The Rising of the King of Fierce Countenance
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Evil Thoughts Driving the World’s Leaders
The world is still reeling at the fact that Putin attacked Ukraine. The weeks leading up to the invasion, news agencies were predicting he would not move his armies in. The world is incredulous that he would actually do this in the “civilized” age we live in. Even after dictators like Hitler were democratically elected, the humanist mind still believes man is basically good. The Bible teaches otherwise:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
The Lord Christ recognized the heart of man as being the source of evil thoughts as he stated in Mark:
“And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”” (Mark 7:20–23 ESV)
It is from the corrupt ‘heart of man’ that the future invasion of Israel will be rooted. A man like Putin will be at the helm of Russia at the time, and we read of the root cause of the invasion in Ezekiel:
“Thus saith the Lord God; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.” (Ezekiel 38:10–12)
The evil thought will come from the heart of the leader of the Russia, Gog of the Land of Magog the Prince of Rosh. This has been the cause of war throughout history, the ego driven ambition of men like Hitler, Napoleon, Alexander the Great, and now Putin, have driven men to achieve what they consider ‘greatness.’
The Western world does not understand the autocratic mindset of a dictator like Putin. In fact, it has been this way for a long time. The world has been deluded that they will achieve “peace in our time.” Back in 1869, John Thomas wrote the of the world leaders of his day:
“…their leaders are all wrong in supposing that “the age of conquest is past for ever”, and that they will succeed in establishing the freedom and independence of Europe. There never has been such an age of conquest as that which will soon open upon the world; and as to the establishment of European freedom and independence, the war to be initiated is the setting in of an overwhelming inundation that will submerge them under one of the most terrible and scorching despotisms that ever wrung the heart of nations” (John Thomas, Exposition of Daniel, 1869, p87-88)
This is true of the world leaders today supposing they can bring in a “new world order” that will bring peace. The League of Nations failed to maintain peace in Europe as they stood idly by while Hitler ran his tank through Poland. It collapsed and was dissolved. The United Nations is also failing as Putin runs his tanks through Europe from the other direction. It will also collapse, another lame duck about to be plucked and cooked in the ovens of war.
The description of leader of the future “empire of men” that is eventually going to spread beyond Ukraine and across Europe is written in Isaiah 14:
“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isaiah 14:13–14)
The autocratic mindset of the dominating power in the latter days is described in Daniel 8:
“And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.” (Daniel 8:23–25)
This was the character of the Roman empire that arose in the latter times of the kingdom of the Greeks. It is a system that is still in existence in the end when it will be “broken without hand”, a phrase reminiscent of the stone that was “cut without hands” (Daniel 2:34) which will destroy the image. There will be a “king of fierce countenance” which will stand up. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament describes the word ‘fierce:’
“When used of man, this word carries the idea of prevailing as in a war or struggle or as being belligerent, particularly to God… This act of defiance is seen in the strong man who chooses to trust in his riches and to strengthen himself in his [evil] desire rather than to strengthen himself in God.”
The phrase “fierce countenance” used in Daniel, is a quote from the law of Moses when God predicted the eventual invasion of the Romans in judgment against his wayward people:
“The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; A nation of fierce countenance…” (Deuteronomy 28:49)
This was the Roman eagle that would descend on the carcass of Israel and devour it in AD 70 as the Lord predicted in the Olivet prophecy when he said:
“For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” (Matthew 24:28)
But notice the character of these eagles that Deuteronomy goes on to describe:
“… which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young: And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.” (Deuteronomy 28:49–52)
This is the character of the “king of fierce countenance” whose latter day representative is found in Russia, the King of the North. This is the kind of power we see arising today in Europe – showing no regard for the old or favour for the young, bet devouring the land and besieging the gates and tearing down the defenced of cities.
The question posed back in Jeremiah is rhetorical:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:9–10)
God knows what is in the heart of man, what is in the heart of the leaders of nations, and what is the destiny of the nations of the world. The leader of Russia is destined to bring all Europe under his yoke.
Engulfing the Iron in Clay
In Daniel 2, the empires of the world are depicted by five elements which will eventually “stand together”.
“This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” (Daniel 2:32–35)
We live in the age where iron will be mixed with clay to form the feet on which the image will stand. The last phase is somewhat disparate, yet pulled together to form the feet:
“And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.” (Daniel 2:43)
It falls to the leader of Russia to assemble the nations together and stand the image on its feet. He is describe in Ezekiel 38:
“‘Son of man, set thy face unto Gog, of the land of Magog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy concerning him,” (Ezekiel 38:2 YLT)
He is the prince of Rosh (the ancient name of Russia), Meshech (or the Moscow and the Muscavites) and Tubal (or Tobolsk the region of Siberia). He is their prince, Hebrew nasiy (Strong’s #5387) which is one who is lifted up, the captain, leader, or ruler.
