What Is Happening in the Middle East?

April 1, 2011
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I have heard this question nearly every day recently. It is the subject of countless newspaper articles, and everyone in Israel is talking about the changing face of the Middle East. I have also heard the phrase “Gog and Magog” repeatedly used in connection with the shaking Middle East. It isn’t unusual to hear Christians talking about future events and Bible prophecy, but it is much more unlikely in the Jewish world. So, I have been surprised recently to hear many Jewish people referring to the present time as times leading to Gog and Magog.

I asked Danny, a former officer in the Israel Defense Forces, not normally given to talking about religious subjects, what he thought about the chaos in Egypt and other Middle Eastern nations. His answer surprised me! He said, “God is pushing us to Gog and Magog, and then the Messianic age will come.” Rabbis are referring to the prophecies in Ezekiel about the battle of Gog and Magog, which will precede the coming of Messiah. The Orthodox Rebbitzin (wife of a rabbi) Jungreis has said that this time is the birth pangs of the coming of Messiah. She compared this time to the birth process, saying that every mother knows that as the time of the baby’s birth nears, the pains come faster and harder until the mother isn’t sure she can stand it, and then the baby comes, and everyone rejoices.

Uncertainty surrounds us, with rioting around the region toppling leaders, Iran sending warships into the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal, financial woes rocking the world, basic commodities’ prices soaring, Russia re-arming herself in an unprecedented manner, and natural disasters striking in locales around the world. Yes, it seems the pains are coming quicker and harder.

Recently, we were riveted to our TVs as the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand devastated the city and took many lives including some backpackers from Israel. Not much later, we were stunned by an 8.9 earthquake and subsequent tsumani in Japan. Experts tell us that Israel is overdue for a large earthquake. The Gog and Magog passage (Ezekiel 38–39) talks about God coming against Israel’s enemies and describes Him using the natural elements to combat the enemy armies, including a massive earthquake.

No one knows what will be the outcome of the uprisings in the Middle East or when the Gog and Magog war will occur. Theories abound, but we do know that we should be ready. My husband and I have an emergency backpack, a 30–day supply of food and water and a generator. Bridges for Peace has emergency plans in place for our staff and our facilities. It is also vital for us to prepare ourselves spiritually, physically, and emotionally to be able to stand in times of crisis. We are not to be fearful or defeated for “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4, KJV).

Expanding the Karmiel Center

Three years ago, we opened our Karmiel food storage warehouse in obedience to the leading of the Lord. The word of the Lord to us was that we would be ministering in Israel in a time of great crisis. Today, we have that warehouse stocked with 500 tons of food prepared for times of emergency. We are part of the emergency planning for northern Israel. Additionally, we have expanded our operations in the North with the Adoption Program, the Feed a Child Program, food distribution, and the Adopt an Israeli Town Program—all active through our Karmiel center. The facility is currently staffed by five faithful and dedicated staff members.
Now we are feeling that God is calling us to expand the Karmiel center even more with a larger staff contingent to provide assistance to more people in need. My husband and I will be splitting our time between Karmiel and Jerusalem in order to strengthen our ministry in northern Israel. We want to add a Home Repair team there. Since the program’s inception, we have repaired over 800 homes in Jerusalem and surrounding towns, including some larger projects such as community centers. Because Bridges for Peace is still fairly new to the community of Karmiel, this is an ideal program for introducing us to its neighborhoods, as our teams work directly with the home owners, many of them elderly and some Holocaust survivors, to brighten their dilapidated apartments with paint, plaster, tile, and new wiring and plumbing.

In order to accomplish this, in the next few months, we will be renovating the facility to accommodate this growth, including setting up a fully functional Home Repair workshop. In order for us to expand our food outreach, we need to see an increase in food giving. With food prices rising, now more than ever, we are calling out to God to provide us with the funds needed to feed the 27,000 people who are depending on us without using up the food stored for crisis times.

I am not satisfied with status quo. When we look at the rising prices and the stagnant food budget, we are tempted to think that we will have to give out less. But, I say that God is well able to provide the increase needed for us to continue to reach out in love to those we currently assist and to thousands more calling out for our help. We are preparing ourselves to be used of God in crisis times. In the meantime, we must continue faithfully to fulfill the call of God on our ministry to reach out in Christian love to the Jewish people, who are called by God to come home to Israel from the nations.

What Can You Do?

First, I believe we all need to be investing in God’s kingdom. Yeshua said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:19–21).

Today, financial advisors are at a loss to give good advice on investments that will safeguard our funds, but God’s investment plan is sure. He promises a harvest to those who sow seed. Today, God is clearly at work in Israel as He fulfills ancient biblical prophecy. What better investment can we make than in an operation overseen by the Almighty God! Now is the time to surrender all our fears to Him, as well as our lives and our possessions. He will watch over His own.

Please pray for us as we stand firmly with the Lord in ministry in this turbulent region of the world. Pray that God will send us volunteer staff members with a calling to serve in northern Israel, especially someone with the skills to be the foreman of the Home Repair project in Karmiel. Please also pray and ask the Lord what He wants you to do to assist Him as He accomplishes His Word in Israel. Your gift to help us expand the Karmiel Center or to purchase food will allow the hearts of more Israelis to be touched with His love. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Keep looking up,

Rev. Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO