion into Iraq and even Afghanistan.
It is this alienation from the West, as now orchestrated by the USA (and don’t be so foolish to think otherwise), that leads to “news (rumors) from the . . . north will trouble him; therefore he (i.e., Antichrist) shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many” (Daniel 11:44). To suggest that Gog-Magog (from the “far north” – Ezekiel 39:2), which has been utterly annihilated (Ezekiel 39:2 – Heb. “shaw-shaw” or “to annihilate” Strong’s 8338 – not “shashah” or “sixth-part” Strong’s 8341) can now mount a counter offensive that will “trouble” Antichrist, who will go forth in that direction to annihilate many (Dan. 11:44), is to suggest that Gog’s initial annihilation was perfunctory, incomplete and distorts the true meaning of the text as found in Ezekiel 39:2a and confirmed by Antichrist’s further annihilation beyond Israel’s immediate “far north.” Naturally, and obviously, the biblical expositor must connect the eschatological dots between Ezekiel 38-39 and Daniel 11:40-44 as two different aspects of the same Gog-Magog War; otherwise, confusion will reign between these latter day texts—which is precisely what John Walvoord (which we will explain below) has done and which we have in the past addressed at length. (Please see our E-book entitled: Antichrist and the Gog-Magog War.)
The crux of the debate ensues when the forces of Gog-Magog which descend from the “far north” are subsequently defeated and then “rumors from the north” trouble him (i.e., Antichrist) and he goes forth (obviously to the north) to “annihilate many” (Daniel 11:44). At issue, therefore, is proving that this “north” in Daniel 11:44 is beyond the “far north” of Gog-Magog and that the belligerents facing Israel in Ezekiel 38-39:16 are clearly identified with those antagonists of Antichrist mentioned in Daniel 11:40-43.
The placement of these conflicts are either logistically dissimilar or bear an uncanny resemblance – with the distinct emphasis of the belligerents in Ezekiel 38-39:16 targeting Israel (with the leadership of the West – the Ships of Tarshish (the great end-time’s Commercial Empire), along with her mercantile trading partners of the Saudi Arabian Peninsula (Sheba and Dedan) – Ezekiel 38:13, taking “commercial offense” at Gog’s intentions); whereas the antagonists of Daniel 11:40-43 – prior to Israel’s calamitous encounter with Antichrist at the Abomination of Desolation mid-way through the Seventieth Week of Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 12:1) – take umbrage with Antichrist himself, demonstrating that Israel and Antichrist (in that the Treaty of Hell and Death has been confirmed – Daniel 9:27, Isaiah 28:15, 18) are “in league” (have confirmed/enforced a DEFENSE PACT between themselves).
The chart below will help clarify the parameters of the conflict, participants and ensuing outcomes:
The placement of Daniel 11:40-44 within the confines of Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog War (Ezk. 38-39:16) is wholly justified in that Put (Modern-day Libya), and Cush (Modern-day Sudan) are mentioned twice. Their annihilation can be but once “at the time of the end/in the latter years, after many days.” (Note: For Libya and Sudan to be annihilated twice within a span of several years is ludicrous; therefore, they have but one annihilation.) Consequently, they, as obscure as they may appear to be, provide the optimum clues that the conflict in Daniel 11:40-43 is indeed the same conflict mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39:16. Egypt is singled out as the supreme southern antagonist to Antichrist in Daniel 11:42-43; whereas in Ezekiel 38-39:16 Egypt’s name is omitted – however, in both texts Put (Libya) and Cush (modern-day Sudan) are mentioned.
Walvoord cannot find the Gog-Magog War in Daniel 11:40-43; consequently, his exposition is deeply flawed and confused:
“The king of the north, identified as Syria in the prophecies fulfilled in the second and third centuries B.C., is obviously more than the small territory possessed by Syria at that time and probably includes all the political and military force of the lands to the north of the Holy Land; hence the term could include Russia as well as related countries” (Daniel the Key to Prophetic Revelation, John Walvoord, Moody Press, 1971, p. 277).
