The Movements of Russia Predicted in The Bible!
And Ezekiel Tells us Whose Next!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
www.bibleinthenews.com Audio & Print versions
Hello, this is Paul Billington with another edition of the Bible in the News--and an opportunity for us to digest the implication of Russia's move into Georgia, and her threats to other countries in Eastern Europe.
This is, of course, a very significant development in terms of Bible prophecy being fulfilled. However, those who are expecting Russia to invade Israel as a next step, and for Ezekiel chapter 38 to wind up the whole story now, just aren't reading the prophecy carefully enough. Russia must build up her confederacy and her military might first. What we are seeing at present is the beginning of a new phase in Russia's determination to (as Canadian news magazine Maclean's put it); "re-establish control over independent states in its backyard, regardless of who their allies are." The magazine article, entitled "Putin's Master Plan" says:
"What's unfolding in Georgia today is an emblematic battle in a much larger conflict between Russia and the democratic West that has been simmering since the supposed end of the Cold War, and especially since Putin became president in 1999... other conflicts--not necessarily military--will likely follow in places such as Ukraine, eastern Europe, and the Baltic states. Moscow has emerged from this altercation victorious on all fronts. It has shown that it has the will to crush--all too easily--a small neighbour, and it has sent a collective shudder through the other countries along its borders, all in the face of hollow denunciations from the outside world--and not much more."
Other countries that Russia has in its cross-wires are the Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Poland. In fact, the whole of eastern Europe lies under the shadow of Russia's threatening posture--and not only so, just as Maclean's pointed out, Russia's:
"vast reserves of oil and gas give it substantial leverage, including in western Europe. Indeed, destabilizing Georgia has only increased Russia's energy clout. Several oil and gas pipelines traverse Georgia, and links are planned to Europe, bypassing Russia. But if Georgia is too fragile to safely transport oil and gas, Europe will have little choice other than continuing its reliance on Russia."
Now this situation does take us to Ezekiel chapter 38. Note the details carefully. There is a definite structure here which has a chronological aspect to it.
First, verse 2.
"Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him..."
Here is a power that is addressed by the prophet. We know the various readings of other translations which have the words "prince of Rosh," and some have the variant rendering "of the Land of Magog." Rosh, as a proper name, certainly points directly to Russia. But what about this Land of Magog? According to Gesenius Hebrew Lexicon the name simply means the place or region of Gog. The name is apparently ancient, and was originally the name of a son of Japheth (Genesis 10:2; 1 Chronicles 1:5), and doubtless it was he who was the ancestor of those who settled "the land of Magog." Ezekiel points out that the name is that of a land; a geographic location--and clearly from Ezekiel 38:15 this "place" was in the north parts, or as the Revised Version has it "the uttermost parts of the north." The Jewish Tanakh (JPS) has "the farthest north."
The well-known Jewish historian Josephus, whose work has survived for almost 2,000 years wrote as follows:
"Magog founded those that from him were named Magogites, but who are by the Greeks called Scythians"--Antiquities Bk. 1, chapter 6.
From this information we can be reasonably sure that the Biblical Magog is the territory known in ancient history as Scythia. And it is the Greek historian Herodotus (writing in about B.C. 470; that is about 100 years after Ezekiel) that tells us that the boundaries of Scythia were the rivers Danube and Don, the Black Sea and the Baltic. That means that Scythia--our Biblical Magog--occupied land which we today would term eastern Europe, including part of Germany, Poland, Belarus, Romania, Moldova, the Ukraine and the Baltic countries.
Now this is almost exactly the Land that Rosh (Russia) controlled following World War 2. We called it the Communist block. If you take Ezekiel 38:2 on its own--then that was the Russian sphere of control for just over 40 years.
On our print edition this week we include maps of the area showing the boundary of Scythia as indicated by Herodotus. This is the Land of Magog. It was controlled by Russia until 1989.
But Ezekiel's prophecy goes on to tell us (verse 4) that Gog, the ruler of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, will be turned back. Now this happened in two ways. It happened in terms of territory as Russia's empire collapsed, and it also happened in the sense of its political philosophy being turned about. The atheistic Communism of 1917 crumbled and collapsed. Russia turned back to its Byzantine form of Christianity. Ezekiel's prophecy had a remarkable fulfillment.
This change is important to note. During the 1980's the United States worked with the Vatican to bring down Communist (and atheist) Europe. The focus began with a Polish pope working to unsettle Poland. The mission was accomplished and the results rippled through the whole Communist world.
But today, as Russia begins to re-assert her strength, there is no co-operation between the Western nations, or between the United States and the Vatican. The Wall Street Journal has the headline: "Nato faces divisions on Georgia military aid." And again on Wednesday: "Nato denounces attack, but lacks a clear solution." The impotence of Nato is reflected in many other papers. And what does the pope have to say? There is no public condemnation of Russia (just as there was none when Nazi Germany took over Europe). "Pope asks for Peace in Georgia" said the Daily Telegraph (UK). Another headline was "Pope: Wisdom must Prevail."
The UK's Mail On Line reported:
"Yesterday the Pope sent his ambassador Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti to visit the wounded in Tbilisi and call for peace. The envoy warned: 'If this crisis spreads, it will be worse than the carnage in the Balkans.'
"He added Georgians had been 'naive' in expecting Britain and America to send armed forces in support of their ally. He said: 'Georgians have such hatred for the Russians and they feel very disappointed the West has not helped militarily.'"
The Vatican will let it be understood that she does not oppose Russia now.
All this paves the way for Russia to assert her will over Europe. First, Magog must be brought into line--and with gas and oil leverage, coupled with threats of military strikes, it is not difficult to see how the next phase in Ezekiel's prophecy will come to life.
"...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" (verse 4).
This is a military revival and "coming forth."
The Jerusalem Post ran the headline: "Russia may arm Baltic fleet with nukes." The Mail On line announced: "Russia threatens nuclear strike on Poland as Cameron demands withdrawal from Georgia."
As we read the prophecy of Ezekiel 38, and put all the pieces together, we surely see what to expect next. When the military "coming forth" takes place, we see what follows in verses 5 and 6,
"Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee."
This is the alliance that Russia will form. It will include the whole of Europe, many Islamic countries.... including Turkey. As John Thomas wrote in his book Elpis Israel (1849),
"The coming years will not be years of peace. The policy of the Autocrat will be to throw his adversaries off their guard," and take them by surprise.
It is after these things--after Russia has built up her confederacy; re-asserting her control over eastern Europe and extending her power over all Europe, the Middle East and North Africa--it is then that she will come down upon the mountains of Israel.
"Whose Next" asks Maclean's magazine. The prophet Ezekiel has given us the answer!
We face difficult times. These things promise us no picnic. Yet while Russia gathers her company the Lord will come. He will judge his people. We must be prepared for that. We must prepare ourselves by the light of Scripture.
A special edition of the Bible Magazine is being prepared in order to deal with these matters more extensively. That will be due out in October. In the meantime keep watching with us here on www.bibleinthenews.com
Printed: Thursday, August 21, 2008
Visit www.bibleinthenews.com for a weekly analysis of world politics in the light
of Bible prophecy!