THE RUSSIAN PATHWAY
On Russian Pathway we find three ‘A’s: autocracy, anti-Semitism and Arabism. From the earliest Czars to the current tenants in the Kremlin, the Russian people have endured dictator after dictator. Centuries of dictatorship have robbed this rich culture of its creativity and productivity. Under Communist rule, the USSR had been economically stagnating. On the watch of the subsequent ‘reform’ governments, the Russian financial bubble burst!
This financial catastrophe brings us to the other two ‘A’s. Russian society is traditionally anti-Semitic. When a scapegoat is needed, they have always looked to the Jews, and today’s financial crisis is no different. On the other hand, the wealthy Arab nations are viewed as allies and meal tickets. The Russians are more than happy to exchange their weaponry and related expertise for hard cash. This pathological hatred of Jews and dependence on Arab terrorist states’ cash may be the motives behind Russia launching the war described in Ezekiel 38 and 39 – – the Russo-Israeli War. At the time of this writing, we are still a few steps away from the Signpost of the Russo-Israeli War. But world events are quickening and the Russian Pathway will soon approach a precipice and be judged by the Living God.
THE EARLY RUSSIAN PATHWAY
In the 9th century, the USSR was invaded by Germanic tribes from the north, known to the Byzantines as the “Rus” or “Rhos.” They sold the original Slavic inhabitants into slavery. They used trade, piracy, colonization and their skillful, military use of long ships on key European rivers to expand their borders and influence.1 Thus began a long tradition of brutal oppression and expansionism.
In 1462, the Slavic Grand Duke of Moscow, Ivan the Great ascended to the Russian throne. The Czars (Caesars) ruled Russia until 1917, continuing the tradition of the “Rus”: oppression and expansion. The expansion of the Russian borders brought increased paranoia. Supporting a military large enough to patrol so vast a perimeter and engage in active warfare strained Russian resources.
Near the end of the World War I in a cycle of events not unlike today, the Czarist government could not adequately supply its troops, keep its factories and railways running nor could it feed its people and control prices. Amid riots, strikes, desertions and calls for reform, the Czar abdicated. A provisional government of liberal democrats and socialist was formed in March 1917. This government sought to form a permanent democratic government, created local workers councils (soviets), immediately freed political prisoners and guaranteed civil liberties. Unfortunately, it did not concentrate on feeding the population and reforming land ownership. Rather, the new government concentrated its resources on continuing the war.
The Bolsheviks, lead by Lenin and Trotsky tugged at the heartstrings of the hungry Soviet masses with the promise of “Peace, Bread, and Land.” They quickly gained influence over the local “soviets”, and in November 1917, Red Troops wrested control from the Provisional Government. The Bolsheviks accepted German terms and forfeited Finland, the Baltic states, Poland and the Ukraine. They immediately turned to domestic affairs and nationalized industry and land ownership. All opposition was brutally crushed.
The Russian economy was in a shambles. The war had destroyed many farms and factories. Management and workers alike lacked skill and motivation. In 1921, Lenin introduced the “New Economic Policy” — the forerunner of perestroika. This scheme relaxed communist principles and allowed for store managers to own their stores, for farmers to own and sell their surplus crops, and for foreigners to invest and gain technical employment in the USSR. This policy was successful in putting the USSR back on its feet.
Lenin’s death in 1924, was followed by a succession of Communist dictators: Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Chernenko and Andropov. During much of this time, goals for the Soviet economy were set by multi-year plans. These plans established Soviet heavy industry and state control of agriculture at the cost of several million lives. They also institutionalized waste and bureaucracy. The USSR became a world supplier of heavy industrial products, such as military equipment, but could not supply herself with enough food or consumer goods. This period was characterized by dictatorial central control of the USSR, and the global spread and support of communist regimes.
THE RECENT RUSSIAN PATHWAY
In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev came to power. It had been said that the KGB had studied the Soviet economy and recognized the it was fast reaching the point of no return. The theory goes that perestroika (“restructuring”) and glasnost (“openness”) where conjured up by party loyalists like Mr. Gorbachev, to pull the USSR back from the fast approaching brink. It may be the ultimate chicken-egg scenario for future historians to decide- – which came first economic disaster or Gorbachev’s reforms.
