Mark Hitchcock’s newest book, Russia Rising, comes right on time as Russia dominates much of today’s news. As we read the headlines it can be easy to be swept up in stories and uncertainties that take us down rabbit trails. What is the truth about Russia? How do these headlines fit with others that shake us? What does this say about the end times?
Mark asks readers of this newest book to start by reading Ezekiel 38 and 39 as context of what he outlines. Scripture, more than any other source, can tell us where we may be on God’s timeline and what to expect as we watch events unfold. Russia Rising leads the reader through these passages and others to illuminate and remind us the clock is ticking.
Until recent events it could be easy to be lulled into complacency about the key role Russia plays. The end of the Cold War and the dismantling of the Soviet Union gave us a false sense of safety. Now we see “the Russian bear is rising” and is considered the world’s top threat by many experts.
Vladmir Putin is moving steadily down the list of goals he has set. These include but are not limited to destroying the West by breaking up the European Union, dividing NATO, frustrating and unnerving the United States, and expanding Russia’s influence around the globe. As you read the list, you see the success he has already had.
Mark points out that one of Russia’s most potent strategies is “false information intended to discredit the official version of events, or the very notion of reliable truth.” If you allow that to sink in for a moment, it leaves little doubt how effective Russia has already been as we hear talk of “fake news” many times in a day.
Mark uses the backdrop of Ezekiel 38-39 as the key. Ezekiel wrote more than 2,500 years ago about a Russian-led invasion of Israel during the end times. The chapters noted tell us who the allies of Russia will be. In the present day we see these nations developing stronger ties to Russia in the Middle East as Syria implodes and Iran and Russia see their opportunity. He looks at the gathering storm and the potential final “game of thrones.”
What draws Russia to the Middle East? Mark lays out four main motivations with clarity through biblical understanding and current information.
Reading the book reminds us that 30% of the Bible is prophecy and demonstrates God wants us to be prepared and not be caught off-guard. Even though no one can say the exact day or hour the Lord will return or where we are on God’s timeline, Mark writes these words near the end of the book:
“Never before have so many signs converged so quickly in such a short span of time that correspond to the matrix of end-times events predicted in Scripture. The pieces are moving.”
The author also quotes A.W. Tozer about the hope of Christ’s coming:
“Let us be alert to the season in which we are living. It is the season of the Blessed Hope…It is imperative that we stay fully alert to the times in which we live…All signs today point to this being the season of the Blessed Hope…All around us, we have the evidence of Jesus’s soon return.”
What we know for certain is this: we passed a significant point when Ezekiel 37 was fulfilled in 1948 as Israel became a nation and the Jews around the world began to return to their homeland.
This book follows Mark Hitchcock’s release of The Coming Apostasy earlier this year. He is the author of more than 17 books related to end-time prophecy, an associate professor of Bible exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary, and the senior pastor of Faith Bible Church in Edmond, Oklahoma.
This is a book that will help the reader see the daily headlines in context through the lens of the truth of the Bible. I don’t think you will want to miss this solid look at Russia’s key role in biblical prophecy.
To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.