It has always been unclear to me why Russia would lead an Islamic alliance against Israel. Yet some 2,550 years ago, Ezekiel predicted that this is exactly what would take place in “the last days.”

Israel really doesn’t have anything at present Russia wants or needs. Israel has no oil wealth. Putin knows whatever wealth Israel now possesses would die with its nation. (Witness the multimillion dollar produce industry Israel left behind, intact when it pulled out of Gaza. As soon as the Jews pulled out, the industry collapsed.)

So why would Russia, under the present circumstances, risk a global war to invade Israel? I believe it is because Putin recognizes that the present world conflict is really a war between civilizations. He seems to understand it far more clearly than the West does.

Frankly, Putin appears to understand the true nature of Islam better than the West. Russia has a population of some 25 million Muslims. That alone provides a powerful incentive for seeking to come to terms with Islam.

But more importantly, Russia understands there is a global war already developing. There is no longer any risk to minimize – only sides to take.

On one side is the United States and Israel. In the middle is the European Union – still trying to figure out how to straddle the fence.

On the other side are 1.3 billion Muslims. Hovering on the outside is the rapidly developing industry of China with its vital need for Middle East oil. So Putin has decided to place his bet – exactly where Ezekiel forecasted he would – with the nations of Islam.

As evidence, Russia has recently made application to join the Organization of the Islamic Conference, further cementing its relationship with Islamic world. The Kremlin understands what the European Union is only beginning to realize and what has not yet dawned on the United States – that is, Islam is the growing alternate world power to the United States.

The one wild card is that Israel will hit oil in a big way. That will throw the whole world equation into an unpredictable spin. And on to this scene, I believe, the antichrist will arise to work out a seemingly perfect solution for peace and prosperity.

What is being completely overlooked is the issue of man’s relationship with God, which is more important than all the world economics and power politics.

God has set forth a plan for our redemption that natural man could have never conceived. God reveals that He is so Holy that He can not have a relationship with anyone who has rejected Him. Man rejected his relationship with God and became separated from Him.

After that, even our most sincere efforts at trying to work our way back to God by “good deeds” fall far short of His character. God tells us, “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment …” (Isaiah 64:6 NAS). God gave us the Law of Moses to show just how righteous we would have to be if we were to gain His acceptance through our good deeds. God reveals the impossible situation we are in, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10 NIV).

But God reveals that He so Love us, that He worked out a plan that would satisfy His righteousness and justice without compromising them. He elected to come down from Heaven and become a man.

And He lived a sinless life so that He could qualify to die for our sins in our place. Then He willingly took upon Himself in the person of Jesus the Messiah all of the judgment due our sins.

Through this, He purchased a pardon for every person who would ever live.

There is a pardon with your name on it, written in the blood of the One Who loved you enough to die in your place. But you must receive it as a gift. You can’t deserve it. You can’t earn it. You can only receive it as a gift.

The moment you try to earn it, the standard becomes keeping the whole law of God without ever breaking it. Any takers?

Right now, ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart and pardon all your sins. Ask Him to work out His plan for your life. He will give you a new dimension of life that has new joy, peace and purpose.

He will enable you to be what He wants you to be. He doesn’t ask you to do it. He promises He will do it and give you happiness you never dreamed possible in this life. Ask Him to give you His pardon for sin now.

Start a whole new adventure that changes your eternal destiny. Amen!

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