What a remarkable variety of changes have taken place in our world in 2014. It is a major task to sit back and summarise the headlines of the past twelve months and synthesise their significance in the purpose of God and the words of the prophets of old. We are again very grateful that bro Don has produced such a valuable manuscript and we wish to thank him and his editorial team for their competent glossary of year 2014.
This time last year we considered the elevated status of Russia and its energetic president Putin as they strode among the nations of the world in remarkable success, solutions for Syria and for Iran, sweetening relations with Egypt and Turkey, bursting with financial aid for western nations, offers of help with Israel’s new-found gas, building ports in Syria and Cyprus, brandishing increased spending for army, navy and air force. “Was a Czar ever more confident than this man?”
At the close of 2014 he is the off-scouring of western leaders and many others for his naked aggression with eastern Ukraine and blatant incorporation of the Crimean Peninsula into the Russian Federation. He has shown himself to be totally concerned with the expansion of the Russian motherland and the comparisons with Hitler in his initiation of WWII have been truly amazing. His word in counsel with world leaders has meant nothing: while he is at the meeting issuing assurance of no further invasion or denying the evidence of his infamy, back home on the border the unmarked trucks of the Russian army are pouring into eastern Ukraine, or the rebels of the east prevent Dutch investigators from analysing the wreckage of the Malaysian plane MH17 with its 298 passengers! This is a new level of political dishonesty!
The year ends with the Russian banks in chaos, the rouble less than half its value, inflation rapidly rising and the price of oil, Russia’s principle unit of wealth, down to $55.00 a barrel, just half of where it was twelve months ago. What do we hear from Russia in these calamities but threats of ‘I can take Ukraine in a fortnight’, ‘don’t mess with a hungry bear’, especially if ‘he has nuclear weapons’.
Such is the fear he casts in the hearts of world leaders that no-one really doubts that these threats could have some real significance! We believe they have! With his back against the wall and the target of the western press and its cartoons, he is all the more likely to make another unexpected move.
Yet this shameless character is not without a display of religion. Russia is going through a new ‘national baptism’. In 998 the people of Kievan Rus following their King Vladimir, were immersed in the waters of the Dnieper River. The last twenty years has seen a vast growth in the Russian Orthodox Church, so that new churches are springing up at the rate of three per day, for a total of 26,000 and 800 monasteries! Church and State work together and the Roman Pope is desperate to influence his more European congregations with the enthusiasm of their Russian friends.
So all the ancient ties are playing into the run to Armageddon.
Europe will find that she has to cooperate with the might of Russia. Germany is the powerhouse of European business and industry but she has vast and growing ties with the Russian economy and much of her own life activity is dependent on the gas from Siberian fields. Militarily she is no match for Russia and France is in the same situation. Peace and cooperation with a confident Russia is the only sane future for Europe and its form of government means that though there are 28 countries in their EU it is really quite leaderless. This is in keeping with Ezekiel. Britain is more and more of a mood to run their own affairs and resentment towards European restraints and taxation is growing year by year. Scotland has voted for stability, and the “young lions” are responsive to working with Britain and their siblings (with annual strivings on the cricket field!). The old Empire has gone, but it is remarkable how its roots still influence relationships among nations.
Israel has exceeded 8 million population and is growing strongly in many areas of high technology. It’s not quite for public display, but Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf States are in active corroboration in many fields, and especially in defence and security, as they share the apprehension of a nuclear Iran.
IS has brought a new level of cruel violence to a heedless world. But it will not reach its caliphate status: the time of the flood of Euphratean waters was in earlier times and Revelation 16 speaks of their contraction in the run to Armageddon.
They will create whatever sporadic violence they can in the luxuriating western world but have no basic national organisation and are the despising of all people.
The need for our Master grows with the passing of every day. Let us hold on to our faith in all respects, educate our children in care and love and cause them to lift up their voices with us in praise of our Creator.