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The Last Days Duncan Heaster  
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APPENDIX 5: Protestant Phobia About Russia

There are passages in several Protestant works which undoubtedly make out Russia to be the greatest enemy of God and the Jews, the very epitome of the devil, far worse than any other nation. The following is a critique of those found in John Thomas, Elpis Israel. They seem fairly typical of much right-wing Protestant exegesis.

Therefore, he may be fairly taken as the type of Israel’s last and greatest enemy, who shall come to his end, with none to help him


Thus, though corruption of the flesh, nationally expressed, was restrained by the overthrow of Gogue, the Dragon-chief, at the pre- millennial advent of the King of Israel, it is finally subdued only when the head of the Serpent-power is crushed at the end of the thousand years.

Here we have the implication that the Russian nation is the epitome of the corruption of the flesh. The Russians are as “fleshly” as any other ethnicity; Paul makes it clear in the epistle to the Romans that all humanity is equally guilty before God. The book implies that they are all thieves and anti-semites, e.g.:

“Behold”, says the former prophet concerning Israel at this time, “at evening-tide trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us” – referring, doubtless, to the overthrow and destruction of Gogue. Now, the invasion of their country by a spoiler at “evening-tide”, who robs them, implies their previous return.].

This great Adversary of the latter days, is the Northern Autocrat for the time being. He is styled Gog by Ezekiel. In him will be acuminated “all the power of the enemy”; that is, of SIN, imperially manifested in a dominion, such as the world has never seen before. Because of this, it is styled the Old Serpent; and because it will exist upon the old Roman territory, it is called the Dragon: and from its hostility to God and His truth, it is “surnamed the Devil and Satan”.

When Gogue comes to be lord of Europe, like Pharaoh of old he will not permit Israel to remove themselves and their wealth beyond his reach. His dominion must, therefore, be broken before the north will obey the command to “give up”, and the south to “keep not back”; and even then Israel must fight their way to Palestine as in the days of old.

The Russian Autocracy in its plenitude, and on the verge of dissolution, is the Image of Nebuchadnezzar standing upon the Mountains of Israel, ready to be smitten by the Stone. When Russia makes its grand move for the building-up of its Image-empire then let the reader know that the end of all things, as at present constituted, is at hand.


President Putin and other Russian leaders have repeatedly stressed their pro-Jewish stance, and have openly apologised for anti-semitic acts in Russia’s past. They make a big issue of condemning any anti-Jewish graffiti that appears. To distribute throughout Russia that the Russian leader and Government are the most virulent anti-semites of all time could well cause for our brethren and the work of our community. Even if this is what some Western brethren believe, is there need to go out of the way to publicise this fact within Russia itself?

To say that Russia did things in history because they were demon possessed is a very provocative comment to translate into Russian and distribute:

The unclean spirit of the Little Horn went forth to Russia and brought down its hosts upon Hungary; it is also going forth to Prussia in opposition to the democratic constitution it is developing at Erfurt; and, in concert with Russia, it has gone forth to Sultan, with whom it has interrupted its former amicable relations.

Russia is seen as the cause of the whole world being doomed:

The Russians lead on the world to the day of doom.

When we believe that “the whole world is guilty before God” it seems somehow wrong to be stating with such dogmatism that one Gentile nation is particularly guilty. The Russian people and leaders are people no more or less guilty before God as any other nation.

The state of Russia’s finances is daily news in Russia and beyond. Elpis Israel likens Russia to “Barbarians” bent on overthrowing the West and raising money to do so by seizing the wealth of other nations. At a time when many nations have thrown off the Russian yoke and no longer support her financially, and when there is so much distrust between Russia and much of the rest of Eastern Europe [especially in the Baltic states], these statements are just incendiary. It is also apparent that it is capitalism that robbed Russia of so much, impoverishing the ordinary people- not vice versa. There have been generations of “cold war” between the USSR and the Western world; and we need to be fostering trust between our Eastern and Western brethren, not telling them that there is a natural, Divinely intended antagonism between Britain and Russia. To preach that Russia is planning on overthrowing the West doesn’t seem much of a Gospel; and there is no Bible verse that says this at all. It is a very indirect inference that Gog will overthrow the West- nowhere does Scripture state this plainly. And in reality, the events of the last 10 years have shown the West to have effectively overthrown Russia, not vice versa.

