Archive for the ‘Ezekiel 38’ Category

“In broad terms, the teaming up of large countries indicates that a regional anti-terrorism entity or even a military block independent from the US might emerge at some point in future.”

Everyone should keep their eyes on what is occurring in the Middle East. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been the main Sunni Islam Arab nations facing off against the Russia and Iran axis, whose aim is to become the dominant power in the Middle East.

Under Obama, the U.S. has pulled back and left a western power vacuum in the Middle East, which Russia has been more than willing to step in and fill! First with Iran, then Turkey went to their side, and now Egypt is falling in line. this leaves only Saudi Arabia as the sole large powerful Sunni Islamic Arab state to oppose Shiite Islamic Iran. And Saudi Arabia will fall!

Many thought that by electing Trump, that he would halt this power drift to Russia. But he will not. He has already stated that he may be willing to give Russia a free hand in the Middle East for concessions from Russia to back off in Eastern Europe! This would only solidify Russia’s role as the new power in the Middle East.

The thing to remember: No matter what man does, God’s Eschatological plan moves forward!

from Zero Hedge:

Finally, Egypt has taken a clear stance on Syria. This is an event of great importance to drastically change the situation. Speaking on the Portuguese TV network RTP on November 22, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi publicly affirmed his support for the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In response to the question of whether Egypt will send troops to Syria or not he stated: «Our priority is to support our Army in issues such as controlling some parts of Libya and dealing with extremist forces for establishing peace, including in Syria and Iraq».

President al-Sisi restored diplomatic relations with Syria after coming to power in 2013.

Last month, Egypt backed a Russian-backed motion calling for a ceasefire in Syria. Egypt had known the support for the Russian measure would put it at odds with the West and Saudi Arabia. Riyadh responded by suspending oil shipments to the country but the Egyptian government does not give in under pressure. For instance, it has defied the US and Saudi Arabia by refusing to get involved in the Yemen’s conflict.

Citing «well-informed Arab sources», Lebanese newspaper Al-Safir reported that 18 Egyptian pilots arrived at Hamah military airbase in Syria on November 12. The servicemen are part of a special helicopter squadron. A source «close to the Syria file» told the newspaper that a large deployment of Egyptian troops will arrive in Syria in late January to take part in military operations «not limited to air support at Hama airbase»

Last month, Syrian security services chief Ali Mamlouk met with Egyptian officials in his first public foreign visit in five years to discuss Egypt publicly backing the Syrian government. According to Middle East Observer, the first group of 4 high-ranking Egyptian officers from the Egyptian General Staff entered Syria a month ago and was deployed in the Syrian army’s base in Damascus. The military officials visited the armoured division stationed near Daraa and an airbase in Sweida province.

Also last month, Syrian National Security Bureau head Ali Mamlouk visited Cairo to meet Khaled Fawzy, the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service. The two sides agreed to coordinate political positions and strengthen cooperation in «the fight against terror» according to Syria’s Sana news agency.

Egypt’s open support of the Russia-backed coalition in Syria is a game changing event of fundamental importance. In the West, the war in Syria has been widely believed to be a conflict between Sunni and Shia forces – the 1400 old Islam schism. Now the largest Arab Sunni state has taken the side of the Syria’s government to become a coalition ally with Russia. The sectarian interpretation of the conflict is not valid anymore.

The conflict is about fighting terrorists. As the Egyptian president noted he believes that the national army the Syrian government forces are best positioned to combat extremists and restore stability in the war-torn nation.

Recently, Russia and Egypt have intensified their bilateral ties in many areas, including defense cooperation. Joint military exercises were held in Egypt in October. Both countries see eye-to-eye on Libya and many other issues.

There is another event to demonstrate the strengthening of the Russia-supported coalition joined by Egypt. According to Iranian Fars News Agency, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan stated on November 26 that Tehran could allow Russia to use Nojeh airbase near Hamadan for Moscow’s aerial operation against terrorists in Syria. Also, Mr. Dehghan told reporters that purchase of Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets is on the agenda.

The same day, Victor Ozerov, the Russian upper house of parliament’s defense committee chair, said Russia could use Iran’s Hamadan airbase in case the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier moves away from Syria. On August 16, Russian bombers used Iran’s Nojeh to launch attacks on terrorist positions in Syria.

On November 26, Syrian armed forces and allies managed to seize control of Hanano, key district in the northwestern city of Aleppo, which has been a flash point over the past few months. After Aleppo is retaken, the Russia-supported coalition in Syria will control vast swathes of land in the country. With the government of Bashar Assad firmly in power, the post-war settlement no longer seems to be a pipe dream and the US-led coalition will hardly be the one to call the shots.

Russia’s military effort in Syria has become an operation of a much broader scope than it was back in September 2015, when the first Russian aircraft flew its first sortie. The operation has marked Russia’s spectacular return to the Middle East as a major player. New actors, like China, Egypt and others, get involved. Interaction between the coalition members gets closer as illustrated by Russia and Iran.

Egypt’s decision to support the Syria’s government provides a good opportunity to influence the events in the region in a positive way.

In broad terms, the teaming up of large countries indicates that a regional anti-terrorism entity or even a military block independent from the US might emerge at some point in future.

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Everyone in the U.S. have their eyes glued to the tragedy in Oregon. Where it would seem a Muslim convert executed nine Christians! That event is a very loud signal to Christians in the U.S. to WAKE UP! God is telling them, the clock is ticking down and your redemption is drawing near! ARE YOU READY?

Many Christians of today believe that their exit from this world will be via a cushy ride up in the rapture. How many of us are prepared to have our faith tested in the most extreme way imaginable?

I truly believe that God at the moment that those people were asked if they were a Christian, instilled in them a supernatural faith via the Holy Spirit just as the Christians who were thrown to the Lions in the Roman Coliseum! To be a witness and message to Christians today to WAKE UP! PREPARE YOURSELF!

Now on the happenings in the Middle East:

Pieces of a puzzle would seem to be coming together, as the U.S. winds down its role in the Middle East, Russia is expanding it’s role. It was already allied with Iran, and has assisted Iran with not only military weapons and expertise but also assisted Iran in its international political goals as they dovetailed with Russia’s.

Then Russia put military forces in Syria, and now it is getting access to put military forces in Iraq. And China is sending forces to assist Russia in Syria!

Anyone see the picture that is beginning to unfold?:  Israel’s last battle in the Last Days

Many may wonder where the U.S. fits into all of this, if the U.S. may be drawn into a conflict with Russia in the Middle East?

The west may not need to be dealt with Militarily. All international trade in Oil is carried out in U.S. Dollars.During WWII Roosevelt paid a visit to Saudi Arabia, and its first king Ibn Saud. Roosevelt convinced Ibn Saud not to supply Germany and its Axis Allies with oil and instead supply the U.S. and its allies with oil for the war, and in exchange the U.S. would militarily protect Saudi Arabia. And since then the U.S. has been the protector of Middle Eastern Oil producers. This extended to all Middle Eastern oil being traded internationally in U.S. Dollars. This gave the U.S. the position of being the worlds Financial center and allowed the U.S. to print money at will as there was always an international demand for dollars. With the U.S. seeming to exit the Middle East and Russia & possibly China taking over, this could mean the end of the arrangement of Middle Eastern oil being traded in U.S. Dollars. Iran for years has wanted to set up an alterntive international oil exchange in Tehran, and oil traded in a basket of international currencies instead of the dollar.

This has a serious and fundamental impact to the U.S. If the U.S. dollar is no longer used in International trade, it means the U.S. will lose its place as the leader of the global financial system, it would also mean that the U.S. could no longer run huge budget deficits, it means the U.S. government could no longer shovel money into the U.S. Economy to keep it on life support. It would mean an economic contraction in the U.S. like none of us have ever experienced! And the impact to our military would be huge! It would mean that we could no longer afford to field a large military! We would be taken out of the picture in the Middle East!

If you can remember back in History Great Britain was the greatest world power up to WWII. But when WWII began its economy collapsed, as it was heavily indebted and therefore did not have the ability to field a large enough military to defeat Germany, and in stepped the U.S. the rising power, it became the bank to all the countries fighting Germany. If a major war broke out in the Middle East today, The U.S. would be in the same position as Great Britain prior to WWII, we are broke! Who would rescue us?

It is time to awaken from your slumber Christians! God’s Clock is ticking down to midnight, fill your lamps with oil! And be ready for the coming darkness!

From Debka:

Russia’s military intervention in Syria has expanded radically in two directions.DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that China sent word to Moscow Friday, Oct. 2, that J-15 fighter bombers would shortly join the Russian air campaign that was launched Wednesday, Sept. 30. Baghdad has moreover offered Moscow an air base for targeting the Islamic State now occupying large swathes of Iraqi territory

Russia’s military intervention in Syria has five additional participants: China, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hizballah.

The J-15 warplanes will take off from the Chinese Liaoning-CV-16 aircraft carrier, which reached Syrian shores on Sept. 26 (as DEBKAfile exclusively reported at the time). This will be a landmark event for Beijing: its first military operation in the Middle East as well the carrier’s first taste of action in conditions of real combat.

Thursday night, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi, made this comment on the Syrian crisis at a UN Security Council session in New York: “The world cannot afford to stand by and look on with folded arms, but must also not arbitrarily interfere (in the crisis).”

A no less significant development occurred at about the same time when Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, speaking to the US PBS NewsHour, said he would welcome a deployment of Russian troops to Iraq to fight ISIS forces in his country too. As an added incentive, he noted that this would also give Moscow the chance to deal with the 2,500 Chechen Muslims whom, he said, are fighting with ISIS in Iraq.

DEBKAfile’s military sources add that Al-Abadi’s words came against the backdrop of two events closely related to Russia’s expanding role in the war arena:

1.  A joint Russian-Iranian-Syrian-Iraqi war room has been working since last week out of the Iraqi Defense Ministry and military staff headquarters in Baghdad to coordinate the passage of Russian and Iranian airlifts to Syria and also Russian air raids. This command center is also organizing the transfer of Iranian and pro-Iranian Shiite forces into Syria.

