What is interesting is that the attack this week is a complete reversal for Trump. After President Obama had declared the red line in Syria was if Assad ever used his chemical weapons, and Assad then went ahead and used his chemical weapons on his own people, Trump then tweeted out the following:
“Let the Arab League take care of Syria. Why are these rich Arab countries not paying us for the tremendous cost of such an attack?” - August 29, 2013
“What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long-term conflict? Obama needs Congressional approval.” - August 29, 2013
“AGAIN, TO OUR VERY FOOLISH LEADER, DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA - IF YOU DO MANY VERY BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN & FROM THAT FIGHT THE U.S. GETS NOTHING!” - Sept 5, 2013
In the end, Obama did not respond as he said he would, and it was seen around the world as America pulling out and losing heart. But clearly Trump is a different man and like many other world leaders once in power has a change of mind. As often is the case the campaign trail is different than the actual position once in the seat.
The truth is that God has a plan and it is He that puts leaders into and out of power, as we are told in Daniel chapter 4:17—
“This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men"
And further to this events can come about that change us completely. We have an example of this in Esther 5 & 6. In chapter 5 Haman has built the gallows for Mordecai and is ready to have him hung. However chapter 6 starts off “On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles, and they were read before the king.”
You probably know the result, The king finds out that Mordecai saved his life. And Haman ends up parading Mordecai through the streets crying out “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honour.” A sleepless night and perfect spot in a book are all it took to change the course of history at that time. God has a way of orchestrating events when he needs to.
Today, many in the US and around the world wondered and accused Trump of working behind the scenes with the Russians. Trump said himself that it wouldn't be a bad thing if we got along with the Russians. But that is not what the Bible says will happen.
US government officials are saying that it was the pictures of the babies and children that made him act. Whatever the reason there is a change. In fact the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley has now said that “We are prepared to do more, but we hope that will not be necessary”
This change in Trump is to be expected as it is scripture that paints the relationship between the northern power and the southern power as one of hostility. We say this based on the following passages:
In Daniel 11 we have the King of the north and the King of the south.
In Ezekiel 38 we have a northern confederacy of nations mentioned at the beginning of the chapter and a southern confederacy of nations including Tarshish and the Young Lions, along with other southern nations, such as Sheba and Dedan, which today would be Saudi Arabia and the southern gulf states. This Tarshish has been looked at many times on this program and in the Bible Magazine, however, it is clearly the nation of Britain with her “young lions” including America. You can read more about that in the last issue of the Bible Magazine or in Vol 20, Issue 3.
And lastly is it seen in Zachariah chapter 6, a time clearly in the future when the temple is built and the one who is the BRANCH becomes a king and priest. At the beginning of this chapter, we have four chariots that come out from between the two mountains of brass. Mountains in Bible prophecy are nation powers, as is seen in Daniel 2:35, 44 and 45. These mountains of brass are our northern and southern powers at the time of the end.
So based on that understanding Bible Students for many years have looked for the situation that we now see taking shape before us today. The following are from older Milestones by Graham Pearce, first from 1983:
Both Daniel and Ezekiel describe the final invasion of the land, and we must add together what they both say. It is not just Russia coming to take a spoil, but also the beginning of Divine judgment on the Roman power for its oppression of God's people from the first century onwards. We can look for the following developments:
(1) The development of two hostile powers north and south of the land;
(2) Russia taking control of the whole of Europe, and welding it into a mighty confederacy including the Catholic Church, with enmity against Israel;
(3) The coming against Israel and their land as the last act of God's 'indignation' against His people;
(4) Michael, Israel's great Prince, delivering his people and the invader being 'broken without hand'. (This is the same occasion referred to by Isaiah when the terrible overthrow at Bozrah is declared to be
"The day of the LORD'S vengeance and the year of recompenses for the controversy of' Zion" (34:8).
(5) To complete the picture after the avengement in the land of Israel, a final war taking place in Europe, described in Revelation as the ten horns of the beast making war with the Lamb and the Lamb overcoming them (17:13, 17; 19:19-21).
So Graham’s first development that he looked for in this list was that of two hostile powers north and south of the land. This underscores the significance of the events of the last few days.
The second quote from Graham is taken from the 1984 Milestones commenting on events at that time, but which clearly fits our time the same:
“The total of all these factors is the quite dramatic emergence of an overall South Power, hostile to the North Power. And the pivot of this is Saudi Arabia supported by the U.S.A. and Britain. So under angelic control, preparations continue in harmony with the prophetic record set out so long ago.
This aspect of prophecy fulfilling is so striking, so exciting, that some further details will help to establish the matter. - Milestones 1984
The following is also taken from 1984:
“In the original King of the North-King of the South situation in Daniel chapter 11, the Seleucids — King of the North — were established in Syria with Antioch on the Orantes as their capital. So today we look on Syria as a key country. It is appropriate, too, that the U.S. should be pushed out of Lebanon-Syria. It has no place in the northern group of countries. - Milestones 1984
Well, if we are looking for hostility between the northern powers and southern powers this week’s news certainly gave us lots to talk about! The following was the US ambassador Nikki Haley’s speech on Friday.
Audio from UN speech
Maybe unsurprisingly regarding the response from Russia, Syria and Iran, Reuters is reporting that “A joint command center made up of the forces of Russia, Iran and militias supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday said the U.S. strike on a Syrian air base on Friday crossed "red lines" and it would respond to any new aggression and increase its support for its ally.” It apparently didn't take long for the relationship to hit the bottom.
However, from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Israel, Canada, Britain and Australia there was clear support. This is quite incredible really as that line of nations is exactly what we expect from the prophecies.
Interestingly Turkey is doing what it does best and bothering everyone, it strongly supported the missile strike but has been threatening to close the US airbase because of the support the US gives the Kurds. As the quote from Graham said, the US “has no place in the northern group of countries.”
The other news that just broke is the bombings of the Christians in Egypt. This development will also be interesting to watch as Egypt is further galvanized against terrorism and will likely be brought closer to Israel and the United States. After a recent meeting between the Egyptian President Al Sisi and Trump, Sisi came out saying that “Trump had a true understanding of the Middle East.”
As the picture painted for us from the prophecies comes into view in our time may we be motivated to examine ourselves. Do we have oil in our lamps? Are we taken up by the cares of this life? Are we separate from this world that God has promised to bring his judgments against? These are questions that I ask myself when I see events moving us toward the coming of the Messiah. We are blessed to see the things that we do, and in closing the following are again words from Graham Pearce from the 1978 Milestones:
“When we survey what is happening in this vast South region — Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, Persia, Ethiopia, Egypt, Libya, — we see countries brought to life again after long centuries of silence, now activated into modern style States and moving into their right positions for the great day of Christ's return. How thrilling is 'prophecy fulfilling.' What would our brethren of a century ago think if they could see the things we see!”
Thanks for joining us again this week for another edition of the Bible in the News, join us again next week at bibleinthenews.com