Question: I read this article (http://www.gotquestions.org/Russia-end-times.html). It filled me with hope one one level (I'm a Christian)...but fear on another. Given the events that are currently (March 2015) unfolding in Eastern Europe, should I fear for my life? I live in the UK. Where does the United Kingdom fit into the end-times prophecy? How should I prepare? How should I help others before or during that time?
Answer: First of all, let me commend you for using the Got Questions Ministries site as a resource. I am glad that you found hope amid its pages! My prayer is that I can add to their counsel by giving you some biblical answers that will increase that hope even more—and calm your fears in the process.
Neither of our countries (the United Kingdom or the USA) seem to show up in biblical prophecy. Please note that the article you mentioned on Russia and the end times is careful to say that the Bible place-names are interpreted as being equal to some of the countries in today’s world—and there are many good reasons to understand prophecy this way. But this is no slam-dunk. The correctness of names notwithstanding, the Bible’s frame of reference is toward Eastern (or Middle Eastern) countries. By comparison, both of our countries are Western; we get no play.
You would think that a country like the USA, the most powerful nation on earth (and one that supports Israel so enthusiastically!) would show up somewhere in the Bible. We just don’t…and neither do you (our special ally!) Do not be insulted. We westerners simply fall outside of the Bible’s geographical scope. (Remember, even the American continents were unknown to the biblical authors.) That being said, any global upheaval would certainly involve all nations, and God has a plan for every one—even the ones not referenced in the Scripture.
You should be aware also that not every Christian sees the end times as is popularly portrayed with the "Left behind" scenarios. Nevertheless, many Christians are preparing for a "Tribulation Period" by stockpiling food, buying gold and securing their families’ safety with a view towards a social apocalypse. Some of these aim to reach-out to others during the Tribulation—and you could do this. But, if that interpretation of the end times is wrong, you would be wasting a lot of time and resources. And since the historical church knew nothing of a "Rapture, 7-year-Tribulation, Millenium" scenario for close to 1900 years, and since there are many like me who have been studying the Bible for decades and who no longer subscribe to that Dispensational view, who can really say what the end times will require? But we still have some good counsel from the Bible.
Both Jesus and the apostle Paul worked in a hostile world while staring at certain death. But they did so without disaster planning. They simply worked God’s plan. This is what I recommend for every Christian. Since the particulars of the future are uncertain, keep your head down and work God’s plan. What is his plan? Jesus told us with his last words on earth: Make disciples, baptize and teach what Jesus taught.
“Then Jesus came to them and said…'go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…’” (Matthew 28:18–20, NIV)
So, even though you are right in the thick-of-things in Europe (as opposed to how isolated I am in the USA), people have been expecting the imminent return of Christ based on the things that are happening in the world for millennia—and that is wrong-headed. We Christians need to change focus: We need to look at Jesus—not at Eastern Europe. Jesus said very clearly that he will return—and so he will. But there is nothing clear about an apocalyptic description of Russia or Israel…or of time itself!
Don’t get me wrong; it is okay to study, hope and wonder about the end times. But to be practical, let’s run with what we know to be true: Jesus wants you out there making disciples. Since that is how God’s Kingdom advances (and this is true for yesterday, today and tomorrow), that is—and that has always been—the way to help people with a continual view toward the future.