2.  Baghdad and Moscow have just concluded a deal for the Russian air force to start using the Al Taqaddum Air Base at Habbaniyah, 74 km west of Baghdad, both as a way station for the Russian air corridor to Syria and as a launching-pad for bombing missions against ISIS forces and infrastructure in northern Iraq and northern Syria.

Russia has thus gained a military enclave in Iraq, just as it has in Syria, where it has taken over a base outside Latakia on the western coast of Syria. At the same time, the Habbaniyah air base also serves US forces operating in Iraq, which number an estimated 5,000.

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from Herescope:

Gog against God: An Exposition and Study of Ezekiel 38-39

By Pastor Larry DeBruyn

For, lo, thine enemies [O God] make a tumult:
and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.
They have taken crafty counsel against thy people [Israel],
and consulted against thy hidden ones.
They have said, Come, and let us cut them off
from being a nation;
that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.

—Emphasis added, Psalm 83:2-4, KJV.

The planet is in crises—political, military, economical, ecological, societal, spiritual, and more. According to news reports, crises seem to be popping-up all over the planet, especially in the volatile Middle East where, despite multiple attempts of western governments to bring peace to that region, the conflict between Israel, the Palestinian State and militant Islam defies solution. ISIS (Islamic State of Iran and Syria) now wages war to establish an Islamic Caliphate, and Iraq continues its quest, with the approval of western nations, to develop nuclear weaponry. If successful, Iran’s possession of this weaponry will further destabilize that volatile region of the world.[1]

Russia and Iran
With Iran closing in on becoming a nuclear power, the question becomes whether for the sake of national survival Israel will tolerate an enemy nation like Iran possessing a weapon to blast Jerusalem and its environs into extinction. If Israel decides to attack Iran’s developing nuclear installations, there is no telling how interested and surrounding  nations or Islamic terrorist groups will react (i.e., Russia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, ISIS, etc.). In an attempt to protect its economic interests in that area of the world, will Russia in alliance with Shiite Arab nations it supports, lead an invasion of the Holy Land?

Based upon Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea, his continuing agitation in eastern Ukraine, and the Kremlin’s support of the militant Islamic Shiite Resistance Alliance (i.e., Assad’s Syria, Iran and Hezbollah in Palestine), one observer thinks Russia’s real geo-political agenda is southward and involves establishing its hegemony in the Middle East.[2]With its economy in shambles for reason of western economic sanctions against her, Russia has her eye upon the Middle East’s wealth. To get cash for his strapped economy, Putin recently sold Iran sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missiles that could make Iran invulnerable to an air attack by Israel or other nations.[3] Despite the U.S. State Department’s lame protest, and B.B. Netanyahu’s warning that the sale “could further undermine the stability of the Middle East,” the deal between Russia and Iran was signed.[4] So as Iran develops a nuclear bomb, it awaits delivery of a defensive weapons system that will make its nuclear development facilities invulnerable to attack by air.

Map of Mideast conflict areas

Crazy Diplomacy
For many years economic sanctions have been levied against Iran by western nations. Though suffering from these sanctions, Iran continued to export and support terrorism in the Middle East. In 2010, Putin withdrew his offer to sell Iran the S-300 missiles. Now five years later, western nations, following the lead of the Obama administration and Secretary of State John Kerry, have brokered a treaty with Iran, an agreement which lifts economic sanctions and pours billions of dollars into Iran’s economy. Because of Iran’s sudden new found wealth, Russia, economic woes outstanding, seized the opportunity to reinitiate the deal with Iran to purchase the sophisticated air-defense missile system by which to defend itself against any air attack Israel might launch. The treaty also allows Iran to obtain nuclear weaponry in the future. And for all this, there’s talk of giving John Kerry a Nobel Peace Prize! Is this not crazy diplomacy? Yet all of this appears to be coming down as the biblical prophets predicted 1000s of years ago.

Millennia ago, ancient Hebrew prophets predicted the geo-political alignment of nations that can be observed today. In the “latter days”Ezekiel saw that to Israel’s north, east and south, perennial enemies would unite to invade the Jewish state, plunder her wealth and attempt to drive her re-gathered people from the land.

The Yom Kippur War, 1973

“A Cup of Trembling”
Since the Balfour Declaration (1917) and the United Nations’ approval of Resolution 181 on 29 November 1947, Israel’s right to exist as a nation has been recognized by most nations in the international community. Yet correspondingly and as reflected in the 1947 UN vote, the Arab world and its allies implacably refuse to accept the legitimacy of the Israeli state. The contest over Israeli sovereignty appears increasingly unsolvable, especially in the aftermath of three major wars (the War for Independence, 1948-1949; the Six-Day War, 1967; and the Yom Kippur War, 1975) and ongoing terrorist bombings, assassinations and attacks inspired by the terrorist organizations like Hamas, whose recent missile attacks (Summer of 2014) provoked Israel’s invasion of Gaza. Militant and radical Islam’s goal (to “wipe Israel off the map”), especially with the potential of ISIS establishing an Islamic Caliphate to Israel’s north and west, seems realistic. What is at stake in this conflict as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated, is Israel’s national survival.

In short, Israel’s neighborhood is not friendly and that nation has few, if any, real allies in the world. Yet this is the situation that the prophet Zechariah predicted would develop. “Behold,” the Lord said,“I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about” (Emphasis added, Zechariah 12:2). The current situation surrounding the Holy Land—and let’s not be confused on this point—is of Jehovah’s making! I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling,” He decreed. (Compare Daniel 9:24-27.) Jerusalem and her environs are the epicenter for the fulfillment of biblical prophecy!

Aerial view of the Temple Mount

Ezekiel: the Prescient Prophet
Ezekiel chapters 38-39, detail a grand alliance of nations that “in the last days” will invade Israel. The leader of the invasion will hail “from the remotest parts of the north” (Ezekiel 39:2; 38:15, NASB). Though diverse in many other respects, one objective unites the invading confederation—to control the Middle East by extinguishing the nation thought to be the obstacle to peace and prosperity; the people the Lord calls “My people” and the territory the Lord calls “My land” (i.e., Israel, Ezekiel 36:5; 38:14, 16). If God’s ancient promises remain true in our modern word—and they do—then in their continuing war against God, nations will remain perpetually bent upon destroying the Lord’s people and controlling their land. Their objective: to nullify the promises of God to Israel and shame the name of the Lord. Therefore, as Holy Scripture bears witness, the ultimate contest in the Middle East is between God and the nations who hate Him and His people. In this international contest nothing less than the glory and honor of God are at stake!

The strife in the Middle East is playing out before our very eyes because God, through Ezekiel and other of the Hebrew prophets, decreed it—“desolations are determined” (Daniel 9:26). As we look at the relevance of Ezekiel’s description of the invasion of the end, chapters 38-39 of that prophecy should be allowed to speak for themselves without setting preconditions, without allowing interpretive bias or a theological system (i.e., replacement theology which proposes that the church has completely replaced Israel in the plan of God, contra Romans 11:1 ff.) to become a paradigm for interpreting them.

One commentator, perhaps of a “post” or “a” millennial bent of mind, skeptically states that “little sense” emerges “from the chapters as a whole.”[5] Another scholar calls the chapters (Ezekiel 38 and 39), which vividly describe the devastation of the invading armies, “cartoon-strip scenarios.”[6] He compares the account of the invasion’s aftermath—human corpses ravaged by “scavenging birds and animals”—to “some wild cartoon.”[7] I disagree. I think that without imposing ecclesiastical, eschatological or interpretive bias against them, the sense of the chapters ought to speak for itself.

So to understand Ezekiel’s prophecy about the invasion of the end, we will ask the chapters the following questions: First, where will the invasion take place? Second, when, broadly speaking, will the invasion take place? Third, who will invade the Holy Land? Fourth, why will the invaders invade? Fifth, what will happen to the invaders? And sixth, what’s the big deal? We begin with question one.

1. Where will the invasion take place?
In order to understand where the invasion will take place, the importance of one geographical place in the world must be understood. Though “the earth is the Lord’s” (Psalm 24:1), there is a particular place in our chaotic world where God chose to commence, continue and complete His redemptive plan, a plan which includes the incarnation, death-atonement for sin, burial, resurrection and return of Jesus Christ. In telescopic fashion, we narrow the focus of God’s redemptive plan for earth by centering first on the land and its people.

A Land
God chose Abraham’s descendants and the Holy Land to be the people through whom and the place from where He would initiate bestowal of spiritual blessing upon the world. Like the Normandy Invasion by the Allies on June 6, 1944, the people and the land God chose would serve as a beachhead and conduit for God to launch His redemptive plan for the world. To that effect, God made a covenant with Abraham. It reads:

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, “Get thee out of thy country [ancient Babylon, modern Iraq], and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
(Emphases added, Genesis 12:1-3, KJV)

The land the Lord chose for Abraham and his descendants to settle and possess was ancient Canaan known today as Israel and Palestine (Genesis 13:15, 17; 15:7). The Lord decreed that through Abraham’s descendants, through Isaac the son of promise (Genesis 17:16-22; Galatians 4:21-31), and from that location He would historically commence, continue and complete the revelation of Himself to the world. With this intent, the Lord would choose a particular place to dwell with Abraham and Isaac’s descendants. The telescoping narrows….

A Place
After the Exodus and before ancient Israel’s conquest of Canaan, the Lord instructed Israel through the prophet Moses: “But you shall seek the Lord at the place which the Lord your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come” (Emphasis added, Deuteronomy 12:5). What place in the land would the Lord separate unto Himself? It would be a specific mount within the territory belonging to the family of Abraham’s great-great grandson, the grandson of Isaac, and the son of Jacob—Judah.

A City
As many state histories will attest, in the process of choosing a state capital was often politicized and contested. But with the city that would be the capital of ancient Israel there would be no contest for the Lord chose Jerusalem to be the hub of Israel. As the historian recorded the Lord’s statement about His choice: “Since the day that I brought My people from the land of Egypt, I did not choose a city out of all the tribes of Israel… but I have chosen Jerusalem that My name might be there” (2 Chronicles 6:5). The Lord said also through the Prophet Ezekiel: “Thus says the Lord God, ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center  of the nations, with lands around her’” (Ezekiel 5:5).  The people chose other idolatrous locations like Dan to the north and Bethel to the south, but Jerusalem was the location the Lord chose that His name would be honored there. But God also narrowed His choice to a particular place where He in the city would choose to dwell, a neighborhood so to speak.

