And yet there are voices of support and marches of celebration in cities around the world. In Sydney Australia a protest group was filmed chanting ‘gas the Jews’; a lecturer at Stanford University asked all the Jews to stand in a corner while berating them; many Jewish schools were closed for fear of attacks, not in Israel but in New York, Chicago, and London; The BBC, CBC and other outlets are openly refusing to call the Hamas terrorists what they are, terrorists. Instead they are militants, gunman, or other less condemning names; in Toronto pro Palestinian demonstrators were mocking playing the sound of Israel’s air raid sirens and cheering, and the list goes on. Utterly sickening.
At a moment such as this one can see the true colours of so many. And what makes it so outrageous is that much of this noise began before Israel had even had a chance to respond. Truly, Anti Zionism is Anti Semitism.
The age old hatred of the Jews that has led to many pogroms, massacres, and the Holocaust itself, was once again on full display. In scriptural language Hamas is displaying the spirit of Edom that we read of in Ezekiel 35:5
“Thou hast had a perpetual hatred (or enmity – R.V.) and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity.”
It is with great sadness that we look upon the mourning of Zion at this time. In Lamentations she asks “Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me.” We pray and long for the salvation of Israel and echo the words of Psalm 79 –
“Wherefore should the heathen say, where is their God? Let him be known among the heathen in our sight...” and from Psalm 33—“Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion!”
Of this we do not doubt, that the Lord is at work bringing about His purpose. The words of Psalm 121:4 give us confidence: “Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.”
The Enemy of Peace
The surprise attack seems to be a response to the expected growth of the Abraham Accords that looked set to bring Saudi Arabia into the fold. Iran who backs Hamas, Hezbollah, and many of the other terrorist organizations in the Middle East, has been hotly opposed to the Abraham Accords. The idea of Saudi Arabia normalizing relations with Israel was a red line for the Ayatollah and every other anti Semite. The following headlines detail this impression:
Iran’s support for Hamas fans suspicion it’s wrecking Israel-Saudi deal (Politico, October 7, 2023).
Why Hamas Tried to Sabotage Arab-Israeli Peace Prospects With a Massive Unprovoked Attack (Time, October 8, 2023).
Netanyahu knew there was a danger the enemies of Israel would try to thwart the progression of peace. On September 22, 2023 Netanyahu spoke of this at the UN General Assembly. The following were the opening words of that speech:
“Over three millennia ago, our great leader Moses addressed the people of Israel as they were about to enter the Promised Land. He said they would find there two mountains facing one another: Mount Gerizim, the site on which a great blessing would be proclaimed, and Mount Ebal, the site of a great curse. Moses said the people’s fate would be determined by the choice they made between the blessing and the curse. That same choice has echoed down the ages not just for the people of Israel but for all humanity.
We face such a choice today. It will determine whether we enjoy the blessings of a historic peace of boundless prosperity and hope or suffer the curse of a horrific war, of terrorism and despair.”
Israel’s enemies have chosen a horrific war of terrorism and despair. But will it stop the arrival of peace?
Without Walls, Bars, and Gates
God is very clear in Ezekiel 38—at the time of the end when the northern confederacy of nations comes “against my people of Israel” they are living peacefully. The situation is described in detail in verse 11:
“And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates...”
In Russia, the Vatican, and the Invasion of Israel, Graham Pearce writes the following in 1970:
“These words of Ezekiel have not yet been fulfilled, and they most certainly will be fulfilled. We must accept God’s words with child like disposition... It is debasing the sense to apply these phrases to a past or present situation.” He continues “How will this unlikely change come about? By now we will have realized that Christ is at this time in the earth, not revealed to the world, but associated with his saints influencing the affairs of the earth, just as now he works with the angels of heaven to the same end...
It is also possible that the presence of Tarshish powers (Primarily Britain and the US) in the land at this time will help in bringing about some Great Power stability in the area...”
This situation may seem impossible today. However just as peace did come with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain so too it will come with Saudi Arabia, and most importantly with the Palestinians.
Surprising to many is the response of Joe Biden who has come out forcefully with deep throated support for Israel. He spoke for ten minutes describing the horrors and Israel’s right to defend itself along with the support the US would provide. He genuinely seemed disgusted and closed with the following:
“Let there be no doubt, the United States has Israel’s back. We will make sure the Jewish and democratic State of Israel can defend itself today, tomorrow, and as we always have. It’s as simple as that. These atrocities are sickening. We’re with Israel. Make no mistake.”
With that Biden walked out of the room with reporters calling out why he had provided Iran with a deal worth $6 billion. Regardless, Israel it seems has a level of US support, at least for the very near future.
Going further than words alone the US began to airlift weapons and supplies to Israel. Also, in an even more significant move the US has moved the pride of the US fleet, the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean. Will this Tarshish presence bring about stability? We wait to see.
From Bible prophecy we expect Russia to turn hostile against Israel and it seems we are witnessing that in these events. The following is from Israel Hayom, October 11:
“Ever since the attack took place, Russia has assumed a neutral posture, which has been manifested through its calls for a ceasefire that would have taken place practically before Israeli planes had a chance to fly its first bombing sortie. According to independent Russian journalists, the coverage in Russia has followed a similar line, trying to strike a middle ground at best. But this began to change on Saturday.
As Israeli casualties mounted, former President Dmitry Medvedev (and currently the deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia) found the culprit: the US. "The start of the hostilities between Hamas and Israel, 50 years after the Yom Kippur War, was expected; the conflict has been going on for decades and the US is a key player there. One could have easily dismissed these comments if it weren't for the fact that two days later it turned out that diverting attention to the US – rather than condemning Hamas and showing solidarity with Israel – is actually the predominant stance among Russian policymakers. For example, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed "deep concern over the deaths of hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians' and stated that "taking women and children hostage by both sides [!] is unacceptable," but then went on to blame the US for trying to avoid the establishment of a Palestinian state and undermining the efforts to resolve the problems between Israel and Gaza.
Eventually, three days after the horrendous massacre, President Vladimir Putin himself articulated the stance. "I think that many people will agree with me that this is a vivid example of the failure of US policy in the Middle East," Putin said. "Washington had sought to monopolize efforts at forging peace and failed to seek workable compromises. The US had ignored the interests of Palestinians, including their need for their own independent Palestinian state." There was not a single word of solidarity with Israel, nor was there mention of its right to defend itself or any condemnation of Hamas' atrocities.”
In Israel the realization that Hamas has been able to commit a pogrom in our times has left the nation in shock and disbelief. Netanyahu said that “Differences that have deeply divided the nation over the last months have for the moment been largely put aside with the formation of a “national emergency government.”
As for the war dubbed “Operation Iron Swords” Israel has a resolve possibly not seen since 1973. Netanyahu has claimed that “every member of Hamas is a deadman” and vowed to “change the Middle East.” The Defence Minister, Yoav (Joab) Gallant, put it into his own words —“Hamas, Daesh of Gaza will be wiped from the face of the earth… There’s no situation in which you kill Israeli kids and we go about our business”
How long US support will continue for remains to be seen, however as Graham Pearce wrote, based on scripture we expect a change in the Middle East, and specifically in Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians. Will this be the catalyst that brings this change about?
In one of Netanyahu’s first televised addresses to the nation in Hebrew on October 7th he ended with the following–
“With the help of God, the forces that we have in common and our faith in the Eternal One of Israel, we will win.”
Israel to Increase
For almost two thousand years the Jewish people were scattered through the world with their lives ‘hanging in doubt.’ However the down treading of the Jewish people was a temporary position:
“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).
With the Jewish people back in control of Jerusalem we are certainly in the era of the redemption. And yet, we are still witnessing the horrors of antisemitism.
Israel’s original conquering of the land under Joshua was not instantaneous— “By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land” (Exodus 23:30).
In Judges 3 God further reveals the purpose for leaving peoples surrounding the Jewish people:
“Now these are the nations which the Lord left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan;
Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof;
Namely, five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baalhermon unto the entering in of Hamath.
And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the Lord, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.”
God has a purpose with this people, he says in Exodus 19:6 “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” In the past as God worked with this nation He saw that the experience of war would shape them. Further to this, it cannot escape us that in that list of nations, other than the Canaanites, those left are to the north of Israel, and in the Gaza Strip.
This does not mean that God is unmindful of the treatment of his people, quite the opposite. Speaking of Israel we read “...for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.” – Zachariah 2:8
Ultimately, it is the terrible treatment of God’s people that brings on his anger (Ezekiel 38:14-21). It is after this that Israel will be restored to their glorious position in the Kingdom Age. However, we expect the period of peace before the invasion from the north. In this time Elijah will turn the hearts of the people (Malachi 4:5-6; Matthew 17:10-11). This fits in with Isaiah 59:20 –“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.”
Is it a coincidence that a strange time of peace proceeds Armageddon at the same time that Elijah is expected? In fact, it is most appropriate that a time of peace and stability coincides with a time of teaching. For that teaching to proceed, the resurrection of those teachers will be necessary. What an incredible thought!
Where does this leave us?
Firstly, although the enemies of Israel will do everything they can to destroy peace, it will come. It may be a rough road, but it will come. The Abraham Accords are just the beginning. Surely peace between Israel and her neighbours is one of the greatest signs of the nearness of our Lord’s return. However, when peace is achieved so that walls, bars, and gates are coming down, it is likely the resurrection has taken place and judgment of the household has already begun.
Secondly, through all the experiences of tragedy and war a nation is being shaped. As our Lord “learned obedience by the things which he suffered” so too will the nation of Israel.
Thirdly, and importantly for us is the question posed in 2 Peter 3:11,12 –
“What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God …Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”
Psalm 125:5 – “As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel.”
May we use the time remaining preparing ourselves to meet the Lord.
Lastly, the nation should be in our prayers as it was for the Prophet Daniel in chapter 9. God wants to hear us in this regard –
“I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence,
And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” – Isaiah 62:6,7.
– John Billington