In the last couple of months a great deal of attention has been paid to the turmoil in the Ukraine and the possible repercussions that might come forth out of all this unrest. A good number of Bible students are pointing at the Gog and Magog prophecy of Ezekiel 38, and most of them are pointing the finger at the terrible Russian Bear as being the proverbial boogie man causing all the unrest. But, let’s look at this situation a little closer to see if this analysis is correct. First, we have to understand that since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has been a buffer zone between the West and Russia. A few years ago, a number of Ukraine’s government officials were ousted and imprisoned on corruption charges, and a new government leader was elected by a democratic process. Now, during the last several months new unrest has erupted and a tug of war seems to be taking place. Some of its citizens have been persuaded through outside pressure to join the Western block, principally NATO, whereas others have sought closer ties to Russia, these others mostly being ethnic Russians. So, when the people of the Crimean Peninsula voted overwhelmingly to be annexed with Russia, and Russia sent in some military personnel for protection, the indignant Western World called it an act of military aggression and interference. Whether it was or not, what happened to that point happened and we could only hope that further hostilities would be avoided.

As an aside, there is a touch of irony to Russia gobbling up Crimea, as she did. The irony being that we western nations have done exactly the same, as in the past we have intervened in other sovereign nations in the name of freedom and democracy. Think of the war against Serbia to help the people of Kosovo gain their independence. We thought we had to intervene, and probably we did, because the Kosovo people felt threatened and were seeking a new direction. Still, but by the same token, was there any difference in the Crimea people seeking a new direction through their overwhelming vote to join Russia?

The danger shaping up are the escalating events in Eastern Ukraine and if the West and Russia cannot find a solution to the continuing turmoil. A third danger might be the report of huge amounts of money being poured in from Esau-Edom sources, purportedly for humanitarian reasons but being used to stir the existing turmoil.

Now I agree with Pastor Alan Campbell’s description of Vladimer Putin as a bully. Perhaps I would go a step further and call him a risk-taking bully. Still, in the same way as we look upon the good and bad traits of our western leaders, we must admit that Mr. Putin has many fine attributes, as well as flaws. You know, in his tenure as the Russian Premier he has led Russia back to its Orthodox roots, something that was basically destroyed by the Bolsheviks. And interestingly, under his leadership some twenty-three hundred Russian Orthodox churches have been restored to religious service, with the emphasis on Christian worship and the unity of the family. He hosted a magnificent Winter Olympics, although he had to withstand the fierce attack from mostly western nations on his gay rights legislation. We Christians have to be encouraged that our fellow Christians in Russia are once again free to worship Almighty God. Sadly, it is such an obvious change from the pressure our faith is under here in the once Christian west.

At this point let’s look again at the prophecy of Ezekiel 38. “Son of man, set thy face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, thus saith the Lord God: behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army,” (Ezekiel 38:2-4). We see here in verse four that Gog [Russia] is not perpetrating the act of aggression of his own volition, but that the Lord Himself will bring him forth, in other words Gog will have to be coerced into action. She will have to be provoked in order to come forth with all her military might. And if we consider the NATO allies’ military along Russia’s western borders, we can easily see that these actions could provoke the Russian Bear.

Interestingly, the fact that the Lord God Himself will bring Russia forth is to me an indication that just like the Lord brought the Assyrians against the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Babylonians against the Southern Kingdom of Judah, he will bring Gog, Magog and confederates against True Israel. Why! Because of our collective sins and idolatry. In addition to Ezekiel, the prophet Joel records God’s warning that the day of the Lord is close at hand and he describes the invasion thusly, “a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like …” So we can be certain it is the Lord Himself who will bring the adversary upon the Israelite nations, because of their sins and apostasy. They may not want to advance but the “hooks will be in their jaw”.

Interestingly, have you ever looked closely at a photograph of Vladimir Putin? If you have, you will see a blue eyed, fair haired Caucasian. Could he possibly be of Israelite extraction? You know, when the Israelites fled their Assyrian captivity, one of their first places of settlement is what is now known as the Crimea and the Ukraine, facts born out be archeological discoveries throughout that region. And it is also an archeological and historical fact that large parts of today’s Western Russia had large Viking settlements from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Thus, is it reasonable to assume that the populations throughout those regions could be Israelite stock and not the Mongolian-Asiatic folk that we will find toward the East and in Siberia? Just a thought! I would hate to see kinsmen pit against one another but it has happened many times in the past and as always, God will have His reasons.

Nevertheless, we should pray that wiser heads will prevail, yet, it doesn’t look like this will be the case. The Western nations do seem to be stirring the cauldron of discontent and in places where we have no business meddling and for that the Lord will hold us accountable. Unfortunately, our leaders are making decisions that will lead to war. Russia, on the other hand, must act prudently or else their actions will lead to war. So far, they are not. But God is the decision maker and His Plan will not be altered. If He says that he will put hooks in the mouth of Gog and Magog, He will do so. The beginning is clearly outlined in Ezekiel 38:4, the ending in Ezekiel 39:4. The turning point is recorded in Hosea 6:1-2 when Israelites will go to their knees and pray, “Come, and let us return unto the Lord …”