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Israel's spoil - reserved for the Northern Invader
Israel's gas discovery could transform the region.
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June 22, 2013 - Audio, 9.50 MIN
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Israel used to be totally dependent on importing fuel but the days of paying premium prices for gas seem to be soon over. With some of the largest natural gas discoveries in the world being found off the coast of Israel in recent years, the Israelis have so much gas, that they are set to become a major player in the region and have enough to fuel their own energy needs for at least 25 years. This is Matt Davies joining you for Bible in the News.
An Energy Row
In fact there is so much new gas - that within Israel this week a row has broken out as to what to do with it and how much Israel should export. A plan was put forward to reserve a percentage of the gas finds for domestic use but because of disagreement it was reported that a vote on the decision was postponed to this Sunday (June 23rd).

This week, the Israeli Prime Minister announced that 60 percent of this new gas will be used for Israel's domestic needs over the next 25 years - this was 20% more than a government committee recommended last year.

The announcement was made at a press conference held on Wednesday where Mr Netenyahu is reported to have stated:

"Israel received a gift from nature – a huge amount of gas. After lengthy and critical meetings, we have decided to increase significantly the amount of gas for use by the Israeli economy... The amount of gas will supply the needs of the economy for at least the next 25 years."

Mr Netenyahu's announcement is to be brought for cabinet approval this coming Sunday. Israeli ministers will be asked to approve the plan to reserve 540 billion cubic meters of gas for domestic needs.

These announcements have kicked off a row with some arguing for more reservation of gas and others wishing to reserve less - so that more can be exported. Also the companies who are currently involved in the gas finds (Isramco and Alon Natural Gas Exploration) are not best pleased with Haaretz reporting on a possible lawsuit they may be issuing in relation to the governments policy - which they purport to treat them unfairly.

Perhaps more significantly, an agreement between the partners of the Tamar Gas Field and Russian company Gazprom for 84 billion cubic meters of gas may be foiled should the government proceed with this policy.

Gas for Peace
The exporting of gas is going to become a major revenue stream for Israel. This week Israeli company the Delek Group have been in talks in Cyprus to see if a Liquified Natural Gas terminal could be set up in Cyprus so that gas pumped from Israel's gas fields could be processed and supplied to Europe. It seems Cyprus is keen to do a deal, so that its economy can also benefit from the Mediterranean oil which it has discovered.

The Financial Times on Wednesday reported that should the Israeli Government proceed with their plans, the export value of Israeli gas was still worth at least 60 billion US Dollars over the next 20 years. As things stand Israel's government will get a 60% cut of export sales to put back into their economy and infrastructure.

Last month Israel's Energy Minister, Silvan Shalom spoke about how Israel's new gas finds can be used to give Israel new regional clout.

"Gas gives you much more power than you had. It is something that is very helpful in the geopolitical arena and helps to narrow the gaps... It is a tool we can use in a sensitive and very clever way to enable us to develop relations ... and to have better relations with many other countries"

One of these "other countries" appears to be Russia who is very interested in obtaining gas from Israel's new gas fields.

A sign of the times
In the quote we mentioned earlier, Mr Netenyahu said that Israel had received a "gift from nature". It is of course God and the angels (elohim) who created the earth over a seven day period as recorded in Genesis chapter 1. It is the Almighty creator who, in His wisdom ensured that natural gas would be in the ground off the coast of Israel. There it laid for thousands of years until recent times.

As Bible students we can only be amazed at its recent discovery in the time period of the return of the Jews to their land. When we step back, we cannot but see the work of the angels and the amazing timing of these facts - for we read in the Bible that when the Jews return to their land they will indeed become wealthy. At a time of peace, they are then attacked by a powerful Northern invader who comes to "To take a spoil, and to take a prey" (Ezekiel 38:12). We are told in Zechariah 14:1 that at the time of the invasion Israel's "spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee". For this to occur there must be something of value to take - some wealth to steal, and indeed the vast gas supplies and the wealth that can be generated from these looks like such a target. Indeed a northern power, Russia, has its eyes already upon the gas currently available. Should this be held back from them it could indeed cause them frustration - might this eventually lead to the invasion prophesied of in the Bible? It is reasonable to see it coming to pass. It seems that the proposed 60% of gas will be retained within Israel for domestic use and so we see this as a sign of the times.

The attack from the North prompts God to act and manifest Himself to the world through the work of His son, the Lord Jesus Christ and those who are found faithful to His Word, the saints (Ezekiel 38:18-19 and Zechariah 14:3-5). The saints at this time would have been gathered for judgment and if found worthy made immortal. They will appear with Christ to defeat the Northern invader on the mountains of Israel and re-establish the Kingdom of God on the Earth (Zech 14:16-21).

It is this time we look forward to, as we see slowly but surely the pieces of the prophetic jigsaw puzzle being put into place. How we look forward to the time prophesied of old by Micah the prophet:

"But in the last days it shall come to pass, [that] the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make [them] afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken [it].
For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever." Micah 4:1-5

This has been Matt Davies for Bible in the News - join us again next week God willing...

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