Russia Prepares for Middle East Conference:
Setting her sights on the mountains of Israel.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
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Welcome to the Bible in the News--and to yet another update on prophecy fulfilling. This is Paul Billington speaking with you. Week by week as we see events taking place we see a world situation developing which answers to that which was predicted long ago in the Bible.
Looking through the many news items this week there was one that particularly caught our attention, and that was the report about Russia insinuating itself into the Middle East situation. As Reuters reported it:
"Russia is preparing to host a Middle East peace conference this year that will try to relaunch talks between Israel and Syria about the occupied Golan Heights."
It is intended that the talks would be a follow-up to the US hosted talks at Annapolis held last November, and would therefore deal with far more than the issue between Israel and Syria over the Golan Heights. Reuters went on to say:
"Russia's foreign minister also met members of the exiled leadership of the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Damascus before flying to Israel."
Involving the Palestinians--and especially Hamas--signals that a main topic for discussion will be the area known today as the West Bank; the Biblical "mountains of Israel."
This, of course, is the area identified by the prophet Ezekiel when he tells us in his 38th chapter, about the massive invasion of the land from the north. The leader, or headship of this invading military force is given the name "Gog." Ezekiel wrote:
"Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them. 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. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee" (38:7-9).
There can be no doubt that the target of this invasion is, first and foremost, the West Bank. The area specified is "the mountains of Israel" (verse 8), "the midst of the land" (verse 12), "my mountains" (verse 21), and again in chapter 39 verses 2 and 4, "the mountains of Israel."
This area is at the very centre of the Israel-Palestinian dispute. It also includes of course the city of Jerusalem--and the world is definitely not on Israel's side when it comes to the claims for this territory. In the light of Ezekiel's prophecy we cannot expect anything different. In fact, we can expect hostile objections to increase against the Jewish presence there.
Efforts to move Israel out of these territories which she conquered in 1967 have hit innumerable snags over the years. The so-called "road-map" and "peace process" seems doomed to failure. The model for disengagement has been shown to be a disaster. It was tried in Gaza--but what happened? Instead of the expected peace there was a take-over by the militant Hamas. The result is seen in the hundreds of rockets fired at Israel from that territory ever since. Are we going to see that disaster repeated in the West Bank? It is doubtful that even the very heaviest pressure on Israel could bring about a similar withdrawal from the mountains of Israel.
But there is another reason that stands in the way of an Israeli pull-out from the West bank. This is a force that even the Israeli Government itself cannot now overcome--that force is seen in the thousands of Jewish settlers who now live in the territory. A few token hill-top settlements may be demolished, but an attempt to move out the thousands of zealous religious settlers from this territory could well spark a civil war that neither side could afford.
A few weeks ago we spent quite some time in the West Bank, visiting the Jewish settlements in BeitEl, Elon Moreh, Shiloh, Hebron--as well as spending considerable time in Jerusalem. These settlers are in no mood to move out, but there is a growing anger against Palestinian terrorists. As David Wilder, the spokesman for the Jewish community in Hebron told us: "We are not going to leave." All the signs are that any attempt to move the Jews out of these territories would be met with fierce resistance. It would require an overwhelming international force to accomplish this.
And isn't that what Ezekiel 38 is telling us? That an international force, mainly from Russia and the European countries will turn their hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, "and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations..." (Ezekiel 38:12)? But the God of Israel says through Ezekiel:
"And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel" (38:18-19).
This is the issue that will bring Divine intervention on a massive scale. The nations of the world will be brought to realize that the God of Israel is no myth. He will accomplish His word with almighty power and none will be able to resist Him.
Then shall the kingdom be restored to Israel and the Promises to the fathers fulfilled. It is to that end that we look, when Moshiach ben-David will re-establish the throne of his father as promised in Luke 1:32, 33.
Join us again next week as we watch further signs of this great event approaching.
Printed: Thursday, March 20, 2008
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