Riots in the Ukraine expose the growing power of Russia
Movements in Eastern Europe and the rising confederacy of nations.
Friday, January 24, 2014
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This week we consider movements in Eastern Europe and the rising confederacy of nations which are being bound together by none other than the power of Russia. This is Matt Davies joining you for another Bible in the News.
Russia in Bible Prophecy
Russia's recent political movements have been of interest to the Bible student who expects that Russia will be at the heart of world events which will bring about the visible intervention of God in world affairs.
The basis of this expectation is from Ezekiel 38 and the mention of a nation called the Rus (as it is rendered in the Septuagint version). A name of an ancient people who came into known history at around 880AD, however they were clearly known to the Greeks who translated the prophecy of Ezekiel into the Greek Septuagint supposedly around 200BC.
This people in 880AD are known to historians as the "Kievian Rus" and the modern peoples of Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia all claim Kievian Rus as their cultural inheritance.
It's interesting then to note that in Ezekiel 38 we read about the people of the Rus or Rosh and about their leader:
"Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him," Ezek 38:2 NKJV
Here we see that Gog is prince of the Rus and of various other ancient territories which equate to modern Russia and Eastern European countries. We are told that he will be confederate together with other European, North African and Middle-eastern nations. The prophecy foretells that these nations will invade Israel and attack the Jewish people who would have been regathered back to the land of Israel after a time of dispersion.
The regathering has been taking place, as the Bible foretold - the state of Israel being declared of course in 1948.
The unification of the various ancient nations though is something we watch for with interest - knowing that God is at work in the Kingdoms of men as is taught in Daniel 4:17. We would expect from the territories of the ancient names given in Ezekiel 38 that the Ukraine will be very much part of the confederacy directly under the influence of one called "Gog".
This is why recent events in the Ukraine are very interesting.
Russia's grip on the Ukraine
In 2013, the Ukraine was in a pretty bad economic state. It reportedly had a deficit equivalent to more than 8 percent of GDP and a budget deficit over 6.5 percent, along with other international debts. This caused it to look for a bailout deal with whoever was interested.
You may recall that last year, the Ukrainian President, Yanukovych, declared that instead of closing ties with Russia, the Ukraine was going to sign an "Association Agreement" with the EU. The agreement would have committed the EU and the Ukraine to creating a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area that would lead to more trade and investment between the Ukraine and the other member states of the EU. He announced this to the Press and it all looked as though the Ukraine, instead of being under the shadow of Russia, would break free and make steps to join the EU.
The Russians were very upset by this. Putin, the President of Russia, has clearly stated his ambition to expand Russia's current Customs Union that it has with Belarus and Kazakhstan. The Ukraine is strategically placed and Putin's eyes are set on the Ukraine joining this union which he wants to eventually create into “common economic space” called the Eurasian Union. Russia therefore set its sights on doing whatever it could to stop the Ukrainians signing the EU agreement. As is typical of the aggression of the Putin regime, Russia demanded payment of a debt of $1 billion for gas supplies, said it would raise the price of gas this winter, and introduced restrictions on Ukrainians entering Russia.
What a shock political commentators had when towards the end of last year, the President of the Ukraine very unexpectedly turned his back on the EU agreement in favour of a deal with Russia. It is thought that Putin had done a deal to ensure close ties with the Ukraine and various sweeteners such as a bailout and a settlement of Ukraine's debts to Russia. The restrictions on travel, custom controls, as well as the increase in gas prices were all done away with.
It was a masterstroke. Russia maintains its controls on the region and blocks the EU's
Putin pulling the strings
One news article at the beginning of the year, reported that "In a New Year’s greeting, Putin thanked Yanukovych for “comradely, businesslike” relations that allowed the two former Soviet neighbors to develop a partnership benefiting “brotherly peoples.”" (http://www.businessweek.com).
An article written this week on the website "theglobalist.com" entitled "Ukraine: Key to Restoring a Greater Russia" had this very interesting comment about the deal Russia has made with the Ukriane.
"Such an offer from the Kremlin rings a bell in Kiev. In the same way that the Soviet Union was neither Soviet (i.e. council-democratic) nor a union (i.e. an alliance of equals), the Customs Union too is neither about customs nor a proper union.
Instead, it is one of the Kremlin’s various instruments to secure Putin’s authoritarian regime via the re-building of a new empire that covers a specifically “Eurasian” civilization – a unique pan-national culture between Asia and Europe. The Customs Union is to be followed, in 2015, by the even more integrated Eurasian Union.
The Customs Union effort is now the core of the Kremlin-promoted national dream about rebirthing Greater Russia as a self-sustaining pole in international politics. That project is designed to function as an effectual distraction of the Russian population from the many domestic failings of Putin’s regime.
There have been few sustainable successes in the reform of Russia’s corrupt public administration, imbalanced social system and stagnating economy. The implementation of an ambitious geopolitical project is to provide the legitimacy for a continuation of Putin’s otherwise unremarkable rule.
Ukraine’s accession to Putin’s project would transform the Russian president into a new assembler of lands. He would secure his place as a noteworthy historical figure who restored Russia-Eurasia as a world power on par with the United States, European Union and China.
Implementing this project is in full swing already via a multitude of linkages between Moscow and Kiev. These include political, economic, academic and cultural linkages through which the Kremlin can and does exert influence on Ukraine’s internal and external affairs" http://www.theglobalist.com/ukraine-key-restoring-greater-russia/
However the deal with Russia has come at a cost. Many in the Ukraine wish to be free from the power of Russia and were passionate about the prospect of working with Europe. Since the deal with the EU fell through, mass protests have been held in the Ukraine by the common people, who feel let down by the political classes. This week we have seen the climax of the trouble with riots which have turned violent as the Ukrainians struggle to come to terms with their situation. Riots and protests have been taking place all over the Ukriane and on Wednesday this week it was reported that at least three protesters had been killed in clashes with riot police. Ukraine is currently in crisis.
It just goes to show the power that Russia is now wielding in global affairs and indeed the scene is being set for one described in Bible prophecy as "Gog the chief prince of Rosh Mescheh and Tubal".
This has been Matt Davies, join us again next week God willing for another Bible in the News.
Printed: Friday, January 24, 2014
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