“I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night …  till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” (Isaiah 62:6–7)

The above heading was for a report in the Sydney Morning Herald on 8th November  which amongst other matters stated that  the International Atomic Energy Agency in a  forthcoming report will report new evidence that Iran has been working towards a nuclear weapon.  “The IAEA will also reveal evidence suggesting  that, since 2004, Iran has carried out computer  modelling of a highly enriched uranium base in a way that can only be applied to planned testing of  a nuclear device.”

In the light of this recent confirmation the Sydney  Morning Herald (SMH) states that the “British have  already stepped up military contingency planning,  according to the British newspaper The Guardian.”  According to The Guardian, The Ministry of Defence “believes the US may decide to fastforward  plans for targeted missile strikes at some  key Iranian facilities. British officials say that if  Washington presses ahead it will seek, and receive, UK military help for any mission, despite some deep reservations within the coalition government.”

The SMH reports that when President Obama  visits Australia he will want the Australian  Government’s support in the confrontation.

We all know, of course, that when Gog invades  Israel, Iran will be there alongside the invader and  who should be there to oppose this mighty force?  – Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish.  So whatever comes out of this latest crisis, what  we are seeing is once again a consolidation of the  Western powers against an implacable enemy of  Israel which has made no secret of its desire to wipe  Israel off the map.

In the light of these developments it is highly  significant to note that the US announced last  month that it had uncovered an Iranian plot to set off a bomb in a Washington restaurant. Apparently  the bomb was designed to kill the Saudi ambassador  to Washington.

The Saudis are greatly concerned about Iran’s  Middle East motives and it has long been reported  that the Saudis have wanted the US to bomb Iran’s  nuclear facilities before they had a chance to build  a nuclear weapon.

So the Sheba and Dedan powers are in the thick  of the Western alliance.

And to cap it all off there was a report in The  Australian on 7th November of Israel’s intentions  under the heading, “Israel set to attack over Iran  nuclear risk”.

In the previous week Israel had test-launched  a nuclear-capable Jericho 3 missile, which could  reach Iran. This and other preparations had fuelled  speculation that PM Benjamin Netanyahu was  pressing his military for a decision about when and  how to strike Iran.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak told the BBC  that “we strongly believe a co-ordinated world effort  should be taken in order to block Iran from turning  nuclear … no option should be removed from the  table – and we mean it” (SMH, 8th November).

So whilst the world stumbles from one crisis  to another, the Middle East is never out of the  spotlight.

How long will it be before the final showdown  when all nations will be drawn to this area in the  day of Yahweh’s judgments?

Let us make sure we are all prepared for our day  before the Lord.

Is Vladimir Putin the “Gog” of Ezekiel 38?

For the past nearly four years Vladimir Putin has  served nominally as Prime Minister of Russia  under President Medvedev. Medvedev assumed  the presidency in 2008 (because Putin had already  served as president for the maximum eight years –  two terms of consecutive four years – allowed under  the then Russian constitution) but this transfer of  power was part of a carefully chosen process by  which Putin took on Medvedev’s previous role  of PM and Putin then anointed Medvedev as his  successor.

It was always believed that Medvedev as  president was merely a puppet to the wishes of  Putin who called the shots on virtually all issues of  consequence. It was believed that Medvedev was  there only to ‘keep the seat warm’ for Putin when he  would eventually return as president for a third time.

Well, the charade is now seen for what it really  always was. In September Mr Putin announced  that he will run for a third term as president in  the March 2012 Russian elections and under the  corrupt Russian electoral system his victory is seen  as a certainty.

What is highly significant is that under the  revised constitution the president will now be able  to hold power for two consecutive terms of six years,  making a period of 12 years in total!

This means that when Vladimir Putin assumes  the presidency in 2012 he will be able to hold the  reins of power until 2024! This is a very long time  and Putin has made no secret of the fact that he  wants to make Russia a great power again.

An article in The Australian, 6th October, could  not have presented Putin’s intentions any clearer:  “Putin plans new super power from old Soviet  Republics” was the header. The article revealed that  Vladimir Putin had a grand vision of creating a  new superpower out of the countries of the former  Soviet Union. “He announced his ambition to form  a ‘Eurasian Union’ when he returns to the Kremlin  next year. The body would gather the former Soviet  republics into a ‘fully-fledged economic union’  capable of rivalling the EU and China.”

Mr Putin once described the Soviet collapse in  1991 as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the  20thcentury”. No wonder there is alarm in the West  that Putin aims to rebuild the former Soviet empire.  But isn’t this exactly what we have always expected  would happen? Ezekiel prophesied that in the latter  days Yahweh would “turn thee about”(38:4 rv)and  bring Gog and all his armies into the land of Israel.