Gorbachev lost his job to Boris Yeltsin in 1991, thanks to the democratic reforms that he himself had put into motion. By the end of that same year, the USSR was officially dissolved and its far flung communist allies divested. In place of the hammer and sickle, the tri-color Russian flag was hoisted over the Kremlin. Although there had been a change in name and management, the problems were the same and worsening. The people of Russia suffered terribly as hyperinflation drove prices up 200%, the International Monetary Fund interceded with multi-billion dollar loans, the ruble was devalued and ultimately Russia defaulted on domestic debt. The people were faced with severe shortages of food, fuel, consumer goods and housing. It was a decade of distress, discontent, and instability.
In 2000, Vladimir Putin was elected president of Russia following the surprise resignation of Boris Yeltsin. Putin had been a leader of the KGB, and some expected an immediate return to hard core communism. Much to their surprise and the delight of the Russian people, he has been providing Russia with stability and predictability:
“Mr. Putin remains phenomenally popular. His constantly high approval rating (70%) is especially striking when seen against the backdrop of growing criticism of the government. This “Teflon effect” means that Putin’s high marks are not being given for concrete achievements, but rather for his guarantee of overall political predictability. Putin’s rating is a rating of hope, demonstrating that among the public at least, hope is a resource that is far from exhausted.” 44
Putin has also been aligning his nation with the West, resulting in economic benefit to Russia and increased personal popularity.
“His “new course” is finding support among the richest and most successful segments of Russia’s economic and financial circles. The United States’ recognition of the Russian economy as a market economy, along with similar promises from the European Union, have not only brought Russia’s membership in the WTO closer, but have raised the status of its economic players as well. In particular, the country’s oil and gas companies, which long to be accepted into the world business community, are vitally interested in the practical development of the announced energy partnership with the U.S. and the E.U. Alongside Russia’s entrepreneurial class, the economic wing of the government and the section of the bureaucracy linked with business also support Putin…
…Despite traditional opposition, Russia’s relations with the European Union supplement its relationship with NATO, and vice versa. In both cases, we are talking about the single process of Russia drawing closer to Western institutions. By the spring and summer of 2002, the main dilemma of Russia’s Europe-oriented policy became clear. It can be reduced to this: either limit the damage caused by the E.U.’s expansion, or maximize the opportunities that expansion is opening up.” 45
In addition to actively seeking Russian entry into European multi-national organizations, since the 9/11 Act of War on the US, he has shown himself to be a close ally and personal confidante of President George W. Bush. He has been trying to balance Russia’s need for cash with Iran’s willingness to exchange cash for weapons or nuclear expertise, and with the interests of the US in fighting the ‘axis of evil’ which includes Iran.
While Putin may in fact be a reformer at heart, he still has to control the entrenched Russian bureaucracy.
“The bureaucracy, on which the president is forced to rely as the conduit of his intended course, is in fact a hindrance to reform in the field of foreign and defense policy-those areas least affected by the changes that have taken place since 1991. The most serious problems are: the lack of reform inside the Foreign Ministry, the impossibility of reform within the Defense Ministry, and the already chronic uncertainty over the status and functions of the Security Council. …the Foreign Ministry… has been transformed into a bastion of neo-Soviet conservatism. The “insertion” of Sergei Ivanov and his small band into the Defense Ministry in 2001 did not create the critical mass required to effect the radical changes that have long been urgently needed there, and therefore did not signal the beginning of military reform. … the Russian Security Council, this organ too “went astray” once again. The Council lost the positions of coordinator and brain center of political security to which it had been appointed under the previous leadership… As a result of this, the danger of just marking time and inevitably sliding backwards is quite real. The “new course” might end up being discredited not by its opponents but by its own adherents, if they turn out to be incapable of seizing the new opportunities that have opened up.” 46
Putin has changed the direction of the nation and set Russia on a new path. No longer is Russia confronting the West, but trying to join with it. No longer is Russia blindly following their arabist past, but is joining the US as a partner in the war on terror.
