Is Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Setting the Stage for the Fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39?

On February 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized “special military operations” in Ukraine. Once his order was issued, Russian forces attacked Ukraine with missiles and artillery, assaulting Kiev and other major Ukrainian cities. Two days later, the United States and her Western allies responded with sanctions which included the cutting off of Russia’s central bank from US dollar transactions. By sanctioning Russia, the West had hoped to halt Putin’s advances against Ukraine, but over a year later, Russia continues to seize more Ukrainian territory even though NATO has doubled down on its commitment to support Ukraine. In many ways, the West’s response to Putin’s invasion has not isolated Russia on the world stage but has served to deepen the divide between Eastern and Western nations.

One alliance that is changing the fabric of our world is Russia’s relationship with China. Historically, the border-sharing nations have been at odds with one another but those tensions have thawed because both countries view the United States and her NATO allies as a threat. In a demonstration of solidarity, China and Russia pledged their commitment to a “no limits” friendship prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since then, China has not only refused to denounce the Russian invasion, but in 2022, it increased its trade with Russia to a record-setting $190 billion dollars.

The two nations have also sought to strengthen their alliance by adding other nations, even forging partnerships through mediation if necessary. For instance, the world was stunned when Iran and Saudi Arabia announced they are “formally restoring diplomatic ties after a seven-year rift” because of the help they received from China’s President Xi Jinping. Then on April 4, 2023, it was reported that leaders from Russia, Syria, Turkey, and Iran met for two days in Moscow in order to “help broker a rapprochement between the Turkish and Syrian governments.”

The relationship between Russia and Iran has deepened as well. In July 2022, Putin praised Russia’s alliance with Iran, stating, “Our relations are developing at a good pace” because the two countries seek to “strengthen their cooperation on international security and contribute significantly to the Syrian settlement.” The strengthening of this alliance was further confirmed by a report that Russia has been using Iranian drones in its war efforts against Ukraine while Russia has been supplying Iran with advanced cyber weapons.

Another alliance of interest is between Russia and Turkey. While Turkey has been a NATO member since 1952, Turkey has not supported sanctions against Russia nor closed its airspace to Russian aircraft. And it appears that the ties between Iran and Turkey are strengthening as well, especially when it comes to Israel. Today, it was reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Iranian President Raisi in a phone call that “the Islamic world should be united against Israel’s attacks in Palestine.”

And earlier today, one of the objectives behind Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was also reported, a “new world order.” During a meeting with his counterpart in Turkey, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said that peace with Ukraine will be possible only if they achieve the establishment of a “new world order. . . What should be discussed are what the principles of the new world order. . . will be based on.” Lavrov observed, “Russia together with the overwhelming majority of other states is advocating that the new world order be based on the principles of the UN Charter, which, I emphasise [sic] once again, are directly violated by the collective West.” Lavrov added that Russia rejects a “unipolar world order led by ‘one hegemon.’”

What would this new world order potentially look like? Clearly, it would be a world order that is no longer led by the United States. Likely it would be a world order led by China and Russia and supported by Iran, and perhaps Turkey.

Russian President Vladimir Putin left Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi center and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pose for a photo prior to their talks at Saadabad palace in Tehran Iran Tuesday July 19 2022 Sergei Savostyanov Sputnik Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

For the students of Bible prophecy, the alliance that has emerged between Russia, Iran, and Turkey as a result of the invasion of Ukraine is of special interest. It appears that this alliance is setting the stage for the prophetic events recorded in Ezekiel 38-39, in what has been called “The Battle of Gog and Magog.” According to Ezekiel 38-39, Russia (Rosh) will lead a coalition of nations and attack Israel prior to the Great Tribulation, Iran (Persia), and Turkey (Meshach and Tubal)will be part of that alliance. These nations will “devise an evil plan” against Israel and with overwhelming force “come like a storm. . . like a cloud covering the land” (Ezek. 38:9-10). But God will pour out His “blazing wrath” upon Israel’s foes and deliver her from certain destruction through a series of four cataclysmic judgments (Ezek. 38:18-23). This divine deliverance will be in keeping with God’s promise to Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse” (Gen. 12:3). These events were prophesied by the prophet Ezekiel 2,600 years ago because our God knows the beginning and the end, in fact, He is sovereign over all, nothing catches Him by surprise. Through it all, God will reveal Himself to Israel and the many nations so that they will know that He is the Lord (Ezek. 38:23). May we be watchful and prayerful as these prophetic events unfold. May we say with the Apostle John, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).

By Dr. Matthew Dodd
April 7, 2023