Russian Navy Holds War Games in Mediterranean - Russia has drawn eleven warships from its Black Sea and Atlantic Northwest fleets for a joint war game in the Mediterranean to underline its drive for a naval presence in all the world's seas and oceans. The fact that the Russian vessels will only visit Arab - not Israeli ports - reflects Moscow's decision to strengthen its ties with Arab states.
Putin to Become PM? - Dmitry Medvedev, the hand-picked candidate to succeed President Vladimir Putin, called for Putin to become prime minister after the March 2 election. Putin is prohibited by law for running for a third consecutive term, but clearly wants to retain a powerful role once he steps down.
Iran to Fire '11,000 Rockets in Minute' If Attacked - Iran warned on Saturday it would fire off 11,000 rockets at enemy bases within the space of a minute if the United States launched military action against the Islamic republic. The missiles are targeted at Israel and US military bases in the Middle East.
Putin Warns US Against Attacking Iran - Russian leader Vladimir Putin met his Iranian counterpart Tuesday and implicitly warned the US not to attack Iran.
Russia Boosts Bomber Drills Near North America - The US military said yesterday that the United States or Canada scrambled fighter jets to intercept Russian bombers conducting drills outside US airspace near Alaska on at least seven occasions this summer. The frequency of the drills has been described as reminiscent of the Cold War.
The ancient people called Magog are commonly believed to have been the ancestors of the Russian nation. The prophet Ezekiel spoke of an invasion of Israel by Russia, which has not yet been fulfilled. What could cause Russia to come against the tiny nation of Israel -- which has no oil and no real strategic value? This question has puzzled Bible scholars for centuries. However, recent developments in the Middle East have for the first time in history lent credence to this long-awaited prophecy.
Israel has signed a defense pact with Turkey, making Turkey its only ally in the Middle East. Turkey straddles the Bosphorus Strait, the passage way between The Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The Black Sea is Russia's only warm water port, which is guaranteed to be open year round. It is also the heart of Russia's oil and gas exports, which in a desperate economic situation is one of the few exportable commodities other than military weapons.
Turkey and Russia have argued for years over the proper way to administer the fair usage of the Bosphorus Strait. Turkey wants to maintain total control shipping through the strait, while Russia is demanding an international commission to govern the waterway.
Turkey and Russia have also threatened war over the delivery of S-300 missiles to the island of Cyprus, and over the Russian support of Syrian-backed terrorists. The rhetoric between the two nations has been fierce at times and now tiny, non-strategic Israel has agreed to the mutual defense of Turkey. Russia is also aligning herself with Iran.
Other events in Russia, such as the changes in government leaning back toward a communist-style government, should give Israel and her western allies cause for concern. The Magog prophecy appears to be more likely when the current events in Russian are examined in detail.
For students of Bible prophecy, even the title of this communiqué should set off alarm sirens. I just received some electrifying intelligence data - first, from the DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s briefing, and second, from some personal intelligence sources (which I carefully guard) that confirm Debka’s report.
Russia, Iran and Syria have entered a defense pact that is in the process of altering the balance of power in the entire Middle East. Russia’s part in the pact has been kept relatively secret for a long time. But the facts reveal a long, steady Russian commitment to the Iranian nuclear program and arms supply to Syria.
A Mossad general shared with me in confidence that he had personally traced the hiring and importation to Iran of 283 of the defunct Soviet Union’s top nuclear and missile scientists. This meeting took place in February of 1991.
I shared this information with no one until nine months later, when it was first made public (although, strangely, not followed up by the mainstream media). All Russian leaders continued and expanded this agreement to this day, especially our supposed friend, Vladimir Putin.
Russia has helped the Iranian nuclear program from its inception. Hundreds of Russian scientists, with their families, live around some twenty scattered nuclear-related facilities. Russian “Spetznaz soldiers” (Special Forces) guard all the key nuclear facilities.
Iran has had some help on missile development from the North Koreans. But even their missiles are based upon Russian designs. The unmistakable culprit in China, North Korea and Iran’s nuclear development has been the Soviet Union and continued by Russia.
The Soviet Union’s motivation for helping China and North Korea was primarily ideological. Russia’s primary reason is hard cash; although now, it is taking on a strategic importance as well. So, here are the disturbing, hard facts about what is taking place in what can only be viewed as a dangerous anti-Western strategy in the form of a Russian-Syrian-Iranian Axis.
The first part of this strategy was, as I said above, Russia enabling Iran to produce deliverable nuclear warheads. The second part was the formation of the recent mutual defense pact between Iran and Syria. The foreign ministers of Iran and Syria, Mostafa Najjar and Hassan Turkmani, signed the pact in Tehran on June 15th, 2006.
Debka’s intelligence sources unveiled a disturbing clause in the agreement that was reported to President Bush by U.S. Intelligence. This report disclosed:
“The clause speaks of more than one battery of upgraded Shehab-3 surface-to-surface missiles to be deployed on the 13,000-foot Jabal Ash Shanin ridges towering over central Syria. The latest Syrian-Iranian exchanges are reported by DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources as auguring the early dispatch from Tehran of a deputation of officers to take up position at al Qadnus, east of the Syrian port of Tartus, and along the road linking the port to Jabal Ash Shanin. This team will act as the vanguard of the Iranian missile force: to operate the missile station, check out the ground, and fix its precise location.
“Senior intelligence officials warned the U.S. President that this deployment would not just throw the entire Middle East balance of strength out of kilter, but directly menace American bases located as far as West and East Europe and the Central Asian republics, including those located on the shores of the oil-rich Caspian Sea. This puts virtually all of Europe within range of the soon-coming nuclear-tipped Iranian missiles - and at the whim of Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Remember him? He is the one who believes Allah has chosen him to fulfill an “end time” Muslim prophecy by starting a world apocalypse in which the long-awaited “Mahdi” (Muslim Messiah) will appear and subject all survivors to Allah.
As if this isn’t bad enough news, there is something even more alarming developing within this new axis of evil. Russia is now making moves to protect Syria and its Shehab-3 missile base.
This is what DEBKA-News-Weekly reported: “Our sources have observed the Russians dredging the port of Tartus, Syria’s second most important Mediterranean port, with a view to expanding their logistical supply point there to a fully-equipped naval base, possibly to serve the Black Sea Fleet warships when they are redeployed from the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol. It is designed to be built up into the permanent base for the fleet led by the RFS Moskva (TG Flag) missile cruiser and the RFS Azov landing ship within the next three years.
“On February 27, 2006, DEBKAfile’s exclusive sources found the Moskva and Asov heading into the Mediterranean on Feb. 5, escorted by a Russian military tug, to take part in the NATO marine exercise Operation Active Endeavor, which was to practice counter-measures against nuclear and other WMD smugglers. NATO chiefs, and American generals in particular, attached great importance to Russia’s participation in the exercise. NATO secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer had intended to make the gesture of being the North Atlantic Organization chief to visit a Russian flagship. The visit was canceled when it was discovered that the three Russian fleet vessels would be paying an official call at the Syrian port of Latakia.
“The arrival of the Russian task force in Tartus in March marked the opening of the Russian base. Our military experts note that the Missile Cruiser Moskva is armed with the weapons, radar and electronic gear of an [aircraft] carrier hunter.
“The American intelligence briefing for the U.S. President further disclosed that sophisticated Russian air defense systems are to be installed for the dual purpose of protecting the Tartus Naval Base and the Shehab-3 missile emplacements. DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources identify the system as the S-300PMU-2. It will be operated by Russian military crews, not in Syrian hands. This air defense system is comparable to the American Patriot, but is more effective. The version to be deployed in Syria is geared to intercept ballistic missiles. It has the great advantage of being ready to fire five minutes after receiving orders …”
This explains why Iran has blatantly defied the world and continued developing nuclear warheads, which are closer to becoming operational than we dare believe.
Second, it explains the reason why the Iranian and Syrian defense ministers signed a mutual defense pact last June 15th.
Third, it gives the reason for Hezbollah launching a war with Israel when they did. It was to divert the G-8 leaders from seriously debating action about the Iranian nuclear threat. And Vladimir Putin played a masterful game of concealing what his forces are doing.
Fourth, it explains why Syria and Iran are unafraid to openly support Hezbollah in their war with Israel and support terrorists that target U.S. troops in Iraq. Russia is in the background guaranteeing their protection. Debka reports that they found data indicating that Russia helped persuade Syrian President Bashir Assad to accept the placement of Iranian missiles on their soil by hinting that “it is part of their own deepening strategic plans for Syria.”
What is most important is that all this is setting up Ezekiel’s 2600-year-old prophecy in Ezekiel Chapter 38. Persia, or modern Iran, is listed as chief among the Muslim nations Russia will lead into an all-out assault against Israel. This is predicted to be the first battle of the war of Armageddon.
One nation that does not seem to be listed is Syria. I believe this is the result of actions it is now taking against Israel. Isaiah’s prophecy about Damascus in the last days is going to be soon fulfilled.
Twenty-seven hundred years ago, Isaiah warned, “An oracle concerning Damascus: See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins … In that day the glory of Jacob will fade; the fat of his body will waste away.” (Isaiah 17:1, 4 NIV)
To establish the time of this event, look at these factors:
* First, Damascus is one of the oldest continuously populated cities on earth. It has never been totally destroyed - yet.
* Second, it is in a context of events that lead up to the catastrophes that precede the Lord Jesus’ Second Coming.
* Third, it is far enough away from that event that Jacob (Israel) is enduring terrible circumstances.
* Fourth, Syria and the tribal name of its forefathers are not mentioned in the Russian-led Muslim Confederacy that launches Armageddon in the middle of the Tribulation.
All of this leads me to believe that Damascus will be destroyed before the Tribulation begins. I believe that Damascus is about to so threaten Israel’s existence, by either launching or furnishing bio-chemical weapons or radioactive dirty bombs, that Israel will nuke them. Israel has sworn that it will implement the Samson-Option against any nation that attacks them with any form of weapons of mass destruction. That means a thermonuclear strike. This may soon happen to Syria. This, in turn, will so terrify the world that it will be ripe to embrace the Antichrist when he is unveiled. And that could be very, very soon.
[The "Samson - Option" or complex follows the story of Samson. If Israel has to go, she'll take everyone down with her.]
Last edited by FirstGarden : 02-02-2008 at 01:49 AM.
Note - "The Roots Of War" articles offer a lot of historical background. This is interesting reading if you really like history. Otherwise, please skip ahead to arrive at more current events, as they relate to ancient prophecy.
The Roots of War, Part 1:
The Islamic Conquests
by Chuck Missler
As diligent Bible students, most of us are familiar with the emergence of the empires that were profiled, in advance, in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7: the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman Empires. However, many of us are probably a little hazy about the tide of events subsequent to that period. As Part 1 of a three-part article, we will attempt to briefly profile some of the historical events that are now impacting our near horizon.
The Rise of Islam
Many had assumed that Islam was simply the militant imposition of the culture of 7th century Arabia on illiterate Third World tribes, with little relevance to the developed nations of today. However, the events of September 11, 2001, certainly have punctured the comfort of those naive presumptions. Islam has been, from its inception, a militant warrior code with an agenda of world conquest. Now, with its possession of nuclear weapons, its agenda can no longer be ignored.
[It is safe to say that many adherents of Islam are peace-loving, and do not espouse the militant aspects.]
Mohammed was born at Mecca, Arabia, in a.d. 570, and his Islam quickly spread beyond the borders of the tribal groups of Arabia. The 7th century was startled with the rapid advances of his militant religion: Syria fell in 634; Jerusalem in 637; Egypt in 638; Persia in 640; North Africa in 689; and Spain in 711. Both Christians and Jews throughout Europe were terrified until the Islamic troops were halted by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours, France, in 732.
A Trifurcated Heritage
By 750, the Roman Empire in the West had already disintegrated into fragments, leaving two other primary protagonists: Byzantium, the Eastern remnants of the Roman Empire, and the emerging caliphates of Islam. Of these three heirs to an agrarian, rural-oriented world, the Islamic caliphates were the most prosperous, with thriving trade and a large merchant and professional class. Like the Byzantine emperors, the caliphs were strong, centralized rulers, with a well-organized civil service and efficient methods of collecting taxes. This centralization reached its height at the end of the 8th century under Harun al-Rashid, who was one of the most powerful of the caliphs. From his capital city at Baghdâd (today the capital of Iraq), he ruled over lands that stretched more than 3,600 miles from east to west (about 1,000 miles longer than the length of the United States). He was a successful military leader and was enormously wealthy.
Byzantium's economy was hurt by war and loss of territory but quickly revived. Constantinople remained an important center of trade, and the Byzantine countryside was productive. Its imperial administration was able to collect taxes from peasants without difficulty.
The West was the poorest heir of the former Roman Empire. While a wealthy landowning class lived well, many cities of the West had become depopulated and the land was relatively unproductive. There were so many continuing conflicts among the numerous fragmented fiefdoms that it is rather surprising that by the end of the Middle Ages Europe emerged as a collection of strong, prosperous, aggressive competitive states, with explorers and traders launching expeditions to China, Africa, and, eventually, the Americas.
The Decline of Byzantium
The Byzantine Empire was the wedge that separated the Islamic world from the West and was in a vulnerable middle position. Although the Byzantines managed to survive the initial attacks of the Muslims, which began early in the 7th century, they always had to worry about new invasions - and not just from farther east. Hostility with the West had roots that ranged from disputed territory to religion. The pope resented Byzantine rule over the parts of Italy he thought should be his own. The pope and the Byzantine church also had long-standing religious differences concerning the nature of God and the organization of the church. These came to a head in 1054, when the agents of the pope in Rome and the patriarch in Constantinople excommunicated one another.
Further enmities between Byzantium and the West developed at the end of the 11th century. At that time a new Islamic group, the Seljuk Turks, began to ravage the Byzantine Empire's eastern flank. The emperor asked for military help from the West, but he got more than he bargained for: The pope launched the First Crusade, a massive armed pilgrimage against the forces of Islam.
European fighters met with the emperor to coordinate strategy, but the two sides had very different interests. The Byzantines wanted to protect their own territory from Muslim invasion and saw the Crusaders only as reinforcements. The Crusaders, on the other hand, had a much larger goal - to recover from the Muslims Jerusalem and other cities Christians considered holy. The Europeans were interested in the Byzantines only if they could help the Crusaders achieve their goal. This conflict of interest increased hostility between the Byzantine Empire and the West.
On a later Crusade, in 1204, Crusaders from Europe invaded Constantinople itself, pillaging and destroying it. They set up one of their own leaders as emperor and divided up Byzantine territory among Europeans. Although the Byzantines recaptured the city in 1261, the empire never fully recovered. In 1453 it was taken over by the Ottoman Turks, another Muslim group that would prevail until World War I and which would set the stage for the cast of adversaries clouding our present horizon.
The fate of the Islamic world was much different than that of the Byzantine Empire. There remains a direct continuity between the state ruled by the caliphs in the 7th century and the Islamic states of today. Yet almost directly after Harun al-Rashid's death in 809, the caliphs began to lose power to local rulers. This loss was the result of religious as well as military developments. After Mohammed's death in 632, important men in two different family groups claimed to be the true successor. The supporters of the family group that won and gained the caliphate became known later as Sunnites. The other group would become known as Shiites. The followers of these two groups continue to be a source of tension in the Islamic world today.
In the 10th century a group of Shiites calling themselves Fatimids gained control of a region that included what is now northern Africa, Egypt, and Syria. They ruled independently of any caliph at Baghdâd and their hold was broken only with the arrival of the Seljuk Turks - the same Turks against whom the First Crusade was launched - who were Sunnites.
The caliphs also lost power because they could not control their armies. Most of the armies of the caliphs were made up of slaves who had been bought or captured and armed as soldiers. These slave armies had no loyalty to the caliphs. As a result, they soon became independent mercenaries, hiring themselves out to whichever ruler would pay them the most. Local governors in the Islamic world took advantage of this, collecting taxes and paying the armies what they asked in return for support. In this way, powerful local rulers carved out states for themselves.
In the 12th century the Seljuk Turks put an end to this fragmentation by bringing order and stability to the various groups in power. They recognized the caliph but exercised influence over him. Similarly, they allowed independent kingdoms but expected them all to participate in an Islamic culture based on Sunnite beliefs and law and on the Arabic language.
The Seljuks also encouraged free and active trade throughout the Islamic world. Scholars and writers benefited from the resulting openness and prosperity, and important works of philosophy and literature were written in Arabic during this period. The works of the Greek philosopher Aristotle, long forgotten, were recovered and translated from Greek into Arabic. This revival of Aristotle marked a major intellectual change, with important consequences both for the Islamic world and for the West: by the end of the 12th century, both cultures shared a common body of logical thought that served as the basis for new achievements in philosophy and science.
However, the Islamic world was under constant pressure from outside forces. In the 13th century, Seljuk rule in the eastern half of the Islamic world gave way to invaders from China, known as the Mongols. Other parts of the Islamic world were being conquered by Europeans. Islamic Spain, which had broken from the caliphs in the 8th century, was almost entirely taken by Christian armies by 1212. Sicily, occupied by the Muslims in the 9th century, was reconquered by Europeans in the 11th. Meanwhile, independent Islamic rulers continued to create and strengthen their own states. This situation persisted until the invasions in the 15th century by the Ottoman Turks, who unified much of the Islamic world under their rule.
Although the Byzantine Empire disappeared long ago, a descendant of it still exists in the modern world: Russia. Russia was created by Vikings from Scandinavia, who sailed down the river valleys that connected the Baltic with the Black Sea and conquered the Slavs living along the rivers. The Russians both traded and fought with the Byzantines. Eventually the Russians accepted Christianity from the Byzantines and adopted many of the empire's customs and institutions. Yet, to put this in perspective we will need to explore the Mongol Invasions of the 12th – 14th centuries.
Last edited by FirstGarden : 01-25-2008 at 09:34 AM.
