The current economic crisis threatens to destroy NATO, and Russia is quick to move into the opening void. Using pressure tactics it has forced NATO to allow it back to the table and is setting its sights on positing itself to be at the center of future European defense plans. The scriptures are clear on her future role.
Welcome to The Bible in the News for March 6, 2009. This is Jonathan Bowen joining you.
The world remains in economic turmoil and this holds most of the headlines. The size and scope of this crisis is hard to fathom. The US bailout package alone now tops 700 billion. It is hard for us to get our heads around 700 billion dollars. Analysis have pointed out that 700 billion equates to paying approximately one million dollars every day since the birth of Christ until now.
Yet when you combine the bailouts of Wall Street, AIG, and other insurance and monetary institutions the figures surpass one trillion dollars in the US alone. Many countries around the world have been taking similar actions, scaled to the size of their own economies. Governments around the world are so focused on their own economic problems, that they are not looking at other problems around the world.
While this economic earthquake will redefine the economic and political landscape, we look to see how nations are positioning themselves going forward. Martin Savidge, anchor of World Focus, an American News program, had the following to say:
So many of these economies around the world are in so much trouble, so many governments are in trouble because of internal pressure, they’ve got to solve the economic crisis, you are not going to see as many international problems come up in the world. Everybody is so focused on their own problems, whether or not their government can survive this economic downturn, they can’t go out there and cause trouble in other parts of the world…
We have this overture that is being made to Russia. Why are the overtures being made about, “if you don’t support Iran with its nuclear missile program, then the US is willing to back off its missile defense system it is placing in eastern Europe. Again, why does Russia perhaps want to listen to that? Because Russia’s got a deep economic problem. They, right now, need to focus on what is happening there. Hillary is basically offering them an olive branch. Saying, Look, we know you have problems at home, here’s one way we can help you resolve it. She is reaching out….
This really could, back to the economy, could break up the alliance of NATO, in many ways it puts a great deal of strain of it, as it does the European Union, because everybody is turning inward to solve a problem that we know needs to be tackled by everybody coming together globally.
The scriptures support what Mr. Savage had to say of the future collapse of NATO as a North American-European defense organization. We know, as discussed last week that Europe has a combined destiny which excludes Britain and the USA in the time of the end, which will “make war with the Lamb”. But while many nations are looking internally, we know the scriptures have indicated the course to be taken by many nations in the time of the end, especially Russia.
This past week we have seen Russia playing hardball with the USA over the Kyrgystan Military Base the US uses to launch attacks on Afghanistan. The Russian news agency, Russia Today reported on March 6, 2009:
“Kyrgyzstan’s parliament has voted to rescind the agreements with 11 countries that allowed them to place military contingents at Manas airbase…. On February 20, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev signed a decree to close the Manas base operated by US in northern Kyrgyzstan.”
On February 20th, 2009, Russia Today had reported:
“The Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev has signed the bill on the closure of the American military base at Manas. The Pentagon has been sent official notice, and now base personnel have to leave within 180 days.”
Why would Kyrgyzstan take such a hard line? The Russia Today article continued,
Some observers maintain that the decision was the result of the financial benefits which Moscow had agreed to provide to Kyrgyzstan, including a $US 300 million loan and aid worth $US 150 million. Russia has also agreed to invest $US1.7 billion into a hydropower plant, which is under construction in Kyrgyzstan.
One has to wonder, what is behind this Russian proxy pressure tactic being levied through Kyrgyzstan? Well, we have seen some clues in the invitation made by NATO to have Russia resume relations with them. The West is being forced to admit that Russia is a force to be reckoned with.
The NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, announced the NATO decision at a media conference:
“Russia is an important player, Russia is a global player and that means that not talking to them is not an option. Afghanistan is a case in point where I think NATO and Russia can better work together. The fight against terrorism is another one. The fight against narcotics is another one. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is another one….”
Following this, Russia’s envoy to Nato, Dmitri Rogozin went on to state:
“Now NATO has a lot of problems in Afghanistan and without Russian support in the case of transit of goods for ISAF troops in Afghanistan, nobody can say how this operation can finish. So, we have a lot of directions for our co-operation. Another way, for example, fighting with terrorism, against drugs, etc. So, NATO has a lot of interest to reinstall co-operation with Russia.”
So is Russia simply posturing itself to be a good neighbor to the USA and help with solving some of the international issues in the world, hoping to reconnect friendly ties?
The Bible paints a different role for Russia. It is the antagonist to the West as described by Daniel chapter 11. There are two powers – a King of the North, and a King of the South. They are hostile, one to another, and eventually the King of the South (the US-Britain led coalition) will provoke a response from Russia, the King of the North. Daniel 11:40-41 states:
And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.
The Bible also gives a clear picture of her future role in Europe. Ezekiel 38:7 speaks of Gog, the prince of Rosh, or Russia, in the following terms:
Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them. (Ezekiel 38:7)
The world guard means to “hedge about” or to watch as a prisoner is watched by a guard. So as we look to Russia while the fog of economic crisis clouds the world’s vision, we wonder what evil thought is she thinking? A glimpse of this evil thought is given by Maksim Bratersky, Political Analyst from the Higher School of Economics in Moscow:
“On one hand, Russia had made it very clear during the last year that Russia wants to be not just part of the security system on Europe, but Russia wants to be in the center of the security system of Europe, not in the outskirts. On the other hand, NATO is expected to adopt a new strategy and a new concept of NATO, which will happen in the next couple of months. Maybe these two months will be spent with NATO and with Russia discussing how these two strategies can be combined.”
The 150 year old prediction by John Thomas, firmly based on a clear understanding of Ezekiel 38 is moving to become a reality. In his book “Anatolia” or “Russia Triumphant and Europe Chained” foresaw, using the light of scripture, a future situation where Russia would be at the center of the security system of Europe. The European system would be “worn out” and Russia would “overtake many countries”. Thomas wrote:
Daniel does not particularize the extent of the dominion of the King of the North in the eleventh chapter; though indeed he symbolizes it in his second. But what he has omitted in the eleventh, Ezekiel has sufficiently supplied in his prophecy of Gog. By the names of the peoples he mentions in Gog’s title, and the description of his army, the reader may learn what nations this Autocrat gathereth and heapeth to himself as thick clay in the day of his high exaltation (Hab. 2:5, 6).
Daniel says of him in general terms, “He shall enter into the countries, and shall overwhelm and pass over”—and “many (ravboth, referring to erĕtzoth, countries, understood) shall fall”; that is, from weakness, as the word implies—the worn-out condition of the powers facilitating his progress. Ezekiel tells us that these countries are those of Magog, Gomer, Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, and Togarmah, with their hosts; in addition to Rosh, Meshekh, and Thuval. He says that the King of the North, or Gog, is to be for mishmar, a guard, sentinel, shepherd, or supervisor, over all these (Ezek. 38:7).”
We continue to watch the nations of the world preparing themselves for the battle of the great day of God Almighty. We wait to see what will happen in Israel, what the policies of the next government will be. While the world tosses to and fro in economic crisis, let us “lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast” (Heb 6:18-19).
The word of God remains the only rock on which we can build our hopes, and through which we can make any sense out of the present world crisis. God has spoken, and cleary he states, “my word that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isa 55:11).
Tune in next week for another edition of the Bible in the News.