Economic upheaval in Europe, riots in North Africa and Damascus (the jewel of the Islamic world), Palestinian attempts to establish a fait accompli at the UN (prior to dividing up the land of Israel) – we live in interesting times. The recent public exposure by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) of Iran’s secretive drive to arm its Shi’ite Islamist revolution with nuclear weapons persists in creating diplomatic jitters through the Arab Gulf states. The Shi’ite A-bomb has merited intense Israeli attention for the past twenty years, with political, intelligence and military aspects in high gear.
Ezekiel’s four judgments
Two thousand six hundred years ago the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel gave the world a sneak peak at some of the secret weapons in God’s arsenal “My four severe judgments … the sword, famine, wild beasts and pestilence” (Ezekiel 14:21). These can be rephrased in modern language – weapons and warfare; natural disasters; the results of economic collapse; plagues and communicable diseases. In the 21st century these fears and concerns are very much alive, though few would have the intellectual clarity or spiritual courage to agree with Ezekiel’s take on these matters.
The prophet’s moral message is that YHVH uses such judgments to punish iniquity and idolatry (vv.7, 10), to remove those who indulge in profanity (v.11), and to root out apathetic or blasé attitudes to the holiness and righteousness of God (vv.4-5).
- These divine weapons are not only Bible legends – they are still part of YHVH’s arsenal on the world scene today.
Zion’s enemies in the day of YHVH’s wrath
King David once prophesied about a coming day when all the nations of the earth would gather against Jerusalem as enemies of Zion. YHVH promises to crush these enemies, declaring that the Messiah will rule over them with a rod of iron from the capital of a reborn Jewish kingdom: “YHVH said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ YHVH will extend the rod of Your strength out of Zion, saying ‘Rule in the midst of Your enemies’”(Psalm 110:1-2).
In that day, David says, the God of the armies of Israel will raise up a youthful and holy Hebrew army which will be involved in carrying out the military strategies of the Lord of the battle (v.3).
The description of that war is short and bloody: “YHVH at Your right hand will crush kings in the day of His wrath. He will judge among the nations. He will fill the place with dead bodies. He will crush the rulers of the whole earth” (vv.5-6).
“Si vis pacem, para bellum”
A once famous Latin writer Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus (400’s AD) once said, “If you wish for peace, prepare for war.” In modern terms, peace can only be established when the arm of the bellicose is broken.
Hosea prophesied something similar in the late 700’s BC, speaking of the end of days when Israel is regathered and the Davidic kingdom is re-established: “In that day I will cut a covenant for them (ed., the Jewish people) with the beasts of the field, with the birds of the air, and with all the creeping creatures on the ground. I will shatter from the earth the bow, the sword and war, and I will make them (ed. the Jewish people) lie down in safety” (Hosea 2:18).
- Note the prophetic order here – first, the destruction of the nations’ weapons of war; then peace for Israel.
What is happening in our day is the exact opposite of this biblical truth. Israel is being pressured by all the nations of the world to declare peace with its enemies, while at the same time its enemies are actively and openly preparing for war. The Hamas government of Gaza, the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank, the shaky governments of Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, the pro-Western governments of the Persian Gulf, and of course the Islamic Republic of Iran – all refuse to recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people; they refuse to acknowledge that God is regathering His Jewish people to their promised land; and they threaten Israel with destruction and actively prepare to carry out these genocidal threats.
Peace will only come to Israel and to the Middle East when the arm of the warmongers is broken. The international political stance – that Israel must retreat from portions of its own promised land, and then peace will break out in the Islamist dictatorships of the Middle East – is biblically false and brings with it the judgment of Genesis 12:3.
Only when the nuclear weapons industry of Iran is crushed, and when superpowers will no longer casually flex their military prowess at Israel in order to scare her into a panicked retreat – only when YHVH the God of Jacob’s armies “shatters the bow, the sword and war from the earth” – only then will Israel dwell in safety with no wolves to disturb it. In the meantime, for Israel to survive, it must prepare for war.
Mick Jagger and the hunters
On April 13, 1967 the Rolling Stones had the privilege of being the first Western rock n’ roll band to play behind the Iron Curtain, when they performed at the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, Poland. In an interview given after that double-concert, Mick Jagger (whose last name means “hunter” in German) spoke with exasperation about how Communist apparatchiks took exception to the Stones’ focus on partying and loose living. Polish Communist leaders kept referring to the terrible and sobering experiences of WWII, and insisted that Poland’s youth needed to keep these historical lessons as a priority perspective, rather than the rock n’ roll lifestyle.
But the Polish “right-think” and “right-speak” perspective fell on “Stoney” or deaf ears. Jagger declared that the war had ended over twenty years before. What possible affect should it have on Jagger’s own generation, he asked rhetorically.
- In the same way, many today fail to understand how Israel relates to its own immediate Middle Eastern context – because the nations of the world for the most part do not grasp the apocalyptic context of how Hitler’s war machine and murder factories have deeply imprinted the Jewish people and Israel’s leaders.
Breaking Hitler’s Bow
Less than 70 years ago, the European slaughter of the Jewish people was in full force. Those Jews who tried to focus the world’s attention on this holocaust were for the most part laughed off as overly paranoid and as “crying wolf.” Even minimal efforts to bomb railway lines to Auschwitz at the height of the destruction of Hungarian Jewry (when British and American heavy bombers were already doing daily runs over those lines) met with studied disinterest and condescending sneers. The combination of Hitler’s demonized assembly-line murder camps (on the one hand) and Allied anti-Semitism and cold-heartedness (on the other), led to the gassing and burning of six million Jewish people.
- Today the same coldness of heart, the same smirks of intolerance, the same averting of the gaze and anti-Semitic cracks characterize world leaders in the West. The same murderous cries for genocide of the Jewish people and the wiping out of Israel as the Jewish national homeland characterize the Islamic and Arab world.
- As we pray for Israel, it is important to understand that Middle Eastern events are not simply a vast prophetic chessboard whereon the plans of the ages are worked out with amazing strategic acumen. We are considering the safety and survival of God’s chosen people, about whom YHVH says “when they suffer, I suffer” (Isaiah 63:9), and about whom the God of Jacob declares, “My heart churns within Me and all My compassions are turned upside – no, I will not execute the fierceness of My anger and I will not again destroy Ephraim!” (Hosea 12:8-9).
How can we pray?
- Pray for the destruction of Hitler’s bow – that the murderous intentions of Iran’s nuclear death machine will be crushed by the hand of the God of Israel
- Pray for the destruction of Hitler’s bow – that the schemes of jihadi Islam regarding the destruction of the Jewish people and the Jewish state will be exposed, punished and neutralized
- Pray for the salvation of the enemies of the Jewish people, that as YHVH stretches out His hand of judgment, some might end up seeking His name (Psalm 83:16)
- Pray for the protection and salvation of the Jewish people, especially in Israel – that we might recognize and bow the knee before Messiah Yeshua, David’s Son, and seek His help, protection and victory for the challenges now facing us
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do!
In Messiah Yeshua,
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