The Roots of War, Part 2:The Magog Identity (Excerpts)
Note - "The Roots Of War" articles offer a lot of historical background. This is interesting reading if you really like history. Otherwise, please skip ahead to arrive at more current events, as they relate to ancient prophecy.
The Roots of War, Part 2:
The Magog Identity
by Chuck Missler
"And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him. . .And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horse-men, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords."
So begins this classic passage in which Gog and Magog, with their allies, are drawn into an invasion of Israel only to have the God of Israel use the occasion to show Himself strong by intervening on behalf of His people and destroying the invading forces. The apparent use of nuclear weapons has made this passage appear timely and perhaps on our near horizon.
To understand this passage, it is essential to first determine who the players are. Despite the many controversies, these participants are surprisingly well identified. Just who are the people represented here by these ancient tribal names?
Magog was one of the sons of Japheth and his descendants are often referred to by their Greek name, the Scythians. 4 One of the earliest references to Magog was by Hesiod, "the father of Greek didactic poetry," who identified Magog with the Scythians and southern Russia in the 7th century B.C.5 Hesiod was, in effect, almost a contemporary of Ezekiel. Another of the major sources on the ancient history of the Middle East is, of course, Josephus Flavius, who clearly identified Magog:
Magog founded the Magogians, thus named after him, but who were by the Greeks called Scythians .
Another first century writer was Philo, who also identified Magog with southern Russia. But most of our information comes to us from Herodotus, who wrote extensively in the 5th century B.C.
The "Father of History"
Herodotus of Halicarnassus is known as the "Father of History." He wrote the earliest important historical narrative, in which he described the background and the course of the great war between the Greeks and the Persians in the 5th century B.C. Numerous archaeological discoveries have clearly confirmed Herodotus' reports in general, and his Scythian accounts in particular.
The tortuous path from the horseback archery of the early Scyths to the nuclear missiles of the Russian Federation includes many centuries of turbulent history. The various descendants of Magog terrorized the southern steppes of Russia from the Ukraine to the Great Wall of China.
The "Steppes of History"
The earliest origins of the area settled by the descendants of Magog, the extreme north and east, are clouded by the passage of time and war. Only faint traces remain, but enough to establish the critical identities. Our indebtedness extends from writers predating Ezekiel to the energies of the Russian archaeologists in more recent years. In the 9th century B.C. a number of nomadic tribes created a new state in the region of Lake Van in present-day Turkey, which immediately became a competitor of Assyria. The Assyrians called this state Urartu. The Urartean state quickly became powerful, and in the first half of the 8th century B.C. extended its rule over a wide area.
Assyria could not stand by indifferently as Urartu expanded and grew more powerful. During the reign of Argishti's son, Sarduri II (764-735 B.C.), the Assyrians undertook two campaigns against Urartu, in 743 and 735 B.C. In the second, they reached and besieged the Urartean capital of Tushpa. Two groups are frequently referred to in Urartean and Assyrian texts: the Cimmerians and the Scythians. Both will figure prominently in subsequent identifications.
The Cimmerians are the oldest of the European tribes living north of the Black Sea and Danube, and whom we know by the name they used for themselves. The Cimmerian period in the history of southern Ukraine began in the late 11th century B.C. The Cimmerians were the first specialized horse-nomads to make their name in history. The earliest osteological evidence of the domestication of the horse occurs south of Kiev about 2500 B.C. Their nomadic lifestyle, including mounted warriors, fully developed between the 10th and 8th centuries.
They are first mentioned in secular literature in The Odyssey And The Iliad of Homer (8th century B.C.), and in Assyrian cuneiform texts from the 8th century B.C. (before Ezekiel), and of course, in Herodotus (5th century B.C.). Herodotus indicates that the whole North Pontic steppe region, occupied in his time by the Scythians, belonged earlier to the Cimmerians. Homer associated the Cimmerians with a fog-bound land, perhaps the Crimean peninsula on the north shore of the Black Sea. Some scholars derive the name of "Crimea" from the Cimmerians. The Cimmerians surged into Asia Minor in the late 7th century B.C. They annihilated the Phrygian kingdom after destroying and looting its capital, Gordium. In 652 B.C. they captured Sardis and plundered the Greek cities of the Aegean coast and Asia Minor. In the early 7th century, Cimmerian forces were checked and routed by the Assyrians who came to the aid of the Scythians. By the 6th century B.C. the name of the Cimmerians disappeared from the historical scene.
In the 5th century B.C., Herodotus related that the Cimmerians were driven south over the Caucasus, probably through the central Dariel Pass, by the Scythians in a domino-like effect as the Scythians themselves were pushed westward by other tribes. This can be correlated with Chinese records. The numerous references in the Talmud has left little doubt that these descendants of Gomer then moved northward and established themselves in the Rhine and Danube valleys.
We know the descendants of Magog by their Greek designation as the Scythians (depicted in their legends as descending from Scythes, the youngest of the three sons of Heracles, from sleeping with a half viper and half woman). The name Scythian designates a number of nomadic tribes from the Russian steppes, one group of which invaded the Near East in the 8th and 7th centuries B.C. After being repulsed from Media, many of the later Scyths settled in the fertile area of the Ukraine north of the Black Sea. Other related tribes occupied the area to the east of the Caspian Sea.
Herodotus describes them living in Scythia (i.e., the territory north of the Black Sea). He describes Scythia as a square, 20 days journey (360 miles) on a side. It encompassed the lower reaches of the Dniester, Bug, Dnieper, and Don Rivers where they flow into the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
The Scythian language belonged to the Iranian family of the Indo-European languages. The Ossetian dialect of central Caucasus appears to be a survivor. The original area in which Iranian was spoken extended from the mid-Volga and the Don regions to the northern Urals and beyond. From here, Iranian-speaking tribes colonized Media, Parthia, Persia, Central Asia, and as far as the Chinese border.
In the 7th century B.C. the Scythians swept across the area, displacing the Cimmerians from the steppes of the Ukraine east of Dnieper River, who fled from them across the Caucasus. It is provocative that even the name "Caucasus" appears to have been derived from Gog-hasan, or "Gog's Fort."