With Putin back in the helm once again can we  not see that there will be a massive “turning about”  of the Russian power to the extent as detailed in  Ezekiel 38 when amongst other things Gog will be  “a guard” (v7) to the former Russian republics (as  well as the other European powers both Western  and Eastern)? “Mr Putin argued the Eurasian  Union would grow to become a partner for the EU.  Membership in the Eurasian Union, apart from  direct economic benefits, will enable its members  to integrate into Europe faster and from a much  stronger position, he said” (our emphasis). This is  the clear language of Ezekiel 38!

So will Vladimir Putin become the Gog of  Ezekiel 38? Only time will tell, but already Mr Putin  shows all the hallmarks of such a leader.

“In the last days perilous times shall come”

Paul’s description of society in the days prior to our  Lord’s return in 2 Timothy 3 is so accurate – surely  yet another proof of Bible inspiration.

In five verses Paul summarises all that is so  distasteful and wrong in today’s world.

In the light of this, comments by Britain’s chief  rabbi recorded in The Wall Street Journal (August  20–21, 2011) are of interest.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks had this to say about the  riots in London that occurred in August:

“… hooded youths ran riot down high streets,  smashing windows, looting shops, setting fire to  cars, attacking passers-by and throwing rocks  at the police. It looked like a scene from Cairo,  Tunis or Tripoli earlier in the year. But this  was no political uprising. People were breaking  into shops and making off with clothes, shoes,  electronic gadgets and flat screen televisions. It  was, as someone later called it, shopping with  violence, consumerism run rampage, an explosion  of lawlessness made possible by mobile phones  as gangs discovered that by text messaging they  could bring crowds onto the streets where they  became, for a while, impossible to control.”

So much for our advanced, enlightened Western  culture ever going forward and upwards towards  a new dawn of enlightenment in the so called  evolutionary journey!!

The apostle put it another way: “lovers of their own  selves … unthankful, unholy … incontinent [ie out of  control], fierce, despisers of those that are good” (v2,3).

Jonathan Sacks went on to say:

“It [ie the riots] took everyone by surprise. It  should not have. Britain is the latest country to  pay the price for what happened half a century  ago in one of the most radical transformations  in the history of the West [our emphasis].

In virtually every Western society in the 1960s  there was a moral revolution, an abandonment  of its entire traditional ethic of self-restraint.  All you need, sang the Beatles, is love. TheJudeo-Christian moral code was jettisoned. In  its place came: whatever works for you. The Ten  Commandments were rewritten as The Ten  Creative Suggestions. Or as Allan Bloom put it  in The Closing of the American Mind: “I am the  Lord Your God: Relax!”

Paul put it this way, “Lovers of pleasure rather  than lovers of God” (v4 esv). Yes, the god of pleasure  has replaced the God of the Bible.

Jonathan Sacks in speaking of today’s society said,

“They are the victims of the tsunami of  wishful thinking that washed across the West  saying that you can have sex without the  responsibility of marriage, children without the  responsibility of parenthood, social order without  the responsibility of citizenship, liberty without  the responsibility of morality and self esteem  without the responsibility of work and earned  achievement … Religion is a thing of the past  and there is no counter-voice to the culture of  buy it, spend it, wear it, flaunt it, because you’re  worth it. The message is that morality is passé,  conscience is for wimps and the single overriding  command is ‘Thou shalt not be found out’.”

Brothers and sisters, these observations from  the Chief Rabbi are very revealing, but taking up  his comments above, we should not be surprised at  the shocking state of our world today.

The apostle spoke in the clearest, most graphic  terms to warn us of the last days. The question we  must ask ourselves however is whether we are taking  notice of such warnings. The warnings from Paul  are for our benefit to make sure that we are not  entangled by the spirit of this age.

Whilst I am not suggesting that we would  necessarily go down the track of some of the  extremes of society yet we would be foolish to think  that we are exempt from the other wiles of the flesh  that are so rampant in society today whether we are  young or old. It would be a real tragedy if at this  ‘eleventh hour’ we succumbed to the temptations  of the god of this world which has so blinded the  minds of them which believe not.

Let us all greatly appreciate the treasure we  have in knowing and understanding God’s inspired  Word by which the light of the glorious gospel of  Christ has shined in our hearts (summary of Paul’s  thoughts in 2 Corinthians 4:4–6).

The days are certainly evil but through the grace  of God we can withstand in the evil day and be ready  to welcome our Lord when he returns.