Russia’s occupation of Syria & Iraq in the prophets.

Putin’s military move into Syria was implicitly prophesied in Daniel 11.

I recall listening to a Christadelphian lecture 1 month prior to Russia’s move into Syria. The lecturer said that the fulfilment of Dan 11:40 required that Russia must occupy Syria before moving into Turkey.

Sure enough, a month later, Russia moved into Syria.

This lecturer is certainly not the only one to have this view. In an exposition entitled “The Prophecy of Daniel”, HP. Mansfield wrote the following back in 1986 – almost 30 years ago:

“Daniel 11: “And the king of the North <Russia> shall come against him <Turkey>”

The fulfilment <of this> must await the final re-forming of the… Kingdom of Syria, which the northern Russian power is poised to accomplish.

She <Russia> is spreading her control over the territory of the ancient king of the north, and only requires a controlling influence in Iran, Iraq and Syria to qualify for the title; then she will be ready to “come against him <Turkey>.”

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This understanding of Daniel 11 is not a result of the prophetic capabilities of these bible students, but simply a result of careful reading of Daniel 11 and other quotes.

To understand why it is that Russia will have a controlling military influence in Syria/Iraq, we need to understand how the prophets portrayed Gog in their prophecies.

To that end, Ezekiel provides us with a clue. In chapter 38:17, God tells ‘Gog’, that he is the individual who had been spoken of by other prophets:

Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them?

Ezek 38:17

Which of the prophets might verse 17 be referring to?

At least two other prophets lived prior to Ezekiel’s time; Micah and Isaiah, and both prophets have latter-day prophecies which refer to Gog:

Gog in Micah & Isaiah – ‘The King of Assyria’

Micah 5

The context of Micah 5 is the coming of the Messiah (v2) and the return of Israel to the land (v3) so this is without a doubt a latter-day prophecy. In verse 5, Micah begins to talk about the latter-day enemy of Israel:

When the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces…

…and it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots

Isa 30 & 31

The time period for both of these chapters in Isaiah are also in the latter days as they talk of a time period that occurs around the time when judgement emanates from Zion, and Jerusalem is defended. Here are the references to the latter-day Assyrian in Isaiah:

Isa 30:31 For through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod.

32 And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it.

33 For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.

Isa 31:1 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!

Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited.

And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the Lord, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.

Notice it doesn’t say when “the Assyrians” come into our land, but rather it is the “Assyrian” in the singular.

This is not talking of the latter-day manifestation of the Assyrian’s manifested in a nation or empire (which is comparable to today’s ISIS), but rather this is talking about a latter-day individual, or King – Isa 30:33. This is an autocrat who will have occupational power in Assyria prior to the invasion of Israel.

Map of the Neo-Ancient Assyrian empire. (Dark Green)

This heartland of the ancient Assyrian empire happens to be around the area of the Tigris and the Euphrates (which today is part of Syria & Iraq) in mostly areas that are currently controlled by ISIS.

ISIS Sanctuary 20 may hi res-01
Map of the ISIS sanctuary 2015 (ISW)

While ISIS currently control this region, Russia has declared war on ISIS and are moving into the region with a ferocity unmatched by the United States.

Gog in Daniel – ‘The King of the North’

After Ezekiel’s time, the prophet Daniel was also given information about Gog.

Daniel 11

This time, in the latter part of Daniel 11, Gog is named “The King of the North”.

The empire of the “King of the North” in Daniel 11 was the Seleucid empire which extended from Turkey to Afghanistan.

It’s interesting to note that much like the Assyrian empire, the heartland of the Seleucid empire was along the region of the Euphrates and Tigris which is inclusive of today’s Syria & Iraq.

Seluicid Empire
Map of the Seleucid Empire

Daniel 11 calls Gog the “King of the North” because Gog will have a controlling influence in the region of the ancient king of the North.

Today, Russia is in the process of increasing its military influence and power within this Seleucid region:

  • Russia already has significant influence in Iran
  • Russia already has significant influence in Syria.
  • Iraq has indicated that they would prefer the Russian military for protection instead of the US military and have already started mutual intelligence sharing with Russia to a greater degree than what exists with the US.
  • Putin has expressed interest in occupying Afghanistan as NATO looks to leave. When he announced this, Obama immediately cancelled his troop withdrawal.

Russia’s occupation of Syria & Iraq in the prophets.

Isaiah, Micah & Daniel all refer to Gog as being a king over the former territories of the Assyrian and Seleucid empires before invading Turkey, Egypt and Israel.

As seen earlier, this is currently a region which is under the control of ISIS, however, Russia is moving in and is likely to become the occupying power.

Daniel 11 shows that it is during this time, or after, the Gogian autocrat will focus his attention on Turkey.

