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Russia Flexes its Military Muscle.
A notable sign of the times predicted in the Scriptures of truth!
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February 28, 2008 - Audio, 10.50 MIN
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Welcome to the Bible in the News, this is David Billington. A headline in the National Post in Canada today read, "Arctic debate could result in armed conflict." The first paragraph of the article reads:
"The fast-warming Arctic could be plunged into "armed conflict" unless the U.S. takes the lead in resolving rival claims by the U.S., Canada, Russia, Denmark and Norway over a region that could create billions of dollars in new wealth as the ice cap melts, according to news analysis."

Last summer Russia caused an uproar when they planted a titanium flag on the North Pole seabed, claiming the area for Russia. On February 1st of this year the National Post ran the headline, "Russia flexes military muscle in Arctic." the Post reported that:

"Russia sent eight bombers to train for combat with enemy aircraft and attacks on ships over international Arctic waters yesterday, reviving long-range bomber missions as part of a wider diplomatic and military effort to win back respect and influence around the world."

There is not only danger of armed conflict in the Arctic--this time it really would be a cold war--but also in Kosovo. Again it was the National Post that reported that: "Russia threatens to use force over Kosovo." The article said:

"The international split over Kosovo grew more ominous Friday as Russia raised the spectre of using force to back its Serb ally's bid to retain the territory."

Bible students have been watching Russia for many years due to prophecies such as Ezekiel chapter 38. One such Bible student was Dr. John Thomas who in his work entitled Elpis Israel or "The Hope of Israel" published over 150 years ago wrote about the future movements of Russia in relation to the Bible in the preface to his work:

"The future movements of Russia are notable signs of the times, because they are predicted in the Scriptures of truth. The Russian Autocracy, in its plenitude, and on the verge of its dissolution, is the Image of Nebuchadnezzar standing upon the Mountains of Israel, ready to be smitten by the Stone. When Russia makes its grand move for the building-up of its Image-empire, then let the reader know that the end of all things, as at present constituted, is at hand. The long-expected, but stealthy advent of the King of Israel, will be on the eve of becoming a fact..."

The Image of Nebuchadnezzar, was the image of a metallic human form that the king of Babylon saw in dreams, unlike any dreams he had ever seen due to their troubling effect. The God of heaven revealed to the prophet Daniel the dream and its interpretation. The dream depicted the great empires that had relation to the kingdom of God, or the land of Judah and Israel--the land of Daniel's nativity. These empires were the Babylonian, Medio-Persian, Greek and Roman Empires, and the toes of the image are the countries of various character that have united together in different ways on the European continent. Now this image had two iron legs representing the Eastern or Greek and Western or Latin parts of the Roman Empire. The main theme of this prophecy however is not the succession of empires, but "what shall be in the latter days." -Daniel 2:28. As we go through the prophecy we discover that this image is to exist together in the latter days, for it is "broken to pieces together", verse 35. At this time when it is broken together, it follows that it must stand together.

The image is broken with a stone, cut out of the mountain without hands. We are instructed that this stone is the kingdom of God or Israel, you can see this by comparing verses 44 and 45. The kingdom shall break in pieces the iron, brass, clay, silver and gold.

Concerning the two legs of the image--representing the latin and greek divisions of the Roman Empire--we are given more information later in the book of Daniel. The eighth chapter gives us more information regarding the Roman Empire and in particular its Greek element.

Daniel chapter 8 is the vision of the ram and the he-goat. We are to be in no doubt as to what these beastly symbols represent for we are told clearly in verses 20-22:

"The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power."

This first king of Greece turned out to be Alexander the Great whose empire was divided into 4 sections upon the event of his death in Babylon. Out of one of these 4 horns sprung up a stout little horn who became great. He was to extend his dominion over the pleasant land, or land of Israel; he was to cause the daily sacrifice of the Jewish temple to cease and cast down the temple, causing it to be trodden under foot for a lengthy period of time; this would be done due to the transgressions of the Jewish nation at the time. As we consider the work of this power we can quite readily appreciate that its work identifies it as the Roman power who gained dominion over the land of Israel and destroyed the temple, ending the daily sacrifices and trod the sanctuary under foot. This was all due to the transgressions of the Jewish nation. This is the Roman power controlling a Greek body. This latter became the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire. When the muslims sacked the capital of the Byzantine empire, the center of the empire moved north to Moscow. This was depicted in the December 1983 edition of the National Geographic magazine. The Greek eastern leg of the Roman Empire is now stationed in Moscow.

As Daniel chapter 2 was a vision depicting what would be in the latter days, Daniel 8 also is a vision which provides us information about for the time of the end, verse 17. This is also depicted graphically in verse 18 where Daniel is in a deep sleep of death with his face in the dust of the ground. He is touched and made to stand. The verb here is a Hiphil causative verb, the angel Gabriel caused him to stand in his place of standing. This is resurrection, a standing again. In verse 19 we discover that at the appointed time the end will be. "Appointed time" comes from one hebrew word, "moed". It is the word used to describe the set times of the feasts of Yahweh in Leviticus 23. It is used in Jeremiah 8:7 to describe the set times for the migration of the stork. The Jewish people in our time, like the stork have migrated back to the land of Israel. This is the appointed time for their return and the set time to favour Zion, Psalm 102:13-16:

"Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof. So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory. When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory."

The LORD appearing in his glory, is the LORD appearing in the persons of his saints and the prince of Israel the Lord Jesus Christ. The saints will stand again like Daniel, raised from the dust of the earth. They will be like God. This is portrayed in the name Michael, which means "who is like God". Michael will stand up for the people of Israel, (Daniel 12:1) against the image power which will also have stood together as we saw from Daniel 2.

Again Daniel 8 parallels Daniel chapter 2, we find that the little Roman horn power of the Greek goat, or "king of fierce countenance" in verse 23, will "stand up" against the Prince of princes in verse 25! But just like the image of Daniel 2 he is to be broken "without hand"!

These are some of the reasons why we watch Russia and why the flexing of her military muscle is notable sign of the times. When she makes her grand move to build the image empire spoken by the prophets so long ago, we will know that the set time to favour Zion has fully come and the time for the saints in the dust to stand again and shine like the stars of heaven. At which point the resurrection will take place we do not know, so let us watch. Come back next week God willing to

Bible in the News provides a weekly analysis of world politics and events
in the light of Bible prophecy — the Bible in the News!