The twelfth installment of my grandfather Shepherd's prophecy book, copied here without comment, although I find it fascinating that my grandfather was drawing on the ASV. I wonder if it was in one of his sources, or perhaps he used it when he was a student at Wabash College in the first decade of the 1900s.
The Time of the Russian Invasion
When will Russia march into the Middle East? In my opinion this question cannot be specifically and dogmatically answered. We may, however, offer some preferential ideas on this point. I do not think this invasion is at the same time as Armageddon but before because at the latter all nations gather against Jerusalem. In this Russia with certain, well-specified allies will invade the land. Also here Russia is the commander Ezekiel 38:7 (American Standard Version 1901, marginal reading). At Armageddon the antichrist is the commander. Then the means of divine destruction in Ezekiel 38:19-23 varies from Armageddon in Revelation 16:18-21 in brother's sword against brother in the invading forces, and in the use of blood and an overflowing rain with fire and brimstone. Armageddon has the earth's greatest earthquake with fleeting islands and obliterated mountains (Revelation 16:18 and 20). In Ezekiel 39 the sacrifice following Russia's destruction is for fowls and beasts whereas the supper after Armageddon is for fowls only. (Revelation 19:17). In Daniel 9:27 we have mentioned the length of the Tribulation, the Jewish covenant of one week or seven years with the antichrist. Jeremiah chapter 30:7 calls this period or at least the last half of it the Time of Jacob's Trouble. In my opinion the Russian hordes will enter Palestine either in the first part of this period or three and a half years before it begins. Ezekiel 39:9 tells us that, after the Russian slaughter, the Israeli will be making (A.S.V.) fires of the military spoils for seven years. As the antichrist will break his covenant with the Jews in the midst of the Tribulation week and launch the worst campaign of persecution and destruction which Israel has ever undergone, they certainly could not be burning the spoils of the Russian invasion in the last three and one half years of this time of Jacob's Trouble. Hence they will have to do this seven years burning during the first three and one half years of the Tribulation plus three and a half years in the Millennium or during three and a half years before the Tribulation plus the first three and a half years of the Tribulation. The first alternative would have the problem of separating the spoil of this invasion from the spoils from the awful battle of Armageddon. If the second alternative is correct the time of Russia's march would seem to be near and certain in the lives of people now alive.
Let us pause briefly to give an example on the positive side of this verification of Promise Four. We, with our finite limitations, are not able to roll back the undercover curtain which conceals some things in the affairs of men. But when the affairs of men and nations shall have been unrolled at the last great assize (Revelation 20:11-15) of the human family, I dare say we shall find that the forward march, success, fame, prosperity and greatness of our nation will have stemmed in considerable measure from the positive phase of this Fourth Promise to Abraham because we have blessed his descendants in giving them equal rights and privileges with all other nationalities and with our native born.
God's Purpose And Intent For The Tribulation
In order to understand better the Fourth Promise and its connection with the antichrist and Armageddon it will be well to give consideration to the why, purpose and intent for the Tribulation. God's main thought in fulfilling His promises to Abraham is the salvation of Israel and of the Gentiles as well. As the Jews as a whole will never come back to God in a spiritual return and believe on Jesus Christ as their Messiah, they will have to be driven into a corner to bring such spiritual recovery of them that will believe. One why then for the Tribulation will be to drive Israel into this corner. Another reason is found in the Scripture truth that the righteous shall inherit the earth. It is an evident fact that not many of the righteous are inheriting much of this earth now. Then with Satan and his crowd in almost complete control of this world and with it characteristic of them that they will refuse to give up such control without a struggle, it will be necessary for God to use the Tribulation to break their grip upon the earth and thrust them out in order for His Son and His saints to inherit the earth in the Millennium. Hence the why, purpose and intent of the Tribulation is that God in carrying out His Four promises to Abraham may bring Israel and the Gentiles to submission and salvation, thrust the devil and his crowd out of earth's possessions and control and turn this world over to His Son, Jesus Christ, and His redeemed ones for their inheritance in the Millennium. Hallelujah! Another why is God's retributive justice and judgment against sin.