I was privileged to speak at the 1997 Association of the Covenant People conference in Vancouver where I spoke on the prophecy of Ezekiel. A month before the conference Britain had turned over Hong Kong to China, thus losing the last major gate of it enemies. Still, at the time, China, a close ally of Russia, was not the economic powerhouse she was to become. Russia was still limping along after losing all her satellite countries and relied greatly on western economic help. Her glory days appeared over after being turned back, as prophesied by Ezekiel 38:4. There seemed no longer an appetite for conquest and she appeared content to be just an important member of the world community. Yet, underneath, there must have been a longing for the grand old days when so many nations were in their grip. I suppose that deep in their thoughts, they had a realization that it would take a set of circumstances and a unique leader to bring about a reversal of the decline.

Probably, a thought along these lines must have gone through the Russian Bear’s mind, “there must be a way to bring about the right conditions.” Happily for them, the passage of short years since those events of 1988/89 brought fertile conditions. Oil & gas revenues soared and gave Russia the financial muscle to upgrade its military and its nuclear arsenal. The results of their build-up were even more advantageous because Russia stayed out of foreign wars, consequently, she didn’t expend her arsenal, or encumber the nation with astronomical debt. Not so with her main antagonists to be, America and Britain. Particularly after 911, they went from one hot spot to another, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya being the most prominent. These wars cost tens of thousands of lives and wounded soldiers, not counting the hundreds of thousands of lives of host countries in the war zones. These wars also resulted in national debt that is so severe it can never be repaid, with much of the debt owing to the very countries Ezekiel states we will be facing in battle. The wars have most certainly sapped the desire of the American and British people to involve themselves in yet another war. Then too, wars for manufactured reasons, as we have seen, have generated a hate against America and Britain that will most assuredly draw traditional enemies of the west, together with many present and former friendly nations, to a common purpose, allied against us. So, everything is in place for the second part of Ezekiel’s prophesy, “And I will put hooks into your jaws and I will bring thee forth.”

All that is needed to bring Bible prophecy to fruition is the unique leader Russia has been seeking. And she found that leader in the person of Vladimer Putin, a former premier at a time conditions were not ripe for what he has in mind. But, they are now ideal; at least Putin thinks they are! In my last article I described him as a bully who has a fierce desire to restore what he considers the glory years and the annexation of Crimea is simply the first step. He very likely feels secure because of the fragile American and British economy, their unsustainable debt and the anxiety of their people; coupled with the EU’s, particularly Germany’s, dependence on Russian oil and gas. It’s akin to the Bible verse, “The borrower is servant to the lender.” In this case, “the customer is servant to the supplier.”

Events appear to be moving so quickly that what I could say today may be old news tomorrow. The blunt statement from Russian sources, “We will protect ours” is likely to be repeated many times as an excuse to intervene in nations with large Russian populations. Right now, we all know that some forty thousand Russian soldiers are amassed on the Ukrainian border ready for the order to move into Eastern and Southern Ukraine, an area with a huge percentage of former Russian people. It looks inevitable.

We hear daily speculation that Russia has aims against the whole of Ukraine but there are also frequent articles about Moldava, particularly that strip of land between Ukraine and Moldava (Transtria), as well as the Balkan countries, Georgia and even Finland and Poland. Remember, one thing learned from experience is that a bully becomes even more emboldened when there is no resistance.

And so, we are beginning to hear the words, “Are we going to stand up to them.” It will be a decision of great anguish. Maybe the western nations have to be pushed further. So far we have had the usual diplomatic negotiations and we did hear that phrase “Peace in our times” out of world leaders. It reminds us of 1 Thessalonians 5:3 “For when they shall say, peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them …” For our older readers, it likely reminds them of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain when he returned to London just before World War II and proclaimed, “Peace in our times”.

Here’s an interesting thought, perhaps a sequence of events repeated. Hitler’s first move was to annex Austria, Putin annexed Crimea. Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia and annexed the northern part, Sudetenland. If the script is to be followed, then Putin will move into Eastern Ukraine. Hitler then invaded the balance of Czechoslovakia so perhaps the sequence of events will have Russia taking over the balance of the Ukraine. We just have to stay tuned.

But, wait a minute, Mr. Putin! Do you really think you are in charge of events? Or is God using you, as He used the Pharaoh of Egypt or King Nebuchadnezzar? Read Ezekiel 38:4 again! It clearly says, “And I will put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth …” You have no choice, you will do as God directs, perhaps not this month or next but it is He who is in charge. It’s in the Book.