This week saw Russia and Iraq forging a new relationship built on traditional values. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki visited Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin where they worked out deals on two major issues: Energy Development and Military Arms.
Welcome to Bible in the News. This week saw Russia and Iraq forging a new relationship built on traditional values. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki visited Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin where they worked out deals on two major issues: Energy Development and Military Arms.
Russia and Iraq strengthen military and economic ties
Lebanon’s Daily Star reported,
“Russia on Tuesday unveiled $4.2 billion in arms deals with Iraq that make it the strife-torn nation's largest weapons supplier after the United States and firm up its slipping foothold in the Middle East….
Russia is seeking to take its ties with Iraq to a new level and win almost certain support for its controversial position on Syria during the powerful Shiite prime minister's first visit to Moscow in nearly four years.
The battles ripping apart Syria threaten to unseat Moscow's sole unwavering Arab ally Bashar al-Assad and make it all the more crucial for Russia to forge regional alliances elsewhere.
Maliki came to Moscow voicing a position on the 19 months of bloodshed that was almost an exact reflection of Russia's.
As the world news media reacts to the newly forged relationship it is interesting to see what is being said. China’s official news agency commented:
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki wrapped up his visit here Wednesday, with both countries finding a common purpose in rebuilding their relationship.
His visit was significant to both Russia, a country seeking to strengthen its presence in the Middle East, and Iraq, which is eager to cast off its image as a U.S. puppet.
Maliki met Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and discussed a range of issues, including energy and military technology cooperation.
A series of bilateral military contracts worth 4.2 billion U.S. dollars were also unveiled during his visit…
The paper went on to comment about the benefits to both countries in a changing world:
During his visit, Maliki said his country needed Russia's help in the military and defense areas, adding Iraq would like to forge a closer partnership with Russia in the future.
"It is a mutually beneficial development in bilateral ties," Eggert said, adding the main advantage for both sides was political rather than commercial or military.
"For Russia, it is a demonstration of its presence in the Middle East arms markets. For Iraq, it is proof that Baghdad is not a toy dog of Washington," Eggert said.
An image that stands together... including Iraq
The endgame for the Kingdom of Men is given in Daniel 2:35:
Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
So no matter what the current political climate might be, eventually all the elements of the image must be “broken in pieces together”. What is of great interest to Bible students is the reorientation of the Middle East dynamics along Biblically designated lines. The prophets paint a picture which clearly delineates the division of nations at the time of the end. The picture painted in Daniel 2 is of the composite “Empires” to be combined together including:
1. Babylon, the head of gold
2. Medo-Persia, the breast and arms of silver
3. Greece, the belly and thighs of brass
4. Rome, the legs of iron and clay
5. Modern Europe, the feet part of iron and part of clay.
Geographically the image must cover Iraq, Persia (Iran), Greece, Rome (Italy) and Europe, and the extensions of their former empires. So all this talk in the news about Greece leaving the EU will not amount to much – in the end, they must be part of the image… and for that matter so must Iraq.
While in Chicago this week we visited The Institute of the Orient, located at the University of Chicago. It was here that Iraq’s place in the Image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was reinforced by Archaeological evidence. The artifacts exhibited here were collected during the 1930’s from the Middle East. A brick from Babylon was displayed at the site inscription:
Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon … eldest son of Nabopolassar, King of Babylon
This evidence reminds us that Iraq was home to ancient Babylon must be with the “image” empires at the time of the end. The fact it has been under American hegemony during the ten years since the Second Gulf War does not change its destiny.
Daniel 11 describes two power blocks, entitled “the King of the North” and “King of the South” who will come into conflict with each other at the end.
Ezekiel draws a line between the nations that form these two power blocks. The Northern Confederacy consists of:
Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal… Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee (Ezekiel 38:2, 5-7).
The Southern Confederacy consists of:
Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof… (Ezekiel 38:13)
The military power of the south is geographically the area of Arabian peninsula which is joined by the “Merchants of Tarshish and its young lions” identified with Britain and its independently developed former colonies who are its trading partners.
Re-Alignment for Iraq
Following the 911 attack on America, and the subsequent American invasion of Iraq the line of division was moved North of Iraq. However, the scripture painted a different picture of the power blocks and Bible students have looked for a material change in the Middle East to bring the arrangement more in-line with Bible Prophecy.
This week’s news is drawing the curtain back on the angelic re-alignment of Middle Eastern nations along Biblical lines.
The same Chinese news agency reported:
Pukhov, director of the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies stated the Iraqi leadership had been cautiously distancing itself from the United States lately.
"Baghdad is gradually re-orientating itself from Washington to Tehran. At the same time, the Russian military-industrial sector finds favorable political support in such a sensitive area as an arms exporter," Pukhov said.
Medvedev hailed Russia-Iraq relations Tuesday, saying the ties were "based on traditional friendship," while Maliki enthusiastically agreed.
The division is outlined according to “man’s” perspective to be along religious lines. No longer is the Middle East merely an Arab vs. Israeli division, the lines have moved to the more Biblical model predicted thousands of years ago by the prophets.
The paper continued:
According to Konstantin Eggert, a Russian expert on Middle East affairs, Russia and Iraq have "reset" their cooperation after nearly 10 years of stagnation, especially their military cooperation.
The Kremlin now placed its bets on non-Sunni regimes in the region, such as Syria, Iran and Iraq, in the hope that these countries could counterbalance the influence of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other pro-Western monarchies in the Gulf, he said.
A Time to Awake!
As we watch the Bible in the news we see the finger of God moving the nations in accordance with his plan. We are constantly reminded:
But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known… what shall be in the latter days... (Daniel 2:28 )
This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. (Daniel 4:17)
What we see going on is clear evidence of God’s truth:
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. (Isaiah 46:9–10)
What we are seeing today has been declared thousands of years ago in the word of God. We have the prophetic light of scripture to “wake us up”. It has to have an effect on our lives – it cannot just be intellectual stimulation. As John Thomas wrote many years ago:
As the Lord has also revealed what is to come to pass in these latter days, it is both our duty and privilege to make ourselves acquainted with it, that our faith may grow and be strengthened; that our affections be detached from the fleeting present, and set more firmly on things to come; that our minds may be fortified against error; and that we may be prepared to meet the Lord as those who have kept their garments, and shall not be put to shame. It is our own fault if we are not “light in the Lord”. He has plainly set before us what is happening in our day, and what is yet to occur.
So let us heed the warning of Paul John Thomas referred to:
But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6)
Behold, the bridegroom cometh! Let us make sure our lamps are burning brightly, and our vessels are filled with oil.
For the Bible in the News, this has been Jonathan Bowen.