Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. © Copyright 2010 - 2022   All rights reserved. Daniel 11 Explained (condensed ‘one page’ commentary) ‘Matthew 24’ Explained (must match Revelation) The ‘Seals’ Explained (Revelation timeline revealed) Seven Churches Explained (Past & Present Church Prophecy) Note: ‘Sitemap’ shows a complete list of all pages (by category). ‘Homepage’ gives 3 simple steps + timelines + summary. Current Events from Daniel 11 (matching the Middle East) The Abomination (Daniel 11:31) done Recent Events ISIS - Saudi - Turkey (Daniel 11: 24-27) Final Events to the Abomination (Daniel 11: 28-30) Shiites re-take Persia + America’s Role Begins (Daniel 11: 21-23) soon done done Our current position in Daniel 7. Shangai Cooperation Orgaization (SCO) map credit: Firdavs Kulolov  -own work, wikipedia  (click map to enlarge) SCO - Updated: 7-17-2022 Russia in End Time Bible Prophecy Daniel 2 – The Iron and Clay   I’ve been saying for many years that Russia’s role in end times Bible prophecy is significant because the combination of Russia and Iran is the “iron and clay” in Daniel 2.  Russia is also mentioned in more detail in Daniel 7, which I address next.  Then, I will explain how those scriptures link to Revelation and the post-rapture, hopefully to illustrate a clearer picture.  Daniel 2:40-44  [The Iron and Clay] 40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron-for iron breaks and smashes everything -and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41 Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. 44 "In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.   First, it’s hard to explain how I know that Russia and Iran are the “iron and clay.”  I mean, I don’t recall God telling me in those exact words, but I’m sure God led me to the discovery.  As I dug for information on Daniel 11, ‘something’ (I say God) told me to ‘check the Russian news’.  On that particular day, around 2012, the news revealed that Russia had just approved the UN’s 6th round of sanctions against Iran, which doesn’t sound like much of a partnership.  However, it was something in their statement that revealed much more.  If I recall correctly, Russia expressed reluctance in signing and said it would be their last time.  It’s hard to explain, but I just had the strongest feeling and knew for sure that Russia and Iran were the ‘iron and clay’.  I think further developments, in the last decade, have proven that feeling to be correct.   For full disclosure, the NIV study notes have a different explanation for Daniel 2, but their explanation makes no sense.  They claim the Romans, in Jesus’ day, was the 4th kingdom, but that doesn’t explain the clay.  I have more details in my original write-up on the iron and clay   As time passed, it indeed proved to be Russia’s last time to sanction Iran, because in 2013, Rouhani was elected as Iran’s president, which quickly led to the ‘interim’ nuclear agreement.  That provided the framework for the final, 2015 nuclear deal, where Russia played a crucial role in Iran’s compliance by accepting Iran’s excess nuclear material.  Also in 2015, Russia increased their presence in Syria and joined with Iran’s efforts to help Assad stay in power.  Thus, Russia and Iran were instrumental in keeping Assad in power, which maintained the Shiite’s control over ancient Mesopotamia (northern Middle East).  That was crucial to Iran’s designation as ‘king of the north’, since every ‘king of the north’ in Daniel 11 has controlled ancient Mesopotamia. [see condensed commentary]  Of course, Russia and Iran’s relationship goes deeper than that, but you get the idea.  As Moses once said, ‘the only way to know if a message is from God or not is to wait and see if it comes true’. (Deut 18:22)  I think subsequent events have proven that ‘Russia and Iran’ being the ‘iron and clay’ was indeed a message from God.  Daniel 7 – The Bear with Large Iron Teeth   Russia is also featured in Daniel 7’s timeline, along with Iran, which seems to start in modern times.  In other words, the brief timeline of Daniel 7 starts with modern Iran and shows a prophetic progression to the post-rapture, 10-horned beast, which matches Revelation 13.  It’s amazing to me how God has many timelines in the Bible, each with different information, but they’re all somehow connected and being fulfilled simultaneously.  Daniel 7: 2-7 2 Daniel said: "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. 3 Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.   The first thing to notice is that all four beasts “came up out of the sea,” which matches the 10-horned beast in Revelation 13:1.  Thus, this timeline of four different beasts is really a detailed version of events that lead to the 10-horned, post-rapture beast.  The abomination and rapture are not mentioned in Daniel 7, but the 10-horned beast is definitely afterwards because Revelation 13 is definitely after the 6th Seal rapture.  4 "The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man, and the heart of a man was given to it.   This first verse is rather vague, but I’m 99.9% sure that the ‘lion’ is Iran, who emerged as a major player in the region after the Islamic Revolution of 1979.  For one reason, Iran and Persia have always been depicted as a lion on flags and such.  