Wake up the Mighty Men of War!
A resurgent Russia is seen across the world, heralding the return of Christ and the coming of the Kingdom of God.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
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In scanning the news this week, one is impressed by the number of articles speaking of a resurgent Russia.
We know from the Bible that a belligerent Russia will invade the Middle East at “the time of the end”. It is a Russia that has been preparing:
“Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.” (Ezekiel 38:7)
The word “prepared” carries the idea of being formed to the point of becoming “firm”, or firmly established, to be securely determined, to furnish, to arrange or order, to be ready for action. This is the way it is used in Joshua 8:4 when Joshua commanded the men of Israel to “all be ready” for the attack on Jericho.
When taking a broad view of the arrangements that need to be made, according to the scriptural narrative, we see there are several elements that are required. One of these is a naval presence in the Mediterranean, for the Prophet Daniel states that he shall come with “many ships” (Dan 11:40). The news has been full of reports of a resurgent Russian naval presence causing alarm and provoking the Western dominance in the region.
The National Interest Magazine, under the headline, “Russia's Most Powerful Nuclear Attack Submarine Ever Is Almost Ready for Sea” reported the following:
“Russia is set to launch its second Yasen-class nuclear-powered attack submarine on March 30, called Kazan…. Once the vessel is operational, she will be the most formidable enemy submarine that the U.S. Navy has ever faced. “It’s probably the most capable nuclear powered submarine out there fielded by a potential adversary,” Center for Naval Analyses Russian military affairs specialist Michael Kofman told The National Interest.” “The Severodvinsk is capable of antisubmarine, antiship, and land-attack missions.”
Russia’s resurgent navy has been flexing its muscles all over the world. Causing alarm in America, CNN reported,
“There's a Russian spy ship off the coast of Connecticut. Crammed with eavesdropping equipment, the Viktor Leonov has loitered in these waters before, but its current visit is the latest in a string of provocations….”
The report went on to state:
“In recent years, Russia's military has become more assertive and more capable, directed by the Kremlin to probe for weaknesses, sow uncertainty and exploit opportunities.”
In the past decade, Russia has reportedly committed $700 billion to updating its armed forces in this decade, making them more mobile.
Russia is using this modernized force to test US commitment to safeguarding international security and looking for signs of self-doubt, chinks in its armour.
The alarms have been sounding in the USA but also in the Mediterranean. This week the British newspaper, Daily Express, ran an article with the headline “Russia floods Gibraltar waters with DEADLY submarines as military fears sinister plot” where it was stated:
Vladimir Putin is testing British military patience by sending the deadly subs past the oversees territory on their way into the Mediterranean.
The new cold war developing between Russia and their Western enemies is becoming increasingly focused on the Med, which Vladimir Putin has been utilizing due to the war in Syria.
UK military sources also confirmed the presence of Russian submarines off the Gibraltar coast.
They said: “In recent years we have seen an increase in Russian submarine activity in the North Atlantic and in the Mediterranean.
“We can also confirm that there has been an increase in its capabilities with better-equipped submarines and greater stealth capacity."
Norway has also been stating its fears of the growth and activity of the Russian Navy in its own waters. The Guardian ran an
article entitled, “Troubled waters: Norway keeps watch on Russia's Arctic maneuvers” where it stated:
The Russian posture in the high north has changed. Moscow has developed a fleet of increasingly sophisticated submarines and aircraft, which are being tested in the north Atlantic alongside new high-precision long-range missiles. The fear is that Nato could lose the ability to deny Russia naval access to the north Atlantic, and Russia could block or disrupt US reinforcement to Europe.
“We are not in a conflict with Russia, and we have never had a border dispute with them in 1,000 years, but after Ukraine we changed our posture,” Norway’s Joint Military Head Quarters commander Lt Gen Jakobsen says. “They are developing new capabilities, especially submarines, very fast. If we leave a vacuum, they will fill it.”
The article quoted Norway’s defence minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide stating:
“Since 2008 they have been rebuilding bases in the Arctic, modernising their planes, submarines, and long-range missiles. In Ukraine we have seen their mobility is completely different to the past. In Syria they have shown they can undertake an expeditionary operation that we have not seen since 1979. By firing missiles from the Caspian Sea, they were messaging they can fire them from anywhere. They are trying to put a stranglehold on political progress. In our own country they have shown an ability through cyber to disrupt out politics and economy….. Russia now has a new ability to threaten all of Europe from their own territory and from the maritime areas of the north Atlantic,” she adds. “This is not war. It is not conflict. It does not mean cruise missiles will rain down in Norway. Conflicts are much more likely to be triggered in the Baltic or the Black Sea, but the strategic balance has shifted, and we all need to be worried.”