A Mount
Ancient pagans believed the gods dwelt in the mountains. So to worship their gods, they built high places on them. But the one Lord separated Himself from such superstitious and idolatrous beliefs by selecting one mount in Israel where He would come to dwell with His people—Mount Zion. The Psalms indicate that of all the tribes of Israel, the Lord“chose the tribe of Judah” (Psalm 78:68); that of all the mountains in the land, “The Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation” (Psalm 132:13). In Judah and on Mount Zion a Temple would be built to honor and worship Yahweh, the one true God. SIDEBAR: To the point of God’s choice, we might note the fraudulent mimicry of Mormonism which relocates Zion to be either Independence, Missouri, or Salt Lake City, Utah, and builds temples (the cult’s high places) all over the world.

A Temple
That His name might be honored, the Lord God allowed Solomon to build a Temple to remind the nation of His choice of and presence with Israel. After the king built the Temple on Mount Zion and after the dedicatory ceremony, prayer and bringing the Ark of the Covenant to it (1 Kings 8:1-66), the “LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice” (Emphasis added, 2 Chronicles 7:12). Though Solomon built it, the Lord confirmed to the king that the Temple he had built would house His glorious presence (1 Kings 8:27).

Israel at the center.
Follow a line straight north on this map.

A Center
Illustrating the telescoping focus upon the place where the Lord chose and will chose again to dwell (i.e., the World, Canaan, Judah, Jerusalem, Mount Zion, and the Temple), there’s an old rabbinical saying which goes like this:

The world is like an eye. The white of the eye is everywhere else. The iris is Israel. The pupil is Jerusalem. But, ah, the gleam in the center of the pupil, that is the Temple Mount—that is Mount Moriah.[8]

For reason of the sovereign God establishing the beachhead for His redemptive work in this geographical place, He informs Gog that he will be invading a land that is “the navel” or “the center” (spiritual, not geographical, ed. comment) of the world (Ezekiel 38:12, KJV, NASB). The Lord had chosen this location and these ethnic people to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6). Through them He would channel His spiritual blessing to the world which involved not only the great salvation events of Jewish history, but also the incarnation, atoning death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. This great salvation will be completed when in fulfillment of the messianic promises, the Lord Jesus Christ returns in glory to the Mount of Olives, to reign from Jerusalem thereby establishing His kingdom over the whole earth (See Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Zechariah 14:4; Micah 4:1-6.).[9]

God’s Presence: In the Past
In the Temple’s Holy of Holies, on the Ark of the Covenant, beneath the figures of the Cherubim, and evidencing that He was present with the nation, the Lord’s glory came to dwell. At the time of Solomon’s dedication of the Temple, “the cloud filled the house of the Lord… the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:10-12). Only after Israel’s wanton idolatry, immorality and apostasy did the Lord ominously withdraw His glorious presence from the Temple, the land, and His people (Ezekiel 8:1-18; 10:4, 18). After that departure, five centuries passed before the Lord’s glory returned, though temporarily, in the person of Jesus Christ (“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” John 1:14; See Matthew 17:1-8).

The Western Wall

God’s Presence: In the Present (The Times of the Gentiles)
But until He returns, Jesus predicted that “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”(Luke 21:24). Currently on Mount Zion where for a time Yahweh chose to dwell amidst Israel, reside two Islamic Mosques—the Mosque of Omar at the center of the mount and the Al-Aqsa Mosque a short distance to the south.[10] The mosques are a real and symbolic reminder of the judgment Jesus announced, that beginning with the Roman conquest of 70 AD, Jerusalem would remain “trodden down… until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” The end of this great interim of Gentile ascendancy will be signaled by Gog’s grand alliance invading Israel and the Lord’s intervention on behalf His threatened people. The end of the era of Gentile domination will commence when Gentile Gog and his allies are defeated and their remains buried in “the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea” (Ezekiel 39:11, KJV; The Valley of the Travelers, ESV).[11] As the divine judgments of the Babylonian Captivity (BC 586) and  Roman invasion (70 AD) signaled the beginning of “the times of the Gentiles,” so the divine judgment of Gog and his Gentile allies will signal the beginning of the end of Gentile ascendancy in the world. From the way the nations are lining up over the Middle East, this could happen at any time. Meanwhile, during this era (“the times of the Gentiles”), God’s worldwide presence will continue to be resident in the true Church. For reason of the Holy Spirit baptizing all believers into union with Christ and each other, the church is the temple of God (See 1 Corinthians 12:13.). As the Apostle Paul asked the Corinthians in the hope of deterring their canal attitudes and self-indulgence, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16; Compare 2 Corinthians 6:16.).

God’s Presence: In the Future
But to vindicate His name on earth for having chosen Abraham’s descendants as His people, Israel as His Land, Jerusalem as His city, and Mt. Zion as His mount, the Lord has ordered that a future Temple will be built to house His glory and honor His name in Israel and among the nations (Ezekiel 40-48). “I will set my glory among the nations,”the Lord announced to Ezekiel (Ezekiel 39:21; Compare 43:2, 4, 5; 44:4.). Then as the Prophet Micah describes,

But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
—Micah 4:1-2, KJV (Compare Isaiah 2:2-4; Zechariah 8:3.)

In the last or latter days, the Temple of the Lord will be rebuilt, and after having been profaned by the Anti-Christ “whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth,” the personal glory of the Lord, after a hiatus of two and one-half millennia, will return to dwell there (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Ezekiel 43:5, “Behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house.”). By filling the future temple with His glory the Lord’s name will be exonerated in Israel and vindicated before the nations. The way it will be will be the way it should have been.

The current conflict in the Middle East is deeply rooted in the past because there in that place heaven met earth, and there will earth will meet heaven again. The land of Israel and Jerusalem represent “the king” in the international chess game going on for controlling that part of the world, which in the grander picture indicates the long war being fought by unbelieving Gentile nations against the Lord and His Anointed (Psalm 2:1-4). This land the Lord calls “My land” (Isaiah 14:25; Jeremiah 2:7; 16:18; Ezekiel 35:14; 36:5; 38:16*; Joel 1:6; 4:2), and the end time invasion and war will be over the territorial rights to it. In the unfolding of the events of Bible prophecy including Ezekiel 38-39, this land is the ground zero. To whom does the land belong, to God or to Gog?  The current dispute over Israel serves to magnify that the land belongs to God and the people to whom He gave it, something which “the rulers… powers…  forces of this darkness”absolutely defy and oppose (Ephesians 6:12). This then raises the second question.

Israel viewed by satellite

2. When will the invasion take place?
In “the last days”
A marker exists as to when the invasion will take place; that time frame is, “in the latter years [Hebrew, be’achariyth ha’shaneim]… the last days [Hebrew,be’aharit ha’yamim]” (Ezekiel 38:8, 16, KJV). Though sharing some similarities with the New Testament’s designation of “the last days” (i.e., the period of time between Jesus’ incarnation and Second Coming, Hebrews 1:2 and Acts 2:17), Ezekiel’s concept of latter-years/last-days relates distinctly to Israel’s future. Indicating the particular relevance of the last or latter days to Israel, the angel Michael told the prophet Daniel, “Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days [Hebrew,be’aharit ha’yamim]” (Emphasis added, Daniel 10:14). So taking our cue from Michael’s statement, we may understand that the invasion will take place at the time when both the national history of Israel and the times of the Gentiles are drawing to a close.

The time of it is future because the Apostle John envisioned the invasion of Gog and Magog as yet future from him (Revelation 20:8).[12]Commentator Peter C. Craigie confirms: “Certainly in New Testament times, the chapters [Ezekiel 38-39] were interpreted in an apocalyptic fashion (see e.g. Rev. 20:8), indicating that it was believed that their substance referred to a still distant future.”[13] Stuart concurs that Gog’s armies “constitute an eschatological army at the end of human history, ready to fight a special battle different from those that have characterized every era in the past.”[14] But there are other features in the text that mark when the invasion will take place.

Aliyah: Jews returning to their homeland

After the Diaspora and Re-gathering of the Jews
The invasion of the end will take place after a Jewish Diaspora (this refers to the God’s judgment upon the Jews by using foreign enemies to drive them from their homeland into locations throughout the world) and then after a re-gathering of the Jews to their homeland, the Holy Land. As the Lord summarized His judgment on Israel to Ezekiel, “I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land” (Ezekiel 39:28). So after His people had been exiled from and re-gathered to His land, the Lord informs Prince Gog that, “After many days you [Gog] will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations… [who] were brought out from the nations”; and that the leader would come “against the people who are gathered from the nations” (Ezekiel 38:8, 12; Compare Ezekiel 39:27-28). So as to the time of the invasion, Charles Feinberg (1909-1995), a converted Jew and Hebrew scholar, commented that if interpreted literally, the chapters (Ezekiel 38-39) tell of “a coming northern confederacy of nations about the Black and Caspian seas with Persia [i.e., Iran, ed.] and North Africa, who will invade the promised land after Israel’s restoration to it.”[15]

Now some readers will ask, “What exile and restoration is Ezekiel prophesying of?” After all, the Jews have experienced more that one restoration to their land in history. It can be deduced that the exile/restoration could not have been that of the Babylonian Captivity because when Ezekiel wrote his prophecy the Jews already were exiles in Babylon (Ezekiel 1:1-3). Neither does the exile/restoration led by Ezra and Nehemiah fit Ezekiel’s prediction for several reasons. First, the invasion would take place near the end of Israel’s national history,“in the last days” (Ezekiel 38:16; Daniel 10:14). Second, from his apocalyptic perspective the Apostle John marks Gog/Magog to be yet future (Revelation 20:8).[16] Though not determinative of the timing, “Rabbinic tradition places Gog after the days of the Messiah.”[17] Andthird, if it is argued that the invasion by the Romans in 70 AD fits the invasion Ezekiel predicted, then it must be asked, “Where was the divine intervention and devastating defeat of the invaders by the Lord as Ezekiel portrays will be the case? (Ezekiel 38:18-22; 39:3-20) In 70 AD and as predicted by Jesus, only invasion of and devastation by the Romans occurred (Matthew 24-25). There was no divine deliverance. As Dr. Harry Rimmer (1890-1952) noted, “While it is the custom for certain schools of interpretation to seek to ascribe all prophecies to some past historical fulfillment, such a technique of over-simplification will not serve here.”[18]

