The Russians Are Coming!
If you vaguely recognize the origin of today’s article title, then you probably are not a Baby Boomer; however, you do watch more than just old blockbuster movies. If you immediately recall the title, then you are undoubtedly a Baby Boomer, because the movie was released in 1966, during the Cold War days. You may also remember that the full name of the film was: The Russians are Coming, the Russians Are Coming.
The title was repeated to underscore the fact that the film was primarily a comedy, i.e. the misguided and hilarious panic reaction of small-town America when a Russian submarine captain wants to get a better look at America but accidentally grounds the submarine on a sandbar off the coast of a (fictional) New England Island. The captain sends a nine-man team ashore to find something mechanized to free the submarine; but, the Americans assume that they are being invaded by the big, bad Russians.
This movie was released just four years after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Some of the starring actors were: Alan Arkin, Carl Reiner, Eva Marie Saint, Brian Keith, Jonathan Winters, and Theodore Bikel.
In the more serious context of today’s Eye of Prophecy article, the film was ironically directed by a well-known Jewish director, Norman Jewison. Though Jewison’s film portrayed the Russians in a more favorable light, the animosity and distrust between the Soviet Union and the United States then is still all too real between Russia and America today.
The Cold War Is Warming Up Again
Who would have ever imagined the Russian Bear establishing its lair and the American Eagle building its nest in the same country? For those of us old enough to vividly remember the Cold War encounters between the Soviet Union and the United States of America, it is unthinkable that military forces consisting mostly of air force and special operations from both nations are now entrenched in Syria, fighting alongside each other against a common enemy? Alongside, not in the sense of joint military action (that will never happen); rather, conducting airstrikes against rebel groups attempting to overthrow Syrian President Assad and his regime.
Since the US led-coalition entered the Syrian Civil War in 2014, they have flown over 2,500 airstrikes. Russia joined the fray just two months ago (September), and her planes have already launched nearly 1,700 sorties throughout Syria. As a result, dozens more civilians have been killed and another 120,000 displaced from their homes. But then, what’s another hundred thousand refugees when some ten million have been uprooted from their homeland in the past four years!
But who is bombing whom? Who supports what and whom (and why) in this bloody civil war, with over 250,000 killed, including many non-combatants? Trying to answer these questions and make sense of what’s happening is like trying to solve the Rubik cube or assembling a one-thousand piece puzzle with most of the pieces exactly the same shape and color.
The United States Air Force, Special Ops, and other Military Advisors (no boots on the ground) and our main allies, France and England, are there to do battle with ISIS. But they also support the rebel groups (plural) trying to overthrow the repressive Syrian government. Some of these rebel factions clash with each other. Fighting with and for the corrupt and brutal Syrian Government is the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah, supported by Iran, with government forces and Hezbollah also fighting against ISIS.
Enter Iran’s ally Russia, which also backs the Syrian regime of Basher al-Assad, to ostensibly join the battle against ISIS. Which is supposedly one reason that the United States hasn’t vigorously resisted Russia’s intervention … we have the common enemy of ISIS. That, and the political and military embarrassment of the United States that its training and support of select rebel armies has not exactly been a success.
Russian Planes Over Syria
Consequently, the US Coalition and Russia have agreed to coordinate their bombing campaigns so as not to occupy the same air space at the same time, and risk an inadvertent incident between their pilots. All the while, US President Obama and Russian President Putin are barely on speaking terms due principally to the crisis created by Russian involvement in the Ukraine and Crimea. Yet, there is enough mutual respect (fear) of each other that either side, with a couple of minor exceptions, is not going to force the issue of who they support and who they bomb.
Which is why the United States objected merely in an obligatory manner to Russian airstrikes against rebel units supported by the US, soon after Vladmir Putin sent his military to Syria. Which is also why Russia abruptly switched targets to mostly include ISIS; thereby, appeasing President Obama who (mildly) objected to Syrian rebels being targeted. Either way, as long as Russian and American bombs hit ISIS camps, everyone is happy.
Already Russia has paid a hefty price for its publicly pretentious purpose of helping the world get rid of ISIS. The latest evidence is now quite convincing that the Russian commercial plane crash on October 31st that killed 224 people (mostly Russian) was a direct result of a bomb planted on board by one of the ISIS cells in the Sinai Peninsula. How and to what extent Putin will react or retaliate has yet to be determined.
