What About Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq?
By Jim Simmons
Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq—all four are mentioned in Bible prophecy. Each country fits into the prophetic puzzle and time line. By looking at each country, along with its prophecy, the big picture begins to take focus. A number of articles have been written on each of these individual countries, but my purpose is to give an overall synopsis of biblical prophecy that includes all four.
THE RUSSIAN INVASION OF ISRAEL
Ezekiel 38 and 39 describe the Russian invasion of Israel, along with an alliance of primarily Islamic nations. Russia is described as “Gog of the land of Magog” (Ezekiel 38:2). “Gog” refers to a leader. “Magog” refers to the territory from which he comes. Gog is also referred to as the “prince of Rosh” (Ezekiel 38:3). “Rosh” is the root word for Russia. It seems to be the land referred to in Scripture as the “remote parts of the north” (Ezekiel 38:6, 15; 39:2). Russia is the land directly north of Israel.
The Russian allies, with their ancient names, include modern-day nations, or regions that include nations. Not everyone agrees on the exact boundary lines, since some of the lines have changed over time. There is agreement on some of the major countries. They are:
1. Iran (Persia).
2. Black African Nations (Cush) [May also include Sudan and Northern Ethiopia].
3. North African Nations (Put) [Includes Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Mauritania].
4. Turkey (Gomer).
5. People north of the Caucuses Mountains and eastward (Beth-togarmah).
There are five names listed. Two are specific countries (Iran and Turkey). The other three are regions that include several countries. This is a large confederation of Islamic nations. We are not just looking at the Islamic nations that are led by an atheist country, i.e., Russia. Russia is rapidly moving toward becoming an Islamic nation. When one considers the composition of the Russian invasion, Islam plays a major role.
In order to maintain a culture (not the population) for over 25 years, the fertility rate needs to be 2.0 births per woman or couple. 2.0 births per woman [assuming no deaths in delivery] is the exact replacement fertility rate needed to keep the population of a given country at the same number. It is more reasonable to assume 2.11 births per woman as a minimum required fertility rate. Most western nations and the industrialized nations, especially Western Europe, have the lowest fertility rates, way below the minimum required fertility rate of 2.11 [CIA World Factbook 2009]. Within 25 years, these countries will fail to maintain their culture. Some nations, such as the U.S., have a cultural fertility rate of 1.6 per woman. The population fertility rate is higher due to immigration. With the influx of Latino nations this rate increases to 2.05. This fertility rate is at the bare minimum for population maintenance, but is below that for cultural maintenance.
The cultural fertility rate is usually in line with the population fertility rate. This is not the case with the U.S., Russia, and many of the European Union countries. The fertility rate of the European Union [31 countries] is a 1.38 fertility rate. Yet, the population of Europe is not declining. This is due to the Islamic immigration.
“Seven out of ten Russian pregnancies are aborted; by contrast, in Muslim communities, the fertility rate is 10 babies per woman. If a Muslim military coup occurs, Russia will become another Muslim nuclear power (the first with a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council)” (The Toronto Star, StayOnline.com, National Review, December 8, 2006) [Also, see The Last Generation: Prophecy, Current World Events, and the End Times]. A 2009 updated fertility rate for Muslims (using the fertility rate of the top 10 Muslim countries) would range from 6.12 to 7.75 according to the CIA World Factbook 2009.
In 2008, the death rate in Russia was 14.7/1000 (much higher than average due to alcoholism). The birth rate was 12.1/1000 and net migration was 1.7/1000. This gives an overall population growth of -0.9/1000 (Rite of Spring: Russia’s Fertility Trends, Charles Ganske, Editor, authored by Anatoly Karlin, April 29, 2009, Russia Blog). Since 2006, the Muslim fertility rate has dropped. The Muslim countries have the highest fertility rates worldwide. For example, the country of Niger (the highest) has a 7.75 fertility rate [Source: CIA World Factbook 2009].
In a relatively short period of time, Russia will become a Muslim nuclear power. In regards to the spread of Islam in Europe, “there are signs that Allah will grant victory to Islam in Europe without swords, without guns, without conquest. We don’t need terrorists; we don’t need homicide bombers. The 50+ million Muslims [in Europe] will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades” (Muammar al-Gaddafi). This is a reasonable assumption when viewed from a human viewpoint. When viewed from biblical prophecy, we know that there will be several major conflicts in the near future. A major one is the Russian/Islamic Confederacy invasion of Israel.
WHAT ABOUT TURKEY?
Turkey [referred to as “Gomer” in Ezekiel 38:6] is one of Russia’s allied countries listed in Ezekiel 38:6 that has to be included for this invasion to take place. Historically, Turkey has attempted to join the European Union, but has never been accepted. It would seem that this treatment by the E.U. would be implying that Turkey just isn’t good enough to be accepted. The resentment building in Turkey could be driving them into the arms of another country like Russia. This is exactly what has happened. Over the past decade, Turkey seems to be moving toward friendlier ties with Russia.
