The Bear Awakens
Coming out of Hibernation, the Russian Bear Awakes
Thursday, October 04, 2007
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Welcome to another edition of the Bible in the News. This is Jonathan Bowen joining you.
This week we go to what the prophet Ezekiel described as “the uttermost parts of the north” (Ezekiel 38:15 ASV).
What you are hearing is the Russian national anthem, a resurrected version of the Soviet national anthem adopted in the year 2000 by President Putin. This rousing music is designed to strike pride into the heart of the Russian people after a decade of depression under Yeltsin. It is a far cry more “exhilarating” than the Canadian national anthem as far as music goes.
The choir is singing,
Be praised, our free Fatherland,
Union of ancient fraternal peoples,
By our forefathers was given the wisdom of the nation,
Be praised, our land! We are proud of you!
This resurgence in Russian spirit is more than musical hype. Headlines in Canada’s National Post for October 1, 2007 read, “Hibernating no Longer, The Bear Reawakens.”
Russia is back politically: The article states, “Backed by the wealth of his country’s vast energy resources – Russia is the world’s second-largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia – Mr. Putin has adopted a combative tone as he moves to reclaim for Russia the great power status of its Soviet predecessor.
Russia is back economically: The article also states, “In 2006, Russia’s gross domestic product grew by approximately 6.7%, surpassing average growth rates in all other G8 countries, marking the country’s seventh consecutive year of economic expansion.”
Russia is back militarily: The article highlights Russia’s military reasserting itself on the international stage citing numerous international incidents including the scrambling of Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornets to intercept long-range Russian bombers this past September. The article quotes Lieutenant-General Angus Watt, Canada’s chief of staff as saying, “It’s not exactly a new challenge, It’s an old challenge that has returned.”
Ezekiel described this old challenge returning when he prophesied, “I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth” (Ezekiel 38:4).
It goes on to state, “This year Mr. Putin announced a $200 billion US, seven year rearmament plan to buy new missiles, planes, aircraft carriers and submarines. He has quadrupled the defense budget since 2001 and is planning to double combat aircraft production by 2025.”
Janes Defense Weekly identified spending to include strategic bombers capable of firing cruise missiles, fighter bombers, six nuclear powered aircraft carriers and eight ballistic missile submarines. Russia is also boasting successfully testing “the father of all bombs”, the world’s most powerful vacuum bomb, an airborn weapon that has the explosive power of a nuclear weapon without radioactivity.
Biblically this is very significant. Ezekiel describes the Northern Confederacy as coming, “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: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: (Ezekiel 38:4-5)
Ezekiel tells Gog, “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). When you look at the Hebrew meanings of the forms of the word prepared, it carries the idea of “Be thou arranged or establish and furnish thyself and all the company that are assembled unto thee”.
This is a confederacy that has made a turn around and “come forth” – armed to the teeth, joined by Iran, Ethiopia and Libya. He goes on to describe them as coming “from thy place out of the uttermost parts of the north, thou, and many peoples with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company and a mighty army” (Ezekiel 38:15).
Daniel also describes the situation, “at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” (Daniel 11:40).
This adds the naval component to the confederacy. But where is Russia thinking to place its navy? The article continues, “In August, Admiral Vladimir Masorin, the Navy’s commander, announced Russia intends to re-establish a permanent naval presence in the Mediterranean and suggested Moscow could reactivate two mothballed Cold War naval bases in the Syrian ports of Tartus and Latakia.” Which happen to be just up the coast from Israel. Convenient setting.
But what about Mr Putin who is pushing these reforms? He has to step down next March. Will the same tack be continued under a new leader?
Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported on October 2, 2007, “Ending speculation as to how the president would seek to retain power after presidential elections next March, Mr Putin was placed at the head of the United Russia Party's list of candidates at a congress in central Moscow. "I gratefully accept your proposal to head the United Russia list," he said to thunderous applause. "As far as heading the government is concerned, this is quite a realistic suggestion."
By changing the constitution to stay as president, Mr Putin risked the international isolation of other ex-Soviet leaders who have gone down the same route. But by becoming prime minister, Mr Putin has found a way to retain both power and international respect. "It's democratic chicanery," said a Western diplomat. "The trappings of democracy without the substance."” (Daily Telegraph, October 2, 2007).
So, on the road to authoritarian government, Mr Putin has found a detour around democracy. However, the political wranglings of politician don’t matter for, “This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” (Daniel 4:17).
The fact of the matter is that Russia will rise to power once again.
“And at the time of the end shall the king of the south [America and his allies] push at him: and the king of the north [Russia and his allies] shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land [Israel], and many countries shall be overthrown… He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. (Daniel 11:40-45)
As events around us rush toward this dramatic climax we thank our God that “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).
We live in the last days when, “the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” (Daniel 2:44)
Join us next week for another edition of the Bible in the News. www.bibleinthenews.com.