By that logic, the eagle has often represented the United States, which could indicate that the US was allied with Iran prior to 1979.  Then, after the revolution, the ‘wings were torn off’ and replaced with sanctions.  I think the last part of the verse describes the nuclear negotiations that allowed Iran to ‘stand up like a man’, as some of the sanctions were removed (briefly).  I think the ‘heart of a man’ describes the moderate government of Rouhani and Zarif who were instrumental in negotiating the nuclear deal.  I can’t overstate the importance of the nuclear deal because it was mentioned in Daniel 11:22 (interim), Daniel 11:28, and defined the 70th Seven in Daniel 9:27.  Thus, it’s not surprising that Daniel 7’s timeline starts with Iran and the nuclear deal.  5 "And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, 'Get up and eat your fill of flesh!'    In Daniel 7:5, Russia is the ‘bear with teeth’ who stepped in to aid Assad and Iran against the Syrian rebels who were backed by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the West.  The bear had ‘three ribs between its teeth’, which was Russia subduing Assad’s enemies and allowing the Shiites to stay in power.  6 "After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.   In Daniel 7:6, Russia didn’t want to rule Syria, so they allowed the four-heads to rule, which are probably Iran, Iraq, Assad in Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon, which are all Shiite.  Like I said, it’s important that the northern Middle East remained mostly in control of the Shiites because they form the ‘king of the north’, led by Iran.  Thus, Russia’s role was important because without their help, Syria would look very different today.  7 "After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast- terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.   In Daniel 7:7, Russia evolves from the ‘bear with teeth’ to the “large iron teeth,” which is crucial to the 4th “terrifying and frightening” beast.  In other words, Russia plays a significant role in the 4th beast, but it ultimately consists of much more than just Russia.  In fact, the “terrifying and frightening” beast has 10-horns, which matches the post-rapture beast of Revelation 13:1.  I believe, as most do, that the 10-horns are 10-nations that will emerge as a powerful alliance in the post-rapture.  Of course, we are not there yet, which is why we are not seeing the 10-horns, yet.  However, it is becoming more evident with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which countries are aligning with Iran and Russia, as opposed to the West.  Therefore, I see Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an important step in the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, since their style of fighting consists of ‘crushing, devouring, and trampling’ their victims.  I mean, the level of destruction seen in Ukraine has not been witnessed since WWII.  Therefore, we are getting a preview of the “large iron teeth,” but I think the prophecy of Daniel 7:7 is talking about the Middle East.  In other words, I think we will see much more crushing, devouring, and trampling during the 6th Trumpet War, when the 10-horned beast is fully formed.  The 10-Horned Beast and 6th Trumpet War   Before I proceed with Daniel 7:8, lets look at a few verses about the 10-horned beast and 6th Trumpet War.  Revelation 13:1-2; 4  [The 10-horned beast] 13:1 And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea.  And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 4 Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?"   It’s obvious that the above passage coincides with Daniel 7 because all the beasts have the same representations.  I mean, the final, 10-horned beast is the one whom the dragon throws all his support behind, but the leopard, bear, and lion are also mentioned, just like Daniel 7.  The 10-horned beast “resembled a leopard” because the 10-horns are a mixture of 10-nations, like the four-headed beast was.  The ‘feet like a bear’ implies that Russia will be a significant part of the 10-horns.  I think the ‘mouth like a lion’, not only implies that Iran will be a major part of the post-rapture beast, but that the ‘antichrist’ (mouth) will come from Iran.  Note: The antichrist is covered in a separate section below.  Revelation 9:13-16  [The 6th Trumpet War] 13 The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God. 14 It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." 15 And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number. Daniel 11:40-45  [Also 6th Trumpet War] 40 "At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. 41 He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. 42 He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. 43 He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Nubians in submission.   I hope it’s not confusing that I’m jumping back and forth from Daniel to Revelation, but I think it’s necessary to fully explain, since both books involve end times.  As the saying goes: ‘Let scripture verify scripture’.  Both passages above describe the 6th Trumpet War when the 10-horned beast, led by the antichrist, will be at its peak and defeat the ‘king of the south’.  