There was a magnitude 6.3 earthquake on the Iran/Iraq border a few days ago, which was felt all the way in Israel as well. It’s a not-so-gentle reminder that what happens in other parts of the Middle East will eventually affect those of us in Israel as well. One person recently termed the changes that are happening in this region as a “tectonic shift” in the geopolitical realm, especially where it concerns Israel and the surrounding Arab countries.
News sources in America rarely seem to report on anything other than President Trump or some sort of tangential matter having to do with his administration. However, much of the most exciting and meaningful news is happening behind the scenes in this part of the world. It gets reported here, but none of the news outlets which deliver the news here make the connections between the historic “tectonic shifts” and what scripture says will occur. This is not to say that we are seeing biblical prophecy being fulfilled before our very eyes, but recent events show how prophecy could be fulfilled in ways which were impossible just a few years ago.
For instance, a conference held in Rome, which just ended this past weekend, showed that leaders of Middle Eastern Arab countries were no longer consumed with wiping Israel off of the map; instead, Arab representatives were meeting with Israeli officials to discuss Israeli medicine, technology and water desalinization, in all of which the Israelis are experts. One official from Oman called on the Arab world to “come to terms with the reality that Israel is a fact of life in the region.” The leader of Chad made that country’s first official visit to Israel early this week as well. It would appear that the Arab ummah is setting the stage for a sweeping and comprehensive peace between Israel and the rest of the Arab world. The seemingly good news doesn’t end there.
A few days ago an agreement was secured for the world’s longest underwater pipeline, which will deliver Israeli natural gas to Cyprus, Greece and Italy, thereby circumventing Russia as the main supplier of natural gas to Europe. This will strengthen an already-strong Israeli economy and put Israel among the top energy exporters in the world. Not only that, but there has been extensive diplomatic and intelligence cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel, especially as they pursue mutual interests against their common enemy Iran. It seems like everything is going great!
But these positive developments won’t fix the problems which are coming down the road.
Russia still holds Israel responsible for the downing of a Russian military plane in September (which everyone—even the Russians—agree that the reckless Syrian military caused), and is itching to teach Israel a lesson. Iran still wants Israel annihilated, with Iran’s president Rouhani calling Israel a “cancerous tumor.” One paper here wrote that “Iran’s leaders frequently condemn Israel and predict its demise, but Rouhani, a relative moderate, rarely employs such rhetoric.” I guess they’re still a little sore over losing all of those top secret nuclear bomb plans, which the Mossad absconded from under the Iranian’s noses back in the spring. On top of these serious issues, both Iran and Russia have placed troops on the Israeli/Syrian border just a few miles from our home. Just a week ago 151 countries voted that Israel must give the Golan Heights back to Syria, a nation that has killed nearly a million people in its long civil war, resulting in millions more being scattered around the world. Only the United States and Israel cast their votes against this resolution.
All of the things (other than Russia’s military plane and Iran’s top secret files) I have written above happened in just the past week! How is it possible that the part of the world—the Arab Middle East—that has sought Israel’s demise since the very first day of her inception is now turning to her for help in various ways, while other parts of the world—thought to be more enlightened—are turning against Israel even while they consume her energy and technology (just try to find a cell phone without Israeli technology—it’s impossible)? Ezekiel gives us a glimpse of a scenario just like this.
Ezekiel 38 tells us: “Thus says the Lord God: On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates,’ to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth. Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all its leaders will say to you, ‘Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hosts to carry off plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to seize great spoil?’”
I’m not going to debate who Gog is representing in the verses preceding our reference above, but Persia (Iran) is specifically mentioned as being a part of this evil coalition which is coming to “seize spoil.” Sheba and Dedan are biblical areas in and around Saudi Arabia, yet Ezekiel says not only are they not part of the invading force, but instead make a protest directed at Israel’s invaders. Tarshish can represent the far western portion of the Mediterranean, but can more specifically mean Cyprus and Greece. The route that Ezekiel’s invading horde will use must pass directly through Syria and continue through the Golan Heights.
Think about it this way: A number of countries (including Iran) invade Israel for the plunder. What could that “spoil” possibly be? Maybe one of the big items is the energy that Israel is piping to Europe via—get this—Tarshish, i.e. Cyprus and Greece.
If this new pipeline to Europe happens—and there’s no reason to believe that it won’t—Russia will be soon cut out of the energy loop. Why is this a problem? Because much of Russia’s income is derived directly from energy sales to Europe. Did you ever read Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy? The scenario I’m describing here is just the updated version of that thrilling (and scary) novel.
Why would Russia (along with the other nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38) be upset about this, besides the decrease in revenue? Actually, previous wars have started over much less. For instance, think of the war that America fought with Japan in WW2. Do you know how it all got started? The United States imposed an oil embargo on Japan in the summer of 1941 to stop its assault in Asia and to curb Japanese actions, such as their atrocities in Nanking, China. Basically, Japan declared war on America for disrupting its energy supply.
CNN Business reported in June 2018 that “Sixty-seven percent of Russia’s tax revenues comes from energy exports… Russia needs this trade even more that the European Union…” and “A number of EU countries, particularly those closest to Russia, are still almost completely dependent on Moscow for their gas.” What happens when this co-dependent relationship goes down the drain, to Israel’s and Europe’s advantage? Do you think that Russia will just take it on the chin? Look what they are doing in the Ukraine right now.
As much as Trump takes up the headlines in America, we as believers should be paying attention to events happening elsewhere. Let’s not be those who are caught unaware. Jesus said it best, “Watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”