Peter Sammons comments on the ongoing Ukraine War, reaching one year in February.
Bible’s Big Picture
As the conflict in Ukraine is now a year old, it seems appropriate to make a comment, albeit a short one. In March last year I drew a simple schematic (above) outlining the key elements of this conflict as I see them. My view of course is informed by my understanding that God is never absent in human affairs and that in some way our righteous God is working-out His salvation purposes. As they say, all of history ultimately is “His – story”.
Secular commentators have had much to say and will continue to do so; I do not propose to ‘compete’ with them. Some appear well informed, others less so. The Christian perspective is always “what do major world events tell us of the status of God’s end-time plan, and our nearness to it?” In writing my book “Last Days and End Times – Making the Connection” (link below) I suggested that the Bible is pretty emphatic that we should always understand, and search for, end times truth across four dimensions (1) Israel (2) world events (3) moral decay and (4) the gospel. The Ukraine invasion plainly falls within ‘world events’, but there might be, in addition, a dotted line to Israel.
In brief, Jesus told us in e.g. Matthew 24 what to expect as this era draws to its close. He spoke of wars and rumours of wars (verse 6). Right now we live very directly in the realm of rumour of war; will Russia spread the war? (In the interests of ‘balance’, will other players spread the war?). The Ukraine adventure plainly lies in the realm of war and perhaps today reflects the gallop of Revelation’s “four horsemen of the apocalypse”. Theologians tend to understand the white horse as military aggression, the red, bloodshed and the black, famine. Certainly these three are cantering, if not galloping, right now. As a direct result of the present war, grain prices have risen as have other largely arable products that emerge from Ukraine. This has had knock-on effects across the planet. War restrictions plus climate confusion seems to be leading the world inexorably to severe food shortages – we seem now to be at the beginning of these.
Israel – how does the world respond to the reality of Israel? The gospel – how does the world respond to God’s overture of eternal peace (“scoffing” seems to be today’s answer). Moral decay – just how confused can our world get about what is right and what wrong (Isaiah 5:20)? See link below reflecting on Aliyah to Israel resulting from the present crisis.
Win or lose …..
As my schematic suggested even a year ago, whether Russia wins or loses, the outlook is evil. ‘Win’ and Russia would be emboldened to try the same again, albeit recent military reverses might have blunted its confidence in further adventures. ‘Lose’ and Russia becomes ‘the wounded bear’. Self-immolation (AKA nuclear exchange) is not beyond the realms of possibility. One thing that has changed since I was a boy is that we no longer speak of MAD (mutually assured destruction). Rather today commentators speak of limited nuclear war. I have always believed that limited nuclear was is coming to this planet – think India/Pakistan, Iran/Sunnis, Iran/Israel, North Korea/South Korea. Today it seems close. It is just possible that Russia and the West could ‘nuke’ each other to a stalemate, leaving other players in the world to assume the status of leadership and shot-calling. If limited nuclear war happens, it would take Russia and the West hundreds of years to recover.
If Russia ‘wins’ will China see that as a signal to do the same in Taiwan? Finally there is Putin himself, who plainly “sees” himself as a latter-day Czar, restoring the Russian empire. The similarities between Nazi foreign policy adventures and Russian are too close for comfort. Nazis: Rhineland 1936, Austria 1938, Sudetenland 1938*, Czechoslovakia 1939, Poland 1939. Putin: Georgia 2008, Crimea 2014, Donbass 2014+, Syria 2015, Central African Republic 2015. n.b. this is before one looks at Russia’s military involvements in the 1990s.
* Sudetenland was granted to Hitler via the League of Nations on condition he would not invade the rest of Czechoslovakia. He invaded anyway.
Did the West ‘invite’ this new war? A case can surely be made. See link to “Woke War 1” below. There are costs and political ramifications to the ‘feminisation’ of the West. Whatever happens the upshot of this conflict will be to bring global government one step closer. And possibly multiple steps closer. That is clearly within the forth-telling of Scripture where we appear to see the Antichrist taking control of global structures probably already in place at the time he accedes. After Ukraine the world may well be seeking a ‘peacemaker’ …………..
There’s another invitation we should be aware of and focus on, however. It is the invitation to peace with our Saviour God. Whatever happens in Russia/Ukraine, the good news of Salvation still stands. Indeed it is more pressing that in was just a few years ago. Jesus rose from the dead and today sits at His Father’s right hand. He is coming back, at the crisis of history. Yet however we perceive that crisis from our human viewpoint, in some way it will directly involve Israel, which has stood on the sidelines of the present Ukraine imbroglio.
We have good news to tell. So let’s get out there and tell it …………..
Peter Sammons is commissioning editor at Christian Comment.
Richard Renouf urges prayer for Ukraine situation, alongside other conflicts
Did the West invite this war by its actions? Woke War 1:
Russian Jews exit: