In that day, I will restore David’s fallen sukkah. I will repair it’s broken walls and restore it’s ruins. I will rebuild it as in the days of old.

– Amos 9:11

God’s hook in the jaws of the world

Middle Eastern events are speeding up, both in significance and momentum. Yet even amidst the tumult, there is a quiet place available in God from which flows understanding, discernment, sobriety and peace.

Like the men of the tribe of Issachar, “men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32), we want to find that place, grasp hold of it with both hands, and cleave to what God is doing among the nations regarding His Jewish people.

The divine gambit

In Ezekiel 38 YHVH allows us a measure of insight into His ways regarding the nations. The prophet declares that God’s last days judgments will fall on a consortium of nations who trouble the nation and land of Israel. “I am against you” (verse 3); “thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan” (verse 10).

Yet God is sovereignly pro-active in this whole process, leading the troublers of Israel into judgment: “It shall come about in the last days that I shall bring you against My land” (verse 16). “Are you the one of whom I spoke in former days through My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days for many years that I would bring you against them?” (verse 17). “It will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel, declares YHVH God, that My fury will mount up in My anger” (verse 18). “With pestilence and with blood I will enter into judgment with him” (verse 22). God is not absent from this process nor is He unaware of what is happening. Au contraire – He is much involved.

The key phrases in this divine scenario are found in verse three, “ I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army,” as well as in verse eight, “After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword.”

When the set time comes for God to trigger His plans for judgment on the nations, He activates His hooks and pulls those nations down into the Middle East, to trouble the nation of Israel. Even the greatest super-power can be caught on the hook of God, whether he was expecting it or not. Unauthorized and anti-biblical pressure on Israel brings, according to the Scriptures, both God’s wrath (Jeremiah 30:16) and God’s curse (Genesis 12:3).

Imperial hubris

The sound and fury being demonstrated by most of the nations – in pontificating about how the land of Israel must be divided and about how the restoration of the Jewish people to major portions of their Promised Land is a “rectifiable error” – is actually a sign and a wonder to those who have the eyes to see and the ears to hear. The season we are living in is no longer one of whether or not judgment will fall on these nations. The only question now is one of timing.

Just a reminder of biblical perspective on this matter: the clearest passages dealing with the return of Messiah (Zechariah 14:1-3; Joel 3:1-2) plainly teach that Yeshua returns in judgment based on the nations’ invasion of Israel and division of both the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem. The Second Coming is triggered by the nations’ plans and actions to establish the borders of these areas, and by their attempting to remove Jewish people from East Jerusalem. The unholy source and sober significance of such moves is unmistakably set forth in Scripture.

What is happening in our day and at this moment is not the invasion of Gog and Magog, for that battle is nearly the zenith of the nations’ troubling of Israel. What is happening right now is “a preview of coming attractions,” a dress-rehearsal of the nations where the same principles are at play today and the same issues are at stake. The empires of the world are zooming in on Zion, and the nations are getting into quite an uproar.

I hear the sound of “Rolling Thunder”

The list of nations intent on whittling Israel down grows by the minute. Prime Ministers and Foreign Secretaries of these countries go on record practically daily, declaring that Israel must be pressured for her own good, and that her recalcitrant attitude is the main obstacle to a smoothly running Middle East. The latest world leader to dance on this spiritual minefield is President Obama, who declared on May 19 2011 that Israel must withdraw to the pre-June 1967 lines, and that Jerusalem must be divided. He was immediately seconded by the discordant chimes of France, England, Poland, Germany, the European Union, the Quartet, Egypt, Jordan etc.

YHVH’s words to Belshazzar in Daniel 5:5-28 have sober relevance for the mightiest powers of our day: “Mene, mene, tekel u’farsin.” You have been surely weighed on the scales of God. You have been found severely lacking in what He was looking for. Your kingdom will be soon divided.”

Where judgment will fall first is not really the central issue, for when judgment falls it will not stop in one country alone. What is coming could rightly be described as a “Rolling Thunder Revue.”

  • The only thing that can lessen and mitigate the evil decree is repentance – intercessory repentance for the sins of your nation’s thrusting its finger into the apple of God’s eye (Zechariah 2:8). 

