Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out…And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal; and I will turn you around, drive you on, take you up from the remotest parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel.
~Ezekiel 38:3-4, 39:1-2
Welcome back, faithful sojourners! We’re traveling together down a road of discovery as we consider signs of the times from today’s news, through the lens of Scripture. Over the past two days I’ve shared information regarding discoveries of natural gas and oil off the Mediterranean coast of Israel, and on her mainland. Soon, Israel may be producing and exporting oil and gas in proportions that will leave her enemies envious and vengeful. In fact, the Bible tells us of a time that Israel will be attacked, and I think oil and gas could play a part in that action. Let’s take a look!
Ezekiel 38-39 describes that attack. What we know is that a coalition of nations (Russia, Iran, Turkey and others), led by Gog, will invade Israel from the north. (See posts from May 23-28, 2014 for more info regarding this Northern Invasion.) The Lord God, through the prophet Ezekiel, makes known to Gog that He will “put hooks into your jaws…will turn you around, drive you on, take you up from the remotest parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel” in an evil plan devised against Israel. Later in that passage (verses 12-14), we find Gog’s motives: to capture spoil, seize plunder, acquire goods, etc. So, what is Gog after? The passage indicates silver, gold, and livestock. Certainly I don’t question Scripture. They will come for those things…and perhaps Israel will have even more of it when they come. But the passage doesn’t clearly define “spoil and other goods.” Could oil and gas be among the spoils? No one can say for certain, but I believe it could include those resources, and here is why.
Russia’s economy is hugely dependent upon oil and gas production. Consider that, in light of what is going on with oil and gas prices today, and the fact that Israel has newfound resources. Some estimate that oil revenues make up as much as 45% of Russia’s budget, thus sharp drops in oil prices have a dramatic effect on the Russian economy. As inflation rises, the value of the ruble drops, creating panic among the Russian population. To deal with the current crisis, Russia dramatically increased interest rates recently, hoping to curb the decline in the value of the ruble.
Iran, the second major player in the Northern Invasion, has seen a slight improvement in their economy, due in part to the loosening of world sanctions as the Iranian regime successfully stalls negotiations regarding their march toward nuclear weapons. Though their economy was expected to grow, the current drop in oil prices has all but eaten away that hope. Iran is a world leader in oil exports and was greatly limited in its ability to export while sanctions were in place. Soon after sanctions were loosened, oil prices plummeted, leaving Iran in a precarious position trying to balance its budget.
Thus, Israel coming “online” with oil production will mean greater competition for export dollars. Eventually, Russia (known as the Great Bear) and Iran may both be motivated enough to invade Israel in order to “seize plunder”…ie, oil and gas!
But there is more! America is the world’s largest consumer of oil and gas. Though the resources underground have been known for quite some time, the US has only recently ratcheted up production, and is now in no need of importing oil. Thus, there is unused supply worldwide, helping to drive down costs. Certainly, that is good news for most Americans. But, it is not necessarily good news for those, such as Saudi Arabia, who have exported to us for years.
In the past, Saudi Arabia has used their resources for political leverage. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Saudi Arabia manipulated oil prices by cutting production to raise prices, and increasing production to lower them. Saudi Arabia took down the Russian economy in the 1990’s by sending prices so low that Russia defaulted on debt. And don’t think they won’t do it again!
Russia is a key ally and weapons supplier to Syria…a mortal enemy of Saudi Arabia, for political reasons. Iran is also a mortal enemy of Saudi Arabia, for religious reasons. (Saudi Arabia is the “mother of Sunni Islam,” while Iran is the “mother of Shi’ite Islam.” The two Islamic sects consider one another infidels and are at continuous war with one another.) Thus, even though Saudi Arabia has a glut of oil typically exported to America, they refuse to curb production because to do so would increase the price of oil, thereby boosting the economy of their two mortal enemies!
Now that we have at least a layman’s understanding of why gas prices have suddenly plummeted in America, let’s tie it all together with Bible prophecy! Ezekiel 38 clearly identifies Russia and Iran as large players in the coalition that will invade Israel from the north. They will come, not expressly to crush Israel, but to capture spoil, seize plunder, and acquire goods. Currently, Russia is in great need of controlling oil and gas in order to support their economy, and Iran is in great need of pressing forward with their dreams of a world-wide Shi’ite caliphate! (Not to mention, their economy is significantly depressed!)
Finally, Russian president Vladimir Putin is very “Gog-like” in his manner of ruling. It is far too early to officially anoint him as “Gog,” and I am certainly not omniscient enough to know whether or not the Northern Invasion will occur in the near future. However, Luke 12:54-56 strongly exhorts us to know how to analyze the times. Storm clouds are brewing, the Great Bear is awakening, and the fig tree has put forth its leaves! We are seeing the beginning of birth pangs that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24:8. This contraction may not lead to the birth, but our world is in labor! Fulfillment of prophecy is imminent!
Thanks for stopping by! We’re not done with Signs of the Times, so check back for more!