As the world is rocked by the literal sea and waves roaring, the political seas and waves are also roaring. Israel is celebrating 60 years since the State was proclaimed in 1948 - a testimony to the existence of God and proof the Bible is true. Russia has changed presidents and a hint of future directions is given in the inaugural speeches. NATO is loosing its influence and Russia is looking to take up a prominent position.
Devastation strikes the planet. Israel celebrates Independence Day, 60 years after the state’s creation. Putin steps down as President of Russia to make way for Medvedev as the 3rd Russian President.
Welcome to the Bible in the News for May 8, 2008, this is Jonathan Bowen joining you.
Natural Disasters around The World.
We begin with the natural disasters around the planet this week:
The world is once again been humbled by the mighty hand of God. Estimates of death tolls rise in the former Burma to 100,000 victims of a cyclone. A volcano erupts in Chile. Tornadoes rip across the United States. These natural disasters are only a shadow of what is in store for an oblivious world that has chosen to willingly ignore their God. No surprise that when the Lord returns and the proclamation is made in Revelation 14:6-7, to “them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people”, the loud and clear message is, “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”
The world continues on, as if there is no Almighty God in heaven, eagerly anticipating the release of a new raft of Hollywood Hits depicting human beings as imaginary superheroes who save the world from imaginary perils. The majority of the world is happy to be entertained by the delusion that mankind can save himself. Yet, when it comes to real problems like these natural disasters, man is helpless.
We stand on the eve of human destiny. Today, Israel is celebrating Independence Day – 60 years after the State of Israel miraculously came into being, fulfilling prophecies dating back multiple millennia such as Isaiah 11:11-12:
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”
Our hearts rejoice as we see the WORD of God established. The faith of many believers over centuries has been turned to sight. Israel stands as a testimony to the truth of the Bible, to the existence of God who challenged mankind in Isaiah 43:8-11:
“Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth. Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is NO saviour.”
So Israel stands, after 60 years, as “an ensign for the nations”. Ethan Bronner of the New York Times stated on May 8 about the conference to be held in Jerusalem,
“One significant development of recent years that will be discussed here is the shift in the relationship between Israel and diaspora Jewry. For decades, Israel was the needy child depending on contributions and support from abroad as it struggled to survive. Today Israel’s Jewish population of 5.5 million is the world’s largest, just ahead of that of the United States, which is slowly declining through low birth rate and intermarriage. Israel has in fact become the center of Jewish life and is increasingly being asked to act like the older brother to Jewish communities elsewhere.”
Israel, as witnessed by Bronner is an ensign upon the mountains.
And yet, in all the celebrations storm clouds loom on the horizon, and no imaginary superheroes who will swoop in and save the world. Mankind’s savior is the Messiah who will be revealed to Israel and the world following cataclysmic events that will embroil Israel and the whole world in “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [that is of Israel] even to the same time” (Dan 12:1).
Why so much attention to Israel on the Bible in the News? It is because Israel is the nucleus of the coming Kingdom of God that will be in direct conflict with the Kingdom of Men as depicted in Daniel 2. Our interest in Russia, Europe, Britain, Libya, Iran, the USA and all other nations is centered around their role in the advancement of the coming kingdom of God – the kingdom that will be restored to Israel (Acts 1:7).
Some people in the world are beginning to realize the central role that Israel plays in world events. Bronner, of the New York Times, in discussing the celebrations of the State of Israel mentions the conference that will go on this week which will “include statesmen like Henry A. Kissinger, Vaclav Havel, Tony Blair and Joschka Fischer … and President Bush.” Bronner writes,
“… much of the focus will also be on topics closer to home like Islamic extremism, the rise of Iran and sovereignty in Jerusalem.
In fact, what are billed as global challenges — terrorism, Iran — seem to be somehow especially Jewish and Israeli ones. The organizers say this is not coincidental or unusual and point as an example to Hitler, who posed an enormous threat to the world but focused particularly on the Jews.
“Cataclysms always seem to affect Jews first,” remarked Stuart E. Eizenstat, a senior official in the Clinton and Carter administrations, who wrote an essay that forms a basis for the conference. “Go back to the Black Plague. It was not a Jewish issue, but it had particular impact on Jews because they were blamed for it.”
This will be the case in the coming crisis that will be centered around Israel and will “gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle” (Zech 14:2).
A Change in Leadership in Russia
It is with this focus in mind that we look at Russia who is being prepared for this “great day of God Almighty”.
Yesterday, May 7, Vladimir Putin stepped down as President of Russia. In his farewell address as president he reiterated his wish for Russia to “strengthen its influence and standing in the world”. He stated,
“Today we are setting goals and objectives not just for the next month or two, but for the next 20-30 years. We are setting ambitious goals, and I am absolutely certain that we can achieve these goals.”
