British Warships accompany commercial shipping near Iran
This week has seen international tensions rise on multiple levels. The scriptures speak of the latter days in terms of remilitarization. Ezekiel speaks of the re-arming of the Northern Confederacy:
“Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.” (Ezekiel 38:7)
This preparation involves a militarization of the host:
“And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:” (Ezekiel 38:4)
The prophet Daniel describes a similar militarized host:
“…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 prophet Joel speaks of the time of the end as a time of remilitarization:
“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)
USA withdraws from Nuclear Treaty
USSR leader Gorbechev and US President Regan sign the Nuclear Arms Treaty in 1987
It wasn’t surprising to see a reversal of US policy, withdrawing from the 1987 nuclear arms treaty struck between US President Regan and Soviet Leader Gorbechev. CBC news reported the following today:
The U.S. formally withdrew from a landmark nuclear missile pact with Russia on Friday after determining that Moscow was in violation of the treaty, something the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.
U.S. President Donald Trump made the determination that the U.S. would terminate adherence to the 1987 arms control accord, known as the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), senior administration officials told reporters.
The treaty bans either side from stationing short- and intermediate-range, land-based missiles in Europe.
The article stated the reasons that have been given:
"Russia's noncompliance under the treaty jeopardizes U.S. supreme interests as Russia's development and fielding of a treaty-violating missile system represents a direct threat to the United States and our allies and partners," Pompeo said.
The senior administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Russia had deployed "multiple battalions" of a Russian cruise missile throughout Russia in violation of the pact, including in western Russia, "with the ability to strike critical European targets."
This article demonstrates the two main powerbrokers are both developing new weapons systems and building up their armaments once again, just as the scriptures indicate would be the case in the latter days.
Turkey Pulling Away from NATO
USSR unloads S-400 antimissile system in Turkey
It is the quest for arms that is also feeding a division that has been taking place between America and Turkey. This is also leading to an estrangement of Turkey from NATO. The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday:
America made an all-out effort to convince Turkey not to buy the Russian (S-400 antimissile) defense system, offering the similar Patriot system with advantageous conditions. It argued that introducing the Russian S-400 to the defense apparatus of a NATO member would in effect provide Russia with a fixed source of information on NATO capabilities and on its own, especially concerning the new F-35 fighter plane. Washington, as an added pressure, stopped training Turkish pilots on that plane in the United States. As the first components of the S-400 started arriving in Turkey, Erdogan announced that the sale would go on. Trump suspended Turkey’s participation in the F-35 project and canceled the permit previously granted to Turkey for the manufacturing of some 900 components, as well of the sale of 100 F-35s, a loss of millions of dollars for American industries.
This move by Turkey has created a hostile environment, and is the latest in a rift between NATO and Turkey.
The Jerusalem Post article gave a little background of Turkey’s rift with the West and is worth a read. (https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Turkey-and-NATO-the-end-597430). A synopsis is provided.
Turkey joined NATO in 1952 to help keep the Soviet Union in check during the Cold War, and keep the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits open to shipping. Its army is the second largest after America. America has given assistance to help build the Turkish army, and in return Turkey has allowed America to use the Incirlik Air Base as a jump off point for operations in the east. America even stockpiled tactical nuclear weapons at this base.
However, in the 1970’s Turkey began to pull away from NATO sending a force to occupy Northern Cyprus, exiling 180,000 ethnic Greeks. This pitted Britain, another NATO member against Turkey. Britain was prevented from intervening by the USA which wanted to maintain stability in the region.
Turkish President Erdogan trying to re-start the Ottoman Empire
After 9/11 America used the Incirlik Air Base to launch attacks against Afghanistan. When Erdogan came to power in 2002, he forbad the use of Turkish bases to launch any attacks on Iraq.
With the discovery of gas near Cyprus, Turkey has sent exploration vessels into Cyprian waters creating further hostilities.
The article also stated:
A presidential system was adopted in 2017. The regime is openly pursuing an agenda based on the greatness of the Ottoman Empire and on the extremist creed of the Muslim Brotherhood. Dubbed neo-Ottomanism, a mix of religious and nationalist elements, this agenda led the president to embark on an aggressive foreign policy to assert Turkish domination in the Middle East on the basis of Islam, the common denominator of the region. It failed dismally.
This no surprise because the Bible speaks of the “drying up” of the Euphratean power, identified with Turkey:
“And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.” (Revelation 16:12)
The article stated:
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies, as well as Iraq, mistrust him, and Syria sees him as an enemy. Relations with Egypt were cut following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood’s President Mohamed Morsi.
What is interesting with this is that Saudi Arabia, the Gulf form part of the Southern Alliance in the time of the end:
“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?” (Ezekiel 38:13)
These nations, Sheba and Dedan (Saudi Arabia and the gulf states) are seen banding together with the Merchants of Tarshish and the young lions (Britain, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India), while Egypt becomes a target of the Northern confederacy:
“He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.” (Daniel 11:42)
The rift that is developing is shaping the nations according to the picture painted in the prophets.
With the war in Syria raging, Turkey found itself at odds with both the USA and the Russians. The USA sided with the Kurds to fight ISIS, putting it at odds with Turkey. Turkey shot down a Russian fighter that had strayed into its airspace. Finding itself caught between the two super powers, Turkey decided to run to Russia, as the Jerusalem Post article describes:
Now at odds with the US and with Russia, Erdogan decided to side with the latter and not the former and to pursue his fight against the Kurds. He apologized and was welcomed with open arms by Putin. He was included together with Iran in the Russian-led Astana Economic Forum aiming to draw the future map of Syria – so far with no success. Turkish forces aided by pro-Turkish Islamic militias took Efrin, a vast Kurdish district near the border, after Russian troops, stationed there to support their Assad ally, moved out.