Without divine intervention, the vast majority Jews were exiled from their homeland (marking the beginning of “the times of the Gentiles”) by the Romans in 70 AD. Among the nations most Jews remained for 1,900 years. Then after the Holocaust and World War II, as portrayed in the movie Exodus, they began and continue to immigrate back to Israel. Because of ongoing persecution elsewhere in the world, even more Jews are making their way back the Land. Because of rising persecution in France and other European countries, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is encouraging Jews to return to Israel. So as described by Ezekiel and other prophets (Ezekiel 38:17), Gog’s invasion belongs to a time frame in the modern era after Israel’s exile from (70 AD) and re-gathering to the Promised Land (circa 1948-Present), a national restoration approximate to the end of history as we and the world know it. As noticed by the modern return of the Jews to the Holy Land after their first century dispersion and Russia’s assertiveness in that region, the general time frame for Gog’s invasion of Israel, as predicted by Ezekiel, has been set. We’re on the prophetic clock ticking toward it. Though the general time of Gog’s invasion of Israel is indicated by the prophet (i.e., in the last or latter days of Israel’s history), the precise time of Gog’s invasion is difficult to establish.

Aliyah, circa 2007

Before Jesus’ Parousia and Kingdom
Generally it can be noted that according to the Old Testament prophets, Jesus and the Apostles, God’s historical and prophetic calendar involves two ages in three phases: this present evil age (the time we’re living in), the end of the age or the Day of the Lord (the time this planet seems to be approaching), and age to come (the Kingdom of God). (See Matthew 12:32; 13:39; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.) Together, they predicted the events that would characterize the end of this age—spiritual apostasy, escalating moral corruption, wars, pestilences, natural disasters, Anti-Christ’s coming, the tribulation, the translation of the church, etc. Though evident for centuries, Jesus said that during this present age (i.e.,“the times of the Gentiles”) these crises would like “birth pangs”escalate in both frequency and intensity as time progressed (Matthew 24:8; Luke 21:12-24). Gog’s invasion will be part of the cluster of events announcing “the end of the age” and Jesus’ coming to establish His Messianic Kingdom on earth (Matthew 24:3; Revelation 20:1-10). Gog’s invasion of Israel will in my view, put the world on notice that the end of the age has arrived and God is transitioning this planet to establish His rule. In short, Russia’s invasion is an ominous prelude to the Day of the Lord, the time during which, as Jesus predicted, God will end of “the times of the Gentiles” by judging this earth to prepare it for establishing His Kingdom (Matthew 24:3-31; Revelation 6:1-19:21). This brings us to the next question.

Exhibit A: Arctic political map from an article by Steven Lee Myers in the New York Times,
8/29/15, “U.S. Is Playing Catch-Up With Russia in Scramble for the Arctic.”

3. Who will invade the Holy Land?
His name is “Prince Gog,” and he is the ideological, demagogic and perennial antagonist against Yahweh and His chosen people. So in“latter days” he will instigate a full scale invasion of the Holy Land. Gog will assault “the land” from “the remote parts of the north”; from“the remote parts of the north”; and from “the remotest parts of the north” (Ezekiel 38:6, 15; 39:2). Literally, the word remotest (Hebrew,yarekah) refers “to the backside or farthest part of anything.”[19] With Jerusalem serving as the geographical orientation point, the “center of the world” (Ezekiel 38:12), “The remotest parts, particularly the distant north, are conceived of as those away from God [geographically as well as spiritually, ed.].”[20] Thus, there should be no confusion regarding the direction from which the invasion originates, or doubt about its godless agenda to confiscate the land and obliterate its occupants. So whereas Ezekiel deals earlier in his prophecy with the Lord’s judgment of the nations near the time of the Babylonian Captivity (Ezekiel 25:1-32:32), in these chapters he covers the judgment of nations who became Israel’s enemy after the nations last days restoration. But just who is Gog and his confederates who will invade Holy Land in the last of days?

Gog can mean “mountain.” In ancient times mountains were symbols of power and often believed to be dwelling places of gods. So Gog can be understood as a powerful political and spiritual ruler who according to Genesis, was the second son of Japheth whose descendants (i.e., the Indo-Europeans) settled in the vicinity of and to the north and west of the Black and Caspian Seas (modern day Ukraine and Russia).[21] We know from the text that not only will Prince Gog rule over his namesake Magog, but also over three additional ethnic/national groups who will take part in the invasion: Rosh, Meshech and Tubal (Ezekiel 38:2: 39:1).[22] Also, Gog will be allied with Togarmah (the preface Beth means “house of”) who like Gog hails from the “remote parts of the north” (Ezekiel 38:6—perhaps Siberia); with Gomer from the nearer north (the region of Ukraine); with Ethiopia and Put from the south (the region of Egypt and Africa); and with Persia from the east (the region of Iran and Iraq). (See Ezekiel 38:5-6.) Establishing precise geographical equivalence between ancient nations and modern ones is difficult because of the ancient flux of tribal migrations and national boundaries.[23] Nevertheless, the names are well attested by historians (Josephus, Hesiod). So this is the geographical lineup of the grand alliance of nations that under Gog’s leadership will invade restored Israel in the “latter days.”


Is “Rosh” Russia?
Consistent with the proper names that follow (i.e., Meshech and Tubal), the Hebrew dictionary classifies Rosh (Hebrew, rosh) as a proper name (NASB, ASV, NKJV), and not an adjective (i.e., “chief” prince of Magog, KJV, NIV, NRSV).[24] Thus, Ezekiel presents Gog to be the head of Magog, a confederation of northern states or tribal groups including Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. Regardless of the geo-politics involved, a leader named “Prince Gog” or “Gog the Prince” will lead a confederation of armies to invade Israel after Jews from all over the world have been re-gathered to Palestine (Ezekiel 36:24; 37:21; 38:12; 39:27-28). Prince Gog will hail from “the remotest parts of the north” (Ezekiel 39:2) and the invasion will take place in “the last days” (Ezekiel 38:16).

Though the invasion will originate from the territory of Russia, it is unlikely that Rosh means Russia.[25] (See footnote 23.) Also, one expert and popular author’s identification of Gog to be Turkey is too narrowly focused.[26] The exegetical, geographical and historical data in Ezekiel suggests the invasion will involve a grand alliance of nations led by a geo-political leader who will descend upon Israel from “the remotest parts of the north [not near north like Turkey, ed.].” In this regard, Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea (near north form Israel) and recent military excursions in the Arctic (far north from Israel) to establish Russia’s preeminence in those northern regions ought to be noted. As warming temperatures may perhaps make the Arctic region more hospitable and accessible for energy exploration and extraction, Russia has already planted a titanium flag at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean claiming a vast part of the area (about the size of South Africa) for purpose of controlling its “territorial waters, transit routes and especially its natural resources… in a rivalry some already call a new Cold War.”[27] We can note that a nation can get no further north than the north pole!

4. Why will Gog invade?
Though the immediate reason for invasion of Israel is economic (Ezekiel 38:13), the ultimate reason is that Israel and the nations will recognize Yahweh as God! (You or They “will know that I am the Lord.”) In the ancient as in the modern world, the Lord (Yahweh) was/is not well known. So repeatedly (upwards of 80 times) in chapters 6-39 of Ezekiel’s prophecy, the statement, “you” (referring to Israel) or “they” (referring to the Gentile nations) “will know that I am the Lord” (To Israel—Ezekiel 37:13; 39:22, 28; To the Gentiles—Ezekiel 36:23; 37:28; 38:16, 23; 39:7). Throughout the last 4,000 years of human history, both Israel and her Gentile enemy-nations share something in common: They did/do not know the Lord! So the prophecy of Ezekiel is about the nations coming to know the Lord: Israel will come to know the Lord for reason of His protection of them, and the Gentiles will come to know the Lord for reason of His devastation of them.

The Credibility of God and His Word
From among the international community of nations in the ancient world, God chose Israel with whom to have a special relationship (Deuteronomy 7:6). Out of Israel the Lord promised Messiah would come to not only bless Israel, but also the nations (Genesis 49:10; Isaiah 42:1; 49:6). But as evidenced by their continual strategizing against the Lord, His Messiah and Chosen people, the Gentile nations do not want that blessing. The nations have and are continuing to plot together “Against the Lord and His Anointed.” They say, “Let us tear their fetters apart / and cast away their cords from us” (Psalm 2:1-3). The nations and secular Jews also, do not want God’s rule on earth. Further, these same nations who plot against Yahweh’s rule also “make shrewd plans against [the Lord’s] people, and conspire together against[the Lord’s] treasured ones [i.e., Israel] (Psalm 83:3).

The victims of a 1905 pogrom in Yekaterinoslav

As the historical persecutions, pogroms and holocausts directed against the Jewish people attest, the conspiracy is no secret. The continual byline among the nations continues to be, “Come, and let us wipe them [Israel] out as a nation, that the name of Israel [and Israel’s God] be remembered no more” (Psalm 83:4). Gog’s future invasion of Israel must be understood against the backdrop of the nations’ perennial hatred for the Lord and His people.

