America's Withdrawal Pulls Middle Eastern Countries Together
As the West weakens and the Middle East becomes more volatile, Bible Prophecy is making headlines.
Friday, October 11, 2013
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Symptoms of the weakening of Western influence are being seen all around the globe. Alarm bells are being sounded about withdrawal of aid from Egypt. The government shutdown in America is further tarnishing America’s reputation as a credible world power. Other forces are happily stepping into the vacuum.
America continues to struggle to operate as its government has been shut down by strife in the different “houses”. The Economist reported:
The trouble is, the shutdown is a symptom of a deeper problem: the federal lawmaking process is so polarised that it has become paralysed.
There is great concern that the upcoming vote on the “debt ceiling” will be affected by this same attitude. The article continued:
Later this month the federal government will reach its legal borrowing limit, known as the “debt ceiling”. Unless Congress raises that ceiling, Uncle Sam will soon be unable to pay all his bills. In other words, unless the two parties can work together, America will have to choose which of its obligations not to honour. It could slash spending so deeply that it causes a recession. Or it could default on its debts, which would be even worse, and unimaginably more harmful than a mere government shutdown.
While the Democrats and Republicans continue to bite and devour one another… the words of Christ come to mind:
“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.” (Luke 11:17)
The division in the “house” is destroying America’s influence at home and abroad. It is embarrassing to America’s allies. The fight in the house is very destructive. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul:
But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. (Galatians 5:15)
A couple of weeks ago the Economist placed on its cover a picture of a bandaged and toothless lion under the heading “A Weakened West”. The corresponding article stated:
“…this week, a decade after the invasion of Iraq, it suddenly became clear just how far the influence of the West has ebbed…
America’s credibility as an ally has been undermined. Whereas Mr Putin has stood firmly by Mr Assad, even while 100,000 people have perished, the West has proved an inconstant friend to the opposition….
The Arab spring has driven a wedge between the West and its allies….
America’s credibility as an opponent has also suffered….
….a leader who the world sees is unable to fulfil his promises is inevitably weakened. And although nobody doubts that America’s armed forces continue to enjoy overwhelming superiority, its unwillingness to use them undermines their ability to give force to its diplomacy….
Everyone knew that Western citizens were tired of fighting, but until Mr Obama and Mr Cameron asked them, nobody knew just how tired. Now every tyrant knows that a red line set by the leader of the free world is really just a threat to ask legislators how they feel about enforcing it. Dictators will be freer to maim and murder their own people, proliferators like North Korea less scared to proceed with spreading WMD, China and Russia ever more content to test their muscles in the vacuum left by the West.
The choice of graphics was very interesting. America, described in Ezekiel 38 is one of the young lions of Tarshish. When Russia eventually invades the Middle East it is one of the voices of dissent:
And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. 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 38:11–13)
The angels are directing our attention to the “young lions of Tarshish” and the role they will play in the latter days. Their weakening influence in the world is sure sign that we are approaching the unfolding of the drama of Ezekiel 38.
The weak response of the west is also echoed in Daniel 11. There is no opposing military action is described. The West has had its day in the sun and its influence is beginning to withdraw from the arena.
A further symptom of the waning influence of America and its allies in the Middle East is the withdrawal of aid from Egypt. Fox News reported the US is cutting military aid and hundreds of millions in cash assistance to Egypt. The article stated,
The Obama administration was criticized by an Egyptian government official Thursday in the wake of its decision to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and military aid in response to the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi and the crackdown by the military-backed government on his supporters.
The U.S. is "holding" -- as in not sending to Cairo -- a dozen F-16s; a similar number of Apache helicopters; four M-1/A-1 tanks, and an unspecified number of anti-ship missile.
Also, the U.S. is not proceeding with the planned transfer of $260 million in cash to the Egyptian government. However, these funds were already on hold pending the outcome of talks between the Egyptians and the International Monetary Fund.
The U.S. is also not proceeding with a $300 million loan guarantee slated as part of our foreign military financing programs.
The article continued:
The U.S. decision to cut aid to Egypt, though, will create new friction in Washington's already uneasy relations with the government that ousted the first democratically elected Egyptian president. And the consequences won't end there. The move will anger Persian Gulf states, push Egypt to seek assistance from U.S. rivals and upend decades of close ties with the Egyptians that that have been a bulwark of stability in the Middle East.
The article summed up the situation:
The cutoff of some, but not all, U.S. aid also underscores the strategic shifts underway in the region as U.S. allies in the Gulf forge ahead with policies at odds with Washington. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, including the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, are strong backers of Syrian rebel factions and were openly dismayed when the U.S. set aside possible military strikes against Bashar Assad's government. The Gulf states also feel increasingly sidelined as Washington reaches out to their rival, Iran.