Now add to this the crisis in Syria where Russia has inhabited the ancient territory which was once the territory of the Seleucid “king of the North” of the earlier parts of Daniel 11. Russia’s activity in Syria should have us gripped in expectation of the near return of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the establishment of his kingdom upon the earth. These are things our brethren have looked for over the past two centuries, and they are happening right in front of our eyes. According to an Israeli Navy official, “Russia is here to stay in the region,” as a
headline in the Jerusalem Post reported. The article went on to state:
The scope of Russia's military preparations in the region suggest that Moscow is planning to stay in Israel's neighbourhood for the long term, Israel Navy Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Friedman told Army Radio in an interview aired Wednesday.
"You see their activities in the field and you see them putting down roots, you see their activities in the Port of Tartus and you understand that this isn't the activity of someone who is planning to pack their bags and leave tomorrow morning," Friedman said of Russia's presence in Syria.
"You can see this through the amount of weaponry, the equipment they are bringing, the bases they are building. You understand that they are thinking long term," he added.
Israeli operations have been affected by Russia’s presence in the region. According to Friedman Israel has had to change its operation behaviour:
Russians stationing of the Admiral Kuznetsoz aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean off the coast of Syria was also something that the Navy had to account for. "When such a force is stationed here, our behaviour changes," Friedman said.
It has been almost ten years since the Georgian war in 2008, when the South Ossetian region broke away and was supported by Russia militarily and politically. It is back in the news. The rebel forces, supported by Russia have now been rolled into the Russian Army, sparking protests from Georgia. Reuters reported:
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday ordered his officials to seal an agreement which will, in effect, incorporate the armed forces of Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia region into the Russian military's command structure…. The agreement states that members of the South Ossetian armed forces can transfer to serve as Russian soldiers on a Russian military base in South Ossetia.
Afghanistan has been a pawn in the “Great Game” for centuries. Britain marched into Afghanistan in 1838. Russia first exercised its influence in 1878 sparking the second Anglo-Afghan War. Afghanistan became a sovereign state shortly after this. In 1973 a Marxist Revolution broke out, backed by the Soviet Union. In 1979 Russian troops were deployed in Afghanistan, which abruptly became Russia’s Vietnam war causing about 600,000 deaths and the displacement of 6 million people. The Soviet armies fought the Taliban who were backed by the CIA. Osama Bin Laden fought with the Taliban. The Soviets withdrew in 1989 with the impending collapse of the Soviet Union. Civil war followed with of cost of almost half a million lives. The Taliban faction becoming the dominant power. In October 2001 a multi-national force led by the USA invaded Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks and the Taliban government was overthrown. A total of about 100,000 war related deaths have occurred since that time.
This week Russia and Afghanistan were back in the news, as reported by the Islamic news service Aljazeera under the headline “Russia’s new game in Afghanistan”
A resurgent Russia is making new inroads into Afghanistan, not in the way the former USSR did, but by aligning itself with some of the very extremists whose leaders were involved in the defeat of the Soviet Union's decade-long invasion of Afghanistan….
Russia's encroachment into Afghanistan could be part of President Vladimir Putin's expansionist ideals to restore Russia's position as a geopolitical player.
We’ve reported on Libya and Russia several times over the past month. It is a new arena of focus for Russia following its success in Libya. We know the requirements of the scripture, Daniel states that the “Libyans and Ethiopians shall be at his steps” (Dan 11:43), or marching in step with him; Ezekiel states “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet” (38:7).
Russia’s activity in Libya was reported again this week by the EU Observer which stated:
EU states and the US have urged a Russia-backed Libyan warlord to hand back oil ports, amid warnings that Russia was trying to do in Libya what it did in Syria.
They spoke after Khalifa Haftar, a Russia-backed warlord, said on Facebook that he had captured the ports of Ras Lanuf and al-Sidra, two of Libya’s main oil terminals.
His assault included 1,300 ground troops and air strikes, the Libyan military said.
Haftar, whose so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) controls eastern Libya, has received funding, military training, and diplomatic support from Russia.
Agila Saleh, Haftar’s political ally, told Ria Novosti, a Russian state news agency, on Tuesday: “They [Russia] promised to help us in the fight against terrorism…. We asked the Russian government to help us with training the soldiers in our armed forces and the repair of military equipment by Russian specialists”, he said.
Europe is very concerned about Russia as the Guardian Newspaper reported under the headline, “Russia's violation of a nuclear treaty is a direct threat to Europe's security” where it stated:
Russia has taken another step in shredding Europe’s security defenses by covertly deploying a land-based cruise missile capable of targeting the continent with nuclear weapons….
