By Jack Harris, Special to ASSIST News Service
IRAQ (ANS – March 13, 2016) — “Yet 40 days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” (Jonah 3:4). Thus cried Jonah, the reluctant prophet. One man speaking against one of the mightiest cities of the day.
The whole city repented in sackcloth and ashes; from the throne room right down to the stables. Even the domestic animals were covered with sackcloth and ash. Both beast and man were called upon to fast before GOD under penalty of law. The book of Jonah thus records one of the most dramatic wide scale acts of public contrition and repentance in history.
GOD spared the city in that generation though it would later in history become one of Israel’s greatest enemies. This fact and the prophet’s foresight was the cause of his reluctance to bring GOD’S warning to the city. He preferred to see a whole generation of his people’s enemies perish rather than repent and experience GOD’S mercy.
I believe the Book of Jonah was placed in our scriptures by the Holy Spirit to have more meaning than to address the problems of those who run away from their calling, or to provide our Sunday Schools with a quaint story of a man and a big fish. However, I believe this is more about how we view our enemies.
I expect nothing different from the unbelievers among our countrymen than the fear and hatred I see whipped up to the point of frenzy by the media and politicians. But I’m shocked to the core when I see it in GOD’S own people, the very ones who claim to believe in the same Jesus Christ who said, “But I say unto you, ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;’” (Matthew 5:44).
The LORD rebuked an offended James and John who wanted to call down fire from heaven upon a small village that rejected their LORD’S message. He said, “You know not what manner of spirit you are of.” (Luke 9:55).
We seldom would think of such a spirit as antichrist but that’s exactly what it is. Jesus said, “You’re either gathering with me or you’re scattering abroad.” (Matthew 12:30).
Just because you favorite politicos say such things on TV doesn’t make it right. Lest you misunderstand, I’m not a pacifist and I’ve no objection to taking up arms against evil or protecting one’s family friends and country. But I’m dead set against one size fits all racial or religious prejudice.
Recently, I sat with a young Kurdish woman in the government office in Northern Iraq, where she worked. We were waiting for some document I needed to come back from another office. As we talked, I could tell she was discouraged and worried about the future. Why wouldn’t she be? The border separating the Kurdish forces and ISIS was only mere miles over the horizon. I tried to assure her that many American people, especially we Christians were with them. She just looked at me sadly and said, I don’t think your people like us anymore because we are Muslims. I asked her where she got that impression. She said, “By watching American TV and hearing the hatred spoken toward Muslims on the air. These people are our friends, our allies and so far they’ve lost over 1500 of their soldiers in the fight against ISIS.”
I am no lover of Islam. I am, however, a lover of Muslim people, as is Jesus Christ. He died on the cross for their sins just as he did for ours. He was sent by the Father to save these people, just as he saved us. What don’t we get about this?
Abe Lincoln was once criticized for trying to befriend his political enemies rather than destroy them. He replied, Do I not destroy my enemy when I make him my friend?
This is what Christianity is all about or rather should be all about.
God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.
Potentially, the greatest harvest of souls in human history is right before us but are we too blind to see it? Are we too predisposed to pay attention to it? Will we, one day, wail over a harvest past and a missed opportunity as Jeremiah did because his generation did not heed his words?
GOD is moving in the Middle East but will we, his people, miss it? Israel missed their Messiah when Jesus came the first time. They were blind to the most significant spiritual event in their history.
Jesus asks an interesting question concerning his return.
Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?
We are witnessing nothing less than the spiritual rebirth of Christianity in the Middle East. As one very dear Muslim friend told me, “The religion of Islam is finished! People are disgusted with it.”
In Romans, Chapter Ten, we read, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?”
It’s this writer’s humble opinion that it’s high time to quite trying to prophetically second guess God with our clever eschatological assumptions and simply do what He’s called us to do and that’s to labor in the harvest until HE returns.
It’s almost paradoxical that the ancient ruins of Nineveh lay just four kilometers [about two-and-a-half miles] from Mosul across the Tigris River a mere sixteen miles from the Kurdistan border. Mosul, a city of two million is still, at this writing, in the hands of ISIS forces. There is a planned invasion to liberate the city. Nobody knows exactly when, but it’s coming. Without GOD’S intervention. it’s likely to be a very bloody battle with the loss of a great number of lives.
With over a million Syrian refugees and Iraqi IDP’s just across the Kurdish border and the cities of Domiz and Duhok, as well as many smaller towns clustered close by, there’s a sense of impending judgement and coming wrath that hangs like a dark cloud in the atmosphere. It’s palpable.
Yet 40 days! Jonah cries, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!
The Days of Prophetic Judgment are once more come to this region and we have a Jonah generation there right now, in place and standing up with the message of repentance and redemption.
* If you, YES, YOU! are ever going to pray for our people, Pray NOW!
* If you’re ever going to stand with us, then Stand NOW!
* If you’re ever going to give to help us, then Give NOW!
* That our brethren will have the resources, spiritual and material to win a harvest.
This Is the Time!
Note: Nineveh was once the largest city in the world, with a population of as many as 150,000 people in 700BC. Although it now lies ruins, it is still surrounded by a mostly intact 7.5-mile brick rampart.
Photo captions: 1) Jonah warning the people of Nineveh. 2) Ruins at the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh (Photo: Nik Wheeler, Corbis). 3) Jack Harris on a missions’ trip. 3) Jack Harris speaking.
About the writer: For over 40 years, Jack Harris has been a pastor, church planter and world evangelist. He started his international ministry in Mexico, then the Philippines, India, Malaysia, Africa, Central America, Australia, Europe, Iraq and the Middle East. His website is: http://jhmin.com and his e-mail address is: email@example.com.
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