The blueprints for what is going to happen in the Middle East cannot be found in our favorite cable news networks or political commentaries. Usually, all that media outlets have to offer is a toxic stew of fear, despair, and hopelessness. It is time to wash our eyes of this defilement and gain a fresh, new perspective from the Father. This kind of renewal comes through heartfelt, searching prayer and a resolve to search the scriptures until we find the Father’s blueprints for restoration. If we do this with a whole heart, then the Father will gladly give us His roadmap for restoration in the Middle East.
Most Bible teachers focus exclusively on the negative role of the Middle East in end times prophecy. I have listened to hundreds of teachings about Armageddon, Gog, Magog, and the various wars and conflicts that the scriptures specifically warn us about. Some of this teaching is helpful because Jesus made it clear that we should know the signs of the times and be aware that there will be “war and rumors of war” just before He comes (See Matthew 24). The problem is that we have approached the end times with an attitude of panic, paranoia, and despair because we have not yet seen the Father’s redemptive purpose for the nations of the Middle East.
One basic principle of end-times prophecy is that catastrophic events are only the “birth pangs” that signify that the Kingdom of God is invading earth to displace man’s kingdoms (see Daniel 2, Matthew 24). I fully expect many international and ethnic conflicts to become even worse at some point, because Jesus prophesied that they would (see Matthew 24). However, He also made it clear that these are simply “birth pangs.” Even in the midst of unprecedented turmoil, we must look for the new things that the Father is birthing in the heart of mankind.
This series will not focus on apocalyptic end-time prophecy. There is already plenty of this circulating throughout the Body of Christ. Instead, this series is designed to instill a Biblical sense of the Father’s plan for the Middle East. My goal is to replace fear, despair, and hopelessness with faith, hope, and love. We will know that we have the Father’s perspective on the Middle East when we have faith for Him to move there, hope that creates new possibilities, and genuine love for the people in each nation there.
This first installment will focus entirely on Psalm 87, which I consider to be the most important road map for what the Father desires to do in all the nations of the Middle East. This Psalm was written by the sons of Korah, who were given the specific task of being prophetic gatekeepers in the temple. These men were warriors, prophetic minstrels, and guardians of the temple (see 1 Chronicles 26). This is also what you will become if you take these prophetic promises to heart and dedicate significant time to pray according to these ancient promises.
Psalm 87 1 He has founded his city on the holy mountain. 2 The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the other dwellings of Jacob. 3 Glorious things are said of you, city of God: 4 “I will record Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me-- Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush-- and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’” 5 Indeed, of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High himself will establish her.” 6 The Lord will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.” 7 As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains are in you.”
The places mentioned in this Psalm coincide with what we currently consider to be the “Middle East.” Rahab is a poetic name for Egypt. Babylon coincides with modern Iraq. Philistia encompasses many of the nations that surround Israel, as well as the Palestinian people. Tyre is in Lebanon. Cush encompasses several modern African nations. In other words, this Psalm applies specifically to the region of the Middle East, encompassing every nation there.
At some point, the Lord is going to actually write down that these nations were “born in Zion.” This refers to multitudes from these nations being born again. According to Hebrews 11, all New Covenant believers are actually grafted into Israel. This Psalm applies that reality to the nations of the Middle East and promises that enough people will be redeemed from these nations that the Father himself will be able to record these nations as being “born in Zion.”
As a second witness to this promise, when John prophetically saw the harvest of souls at the end of the age, he proclaimed that it was a “great multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language.” (See Revelation 7:9) There is no nation excluded from this promise.
We often focus on praying for Israel because the Bible specifically instructs us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6). The problem is that we have only seen Israel’s purpose in end-times prophecy as one of constant embattlement and turmoil. The battles that Israel is facing today—whether they be about territory, morality, or religious conflict—are only birth pangs that identify the importance of what the Father wants to do there.
The promise of Psalm 87 does not end with the redemption of the nations that surround Jerusalem. It also leads to a movement of worship that celebrates the God of Israel as the source of all life. The sons of Korah prophesied that all of the nations of the Middle East would have a large enough body of believers to be considered righteous nations. Then, these righteous nations would proceed to sing out to the God of Israel, “all my fountains are in you…” I want you to glimpse this vision in your spirit—I want you to see a restored Middle East where worship, love, and affection is continually being offered up to the Lord of Glory.
In the 1990’s, the Body of Christ was mobilized to pray for the 69 nations in the “10/40 Window.” During this time, many Muslims throughout the Middle East received sovereign visitations from the Lord in dreams and visions which led to their salvation. The problem is that we have become so distracted and polarized by the War on Terrorism that we have forgotten the authority that we have to ask the Father for “the nations as our inheritance” (see Psalm 2). It’s time to re-open the 10/40 window to bring in fresh air and light.
Action Steps to Consider:
Print out a map of the 10/40 window or a map of the Middle East.
Ask the Holy Spirit for two or three specific nations that you can pray for regularly.
Proclaim the promises of Psalm 87 over the nations that you were given.
Ask the Father to begin a movement of worship and evangelism throughout the gentile nations of the Middle East.
Continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
One of my army buddies took this photo of two young Iraqi boys when we were on patrol on the streets of Baghdad in 2004. One reason that I care about the Middle East is because I have invested significant time there.
We will know that we have the Father’s perspective on the Middle East when we have faith for Him to move there, hope that creates new possibilities, and genuine love for the people in each nation there.
Above: Thousands of Egyptian Christians gather to worship the Lord in Cairo.
Above: A fund-raiser for Iraqi Christians featured worship leaders from throughout the Middle East.