Along the way, Israel is invaded (Beautiful Land), when the two witnesses will be killed, paving the way for the false prophet to enter and enact the mark of the beast in Israel.  I know the timing is correct because the two witnesses are killed by the beast after they prophesy for 1260-days (Rev 11:7), which is the same 42-months that the antichrist is allowed to “exercise his authority.” (Rev 13:5)  Plus, after three days, the two witnesses arise and ascend to heaven, which is when the 7th Trumpet sounds (Rev 11:15), further connecting the deaths of the two witnesses to the 6th Trumpet War.  The Antichrist   This section on the antichrist brings me back to Daniel 7:8, which is comparable to Rev 13:5, Daniel 11:36, and 2 Thess 2:3-4.  There are distinct keywords that link all the scriptures together.  I will point those out, afterwards, and discuss other lessons from each passage.  #1.  Daniel 7:8 8 "While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully. #2.  Revelation 13:5-8 5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. 6 He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. 7 He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast-all whose names have not been written in the book of life  belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. #3.  Daniel 11:36 36 "The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. #4.  2nd Thessalonians 2:3-4 3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.   Notice that Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 both refer to the antichrist as the “mouth.”  In fact, the main similarity that links all the scriptures together is the fact that the antichrist boasts, blasphemes God, and exalts himself above everything, including God.  That’s why it’s obvious that all the scriptures are talking about the same person.  On the other hand, each scripture reveals something different about that person, which we can all learn.   The information we can learn from Daniel 7:8 is that the antichrist will “uproot” three of the first horns before it.  Recall that the 4th “terrifying and frightening” beast was identified as having ‘ten horns’ at the very end of Daniel 7:7.  In fact, Daniel was still thinking about the horns when the little one started coming up among them.  I think that implies that the antichrist will uproot or overshadow three leaders, very quickly, leaving 10-nations, but only 7-leaders.  That agrees with Revelation 13:1, which describes the beast as having “10-horns and 7-heads.”    Personally, I think the antichrist will come from Iran (king of the north) and the three leaders who will be uprooted will be from Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.  After all, Iran already has immense influence with Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Shia militias in Iraq and Syria.  Plus, like I said, every ‘king of the north’ has somehow controlled ancient Mesopotamia, which is northern Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.  However, since the beast still has ten horns or nations, the countries may retain their identities, but for all practical purposes, the antichrist will be calling the shots, especially with their militaries.  That is the most practical or logical scenario for the little horn uprooting three horns.    After all, the ‘king of the north’ will ultimately invade Israel, during the 6th Trumpet War, so Iran will need to get closer to their target.  Of course, it won’t just be four armies that join together to fight Israel and the Arabs.  If that was the case, Israel would probably win.  Yet, there will be six more horns and Russia will be a prominent one, since they are the “large iron teeth,” and they already have air and navy bases in Syria (near the sea).    The other five horns are anybody’s guess.  However, I think China will be one, for many reasons.  For one, China and Russia are two of the primary members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is a military alliance designed to counter the West.  That’s why China has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  On the contrary, China called their relationship with Russia “one of the most crucial bilateral relationships in the world.” India is another possibility because they are also a member of the SCO and have remained neutral on Ukraine.  I mentioned China and India specifically because of their populations.  I mean, since the “number of the mounted troops was two hundred million” (Rev 9:16), the sheer population of the 10-horns must be huge.    As for Revelation 13:5-8, there’s a lot to learn about the antichrist and timing.  Perhaps the most important information is that he will be allowed to exercise his authority for 42-months.  Since the two witnesses also prophesy for 1260-days, before they are killed by the beast, then it can be deduced that the antichrist rises to power during the same 42-months that the two witnesses prophesy.  Plus, since the Trumpets start after the 7th Seal ‘silence’ (Rev 8), and the 7th Trumpet sounds when the two witnesses ascend to heaven (Rev 11:15), then it can be deduced that the Trumpet plagues last for the same 42-months.  