The Signs of the Times
The Signs of the Times: The Shaking of Nations for God’s Kingdom Purposes
By Sarah Ann Haves
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Jerusalem, Israel
For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And, there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Matthew 24:7-8
The Rising of the Persian Kingdom
Recent clashes in Lebanon left over 60 dead and more than 200 wounded, threatening a return to civil war by a country that has spent much of its modern history embroiled in a conflict between rival religious clans. After months of a stalled political process, Lebanon’s factions negotiated a deal with the help of diplomats in Qatar, which has led to Michel Suleiman being installed as Lebanon’s new president. The political shake-up has left Suleiman with limited control over the nation, while Lebanon’s political and military terrorist party, Hizbullah, has gained greater control, enabling them to veto every future cabinet decision. Hizbullah, a proxy of Iran, has now successfully extended Iran’s power over Lebanon.
Iran is also using Hamas as a proxy terrorist organization controlling Gaza, and Iran’s Shiite forces have a foothold in Iraq. The Shiites are slowly but surely taking control of Middle East territory, changing the balance of power in this region.
There are signs of a possible Israeli-western military coalition being formed in preparation for a showdown with Iran, perhaps before U.S. President George W. Bush leaves office in January 2009. Middle East experts talk of a clash of civilizations between those focused on a Judeo-Christian biblical world view, vs. those with an Islamic world view based on the Koran.
Clearly, the international community is witnessing the rise of radical Islam through Iran’s influence on the global scene — an indication of the rise of one kingdom against other kingdoms on the earth.
Calamities that force change
More than 134,000 are dead or missing after a powerful cyclone hit Myanmar several weeks ago. At least 24 million people are in need of food, water and shelter. The fields that were once known as the “rice bowl of Asia” bore the brunt of the storm and its 12 foot sea surge. Myanmar’s military junta finally agreed, recently, to let foreign aid workers into the delta to get help to survivors. Citizens in that nation are now desperate for political change after 46 years of unbroken military rule. The cyclone calamity could be followed by major change in Myanmar’s government.
To date, more than 67,000 are confirmed dead and about 20,800 still missing in one of the most devastating earthquakes to hit China in years. A 7.9 magnitude quake, along with powerful aftershocks, has contributed to the five million people left homeless in its path. Now, China is dealing with the possibility of dams breaking and floods washing out more homes and villages. At least 80,000 people have recently been evacuated out of a potential lake floodwaters area in Sichuan province. As the clean-up continues one can only think of the sorrows that many families are enduring in Asia during these tumultuous times.
Tornadoes have hit the United States on an unprecedented level, forcing mayors and governors to declare their cities and state a disaster area, as Americans pick up the pieces of their lives torn by another devastating sign of the times we are living in.
Lena Wan, a Southeast Asian from Singapore, is a leader in the global prayer movement. Referring to the tsunami, earthquake and floods to hit her region years ago, she said that when intercessors unite in prayer, they don’t always realize their region may undergo a shaking before seeing God’s blessings poured out. “It’s the earthquake that triggered the tsunami. And, it’s the earthquake that was a result of prayer from the pastors on that island where it took place. That was the first of three national disasters to break open three major strongholds in Indonesia.” Wan referred to the Islamic stronghold over the island of Aceh; idolatry in parts of Indonesia; and, floods that broke open the sin of mammon in the city of Jakarta.
“It’s got to get worse before it gets better. We pray for God to come. We pray for God to move. And, how He moves is up to Him because He’s God,” Wan declared, and added, “My rally cry, and our rallying call for our region is that Southeast Asia belongs to Jesus. We need to declare the Lordship of Jesus over these places. So if you declare the light of God and declare the Spirit of God to come in, the dark forces need to go.”
Wan said that her region is now seeing major answers to prayers because of a unity among believers that she hasn’t experienced before. “We have pockets of transformation stories in Indonesia; lots and lots of them. Whole islands are now Christian. God is using little children, six to eight years old and up, to perform signs and wonders, and many Moslems are coming to the Lord that way.” Wan’s prayer, which has become the prayer of other believers living in at least 11 nations in her region, is “that God will come and make His dwelling place in our region.”
…The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Messiah, and He shall reign forever and ever. Revelation 11:15
The Kingdoms of this world
Recently, 5,000 guests from Israel and abroad met at the “Facing Tomorrow” President’s Conference in Jerusalem, hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres. At least 30 international delegations, including 14 heads of state and five foreign ministers, joined other world leaders to attend 270 lectures and discussions focused on globalization and a new world order. Talking about forming partnerships, sharing resources, defining old and new institutions, looking at world economies, and, focusing on the failures of peace negotiations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, these leaders could not come to a consensus on how to fix major problems facing our globe today and tomorrow.
