There may be more going on right now than meets the eye.

Biblical scholars in "End Time" events are having a field day right now in light of Russia’s recent invasion and annexation of part of the Ukraine. That’s why we’d do well to pay close attention to future developments there and what Russian President Vladmir Putin has up his sleeve.

For a long time, many students of Biblical "eschatology" (the theology of the End Time) have pointed to Ezekiel 38-39 as a major map of what is to come. In those two chapters there’s talk about "Gog and Magog" and many conservative scholars say Magog refers to "the land in the north" — which they say is Russia — while Gog, who’s referred to as "the prince of Meshech and Tubal" (Ez. 38:2-3; 39:1), refers to the head of Magog — which would be President Putin.

Likewise, they say "Meschech" refers to the ancient people who lived along the Black and Caspien Seas and were known as the Moschi or Moschovites, from which Moscow is derived. And, according to them, "Tubal" is a derivative of the modern word Toblsk, the former capital of Russia and one of its most famous cities.

Understandably, there are many other End Time scholars who reject these views. They offer different interpretations of the names and events described in Ezekiel. They point out that Meshech and Tubal were nations that existed in the 6th century B.C. and couldn’t refer to Moscow and Tobolsk, which weren’t founded until centuries later.

Consequently, all of this leaves us further perplexed and shaking our heads, wondering who’s right. We do know the nations mentioned in Ez. 38:5 — "Persia, Ethiopia and Libya" — still exist today, although Persia now refers to modern-day Iran. And, some scholars believe "Gomer and all his bands" (38:6) refers to modern-day Turkey.

We know that Putin and Russia currently have strong ties to Iran and Syria. Furthermore, on Feb. 14, Russia purportedly signed a $3 billion arms’ agreement with Egypt in a direct snub to the United States.

Thus, it would seem we need to keep our eyes on any Russian overtures toward Turkey, which has long been a member of NATO. However, in recent years she has become increasingly hostile toward the United States and has expressed interest in becoming part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which includes Russia, China and four other nations. The SCO, which was formed in 1996, has also been wooing India to join them, stressing the economic, political and military advantages of doing so.

Therefore, there’s no doubt that the once-weakened Soviet Union is alive-and-well. And, there’s no doubt that Putin is leading the charge and his interest in the Ukraine is greater than just protecting the ethnic-Russians who live there.

One thing is certain:

In the last days the nations who are opposed to Israel will gather together against her to try and finally vanquish her. Interestingly, there’s no reference to the United States in these End Time prophecies, which may mean we chose not to get involved — or no longer exist. But, sadly, it could mean we’re part of those who’ve come against Israel, our longtime ally.

Regardless, we read that God will intervene before a single shot, bomb or missile can be fired against this tiny nation that He called His Chosen People. Suddenly, there’ll be an Exodus-sized hailstorm from Heaven, with some hailstones weighing several pounds each, that’ll fall upon those gathered forces, killing hundreds of thousands (Revelation 16:21).

Suffice it to say, the coming, prophesied events are going to affect us all. Worldwide turmoil will increase, as will fear and uncertainty. However, those who’ve placed their trust in Jesus Christ should not succumb to doubt or despair—for, as someone said, "I’ve read the last chapter (Rev. 22) and I know who wins in the End."

Here’s hoping you can honestly say that, dear Reader. If not, isn’t it about time to place your trust in Christ? The days ahead are going to get much more treacherous and you’re going to be in for the ride of your life. How much better it’ll be if you know Who’s hanging onto you.

To contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled "Morning Manna," write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at