The hippomolgoi ("mare-milkers") mentioned in Homer's Iliad were equestrian nomads of the northern steppes and several authorities also identified these with the Scythians.
Tombs That Tell Tales
The fact that the Scythian culture extended more than 2,000 miles east from the Ukraine was demonstrated by the sensational discovery of tombs in the Chilikta Valley of East Kazakhstan, published in Russian in 1965:
...prove that Scythian material culture had spread to the Mongolian border as early as the 6th century B.C.
Countless Scythian burials, ranging from the 6th - 2nd century B.C., have been uncovered in the areas to the north and east of the Black Sea, in many cases beyond the limits of what Herodotus demarcated in his day as "Scythia" proper. Soviet scholars have, of course, worked broadly in this region. More than 1,200 graves were investigated by A. Leskov in the Crimean area between 1961 and 1972. Aerial surveys also have been employed.28 Hundreds of Scythian graves from the 4th and 3rd centuries have been discovered since the 1930s by B. Grakow, A. Trenoschkin, and E. Tschernenko, in the Ukraine. One of the many implications of the Soviet finds is the authentication of the reliability of Herodotus as a source of knowledge of the Scythians. The leading authorities on the Scythians, T. Rice, T. Sulimirski, and others, all regard Herodotus as thoroughly vindicated.
Remarkable circumstances led to the preservation of otherwise perishable materials. The frozen conditions marvelously preserved textiles, remains of horses, human skin and hair, entrails, undigested food, etc., for more than 2,300 years! In July 1995, Russian archaeologists found a 2,500 year old Scythian horseman under more than seven feet of ice in Siberia near the Chinese and Mongolian borders. More than 6,500 feet above sea level, the Ukok Plateau is blanketed by a thick layer of rocks that keeps the ground frozen year round. The horseman had been given his ceremonial burial in his fur coat and high leather boots, alongside his horse in a log-lined chamber in the Altai Mountains. He also had his ax, quiver, and dagger.
According to Herodotus and archaeological evidence, the Scythians occupied territory from the Danube to the Don. The northern boundary extended beyond the latitude of Kiev. Near Olbia lived the Callipidae and Graeco-Scythians, and farther north, the Alazones.
Defense in Depth
One reason Herodotus gave so much detailed information about the Scythians was that he wanted to describe the people who had succeeded in defeating the Persian king, Darius. This was a most important element in the history of Scythians, and the memory of it remained with them for many years. In resisting the Persians, a provocative strategic tradition was born: Defense in Depth. This unique strategy also would characterize these descendants of Magog in more recent times against both Napoleon and Hitler.
Darius I crossed the Bosphorus and invaded Scythia. The Scythians, however, had devised an unusual tactic for conducting warfare. The Persians expected to crush the Scythians in a decisive engagement, but the Scythians avoided such a battle. They retreated deep into their own territory, laying waste the region and wearing down the enemy by means of small raids. In pursuing the Scythians, Darius soon came to appreciate the cunning of these "partisan" tactics. Reaching the Volga, Darius, acknowledging defeat, had to retreat from Scythia in shame.
As every student of military history knows, Napoleon and Hitler, each, in more modern times, encountered the same tactics from the Scythian descendants and yielding similar results. When Napoleon entered Russia in 1812, Field Marshall Kutuzov's similar strategy, including the sacrifice of Moscow itself, resulted in reducing Napoleon's Grande Armée from 453,000 to less than 10,000, and yielding the ignomious defeat now commemorated in Tchaikovsky's Overture of 1812. In 1941, Hitler suffered a similar defeat from the same Scythian strategy: allowing a quick advance deep into the Russian interior only to have his Wehrmacht swallowed up in the harsh winter.
Greater Scythia disintegrated in the late 3rd century B.C., and the territory extended only from the Lower Dnieper to the Crimea. There were several causes; the main one was apparently ecological. Evidently the natural and climatic conditions of life on the steppe were changing. According to some experts there was a "desertification" of the steppe. The population moved to more favorable areas, in particular southwards to the southern Dnieper. The Scythians finally succumbed to attacks from the Goths.
More to Come
The background that has endowed these vibrant people with the beauty of Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, and Tchaikovsky has also given them the cruelty of Ivan IV, the intensity of Lenin, and the brutality of Stalin. In our next installment, we will review more of the stormy events from their colorful but violent past, from the invasion by the Huns into the European steppes, the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the appearance in Asia and Europe of the Turks, Avar and Khazar Khanates, and the invasion by the armies of Genghis Khan and the Golden Horde.
Last edited by FirstGarden : 01-25-2008 at 09:34 AM.
Note - "The Roots Of War" articles offer a lot of historical background. This is interesting reading if you really like history. Otherwise, please skip ahead to arrive at more current events, as they relate to ancient prophecy.
The Roots of War, Part 3:
The Steppes of History
by Chuck Missler
In the last article, we examined the origins of the Scythians, the descendants of Magog who terrorized the southern steppes of Russia from the 10th to the 3rd century b.c. In this article, we will continue to review the colorful and stormy past of the descendants of Magog, so infamous for their disastrous nuclear setback that appears to be prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and 39, and which increasingly seems to be looming on our near horizon.
For the peoples living in the interior of the huge Eurasian landmass, consisting primarily of snow and ice, mountains and deserts, agriculture was virtually impossible. Within Inner Asia lies an almost unbroken strip of grassland, or steppe, stretching approximately 6,000 miles from Manchuria to Hungary in southern Europe. While the steppe is interspersed with semideserts and major mountain ranges, there are some passable routes along which people, goods, and ideas can travel. Necessity drove the peoples of this region to become nomads, wandering in search of food and pasturage. They became herders, shepherds and, of course, warriors.
The domestication of the horse increased the range, speed, and general mobility of the steppe nomads. Their movements often encroached on their neighbors' pastures or on the borderlands claimed by the sedentary civilized centers. Practically every nomad with a horse and bow was a tough, ferocious, and resourceful warrior, whereas only a small percentage of the civilized population was equipped and trained for war. When a charismatic and ambitious chieftain formed a confederation of nomads, called a horde, large-scale military activity occurred. Such hordes not only dominated the steppe but also posed a serious threat to the civilized populations. The nomadic cavalry of the hordes was superior to the infantry units of the sedentary civilizations.