Return of the Russian Bear
What makes this absurdly complex but dangerously volatile situation in Syria so remarkably end-times in its unfolding is the continuing political and military rise of Russia to global prominence; which has resulted in Russia’s unopposed arrival in Syria. Moreover, Russia’s resurgence as a major player on the world stage is a prelude for the Biblical Gog-Magog prophecy to be fulfilled with the invasion of Israel. I have written about this astonishing prophecy in several Eye of Prophecy articles, with varying points of reference and emphasis.
The following excerpts in italics are taken from one of those articles, Beware of the Bear, posted 3-22-14. The first two paragraphs of that article mention former US President Ronald Reagan and his influential role that led to the eventual dismantling of the Soviet Union. The next paragraph in that article begins with President Reagan’s now famous demand.
Some of you may remember: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” The Russian President complied, resulting in the reunification of East and West Berlin; also, the end of Soviet dominance of East Germany, which had become like a vassal state to Russia. Soon to follow was the break-up of the Soviet Union, in which most of the 14 satellite states that comprised the Russian Sphere declared their independence from the mother land. By the end of 1991, the Soviet Union was no more. The principal nation of Russia converted to (still is) the Russian Federation. Many of these peripheral countries became independent states, such as Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Moldavia, Uzbekistan (and all the other “stan” states), and the Ukraine.
The American eagle flew proudly over the Russian bear, and spread her wings to protect and defend the nations that embraced democracy. The United States regained her status as the world’s only superpower. The Soviet Union seemed to implode from within … suffering from all the ills of economic collapse, political corruption, and social disarray. Virtually overnight, her status as a superpower vanished. Many politicians, social scientists, economists, religious leaders, and even evangelicals believed the once mighty Russian bear was dead.
Students of prophecy shook their heads in disbelief, questioning whether their analysis of the Ezekiel 38 & 39 Gog, Magog attack on Israel could possibly be accurate. Many students of the Bible reexamined the Scriptures to determine if, “the prince who rules over the nations of Meshech and Tubal” (Ezekiel 38:2) and, “Gog” ruler of the land of Magog would, in fact, be the ruler of the nation that comes against Israel, “from the distant north” (Ezekiel 39:1). Had they been wrong all this time? Russia couldn’t even lead itself, let alone a great multi-national army as Ezekiel so graphically portrays in Ezekiel 38:9: “You and all your allies—a vast and awesome army—will roll down on them (Israel) like a storm and cover the land like a cloud.”
The Beware of the Bear article then shifts to Vladimir Putin’s rapid rise to power. The article continues:
We see, now, that the Bear was not dead, but in a state of prolonged hibernation. Due mostly to the leadership of one man, Vladimir Putin, the people from the mother land of “the distant north” once again proudly wave the Russian flag. Recently, Mr. Putin voiced his opinion that the greatest calamity of the 20th century—indeed of modern history—was the disintegration of the Soviet Union. In no uncertain terms, he was implying that this catastrophe even exceeded the monumental disasters of World War II, including the unthinkable, unimaginable tragedy of the Holocaust. But, then, with autocrats such as Putin, we must consider the source. For many, it is crystal clear what Putin intends to do: Whatever the cost, he means to rebuild the once mighty Russian empire and reestablish its preeminence among the global family of nations.
In a little over twenty years, Russia has emerged economically, politically, and militarily as a force to be reckoned with; in large part due to Vladmir Putin’s ominous, but remarkable rise to prominence and power. After serving for 16 years as a KGB officer, Putin eventually became Russia’s President in 2000, serving in that position until 2008. (Many countries have a president, however, their highest position of leadership is that of prime minister. In Russia, it’s just the reverse … President first, then Prime Minister).
Photo of Vladimir Putin in a Headline by a Pro-Russian Online News Source
Another Stunning Gog/Magog Development
Russia’s incursion into Syria is not about ISIS … that’s only a pretense. Some political and military experts accurately ascertain that Russia’s presence is a show of commitment to and support of the Assad regime. But, had Russia entered the Syrian conflict for that or any other stated objective than their purported contribution to end the growing threat of ISIS, neither the Western allies nor Israel would have condoned Russia’s military bases in Syria—a country which has been the most avowed enemy of the Jews, with the possible exception of Iran.
One Important (Real) Reason for Russia’s Entrance into Syria
This past August, a startling discovery was broadcast, but not necessarily by major news media throughout the world. From the very competent but lesser-known online newsletter of Israel Hayom, which consists of several daily articles from staff and guest journalists, an article was posted on August 31st, 2015, with headlines that read: Supergiant natural gas field discovered off Egypt’s shores.
