We have all been rocked by the brutality of war in Israel between Hamas and Jews. I’ve cried over the evil of mutilating and beheading young and old. This conflict looks like it will last for some time. The hostility is 1300 years old. Come, Lord Jesus, come. We pray for swift peace within Israel.
Here are two quick thoughts anytime we hear of the brutality of war.
Our sin did this. Sin is our rebellion against God. Our rebellion against God creates hate for our neighbor, one created in God’s image.
Only Jesus can and will fix this. This conflict is but another reminder of creation’s groaning for restoration (Romans 8). Restoration will come when the Redeemer comes. The Crucified and Risen One will bodily raise the dead. Those found in faith will experience the new heavens and new earth, death will be dead, and all tears dried (Revelation 21). The world needs Jesus. Until He comes, we are not surprised by evil. Satan is on His last leg. His days are numbered. Take great courage. As darkness intensifies, the Light intensifies all the more. Jesus is the light. So are you.
I am not a historical expert on the war in Israel, nor the centuries-long geo-political landscape of the Middle East. It is good to have close friends like Rev. Dr. Andrew Jackson (what a name, huh?!?)!
Below is a short blog by Dr. Jackson, a long-time Phoenix Valley pastor and historian specializing in the early church in modern-day Turkey. He has some wonderful books that can be found here. I found it helpful. I pray you do, too.
“(1) Biblical Israel was 12 tribes living under a covenant theocracy. Modern Israel is a nation-state (started in 1948), and is not a theocracy. So, there should not be a theological equivalence between the two. To fully equate the modern nation-state of Israel to biblical Israel is not theologically correct. In fact, around 1.6 million Palestinian Arabs are citizens of the state of Israel.
(2) It is wrong to speak of the "Palestinians" as one lump category of people. Hamas is a terrorist organization backed by some Palestinians. Yet, Iran--Persian, not Arab Palestinian--is the primary supporter of Hamas. So, it is simply wrong to equate all "Palestinians" to "Hamas." In Gaza, a large number of Palestinians live under the control of Hamas out of fear. Either support Hamas, or you die, no different than ISIS.
(3) Palestinians cannot be equated to Muslims because there are many Palestinians who are Christian.
(4) The majority of Jews in Israel are secularists and atheists. They are cultural Jews (holidays etc), but do not practice Judaism. We should not portray them as if they do.
(5) Although we support the destruction of Hamas, as we did ISIS, we must have humanitarian compassion for the Palestinians who do not support Hamas. They are caught in the middle between Israel's military and Hamas.
(6) The history that has created the present situation between Israel and the Palestinians is extremely complex. It is not as black and white as so many people try to make it. We must not oversimplify the causes of the war in Israel.
(7) The issue behind everything today is the fact of the Jewish holocaust when 6 million Jews were slaughtered. And so today, Israel always views the threat of Hamas (or anyone) through the lens of the holocaust, and rightly so. However, Israel's military response can also be extreme and destructive to many innocent Palestinians. We should not be dismissive of this.
As evangelical Christians, we must keep the above points in mind when we are discussing the present war in Israel.”
Thanks, Dr. Jackson!
Pray for peace. The Prince of Peace is coming soon. Until then, we have Holy Spirit-inspired work to do to bring the Gospel to as many people as possible. The ULC is here to help you do just that by unleashing the priesthood of all believers in your local context!