Spy thrillers have never been more popular. From James Bond to Jack Bauer, movies and TV serials about secret agents continue to capture the imagination of people everywhere. Boys have dreams of growing up to be policemen, firemen, race card drivers or spies. The quintessential secret agent with a license to kill was 007, Ian Fleming’s ultimate Brit on Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
All governments operate such agents under the strictest shadows of secrecy. Their operations are never acknowledged, the existence of their agents are state secrets. For example, even the existence of the US Special Forces Operational Detachment (Delta Force is also known as the CAG or Combat Applications Group) is not officially acknowledged by the American government or military. CIA operations such as MK-ULTRA (forcible experimentation on psychiatric patients with LSD) and the Vietnamese Phoenix Program were not acknowledged at the time. British teams possibly affiliated with the SAS and MI6 (like ‘‘the Sixteen” or Group 13) and NSA teams (possibly I-13) seems to operate in similar clandestine waters. Successful spy operations, even those involving “termination with extreme prejudice” (assassination) are never openly reported by the world’s top secret services.
Does the Bible shed any light on such activities? What does God think about countries taking out their avowed enemies? And how does this apply to today’s news?
Wisdom from Wimber
Years ago the renowned church growth specialist and spiritual catalyst of the Vineyard movement John Wimber told a story about a significant interchange he once had at a conference. An agitated listener (who felt that Wimber’s emphasis on the current operation of spiritual gifts was borderline) stood up and asked dramatically, “Just how far, sir, do you intend to go here?” With God’s wisdom, Wimber immediately answered, “Only as far as what this Book says!’, holding up his Bible. “Well, I’m thankful for that”, said the assuaged man as he took his seat.
Wimber continued, “But have you ever read this Book? Voices come out of burning bushes, thousand-foot high angels appear with flaming swords, donkeys prophesy etc John’s point was that the Bible says a lot of things that most of us never really read, understand or internalizes and many of us do not expect to experience similar events. To be biblical and to do biblical things may be far more bracing, challenging and exciting than many of us have ever considered!
Ehud, the savior raised up by YHVH
In Judges 3:12-28 we meet Ehud, described as a God-given deliverer (Hebrew, moshia, from the same root found in the names Jesus or Yeshua, meaning savior or deliverer). His rise to the proverbial “fifteen minutes of fame” came about as a result of Israel’s national sin of idolatry against God (3:12, 19). YHVH withdrew His protective hand from the Jewish people, strengthening one of their enemies Eglon King of Moab (modern central Jordan). Eglon invaded Israel and seized the city of Jericho (today under the control of the Palestinian Authority).
Eglon’s harsh occupation caused Israel to cry out to God in repentance and God’s heart was stirred by Jewish repentance (see Judges 10:16, “and they got rid of the foreign gods among them & and He could bear Israel’s misery no longer”). YHVH’s response was to remember the covenant He had made with Abraham, and to send a military leader (a “judge”) to deliver Israel.
Ehud was that man. He was also left-handed, an unusual trait in those days, but a strategic benefit for his upcoming role. He was sent by the leaders of Israel to bring tribute (a repeated forced tax) to the King of Moab – something which would be delivered in a public presentation (3:17-18). But God had spoken to Ehud about another task that He had for him something that required skill, strategy, subterfuge and a special sword.
On a mission from God
Ehud crafted a small sword one cubit in length (0.4572 meters or 18 inches) and sharpened it on both sides in preparation for his coming assignment. He then strapped it securely to his right thigh, a “concealed weapon” in modern law-enforcement terminology. Ehud worked out a strategy whereby he would be able to get close to the king and to operate in strictest secrecy.
After he had visited Moab for the initial visit and had presented his tribute, he returned to Jewish territory. Having touched down at home base, he immediately turned around and came back to the court of the Moabite king. He announced publically that he had a secret message for Eglon, who immediately assumed that this message was an “eyes only” secret communication from Israel’s leaders. In actuality, the message was coming directly from the God of Israel, and its content was “death from above”.
Eglon cut off Ehud in mid-speech, telling him to be silent and not reveal secret matters. He then forced his courtiers to leave the stateroom, and bid Ehud to join him in his upper room in total privacy. Having arranged ideal circumstances, Ehud approached the king and said that his message was coming directly from God Himself. He then quickly drew the assassination weapon out adroitly with his left hand, using the element of surprise and plunged the blade with one blow directly into Eglon’s voluminous belly. The thrust was so deep that the sword buried itself in the king’s gut, and even the handle of the weapon disappeared. The text says that even Eglon’s “refuse” came out of the wound. The hit was accurate, quiet and came totally by surprise.
