The United States and Russia are engaged in a geopolitical contest over the Islamic Republic of Iran – but both sides are losing, according to documentary filmmaker and New York Times bestselling author Joel Richardson, who warns President Obama that Russian President Vladimir Putin may be empowering one of the great enemies of Israel predicted by the Bible.
Richardson, author of the bestselling “The Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth About the Real Nature of the Beast,” says the Iranians know better than almost anyone else how to take advantage of geopolitical competition.
“The Iranian regime, unlike nearly any other nation, knows how to play the long game,” he said in an interview with WND. “For the past 30 years, they have been quietly and patiently extending their spidery fingers into various nations and governments throughout the earth, including Russia.”
The Iranian government has been skillfully balancing between the United States and Israel in recent months. The Pentagon recently confirmed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard intercepted a U.S.-flagged cargo ship before seizing a Marshall Islands ship, which was under U.S. protection. However, it has not stopped negotiations between the United States and Iran to secure an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.
Indeed, earlier this week, Secretary of State John Kerry claimed, “We are, in fact, closer than ever to the good comprehensive deal that we have been seeking, and if we can get there, the entire world will be safer.”
While many believe such a deal could endanger Israeli national security, Russia also has much to lose from any American opening to Iran, especially because of new trade ties that could threaten Russia’s economic dominance in Central Asia.
For that reason, Putin has moved quickly to secure Russia’s military and economic relationship with Iran, notably by ending a ban on delivering powerful air defense systems capable of defending any nuclear installations.
Richardson, who also directed the documentary and geopolitical tour-de-force “End Times Eyewitness: Israel, Islam, and the Unfolding Signs of the Messiah’s Return,” believes Putin will prove incapable of keeping Iran an obedient client state.
Richardson cautions: “There is strong evidence that Russia and Iran have long been quietly working together, along with some other South American nations, to plan for the downfall of the United States. But in this case, Putin’s cockiness will be his own downfall.
“He thinks Russia can use Iran as its proxy, to do its dirty work, without Russia being burnt. But the plan is going to bite Russia, and the time will come when even Putin will recognize that the beast he has created has gotten out of his control. Russia absolutely underestimates Iran.”
Many Bible scholars believe Russia will lead a great alliance of nations against the Jewish state of Israel in the end times. But just as Richardson believes Russia is not fully in control of Iran, he also believes Russia is not the enemy of Israel, “Magog,” many Christians say, is foretold in Ezekiel 38-39.
“There is no question that Russia will play a significant role in the unfolding of events in our near future, events of a biblical magnitude. It is a critical player in all that is about to unfold. But the understanding of the church concerning Russia in Bible prophecy has changed quite a bit in recent years.
“In my book ‘Mideast Beast,’ I demonstrate unequivocally that Russia is not the lead nation in the prophecy of Ezekiel 38-39 as so many students of prophecy had long been taught.”
Other Christian leaders agree with Richardson. Talk show host, pastor and bestselling author of “Final Warning: Understanding the Trumpet Days of Revelation” Carl Gallups believes Richardson’s findings are critical to understanding international events in what he thinks are the last days.
Gallups told WND: “It has long been speculated among many biblical prophecy scholars that the famed Magog of Ezekiel corresponds to the modern day nation of Russia. The proper understanding of this prophecy is an important consideration because that forecast speaks of a last days’ alliance between Persia (modern-day Iran) and Magog that would eventually lead to a larger scale coalition invasion of a ‘returned’ Israel.
“The evidence that ‘Magog’ refers to Russia is largely based on the writings of Flavius Josephus, the first century Jewish historian who identified the people of Magog as the Scythians of his day. By Josephus’ day, the nomadic Scythian tribes had, in fact, settled largely in what we would now call the area of Russia.”
But as Richardson points out, Gallups said, “the prophecy of Ezekiel was not written in Josephus’ day but hundreds of years before. During Ezekiel’s day, the primary peoples known as Scythians lived in Asia Minor, or modern-day Turkey.”
The strategic relationship between Turkey and Iran is a critical factor in Middle Eastern security. Largely Sunni Turkey and Shiite Iran are geopolitical rivals, especially regarding Syria, where Iran is supporting the government of Bashar al-Assad and Turkey is supporting the insurgency. However, a recent visit by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to Tehran shows the two governments are willing to work together for mutual interests.
As shown in “End Times Eyewitness,” Richardson believes the rise of nationalism and neo-Ottoman tendencies within Turkey are an extreme danger to peace.
And while Richardson believes Turkey and Iran are on the brink of conflict, Gallups identifies any cooperation between Turkey and Iran as even more ominous.
“Turkey is a major player in the Middle East upheaval, especially with the rise of the ISIS butchery that has become the scourge of the area. Turkey and Iran are becoming increasingly aligned with each other concerning the sharing of natural resources, especially natural gas.”
According to recent reports from Press TV, the English language news service of the Iranian government, Turkey is anxious to buy more natural gas from Iran and is looking to expand trade if sanctions are lifted on Iran.
Gallups identifies Russia as the key enabler for the Iranian agenda.
“Of course Iran gets most of its nuclear technology and assistance from Russia! So, as is the case with much biblical prophecy, (culminating with multiple veins of fulfillment) what if the Magog of Ezekiel 28 finds its ultimate fulfillment in both Turkey and Russia?
“What if, in the very last days, Russia boosts Iran’s nuclear technology and enters into ‘protection’ agreements with Iran even as Turkey and Iran develop a strategic partnership? And more importantly, while this is going on, what if the Iranian leadership continues to openly threaten the annihilation of Israel? This is precisely what is happening right now, even as the United States under Barack Obama appears to be turning its back on Israel.”
British authorities have confirmed the Iranian government is already refusing to comply with global sanctions. And as Richardson notes, the Iranian government is already gripped in what he calls an “apocalyptic fervor.”
Gallups warns the confluence of crises the world faces is no accident.
“Consider the fact that we are the first generation in history to see a returned Israel…we have also witnessed the recapturing and possession of Jerusalem by the new Israeli nation. Now, in just the last few years, we are witnessing a coalition of nations (all of them Muslim) forming around the Islamic (anti-Jewish and anti-Christian) upheaval in the Middle East,” he said.
“While various prophecy experts will agree and disagree over certain details of the possible meanings of every word, jot, and tittle, it cannot be denied by anyone who has even a modicum of geopolitical/biblical knowledge of current happenings – especially in the Middle East – that we are living in very prophetic times.”