He has assembled a great host to himself:
“Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.” (Ezekiel 38:5–7)
Over these he is a guard, Hebrew mishmar, (Strong’s #4929), meaning “a place of confinement, a prison guard, a jailer, a warden.” That is currently his mission, to bring all the nations spoken of in Ezekiel 38 under his control. This includes the nations of Magog which encompasses the half of Ukraine, Moldovia, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, Romania, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Gomer incorporates much of Western Europe. Rome and Greece are some of the major elements of the image.
Again, in 1869, John Thomas commenting on the prophecy of Daniel wrote:
It is impossible that Nebuchadnezzar’s image can represent any other imperial confederacy of nations than that under the King of the North in the time of the end. The names given in Ezekiel’s list of Gog’s army, are representative of the countries known to have existed under the dynastic rule of the gold, the silver, the brass and the iron. Part of Assyria proper already belongs to the King of the North, and pertains to the gold; Persia is to be with him as the silver element; his Grecism is typified by the brass; and his Gomerians by the iron; while his Magogians, Roshi, Muscovites, and Siberians, with the central Asiatic Tartars of Togarmah’s house, are the clay, which he commingles with the iron to form the Feet as the connecting medium between the Legs and Toes…. As then the time and place of their existence are the same, they must, therefore, be one and the same confederate power, the image being symbolical or representative of the Gogian dominion of the King of the North, or Autocrat of Russia. (John Thomas, Exposition of Daniel, 1869, 88)
The latter day autocrat of Russia will reign supreme over all of Europe. The finger of God has indicated a course for Russia to peruse. Putin looks to be commencing that mission. Whether he is the one to finish it, time will tell – but he has begun it.
Habakkuk describes the process in detail:
“Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, He is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, Who enlargeth his desire as hell, And is as death, and cannot be satisfied, But gathereth unto him all nations, And heapeth unto him all people: (words reminiscent of Ezekiel 38) Shall not all these take up a parable against him, And a taunting proverb against him, and say, Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his! how long? And to him that ladeth himself with thick clay! Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee, And awake that shall vex thee, And thou shalt be for booties unto them? Because thou hast spoiled many nations, All the remnant of the people shall spoil thee; Because of men’s blood, and for the violence of the land, Of the city, and of all that dwell therein.” (Habakkuk 2:5–8)
This passage depicts a ruler drunk with ambition. The proud man who cannot stay at home, and will not be satisfied until he gathers up all nations to himself and heaps up all peoples to himself. It describes him as “lading himself with thick clay.” This is the mixing of the iron nations of Europe with the Clay of Russia. His is guilty of spoiling many nations, and he has men’s blood on his hands. This is the character of the rising system which has begun to gather the nations to himself, starting with Ukraine, in a mission that will eventually see him dominate all of Europe.
This is what the Bible says. 30 years ago, when the Soviet Union collapsed, faithless people ridiculed Bible students for maintaining that Russia would rise again. Are they laughing now? We should not interpret the scriptures based on current events, or be tempted by to “sensationalism,” or try to find fragments of passages that appear to match what we are seeing today, rather we should look back into the word, observe what the Father has written, the one who knows the hearts of men, and speak what he has said, whether or not it is popular, or whether or not it looks likely in the moment.
The prophetic fact is, God has predicted the eventual fall of Europe by an Autocrat residing in Russia as he gathers the nations together under his hegemony.
America The Bruised Reed
America President Biden stated in his state of the Union address,
“I want you to know, we are going to be ok. We are going to be ok. When the history of this era is written, Putin’s war in Ukraine will have left Russia weaker, and the rest of the world stronger. While it shouldn’t have taken something so terrible to see what is at stake, now everyone sees it clearly. We see the unity among leaders of nations, a more unified Europe, a more unified west. We see unity among the people that are gathering in cities and large crows around the world, even in Russia to demonstrate their support for the people of Ukraine. In the Battle between democracies and autocracies, democracies are rising to the moment, and the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security. This is the real test, and it is going to take time. So let us continue to draw inspiration from the iron will of the Ukrainian people. To our fellow Ukrainian Americans, who forged the deep bond that connects our two nations, we stand with you, we stand with you. Putin may circle Kyiv with tanks, with he will never gain the hearts and soles of the Iranian (meaning Ukrainian) people. He will never extinguish their love of freedom, and he will never weaken the resolve of the free world.”