Early in the article, we read that: “Italian energy group Eni SpA announced Sunday it had discovered a ‘supergiant’ natural gas field, potentially the largest known gas field in the Mediterranean Sea, off the Egyptian coastline, predicting the find could help meet Egypt’s gas needs for decades to come.”
Just a couple of months earlier, Egypt had signed a two-billion dollar agreement with this Italian company for exploration of energy reserves in the Mediterranean, but also in the Sinai and the Gulf of Suez.
According to estimations, the gas-field named Zohr was found about 120 miles from the Egyptian coast and may hold more than 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which could, “eventually prove bigger than the Leviathan and Tamar fields combined.”
*Note: The estimated potential yield of the Leviathan field is 22 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Of the Tamar reserve, some 8 trillion cubic feet.
For Israel, who holds the rights to Leviathan and Tamar, the newly discovered Zohr field will produce intense competition in the natural gas industry. However, the Israeli government still has not officially endorsed the “framework” for commencement of drilling in the Leviathan gas field; although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his supporters are optimistically confident that the Leviathan project will be soon approved and underway.
Israel’s National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Minister Yuval Steinitz said about this incredible Zohr exploration: “The discovery of the huge natural gas field off Egypt’s shores is a painful reminder that while Israel ‘fell asleep at the wheel’ and has taken far too long to approve the natural gas framework (referring to Israel’s gas fields), the world is moving forward in a way that can affect our exports.”
Steinitz also said, “We have to approve the gas framework without delay and advance Israel’s natural gas industry.”
In my opinion, it is absolutely no coincidence that Russia moved into Syria just a few short weeks after the Zohr natural gas discovery was publicized. Which is one of the two real reasons why Russia wants to be and will be a major player in the Middle East—from this time forward to the short and getting shorter time of the Day of the Lord, the catalyst of which is the Rapture, followed by the Seven Year Tribulation.
What better way than to: (1) establish a pre-coalitional (Gog/Magog) base of operation in Syria on Israel’s northern border; (2) create an economic and political partnership with the soon to be rags-to-riches nation of Egypt … on Israel’s southern border.
Major Reason/Motive for Russian Presence in the Middle East
These two stunning developments—discovery of the Egyptian natural gas field and Russia’s inroad in Syria—are two more significant in-place pieces of the Gog/Magog prophetic puzzle. But as end-times relevant as they are, both are a means to an end … a secondary goal of Gog’s ulterior intention and ultimate objective.
Although Russia is a major producer and exporter of oil and natural gas, the leader (Putin) of this aggressive bear of a country wants more … more natural resources, more global clout, more economic power, and more land. But Russia and her current Gog/Magog allies, chief of which is Iran, covet one thing above all else: ISRAEL.
Covet in the sinister sense of destroying the Jews and taking over the land of Israel.
Leviathan Natural Gas Field
In an Eye of Prophecy article entitled Gog, Magog, and Leviathan, published 1-3-15, on the matter of the (yet undeveloped) Israeli natural gas fields and their prophetic implication, I’d like to present some excerpts from that post to further expose the actual reason for Russia’s sudden interest in the Middle East. As follows:
In ancient literature and oral tradition, and as occasionally referenced in Scripture, Leviathan was a large mythical sea creature or even a real-life behemoth that was virtually indestructible by man or nature or anything except God himself. Not unlike the modern-day Loch Ness Monster legend.
The prophet Isaiah refers to this monstrosity by its name, and what will happen to it in the last days, telling us that, “In that day the Lord will take his terrible, swift sword and punish Leviathan … He will kill the dragon of the sea” (Isaiah 27:1). Whether this creature actually existed is not the issue; rather the emphasis is on its symbolical representation (depicted in ancient Aramaic literature as a seven-headed monster) of all that opposes God.
From Ezekiel and other prophets we learn that this opposition will be a Satanic led coalition of nations as presented in the Gog/Magog invasion and subsequently in the ten-nation confederation that gives itself wholly to the Antichrist. The emphasis in the symbolism of Leviathan is that of: ENORMOUS.
The discovery of these gas fields off the coast of Israel is nothing short of amazing. For several reasons, two of which are: (1) Proceeds from the sale and distribution of these natural gas fields could increase Israel’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) substantially. In the eyes of global economic powers including the Arab Cartel, it could level the playing field to the extent that Israel would become self-sufficient in natural gas consumption while cutting into the proceeds of surrounding Arab countries. It could change the financial dynamics of the entire Middle East, by making Israel a major player in the competitive field of energy production.
