Monday, March 24, 2014

The Divided Kingdom Will Be Forced to Unite

Surprise, surprise!

The new 7-year European Neighborhood Instrument went into force LAST WEEK on March 15. The Council of the European Union had to ratify it in order for it to come into full force. This is the reason its already March and they hadn't done it yet. It is effective from January 1, 2014 - December 31, 2020. The ENPI Info Center posted an article that it had come into full force.  

(Funny side note, ENPI Info Center also re-tweeted my tweet on the subject. I bet they wouldn't have done that, if they knew what we were up to lol.)

Is this the "covenant with many" spoken of in Daniel 9:27? We have all labored over this question for years. I wanted to headline with announcement, but I will come back to this subject at the end of this post.

The Divided Kingdom

Europe is still a divided mess that cannot agree on anything. Most secular political sources would strongly agree with this assessment. The EU has gone through a debt crisis for years, and now cannot even decide how to respond to Russia's invasion of the Crimean peninsula, other than weak sanctions.

God predicted that this empire would be a divided kingdom, at least in its initial stages. (Daniel 2:42-43). It even seems to be somewhat divided right up until the Antichrist takes full control. The EU's pathetic state of disunity is evidence we are in the first stages of this end times empire. The Eurocrats have been waffling around about foreign policy for a very long time. Indeed, it is the most divided aspect of their policies.

Now, Russia has invaded Ukraine and taken over the Crimean peninsula. Furthermore, they are building up troops on the Eastern portion of Ukraine. Both NATO and U.S. officials have noted they are extremely worried about this build up, because they have plenty of troops to invade. Furthermore, the some EU are very worried about Moldova (which has a Russian separatist region). A contender for the next EU Commission President wants to expedite the association agreement with Moldova, to deter against this fate.

The EU now has a solid dose of actual fear when it comes to foreign invaders. (At the very least, they have something they can overreact to). The NATO leadership is raising its rhetoric as well. Furthermore, Latvia and Lithuania (both EU countries) have Russian minorities. Considering Russia's justification for invading Ukraine (and their repeated lying about their intentions), the EU has reason to be worried. The West will want to have a strong voice to deal with foreign policy concerns from Russia.

NATO Secretary General: Anders Fogh Rasmussen

EU Power Vacuum 

How convenient then, that the new EU foreign policy High Representative is due to be appointed by the end of the year? Furthermore, Barosso Commission has been in charge for ten years. Both he and Ashton will retire, as well as the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy. This leaves a very big power vacuum if the Antichrist figure would like to swoop in.

This is a very ripe time for a new, more forceful, more boastful, foreign policy leader to fill the gaps. Furthermore, he has a great excuse to strengthen the EU's foreign policy, due to the renewed Cold War atmosphere that has descended over Europe.

The Conqueror Arises

Now, if my analysis is correct (see previous post), the Antichrist doesn't start off by attacking anyone. He actually begins by responding to an attack, likely from Russia or Syria. However, he would obviously have had to do something to provoke such an attack. Knowing his personality from the Bible, he has a very arrogant and conquering personality. Furthermore, the white horse of the apocalypse shows someone bent on conquest, but not necessarily causing any bloodshed in doing so (at least not until the red horse comes along). This may mean the Antichrist forms treaties and alliances, that inflame relations with Russia, resulting in a full on invasion. This could take the form of aggressively expanding NATO, expanding the EU, strongly reinforcing the ENP area with security guarantees, or any number of things.

Furthermore, this invasion could be precipitated if Russia attempts to annex part of an EU country (such as Latvia or Lithuania). Only time will tell.

The European Neighborhood Instrument

Back to the ENI. So if this regulation that just came into force is the 7-year  "covenant with many" (Daniel 9:27) long anticipated by students of prophecy and theologians, then we need to have a "he" that confirms the covenant. Obviously, he can rise to power into the High Representative position in 2015. But he still has to be the one confirming the covenant to be the guy. We have several options for who this could be. The Barosso Commission proposed the legislation, the Parliament (led by Martin Schultz) ratified it, and the Council (Greek rotating President) ratified it as well . Furthermore, there is a person solely dedicated to EU Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy (Stefan Fule).