The Huns were an aggressive nomadic people of great vigor and had developed considerable skill in the techniques of warfare, particularly in military horsemanship. Before the beginning of their recorded European history, one of their tribes was known in western China as the Xiongnu (Hsiung-nu) (206 b.c.-a.d. 8). Their power in the East was weakened during the following century, and they separated into two distinct camps, one of which went southward, while the remainder, after attempting to maintain themselves on the Caspian steppes (the areas north of the Caspian Sea), went west and northwest in search of new homes. They spread from the Caspian steppes to make repeated incursions into the Roman Empire during the 4th and 5th centuries a.d. Their attacks culminated in a series of wars under Attila, the most renowned of its leaders, which brought both parts of the Roman Empire, East and West, to the verge of destruction.
Of those who went northwest, a large number settled for a time on the banks of the Volga River. In the second half of the 4th century a.d., under a leader called Balamir, they advanced into the territories of the Alans, a powerful people dwelling between the Volga and the Don rivers, and in a battle fought on the banks of the Don routed the army of the Alans. Their next conquest was the country of the Ostrogoths, whose retreat they followed as far west as the Danube River. In the process they threatened and uprooted the Visigoths, who then sought the protection of the Roman Empire. A few years later the Goths revolted against Roman authority, and the Huns crossed the Danube to join them.
After Attila's death in 453, however, the power of the Huns was broken, and they no longer played a major role in European history. Many Huns took service in the Roman armies, while others joined fresh hordes of invaders from the north and east, assisting them in their repeated attacks upon the Empire.
The Khazars, a now-extinct Turkic people, flourished from about a.d. 200 to about 950, living at first in the region of the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian Sea and later on the steppes of southeastern Russia. But by the middle of 7th century, the expanding Muslim empire had penetrated as far northward as the northern Caucasus, and from then on until the mid-8th century the Khazars engaged in a series of wars with the Muslims, eventually penetrating south of the Caucasus into present-day Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Muslim counterattacks eventually compelled the Khazars to permanently withdraw north of the Caucasus. The Khazars' initial victories were important, though, since they had the effect of permanently blocking Muslim expansion northward into Eastern Europe.
By the second half of the 8th century, their empire had reached the peak of its power - it extended along the northern shore of the Black Sea, from the lower Volga and the Caspian Sea in the east to the Dnieper River in the west. The Khazars controlled and exacted tribute from the Alani and other northern Caucasian peoples (dwelling between the mountains and the Kuban River); from the Magyars (Hungarians) inhabiting the area around the Donets River; from the Goths; and, from the Greek colonies in the Crimea. The Volga Bulgars and numerous Slavic tribes also recognized the Khazars as their overlords.
In the 7th century their Khakan, or sovereign, embraced Judaism, and a large part of the population converted thereafter. Some scholars link the Khazars with the sect of the Karaites, who would not accept the oral traditions of the Talmud but defended the Torah and the Prophets as the sole source for religious doctrine and practice and protested against the rigidities of Talmudic Judaism. Beginning in 8th-century Persia, it spread to Egypt and Syria, and later to Europe through Spain and Constantinople.
Khazar power came to an end when, after a series of wars, they were assimilated by the Russians. (It is interesting that in 19th century Russia, the Karaites had so distanced themselves from Talmudic ("Rabbinic") Judaism that they were relieved of the double taxation, were exempted from military conscription, and were permitted to acquire land. The Leningrad Codex, the oldest complete Hebrew Bible, was acquired through their efforts.)
The Fall of the Western Roman Empire
Most Biblical students are familiar with the Roman Empire, which reached its peak during the 2nd century. After Commodus (180-192 a.d.), son of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (featured in the recent movie, Gladiator), the age of leadership began to decline with the collapse of political institutions, weakening of the army, and economic disaster. Even under such perverse emperors as Caligula, Nero, and Commodus, the government of the empire had continued its normal functions of collecting taxes, protecting the frontiers, and distributing food. The insane emperors persecuted the senatorial elite, but they had limited effect on the population outside Rome.
However, after the murder of Commodus in a.d. 192, a civil war between rival claimants to the imperial throne penetrated every corner of the empire and changed all aspects of Roman life. Between a.d. 193 and 235 a series of rulers known as the Severan dynasty ruled Rome, but for much of that time civil war continued in many areas. The Severan dynasty stayed in power for several decades by indulging the troops, but the enormous cost became clear during the next half-century. For 50 years generals caused incredible destruction in their quest for power, but their efforts were largely in vain. Between 235 and 284, the troops acclaimed about 20 "emperors" and another 30 "pretenders," although the two groups only differed in that the emperors briefly managed to control the city of Rome. Only one of these emperors died of natural causes, so the imperial throne was a dangerous prize.
The reforms under Diocletian included appointing a co-emperor to assist in the administration of the empire, which set the stage for its ultimate separation into eastern and western segments. He was succeeded by Constantine, who relocated the capital of the empire to the "New Rome," Constantinople, on the shores of the Bosporus at the intersection of Europe and Asia. His Edict of Toleration legitimized Christianity, which was to emerge as the state religion a couple of emperors later.
Theodosius I (379-395) was the last emperor of the united Roman Empire. At his death he left the eastern portion to his 18-year old son, Arcadius, and the western portion to his 10-year old son, Honorius. A succession of child emperors weakened the throne, and no emperor ever again successfully controlled both East and West. For a number of reasons, including a much stronger economic base, the eastern "leg" of the Roman Empire endured 1,000 years longer than the western "leg."
The Seljuks were a Turkish dynasty prominent in the Middle East during the 11th and 12th centuries. Originally a clan belonging to the Oghuz, a Turkmen tribe of Central Asia, they were converted to Islam in the 10th century and established themselves in the Iranian province of Khorasan in the early 11th century. The empire of the Seljuks was further extended into Syria, Palestine, and Anatolia. Their victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert (1071) alarmed the Christian world, and Seljuk aggressiveness was a major reason for launching the First Crusade (1096).
