Last Tuesday our Signs of the Times update concentrated on Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the collapsing peace process. This week I’d like to revisit that subject in some detail, but first we need to take a look at the ongoing crisis situation that exists in the Ukraine, and perhaps gain some insight as to how these two international crises are related to one another in light of Biblical Prophecy.
During the EU and US sponsored talks in Belgium which brought the Russian and Ukrainian government representatives face-to-face, an understanding was reached calling for the withdrawal of all insurgents occupying government facilities. However, apparently each side in this dispute has a different idea of who the insurgents are. The Russians believe the insurgents are those who now control the Ukrainian government having forced the removal of the pro-Russian government. The Ukrainians believe the insurgents are the pro-Russian forces which have barricaded themselves inside police stations and other government facilities.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared Friday that the pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine will only lay down their arms if the Ukrainian government clears out the Maidan (square) protest camp in Kiev, and liberates the buildings that have been illegally seized. And so the stalemate continues. Meanwhile as the US begins to enact more economic sanctions on Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin has halted all communication with President Barack Obama. In fact the Kremlin has shut down all intensive high-level communication between top Russian and US officials.
With the annexation of Crimea completed, and growing unrest in evidence throughout Eastern and Southern Ukraine, I believe it is only a matter of time before Russia completes its takeover ambitions. Russian military elements along the Ukrainian border have engaged in a new series of military exercises in response to ongoing NATO exercises in Poland. As I have stated before, I believe there are several reasons for which Vladimir Putin believes Russia must control the Ukraine. These reasons include:
- The natural gas pipeline which services all of Europe travels from Russia through Ukraine to Romania’s Black Sea coastal plain into the Black Forest of Germany in the heart of Europe.
- South Ukraine contains huge natural gas and oil deposits both on and offshore in the Black Sea.
- South Ukraine is the industrial home of much of the Russian military, with factories producing small arms and ammunition as well as military equipment and components, not to mention vast shipbuilding yards.
- South Ukraine contains nuclear, coal, and hydroelectric power plants essential for Crimea. The uranium mine at Zheltiye Vody is located in South Ukraine as is Dneprozerzhinsk (the heavy water production site), capable of producing 250 metric tons of heavy water yearly.
- And finally, there is a significant Russian speaking majority in South Ukraine just as there is in Crimea.
This is all necessary “stage setting” for the End Times war spelled out in Ezekiel 38 & 39 when Gog, of the land of Magog, the Prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal leads his armies and those of Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, and Togarmah against Israel. Crimea and the Ukraine are Russia’s gateway to the south via their ports on the Black Sea.
Turning now to Israel, this past week the Palestinian Authority completed a unity agreement with the terrorist organization Hamas, which controls Gaza. This of course effectively ended negotiations between Israel and the PA as the Palestinians sought a two state solution leading to their independence. For Mohammed Abbas, this was a clear sign he saw the peace talks going nowhere. And, unfortunately, that he cares more about relations with hard-line terrorists than he does about relations with the United States or Israel.
Two weeks ago Mohammed Abbas signed 15 international agreements which require PA to respect human rights and punish war criminals. This past week he signed a unity deal with terror groups whose leaders are war criminals. Every leader of Islamic Jihad and Hamas are considered international war criminals, partly because every single rocket launched from Gaza into Israel is a separate war crime. Under the Geneva Conventions, which Mahmoud Abbas signed onto just a couple of weeks ago, he is required to put them on trial for their war crimes. This simply proves to me that Mahmoud Abbas is himself a terrorist and the PA is a terrorist organization.
This agreement between Hamas and the PA came just days before the Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. On Sunday evening at Yad Vashem during the official state ceremony commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “This evening we will mark Holocaust Remembrance Day and the State of Israel will remember the six million victims of the Holocaust.” Earlier Sunday at his regular weekly cabinet meeting the Prime Minister stated “the main difference between the Jews’ helplessness during the Holocaust and their situation now, is that we now have a sovereign state with a strong military that protects us from those who seek to harm us.” He continued saying “Iran is at the top of the list of those who seek to destroy us” and “Aside from its own nuclear ambitions, Iran finances, arms and trains Hamas and the other terror groups lurking on our borders. Hamas denies the Holocaust while trying to facilitate another one by destroying the State of Israel.”
In the US however, Secretary of State John Kerry and this present administration continued to lay the failure of the peace process at the feet of Israel. This administration over the past 5+ years has continually treated our closest ally in the Middle East with disrespect and disdain, vilifying them for their desire to live securely within their own land. This is by far the most anti-Semitic administration in the history of the United States. From Barack Obama’s demand that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders (essentially the borders of 1949), to declaring his dislike of the Israeli Prime Minister (calling him a liar) to the president of France, to John Kerry’s continued pressure on Israel, stating that Israel was at risk of inviting the third intifada, to his most recent suggestion on April 25, that Israel is on the verge of becoming an “apartheid state,” this administration has demonstrated an unprecedented hostility towards Israel.
In fact, John Kerry’s libelous statement is a dangerous example of the precedent that has been set by this administration. This demonization of Israel only emboldens those who seek her destruction. Israel is surrounded by people’s and nations which seek to wipe her off the face of the map, and John Kerry’s anti-Semitic rhetoric will only lead to more bloodshed.
Israel’s enemies in the PA, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, and the ISL among others are representative of the people groups listed in Psalm 83 whose desire is her total destruction. I believe this too is “stage setting” for the Last Days. Understanding the Scripture, we know that war in the Middle East is inevitable, and its outcome was prophesied many years ago. The tragedy here isn’t the war or its destruction, the tragedy is the many lives which will be lost for eternity because they reject the God of Israel and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Another part of the tragedy that I see in these Last Days, is that because of creeping liberalism within the “churches” in the US, having embraced Replacement Theology, anti-Semitism has infected not only the “church” but our politics as well. This nation is nearing destruction because it has turned its back on God’s chosen nation Israel. (See Genesis 12:3)
If you desire to know more about what the Bible says prophetically about the wars which are still to come at the end of the age, keep reading our blog for this teaching. The End Times are upon us as we live in these Last Days. There is no better time than now to turn your heart toward God because;
Jesus is Coming Soon!