A former prime minister of Spain declared, “An international order based on civilizations is the surest safeguard against world war.” The President of Croatia said, “Tomorrow’s world is unthinkable without peace.” The President of Ukraine announced, “We have to get rid of poverty and illness. We still have to act together on the basis of justice and stability.” Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of the Soviet Union stated, “If we don’t understand the world we are living in, we can’t travel toward the goals we want. Let us try to understand the world today.” Former Israeli Knesset member, Natan Sharansky clarified, “There are regimes where conflict is their survival. The free world has to have the power to fight for its freedom.” Dan Gillerman, Israel’s current Ambassador to the United Nations expressed the fact that Israel must live up to the highest standards and keep the moral high ground.
While these and other leaders were meeting in Jerusalem, Israelis were reeling from the shocking news of possible corruption charges against Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. News of the political shake-up was released by media organizations after a police gag order was lifted just hours before U.S. President George Bush arrived to address the President’s Conference. The political shakings in Israel’s government have continued with the possibility of an indictment of Olmert, if there is enough damaging evidence gained by police alleging his personal misuse of campaign funds.
The Kingdom of our God
Hilda Chen, Coordinator of the Pavilion Prayer Tower, a ministry of King of Kings Community in Jerusalem, has been faithfully interceding for the nation of Israel for years. In her post at the Prayer Tower she has seen many believers come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord and repent on behalf of the sins of their nation. The result of this has often been followed by greater shakings in their nation when they return home. “The Father says in His Word that everything that can be shaken will be shaken. And, when He shakes it is always for the purpose of bringing a restoration that is greater than it even was before. It’s not to bring them back to the same state, but to bring them to an increased level, where God can begin to move on a nation, move on a people, and begin to call them into their destiny,” Chen declared.
She believes that the purpose of the shakings of God, and the early rumblings of judgment on a nation, including earthquakes and floods, is for the gospel to go forth. But, some people have argued that the judgments we are seeing today are sudden and harsh. Chen explained, “The judgments of God are never released without warnings releasing the heart of God, time after time again. These increments of time are in God’s agenda to call a people to repentance; to call a people back to Himself. And, when there’s continued hardness of heart; continued bending of their own ways; then the Lord in His love and in His mercy says enough is enough. I need to switch this and cause the people to begin to turn in another manner.”
According to Chen, continued intercession for Israel has been changing the political scene. “When we have been crying out here in the Prayer Tower, we’re crying out for a government that will give leadership; we’re crying out for a shift in Israel. And, the more we’re praying, the worse it’s getting. And, then we pray more, and it gets even worse. But, the reason that all the defilement, as it were, is coming out within the government, and the members of the Knesset that are being exposed for corruption in a variety of ways, is because God is cleansing. He wants to lead a nation.”
Chen said, Israel is the nation of His heart where He has put His name, face, and covenant, and so this cleansing must take place. She believes that God’s cleansing starts first with the Body of Messiah. “Then, the government of God can begin to take its place, and then the government of the nation will begin to line-up,” she explained.
Why do the nations rage, and the people plot in vain? Psalm 2:1
The raging of the nations against God’s Anointed Son
Today, believers point out that global nations are raging around Israel. And, they say, Jerusalem is the epicenter of the battle in these last days. Therefore, certain nations, like Iran, want to annihilate the Jews, His chosen people, while Islamic forces try to take over the Middle East.
Chen agrees with this assessment, but sees God’s glory coming upon Israel in the future, eventually filling the earth. “And, so we are standing here contending in the place of worship. Praise is waiting for Him. Praise is going to usher in His presence. So, even in the final hour, regardless of how the nations rage, there will praise waiting for Him in Zion.”
She, like other believers in Jesus, contends that the government of God needs to be established. The Kingdom of God will come, as will His government on the earth. King Messiah will then establish His throne. Chen explained, “And, of His Kingdom and His government, there is peace. There’s no real peace until the Prince of Peace establishes it in the hearts of men. Believers in Yeshua (Jesus) will not be a periphery force in the last days but, will become the dominant force, and governments will be looking to the Body of Messiah.”
Global intercessors, like Chen, are praying for the Lord to give new strategies for partnerships to fulfill God’s Kingdom purposes on earth in preparation for the greater shakings and calamities that will be confronting the international community. But, Chen like others, thinks the shakings will be followed by God’s blessings, as more and more people on the earth come to salvation and to the knowledge of the Lord in the face of Yeshua.
Ms. Haves is a news analyst, reporting from Israel on political, diplomatic, military and spiritual issues affecting the nation.
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Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.