Bible Prophecy Is 'Essential' in Current Russia-Ukraine Climate, End-Times Experts Say
Editor's Note: This is Part 2 of a two-part series. For Part 1, visit this link.
Is our world on the brink of war? That seems to be the question on everyone's mind as news reports of the Russia-Ukraine tensions pour in. Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, California, and Amir Tsarfati of Behold Israel agree that the world is moving to "a very dark place"—one that could explode into World War III. But the two agree on something even more important: In this hour, believers must pay more attention than ever to biblical prophecy.
Russia has planted seeds for the weakening of Europe and NATO for many years, Tsarfati says, adding that this situation goes back to the 1930s when Stalin was in power.
"Stalin starved the Ukrainians because they became nationalists," he says. "They kind of had their own thing going on. And so he basically asked the Ukrainians for a certain grain quota, and they knew they could never really give it to him. So he basically closed all the villages and towns, and they starved to death. It happened before; every Ukrainian know that this is the Ukrainian Holocaust that was done by Stalin. They all know that Russia has no problem bringing them to submission."
Although Ukraine has publicly talked up its defense forces, Tsarfati says trusting in them is a false hope. "The Ukrainians are being convinced somehow that they have the power to stop Russia, which is sad ... [we] know what can happen from the air and the rockets and the missiles that can come from the Black Sea, from Belarus and from the Russian part—three directions simultaneously there. Kiev will fall within hours, not even days."
But Hibbs says believers must remember that, even with the signs that seem to point to Christ's soon return, these events are not cause for rejoicing.
"God's Word is going to be fulfilled in God's timing; what we are called to do is to know and to judge and to discern the times and the season," he says. "We are to have programs like this, that you and I might sharpen our faith and be ready and always giving people the gospel of Jesus Christ."
And Hibbs also cautions against fear. "If Amir and I in any way cause you to be fearful, then we have failed to give you the gospel," he says. "These things that are happening, the only reason why we're doing this right now is because Scripture talks about 'wars and rumors of wars'. So we're going to be following this very, very closely. And this could be the beginning of more reports; we shall see. But please understand something Amir and I do not trust in our governments; we don't trust in our political leaders, we never have ... we never trusted in Ronald Reagan. It's just not the way the believer thinks. So please don't think that somehow we're nationalists in this new progressive dictionary."
As he and Tsarfati discuss current events, Hibbs says, they're critiquing the news from a biblical worldview—something that even few pastors fail to do. However, he says, "I'm not slamming the Democrat Party who will do nothing. I'm slamming the fact that, as a nation, America has left God, and so God has left America. And we're terrified."
"The Bible never said that we will prepare the place for Jesus," Tsarfati adds. "The Bible says the world is going to be so bad that Jesus is going to come take us out of here and then pour judgment over this world because it's so bad."
When the U.S. has had presidents who followed biblical principles–whether or not they were born again—it has experienced success, Hibbs says, pointing to Presidents John Quincy Adams, a believer, as well as Garfield, Reagan and Donald Trump.
"This just goes to show you that if a nation—as Scripture speaks, if a nation—the body of believers in that nation—repents of its sins and seeks God and honors God, then God steps in," Hibbs says.
But can we trust the Bible? "In my experience, the Bible so far is more accurate than today's newspaper," Tsarfati says. "And I will say that is an experience of an Israeli-born Jew, who is the first generation of his family back in the land after 2,000 years. If you and I [would have talked] 100 years ago about Bible prophecy, and we [would have said] that the Jews must return back and they will have a country ... the fig tree will bloom and Jerusalem will be in their hands. and Israel would be so strong, secure and prosperous that an enemy will come from the north to steal and plunder, everybody [would have laughed] at us.
"And yet we are the greatest generation in a sense; we've seen more things that God is doing, as He promised to do, than any other generation since the time of Jesus Christ," Tsarfati continues. "We have no right whatsoever to be angry, to be sad or to be depressed. We are watching history in the making. And it's biblical promises that were given to Israel, given to the church and proclaimed over the world. And you know, God is not doing those things. He's allowing these things because He's seen these things. He has seen these things happening already from His perspective."
Hibbs also addresses those believers who think the persecution of Christians doesn't fit with a pre-tribulation view. He says there is a blind spot in American Christian theology that leads people to think that every time something bad happens, that means Jesus is coming soon. He urges Christians to know what they believe and remain strong in their faith.
"You don't need to worry about any of this stuff," Hibbs says. "But by the same token, you need to fight for what's right. You need to vote what honors God; you need to speak up when you see something wrong."
Hibbs says we need to pray not only for the peace of Jerusalem but, as Jeremiah 29:7 instructs, "You're supposed to pray for the welfare of your city where you live, so that it would be blessed, so that that city might have peace, and that you might have peace—that goes for Moscow. That goes for Kiev."
"I think one of the reasons people misunderstand everything is because they misunderstand the book of Revelation," Tsarfati adds. "They take things out of context.... We have to divide the Word of God rightly in order not to deceive. And I think that that's why I believe more than ever before Bible prophecy teachings are essential now, because the church is either ignorant of prophecy to begin with, or gets the wrong teachings on prophecy and is super confused. ... The only way to connect the dots is with the Word of God."
The two make a strong appeal for the gospel, pointing out that believers who have a concern for the times we live in must have a greater concern for those living without Christ.
"God is on the move," Hibbs says. "Trust Him."