What is interesting is the result of America’s withdrawal of influence. There is a clearer image amongst the nations of “Sheba and Dedan” as to how they see their role. These Arab states are being driven closer together into an alliance, which eventually America, the other young lions, and the mother lion Britain will become more closely associated with.
It is also interesting that while America is making overtones to Iran, the Arab states in the gulf are much more aligned in opinion with Israel.
Israel is not impressed by America’s decision over aid to Egypt and views them as shortsighted. A New York Times headline read, “Israel Expresses Dismay at Cutback of U.S. Aid to Egypt.” The article stated:
Officials and experts in Israel responded on Wednesday with a mixture of disappointment and alarm to the news that the United States planned to reduce its military aid to Egypt in response to this summer’s brutal crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and the continuing violence it has spawned. Israel views the aid as part and parcel of its 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, and essential to the maintenance of stability in the region…
…one Israeli official, warned that the implications of punitive cuts in Egypt’s aid could go far beyond the issue of Israeli-Egyptian relations. The United States is playing with fire, he said.
“You cannot disassemble the peace treaty and take out this part or that part,” the official said. “But there are other elements in this conundrum. This is not just about Israel. This is about America’s standing in the Arab world.”
“If America is seen to be turning its back on Egypt, an old ally, how will it be seen? People will see it as the United States dropping a friend.”
The Article continued noting the response of the Israeli’s:
They expressed concern over a possible erosion of American credibility when President Obama flip-flopped on his threat to strike Syria in retaliation for its use of chemical weapons against its citizens, even though Israel generally welcomed the Russian deal for a peaceful resolution…. The Egyptian military has been fighting Islamic militants in the Sinai Peninsula, along the border with Israel, and destroying tunnels that were long used by the Hamas militant group to smuggle weapons into Gaza, where they could be used against Israel.
The withdrawal of this support has certainly caused concern. Egypt and Israel are both opponents of radical Islamic militants in the region. America’s withdrawal will no doubt force some formerly uncomfortable alliances to be formed according to the outline supplied by the prophets.
What was also of great interest this week was FOX News carrying a series of interviews regarding Bible Prophecy.
Take a listen….
And how about this to think about today. The crisis in Syria may be more than just a current foreign policy problem, with some seeing signs of Biblical Prophecies of the Apocalypse in the events that are unfolding overseas. Passages in the Old Testament even make reference to Damascus falling into ruin sparking world wide conflict that some say leads to the coming of the Messiah. Joel Rosenberg is a former aid to Benjamin Netenyahu and he is a Middle East analyst, and he has written several books on this issue….
Now before we give Mr. Rosenberg the floor it should be noted that the books Mr. Rosenberg has written are fiction novels and not worth the paper they are written on, he admits his writings are about what could happen, but he’s not really sure. He gets things very muddled up and is not very well versed on his ancient history. However… there are a few things he said that are of interest.
What is interesting about this one is that, you are right, we don’t know for certain we are in some timeframe where these Bible prophecies will come true. But other Bible prophesies have come true, like the rebirth of the state of Israel, in our own lifetime. Those are major End Times prophecies, Jews coming back to the holy land….
This is the problem or the challenge with Bible Prophecy: you want to study what the text says, and you want to understand it in its historical grammatical context. You can certainly look at the current events, but you do have to be careful not to overreach or to sensationalize the text, doing what people call newspaper exegesis…
The Bible stands on its own. For many centuries people didn’t think that Israel would be reborn as a country, and Jews would come back to the Holy Land. They thought that was symbolic, but it has happened now. Now that those series of end time prophecies have happened it does cause people, even skeptics to say, “hmmm maybe the other things the Bible says will happen in the future, will happen possibly in our lifetime.”
The point is, the Bible, and specifically Bible prophecy is making world headlines. Prime time news television is discussing the fulfillment of Bible Prophecy. So what are we doing about it? We do know what will happen. Our brethren and forefathers have been lecturing and writing on this for years in books like Elpis Israel, Exposition of Daniel, Eureka, and many others. People are interested and are looking for answers it behoves us to be “light in the Lord” and hold forth the word of life to those around us! Now is the time to start up our public lectures – and focus on Bible prophecy, the nation of Israel and the fulfillment of God’s word as evidence of His existence. Many “theologians” can speculate, but the truth has been given to us. Let us redouble our efforts to shine as lights before our Lord returns.
This has been Jonathan Bowen for the Bible in the News.