WHAT WILL PUTIN DO NEXT?

Vladimir Putin is in trouble. His unwarranted but massive invasion of Ukraine has been repudiated by all the world’s most repulsive governments and, more immediately, on the battlefield.

The liberation of Kherson from Russian occupation was a serious psychological blow for President Putin that has left him fearing for his life, a senior military adviser in President Zelensky’s office has said.

Last week’s surrender of Kherson, the only regional capital that Putin’s army had captured, triggered shock and despair among hardliners in Moscow, including state television presenters.

“[Putin] is very afraid because there is no forgiveness in Russia for tsars who lose wars,” Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, said. “He is fighting for his life now. If he loses the war, at least in the minds of the Russians, it means the end. The end of him as a political figure. And possibly in the physical sense.”

Vladimir Putin’s troops in Ukraine are being hampered by severe shortages of munitions and skilled personnel, British officials have said.

The Ministry of Defence said intense fire has been exchanged between Russian troops and Ukrainian forces around the Svatove sector in Luhansk Oblast in north-eastern Ukraine over the past week.

“As on other parts of the front, Russian forces continue to prioritise constructing defensive positions, almost certainly partially manned by poorly trained mobilized reservists,” said officials.

The recent defeat of Russian forces across a wide front has demonstrated the weakness of the Russian military and the ineptitude of its commanders.

Former US Army general Ben Hodges predicts failure in Ukraine could lead to the collapse of the Russian Federation.

Putin continues to boast about such weaponry as hypersonic missiles and Russia’s military held an international arms show in Moscow, and yet the Russian army is in near collapse. Military analyst George Barros reports that the “conventional ground army ground force that the Kremlin has spent the last two decades on creating … has been largely degraded and in a large part destroyed in the past six months of the war in Ukraine.”

Vladimir Putin is nothing if not proud of Mother Russia. A major reason for his invasion of Ukraine was his desire to restore some of what the defunct Soviet empire lost. His outrage at the botched invasion of a weaker power and what was, for Putin and his advisors, the apparently unanticipated military support Ukraine has received from the U.S. and our allies, has pushed Putin into a corner from which there is no clear path out.

So, what are his options? A mature leader would make an attempt at face-saving (“Russia let the world know we are a great power!”) and pull its army back into home territory. Yet a mature leader would never have invaded a peaceful neighbor and conducted brutal warfare against its people.

Putin could “pull a Hitler,” blame his generals and bring his soldiers home. Unlike the rantings of the Fuhrer, however, Putin would be partially correct. Neither Russian strategy nor tactics have been effective. The loss of as many as 4,000 armored vehicles means a severe depletion of Russia’s capacity to wage a successful war. That Russia’s top commanders so underestimated the resolve of Ukraine and the willingness of the NATO alliance to provide extensive and high-quality military aid to the Zelensky government indicates severe political miscalculation as well as defective military planning.

Yet Putin’s pride and what likely is irrational indignation probably will grip his better judgment. To admit defeat would be not only a concession of military weakness but also provide the West with yet another victory over Russia, this time in what is, in part, a test of NATO (and especially American) weaponry against Russian weaponry.

The most likely outcome is Russia’s doubling-down of its efforts to conquer Ukraine. The Ukrainian government reports that “after strikes on power plants plunged large areas of Ukraine into darkness”, “Russia (has) stepped up the number of ships and submarines in the Black Sea carrying its Kalibr cruise missiles.” This means more attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure and, probably, civilian targets. Since the Russian invasion began in February, 5,600 Ukrainian civilians have been killed and about 8,000 injured. In Putin’s probable calculus, a few (or many) thousand more shouldn’t be allowed to stand in the way of total victory.

How the West will respond if the conflict escalates, especially if Putin resorts to battlefield nuclear weapons (even if relatively small, their devastation would be profound and their long-term impact immeasurable), is hard to know. Christians need to pray that God would, through whatever means He chooses, soon bring peace to the battered people of a violated nation.

Ultimately, Vladimir Putin will face an unimaginably greater power than anything Ukraine, NATO, or anyone else can create. The psalmist warns “the kings of the earth” that God “will speak to them in His wrath, and terrify them in his fury” (2:5). How particularly true this will be for those whose grasp on power is crusted with the blood of the innocent. Like the current president of Russia.

Adapted from an article in The Washington Stand by Rob Schwarzwalder.

IRAN-THE RAM OF DANIEL 8

Iran has “six armies outside its borders that work for it,” a senior Iranian general said in an interview to the Iranian Mehr Agency earlier this week, leading the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement to issue a statement correcting his comments, Arab media reported.

