Christianity In Russia 1000 Years
Understanding Russia's history with Christianity is important to understanding her prophetic place in future history. Her conversion to Christianity was dated and that date patterns the fall of the USSR in 1991. English readers, especially have no idea of this bit of Russian history.
About the year 990 the premier of the city of Kiev baptized the citizens of the city, bringing Eastern Orthodox Christianity to that nation.
Kiev would become known as the "Jerusalem of Russia" and would be the center of the Christian religion through that part of the world. Within 20 years the temple of Russia, St. Sophia's Cathedral, would be built in Kiev. Russia settled down as a Christian country.
Of course this is at the national level, a topic not covered much in the New Testament. A condition that is some how parallel to personal salvation, but not exactly the same...
By 1991, the 1000th anniversary of Russia's first Christian conversions was happening. This was being celebrated across Russia and was a topic covered extensively in American media.
The main passage where this historic episode is recorded is in Revelation 20. The following is the relevant text:
1And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. (Revelation 20:1-3 NIV)
1And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. (Revelation 20:1-3 KJV)
I saw a king come down from the skies having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2He seized the dragon, that old serpent, which is an adversary and accuser, who deceived the whole world, and bound him 1,000 years, 3and cast him into the abyss and shut him up and set a seal over him that he should not deceive the nations any longer until these years should be past, after that he will be loosed for a short time.(Revelation 20:1-3 BRB)
The big event in 1990 and 1991 was the First Persian Gulf War. After Iraq invaded Kuwait, a western lead coalition attacked Iraq. Iraq had just started selling oil in a currency other than the US Dollar. That could not be tolerated because it threatened western hegemony.
There was also the Tienanmen Square massacre, which some have argued was accompanied by an attempt to overthrow the Chinese government. In any case, that event that triggered massive changes in the government of China. China is referenced symbolically with the dragon, called in scripture the serpent.
Also at this time the USSR was collapsing from within. Reagan had gone to Berlin and asked Gorbachev in a speech to 'tear down this wall.' This Soviet collapse may have been because of a military defeat-by-proxy in Kuwait, or because of a silent Soviet bankruptcy going on at the same time. This is very hard to distinguish as both reasons have been given for the fall of the USSR.
In any case, the USSR collapsed, Russia entered a time of internal turmoil and corruption, and then stopped being a serious check on western power.
At first glance it would look like Russia was released at this 1000 year mark. But Russia itself went into a religious revival. They started examining their own socialist past and began a slow Orthodox Christian revival.
China, or the dragon, would turn inward and increase their pace of modernization. Fewer clues are available to western eyes to understand China. The publicly accepted change in Chinese goals was to appease an angry populace who wanted a more western life style. Alternatively they were speeding their economy in order to build the skill base for modern war. The passage above would seem agree.
But the unmentioned party, who was also released at the fall of the USSR, was what would become known as the 'Western Neocons.' These people were already pushing towards world hegemony via the US Dollar, taken off the gold standard in 1971. These people, more than any other, worship Satan as referenced in the passage above. So their attack on Iraq becomes their first act of war. Followed many more times since.
How this plays out is beyond our scope here. Returning to the story in Revelation, we find a resurrection takes place after this 1000 year period is over:
4I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4 NIV)
4And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4 KJV)
I saw thrones, and those who sat on them, and judgment was given to them, and the souls of those who were beheaded for the witness of Joshua and for the word of god and who had not bowed to the wild animal nor his image nor had received his mark on their brows nor on their hand, lived and reigned with the messiah these 1,000 years.(Revelation 20:4 BRB)
A previous article explored the promises to Judah as a tribe. As a tribe they will eventually be given the right to rule the other nations.
In this revelation passage we see another reference to this same time, perhaps another 1000 years, when Russia is the governing country. Their 70 years of communist rule having taught them to avoid Socialism and the political left at all costs.
The passage above is indicating Orthodox Christianity directly, the ashen mark is placed on the foreheads of believers each year at Ash Wednesday. This is not practiced by Orthodox Christianity, only by Western Christianity. That mark was instituted in 1091 in the west. The rule indicated in this passage is not in the west, and is in agreement with Jacob's blessing over Judah.
Finally, the last part of the Revelation account.
7And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:7-10 KJV)
7When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth -- Gog and Magog -- to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:7-10 NIV)
Whenever the 1,000 years come to an end, the accuser will be loosed out of his prison, 8and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the 4 corners of the land, even to Gog and Magog, to gather them together for war. The number of them is as the sand of the sea. 9They went up on a broad plain and surrounded the camp of the holy and the beloved city and fire came down from god out of the skies and consumed them. 10The adversary who deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where also the animal and the false prophet are, and will be tormented day and night forever and ever.(Revelation 20:7-10 BRB)
The headlines in 1991 where euphoric over the end of the Soviet Union. This was not what American leadership was trained to expect. They had seen the Soviet Union first hand since the end of World War II, and now they were self destructing.
Could this be? Well, in a way, yes, but will it be? Not before the end of this story.
Daniel, using the symbol for Russia of the bear, says he will get up and "eat his fill of flesh." Ezekiel, using the same people group names we saw in Revelation adds that it will be against their will and he uses the illustration of a horse's bit suggesting that someone else pulls him into this adventure.