An article in The Australian Financial Review in June last year highlighted the growing cooperation between Russia and Germany.

The leading paragraph in the article entitled “German-speaking Putin cements ties with Berlin” illustrated the developments.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin wound up a two-day visit to Germany on Friday that revived Moscow’s ties to Berlin and underscored Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s ambitions for a wider global rôle.”

Now, nearly twelve months later, a further article in The Australian Financial Review of 9 April 2001 reveals the German response to Russia’s overtures.

The article entitled “Schroeder reinforces closer Moscow ties” revealed Germany’s desires for Europe.

“German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Russian President Vladimir Putin begin a twoday summit today as Berlin intensifies its efforts to forge closer ties between the two nations and draw Moscow further into the international community.

“The summit, in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, comes at a time when signs are emerging that Washington is taking a more hardline approach to Moscow, which is somewhat contrary to the view held in most European capitals, notably Berlin.

“Indeed, in an article published in a major German newspaper before this week’s summit, Mr. Schroeder stressed that cooperation with Russia and Mr. Putin was of decisive importance for both Europe and Germany, which is Moscow’s biggest creditor nation.”

Whilst the cooperation between Germany and Russia is principally, at this stage, for economic reasons, one can imagine that this could eventually lead to cooperation on a far grander scale as portrayed in Ezekiel 38, where Gog is described as “of the land of Magog” (rv).

A further article in the Stratfor Global Intelligence Update (Dec 29, 2000) also commented on what could develop from the Russian/German economic cooperation. Writing concerning converting a large chunk of Russia’s $14 billion debt to Germany into equity stakes in Russian companies, the writer said:

“The deal will represent an important move in forging a close geopolitical partnership between Germany and Russia. This may help Russia’s revival, and Germany could emerge as the leader of a united Europe with Russia on its side. Such a development would significantly weaken US influence in Europe while dramatically strengthening Germany and Russia and helping them to advance to the front stage of world geopolitics.”

As one would expect, France is concerned that Germany is stealing too much of the limelight on the European stage. Twice last century France was humiliated by the power of Germany, and she is anxious that history does not repeat itself. So it is not surprising that France has also been playing her part in getting closer to the Russian bear.

A further article in Stratfor 13/2/2001 showed that France has not been idle in this regard. The article entitled “France–Russia: Growing Strategic Ties” was most revealing.

“French Defense Minister Alain Richard’s recent visit to Moscow confirms French efforts to forge closer ties with Russia. France and Russia have formalized new strategic ties that are to involve much deeper interaction between their military establishments. Surprisingly, France may also gain military capabilities. For Paris, closer mili- tary ties are mostly a matter of counterbalancing Germany in European geopolitics.

“Developing a partnership with Paris fits neatly with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategy to cozy up to Europe while undermining NATO’s rôle there. Moscow will also do its best to penetrate the French and Western European arms market through joint production and sales to help revive the Russian economy and defense sector.”

So these three nations, Russia, Germany, and France, which fought so bitterly in the Second World War, are now at the forefront in dialogue which inevitably, from our understanding of prophecy will lead to the scene as portrayed in God’s prophetic word.

What an impetus to our faith, to see these exciting developments taking place on the world stage.

Britain and Europe

And where is Britain in all this? Britain as we know is a member state of the European Union, but has not, as yet, committed herself to adopting the Euro, the European Union common currency. The Euro is to come into effect as a common currency next year, and at some stage in the future Britain has to decide whether to throw in her lot completely with Europe or stand aside. Already her “wait and see” attitude has brought criticism from France and Germany, but the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, will not commit himself as yet on the issue, because he knows that more than half the UK voters are against Britain adopting the Euro.

Despite his landslide victory there are still very serious misgivings amongst the British public regarding Britain’s relationship with Europe. The beleaguered opposition leader, William Hague, brought in ex-Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher to rally the troops, and her forthright condemnation of Labour’s policies brought back memories of her iron rule. The Australian Financial Review 24 May 2001 left readers in no doubt as to where Baroness Thatcher stood under the title, “Thatcher orders Britain not to join monetary union”, it said:

“Former British prime minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher thundered into the British election campaign on Tuesday night, declaring she would “never” sacrifice the pound by joining the European monetary union.

“To counter the Conservative attack, the Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair, is reportedly preparing a speech in which he will argue that Britain can only meet the challenges of a globalising world by being part of a regional bloc-–that true patriotism requires greater engagement with Europe, not less.

“His argument stands in sharp contrast with Baroness Thatcher’s. In one interview she said: ‘All my life, our problems, our wars, have come from mainland Europe. All my life the upholding of liberty has come from the English-speaking peoples of the world’.”