Israeli analyst: Israel must act before Iran, Hezbollah take over Syrian Golan
Iranian soldiers on parade. (Farsnews)

Iranian Maj.-Gen. Gholam Ali Rashid, a prominent commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said that Qasem Soleimani, who led the IRGC up until his assasination by U.S. forces in January last year, had established six organized militias operating outside of Iran’s borders.

According to Rashid, these include Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthi movement in Yemen, Hashd al-Sha’bi in Iraq, Iranian militias in Syria, as well, Iran has inserted itself “into the Syrian army’s nervous system – its chain of command – and into the everyday lives of the local population,” Israeli commentator Ehud Yaari said. Finally, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas in Gaza.

I was in Susa the citadel, which is in the province of Elam (Iran). And I saw in the vision, and I was at the Ulai canal. I raised my eyes and saw, and behold, a ram (Iran) standing on the bank of the canal. It had two horns, and both horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last. I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward. No beast could stand before him, and there was no one who could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great.Daniel 8:2-4

Behold, I will make known to you what shall be at the latter end of the indignation, for it refers to the appointed time of the end. As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia (now Iran)…Daniel 8:20

Iran Proxy and Sanctions Map Dec 2020
The ram (Iran) charging westward, northward and southward exactly as prophesied.
Elamites first occupants of Iranian territory followed by the Medes and Persians and now IranI was in Susa the citadel, which is in the province of Elam (Iran)

We need to watch for the next part of Daniel 8’s prophecy to be fulfilled. Sunni Turkey (Goat) will not tolerate Shia Iran claiming leadership of the Muslim middle east. Turkey (previously controlled the powerful Ottoman Empire) considers itself the leader of the Muslim world. Daniel’s prophecy predicts Turkey defeating Iran in what is described as a savage encounter but then we are told Turkey’s bid to re-establish a neo Ottoman Empire is short lived. We are not told who comes against Turkey, possibly a coalition of western nations that do not want to see a revived Ottoman Empire. Russia for one would not want to see a revived Ottoman Empire challenge its dominance in the region. We are told that it is broken up into four nations/kingdoms and it is out of these that the Little Horn (Antichrist) emerges.

Turkey’s attempt to re-establish a neo Ottoman Empire

The goat (Turkey) had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. He came toward the two-horned ram (Iran) I had seen standing beside the canal and rushed at him with savage fury. I saw him approaching the ram, and infuriated with him, he struck the ram, shattering his two horns, and the ram was not strong enough to stand against him... Then the male goat became very great, but when he became powerful, the large horn was shattered. Four conspicuous horns came up in its place, pointing toward the four winds of heaven.Daniel 8:6-8

The Antichrist (little horn) arrives on the scene and is allowed to dominate the world for an allotted time, three and half years.

From one of them a little horn emerged and grew extensively toward the south and the east and toward the beautiful land. It grew as high as the heavenly host, made some of the stars and some of the host fall to the earth, and trampled them. It made itself great, even up to the Prince of the host; it removed His daily sacrifice and overthrew the place of His sanctuary. Because of rebellion, a host, together with the daily sacrifice, will be given over. The horn will throw truth to the ground and will be successful in whatever it does.Daniel 8:9-12

Ezekiel 38 also links the Antichrist (Gog) to modern Turkey (and/or its immediately surrounding vicinity). Ezekiel singles out all Islamic nations in the Middle East and North Africa as comprising the vanguard of Gog’s invasion force during the Great Tribulation.

LAST DAYS WARS AND RUMOURS OF WARS

In a stunning rout, the Taliban seized nearly all of Afghanistan in just over a week, despite the billions of dollars spent by the U.S. and NATO over nearly two decades to build up Afghan security forces. Just days earlier, an American military assessment estimated it would be a month before the capital would come under insurgent pressure.

Afghan president flees country as Taliban move into Kabul
Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace in Kabul after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, Aug. 15, 2021.

The fall of Kabul marks the final chapter of America’s longest war, which began after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks masterminded by al-Qaida’s Osama bin Laden, then harboured by the Taliban government. A U.S.-led invasion dislodged the Taliban and beat them back, though America lost focus on the conflict in the chaos of the Iraq War.

As the insurgents closed in Sunday, President Ashraf Ghani flew out of the country. Ghani later posted on Facebook that he had chosen to leave the country to avert bloodshed in the capital, without saying where he had gone.

The Taliban is a predominantly Pashtun, Islamic fundamentalist group that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, when a U.S.-led invasion toppled the regime for providing refuge to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The Taliban regrouped across the border in Pakistan and has led an insurgency against the U.S.-backed government in Kabul for nearly twenty years.

