Cyprus & Russia in latter day Bible prophecy
Further signs of the prophetic jigsaw puzzle being put into place
November 2, 2013 - Audio, 14.00 MIN
(Links at bottom of page to download free viewers.)
This week we take a look at interesting events happening in the Mediterranean area, as we see further signs of the prophetic jigsaw puzzle being put into place. This is Matt Davies joining you for Bible in the News.
Events in the Mediterranean have lately been heating up. In recent years the American oil company, Noble Energy has discovered 42 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off the coasts of Cyprus and Israel and it is suspected that with further exploration even more might be found. To put this into perspective, the whole of the European Union’s total consumption last year was 15.67 tcf. The new finds are causing a very interesting shift in the politics of the region and it is exciting to see the players on the world stage getting ready to fulfil their part - in a drama recorded in our Bibles before it has even taken place.
The return of Russia
Firstly we see Russia is heavily involved. Back in June, the Russians deployed a naval unit consisting of at least 10 warships in the Mediterranean. It's the first permanent deployment in the Mediterranean since Soviet times.
With the tensions in Syria mounting, Russia keeps sending more naval units to boost its presence. In September it added another 3 combat ships.
The Russians have a port in Tartus off the Syrian coast line. However they have done a deal with Cyprus and Greece which allows their ships to stop off and resupply in ports on their coastlines also.
As Bible students we see this naval build up as a very significant event. The peoples of Russia are mentioned in Ezekiel 38 as being the leaders in a great confederacy of nations who come against Israel before Christ returns to the earth.
Youngs Literal translation renders Ezekiel 38:1-2
"Son of man, set thy face unto Gog, of the land of Magog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy concerning him..."
Rosh or Rus is the ancient name by which the peoples of Russia were once known. They existed as an ancient tribe in the Northern area of Russia. The Kievian Rus for example were a federation of Slavic tribes who came to prominence in the 10th Century. We have the record of a Bible student of the time, Leo the Deacon, identifying the Rus with the people of Rosh in Ezekiel's time. He wrote:
"That this people (The Rus) is reckless and warlike and mighty, and attacks all the neighboring peoples, is attested by many people, among them the holy Ezekiel, who alludes to them when he says as follows: "Behold, I will bring upon you Gog and Magog, the ruler of the Rosy"
The History of Leo the Deacon - 950AD approx
When considered in the light of historical evidence, the territories of Magog, Meshech and Tubal point to the peoples of Southern Russia and the area of the Caucasian mountains.
Ezekiel 38 is all about the time period termed "The Latter Days" v8 and v16. Ezekiel tells us that in these latter days a character called Gog will arise, who leads these Russian peoples. United with them will be Eastern nations such as Iran as well as nations of North Africa and Europe. They will all unite together and attack Israel under Russia's leadership.
When we couple the prophecy of Ezekiel 38 with Daniel 11 we find the same event is being spoken of. Daniel 11 verse 40 to the end speaks of an invasion from the north of a powerful king, named "The King of the North" who will travel south and then turn back up to Israel before he meets his end.
In verse 40 we are told that in "the time of the end" he will invade with "many ships" and so the build up of Russian ships in the Mediterranean is very significant, as we see Russia preparing to play its part in these events, recorded by God's prophets so long ago.
Why the interest from Russia?
So why is Russia interested in the Med? Well it seems that it's all to do with the gas finds. If Russia has a presence in the Med it can protect its interest in dominating the energy supplies of the world. Recently it has been very much involved with the bids to support the extraction of gas from the Cypriot gas fields as well as helping out Cyrpus with its failing economy.
As well as wanting to get its hands on some of the Cypriat gas, it has also been rumoured that Russia is trying to get itself a new, permanent naval port in Cyprus. Back in June, when Cyprus was seeking a loan to help with their failing economy, the Cyprus Mail published an article reporting on this, it was entitled "Russia eyeing Cyprus bases". Within the article the following was stated:
"RUSSIA appears to be inching closer to gaining a long-coveted military foothold in Cyprus, as the future of their naval port in Syria looks increasingly shaky. The past fortnight has seen a surge in diplomatic activity between Nicosia and Moscow over Russian requests for military use of the Andreas Papandreou airbase in Paphos and Limassol port."