“In order to become part of the contemporary European and global communities, Russia will have to undergo thorough reform in all aspects of life. This necessarily includes social values. Until the rule of law, a democratic regime, and a market economy are all firmly established, and human rights and basic liberties are guaranteed, Russia’s relations with the West will be of a limited and pragmatic (not integrated or value-based) nature. Nevertheless, Russia’s interaction with the outside world could be a powerful factor in its internal transformation. The country’s imminent membership in the WTO is the greatest economic event since the collapse of the Soviet planned economy. The asymmetric partnership with the U.S. is helping Russia free itself from the crushing burden of super-power status. Drawing closer to NATO and to the military structure of the European Union might provide the impetus for a revolution in Russia’s armed forces. It is possible that much of the above lies beyond the station to which Vladimir Putin is now prepared to steer (and haul) the country. The main thing, however, is not reaching the “promised land” in one or two presidential terms, but the direction in which the tracks are being laid. 47
We all wonder how long this “new path” will be. Has Russia turned over a new leaf? Are the reforms sincere? Is ex-KGB Putin sincere or intentionally duplicitous? Prophetically, I suspect this new patch of path will not be long! Perhaps this is the ‘positive’ direction from which Ezekiel saw Russia being ‘turned’ – – but more on this latter.
Abominable treatment of the Jews, has been deeply ingrained in Russian society. During the age of the Czars, Jews could not own land, attend schools, or live outside of ethnically restricted “ghettos”. To divert the attention of the people from their own privation, the government would lead the people in violent raids – “pogroms” — on the Jewish community.
In 1905, hate literature began infecting Russian society, with the first Russian public edition of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
“Introduction: It is a classic in paranoid, racist literature. Taken by the gullible as the confidential minutes of a Jewish conclave convened in the last years of the nineteenth century, it has been heralded by anti-Semites as proof that Jews are plotting to take over the world. Since its contrivance around the turn of the century by the Russian Okhrana, or Czarist secret police, “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” has taken root in bigoted, frightened minds around the world. The booklet’s twenty-four sections spell out the alleged secret plans of Jewish leaders seeking to attain world domination. They represent the most notorious political forgery of modern times. Although thoroughly discredited, the document is still being used to stir up anti-Semitic hatred.
Origins of the Protocols: Serge Nilus, a little-known Czarist official in Moscow, edited several editions of the Protocols, each with a different account of how he discovered the document. In his 1911 edition Nilus claimed that his source had stolen the document from (a non-existent) Zionist headquarters in France. Other “editors” of the Protocols maintained that the document was read at the First Zionist Congress held in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland.” 48
During Lenin’s tenure in office, the Jews fared slightly better. But when Stalin came to power, he bitterly oppressed the Jews, suspecting them of anti-Soviet activities. As with all expression of religion, the atheistic regime attempted to stamp out ever vestige of Jewish life, belief and culture.
One of the benefits of Gorbachev’s glasnost was the easing of immigration restrictions on Soviet Jews and laws prohibiting the practice of religion. Millions of visas were issued and hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews immigrated to Israel. Israel struggled to house the flood of approximately 10 -25,000 Soviet Jews that arrived each month in what they term “Operation Exodus”. As a result of that great influx of people, many Israelis lived in tents. Unfortunately for those Jews who did not immigrate, that same “openness” unleashed pent up ethnic hatred in the Russian population.
“The fear that the state cannot protect its citizens has helped bring about an explosion in Jewish emigration. More that 18,000 a month have been leaving, compared with 914 for all of 1986. Many would-be emigrants gather outside the Moscow synagogue on Saturday mornings. Leonid Kleiman, a 42-year-old technician with no living relatives in Russia, says that he is leaving because of anti-Semitism. “We are more free now to have cultural activities, but propaganda against Jews is spread more freely now, too.” His comments reflect a poll by a Jewish human-rights group in Israel, which found that 70 percent of Soviet immigrants had fled because of anti-Semitism in the form of leaflets, gatherings, or verbal assaults.”15
In the turbulent 1990’s, Russian Jewry once again began to be cast in the role of scapegoat for Russia’s financial catastrophes.
“As the food queues grow, so does anti-Semitism. Food shortages, unemployment, economic crisis — all of these in any country exacerbate racism. That the Jews are blamed in the Soviet Union for the fact that the shelve are empty does not surprise them. One young Jewish woman said: “We’re supposed to have eaten all the food, all their food. No food, blame the Jews; no cigarettes, blame the Jews; no anything, blame the Jews. …In an interview in the New York Times Magazine last January, Valentine Rasputin, a member of Gorbachev’s Presidential Council, said: “I think today the Jews here should feel responsible for the sin of having carried out the (Bolshevik) revolution and for the shape it took. They should feel responsible for the terror that existed during the revolution. They played a large role and their guilt is great.” Mr. Rasputin, it should be recalled was appointed by Mr Gorbachev. Jews and human rights activists are troubled by this and by the fact that at no time has President Gorbachev publicly denounced anti-Semitism.”16
The mass emigration of Soviet Jewry made the traditional Soviet establishment uncomfortable. They realized that Soviet Jewry was valuable resource and their ”diamonds” were hopping onto anything with wings or wheels to carry them away from the Soviet Union.
