A View from what God calls: "My land"
Eliyahu Ben Haim is chairman of Intercessors for Israel. In the following update he gives a perspective - as a believer - on some of the implications arising from the current political upheavals in the Middle East.
Sound of the Shofar No. 89
February 15th, 2011
by Eliyahu Ben Haim
Intercessors for Israel
THE BURDEN against Egypt. Behold, the LORD rides on a swift cloud, And will come into Egypt; The idols of Egypt will totter at His presence, And the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst. I will set Egyptians against Egyptians; Everyone will fight against his brother, And everyone against his neighbor, City against city, kingdom against kingdom. The spirit of Egypt will fail in its midst; I will destroy their counsel, And they will consult the idols and the charmers, The mediums and the sorcerers. And the Egyptians I will give into the hand of a cruel master, And a fierce king will rule over them, says the Lord, the LORD of hosts. Isa 19:1-4
A little history
Since June 1952, Egypt has been ruled by the military - at times there was a notable strongman at the helm: Nasser, Sadat, Mubarak - but the real power has always been the Egyptian Military High Command. In Egypt as in China, the military has not limited itself to military matters. They own cement factories, olive oil factories and myriad other commercial ventures. They are the real big players in the Egyptian economy. What has changed in the last few weeks? Nothing really - not yet anyway.
While there has been much talk of the Mubarak family becoming very wealthy and I'm sure this is true - in the end the military was more threatened by Gamal Mubarak taking over than that the crowds in the street would take over. Gamal Mubarak was not an army officer and he might have even become an economic reformer if given the chance.
This was a military coup without a doubt and as such will not in itself bring much change in Egypt - the cast of characters has changed slightly but the power behind the throne remains the same. Defense Minister Muhammad Tantawi is in charge for now. We don't know if he will be a notable strongman or if another will take his place or if they will rule as a junta - a military team in control of the country. This "rebellion" could even have been orchestrated by the military in the first place. One of the big potentially very important unknowns is what is the allegiance of the junior officer corps? Are they in agreement with the High Command or are they infiltrated by the Moslem Brotherhood or other Islamist groups?
Certainly things were not happening in Egypt as the media wanted us to believe they were.
Cairo is a city of 17 million people, Egypt's population is 84 million. The demonstrators in Cairo never exceeded 300,000. While by itself this is not an insignificant number, in the context of the population of Cairo and of Egypt it is only a drop in the bucket. Certainly it was not the "mass uprising" it was called. The revolutions that we have seen in Eastern Europe, Iran and other places were precipitated by demonstrations of millions of people and without the use of the internet either. We have been told that this uprising was orchestrated via the internet. Somehow this does not bear witness to me.
During the demonstrations, a letter was forwarded to me. The letter supposedly was sent by an Egyptian believer and in short it said:
The people in Tahrir square are not Egyptians, the media is manipulating the situation and the people of Egypt do not want Mubarak to leave. Two Israeli journalists who were in Tahrir square reported that it was the scene of "medieval brutality" and nothing like what was being reported in the media.
If this letter and report is true, then some serious manipulation has taken place. I am sure we have not seen the last of the unrest in Egypt. Personally I believe we will see an Islamic dictatorship sometime in the not too distant future. I believe this will be the "cruel master and fierce king" who will rule over them according to Isaiah 19.
"Swift Cloud" - A Prayer Journey
In 1991, months after the end of the First Gulf War, I was part of a prayer team that was sent to Egypt to pray Isaiah 19. Now many of you will be very familiar with the last 3 verses of the chapter:
In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria - a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance. Isa 19:23-25
There are a number of ministries that even use these 3 verses as the standard or "calling card" for their ministries. However these 3 verses do not stand on their own. Before they can come into effect, the first 22 verses must be fulfilled. Are we beginning to see this fulfillment coming to pass?
On that trip through Egypt we were told of a prophesy given by a Coptic Bishop who had been exiled by Mubarak because he was so popular. We were told that he had prayer meetings attended by thousands. The prophesy went like this: Mubarak will be the last secular ruler of Egypt, then would come an Islamic dictatorship and then would come the Lord. Is this word in process of being fulfilled?
One very sure outcome of what has happened in Egypt is the almost total destruction of trust in the faithfulness of the USA, not just in the Arab world and in Israel but worldwide. Mubarak was the American's staunchest ally in the Arab world for over 30 years and he was abandoned in the blink of an eye. Comparing this to what happened in June 2009 in Iran when the demonstrators were given no support by the USA raise some very important questions.
In 2009, the USA declined to support a revolution that, while still Islamist, was not as radical/fundamentalist as the regime under Ahmadinejad. I do not believe that the military takeover in Egypt is the last scene of the drama. The fundamentalists are in the ascendency and in either a shorter or longer time frame they will control Egypt.
US President Obama and his Secretary of State Clinton are either the most ignorant people to ever hold these important offices or there is an agenda being worked out that will in the short term bring about a fundamentalist Islamic revolution throughout the Arab and perhaps the whole Islamic world. As both Obama and Clinton are quite "bright" in human terms, I smell an agenda that will bring much suffering and bloodshed worldwide.