Of course, since the Trumpets can’t start until the 7th Seal is done, and the multitude of Christians are already in heaven ‘between’ the 6th and 7th Seals, then it can be deduced that the 42-months I’ve described happen after the rapture, as do the subsequent Bowls, making a total of 2300-days. (Dan 8:14)  Note: Since Seals 1-5 are in the past, and the 6th Seal rapture is next, then the rapture is defined as ‘pre-tribulation’, with the post-rapture tribulation being the Trumpets and Bowls.  The “great tribulation” (Rev 7:14) is referred to in past tense and refers to Seals 1-6. (Rev 6)   Other key phrases of Revelation 13:5-8 also confirm the ‘pre-tribulation’ rapture.  For one, the antichrist will slander “those who live in heaven.”  Now, why would he think there were people in heaven and desire to slander them, unless the rapture had already happened?  He will “make war against the saints and conquer them,” which is confirmation that the antichrist leads the armies of the beast against Israel and kills the two witnesses (the saints).  It does not mean that Christians will be on earth.  On the contrary, the passage says that “all inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast,” but then clarifies, “all whose names have not been written in the book of life.”  That’s because all whose names WERE in the Book of Life will be in heaven, at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, which is why he slanders them.    Daniel 11:36 is one of the main verses that define the antichrist as exalting himself above God.  God will allow him to be successful until the time of wrath is completed (Trumpets and Bowls) because God has decreed a plan in Revelation that must be fulfilled.  One fact we can learn from Daniel 11:36 is simply that it happens well after the abomination in Daniel 11:31.  There are actually four verses between Daniel 11:31 and 11:36 where the antichrist ‘reveals himself’ by trying to further corrupt his followers and silence those who are wise and instruct others.  So, the antichrist reveals himself through his actions, after the abomination and rapture.    That brings me to 2nd Thessalonians 2:3-4, which is a passage that post-tribs try to use to support their manipulation of Revelation.  However, Paul is just trying to squash a rumor that the rapture had already happened; he’s not trying to give a definitive timeline of events.  Thus, Paul’s rebuke of the Thessalonians cannot override Revelation, as the post-tribs try to imply.  Actually, this passage agrees with the pre-tribulation view of Daniel and Revelation that I’ve already laid out if verses 3 and 4 are viewed separately as they should be.  I mean, verse 3 mentions the “rebellion,” but that’s just a reference to Daniel 8:13, which refers to the abomination as the “rebellion that causes desolation.”  Of course, that’s just combining the ‘uprising and abomination’ from Daniel 11:31.  As verse 3 says, the antichrist will indeed be ‘revealed’ after the ‘rebellion’, since that’s when the rapture will happen, but that’s different from the ‘exalting’ in verse 4, which is worded almost exactly like Daniel 11:36.  In other words, verse 4 happens a few years after verse 3, since they must match the chronological timeline of Daniel 11.  In fact, the antichrist must ‘set himself up in God’s Temple’ after the two witnesses have prophesied for 1260-days because that’s the time when the Third Temple will be built.  Plus, the antichrist must ‘set himself up in God’s Temple’ after the two witnesses are killed, since prior to their deaths, they have the power to keep their enemies back. (Rev 11:5-6)  So, 2nd Thessalonians 2:3-4 is simple to understand if you compare verse 3 to Daniel 11:31, and verse 4 to Daniel 11:36, so you see that they are speaking of two different times.    Anyway, that’s what we can learn about the antichrist from the above passages.  It seems like I got off the subject of Russia a bit, but the antichrist is mentioned in Daniel 7:8, right after the “large iron teeth” crush, devour, and trample, as part of the 10-horned beast.  Going back to the ‘iron and clay’ in Daniel 2, we know that Russia and Iran will not stay together the whole time.  So, when do they break apart?  It’s hard to say, but I think Revelation 13 illustrates that Russia will still be a part of the beast with 10-horns and 7-heads, so they must stay together through the first 42-months.  That might be where Russia draws the line, since that’s when the beast changes to 2-horns and the false prophet comes on the scene. (Rev 13:11-18)  Of course, by that time, the damage will be done because the false prophet will perform great signs and miracles to deceive people into worshipping the 1st beast (antichrist).  The only war that remains after the 6th Trumpet War will be Armageddon, so Russia, who is technically a Christian nation, might break ‘militarily’ from the Muslims before that.  However, it won’t do them much good, by that time, since all inhabitants of earth will worship the beast, anyway.  Current Events with Russia’s Allies   Like I said, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has further divided East and West.  Although I can’t say for sure who will comprise the 10-horns, it’s very telling to see which countries are staying with Russia, or at least staying neutral.  Of course, no one is openly helping Russia, since the attack was unprovoked, and most countries don’t want to deal with sanctions on their economy.  However, the 6th Trumpet War won’t be unprovoked, since the South attacks first. (Dan 11:40)  One interesting development with the iron and clay was when Russia attempted to tie their sanctions to Iran’s nuclear negotiations, which showed how much Russia values their current relationship with Iran.  They later dropped their demand, not that it was needed anyway, since the nuclear negotiations are all but dead.  Russia and China have long supported Iran as permanent members of the UN Security Council, by vetoing any resolution that was against Iran.  Plus, Iran is very near the final step in becoming a permanent member of the SCO.   Recently, as China refused to condemn Russia’s invasion, China’s foreign minister called their relationship with Russia “one of the most crucial bilateral relationships in the world.”  He also called Russia his country's “most important strategic partner.”  I think Russia, China, and Iran are firmly linked against the West, which seems to be a key factor in the alliance of 10-horns.    It’s interesting how the Russo-Ukraine War has affected Russian relations with Israel.  On February 24, 2022, just prior to the invasion, a monthly UN Security Council meeting took place where Israel broke their neutrality and sided with Ukraine.  Hours later, the Russian deputy ambassador, Dmitry Polyanskiy, reiterated that Russia stands with Syria and “doesn’t recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights that are part of Syria.”   On another occasion, after being asked how Russia could be attacking Nazis when Ukraine’s president is Jewish, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov published on Telegram claims of Jewish collaboration with Nazis during WWII.  He also repeated a debunked claim that Hitler was partly Jewish.  Israeli Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, fired back on Twitter, “Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust.”  It was reported that Putin called Israeli Prime Minister Bennett to apologize, but the exchange shows that Russian/Israeli relations are not what they used to be, prior to this invasion.  Russia and the Seven Churches #3 and #4   Another thing I find interesting regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the stances of the Catholic Church (#3) and the Russia Orthodox Church (#4), of the Seven Churches.  I generally pay attention to their interactions because Pope Francis met with Patriarch Kirill, in Cuba, on February 12, 2016, one day after Iran’s 37th anniversary.  That meeting ended a schism between the East and West Churches from 1054, so the schism was 962-years long.  God had previously alerted me of the number 37, so I thought it was a strange coincidence that they were meeting so close to Iran’s anniversary.  Something told me to divide 962 by 37, and to my surprise, it came out even.  That led me to discover a whole ‘timeline of 37’s’, which are significant Biblical or religious events that all took place in multiples of 37-years apart.  Remarkably, God’s timeline of 37’s starts with the first verse of Daniel 11, God’s Book of Truth.  Only God could orchestrate such a collection of events in multiples of 37-years.  Thus, the schism between East and West Orthodox Churches (#3 and #4) started and stopped on God’s timeline of 37’s (1054-2016).  To me, that’s adequate reason to keep a casual watch on their activities.    Well, the two churches differ a little on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, on which they recently had a video conference about, March 16th.  According to Pope Francis, the first 20-minutes of the 40-minute call consisted of Patriarch Kirill reading from a card all the justifications for war.  In response to that, Pope Francis told him not to let himself be transformed into “Putin’s altar boy.”  I imagine that wasn’t received well because their planned face-to-face meeting on June 14th, in Jerusalem, was postponed.  That would have been just the first meeting since the schism ended in 2016.  One interesting comment from Patriarch Kirill was that the ‘conflict was an extension of a fundamental culture clash between the wider Russian world and Western liberal values, exemplified by expressions of gay pride’.  Well, I doubt if that was first on Putin’s mind when he invaded Ukraine, but Patriarch Kirill might have a point on that particular issue, since many western churches have softened their stance on homosexuality.    In the same interview with the Italian paper, concerning the video call and war, Pope Francis seemed to be staying neutral.  He has spoken to Zelensky twice by phone, but mostly urging him to not fight back.  The pope questions whether it is right to supply the Ukrainians with weapons, since that just prolongs the war.  He admits that the Kremlin “reacted badly” to unleash the conflict, but the pope put much of the blame on NATO whom he says was “barking at Russia’s door.”  The pope might be remaining neutral because he requested a meeting to talk with Putin, but as of yet, the Kremlin hasn’t returned his call.  The West is not innocent, but God is in Control   Personally, I try to examine all sides of an issue, so I agree with some of the pope’s neutral points.  I mean, former US President John F. Kennedy warned Russia not to put missiles in Cuba because they would be too close to America’s doorstep.  The Russians complied and war was avoided.  On the other hand, Russia has told NATO to remove certain missiles from Romania, which were installed in 2016, but they’re still there, and war was not avoided.  (Note: Romania joined NATO in 2004, so it took a while, but the missiles eventually came.)  Russia has objected to similar missiles in Poland.  Personally, I think it’s hypocritical to demand that Russia remove missiles from America’s doorstep (Cuba), but then ignore their similar requests when missiles are at Russia’s doorstep.  Before the invasion, Russia wanted a written guarantee that Ukraine wouldn’t join NATO, but no one would make that guarantee.  Can anyone blame Russia for not taking NATO at their word?  NATO probably gave a similar word concerning eastward expansion and missiles in Romania.  As the pope said, NATO was “barking at Russia’s door” and everyone has a breaking point.    If the history and causes are examined for the current Russo/Ukraine War, starting in 2014, then I think it’s evident that Ukraine and the West are partly to blame.  I mean, western media often repeats the fact that Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, but they never fully explain ‘why’ Russia invaded Crimea.  Recall that Putin invaded just days after the Sochi Olympics.  Protests started in Ukraine, in late-2013, because Ukrainian President Yanukovych rejected the EU- Ukraine Association Agreement that was passed by parliament.  Instead, President Yanukovych wanted to accept a bailout from Russia and closer ties to the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Russia.  It wasn’t necessarily surprising because Yanukovych started his political career as governor of Donetsk Oblast (1997-2002), where the Russian separatists have held ground since 2014.  Yanukovych served as prime minister under two presidents before being elected as president in 2010.  It should be noted that international observers said the election was free and fair.  Yet, due to his disagreement with parliament, protests got steadily worse in early-2014.    The Sochi Olympics were scheduled for February 7-23, 2014, which is exactly when the protests reached their peak, knowing that Putin would be preoccupied.  A leaked audio tape showed that US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, was in Kyiv, February 7, 2014, weighing in on the make-up of the next Ukrainian government In other words, on the first day of the Olympics, a US representative was in Kyiv conspiring to execute a regime change without going through the proper channels.  Of course, the US was already openly supporting the protesters, as usual.  On February 21, 2014, Yanukovych decided to leave the capital, obviously for his safety because his car was shot at as he was leaving.  He was reportedly going to Kharkiv, but ended up traveling through Crimea to southern Russia, perhaps Sochi.  The very next day, on February 22, 2014, Ukrainian parliament voted to remove him from office and schedule new elections on grounds that he “restrained himself from performing his constitutional duties” and effectively resigned.  Yet, I think presidents are allowed to travel and he had been gone for one day.  Ironically, by removing him in such a way, it was Ukraine’s parliament that was violating the constitution, which called for an impeachment process.  Therefore, the protesters and parliament effectively staged a coup of a democratically elected president, and the US was there to support.  Additionally, on February 23, 2014, Ukraine’s parliament adopted a bill to repeal a 2012 law that gave the Russian language an official status.  The bill was never enacted, but when Putin says he’s protecting Russian speakers in Ukraine, he actually has a case.  My point is: If the regime change had never happened, which was unconstitutional, chances are that Russia would never have invaded Crimea in the first place.  Therefore, in my opinion, Ukraine and the West are not innocent in this tragedy.    It’s not the first time the US has forced a regime change and the results turned out bad, but everything seems to be part of God’s plan.  I mean, it’s a known fact that the US and UK staged a coup of the democratically elected president of Iran, in 1953, and installed the Shah, who remained in power until the Islamic Revolution of 1979.  It was done solely out of greed for oil revenues but backfired because it eventually led to the current ‘theocracy’ in Iran.  Yet, the Islamic Revolution of 1979 fulfilled Daniel 11:21, so I guess God had that planned.  Another example is Saddam Hussein, who wasn’t exactly democratically elected, but his overthrow allowed Iran to gain more influence in Iraq.  Yet, once again, that was necessary because every ‘king of the north’ has had influence or control in ancient Mesopotamia.  That wouldn’t have happened under Saddam or his sons.  So, it seems that God either plans for ill-advised mistakes or periodically uses the US to conduct regime changes that eventually fulfill Bible prophecy.  Either way, God is actually in control and His plan will always be victorious.  Russia’s End Time Propaganda   On April 28, 2022, The Daily Beast published a long article giving several examples of Russian state media seeming to comfort people and prepare them for WWIII and a nuclear apocalypse.  One host implied that they were already in WWIII because “40 countries,” who collectively represented Hitler, had declared war against Russia.  Another host said, “What is happening right now is not about Ukraine, but about the future world order.”  They assured audiences that Putin would never quit and let the West isolate Russia.  Another host concluded that a nuclear strike was the most probable outcome, but comforted viewers by saying, “we will go to heaven, while they will simply croak.”  I’m not sure where they get that because they are fighting other Christians.  The Bible encourages brotherly love.  Yet, Russian state media is essentially portraying the war as prophetic and those who die for the motherland will skyrocket to paradise.  It sounds very similar to Muslim beliefs that martyrs, such as suicide bombers, receive special privileges in heaven, but they don’t.  Nevertheless, if Putin believes he’s fulfilling some kind of final prophecy, then he’s liable to do anything.  Of course, we know that events will continue to follow God’s plan in the Bible, which means Russia will eventually become part of the 10-horns, after the rapture, and direct their destruction toward the Middle East.  Related page: Man of Lawlessness Flag of the Safavid Empire (1576) *established "Shiite" as national religion Flag of Iran (1925-1979) click to enlarge Symbol of United Russia Party current symbol of Putin’s United Russia Party Past flags of Iran click to enlarge Safavid (Shiite) 1576    Iran 1925-1979 More Current Events involving Russia   On May 13, 2022, Israel bombed several targets in Syria, in the northwestern city of Masyaf, killing at least 5 people.  That type of operation is not uncommon for Israel, but what makes this significant is that Russian forces fired S-300 missiles towards the aircraft.  It was reported that the S-300 radar did not lock onto the Israeli jets, so there was no serious threat, but the incident was still unprecedented.    On June 7, 2022, Israeli fighter jets attacked multiple targets around Damascus, including the Damascus International Airport.  Israel claimed that civilian flights were being used to smuggle weapons.  Russia strongly condemned the attack as “vicious, provocative, and violating basic norms of international law.”    On July 5, 2022, Russia again condemned an Israeli airstrike, this time near the coastal city of Tartus, which is similar to their reaction to an airstrike on June 7, 2022. (above)  This time, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman for Russia called the IDF’s ‘war-between-wars’ campaign in Syria “categorically unacceptable.”  She said the “irresponsible actions violated the sovereignty of Syria and the basic norms of international law.”  She concluded by demanding their “unconditional cessation.”    Also on July 5, 2022, Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz revealed satellite images of four Iranian military ships in the Red Sea, which he called “the most significant presence in a decade.”   On July 11, 2022, US intelligence revealed that Iran is expected to supply Russia with “several hundred” drones, some weapons-capable, to be used in Ukraine.  Training for the Russians to operate the drones is expected to start in late-July.  If this should happen, it will be significant because, besides Belarus, it will be the first country to offer military assistance to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.    On July 13, 2022, US President Biden started his visit to the Middle East with stops in Israel and the West Bank.  On Friday, July 15, Biden proceeded to Saudi Arabia where he met with leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE, as well as the Prime Minister of Iraq.  On Saturday, July 16, 2022, at least four rockets were fired into Israel, from Gaza, as a show of discontent, although no group has claimed responsibility.    On July 19, 2022, the leaders of Iran, Russia, and Turkey have scheduled a meeting in Tehran, which seems symbolically significant since it is taking place less than a week after Biden’s trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia.  To me, it looks like the north and south are securing their teams for the 6th Trumpet War, which will conclude about 3.5-years after the rapture, when Israel is invaded and the two witnesses are killed.  Granted, Turkey is a member of NATO, but many of their actions suggest that they are more aligned with Russia and Iran than the West.  For example, Turkey recently condemned US sanctions on Iran, tried to stop Finland and Sweden from joining NATO, and announced plans to attack the Kurds in northern Syria who are generally aligned with the West.  It’s also noteworthy that Turkey has the second largest military in NATO, trailing only the US.  Needless to say, the side of the fence that Turkey finally chooses, Russia/Iran or the West, is significant.  That’s why I think this meeting in Tehran is important, both in timing and attendance, not to mention Russia’s recent condemnations of Israel.  In my opinion, everything is aligning as the Bible outlines, even as the world is unaware.  Updated: 7-17-2022