Is This World War III?

Does the Vilna Gaon's prophecy, revealed in 2014, give us any insight today into the Russian invasion of Ukraine?

The important question to consider is not why Vladimir Putin ordered his army to invade and crush the independent, sovereign nation of Ukraine, but ... what's next?

A former Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister said last week, “The Third World War has already started. How many states must be destroyed before the West wakes up?”

“This war is for all the world,” a haggard Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN last week from an underground bunker, surrounded by sandbags. He may be correct.

Trudy Rubin, a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, who left Ukraine just weeks before the invasion was launched, wrote last week "If Russia’s Vladimir Putin can take over a peaceful country by brute force in the 21st century, and deliberately slaughter civilians to achieve his goals, then we are all at risk. He will not stop with Ukraine.

"If Putin can openly threaten nuclear war to scare off NATO from halting his aggression," wrote Rubin, "then much of Europe is in danger. If this deranged killer can play dangerous games with cyberattacks and nuclear weapons, then the threat extends across the Atlantic to the United States."

If Vladimir Putin will not/does not stop with Ukraine, what is his goal?

I don't go in for, or buy, conspiracy theories. Outside my fictional writing, I'm not the kind of guy who goes around looking for signs, or trying to predict, the end of the world.

But think about this. Where is this very real land war in Europe going to end? Putin will never back down. He's not going to say I'm sorry and recall his troops from Ukraine. No, Putin is determined to change the map of Europe through conquest - murder, mayhem and wide-spread destruction.

Given what we know at the moment, it's almost inevitable that Putin will continue his aggression and try to conquer other nations that were once a part of the USSR. Nations that are now part of NATO. And then we will have all-out shooting war across the face of Europe, one that could reach across the Atlantic and become much more real to each and every one of us. He is that evil.

But I don't think the reconquest of Eastern Europe is Putin's goal. I think it's possible ... perhaps plausible ... that Putin's goal is Jerusalem.

This is the Vilna Gaon's prophecy, revealed in 2014 when Russia invaded and annexed Ukraine's Crimea.

"Son of man, listen to my words and write them down for the days to come. When you hear that the Russians have captured the city of Crimea, you should know that the Times of Messiah have started, that his steps are being heard.

"And when you hear that the Russians have reached the city of Constantinople, you should put on your Shabbat clothes and not take them off, because it means that Messiah is about to come at any minute."

One thing we know for sure, these are 'the days to come.' The prophecy does not say when the Russians have captured the city of Constantinople (now modern Istanbul), but when they have reached it.

Recep Erdogan, the leader of Turkey - a NATO nation - is an ardent supporter of militant Islam. If Putin started a war with NATO, would Erdogan join the fight against Putin ... or would he ally himself with Russia and join forces with Putin? Erdogan could flip either way.

Russia has a leased military installation for its Navy located in the Syrian port city of Tartus. Russia also controls the Hmeimim air base near Syria’s northern Latakia province. Both of those facilities were expanded in the spring of 2021.

Either by conquest, or agreement, Russian armies could roll through Turkey and down the coast of Syria with relative ease.

To what purpose?

Well, as I said, I don't go looking for signs of the end of the world. But the prophetic, Messianic clock is ticking. It started in 1948 when Israel became a nation. And, one of these days our Messiah - Jesus - is going to come back in glory. And, one of these days, perhaps soon ... in some form ... there will be the climactic battle of good vs. evil on the vast plains of Meggido in Israel. Will Russia be a part of that battle? Many Biblical scholars who are much wiser than I am, believe the armies of the North (or Russia), predicted in the book of Revelation, will be part of the battle of Armageddon.

The question I'm asking myself these days is simple, but has no answers.

Is this the beginning?