Jesus is speaking prophetically to His closest disciples – future leader of this new entity called the Church
Matthew 24:3-14 NET “As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered them, “Watch out that no one misleads you. For many will come in my name, saying, ʻI am the Christ,ʼ and they will mislead many. You will hear of wars and rumours of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these things are the beginning of birth pains.
“Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of my name. Then many will be led into sin, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will appear and deceive many, and because lawlessness will increase so much, the love of many will grow cold. But the person who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
We are in a season in world history when Jesus’s words are front and center
They should be speaking very loudly to the believers and His disciples today
1> Many people are being misled in the Name of Christ and the Church
Many false prophets and false apostles speaking forth misleading and false prophetic words and giving false hope and false direction
Matthew 24:24 NET “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”
2 Corinthians 11:13 NET ”For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.”
2> There are currently a number of wars being fought – the most current and the one that is ‘in your face’ right now is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
“… nation will rise up in arms against nation, kingdom against kingdom”
3> The true Christian Church is hated and is being persecuted as never before in our long history
Persecuted by governments, other religions, and even many who call themselves believers in Jesus
No longer being “tolerated” even though nations are declaring that they are tolerant of and accepting of people who live, think, and believe differently
4> Lawlessness has and is increasing
Lawlessness is rooted in rebellion against the plans and purposes of God
The root of lawlessness is sin and is firmly planted in selfishness
Lawlessness is the exact and total opposite of righteousness
Everyone doing what seems right in their eyes (Judges 21:25)
5> Many who declare the Name of Jesus will fall away and leave the faith (church)
“The love of many…” is agapé love – God’s love within the believer
Many will simply leave the Christian faith and the Church because it will be uncomfortable and even difficult to be a true believer
6> The Gospel of the Kingdom (the true Gospel) will be preached everywhere
Matthew 24:14 NET “… this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole inhabited earth”
Matthew 28:19-20 NET “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Within this biblical context, let’s take a partial look at the current war between Russia and Ukraine.
The biggest challenge for anyone trying to grasp what is going on in the world today – and especially in the war now happening in Ukraine – has always been this:
If you don’t understand God, you won’t understand the world.
Most of the Western media outlets trying to report on “Bloody Putin” versus “Oh So Holy NATO” entirely miss this.
Same is true for the Russian-controlled press, just the other way around – “The Great Putin” and “Terrible and dangerous NATO and Ukraine”
A prophetic voice, John Mulinde of Uganda, once said, “God preaches through geography” and I call that a major Kingdom truth …
The first of a number of Kingdom truths we are going to look at
Kingdom truth # 1: “God preaches through geography.”
In his insightful book, “Prisoners of Geography“, journalist Tim Marshall describes Russia as a prisoner of its own vast – and vulnerable – geography.
He portrays Putin as someone who goes to bed praying: “Why, God, did you not put some mountains into Ukraine?!”
Russia has always been most vulnerable towards the Western flatlands (Ukraine)– and will forever try to protect its imperial interests there.
As a result of the geography Putin does not want Ukraine to join NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) because this would put a strong foreign horse (30 countries*) on his immediate border
*28 in Europe and area and 2 in North America
On a mundane level, the cultural West often conveniently “forgets” to mention that, as the Soviet Union went bust in 1989, they made a deal with NATO to completely withdraw from East-Germany which Russia did
Against the NATO-promise that they will not extend NATO eastwards.
Russia kept that deal, NATO absolutely did not.
So Russia – no choirboy in that matter itself – has been betrayed and is agitated.
Remember that the national symbol for Russia is the bear
Why is the bear the national emblem of Russia?
Later, after the breakup of the USSR, the bear was one of the contenders to appear on the Russian national emblem, but it lost to the Russian Imperial double-headed eagle. However, the bear had a comeback in the early 2000s, when it was picked as the symbol of the ruling United Russia party (Putin’s party)
And if you come too close to a dangerous and hungry bear, setting up a tent right in front of its lair, what will be the outcome?