Politicians speculate as though money were omnipotent; and we hear “financial reformers” predicting the inactivity of Russia and Austria for want of funds! Where did the barbarians procure funds for the overthrow of the western empire in the fifth and sixth centuries? Did they not support themselves by the spoil? Let the Russian treasury be as empty as it is said to be, and its expenditure exceed its revenue by double the alleged deficit, it will only operate as a pressure from within, causing her Autocrat to “enter into the countries and to overflow and pass over”, and to enrich himself with the spoil of those he is destined to subdue.

Middle East relationships are something that the Russian Government is careful to present in a certain way. To make out that Russia is seeking to invade Iran, after all the trouble caused by her invasion of Afghanistan, is going to immediately alert the Russian censors to suspicion of Christians, who according to Elpis Israel are seeking to make out Russia and her president/leader to be an aggressive power planning on invading neighbouring countries. This is the very image Russia and Putin wish to change, and they will not take well to reckless dogmatism as follows:

The Autocrat of Russia now remembers that of Sennacherib in the days of Hezekiah, but believes not in the repetition of so terrible a destruction.

This Power is the Russian, whose symbol is a Bear. This is so well known that the phrase “the Russian Bear” is as familiar as household words. Russia, which already comprehends some of the Persian territory in its bounds, is destined to conquer Persia, and to possess it from India to Ethiopia. This is not conjecture but an absolute certainty; for God has declared by Ezekiel that Persia in the latter days shall be a constituent of the dominion of Gog; and that Gog is the autocratic dynasty of Russia will be seen when we come to treat of that prophecy in its proper place.

To say that Russia will invade Iran, Iraq etc. before the Lord’s coming, and that this is “an absolute certainty”, is really going to be telling the brotherhood that the Lord’s return is very far from imminent – if we have to wait for Russia to invade Iran and Iraq first. And moreover, an equally dogmatic claim is made that Russia’s invasion of Iran will be accompanied by “England” invading Afghanistan and the Gulf states:

The conquest of Persia by the Autocrat will doubtless cause England to conquer Afghanistan, and to seize upon Dedan that she may command the entrance to the Persian gulf.

These predictions are mere speculation. Nowhere does the Bible text say this. To make so much effort to have this material translated and distributed in the Russian speaking world will be at best confusing, if not totally disillusioning. And again, Elpis Israel matches the supposed Russian capture of Istanbul with Britain capturing some Mediterranean islands belonging to Greece. I don’t know what our Greek and Macedonian brethren would make of this idea:

Its supremacy over the Ionian Republic still further approximates it to the Macedonian character: which will become still more conspicuous, when it beholds “the prince of Ros, Mosc, and Tobl“ possessed of Constantinople, and contending for the Gogueship of Magogue; it will, then, doubtless, make extensive seizures of the Isles of Greece, to strengthen itself in the Mediterranean, and to antagonise, as much as possible, the power of the Autocrat in that direction.

Likewise to suggest that the Lord can only return once Russia has dominated Germany and the Russian president has become king of Germany, seems to be pushing the time of the Lord’s coming far back. Russia has huge debts to Germany and her leadership would not wish this kind of aggressive, anti-German image to be created. Again, we are asking for trouble from the Russian Government by making these statements:

This personage at present is only “Autocrat of All the Russias”, that is, of Ros, Mosc, and Tobol; while the Emperor of Austria holds the position of Gogue and Magogue. But, as we have seen elsewhere, the Austrian and German empire is doomed to extinction by fire and sword; so that when this is broken up the Gogueship will be assumed by the Autocrat, or “prince of Ros, Mosc, and Tobol.”  Having proved as I think,  that the phrase “Gogue of the land of Magogue” signifies Emperor of Germany, and that the particular emperor referred to will also be the “prince of Ros, Mosc, and Tobl” –that is, that at some time hereafter, and that not far off, a Czar of Russia will be both Emperor of Germany and Autocrat of All the Russias.

