Is God Turning the Bear?

For about 70 years, between 1920 and 1970, the USSR was ever expanding. Soviet leaders gobbled up Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Poland, part of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, East Germany, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia and much more.

In the early 90s, some nations rebelled and demanded their independence. Soviet leaders tried to hold the union together, but the rebellion spread, the Soviets lost their power and the USSR fell apart.

Some political leaders thought the collapse of the Soviet Union meant that the world had entered a new era of peace, but by the end of the decade a former KGB agent named Vladimir Putin had risen to power and become the acting president of Russia.

He went on to become president, then prime minister and then president again. He changed laws, consolidated his power, cracked down on his opposition, rebuilt the military, developed close ties with Iran and quietly nurtured the dream of restoring the old Soviet Union. Some even said he also wanted to take over all of Europe.

Mr. Putin liked to present himself as a strongman and his desire to restore the old USSR troubled some of the former Soviet Union nations. His intervention in Georgia, Kyrgystan, Ukraine, his annexation of Crimea and the fact that he threatened to use Russian power outside Russia’s borders made them nervous.

Several of those former USSR nations joined, or tried to join NATO, primarily for protection. They had broken away from the old power-hungry bear and they didn’t want to be subjugated and forced back in.

About eight months ago when Mr. Putin took over Crimea, western leaders finally decided that he had gone too far and he needed to be turned around. They demanded that he stop supporting the opposition forces in Crimea and threatened to impose sanctions on Russia if he didn’t turn around and leave. Their initial sanctions were virtually meaningless and Mr. Putin scoffed at them, but western leaders continued to ramp up the sanctions and the bear began to hurt.

Almost overnight, there was a global glut of oil triggered by an economic downturn in Asia and Europe, fracking for oil in the U.S. and stepped up production of oil in Saudi Arabia. The price of oil quickly dropped from more than $100 per barrel to less than $60 per barrel. The Russian Ruble collapsed, the Russian economy went into a tailspin, and Russia was suddenly facing the prospects of a recession or possibly a depression.

The looming economic disaster and the likelihood that the Russian people might eventually rebel got Mr. Putin’s attention. He now appears to be looking for a way to save face, turn around and leave Crimea. But he has promised the Russian people that he will retaliate against those who have imposed sanctions on Russia and he has promised that he will solve Russia’s economic problems in the next two years.

The Russian bear’s actions made me think of the battle of Gog and Magog. Gog will try to expand his kingdom in the latter days and latter years. But God said, “I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth” (Ezek. 38:4).

Is Mr. Putin Gog? Is God turning Gog around? How will Gog retaliate? I don’t think anyone knows. We can only say that Russia must turn away from one target before God pulls her toward a second target (Israel).

God also said, “It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought” (Ezek. 38:10).

What is this evil thought? The Bible doesn’t say but it appears to be:

“To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land” (Ezek. 38:12).

And some would add, “To satisfy the ancient Islamic hatred for Israel.”

I don’t know what Mr. Putin was thinking when he told the Russian people he will solve Russia’s economic problems in the next two years, but China and India have offered to help Russia so it will take a little time for Russia’s recession to reach full bloom.

Israel has acquired phenomenal wealth with minerals from the Dead Sea, oil and natural gas, agricultural success, cattle and goods; and Mr. Putin has not been reluctant to steal from other countries. We don’t know when it will happen, but many would not be surprised to see the battle of Gog and Magog in the next two years.

A wounded bear is dangerous and this wounded bear may not be ready to go away. He may turn around and seek a different prey. But regardless of anything I have written, what he has been trying to do to Israel will be done to him. He will become the prey and God will be known in the eyes of many nations (Obad. 1:15; Ezek. 38:23; 39:17-20).

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com

God Reveals Himself

Elijah was one of the greatest prophets to ever walk the face of this earth. He changed the culture of his day (I Kings 18:36-46). He was raptured without dying (II Kings 2:11).

God ended the Old Testament with the promise that Elijah will come back (Malachi 4:5-6). He was so great that some thought Jesus was Elijah (Matt. 16:14). And many think that Elijah is one of the Two Witnesses that will come back to prophesy, cause a drought and lash out with fire during the Tribulation Period (Revelation 11:3-12).

Ahab and Jezebel, two of the most evil people to ever live, ruled Israel during Elijah’s lifetime. They were immoral idol worshippers. They killed many of the true prophets and established false prophets, false religions and false worship in Israel. During their reign, the tide of evil was so strong they almost wiped out true worship and probably would have—if God had not intervened.

The story of God’s intervention is one of the most famous stories in the Old Testament (I Kings 18). Ahab and Jezebel’s sin, and the impact they had on Israel, was so great that God sent Elijah before them to say:

“As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” (I Kings 17:1).

Elijah told that evil couple God intends to send a devastating drought on Israel and it won’t end until I announce its end.

To make a long story short, Elijah left Israel for three and one-half years (Luke 4:25; James 5:17). During his absence, severe drought, accompanied by a terrible famine gripped the nation. Ahab and Jezebel’s false gods were helpless to stop it, and before it ended the children of Israel were ready for revival. It is a fascinating story, but I want to skip to the end.

God finally sent Elijah back to Israel to face Ahab and to announce an end to the drought (I Kings 18:1-2). Following an incredible encounter with Ahab and 450 prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, Elijah built an altar, placed a sacrifice on the altar and started to pray: “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again” (I Kings 18:17-35).

“Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God” (I Kings 18:38-39).

God answered Elijah’s prayer. Fire fell from heaven, consumed the stones of the altar—including everything on and around them, and this great miracle left no doubt in the minds of the people that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel is God. Then a little cloud formed, it grew and the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain (I Kings 18:41-45). The drought was over (see II Chronicles 7:13-14).

Let’s fast forward to the battle of Gog and Magog (Ezek. 38-39). There will be another mountain top revelation when God pulls Russia, Iran and others onto the mountains of Israel in the latter days and latter years (Ezekiel 38:1-6; 8, 16). At that time, it is clear that none of these nations, including the nation of Israel, will know that Israel’s God is God (Ezekiel 38:23; 39:7).

But God will send an overflowing rain, great hailstones, fire and brimstone on Israel’s enemies. Five sixths of them will be destroyed (Ezekiel 38:23; 39:1-2). Then many nations, including Israel, will know that Israel’s God is God (Ezekiel 38:23; 39:7).

This is God’s creation, He is Israel’s God, and He intends for the nations, including Israel to know this. He used fire from heaven in the past to reveal Himself (Genesis 19:24; Leviticus 10:2; II Chronicles 7:1; I Kings 18:38). And He will use fire from heaven (and more) in the future to reveal Himself to Israel and multitudes of unbelievers.

If the battle of Gog and Magog is close, God’s revelation of Himself is close.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com