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An Aggressor in the North and a Friend in the South
Israel builds on the monumental Abraham Accords and a southern alliance comes into view. It’s another story in the north.
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The prophecy of Zechariah 6 is a prophecy concerning future events.  The man who is the Branch is seen as both king and priest in his kingdom, with the holy temple being rebuilt.  Most interestingly the chapter opens with two “mountain” powers seemingly to the north and south of Jerusalem in the context of the chapter.  We are not left to wonder at these northern and southern powers as this prophecy fits hand in glove with the latter-day King of the North and King of the South in Daniel 11:40-45 and the northern and southern alliances in Ezekiel 38.  This is John Billington with you this week.

We have spoken about these alliances many times in this program and in the Bible Magazine.  Recently world news has heavily focused on the tense situation between Russia and Ukraine, as has this program, as Russia’s westward expansion has been expected from the scripture by Bible students for over 150 years.  But as the prophecies show, there is also an alliance favourable to Israel in the south.  As far fetched as many thought it was, Israel’s relations with its southern Arab neighbours was not a matter of if, but only when.  Thus our great excitement at the time of the Abraham Accords. Well in the last few weeks this alliance has been showing further signs of enormous progress.

A short comment from the Jewish Chronicle, on February 17th, sums the situation up – 

“While Europe was on a war footing, Mr Bennett was also travelling abroad. On Monday evening, he flew off for his fourth visit to an Arab nation. In just eight months since becoming prime minister, he has been to see the leaders of Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and now Bahrain.

The rate at which Israel’s discreet relationships with the “moderate” Sunni Arab regimes is coming out into the open is breathtaking.”

Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennet listens to Israel's

national anthem "The Hatikvah" upon arrival in Bahrain.

So on multiple fronts both to the north and south of Israel, events are bringing us closer to the picture painted in the Biblical prophecies.  Yes, it is truly breathtaking.

To further explain the situation in the south, the following was reported in the New York Times, February 14, 2022 – 

“Prime Minister Naftali Bennett became the first Israeli leader to make an official visit to the small Persian Gulf state of Bahrain on Monday, a historic trip that highlighted the strengthening ties between Israel and some Arab governments.

Mr. Bennett’s visit, unthinkable a few years ago, builds on a diplomatic thaw that began in 2020 when Israel forged formal ties for the first time with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, revived diplomatic relations with Morocco and improved ties with Sudan.

Bahrain is a tiny but strategically important country, and is widely considered a proxy for Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s most powerful state.

The visit underscores the shifting geopolitical priorities of some Arab leaders who are now more concerned about containing a nuclear Iran — a concern they share with Israel — than they are about pressing Israel to reach a swift conclusion to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Saudi leaders have previously hinted that they may be preparing to shift their official position on Israel.

In 2018, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that Israelis had the right to their own land. In 2020, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a senior Saudi royal, said Palestinian leaders had betrayed their people. Both comments were major departures from previous Saudi positions.”

But official visits of leaders is a huge step to see, but it has not stopped there.  Under the threat of Iran Israel has now signed security and intelligence agreements with Bahrain and the U.A.E.  

And for the first time ever for an Arab country, in Bahrain there is now an Israeli military officer posted on the ground full time, to liaison to America’s Fifth Fleet that is stationed there. In the statement released from the Bahraini Foreign Ministry they said the appointment of the Israeli officer was related to an international coalition “to secure the freedom of navigation in the region”. 

The Jerusalem Post reported the following:

“This week, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was received with royal honors in Manama by the King of Bahrain, and last week Israel signed an historic defense cooperation agreement with the kingdom that will see Israeli defense officials and naval personnel permanently stationed in Bahrain; something that literally gives Israel a forward base on Iran’s borders.”

But it has not stopped there, the following was reported in the Times of Israel this week:

The Israeli Navy on Thursday wrapped up its participation in the US Navy’s massive IMX exercise, in which dozens of countries took part, including several with which Israel does not have formal ties.

This was Israel’s first time participating in the International Maritime Exercise, as it increasingly cooperates with the US military’s Central Command and its 5th Fleet, which operates in the waterways around the Middle East.

“The participation of the Navy in the American exercise demonstrates the strengthening connection between our fleets, based on power, mutual learning, and strategic partnership. We are coordinated and working together with our American partners to prevent terror in the maritime arena and to strengthen the security of the region’s waters,” Israeli Navy chief David Salama said in a statement.

According to the US Navy, in total, more than 9,000 people from 60 militaries took part in the IMX, which kicked off on January 31.

Participants include a number of countries that Israel does not have formal ties with, such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, Comoros, Djibouti, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan, as well as several countries with which Israel recently normalized relations, like the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which hosts the US 5th Fleet.

The biennial drill was launched in 2012 and has become “the largest multinational naval exercise in the Middle East,” according to the US Navy.

The Times of Israel, February 17, 2022

The significance of these historical political movements cannot be understated.  Seeing Israel signing defence agreements and training with the Tarshish power alongside the southern Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, all against the threat of one of Israel’s greatest enemies, is a sign of the times that surely brings us closer to the Lord’s return.

And to Israel’s north, events have taken a more menacing turn with Russia.  On February 11th The Times of Israel reported Maria Zakharova, Russia’s Foreign Minister Spokesperson saying the following:

“Israel’s continuing strikes against targets inside Syria cause deep concern, they are a crude violation of Syria’s sovereignty and may trigger a sharp escalation of tensions. Also, such actions pose serious risks to international passenger flights.”

She added that Moscow “systematically and resolutely opposes attempts to turn Syria into a scene of armed confrontation between third countries.”

“Once again we are insistently calling upon the Israeli side to refrain from such use of force.”

The Russian position has been followed up with significant action, the following is from the Jewish Chronicle, Feb 17th –

“Russian fighter jets and strategic bombers carrying hypersonic missiles were deployed to Khmeimim airbase in Syria. Along with them landed a Tupolev Tu-214 airborne command post carrying Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu.”

The mountain power to the north of Israel is starting to really show its brazen claws.  In time Russia will chain Europe and come against Israel, and the southern alliance will not be able to stand against them.  But the ending will be glorious!

Daniel 12:1-3

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”



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