The main enemy of the Seljuks, however, was the Shia Fatimid dynasty of Egypt. Ruling from their capital at Isfahan in Iran, the Seljuk sultans used the Persian language in their administration and were patrons of Persian literature. They founded madrasas (colleges) to train future administrators in accordance with Sunni doctrine. After the death of Malik Shah, the empire gradually declined. A branch of the dynasty, the sultanate of Rum, survived in Anatolia (Central Turkey) until subjugated by the Mongols in 1243.
The Mongols emerged out of the shifting sociopolitical landscape of the steppes. On the harsh Mongolian plateau, pastoral Mongol tribes, led by a type of political-military aristocracy, fought each other as well as all outsiders. During the 13th and 14th centuries, the Mongols conquered and ruled the largest contiguous empire in recorded history. The Mongol empire's five great khans, with their goal of world domination, impacted all of the major Eurasian civilizations, severely disrupting some while revitalizing and globalizing others.
A unique document called The Secret History of the Mongols embodies early Mongol folklore and contains many pronouncements of Genghis Khan, the first great Mongol emperor. Apparently written in 1228, shortly after Genghis' death, the document traces Mongol beliefs and folklore, such as their belief in their account of the impregnation of an early human ancestor by the sky god, Tengri. (This is most suggestive of the Nephilim of Genesis 6 and the subsequent Rephaim of Canaan.)
The Mongols viewed themselves as a type of chosen people and felt they had a divine right to conquer and rule the entire world. As their national epic moved from myth to legend to true history, specific personalities emerged. One such personality was Yesugei, who reportedly fathered a son named Temujin, which means "smith" or "metal worker," born in 1167. By 1206, Temujin was master of almost all of Mongolia, and that year a great national assembly declared him universal ruler with the title Genghis Khan. This charismatic leader was destined to unite all of the Mongol tribes and to unite most of Eurasia into a single, vast empire.
Under Genghis' skillful guidance, Mongol aspirations extended beyond traditional nomadic pillaging to ruling over the entire then-known world. Acting under what they considered a divine mandate, Genghis and his Mongols dedicated themselves to an ongoing series of military campaigns and conquests - first against the Tibetan Tanguts and then against the Chin (Juchen) of North China.
Genghis' most distant campaign, as well as one of his bloodiest and most devastating, was directed against the Khwarizmian shah in the area of northeast Persia. This expedition led to Mongol military victories and claims to north India and southern Russia. By the time of his death in 1227, Genghis Khan controlled most of the inner Asian steppe as well as parts of the Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern civilizations.
In addition to uniting his people and leading these early campaigns, Genghis made significant contributions to the efficiency of the Mongol military establishment, communications system, and legal structure. Genghis had a great military mind, and incorporated new tactics from the conquered civilized societies into the traditional nomadic military strategy. Instead of promoting people on the basis of blood ties, Genghis organized his followers by personal ability and experience. By sparing the lives of civilized artisans who later designed and built weapons for their captors, the Mongols learned how to break city walls with siege engines, sappers, catapults, and gunpowder bombs.
In this fashion, the flexible Genghis incorporated the siege strategy and tactics of the sedentary societies into his already powerful and mobile steppe cavalry.
To stay informed about his empire, Genghis introduced a communications system, called the yam, which relied on a series of postal relay stations that stretched across his vast empire. The 19th-century American Pony Express system was nothing more than a revival of this 13th-century Mongol practice. This period of relatively open trade and travel across Eurasia became known as the great Mongol Peace.
In accordance with Mongol custom, upon Genghis' death, Bortai, his chief wife, presided over the division of his empire among his four sons. While each son and his heirs inherited specific parts of the empire upon their father's death, Genghis' third son and chosen successor, Ogadai, was elected by the Quiriltai in 1229 to be the next great khan. Ogadai was a calm and shrewd ruler who is credited with establishing Karakorum as the permanent Mongol capital city and with developing commercial links with China, Tibetan India, and Western Asia. After eliminating the last Chin resistance in North China, Ogadai aimed the Mongol military machine against the West. After conquering Russia, the Mongol army moved into central Europe, devastating Hungary, Poland, and the eastern parts of what is now Germany.
The Mongols could have marched right through Europe to the Atlantic. Fortunately for Christian Europe and Western civilization, however, the death of Ogadai in December of 1241 and the lack of adequate pasturage for the Mongol horses in the Hungarian Plain prompted the Mongols to withdraw their European campaign in 1242. Between 1241 and 1251, a period of uncertain leadership led to a lull in Mongol activity. Mangu, who was elected great khan in 1251, decided not to renew the attack on Europe, but rather to undertake two different major campaigns to complete the conquest of South China and the Muslim Middle East. Mangu sent his brother Hulagu to attack Baghdad and its caliph and his brother Kublai to attack China.
Hulagu easily ravished Persia, Mesopotamia, and Syria. Baghdad fell in 1258, and all of its inhabitants were massacred. But in 1260, the Mongols suffered an unexpected reversal in Palestine as the Egyptian Mamluks defeated a nominal Mongol army at Goliath's Spring. The death of Mangu in 1259 disrupted Mongol unity and was indirectly responsible for the Mamluk victory.
Hulagu immediately supported his older brother Kublai as successor for the office of great khan. However, their cousin, Berke, khan of the Golden Horde in Russia, opposed them. Berke had converted to Islam and was so outraged by Hulagu's destruction of the Baghdad caliphate that he became openly hostile to his cousins. In response, Hulagu marched his powerful Mongol army into north Persia, leaving behind only a weak non-Mongol garrison in Palestine.
The Mamluk victory over this small force in 1260, the Mongol's first military defeat, has been hailed as the critical event that saved Islam from total conquest. It also marked the beginning of the end of the Mongol Empire. Islam was unexpectedly saved by the death of Mangu in 1259, just as Christian Europe was saved by the fortuitous death of Ogadai in 1241.
In spite of this defeat, the Mongols still controlled all of the Middle East, except Egypt. Hulagu and his successors ruled the Middle East from Persia, where they established the il-Khanid or subject khanate. Caught between the hostile Golden Horde to the northeast and the Mamluks to the southwest, the Mongol khans of Persia repeatedly tried to form an alliance with Latin Europe to the northwest, especially with the Christian Crusader states in the Levant. Eventually the Mongol khans in Persia converted to Islam, and they ruled the Middle East until they were overthrown in the mid-14th century.
