The United States government and the mainstream media work hard at keeping religion out of most everything. And in doing so, they have again missed the main issue of what is really going on in Israel with the Hamas’ war. On the surface it is presented that this is an issue of territory or race, but it is deeper and older than that. This unseen war, made visible at this moment with Hamas vs. Israel, is really between the “god of this world” (Satan) and the Lord Jehovah, and it started back in the Garden of Eden. We, as believers, must keep this in our mind. To correctly see and interpret present events we need to keep the main point the main point. And the main point is that God is fulfilling His purpose and the intense opposition to His purpose by the “principalities and powers” under the control of the Evil One. There are some theological basics that ought to be remembered as we think about current events.
God’s Original Plan.Mankind was unique among God’s creation. God designed man to rule the earth and live in wonderful fellowship with Him. But even the most wonderful setting did not keep mankind from sinning and experiencing staggering losses. One was the loss of his position of ruling authority, which then shifted to Satan. God’s original plan was a beautiful one and one that God did not abandon. As Revelation 20-22 reveals, it will eventually be fulfilled, and even enhanced; a kind of Creation 2.0.
The Fulfilling of God’s Plan. God’s way of restoring His original plan was to do so through mankind (“the seed of the woman,” Genesis 3:15). But more specifically it was to be through the man Abraham and his descendants, Isaac, and Jacob. God entered into an eternal, unconditional covenant with this man and through him restoration would take place. And from that moment on, the Jewish people became the hated target of Satan. This hatred for the Jewish people is an irrational hatred because it is Satanic. He knows that it is a descendant of Abraham that will crush him and remove him from his present role. Even though that descendant, Jesus of Nazareth, has come and sealed his fate, the Evil One will continue using individuals, nations, and groups to be his “useful idiots” in wreaking as much havoc and pain as possible. This time it is Hamas.
Satan’s Position.Satan has attained authority over this world. Jesus and the Apostle Paul refer to him as the “god of this world” (John 12:31; 16:11; 2 Cor. 4:4), and the Apostle John adds that the “whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). He has immense power and great authority in his control of the nations. We recall that, in His temptations, Jesus never debated the Devil’s claim to own the nations of the world (Luke 4:1-14). And as Daniel 10 makes clear, demonic beings are assigned to nations and that would include groups like Hamas. Demons are fallen angels who carry out Satan’s purpose, as is seen in a great war described in Revelation 16:13-16, where they are involved in the killing of one-third of humanity during the Tribulation.
Satan’s Purpose. This world is Satan’s “system” which he has created to rival that of God’s kingdom. His system, of course, leaves the true God out. Satan is not opposed, at the present time, to religion as long as the true God is not included. Satan sells his “God-free” system as something attractive where Self has top priority. While not everything is raw evil in this system, it is nevertheless deadly to people, which is why believers are forcefully commanded not to love this world system (1 John 2:15-16). Satan’s system is quite flexible and can adapt to “nice” Americans or to “evil” terrorist groups. Whatever cultural form it takes, the purpose is the same; thwart God’s plan of restoration and reconciliation.
Satan’s Character. Jesus was perfectly clear about Satan’s character when He said that he is a liar and that he simply cannot tell the truth (John 8:44). And, as Jesus noted, Satan is the “father” of those who lie. Along with Jesus’ description, John adds that the Devil is a deceiver (Rev. 12:9; 20:3, 8, 10). So, it ought not be a surprise to us when blatant lies and constant deception comes from the mouths of those who hate God’s covenant people, Israel. Jesus also stated, in John 8, that Satan is a murderer. He hates human beings, but particularly those who are Jewish. Bloodshed always surrounds those who do the will of the Evil One. The horrible atrocities committed by Hamas in their surprise attack is an unmistakable sign as to the evil one behind it all.