Although we assume that Baroness Thatcher is not aware of the prophecies in Ezekiel 38, the fact is her comments above are indicative of the end times. The final showdown in Armageddon, as revealed in Ezekiel 38, will be principally between the European powers and the English-speaking merchants of Tarshish. But true liberty will not come from the English-speaking peoples, but from the Son of God. From his throne in Zion, true peace and liberty will permeate the whole world . . .“for then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent” (Zeph. 3:9).

Terror and Tragedy Still Continues in the Middle East

Despite the increased involvement of the United States in the Israeli/PLO uprising, the violence continues. Yasser Arafat is either incapable, or unwilling, to control the more militant groups within the Palestinians. The recent suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, killing twenty people and seriously injuring many others is but one of many such incidents that illustrate the increasing tensions between the Israelis and the Palestinian people.

President Bush of the USA initially was reluctant to follow the policies of previous President Clinton, who was very heavily personally involved in endeavouring to find a solution to the Middle East problem. The Scriptures reveal, however, that all nations will be drawn into the Middle East, and despite his initial reluctance George Bush has now appointed a special envoy to this area, in an endeavour to bring a solution to this volatile trouble-spot. But, to date, the US involvement has brought no progress.

Three articles in recent publications highlight how that hatred against Israel is being incited by the Islamic people.

Articles from Israel Line, which is a daily summary of major news items taken directly from the Israeli media, highlight the issues.

May 3, 2001 Official Palestinian Video Clip Encourages Children to Become Martyrs
“An official video clip, produced by the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Information and broadcast recently on Palestinian television calls on Palestinian children to become martyrs, MA’ARIV reported.

“The clip’s protagonist is Muhammed al-Dura, the Palestinian boy who was killed in the arms of his father several months ago. In the clip, al- Dura arrives in heaven, where there are beaches, waterfalls and a Ferris wheel. Al-Dura calls on the Palestinian children, saying, ‘I am not waving goodbye, I am waving to tell you to follow in my footsteps’.

“On the soundtrack, a song is played: ‘How pleasant is the smell of martyrs, how pleasant the smell of land, the land enriched by the blood, the blood pouring out of a fresh body’.”

May 10, 2001 Palestinian Religious Sermons Incite To Violence Against Jews
“A new study monitoring religious sermons on Palestinian television shows that sermons focus on hatred of and violence against Jews, Israel Radio KOL YISRAEL, reported. Muslim religious leaders present the conflict with Israel as a holy war, and stress the religious obligation to fight and kill Jews.

“The sermons are broadcast on Fridays, the holy day for Islam, and are led by clergymen appointed by the Palestinian Authority.

“‘One must slaughter the Jews and murder them’, one recent televised sermon stated. ‘It is the will of Allah. One must not have mercy on the Jews. Wherever you happen to come across Jews, you must kill them.’

We know that in the time of the end Iran (Persia) will be with Gog in her invasion against Israel. Ever since the overthrow of the Shah many years ago, Iran has never let up in her implacable hatred against Israel. Recent articles in the press have revealed that even where Yasser Arafat may be attempting to bring peace to the Middle East, Iran is promoting the radical groups in the Middle East who are determined to bring about the destruction of Israel.

An article in Stratfor 26/4/2001 illustrates the point— “Iran Boosts Palestinian Uprising”

“To reassert its importance in the Middle East, Iran is moving to revive its role as a sponsor for Palestinian and Lebanese radical groups. “Tehran aims to hinder peace talks over the Palestinian uprising in Israel to demonstrate to Israelis and others that it still wields power and influence in the region.

“As a sponsor and coordinator of the Palestinian opposition, Iran undermines Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s ability to negotiate peace with Israel, while Tehran improves the effectiveness of militant groups in attacking Israel.”

Joel 3:9, in speaking of the preparation for war amongst the nations, describes the scene as follows: “Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men… ”

The av margin has “sanctify” war, and when one considers the above articles, it is not difficult to see that the final battle against Israel will be treated as a holy war against the enemy. The Roman church makes no secret of her desire to wrest control of Jerusalem from Israel. The Russian Orthodox church probably owns more religious real estate in Jerusalem than any other religion, and the Islamic powers, as seen from many articles, are trying to whip up their people into a frenzy to wage a holy war against God’s people.

All it needs is for Gog to consolidate these vested interests to “sanctify” war and launch a holy crusade against the seed of Abraham.

Peace will come to the Middle East, but only through “the Prince of Peace”. True holiness will fill the earth when the people of God assist the Son of God in establishing God’s will. May it be our wisdom, through the mercy of God, to prepare for that day when righteousness will fill the earth.