Russia Chains Europe with Gas pricing.
As the Europe and the world is plunged into an energy crisis, Russia is using the circumstances to hold Europe Hostage to its needs.
Monday, October 25, 2021
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The words of Ezekiel 38 are clear in defining Russia’s control over Europe in the latter days. The group of nations that come against Israel are defined in Ezekiel 38:2
“‘Son of man, set thy face unto Gog, of the land of Magog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy concerning him,” (Ezekiel 38:2)
According to Young’s Literal Translation the Prince of Rosh (the ancient name of Russia, described in antiquity as “the Rus”), Meshech (identified by historians as the Muscovites who migrated north from the region of the Moschi mountains between the Black and Caspian Seas), and Tubal (the region of Tobolsk which historians identify as the destination of the migrating Tiberani).
Gog is also ‘of the land of Magog’ which is identified by historians as the area inhabited by the ancient Scythians, and described by historians as spanning the region from the River Danube to the River Don, which we would know as Central and Eastern Europe (the former Warsaw Pact area), including much of.
Gog is also in control of Gomer and his bands, whose tribes migrated across Europe and settled in the area of France.
The scriptures identify the influence Gog will have over this area:
“Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.” (Ezekiel 38:7)
The idea expressed in this phrase ‘be thou prepared’ is the Niphil form of the word, (describing its state of being), and is defined by Gesenius as “to be set up, to stand firm, be established” and has the idea of being in a state of preparedness. The second part of the phrase, ‘prepare for thyself’ is the Hiphil form of the word (the causative action – the action that made the state possible), and is defined by Gesenius as “to setup, to strengthen, to constitute, to appoint one as king, to found, to direct or aim (as a weapon), to apply the mind to, to prepare and make ready.” So Gog is established in a state of preparedness because he has been actively “strengthening himself, directing or aiming his weapons and applying his mind, to prepare and make ready,” both himself, his company and those that are assembled to him.
This speaks of three tiers. There is an inner circle (thee – or Gog), there is a company which is assembled to him, and “many people with thee” of verse 6. The word “assembled” is the Hebrew word qahal, (Strong’s #6950), defining the assembled group “for either religious or political reasons” (or both).
Gog is to “be a guard unto them”. This is the Hebrew word mishmar, (Strong’s #4929), defined by Gesenius as “custody, guard, i.e. in a prison, a station of a watch, that which is guarded, that which is observed – a law or rite”. It comes from the root word shamar, meaning ‘to keep, have charge of, keep watch of, have ward of, protect etc.’
The nations which are assembled and confederate with Gog are also under its charge, protection, or watch. They are its “wards”. This is the way the word is used in Nehemiah 4:22 where the guards kept the city safe. We have seen this with the protection that Russia has given Syria and Iran, protecting it from western interference (after Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and others were brought under western influence for a while).
But this description also applies to rest of the nations of Europe. In their case, the use of the word appears to be more like its first use in Genesis 40:3 when Joseph was put into the prison. This use of the word is “a place of confinement.” It is in keeping with the empire building of Babylon of times gone by who was described as the “oppressor”(v4), who “weakened the nations” (v12), who placed “his burden” on “their shoulders” (v25):
“… that struck the peoples in wrath with unceasing blows, that ruled the nations in anger with unrelenting persecution.” (Isaiah 14:6) ESV
This is the destiny of Russia, to triumphantly bring Europe under its yoke, in effect chaining it. In fact, John Thomas wrote a booklet in 1860 entitled Anatolia, Russia Triumphant, Europe Chained to this effect. When the great empire image of Daniel 2 is finally broken by the stone cut without hands, the various elements are “broken in pieces together” (v35). The scheme of bringing all the elements of the Image together is the scheme of the prince of Rosh (or Russia). He will use whatever levers he can pull to bring about this design.
For the past twenty years Vladimir Putin has been using Russia’s oil and gas industry as a tool to improve Russia’s standing on the world stage. In a 2014 booklet entitled Putin’s Grand Strategy, contributors Starr and Cornell state the following:
Over the past decade, if not since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian government has deployed a wide array of tactics and instruments in its efforts to restore a sphere of influence over the former Soviet space…
… the large scale of German-Russian trade has meant that German foreign policy has often been hostage to Russian interests.