So any number of people could qualify to be the "he" in Daniel 9:27. But when looking at these figures, not a lot of them strike me as the Antichrist type. So we will have to see.

Also, Pastor Brian found a good link from an EU think tank proposing a total reset of the entire ENP in 2015. This is obviously another way the 7 year covenant could come about.

The problem with all of these theories, is that we used to have a better theory (namely the Javier Solana/WEU/ENPI) theory. So I am not sure how convinced we should become by theories that are weaker than their predecessors, especially in prophecy related things. Most things in prophecy look better than they did 10 years ago, because geopolitical events continue to align closer and closer to their fulfillment. In this case, strangely, the opposite happened. I guess false alarms are the norm in prophecy, but my fear is we should not put too much hope into a theory that was weaker than a false alarm.

But then again, we got all this Russia stuff going on, and the EU has already gotten rid of the 10-nation alliance, and consolidated into the EU-beast. So it may be later than we think. I am hoping so, and would like to think so. So I am focusing very closely.

Thoughts? I invite discussion....

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Russia in Prophecy: The Forgotten Battle?

Daniel 11:40: The "Forgotten Battle?"
There are two possible instances where Russia plays a role in Bible prophecy. The first one is more sure, the second one is less so. 
But the second one may hold the key two this Ukraine situation, and the beginning of the entire end time scenario. It is the "forgotten war" in the end times, which may end up being one of the most important battles, because it kicks off everything else. But first, let's start off with the most well known instance where Russia plays a role in end times prophecy: Ezekiel 38-39.

Russia, Iran, and Turkey Invade to Plunder
It is agreed upon that Russia, Iran and Turkey will eventually invade Israel to plunder it for some reason (Ezekiel 38-39) Since Israel has recently discovered very large natural gas reserves, this might become of great interest to Vladimir Putin, since he supplies about 30% of Europe’s gas through the state owned gas company: Gazprom. I just found this article that says the EU is looking to Israel to reduce their dependence on Putin's natural gas. In fact, as of the past few days, a lot of news articles have been coming out saying how Israel is now going to be a major gas exporter, and even one of the biggest exporters in the world. Since Putin controls the gas, one can only imagine how frustrating a competitor would be, especially if the EU got most of its gas from Israel instead.

Israel's Tamar Gas Field

If they want to sanction him because of the Ukraine situation, then they will have to find an alternative way to meet their energy needs. Israel's massive gas discovery in the Mediterranean may prove to be just that. It may also give Putin a reason to "plunder" Israel, so he can again control the world's gas supply.
But….on the other hand…. there’s a second instance where many scholars believe Russia is acting in Bible prophecy. This is the part where this might be of significance.

Gazprom: Russian State Owned Gas Company

The Forgotten War? 
The Cold War Rises Again....and Turns Hot
Daniel 11:36-45 talks about an end times king that many interpret to be the Antichrist. It describes his military conquests. However, this conqueror is different, in that he does not start conquering by invading. It seems he is invaded my someone else, and uses that as an excuse to go attack everyone. Since the Antichrist leads a renewed Roman empire, the Antichrist has his kingdom based in the Mediterranean or Europe. It seems to be a confederacy (based on other Bible passages like Daniel 7), so this is why the European Union is so significant, especially since it exists at the same time as Israel, which has not existed for over 1900 years.

“At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. (Daniel 11:40-41; emphasis added)
This passage says the Antichrist is attacked by the “king of the North” and “king of the South.” The “king of the South” is uncontroversially a reference to Egypt (it’s “north” and “south” of Israel). However, the “king of the north” is not so clear. Many Bible scholars think it is a reference to Russia. Many others think it’s a reference to Syria. There are pros and cons to each view.

President of Russia: Vladimir Putin

King of the North: Is It Syria?