Russia’s new ground based cruise missile is a direct threat to our European allies and potentially our allies in the Pacific…
What to do about all this? Well the Bible tells us the nation’s response in the latter days:
“Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, Let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, And your pruninghooks into spears: Let the weak say, I am strong.” (Joel 3:9–10)
This is what we are seeing all around us. Preparation for war. The scriptures tell us the mighty men of war will start to wake up. That is what this article called upon the US to do:
The United States and NATO should immediately put in place defensive measures to negate as much as possible the threat from Russia’s new ground based cruise missile system until they correct course…. we must take decisive action to confront Russia about its treaty violation, while enhancing our defensive security measures so that we can protect our own security and the security of our allies.
During the past two weeks American President Donald Trump has presented his draft budget which will see a huge repurposing of funds from the environment and the arts to military spending. Popular Mechanics reported,
Speaking from America's newest aircraft carrier, President Donald Trump promised Americans he would bolster Navy by adding another aircraft carrier to the fleet. Trump toured the USS Gerald R. Ford, the first of the next generation Ford-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, last week along with Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Trump rode on an aircraft elevator and addressed an audience of sailors, telling them that he was committed to a twelve aircraft carrier fleet, two more than the Navy currently has.
China has another aircraft carrier under construction due to roll out in 2019. Britain has two new aircraft carriers due to roll out, The Queen Elisabeth in 2020 and The Prince of Wales in 2023.
So we see nations arming themselves. They are beating their plowshares into swords, repurposing funds from their budgets into military spending.
In the wake of all this military buildup and sabre rattling, Israel had the audacity this past week to protect itself. Israel has had a policy of preventing weapons transfer from Syria to the Hezbollah, a sworn enemy of Israel. This past week Israel’s news service Arrutz Sheva reported under the headline, “Russia summons Israeli Ambassador”, that Israel had violated Syrian air space. The article stated:
“Russia on Friday summoned Israel's Ambassador to the country for clarifications following the Israeli airstrikes in Syria overnight Thursday, a statement by Moscow said…. Ambassador Gary Koren, who had presented his credentials to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, was called in for a discussion with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov on the recent developments in Syria, a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
According to the article, the incident was sparked due to a weapons exchange attempt to transfer high tech weapons to the Hezbollah, which an Israeli airstrike prevented.
“Syria responded to the Israeli airstrikes by launching several anti-aircraft missiles towards the Israeli aircraft.
One missile was intercepted by Israel's Arrow air defense system, one of the first times the system has been used.
Israel’s prime minister defended the move:
“Our policy is very consistent: when we identify attempts to transfer advanced weapons toHezbollah, and we have the intelligence and operational feasibility - we work to prevent this," the Prime Minister said.
Russia moved into Syria to prevent it from being “overrun by Isis Terrorists” it claims, and to prevent the government being
Russia controls much of the military infrastructure in Syria, so the firing of missiles from the Syrian army against Israel borders on hostilities from Russia against Israel.overthrown. Yet it has the audacity to protest Israel’s attempt to defend itself by stopping terrorist movements with decades long history of attacks on Israel! Syria is still technically at war with Israel following the Six Day War in 1967. It has supplied the Hezbollah with weapons, as has Iran. Most of these weapons, it turned out in the last Lebanon War were ultimately supplied by Russia.
Ezekiel states that eventually the Gogian hoard will come “against my people Israel” and we can already see that attitude developing.
What does this mean to us? How does it affect us. As we live our comfortable lives, preoccupied with what we shall eat, what we shall drink and wherewithal we shall be clothed the end of the world as we know it is fast coming upon us. The nations are not the only ones who are told to wake up. The Apostle Paul exhorts us:
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” (Romans 13:11–12)
Writing almost 170 years ago, John Thomas wrote:
The future movements of Russia are notable signs of the times, because they are predicted in the Scriptures of truth. The Russian Autocracy in its plenitude, and on the verge of dissolution, is the Image of Nebuchadnezzar standing upon the Mountains of Israel, ready to be smitten by the Stone. When Russia makes its grand move for the building-up of its Image-empire, then let the reader know that the end of all things, as at present constituted, is at hand. The long-expected, but stealthy, advent of the King of Israel will be on the eve of becoming a fact; and salvation will be to those, who not only look for it, but have trimmed their lamps by believing the gospel of the kingdom unto the obedience of faith and the perfection thereof in “fruits meet for repentance.”
This is the time we are living in. Russia is making the move for the building up of its image-empire… it is being reported in the news across the world. The end of all things at present constituted is at hand. The long-expected advent of the king of Israel is upon us! So let us wake up, as Christ exhorts us:
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)
For the Bible in the News, this has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.