Turkey sits at the crossroads of the energy rich Middle East and the former Soviet Union. Turkey has a unique leverage as a transit hub for gas. It has used this energy card to promote its membership in the European Union. This requires cooperation with Russia. One of the bigger tests of Turkey’s stance came in the Russia-Georgia war of August 2008. Turkey carefully implemented the Montreux Convention, which governs traffic through the Bosporus [entrance to the Black Sea], so only a handful of American warships could enter the Black Sea. “Neither Turkey nor Russia wants the Americans meddling in their back pond.” (Russia + Turkey = A “Natural” Alliance? http://www.current.com/items/90745608_turkey-a-natural-alliance.htm)
Consider the fact that Russia is Turkey’s biggest single trading partner and provides 68% of its gas. Turkish construction firms are active all over Russia. Millions of Russian tourists flock to Turkish resorts every year. Turkey is also one of the few countries with which today’s Russia feels comfortable.
Once Turkey allies itself with Russia, everything is in place from a prophecy standpoint for the Russian-led invasion of Israel [see chapter 7 of my book, The Last Generation: Prophecy, Current World Events, and the End Times].
WHAT ABOUT SYRIA?
Syria is not among the allies listed in the Russian led invasion of Israel. Syria is probably one of Russia’s favorite allies, at least in a geographical sense. Syria is known as a training ground for terrorists. It is believed to be the base of operations for a number of terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the Hezbollah. Syria is directly linked to Iran, Russia, and Iraq.
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) were never found in Iraq, but not because they did not exist. They were smuggled out of Iraq and into Syria. Satellite pictures showed them being transported to Syria, smuggled out by fifty-six commercial planes with the seats removed. The claim by Iraq was that they were “planes of relief to Syria for a tragedy,” but in actuality, they were Weapons of Mass Destruction. [See The Last Generation: Prophecy, Current World Events, and the End Times for more detailed information, including the sources of this information and their credibility.]
The big question is, “Why isn’t Syria included among the allies in the Russian-led Muslim/Confederacy invasion? The most likely answer is found in the Holy Bible. It concerns a prophecy about the destruction of Damascus [Syria].
The city of Damascus is the capital of Syria and is “reputed to be the oldest continuously existing city in the world.” It has been conquered by other countries but never destroyed. As a result, we know that this prophecy has not been fulfilled.
Because of the total devastation described in Isaiah 17, the destruction will probably be nuclear. The most likely country to destroy Damascus is Israel. Damascus would likely use WMDs or a dirty bomb against Israel. Israel’s leaders have already stated that they would react with a nuclear bomb. This could happen any day. We don’t know the timing of this event, but we can assume that it is prior to the Russian invasion. Otherwise, Syria would likely be allied with Russia.
After the Russians lost the Middle East foothold provided by Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s leadership, the Russians built a new axis of power based on its ties with Turkey, Iran, and Syria. Russia has strengthened its ties with Iran by supplying nuclear-related technologies. Russia and Syria have increased diplomatic and military cooperation. In the arms arena, Russia plans to sell SS-26 and SS-18 missiles to Syria. The SS-26 is highly mobile. “With a range of 180 miles, it can carry a 1,000 pound warhead to most targets in Israel.”
Many experts believe that a large-scale confrontation between Syria and Israel could be on the near horizon, which makes Syria’s growing relationship with nations such as Iran and Russia a reason for great concern.
Syria has recently accumulated more rockets and placed them on Lebanon’s southern border. Estimates range from 1,000 to 3,000 rockets financed by Iran. The Syrians and Hezbollah are also strategically placed in Syria and Lebanon.
Could it be a possibility that Israel will do a preemptive strike on Syria as well as Iran? After all, Syria and Iran are joined at the hip. A preemptive strike against Iran alone would cause major retaliation from Syria. It appears to me (personal opinion) that any preemptive strike by Israel would have to be a two-pronged attack against Iran and Syria.
• This invasion cannot happen until Israel is living in security in “unwalled villages” (Ezekiel 38:8, 11, 14). Israel is not living in security, nor is it living in unwalled villages [City/Nation]. Israel has walls and is still building more walls.
• From a human standpoint, Israel has to have something that the Russian Confederacy wants. According to Ezekiel 38:12-13, the Russian Confederacy invasion intends to take away spoils and seize plunder and will carry away silver and gold. Over the last several years, oil and gas have been found in Israel in abundance. Pumping it out of the ground and refining it will take some time. Before the year 2000, there would be no attraction or reason for this invasion. Currently Russia can get as much oil as it wants from the oil rich Arab nations. This could all change if a group of Arab nations ally themselves against Israel, including Iran and Syria.