The Middle East, the War on Terrorism and the Hope for Peace in the Middle East – Program 5
|By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung; ©2002|
|How will Russia factor into the future of Israel? What role is Russia playing currently in relationship to Israel and peace?|
The Significance of Russia
Today, Dr. John Ankerberg examines The War on Terrorism and the Hope for Peace in the Middle East. John’s guest is news correspondent Jimmy DeYoung, who lives in Israel. Today, he reports on what has been taking place in the last two months. Will a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs last? Will Yasser Arafat and other Arab leaders be willing to publicly denounce those involved in terrorist activities? Will Israel be willing to stop settlement activity in occupied territories, and be willing to give up land for peace? Who will govern the city of Jerusalem in the future, and what will happen in the Middle East if the peace plan fails? We invite you to join us for this special report.
- Ankerberg: Welcome. My guest is Middle East journalist Jimmy DeYoung. He resides in the city of Jerusalem and has done so since 1991, which is three days prior to the Gulf Crisis. He actually lived through Saddam Hussein’s SCUD attacks and has been covering news events there ever since. He has met and interviewed many of Israel’s leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
- Now, Jimmy is also a Christian and a biblical scholar who has received his Ph.D. In these interviews that we’ve been doing, I’m asking him to give us a personal report on what is taking place in the Middle East and to relate this to biblical prophecy. Jimmy, again, I’m glad that you’re here.
- DeYoung: Thank you.
- Ankerberg: George Bush, the President of the United States, announced that the Quartet is going to be meeting sometime this summer to discuss how to bring about peace in the Mideast. What I was fascinated with is the members of the Quartet: he’s talking about the European Union, he’s talking about Russia, the United States, and the United Nations.
- Now, today, I want to talk about the significance of Russia. A lot of biblical prophecy has to do with Russia coming down against Israel. And after 1989, when Russia started to go into decline, a lot of people thought, well, you know, that’s those Christians talking about that. That’s really not going to happen. Talk to me about the significance of Russia, describe what you know from your post there in the Middle East, and how Israel looks at Russia.
- DeYoung: Well, Russia, according to the Bible, as you said, will be a key player in the end times. Politically, they have been a key player even after 1989 with the fall of the Soviet Union. They have played a role, for example, in the Middle East peace process when America invited Russia to be the co-sponsors of the Madrid Conference taking place in Madrid, Spain in 1992. But in recent days, Russia has come to the front again, especially when the relationship has developed between our own President Bush and the president of Russia, President Vladimir Putin. It has been interesting to watch that relationship develop; and the fact is, many have been concerned. Presidential watchers have been saying, “Wait a minute. Should our president be getting that close and that friendly to the leader of what was during the Cold War our number one enemy? Is Russia really out of it? Are they no longer a major super power? Well, of course, I believe America is the number one super power in the world; but I believe President Putin has a plan to replace the fact that they are no longer a super power with the fact they are a super power. I can tell you what the Israeli government thinks about them. Every prime minister that comes to power in Israel goes to visit Russia. There is much concern about what’s going on.
- In the last ten years, since Judy and I have lived in Jerusalem, we’ve seen over one million Russia Jews come from Russia to live in Israel. That’s an increase of 37 percent in the population of one nation in a decade. It has never happened in the history of the world! The Bible talks about that. The book of Jeremiah, chapters 16, 23, and 31 say that in the last days that will happen: that Russian Jews—well, it says “Jews” —will come out of that part of the world, “the north,” and will come in to live in Israel. In fact, they’ll quit talking about the exodus out of Egypt; they’ll be talking about the exodus “out of the north.”
- So therefore, then, these prime ministers of Israel go to Russia and they say, “We’ve understood that in times past you’ve really had an anti-Semitic philosophy against the Jewish people living here. Now most of them are living in Israel and so you have a special relationship. Why are you continuing to put us in a position that we may be in harm’s way because of some of your decisions, some of your activities?” i.e., the activity of transferring technology. Technology and technicians have been transferred to some of the major enemies of Israel. Israeli Intelligence says their number one enemy is not Saddam Hussein, it’s not Yasser Arafat, it’s the leadership and the country of Iran.
- And Russian technology, technicians, have gone over to Iran, helped them put together a nuclear capability in Iran that could be the major force in the Middle East. Forgetting prophecy just for a moment, but politically they could be the major force. Turkey announced within the last 24 hours that Russia has their missile that can deliver a warhead—chemical, biological, or nuclear warhead—to Israel! And they, within the year, will have a missile capability that could deliver a warhead to Europe and possibly one that could even deliver a warhead as far away as the United States.
