Amid Russia's war in Ukraine, pastor and apologist Jason Jimenez discussed what this could be signaling to Christians and if it's a sign that we're quickly approaching the End Times.
In a recent episode of "Challenging Conversations" on the edifi podcast network, Jimenez said that as the End Times approaches, Christians will see and hear more false doctrine being preached in the world and witness an escalation of warfare between nations and ethnic groups.
“Inflation is getting worse across the board," Jimenez said, "China is strategically maneuvering itself to invade Taiwan and gain a stronger hold on Asia. And Israel, all the while, is desperately trying to hold its alliances as Iran and Syria threaten to invade the Holy Land.”
Despite the fear that many Christians might be experiencing due to the state of world affairs, Jimenez encouraged every believer to continue to pray to Jesus as a way to cope.
“There are a lot of things that I scratch my head wondering: ‘What does this mean, Lord? Is this in Your Word? Do we have glimpses?’ I know we can be speculative about this or that passage and what it’s mentioning, but here and now, we’re praying for Ukraine, and many of us in the world are watching [and] are concerned about the development that’s taking place in Europe and beyond and into the Middle East.
“We are frightened for the people of Ukraine, but we are to be prayerful. We are to consider that we are living in the last days and Jesus told us that ‘there will be signs’ before His return, and we’re seeing it before our very eyes,” he added.
Although it can be challenging for Christians to discuss with others the topic of biblical prophecy and Russia’s role, Jimenez advised that “rather than run from it,” Christians should “stay in the conversations with someone who brings up Russia and talks about its future destruction or are curious to know more.”
According to Jimenez, there are questions that Christians can ask themselves and then research in the Bible and other sources to be prepared for when they might have a discussion about biblical prophecy and current events in light of Russia's war in Ukraine.
The questions include: "Is Russia mentioned in the Bible? When will Russia invade Israel? Why will Russia attack Israel? When Russia does attack Israel, what will that mean for Russia? and Will Russia conquer Israel and be successful?"
During the podcast, Jimenez also pointed listeners to Ezekiel 38:1-6 as a way to decipher the first question among his list of five.
“God is telling his prophet Ezekiel [in these verses] to set his face toward Gog, this person of this land Magog, who is this prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal,” he said, citing scripture.
“This Gog individual … is referenced as a supreme figure, someone of great stature. And what’s also important when you look at the linguistic context is you see throughout this passage of Gog and Magog that this individual Gog … who is royalty … has military might behind them and is [mentioned] 11 times in Chapters 38 and 39,” he said.
When a Christian reads the verses in Ezekiel 38, Jimenez said, they will see how the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel [said that Gog] will form an alliance with Iran and other Middle Eastern countries and will attack Israel in the last days.
Jimenez said that the scriptures in Ezekiel 38 have led many Christians to wonder if Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin is the Gog that Ezekiel prophesied about in Scripture.
“I still can’t say that this is Putin or will be Putin in the future, but this attack right now on Ukraine is not the Gog and Magog invasion because it’s not Israel. That’s the bottom line,” Jimenez said.
Putin’s goal is to restore Russia, Jimenez said. However, Christians can put things into perspective, he added, noting that as the world is witnessing Putin working with other Islamic nations, they can see how the countries’ allegiance is to their religion and in support of attacking Israel — which he said can lead Christians to infer that the prophecy that Ezekiel mentioned in Scripture will eventually come to pass of Israel being invaded.
“Who’s always been the player that stirs things up? Russia. Even though this is not being fulfilled directly right now, specifically, in the text, you can see how this can unfold later because of the developments that we are seeing with these other countries,” he further explained.
In recent years, Russia has been sending troops near and around Syria to contain Israel because Russia is in alliance with Syria and Iran, he added.
“They all need each other. And so, Russia through the years, as they’ve been supplying weapons to Iran, as they were fighting Iraq, which eventually they got hold of some of those bombs and those artillery weapons and they’ve been using them against our own troops in America."
Russia has also been supplying Islamic nations with biological and chemical agents, Jimenez said, adding that Iran is also on the verge of becoming the first Arab nation to possess nuclear capability.
“Could you imagine what that would look like? If Iran had nuclear capabilities on top of what Russia has?" he asked. "So you can see how this will eventually lead to this invasion or this preemptive strike that we do see in Scripture … that will happen on Israel.”
“The world is watching with anticipation and also with horror. … Most of us in the world are wondering: ‘Is this going to lead to World War III?,” he added.
There are many people, Jimenez said, that speculate and believe that the war in Ukraine is actually the first phase of World War III and in these cases, Jimenez said, people with that mindset tend to relate the war to when Hitler invaded Poland. This thought-process, he said, is occurring because people are seeing all the impacts of the Russian invasion unfold in front of them.
“Russia and Syria, along with China, they're working to manipulate the currency in the world," he warned. "These oil deals that we’re seeing, America is now pulling its resources from parts of the world and cutting off supply to America, but then looking to Venezuela and looking to Saudi Arabia and other Islamic nations to power America.”
“What [impact][ will that have on Americans down the road?” he asked.
As Christians see these current events unfold, Jimenez said they not only should pray, but should also look to Scripture as a way to gain better insight into what is happening.
“We look to the Lord. We look for these signs and we anticipate what God is going to do in and through His Church, my friend, and not to be afraid,” Jimenez told listeners.
“But we also have to realize that Russia, what they're doing is what they’ve been doing for most of its existence. In recent years, as they’ve been asserting their dominance and making threats to other countries, look at the Cold War and post Cold War,” Jimenez suggested before listing some of Putin's recent actions: Invading Georgia in 2008, seizing Crimea in 2014, an overtaking Ukraine in World War I.
“We are seeing right now, [Russian forces] are unleashing major devastation on innocent civilians — women and children. Guys, this is horrific,” he declared. “It just breaks my heart. I’m sure you guys are just so troubled by what we are seeing unfolding and we are praying it will come to an end.”