Something is happening here, Mister Jones

At the onset of the youth revolution in 1965, Bob Dylan penned “Ballad of a Thin Man” (© Special Rider Music). The most famous line in that song was “Something is happening here and you don’t know what it is, do you, Mister Jones?” Mr. Zimmerman’s reference may have been a snipe at music critics who misunderstood or belittled his art, but most audiences understood it to refer to an older generation who had little sympathy for rock music, counter-culture lifestyles or revolutions of any kind.

So much is changing so quickly these days, that many of us daily feel something like Mister Jones. Business is no longer business as usual, and no one even knows exactly how to keep up with the Joneses any more. Physical shakings (New Zealand) morph into tsunamis and nuclear meltdowns (Japan), while Arab street riots turn into inconclusive revolutions (Egypt) or start-stop warfare (Libya). Western economic fears multiply while the U.S. government nearly grinds to a halt. Something is happening here for sure, and we are not at all sure what it is.

Freeze-frame in the Middle East

Street protests have spread like wildfire throughout the Middle East. From west to east Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Bahrain and Yemen find the specter of popular uprising haunting the casbahs of the Arab world. In two cases (Tunisia and Egypt) this has led to an interim change of government. Corrupt pro-Western police states which kept a lid on Islamist revolutionaries have had their dictators summarily removed.

In Egypt’s case the armed forces have stepped in, men from the same background and standing as President Hosni Mubarak. The Muslim Brotherhood is waiting in the wings for the right moment to transform Egypt into a Shari’a-compliant Islamist state dedicated to the destruction of the West and Israel (www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/03/egypt-muslim-brotherhood-west-democracy).

In Tunisia, similarly, the secular dictatorship of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown in the Jasmine Revolution of January 2011, to be initially replaced by Mohamed Ghannouchi (who was then forced to resign for being too close to Ben Ali).  At this point Rashid al-Ghannouchi (no relation), Islamist leader of the Muslim Brotherhood-related al-Nahda (renaissance) party (www.hudson-ny.org/1838/rachid-ghannouchi-islamist) has returned to Tunisia after 22 years in exile (www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12318824).

In many countries the stage is being set for an Islamist takeover. In Jordan the stridently Islamist Salafi movement (led by people like Jarrah al-Rahahla and Sa’ad al-Hunaiti) is actively leading protests against King Abdullah (www.jpost.com/Features/FrontLines/Article.aspx?id=216710), causing great consternation to the powers that be.

The Shi’ite unrest in Bahrain (where the U.S. bases its Fifth Fleet) has generated grave Western concern as to Iranian involvement in events. Iran calls itself a Shi’ite republic, yet its form of democracy is quite different from that of, say, the Netherlands (www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1367020/Bahrain-protests-Oil-militant-Islam-terrifying-dilemma-facing-West.html). Saudi Arabia’s recent pre-approved invasion of Bahrain indicates that it sees Iran-linked developments there as threatening Saudi and Sunni security in the Gulf.

The country of Yemen is also faced with much popular unrest. The overthrow of its government, however, would remove one of the few erstwhile allies that the U.S. has in the Middle East, and allow the burgeoning al-Qa’eda related forces sequestered in the Hadramaut deserts to go from strength to strength.

The combined weight of these various riots, rebellions and political instabilities is not occurring in a vacuum. Islamist jihadi forces are actively struggling for control of one of the world’s most strategic areas – whether in terms of oil geopolitics or of anti-Israel and anti-Western military goals.

How to pray?

  • Ask for the Lord to raise up His Middle Eastern leaders for this time, but do not be surprised if some of them may look like Sennacherib or Ben-Haddad (1 Kings 20; Isaiah 10:5-19). 
  • Pray for the protection of believers and for the increase of the gospel in the Islamic and Arab world; to strengthen those who represent Yeshua to their own people; to grant a great harvest of peoples in the Middle East (1 Timothy 2:1-4; Isaiah 60:5-15).

“They got him outnumbered about” fourteen to one…

A recent vote at the U.N.’s Security Council (Friday, February 18, 2011) showed 14 out of the 15 members declaring that Jewish restoration and rebuilding on  its own God-given land is illegal and “a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace” in the Middle East and the world. These nations were backed up by 80 countries in the General Assembly that co-sponsored the resolution (BBC says 130 countries – www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12512732).

The fourteen countries of the Security Council who voted in favor of the resolution are Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, China, Columbia, France, Gabon, Germany, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal, Russian Federation, South Africa and the United Kingdom (www.un.org/sc/members.asp). The United States was the only Security Council member that vetoed (and blocked) this declaration.

Before the veto, however, Susan E. Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. offered to endorse a U.N. declaration affirming that the United States also does “not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity.” After the veto she declared that the U.S. rejects “in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity” (http://usun.state.gov/briefing/statements/2011/156816.htm). The U.S. veto had simply to do with putting the brakes on a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood – it was a question of politically correct timing and not of support for Israel.

So there you have it. The majority of the world (130 out of 192 countries) is on record as opposing what God is doing in restoring His Jewish people to the mountains of Samaria, to the Golan, to Hebron and to Jerusalem (Jeremiah 30:3, 8; 31:5-24; Amos 9:11-15; Micah 4; 7:14 etc.). Even the one country that vetoed the resolution took pains to declare that it also was opposed to the principle of full Jewish restoration.