“Just when the country needs them most, tens of thousands of the Soviet Union’s best minds are streaming to the West in what the officials describe as a brain drain so massive that it could jeopardize the Kremlin’s reforms. The current tidal wave of emigration, expected to total more than half a million this year, is carrying off the very people needed to rebuild the nation, according to Soviet authorities, who say that the exodus could also set back their country’s scientific research for decades. …The outflow of Soviet talent — an estimated 20 percent of emigrants hold advanced or professional degrees — has become so noticeable that President Mikhail S. Gorbachev himself has complained about it.”18
Although Israel had problems absorbing the tidal waves of Soviet Jews, the quality of life provided in Israel still exceeded that of the Soviet Union, exacerbating jealousy and anti-Semitism:
“Dmitri Zakharov, anchor of the Friday night television show “Vzglyad,” said “In the West, if an American sees someone on TV with a shiny new car, he will think, ‘Oh, maybe I can get that someday for myself.’ But if a Russian sees that, he will think, ‘This [expletive deleted] with his car, I would like to kill him for living better than I do.’ When Russians see a cooperative where people make a lot of money, they ask angrily, ‘Why do those people make so much money?’ Instead of making an effort to raise their own incomes, they want to close down the cooperative. “Anatoly A. Sobchak, the Mayor of Leningrad, told me: “Our people cannot endure seeing someone else earn more than they do. Our people want equal distribution of money, whether that means wealth or poverty. They are so jealous of other people that they want others to be worse off, if need be, to keep things equal. We have a story: God comes to a lucky Russian peasant one day and offers him any which in the world. The peasant is excited and starts dreaming his fantasies. ‘Just remember.’ God says, ‘whatever you choose, I will do twice as much for your neighbor as I do for you.’ The peasant is stumped because he cannot bear to think of his neighbor being so much better off than he is, no matter how well off he becomes. Finally, he gets an idea and tells God, ‘Strike out one of my eyes and take out both eyes of my neighbor.'”
Unfortunately, anti-Semitism continues to be alive and well during the Putinera as well. As they say, ‘The more things change, the more they remain the same’:
“Anti-Semitism in Russia, which decreased [sic] during the late 1980’s and 1990’s with the fade-out of Communism, is on the upswing again – possibly a result of the country’s economic difficulties. The Jewish Agency’s Global Jewish Agenda reports that there have been assaults against Jews in towns throughout the country, and that “dozens of newspapers throughout Russia continue undisturbed to publish articles condemning Jews.” The report specifies newspapers published by the Russian Orthodox Church in Yekterinburg as having “published direct calls for pogroms for some time,” while an editor in Krasnoyarsk known for talking of the “Jew-boys who have taken over Russia” was recently elected to the local parliament. An anti-Semitic play was performed at Moscow’s Miakovsky Museum two weeks ago, and anti-Semitic tapes on sale were bought up with enthusiasm.
Amos Lahat, a leading Jewish Agency representative in Russia, said that anti-Semitism was official government policy there for hundreds of years, until the beginning of Perestroika [the policy of reform instituted by Gorbachev in the 1980’s]. “Jewish roots no longer hindered the holding of key positions in national organizations, university acceptance, and the like, and Jews began to appear on the political stage,” he said. But this changed with the onset of the economic crisis of the 1990’s: “As the standard of living for most of the population declined, anti-Semitism rose once again… A number of anti-Semitic organizations rose up in Russia, which organized mass demonstrations, incited youngsters against the Jews…” Lahat said that throughout the past years of political reform, the Russian Parliament has been unable to pass even one anti-Fascist law.” 49
ENVY AND ANTISEMITISM
Envy and hatred are evidences of the bankruptcy of the Russian spirit. VitaliKorotich of the magazine Ogonyok, has said,
“I understand now what ‘a normal country’ means. … It must have its morality. …the system never built a morality. It destroyed religion and put no morality in its place. It started from hatred and social egoism. It destroyed the workers, taking the peasants who escaped from beggars’ villages. It destroyed the peasants and the villages, It destroyed the intellectuals. They were reborn after a couple of generations, but only the intellectuals, not a morality. It is terrible when people believe nothing.” 19
This does not bode well for Israel’s Russian immigrants who are working to realize their dreams in the land of milk and honey. If the average Russian views Jews generally as being the source of their society’s ills, and views successful Soviet-Israeli Jews specifically as objects of envy, one can begin to see the seeds of war being sown. With no moral compass or clear vision for the future, with spirits seething with jealousy, envy, anti-semetic hatred and violence, the hearts of the Russian people are being hardened for judgement on the hills of Judea.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29:18a
RUSSIAN ARABISM: THE KEY ARAB REGIMES
In 1948, when Israel declared its statehood, the Soviet Union was one of the first nations to recognize it. Apart from the fact that they expected it to have a sympathetic socialist government in the Middle East, they also enjoyed tormenting the British who had had no end of problems administering the area. Just as the thrill was beginning to fade, they discovered that the US, with its large Jewish population, would always be supporting Israel. This left the Arab playing field wide open for the Soviets. Yes, life was worth living once again. For additional jollies and points with their Arab friends they also harassed their own Jewish communities.