In this final invasion, nothing less than God’s credibility is at stake; first to Israel regarding the ancient promises He made to that people, and then before the Gentiles who have despised God’s covenanting with Israel and her consequent prominence in world history. To attack God, they go after the people God pledges loyalty to. If unbelieving nations are able to destroy the inheritors of God’s promises in the Bible (e.g., Israel and the Church), then they imagine they will have discredited Lord and shamed His Word. This is the perennial conspiracy of the Gentiles Psalm 2 describes where the Psalmist asks, “Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising [imagining, contemplating, ed.] a vain thing?” (Psalm 2:1). In modern history, Hitler’s gas chambers, continuing anti-Semitism, militant Islam’s agenda to destroy Israel, and ISIS’ targeting of Jews and Christians for death by beheading gruesomely illustrate the residual hatred in the world for Yahweh.

Among Jewish Apostates
In her apostasy, Israel profaned the Lord’s name when in unbelief the nation forsook worshipping the one true God to pursue “the detestable things” of the occult and the licentious worship at idolatrous “high places” scattered throughout the land Israel (1 Kings 11:4-8). The name of the Lord was not sanctified in Israel and consequently neither among the nations (Ezekiel 36:23). Even in the Temple the Jews abominated the name of the Lord (Ezekiel 8:5-18). It has been pointed out that in the migration of Jews back to their homeland there was “a certain class” of them “who were Jews in name and lineage only. That… were impregnated with higher criticism and in some cases literally atheistic, and they despised Moses and the Law.”[28] So in light of His people’s idolatry, ancient and modern, the Lord has said, “My holy name I will make known in the midst of My people Israel; and I will not let My holy name be profaned anymore” (Ezekiel 39:7a). And again, “The house of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God from that day [the day of Gog’s defeat] onward” (Ezekiel 39:22).

To validate His covenant with Israel, the Lord punished His people by activating enemy nations to invade and occupy the Land—the Assyrians (733 B.C.), Babylonians (599-597, 587-586 B.C.), Greeks (322 B.C.), Romans (B.C. 63-A.D. 70), Muslims (636 A.D.), Crusaders (1097, 1191), Mongols (1260, 1300), Turks (1516) and Britain (1917)—forcing Jews to disperse over the world. All of this caused Israel to become a laughing stock among the nations. As the Lord said to Israel through Ezekiel,“Those who are near and those who are far from you will mock you, you of ill repute, full of turmoil” (Ezekiel 22:5; See Psalm 79:4; 80:6; Daniel 9:16). But God will vindicate Himself and end the mockery. But how will God bring this about?

A map of ISIS influence and control, 9/4/15

Before Gentile Scoffers
He will do so by vindicating Israel’s chosen status in the eyes of the nations by waging a final battle against them sometime “in the latter years” of Israel’s earthly history (Ezekiel 38:8; Daniel 10:14). God will cause the nations under Prince Gog to invade the Land of His people, the Holy Land. “I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws,”says the Lord, “and I will bring you out” (Ezekiel 38:4; See 39:2). God will hook Gog in the jaws and steer him and his confederates (i.e., Turkey, Syria, Iran, Libya and Ethiopia) to invade His Land, Israel.

The Lord will do so to magnify Himself in the eyes of the world. Several times in these chapters this purpose the Lord personally addresses the reason for the invasion:

  • It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog. (Ezekiel 38:16)
  • I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the Lord. (Ezekiel 38:23; 39:13)
  • And the nations will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel.(Ezekiel 39:7b)
  • And I will set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them. (Ezekiel 39:21)

Can there be any doubt about God’s purpose of hooking and dragging that confederacy of nations to invade Israel? It’s to magnify Himself and make His glory seen and known by the nations of the world. And at the sight of the confederate invasion, surrounding Arab countries will not idly stand by as spectators. They too (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq—the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq, or ISIS?—and Iran will broker agreements with Gog/Russia to protect their regional interests and plunder the Promised Land (Ezekiel 38:13). In the full scale invasion by Gentile nations from Israel’s north, east, south and southwest, nothing less than the honor and reputation of Yahweh is at stake in this modern world! This raises the fifth question.

Desert Storm Gulf War 1991

5. What will happen to the invaders?
Ezekiel describes an invasion of Israel/Palestine unlike any that happened before in the history of that small geographical area of the world. As God describes the overwhelming force of the invasion, He says that Gog and his armies, like a swarm of locusts or a dust storm,“will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land”(Ezekiel 38:16; See 38:9.). As far as can be seen by the naked eye, enemy troops and their armaments will cover the land. With overwhelming force and from every direction, from the north, the east, the south (and perhaps, though unspecified in the text, by an amphibious assault from the Mediterranean Sea), the Holy Land will be assaulted. For the Jewish nation, there will be no way of escape. There will be nowhere to run and no place to hide from the swarming enemy. (Compare Matthew 24:15-22.)

But as illustrated by the angel of the Lord’s defeat of 185,000 Assyrians in the days of Hezekiah (2 Kings 19:35; Isaiah 35:36), those invaders will be devastatingly defeated (Read Ezekiel 39:3-6.). Forseven years the inhabitants of the cities will warm themselves over fires burning with the “shields and bucklers, bows and arrows, war clubs and spears” remaining from the mass of invading armies (Ezekiel 39:9). “For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them [Gog’s invading horde] in order to cleanse the land” (Emphasis added, Ezekiel 39:12). Such a futuristic battle employing primitive weapons such as bows and arrows, shields and spears, horses and wagons is thought by critics to be too primitive an understanding of modern warfare and combat. But it can be noted that a high altitude nuclear explosion (HANE) would disrupt the earth’s electro magnetic pulse (EMP) which is essential for the functioning of modern weaponry.[29]Thus Ezekiel’s description might not be so archaic after all. This brings us to the final question.

Kuwait oil well fires, 1991

6. Who instigates the invasion?
All of this will happen in accord with God’s providential working. In the international game of national self-interest and residual hatred of God’s people, the Lord is the Master and the nations are His pawns. Through His prophet the Lord speaks to Gog:

  • Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords; Persia, Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops—many peoples with you. . . . After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the 1nations, and they are living securely, all of them.
    —Emphasis added, Ezekiel 38:3-6, 8
  • Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal; and I will turn you around, drive you on, take you up from the remotest parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel.
    —Emphasis added, Ezekiel 39:2
  • “Behold, it is coming and it shall be done,” declares the Lord God. “That is the day of which I have spoken.”
    —Emphasis added, Ezekiel 39:8

So we have it. The reason for the grand alliance’s invasion of God’s land is because He orders it. God transforms self-interest on the part of the nations into an obsession to control His land and destroy Israel. As one commentator states by quoting another: “There is no inconsistence here: ‘a divine purpose overrules, while it makes use of, the base human motive’.”[30] As the Psalmist declared, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee” (Psalm 76:10, KJV).

A Scud missile directed at Israel

In that war torn and volatile region of the world 2,500 years ago, Ezekiel prophesied and described the last battle of Israel in the last days. Coveting the resources and wealth of the Middle East, a grand alliance of nations, led by Gog who hails from “the remote parts of the north,” will invade the Holy Land. There God will devastatingly defeat that enemy confederacy. For the final time the Lord will intercede for Israel that He might be glorified among His people and the rest of the nations of the world. The Gentiles will be served notice that the times of their ascendancy is over.

That the leader of the invading grand alliance hails from “the remote[not near, ed.] parts of the north” leaves Russia as the best modern candidate to be identified as Prince Gog, the leader of this end-of-days invasion. Russia alone occupies the geographical region that is remotest north. Of Russia Winston Churchill (1874-1965) once remarked:

I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.[31]

God will use her national interest to drag Russia from the remotest north into a war with Israel in the latter days. The Lord will “turn[Gog/Russia, ed.] about and put hooks into your [their] jaws” and like a fish on a line, haul the confederacy of nations into a final conflict over control of the Middle East. Portending just such an invasion, Russia under Vladimir Putin’s leadership has already invaded and annexed Crimea (spring of 2014). Of the Crimean seizure an observer has written: “It was instead the opening gambit in a new style of global competition—one that, in the Middle East, Russia and its clients are winning and the United States, despite huge natural advantages, is losing.”[32] Putin’s continuing agitation in eastern Ukraine may also indicate that his agenda involves moving further south.

 Recently Russia, after international monetary sanctions were lifted by the brokered nuclear arms treaty between the U.S. and Iran and approved by the United Nations, saw the green light the treaty offered and sold Iran highly advanced S-300 surface-to-air missiles, a deal that Putin reneged out of five years ago. This highly advanced weapon-system will make Iran invulnerable to an air attack by Israel or other nations. With the potential to develop a nuclear weapon given by the treaty in the future, Iran will develop a bomb. (For all we know, Iran may already have a nuclear weapon.) And when that bomb is developed, who knows whether that Shiite state will preemptively strike Israel to introduce the apocalypse that will instigate the return of the 12th Imam and the instituting of a worldwide Islamic Caliphate?

Add to this deadly international self-interest stirring the cauldron in that part of the world, ISIS is arising (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). These barbarians, even as they behead Christians and Jews and destroy their historic religious sites thousands of years old, desire to establish an Islamic Caliphate governed by Sharia law. The Caliphate is believed to be a precursor to the kingdom of the Mahdi or 12th Imam. “While his [al-Mahdi’s] reign is often understood as being an inward or spiritual one, it has also been interpreted as being outward and temporal, a new universal Caliphate.”[33] By exploding a nuclear bomb in the region, ISIS in conjunction with extremist factions within Iran may attempt to induce the coming of the messianic Mahdi to establish a grand world-wide Caliphate. Who knows? Anything can happen. The kingdoms of this world will ever be in competition with the Kingdom of God until Jesus the Messiah establishes His at the end of the age after He comes again.

To this point, it should be noted that, contradicting the propaganda being put out by the West that the war is being won, it is in fact being lost. ISIS is not going away. Several months ago it was reported that,

The war against ISIS is taking a dangerous, perhaps inevitable turn. The terror organization has been keen to expand to southern Syria and the Syrian capital of Damascus. Now it says it has recruited three Syrian rebel groups operating in the south of the country in an area bordering the Israeli occupied Golan Heights—that have switched their loyalties to ISIS.[34]

All this writer is attempting to do is not interpret prophecy by current events, but rather draw attention to the fact that the entire region surrounding Israel—to the north (remotest), the east and the south—seems to be readying itself for the latter days conflagration Ezekiel predicted two-and-one-half millennia ago. The alignment of nations against and the antagonism of nations toward Israel are set. Are we living in the days which the prophet predicted? More and more, it’s beginning to look like it. The insular bubble of those who deny it could burst at any moment causing chaos in that part of world, if not the whole world. Where might the stock market go then?

