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The USA, Russia and the Vatican involved in a Middle East War
A wake up call from Bible Prophecy!
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September 8, 2013 - Audio, 11.00 MIN
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The civil war in Syria has continued to escalate with the Assad regime resorting to chemical weapons use. The chemical sarin is reportedly been used and resulting in the horrific deaths of almost 1500 men, women and children - no doubt many if not most of them civilians. The United States has flip-flopped on a possible military response, along with Britain and France, to send a strong message that chemical weapons are not internationally acceptable in conflict. Commentators have said the tepid response from the United States sends a message of weakness to the renegade states in the world. It has sent a message to Israel that if chemical weapons were used against the Jewish state, the security guarantees the United States has made, may not be worth the paper they are written on.
Russia has moved more ships into the Mediterranean. Here are some headlines from Canada's National Post:
- "Putin warns West against Syria action as Russia sends missile cruiser to east Mediterranean"
- "U.S. strike on Syria could be ‘catastrophic’ if nuclear reactor near Damascus hit, Russia warns"
- "Putin warns West against Syria action"

On the other hand American warships have moved within cruise missile striking distance of targets deep within Syria. Russian and American ships are staring each other down in the Mediterranean Sea. While it may be doubtful that the Russians would attack an American vessel if the Americans were to strike Syria; the Americans have shown weakness and if there is an American response to the chemical weapons use, it will be mild.

Within Syria the civil war has taken on sectarian lines, with the Assad regime coming from a minority Shiite sect and the rebels largely made up of Sunni Muslims, supposedly with connections to Al-Qaeda. Neither side is a desirable choice for the West, which may be some of the reason why there is a reluctance to get involved. Hezbollah, which is Shiite has thrown its full support behind the Assad regime. Hezbollah is supported by Iran, which is also Shiite. This creates an interesting situation as both Hezbollah - which is a major threat to Israel - and Syria, which is also hostile to Israel are engaged in a civil war with the other Muslim faction in Syria.

The Vatican

Meanwhile the Vatican has come out strongly against an American strike on Syria, holding a peace vigil at the Vatican which they claimed 100,000 attended. This from an Associated Press article on the Yahoo News website. While the opening paragraph makes it sound commendable, when one thinks it through it is rather absurd. The opening paragraph reads:

"Tens of thousands of people filled St. Peter's Square for a four-hour Syria peace vigil late Saturday, answering Pope Francis' call for a grassroots cry for peace that was echoed by Christians and non-Christians alike in Syria and in vigils around the world."

Well who could oppose a call for peace? The real intention of the vigil comes out in the next paragraph:

"The Vatican estimated about 100,000 took part in the Rome event, making it one of the largest rallies in the West against proposed U.S.-led military action against the Syrian regime following the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus."

What the Vatican means by peace is stopping a U.S. led military strike against the Syrian regime. Therefore the position of the Vatican and that of Russia is virtually identical. It seems absurd to have a peace vigil now against any U.S. action in Syria and not to have had one over the last years of civil war, bloodshed and chemical weapons which have reduced the country to ruins.

Ezekiel's Prophecy in Chapter 38

Ezekiel chapter 38 is a prophecy pointing to a future invasion of Israel - the time of Israel's deliverance and ultimate elevation. It comes near the end of a series of restoration prophecies in Ezekiel. In this prophecy of Ezekiel 38 there are two clearly defined groups of nations. Invading from the far north, is Gog of the land of Magog, Prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. (Revised Version) Confederate with Rosh are also Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer and all his bands and the house of Togarmah. All the nations listed aside from Persia, Ethiopia and Libya are sons of Japheth. According to Josephus it was the sons of Japheth that populated Europe and Russia. A critical examination of these names, produces much evidence that these nations listed, comprise most of mainland Europe and Russia today.

The other grouping of nations is an alliance of merchant powers called the "merchants of Tarshish", with them are two Middle Eastern nations: Sheba and Dedan. The merchants of Tarshish can be identified as Britain, India and the Western powers. A special issue of the Bible Magazine (Volume 20, Issue 3) deals with this subject. When the northern confederacy of nations invades the Middle-East as outlined in Ezekiel 38, they are questioned by the Tarshish merchant powers - see verse 13:

"Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?"

While God is "against Gog" and destroys him utterly, the prophecy does not use the same terms about the merchant powers. It would therefore follow that they are objecting to the invasion. In fact another prophecy in Psalm 72:8-10 presents these nations as being some of the first to submit to the rule of Christ when he establishes the kingdom of Israel in the earth.

It would seem fairly clear then that the merchant powers of Tarshish together with Sheba are in objection to the invasion from the north, but for whatever reason, they are unable or unwilling to do anything concrete to put a stop to the invasion.

The timing of the outworking of this prophecy is quite detailed. It is after many days, in the latter years, or latter days (verses 8 and 16); the invasion takes place when the Jewish people have been gathered out of many people, back to the mountains of Israel, which have been waste for a long period of time but are now inhabited (verses 8 and 12); at this time Israel dwells in relative safety and experiences prosperity (verses 8 and 11-15). In fact, there is something worth spoiling, something that can be carried away which the invader comes for. The timing of this prophecy is quite precise and we can see that it fits incredibly with the world situation, and in particular Israel's situation today.

To summarize, Ezekiel 38 is a prophecy that applies to our time. The prophecy depicts an invasion of the modern regathered nation of Israel from the north led by Russia - called Rosh in the prophecy. In the prophecy the Middle East is divided just as we see today. Another group of nations consisting of Arab nations on the Arabian peninsula and a great merchant power protest the invasion, but are unable or unwilling to take action. God delivers Israel by means of a great earthquake and other miraculous events.

Holy War

The prophecy of Joel 3, tells us about the same time when Judah and Jerusalem will be regathered and when all nations will be gathered against them to battle. "For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat..." Joel 3:9 says, "Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up", The word here "prepare" is the verb to be holy, to consecrate. So the war against the regathered Jews of Judah and Jerusalem is a holy war - a consecrated war by the nations.

A Wake Up Call

Today we see the United States, prodding her allies and the merchant nation of Britain to strike Syria in the Middle East, but being unwilling or unable to do anything. We see Russia moving many ships into the Mediterranean from the north. Finally we see the Vatican objecting to the Americans acting in the Middle East. Seeing these things is a wake up call, showing us that the stage is being set for the prophecy of Ezekiel to come to pass when Russia with Europe will invade Israel; for a spoil, to liberate the "holy places" and to remove Jewish settlers from the West Bank. The Vatican will sanction the war to bring peace to the Middle East and to liberate the "holy places". The merchant powers will discuss the security guarantees they have given to Israel, but will be unwilling or unable to act. While they are contemplating a response, there will be a great shaking in the land of Israel and Yahweh will make his power known.


The time to prepare for these events is now. Revelation 16:15 "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." Come back next week to as we continue to examine current events in the light of Bible Prophecy. This has been David Billington with you.

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