Russia and Bible Prophecy

I recently received a new book by prophecy writer Mark Hitchcock about Russia and Bible prophecy.

It’s titled Russia Rising: Tracking the Bear in Bible Prophecy. The thing of it is, Russia is not mentioned in the Bible. The same is true of the United States. So many prophecy writers work overtime to make all biblical prophecy about our generation when so much of it is about past generations. It’s one of the reasons there have been so many failed predictions.

Take the 200 million horsemen in Revelation 9:16. For a time, prophecy prognosticators claimed that China will one day invade Israel. In addition to 200 million men, such an army would need 200 million horses and enough food and water to sustain the soldiers and the horses.

Is this what Revelation is describing? Not at all, considering Revelation is a book of symbols and visions that include a giant woman and a dragon (Rev. 12:14).

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John’s multiple myriads [translated as 200 million] functions like the even larger image “sand of the seashore,” which is commonly used in antiquity of military forces arrayed in battle (Jos 11:41; Jdg 7:122; 1Sa 13:53; 2Sa 17:114; cp. 1Macc 11:1; 4 Ezra 13:5). In fact, this sand image is also used of various local populations (1Ki 4:20; Isa 10:22; 48:19; Jer 15:8; 33:22; Hos 1:10), the patriarchs’ offspring (Ge 22:17; 32:12), and so forth. This numeric “sand on the seashore” image is obviously hyperbolic, for scientists estimate that there are seven quintillion five quadrillion grains of sand on the world’s shores—and we at least know that there are much more than 250 million grains of sand. In fact, the 1 Samuel 13:5 reference to Philistia’s army which is “like the sand on the seashore” specifically mentions only 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen accompanying. In 2 Samuel 17:11 the writer is referring to early Israel’s own army, which could hardly approach this enormous number.5

An army as numerous as “the sand that is on the seashore” is more numerous than an army of 200 million. Both are meant to describe the ferocity of the force being used to defeat an enemy.

For decades, portraying Russia as the end-time bad guy has been popular. Glenn Beck brought up the Ezekiel 38–39 “Gog and Magog” prophecy a few years ago…


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Gary DeMar

Gary DeMar was raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and Reformed Theological Seminary (1979). He has served as researcher and writer at the Christian Worldview ministry American Vision since 1980 and President since 1984. Today he serves as Senior Fellow at American Vision where he lectures, researches, and writes on various worldview issues. Gary is the author of 30 books on a variety of topics – from "America’s Christian History" and "God and Government" to "Thinking Straight in a Crooked World" to "Last Days Madness." Gary has been interviewed by Time magazine, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, the BBC, and Sean Hannity. He has done numerous radio and television interviews, including the “Bible Answer Man,” hosted by Hank Hanegraaff and “Today’s Issues” with Tim Wildmon and Marvin Sanders. Newspaper interviews with Gary have appeared in the Washington Times, Toledo (Ohio) Blade, the Sacramento Bee, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Marietta Daily Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, The Orlando Sentinel, and the Chicago Tribune.

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