Many different influences were beginning to affect the world in the latter years of the 19th century. Truly there was a great wind of change. It was as though “the four winds of heaven were striving on the great sea”, and certainly some pretty nasty beasts were arising out of the turbulent waters. Whether they were the fulfilment of Daniel’s visions and prophecies, only time will tell, because there is no concensus of opinion amongst Biblical scholars as to the interpretation of Daniel’s vision. However, in this historical survey it has been our intention to introduce factors which don’t normally appear in the history books, and so we continue that process, this time within that great eastern country of Russia. First of all, a little background.
Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov was born in 1870 at Simbirsk, and in his early years he studied the works of Karl Marx. In 1887, when he was 21, his beloved elder brother Aleksandr, a student at the St. Petersburg University, was hanged for plotting with a revolutionary terrorist group to assassinate the Emperor Alexander III, and this had a deep impact on his life and thinking. In that year he entered the faculty of law in the imperial KazanUniversity, but within three months was expelled for participating in an illegal student assembly. Banished to his grandfather’s estate, and remaining idle for a year, he avidly read revolutionary literature, especially Karl Marx’s Das Kapital. It was in 1889 that he became a Marxist. Later, in 1890, he moved to St. Petersburg where he began Socialist propaganda work, for which he was arrested and sent to eastern Siberia in 1897. He married, and spent two years studying and completing his work entitled “The Development of Capitalism in Russia.” The following year he left for Switzerland and founded a revolutionary journal for distribution in Russia.
Ulyanov, who in 1901 wished to be called Nikolai Lenin, was not inactive in the years that followed, but found little opening and opportunity for thrusting his ideas on his native land. The Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905 looked as though revolution was about to break, but it was suppressed. And so Lenin had to wait until the first world war for his opportunity. Learning of revolutionary disturbances in February 1917, he sought entry back into Russia, and managed via Germany in April of that year, whereupon he immediately assumed leadership of the revolutionary movement, overthrew the moderate provisional government under Kerenski, and declared that supreme power in Russia was vested in the Soviets. This was the Bolshevik “October Revolution” which occurred in the early days of November, but in those days Russia still used the old-style Julian Calendar.
All the above facts are recorded in any history book dealing with the time. But now we must look at some of the circumstances relating to an almost unknown figure who was alive during those turbulent years.
Valentina Nikolaevna Zeogkova was born in Moscow on January 2nd 1889, the fourth child of very pious parents. Her father, Nicholas Alexeevitch, was chief director of one of the biggest banks in Russia, yet throughout his life he dedicated himself to defending the interests of the church and to serving its people.
From her earliest years Valentina was surrounded by deep spiritual influences. Her family was often visited by “Starets” (holy men), which caused her to desire a life of total devotion to God.
The Governor of Moscow in those days was The Grand Duke Sergey Alexandrovitch. His wife, The Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorvna, was much loved by the Muscovites, who looked upon her as their “guardian angel.” But in 1905 the Grand Duke was killed by a bomb in the Kremlin, and events began to change. It was in that very year that the Grand Duchess spotted Valentina at a school, and immediately said, “Valentina will be mine.” An invitation was sent to her, and as result, Valentina went to be with the Grand Duchess, and worked alongside her in helping wounded soldiers.
Throughout her early life Valentina had been greatly influenced by the Starets Aristocoli from Mount Athos, and it was just ten days before his death in August 1918 that he spent some time in discussion with Valentina, outlining her own future and that of a Russia, now already under the revolutionary yoke.
“You have received the gift of speaking and writing about what is useful for the soul,” he said, “especially in our times. Your inclination to monastic life will find its fulfillment, but far from here. You will live in one country, then will go further – to Palestine, to Jerusalem, and you will live there for a long, long time. In Jerusalem much work and activities exist. You will live under different powers, but do not fear anything. You will always be under the protection of a right and just hierarchy.
“Many sufferings will come to the world. Many people will perish. But it is not yet the end of the world; the time and the hour are known only by God. God’s army, the powers of angels, will battle with Satan’s army. In Russia people will suffer. It will be a worldwide sorrow from the evil spirits who put to trial all believers in God. Many will be killed. God knows who He must take, and who to leave. But Russia’s fate is in God’s hands and she will rise again. It will be a great miracle of renewal after great sufferings, sent to her with purifying aims. Light from the Orient will shine on the whole world and God will forgive in answer to suffering and repentance. This is very important – to have a conscience about one’s sins; everyone and all are sinners and all must repent.”
In 1922 Valentina and her family were banished from Russia and finally ended up in Nice. But some time afterwards she traveled to Jerusalem, and was met by Archbishop Anastasy, and old friend of the family, and was installed in the Mount of Olives Convent. Subsequently she was sent to the Russian Orthodox Church and Convent of the Garden of Gethsemane, where she became the Abbess, and resided there until very recently, dying at a very great age.
Bishop Aristocoli’s earlier word to Valentina (who is better known in the Western world as “Mother Barbara”) was received by him in 1911, and was clearly prophetic:-
“Tell the women they must belong absolutely to God. They must believe in the great things that are happening and that God is doing on the earth. They must prepare their souls, their children, and their husbands. And they will have very much work to do for God. Oh, what a great work the women will have to do in the end time, and the men will follow them.