Peace and cozying up?
No way, Norway
You will have a country (bear) that wants to eat you for breakfast
The Kingdom truth # 2 is: Russia is a prisoner of an imperial spirit placed in it by God himself.
The world has seen its sequence of the “Age of Empires”
Jesus calls it the “Kairos of Nations”
Luke 21:24 NET “They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led away as captives among all nations. Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
“…the times of the Gentiles” = the Kairos of Nations”
This time – this Kairos – will be followed by the time of the Kingdom of God when Jesus is declared King and rules
Meanwhile we see nations rise and fall, kingdoms come and go, and wars and rumours of wars
Daniel 2 and 7 introduces four creatures that are the hallmark or Totems of four empires that will come and rule on the earth
Let’s read it from Daniel, Chapter 7…
“In the first year of King Belshazzar of Babylon, Daniel had a dream filled with visions while he was lying on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream in summary fashion. Daniel explained: “I was watching in my vision during the night as the four winds of the sky were stirring up the great sea. Then four large beasts came up from the sea; they were different from one another.
“The first one was like a lion with eaglesʼ wings. As I watched, its wings were pulled off and it was lifted up from the ground. It was made to stand on two feet like a human being, and a human mind was given to it.
“Then a second beast appeared, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and there were three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ʻGet up and devour much flesh!ʼ
“After these things, as I was watching, another beast like a leopard appeared, with four bird-like wings on its back. This beast had four heads, and ruling authority was given to it.
“After these things, as I was watching in the night visions a fourth beast appeared – one dreadful, terrible, and very strong. It had two large rows of iron teeth. It devoured and crushed, and anything that was left it trampled with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that came before it, and it had ten horns.
“As I was contemplating the horns, another horn – a small one – came up between them, and three of the former horns were torn out by the roots to make room for it. This horn had eyes resembling human eyes and a mouth speaking arrogant things.
“While I was watching,
thrones were set up,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His attire was white like snow;
the hair of his head was like lambʼs wool.
His throne was ablaze with fire
and its wheels were all aflame.
A river of fire was streaming forth
and proceeding from his presence.
Many thousands were ministering to him;
Many tens of thousands stood ready to serve him.
The court convened
and the books were opened.
“Then I kept on watching because of the arrogant words of the horn that was speaking. I was watching until the beast was killed and its body destroyed and thrown into the flaming fire. As for the rest of the beasts, their ruling authority had already been removed, though they were permitted to go on living for a time and a season. I was watching in the night visions,
“And with the clouds of the sky
one like a son of man was approaching.
He went up to the Ancient of Days
and was escorted before him.
To him was given ruling authority, honour, and sovereignty.
All peoples, nations, and language groups were serving him.
His authority is eternal and will not pass away.
His kingdom will not be destroyed.
“As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed, and the visions of my mind were alarming me. I approached one of those standing nearby and asked him about the meaning of all this. So he spoke with me and revealed to me the interpretation of the vision: ʻThese large beasts, which are four in number, represent four kings who will arise from the earth. The holy ones of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will take possession of the kingdom forever and ever.ʼ”
(Daniel 7:1-18 NET)
In Daniel’s day – that season and “spiritual age”
The “lion with wings like an Eagle,” Babylon
The bear, Medo-Persia empire
The leopard, Greece
The mutant-monster Chimera, Rome.
These empires are given a time window to be imperial as a corrective measure of God
A way for God’s people to be corrected, disciplined, and chastised after they had rejected his rule over them
1 Samuel 8:6-7 NET “But this request displeased Samuel, for they said, ‘Give us a king to lead us.’ So Samuel prayed to the LORD. The LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do everything the people request of you. For it is not you that they have rejected, but it is me that they have rejected as their king.’”
