Russia increases its military aggressiveness and has Europe "over a barrel" when it comes to a response. Russia's hegemony is increased to include the other players described in Ezekiel 38.
The literal sea and waves are roaring as hurricane after hurricane strikes the US South, Cuba and the Caribbean. The prophetical sea and wave are also roaring and men’s hearts are failing them for fear around the world.
Welcome to Bible in the News. This is Jonathan Bowen joining you this week. We read in Isaiah 57:20, “the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” That about sums up the political scene around the world this week.
What is also interesting is the divide that is occurring within the NATO Alliance over the issue of Russia. The Economist reported on September 9th,
The EU and NATO are both deeply divided on Russia, with countries such as Italy loudly opposing sanctions of any kind, and others such as Germany highly mindful of Russia’s role as an energy supplier.
The energy noose tightening around Europe’s neck is pulling it into the influence of Russia and away from the west.
Sarcastically, the cover of the Economist carried the title, “Europe stands up to Russia” and depicted Europe with the fortitude of a wobbly jelly (or Jello if you are North American). The Economist reported of the September 1st meeting of EU leaders,
THE European Union will be heeded by Russia only when it speaks with one voice. That was the universal battle cry in Brussels as EU officials and diplomats hurried back from their summer holidays to prepare for an emergency EU summit on the Georgian crisis, called by the current French presidency for September 1st.
When it comes to the stated purpose of the meeting—to re-examine EU-Russia relations—the 27 leaders will remain divided into several overlapping camps. These include: those who think Russia can and must be engaged as a partner; those who think Russia needs containing; and a larger group of fatalists who think that Russia “has us over a barrel”, as one diplomat punningly puts it….
In recent disputes that pitted Russia against such countries as Poland or Estonia, a favourite line of German diplomats or politicians was to complain that individual countries had no right to take the wider EU’s good relations with Russia “hostage”.
One is reminded of what Winston Churchill, Britain’s wartime Prime Minister, had to say about appeasement:
“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
This appears to be the combined resolve of Europe. Feed “Georgia” to the Russian crocodile (or Dragon) and hope he doesn’t turn the gas tap off for the rest of us.
Russia is completely unmoved by the diplomatic furor over its actions in Georgia. The Economist for Sept 4, 2008 also reported,
It is still unclear what Russia really wants in Georgia—or elsewhere. [unless you are a student of Bible]
In Moscow, the mood is defiant, unrepentant and uncompromising. Mr Medvedev and a raft of top officials have scoffed at talk of serious punitive action. “Bring it on” appears to be their devil-may-care mantra. Convinced that the days of a unipolar Washington-centric world are dead and buried, Russia believes it has a privileged place at the top table of a fast-changing multipolar world. Any attempt to mete out punishment will backfire. “The G8 will be practically unable to function without Russia,” Mr Medvedev calmly told Italian television. “That’s why we don’t fear being expelled.” On NATO’s freezing of ties with Russia, he remarked: “We don’t see anything dramatic or difficult about suspending our relations…But I think our partners will lose more from that.” Unmentioned but clearly meant was NATO’s reliance on Russia to supply its forces in Afghanistan.
Other Pots on the Russian stove
However, there are more pots on the Russian stove which are being brought to a boil. The global struggle for ascendancy is putting fear and dread in the hearts of many people. The temperature does not seem to be going down either.
Poland is another pot coming to a boil on the Russian stove. The New York Times reported today,
“Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of Russia warned Poland on Thursday that it was “playing a dangerous game” by agreeing to deploy part of the controversial American anti-ballistic missile shield on its territory…. Senior Russian generals have warned Poland it would pay the consequences for hosting several U.S. interceptors. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, head of strategic missile forces, said the U.S. missile shield sites in Europe could become “designated targets.”
Russia’s arm is long and it possesses several spoons for stiring the pot around the world. The Jerusalem Post reported today, “Russian strategic bombers landed in Venezuela on Wednesday”. The International Herald Tribune reported,
“Russian analysts said it was the first time strategic bombers have landed in the Western Hemisphere since the Cold War. The foray, and the coming military exercises with an avowed U.S. enemy, are likely to strain the already tense relationship between Moscow and Washington.
Russia is seeking to extend its spheres of influence into the anti-American nations around the world. What Cuba was to Russia in the 1960’s, Venezuela appears to be today.
The Economist reported on September 9th,
The worst east-west row for more than two decades may have stopped hotting up, but it is not cooling off much. Russia is sending a flotilla headed by one of its largest warships, Peter the Great, a nuclear-powered cruiser, to the Caribbean for joint manoeuvres with Venezuela, America’s most pungent adversary in the region.
