By Bill Salus
In the summer of 2009 Russia and Iran, for the first time ever, conducted joint naval maneuvers in the Caspian Sea. In April 2010 Iran test fired five new coast-to-sea and sea-to-sea missiles during their “Great Prophet 5” war game in the Persian Gulf. Shortly thereafter, in May, 2010 during their “Judgment Day” war game, according to the Iranian press, Iran demonstrated its fitness for sole responsibility over the security of the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world's crude is channeled to market. What is running through the apocalyptic minds of Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and his Iranian Mullocracy?
Military events like these involving Russia and Iran are among the reasons scholars are justifiably stirring over the possibility that the Ezekiel 38 & 39 Bible prophecy is about to find final fulfillment. The Hebrew prophet predicted approximately 2600 years ago the coming of a Russian – Iranian led nine member strong coalition seeking to destroy Israel and confiscate great booty. Scholars are split as to what the great booty is and if Israel presently possesses all of it.
Some suggest Israel becomes wealthy by discovering oil under her soil, while others, including myself, believe Israel captures Arab spoils of war resulting from an Israeli Conquest over the confederacy of nations listed in Psalm 83. However, it could be a combination of both Israeli oil and Arab spoil, inclusive of much OPEC oil.
Others, like me, suggest that the Israel described in Ezekiel 38 & 39 doesn’t presently exist. Ezekiel’s Israel will be a wealthy sovereign Jewish State that dwells securely, without walls, in the center of the Promised Land. The land Ezekiel likely alludes to is far greater than that defined by the Partition Plan of 1947 (UN Resolution 181). Rather it probably involves the landmass described in Genesis 15:18. This would make the center of the Promised Land inclusive of modern day Jordan.
Israel doesn’t possess Jordan presently; however, according to Jeremiah 49:1-2 and elsewhere, someday they will. Jordan is a member of the Psalm 83 confederates and their bitter consequence for participating in the coming Arab – Israeli war appears to be their surrender of sovereignty to a victorious Israel.
Prophetic events facilitated by the surrender of Jordanian sovereignty to Israel would probably include the burial of the hordes of Magog invaders in the future valley of Hamon Gog, east of the Dead Sea, and the flight from the coming Antichrist of the faithful Jewish remnant into Edom, which is modern day Southern Jordan. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to develop these two prophecies in greater detail at this point.
The point of this article is that the Russian – Iranian led coalition of Ezekiel invaders seems to have at least a two - prong strategy in place for invading Israel. The goal of the invasion is the destruction of the Jewish State and confiscation of plunder and booty as per Ezekiel 38:12-13. The two - pronged strategy appears to involve an economic boycott/blockade of Israel’s booty coupled with a subsequent overwhelming military assault upon Israel.
Identifying the Ezekiel invaders on a map suggests this consortium is assembled in part for the purpose of blockading Israel’s ability to commercially export its plunder and booty into world markets. Observe from the table and map of invaders that they all border the major bodies of water surrounding Israel. Is this coincidence or calculated on Russia’s part? Israel will desperately need freedom of passage through these waterways in order to export its plunder and great booty to world markets.
Even the countries of Saudi Arabia (Dedan) and Yemen (Sheba) who apparently abstain from joining the Ezekiel confederacy border the Red Sea, which is South of Israel. Should they have enlisted the Red Sea would be potentially blocked by them on the eastside and Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia on the Westside. This would render the Red Sea entirely impassable for Israeli cargo ships. It may be that they are invited into the coalition by Russia, however, perhaps due to their genuine fears of the Israeli Defense Forces and perhaps the Jewish God Jehovah, they opt out.
Consider the strong possibility that the Israel Defense Forces will already have executed the vengeance of God against the Psalm 83 confederates described Ezekiel 25:13-14, Obadiah 1:18, and elsewhere. Thus, Israel could potentially be in receipt of more land, plunder, and great booty prior to the official formation of the Russian coalition. Saudi Arabia is a participant of Psalm 83 under the banner of the Ishmaelites. According to Ezekiel 25:13, at least Northern Saudi Arabia (Dedan) is part of the affected Psalm 83 warzone.