The pros of the Syria view are that Syria is located in the region most historically associated with the "King of the North." Indeed, Daniel 11, before it talks about the Antichrist, refers to the Seleucid Empire as the King of the North. The Seleucid Empire was basically an expanded Syrian kingdom that stretched from Syria to Iran and Iraq. However, the disadvantage of the Syria view is that it is hardly capable of attacking someone as big as the EU even with Egypt's help (the king of the South). Long story short, Syria is just not as big and powerful as the old King of the North. 

King of the North: Is It Russia? 

The pros of the Russia view is that Russia is also located North of Israel, and definitely has the firepower to take on something as big as the Antichrist's European empire. Furthermore, Daniel 11 also talks about the Antichrist being alarmed by reports from the North. Many people believe these reports refer to the Gog/Magog invasion of Ezekiel 38-39, in which Russia attacks Israel. This would be an argument that it is Russia. Eminent prophecy scholar John Walvoord, among others, seem to favor the Russia view.

Russian Vessel Headed to Russian Naval Base in Tartus, Syria
King of the North: Is it both?

I tend to waffle back and forth as to what my favorite view is. However, I think a case can be made that the king of the North could be Syria, Russia, or even both. Keep in mind that it says that the king of the North attacks with a great fleet of ships. This implies very strong naval power. As we know, Russia has a very important naval base in Tartus, Syria. Furthermore, this whole Ukraine/Crimea debacle is partially about Russia's need to maintain control of the Crimean peninsula, since it is one of their only naval bases that does not freeze in winter. If you look at these two ports, you can see how they are virtually the only way to attack for the King of the north to attack the EU from the water, since the "king of the North" is north of Israel, not by the Atlantic ocean.

Russian Navy Outside Crimea
Of course this isn't just a northern invasion of the Antichrist. It's a two front invasion of the Antichrist, that includes Egypt as the "king of the South" attacking the Antichrist, along with the king of the North. Which is interesting, considering Egypt just signed a $2 billion arms deal with Russia. Some analysts believe Egypt is facing away from the US, and aligning with Russia. Which isn't a surprise, from a prophecy standpoint.

The EU Conqueror Rises to the Challenge
Political commentators have long noted that Europe is in disunity. The Bible actually seems to say that the end times Roman empire struggles with disunity in its early stages. Furthermore, some have said that Ukraine is proof that the EU's 7-year foreign policy program is a failure. Pastor Brian Roberts has even pointed out an article by an important EU think tank, that states that the entire 7-year ENP should get a reset in 2015, since it is not working. (Javier Solana even retweeted this proposal.) This could be the 7-year treaty with Israel talked about in Daniel 9:27 (since Israel is a participant). We will have to wait and see.
But right now, Putin is a threat to European interests, and perhaps even their security. In 2015, the foreign policy chief of the EU is set to be replaced, just in time for the possible ENP reboot. The EU foreign policy is widely believed by analysts to be incoherent and disjointed. Perhaps now is the time for someone to face the threats to European security head on.

In Revelation 6, it talks about the infamous Four Horsemen of the apocalypse. The first horseman rides a white horse, and conquers with a bow. Some analysts have interpreted this horseman to be the Antichrist, who conquers non-violently by proclamation and the show of military might, since no arrows are mentioned for his bow. This horseman is followed by the red horse, symbolizing war, and then a black horse that symbolizes famine. Finally, the pale horse of death takes 25% of the earth's population through all of these causes. It is notable that these horses lead up to one another and may cause one another. (A conqueror causes war, which causes famine, which causes mass death.)

Europe's foreign policy is in disarray, and lately all they have been able to do is write "strongly worded letters" to those they disagree with, and a few sanctions. Right now, the West is impotent and can't afford to break trade relations with Russia to punish them. Perhaps in 2015, a conqueror will arise, who can face these threats to European security head on, and make the West a credible force in the world. Perhaps he will do this by enhancing the security behind the ENP, expanding NATO, or enlarging the EU. However he does it, rest assured the "king of the North" will hate it, and respond accordingly.

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