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The Russian Ascent - Alf Cengia - http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=8121
If you've lived long enough or if you pay some attention to near and far history, you might have a notion just how quickly global circumstances can change. Sometimes these changes occur imperceptibly and under our noses without our realizing it. But sometimes changes take place rapidly.
Often we're so involved in our social commitments that we miss important signals. Or we're simply in denial of what's going on.
This is how I see the sudden Russian ascent, especially in the Middle East. It's happened while we were mostly sleeping. I realize that the insinuation of a Russian ascent will be scoffed at by some. I guess these people would be those in denial.
As mentioned before in past Omega Letter columns, it wasn't so long ago that the world celebrated the fall of the Iron Curtain. I knew about Hal Lindsey back then. He'd been warning everyone who would listen about Russia. I remember thinking something like, "Back to the drawing board, Hal."
In fact at one point I'd collected a number of "scholarly" articles purporting to dissect every misstep in Hal's theology. Lindsey was wrong because he took prophecy literally while, presumably, clutching his newspaper too tightly in his hand. Yes, they only had "paper" newspapers in those days.
Biblical PhD types wrote voluminous articles on how the Gog-Magog conflagration of Ezekiel 38 had already occurred in Israel's history. Skeptics inevitably note the archaic references to ancient warfare in v4.
If you don't like the historical explanation you can take refuge in allegory. This is always a safe bet in case the historical position falls apart under closer scrutiny. After all, the last time anybody looked, the Mount of Olives hasn't been split yet (Zechariah 14:4). Since they assume God has finished with Israel they're compelled to spiritualize these problem verses.
There are scholars who see the conflict described in Ezekiel 38 as futuristic. But some premillennialists believe this occurs somewhere within the 70th week of Daniel, or after the millennium. Furthermore, many of these futurist scholars often disagree on the identities of the protagonists of the Ezekiel conflict. Who are Meshach, Tubal and Rosh? What is Gog-Magog? A lot of scholars are keen to tell eager prophecy buffs that Russia has nothing to do with the Gog-Magog conflagration.
I'm no biblical (or prophecy) scholar. Neither am I in the habit of plugging popular prophecy books. There are too many bad ones. And skeptics will insist that there are no good ones at all. However, I recommend Doug Berner's The Silence is Broken.
While I don't agree with some of his conclusions (I have my own biases), Berner's effort in cataloguing all the different views and examining their strengths and weaknesses is worthy of a look. Berner concludes that Gog-Magog does, indeed, include a Russian presence. And I think he makes a great case for it. He isn't paying me to push his book by the way.
I'm indebted to a friend (Eric) for pointing out a brief commentary by Gary Stearman on Russia's continued interest in the Middle East. You don't need to agree with Stearman on all things to appreciate some salient points. He also does us a favor in referring to an interesting article by Benjamin Baruch and Jeffrey Nyquist.
Following a number of observations regarding Russia and Europe, these authors write:
'Over 25 years have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The vacuum of power which was created by the collapse of Soviet Union has led the world, rather than to an era of permanent prosperity and the end of history, to the brink of actual war. Russia merely appeared to embrace democracy and a consumer based economy, but nothing of the sort ever really occurred. Instead, Russia has developed entirely new classes of weapons, which no other nation possesses and has armed itself to the teeth.
'The early reports of the demise of the Soviet Union and the end of the communist threat now appear at best, to have been greatly exaggerated, or at worst, an intentional deception. Although the intelligence service of the Soviet Era, the KGB, was renamed the Federal Security Service (FSB), it facilitated the rise of Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer, proving the security service is still very much in power within the “new” Russia.'
Russian Imperialism never did really depart - it went into temporary hibernation. At the time of writing this column we are seeing Russia taking the initiative in Syria against ISIS while America looks on and cries foul.
Interestingly, there seems to be some sort of new understanding developing between Russia and Israel regarding ISIS. Both nations see ISIS as a dangerous enemy, but for different reasons. One nation sees ISIS as an existential threat, while the other sees it as a serious business threat.
What are we seeing and how will this develop in the days ahead? How will the Obama Administration view a potential alliance between Israel and Russia? Even more importantly, can Israel trust a Russia which is also a Syrian ally? Russia's allies would rather see Israel out of the picture.
We can quibble about some of the finer prophetic details. However, the bigger picture appears to be shaping up just like Hal Lindsey suggested before the Iron Curtain fell. Even if you don't think Russia is part of the Gog-Magog conflict or that it's on the prophetic horizon - note that Russia has been supplying Israel's antagonistic neighbors with weapons. And long before ISIS came along.
If you want the big picture go read Zechariah, especially chapters 12 to 14. Those who don't trust God's word will be shocked by what will come to pass if they are the generation which witnesses these final events.
Secular Israel hasn't placed its trust in God yet. It has relied on the United States and may be looking to Vladimir Putin for support against ISIS. This is what God says.
I will go away and return to My place Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me. Hosea 5:15
It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. Zec 12:9-10
That's the Big Picture!