Putin positioning himself as new power player in the Mideast, but to what end? Will this ally of Iran & Syria become hostile to Israel?

Red storm rising?

Red storm rising?

(Washington, D.C.) — The Russian Bear is back.

A growing number of journalists, political leaders, and foreign policy analysts are noting that Vladimir Putin is aggressively positioning himself as a new and increasingly influential force on the global stage generally, and in the Middle East, in particular.

Consider recent headlines:

Are such headlines warranted? I believe they are. The Russian leader had actually been fairly quiet over the last several years. But he is suddenly re-asserting himself in international affairs with a boldness and an arrogance we have not seen in some time. Consider his moves just in recent days:

Such moves fit a clearly emerging pattern. As I recently mentioned in this blog, Putin smells blood in the water — he has used the Syrian crisis to seize global leadership from Obama. Consider some of the other moves he has made in recent weeks:

Where is all this headed? What are Putin’s objectives? What will he do next? It’s hard to say at the moment, but Putin’s moves are troubling and it’s important to be watching him closely.

Some are asking me if Putin’s moves are leading us rapidly to the fulfillment of Bible prophecies, such as those found in Ezekiel chapters 38 & 39, what Bible scholars call the coming “War of Gog & Magog.” In such prophecies, a Russian dictator forms an alliance with Iran and other Middle Eastern and North African countries to attack Israel in the “last days” of history before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Others are asking me if Putin is “Gog,” the Russian dictator of whom Ezekiel writes. My answer is that it is too early to draw such conclusions. Putin is certainly Gog-esque. That is, he is making moves that would be consistent with the preparing for the fulfillment of Ezekiel prophecies. That said, we must be cautious. We simply don’t have enough data yet to draw conclusions. It is important not to overreach. Perhaps someone far worse is going to emerge to lead Russia. Perhaps the fulfillment of the Gog & Magog prophecies is still many years off.

The important thing is to:

  1. help more Christians and non-Christians become aware of the prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39
  2. keep a close eye on Putin and his colleagues in the Kremlin
  3. watch particularly to see if Putin intensifies his alliance with Iran, and begins taking the lead in denouncing Israel and calling for Israel to be disarmed
  4. pray for Putin and for the people of Russia
  5. continue praying for Netanyahu and the people of Israel
  6. pray for the Khamenei, Rouhani and the people of Iran
  7. encourage and strengthen the Church in the Middle East and in Russia, so that they can be a light in the darkness right now, regardless of how soon or faraway the prophecies will come to pass.

COLUMN WORTH NOTING: Putin to visit Iran for first time in six years. Historic trip will raise renewed interest in the “Gog & Magog” prophecies.

“Vladimir Putin has accepted an Iranian invitation to visit the country and meet with newly elected President Hasan Rouhani, a spokesman for the Russian president confirmed,” reports the Times of Israel.

“Putin has been invited to Iran, and he will certainly take advantage of this kind invitation,” the Interfax news agency quoted spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Friday. “The dates of the visit will be agreed upon through diplomatic channels.”

“The announcement came on the heels of a report that Russia had agreed to sell to Iran the advanced S-300 air defense system and construct a new nuclear reactor at the Bushehr site,” the Times noted. “Putin met with Rouhani on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on Friday. During the meeting, Rouhani extended an invitation to Putin, who accepted, the Iranian semi-official Fars news agency reported. In July, there were reports that Putin would travel to Iran in August to revive negotiations over the country’s controversial nuclear program, but those plans appeared to fall through.”

This will be the second time Putin has traveled to Iran. The first was a two day trip on October 16-17, 2007. I wrote about the historic nature of that trip at the time. It was, after all, the first time a Russian leader had made a state visit to Tehran for the purpose of meeting with Iranian leaders in modern history. It thus raised many questions, including whether we were slowly but surely moving step-by-step towards the prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39 in which Russia and Iran form an alliance against Israel in the “last days.” It so happened that I was speaking about such prophecies at an event for military officers at the Pentagon and in private meetings with Members of Congress just days after Putin’s visit.


>> Track the latest developments and analysis on Twitter — @JoelCRosenberg.

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