The Russia-Ukraine War and the End-Times Scenario

On Wednesday night, February 23, I was speaking at the Sacramento Slavic Church. As I stood at the pulpit at 7 pm my phone buzzed, and I silenced it. When I checked afterward, it was a Viber call from my sister in Ukraine. I immediately called her, knowing the politically tense situation at the time. I heard her crying, “Russians are bombing our city!” Kyiv was 10 hours ahead and there it was already Thursday morning, February 24. I instantly checked Google and there was nothing about bombing in Ukraine. My response to my sister was, “What fake news are you watching?” But the tears in her voice were real as she was seeing with her own eyes the buildings in Kyiv on fire. The media was silent, speechless for almost two hours. There was nothing on any news networks until two hours after the bombing began. She told me to install the Telegram app on my phone and stay in touch with the real world. The world was caught by surprise. Suddenly destruction was upon the world!


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11734
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This article and the one by Graham Satchell, “Bible Bookends”, together make a thought-provoking counterpoint, with one taking an end-time scenario from Revelation seriously, the other saying that Revelation’s real application was to the time in which it was written, and it proved to be false hope even then.

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Considering that biblical apocalyptic such as Revelation foresaw the end of all things not long after the days in which it was written calls into question the entire relevance, 2,000 years later, of an apocalyptic view of the soon end of the world, whether the evangelical view of Armageddon and rapture, or the Adventist historicist take centering on Rome, the US, Sabbath/Sunday, etc.

Biblical and gospel faith is centered on Jesus, and the life that God brings from the dead through faith in Jesus and the power of his Spirit. Being his followers means going into the world and expressing this faith in outgoing acts of love…regardless of how soon or far the fullness of the kingdom is. This is our business, as opposed to being sign watchers or timekeepers of the kingdom. In fact, Jesus had much to say to the sign watchers and timekeepers of his day…not supportive. Luke 17:20-21, and a collection of his eschatological parables are examples.

I like what this article says as far as it goes. But, I think it doesn’t go far enough in reshaping the problematic thinking and interpretive mindset behind the problem. It’s actually still part of it in some sense.

Frank

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Thank you for your insight in this article and calling out the huge errors our members have bought into. Decades of RightWing and Evangelical propaganda have caused Americans to respect Putin and incorrectly fear this evil Dictatorial Communist leader. The shocking hesitation in our polarized nation to intervene in the invasion only demonstrates the level of brainwashing even the elect have been subjected to.

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If anyone thinks they’re part of the “elect” then they’re the ones that are brainwashed.

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the impending showdown in the Donbas may be what finally gets the west going…we need to correct the mistake of looking the other way, made by the obama administration during Russia’s annexation of Crimea, once and for all…

I’m sure Satan loves it when the “peacemakers” are in power.

Their pathetic political propaganda machines can always find ways to rationalize going to war.

As is often the case, again we’re told that a dictator has dictated our response.

So I’m sure it’ll be okay with Jesus, too. As long as we destroy the planet in the name of heaven, god, country, freedom or whatever. he and his dad will understand and undoubtedly put a star in our crowns for each one of god’s children we kill.

Respecting the rights of peoples to self determination is a cornerstone of an ethical international order. Therefore, that we ought to respond is not, to my mind, in question
We—starting with the United States, but indeed all countries that have signed and ratified the Charter of the United Nations have an ethical duty to respond—not only to protect the “right to life” for individual residents of Ukraine (the freedom to live without fear of being killed by military action or economic blockade) but also to preserve the territorial integrity and sovereignty of every state, which is the cornerstone of the international order,.

The question is this: What does a morally correct response look like as we consider both the fate of Ukraine and of the stability of the world order? Russia’s nuclear arsenal throws the latter part of the question into stark relief, with Putin seeming to have threatened nuclear strikes to counter overt Western intervention. Any proposed response must be evaluated through the prism not of the morality of intentions but the morality of expected results: will the action likely create conditions that produce a better or worse outcome? In other words, the tradeoffs for different degrees of action or inaction must be assessed against the likelihood of successful outcomes and the probabilities of catastrophe—and between “do nothing” and “do everything possible” there is an entire spectrum of options.

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