A Tense Situation in the Black Sea as Russia Flexes Its Mid-East Muscle
The King of the North and the King of the South.
Friday, August 29, 2008
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Welcome to the August 28th edition of the Bible in the News, this is David Billington. The crisis in Georgia continues to smolder and is now shifting to a confrontation between Russia and the United States. The situation in the Black Sea is tense and has the potential of being explosive as Russian vessels patrol in close quarters with US and NATO vessels. Then there is the Turkish Navy deployed in the Sea, they too members of NATO. The International Herald Tribune under the heading "NATO ships create alarm in Moscow" reports:
"The United States is pursuing a delicate policy of delivering humanitarian aid on military transport planes and ships, to illustrate to the Russians that they do not fully control Georgia's airspace or coastline.
"The policy has left American and Russian naval vessels maneuvering in close proximity off the western coast of Georgia..."
Although NATO and the EU are divided over what to do about their erratic neighbour, they are meeting to consider sanctions on Russia. Russia isn't very happy about this situation and is raising the energy weapon through various unofficial channels. In fact, it is quite likely there may be a "technical difficulty" with oil or natural gas deliveries to Europe on the day of the EU meeting. Here are some snippets from a Daily Telegraph report:
"Russia may cut off oil flow to the West
"Fears are mounting that Russia may restrict oil deliveries to Western Europe over coming days, in response to the threat of EU sanctions and Nato naval actions in the Black Sea. Any such move would be a dramatic escalation of the Georgia crisis and play havoc with the oil markets...
"A supply cut at this delicate juncture could drive crude prices much higher, possibly to record levels of $150 or even $200 a barrel.
"Russia is behaving in a very erratic way," said James Woolsey, the former director of the CIA. "There is a risk that they might do something like cutting oil to hurt the world's democracies, if they get angry enough."
This does not take into account what may happen this coming week as tropical storm Gustav barrels toward the gulf coast and disrupts US oil production. These are turbulent times.
Western Europe is in a bind and the USA has worries elsewhere, the Economist comments:
"Russia’s elite is convinced that the West is weak and will swallow Russia’s decision. "When you cross the road you have to check for dangers," declares Mr Zatulin. "The West can apply psychological pressure. But Europe cannot afford to turn down our gas and America needs our help with Afghanistan and Iran.""
Almost unnoticed while the war has been going on in Georgia, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at a Black Sea summer resort town. Time magazine in an article with the heading: "Russia flexes its muscles in Mideast", reported that: "The trip paid off for Assad when Russia agreed to strengthen military ties with Syria. According to the Russian press, Assad also offered to host advanced Russian missile systems on Syrian soil." The article continued on to state: "Moreover, the rejuvenated Russian-Syrian connection is just one example of how the so-called new Cold War between the U.S. and Russia is spreading to the Middle East, mapping itself onto the region's pre-existing conflicts, and complicating efforts to bring stability to a region that is on the verge of a new hot war."
In the prophecy of Daniel, chapter eleven stands out in a rather unique manner. It uses less symbolic language than the other prophecies Daniel presents to us and it sets out in detail hundreds of years of events that were to unfold from the era of the Persian empire until the Romans and then leaping forward past centuries it draws aside the curtains of time and gives us a glimpse of the "time of the end" starting in verse 40. Then describing the same time of the end, the prophecy marches on into chapter twelve introducing Michael who will stand up for God's people.
It is important to notice this continuity between the two chapters. Daniel 11:40 introduces "the time of the end" and Daniel 12 commences with the words: "And at that time...". In typical prophetic style seen time and again throughout the prophets, we are presented with a little summary or end picture first in chapter 12:1. The first verse summarizes the chapter and presents us with the result. Michael (A name meaning "Who is like EL"--We shall be like him, O how rich the promise...), standing up equates in the prophecy with verse two--the standing again of the faithful from the dust of the earth--the standing again of the house of David who will rule as the stars for ever and ever. The is very helpful in understanding the later part of Daniel 11, for we can deduce that the time of the end is the time in which the dead are raised and ascend to rule as the stars.
The Greek empire of Alexander the Great, fragmented into four divisions after his death as is recorded in the prophecy. Yet the prophecy focuses on only two divisions of the empire, the one north of the land of Israel occupying Syria and the one to the south of the land of Israel controlling Egypt. Why does the prophecy focus on these two? Because the territory in between them which keeps changing hands is the land of Israel. Now the prophecy clearly indicates that there will be a king of the north and a king of the south in the time of the end--the time when the dead arise from the earth. The king of the north would control the land of Syria, but as we know from other prophecies such as Ezekiel 38 his base would be the uttermost parts of the north--the land of Gog and Magog. The king of the south would control the land of Egypt--this would be part of his sphere of influence. In the light of this prophecy, Time made a very interesting comment again under the headline: "Russia Flexes Its Muscles in Mideast" (An incredible headline in itself), here we read: "Since the Iraq war began in 2003, the Middle East has been split by its own not-so-cold war for regional domination between Iran and its allies (Syria, Hizballah and Hamas) and the U.S. and its allies (Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt)." The king of the north or Russia's sphere of influence: Iran and Syria; and the king of the south and his sphere of influence: Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. This matches perfectly with prophecies such as Ezekiel 38!
Now the prophecy in Daniel 11 continues on to say that: "...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." This all takes place before verse 41, where "He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown". Today we see an unpredictable, imperialistic Russia which is beginning to overflow into neighbouring countries. The word translated "push" in verse 40 does not capture the full sense of the Hebrew verb, which is a from the hithpael conjugation. The verb to walk in hithpael would be to walk to and fro. Here the sense is captured by Green's translation, where the king of the south "shall engage in butting" with the king of the north. This is what we see happening today.
"So, what earlier parts of the Russian Empire might be reacquired next?" asks Time Magazine under the heading: "The New (Old) Russian Imperialism" (August 27, 2008) What we are witnessing are some bold moves by Russia to build its image empire. The effects of this crisis will no doubt unfold for sometime and the repercussions should not be minimized. One news commentator even suggested the global fallout would equal that of September the eleventh. Well the fact is that this crisis will lead to world changing events that will completely eclipse September the eleventh, as Zion's king is introduced onto the world scene and the Russian, European Image is smashed by the little stone power. Thanks for listening and come back next week God Willing to www.bibleinthenews.com
Printed: Friday, August 29, 2008
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