Weekly Update: ‘It’s the oil, stupid.’
4 February 2021
In Ezekiel chapter 38-39 God speaks through the prophet Ezekiel of a war that will erupt in the Middle East in the last days. This will be after the (partial) restoration of the Jewish people to the land that is described in chapters 36-37, and at a time that they are safe, peaceful and “rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land”. The armies of several nations will attack Israel to plunder it. The Lord will intervene to destroy the attacking armies. He says to Gog, their leader: “On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals.”
It is widely believed that the nations referred to in Ezekiel 38 (Magog, Rosh, Mesach, Tubal, Persia, Put, Gomer etc) correspond with today’s Russia, Turkey, Iran, Libya and other nations in the Middle East.
Interestingly, as Amir Tsarfati has explained so well in his recent teachings, these are not Israel’s immediate neighbors that have attacked Israel over the last decades – Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq. Rather, the “Gog and Magog” coalition is comprised of nations located some distance from Israel.
We are witnessing some very interesting developments at the moment, unparalleled in history, and which potentially align with the scenario described by Ezekiel:
- As the world’s leading start-up nation, Israel has developed enormous wealth over recent decades. More recently, Israel has discovered and is starting to exploit huge off-shore oil and gas reserves, becoming a net exporter of energy;
- Since the first “Abraham Accords” last year, Israel is entering into more and more “normalization” agreements with Muslim/Islamic countries that were previously hostile to it – UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco – developing increasingly peaceful relations with former enemies. It is said that Israel is in intense discussions with Pakistan and Indonesia, and is even reported to be in negotiations with its arch-enemy Syria;
- Iran, that is suffering severe economic times as a result of the sanctions against it, has threatened to finalize its development of nuclear weapons to destroy Israel and the USA;
- Russia, also struggling financially, is determined to build its influence in the region;
- Turkey has not abandoned its dream of capturing Jerusalem and re-establishing the caliphate, but – perhaps sensing that President Biden will not tolerate its aggression – more recently is seeking reconciliation with Israel and the West;
- France, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar, UAE, IS and others are fighting with each other to determine who will have control of the huge oil reserves of Libya, whose economic and social infrastructure has been largely destroyed since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.
All in all – over the last 10 years the region has been turned upside down. With the decline of the US as a superpower, the increasing irrelevance of the EU, the rise of China (economically strong but energy-poor) , and shifting allegiances within the Muslim world, it would hardly be surprising if war were to break out at some point. Oil reserves may be the trigger. All it takes is the proverbial match to light the tender straws holding this complex environment together.
Israel is increasingly seen as the only stable factor – not the cause of the problems, but the motor to development. Jesus prophesied about the restoration of Israel (the fig tree), wars, and unrest as signs of the times of His coming (Matthew 24; Luke 21).
Are we seeing these signs of His coming? Let us look up, and place our trust and confidence in Him – the Bridegroom who will come to take His bride, the shepherd of Israel who “neither slumbers nor sleeps”.
The Editorial team
Israel & Christians Today