In days gone by the bearded Hebrew prophets fulminated against the evils of ungodly kings. In our day God is raising up a fiery army of New Covenant prophets who will bring the leaders of our world to account for their evil thoughts and plans against Israel the people and the land.

Avoiding the minefield of fear

The initial response of many believers to the rapidly lengthening shadows of malevolence against Israel is often fear. How will the Jewish people be able to stand if Iran develops a nuclear arsenal, or if the USA reduces her military, political or economic aid to Israel? What will happen if the European Union boycotts the Jewish state, or if the United Nations passes resolutions declaring that a Jewish presence on portions of the Promised Land is illegal and subject to international sanctions? What will happen if hordes of Muslims (whether Turks, Syrians, Palestinians from Gaza or Lebanon or even from within Israel) try to invade Israel en masse and wreak havoc on Israel’s borders and security forces?

After this first wave of fear passes, it would be good to remember that these nations and these Palestinians have absolutely no idea of Whom they are angering, and Who He is who is preparing to visit these nations with His judgments. Let’s remember that even though events in Pharaoh’s Egypt looked bad for the sons of Israel immediately prior to the Exodus, the soon-to-come revelation of God’s glory and judgments through Moses the prophet topped anything that anyone had ever known up to that point. The same is true in our day.

  • As we pray for Israel’s protection, let us take moment of silence and remember that God is on the move among the nations, and that for those countries who raise their hand against Israel the land and the people, it will be a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God (Hebrews 10:31).

Avoiding the minefield of eschatological cold-heartedness

Years ago I remember having a theological conversation with a seminary student. “When I see Israel’s dependence on weapons and on its army, I think of God’s rebuke to Israel not to trust in horses or chariots!”, said my friend. His unspoken presupposition was that America was allowed to pursue its military interests to the uttermost, but that Israel was somehow carnal and disobedient to God when it did the same! A similar geopolitical weltanschauung can be seen when one compares international reaction to Israel’s targeting of Islamic terrorists, with international reaction to the recent Navy SEAL special operations forces hit on Osama bin Laden.

As we try to align our hearts with God’s own heart as revealed in the Bible, let us ask God for revelatory insight on how the mighty Israeli prophetic army that God is raising up (Ezekiel 37:9-10; Isaiah 41:14-16) is related to the present Israeli army.

  • Let us not look on Israel with the cold dispassionate gaze of a bored bystander, but cry out to God for the apple of His eye – the one nation whose agony and suffering God empathetically feels as His own pain (Isaiah 63:9), and whose prioritized good and blessing He Himself has prophesied (Jeremiah 32:37-44; Isaiah 62:1-11; 43:1-7).

Avoiding the minefield of last days narcissism

One further thought. The Scriptures are filled with end-time descriptions of the Jewish people, their land and God’s plans for their restoration and good. Sometimes the prophetic rushing river of God’s promises to Israel is so powerful and fast-moving that it is possible to get caught in the web of all of these prophetic facts, to get hypnotized by the oncoming speed and surge of their soon-coming fulfillment.

Yet God has given us all of this biblical information not for our own satisfaction, not to assuage our own compulsive tendencies, and not to become eschatological know-it-alls. What He really wants is for us to weep for His people (Isaiah 62:1-12). He wants us to intercede with hot tears for their protection, their salvation and their restoration.

  • The fruit of a balanced last-days vision leads one to activism in prayer for Israel, activism in helping and succoring the Jewish people, and activism in saving Jewish lives through good works and the gospel of Yeshua, Israel’s Davidic Messiah.  

“He’s got plans of His own to set up His throne …”

Do not be afraid of the evil plans of the enemy, nor of how he may be using the blinded leaders of nations. Isaiah 8:10 proclaims, “Devise a plan, but it will be thwarted; state a proposal, but it will not stand, for God is with us – Immanuel!”

  • Pray for the leaders of your nation and for the leaders of Israel – that YHVH will grant repentance, clarity of vision, divine discernment and courage to follow the truth – to fear God and not to fear men.

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,

Avner Boskey

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