The Tribune reported on Russia’s response to the uproar:
“Prime Minister Vladimir Putin suggested the reaction to the Russian planes' flight and the upcoming naval exercises was excessive. He again criticized the United States for using warships to deliver aid to Georgia's Black Sea Coast — even as Russian military forces were close by.
He said the Americans would react strongly if any planes should fly over the United States:
"I mean… [if] there should be any sort of conflict over the American continent, this is considered the 'holiest of the holy'," Putin said. "And they drive ships with weapons to a place just 10 kilometers from where we're at? This is normal? This is an equitable move?"
The tone of this rhetoric is astounding… but considering Russia’s destiny as outlined in the Bible, we should hardly be surprised.
Lybia and Ethiopia with them.
We’ve seen the rise of a partnership between Iran and Russia over the past few years. Reuters reported Russia defiant claims this past week, stating:
Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant is nearing completion and the start-up of its reactor will soon become "irreversible", the Russian state-owned company that is building the power station said on Tuesday.
This is a huge source of worry to Israel and the America-friendly Arab states, and yet nobody seems to have the resolve or resources to deal with this issue.
But Iran is not the only partner identified in the bible. There are others who fall into the hegemony of Russia. Ezekiel 38v5 describes:
“Persia (Iran), Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet”
The biblical Ethiopia covers the territory what we now know as both Ethiopia and Sudan. It was interested to see who supported Russia in its attack on Georgia. Sudan was among those who did. The Sudan Tribute reported on August 16, 2008:
The Sudanese National Assembly lent its support Moscow in its clash with Georgia over the border region of South Ossetia. The Sudanese legislative body described the Russian response as “legitimate” and that Moscow had “the right to defend its citizens”.
The link between Sudan and Russia, described in the Bible is seen today in the news. On September 8th, The Voice of America reported:
Khartoum [Sudan] and Tehran signed agreements in January 2007, and again in March, pledging to boost military cooperation. "Iran and Russia are countries that are equipping Khartoum [Sudan] with military hardware," …
Last year, human-rights group Amnesty International reported that Russia and China, which had approved the passage of the U.N. resolution in 2005, had broken the arms embargo by supplying Sudan with attack helicopters, bombers and other vehicles and weapons used against civilians in Darfur.
The Sudan Tribune reported on August 29, 2008:
Sudan and Russia enjoy good relations particularly in terms of military cooperation. Moscow along with Beijing blocked tough UN Security Council (UNSC) measures against Khartoum over the Darfur conflict.
In fact, Moscow deployed more Russian “Peace Keepers” in Chad at the beginning of September. Kenya’s leading newspaper, The Daily Nation reported on September 2nd:
“In June, Chadian president slammed EU peacekeepers for backing rebels and failing to protect civilians as rebel’s attacks upsurge. Russia has already deployed a helicopter support group in neighbouring Sudan.”
The links between the Biblical “Ethiopia” and Russia are becoming clear. But don’t forget the third player, Libya. It is interesting to see the growing influence of Russia in that country. The Brussels Journal reported on August 16, 2008:
“Libya and Russia are coming closer. Russia will modernize Libya’s military (U-boot, Planes, rockets, tanks).”
Kommersant, Russia’s daily online paper, quoted source in the Russian Foreign Minister as expecting other states to recognize the independence of South Ossetia,
“We also expect a decision on that account from the authorities of Syria, Jordan, Libya and Morocco, But we did not pressure any of our partners for it. We simply inform them of our position.”
These are all pieces of the prophetic puzzle coming together.
Let’s not forget the order of events laid out in the scripture:
First, the invasion of the Middle East by Russia and its allies including Iran, Sudan/Ethiopia and Libya described in Ezekiel 38, and culminating in the Battle of Armageddon.
Second, Europe’s Rebellion & “war with the lamb” described in Revelation chapter 17 after the battle of Armageddon, (chapter 16).
But, preceding both these prophetic events are the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:16:
“The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first”
The saints will be take away to meet Christ before the great invasion of Ezekiel 38. They are with the Lord Jesus Christ when he meets the Gogian invader as described in Zechariah 14:3-5:
Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.”
Do not think we will be here much longer, it is time to put our houses in order now.
So, we watch The Bible in The News, let us do with “your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand” because God has said, “I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.”
Tune in next week for another edition of the Bible in the News. www.bibleinthenews.com