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

In recent years we have seen how close the world is coming to completely unravelling. Just over two years ago the world economy was brought to the brink of collapse, the effects of which are still lingering. Many economists believe that the artificial stimulus measures and bank bailouts are just holding off the inevitable. In US President Obama’s recent State of the Union address, he talked optimistically about America “winning the future”. There is however another view: “For many Americans the economic future takes a back seat to lingering fears of the economic present” (The Australian 27.01.11). US House Budget committee chairman Paul Ryan said in response to Mr Obama’s speech that “the nation faces a crushing burden of debt and is on course for an economic disaster without dramatic action to wrestle the budget deficit under control” (The Australian 27.01.11).

In November 2010, the US Federal Reserve announced a massive $600 billion “quantitative easing” program, printing US dollars in an attempt to stimulate the economy. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas, president Thomas Hoeneg, warns that this is “a bargain with the devil”. One trends analyst who accurately predicted the 2008 US housing and financial crashes responded similarly by saying that “the US dollar is going to sink the US economy” (Peter Schiff, Fox Business News 26.11.10).

European countries are also coming under intense pressure, with massive bailouts being provided to Greece, Iceland and Ireland, with the economies of Portugal and Spain also on the brink. Trillions of dollars are being allocated to bailouts of banks while people riot in the streets. One commentator said, “For these people, there is nothing to lose but everything. Of course they are going to revolt, what else would one expect? This is the biggest bank robbery in world history, and the banks are doing the robbing.” (Gerald Celente, RT News 10.08.10). Here is another example of the frog-like spirit of revolution in Europe, ultimately gathering the nations for Armageddon (Rev 16:13–16).

The IMF is urging European nations to give their power and strength over to a more centralised system of monetary control led by Germany: “European nations need to cede more of their sovereignty and hand greater powers to the centre to avoid future crises, the head of the IMF has said. The centre must seize the initiative in all areas key to reaching the common destiny of the union, especially in financial, economic and social policy” (UK Daily Telegraph 17.11.10). This is exactly the scenario presented to us in Revelation 17:12–14.

Russian intrigue

One of the amazing aspects of Russian politics in recent years is the extent of Russian influence in so many countries near and abroad. Mr Putin continues to manoeuvre the chess pieces to expand Russia’s power. This is particularly seen in the Ukraine, and is now developing in Western Europe and Turkey:

“RUSSIA POSES NO THREAT TO UKRAINIAN ECONOMY: yaukovych: Russia will not ‘swallow up’ the Ukrainian economy as a result of the blossoming relationship between Moscow and Kiev, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said. Relations between Russia and Ukraine have improved significantly since Yanukovych’s election in February. However, the Ukrainian opposition claims that the country’s new leadership does not defend properly Ukraine’s national interests in relations with Russia” (Ria Novosti 8.10.10).

“france and germany aim to enhance russia ties at summit: Germany and France want to build closer ties between Russia and Nato. They will be discussing big ideas such as a proposed security and economic partnership” (BBC 18.10.10). “Mr Sarkozy will use his G20 leadership role to push forward a new diplomatic and monetary world order that embraces Russia. He proposes a powerful European alliance which could threaten to destabilise US dominance” (The Australian 4.10.10).

“russia no longer ‘security threat’ to turkey: Turkey will strike four countries, including Russia, from its list of external security threats in a bid to revise the country’s national security strategy …

The new draft national security strategy excludes Russia, Greece, Iran and Iraq from the so-called Red Book – a national security policy document – as ‘principal external threats.’ Ankara has been closely cooperating with the four former ‘security threats’ in recent years and now regards them as its new partners” (Ria Novosti 23.08.10).

We know that it is “by peace he shall destroy many” and that this will be accomplished through clever intrigue and religious fraud (Dan 8:23–25; 11:36–39). The Russian government has also formed a close alliance with the Russian Church due to its powerful influence:

“over 20,000 churches rebuilt in russia in 20 years – patriarch kirill: A total of 23,000 Orthodox churches have been rebuilt in Russia in the past 20 years, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said Friday. ‘Nothing of the kind has happened in any country at any time in history’, the leader of Russia’s Orthodox Christians said. The patriarch recalled that by 1991 Russia had only 7,000 operating churches and 22 monasteries. Today the country has over 30,000 churches and some 1,000 monasteries” (Ria Novosti 3.12.10).

Iranian threat

Iran remains a dangerous threat in the Middle East and continues to flex its muscles. In conformity with Ezekiel 38 and Daniel 11, a southern group of Sunni Arab nations are working with Israel, concerned about a looming threat from a northern Shiite Iran, backed by Russia. This is a real King of the North / King of the South scenario developing, awaiting Russia’s move south to occupy the King of the North Territory.

“israel, gulf states conducted secret diplomacy: Israel and its adversaries in the Persian Gulf in recent years carried out extensive secret diplomacy to coordinate policy and exchange information on the threat posed by Iran, despite both sides’ public posture of mutual hostility. A classified 2009 diplomatic cable disclosed this week provides a rare glimpse into the secret and often high-level diplomacy between Israel and Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, all countries that officially do not recognize the Jewish state. Contrary to the condemnatory rhetoric opposing Israel in public, Arab diplomats behind the scenes have asked Israel to carry messages to the US government and urged tougher action on Iran” (Washington Post 1.12.10).