Russia has other interests with Turkey too – namely to supply it with gas, and thereby exert further control over it:
The Turkstream natural gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey, temporarily halted by the Sukhoi crisis, was completed last November. A nuclear power plant also temporarily on hold for the same reason is being built in Akkuyu under the auspices of Russian Rosatom and is expected to become operational in 2023.
The pipeline supplies Turkey, but also extends to customers in Europe.
The growing rift between Turkey, NATO and America is pushing it closer to Russia. It isn’t something that the Americans desire, as the article states:
President Donald Trump is in no hurry to go further, though there are calls in America to expel Turkey from NATO. It would benefit neither the alliance nor the United States, neither being keen to push it further in the embrace of the Russian bear.
However, it is the angels who are in control, and not the kings of the earth:
“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)
They will bring about the Father’s will in setting the stage for the Great Day of God Almighty. It won’t be long until Russia pushes against Turkey, as we live in 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)
An interesting note at the end of the article warns:
“…the last 500 years have demonstrated that Russia has been a dangerous ally not to be trusted.”
The Bible’s warning is much more powerful than “history”.
Europe’s Rift with the UK and USA over Iran
Turkey is not the only place where alliances are being redrawn, hostilities are boiling up, and nations are rearming. The recent hostilities in the gulf, which we comment on recently, have seen a storm brewing following the interaction between Iran and nations such as Britain, the USA, Japan, and some of the Gulf States.
Reuters reported the following:
Britain has started sending a warship to accompany all British-flagged vessels through the Strait of Hormuz, a change in policy announced on Thursday after the government previously said it did not have resources to do so….
“The Royal Navy has been tasked to accompany British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz, either individually or in groups, should sufficient notice be given of their passage,” a government spokesman said.
“Freedom of navigation is crucial for the global trading system and world economy, and we will do all we can to defend it,” he added in a statement….
On any given day, about 15 to 30 large British-flagged ships travel in the Gulf, with up to three passing through the Strait of Hormuz between Iran and Oman, where a pair of two-mile-wide shipping lanes provide the only routes in and out of the Gulf.
About a fifth of the world’s oil passes through the strait, and shipping companies are already deploying more unarmed security guards as an extra safeguard.
HMS Duncan deployed to the Gulf
The fact that it is Britain that has been the target of this hostility is quite interesting, as she heads the “merchants of Tarshish” we read about in Ezekiel 38:13. Tarshish is a maritime power, and this argument is all about the freedom of shipping. Britain is being drawn militarily into the region once again, like it or not. The article continues:
The Royal Navy said earlier this month the destroyer HMS Duncan was heading to the region. Separately, four mine counter measures vessels were also deployed, but maritime experts say they could be vulnerable to swarm attacks by Iranian fast boats.
The U.S. led coalition has been pushing countries to join it in bolstering defences in the region against the Iranians.
What has been most interesting in this sea of hostility has been the rift that has developed between Europe and the USA. This article ends with the note:
The United States, Britain and other countries will meet in Florida on Thursday to discuss how to protect shipping in the Gulf from Iran.
Washington, which has by far the strongest Western naval contingent in the Gulf, has been calling for its allies to join it in an operation to guard shipping there. But European countries, which disagree with a U.S. decision to impose sanctions on Iran, have been reluctant to sign up to a U.S.-led mission for fear of adding to tension in the region.
This was highlighted by Germany’s decision to stand aside from America and Britain as was also reported by Reuters this past week:
The U.S. ambassador to Germany launched a scathing attack on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government on Thursday for its reluctance to join a naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz, saying Europe’s biggest economy must assume more global responsibility.
Relations between the United States and Germany have soured since U.S. President Donald Trump took office, due to disagreements on a range of issues from defence spending to trade tariffs, the NordStream 2 gas pipeline, and Iran.
On Wednesday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas ruled out German participation in a planned U.S.-led naval mission to the Strait of Hormuz, close to Iran, after the U.S. said it had made a formal request. He said Germany wanted to ease tensions with Iran and everything should be done to avoid an escalation.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass.
This again is a break in the NATO alliance as the article pointed out:
On the front line of the Cold War, West Germany was one of the United States’ closest allies, embraced as a bulwark against Communism after the World War Two defeat of Nazi rule.
“America has sacrificed a lot to help Germany remain part of the West,” Grenell told the newspaper, adding Americans were paying huge sums for 34,000 soldiers to be stationed in Germany.
We know that Germany is part of the Northern Alliance that will come against Turkey and into Israel in the latter day it is included in the territorial area of Magog that is spoken against in Ezekiel 38:
“Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him…” (Ezekiel 38:2 RSV)
Germany is pulling away from America, and like Turkey is moving toward an alliance with Russia. As America has been moving to contain Russian influence in Europe, it is becoming increasingly opposed to German policy. The article pointed out American sanctions aimed at containing Russia’s ambition will now be targeting Germany:
On another issue that has caused friction, a U.S. Senate committee on Wednesday passed a bill to slap sanctions on companies, including several German firms, and individuals involved in building the NordStream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.
So was we watch the Bible in the News, we see the nations of the world being drawn into the final conflict. The partnership between Sheba, Dedan and the Merchants of Tarshish is being strengthened by necessity. Western military power is being drawn into the Gulf once again. NATO is falling apart, and the nations of German and Turkey are being drawn away from the West and into the arms of the Russian Bear.
As we watch the Bible in the News we need to be sure that we are preparing ourselves so that we are not caught unawares:
“Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” (1 Thessalonians 5:6–10)
For the Bible in the News this has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.