The Bible Says that Putin Will (Eventually) Lose
I am writing this post on April 4, 2022, as media reports start rolling in about the horrific genocide committed by Russian troops in Bucha. As with many who see the reports, the pictures are too much for me to look at and a boiling anger and desire for revenge and justice fill me. The bestial brutality of the Russians and my reaction to it raise many questions: How can the butchery of the Second World War be repeated in 2022? Are the Russians really so fully evil – are they not human? And, as a Christian, what should my response be? Is it not right that I want destruction to be rained down on these war criminals, these murderers, and the evil country that sent them to do their butchery? I can’t be the only one with these feelings and these questions, so lets talk about all that.
If we search the scriptures, we find they say that Putin will lose. Well, okay, the Bible does not mention Putin directly (and no, he is likely not the “King of the North” we read of in Daniel 11). So how can I assert that the Bible says he will lose? First, let’s look at Putin’s character and the character of the administration he has put in place. By any rational measure, Putin is a brutal KGB-trained thug and murderer. He uses strength, force and brutality to remove and otherwise dissolve opponents and he uses the same tactics to gain his expansionist objectives. Just ask the people of Georgia and Chechnya. His administration of Russia is almost a dictionary definition of a kleptocracy, or a system designed to thieve natural resources away from a country and direct them to a few extraordinarily selfish people, in this case Putin, his oligarchs and their high-ranking supporters and the top tier of the military-industrial complex (which overlaps greatly with oligarch interests).
Russia can be defined as a kleptocracy, a country whose organizing principle is selfishness. The Bible, at its most basic, is the story of a loving God who created a perfect and amazingly beautiful earth for the people that he loves (see all of Genesis Chapter 1). It was a world that had an organizing principle of lovingkindness. The Bible continues to tell us of a being who was once an extremely high-ranking angel (Ezekiel 28:11-19) but who wanted to be greater than God so he organized a rebellion and attracted a third of the angels to his cause, but they lost the battle in heaven and where expelled and banned from re-entering (Revelation 12:7-9). Satan argued that God was fundamentally selfish, keeping the best for Himself and holding everyone else down (Genesis 3:1-4). Satan thus argued that selfishness was the real path to having God’s power, and he proposed an administration based on selfishness (just as he asserted God’s actually was). A third of the angels bought this argument. When Satan was cast from heaven to earth and managed to recruit Adam and Eve to his side by convincing them to sin, he took their dominion of the earth that God gave them (see Genesis 1:28). Having dominion of the earth Satan twisted and perverted God’s perfect creation into a world with selfishness as its organizing principle. However, God loved the world and people He had created and He forged a plan of salvation (John 3:16) and promised to recreate the world without stain of sin and reestablish His Kingdom of Love.
The Bible says that Satan and his kingdom of selfishness will fail. Indeed, the only way for God to disprove Satan’s accusations is to allow Satan’s system of selfishness to fail miserably before a watching universe. We know that selfishness as an organizing principle collapses in on itself and thus we can understand that Russia, with its brutal government that adheres so closely to Satan’s character and methods, will also collapse in on itself. Indeed, the failure of force and brutality and selfishness in every aspect is what drives many end-time events in Bible prophecy. So, yes, Putin’s Russia, which is committing horrific war crimes upon non-combatant women, children and grandparents, will lose.
So can we as Christians be outraged with Russia and can we call for holy vengeance on them in return for their shocking, brutal atrocities that reflect the character and organizing principle of Satan? Well, there’s a couple problems with that. First, the Russians, whatever government they are living under, were created in the image of God; Christ died to offer every human salvation and citizenship in His kingdom of Love. Second, God said, “vengeance is mine”. Actually, the verse is worth quoting in its entirety: “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” Romans 12:19. To this we can add another text that aptly describes the appropriate Christian response to the brutal murders, rapes and looting in Ukraine: “Be angry yet do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26).
But aside from the above, there is perhaps a larger problem with being outraged at the Russians and wanting to see vengeance taken upon them, and it is this: Is our outrage based our standing as members of a morally superior society? In other words, are we as Americans or westerners judging the brutality and dysfunctional actions of Russians? If so, here is why that is a problem: Christ acknowledged Satan as the “Prince of the world”, not as the Prince of Russia or even the Prince of Putin and his Oligarchs. So, Ukraine, Europe, the United States and all the world have selfishness as their organizing principle and these countries will likewise reel and plunge into violence and chaos during the last days as Satan’s system of selfishness collapses in on itself.
So here is the end of all this: We as Christians should be angry – outraged! – at the horrible atrocities that are being committed before our eyes. But when we see Russian tanks explode in flames we should take no joy in it, for that would be sin. We should not yearn for access to some magic button to push that would wipe out Russian invaders, for that would be a terrible sin. We do not know the hearts of the young men in the tank or the hearts of the young men in the invading army – perhaps many are scared and are forced to advance. Perhaps some are Christians and are in anguish at their situation. Our job is to pray that God will soon end Satan’s reign on this earth and to work diligently to spread the news of this great continuing war between God and Satan and salvation through Christ. It is a job that becomes harder by the day, but it is our job.
The bad news is that we live in a horrible world that reflects the character and system of Satan. The good news is that this world is collapsing even as we watch and soon enough this sinful earth will be no more. Let us be angry but sin not. Let us work to reach those who will pause and listen. Let us show the character of Christ through our love and mercy. Let us live so that we can soon stand before God and hear him say “well done, good and faithful servant”.