“Do not disturb”
On his way out, Ehud shut and locked the doors of the king’s suite, giving the impression that he was not to be disturbed, perhaps even using the toilet (3:22-24). The smell of “refuse” probably had given them that impression as well. Ehud had done the equivalent of hanging a “do not disturb” sign on the king’s hotel doorknob. He then fled and was able to make it safely back to Israeli territory, before the Moabites had discovered what had transpired.
When he returned, he immediately blew a war trumpet (see Numbers 10) and yelled out, “Pursue them for YHVH has given your enemies the Moabites into your hands” (3:28). In the ensuing clash 10,000 Moabite commandos were killed (3:29) and Israel had quiet on the military front for eighty years (3:30).
YHVH uses hit teams
The above text reveals that God may be a lot less “politically correct” than some of us. Ehud was YHVH’s divinely raised-up hit team, and the message for Eglon King of Moab came straight from the mouth of the God of Israel. With apologies to James Bond, it is worth recalling the words of Moses at the Red Sea where “Pharaoh’s army got drownded”. To broadly paraphrase Exodus 15:3 where YHVH is described as a warrior, one could nearly say, “The name is YHVH – James YHVH”.
The context in Judges 3 shows that God sees Himself as inextricably involved when it comes to His covenant protection of the Jewish people. Certainly the Book of Esther describes His watch care and preservation of Israel from the destructive plans of Persian rulers (Esther 3:7-15) and from the murderous spirit of the Prince of Persia (Daniel 10:13, 20).
The same God of Israel watches over His Jewish people today to preserve them from the destructive plans of modern Iranian rulers. Pray for His preservation of Israel and His defusing of all weapons formed against the Jewish people (see Isaiah 54:17).
Who’s fighting Hitler?
On January 20 2010 an anonymous hit team “terminated with extreme prejudice” a Hamas terrorist named Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Al-Mabhouh had recently given two interviews for Hamas, in which he claimed personal responsibility for the kidnapping and murder of two Israel soldiers Ilan Sa’adon and Avi Sasportas in the late 1980’s. To get them to enter his vehicle, al-Mabhouh dressed up as an Orthodox Jew. He was one of the founding members of Hamas’ armed terror group Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and was the purchaser of long-range missiles and armaments from China, Iran and possibly Syria. Some of these missiles are already targeted at Tel Aviv from within the Gaza Strip, and will be used against Jewish population centers in the next round of war.
Al-Mabhouh often used Dubai as a stop-over (just across the Persian Gulf from Iran) to meet with arms merchants, and as a transit point to China, Iran, Syria and Sudan to oversee weapons transfers. Al-Mabhouh entered Dubai with a false passport supplied by Syria, while he enjoyed Dubai’s reputation as a Middle Eastern meeting place and watering hole for spies and arms dealers.
The hit tem was highly professional. Like Ehud the Judge, they got their man, left a “do not disturb” sign on the hotel room doorknob, and made their escape safely before the Hamas terrorist’s body was discovered. However, due to extensive CCTV coverage in the Kingdom of Dubai, as well as passport scan at ports of entry, the existence and modus operandi of the team was somewhat exposed. Dubai’s Emirates Police Chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim has held daily press conferences exposing details of Dubai’s investigation of the hit team, but has been totally silent about their awareness of the Hamas terrorist’s activities.
Various governments have expressed some degree of outrage regarding the hit team’s use of forged passports. Each of these governments has in times past issued false passports to their own security services, as well as having used (and still using) hit teams in their own countries’ secret services.
It is interesting to note that some wire services report that the intelligence agency behind the Dubai hit team had given British intelligence a limited heads up prior to the action. A large segment of British public opinion has come out overwhelmingly positive about the hit, and suggesting that British policies should imitate success in defense of British interests in the same Middle Eastern theater.
Though it is most likely that the professional hit in Dubai will never be directly linked to any intelligence agency, all thoughtful people concerned for Israel’s survival should ask themselves, “Who is fighting against Iranian, Syrian, Sudanese terrorism? Who is willing to risk their lives to blunt the jihadi spear and to remove developed weapons systems from jihadi arsenals in Gaza and Lebanon?”
With the resurgence of a Hitler-like spirit in the Islamist world, is God once again raising up new judges, new Ehuds, to protect and deliver His covenant people?
Orwell the prophet
There is a quote popularly attributed to the writer George Orwell (of Animal Farm and 1984 fame), “We sleep peaceably in our beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf”. This is a true proverb even if its source is not clear.
There are men and women who are sacrificing their comfort and even their lives, silent and secret warriors in a war against evil and quite real enemies. They work for different countries, but what binds many of them together is a commitment to justice, truth and righteousness and the survival of their own nation, as well as a passion to preserve what remains of Judeo-Christian civilization.
Could we take a moment and pray for these people – for their protection, their success, and the revelation of Yeshua as their savior and deliverer – and the savior and deliverer of the own countries as well!
We appreciate you. 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. Thanks again!
In Messiah Yeshua,
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