Satan’s Forces. Satan is the “prince of the demons” (Matt. 12:24) and he has a vast array of highly organized and powerful demonic beings under his authority (Eph. 6:11-12). And these demons act as the Devil’s assistants in promoting his agenda and in attempting to thwart the grand purpose of God. The various philosophies of Satan are the “doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1), the “deep things of Satan” as the church at Thyatira thought (Rev. 2:24). Some do not seem too bad on the surface, while others produce the kind of carnage and evil recently witnessed by the world. The Scriptures speak of their varied approach from “schemes” to “flaming missiles” (Eph. 6:10-17). But their purpose is the same and that is to promote Satan’s kingdom and resist God’s plan.
Satan’s Last Stand. As powerful as the forces of wickedness might be, their end is clear. When the final seven years of the Tribulation arrives, the “god of this world” will see his world system and his dreams of being like the true God crushed under the feet of Jesus Messiah. But Satan will have his last fling. Much to his dismay, he will be forcibly removed from the heavenlies by Michael and the holy angels (Rev. 12:7-12). This takes place at the mid-point of the seven years of the Tribulation. This inflames Satan’s hatred and his desire to destroy as well as his passionate desire to be worshipped. Using his two minions, the Antichrist and the False Prophet (Rev. 13), Satan will experience the worship of many people on this planet. Promising much, this evil trinity will bring nothing but heartache, fear, and death to mankind. Then, Jesus will appear in the heavens and return to this earth as the glorious, all-powerful King of kings and Lord of lords. Satan will be crushed and his fate is forever sealed; first in the Abyss for 1,000 years followed by eternity in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19 and 20).
God’s Desire to Save. We often view the Tribulation as a time of judgment and death. And it certainly has those elements. But God really does not need 7 years to execute His judgment, as Sodom and Gomorrah can testify. But time is needed to save people. And the great and grand purpose of the coming Tribulation is to save the people of Israel. And these wayward chosen people will come to believe in Jesus as their Messiah-Savior. By the millions they will be saved. And then, as saved people, Israel will become that “light to the gentiles” which will result in millions being saved out of every tribe and nation on the earth (Rev. 7). The spiritual blindfold on the eyes of Israel will be removed and then “all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:25-29) and God will bring His people into His “New Covenant” (Jer. 31:31-35).
God’s Restored Plan. God’s wonderful plan for mankind, seen momentarily in the Garden of Eden, was lost from view. But Revelation 20-22 shows that this wonderful plan will be restored; and, actually enhanced. This is where we are headed.
Hamas and Israel. Since there is no biblical description or prophecy of the current war, we cannot predict all the twists and turns. We do not know how many will die; what the level of destruction will be; what nations may or may not become involved; or what will be the fall-out in our own country. We will have to be like everyone else and just wait and see. But unlike so many, we do have a biblical framework in which to place this Hamas’ war. It is very likely that this Hamas war will put additional pieces in place for the biblical “Gog/Magog” war of Ezekiel 38-39. And as many now believe, this war will take place after the Rapture but before the Tribulation, during an interval of several months. Iran, Russia, and many Islamic nations will come against Israel with overwhelming armies, but will be annihilated by the God of Abraham. These nations will experience the end of God’s patience and Israel will begin to come to faith (Ezek. 39:22).
God’s purposes will not be thwarted and His plans will not be delayed by a single minute. He is sovereign. He is all knowing. He is all-powerful. Psalm 2 gives us great insights about things present and future. Four points to particularly note: (1) The leaders of nations, and their people, hate the Lord God and they particularly hate His Anointed One, Jesus (2:1-3). (2) God the Father is unfazed by them and they are now going to be recipients of His righteous wrath (2:4-5). (3) The Father has already installed the Son as King in Zion. It is a done deal. (2:5). And (4) the Son will receive all the nations of the earth as His inheritance, and He will rule with a “rod of iron”, which means there is no place anymore for overt evil or terrorists like Hamas.
God’s grace is rich as is His mercy. He continues to offer His matchless gift of eternal life. He can do this because Jesus’ death on the cross completely took care of the sin issue. The God-man Jesus rose from the dead and obtained victory over Satan, sin, and death (Col. 2:13-15). Our prayer is that many in Israel today, who witness the horrors of the Hamas war, will turn in faith to Jesus Messiah and receive God’s great gift of eternal life. And that many in America will see the fraudulent nature of Liar-murderer Satan’s system and come to the Savior.