But we who believe Holy Scripture and the accuracy of the biblical prophets rest in the faith that in this whole international mess, God is at work. He is preparing Gentile adversaries of His chosen people to invade the Holy Land and bring final defeat upon them ending their domination over the Jews. Of the intent of His intervention, the Lord states:

I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself,
and make Myself known in the sight of many nations;
and they will know that I am the Lord.
—Ezekiel 38:23 


Read Full Post »

from Truth Revolt:

A Kuwaiti newspaper is reporting that President Obama, angered at Israeli plans to strike Iran nuclear facilities in 2014, threatened to shoot down Israeli planes before they could reach their targets.

The paper, Al Jarida, cites only anonymous sources and just a handful of other publications have followed the story. But according to israelnationalnews.com, the Arabic newspaper quoted “well-placed” sources as saying Benjamin Netanyahu and two top aides “had decided to carry out air strikes against Iran’s nuclear program after consultations with top security commanders.”

“The Netanyahu government took the decision to strike Iran some time in 2014 soon after Israel had discovered the United States and Iran had been involved in secret talks over Iran’s nuclear program and were about to sign an agreement in that regard behind Israel’s back,” the website said.

The Al Jarida story says that an Israeli minister with “good ties” to the Obama administration revealed the attack plan to Secretary of State John Kerry, who passed the word to Obama. The president then threatened to shoot down any planes in order to stop the Israeli attack.

The Ma’an News, a Palestinian news agency, did pick up the Al Jarida story, translating the piece. Their article says: “Netanyahu had to abort the operation and since then relations between Israel and the United States have been declining, according to the sources quoted in the report.”

Several websites were dubious about the Al Jarida. JewishPress.com wrote that “the report seems unbelievable, but the newspaper has an interesting track record.”

Al-Jarida is considered to be a relatively liberal publication whose editor Mohammed al-Sager previously won the International Press Freedom Award of the Committee to Protect Journalists ‘for courageous reporting on political and human rights issues in the face of government threats of censorship and prosecution.’

He also is a former Kuwaiti parliament member and chairman of the legislature.

And that website concludes by saying the veracity of the story may not be the most important facet. “The report may be fantasy, but the fact that Al Jarida dared to report it says a lot about perceptions of the relationship between Netanyahu and Obama.”

The story was starting to pick up pace on Sunday, with Netanyahu already on his way to Washington, D.C., to deliver a much anticipated speech to Congress.

“I’m going on a crucial and historic mission,” Netanyahu said before his departure from Ben-Gurtion Airport, accompanied by his wife, according to YnetNews.com.

“I feel I am the representative of all Israel, even those who disagree with me. I feel a deep concern for the fate of Israel. I will do everything to guarantee our future.”

Read Full Post »

from Debka:

Saudi Arabia became the first Middle East nation to publicly exhibit its nuclear-capable missiles. The long-range, liquid propellant DF-3 ballistic missile (NATO designated CSS-2), purchased from China 27 years ago, was displayed for the first time at a Saudi military parade Tuesday, April 29, in the eastern military town of Hafar Al-Batin, at the junction of the Saudi-Kuwaiti-Iraqi borders.

The DF-3 has a range of 2,650 km and carries a payload of 2,150 kg. It is equipped with a single nuclear warhead with a 1-3 MT yield.

Watched by a wide array of Saudi defense and military dignitaries, headed by Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister Salman bin Abdulaziz, the parade marked the end of the large-scale “Abdullah’s Sword” military war game.

Conspicuous on the saluting stand was the Pakistani Chief of Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif alongside eminent visitors, including King Hamad of Bahrain and Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.
DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report the event was deliberately loaded with highly-significant messages, the foremost of which was that the Middle East is in the throes of a nuclear arms race in the wake of the Iranian program.

1. The oil kingdom was saying loud and clear that it has obtained nuclear missiles and is ready to use them in the event of an armed conflict with Iran.

2.  The message for Washington was that Riyadh adheres to its adamant objections to the comprehensive accord for resolving the Iranian nuclear question which is racing toward its finale with the six world powers led by the US. The Saudis share Israel’s conviction that this pact – far from dismantling Iran’s nuclear capacity – will seal the Islamic Republic’s elevation to the status of pre-nuclear power. The result will be a Middle East war in which the Saudis will take part.

3.  The participation of the nuclear DF-3 missiles in the “Abdullah’s Sword” exercise signified Riyadh’s estimate that the coming conflict will see the use of nuclear weapons.

4.  By showing off their ageing Chinese missiles, the Saudis intimated that they had acquired the more advanced generation of this weapon, which they are keeping under wraps.  DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report that in recent visits to Beijing, high-ranking Saudi officials negotiated the purchase of Dong-Feng 21 (DF-21), whose range is shorter, 1,700 km, but more precise and effective in view of its terminal radar guidance system. The West has no information about when the new Chinese missiles were delivered to Saudi Arabia.

5.  The presence of the top Pakistani soldier at the parade of military and nuclear hardware was meant as corroboration of Islamabad’s active role as the source of the Saudi nuclear arsenal.

6.   The Saudis no longer rely on the American nuclear umbrella. They are developing their own nuclear strike force with the help of China and Pakistan.

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There is an epic battle in the Middle East, no not the battle between Islam and Israel, it is the battle between Shi’ite Islam Iran, and Sunni Islam Saudi Arabia. And the eventual victor will be Shi’ite Islam Iran!

Barack Obama has pulled the U.S. back from open and unconditional support for Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, and Jordan, what this means is that Saudi Arabia is now attempting to support those countries and forces in the Middle East that are against Iran. Shi’ite Iran will triumph in this battle setting the stage for the end of the age!

Saudi Arabia was supporting Turkey with Loans, however now that Turkey is allying itself with Iran. Saudi Arabia has stopped loaning them money.

“Goldman argues that part of Turkey’s credit crisis owes to its apparent reliance on interbank loans from Saudi Arabia. In part due to their anger at Erdogan for his support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudis have apparently stopped loaning to Turkish banks. 

The Saudis’ action has pushed Erdogan into the waiting arms of Iran’s ayatollahs. In an interview with Business Insider, Australia, terror financing expert Jonathan Schanzer said Turkey and Iran were able to minimize the impact of the international sanctions on Iran’s energy sector. Between June 2012 and June 2013, the Turkish-Iranian “gas for gold” sanctions-busting scheme brought Iran $13 billion in hard currency.”

from Caroline Glick:

Last Thursday, two Turkish businessmen stopped for lunch in a fish restaurant during a business trip to Edirne in the Babaeski region.

At some point during their meal, the restaurant owner figured out that they were Jews.

Rather than show them the hospitality Turkey is renowned for, he said he won’t serve Jews, and began cursing them and the Torah. He then took a long knife off the counter and threatened to kill them.

The men ran for their lives.

Anti-Semitic attacks have become regular events in Turkey. In December, after leaving an anti-corruption rally in Istanbul, a young woman was attacked by 10 to 15 supporters of Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan who had just left a support rally for the premier.

They accused her of being a Jew, as they beat her up.

In an interview with The Times of Israel, Turkish opposition MP Ayken Kerdemir said that Erdogan has cultivated Turkish anti-Semitism. “He is not only capitalizing on the existing sentiments, Kerdemir explained. Erdogan is “fueling some of that anti-Israel and anti-Semitic feeling… with his rhetoric, conspiracy theories, campaign slogans and actions.”

Kerdemir explained that Erdogan’s cultivation of anti-Semitism in Turkish society will continue to affect Turkey’s behavior and social values long after he is gone. “Even after Erdogan and AKP are gone, even if [the opposition party] CHP comes to power, it will take us quite some time to mend inter-societal relations through dialogue, awareness raising and sensitivity training.”

Once you let that genie out of the bottle, it is very hard to stuff it back inside.

Erdogan’s anti-Semitism is not opportunistic. He isn’t simply exploiting a popular prejudice for his own benefit. He is an anti-Semite. And his anti-Semitism informs his behavior toward Israel.

In Kerdemir’s view, Erdogan’s uncontrollable hatred of Jews makes it impossible for him to agree to reconcile Turkey’s relations with Israel.

As he put it, “Erdogan’s core values vis-à-vis Jews and Israel prevent him from dealing with this issue in a tolerant, embracing and sustainable way.”

Against this backdrop it should surprise no one that this week Erdogan sunk prospects for a renewal of Turkish ties with Israel.

Immediately after he took office 10 years ago, Erdogan began systematically downgrading Turkey’s strategic alliance with Israel. This process, which began gradually and accelerated after Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian elections, reached its peak in 2010.

In May 2010, Erdogan sponsored the pro-Hamas flotilla to Gaza whose aim was to undermine Israel’s lawful maritime blockade of the terrorist-controlled Gaza coast. The flotilla’s flagship, theMavi Marmara, was controlled by the al-Qaida-aligned IHH organization. Its passengers included terrorists who, armed with iron bars, knives and other weaponry tried to kill IDF naval commandos when they boarded the Gaza-bound ship to enforce the blockade. In the ensuing battle, the commandos killed nine IHH terrorists.

Erdogan used the incident on the Mavi Marmara as a means of ending what remained of Turkey’s ties to Israel. For three years, he insisted that he would only restore full diplomatic relations if Israel ended its blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza, apologized for its forces’ actions on board the Mavi Marmara, and paid reparations to the families of the IHH terrorists killed in their assault on the IDF commandos.

In March 2013, Erdogan relented in his demand that Israel end the blockade and acceded to a reconciliation deal offered by US President Barack Obama in a three-way telephone call with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that took place during Obama’s visit to Israel.

Following the phone call, Netanyahu apologized for “operational errors,” by IDF sailors aboard theMavi Marmara and offered to compensate the families.

Negotiations toward the reinstatement of diplomatic relations were to ensue immediately. But just after Netanyahu made his required gesture of appeasement, Erdogan began delaying the talks, while continuing his anti-Semitic assaults.

