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Will Conflict Bring Peace?
Is the boiling pot in the Middle East cooking up the conditions of Ezekiel 38?
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June 8, 2013 - Audio, 11.25 MIN
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The Middle East remains the center of world attention as the war rages on in Syria and Turkey continues it’s decent into anarchy. Austrian Peace Keepers pull out of the Golan. Russia offers to move its troops in, and John Kerry says that Israel is dwelling confidently, securely and prosperously.

Welcome to the Bible in the News, this is Jonathan Bowen joining you. The Middle East remains the center of world attention as the war rages on in Syria and Turkey continues its decent into anarchy.

Austrian Peace Keepers Pulling Out

The war in Syria took some interesting turns this week moving the focus to the Golan Heights. Syrian rebels seized the Syrian controlled section of the Quneitra border crossing between Syria and Israel. The Syrian government later took back the position. However, during the incident a Filipino peacekeeper was wounded when an artillery or mortar shell landed at Camp Ziouani a logistics base for the UN Disengagement Observer Force.

This prompted the Austrian government to pull its United Nations peacekeeping force from the Golan Heights. The Austrian chancellor, Werner Faymann, and his deputy, Michael Spindelegger, said in a joint statement.

Freedom of movement in the area de facto no longer exists. The uncontrolled and immediate danger to Austrian soldiers has risen to an unacceptable level," "This morning's developments show that a further delay (in pulling out soldiers) is no longer justifiable."

The Austria troops account for about 380 of the 1,000-strong UN force monitoring the 1973, (post Yom Kippur War), Israel-Syria ceasefire line in the Golan Heights.

The UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), has been monitoring the ceasefire line since 1974. The only crossing along the Israel-Syria ceasefire line on the Golan is Quneitra.

Russian offers to send in its troops

Canada, Japan and Croatia already pulled their peace keeping forces out. With the Austrians who form such a large contingent of the UN peace keepers pulling out, and the Philippines also reportedly reconsidering their commitment, the UN Mission in the Golan area is becoming very thin.

The UN has put out an appeal for more peace keepers to be sent.

Arutz Sheva reported Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed on Friday that his countrys peacekeepers replace departing Austrian troops which monitor the Israeli-Syrian ceasefire line in the Golan Heights.

Russian news agencies quoted Putin as saying: Considering the difficult situation that is developing today in the Golan Heights, we could replace the departing Austrian contingent in this region separating Israeli forces from the Syrian army.

Very funny.

Arutz Sheva reported that Russia has indicated that it plans to provide Assad with advanced S-300 missiles despite a request by Israel not to do so. Not exactly peace keeping strategy.

Arutz Sheva reported the United Nations turned down Russias offer:

The United Nations said on Friday that Russia cannot send troops to the Golan Heights peacekeeping force, after President Vladimir Putin said he was ready to bolster the force, AFP reported.

However, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said later on Friday that Russia was banned from taking part in the force because it is one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

We appreciate the consideration that Russia has given to provide troops on the Golan. However, the disengagement agreement and its protocol between Syria and Israel does not allow for the participation of permanent members of the security council in UNDOF, Nesirky told reporters, according to AFP.

This is very interesting as shows Russias interests in being involved politically and militarily in the region. It is Russias destiny, eventually to become embroiled in the region as we read in Ezekiel 38:

After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. (Ezekiel 38:8)

Russias efforts to get its troops into the area will be achieved successfully later on when we read:

Thus saith the Lord God; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages (Ezekiel 38:1011)

The world is ignorant of Russias true plans, but the Bible outlines them for us. They are a belligerent to Israel, supplying arms to its neighbours and funding, by supplying arms and training, at least two major wars, and probably most of the skirmishes Israel has had with its neighbors, either directly, or indirectly through supplying weapons to its client states like Iran and Syria.

Peace First

Before this evil intention is carried out the conditions described must be in place.

And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places 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. (Ezekiel 38:1112)

The conditions must be met. The land has to be one of unwalled villages not just partly, but all of them must dwell without walls and have neither bars nor gates.

Today, Israel is almost completely walled off from its neighbours.

The Washington Post reported on June 6,

As the threat of spillover mounts, Israel is replacing an old, broken-down fence

When the 45-mile fence is finished in the coming months, Israel will have taken another big step in surrounding itself with barriers. Rather than tearing down old walls, Israel is rebuilding and bolstering its ring of ground fortifications

The Israelis build the world

The map depicted shows the extent of the security fence that will soon surround the whole of Israel.

A significant change has to take place in the political landscape of Israel between the Arabs and the Jews that will lead to the dismantling of the walls. It remains to be seen how the words of the prophet will come to pass.

Confident Israel

The other attribute noted from Ezekiel 38 is the people are described as being at rest and dwelling safely. The Hebrew word for safely is betach, Strongs #983, and is translated by Strongs as securely. Gesenius Lexicon translates it without danger and fear, safely, with a confident mind, confidently.

What was of great interest this week was U.S. Secretary of Sate, John F Kerrys complaint reported by the Daniel Pipes, President of Middle East Forum

U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry recently complained that Israelis are too contented to end their conflict with the Palestinians: "People in Israel aren't waking up every day and wondering if tomorrow there will be peace because there is a sense of security and a sense of accomplishment and of prosperity."

While Mr. Kerry misunderstands Israelis (Palestinian rejectionism, not prosperity, caused them to give up on diplomacy), he is right that Israelis have a "sense of security and of prosperity." They are generally a happy lot.

So according to the US Secretary of state, Israel has a sense of security and prosperity. This is exactly what the Bible predicts.

In his article, Daniel Pipes goes on to tell the reason that Israel has this feeling of security and prosperity.

  • A high birthrate of 2.65 - higher than all advanced countries
  • 14.5% growth of gross domestic product during 2008-12 recession, giving it the highest economic growth rate of any OECD country (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development).
  • Due to major gas and oil finds, Walter Russell Mead observes, "the Promised Land, from a natural resource point of view, could be ... inch for inch the most valuable and energy rich country anywhere in the world."
  • With Syria and Egypt consumed by internal problems, the existential threat they once posed to Israel has, for the moment, nearly disappeared. Thanks to innovative tactics, terror attacks have been nearly eliminated. The IDF has outstanding human resources and stands at the forefront of military technologies; and Israeli society has proven its readiness to fight a protracted conflict. Mr. Inbar, a strategist, concludes that "the power differential between Israel and its Arab neighbors is continuously growing."
  • For the rest of the reasons see Daniel Pipes full article

The conflict surrounding Israel is weakening its neighbours. Sunni Muslims are being pitted against Shia Muslims in civil war, and as Daniel Pipes stated, the existential threat they once posed to Israel has, for the moment, nearly disappeared.

Often political turmoil such as we have seen in Egypt, Syria, Turkey and other places can break up the calcified attitudes of nations along with decade long stalemates that have developed and provide, albeit through rather tumultuous interim periods, the necessary pieces to bring about the purpose of God. Consider the breakup of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the fall of the Soviet Union. It led to the reunification of Germany, and the re-emergence of the Beast, in its European Union phase.

Through the ongoing turmoil, resource exploration, and weakening of the surrounding nations, the picture of Ezekiel 38 is coming into focus.

We pray for the intervention of Almighty God when the great Russian host will be broken on the mountains of Israel, Israel will be saved from their enemies, and the Kingdom of God will be established, centered out of Jerusalem.

May that day come soon.

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