Here, Walvoord realizes that the “King of the North” is far more than simply Syria (Note: In point of glaring fact it is not at all Syria—for she has been defeated in the “Oracle of Damascus” as found in Isaiah 17 and Zechariah 9 – texts which Walvoord concludes were fulfilled in history but which, in point of eschatological fact, have never been fulfilled and demand a resolution in the immediate future PRIOR TO GOG-MAGOG and outside of the Gog-Magog conflagration in that Syria’s participation is overtly omitted from the constellation of nations involved in the Gog-Magog War—Ezekiel 38-39:16). (Please see: Road to Damascus)
However, Walvoord is correct to conclude that “obviously more than the small territory possessed by Syria at that time and probably includes all the political and military force of the lands to the north of the Holy Land” are involved as the “King of the North” – however, he makes a tactical error by assuming: “hence the term could include Russia.” No, the term does not include Russia—it specifically includes “The King of the North” – that is all – and then, of course, those nations which constitute the King of the South, headed up by Egypt (Dan. 11:42-43), with the twice mentioning of Put and Cush (Libya and Sudan) found in both Ezekiel 38:5 and Daniel 11:43.
Walvoord continues (Note: I quote from Walvoord in that his exposition has become the “eschatological flagship” of modern Premillenarian interpretation of these end-of-days conflicts; and, consequently, bears significant eschatological weight in the confusion which persists within our Premillenarian camp concerning these interpretations which have much to do with the United States of America, Russia, Israel and the surrounding nation states.) Walvoord suggests some connection between the two renditions of the same conflict?
“A natural question is the relation of this struggle to the battle described in Ezekiel 38-39, where a great military force coming from the north attacks the land of Israel” (Ibid.)
An immediate comment here is mandatory. Walvoord immediately seizes upon the similarity of the substance found in the two texts (i.e., Daniel 11:40-43 and Ezekiel 38-39:16) – but, as you shall discover, that similarity stops right there. Instead of staying within the margins and similarities of the two passages which substantiate the SAME CONFLICT—he ventures outside these immediate parameters and convolutes the two passages, thereby confusing and adding to the eschatology in a most meandering fashion. Ultimately, as you will discover, Russia finds herself involved in THREE separate Walvoord-style conflicts!
“The context in Ezekiel describes the time as a period of peace for Israel (Ezekiel 38:8, 11, 14), which probably is best identified as the first half of Daniel’s seventieth week when Israel is in covenant relationship with the Roman ruler and protected from attack. This period of peace is broken at the midpoint of the seventieth week when the Roman ruler becomes a world ruler, and the great tribulation begins with its persecution of Israel.” (Ibid. pp. 278-9)
Again, we must pause here to evaluate Walvoord’s synthesis of the text. Yes, Ezekiel 38:8, 11, 14 does describe a time of “peace” – but that sense of “peace” (as in “unwalled villages” – Ezk. 38:11) is more, as Arno Fruchtenbaum suspects, a “false sense of security” buttressed under the protection of Antichrist whose “Treaty of Hell and Death” conveys such a subterfuge and false sense of confidence on Israel’s part.
“Second, the invasion will occur at a time when Israel is ‘at rest,’ ‘living securely,’ and dwelling in ‘unwalled villages.’ Fruchtenbaum maintains that the Hebrew root batach which appears in Ezk 38:8 and 11 simply means ‘security.’ He says, ‘This is not a security due to a state of peace, but a security due to confidence in their own strength. This, too, is a good description of Israel today. The Israeli army has fought four major wars since its founding and won them swiftly each time. Today Israel is secure, confident that her army can repel any invasion from the Arab states. Hence, Israel is dwelling securely.’” (The Battle of Gog and Magog, J. R. Hall, Executive Director, Berean Watchman Ministries)
Walvoord is correct, however, to conjecture that Ezekiel 38 occurs during “the first half of Daniel’s seventieth week.”
“The context in Ezekiel (Ezk. 38-39 – the time of the Gog-Magog War) describes the time as a period of peace for Israel (Ezk. 38:8, 11, 14), which probably is best identified as the first half of Daniel’s seventieth week when Israel is in covenant relationship with the Roman ruler and protected from attack…the chronology of Daniel 11:36-39 refers to the period of world rule, and, therefore, is later than Ezekiel 38 and 39…hence, it may be concluded that the battle described here (i.e., in Daniel 11:40-43), beginning with verse 40, is a later development, possibly several years later than the battle described in Ezekiel (Note: Therefore, Gog-Magog would have occurred, according to Walvoord, within the first half of Daniel’s Seventieth Week—not AFTER the mid-point or the Abomination of Desolation. Notwithstanding the placement of the Gog-Magog, by Walvoord, within the first half of Daniel’s seventieth week, he unwittingly presumes that Israel’s false sense of security – this “period of peace” is NOT broken until the midpoint of the seventieth week.) (Walvoord – p. 277-8)
What is incongruous about Walvoord’s statements here is the FACT that Walvoord has the Gog-Magog War itself occurring prior to the mid-point of the Daniel’s Seventieth Week, thereby eliminating Libya and Sudan (Put and Cush) TWICE (once during the Gog-Magog War and once in what he confusingly describes as a sort of World War III which he describes as a “later development, possibly several years later than the battle described in Ezekiel.”