Talks eventually did start. And according to Israeli sources, they were about to conclude this week. Netanyahu was beginning to build political support for his decision to agree to Turkey’s demand for a massive $20 million settlement of claims against Israel by the dead terrorists’ families.

But then Erdogan walked away.

On Tuesday, Erdogan reinstated his initial demand that Israel must end its lawful naval blockade of terrorist-controlled Gaza before he restores ties to the Jewish state.

In many quarters of the Israeli media, Erdogan’s action was met with surprise. Reporters who for years have insisted that Israel can make the problem go away by bowing to Erdogan’s demands are stumped by his behavior.

But they shouldn’t have been.

It isn’t simply that Erdogan cannot reconcile with Israel because he hates Jews. As is almost always the case with anti-Semites, Erdogan’s anti-Semitism is part of his general authoritarian outlook informed by a paranoid mindset.

Erdogan sees a Jewish conspiracy behind every independent power base in Turkey. And his rejection of Israel is an integral part of his rejection of all forces in Turkey that are not dependent on his good offices.
Over the past 10 years, and with ever increasing brutality, paranoia and intensity, Erdogan has sought to destroy all independent power bases in the country. He purged the military by placing hundreds of generals in prison in his delusional Ergenekon conspiracy in which they were accused of seeking to overthrow his Islamist government.

He has destroyed most of the independent media in the country and sent hundreds of journalists and editors to prison.

The same is the case with independent businessmen.

Over the past year, Erdogan destroyed whatever remained of the plausible deniability he initially fostered between himself and the systematic abrogation of civil rights and the rule of law in Turkey.

This week, 17 people were sentenced to two years each in prison for “deliberately insulting the premier and not regretting their actions,” during a small demonstration in 2012 protesting the government’s health policy.

Also this week, Erdogan acknowledged that he calls television broadcasters in the middle of news shows and orders them to stop the broadcast of information he doesn’t want the public to know. This has included ending the live broadcast of a speech in parliament by the opposition leader, ending coverage of the mass anti-government demonstrations last summer, and removing a news ticker that reported on the corruption scandals surrounding Erdogan and his cronies.

Erdogan has also reacted to the corruption investigations of his cronies by firing the public prosecutors and police officers involved in the investigations.

To maintain the public’s support for his burgeoning dictatorship, Erdogan has adopted populist economic policies that have sunk the Turkish economy. To buy the public’s allegiance, Erdogan has borrowed heavily internationally and artificially lowered Turkey’s interest rates, even as the local currency dropped in value in international markets and Turkey’s current accounts deficits outpaced Greece’s on the eve of its economic meltdown.

As David Goldman explained last week in a financial analysis of Turkey’s incipient economic meltdown in The Asia Times, rather than raise consumer interests rates, Erdogan has blamed the Jews by railing against “the interest rate lobby.”

Indeed, since he first invoked the term during the anti-government demonstrations last August, Erdogan has taken to blaming the interest rate cabal for all of Turkey’s woes.

Goldman argues that part of Turkey’s credit crisis owes to its apparent reliance on interbank loans from Saudi Arabia. In part due to their anger at Erdogan for his support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudis have apparently stopped loaning to Turkish banks.

The Saudis’ action has pushed Erdogan into the waiting arms of Iran’s ayatollahs. In an interviewwith Business Insider, Australia, terror financing expert Jonathan Schanzer said Turkey and Iran were able to minimize the impact of the international sanctions on Iran’s energy sector. Between June 2012 and June 2013, the Turkish-Iranian “gas for gold” sanctions-busting scheme brought Iran $13 billion in hard currency.

Erdogan’s hatred of Jews, his authoritarian mindset and his Islamist ideology informed his decision to transform Turkey into one of the leading sponsors of terrorism. In addition to its massive support for Hamas, beginning in the 2006 First Lebanon War Turkey began providing assistance to Hezbollah.

Then there is al-Qaida. Turkey has long harbored al-Qaida financiers. And according to IDF Intelligence head Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Turkey hosts three al-Qaida bases on its territory that enable terrorists to transit between Europe and Syria.

Erdogan’s ideological underpinning directs his embrace of Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah and al-Qaida. But his decimation of Turkey’s economy has made him view Iran as Turkey’s economic savior. And that in turn pushes Turkey even deeper into the jihadist camp.

Obviously in this situation, the chance that Turkey will agree to reconcile with Israel, at any price, is nil.

The surprise that many Israeli journalists have expressed over Erdogan’s seeming about-face on the reconciliation deal brings us to the larger lesson of his transformation of Turkey.

These journalists believe that Israel’s bilateral relations with other countries are based on tit for tat. If I do something to upset you, you will get upset. If I apologize and try to make things right, then you will be satisfied and everything will go back to normal.

This simplistic view of the world is attractive because it places Israel in a position of power. If the only reason that Turkey is mad at Israel is that Israel will not apologize for its response to Turkey’s illegal aggression, then Israel should apologize and pay whatever damages Erdogan demands.

Moreover, Israel should make Erdogan believe the sincerity of its apology by maintaining faith with the myth that he is a responsible actor on the world stage, rather than a prominent sponsor of terrorism and the hangman of Turkish democracy and economic prosperity.

Appeasement is a seductive policy because it is gives its purveyors a sense of empowerment. And at times, when faced with a simple, limited dispute it can work.

But Turkey’s rejection of Israel is not a linear response to a specific Israeli action. It is a consequence of the nature of Erdogan’s regime, and due to his anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incitement, it is increasingly a consequence of the nature of Turkish society.

Kerdemir argued that Turkish anti-Semitism does not necessitate a rejection of Jews and Israel. And that’s true.

The problem is that when anti-Semitism is tied to several other political and economic pathologies, as it is in the case of Turkey, it is impossible as a practical matter for any accommodation to be reached.

THE SWORD-WIELDING restaurateur who responded to the mere presence of Jewish diners in his establishment with murderous rage is no more exceptional than lynch mobs in Ramallah. And as Turkey’s economic plight worsens and Erdogan’s embrace of Iran and jihadist groups tightens, Turkey’s behavior will only become more extreme, unappeasable and dangerous.

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from Debkafile:

The Iranian delegation arrived at the UN General Assembly in New York this week to an enthusiastic Western welcome led by the Obama administration, without having rescinded one iota of its aggressive policies or nuclear ambitions.

“We welcome an Iran ready to engage seriously through that (diplomatic) process given that it represents the international community’s commitment to hold Iran accountable, but also being open to a diplomatic resolution.”

This convoluted message was how Ben Rhodes, US Deputy National Security Adviser, referred Monday, Sept. 23, to the US Secretary of State John Kerry’s get-together with Iranian Mohammad Javad Zarif Thursday, along with foreign ministers of the five world powers.

Their acclaimed purpose is to test Tehran’s willingness for progress in nuclear negotiations. But before this test, the Obama administration agreed to the highest-level face-to-face contact between the US and Iran since the 1979 Iranian revolution. Rhodes did not shut the door on a meeting, even a brief one, between President Barack Obama and President Hassan Rouhani at this week’s annual gathering of world leaders in New York. British Foreign Secretary William Hague and European Union Foreign Executive Catherine Ashton had already met the new Iranian foreign minister Monday, after which Ashton commented that she had found him resolved to go forward with talks (on Iran’s nuclear program) and “many things flow from that.”

How to account for this burst of eagerness in Washington and Europe for a rapprochement with the Revolutionary Republic of Iran? Has Tehran agreed to give up its nuclear weapon program? The new president and even supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei say their government will never develop a nuclear bomb. So what if they said so? Have their words caused Iran’s nuclear facilities, open and concealed, to suddenly vanish like a desert mirage?

Has Iran announced itself ready to open up all its nuclear facilities to international watchdog inspections? Will Rouhani make this offer when he addresses the UN Assembly Wednesday? Has Iran promised to stop developing ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads? And what about the Islamic Republic’s long sponsorship of state terrorism against Israeli and Jewish targets across the world? Have those death-dealing networks been recalled home?

And has Tehran started pulling its troops out of Syria and terminated its partnership in butchery with Bashar Assad, given up its control of Lebanon or stopped sending rockets to Hizballah?

Has anyone noticed that Iran is building a Red Sea Naval base at Port Sudan facing the coast of Saudi Arabia? Or that a large-scale munitions production and distribution center for supplying Iran’s Middle East allies is going up in Sudan?

And finally, has Iran abandoned its ambition to wipe Israel off the map, or stopped denying the Nazi Holocaust?

The slick new president easily ducked the second question by saying: “I’m not a historian.” He and members of his regime have suddenly been given free license to fill the op-ed pages of important Western media with smooth propaganda for Western audiences. But while polishing his civilized aspect towards the West, Rouhani made sure the day before he flew to New York to display Iran’s steel teeth with its largest display ever of missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers. The 30 weapons on show included 12 Sejil and 18 Ghadr missiles which can reach Israel and US Gulf bases – although Rouhani stated with a straight face that they were “for defensive purposes only.”

The turbaned Iranian president has an obvious motive for gulling the West into accepting the Islamic Republic’s conversion from a regime bent on “exporting the Islamic revolution” to a lover of peace: He was elected to end the sanctions crippling the country, without giving up the regime’s objectives. It is less clear what moves President Obama to swallow the Iranian bait and go for a historic US rapprochement with the revolutionary republic. On every occasion, he protests that Israel’s security is his overriding concern. Yet he is rushing to accept a nuclear Iran whose avowed ambition is to destroy Israel.

Under their slick new façade, the ayatollahs have not changed their spots. Washington has. Sources close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu say he is determined to tear the false veil off Iran’s face – even if he is a lone voice, when he addresses the UN later this month.

Last Thursday, Netanyahu tried throwing water on Rouhani’s claims that Iran’s nuclear program was peaceful, calling them fraudulent. He dismissed Iran’s offer to engage in diplomacy as false “media spin,” which should not fool anyone. But no one in the West was listening. And at home, people were asking what happened to Netanyahu’s solemn pre-election pledge to stop Iran attaining a nuclear bomb.

