Unrest in the North
Protests Erupt in Turkey, Civil War in Syria, Missiles to Syria from Russia
Saturday, June 01, 2013
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To the north of the land of Israel the unrest is exploding into a very dangerous situation and a very interesting one in the light of Bible prophecy. Over two years we have watched Syria progress from civil unrest, to civil war. Now the country is in disarray with basic necessities such as the health care system collapsing, 70,000 have lost their lives and millions have fled the country. Hezbollah has come out in support of the Assad regime, potentially bringing Lebanon into the crisis. The Assad regime seems to currently have the upper hand, but has reportedly resorted to chemical weapons use. Syria was supported by the USSR for decades and has been supported by Russia since then. Now Russia has said they will send advanced missiles to the Syrians, which are a threat to Israel. Israel has said that if the missiles are delivered they will have to deal with them using force if necessary. We considered Syria on the Bible in the News last week.
Now Turkey is descending into civil unrest. The Ynet news site reporting that thousands of protestors and police are clashing in fierce demonstrations. The report says: "Anti-Erdogan rallies sweep country in fiercest demos in years as protestors bash leader's Islamic policies; 'This will be a summer of discontent,' says protestor" The report continues: "Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon on Friday at
demonstrators in central Istanbul, wounding scores of people and prompting rallies in other cities in the fiercest anti-government protests for years." The Telegraph reports: "It was the fiercest anti-government demonstration since Mr Erdogan first came to power in 2002. The prime minister and his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party stand accused of an increasingly uncompromising stance, an inching Islamisation of the country and showing little tolerance of criticism."
Hassan Nasrallah the leader of Hezbollah, has said that if the Assad regime collapses they will not be able to take Palestine from Israel. A very interesting comment, showing how critical events happening in Syria are to Israel and the entire Middle East. Russia is supporting Assad and keeping a very close eye on their long term ally. At the same time they will be closely monitoring the new unrest in Turkey; who knows, they could even be involved or fomenting the unrest to destabilize the country.
The protests in Turkey began principally in Istanbul, which is formerly Constantinople the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. Istanbul lies on the Bosporus which is is a strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. The Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the southern Dardanelles strait all together form the Turkish Straits. This waterway is extremely strategic and especially so to Russia. It is the passage through which the Russian Black Sea fleet can enter the Mediterranean Sea. Russia is closely involved and interested in events in Turkey. If Russia could ever get its hands on the jewel of Constantinople they would not hesitate.
As was considered last week Syria was the territory of the original "king of the north", when the Greek empire of Alexander was divided between his four generals. This later included the area of Turkey. This is depicted prophetically in Daniel chapter 8, in the vision of the Ram and the He-Goat. When Daniel saw the vision he asked the angel what the meaning of the vision was. Here is part of the angel's reply from Daniel 8 verses 19-23.
"And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be. The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up."
The angel explains that the first king of Greece would be be broken and that four kings would come from his empire. Later "a king of fierce countenance" would arise. In the vision the "king of fierce countenance" is the "little horn" that destroys the Jewish sanctuary and causes the daily sacrifice to cease. Historically we know that this was fulfilled in AD 70 when the Romans destroyed the Jewish temple causing the daily sacrifice which took place at the temple to cease. In the angel's reply we learn that this king is a dynasty of kings or a throne which would be in place at the time of the end when he would stand up against the "prince of princes" or Jesus Christ and would be destroyed "without hand"; a clear reference to Daniel chapter two when the image empire is destroyed by a stone cut out of the mountains without hands. The details of this king are filled out in Daniel chapter 11. Daniel 11 details the story of the king of the north and the king of the south, the two principal divisions of Alexander's Greek empire. Both Daniel 8 and Daniel 11 deal with the Greek empire and the divisions of the empire and the Greek roots and aspect to the Roman empire. Daniel 7 deals with the Latin Roman empire and Daniel 8 and 11 with the Greek portion of the Roman empire. Historically the Roman empire broke into two divisions; a western empire which was Latin and a eastern empire which was Greek. Russia inherited the Greek Roman Empire when Constantinople fell to the Turks. Moscow became the new Constantinople and the Greek Orthodox Church flourished there as it does again today.
Daniel 11 verse 40 speaks of the "time of the end". It is clear that this is speaking of the time when Jesus will return, deliver Israel and establish the kingdom, by noticing the connection to chapter 12 where the story is continued. "And at that time shall Michael stand up... And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake..." Daniel 11:40 speaks of the time when the king of the north will invade.
"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."
The king of the north, which as we discussed last week is now Russia, the descendent of the original Greek Byzantine Roman Empire. When he invades and comes against the king of the south, Daniel says he will come "with many ships". These ships will come from the Black Sea, pass by Istanbul through the Turkish straights and into the Mediterranean sea. Considering events in the light of Bible Prophecy leads us to believe that the Turkish straights will be dominated by Russia and the Turkish power dried up. In 1868 the Bible student and writer John Thomas saw these events taking place. He wrote: "When, therefore, the Czar gets possession of Constantinople he will not be hostile to the pope. On the contrary, he will honour and acknowledge him, and be the enemy of the Holy Land."
The whole area of the ancient Greek or Byzantine Empire is politically unstable today. Syria, Lebanon Greece and Cyprus have been facing extreme difficulties. If the protests in Turkey move towards an "Arab spring" style uprising the region will be further reshaped. Russia is watching every move and endeavouring to shape events to suit their interests. More importantly the angels are working behind the scenes to shape events to introduce Jesus Christ, establishing the kingdom of God in the world and bringing righteousness and peace.
Come back again next week. This has been David Billington with you for the Bible in the News at www.bibleinthenews.com
Printed: Saturday, June 01, 2013
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