Commentary on world events that relate to Bible prophecy and on Rapture Ready issues world events.

Oct 10, 2011

Putin’s Eurasia Alliance

From day one, I've had deep suspicions of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. He first emerged on the Russian political stage in 1999, when President Boris Yeltsin resigned in a surprising move. Putin won the 2000 presidential election and has been in control of Russia ever since.

Putin is someone who likes to operate in the shadows. As a former KGB agent, he is skilled in building secret political alliances. Putin will appoint cronies into key positions and depend on them for his power base.

The greatest example of Putin's handiwork would have to be President Dmitry Medvedev. As it stands right now, Medvedev is the official head of Russia's government. Everyone knows that Putin is still in control. In 2008, the two men switched titles when Putin was barred by the Russian constitution from running for a third consecutive term. Now that Medvedev's reign is up, the two plan to switch back, allowing Putin to serve two more terms as the official president of Russia. It shows an amazing amount of confidence on Putin's part for him to allow one of his underlings to sit on his throne.

The level of control that Putin has over Russia goes far beyond the political realm. His lackeys are people who control major industries and every major news outlet in Russia. Many people who stood in Putin's way have been neutralized. The owners of numerous companies who were foolish enough to resist Putin have been systematically charged with crimes and have had their assets taken from them.

Another troubling aspect of Putin's personality is his effort to construct a “macho” image a la Indiana Jones, riding a horse bare-chested through Siberian rivers, hunting, practicing karate, etc. This summer, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin played the role of treasure hunter. He dove to the bottom of a bay and retrieved two ceramic jugs that dated to the sixth century A.D. Some of Putin’s aides have confessed to the Western media that the dive was staged.

Putin's carefully managed public image has made him very popular among the Russian people. Last week, Mr. Putin celebrated his fifty-ninth birthday. A group of young women dubbed "Putin's Army" hosted a tasting event in Red Square for some of the Russian prime minister's favorite foods. They also had a contest to rank the sexiest parts of Putin's body, and they recorded a provocative birthday video for him. There is one sect that worships Putin as the reincarnation of St. Paul–no joke.

Any Bible prophecy watcher worth his salt would have to notice how well Putin would fit the role as leader of the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel. Last week, Putin made a huge stride in fulfilling his potential destiny by suggesting that ex-Soviet states form a "Eurasian Union." The plan calls for the creation of a free-trade zone between Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Once the zone is established, poorer states like Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan would likely join up.

Putin’s suggestion has unsettled conservatives worldwide, who fear that he may be trying to reassemble the Soviet Union by stealth. Since we already have seen how Putin operates in Russia, he is well suited for the task of building a new Soviet-style empire.

The stage is already set in the Middle East for the Ezekiel 38 and 39 invasion. Russia is on very friendly terms with Syria and Iran. Putin's growing ego may be on a collision course with the state of Israel. I can just imagine Putin’s reaction if the nuclear reactor his nation just built for Iran was suddenly destroyed by an Israeli air raid. I'm sure he has already considered the thought, "If I destroy Israel, the Arabs will praise me as the greatest leader of all time."

"And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes" (Ezek. 38:15-16).

-- Todd

Isolating Israel

Israel continues to be made the hold-up to peace in the Middle East, thus the stumbling block to peace for the whole world. That nation’s isolation is being maneuvered and manipulated by pressures from every direction.

The Islamist nations of the region hate the Jewish state–while at the same time refusing to acknowledge it even exists. They surround Israel on all sides except the Mediterranean side. Submarines of Israel’s enemies even lurk in those waters, awaiting the right time to strike. The countries within the United Nations, led by the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, are for the most part overwhelmingly opposed to Israel in every vote taken that involves Israel’s right to exist and thrive in that land the UN antagonists proclaim belongs to the Palestinians.

The European Union (EU) consistently comes down on the side of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) demands that Israel give up whatever territory necessary to accommodate the two-state solution–thus to construct a homeland for the Palestinian refugees. This is demanded, although the refugees are from the surrounding Arab states, nations that prefer to keep the hapless refugees in geographical limbo so hatred of the Jews and accusations that the Jews are cruel occupiers can continue to spew forth.

At the same time, Israel has absorbed thousands upon thousands of those refugees under legal emigration practices. Those émigrés are among the most content people in the Middle East because they are treated fairly and allowed to prosper by the Israeli government and the Jewish citizenry.

The entire world comes against Israel in the form of the Quartet (US, UN, EU, and Russia) who, while putting up a façade that the group of powerful nations wants fairness and peace for all people of the Mid-East region, in actuality works through deceit and subterfuge to force Israel to give up land in every negotiation that comes up in the "Roadmap to Peace" process.

Most troubling–for me, at least, and for those who watch this process unfolding from a premillennial, pretribulational Bible prophecy perspective—is that the United States is at the forefront of the arm-twisting in dealing with Israeli leadership. This is plainly demonstrated despite peripheral niceties by U.S. administration officials. The following recent report is a case in point.

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israel must find a way to resume negotiations with the Palestinians and has a responsibility to try to ease tensions with its neighbors in the region, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday amid prodding from the United States to return to peace talks.

Standing next to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Barak pushed back a bit on the Pentagon chief's warning that Israel is becoming increasingly isolated in the region, threatening its security. And he offered no new thoughts on the thorny issues that have stymied the peace talks, including the proposed timetable and the contested settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Making his first trip to Israel as defense secretary, Panetta has pressed the Obama administration's view that the two sides must restart the long-stalled peace talks. And during a news conference with Barak, Panetta said it's time for bold action by both sides to move toward a negotiated two-state solution.

The visit comes amid new international pressure to reach a peace deal by the end of next year, fueled by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' move two weeks ago asking the U.N. Security Council to recognize an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. (Lolita C. Baldor, "Barak: Israel-Palestinians Must Find Path to Talks," Associated Press, 10/3/11)

The U.S. State Department operatives and the Quartet negotiators are concerned about Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas' asking the UN Security Council a couple of weeks ago to acknowledge the presence of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. They want to avoid a vote on granting this, and prefer that both parties sit down and negotiate Israel’s acquiescence in giving up land for peace. Regardless of the façade of wanting a peaceful solution, the international community, like Abbas–like all of the Jew-hating Islamists—won’t relent until Israel gives them what they want. The deadly, humanistic peace plan stems from a satanic rage long ago prophesied to come to a climax at the end of the age, just before Christ’s return.

It is an infection that grows more virulent. Anti-Semitism is on the rise around the world. American universities are among the most receptive hosts of the infection. Professors inculcate students with the venom of luciferic hatred for the Jewish state. Israel is increasingly made the root cause of all that is wrong within the Middle Eastern cauldron. Like in the days of Hitler’s rise in the mid-1930s, the Jew is made to look like the troublemaker of the world in politics and in business. From the imploding economy to the threatened war over the Palestinian refugees, Israel is the focus of attention.

Israel–and the Jewish people—are being isolated, just as the prophets of the Old and New Testament foretold.