The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) was formed after World War 2 as an alliance of principally Western European nations, but with the inclusion of the USA to guard against the threat of the Soviet Union. With the collapse of communism and the dismantling of the Soviet Union, significant winds of change are taking place on the Continent.

In Berlin on 3–4 June the North Atlantic Council (made up of the Foreign Ministers of NATO countries) agreed on the principles of a new military structure. The outcome of the agreement is that in future, where defence of NATO territory is notinvolved (such as peace-keeping in Bosnia as an example), the military task force could be run by the Western European Union without the involvement of the USA.

Whilst at present this is only a small beginning, it nevertheless demonstrates Europe’s desire to give the NATO alliance a more European character. Already the Foreign Ministers have agreed to identify the European Commanders’ Headquarters and support equipment that would be needed to build the command structure of any Western European venture. A NATO meeting scheduled for December will probably discuss the entry into the organisation of new members such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Widening the alliance together with the new military structure is the most significant change in the alliance for many years. The drawing of the European nations together in such a way indicates the hand of Yahweh moving amongst the “ten toes” to bring about the state of things foreshadowed by the image of Daniel 2 and the Beast of Revelation 17:12–13.

At the time of the end, “the merchants of Tarshish” will oppose Gog and his European alliance. We believe that the USA as a major merchant power will not be allied with Gog at Armageddon and the proposed new European military structure could well be the beginning of the eventual exclusion of the USA from European military affairs.

How Long will Britain Stay in the European Union?

 John Major, the Prime Minister of Britain, was furious over the European Union’s ban on exports of British beef. As a consequence the British Government decided on 21 May to block European Union business in retaliation. Once again the battle-lines are being drawn up regarding British membership of the European Union. John Major’s confrontation with Europe has legitimised anti-European agitation in his own party to the extent that Tory MPs are clamouring for a vote on a bill providing a referendum on Britain’s continued membership of the Union.

The Treaty of Rome, signed in 1957, which is the basis of the European Union, clearly had political bonds built into its charter. Some Tory MPs vehemently oppose these bonds. The “mad cow disease” may not be the issue which causes Britain to leave the Union, but the Scriptures outline clearly where Britain will stand in the line-up of nations in Ezekiel 38.

Israel’s New Prime Minister Takes Tough Stance

 Mr Netanyahu told the US President, Mr Clinton, on 11 July that he would give no ground in Middle East peacemaking efforts unless terrorism was halted and Israel’s security bolstered. The Right Wing Likud leader also showed no interest in pursuing the “land-for-peace” maxim of his predecessor, Mr Peres, and said he would not commit himself to withdrawing Israeli troops from Hebron where 450 Israelis live among 94 000 Arabs.

It is election year in the USA and neither the incumbent President Clinton nor his opponent Republican Robert Dole will want to be seen to be putting too much pressure on Mr Netanyahu to change his position. There are 1.5 million Jews in New York alone and the Jewish influence in USA Presidential elections can be substantial.

Addressing the US Congress on 11 July Mr Netanyahu, pounding the podium, declared: “There will never be a redivision of Jerusalem, never.”

 The Palestinians want to establish their capital in East Jerusalem which the Israelis captured from Jordan in 1967, but their hopes in this regard would seem to be dashed by Mr Netanyahu’s strong stand.

Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of the life of Winston Churchill, has written in a recently published book, Jerusalem in the Twentieth Century, that the end of the Second World War “left Jerusalem stranded like a beached whale on the shores of conflict”.

Yahweh has spoken in Zechariah 12:3 that He will “make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it”. Yasser Arafat is banking on gaining East Jerusalem to bolster his flagging prestige, but Mr. Netanyahu will not be budging an inch.

There is yet to be another tragic conflict over Jerusalem before it becomes truly the city of peace (Zech 14:1–3,16).

Boris Yeltsin Wins the Presidency, but will he Last the Distance?

 Bolstered by support from ex-Army General Alexander Lebed (who came third in the first round of the Presidential elections) and clandestine help from American political consultants, Boris Yeltsin won by a comfortable 13% margin over his Communist rival, Gennadi Zynganov, in the final round of the Russian elections held in July. But Boris Yeltsin is not a well man and doubts have arisen as to whether he will see out his full four-year term of office. If that were to happen, who would take over as President? Whilst initially the role would be filled temporarily by the Prime Minister, Victor Chernomyrdin, fresh elections would need to be called and should this happen, who would be the front runners? Mr Zynganov would have to be one. He does not hide his anti-Semitism and anti- Western views and is very vocal on his desire to see Russia recover its lost greatness and lost territories. His courting the Russian Orthodox Church has led commentators to state that his desire is a return to the theocratic ideas of medieval Byzantium, and to the Slavophile dream of Moscow as a “third Rome”.

Daniel prophesied in chapter 8:25 that this would be exactly the policy of the latter day little horn of the goat (Gog)—“and through his policy also shall he cause (religious) craft to prosper…”. The Emperors Justinian and Phocas in the sixth and seventh centuries AD gave an apt illustration of the way in which the Dragon power shall cause priest-craft to prosper. Brother Thomas in pages 58 and 59 of The Exposition of Daniel graphically illustrates from Daniel 8:25 the characteristics of the “latter day Dragon power”. Time will tell who the actual person will be to assume Gog’s mantle.

The other contender for the Presidency, should Boris Yeltsin falter, would have to be Alexander Lebed. Mr Lebed was appointed by Boris Yeltsin as Security Adviser and he quickly stamped his authority in this area by dismissing from office any perceived rivals. But Lebed wanted something higher than the post of “Security Adviser”—his wish was for a newly-created post of “Vice-President”. Whilst the wish was not granted by Yeltsin, Mr Lebed is still a very powerful man in Russia, particularly in the light of recent bomb attacks on the Moscow Transport system. As a result of these attacks, a revamp of the security services was foreshadowed that would leave Lebed as the strong man in the Yeltsin Administration and heir-apparent to the President. It is significant that, like Mr Zynganov, Mr Lebed is also noted for his anti-Semitic views.

At the time of the end Gog shall think an evil thought (Ezek 38:10) and unleash a mighty invasion of God’s people. But he that touches Israel touches the apple of God’s eye! “Yet he shall come to his end and none shall help him” (Dan 11:45).