Not only this, but Russian gas has been weaponized and used as a tool to achieve Russia’s strategic goals. The same writers continue:
Russia’s withholding of energy has been an important tactical tool in the Ukrainian conflict. But this was no innovation in 2014. Back in January 2006, explosions destroyed the electricity and natural gas transportation network through which Russian energy reached Georgia. Russian leaders blamed unidentified North Caucasian terrorists, who were neither apprehended nor even much searched for, and Russian authorities dragged their feet in repairing the damaged infrastructure. Between 2009 and 2011, moreover, Russia was implicated in a series of further bombings which rocked Georgia, including one targeting the perimeter of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi. In Turkmenistan in 2009, Gazprom abruptly closed off the flow of gas in the pipeline carrying Turkmen gas to Russia, causing the pipeline to explode. All these instances were connected directly with Russia’s quest for control over a former Soviet republic. (Putin’s Grand Strategy: The Eurasian Union and Its Discontents. S. Fredrick Starr & Svante E. Cornell, John Hopkins University, Institute for Security and Development Policy © 2014).
Seven years later we are seeing this policy bring crushing results to all of Europe.
The European Union is precariously dependent on imported gas to fuel its industry and heat its citizen’s houses. According to Bloomberg:
Outside supplies account for about 80% of the gas the EU consumes, most of it coming from Russia, Norway and Algeria.
Some of the bloc’s biggest economies are among the most exposed. Germany imports 90% of its needs.
An energy crisis has arisen in Europe this fall. According to Bloomberg:
Europe’s heading into winter facing an unprecedented energy squeeze, and politicians are trying to figure out how to stop their citizens freezing…. The European Union’s gas tanks are around 77% full. That is way below what’s normal for this time of year and leaves members especially vulnerable if the winter is severe.
Reuters reported on October 7th:
The rocketing gas price, with the European benchmark up almost 600% this year , fuelled by low inventories and surging demand in Asia and elsewhere as economies recover from the COVID-19 crisis, has put Gazprom in Europe's crosshairs.
Russia began laying the eleven-billion-dollar Nord Stream 2 pipeline which bypasses Ukraine and travels under the sea to Germany in 2018.
It was Germany’s former Prime Minister Schroder who advocated the Nord Stream pipelines from Russia back in 2005. In the John Hopkin’s University report, “Putin’s Grand Strategy” we read:
As Prime Minister, Schröder strongly advocated the Nord Stream pipeline, a Russian project to deliver gas directly to Germany through the Baltic Sea instead of supplying gas across Eastern European countries. Shortly before the end of his term in 2005, Schröder’s government provided guarantees for 1 billion Euros for the project; three months after leaving office he accepted a post as Chairman of the Nord Stream company. Ever since, Schröder has been a reliable spokesman for the Kremlin. (Putin’s Grand Strategy: The Eurasian Union and Its Discontents. S. Fredrick Starr & Svante E. Cornell, John Hopkins University, Institute for Security and Development Policy © 2014).
The Nord Stream 2 was initially put on hold in January 2015 due to sanctions against Russia following its annexation of Crimea. In January of 2018, Germany granted a permit for construction in German waters.
Back in 2018, Donald Trump warned of the dangerous journey Germany was taking, putting itself into Russia’s control. The UK publication Montel reported on July 13, 2018:
“I think it’s a horrible thing what Germany is doing,” Trump told reporters at a joint press conference with Theresa May at the UK prime minister’s country residence Chequers.
He said the gas pipeline would mean that Germany will get 60-70% of its energy from Russia.
“How can you be working for peace and working from strength when someone has that kind of power over your country,” Trump said. “I think it’s very bad for Germany, very bad for the German people.”
Trump placed sanctions on any company working with Nord Stream 2 to prevent the Russia’s grip on Europe.
Joe Biden removed sanctions from companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 project, effectively giving the green light to complete it. As CNBC reported:
The Obama and Trump administrations galvanized bipartisan opinion against the pipeline and President Joe Biden too announced sanctions against companies involved in the project, but these were waived in May in what was seen as an attempt by the U.S. to rebuild ties with Germany.
