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Saturday, January 3, 2009

My Perspective on Russia in Prophecy

I suppose it is normal at the start of a new year to think about the future more than at any other time. And there is plenty to think about. Conflict in the Middle East is intense. Israeli troops have begun a ground operation in Gaza. Terrorism has recently struck India and Pakistan. Iran may be on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons. Taliban forces seem to be growing more aggressive in Afghanistan, and the Russian bear has been menacing Eastern Europe.

When Communism failed and the Soviet Union fell apart, some Christians began to question the prophetic view that Russia would be an evil end-times super power. Now, however, it is not difficult to see her in that role.

Here’s my take on Russia in prophecy. In the middle of the Tribulation, the false prophet in Israel will erect an idol in the Temple in honor of the head of the Revived Roman Empire. However, God will not allow idolatry to go unpunished. Just as He punished ancient Israel’s idolatry by sending a northern aggressor, Babylon, against Israel, even so He will send the Russian bear and its allies against idolatrous Israel in the Tribulation (Ezekiel 38, 39; Joel 2:1-11). The erection of the idol in the Temple will serve as a signal to righteous Jews to flee into the mountains, “for then there will be great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21a).

Current world conditions seem as stable as a plate of Jell-O in an earthquake, but God is omnipotent and sovereign. The darkness of the Tribulation will give way to the brightness of Jesus’ return to rule the world in righteousness. Nations that oppose Him will feel His wrath, and all who love Him will bask in His radiance.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year-End Rambling

Here we are at the end of another year. It has been a fairly busy one. I served as an interim pastor throughout the year in Penrose, Colorado, but I didn’t write any books, just a couple of VBS courses, seven articles, and a month-long devotional guide. Oh yes, I mentored about 70 students on line as they pursued the Jerry Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Apprentice course, and also mentored four or five in the Journeyman course. I expect 2009 to be even less busy than 2008.

Too many friends died in 2008, but they passed into the presence of Christ. Threats of terrorism, the possibility of a deeper recession, and global conflicts cannot touch them. Perfect peace and joy surround them now and forever. Their demise communicates a sense of life’s brevity and uncertainty. I need to permeate 2009’s moments and days with meaningful words and deeds.

A cancer diagnosis in July may require medical treatment in 2009, but I believe my doctors know what they are doing. I am even more confident that the Great Physician does not make any mistakes.

Our granddaughter Kayla spent a couple of days with us this week. She is 12 and going on 30. Like most pre-teens, she is a texting pro and an avid shopper. I dropped her and her grandmother off at the mall a couple of times, and then returned home to work and rest.

Kayla’s older sister Jessica is researching colleges, including Palm Beach Atlantic University. If you know anything about this university, please tell me what you think of it. Gloria and I were living in Illinois when Jessica was born. It is hard to believe she is 16 already.

Enough rambling! May you have a blessed New Year! This may be the year of our Lord’s return to whisk the Church to Heaven.