(2) It provides and confirms the Biblically predicted incentive for Russia and select Russian allies to launch a colossal campaign against Israel as found in Ezekiel’s prophecy. Before discovering and developing these natural gas holdings, Israel offered a variety of exports to maintain a favorable trade surplus, but nothing like what these natural gas fields could accomplish. And, thereby, attract the attention of other nations, both friend and foe.
Let’s read again what exactly it is that appeals to Russia enough to actually strike Israel. Listen to the boast of Prince Gog from the land of Magog to his cronies and against the true and living God: “I will go to those formerly desolate cities that are now filled with people who have returned from exile in many nations. I will capture vast amounts of plunder, for the people are rich with livestock and other possessions now….” (Ezekiel 38:12, italics for emphasis).
First: As most know, the Jews have returned to Israel from exile in great numbers. This has been emphasized in several Eye of Prophecy articles as well as a myriad of other articles by both Biblical and secular scholars and journalists. Indeed, it is a matter of common knowledge to anyone who knows just a little about what’s happening in Israel and the Middle East.
Second, what does Scripture say that Gog/Magog will covet in Israel? Livestock … perhaps literally but more so figuratively representing the prosperity of a nation. But even more so, Russia, Iran, and other nations in this evil, greedy confederation will crave a vast amount of gas and oil and other tangible goods that are by-products of hydrocarbon fuel … vast amounts of plunder, other possessions, including silver and gold purchased with the currency of such wealth.
Until recently, Russia wouldn’t have thought twice about Israel’s possessions. In the past, Russian officials rarely said anything about Israel and certainly didn’t go out of their way to court Israel as an economic or political neighbor. However, they could always be counted on to vote in favor of whatever sanction of the day against Israel had been proposed by countries of the United Nations hostile toward Israel … of which there are many (most). By and large, however, Russia’s animosity toward Israel remained relatively silent and unobtrusive. Until now.
In the article entitled, Gog, Magog, and Leviathan, I go on to explain that, in the past few weeks, (which now would refer to the latter part of 2014) Vladimir Putin had begun to publicly criticize Israel on such things as Jewish settlements in so-called occupied land of the West Bank. President Putin had jumped on the international band-wagon of slandering Israel by trumpeting the cause of the Palestinians voiced by (most countries of) the United Nations concerning Israel’s alleged oppression of the Palestinian Arabs.
Continuing with another excerpt from that article:
Yet the height of irony, if not hypocrisy, is that Russian political and economic officials have been subtlety and secretly (as much as some things can be secretly suppressed) reaching out to Israel with proposals of mutual benefit to both countries, particularly economic benefits. Why is that? The consensus answer from political and economic experts seems to focus on only one factor: Russia’s keen growing interest in the vast gas and oil reserves recently discovered by Israel, especially the offshore findings!
Which leads to a secondary but equally significant motive for Russia to overrun Israel with Muslim countries in tow: First, take Israel. Second, take over your Arab or Persian allies and their oil and gas fields! It’s a classic historical paradigm in which a strong country sometimes will turn on its confederates, after the ally helped the host country defeat its enemies and/or after a treaty was signed. In fact, that’s exactly what will happen between Russia and her allies (read all of Ezekiel 38 & 39); only they will turn on each other BEFORE they accomplish their diabolical objective. They won’t know until it’s too late, but the Gog/Magog campaign will be: Mission Impossible! But not until they utterly terrify Israel with one of the most massive invasions ever attempted. A Leviathan attack!
Although Egypt is not specifically identified as one of the Gog/Magog nations who will join the Russian and Iranian confederation against Israel, she assuredly will be among the “many others” (Ezekiel 38:6). Meaning other countries (mostly Muslim) that will trail along with Russia in its epic, but disastrously doomed campaign against Israel.
Listen to what the Lord says to Gog through Ezekiel: “Get ready; be prepared! Keep all the armies around you mobilized, and take command of them. A long time from now you will be called into action. In the distant future you will swoop down on the land of Israel, which will be enjoying peace after recovering from war and after its people have returned from many lands to the mountains of Israel. You and all your allies—a vast and awesome army—will roll down on them like a storm and cover the land like a cloud” (Ezekiel 38:7-9).
This prophetic word from God Almighty is both a taunt and a challenge to Gog, ruler of the land of Magog (Russian leader of Russia). Furthermore, the distant future written by Ezekiel some 2,500 years ago is NOW. All these things are falling swiftly into place before our 20th & 21st century eyes.
