The sudden, barbaric attack on Israel by Hamas terrorists, who brutally murdered hundreds of men, women and young children has shocked much of the world. The sheer savagery of the event has been recorded on video which has allowed everyone to see this sheer evil. As Israel retaliates and Hamas keeps firing their missiles, thousands more people will be killed and wounded. Hamas will not win this war and this will not be the last of such terrible events. These wars will not end and peace will not come until Messiah Jesus comes as Prince of Peace and King of Kings. He will then rule Israel and the nations of the world with a “rod of iron” (Psalm 2:7-9) and such terrorists attacks will be forever gone.
Biblical Prophecy and The Big Picture. As we attempt to evaluate this Hamas war, it is essential that we keep the biblical “big picture” in our thinking. First, we need to remember God’s plan. It is God’s purpose to restore, reconcile and enhance what was lost when mankind sinned in the Garden of Eden. God’s “end game” is to restore and reconcile and, in His sovereign will, He chose to accomplish this through Israel. On oath, God made a covenant with Abraham (and his descendants through Isaac and Jacob) through which He would bring mankind back to His original purposes. When Jesus the Messiah comes to earth the second time, God’s wonderful purposes for mankind will unfold. But the one prerequisite for the Second Coming is that Israel must become a believing nation, acknowledging that Jesus of Nazareth is their Messiah/Savior (Matt. 23:37-39). Second, we need to look behind the current events at the real conflict, one between God and Satan. The Hamas war (and those like it) are not primarily secular or political matters. They are spiritual issues. Satan hates what God loves, and that includes Israel, God’s chosen people. Hamas worships Allah and their thinking is guided by the Koran. And the Koran clearly includes the dehumanizing of the Jews. The Jew is seen as sub-human and need to be destroyed (same as Nazi ideology), which in part explains the sadistic brutality of recent days. While presently our government is supportive of Israel (which is a good thing), we should observe that this Hamas war is framed solely in terms of land and politics, but any reference to religious belief is left out. Our media and our government are committed to keeping religion separate from this event. In doing so, they are missing the main point. Satan is a destroyer and a deceiver and this war ultimately is one more skirmish in the spiritual war between God and the Evil One. The irrational, intense hatred of Israel comes directly from the Evil One who hates what God loves.
Some Thoughts from God’s Prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel 35:1-36:15 sheds some light on current events even though he wrote some 2500 years ago. Some things do not seem to change. Here are four points that the prophet makes.
- THE HATRED OF ISRAEL BY ARAB PEOPLE IS NEVER ENDING. Ezekiel uses the names Mt. Seir and Edom, which are two of several O.T. terms that refer to the descendants of Esau and Ishmael (the Arab nations). Their hostility is seen in the past and this hatred for Israel is not going away (35:5). This informs us that the current, ugly conflict will not be the last; more satanic hatred.
- THE HATRED IS BECAUSE OF THEIR ENVY OF ISRAEL. They want Israel’s land and they are not shy about their desires and intentions. They, with the help of the nations, have obtained some of this land (35:10; 36:5) and intend for Israel to be driven out. Even the Hamas charter declares that Israel must be annihilated. So, the land issue is a foundational matter for Jewish destruction.
- THEY LOVE BLOODSHED AND BLOODSHED WILL BE THEIR LOT IN LIFE. Their future is clear and is one of unending conflict (35:6-9). They are not reluctant to kill. The Lord will give them much blood, since that is what they like. (Revelation 16:5-6 sets forth the same point in the coming Tribulation). Therefore, we can be sure that the lust for blood (especially of Jews) will never go away until Jesus Messiah comes and He establishes God’s great purposes and puts a stop to all of this warfare.
- IN THE END, THE LORD WILL DECISIVELY DEAL WITH THEM. Though they hate Israel, their real hatred is for the God of Israel (35:11-13). The Bible is quite clear on how all this ends. Israel is not driven into the sea or annihilated. The God of the Abrahamic Covenant hears and sees what is going on. When He says “enough is enough” (35:14-15; 36:10-15), His judgment will crush those who hate and try and destroy His covenant people, Israel.
Is This War Prophetically Important? This question has become part of the conversation as believers process all the current goings on. Is what we are seeing connected with biblical prophecy? While this Hamas war may not be found in any particular verse in the Bible, it will be used by God in bringing about that which the Bible does talk about. God has allowed this current war and it has a contribution to make in bringing the world to the end times. Over the past centuries God’s prophetic plan seemed to move along slowly, but now it appears that prophetic matters are lining up and moving quickly. It took some 1800 years to regather scattered Israel from the nations of the world, but within the last 75 years we have witnessed many things that are preparatory for the end of days. However, we must resist the urge to state that this current event signals the Rapture and the end time. But events are picking up speed.
We can, however, look at this war and be pretty sure of certain things.
- It will heighten hatred for Israel among many nations, especially certain Arab nations. And this war will energize the bad actors in the region. The certain defeat Hamas will only fuel their hatred for Israel and renew the desire to remove Israel from the face of the earth. This Hamas war will not be the last attack on Israel. The Bible prophesies of the Gog/Magog battle (Ezekiel 38 and 39) as well as the bloody battles in the second half of the coming Tribulation period. This Satanic hatred for Israel will be at its peak when Jesus comes back in power and glory.
- The Bible teaches that the coming Tribulation period will open the spiritual eyes of Israel and cause them to see and embrace the eternal life proved by Messiah Jesus. The current Hamas war is having a very real effect on the people of Israel, as it is reported that some 90% of Israelis are now living in fear. To some extent their security has evaporated. Since the holocaust, the Jews have passionately desired a safe place on the earth, and the Land has provided that sense of security. That Israel was caught off guard and the people suffered such horrible brutality has resurrected the pain and insecurities of the past. The atheism and agnosticism which characterizes many in Israel has not brought comfort, nor will it. And God, whose great goal is to save Israel may today be preparing the hearts of secular Israelites to face ultimate realities. It is hard not to believe that some in Israel will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through this Hamas war. We don’t know this but it is a certainty that millions in Israel will be saved in those days of the Tribulation. Salvation is always God’s great desire. And Jesus was clear that even early in the coming Tribulation period, many Jewish people will come to faith in Him (Matt. 24:9, “on account of My name”).
- We can say with certainty that, in the future, Iran, Russia and many Islamic nations will attack Israel with the intention of removing this people from their land (The Gog/Magog battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39). And today, the evidence is clear that Iran played a significant role in this well-planned, highly organized attack by Hamas. In fact, recently Hamas publicly thanked Iran for their help in this war. And future intelligence may well find Russia’s fingerprints on this recent attack on Israel. These enemies of Israel will learn much from this Hamas war about how Israel responds to attacks and where their strengths and weaknesses are to be found. Such information will be very valuable in planning the coming Gog/Magog invasion.
Our Response as Believers: Some Suggestions. (1) It is always right for us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps. 122:6). (2) Events like this should freshen up our anticipation of the coming of Jesus for His church, which is an imminent event. Our lives should be like the Apostle Paul’s who lived well in this life but always kept one eye on the heavens where “we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). (3) We should also freshen up our understanding of biblical prophecy through review and study. We can then assist friends and family to see current events with greater clarity, something they will unlikely receive from the various news outlets. (4) Getting back into biblical prophecy will help us evaluate the many statements that we hear from the pulpit and on the internet. We need to be like the Bereans (Acts 17:11) who, in the light of Scripture, carefully evaluated what they were being taught.The stage is being set. More actors are arriving. Just when will the curtain come up and the final play begin?