Israeli P.M. Visits Putin in Russia amid growing Fears of Conflict
Russia’s Growing Strength in Europe & The Middle East
Thursday, October 19, 2006
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Welcome to another edition of the Bible in the News--a weekly look at the News with the Bible in hand. This week we turn the spotlight on to Russia, especially in light of the visit there by Israel's prime minister Ehud Olmert, who meets with Vladimir Putin. They will discuss Israel’s concerns about Iran's nuclear programme, as well as the shipment of Russian armaments to Syria who is re-supplying the Hizbollah terrorists in Lebanon. They will also doubtless talk about the deteriorating situation in Gaza, and the build-up of arms among Palestinians there.
Many see the approach of another major military confrontation in the Middle East. A headline in the Jerusalem Post (October 18) warns of THE COMING MIDDLE EAST WAR. The article, by Michael Freund, says that "whichever direction one chooses to look, be it north, south or east of us, trouble--major trouble--is brewing." Israel, says this writer, should "begin seriously contemplating the possibility of launching pre-emptive and wide-ranging military strikes." Another article in this paper (October 17) said that the Israeli Defence Forces are preparing for large-scale incursions into the Gaza Strip--"larger than ever before."
So this is the background against which the Israeli prime minister visits Russia this week. Russia of course is in the process of helping Iran to build its nuclear reactor in Bushehr. That is not all though. Besides the close Moscow-Tehran ties, Russia is also selling weapons to Syria, including anti-tank missiles of the kind that were used by Hizbollah against Israel during the Lebanon war this last summer.
There is no doubt that Russia is firmly linked to Israel’s enemies! The Israeli prime minister is unlikely to have a successful interview with Mr Putin--and any promises that may be extracted are not likely to result in anything of substance.
Russia of course is now preparing itself to re-enter the Middle East. This is in accordance with the expectations of Bible students over a century and an half. Even as far back as the 1700's a commentator by the name of Lowth was identifying Russia with the military giant named "Gog" in Ezekiel chapter 38. Others also developed the study of this chapter, such as John Thomas in his book ELPIS ISRAEL published in 1849. Russia, he said, would build a huge confederacy of nations which would include Europe--and especially Germany--in the latter days.
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990-91, many scoffed at the idea of Russia leading this confederacy against Israel. But the prophet Ezekiel had foretold of a temporary drawing back. In Ezekiel 38, and at verse 4 we read:
"...I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army...Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them..."
Today we see that that turn-around has occurred. Russia has paid her financial debts to Germany and now seeks to buy up European businesses. She is leaning heavily upon her neighbours such as Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Georgia as she regains her strength and seeks to push southward.
Just this last week THE MOSCOW TIMES has reported the concerns of the E.U. over Russia's stifling sanctions against Georgia. She is also reaching into Europe, promising Germany a special status--as reported this week on Russia's Interfax Information Services. The headline read: "Germany could become energy distribution center for Europe--Russian President Putin." The article said:
"Oct 10 (Interfax) - Germany could become a major center for the distribution of energy resources in Europe in the future, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
"'I would like to elaborate on the increasing interaction between Russian and German companies in the energy sphere,' Putin said at a press conference in Dresden. 'By all appearances, this avenue of cooperation could be even more significant, which could turn Germany from simply a consumer of Russian gas and oil into a major center for the distribution of these products in Europe.
"'This is our significant and substantial contribution to European energy security,' he added."
So we see Russia building up co-operation with the biblical Magog of Ezekiel 38. If the Israeli prime minister understood Bible prophecy he would realize that his trip to Moscow is a waste of aviation fuel. Israel’s hope is not in sweet-talking Russia into dropping its support for Iran or Syria, it is in the God of Israel, the saviour of Israel.
Israel must wake up to this! But what will it take? All the signs are that another major conflict in the Middle East is on the agenda. What will spark it we do not know--Iraq, Iran, another round in the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation? Whatever causes it, it is most probable that Russia and her allies will not remain placid. As Ezekiel 38:7 tells us, Russia is to prepare for herself, and for all those who are assembled unto her--and she will be a "guard" unto them. A guarantor of their security.
Well, these are the tremendous developments taking place at the present time. With Bible in hand we see where they are leading and we do well to prepare OURSELVES for that crisis. Make no mistake. The Bible is TRUE, and as the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy,
"But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:14-17).
Join us again next week, when once again God willing, we will look at the news with this amazing Book open before us.
Printed: Thursday, October 19, 2006
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