Russia Triumphant in Europe
A REMARKABLE BOOK WRITTEN IN 1854
An Article by John Ramsden LONDON, U.K. taken from www.biblemagazine.com
No! that’s not the front page headline from one of London’s tabloid newspapers announcing the Russian invasion of Georgia—or even recording Europe’s dependence on much of its oil and gas supplies!
In fact, it was the sub-title of a book written in 1854 by a Doctor of Medicine, John Thomas.
Because it looked forward to events in the Middle East prior to Christ’s return, it was called
“Anatolia”—a word of Greek origin relating to the rising of the sun in the east.
Following the publication in 1848 of his earlier book, Elpis Israel, the third section of which focused attention on Bible prophecy concerning developments which would occur in Britain, Europe and Russia and their relationship to coming developments in the Middle East, he made an extended tour of Western Europe (what is now Germany, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands) seeing for himself what was going on there.1
Following the great year of revolutions throughout Europe in 1848, it was clear from both his own experience and from his studies of the prophet Daniel and other Old and New Testament prophecies that, prior to the return of Christ, great changes would occur in Europe, and that Russia, away on the far horizon, would develop into a major end-time power.
So John Thomas summarised what he had learnt on the title page of his book, listing not only the great events which Daniel had led him to expect, but also setting down an outline sequence of those events. All this, he recognised, was “an exhibition of startling proportions very much at variance with… the suppositions of the most enlightened politicians” of his day. His book was, as he explained, “An exposition of Daniel from alpha to omega with so much of the testimonies of other prophets as is necessary for its comprehension.”
1854: The Crimean War in Southern Russia
The timing of its publication was significant. Following the 900-year old dispute between the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox churches over rival claims to care for the Holy Places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, the Russian Emperor Nicholas—who had been sent a copy of the book—and who was no doubt greatly influenced by the patriarch to move back towards Constantinople—from which the earlier “Caesars” of the former Eastern Byzantine Empire had been expelled in 1453—only to become the “Czars” of Russia. This, however, was only one of several such attempts made by Russian Czars to move southwards. The impending collapse of the Ottoman Empire—dubbed by Czar Nicholas I as “the Sick man of Europe” led to further Russian adventures in the late 19th Century. Indeed the results of both world wars led to further aggrandisement of the “Russian Empire.”
So thus began the Crimean War in 1854, a move which caused strategic alarm to both France and Britain who were most anxious to protect their political ambitions in the Middle East. That very year the French had secured permission from the Egyptian Pasha to construct the Suez Canal. Britain, with her mighty imperial interests in raw material supplies from the Indian sub-continent, had more than a passing interest in this development, as we shall see.
John Thomas envisaged that Russia might well be victorious and that France and Britain, the two most advanced nations in Europe would be the losers, thus starting the process of events leading to the return of Christ. So what led him to this conclusion? He had received no special visions or exclusive revelation from God—other than that which all of us can find for ourselves today in the Prophecy of Daniel.
His Reasons were Based on Bible Study
In his 120-page book he draws together the events outlined in various chapters of Daniel’s prophecy. Chapter 2 told of events in “the latter days” portrayed in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a great image symbolising a sequence of national power. He understood from chapter 4 that the cut down tree, representing the old Babylonian Empire, would re-emerge in the last days in the new form of United Europe led spiritually by a new “Babylon the Great” (Rev. 17).
Daniel chapter 7 showed how the great sequence of world powers, represented by beasts would end with the great 4th beast representing the papally influenced European Union. Next, chapter 8 indicated how Rome would emerge from Greece and that in the last days there would be two great powers based in Rome and Constantinople (Istanbul)—neatly reminding him of the two legs of Nebuchadnezzar’s Image. Finally, in just one extended prophetic vision stretching over chapters 10, 11 and 12, he foresaw the time when a great “king of the North” would descend on Israel and bring about the appearance to the world of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Land. This “King” would be the Russian-led power described in Ezekiel 38 which would eventually, though quite possibly not till after the return of Christ, lead a great Confederacy of European and some Arab and North African nations against Israel (Ezekiel chapter 38).
The Sequence of Events
To arrive at this climax in world affairs many other great events would have to occur first, some of them quite a long time ahead of 1854. A few of these are summarised on the preface to the book, which to those readers not familiar with 19th Century European history, may seem a little obscure (note the title page shown above).
- The remains of the old French empire would have to go—which it did some 15 years later. Despite his defeat at the hands of the British at Waterloo, Belgium, in 1815, Napoleon’s imperial instincts and ambitions lived on. His nephew, Napoleon III sought to expand the French empire towards Spain, Italy and Germany, but his adventures came to an abrupt halt with his defeat by Prussia in 1870.
- Britain would have to move into Egypt to further its emerging role of promoting the return of the Jews to their land. Thus in 1875, the Jewish British Prime Minister, Disraeli, bought the shares of the now destitute Egyptian pasha for £4 million, and to protect their investment the British were obliged to occupy the Suez Canal zone in 1882. Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 43:3.
- The old Turkish Ottoman Empire, which had established itself in Constantinople in 1453, (in fulfilment of the 6th Trumpet prophecy of Revelation chapter 9) had to be removed (again as prophesied in Revelation chapter 16:12) so that the occupied land of Palestine could become the State of Israel before the return of Christ. This occurred gradually in line with the many prophecies of Jeremiah and other Old Testament prophets concerning the return of the Jews to their land but was not completed until some 70 years later!
- Only then would come about the formation of what he called a “Russian-Latino-Greek Confederacy” which, in accordance with Daniel 11, Ezekiel 38, and Joel 3 would in due time descend on Israel for what Revelation 16:16 refers to as Armageddon. This Confederacy describes some form of working relationship, if not actual political union, between western Europe, the successors to the western leg of the former Roman empire, and eastern Europe and Russia, the successors to the former eastern, or Byzantine, leg of the Roman empire.