At this point, the biggest winner in Egypt is the Moslem Brotherhood. Founded in 1928, its basic belief is: "Allah is our objective; the Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations."
Hamas in Gaza is a Palestinian branch of the Moslem Brotherhood (MB) and has the same basic belief system.
Even now the MB is speaking out of both sides of its mouth. On the one hand they say that they will not seek a majority in upcoming elections nor run a candidate for President of Egypt. Other MB leaders openly and clearly have been saying that as soon as they have power they will cancel the peace treaty with Israel - and this is just for starters.
Concerning the peace with Israel, it is not only the MB that wants to cancel the treaty but just about all the self-proclaimed candidates for President of Egypt. As of now the only active voice that wants to keep the peace with Israel is the Egyptian Military.
The Director of National Intelligence in the USA actually stated as have most media pundits, that the MB is a moderate group that has rejected violence. I can't in any way see how the word "intelligence" or "intelligent" has any meaning in relationship to these people. The killers of Anwar Sadat, the former President of Egypt, came out of the MB. Zarkawi, the No. 2 in the Al-Quida terrorist organization, came out of the MB.
The MB is not stupid - it is much more PC (politically correct) for them to say they are not seeking power and are not violent but it is a subterfuge that hides their true goal of an Islamic Caliphate ruling the world. Under Mubarak, membership in the MB was illegal and he put many of the MB leaders in prison, some even to death. With all of that governmental oppression, the MB is the largest political party in Egypt with an estimated 30% of the population supporting them.
The implications for Israel of an Egypt that is once again at war with Israel are almost catastrophic. For more than 30 years, our southern border with Egypt has been militarily quiet. The IDF has not had to plan for war with Egypt and could concentrate on our enemies in Lebanon, Syria and Iran. Egypt is the most populous Arab state with the largest, best trained and equipped army. Since the peace treaty with Israel, Egypt's army has American equipment and training. Before that it was Soviet equipped and trained. This has been a big upgrade for Egypt.
Another area of concern is Jordan on Israeli's eastern border. The MB is also very strong in Jordan and the population of Jordan is predominately Palestinian (Jordan an artificial state created by the British in 1922 on land that should have been part of Israel, with an appointed King who had no previous connection with that land). Certainly the present Jordanian King Abdullah has taken notice of how quickly Obama abandoned Mubarak.
As all this turmoil is going on amongst our neighbors, we have a new IDF Chief of Staff, a new head of Mossad (foreign intelligence agency), a new head of Military Intelligence, a new head of Israel National Police and in a few months a new head of Shin Bet (domestic intelligence agency).
With new untested leadership in all of her military and security arms, with the possibility of once again being surrounded on all sides by warring enemies, Israel is in a very precarious position - but God!
Then Israel said to Joseph, Behold, I am dying, but God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers. Gen 48:21
And Joseph said to his brethren, I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. Gen 50:24
And he said, Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's. 2 Ch 20:15
And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him. Act 7:9
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 1 Co 1:27
For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Gal 3:18
In this increasingly difficult situation that Israel finds itself in, we look to and trust in the Almighty God who has made promises that He cannot break, but only keep. He who knows the times and the seasons has a redemptive plan and purpose for the nation and people of Israel that is one of the heralds of the Lord's return. This does not eliminate the probability of much conflict and suffering, it strengthens us in the knowledge that God's Word remains sure.
There are some who call themselves friends of Israel and yet say that to pray for protection from Iran or any other of Israel's enemies is lack of faith. I would say that such statements are utter foolishness and it ignores the responsibility that God has placed upon us to stand in the gap and pray. We pray not in the confidence of the great anointing of our prayers but in the utter confidence in Him to whom we pray.
We know that He wants to hear our prayers and will answer those that are according to His will and purpose. We must remain alert to what is happening around us. However we cannot take what the media says at face value. Rather we listen closely for guidance from God, through the Holy Spirit and His Word. And we remain on our watch in prayer.
Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near-at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming-in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning- lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch! Mark 13:28-37
We have just completed IFI's 26th annual International Prayer Conference in Jerusalem. This was right in the middle of the Egyptian turmoil and the confusion surrounding the appointment of the new Chief of Staff of the IDF. We felt that we had come together for such a time as this, Esther 4:14 (You can watch the podcasts that were posted during the conference.
Our prayers were mostly for Israel to have sound judgment in these confusing days and for you, the Lord's Body in the nations, to have an eye to see and an ear to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying.
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26
Eliyahu Ben Haim A veteran immigrant from the United States, Eliyahu is the chairman and a board member of Intercessors for Israel. He is a member of member of Kehilat El Ro’i in Jerusalem and also has an international teaching ministry.
Eliyahu has traveled extensively worldwide in prayer ministry, leading prayer teams to strategic places to defend Israel among the nations, open doors for evangelism and aliyah (Jewish immigration to Israel), and prepare the way for the Lord’s return. He distributes a newsletter called the Sound of the Shofar, whose purpose is to inform the Church worldwide about what is really happening in Israel and to call it to pray for Israel.