Once Walvoord divorces Ezekiel 38-39:16 from Daniel 11:40-43 as dissimilar conflicts, his exegesis implodes into utter confusion in that Russia’s destruction (which he assumes is involved in Ezekiel 38-39 – which in point of fact, Russia is NOT involved as the major player of Ezekiel 38-39) is in all reality not an annihilation as described in Ezekiel 39:2-6 but that this same Russia is able to REGROUP to fight another day!
“If a Russian force is involved in the phrase, ‘the king of the north,’ it would indicate that, in the period between the two battles (Editor’s Note: In Walvoord’s convoluted thinking, there are distinctly TWO SEPARATE CONFLICTS – Gog-Magog where Russia is eliminated and a sort of World War III where she immediately regroups to fight another day against Antichrist.), RUSSIA IS ABLE TO REASSEMBLE AN ARMY AND ONCE AGAINST PARTICIPATE IN A MILITARY WAY IN THIS GREAT WAR (i.e., Walvoord’s World War III?) (My emphasis throughout.). (Ibid., p. 278)
To reinforce his faulty assumption that these alleged TWO CONFLICTS are different (i.e., the Gog-Magog War in Ezekiel 38-39 and the conflict mentioned in Dan. 11:40-43—Walvoord’s coming “GREAT WAR” or what I have dubbed, Walvoord’s World War III) he states:
“In any event, this battle (Dan. 11:40-43) is quite different from that of Ezekiel, as, according to the Ezekiel prediction, the invader comes only from the north, whereas in this portion (i.e., Dan. 11:40-43), the Holy Land is invaded both from the north and south, and later from the east.” (Ibid. p. 278)
This unbelievable interpretation by Walvoord is directly contradicted by Ezekiel’s constellation of nations—they are not only from the north but from the south as well—just as they are from the north and south in Daniel 11:40-43. How could Walvoord be so blatantly wrong here is beyond me—unless, he is so blinded by Russia’s immediate involvement in Gog-Magog and, oddly enough, by her subsequent regrouping to find another day in Walvoord’s WW III?
Allow me to quote Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog constellation of nations and see whether or not they comprise “the invader comes only from the north” –
“Persia, Cush (Sudan) and Libya (Put) are with them (“them” – Gog-Magog)” (Ezekiel 38:5).
Apparently, Ezekiel 38:5 does NOT exist in Walvoord’s Bible?
Notwithstanding Walvoord’s confusion regarding the similarities of these conflicts – i.e., they are the SAME, not two different conflicts found in Ezekiel 38-39:16 and Daniel 11:40-43 – he does identify the “he/him” of Daniel 11:40-45 as the Antichrist:
“But the Antichrist will not be slow to repel the attack. He himself shall ‘come into these lands,’ that is, the lands of those who have assailed him, and ‘shall sweep along and pass through.’ The major revelation here, therefore, is that the king of Daniel 11:36, although engaged in bitter struggle, continues to dominate the situation until he comes to his end at the second coming of Jesus Christ (Daniel 11:45). His counterattack on those who have assailed him results in his entering into their countries, occupying ‘the glorious land,’ referring to the Holy Land and many other countries including Egypt. It appears, however, that he does not completely restore the situation, as it is stated that Edom and Moab and the children of Ammon escape (11:41). His victory is such that he is able to increase greatly his treasures of gold and silver and obtain precious things from Egypt. From this point on, however, his authority is supported only insofar as his military campaigns are able to occupy various countries. His world empire, apparently originating in a decree which at that time was not contested, no longer remains intact.” (Ibid. p. 279)
But, then, instead of the immediate initiation of the “Campaign of Armageddon” wherein “rumors from the east and north” (which most definitely will involve the Russian Federation of peoples) will trouble Antichrist and cause him to go forth to annihilate many (Note: All this after the Gog-Magog War which pits Israel/Antichrist against Radical Islam – Gog-Magog – Kings of the North and South). Walvoord suggests that this King of the North in Daniel 11:40-43 shall, within the confines of the post-mid-point of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, include “Russia’s Second Coming” (although she was defeated at the Gog-Magog conflagration—she somehow REGROUPS to fight what appears in Walvoord’s thinking to be a World War or, again, in Walvoord’s thinking is not necessarily the “Armageddon Campaign.”). Daniel 11:40-43 is, according to Walvoord, NOT Gog-Magog of Ezekiel 38-39:16 (which in Walvoord’s thinking most definitely involves Russia at the helm of the Radical Islamic forces of ONLY the North—for the southern forces of Libya and Sudan are NOT engaged in Gog-Magog according to Walvoord in Ezekiel 38-39:16).
