Friday, October 16, 2015

End of Days

I am not an not an alarmist. When I hear of alarms that the world is coming to "the end of days," I think of how many times in the past there have been similar warnings, and I have no desire to join in.

But the events of the last year or so and in particular the most recent changes in the balance of power in the Middle East has got me thinking. Maybe.

The most significant of the events has been the entrance of Russia into the Syrian civil war and the precipitous decline of Western influence in that prophetically critical place.  The old prophecies indicate the final conflict of this age will include a super power from the north. Russia has long been the power that logically fit the prophecies, but Russia's decline since the end of the Cold War made Russia appear to be less and less a candidate. Russia was weak. In the last two years that has changed.

Putin's Russia has flexed its muscles in Crimea and Ukraine and now in the prophetic bulls-eye, the nations surrounding Israel. The latter puts Israel in greater jeopardy than at any time since the Jews returned to the land.

Russia's presence in Syria with warplanes and tanks, along with Iranian troops, has emboldened Hamas and the Palestinian enemies of Israel. Attacks in Israel, though they have been going on almost daily without notice in Western media, have intensified in just the last few days. They are intensifying because Hamas and the Palestinians expect Russia and Iran's presence to be a shield to any Israeli attempt to follow the attackers or their supply lines back into Syria or Lebanon or Iran.

In addition, Russia is replacing the United States as the power in the Middle East. Like it or not, Russia has the will and the power and now the opportunity to stabilize the Middle East, and the United States has not. Yes. Stabilize the Middle East. Russia will destroy ISIS; they are as much a threat to Russia and to the Middle East as to the West. And Russia will be lauded as the "peace-maker."

Russia will protect Iran, the nation who has sworn to destroy Israel. Israel will not be able defend itself  by preemptively destroying Iran's nuclear and missile threat should that develop - and it almost certainly will - because Russia is present with retaliatory power.

The United States no longer has the will.  We have lost our place as the world's leader. We would not defend Ukraine in Crimea when Russia simply walked in and took over. We have not been able to prevent Russia from pushing into eastern Ukraine, despite NATO alliances.

We have no leverage in the Syrian civil war and  ISIS crisis. We have not been able to stabilize Iraq and have allowed Iraq to buddy up to Iran.

We have no will to act militarily and little political influence in negotiation. The treaty we have worked out with Iran will do nothing to prevent Iran's growing power in the region. And as of this past month, with Russia in the region, even that treaty has become moot. The United States now has no more ability to enforce the Iranian treaty than we had in Ukraine.   Just this week Iran boldly put their arsenal of newly capable mid-range smart ballistic missiles on display, missiles that are capable of hitting Israel and missiles which are now under Russia's umbrella of protection.

And that is not to factor in the moral and spiritual decline and the fracture of the political and social unity we enjoyed the past.  We are the weakest we have been since the Second World War.  And Vladimir Putin knows it.

That decline of influence is implied in the old prophecies. In the great conflict to come, the West is absent.

Israel is, at the same time,  at its most desperate moment.  That almost guarantees that Israel will act in some way. It must if it is to continue to existence. Maybe that will be to negotiate with Russia. If so, that would fit the old prophecies.

The combination of those realities describe the situation in which the man who we describe as the Antichrist will arise as the Man of Peace. He will have the power and influence to hold the pending crisis in  the Middle East in check. He will be allowed to do so - he will even be applauded by the nations - because the nations will accept any solution to avoid the war that would ensue. He will hold the Middle East in check until he has solidified his power in the world. And then ...

And then the rest of the story told in Revelation unfolds.

I am past the point of thinking that the United States can maintain the peace.  I am at the point of warning that things are beyond the point of no return. We can not stop the course of events that are about to unfold. I can only admonish Christians to be ready.

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