With the Soviet economy geared almost exclusively for the production of heavy, military equipment, the USSR looked to the Middle East for clientele and found a rich and fertile market. In the 1960’s, the Soviet’s helped install a radical Syrian government. From the 60′ through the 80’s Syria was a major base of Soviet troublemaking in the Middle East.
1970 – Syrian backed Palestinians attempted to overthrow the Jordanian government.
1976 – Syrian backed factions began dismembering Lebanon, and succeeding in installing a Syrian regime in 1990.
1978 – Syria condemned Egypt for signing the Camp David Accords with Israel.
1980 – Syria backed Iran in the eight year Iran-Iraq war.
Syria had dreams of creating “Greater Syria”, and the Soviets would have loved to help make their dreams come true. Then, perestroika arrived and Syria was one of the unprofitable subsidiaries that the Soviets divested. Syria briefly moved into the Western camp and participated in the first coalition against Iraq. However, the Syrian government has become increasingly radical and a principle sponsor of terrorism.
At one time, Egypt was also a key Soviet client. The Soviets financed Nasser’s huge war machine which he used against Israel in the failed 1967 War. Soviet advisors remained in Egypt until Anwar Sadat through them out after the disastrous Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Under the Shah, Iran was allied with the West. When the Ayatollahs took over, both the US and the USSR were viewed as imperialist “satanic” enemies. But in the post-Gulf War I era, things have changed.
“Newsweek has learned that Iran and the Soviet Union have begun to forge a closer military partnership. …But sources say that on Jan. 3, at least 50 Iranian military officers began training at a naval base in the Baltic coast city of Riga, Latvia, site of recent unrest between independence-minded Latvians and Soviet troops. … The likeliest reason for this sudden cooperation between the two countries is that both are hedging bets on alignments once the Persian Gulf War is over.”41
Since the Gulf War I, Russia has supplied Iran with weapons and know how in exchange for much needed cash. By continuing to supply Iran with nuclear expertise after the US declaration of war on terror in 2001, Iran has become a sticking point in US- Russian relations.
Gulf War I was a critical prophetic turning point in Arab alliances. It split the Arab nations into two camps: those who joined the coalition; and the anti-West, radical Arab nations. This later group, includes Libya, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Iran. Not only would they gladly follow Russia (or anyone for that matter) in a war against Israel, but they are the very Arab nations whom Ezekiel has prophesied would do just that!
Throughout Gulf War I, the Soviet Union cast its obligatory votes at the UN to pacify the West. It also held fast to its Arab alliances and did nothing that would damage them in the post-war world. Russia will eventually call in those markers of support when they lead the call to war against the common enemy, Israel.
RUSSIA AND HER FUTURE ‘PHAROAH’
For seventy years, the Soviet Union was a godless nation, spreading her ideology and terror throughout the nations of the world. It was easy to image the USSR creating an alliance against Israel and attacking her.
Suddenly, Russia seems more friend than foe. It is now much more difficult to image Russia leading such an overt hostile attack. But be patient, God’s Word is ever true. We will surely see Russia returning to the ‘old ways’, and the ultimate defeat of the Russian army on the hills of Judea.
Just as Pharaoh devised an evil plan to release the Jews and then follow after them to destroy them, Russia will soon pursue Soviet Jewry into Israel. But, just as God brought about the destruction of Pharaoh’s army so that the Egyptians would “know that I am the LORD” so, we are told in Ezekiel 38 that the armies of Russia and her allies will be destroyed by Him to “make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the LORD.”
