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All Agog
Israel - Middle East
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Wendy Wippel

Dateline: last week. The Feds are charged with partiality (IRS), persecution (AP), and profound perfidy (Benghazi). (And just where was Obama the night of September 11?) Throw in a near billion dollar lottery payout and it was news junky heaven.  But the really startling news went unheralded: Russian ships, in the Mediterranean Sea.

And it wasn't a publicity stunt for STAR TREK: Into Darkness.  (They weren't beamed there by Scotty.)  The story has, in fact, been developing for a while.  Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced in March that a Russian naval task force was needed in the Mediterranean in order to protect Russian interests in the region.

Said task force (an anti-submarine ship, a frigate, a destroyer, amphibious warfare ships, a tanker and rescue tugs) left Vladivostok (Headquarters of the Russian Pacific Fleet) on March 19.

Again, unheralded.  Overshadowed, no doubt by the pressing matter of Kim Kardashian's pregnancy weight gain.

The Russian naval task force crossed through the Suez Canal on May 16, entered the Mediterranean for the first time since leaving the area in the closing days of the cold war.

“It is the first time in decades", observed Capt. Roman Martov, "that Pacific Fleet warships enter this region."

Which begs the question.  Why are they there?

They made it clear.  Putin's task force, immediately upon arriving in Mediterranean waters, set up patrol off the Syrian coast-- sending a clear message to the west that interference in Syria on our part would be viewed as aggression towards Russia and their allies.

Syria?  A Russian ally?  Why are Russian leaders so anxious to come to Syrian aid?

Easy.  Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian leaders long to re-establish the glory that was the Soviet Union at the height of its power.  And before that, the glory of the Byzantine empire of which it was a part.

They need a power block.  And in that respect the Middle East is ripe for the picking, because they need technology and arms.  Russian leaders see great potential in developing relations with Islamic interests as a way to bring in money and increase Russian power in relationship to the west.

Putin & AssadGoogle images of Putin and you'll get eyewitness proof: pics of Putin with Gaddafi, Putin with Ahmadinejad, and Putin with, you got it, Syrian leader Assad.

Putin, in fact, has actively courted the rulers of Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the Sudan, Syria, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, and Syria, as well as leaders of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Hamas.  The thirty-four day war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006 serves us as an object lesson: Putin sent troops to Lebanon (who initiated the conflict), as did Turkey.  Iran, Syria, and the Soviet Union have been re-arming Hezbollah ever since.

The developing alliance of Russia with the Moslem world is kind of predictable, I'll admit.  They each need what the other can provide.

Its historical significance is nonetheless stunning.  Take Iran and Russia for example. They've been historical enemies since the Biblical king Darius invaded Scythia (Russia) in 500 BC.  And probably before.

Their first alliance in all of recorded history came together in 2007.  And now they're BFFs, with all kinds of resource sharing and joint ventures in the works.  Particularly one joint venture: developing nuclear power.

It's a friendship based on an old Arab saying: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." A friendship based on a very carnal need for power, mixed with a more than healthy dose of ill will towards the nation of Israel.  Ahmadinejad, as he never tires of saying, has a spiritual need to see Israel wiped off the map.

Putin has less lofty motives.  He wants to expand his reach in the area, and he needs rubles and real estate.  Rubles the Arab world can give him.

Real estate is another story.

And again, it's a story that's been developing for a long time. One of Putin's top leaders, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, current vice-chairman of the State Duma (sort of like our House of Representatives) has written a book outlining the necessity for Russia to have an outlet on the Mediterranean Sea.  He offers a detailed plan for expanding the Russian empire to the south, and names the critical piece of the offensive, the push that will gain the Soviet Union that badly needed port.

Russian occupation of Israel.

Why do we need to pay attention?  One word: Ezekiel.  Then add two more: Gog and Magog.

Magog is mentioned in Genesis 10 as a son of Japheth (son of Noah) whose descendants colonized Europe; Voltaire's research named him the ancestor of the Russian people.

Rosh is mentioned in many ancient documents (some Egyptian ones nearly 5000 years old); in Ezekiel's time a people known as the Rosh lived north of the Black Sea.  Arab writers call the Great Wall of China "the wall of Al Magog". Why?  Because it's the wall that protected China from attacks from the Rosh.

Magog, defined by Ezekiel 38:6 as from the remotest parts of the north. (Check your map.)  Magog is defined as the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. (Now known as Moscow and Tbilisi).

Magog, the ancestor of the Russian people.

And Russia, heading a contingent of Arab (and now Moslem) countries in an attack against Israel is described at length in Ezekiel 38 and 39.  Chapters, by the way, that give us a very interesting insight into Magog's motivation: a desire to "seize much plunder". (Ezekiel 38:13)

Israel, a very small country that until 1948 was pretty much a wasteland, has, through the enthusiastic efforts of repatriated refugees, in just 50 years transformed itself into a wealthy nation.  And in the last few years, Israel (who alone among its neighbors has lacked oil wealth) has proven itself to be sitting on a petroleum gold mine.  One particularly wealthy site, interestingly enough, under the plain of Megiddo.

The staging site for Armageddon.

In the words of Joel Rosenberg, an expert on both Middle Eastern politics and prophecies,

"If prophecies such as "the rebirth of the State of Israel, the return of the Jews to the Holy Land after centuries in exile, the re-blossoming of desolate desert land to produce abundant food, fruit and foliage, and the creation of an "exceedingly great army" materialized in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Is it so farfetched to imagine the axis between Hezbullah, Iran and Syria, especially after the second war in Lebanon when these three forces overtly united and continue to support each other's goal to destroy Israel?"

We don't have to imagine it.  We've seen it.  And now we see Magog thrown into the mix.  If you're still not worried, add this to the borscht.  Two days ago, Russian Navy Commander Admiral Viktor Chirkov revealed plans for nuclear submarines to join their comrades in the future.

The Vilna Gaon (Gaon meaning genius), a highly revered Rabbi from 18th century city Vilna, Lithuania, understood clearly (along with many of his contemporaries) that the person described in Ezekiel 38 was a Russian leader.  The rabbi, it is recorded, taught his followers a little rhyme to serve as a prophetic warning:

"When the Russian navy passes through the Bospores (the strait that leads from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean), it will be time to put on Sabbath clothing."

(Don't ask me.  Maybe it rhymes in Lithuanian.)

The Vilna Gaon told his followers that it would be time to put on Sabbath clothing when you saw Russian forces in the Mediterranean because it meant-- according to Ezekiel-- that the Messiah-- our Sabbath--would be close on their heels.

In his day, Sabbath clothing were special attire, appropriate for greeting the coming of the Messiah.  In my church, it's pretty much jeans.

But I'm thinking it's time to do some shopping.

CKOPO.  That's how you spell "SOON" in Russian.

CKOPO and very CKOPO.  Our redemption draweth nigh.

About Wendy Wippel

Last week: Armageddon, According to Bruce. (And John.)

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