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Russia's Challenge To Europe - The Crisis is not over
The crisis is not over as Russia moves to gradually take up the position determined by the prophets.
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April 19, 2014 - Audio, 11.50 MIN
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This week there has been more movements in the Crisis between Russia and Europe, over the disputed areas of Eastern Ukraine. The crisis is not over as Russia moves to gradually take up the position, that the God of Israel has determined her to be in before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is Matt Davies joining you.
The Crisis Escalation
Early this week we have seen the crisis in Ukraine escalate further. Pro-Russian, masked gunmen marched in and took over key buildings, up and down the Eastern Ukraine. Buildings such as police stations and government offices had been shut down by  these pro-Russian activists. Many suspect this to be a well organized Russian military move, as the gunmen are well organized and equipped, carrying Kalashnikov rifles and wearing military uniforms, but without insignias - all the same characteristics of what occurred in Crimea.

The Ukrainian government hit back and small skirmishes were reported with some protesters losing their lives.

Whilst this was going on, reports were coming in of the Russian military massing on the  Ukrainian border. NATO officials said there are 40,000 Russian troops amassed along the border, raising fears of an imminent invasion on a scale that would dwarf Moscow’s takeover of Crimea.

On Wednesday, 16th of March, the Guardian published an article entitled "Nato to step up Presence near Russian borders". The article reported that in response to Russia's military build up it too would be "stepping up its presence around Russian borders to reassure eastern European member states".

The crisis was poised on the precipice of war. A peace meeting was called in Geneva and the leaders of the Ukraine, Russia, Europe and America sat down to discuss a deal.

Ukrainian Deal
In a surprise turn of events it is claimed a deal has been met. By viewing the various reports, it seems this is what all parties have got out of it:

Russia - they have got some "key concessions" from the Ukraine and Europe that the Kremlin can have a central role in determining the future of Ukraine. These concessions include being part of future talks about constitutional reform in the Russian speaking east of Ukraine.

Europe, America & Ukraine - have had assurances from Russia that it will "deescalate" its military presence and that Russia will call for all Ukrainian buildings to be given back to the Ukraine. Those who took them would come under an amnesty.

So what is happening here? Is this the end of Russia's ambitions to expand its influence? Is the crisis all over? We think not.

Whilst Russian diplomats were negotiating this non military deal with the West, Russia's president, Putin, was taking part in his annual televised question and answer session.
This report from CNBC is very interesting:
"Speaking at an annual televised question-and-answer session in Moscow, Putin said Russia would give Ukraine a month to pay off its gas debts, but would then switch to a "complicated" pre-payment scheme which could disrupt supply. Gas giant Gazprom, in which the Kremlin has a majority stake, claims Ukraine owes it more than $2.2 billion.
"It's a complicated settlement and might lead to disruption of supply of gas to our European consumers. We can cut it off right now. But we will wait another month," Putin said. The unfolding dispute between Ukraine and Russia has led to fears of a disruption in gas supply to Europe, given that Russia supplies around a third of the continent's natural gas, and that some of that supply is delivered through pipelines running through Ukraine."

Also in this TV session, the Independent reported Putin had stated: “I remind you that the Federation Council has given the president the right to use armed forces in Ukraine... I really hope that I do not have to exercise this right and that by political and diplomatic means we will be able to solve all of the sharp problems.”

So is the crisis over? It doesn't seem that way. Putin thinks he has the right to use force and is not afraid of using that right. For now though, the great chess player of world politics has held back it seems, at least temporarily, on military action in the hope that control over Ukraine will come in a way more palatable to the international community. He is going to use his energy might and the new opportunities of helping Ukraine with a new constitution, to get what he wants. All the time though he still has his military card to play, which Bible students know will be played by Russia in the coming world crisis, that has been outlined in the scriptures of truth.

Russia's Challenge To Europe
To find a real sense and meaning in the recent developments in the Ukraine, a Biblical and historical understanding is required. We can do no better in recommending the most recent Bible Magazine entitled "Russia's Challenge To Europe". The edition holds many useful articles for the Bible student on the subject of the importance of Russia in Bible prophecy and the context of the events we are witnessing.

The Milestones update article by Don Pearce has a very interesting section within it entitled "Kievan Russia", which goes through some of the overwhelming historical evidence which connects the name "Rosh", which we read of in Ezekiel 38:2, with the ancient name of the people of Rus. This people came to the fore in historical terms, in the middle of the 9th Century when they formed a powerful empire called "the Kievan Rus". It is from these peoples that the modern nations of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus all have their cultural heritage.

It is the leader of this people of the Rus, one termed Gog, who will eventually dominate and bring under his control all the Russias, North Africa and Europe. He is the "King of the North" of Daniel 11 who will dominate Turkey and take Constantinople for himself. He will bring about the union of the image territories of Daniel 2. It is this one, we are told, who will invade the land of Israel. Who will "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, and many countries shall be overthrown:" Daniel 11:40-41.

 God tells us this is His divine plan. In Zechariah he tells us, "For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south."

This great event is undoubtably a description of the powerful and visible manifestation of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the nations of the world. When the Lord left the earth from the area of the Mount of Olives 2000 years ago, two angels appeared and told Christ's followers: "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:11.

Therefore, as we see a dominant Russia pulling the strings, building up its military might in order that it will play its part in the great drama of that future time, we have then to be ready for the Lord Jesus Christ's return. His mission upon that return will be to defend the Jewish people and to re-establish the throne of his father David - namely the Kingdom of Israel of the past.

Being part of that Kingdom is the essence of the gospel, the good news, which Jesus and the disciples taught, as we are told in scripture (Matt 4:23, Acts 28:23, 31). It is a firm faith and application of the gospel in our lives, which will determine whether we will be part of that Kingdom, to join Christ in establishing it and to be with him as immortal rulers in the age to come. Let us therefore reach out to that gospel, hold onto its teachings and strive to live Godly lives. Let us be like the apostle Paul who stated:
"I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;", Romans 1:16.

This has been Matt Davies joining you. Come back next week, God willing, for another Bible in the News.

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