God Is in Control
The Exodus account indicates the active part that God took in hardening Pharaoh’s heart in order to reveal Himself. Ezekiel’s account of the future invasion of Israel lead by the Prince of Rosh also describes God’s very active role in executing His judgement and revealing Himself. Check out these verbs; Ezekiel 38 speaks of a hook BEING SET in the Soviet jaw. It speaks of TURNING them about and BRINGING them out. Ezekiel 39 speaks of DRIVING them on, TAKING them up, and BRINGING them against the mountains of Israel. God, Himself, will be very active in the judgement of those who hate and pursue His People.
Doing A “180”
Some event will precipitate Russia’s turning its back on reforms and its new alliances with the West. What will God use to cause Russia to radically reverse its direction in a fulfillment of Ezekiel 38:4 – “And I will TURN YOU ABOUT, and put hooks into your jaws…”? Will the national and international environment after of Gulf War II reinvigorate Russian conservative forces and bring them back into power?
The Evil Plan
What evil plan could Russian conservatives concoct that would restore their power and the financial stability of the country? Perhaps they will harness the country’s anti-Semitism and convert it to action. Perhaps it is the very cursing of God’s People that He will use to bring that envious nation and her allies to their appointment with judgement on the mountains of Israel. Can this be discerned from Ezekiel’s prophecy? Consider these verses:
“Thus says the Lord God, “It will come about on that day, that thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil plan and you will say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalledvillages, I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates, TO CAPTURE SPOIL AND TO SEIZE PLUNDER, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and AGAINST THE PEOPLE WHO ARE GATHERED from the nations, who have acquired CATTLE AND GOODS, who live at the center of the world.’ Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all its villages, will say to you, ‘Have you come to CAPTURE SPOIL? Have you assembled your company to SEIZE PLUNDER, TO CARRY AWAY SILVER AND GOLD, TO TAKE AWAY CATTLE AND GOODS, TO CAPTURE GREAT SPOIL?'””– Ezekiel 38:10-13
Here is one scenario of possible events, that will show us how close to the fulfillment of this prophetic text we might be…
· The anti-semitic Russian populace continues to blame the Jews who have emigrated to Israel for their economic and international woes
· Gulf War II occurs and results in huge benefits for the State of Israel – – they gain more land, resources and spoils; they enjoy a period of peace and prosperity not seen in Israel in a very long time.
· The Russians are rabidly envious and the defeated Arab nations are angry but frightened of Israel’s war prowess.
· The conservative Russians devise an “evil plan” (38:10) to seize a share of Mid-East spoils from the Jews, that is, to “seize plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to capture great spoil” (v.13, also 12)
· The Jews are considered easy and unsuspecting prey as they at last living at peace – – “without walls, and having no bars or gates” (38:11)
· The plan will be put to action in the spring following a hard winter. This is when the raptors — the large, birds of prey — migrate through Israel. We are told that God will invite them to feast upon the fallen. (39:4)
· A call goes out to Russia’s southern neighbors, the former Soviet Republics of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia (Gomer, Magog,Meshech) and any willing, radical Moslems in Turkey (Tubal, Togarmah)
· The radical Arab states of Libya (Put), Iran (Persia) and Sudan/Ethiopia (Cush) cast their dies with Russia, thus completing the prophesied roll call
· The non-committal Saudi Arabians (Sheba and Dedan) and the Arab emirates (merchants of Tarshish) don’t take part in the attack, but demand an explanation of what is going on (38:13)
Note: Many authors have interpreted “Tarshish” to be England or Spain, for this name has been historically applied to both. However, in Phoenician, “Tarshish” means “refinery”. In ancient times this referred to silver refining, but in this prophetic case, it may refer to oil refinement. It appears to make more sense that Saudi Arabia would be speaking on behalf of herself and her oil rich neighbors, than to sudden ally her with England or Spain.
· And as the attack just gets underway, God unleashes His Judgement and the invading army falls on the mountains of Israel.
What stands between us, today and the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy? Two primary things must change:
· Russia needs to be ‘turned about’ from their reforms and returned to their role as antagonist
· Israel needs to be living in peace and prosperity.
How quickly could those changes practically occur? Perhaps over a span of several months. Perhaps Gulf War II will be the turning point.
