During the past two weeks, the deterioration of the relationship between Russia and America has been exacerbated by events worldwide. This has caused much concern amongst international observers as the world is edging closer and closer to an international conflict, the scale of which has not been seen since the Second World War. Warnings are coming from all quarters of the globe.
US-Russia a hair’s breadth from war
Former Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev warned that the US and Russia are in a new Cold War with the US-Russia arms race ‘in full swing’. In an interview with Germany’s Bild news paper he stated:
“The language of politicians and the top-level military personnel is becoming increasingly militant. The relationship between the big powers continues to worsen. This creates the impression that the world is preparing for a war. So all the indications of a Cold War are there.”
The Independent commenting on Gorbachev’s statements went on to state:
“Large-scale military exercises have seen Russian and Nato troops, tanks and weapons stationed ever closer in neighbouring countries amid disquiet over the Kremlin’s intervention in the Ukrainian war.”
Russian media anchor Dimitry Kiselyov in his weekly news show Vesti Nedeli made that statement:
“The world is a hair's breadth from nuclear war”
On the other side of the pond, the US sees the same thing in reverse as US Navy Admiral Michelle Howard stated:
"We're seeing activity that we didn't even see when it was the Soviet Union…. They're a global navy, I understand that. But the activity in this
has substantially moved up in the last couple of years "
This is in keeping with the words of the prophets:
“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: Beat your plowshares into swords, And your pruninghooks into spears: Let the weak say, I am strong.” (Joel 3:9–10)
The bellicose backward and forward tussling between the US and Russia is approaching dangerous levels.
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, while criticizing North Korea’s president for its reckless nuclear actions, was more critical of America:
“I really hope that the kind of unilateral action we recently saw in Syria won't happen (in North Korea) and that the USA will follow the line which President Trump repeatedly set out during his pre-election campaign.”
By which he was referring to Trump’s comment that America would not become the world’s policeman.
News syndicates throughout the world carried the headline “Russia declares US relations in ‘worst period’ since the Cold War.” This comes from a statement made by the Kremlin surrounding the trip of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Moscow. The Russian foreign ministry stated:
“It's clear that Russian-American relations are in their worst period since the end of the Cold War, the previous U.S. administration has done all it could to exacerbate them."
Russia and America are poles apart on how to handle Syria. Tillerson stated:
"I think it is clear to all of us that the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end, but the question of how that ends and the transition itself could be very important, in our view, to the durability ... of a unified Syria. I hope that ... the Russian government concludes they have aligned themselves with an unreliable partner in Bashar al-Assad."
Publicly telling Russia “you’ve betted on the wrong horse” is not going to warm Russian relations with the US. Russia certainly doesn’t see things the same way.
UK-Russian Relations Worse Ever
It is not just America’s relationship with Russia that has degenerated. During the past two weeks Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson cancelled a planned visit to Moscow following the chemical attack in Syria. Alexander Yakovenko, Russia’s Ambassador to the UK, gravely warned of Russia-UK relations,
“There is no bilateral relationship of substance e between our two nations, that is beyond mere diplomatic ones.”
Yakovenko accused the UK of “raising tensions” in Europe over its decision to deploy 800 troops to the Estonia, near Russian border:
“We deplore that deployment for it raises tensions in Europe along the border between NATO and
Russia. Russia doesn’t pose any threat to Estonia nor any other NATO member-state.”
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Yakovenko was asked if he believed the relationship between Britain and Russia is the worst they had ever been, to which he bluntly stated, “Yes, it is.”
Interfax reported on April 10th:
“Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov . . . said . . . “The American side has thus demonstrated its complete unwillingness to cooperate on Syria in any form or take account of each others’ interests and concerns. . . The return to pseudo-attempts to settle [the Syrian conflict] in the spirit of reciting ‘Assad must go’ mantras cannot bring anyone closer to political settlement in Syria,” he said.
Russia is Not Leaving Syria
The deteriorating situation worldwide intensified most in the Middle East. This week commentator Juan Cole, Professor of History at the University of Michigan, published an article entitled, “Russia’s not Leaving: Syria is about old-Fashioned Sphere of Influence, not Oil.”
In the article, he discussed the areas of influence in Syria:
The West and Northwest are a Russian sphere of influence, and the Bashar al-Assad regime and the Russians have, as I said, all but defeated the fundamentalist rebels there.
Discussing the areas of influence he displayed a map, pointed out Assad’s areas of control in the red, while geographically small represented about 75% of the population.
Discussing the reason for Russia’s involvement in Syria he hit the nail on the head:
The Syrian conflict is a challenge to economic theories of imperialism... It is not about markets. It is not about monopoly capital. It is not about oil or hydrocarbon resources. It is not about pipelines. Other Middle East conflicts have taken place that could be explained that way. But today’s Syria isn’t such a case….
Syria is important to Russia because:
1. It is near to Russia and Chechen fundamentalist rebels are operating there in alliance with al-Qaeda and with Daesh (ISIS, ISIL). It is unacceptable to Russia for the fundamentalist rebels to win and sweep into Damascus, since this development would potentially destabilize the Russian Caucasus.
2. Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, is a neo-nationalist who feels as though Russia got a raw deal from the US and NATO after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia was reduced to a weak joke, and lost the spheres of influence that characterize a Great Power. It has lost even nearby assets such as the Ukraine. It lost Libya. Syria was a place where Putin could show the flag and bring home some victories.
Russia will remain in Syria and will have most of it as its sphere of influence. Russia has clear motivations and clear goals there, a strong ally with most of the population under its control, and a practical plan for accomplishing them, which has worked well if sanguinarily so far.
Commenting on Juan’s article, Minnesota Post writer Eric Black stated:
International relations are far less about good and evil; they're far more about power…. It makes the fairly obvious case that Russia, which is seeking to recover from a long, steep decline in its power in the world, has only one ally in the Arab world, namely Syria.