As previously indicated, almost single-handed Vladmir Putin has restored the fortunes of the collapsed Soviet Union, and reestablished the fighting capacity of the Russian Bear. Unwittingly, he has fulfilled God’s prophetic challenge to: get ready. To be prepared. To keep all the armies around you mobilized. That’s exactly what he’s doing in Syria; he’s getting his military prepared and keeping them ready with real war games, not just simulated exercises.
What he doesn’t know is that the Lord is setting him up, his country, and all nations who will align themselves with Gog of Magog for a great fall. For a defeat so devastatingly and divinely miraculous that all the nations of the earth, especially Israel herself, will know that, “I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 38:16). And, “In this way, I will demonstrate my glory to the nations…” (Ezekiel 39:21).
“And from that time on the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God” (Verse 22).
Moreover, this awesome defeat of the Gog/Magog alliance will be accomplished exclusively by God, himself … without the need for Israel to defend herself. Israel’s fighting won’t take place until the last few months of the seven-year Tribulation, in the final war to once and for all end all wars … the even greater battles of Armageddon. At that time Messiah Jesus will fight alongside Israel and rescue the Jews from annihilation at the hands of the Antichrist (Nero) and his confederation of nations.
“On that day the Lord will defend the people of Jerusalem; the weakest among them will be (fight) as mighty as King David! And the royal descendants will be like God, like the angel of the Lord who goes before them! For on that day I will begin to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:8-9).
But first will come the Gog/Magog campaign. God gave this warning to Gog/Magog (Russia) through Ezekiel: “…Gog, I am your enemy. I will turn you around and put hooks in your jaws to lead you out with your whole army…” (Ezekiel 38:3-4).
And, “Son of man, prophesy against Gog. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: I am your enemy, O Gog, ruler of the nations of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around and drive you toward the mountains of Israel, bringing you from the distant north. I will knock the bow from your left hand and the arrows from your right hand, and I will leave you helpless. You and your army and your allies will all die on the mountains … You will fall in the open fields, for I have spoken, says the Sovereign Lord” (Ezekiel 39:1-5).
Although the Gog/Magog assault against Israel will entail a vast military alliance rolling down on Israel like a perfect storm, it’s evident now that Russia will prepare for this massive invasion through its recent unopposed military infiltration of Syria. The Russian Bear has been drawn to its prey by the lure of riches and power in the Middle East.
Some students of prophecy think the assault will take place just before the Rapture, others at the end of the Rapture, by equating it with the final battle in Megiddo (Armageddon). It would take at least one, probably two articles to document and explain the fact that the Gog/Magog campaign against Israel is NOT the same as the final assault against Israel led by the Antichrist, known as Armageddon. There are numerous differences between these two apocalyptic events, as presented primarily in the books of Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah, and Revelation.
As documented in prior articles, I’m convinced the Gog/Magog invasion will take place within a year after the Rapture, some six years before Messiah Jesus returns.
Whenever it will take place, on the authority of Scripture, this warning is issued: Beware Russian and Persian Bears. Do not defy the true and living God, His Messiah, and their special possession, Israel. The trap you set for Israel will become a bear trap.
Please refer to more details of the Gog-Magog invasion in other Eye of Prophecy articles entitled, The Omega Generation (published 2-15-14); Alliances Against Israel (9-20-14); and Russia & Iran Versus Israel (10-4-14).
Things to Ponder
The pieces are rapidly falling into place. The modern-day alignment of Gentile nations identified in Scripture against Israel is one of the twelve end-times signs that are taking place in the 21st century or have already occurred in the 20th century. These milepost signs are listed in Eye of Prophecy articles entitled, Look Up, Redemption is Near Part I, posted 7-11-15 and Part II published 7-18-15.
“…And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).
The time is soon, so very soon when Jews and Gentiles alike who have believed and received the atoning sacrifice of God’s Son, Messiah Jesus, will be among those who shout when the seventh angel sounds his trumpet:
“The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
But ever so sadly, those left behind who have chosen this world and rejected so great a salvation freely given by the grace of God will recoil in terror and dismay at another loud shout from the heavens:
“It has come at last—salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ…” (Revelation 12:10).
Said the Jewish Apostle Peter to the Jewish high priest and other religious leaders who demanded to know by what power or whose authority Peter and John had healed a crippled man:
“Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:10-12).