As Russia and her allies are prepared for their ultimate judgement, the Bride of Christ is being prepared to meet her Beloved. The Rapture of the Bride could be at any time. Time is very short and there is much to do!
Christian friend, the world and your Lord need you to exercise your priestly office. They need you to do it today; right now. These are days in which we must be laboring in prayer. I know its not easy. If it weren’t important and tough, we would not have had to have been told to do it — it would have come naturally! So stand tall, and do your duty!
Here are a few suggestions, which you can prayerfully consider right now!
· Pray that God would open the hearts of the people in Russia. Economic hardship has a way of either opening the heart to God or hardening it with bitterness. Pray that His faithful servants in the mission field will find the hearts of the Russian people prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive the Good News of Messiah Jesus. Pray that enough workers will be found to deliver that message.
· Pray for the government of your nation that they might have divine discernment in dealing with Russia. These leaders must be able to discern true friend from duplicitous foe, and be able to quickly adapt strategies as the flow of events turn on a dime. Pray that they might be “as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.”43
· While Israel is the centerpiece for God’s promises, she also has some tough days ahead. Pray that the God of Israel will continue to guard His people and His Land. Pray for the leadership of Israel that they might not be deceived by diplomatic intrigue. Pray that God would provide His people with strength and provision — particularly as Israel tries to absorb a flood of Jews from the four corners of the earth. Pray for the physical and spiritual redemption of Jews in Israel and those still in exile, especially in Russia.
· Pray that the hearts of men throughout the world will be prepared by the Holy Spirit today. Pray that when God reveals Himself in defense of Israel that untold numbers of people will turn to Him in faith.
· Pray that Jesus’s Bride will purify herself, use her time wisely, and be about her fiance’s business. Pray that each of us, will live each day in expectancy and efficiency, for the time is short. Pray that we each might be faithful stewards of our talent, and faithful ministers of our priestly offices.
1 Roberts, J.M., The Pelican History of the World, Penguin Books, 1987, p 347
2 Deanna Hodgin for Insight magazine, 7/9/90
3 New York Times, 4/7/91
4 The Economist, 7/28/90
5 The Economist, 7/28/90
6 International Herald Tribune, 7/29/90
7 International Herald Tribune, 7/23/90
8 New York Times, 8/3/90
9 New York Times, 5/17/91
10 New York Times, 8/25/90
11 Herald Statesman, 9/5/90
12 The European, 9/21-23/90
13 Herald Statesman, 9/5/90
14 The Jewish Press, 3/22/91
15 “Are the Russians Really Coming?, Now the West may control the exodus”, World Press Review, February 1991
16 The European, 11/30-12/2/90
17 The European, 3/15/91
18 Herald Statesman 10/8/90
19 International Herald Tribune, 12/13/90
20 World Press Review, 9/90
21 USA Today, 12/11/90
22 New York Times, 12/16/90
23 “A Call to Civil War?”, Time, 3/4/91
25 New York Times, 2/18/91
26 “Rebuke to Gorbachev”, Newsweek, 4/8/91
27 New York Times, 5/22/91
28 New York Times, 12/23/90
29 “Kremlin Accuses Banks in West of Plot”, New York Times, 2/15/91
30 New York Times, 4/21/91
31 International Herald Tribune, 9/12/90
32 “Washington Whispers: Failed tip-off”,U.S. News & World Report, 2/4/91
33 New York Times, 2/18/91
35 USA Today, 3/19/91
36 “The Tougher ‘New Gorbachev’, Newsweek, 3/4/91
37 “Soviet Troops Crush Rising Expectations”, Insight, 2/4/91
38 “World Notes:Arms Pact Sleight of Hand”, Time, 3/4/91
39 The Jewish Press, 3/1/91
40 “America’s Giant Step”, Newsweek, 3/11/91
41 “Iran: A New Relationship”, Newsweek, 2/18/91
43 Matthew 10:16
44 “Putin’s ‘New Course’ Is Now Firmly Set: What Next?”, Library of Publication of the Carnegie Moscow Center Issue 6, June 2002 http://pubs.carnegie.ru/english/briefings/2002/default.asp?n=issue02-06.asp
48 “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion: A Hoax of Hate” http://www.adl.org/special_reports/protocols/protocols_intro.html
49”Anti-Semitism Returns To Russia”, From Arutz Sheva News Service, 8.Feb.2002, http://www.mjaa.org/jrin/rptc.html