Dec 29, 2008

Surveying 2009

By Terry James

Reviewing 2008 is a matter for others to do, if they see an advantage in looking at the planet’s history regarding the recent months just past. We have tried to chronicle all of that as it unfolded, so to revisit would be to digress, an expenditure of cogitative energy I believe readers of the Nearing Midnight section of Rapture Ready would rather apply to what might lay ahead. Let’s have a look around at where we stand as of the beginning of this New Year, and think, in terms of Bible prophecy, on things to come.

Israel takes stage center as usual, when considering Bible prophecy and geopolitical issues that most pervade our headlines. Overwhelming evidence that leadership of the nation most in view in Bible prophecy anticipates a stormy beginning to 2009 is cocooned in a story that broke on Christmas day.

“The exercise, scheduled for July, is called Turning Point 3. It will be the third home front exercise to be held since the Second Lebanon War and the founding of the National Emergency Administration (NEA), the Defense Ministry body responsible for setting national emergency standards…”. This will be the third such action since 2007.

“'The third drill will include all of the emergency organizations, all of the government ministries [and] the entire civilian population,’ a top NEA official told The Jerusalem Post this week. ‘People will be asked to go into their protected rooms or bomb shelters and ensure that they know what to do in the event of a war’" (Yaakov Katz, "Defense drill to involve whole country," The Jerusalem Post, 12/25/08).

Reasons for the dire anticipation are readily discernible while looking from the Jerusalem perspective.

Turkey’s leadership is demanding that Israel lift its blockade in Gaza and stop its military offensive in the area. The call is a harsh rebuke to the Jewish state, even though violence has escalated since last Friday when a six-month truce with Hamas expired.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, according to sources close to the leader, told the Turkish leadership that Israel would not comply with the demand because the rocket attacks by Hamas threatened Israeli citizens. The rocket attacks reportedly had been fewer in number during the cease fire, but had never stopped. They have intensified greatly since the end of the cease fire. The diplomatic confrontation continues to escalate along with the military actions in Gaza.

“Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak urged Israel on Thursday to show restraint when deciding how to respond to the ongoing Palestinian rocket fire which has bombarded Israeli communities in the western Negev for the past week. [Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Israel is not] able to keep from reacting to the attacks, especially in light of the fact that Hamas itself announced that it would not renew the cease-fire… During a press conference, which followed the meeting, Livni reiterated Israel's position. ‘Hamas needs to understand that Israel's basic yearning to live in a quiet region doesn't mean that it will accept continuous rocket fire on its citizens,’ Livni said alongside Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit. ‘Enough is enough’" (JPost Staff, Herb Keinon and AP, "Livni spurns Mubarak's call for restraint: Enough is enough," Jerusalem Post, 12/25/08).

Looking north, beyond Turkey, one of the nations–Togarmah--listed as joining the Gog-Magog attack in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39, Russia –Rosh—appears to have ambitions for 2009 and beyond.

Russia continues to form alliances and establish points of likely military involvements in Libya, Syria, Iran, and with other regional powers –all mentioned specifically by name in Bible prophecy yet future.

Many Bible prophecy scholars who view God’s Word as literal in its foretellings understand that Rosh refers to the area of modern-day Russia. The “chief prince” of Rosh (Russia) as is the term for the leader "Gog” in the KJV will make alliances with leaders of the regions above Israel, and will ultimately lead an attack over the “mountains of Israel.” This action will almost certainly move along mankind’s march to Armageddon at the end of the seven-year tribulation.

Russia’s recent and continuing alliance-building warrants diligent watchfulness. The outgoing Bush Administration likely gives little to no credence to the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecies, but certainly the U.S. leadership is taking notice so far as the possibility of bringing about nuclear Armageddon is concerned.

“US officials said Monday that they want answers from Russia about whether it is selling advanced surface-to-air missiles to Iran, which the United States Insists could threaten American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. A senior military intelligence official said that while Moscow has sent out conflicting responses to reports on sales of long-range S-300 missiles, the United States believes they are occurring… Both the United States and Israel have opposed such sales strongly, saying that supplying such an advanced anti-aircraft system to Iran would shift the Military balance of power in the Middle East. It also would make any strike at Iran's first nuclear power plant, which Russia is helping to build, more difficult…” (Associated Press, "US warns Russia against selling missiles to Iran," 12/23/08).

China continues to build, planning a new super-aircraft carrier. American and Taiwanese defense experts believe the move is more to intimidate Taiwan leadership and to exert hegemony over its Asian neighbors than to be a defensive action against recent piracy on the high seas, as China gives for the reason for the carrier’s construction. China continues to build toward being chief nation among the “kings of the east.”

The push for globalism, as no one reading this needs reminding, is accelerating. There seems lurking in the murkiness of things to come a world-convulsing catalyst that will tip all of the boiling economic complexities into a new global monetary cauldron.

Yet, as we look ahead to 2009, the world seems to wage on as if all is well. People are buying, selling, building, marrying --immersed in the self—gratifying things of the day, oblivious to the things of God. Jesus had something to say about such a time as ours, didn’t He?
“Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17:30).