Kublai Khan and China
In the East, Kublai was bogged down in South China, where he demonstrated Mongol skill in large-scale strategic envelopment movements. The Mongols outflanked the Sung from the west and south as they traveled down the Yangtze River, virtually surrounding them and finally completing the conquest of South China in 1280.
At first, Kublai was fairly successful in balancing his Mongol steppe heritage with his role as a Confucian ruler. On the one hand, his ongoing military campaigns against Java and Japan demonstrated his efforts to maintain his basic Mongol warrior identity. On the other hand, Kublai was able to appear as a traditional Confucian emperor to his Chinese subjects. Most of Kublai's advisers and officials were international in origin and orientation; his Tibetan, Muslim, and Confucian advisers played a significant role throughout his reign. He died in 1294 at the age of 80. Kublai's successors ruled China as the Yuan Dynasty until they were overthrown in 1368.
The Four Khanates
The Mongol Empire was an amazing and impressive entity in the late 13th century. In addition to the Inner Asian steppe, the empire included the civilized centers of China, north India, the Middle East, and Russia. Nevertheless, by the early 14th century, this gigantic empire was already beginning to crumble due to overextension, assimilation, and internal dynastic rivalries.
The Mongols had overextended themselves in trying to expand their empire into the extremities of Eurasia. Despite their extraordinary speed, mobility, and communication system, the Mongols had difficulties ruling their vast empire. As they continued their military conquests, they were incapable of establishing centralized control of their far-flung territories. Consequently, the Mongols soon discovered that they could not effectively manage what they had already conquered.
Moreover, the Mongols were outnumbered and outclassed developmentally by their subjects. They were therefore prone to assimilation into the more sophisticated civilizations that they ruled. As soon as Mongol warriors dismounted to enjoy the spoils of their conquests, they began adopting the languages, religions, administrative structures, culture, and technology of their more advanced subjects. Once the Mongols were assimilated into the sedentary civilizations they had conquered, they lost their steppe heritage. Indeed, within three generations, they lost their identity and unity as Mongols.
Dynastic rivalries between the heirs of Genghis' four sons added to the internal fragmentation of the Mongol empire. Irreconcilable splits within the royal family led to the emergence of regional khanates. One indication of this was Kublai's relocation of his capital from Karakorum to Peking. In addition, Kublai, the last great khan, had no real authority outside of China. While he was becoming a Chinese emperor, the khanates of the Golden Horde in Russia and of the Jagatai khanate in inner Asia went their own ways. Rulers of the il-Khanid in the Middle East accepted Islam. Even the Mongols in Mongolia came under the influence of Buddhism. Mongol rule was in serious trouble everywhere by 1350.
The Mongol conquests impacted all of the Eurasian civilizations. But they had the most dramatic impact on the sedentary centers of China, the Middle East, and Russia, which the Mongols had ruled directly for more than a century. Since Latin Europe was the farthest from the center of Mongol power, Western civilization experienced the least amount of damage and destruction. This allowed Western civilization to catch up to their eastern neighbors after the end of Mongol rule. By adopting the new ideas and practices exchanged during the great Mongol Peace, as other Eurasian societies stagnated or turned inward, Europe eventually surpassed them.
Last edited by FirstGarden : 01-25-2008 at 09:35 AM.
FirstGarden: I tought I was the only one knowing all this history stuff & stuff! Keep at it; except the final events are already SET IN MOTION and it does not matter which country does what! Just read Revelation 21! THE WAR HAS BEEN WON!
After spending “a wonderful time of prayer,” Pat Robertson,the Christian Coalition founder said, “The Lord had some very encouraging news for George Bush. What I heard [from God] was that Bush is now positioned to have victory after victory and that his second term is going to be one of triumph, which is pretty strong stuff.”
According to Robertson, God even went into specifics. God reportedly said Bush will “also have Social Security reform passed, that he’ll have tax reform passed, that he’ll have conservative judges on the courts and that basically he is positioned for a series of dramatic victories, which I hope will hearten him and his advisors. They don’t have to be timid in this matter because the winds are blowing in his back and he can move forward boldly and get results.” ...
The vendetta against religion in America is about to end,” Robertson said God told him. In what Robertson portrayed as a direct quote, God reportedly said, “I will remove judges from the Supreme Court quickly and their successors will refuse to sanction the attacks on religious faith.”...
Robertson, a multi-millionaire, also predicted an upsurge in the stock market, “extraordinary prosperity” for the nation and for his Christian Broadcasting Network, a tremendous incidence of miracles in the United States, a lessening of the terrorist threat and widespread conversions to Christianity among Muslims “that will amaze the world.”
Robertson also announced that the appearance of the Antichrist and the second coming of Jesus are not on the calendar this year. Although the Christian scriptures say no one knows the “day and hour” of Christ’s second coming, Robertson insisted, “The end is not yet, because God has many more things to do. So people that say that Jesus is going to come tonight or that the Antichrist is going to be revealed tomorrow and so forth, that just isn’t going to happen.”
Mr. Robertson made these predictions, not me. Speaking of assassination, didn't he have something to say about that, too?
Dear misotrue - Robertson is not a prophet. And as far as I'm aware, he does not claim to be one. Many folks from all sides have made ridiculous and inaccurate predictions of things to come. Psychics like Edgar Cayce & Jean Dixon would be examples. These dear people are venerated with near-cult followings. But even their readers can acknowledge inconsistencies and a "batting average" that is quite hit & miss.
Again, let us focus on current events as related to ancient prophecies and avoid politically sensitive issues, when it comes to disparaging conservatives, liberals, religious figures and whomever. No one owns the system. The system owns them - them being the entire political establishment of enormous wealth-opportunism, who manipulate the system purely for self-interest while catering to powerful interest groups.
As you know, I'm still a tree-huggin,' Independent centrist.
Last edited by FirstGarden : 02-02-2008 at 01:54 AM.