- So, this is why the Russian influence, not only as they try to become a super power once again, but reach out, expand their horizons into the different Islamic worlds. I’ve not even talked about the Arab world, for example, Syria. It’s the fifth largest military might in the world. They’re at the northeastern border of Israel as I speak, their elite commando units there, ready to come in, and they are now only capable militarily to even consider a military confrontation with Israel because of what Russia has done. They went in there. They refurbished their tanks. They refurbished their missiles. They gave them the capability of having long-range missiles.
- Right after the Gulf Crisis, the United States gave $13 billion—that’s with a “b”—$13 billion to Syria for not being involved in the Gulf Crisis and so they took that money and went to North Korea, purchased SCUD-C missiles that gives them the capability of a range of Jerusalem. Now the Russians go in with their technology and that capability, that range of those missiles, is all the way to the southern tip of Israel itself. They have trained their military might. They have taken their aircraft, they’ve upgraded those and everything else. The same thing has happened in Egypt, as you continue to watch it. The relationship between Iraq and Russia.
- So we see this Russian influence still in the Middle East. I guess the supplier of all the arms prior to the fall of the Soviet Union was Russia and the Soviet Union, but now President Putin has upgraded that export business and they’re putting the arms that are needed by the enemies of Israel to attack them into the hands of those enemies.
- Ankerberg: Alright, slow this down, because I want you to take us through Ezekiel 38, okay? You’ve got, in our world right now, in the newspapers, Russia is one of the Quartet that is supposed to be deciding the peace plan sometime this summer for Israel. Alright, they’re involved with arming the Middle East—always have been; still are. They’re still one of the most powerful nations in the world, if not number two, alright? Take us through Ezekiel 38 and transpose some of the names in Ezekiel 38 of the nations that are going to join with Russia coming against Israel.
- DeYoung: You go to Ezekiel 38:2, it says, “And Gog in the land of Magog.” Gog—the personality; Magog—the place. “Magog.” And every major prophecy scholar that I know would say Magog is talking about modern-day Russia and probably includes Ukraine. I was just in Kiev, Ukraine, this last summer and was watching what’s going on between Russia and Ukraine as they partnership together in many of their activities. So that fulfillment of prophecy could well be ready and set to come about.
- And then you look at the other countries in verse 2 of chapter 38 of Ezekiel. It says “Meshech and Tubal,” then on to verse 6 it says “Gomer and Togarmah.” Now, recently on a trip when we were doing some television in Turkey, I picked up an ancient Turkish map and the ancient Turkish map had Turkey divided into four parts: Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, Togarmah. So that’s talking about modern-day Turkey.
- Come down to verse 5 it says, “Persia.” Well, that’s modern-day Iran. I was just talking about the transfer of technology and technicians. You look at “Cush” and “Put,” also in verse 5 of Ezekiel 38. That would be Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia, which would be Ethiopia there in the Scriptures, or “Cush.” And “Put” is modern-day Libya. Colonel Qadaffi. We know what’s going on in that relationship, too, as he’s developing nuclear powers also being supplied by Russia as well.
- So, you see this coalition of nations talked about by the ancient Jewish prophet with the headquarters or the leadership in Russia all coming together. And what we’ve been talking about on this broadcast, what the papers are saying, what the news reporters are telling us, is that this is jelling even as we sit here doing this program.
- Ankerberg: Is it fair, is it honest as a biblical scholar, to look at end-time events and say we’re seeing precursors now, the events that are leading up to the final events?
- DeYoung: Oh, boy, oh boy, oh boy! The way I see the scenario, John, in the last days, is the Rapture of the Church is the next main event in God’s calendar of activities. That’s when Christians are caught up to be with Him. After that, there’s going to be a seven-year period. But there will be a space between the Rapture of the Church and the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation. You have to see the ten horns, the revived Roman Empire, come into existence. The European Union, I believe, is the infrastructure for that. The appearance of a world ruler, a false messiah—the Antichrist, I believe with signs, wonders, and miracles. And why do I say that? Well, Jesus, in Matthew 24, said the greatest indicator of the appearance of Antichrist: signs, wonders, and miracles. Paul, in 2 Thessalonians 2 said, “signs, wonders and miracles,” —evidence that Satanic activity and leadership in this world is coming to its power.
