by Terry James
“Prophetic progression,” as my partner in raptureready.com, Todd Strandberg, terms it, continues at a pace that is astonishing. Prophecy might not be being “fulfilled” as most seminary-trained students of eschatology would have it. None who understand Bible prophecy from the premillennial, pretribulational view, however, deny that things foretold by Jesus and the prophets are being set up on the end-times stage for what looks to be not-too-distant fulfillment.
Even the most reserved among the pre-Trib seminary scholars sometimes admit that Israel being back in the promised land and at the center of worldwide controversy might just possibly be prophecy in the process of being fulfilled. Only slightly less profound than Israel’s being at stage center are developments afoot with regard to the area of ancient Persia, now called Iran. Hard on the prophetic coattail of those developments are the tremendous changes that have taken place in Russia and the coming to power of a “really spooky dude,” as I’ve heard him called in one form or the other over recent months and years. I refer, of course, to Vladimir Putin –the macho, president of Russia.
Putin, when he was prime minister, made the following statement about Israel’s feared military action against Iran’s nuclear development facilities. “Without a doubt, Russia is concerned about the growing threat of a military strike on this country. If this happens the fallout would be truly catastrophic.”
The statement actually seems tempered by diplomatic buffering, considering some of the more bellicose rhetoric coming from the Russian strongman in his ongoing career engineering over the years as he has grabbed for absolute control. Putin’s voracious hunger for power on the world stage is seen in his overshadowing then- President Dmitry Medvedev’s presence as Russian leader. Just days before winning his second term, after the constitutionally mandated non-sequential holding of the office of president, Putin set future Russian policy in hardened rhetoric, making it clear who was and is boss.
He used a bit of cold war-type bluster–but with nuance that veiled the threat–in flexing his pre-election muscles, as illustrated in this excerpt of his words from an article at the time.
In the article, Putin again criticized the U.S.-led plans for a NATO missile defense system in Europe, saying it’s aimed against Russian nuclear forces. “The Americans are obsessed with the idea of ensuring absolute invulnerability for themselves, which is utopian and unfeasible from both technological and geopolitical points of view,” he said. “An absolute invulnerability for one means an absolute vulnerability for all the others. It’s impossible to accept such a prospect.” (Vladimir Isachenkov, “Putin Warns West over Syria, Iran, Moscow,” Associated Press, 2/28/12).
Putin has spoken angrily against American diplomatic involvement in matters of becoming involved with forces intent on taking Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad out of power.
Russia first strategically placed missile-carrying ships in waters near Syrian territory, backing with military threat Putin’s tough talk about securing the Assad regime. The Russian presence now is solidly entrenched in the areas to Israel’s immediate north.
When surveying the overall actions and interactions undertaken by this unusual man who is uncontested in ruling Russia one who studies Bible prophecy from a futurist perspective must raise an eyebrow of realization–or at least of suspicion. Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39, of course, come to the forefront of supposition and postulation. Vladimir Putin’s future role in Mideast and world politics must by the very weight and volume of its probabilities be a matter of extreme fascination, not mere curiosity.
The great prophetic book of Revelation presents a hellish angel– a spirit—that will, during the Tribulation, ascend from the bottomless pit. His name is Abaddon, as given in Hebrew, and Apollyon in the Greek language. Daniel the prophet mentioned a powerful angel called “the Prince of Persia” who caused all sorts of troubles to be inflicted upon Daniel’s people, the Israelites who were in Babylonian captivity. Ezekiel foretold an evil spirit of the ancient region that is present-day Russia that will at a time near Christ’s return inhabit a leader who will lead a coalition of armies against God’s chosen nation. That evil one is called “Gog.”
With so many signals on the prophetic horizon indicating the Church Age is in the process of being brought to a wind-up, it isn’t unreasonable to surmise that the evil being held back by the hand of God might be very near the time of release. Certainly the one called Gog must not be too far below the surface in these troubling, although exciting, days.