|Russia offers to send troops to patrol Golan Heights|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Saturday, 08 June 2013 21:00|
Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered to assist the United Nations peacekeeping force currently operating on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, after Austria and the Philippines announced their withdrawal amid heightening tensions in the region. Last week Islamic groups fighting against the Syrian government briefly captured the town of Quneitra, situated close to the border with Israel, and containing the only crossing point between the two countries. UN peacekeepers were forced to flee their base for around four hours until government soldiers were able to regain control of the town. Israel has urged the UN to provide more troops to fill the void that will be left by Austria and the Philippines, which contribute over two thirds of the 1000-strong peacekeeping force.
Quote: “"We could replace the leaving Austrian contingent in this region on the border between Israeli troops and the Syrian army," Putin told the RIA Novosti news agency. UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Hak told RIA Novosti on Friday that the UN would welcome Russia's contribution to the peacekeeping efforts.
The Syrian conflict has become a dividing line between East and West, with Eastern nations such as Russia, Iran and Hizbullah supportive of President Assad, and Western nations now lifting their ban on arming Syrian opposition forces. Unfortunately the West has not had a good track record when it comes to supporting popular uprisings in the Middle East in recent years. The ousting of President Hosni Mubarak by the United States catapulted the Muslim Brotherhood into power in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood was the organization that gave rise to the Hamas terrorist group in the Gaza Strip that routinely calls for Israel's annihilation. The removal of Libya's Gaddafi by Britain and France made way for Al-Qaeda to gain a foothold in north Africa. The fall of President Assad might break the power of Iran and Hizbullah in the region, but it could also unleash a hornets' nest as Islamic terrorist groups vie for control over the country. Israel is worried that the dissolution of Syria could result in advanced weapons supplied by the Russians ending up in the hands of Hizbullah. There is therefore a reluctance among Western nations to remove Assad by force. Russia is of course manipulating the situation for its own ends. Russian support for Iran and Syria is perhaps less about promoting peace and stability in the Middle East and more about extending and fortifying its own influence in the region. Putin's offer can be seen in this light, and the Bible does seem to validate that view.
The prophet Ezekiel foretold of a time when the Jewish people would once again be regathered to the land of Israel and be living securely. The Bible says that during this time, a confederacy of what are now Islamic nations (including Iran, Sudan, Libya, and Turkey) will launch an attack on the nation of Israel (Ezekiel 38:5-6). According to the Bible, Russia is to play a leading role in this conflict, acting as protector to the nations coming against Israel (Ezekiel 38:7). When this confederacy enters the land of Israel, the Bible says an evil thought will arise in the heart of this leader. He will come to view the conflict between Israel and the surrounding nations as a way of gaining more power and wealth for himself (Ezekiel 38:12). While it is doubtful that the international community will acquiesce to Putin's proposal, the fact that Russia is desirous to extend its influence over the Middle East shows us just how close we may be to these prophecies being fulfilled.
Jesus Christ is coming again soon. He is coming to take all those whose sins are forgiven, to be with Him where He is, in the Father's House (John 14:3). The Bible teaches us that God is holy and cannot look upon sin (Habakkuk 1:13). The Bible also teaches us that heaven, God's dwelling place, is perfect and sin can never enter there (Revelation 21:27). The Bible says we have all sinned and are fallen short of God's required standard of holiness (Romans 3:23). So the only way any of us will ever be in heaven is if we have our sin taken away. We can forgive people who hurt us, but that doesn't stop them doing it again. But God needed to make a way whereby we could be forgiven and would also make us perfect like Him so we could live in heaven. And He needed to do it in a way that would not compromise His perfect character. He did it by sending His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, into this world to take the punishment for our sin (John 3:16). He has put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Hebrews 9:26). That's why the Bible teaches us there is only one way to get to God the Father, and that is through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6). It is not through Mohammed or any other person. Jesus is the only way because only He bore the penalty for our sin when He gave His life as a sacrifice upon the cross of Calvary (Acts 4:12). Have your sins been forgiven? Have you trusted in Him for salvation? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved (Acts 16:31).