- You go to the book of Revelation, chapters 13, 16, 19 all talk about signs, wonders and miracles, indicators, precursors to the appearance of the Antichrist. He confirms a peace agreement with Israel, and then, that’s when this coalition of nations talked about in Ezekiel 38, as well as Daniel 11 which includes in the north, Syria, and in the south, Egypt—all of these nations coming together. This alignment of the nations talked about by the ancient Jewish prophets, they’re coming together. They’re all precursors. And it happens after the Rapture of the Church, maybe even before the seven years start, but definitely in that seven-year period. And it’s early on in that seven-year period because it looks like the Scriptures say that’s how we’ll have a Temple on the Temple Mount in the city of Jerusalem.
- Ankerberg: I want to take a break here, Jimmy, and when we come back, I want to talk about, the Bible says that God’s going to put a hook into the jaw of Russia, in essence, and bring them down toward Israel. And I want you to speculate here a little bit here–sanctified speculation–in terms of why will Israel be a prize that Russia wants. What can be found in Israel that Russia wants? We’ll talk about that when we come right back.
- Ankerberg: Alright we’re back, and we’re talking with journalist Jimmy DeYoung who lives in Jerusalem. And, Jimmy, we’re talking right now about Russia and why the Bible says that someday they’re going to come down toward Israel to try to capture Israel. It describes Israel as being in a peaceful setting. But there must be something that Russia wants in Israel. Give me a little sanctified speculation here. What do you think they’re going to want?
- DeYoung: Well, the Bible in Ezekiel 38 says the hooks will be placed in the jaw of Russia and bring her down in. And it says, then, later on in that same chapter, “Have you come down to take your spoil?” It talks about in Ezekiel 38 “silver and gold.” I looked at that and I said, “Now, wait a minute. There’s no silver or gold that’s mined here in Israel. Why would the Lord inspire Ezekiel to write about silver and gold?” And then one day I was standing at Qumran, which is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found—but it’s at the northwestern corner of the Dead Sea. I looked out at that Dead Sea. I said, “Now, there’s one of the hooks. That Dead Sea is worth 2.5 trillion dollars!” That’s about the same as our gross national product here in America. And I want to tell you something, the minerals, the deposits in that Dead Sea available for the Russians? Oh, they would like that resource, I can guarantee that.
- But then I also became aware of the fact of the “Med-Dead Project.” I have a treaty here, the treaty of peace between the state of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In this treaty it calls for the “Red-Dead Project.”
- Now, let me explain those: The Red-Dead—they bring water out of the Red Sea, pipe it up to the southern end of the Dead Sea because it’s losing its water; or the Med-Dead Project—bring water out of the Mediterranean and bring it over to the southern end of the Dead Sea. They don’t want to drop it in the southern end of the Dead Sea. That’s where the Dead Sea Works are located and that’s where they’re extracting all these chemicals, these minerals, these phosphates and everything else. By the way, there’s enough phosphate in the Dead Sea to fertilize the entire earth for 200 years without running out of fertilizer.
- But they would pipe then this water from either the Red Sea or the Mediterranean up to the northern end of the Dead Sea. Now, the Dead Sea is 1300 feet below sea level and at the northern end of the Dead Sea it’s 1300 feet deep there. They would put the water in at the northern end, extract the minerals, the chemicals, all of those phosphates off the bottom of the Dead Sea at the northern end, pipe it back to the southern end to the Dead Sea Works. So you’d have two pipes running in parallel from the south to the north.
- Now, I’m not an engineer but the electronical engineers tell me that if you have two pipes that close together with water running between them, it sets up an electric magnetic field. And some of the people I’ve talked to in Israel said that could extract all the gold and silver in the Dead Sea.
- How did it get there? Well, 4500 years since a flood, and gold and silver, when the rains have washed it into the Dead Sea have accumulated in the Dead Sea and they have estimated that the gold and silver in the Dead Sea possibly could pay every national debt in the world.
- In addition to that, I’ve got a good buddy, Hayseed Stevens, who is working with the Israeli government, they’ve been exploring for oil. Not a whole lot of oil in Israel. They have to rely upon the Arab worlds to supply their oil. But at the southwestern corner of the Dead Sea…listen, Jordan found oil at the northeastern corner of the Dead Sea. At the southwestern corner they have dug an exploratory well there. They’ve gone down. They’ve hit a salt plateau. But they say that when they go through the salt plateau, they will go to what is called “bottom of the barrel” oil.
- Now, wait a minute. If it’s at the lowest spot on the face of the earth, that is the bottom of the barrel. And if they put an oil well there and start extracting the oil—get this picture, John. I love the way God works. Here’s Saudi Arabia at this altitude. Here’s Iraq. Here’s Kuwait. Here is Iran. And here is the Dead Sea. It’s like taking a straw and putting it into a Coke and you start to drink the Coke through the straw. Well, the level at the top is going down but the Coke is coming out at the bottom of the glass. Wouldn’t it be interesting for God to allow Israel to drain all the oil out of these oil-producing countries and have the greatest oil find in the history of the world? That certainly could be a hook to grab Russia to bring her down.