God simply said:
“You, my own people, reject me to be who I am, King of kings? OK, then as a homework for the next couple of thousand years, you will all learn what it is to be under the fist of global empires that will fill the God-shaped void. The King-shaped void. Then you will say: ‘Oh my God, we would have better submitted to you than those brute colonizers!’”
These empires of the past were controlled by territorial spirits and these spirits have not ceased to exist and work on the earth today
They are assigned certain geographical areas to rule over and influence (control)
So, this leads us to Kingdom Truth #3
Kingdom truth #3: These empires still exist; their imperial spirit is still alive
Although we need to know that they are coming swiftly to an end in the times in which we now live
If you are just following the beasts … you will see that:
The first empire (Babylon), is still alive in the German Nation with the LION and the EAGLE as its original double-totem
Yes, remember Hitler
It does not take much prophetic insight to see “Russia the Bear” as an heir to the Medo-Persian bear-spirit.
And, for the sake of completion …
The British Empire, with originally a LEOPARD, not three lions, in its flag, and so is a continuation of Greece under Alexander the Great.
And what is left of the USA is nothing but a Roman Empire Spirit gone West – and now soon going South (as in: falling apart)
Watch it very carefully as this pillar of democracy fails and falls
Kingdom Truth #4 is that Russia, called names like Magog, Gog, Thogarma or Mesech has a gaff in its cheek, a hook, a leash placed there by God himself
The bear is God’s bear and will dance to God’s flute
Ezekiel, Chapters 38 and 39 … Prophetic words against Gog and Magog (Russia)
Ezekiel 38:4 NET “I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them fully armed, a great company with shields of different types, all of them armed with swords.
So, all that is happening today is not lost on the Lord and is not happening in a void
It is part of a Kingdom plan that has been in motion for many thousands of years
Kingdom truth #5: The bear was told by God to move forward and devour
Daniel 7:5 “Then a second beast appeared, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and there were three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ʻGet up and devour much flesh!ʼ”
Just as every animal on our planet has a driving thought and intention in line with how it was created … each with a different function
A cat or a dog as a pet – a bear and a lion as wild animals
So God allows nations to have specific purposes — to be vessels for good or bad, holy or unholy.
Does the pot have the right to tell its potter: Why did you make me like this? No.
But it has the right to ask: WHAT is my purpose?
And God would answer: You are carrying a partial Kingdom truth as a narrative and message about a world that ran away from me.
You are whom I made you to be.
And a bear is not a household pet like a cat!
Although most bears actually like being a bear, to be a voracious and devouring bear is not the prettiest and most romantic of animals but that is how they were created
Russia is the bear and it is devouring… but God has a hook in its mouth – has the nation (spirit) on a leash
Something to note as we see the spiritual reality a little more clearly…
There is a physical reality as well:
Remember that most of the current “Russian population” are not ethnic Russians
And that the Russian people are seriously fed up with Putin and his bloody wars
A long war in Afghanistan, which they lost (1979-1989)
A violent and deadly war in Syria (2015-2021)
This is why many in Russia now turning away from the empire mindset that traps a man like Putin
Many are currently leaving Russia to relocate in Finland and other neighbouring countries
Many are demonstrating against what their government is currently doing in Ukraine
All independent media has been shut down – foreign media have left – Facebook is shut down
The younger generation has started looking for a better framework for their future — a better allegiance than with Soviet Union 2.0.
And this search mode will lead many to the discovery that yes, there is exactly such an empire – totally loving, benevolent, powerful and meaningful – under the wise rulership of Jesus
And this empire is called The Kingdom of God
Be ready, therefore, for a huge Kingdom harvest in Russia of many who are getting tired of PK – Putin & Kyrill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, both of whom are running in circles and whose time to rule is coming to an end
There is a Kingdom perspective to all that is happening today… we took a small peak at it tonight
A closing comment and an historical note:
Let’s remember that what is Russia today actually started in Kiev, as a loose federation of Slavic States called “Kievan Rus,” along the Dnieper River in what is todays – Ukraine!