Welcome to another edition of the Bible in the News. This is Tim Billington joining you.
We'll start with Yemen. Why would Bible students be interested in looking at Yemen? Yemen is the core of what was ancient Sheba, or the Sabeans. Sheba and the Sabeans are mentioned in Bible prophecy in two places in particular, Joel 3 and Ezekiel 38. In Ezekiel 38 it comes up in verse 13 and says,
“Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” Ezekiel 38:13, KJV.
There is the northern invader that is mentioned in the beginning of the chapter. Sheba is the first country that's mentioned in this group of nations that are protesting the invasion that is coming down into the land of Israel. So they are against the invasion when Gog comes down, with Dedan which is northern Arabia, and the merchants of Tarshish.
Yemen comes up again in Joel 3:8, let's look at verse 4-8 for context..
“Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head; Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things: The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border. Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence upon your own head: And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the LORD hath spoken it.” Joel 3:4-8, KJV.
What exactly is this selling that is going on? What does it mean to sell somebody? It seems to have to do with removing people from their land. As verse 6 said, “ The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border.” So that was their intention. But God says, “ I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off.” A possible interpretation of that would be that these children of Philistia, of verse 4, will be removed into the land of Sheba. It's hard to say for sure what this would look like, but it's interesting to consider.
Meanwhile this week at the Vatican, Putin visited the Pope. He received only a mild exhortation about his antics in the
Pope Francis greets Putin with a friendly smile
Ukraine, where he has annexed part of the country, Crimea, and is backing a rebellion in the other part, causing much bloodshed. Ukraine interestingly, is the heartland of the ancient Scythians or Magog, as we read in the Bible. Although Scythia had much of Eastern Europe in control at its peak, Crimea was their home turf where they started out from and where they were driven back to over time. Wednesday, June 10th was the day the Pope had Putin over to the Vatican; only the day after Putin was left out in the cold at the G7/6, where he was unwelcome due to his activities in the Ukraine. He had a friendly exchange in the Vatican; they exchanged gifts. Putin was given an Angel of Peace medallion. Pope Francis reportedly told Putin that he needed to be serious about peace in the Ukraine. Just today, Putin is calling for the Ukraine to join the peace accords from February, which includes greater freedom for the rebel held areas and that there should be local elections held there. Putin claims that there will be peace when that happens. Now if he's not involved in the region, as he claims, exactly how he knows there will be peace is hard to say. All reports are that he is actively sending troops over to back the rebellion. So he wants to see the Pro-Russian area have more freedom and elections. I suppose it would sort of cement the situation as it is, rather than him giving back all of the Ukraine.
So, why is this interesting? In Ezekiel 38, we have “Gog of the land of Magog” right off the bat at the beginning. So Magog is a very key part of that northern confederacy. But we have two legs in Daniel 2, an east and a west. The Pope is, in a way, the head of that western leg, and will ride the beast. He is cosy with Putin, who is of course, the political leader of the east. In Daniel 11:40, we see a north/south division at the time of the latter days.
“And 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, KJV.
So, rather than the east/west division that we have today with the European Union and Russia, we have them joined together against nations to the south. In Revelation 16, we have the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet all speaking together with one frog-spirit voice. In Ezekiel 38, they are all united together against Israel. So we would expect to see the east and west coming together, leaving the United States and some southern nations out.
On another note, Israel has not been pleased with the Iranian nuclear talks that have been going on, primarily with the United States, discussing with Iran their nuclear plans and trying to curtail them from developing a bomb. Israel believes that they are being too lenient on Iran and are just paving the way for them to build a bomb. It has just come out that there is a virus that has been found in the computer system of some hotels where these nuclear talks have taken place and the virus allowed the hacker to eavesdrop on conversations, steal electronic files, operate microphones in the elevators. The virus is related to the Stuxnet virus that attacked Iran's nuclear centrifuges, causing them damage.
So, we see interesting things developing in the world: we see Arab nations dividing, and while much of Europe is opposed to Putin's actions the Pope has him over for a visit to the Vatican and we see them potentially getting closer together. Putin is trying to cement his position in the Ukraine, or Magog, a key part of the northern confederacy of Ezekiel 38.
Thank you for joining us for the Bible in the News this week. We will talk to you again next week, God willing.