- Ankerberg: Alright, finish the biblical scenario. Where is that all going to head and what’s going to happen?
- DeYoung: Well, what’s going to happen, early on in the seven-year Tribulation period—now, why do I say early on? Verse 8 of Ezekiel chapter 38 says, “When they are in the land dwelling safely.” Up in verse 11 of chapter 38 of Ezekiel it says, “They will come into the land of unwalled villages.” What’s that talking about? Well, it’s a military term. Remember, when Ezekiel wrote this 2500 years ago, they didn’t have F-16s; they didn’t have submarines; they didn’t have tanks; they didn’t have Apache helicopters. So how did they defend themselves? They put a wall up around their city. Ezekiel is saying, when they lay down their military armament that they use for defense, then this is when this battle is going to take place. When does that happen? It starts the seven-year Tribulation Period clock ticking, when the Antichrist confirms a peace agreement with the Jewish state. They will “dwell safely” in their land.
- It’s what happened back in 1991 in the Gulf Crisis. You say I was there. Yes, I was. I saw it all happen and I saw Israel having their minds prepared for that type of protection by another party when they did not retaliate against Iraq when they were firing those 39 SCUDs at us, because the United States said, “We’ll protect you. We’ll take care of you. Don’t worry about a thing.” Well, their mindset is there, and when a world ruler comes on the scene and says, “We’re here! I’m your messiah! I can make those peace treaties work! You’ll have peace; you can live in peace here in your own land. Don’t worry about a thing,” they’ll accept it, and it’s at that time when these nations come against Israel.
- Ankerberg: Russia and certain Arab countries come against Israel. Then what happens?
- DeYoung: God, out of the heavenlies, destroys them. You know what’s interesting about that? The Antichrist is going to rule in the first three and a half years of the Tribulation Period over a false church located in the city of Rome. How could this false church come together with the Islamic world in place as it is? By that time, one out of every four people in the world—1.5 billion people—will be of the Islamic faith. And Islam says anybody who is not a Muslim is a non-believer, thus, they should be eliminated; they should be killed. Non-believers will not have a part in what the Islamic world wants to do.
- So, the Antichrist could not have, as a member of this false world religion, the Islamic faith. Well, when these nations come against Israel—and that’s why I believe it’s within the first year of the seven-year Tribulation Period—when they come against Israel, when that coalition comes, Ezekiel 38:18ff says, “Hellfire and brimstone will be rained out of heaven upon these enemies.” I believe Chapter 39, verse 2 says five out of every six of those in those nations will be destroyed. And, well, the Bible says that then that’s going to render inoperative, basically, the Islamic world. Thus, the following prophetic scenario for the Antichrist to have his leadership from Rome and the false church can be well established just like the Bible says it will.
- Ankerberg: And we’re going to finish up that scenario next week when we talk about world events and the return of Jesus Christ. How close are we? But before we leave this program, people can get depressed just listening to this and looking at world events. In fact, across the world there’s an agitation, there’s a worry, there’s an insecurity about the future. God doesn’t want that for us. What does He provide in Christ?
- DeYoung: You know what prophecy is? The Bible says in Revelation 19:10, “Jesus Christ is the Spirit of prophecy.” The whole book of Revelation, 22 chapters, the title of the book: “A Revelation of Jesus Christ” —His person, His power, and His program.
- Now, when you see the “program” unfolding like 2000 years ago John the Revelator wrote it—I was just on the Isle of Patmos where John received that revelation from God—when he lays out that scenario, what’s going to happen, and you read about it coming together as we’ve been talking about on this broadcast, then, if His program is in place, you’ve got to look to the Person and His power.
- Do you know what His power is? Revelation 1:18: “I am He that was alive and dead, and I now stand before you alive.” Do you know what that proves? He is the One who can tell us what history is going to be like in the future, but He’s also the One who can be our Savior. Jesus Christ died to take away our sin. He resurrected to prove He was the One who could take away that sin. And when you put your belief in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, admit that you need a Savior because you’re a sinner, and call upon Him to give you eternal life, and He does that, that gives you that “blessed hope” of “His glorious appearing” which seems to be very, very soon to be.
- Ankerberg: Fantastic. Next week we’re going to talk with Jimmy about the events that he has been watching in the Middle East and through Europe and around the world. Which of these events lead him to the conclusion that the return of Jesus Christ is near? I hope that you’ll join us.