“Not one country will be without trial – do not be frightened of anything you will hear. An evil will shortly take Russia and wherever this evil comes, rivers of blood will flow. This evil will take the whole world and wherever it goes, rivers of blood will flow because of it. It is not the Russian soul, but an imposition on the Russian soul. It is not an ideology, or a philosophy, but a spirit from hell. In the last days Germany will be divided in two. France will be just nothing. Italy will be judged by natural disasters. Britain will lose her empire and all her colonies and will come to almost total ruin, but will be saved by praying women. America will feed the world but will finally collapse. Russia and Chinawill destroy each other. [Should this have been translated “neutralise” rather than “destroy”?] Finally Russia will be free, and from her, believers will go forth and turn many from the nations to God.”
Turning to her, he said, “You will live to see Russia free, but you will not live to see the Antichrist.”
Mother Barbara lived almost to the time when the Berlin Wall went down, and the recent dramatic events occurred which saw the unbelievable destruction of the Communist grip, and the break up of the Soviet Union into States. She lived to seeGermany divided into two, and Britain lose its empire, and America feed the world. But although Germany is now one again, and Russia is free, Britain is still teetering on the brink of total ruin. And America is likewise on the brink of financial collapse. As yet we do not see Russian missionaries visiting us, but we deserve to, because God has cleansed their land through suffering, whereas we in Britain have lived the soft life, and indulged ourselves as Christians, preferring the Laodicean lifestyle of “I am rich and have need of nothing.”
Sadly, Russia has been inundated with westerners preaching this type of false gospel, and it is causing a reaction in that land. The following letter was received in this country from Peter Peters, (Head) and Vasilij Ryzhuk (Elder) of the Unregistered Union of Churches in Moscow. It was printed some years ago in an Education Journal, and shows clearly the type of situation that is developing.
“For 30 years we have suffered intense persecution, and now freedom is bringing another great harm to our churches. This damage is coming from the Christians of the West who are sending rock music and evangelists accompanied by rock bands. Our young people do not attend these meetings because we have all committed not to participate in secular entertainments.
“This is a great burden on our hearts. Many come with Bible in hand and rock music. We are embarrassed by this image of Christianity. We do not know what words to use in urging that this be stopped. We abhor all Christian rock music coming to our country.
“Rock music has nothing in common with ministry or service to God. – – We need spiritual bread, please give us true bread, not false cakes. It is true that rock music attracts people to the churches, but not to Godly living.
“We were in prison for 15 years, and 11 years, for Christ’s sake. We were not allowed to have Christian music, but rock music was used as a weapon against us day and night to destroy our souls. We could only resist with much prayer and fasting. Now we have a time of more openness and we are no longer taken to prison. However, now it is Christians from the West who damage our souls.
“We, the leadership and congregations of the Unregistered Union of Churches, the former Persecuted Church have made an agreement not to allow rock music in our churches. We urge you to join with us and we advise you to remove rock music from the West, and certainly do not bring it to our country. Do not desecrate our teenagers with it. Even the believers realise it is unholy music and they cannot understand how Western Christians can be so much like the world.
“We call this music from hell. We want only traditional Christian music in our churches. This is the unanimous decision of all our leaders.”
What an indictment on the West! How can we stand before a holy God after hearing such a plea from those who have suffered so much for their faith?
Returning to the 1911 prophecy, we heard that Britain will be saved from almost total ruin by PRAYING WOMEN. Bishop Aristocoli urged all women to remain very close to God and become the mainstay of Christian homes, teaching their children piety, and consolidating their husbands in a time of great declension. The role of women is a factorwe shall have to look at shortly.
Two other points arise from this prophecy. France “becomes just nothing” and “Italy is judged by natural disasters.” Why do these countries have no positive word for the future in this utterance? Is it because of the anti-semitic influences of the Roman Catholic church in those lands? We have seen how France behaved towards Dreyfus, and how the Pope spoke about Dr.Herzl’s proposals. And the Bible declares in many places that although the Jews have many unsavoury characteristics, those who persecute them unjustly will find it boomerang on their own heads. Hear the words of the Lord in Zechariah 2:6-9. “Flee from the land of the north, says the Lord; for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens, says the Lord. Escape to Zion, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon. For thus says the Lord of Hosts after His glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye. Behold I will shake my hand over them, and they shall become plunder for those who served them.”
“Russia and China will destroy each other,” declared the prophecy, and clearly this did not happen. The word looked as though there might have been a nuclear holocaust, but it was not to be so. In fact the word that followed, saying that Russia would be free, precluded this interpretation of the Sino-Soviet demise. Rather do we think that the word suffered in translation at this point. Perhaps it should have read “Russia and China will neutralize each other.” And this actually happened. Although each nation espoused Communist dogma, yet instead of joining up to become a huge Communist empire, they were uneasy partners, and maintained their borders carefully.
“America will finally collapse.” If in no other sense, America has already collapsed financially. The U.S. National Debt was already standing at $2.3 trillion in April 1987, but in July 1992 it stood at $4 trillion, which means that each American family in effect owes something like $50,000. Just over 40% of all personal income tax goes into servicing this gigantic debt. America was once the most stable country in the world. Many are the present facets of its downward slide from rectitude and honour. “In God we trust” has become a mockery. We say this, not in any nationalistic sense of denigrating another nation. We love America and its people as we do our own, but we are both discarding the faith of our fathers, and from the historical point of view, Britain’s Christian heritage goes back 2,000 years as against America’s 200. We are therefore the more culpable.