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from Now The End Begins:

Is this the plunder of Ezekiel 38?“

Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, [that] at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.” Ezekiel 38

From Israel National News: Dr. Harold Vinegar of Israel Energy Initiative Ltd. in Jerusalem is optimistic about Israel’s potential in the oil industry. He spoke to Israel National Radio’s Goldstein on Gelt show with Douglas Goldstein about energy independence and the “black gold” that is underfoot.

Dr. Vinegar was the chief scientist of Royal Dutch Shell until his retirement in 2008. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and recently made aliyah. Now, he is the chief scientist of Israel Energy Initiative Ltd. in Jerusalem, which is developing Israel’s unconventional oil reserves.

Douglas Goldstein: What are unconventional oil reserves?

Dr. Harold Vinegar: Conventional oil is what everyone imagines. You drill a well and oil comes out of the well under the natural forces in the ground and you basically have an oil and gas well, but there’s a whole other class of oil called “unconventional oil.” This means that when you drill those wells, the oil will require some special treatment in the sub surface in order to get it to moved.

There are two classes of unconventional oils. One is the heavy oils in tar sands such as you find in Canada. These are extremely viscous molasses-like oils that need heating in the sub surface in order to get them to move, and the other class is the oil shales of the world, and these have the organic matter that makes up the carriage. It’s solid and it requires heating to a high enough temperature so that the solid basically becomes a liquid in the sub surface and then gets produced as conventional oil once it’s been heated. Those are the unconventional sources of oil.

Israel has oil shale. It doesn’t have much heavy oil, but its oil shale resources are world class, one of the largest and best in the world.

Douglas Goldstein: Why are we only finding out about this now? What’s the history of oil in Israel?

Dr. Harold Vinegar: The oil shales were basically not developed in Israel for two reasons. The first is that basically for as long as I can remember the real price of oil was $130 per barrel, going way back in my career. It’s always been roughly $20 to $25 per barrel in inflation-adjusted terms. That’s just not high enough for the capital cost required to produce unconventionals. You need something of the order of $30 per barrel and starting around 2003, the price of oil on the marketplace started rising and it’s been going up continuously since then and probably will continue to go up. Right now, we see Brent Crude at about $120 per barrel. The time has come that unconventionals are actually economic to develop and this plays in Israel’s favor because it has enormous quantities of this oil shale.

“And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.” Deuteronomy 33:24

Douglas Goldstein: When you say enormous, what are the specs of that?

Dr. Harold Vinegar: Our company has mapped over 250 billion barrels of recoverable oil in Israel and that’s a conservative estimate. To put that in perspective, Saudi Arabia has about 250 billion barrels of conventional oil reserves in the ground. What has happened with time is conventional oil has gotten more expensive and unconventional oil has gotten less expensive because there’s a small amount of conventional oil left in the world. Its price is driven by scarcity and as it becomes scarcer, the price goes up. Whereas unconventionals have enormous reserves, they swamp the amount of conventionals.

Orders have more magnitude but their cost is driven by technology and if technology improves, the unconventional gets cheaper. Starting a few years ago, they’ve crossed over. The two supply curves have crossed so that marginally the conventional oil that the companies are going after in the Arctic, deep offshore, are actually more expensive than the development of the unconventional, such as the tar sands in Canada and the oil shales in Israel. It’s a flip. Things have changed.

Douglas Goldstein: One of the big complaints that people have about oil shale is that the technology to get it out of the ground can have some bad environmental effects.  Is this true or are there ways of dealing with that?

Dr. Harold Vinegar: It’s true that oil shale has to be heated in the subsurface in order to convert it to oil and gas.  One has to be careful in terms of the technology that’s deployed and the local geology to be sure that there are not any negative environmental effects. Israel is blessed by having a geological and hydrogeological situation where the aquifers are far below the oil shale and separated from it by 200 meters of impermeable rock, so that there will not be any environmental issues associated with the Israeli oil shale. That’s different than some of the other oil shales in the world, where the aquifer actually flows through the oil shale. Then you have to be very careful about what technology is used to develop it.  Israel is in a very good situation that way, enormous reserves, very high quality oil, and very safe environmental issues.

Douglas Goldstein: Why is this not being actively pursued?

Dr. Harold Vinegar: We’re starting up our program here.  The first thing that has to be done of course is to appraise the resource. Is it really there? You have to convince yourself that it’s as large and of high quality as I’ve indicated. Our company has been doing an appraisal program. We drilled six appraisal wells in the Shfela Basin, taken thousands of feet of core, and it really is a world class resource.

In the laboratory, we’ve heated the oil shale up and we produced the oil from it. It’s very light. It almost looks like a rosé wine. The thickness of the resource is 300 meters thick.  It’s enormously rich and has a very small surface footprint, which is the characteristic of oil shale in general.  It’s the densest fossil fuel resource in the world so that projects that are done in oil shale don’t have a very large surface footprint compared to conventional oil.

Douglas Goldstein: Are we seeing companies like Royal Dutch Shell come in with tens of billions of dollars of investment to get the oil out of the ground?

Dr. Harold Vinegar: You’re not seeing Royal Dutch Shell coming into Israel, but they are in the sister deposit in Jordan. During the cretaceous period, about 70 million years ago, Israel and Jordan both were under the sea and they both had simultaneous deposition of the oil shale. They both have equivalent and sister deposit characteristics, and Royal Dutch has been drilling in Jordan for the last few years. They have drilled hundreds of wells and Jordan also has extremely rich oil shale.

What you’re not going to see in Israel is any of the major integrated oil companies coming here. When you do a lot of business in the Arab world, it’s just not advisable for these companies to enter the Israeli market, but the smaller independent oil companies that aren’t doing business there are definitely interested and we’ve had a lot of interest in our company. We’re traded on the New York stock exchange under Genie GNE and our particular company is valued at $250 million.

Douglas Goldstein: Does your company do the research?

Dr. Harold Vinegar: We are a RND and exploration company focused on oil shale and other unconventionals in Israel and other countries of the world. It’s the only pure play that I know of in the oil shale domain. A lot of major oil companies have very small roots in the big companies that work on oil shale, but we are the only company that’s focused entirely on oil shales. We have a lot of intellectual property here. We’re doing research on improving the technology for developing the oil shales and we’re searching for oil shales that meet the characteristics where the technology will be effective and economical.

Douglas Goldstein: How can people follow your work or follow what’s going on in the Israel shale oil area?

Dr. Harold Vinegar: Our company has a website, and you can read about our developments here. I think the takeaway message that I would like to give is that Israel has an extremely bright energy future. The growth of the natural gas discoveries and the Mediterranean as well as the enormous oil shale deposits on shore means that Israel is going to be a major oil and gas exporting country in the future. Things are really exciting here.

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We all know how that would turn out!

from Reuters:

Iran could launch a pre-emptive strike on Israel if it was sure the Jewish state was preparing to attack it, a senior commander of its elite Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a brigadier general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, made the comments to Iran’s state-run Arabic language Al-Alam television.

“Iran will not start any war but it could launch a pre-emptive attack if it was sure that the enemies are putting the final touches to attack it,” Al-Alam said, paraphrasing the military commander.

Hajizadeh said any attack on Iranian soil could trigger “World War Three”.

“We can not imagine the Zionist regime starting a war without America’s support. Therefore, in case of a war, we will get into a war with both of them and we will certainly get into a conflict with American bases,” he said.

“In that case, unpredictable and unmanageable things would happen and it could turn into a World War Three.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made increasing hints that Israel could strike Iran’s nuclear sites and has criticized U.S. President Barack Obama’s position that sanctions and diplomacy should be given more time to stop Iran getting the atomic bomb.

Tehran denied it is seeking weapons capability and says its atomic work is peaceful, aimed at generating electricity.

“The Zionist entity is militarily incapable of confronting Iran … the circumstances of the region do not enable it to wage war tomorrow or even in the near future,” Hajizadeh said.

“Our response will exceed their expectations,” he said. “Their assessment of our missile capabilities is wrong. Our response will not only be missiles.”

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Update: Israel tells Egypt to remove tanks from sinai

from Now the End Begins:

“They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from [being] a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.” Psalm 83

ISMAILIA, Egypt – Egypt is preparing to use aircraft and tanks in Sinai for the first time since the 1973 war with Israel in its offensive against terrorists in the border area, security sources said on Monday.

The plans to step up the operation were being finalized by Egypt’s newly appointed Defense Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he made his first visit to Sinai on Monday following the killing of 16 border guards on Aug.5.

Egypt blamed the attack on Islamist terrorists and the conflict is an early test for President Mohamed Morsy – elected in June following the overthrow last year of Hosni Mubarak – to prove he can rein in terrorists on the border with Israel.

“Al-Sisi will supervise the putting together of final plans to strike terrorist elements using aircraft and mobile rocket launchers for the first time since the beginning of the operation,” an Egyptian security source said.

Another security source said the army was planning to attack and besiege al-Halal mountain in central Sinai, using weapons including tanks, where militants were suspected to be hiding.

Disorder has spread in North Sinai, a region with many guns that has felt neglected by the central government, since the overthrow of Mubarak in a popular uprising. Mubarak’s government had worked closely with Israel to keep the region under control and Islamist President Morsy has promised to restore stability.

The 1979 peace treaty between both countries limited military presence in the desert peninsula though in recent years Israel agreed to allow Egypt to deploy more forces there to stem weapons smuggling by Palestinian gunmen and other crimes.

After the border attack this month, Egypt launched a joint army-police operation that has raided militant hideouts, arrested their members and seized weapons.

Israeli officials, who say they are in regular contact with Cairo, have encouraged Egypt to take tough action against the gunmen responsible for the assault and have previously allowed the use of helicopters in the operation.

No one has claimed responsibility for the killing of the border guards but a Sinai-based Islamist terrorist organization, the Salafi Jihadi Group, warned the Egyptian army last week that the crackdown would force it to fight back. Al-Sisi was appointed defense minister last week in a surprise shake-up by Morsy, replacing Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi who served as Mubarak’s defense minister for 20 years.

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