“russian scientists fear another chernobyl: Russian nuclear officials have warned of a Chernobyl-style disaster at Iran’s Bushehr reactor because of damage caused by the Stuxnet computer virus. Russian nuclear scientists are providing technical assistance for Iran’s attempts to activate the country’s first nuclear power plant at the Gulf port. But, according to Western intelligence reports, they have raised serious concerns about the extensive damage caused to the plant’s computer systems by the mysterious Stuxnet virus, which was discovered last year and is widely believed to have been the result of a sophisticated joint US-Israeli cyber attack” (Sydney Morning Herald 18.01.11).

“israel pm warns of n-strike on iran: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has again raised the prospect of a military strike on Iran. The PM has said Tehran will cease its nuclear program only in the face of ‘a credible military option’. He declared yesterday that as Prime Minister he was the only person capable of bringing the Israeli public behind any peace deal with the Palestinians” (The Australian 13.01.11). “iranian warships coming to mediterranean: Less than 24 hours after the breakdown of its nuclear dialogue with the six world powers in Istanbul, Iran announced plans to send a fleet of warships, including a home-made destroyer, on operational and intelligence-gathering missions to the Red Sea and on to the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal. Tehran is taking advantage of the lack of military and diplomatic momentum on the part of US and Israel for a naval thrust to expand its range of operations and encroach on their areas of control” (Debkafile, 23.01.11).

A rapidly changing Middle East

At the time of writing, a revolution appears to be taking hold in Egypt. This adds a whole new dimension to the Middle East. Isaiah 19 details Gog’s occupation of Egypt in the last days (see also Dan 11:43 cp Ezek 38). Isaiah 19:2–4 describes civil war erupting in Egypt just prior to Gog’s invasion prior to Armageddon. The beautiful thing about this chapter is that these events are all a part of developing the nation of Egypt to be one with Israel in the Kingdom age (v20–25). This will be accomplished through the work of Christ and the saints (v1,20).

“israel silently watches the unfolding of two new fronts: Egypt, one of the only two Arab states to sign peace with Israel, is wobbling dangerously on the brink of revolutionary change with potentially spreading fallout. This week, Israel was dismayed to find itself looking suddenly at three latently hostile fronts about to spring up around its borders: Lebanon, which has dropped into the Iranian orbit, followed by Egypt, which is heading for terra incognita, and the Gaza Strip, where the Palestinian Hamas, offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, has gained altitude as a Middle East player from the rise of its less radical parent. Indeed Gaza’s rulers, who are close to Iran, are puffing themselves up as a bridge between the Shiite Revolution of Iran and the Sunniled revolution of Egypt” (Debkafile 29.01.11).

“huge gas find a boon for israel: A massive offshore natural gas reserve is poised to give Israel energy security, freeing the desert nation from the threat of boycotts and reshaping the political dynamics of the Middle East. Estimated to contain enough to meet Israel’s domestic demand for 100 years – the Leviathan field is believed to be the largest such deepwater gas discovery in a decade. Neighbouring countries, including Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus, are likely to step up their own efforts to find natural gas in the coastal waters, which could ratchet up tensions. Future natural gas infrastructure may also be a target for Israel’s enemies” (Globe and Mail 30.12.10).

“The finds off Israel’s northern coast, made in 2009–10, have already drawn accusations by Beirut of Israeli encroachment into Lebanese waters and threats of violence from both sides. But the potential for conflict is even wider. The US Geological Survey reported in 2010 that the Levant Basin, stretching from the Jordan River into the eastern Mediterranean, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Syria, could contain up to 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. ‘These discoveries have added a new, hitherto unseen dimension to the Arab-Israeli conflict’, observed one analyst” (United Press International 29.01.11).

“moscow moves in on lebanon’s offshore oil and gas: With his sharp instincts for chances in the field of energy, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was stirred into discreet action by Israeli entrepreneurs’ discovery in the past year of a gas bonanza – three fields, dubbed Tamar, Dalit and Leviathan, off Israel’s Mediterranean coast, Debkafile’s Moscow sources report. Neither did Putin miss Beirut’s claim that Israel was ‘looting’ Lebanese gas resources. (Putin said) Russia would reciprocate with heavy investments in the Lebanese economy that would restore Beirut to its former prestige as financial capital of the Middle East and an assured supply of advanced weapons at token prices to secure those investments” (Debkafile 8.12.10).

The final crisis imminent

The city of Jerusalem will be the ultimate sticking point when it comes to negotiations for a “two state solution”. Zechariah 12:3 tells us that those who try to burden themselves with the city will be cut in pieces. It is clear that that day is approaching soon. Who can stop it?

“abbas says recognitions hit israel: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Friday that a recent wave of nations recognizing a Palestinian state based upon 1967 borders is pressuring Israel and the US to return to negotiations and reach a peace deal” (Associated Press 31.12.10).

“eu pushed to get tougher with israel: In what could be a seismic shift in international attitudes towards Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem, European diplomats are calling for strong action against Israeli policy in a secret document made public recently” (Inter Press Service, 22.01.11).

“russian president backs modern palestinian state: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday pledged his nation’s continued support in helping the Palestinians acquire a modern, unified and sovereign state” (Associated Press 19.01.11).

Have we ever seen anything like the rapid development of events in the last few months? Not only are the nations gathering for Armageddon, but the earth is shaking at its foundations. The year of 2010 was the deadliest for natural disasters in a generation. Earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, typhoons and cyclones, blizzards, landslides and droughts killed at least a quarter of a million people in 2010. This has continued into 2011. Jesus in Luke 21 warns that these events herald the coming of our Lord to the earth. Let’s be encouraged that God’s purpose is coming about exactly as He has promised and that our Lord will be here soon as King in Jerusalem:

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one” (Psalm 28:7–8 niv).

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).