Now here is a guy that needs to read his Bible. Standing with Ukraine? How about standing back while Putin runs his tanks over the country. America has become like the bruised reed of Egypt that Rabshakeh warned Hezekiah about when Assyria surrounded Jerusalem.
“Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him.” (2 Kings 18:21)
Ukraine gave up its nuclear arsenal under assurances of protection from America and its western allies. In Ukraine’s moment of need, not one is willing to commit a single solider to the fight against Russia. Trusting in the west has resulted in the bloodshed of today.
The west is no longer willing to pay the price of the freedoms it has taken for granted since the Second World War. Freedom existed because autocracy was kept in check. A moral code rooted in the Bible underpinned the laws of the societies built on a Biblical heritage. Today, the West is in decline because of the immorality and hedonism that has infected its soul. America will continue its decline as the moral fabric of Biblical values is shredded in exchange for the debauchery and lies of humanism.
God’s warning to Israel rings true today:
“When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;” (Deuteronomy 8:10–14)
The problem with the West is, they think that they have achieved their wealth and freedoms by their own hand. God goes on to warn Israel:
“And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. “And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 8:17–20)
The Western world is destined to decline, while the Autocratic power of Russia is destined to rise – but only for a short time.
The Effect of Sanctions
The west has gained its wealth through hard work, business dealings, technological advancements, exploration and exploitation of resources, but also fast talking, deception, appealing to the lusts of people, creating desire, and often through taking advantage of poorer countries to provide cheap labour and resources.
The west feels it can deprive Russia of wealth through sanctions, and kicking it out of the club, and depriving it of economic engines that drive the world. Many are predicting the collapse of Russia due to their economic sanctions, but the Bible paints an entirely different picture.
The global economy is only globally effective when everyone agrees to play by the same set of rules. The rules of the game are changing overnight as Russia casts aside the economic shackles and constraints and picks up the reins of world conquests, rewriting the playbook.
Ezekiel and Daniel depict an empire that is bent of world conquest. Sanctions may put economic pressure on Russia, but that economic pressure will be channelled into ambition to gain wealth by conquest.
That has always been the other way of gaining wealth – through conquest and oppression. This is shocking the Western world right now. The Bible paints the picture of western nations asking the invader of Israel in the latter days:
“Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (Ezekiel 38:13)
Daniel corroborates this accusation:
“But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt….” (Daniel 11:43)
“For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered….” (Zechariah 14:2)
As does Joel:
“Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, And have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things:” (Joel 3:5)
All of these depict the invader coming, not to trade, but to steal and plunder. Sanctions will create need. The bible depicts the King of the North meeting that need will be met through conquest. So rather than setting Russia back, they may well provoke Russia further.
Broken in Pieces
The good news is Russia’s rise is short lived. God will bring it to power to sanctify himself in front of all nations – get the attention of everyone on the globe. Mankind has ignored God for long enough. He is orchestrating Russia’s rise and fall to awaken mankind to the His own existence as he states in Ezekiel 38:
“And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 38:16)
And again in verse 23:
“Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 38:23)
He will show himself to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords through his son who he will send to the earth very soon. Although Russia is “lading himself with thick clay” and forming the feet of the image – cobbling the iron together with clay… the Lord will smash this invention very shortly as the second Psalm clearly states:
“Yet have I set my king Upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; This day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, And I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, And the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Psalm 2:6–9)
The clay construction of Russia, it’s potter’s vessel – will be dashed to pieces with the rod of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. As Daniel also concludes:
“Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” (Daniel 2:35)
We stand on the knife-edge of the kingdom. The troubled sea and the wave are beginning to rage and roar once again, casting up mire (clay) and dirt, as the Autocrat of the Russia’s builds his image empire.
As we watch the Bible’s blueprint unfold on the screens and pages of the news we can be assured that there is a God in heaven who will…
“in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” (Daniel 2:44)
May God give us strength to prepare our minds and hearts for the great day of God Almighty. May he save this earth from being destroyed by the ambition of men, whose hearts will think an evil thought, and bring themselves into destruction.
Amos exhorts us in Chapter 4:12 “prepare to meet our God, O Israel.” As we watch the Bible in the News, that is our duty – not to be armchair warriors, but…
“to be like unto men that wait for their Lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open to him immediately” (Luke 12:36)
So let us “have our loins girded, our shoes on our feet, our staff in our hand, and be in haste” (Exodus 12:10), for soon the Lords angels will pass through the land and call his saints to him.
For the Bible in the News this has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.