Putin held a televised meeting on Wednesday, October 6th offering to graciously solve the problem, but blaming the EU for the problem.
“The practice of our European partners has confirmed it once more that they made mistakes.
“We talked to the European Commission’s previous lineup, and all its activity was aimed at phasing out of so-called long-term contracts.”
“It was aimed at transition to spot gas trade. And as it turned out, it has become obvious today, that this practice is a mistake.”
What Putin is referring to is the practice of European nations of phasing out long term gas contracts for short term contracts called “spot deals”. The plan was to enable European nations to replace gas supplies with renewable energy, but this has backfired incredibly.
Russia has maintained all its “contracts” but has refused to open the spot market and fill the demand. Russia is claiming it has increased its supply by 15%, as Andrey Kelin, Russia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, stated in an interview with the BBC:
“Gazprom has increased its supply by 15% to Europe in recent days, this is quite a high amount I would say, because you have to pump it very quickly”.
Russia is claiming it cannot send any more through Ukraine as the pipeline is becoming dangerous to operate. Ambassador Kelin went on to state:
"We have increased supplies via Ukraine pipeline by 10%, but as we understand [it] we cannot do more because the equipment at this pipeline has never been modernised and has never been reconstructed so it is simply dangerous to use it."
Russia is holding back gas supplies until the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is approved for use, as Ambassador Kelin confirmed:
“What is absolutely a fact of life is that the pipeline Nord Stream 2 does exist, it is ready, it is prepared for use, and we expect final go-ahead from Germany. So, as soon as this will happen, then new gas supplies will come from this pipeline, which is shorter for 2000km, which provides much cleaner gas, because it is new and modern equipment, and the pipeline itself is very new and modern. It is definitely cheaper than the gas which is going right now.”
Putin’s 20 year plan is coming to fruition. Germany and Europe are being forced into an agreement that will give Russia a choke hold over Europe. Germany meets on Thursday to decide about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
CNBC published an article on October 7th entitled “The U.S. was right — Europe has become a ‘hostage’ to Russia over energy, analysts warn.” They couldn’t bring themselves to say “Trump was right”, but the point is made. The article stated:
“Europe has now left itself hostage to Russia over energy supplies,” said Timothy Ash, emerging markets senior sovereign strategist at Bluebay Asset Management, in a research note Wednesday, calling the situation “unbelievable.”
″[It’s] crystal clear that Russia has Europe in an energy headlock, and Europe is too weak to call it out and do anything about it,” he said, calling it a form of “energy blackmail.”
“Europe is cowering as it fears [that] as it heads into winter Russia will further turn the screws (of energy pipelines off) and allow it to freeze until it gets its way and NS2 is certified.”
Russia has weaponized its gas monopoly to bring Europe under its yoke. Without firing a bullet, it has chained Europe through its energy monopoly. The picture painted by Daniel and Ezekiel is coming into fruition.
But there are more forces at play, than just man’s machinations.
Remember the account of the disciples in the storm when Christ was sleeping in the boat? Notice carefully the words:
“And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”” (Luke 8:24–25)
The fact the Lord is in control of the winds and the water is not lost on us when we consider the crisis gripping Europe right now, and playing into Russia’s hands.
The European Union has been legislating a move to renewable energy such as wind and solar power over the past twenty years. Renewable energy cannot be stored the same way oil and gas can. Not only this, but it is a source of energy reliant on the weather.
As a Daily Mail article pointed out this week:
A focus on renewables and developing better connectivity with neighbours such as Norway, to enable the UK to import gas effectively, meant little new storage has been built.
The article went on to state:
So far, renewables have not made up the gap, especially in recent months when the wind has not been blowing.
In another article in Fortune magazine entitled: “The U.K. went all in on wind power. Here’s what happens when it stops blowing” describes the situation that developed this summer:
The exponential growth of offshore wind farms in the North Sea has been a testament to the combined efforts of European countries’ investing time, effort, and money in the decarbonization of their electricity grids.
But just as Europe needs energy the most, the wind in the North Sea has stopped blowing, forcing regional energy markets to scramble for gas reserves to heat homes and power businesses.
This has had expensive consequences.
As the European energy market grows increasingly reliant on a renewable energy source that is cheap to harness and carbon-emission free—but is clearly unreliable when the wind isn’t blowing—surging electricity bills are an unintended consequence of the energy transition.