The stage has been set by the nations. Declarations against Israel are on their way to becoming boots on the ground. The prophesied rebellion of the nations in Psalm 2 has moved up a notch, and is closer to final fulfillment than at any previous time in human history. But it is important to remember – though hunting season may have been declared by the nations à la Jeremiah 16:16, it is the God of Israel who always has the last word in these encounters (Jeremiah 30:13-17).

The calm before the storm

Rioting streets in the Arab and Islamic nations are hogging most of the TV chatter. But only a few inches underneath the surface of the Middle Eastern “lake,” a quieter and more menacing hum is heard – the intense preparation for another all-out war against Israel.

Iran is doggedly sending advanced Chinese missiles (as well as Iranian variants) through Syria, Turkey and Egypt to Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip (http://china-defense.blogspot.com/2011/03/chinese-designed-c704-on-displayfor-all.html). Iran has also been sending weapons through Sudan, some of which were recently intercepted by Israel (www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-12986864). Occasionally it seems that even the Islamist arms-smuggling kingpins are eliminated in bold and unattributed cloak-and-dagger operations (www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1970586,00.html).

According to a recent WikiLeaks document, Hezbollah in Lebanon has re-armed with close to 40,000 rockets (www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2011/me_iran0442_04_14.asp) and can fire an average of 500 a day at Israel in the next round of hostilities (including 100 per day at Tel Aviv). Syria has at its command an arsenal of advanced SCUD missiles armed with chemical warfare ability, while Iran is expected to have atomic-tipped cruise missiles in the very near future.

How to pray?

  • Ask for the God of Jacob to protect His people Israel and to nullify the plans of their enemies (Isaiah 8:9-10; Malachi 3:6). 
  • Ask Him to raise up a cry of repentance and humble trust in the God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua among the Jewish people.

Shake it to the East

The gospel singer Sam Cooke had a hit in 1963 called “The Wobble.” This song was one of the first to use the phrase “shake it to the east, shake it to the west.” In light of recent events in Japan, it could well be that these words have a prophetic aspect to them as well.

Back in 1989 a gentleman with prophetic gifting named Bob Jones revealed that the Lord had given him a vision of a future big earthquake in Japan. This mighty quake would lead to a tsunami touching America, and following that would come another major earthquake (www.morningstartv.com/prophetic-perspective-current-events/japanese-earthquake-prophesied-20-years-ago-part-1?utm_source=blast) and strong economic shakings. Other prophetic voices have come out since August 2010 with similar revelation.

Each one of us needs to seek the Lord’s face regarding these matters, for the safest place to be is always when one is close to the Lord. Acts 11:26-30 shows how a similar prophetic word in New Testament times was treated seriously by the apostolic leadership in Antioch and in Jerusalem, and how Paul and Barnabas were instructed to take certain practical measures in response to that prophetic word of warning.

The evil and rebellion against God in this world is certainly great, and some of its greatest expressions involve the taking of human life, the destruction of the family, and the targeting of Israel.

The time has passed, I believe, for hoping against hope that this planet can still dodge the silver bullet of judgment. But the time is now, I also believe, to call out to God for the lessening of that judgment (Genesis 18:17-32), for repentance which can lessen the blow (Jonah 4:2, 11) and for the saving of many lives (2 Peter 3:9).

How to pray?

  • Ask God to have mercy on your country and to bring repentance to your leaders (Joel 1:13-20). 
  • Ask Him to reveal His heart to your leaders on what is truly important and precious to Him (Isaiah 55:6-9). 
  • Press in and ask Him to spare your country and send revival (Joel 2:12-18). 

Double portion to the point man

In the armed forces, the point man is the one who scouts ahead of the main force as it presses in to the enemy’s territory. He is the first to trip the land mines, the first to get shot at. Nations can have that cutting edge role as well. Israel is God’s first-born nation (Exodus 4:22; Romans 9:4), His point man in this world.

In some ways the United States is also a point man. It is still the only superpower on the scene. Its culture is the envy of the world, and its music, films, television and fashion set the lead that most of the Western world follows. The U.S. was the first country to recognize the State of Israel de jure, and has been its most decisive friend in international politics and in military matters. But all this is rapidly changing.

Double blessing and double discipline are Israel’s biblical portion (Deuteronomy 21:15-17; Isaiah 40:1-2; 61:7; Romans 1:16; 2:5-11). This spiritual principle may apply in a secondary sense to America as well, for to whom much is given much is required.

How to pray?

  • Ask the Lord God to have mercy on America and on Israel in particular – that He would give divine wisdom and a renewed fear of the Lord to both nations and to their leaders.

The choice is up to you

The Apostle Paul tells us that mature love when it is fully formed casts out all fear (1 John 4:18; Luke 12:4-12). That which we fear is that which we place on a high pedestal. Some would say that which we fear is that which we worship. From that perspective we must fear God alone, and only Him should we worship (Deuteronomy 6:13; Matthew 4:10)!

In days to come and even now, mankind has a choice to make, my friend Bob Jones would say. We can choose to exercise faith – or to embrace fear. We can choose to rest in God’s character, His promises and His word –  or we can run in panic.

Let us be like Mary (or Miriam, her Hebrew name) who chose to sit at Yeshua’s feet and hear His words of life (Luke 10:38-42), rather than get caught up in the pressures and concerns which would turn our relationship with Yeshua into a burdensome and loveless obligation leading to death.

May you have a joyous Passover!

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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