Unless you have avoided the news or only focused on the Malaysian Flight 370 reports then you know that Russian has advanced on Crimea. Due to additional news events, reports, and fears this has caused many to believe that Russia is not finished. There is a concern that Russia will advance on other countries in order to rebuild itself to its previous glory before the nation fell in 1991.
Also, many Christians have wondered if this is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. For example, a few weeks ago an article titled Vladimir Putin: The Rise of God and the Prophecy of Ezekiel 38-39 circulated around the Internet and social media, which you can read by clicking here. Naturally, the essay caused many debates, discussions, and concerns among many Christians. The interest should not be surprising because there is a natural fear with Russia’s actions. Personally, I believe we must be careful and not respond to fear because it is an inferior source of inspiration when compared to love. So my advice about interpreting Russia’s movements as biblical prophecy is that we need to be very careful because God’s love is far greater than the fears from the world.
My friends, it is potentially harmful to interpret world events back to scripture. Simply, we should start with scripture first and then maybe look at world events. An honest examination of Christian history shows that many world events that have been viewed as a precursor to the return of Christ. Despite these predictions Jesus has not yet returned. This means our failure to start with scripture can create many false fears and doctrines. In fact, one example is worth noting.
In the mid 1800s William Miller founded the Millerite sect and predicted Christ’s return to occur on October 22, 1844, which did not happen. Since Miller’s prediction failed it is known as “The Great Disappointment” and actually spurned what is today known as the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Additionally, according to the Watchman Fellowship; the Jehovah Witnesses and the Branch Davidians can be traced back to this Millerite movement. Therefore, since world events have historically been misinterpreted and have created at least three heretical Christian sects we must be very careful, even humble towards applying current events to scripture.
As you read this you might respond by quoting Revelation 1:3 that says, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” In other words, the concern becomes that since it is a blessing to read and study prophecy, what are we to do? My answer is to allow prophecy to inspire us to proclaim what is clear from the Bible; the Gospel hope of Jesus Christ that leads to salvation. Allow me to illustrate.
A few years ago while I was interviewing with a church one lady asked me if I believed in a particular view of the end-times to which I told her, “no.” This caused her concern so I encouraged her to view prophecy with humility. I told her it is a blessing to study it, but every end-time theological scheme could be WRONG. Let me repeat that, every end-time theological scheme could be WRONG.
My reason for telling her that all of our end-time prophecy interpretations could be wrong is because future events have not yet occurred. Also, when Christ returns I do not think we will not scold Him for not being theologically incorrect, should His return contradict our fallible understanding of scripture. Rather, as I told this lady, “I want to encourage you to realize that the main thing is not how Christ will come or the events leading up to His return. No, the most important is that we should get people READY by fulfilling the Great Commission. We must proclaim the Gospel hope of Jesus Christ that leads to salvation as our main priority. This way no matter the events or when Jesus returns people will be saved and eternally prepared.” She since has agreed.
In conclusion, this post is not to her anyone to argue with another over end-time theology. Notice how I have avoided articulating any particular end-time view. This is because the doctrine that matters most is that Jesus Christ is the good news for salvation. That anyone who repents from his or her sin and believes on Him will have eternal life. His love for us is far greater than any fear found in this world. So let us carefully and humbly focus on our love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ more than fearful end-time predictions and current event connections that may not be true. By doing so, we will be prepared for whoever Gog or the Anti-Christ is because we will have acknowledged and proclaimed what the Bible and its prophecy clearly teaches, which is that Jesus is Lord. After all, there is greater power and truth in Christ’s love than the fear of the unknown future.