There is little doubt that many Afghans who initially joined the movement were educated in madrassas (religious schools) in Pakistan. Pakistan was also one of only three countries, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which recognised the Taliban when they were in power in Afghanistan.

On Monday, August 23rd, Prime Minister Imran Khan praised Afghans for “breaking the shackles of slavery”. On social media, retired generals and other Taliban boosters hailed the triumph of Islam.

Exultant Pakistanis shared a video clip from 2014 featuring Hamid Gul, a former head of the army’s spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

When history is written, it will be stated that the ISI defeated the Soviet Union in Afghanistan with the help of America,” Gul says to a fawning TV studio audience. “Then there will be another sentence. The ISI, with the help of America, defeated America.”

It must be remembered that between 2002 and 2018, the US government gave Pakistan more than $33 billion in assistance, including about $14.6 billion in so-called Coalition Support Funds paid by the Pentagon to the Pakistani military. During the same period, Pakistan ensured the failure of America’s Afghanistan project by surreptitiously sheltering, arming and training the Taliban. One would think the Americans would have got the message when in 2011 US Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in a safe house next to Pakistan’s premier military academy. But successive administrations — Republican and Democratic — refused to take measures that could have forced Pakistan to rethink its support for the Taliban.

At least for now, the Taliban’s victory fulfils the Pakistani army’s decades-old quest to gain “strategic depth” by controlling Afghanistan. But this will not sate the generals; it will whet their appetite.

The symbolic significance of an army of zealots humbling the world’s sole superpower is hard to exaggerate. In the Pakistani army it will strengthen the hand of those who view Afghanistan not merely in geopolitical terms, but as the fulfilment of a religious project rooted in an extreme interpretation of Islam that shuns all Western influence.

The same holds true in Pakistani society at large. If music-hating, anti-Western, anti-Shiite misogynists can seize power in Kabul, why can’t they do the same in Islamabad? At least one homegrown Pakistani jihadist group, the Tehreek-e-Taliban, is comprised of fighters already at odds with the Pakistani government.

In a phone interview from Islamabad, Afrasiab Khattak, a former Pakistani senator and Pashtun-rights activist, points out that Pakistan houses some 36,000 madrassas, or religious seminaries, some of which are militant. “The same places producing the Taliban are producing similar people in Pakistan,” he says. “They will contest for power in Pakistan too.”

In early 2009, when Afghan President Hamid Karzai pressed Vice President-elect Joe Biden to crack down on Taliban safe havens across the border, Mr Biden reportedly rebuffed him by pointing out that “Pakistan is 50 times more important than Afghanistan for the United States.” As president, Mr Biden may have ensured that Pakistan is 50 times more dangerous to the US and the world as well.

Watch as Bible prophecy plays out in the Middle East. The next big power play will come from Turkey (Sunni) in an effort to rebuild an Ottoman Empire. It will not tolerate Iran (Shiite) exerting its influence with proxies. Iran has built a network of proxies across the Middle East. At of beginning of 2020, Tehran had allies among more than a dozen major militias, some with their own political parties, that challenged local and neighbouring governments. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the elite Qods Force provided arms, training and financial support to militias and political movements in at least six countries: Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Syria and Yemen.

Iran Proxy and Sanctions Map Dec 2020
“I saw the ram (Iran) charging westward and northward and southward. No beast could stand before him, and there was no one who could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great.” Daniel 8:4

Turkey (Goat) in this next prophecy overcomes Iran (Ram) in its effort to re-establish its Ottoman Empire. It must be remembered that at least 80% of Pakistan’s Muslims are Sunni so it will support Turkey.

As I was considering, behold, a male goat (Turkey) came from the west across the face of the whole earth, without touching the ground. And the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. He came to the ram (Iran) with the two horns, which I had seen standing on the bank of the canal, and he ran at him in his powerful wrath. I saw him come close to the ram, and he was enraged against him and struck the ram and broke his two horns. And the ram had no power to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled on him. And there was no one who could rescue the ram from his power.Daniel 8:5-7

Bible prophecy then reveals that the re-established Ottoman Empire is short lived. It is broken up by the super powers into four and it is out of the four that the Little Horn (Antichrist) emerges.

Then the goat became exceedingly great, but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.
Out of one of them came a little horn (Antichrist), which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land.
Daniel 8:8-9

LAST DAYS MIDDLE EAST WARS

 A new military incursion into Libya is part of a long-awaited dream by Turkish President Erdogan to return the Ottoman Caliphate, a global Islamic rule that subjugated Jews and Christians for six centuries. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Monday that Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries have begun arriving in Libya. The SOHR reported that a commander of the Turkish-backed Syrian troops en route to Libya announced as their battle cry, “We will present our souls for the Ottoman Caliphate.”