Walvoord elaborates on Russia’s involvement within the confines of his World War (not Gog-Magog) – and suggests that Russia is now involved in THREE conflicts: Gog-Magog (occurring in Ezekiel 38-39); the immediate armies of the “King of the North” which are, in Walvoord’s thinking, an entirely different set of belligerents aligned against Antichrist in an immediate war (Daniel 11:40-43) prior to Walvoord’s future World War, and the third appearance of Russia, found in Daniel 11:44 – or “rumors from the north.” This is utterly astounding – THREE STRIKES AND YOU’RE OUT! Walvoord’s eschatological obsession with Russia is “over the top!” What is it about “annihilation” that he doesn’t understand?
“The final verses of Daniel 11, beginning with verse 40, described (sic. “describe”) the final WORLD WAR which will occur in the period just before the Second Coming…Prophecy is not entirely clear how to classify these various people (i.e., found in Daniel 11:40 (Editor’s Note: Although it clearly identifies them as “King of the North” and “King of the South” – which includes Egypt, the Libyans and Ethiopians (i.e., modern Sudanese – Daniel 11:40-43)), but apparently a great army from Africa described as coming from the South and a great army from Europe, probably including Russia and other European nations, will attack him from the North.” (Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, John Walvoord, Victor Books, 1977, pp. 273-274).
In Walvoord’s Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, he does not mention Russia in his World War—but simply states:
“Though he (Antichrist) will be very successful in the war (i.e., the war of Daniel 11:40-43), the world leader of the future will hear reports of additional armies coming from the East and the North. This apparently refers to the great army from the East described in Revelation 16:12 as “the kings from the East.” (Editor’s Note: Nothing is amplified as to the “north” in Walvoord’s eschatological schematic at this juncture—simply the identity of the “kings of the East.”) (Ibid. p. 274)
However, in Walvoord’s separate text, Daniel, the Key to Prophetic Revelation, written in 1971, he clearly states:
“If a Russia force is involved in the phrase, ‘the king of the north,’ it would indicate that, in the period between the two battles (i.e., Gog-Magog and the battle which Walvoord separately describes in Daniel 11:40-43), RUSSIA IS ABLE TO REASSEMBLE AN ARMY AND ONCE AGAIN PARTICIPATE IN A MILITARY WAY IN THIS GREAT WAR.” (My emphasis – Daniel, the Key to Prophetic Revelation, 1971, p. 278). (Editor’s Note: Thus, again, Walvoord has Russia engaged in Gog-Magog, the “separate conflict” he sees in Daniel 11:40-43; and finally, a third conflict seen in Daniel 11:44. Indeed, like a wily flea squeezed between one’s thumb and index figure—no matter how hard you squeeze, the flea lives to bite another day!)
Walvoord’s obsession with Russia in virtually all three of his conflicts (Gog-Magog of Ezekiel 38-39:16, Daniel 11:40-43 as the “King of the North,” and his Great War commencing in Daniel 11:44) astounds in that Antichrist, Israel or the Almighty Himself, simply cannot destroy the Russian Federation—as they persist until the final battle of Armageddon!
Finally, and at long last, although Walvoord has had Russia involved in all his conflicts, he simply cannot bring forth her name a final and third time in his Daniel, The Key to Prophetic Revelation, as he exegetes Daniel 11:44-45:
“At the same time, another invasion is reported from the north. Against both of these invaders (east and north) the king (Antichrist) launches counterattacks which result in many perishing; and he succeeds in establishing his tent-palace ‘between the seas in the glorious holy mountain,’ best understood as being a reference to Jerusalem situated between he Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea.” (Ibid. p. 280 – Daniel, The Key to Prophetic Revelation)
Continue to part 3