Although no deal was done on this back in June with Russia, it seems Russia's ambitions in getting friendlier with Cyprus are not over.
Last week on the 23rd of October a new Cypriat Ambassador was presented to Russian President Vladimir Putin who is reported to have said:
“We will continue in the future to contribute to the deepening of bilateral cooperation in the economic and humanitarian field and participate in the quest for a just and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem."
Reading between the lines, it seems clear that Russia is waiting for the Cypriat economy to continue to fail, and then, when Cyprus is desperate, hope to secure a deal in which Russia will bail out Cyprus in exchange for the gas and ports.
Chittim - the ancient name for Cyprus
So why is this interesting?
Well it connects with another Bible prophecy from the book of Numbers and the words of the unwilling prophet Balaam.
Balaam was invited by a Midian king - Balak to curse Israel. However Balaam was unable to speak words of cursing as God only allowed him to utter words of blessing upon Israel. Amongst the things Balaam speaks of, is a set of propehcies about the surrounding nations of Israel which connect with the same time period we have looked at in Ezekiel 38 - the latter days.
In chapter 24 v 14 we read
"And now, behold, I (Balaam) go unto my people: come therefore, and I will advertise thee (Balak) what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days."
The prophet then utters a prophecy about various events connected with Balak's people. But in connection with what we have been looking at here he states:
"Alas, who shall live when God doeth this! And ships shall come from the coast of Chittim, and shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber, and he also shall perish for ever." Numbers 24:23-24
Now in this verse, as with most Bible prophecy about the latter days, ancient names of places are used. Chittim is an ancient name for Cyprus. Assur is the ancient name for the Assyrians, the people who dominated the area of Iran in ancient times. Eber was the ancestor of the race of the Hebrews - Israel.
Putting this together then, we can interpret the meaning of what God (through Balaam) has said would happen in the latter days:
"Alas, who shall live when God doeth this! And ships shall come from the coast of Cyprus, and shall afflict Iran, and shall afflict Israel, and he also shall perish for ever." Numbers 24:23-24
The bigger picture
When this is linked into the prophecies of Daniel 11 and Ezekiel 38 we get a very interesting picture of how things will pan out in our days, the latter days.
Ezekiel 38 tells us Russia is the leader of a great confederacy of nations who attack Israel and that Iran will be part of that confederacy. Daniel 11 tells us that this "King of the North" will use many ships in its military activities as it drives south into Israel. Now in Numbers we are being told that these ships are based in Cyprus and that somehow they are used to bring Iran under Russia's control as well as to afflict Israel.
So as Russia makes its presence felt in the Mediterranean and seeks a port in Cyprus, we see how relevant the prophecies in the Bible are and how close we are to God's coming kingdom.
The glory of Zion
Another prophecy of the latter days tells us this:
"And it shall come to pass in the last (latter) days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." Isaiah 2:3-4
This is the time of the kingdom. When Jerusalem will be the capital of the world. When Jesus Christ has returned and as Luke 1:32 prophesies, has received the throne of his father David in Zion.
This occurs in the same time period of the latter days after the dramatic invasion from the north by Russia and its allies - using ships from Cyprus.
So as we watch these events unfolding before our eyes and the nations unwittingly preparing for the great battle of Armageddon, let us take note of the words of Jesus in Revelation 16:15 - exhorting his true followers who are living just before Armageddon which is mentioned in the next verse he says:
"Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."
This has been Matt Davies. Join us again next week God willing, for another Bible in the News.
Bible in the News provides a weekly analysis of world politics and events
in the light of Bible prophecy — the Bible in the News!