The Ottoman Caliphate, known in the West as the Ottoman or Turkish Empire, was founded in the 13th Century and eventually controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa. This control lasted for several hundred years and only truly ended after WWI when the empire was partitioned by the Allied Powers and the 101st and final Caliph, Sultan Abdulmecid II, was deposed and expelled.

At a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul last year, Erdogan called on all of the 57 Muslim member nations to join together against Israel to avenge the deaths of Palestinians killed while charging the southern border with Gaza.

Previously, in 2015, Erdogan gave a speech commemorating 562 years since the Turks captured Constantinople (now known as Istanbul) from European Christians in which he called for the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem. “Conquest is Mecca, conquest is Saladin, it’s to hoist the Islamic flag over Jerusalem again; conquest is the heritage of Mehmed II and conquest means forcing Turkey back on its feet,” Erdogan said in the speech in Istanbul.

Approximately 2,400 troops are already in Tripoli while another 1,700 are currently undergoing training in Turkey. Activists informed the SOHR that Turkey intends to send a total of 6,000 troops to Libya.

Turkey deploys 2,000 troops to Libya to Reestablish Muslim Caliphate with Jerusalem as Capital

At the same time as Erdogan is aggressively moving to reestablish a Sunni Ottoman Empire (Goat of Daniel 8), Iran (Ram of Daniel 8), Shia is equally aggressively trying to establish its dominance in the Middle East pushing into Iraq and with its proxies Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, the PMF (Popular Mobilisation Forces) in Iraq, Houthi rebels in Yemen, and other small Shiite militias in Syria and other Middle Eastern Countries.

Scripture provides us with a picture of what is unfolding here: Daniel 8:4, tells us that initially the ram (Iran) will succeed in conquering east, west and north only to enrage the goat (Turkey) with its aspirations for a revived Ottoman Empire. The goat defeats/tramples the ram (Daniel 8:7). We then learn that because the revived Ottoman Empire/goat becomes too strong, it is broken up into four (EU or USA or Coalition as before?), “and out of one of them comes a little horn (Antichrist) which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land” (Daniel 8:9).

Christian should use these prophecies in evangelism. We know how “end times” event play out. There are far more prophecies about Jesus second coming than there were of His first coming. Jesus admonished the Pharisees “for not knowing the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:44. I am sure He would likewise scold church leaders today for not warning His church of apostasy and coming escalating tribulation. Already, we see much of the church compromising with the world and discarding biblical truth on sexuality and marriage. Keep your eyes on the Middle East and you will see Biblical prophecy unfold.

EASTMED GAS PIPELINE: CATALYST FOR END TIMES BIBLICAL PROPHECY?

Can I suggest you add David Rosenthal’s website: http://www.zionshope.org to your list of valuable “end times” resources. This video ties current events with end times Biblical prophecy in a coherent, believable manner. David reveals surprising details of the recently proposed EastMed Natural Gas Pipeline and its possible connection to a future invasion of Israel prophesied more than 2,600 years ago. The development of this proposed undersea pipeline may revolutionise the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East and beyond. With Israel’s strategic location, growing wealth, and new-found influence within the natural gas energy sector, the potential for political conflict and another major war in the Middle East only continues to grow. Most importantly, this pipeline may ultimately prove to be a catalyst for the future fulfilment of end-time Bible prophecy.

IRAN’S ROLE IN END TIMES PROPHECIES

 

God has revealed in His Word what will take place in the end times prior to Jesus return to rule and reign from Jerusalem. He said He would return to the exact site on Mt Olives where He ascended into heaven. I believe we are living in the last days before the prophesied last seven years before His return (Daniel’s 70th week).

Iran (Shia) is a significant player in last days events. The Bible prophecies it will invade and dominate and control Muslim countries in the Middle East and this it is what it is doing, directly in Syria and Iraq, but also indirectly with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza (Daniel 8:4,20 – Iran is the ram). Bible prophecy then reveals that Turkey (Sunni) overcomes Iran ( Daniel 8:5 – Turkey is the goat). Remember, Turkey was previously in control of the Ottoman Empire. It will not tolerate Iran taking its leadership role. Sunni represents at least 80% of Muslims. The following video provides a detailed report on Hezbollah. These are the next significant events in End Times Bible prophecy concerning wars and rumours of war.