- and, interestingly enough for us today, he wrote: “England would strengthen itself in Afghanistan and Dedan” (the Gulf States) as and when Russia strengthened its own ties with Iran!
A glance at the map of Europe in the 1850’s would show how just unlikely, even impossible, the whole idea would appear to be. At that time it was, to the man in the street, nothing less than unbelievable to suggest that both east and west Europe would form up under Russian leadership. Even less believable was how such a Confederation would lead the occupation force which would come to “Jerusalem and its Holy shrines” (the core subject of the Crimean War)… “and meet its subsequent destruction on the mountains of Israel” (see title page again).
A Preposterous Suggestion?
Indeed, the suggestion in 1854, at a time when Britain was locked into the disastrous Crimean war with Russia was to many people quite preposterous. Hardly surprising, then, that John Thomas’ U.K sales agent, Richard Robertson, wrote to him very diplomatically saying that “It requires no ordinary perseverance to encounter numerous discouragements in the way of disseminating a pamphlet bearing the ominous title of “Russia Triumphant Europe Chained!” Or as we might say today, “How do you expect me to sell a book saying that our national enemy will win?”2
In the event, Russia was not triumphant at that time and perhaps John Thomas had been a little too optimistic in his timing and expectation of the date of the Lord’s return. Nevertheless, the prophecies of Daniel, Ezekiel, Revelation and others, still stand and, startling though the prospect may sound to many of our friends today, that 1854 book title states very bluntly what we can see beginning to happen again in our own days.
A Russian-Latin-Greek Confederacy
A careful reading of Ezekiel chapter 38 reveals several important features about the role of Europe and Russia in the last days.
Note carefully how that in verse 2 Gog, the leader of this Confederacy, is described not only as “Chief Prince of (Rosh) Meshech and Tubal” (alias Russia today) but is also leader of “The land of Magog”—or central Europe. Other parts of Europe are also mentioned such as Western Europe, Turkey and others in verse 6. But then, in verse 7 Gog is told to: “…prepare for thy self, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, Now that is extremely interesting for two reasons.
- First, Gog is instructed to prepare itself—or rather, “establish” itself. Clearly establishing such a confederacy cannot be achieved overnight. On the contrary, this could take several years and indeed might not be completed until after Christ’s return.
- Second, the word guard. Very often original words used in the Old Testament for guard means protecting, or defending people. But on this occasion the original Hebrew word mishmar, means virtually to act as a prison guard or to hold in custody—such as was used when Pharaoh shut up in prison Joseph and his contemporaries.3
So it is hard to escape the conclusion that, even if Russia does not actually physically invade Europe (though as recent events have demonstrated in Georgia that is not beyond the bounds of possibility), it could well have Europe in subjection to its will through other ways eg. Economic via the supply of Europe’s Energy (oil and gas) needs as is becoming the case today.
John Thomas wrote his book long before oil and gas were everyday commodities and it is only now that we are realising the sheer economic power with which Russia could enslave Europe, and for it to become subject to its great political ambitions. Other articles in this issue mention the extent to which immense oil and gas reserves and their rocketing prices help, Russia in acquiring not only vast wealth but also tremendous political and economic bargaining power.
But what about the Churches Involved?
Yet, in all this, the Bible also makes it clear that the Roman Catholic power will be immensely influential at the time spoken of in Ezekiel 38. So we ponder on the prospect of just how this great spiritual power leading a united Europe will come to terms with the ambitions of the emerging and aggressive Russian leadership. We do not know how or when it will happen but we watch with great interest two major developments.
- First: the way in which, after almost a thousand years of being divided since the Great Schism of 1054, the eastern and western legs of the apostate church (the “Latino” and the “Greek” legs) are reaching an astonishing degree of rapprochement. Pictures from the Vatican’s own English language newspaper record the dramatic steps toward the growing “confederacy” developing between these two apostate churches. They leave us in no doubt that it cannot be long before the Patriarch takes second place to the Pope and plays “second fiddle.”
- Second: we note how the Popes and Russian Presidents are coming together in a way which, 30 years ago many claimed was unthinkable. Who, as recently as the 1970’s would have envisaged a German Pope(from Magog!) sitting down with the President of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal discussing their shared mutual ambitions? But, interestingly enough, John Thomas foreseeing just this very situation in 1854 wrote: “When, therefore, the Czar gets possession of Constantinople he will not be hostile to the Pope. On the contrary will honour and acknowledge him, and be the enemy of the Holy Land.”
The present “Czar Putin’s” adventures into Georgia took it within reach of neighbouring Turkey and we note, in passing, the difficulties Turkey is having making itself acceptable to the European Union. Who knows but what Turkey could easily turn to Russia or its Islamic neighbours for support?
If not Headlines, just Economic Reality?
So we wonder how long it will be before the sub-titles of a book published 158 years ago do in fact become, if not the headlines of a London tabloid paper, the economic and political reality of the European Union. Its leaders have shown their complete impotence to do anything about the emerging power of Russia on which their growing needs for energy are becoming ever more dependent.
- For details of his itinerary see Herald of the Kingdom, May 1854.
- Richard Robertson, a Customs Officer, probably at the nearby Surrey Docks, lived in South London, just round the corner from Guy’s Hospital where John Thomas was a doctor. Maybe that is how they first met up. He is often mentioned by Dr Thomas but does not seem to have become a fellow member with him.
- Ezekiel 37:7 mishmar “one to whom reverence is due,” a term used of a ruler or jailer: Elsewhere “putting in charge of” or effectively imprisonment: see Genesis 40:3; 42:17.