BY ADAM ELIYAHU BERKOWITZ | AUG 10, 2021 | BIBLICAL NEWS
On Monday, China and Russia held joint military exercises and for the first time, they were hosted on Chinese soil. The five-day event will be held in the city of Qingtongxia, in China’s northern Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
RUSSIA AND CHINA: A GROWING ALLIANCE
The event clearly was intended to have political overtones as well as military utility as it began with a gesture of friendship as the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Lieutenant General Liu Xiaowu, deputy commander of the Western Theater Command and commanding officer of Chinese forces in the upcoming exercise, presenting a bouquet of flowers to members of the Russian military delegation. Though this was the first exercise held inside China, it was the fourth joint Sino-Russian military exercise, after the Vostok (East) 2018, Tsentr (Center) 2019, and Kavkaz (Caucasus) 2020 exercises, all of which were held inside Russia.
The exercise will continue until Friday. The drill is significant, establishing a joint command center and involving approximately 10,000 personnel utilizing different types of aircraft, weaponry, equipment, and vehicles from both countries. The drill will feature China’s stealth fighter jet, the Chengdu J-20, also known as Mighty Dragon, marking the first time the PLA has sent the J-20 in joint drills with another country. According to press releases from both Chinese and Russian sides, Russian personnel was provided with the PLA’s Type 11 wheeled assault guns and Type 08 infantry fighting vehicles, marking the first time that China’s military will share its main battle equipment with the Russian troops. The drill is touted as being focused on improving the interoperability of the two armies.
RABBI WINSTON: “HASHEM FLEXING HIS MUSCLES”
Rabbi Pinchas Winston, who is cogent in the Jewish sources pertaining to Moshiach and Jewish eschatology, stated, “When I heard about this exercise, I knew it was Hashem flexing his muscles.”
“It is God showing that He moves the pieces around. Men can try to show their strength but now, more than ever, with the pandemic and with massive flooding in China and Europe and all the other natural catastrophes, God is showing that ultimately, he is the one running the show. This is preparation for the end of days when He will be One and His name will be One.”
Rabbi Winston pointed out that any activity in the past that appeared to be a precursor to the pre-Messiah Gog and Magog war was precisely that; a precursor.
“The difference here is the timing,” Rabbi Winston said. “The Shemitah (sabbatical) year begins in one month. The Talmud explicitly states that the Shemitah is a difficult time and even a time of war. That is because Shemitah is a test of faith; can you sit and watch your fields lie fallow, believing that Hashem is in charge.”
GOG AND MAGOG: THREE WARS, SHEMITAH
Rabbi Winston noted that according to Jewish sources, Gog and Magog will be a process of three wars. Rabbi Yisroel Kagan, a preeminent Torah authority known as the Chofetz Chayim who passed away in 1933 (after WWI but prior to WWII) stated that WWI was the first stage and that two more global conflicts would complete the process of Gog and Magog.
“That is why Shemitta is a time of war. People are choosing sides. It is the ancient cry of ‘who is for Hashem, come to me’. Before Gog and Magog, the world will be polarized along that line. And people who do not answer the call, it is because they can’t even see Hashem. They have never looked for Him. They think that doctors are running the pandemic, that politicians are running the government, that the armies win the wars.”
“Messiah comes after the Shemitta because Shemitta is all about faith in God, showing that He is in control. After showing faith in the Shemitta and after the war in the Shemitta year, everything is ready for Moshiach (Messiah) to appear in the following year, the eighth year.”
“Gog and Magog will not be a regular war about territory or power. It will be a war between those who can believe in God, who have always seen Him as running the world, against those who have never seen God as running the world.”
Rabbi Winston noted that society is clearly prepared for this.
“All of the events in the past year have pushed people even more into taking positions on how they stand in relation to Hashem. God wants to bring a true judgment with no excuses or doubts.”
Another rabbi, who preferred to remain anonymous, noted that the sixth year just prior to the Shemittah was a time of increased strife in order to increase faith.