Turkey is the new Sick Man of Europe
Further destabilizing the world is Turkey, Syria’s northern neighbor. This week a narrow constitutional referendum victory gave president Erdogan sweeping powers. Picking up on this, McLean’s magazine ran a headline: “Turkey is the new ‘sick man’ of Europe.”
The article stated,
In terms of government mechanics, the changes are far-reaching. They will substantially strengthen and concentrate power in the hands of the president, making Erdogan the official head of state in addition to bestowing upon him the mantle of head of the ruling political party in Parliament. Unlike the American system of government, the new Turkey would see a partisan president in control of both the executive and legislative branches. Parliament loses its Office of the Prime Minister as well as control over budgets and appointments. The president will also have the power to dissolve Parliament. This ensures the predominance of presidential power over the party system. The head of the executive branch is able to make the majority of judicial appointments, and it is very difficult indeed to see how the judiciary could overrule the executive authority and enforce its decisions in any given situation.
The conclusion of the article was:
If the referendum result stands, it will assist in creating a Turkish state with several things in common with its Ottoman parent at the turn of the 20th century. First, it will create an executive authority not based on any democratic separation of powers and resembling more the traditional absolutist role of the Pasha. Second, the reliance on Islamism to govern is manifest and growing….
The April 16 result will only accelerate Turkey’s darkening future as Europe’s new sick man.
Now we know from Daniel’s account that Turkey will be the catalyst of the Russian invasion at the time of the end:
“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.” (Daniel 11:40)
The him in this passage is the power of Turkey or the Ottoman Turks. The King of the South (The Merchants of Tarshish with all the young lions thereof along with Sheba and Dedan – Ezekiel 38:13), pushed against the Turks during the First World War driving them out of what was then Palestine clearing the way for the establishment of the state of Israel as is stated in Revelation in symbolic language:
“And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates (the power of the Ottoman Turks); and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east (suns rising) might be prepared.” (Revelation 16:12)
This is symbolic language referring to the power of the Ottoman Turks being dried up to prepare the way for the establishment of the kingdom of God, which begins with the establishment of Israel, which is to form the nucleus (the building blocks) of the coming kingdom of God, and Messiah’s rule over the world.
Turkey’s instability may well provide impetus for Russia’s future invasion. Russia has interested itself once again in the Middle East, and specifically Syria, but also Iran, Iraq and Libya as dictated by Ezekiel 38 where we read:
“Persia (Iran), Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:” (Ezekiel 38:5)
Daniel adds to this that the areas of Iraq and Syria will be included as they formed part of the image in times gone by which will be intact when destroyed:
“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.” (Daniel 2:35)
The composite metals of gold (the Assyrio-Babylonian empire), along with silver (the Medo-Persian Empire), brass (Greece), iron (Rome), and the European iron-clay are destroyed ‘together’. The word together, is the word ‘chad,’ Strong’s #229, corresponding to the Hebrew ‘echad’ or number one, meaning “as one” or “united” and stresses unity and is used similarly of Israel when they “gathered as one man” or of man and wife being “one flesh.” All the composite pieces of the Image, existing in different epochs are gathered together in one and destroyed together on the mountains of Israel as they come to defy the God of Israel one more time. This being the case, the modern nations of Europe including Italy, Greece, along with Iran, Iraq, and Syria – all the geographical areas of the successive image empires must be united again. We see this in the descriptions of the invasion in both Daniel and Ezekiel.
Activities in Turkey are no doubt leading to the “coming together” of this great confederation which will strike Turkey first and then overflow into the rest of the Middle East.
The hostilities developing between Russia and the Tarshish nations are in keeping with the polarized situation predicted in the scriptures of truth.
A General Election to shore up Britain’s separation from the Image
At the end of March, British Prime Minister Teresa May invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, putting Britain on track to leave the European Union in 2019.
This week she shocked the country and called for a general election with the purpose of strengthening the government's hand in moving ahead the BREXIT negotiations. She stated:
Britain is leaving the European Union and there can be no turning back. And as we look to the future, the government has the right plan for negotiating our new relationship with Europe. We want a deep and special partnership between a strong and successful European Union and a U.K. that is free to chart its own way in the world. That means we will regain control of our own money, our own laws and our own borders, and we will be free to strike trade deals with old friends and new partners all around the world.
Britain wants out of Europe, wants its autonomy and wants the ability to reconnect with its young lions and trading partners! May wants a free hand in getting out of Europe as she stated in her speech:
This [leaving Europe] is the right approach and it is in the national interest, but the other political parties oppose it. At this moment of enormous national significance, there should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division. The country is coming together, but Westminster is not. In recent weeks, Labour have threatened to vote against the final agreement we reach with the European Union, the Liberal Democrats have said they want to grind the business of government to a standstill, the S.N.P. say they will vote against the legislation that formally repeals Britain’s membership of the European Union and unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way. Our opponents believe because the government’s majority is so small that our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course.
While Russia is strengthening itself, preparing for war, and forming its image empire, Britain is quickly standing aside from it and linking itself up with its Young Lion allies according to the endgame that Ezekiel outlines:
“Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof…” (Ezekiel 38:13)
The End Game
With all these world evens hastening to a biblical conclusion we have to ask ourselves what is the conclusion we are preparing for? With all the tension in the world, it is entirely possible that we could face another world crisis that could hail conscription and a last time of testing. Or the testing could be not to be overcome with the cares of this life, choked by the thorns all around us:
“And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18–19)
With the kingdom upon us it is imperative that we keep our vision focused on the joy that is set before us…. Lifting up our heads for the coming redemption – so that we meet our Lord with joy and not with regret.
For the Bible in the News, this has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.