Elpis Israel keeps calling Russia an autocracy, when it is very proudly a democracy. To so consistently stress that Russia is not a democracy but an autocracy [Russia is called this about 30 times in Elpis Israel] is really asking for opposition from the Russian authorities and Government – for we would be seeking to make out that democracy means nothing in Russia. Whether or not we feel this to be the case, it seems quite out of order for us to willingly get themselves involved in this kind of political controversy and commentary by translating this kind of material into Russian. In any case, the continual description of Russia as “the autocrat”, “the Czar” is totally outmoded- there has been no Czar/autocrat in Russia since 1917. Sadly one just has to accept that bro. Thomas got it wrong about this. Or, there can be no second coming until Putin/the Russian president is replaced by a Czar. Which again is a highly controversial statement to make and publicise within Russia, and which hardly encourages a struggling Russian brotherhood to believe that their Lord is coming soon.

The Bible is the enlightener. If men would not be carried about by every wind that blows, let them study this. It will unfold to them the future, and make them wiser than the world. The coming years will not be years of peace. The policy of the Autocrat will be to throw his adversaries off their guard, and take the Sultan by surprise. He is to “come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he will enter the countries, and overflow and pass over. And many countries shall be overthrown.” This is the career marked out for him.

We have a growing number of brethren in Turkey, and it hardly seems likely to foster love between the Russian and Turkish brotherhood by telling them that Russia is going to invade Turkey. If this was foretold in the Bible in so many words, it would be different – but the Biblical text cited to prove the supposition are so inferential and forced that the impression is inevitably given that we are really trying to agitate the issue. To say that Britain somehow gets a better deal in the final judgement than Russia again seems to be introducing an element of nationalism. And to say that God intends Britain “to antagonise Russia”, as observed earlier, hardly dovetails with our preaching that racial differences are irrelevant and we all belong to a world equally “guilty before God” and needing His gracious salvation.

I shall be able to show, from other parts of the prophetic word, that the power destined to play the conspicuous part indicated above is RUSSIA. That it will dominate all the ten kingdoms, subdue Turkey, and incorporate Persia into its empire; but that when it has reached its zenith, it will in turn be precipitated into the abyss, and its dominion suppressed for a thousand years. When I come to unfold these things, the reader will see why Britain is not included in the ten toes. She is reserved of God to antagonise Russia, as she did France, when all Europe was prostrate at the feet of “Napoleon le Grand”. The ten toes belong to the image as a united dominion; hence Britain cannot be included among them unless it is first conquered by the overshadowing power, which it will not be, as is clearly demonstrable from many parts of the divine testimony. Russia will command the land, and Britain rules the sea. They will contend for dominion of the East; but neither will obtain it.

There are statements that could easily be read as seeking to provoke or desire a major war between Russia and Turkey. Again, these are sensitive issues that we should not be seeking to go into print about an area where there is press censorship. These predictions have remained unfulfilled for over 150 years now, let it be noted. Again, if we are teaching the brotherhood that they must wait until Russia invades Turkey before the Lord can come, then we may well be making them unprepared to live life watching for the Lord’s imminent return.

They have assured him of their support in case of his being attacked by Russia. This promise is sure to bring on war between the Porte and the Autocrat. If the Sultan had been left to himself, being weak, he would have yielded and so have avoided war; but being energised by France and England, two strong military and naval powers, the Sultan feels himself a match for Russia, and prepared to assume a bold and warlike attitude. But these assurances will only lure him on to ruin. No powers, however strong, can save dominions foredoomed by God. Their friendship for the Sultan will be as fatal to him as the friendship of England for Austria and the Pope was to them in the days of Napoleon. The Autocrat, being God’s sword upon Turkey, will be too strong  for them both; for in the tumult and confusion created by the measures of the Sultan, the emperor, and the Roman bishop, their several dominions will be abolished, and the Autocrat remain lord of the ascendant.