“This year, troubles and catastrophes have come to Israel and to other nations in a most unusual way. It is not just that many of the troubles were extreme in magnitude and scale, like the pandemic and global flooding, but it is also notable that they came in quick succession. No sooner does one trouble end than another begins.”
“The message is that you shouldn’t wait until Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur to repent. The call has gone out to repent before the Shemitta kicks in.”
RUSSIA AND CHINA AS GOG AND MAGOG
Russia’s role in multinational military exercises takes on apocalyptic implications when considering verses that identify the pre-Messiah War of Gog and Magog which, according to the prophet Ezekiel, will be a war against Israel fought by a multi-nation coalition led by a nation from the north.
Therefore prophesy, O mortal, and say to Gog: Thus said Hashem: Surely, on that day, when My people Yisrael are living secure, you will take note, and you will come from your home in the farthest north, you and many peoples with you—all of them mounted on horses, a vast horde, a mighty army. Ezekiel 38: 14-15
One interpretation of the Bible has Russia at the head of the multi-national army of the pre-Messiah War of Gog and Magog. Rabbi Haim Shvili, a 20th-century Jewish mystic wrote a book of predictions concerning the Messiah in 1935. Remarkably, Rabbi Shvili understands the prophet Ezekiel to foresee the War of Gog and Magog as being launched by a Russian-led coalition.
O mortal, turn your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him Ezekiel 38:2
Rabbi Shvili understood the Hebrew word in the verse for ‘chief’ is rosh. Rabbi Shivli used this verse to identify Russia to be the leader of the Gog and Magog coalition. The rabbi emphasized that Gog is referred to as the “land of the North”, and Russia is the northernmost country in Europe. He also identified “Meshech” and “Tubal” as the Balkan states, which are ruled by Russia. Rabbi Shvili predicted that the Russian-led coalition will be opposed by a coalition of comparable size, comprising soldiers from all 70 nations.
China also has a connection with Magog. The Mongolian Empire once included sections of Russia, China, and North Korea. The Chinese and all the minority groups living in China are of the Mongoloid race, which stems from Noah’s son Japheth. Etymologists have conjectured that the name Mongol is derived from the name Magog.
The Bible may also contain an anachronistic reference to China.
I will pour out my anger upon Sin, the stronghold of Egypt, and I will destroy the wealth of No. I will set fire to Egypt; Sin shall writhe in anguish and No shall be torn apart; and Noph [shall face] adversaries in broad daylight Ezekiel 30:15-16
In modern Hebrew, ‘Sin’ (סין) is the name for China.
RUSSIA AND CHINA: GROWING MILITARY COOPERATION
Russia is increasing its military readiness and at the beginning of the year, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that Russia would participate in nine military exercises with foreign troops in 2021, hosting eight of them. Much of this focus on the military was turned towards China. China and Russia held their first joint military exercise in 2003 and have conducted more than 30 since.
Russia and China will have another chance to practice military cooperation at the International Army Games later this month. The Russian Defense Ministry reported on Sunday that a separate contingent of Russian military personnel flew along with equipment to China to take part in three International Army Games competitions to be held in Korla of China’s northwestern Xinjiang Autonomous Province. Other events will be held in Russia, where Chinese troops recently arrived with China with various materiel.
Again, in September, China and Russia will train together alongside India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Peace Mission 2021 drills. The drills were organized under the banner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a Eurasian security bloc led by Russia and China.
According to many media sources citing Chinese and Russian sources, the main impetus for the recent joint military enture was the Biden administration’s sudden withdrawal from Afghanistan which they fear endangers regional peace and stability and will lead to the development of terrorist forces in the region. It should be noted that Turkey, which was granted dialogue partner status in the SCO’s 2012 summit in Beijing, hosted China in a week-long joint air force exercise in 2010. The incident garnered international consternation as Turkey is a NATO member. Relations between the two countries have been strengthened since the election of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2014.