Heading into winter at a time when more energy is already needed to fuel economic recovery as the region emerges from the pandemic, European countries are setting aside quotas meant to cap carbon emissions and rethinking the shutdown of coal plants in order to fill the gap left by the missing wind.
The situation is especially acute in the U.K., where wind is currently providing only 7% of the country’s energy makeup—a steep drop from the 25% it generated on average across 2020.
The drop in wind is not the only contributor to the crisis. In a program on CNBC this past week entitled “Why is natural gas so expensive,” Sam Meredith, an energy correspondent for CNBC reported on other natural phenomenon which have been contributing:
“In recent months we’ve seen hot weather in places like China, Japan and South Korea really drive up demand for liquified natural gas, and that is raising prices. Whereas in South America in countries like Brazil, a drought has seen it look to really ramp up its gas-fired power generation. When you bring this back to Europe, we saw in April and May of this year unseasonably cold weather conditions and this meant that Europe’s natural gas storage levels dipped below pre-pandemic five year averages. To those closely monitoring Europe’s natural gas storage levels, this was a sign of things to come, a clear warning sign of a potential supply crunch.”
The move to renewable energy sources, intended to move away from dependence on fossil fuels has brought Europe into a crisis, and brought it more desperately dependent on Russia’s gas supplies.
In his interview with the BBC, Russian Ambassador to the UK Andre Kelin stated:
“We do believe that mechanism that has been approved and promoted by the European Commission of “Spot Market” is wrong. It has demonstrated, since the wind was low, the speed of wind was low during this time, and there is no possibility to store the energy from solar panel and venitilators… it is always going to be a difficulty.”
CNBC also reported:
Energy giant SSE said its renewable assets produced 32% less power than expected between April 1 and Sept. 22 thanks to historically dry and low-wind conditions. This equates to 11% of its full-year output target.
“This shortfall was driven by unfavourable weather conditions over the summer, which was one of the least windy across most of the UK and Ireland and one of the driest in SSE’s Hydro catchment areas in the last seventy years,” the Perth, Scotland-based company said Wednesday in a statement.
Low-wind output over the summer has contributed to the European energy crunch, which sent power prices to record highs in recent days. Other factors include a colder-than-expected winter last year, production cuts during the pandemic, low imports from Russia, high carbon prices and growing demand from Asia for liquefied natural gas….
In August, German utility RWE reported “much lower” wind volumes across its Northern and Central Europe portfolio for the first half of 2021.
Seeing the Lord controls the winds, it is amazing to see this crisis pushing Europe into a greater dependence on Russia, and playing into its hands.
Let’s not forget, Israel just happens to have recently discovered a massive supply of Natural Gas. On October 21st, Reuters reported:
Israel is considering the construction of a new onshore pipeline to Egypt in order to quickly boost natural gas exports to its neighbour in the wake of the recent tightening of global supplies, the Israeli energy ministry said.
Back in January of 2020, the Began-Sadat Center for Strategic studies published an article entitled “The Leviathan Natural Gas Field Could Be a Game-Changer for Israel-EU Relations”. While we don’t expect this to be the case from a Biblical perspective it was interesting to note:
Israeli natural gas offers the EU a rare opportunity to loosen Russia’s energy chokehold on parts of Europe. Moscow wields access to energy supplies as a political weapon. The Levantine basin offers the EU an alternative: a reliable and price-competitive source of liquefied natural gas.
All the more reason for Russia to set its sights on Israel in the coming years.
Remember that the time of Russia’s “turning back” has passed. The Soviet Empire that imploded in 1991, was “turned back” and floundered for years. Russia is now beginning to be prepared, making preparations and is being drawn forth ready for the great conflagration at the end of days:
“And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords…” (Ezekiel 38:4)
While we see the grip of Russia extending over Europe, and the nations of Europe yielding themselves as its servants, being brought under its control, we need to think long and hard about who our master is.
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Romans 6:16–18)
And so as we stand on the very knife edge of the kingdom, and we see the nations moving, and all forces at play, both angelic and the plans of man, we can see how God is bringing these events to their great culmination.
For the Bible in the News, this has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.