Much of Eastern Europe bitterly resents the way Russia annexed/dominated their states in the 1940s and 1950s, and to say that Russia can do this because they were compelled to do so by God is enough to turn a lot of ordinary people against our message – if this is what we are supposed to believe as “the Gospel”. Is Russia really “God’s sword” against other nations? The Assyrians were, against Israel. But where does the Bible say Russia is God’s sword, and where does it say that they are God’s sword against other European powers? Where actually are the chapters and verses for these statements? In any case, the way many states have in the last 12 years broken free of Russian domination would seem to indicate that the 2nd coming is a lot further away in terms of prophecy than it was 12 years ago-if Bro. Thomas’ interpretations are correct.

What inducement was there for the kings of Europe to meet Napoleon at Dresden, and to march their armies into Russia in 1812? It was compulsion, and not inclination. A similar cause will operate on them again. When the king of the north “overflows and passes over” their countries, they will become subject to him as their emperor; and when his autocracy shall attain the extent marked out for it in the Word, his dominion will be fitly represented by Nebuchadnezzar’s Image, of which they will be the toes. They must exist as regal parts of a great dominion until Christ comes: because they are to war with him in person; and because God will set up His kingdom in their time; and, having broken to pieces the power of their imperial ruler on the mountains of Israel, by that same kingdom He will “break in pieces and consume all theirs”.

The continual personification of Russia as “the autocrat”, “one man”, amounts to a direct allegation that the leader of Russia, i.e. Putin at present, is very evil, anti-God, and leading the world to destruction. Russian presidents are especially sensitive to these kind of things being said about them, and those who distribute them would be held guilty of anti-State activity. You may have noticed the recent press closures in Russia and arrest of journalists for saying far less than this about the Russian leadership. All the more dangerous for our brethren are the following statements:

The Press is prophesying smooth things, and persuading the world of the moderation of the Autocrat, when the Autocrat (for Gogue is an autocrat, ruling by his own will)[i.e. he will be a dictator, not taking the peoples wishes into consideration through democracy – this is definitely a provocative statement.]

Of course, the prophecy must be future, because the Prince of the Ros is the Gogue of Magogue; and as yet no Emperor of Russia has been also Emperor of Germany…

The overthrow of the Sultan will not be contemplated by the British Government with indifference. They have already beheld continental Europe to the confines of Russia subject to the will of one man, and they are destined to witness it again. They will unquestionably adopt all possible measures to circumvent the Autocrat.

There is without doubt language in Elpis Israel that condemns the leader of Russia as being personally and morally a far worse man than anyone else. This is bound to cause comment from the authorities:

Impious and cruel as Antiochus, and superstitious and fanatical as Justinian, with the arrogance, ambition, and profanity of the Roman Bishop in his halcyon days, this incarnation of the sin-power in the crisis of its fate, will fully answer to all that has been predicated of the king who does according to his will, and “for whom Tophet is ordained of old”….we shall see in him a potentate, unrivalled in presumption and impiety by any of his fathers, not excepting Pharaoh of the olden time.

England’s Indian Empire, and its contiguity to Asiatic Russia, make her his natural enemy. It will be her policy to prevent him from taking possession of Egypt and the Holy Land; for if he were to do this, he would intercept all communication between England and India by the Red Sea. Hence, while she is the natural enemy of the Autocrat, she is also the natural friend of Egypt and the Jews. The triumph of Russia in the west will cause her to strengthen herself in the east; and, as I shall show, she will take possession of Sheba, Dedan, Edom, Moab, and part of Ammon.

Again, to describe Britain as Russia’s “natural enemy” is surely reckless. It is untrue geographically and politically, and we should not seek to inflame the potential divide between West and East by statements of these kind. It seems nationalistic rather than spiritually minded to claim that Britain is the “natural friend of the Jews” whilst Russia is their great enemy. Britain has been and is as anti-semitic as anyone else. And the tragic fact is that the state of Israel was established as a result of a Jewish guerrilla war against the British. Britain is certainly not pro-Jewish.

