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Does Russia have a role in the end times?

Banner depicting the Russian Bear unfurled by Russian football supporters in the lead up to Euro 2008. The inscription reads “Forward, Russia!”.
Credit: Roman Kovrigin/Wikipedia/Creative Commons 3.0

As we watch Russia’s shocking invasion of Ukraine, many are wondering if there is any prophetic significance to Russia in the end times.

First, we need to understand that the prophets were having visions of events that they were seeing thousands of years in the future. So, they needed to find words in their language to describe what they were hearing and seeing.

There are a few verses tied to the end-times that may suggest Russia has a role:

Gog and Magog will rage war against Israel

Ezekiel connects Gog with the Prince of Rosh:

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal (Ezekiel 38:1-3 NKJV)

Some wonder if Rosh was Ezekiel’s way of translating the word Russia into ancient Hebrew? However, other Bible versions, such as the ESV, translate the “prince of Rosh” as “chief prince of Meshech”, because the Hebrew word “rosh” can also mean prince or ruler.

Ezekiel then describes Gog, as a nation originating in the outermost north (literally the farthest north):

“And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. And I will turn you about and drive you forward, and bring you up from the uttermost parts of the north, and lead you against the mountains of Israel. Then I will strike your bow from your left hand, and will make your arrows drop out of your right hand.” (Ezekiel 39:1-3)

The imagery of a bear-like nation emerging in the end times

While Ezekiel talked about Gog and the Prince of Rosh, Daniel used different imagery to talk about nations emerging in the end-times. He describes the appearance of a bear, devouring many nations. The bear has long been used to symbolize Russia and the old Soviet Union (see photo above):

And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much meat!’ (Daniel 7:4 NASV)

In his vision of the end times, the Apostle John saw a confederacy of ten nations rising up that would rule in the end times. The beast used to describe this confederacy had the feet of a bear:

“Then I saw a beast with ten horns and seven heads rising out of the sea. There were ten royal crowns on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. 2 The beast I saw was like a leopard, with the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. (Revelation 13:1-2)

None of this conclusively proves Russia’s involvement, but time will tell. If Russia does have a role, at some point it will involve Israel. RELATED: Russia Rejects Israel’s Claim to Golan Heights

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