The signs of the times are all around us. Nations are forming alliances and behaving as we would expect from Bible Prophecies about the “latter days”. This is Matt Davies joining you for another Bible in the News.
Ezekiel 38 and the "latter days"
In the prophecy of Ezekiel 38 the prophet, Ezekiel is inspired by God to record what would happen in the very times we are living in. The times just before the return of Jesus Christ to the earth to establish the throne of David. The prophecy is all about the time after the Jewish nation has been restored to their land so it has to do with events following 1948 when Israel declared independence. This time period is referred to in the scriptures as “the latter days”.
The prophecy speaks of two blocks of nations. One set of nations which invade Israel from the North and another which feebly challenges the invasion.
In v1-9 we have a description of the invading natians - all recorded by their then current names (C. 600BC. These are as follows:
- Rosh, Mesech and Tubal - The peoples of Russia
- Magog - Eastern European peoples
- Persia - Iran
- Ethiopia and Libya - North African peoples
- Gomer - Western European peoples
- The house of Torgama - The Turkic peoples
The confederacy is headed up by a character entitled “Gog” - who, we are told, is the “prince of Rosh” (v2 YLT).
As Bible students then we look for a dominant Russia, allied and leading the peoples mentioned in Ezekiel 38.
The other block of nations are mentioned in v13, again by their ancient names. These are as follows:
- Sheba & Dedan - the people of the Arab Gulf
- Tarshish - Britain
- Young Lions - Britains independent colonies
This set of nations appear to all be a trading alliance, trading in the region when the invasion takes place - the prophecy records their feeble challenge in v13 “Art thou come to take a spoil”.
So, as Bible students then we look for these nations to be allied together. We also expect them to obviously NOT be allied with the Russian, European, Iranian and North African block.
So, what’s been happening this last week in relation to these things?
Russia and Iran
First of all on Monday, Russia’s ambassador to Iran announced Russia, China and Iran will kick off a joint naval exercise in the northern Indian Ocean this month.
The Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Bager Galibaf paid a visit to Russia this week. Apparently, high on his agenda were discussions on fast-track membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) - the union of nations that Russia dominates. He carried with him a special message from Iran’s supreme leader for the Russian President Vladimir Putin. This message contained the need to strengthen ties between the nations which appears to be happening.
Russia publicly supported Iran’s position on its nuclear programme. The New US president, Joe Biden, seeking to reverse Donald Trumps decision to pull out of an agreement with Iran over its nuclear programme. He is attempting to re-enter the agreement. Iran has said the US would need to lift its sanctions on Iran. Russia has supported Iran.
So we are seeing the alliance, spoken of by Ezekiel, between The Rosh and Persia developing.
Another sign of the warm relations between Russia and Iran was seen in the recent delivery of its Covid-19 vaccine. On Tuesday Iran launched its coronavirus inoculation campaign using the Russian Sputnik V vaccines.
Russia and Europe
In this regard, we have also seen interesting developments between Russia and the EU this week. Hungary was the first in the EU to Approve Russian Covid Vaccine and, according to reports, this Friday they began to roll it out. Although they independently approved the vaccine, the rest of the EU is waiting on a centralised approval process. According to one report Russia is due to obtain formal approval from the European Union next month for the use of its vaccine in EU countries. If approved it will give Russia new leverage with the EU - especially as the EU has fallen out with Britain over a spat where the EU attempted to restrict vaccine’s bought and paid for by the UK from being supplied to the UK. The EU has reportedly been slower to fund and strike deals with drug companies whilst, due to Brexit the UK was able to move faster and get deals quicker. The EU was forced to back down from its attempt to restrict exports, especially after they threatened to put a hard border in place between Ireland and Northern Ireland sparking outrage.
All of these things are signs of the times showing the distancing between the nation of Tarshish from the powers of Magog and Gomer. They also show a Russia posed to dominate the EU, perhaps, with a vaccine the EU desperately needs.
Russia and Ethiopia and Libya
If we turn our attention to Africa again we see signs of the times in relation to Russia. A delegation of Russian investors finished a trade mission to Ethiopia this week. According to one report the group “had fruitful discussions with the Minister of Mines and Petroleum, the Minister of Trade and Industry, the Minister of Urban Development and Construction, Ethiopia's Investment Commission, and the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectorial Associations.” Apparently, these investors will start operations in Ethiopia in the next three months.
In Libya, there is a new government in place after recent elections. According to a report by the Libya Herald “Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in talks with the head of the Libyan Presidency Council, Mohamed Al-Manfi (Menfi), and the country’s prime minister, Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba, affirmed Russia’s readiness to work with the new government of Libya… The Foreign Minister stressed his country’s keenness to enhance cooperation between the two parties in the interest of continuing to develop Russian-Libyan relations, which have traditionally been friendly in nature.”
Signs of the times
So this week, indeed we see evidence of the global alliances forming as we see depicted in Bible prophecy. This indeed gives us confidence that God is in control and moving world events forward, slowly but surely so that His prophecies will be fulfilled and so that those who are watching will be encouraged.
Speaking to the people of His day the Lord Jesus Christ said this:
“When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” Matt 16:2-3
Here we have the clear expectation of Christ, that Bible believers would be able to discern the signs of the times they live in. Are we alert to the signs of our times? Are we ready for the return of Christ and the setting up of the Kingdom of God on earth - for this is one of the events which will happen in the Latter days for we read:
“And it shall come to pass in the last 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.“ Isaiah 2:2-3
Lets us watch and prepare for the return of Zion's king and be encouraged by the signs of the times around us.
This has been Matt Davies. Join us next week God willing for another Bible In The News.