Further evidence of heightening British-Russian tensions is to found in the following:

The united imperial power of Britain and merchant-power of India, is the power of the latter days, destined of God to contend with the Autocrat, when, having laid all Europe prostrate, his ambition prompts him to grasp the sceptre of the east . [to state that India and Russia are to go to war is another statement that will attract unfavourable attention from the authorities, but is nowhere to be found in God’s word].

But these measures of the British will be the means of luring on the Autocrat to his destruction. Having fulfilled the mission of his “sacred Russia” to put down rebellion, to plant the Greek cross on the dome of St. Sophia, and to prostrate Europe before his feet, he will next address himself to the work of establishing his dominion over the east. The prosperity of Egypt and Judea will tempt him to seize them for himself; for, as the prophet saith, “He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many shall be overthrown; but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.” He will have proclaimed war against the east; and at the head of his vassal kings and their armies have invaded Syria. The war will be bloody, and his hosts like a cloud to cover the land. Having over-run Syria and Persia, he will invade Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia. For it is written, “He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold, and of silver, and over all precious things of Egypt; and the Libyans and Ethiopians shall be at his steps.” This subjugation of Egypt arouses all the indignation of Britain. England’s interference troubles him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to take away many.” Judea will now feel the weight of his power. He will lay siege to Jerusalem, and take it; for, “He shall pitch his palatial tents in the glorious holy mountain.” “Yet,” though thus far triumphant, “he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.”

And yet all this talk about Britain and Russia being intended by God to be enemies is based on the most slender of Biblical evidence.

Elpis Israel makes reference to other Eastern European states in a way that nationalist Governments are bound to take exception to. Georgia, Armenia, Chechniya (“Circassia” in bro.Thomas’ time) etc., have all broken free of Russian domination, often as the result of bloody wars. And Tatarstan is seeking to do the same. To predict that these nations will be pro-Russian and will contribute their troops to Russia’s war games is about the most controversial thing one could say in those areas, where many families have lost loved ones in the struggle against Russia. These predictions are not based firmly on scripture, and the fact so many in the brotherhood discount these interpretations surely means that we are needlessly provoking issues and endangering the safety of many brethren and sisters in these volatile areas.

Russians, and Independent Tartary, are the countries of Togarmah, from which in former times poured forth the Turcoman cavalry, “which”, says Gibbon, “they proudly computed by millions.” Georgia and Circassia, probably, are “bands of Togarmah’s house….These, then, are the regions which are to supply the numerous and formidable armies with which their arrogant and mighty Emperor, prophetically denominated Gogue, is hereafter “to ascend as a cloud”, against the Holy Land.

Again, to describe the Russian leader as “arrogant” is just the kind of thing that leads to the imprisonment of journalists today. For us to go on record as saying this kind of thing is, we repeat in all soberness, asking for serious trouble for our community. We personally plead for a stop to be put to seeking to publish these statements.

The war between Russia and the Porte, however, in 1828, advanced the frontiers of the Russian empire to Asia Minor, Ararat, and thence to the Caspian; by which a considerable portion of the territory of the old Assyro-Macedonian kingdom is included in the dominions of the Autocrat. He is, therefore, in relation to Judea, the king of the north and representative of Antiochus Epiphanes. He is also “the Assyrian” of the latter days, for whom Tophet is ordained of old

Those “advances” of the Russian empire to Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaidjan, Armenia, Georgia, Chechenya etc. have in the last ten years been undone. To say that these nations must come again under Russian domination because scripture says so is going to provoke a major outcry from those highly nationalistic Governments. And of course the question arises: where in scripture does it explicitly state this? It doesn’t.

Most serious of all is that the Bible text is changed and twisted to apparently mention Russia, Uzbekistan, Chechenya, Ukraine [“cossacks”] etc.- when the Hebrew, Russian and English texts say nothing of the sort. Yet it is enclosed in quotation marks and therefore not differentiated from the original text:

“Behold I am against thee, O Gogue, Autocrat of Russia, Moscovy, and Tobolskoi: and I will turn thee about, and put a bit into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth from the north parts, and all thine army, horses, and horsemen, all of them accoutred with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: among whom shall be Persians, Ethiopians, and Libyans; all of them with shields and helmet: French and Italians, etc.; Circassians, Cossacks, and the Tartar hordes of Usbeck, etc.: and many people not particularly named besides.”

