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The Bible in the News
A Bear at the Throat
The world is moving closer and closer to a great crisis.
Thursday, April 26, 2007  Audio & Print versions

Hello once again: This is Paul Billington with another edition of the Bible in the News. The Bible IS in the News constantly. As we survey the scene today--and especially in the Middle East, Europe and Russia--we see how Bible prophecy is being fulfilled as nations, and blocks of nations move into the positions foretold many centuries ago. The Middle East seems to be dividing in a North-South orientation--with Arab nations falling in with either the Islamic Sunni-led group, or else the Islamic Shiite-led group. Nations like Saudi-Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf States are concerned about Iran, Syria and sections of Iraq, so much so that there are even moves being made so as to come to terms with Israel. Amazing developments are taking place right in line with the prophecies of Ezekiel and Daniel.
As we keep our eye on that area, we see Russia continuing to get stronger, and more belligerent in the uttermost parts of the North. "A Bear at the Throat" was a headline in the Economist magazine last week. The sub-heading pointed to Europe's vulnerability--it read:

"The European Union is belatedly grasping the riskiness of its dependence on Russian gas, but it is disunited and short of ideas for how to reduce it."

The first paragraph of the article explained further:

"Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, must be feeling smug. His strategy of using the country's vast natural resources to restore the greatness lost after the break-up of the Soviet Union seems to be paying off. If power is measured by the fear instilled in others--as many Russians believe--he is certainly winning."

It is some reason then, that we frequently refer to a book written in 1854 by John Thomas, the title of which was "Russia Triumphant and Europe Chained." This was an exposition (an explanation if you like) of Daniel's prophecy. For over 150 years Christadelphian Bible students have looked for such a development. It has seemed likely to happen on a number of occasions, but then Russia became weak so critics would claim that the {Russia Triumphant" Explanation was wrong. This happened at the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917, and again in more recent years when the Soviet Union collapsed. But now we see all Europe virtually chained by gas-lines and oil pipelines. At any time of Russia's choosing the supply of energy to Europe could be cut off and Europe brought to a standstill!

The well-known prophecy of Ezekiel chapter 38 describes Russia as being a high and exalted one in a huge alliance of nations. That is the idea behind the word "Gog" in verse 1. As several alternative translations reveal, Gog is to be the prince or ruler of Rosh. This Rosh of course, is the ancient name for Russia.

The prophecy says that a "company" of nations are to be assembled under this Russian leader. We can see that from verse 7.

"Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them."

Why would all these nations assemble themselves under Russia's leadership? Well, it now becomes clear doesn't it, that Vladimir Putin has been making his preparations, just as the prophecy predicted. He has prepared for himself first, and then for all this company--and they assemble unto him because he is the great supplier of energy, without which they cannot survive.

So we are seeing the formation of Gog's company, and the prophecy tells us that this will lead to the invasion of the mountains of Israel. In verses 8 to 12 this is clearly laid out:

"After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: 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."

One member of this alliance, Persia of verse 5, that is Iran, has already been calling for the destruction of Israel. We can see from this prophecy that this sentiment will spread. The "evil thought" is already in existence even as we speak of these things. It doesn't take a genius to see that this prophecy of the invasion of Israel could well be fulfilled in our lifetime. So what about the rest of the prophecy? It says in verses 18-20

"And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face.  For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground."

This is talking about divine intervention on behalf of Israel.

Do you believe in God? How could these things possibly have been foreseen so long ago if the silly story of evolution was the explanation of the earth's existence, with all its varied forms of life?  How could current events today have been foretold without the foreknowledge of the Living God?

Look at verse 17,

"Thus saith the Lord GOD; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them?"

There is only one reasonable and sensible conclusion, and that is that the world is moving closer and closer to this great crisis. It will most certainly happen.

Our only response to it, surely, must be to recognize the truth of this book, the Bible, and determine in our own minds to obey this word of God while we have opportunity. The fact is that God will soon send his son, Jesus Christ, back to the earth--and it is our wisdom to prepare for that day now. This we can do by reading what he has to say to us, and by living it out as we await the establishment of his kingdom in Israel.

Join us again next week, when God willing, we will have another session of looking at the Bible in the News.

Printed:  Thursday, April 26, 2007


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