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Russias Holy War in Syria – the Revival of the Holy Roman Empire

Seven months ago in March, the Vatican’s diplomatic representative to the United Nations did something unusual.

Prior to March, the Vatican’s official stance on the Syrian conflict was to oppose military strikes in Syria and to that end, Pope Francis wrote to Putin during the G20 summit in 2013 and asked him to urge world leaders to peruse ‘talks’.

But as 2013 progressed into 2015, it became all too clear that the conflict had struck a knife into the heart of something near and dear to the Vatican – christianity in ISIS held territories.

Every day, the christian population in these territories suffer brutal persecution easily comparable with that of the Jewish persecution under the Nazi regime through branding, enslavement, rape, torture, beheading, hanging, etc.

It was this persecution that caused the Vatican to rethink its policy in Syria and for the first time call upon the United Nations to use military force against ISIS.

However, since the Vatican urged the United Nations to intervene militarily, the effort by the United States led coalition to defeat ISIS has been largely anemic.

For example, in September, Gen. Lloyd Austin, head of US Central Command, made an embarrassing admission to the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said almost all of the Syrian rebels trained by the American military as part of the $500 million dollar program to fight ISIS had either been killed, captured or had fled from ISIS militants.

“Of the Rebels that are left in the fight… we’re talking… four or five!!” the General awkwardly told the committee.

Half a billion dollars had produced – but 4 – US backed rebels at that particular point in time.

To compound the US’s lacklustre effort, the last remaining US aircraft carrier in the region left the Persian gulf last week.

The Vatican’s call for an effective military force against ISIS seemed to fall on deaf ears.

In many respects the Papacy has been in this situation before. Its a situation where the Vatican supports the use of military force in an effort to preserve itself and by extension, Roman Catholicism.

A notable example occurred prior to AD 800 when the existence of the Pope was threatened by war. The emperor of Constantinople could no longer afford him protection against the Longbeards and so the Pope formed an alliance with the French emperor in A.D. 800 who gave him ‘temporal’ control over three states making him not just a religious ruler but a civil and military ruler over his own states.

However in 1870 the Pope lost this temporal power, and 145 years later in 2015, the Pope now presides over a religious administration that lacks any significant military and civil power.

Without a military backbone, the Vatican has been effective at ‘seducing and influencing’ the nations, however, as the Time Magazine notes, this ‘influence’ is beginning to show its limits:

Ultimately many of the world problems are not responsive to the kind of “soft power” Francis is deploying.

~ Time Magazine

And so the Vatican’s policy on dealing with ISIS changed from ‘talks’ to ‘military intervention’. From ‘soft power’ to ‘hard power’ as Time puts it. However no military entity to date has effectively responded to the Vatican’s call… until last month.

It was last month that Putin poured military assets into Syria and asserted himself as a power to be reckoned with.

Immediately, US warplanes were ordered to divert away from Russian bombers who are bombing on average more than 5 times the intensity than US bombers and last week, Russia started using cruise missiles to bomb enemy strongholds with no advanced notice to US air-traffic.

As Stratfor notes, Russia isn’t hindered by the same rules of engagement that limit U.S. operations – Russia shoots first and asks questions later.

But lets do away with commenting on Russia’s aggressive operational presence because the Papacy sees something else in Russia that is of even greater value.

The MOST alluring aspect of Russia’s operation in Syria in the eyes of the Papacy is that Russia sees its own role in the Middle East as the Holy protector of Christianity.

Russia’s ties to the Middle East are rooted in its self-assigned role as the defender of Orthodox Christianity, which it claimed to inherit from the Byzantine Caesars after the fall of Constantinople in 1453

~ New York Times

In 2012, a Russian Orthodox cleric asked Putin to make ‘the protection of Christians one of the foreign policy directions in future’.

“This is how it will be, have no doubt,” – was Putins answer

Putin as a defender of Christianity is not a new concept on Russian soil, but it is a concept that is only just beginning to play out in practice in the Middle East.

What does it all mean?

Writing in 1868 in a book entitled “Exposition of Daniel”, Dr. John Thomas makes the following observation of such a conflict which might bring together the latter day Holy Roman Empire:

But the time is not far off, when the Latin Bishop (The Roman Catholic Pope) may have to seek again to the Constantiopolitan Autocracy (Russian) for protection.

~ Exposition of Daniel

With Russia exploiting its long held imperialist ambitions in the Middle East as part of a holy war to save Christians, it cannot be far off before it looks elsewhere (Turkey) to comprehensively realize those ambitions.

When that does happen, the Vatican will finally have a willing military partner in Russia who will be established as the Gogian autocracy of Constantinople – the Eastern leg of the latter day Roman empire.

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