Moscow cannot replace “Meschech” in scripture, ditto Tobolski for Tubal. “The house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands”, hardly sounds like the Caucasian republics, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. These are geographically separate regions. The situation in Uzbekistan is especially volatile, and to suggest that they will ally with Russia [having struggled for ten years to achieve independence] is enough to land an Uzbek in prison.  

From these premises, then, I think, there cannot be the shadow of a doubt that the Autocrat of Russia, when he shall have attained the plenitude of his power and dominion, is the subject of the prophecy contained in the thirty-eighth and thirty- ninth of Ezekiel.

The sheer dogmatism of these suggestions is bound to cause division, as it has done in many other parts of the world. If the impression is given that Elpis Israel is the founding document of our faith- and this impression is undoubtedly given by the more extreme wing - then readers are forced to either accept these dogmatic assertions, or are made to feel inferior as second class believers. 

The situation in the Balkans is always very fragile, and there is very strong anti-Western sentiment in many countries, especially Macedonia. Provocative remarks from Elpis Israel can only worsen the situation. Brother Thomas envisaged the British invasion of Afghanistan and parts of the Asian former USSR, but he saw this in the context of Britain accepting the imperial mantel of Alexander, not as a “war” against terrorism.

The Lion of Tarshish is Alexandrine in its dominion, and will then possess much of the territory represented by the Unicorn Goat and the Leopard –all, indeed, not included in the Image. Alexander the Great extended his conquests over Afghanistan, the Punjab, and into India beyond the Indus. The Lion of Tarshish has already annexed much of his territory, indeed quite sufficient to confer upon it Unicorn and Leopard attributes. Its supremacy over the Ionian Republic still further approximates it to the Macedonian character.

Bible prophecy is not about Britain, America and Russia; they are only incidental to the picture, insofar that their actions allow the development of the beast empire in the middle east. It is the destiny of Israel that is central to prophetic utterance. The Gulf war forced Israel into the Oslo process, and one can imagine that the latest terrorist outrage will lead to some sort of enforced “new world order”, as Bush senior advocated in the aftermath of the Gulf crisis.

Brother Thomas lived during a time of Empire, when Britannia ruled the waves and India was still the “jewel” in the crown, and this shows in his writings. It is however an anachronism to apply the language of the British East India company to current world events:

And Sheba and Tarshish in the prophecy of Gogue are manifestly indicative of the Lion-power of the Anglo-Indian empire.

But, in corroboration of this, I remark further, that the lionpower is represented also as a merchant power, in the words, “the Merchants of Tarshish shall say unto Gogue.” Having ascertained the geography of Tarshish, it is easier to answer the question, Who are its merchants? This inquiry will admit of but one answer, namely, the British East India Company, which is both the merchant and the ruler of the elephant-tooth country of the east. But the association of “the young lions of Tarshish” with the “merchants of Tarshish”, makes this still more obvious; for it represents the peculiar constitution of the Anglo-Indian government.   

A whole edifice of prophecy has been erected around a few ambiguous verses, the central role of Israel has been neglected, and the references are anachronistic as we no longer have an “Anglo-Indian Government” or a “Czar” or a “British East India Company.” 

Moreover, post-imperial Asia is now predominately Muslim. These disparate countries are unified by the Islamic religion (even the Soviet republics) not by their Anglo-Saxon imperial heritage.

The impetus to have material like Elpis Israel translated and distributed into Russian, coupled with an uncritical eulogising of bro. Thomas as “divinely guided”, coupled with the dogmatic assertion of certain prophetic views, will have a detrimental effect on the truth in those regions. It is very sad that the wishes and advice of those working within the region has been so consistently disregarded and walked all over by a group of brethren living the other side of the world. One can only hope and pray that they will see sense and not endanger the work and lives of our brethren.