Make no mistake: the Russian-Iranian strategic alliance that I’ve been writing about for the last several years has deepened to the point where Moscow is now unequivocally and quite openly backing the mullahs in Iran. “Russia warned Israel on Wednesday that attacking Iran would be a disastrous and played down the failure of a U.N. nuclear agency mission to Tehran, saying there is still a chance for new talks over the Iranian atomic programme,” reports Reuters. “‘Of course any possible military scenario against Iran will be catastrophic for the region and for the whole system of international relations,’ Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told a news conference. It was one of Russia’s starkest warnings against resorting to force, an option Israel and the United States have not ruled out if they conclude that diplomacy and increasing sanctions will not stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. ‘I hope Israel understands all these consequences … and they should also consider the consequences of such action for themselves,’ Gatilov said. ‘I hope a realistic approach will prevail, along with a sensible assessment.’”
The big question now is this: Will Vladimir Putin win his bid for become Russia’s President again during the March 4 elections, and would Putin then directly threaten Israel with retaliation for an attack on Iran? So far, Russia hasn’t gone so far as to threaten a military response, but it’s not out of the question. The latest poll shows Putin in a commanding lead to regain the presidency, with 58.6% support, compared to Gennady Zyuganov, the head of the Communist Party, who has 14.8% support. And Putin in recent years seems itching to rebuild the Russian military (something he promised again just this week – he’s called for a $770 billion upgrade of Russia’s military), strengthen his alliances throughout the Islamic world, and give the West a black eye. He’s explicitly running his campaign on anti-Americanism, for example. He’s close to the Iranians. He’s defending the Bashar al-Assad, the butcher in Damascus. He’s growing closer to the Turks, as they become hostile to Israel. Putin hasn’t directly threatened Israel, but he’s backing all of Israel’s worst enemies and could find himself drawn into a war to prove his alpha-dog machismo.
Another question I’m getting asked these days: Is Putin “Gog,” the evil leader described in the prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39? It came up during my recent speaking tour in Florida, and in a talk I gave to a group on Capitol Hill last week? Thus far, my answer remains the same — Putin is certainly “Gog-esque,” but it is too early to speculate on whether he is actually the biblical figure that will rise to power in Russia (known in Ezekiel’s prophecy as “Magog”) in the last days and build an alliance with Iran (“Persia”), Sudan (“Cush”), Turkey (“Gomer”), Libya and Algeria (“Put”), the countries of Central Asia (“Beth Togarmah”) to attack the State of Israel from “the north” (probably via Lebanon and Syria). That said, it is fair to say that geopolitical events over the past decade — and certainly over the past year or so — have been moving on a trajectory consistent with the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39. That doesn’t necessarily mean we will see the prophecies come to complete fulfillment in our lifetime or soon, but we cannot rule out the possibility.
For the moment, the major need is to keep mobilizing people to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and to keep asking that the Lord to help us get ready for the next war that comes, be that a really bad geopolitical war (ie, an Israeli first strike on Iran, or vice versa), or a prophetic war (ie, the War of Gog and Magog). One way or the other, it would seem that war is coming. The handwriting seems to be on the wall. Dare we allow ourselves to be unprepared?
- Help Christians bless needy Israelis and Palestinians now and be ready for a possible major new war in the epicenter — please consider a generous, tax deductible financial contribution to The Joshua Fund.
- Implosion is now available for pre-order.
- The Tehran Initiative is available in hardcover or e-book
- Follow the “Epicenter Team” on Facebook with the latest news from the Middle East along with prayer requests.
- Sign up for Joel’s (free) email updates called “Flash Traffic”
RESOURCES ON ISRAEL, IRAN AND BIBLE PROPHECY
- Study notes on Ezekiel 38-39 — What Is The War of Gog and Magog?
- Study notes on the Book of Joel — Israel, Prophecy and the “Day of the Lord”
- Online video messages on the Old Testament Book of Joel from the 2011 Epicenter Conference
- Audio of Joel’s message on how God is shaking the nations (from the Book of Haggai, chapter 2) (given in June 2011)