Ezekiel’s prophecy of the latter days declares, “Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil” (Ezek 38:13).

Israel—Economy

 It has been our practice to relate the “spoil” of Ezekiel 38:12–13 to the Middle East in general and its oil wealth in particular. Without completely turning away from that interpretation, perhaps we should focus more closely upon Israel itself. For Israel has emerged as the boom economy of the Middle East.

A number of factors have contributed. The peace process has enabled resources to be diverted from military expenditures to the productive economy. The almost decade long explosion in immigration from the former Soviet Union has given Israel a huge resource of highly intelligent, well educated Russian Jews with a driving urge to personal prosperity.

Consider the facts:

  • Economic growth is currently in excess of 6% per annum and expected to continue at that level.
  • Gross domestic product, at $US 94 Billion exceeds the combined GDP of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and is not far behind Saudi Arabia with its vast oil wealth.
  • Per capita GDP at $US 16,300 per annum is by far the highest af any other country in the region. Egyptian GDP per capita, by way of contrast is $US 910 per annum.

Israel has emerged as a world leader in a number of industrial and high-tech areas including irrigation, technology, computers etc. In this circumstance, as in so many other matters small and great we see the prophetic outline being fulfilled in this generation, and a reborn nation increasingly dwelling safely, now too growing rich in “cattle and goods (and)… great spoil”.

Russia—Presidential Elections

 “Russia’s Communist Party has risen again and threatens to take power”

So reads the subheading to a recent Time magazine article, focussing on the popularity of Russian Presidential candidate, communist Gennadi Zyuganov. In the same article, Communist army General Makashov was quoted as saying : “What is our maximum program? The kingdom of God on earth—or communism as we call it—before the third millennium”.

The demographics of Zyuganov’s support are interesting. It is in the vast Russian countryside, amongst the villages, small towns and regional centres where the Democratic movement has had least impact, that Communist support is greatest. There is a yearning for the super power status of the old Soviet Union. Whatever the result in the June 16 Presidential elections, Russia is becoming more strongly Nationalist and is moving to exert more influence over the neighbouring States, formerly part of the Soviet Union.

The Caspian states of Kazakhstan, Azerbeijan and Turkmenistan are anxious to exploit their huge oil and gas reserves. Russia is exerting all its influence, both economic and the threat of force to ensure the pipelines needed to get the oil and gas to export ports pass through Russia rather than Turkey or Iran, and of course controlling the pipelines means controlling the resource. The old Russian Imperialist spirit is stirring indeed, with a reborn Russian nationalism which will undoubtedly seek to impose its will in Europe and the South as the latter day King of the North takes shape. We do well to watch closely.

 Europe

 Germany though weakened economically by the huge cost of integrating East Germany with the West Germany economy has become the clearly dominant power of the new Europe. A recent Financial Review article noted that “the last five years have seen a significant shift in the European balance of power toward Germany”. The article went on: “at the same time as driving plans for greater economic integration, Germany is also sponsoring the incorporation of central Europe into the Western Alliance through membership of both NATO and the European Union. Apart from Germany’s own economic and business links in the region, the rapid economic transformation of the former Soviet empire underscores the prospect of a switch in the European focus towards the east.”

The Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary are front runners among the former Eastern Bloc countries seeking membership of the EU. Even such seemingly mundane happenings as the opening of a new motorway linking Budapest and Vienna are accorded great significance. “Now one can drive from Budapest to Brussels without even getting off motorways. What a great piece of symbolism and what a great step on Hungary’s road to the European Union,” said Austrian Chancellor Franz Vanitzky when the new section of motorway was opened.

Previous Watchman articles have dwelt at length on the emerging European Alliance, and the revival of the Germanic “Beast of the Earth” and the above articles and others like them confirm these developments.