With forward thinking like that one would almost think he had been trained by the Jesuits.
Time Magazine described the new president, Dmitry Medvedev, as the “new Russian ‘puppet’ president with Putin at his shoulder.” Medvedev in his inaugural address described Russia as “A state that today has at its disposal the necessary resources and a clear understanding of its national interests.” He spoke of,“a unique chance that we must use to the maximum extent to make Russia one of the best countries in the world … striving for a situation in which Russia will take a firm foothold among the leaders of technological and intellectual development.” Medvedev closed his inaugural address by stating, “Life itself and the course of history place ever more complicated tasks in front of us. But I am certain that our country and its industrious and talented people are absolutely capable of coping with them. It is my duty now to serve the people every day and every hour. To do everything for the sake of a better life of our people, their success and confidence in the future. For the sake of the further rise and prosperity of our beloved Motherland, our great Russia.”
We might add that the scripture places a clear task ahead of Russia who will be blinded by the lust of a “better life for their people.” Ezekiel tells us that Russia will “think an evil thought” and “go up to the land of unwalled villages”… “to take a spoil, and to take a prey, and to turn thine hand upon the desolate place that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land” (Ezek 38:10-12) to Israel who is today celebrating the fulfillment of the latter part of this verse as an accomplished fact!
Medvedev has wasted no time in paving the way for his puppet master. Itar Tass reported May 7, “Dmitry Medvedev has sent a letter to Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov in which, in accordance with the Constitution, proposed the candidature of Vladimir Putin for the post of prime minister.” The following day, Itar Tass reported that “Putin will definitely get more than the necessary minimum of 226 votes.” So while Medvedev’s has his hand on the ‘nuclear suitcase’ as he “takes command of the arsenal as the new Supreme Commander of the Russian Armed Forces”, Putin is reported to have his hand on Medvedev.
The Economist reported on April 17th, 2008
“Now Mr Putin … robbing the presidency of its omnipotence. As prime minister and party leader, he will have a tight grip on the country's finances and its regional elites. In theory, Mr Medvedev retains the constitutional right to sack him. But Mr Putin could change the constitution, given that he now leads a party that commands more than two-thirds of the seats in the Duma … The simplest explanation is that Mr Putin wants to retain power. One scenario is that Mr Medvedev will keep the seat warm for Mr Putin, who could legally seek a third, non-consecutive presidential term in 2012. Another possibility is that Mr Putin wants to revive something akin to the Soviet system, with Mr Medvedev playing the lesser role of chairman of the Supreme Soviet and Mr Putin embodying the more powerful general secretary of the Communist Party."
Well, regardless of who the leader is, what is Russia’s plan for the next 20 to 30 years? Interestingly, the Economist reported on April 10th,
“THE job of NATO used to be straightforward: keep the Americans in [Europe], the Germans down and the Russians out. These days things are less certain. A week after the alliance's acrimonious summit in Bucharest, and an inconclusive follow-up meeting between presidents George Bush and Vladimir Putin to discuss anti-missile defences, NATO's future role in Europe's security seems particularly unclear.”
The article goes on to state,
“Indecision in NATO leaves plenty of room for the European Union. But the EU shows little sign so far of wanting to take the lead in the continent's security policy.”
Who will take the lead? The article states,
“America's policy in eastern Europe is running out of steam. Earlier successes, such as expanding NATO to the Baltic states, are now overshadowed by disunity. Some newer NATO members even view Germany as something of a “fifth column” for Russia. Given the uncertainty over what a new American presidency will bring, the outlook for many in Europe's ex-communist states is worrying.”
Worrying would be putting it lightly, especially in light of the scriptures which paint the picture of a latter day alliance between Germany and Russia as they jointly invade the Middle East.
In fact, in an article entitled “Divide, rule or waffle” the Economist stated, “The European Union cannot agree over how to deal with Russia. That suits the Kremlin just fine … In recent years Russia has played a canny game of divide and rule against the EU, building cosy bilateral relations with Germany and Italy especially, but also with Austria, Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Greece.”
Russia is seeking control of Europe by blackmailing the different member states through its control of energy. Scripture clearly states of the relationship between Russia and Europe that Russia is to “be prepared” and to “be a guard unto them” (Ezek 38:7).
So while the sea and the waves roar literally, the political seas are also roaring in preparation for the Great Day of God Almighty.
Our prayer is for Israel, who though in celebrating today, desperately needs its Messiah to save it from the great day to come.
“And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins... For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:26-29).
Tune in next week as we see the finger of God at work in the nations and as we watch the Bible in the News. www.bibleinthenews.com