Presently Russia is bidding to regain its former Soviet Union superpower status. In the process it is unknowingly locking arms with the other Ezekiel invaders. Russia reportedly has large military export contracts with Iran, Turkey, Libya and most of the other Ezekiel 38 invaders. Additionally, Russian national relations with these coming invaders are stronger than ever. Thus, part one of Russia’s two - pronged strategy, the enhanced arming of the invaders for a coming overwhelming military assault against Israel, is already taking place.
The other potential component of interest to add into the Ezekiel 38 equation is the untapped oil wealth landlocked in the Caspian Sea. Estimates suggest the world’s largest lake hosts enormous amounts of untapped oil. Presently littoral rights are a major matter of tension between the nations of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan, which all surround the Caspian.
The Russian - Iranian joint naval exercises referenced earlier suggest they ultimately intend to share domination of this potential oil fortune. They will want to transport Caspian oil out into world markets and presently the main distribution is the BTC pipeline running through Baku Azerbaijan, Tbilisi Georgia, and Ceyhan Turkey.
Russia and Iran presently lack the necessary exclusive control of this critical pipeline. However, that could easily change since Turkey ultimately enlists with the Ezekiel invaders and some suspect so will Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. This would give the Russian coalition the ready means and access to control the Caspian oil and its exportation. Only Georgia would possibly stand in the way and we know Russia can overpower Georgia. Russia temporarily shut this pipeline down during its invasion of Georgia in August of 2008.
Sovereignty over all major oil export pipelines and distribution waterways in tandem with control of robust Iranian and Caspian oil reserves will make Russia’s coalition a commercial force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, they will not be content with that but will also seek Israel’s plunder and great spoil. If Russia and Iran control all the Caspian and OPEC oil supplies in the future, they could possibly become unstoppable in their bid for collective world control. It is probably this goal that partially allures the other members to join in the Ezekiel coalition.
THE EVIL PLAN
‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your [Gog of Magog] mind, and you will make an evil plan: You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; [Israel] I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates’—to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you, ‘Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army [formed your coalition] to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder?’”’ (Ezekiel 38:10-13; NKJV)
We are told in Ezekiel 38:10 that the Magog confederacy acts upon an "EVIL PLAN". Ezekiel 38:11-13 give clues into the size and scope of this "EVIL PLAN". Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the merchants of Tarshish suggest Russia is inviting nations to strategically coalesce with them to steal Israel’s wealth. This is the underlying feature of the plan, "to take plunder". This suggests Russia campaign's upon this "to take plunder" platform as it forms it's coalition.
The theme of commerce is found in these above passages within the usage of terms like “merchants” and “livestock and goods”. The merchants are probably would be purchasers of Israel’s wares, which consist of “livestock and goods”. “Livestock” likely represents agricultural interests and “goods” probably commercial interests, such as oil and natural gas etc. These are "acquired" goods probably alluding to spoils of war collected by Israel in the aftermath of their victory in the Psalm 83 war.
In conclusion, it appears Russia formulates a comprehensive campaign involving strategically located allies intended to invade Israel in the aftermath of the Psalm 83 war. Israel wins that war according to scripture and in the process renders the inner circle of Arab nations and terrorist populations sharing common borders with Israel of little utility to Russia and its coalition.
This is probably why they are not listed among the Ezekiel invaders. It is important to note that Ezekiel writes about the Psalm 83 nations in other chapters, but omits them from the Ezekiel 38 invaders. This is most likely because they are not part of Russia’s coalition.
In the aftermath of Psalm 83, Israel probably annexes more territory and captures Arab spoils of war making it potentially a very wealthy nation. Russia then forms its campaign and alliance to prevent Israel from blossoming into a significant oil exporting nation. Russia assembles predominately Muslim nations sharing a dislike for Israel. This coalition seems to be specifically selected in order to blockade Israel’s exports first and then destroy the Jewish State should it resist. Perhaps the infamous; “I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out," in Ezekiel 38:4 has something to do with a waterway related campaign against Israel. However, perhaps instead of catching fish on the seas it may be regarded with exporting oil through them.
Israel, the apple of God’s eye, becomes the ripe carrot dangling on a string that entices Russia, Iran, and their coalition to invade. They covet Israel’s newfound plunder and booty and seek to choke off Israel’s ability to conduct world commerce. Ultimately they militarily come to take it for themselves and wipe Israel off of the map. Ezekiel 38 & 39 informs us that the God of Israel will divinely defeat the Magog alliance and uphold His Holy Name in the process. (Ezekiel 39:7)