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The war in Israel has weighed on my heart like nothing else has. Seeing the barbarities of Hamas, broadcasted live, seeing the hatred towards Israel and the Jews around the world, seeing Gaza destroyed, seeing children under rubble because of Israel’s constant attacks, all of this is bothering me and making me think deeply about the coming of Jesus. If on the one hand it is obvious that the homicidal attacks by the terrorists who entered Israel on October 7 are purely evil, it is not always obvious - to me - whether the Israeli response is virtuous or not.
On the one hand, I want to distance myself and denounce all the anti-Israel protests that I see taking place not only in the Middle East, but also in “Western” cities. Often times, they are not just protests calling for a ceasefire, and calling for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. These are protests that clearly call for the extinction of the state of Israel, and almost always associated with this, the genocide of Jews. I am convinced that these protests are about the “power of deception” (ἐνέργειαν πλάνης; II Thess 2:11 ), a divine curse on those who “take pleasure in iniquity.”
But on the other hand, I cannot help but condemn Israel, specifically the Israeli government for the air strikes that have caused so many civilian casualties. Even knowing that Hamas terrorists hide in hospitals, even knowing that they launch rockets near mosques, churches, schools, and residential areas, even knowing that they have civilian hostages. I don’t understand anything about military strategy, I know little about the recent history of the Middle East, but I can’t say unequivocally that Israel is acting virtuously. After thinking deeply about this, I want to state the following principle:
- My victimization is not an excuse to victimize my neighbor, or;
- My oppression is not a reason for me to oppress my neighbor.
This principle is fundamentally Christian, and in line with Jesus’ words about “turning the other cheek” and “loving your enemies.” Non-retaliation is the modus operandi of those who truly want to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Jesus was brutally attacked, unjustly accused, and killed by his enemies, but among his final words we read “Father forgive them because they do not know what they do” .
I can’t say what Israel should do to better protect its citizens, but I know that its leaders have very difficult decisions to make. They have in their hands not only the lives of their own, but also those of their enemies, and those who are innocent in the conflict, for example children.
This principle makes no sense as a military strategy. This principle has no logic for anyone who does not believe in God, nor in a life after death. For these types of people, saying “Israel has the right to defend itself” and “let’s exterminate Hamas” makes perfect sense. If God does not exist, and there is no eternal judgment on all those who do evil, then we are the ones who must apply Justice by our own hands. But God exists, and he says he “does not leave the guilty unpunished” ( Ex 34:7 ).
There will soon be a day when God will apply perfect justice to the whole world, and I shudder thinking about it. “But God, disregarding the times of ignorance, now commands all men everywhere to repent; because he has determined a day in which he will judge the world with justice, through the man he ordained for this purpose; and he made sure of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” ( Acts 17:30-31 )
The Christian message is this. We are living in a time when God is being patient with everyone, but that time will end. As sure as tomorrow is the day of judgment.
Eschatological vision #
In my opinion this war will be a turning point in history - it’s just my opinion, informed by what I understand to be biblical prophecy.
Jesus, the greatest of prophets, paints the picture of the end times and his coming in broad strokes. He begins by warning that before the end there will be deception, wars, famines, earthquakes, hatred and iniquity. But it’s not the end yet. It is only the beginning of sorrows ( Mt 24:8 ). This is the moment we live in. There have always been wars and famines and earthquakes and hatred, but our era has the potential to greatly magnify the magnitude of all of these things. The closer to the end, the greater the pain. But it’s not the end yet.
But Jesus also explains that in the last days before his coming, the “abomination that makes desolation” will happen ( Mt 24:15 ), prophesied by Daniel ( Dan 9:27 ). It is not clear what exactly this “desolating abomination” consists of, but we can understand that it depends on the existence of a Temple in Jerusalem. According to Jesus it will take place “in the holy place” and for a first century Jew - Jesus’ original listeners - this is an unmistakable reference to the Temple.
Israel currently has military superiority. It has the support of the USA and many European countries. Israel will win this war. Israel’s victory in this conflict does not imply that its actions are righteous or divinely blessed. No, I’m just noting the fact of their military and geopolitical superiority. Israel relies on its own strength and not on God. This will be it’s demise. Supported by its strength, Israel will have security, peace and prosperity and the Jewish temple will be rebuilt. I don’t know if this will happen in 5 or 50 years. But this is what the scriptures indicate.
This time of security will be ended abruptly by the antichrist, who with all the fury of Satan will steal, kill and destroy Israel. He will take captives and take Jerusalem. This is also part of God’s plan. Israel will fall and reach the end of its strength. God will use the antichrist to judge Israel, in the same way he used the Assyrians and the Babylonians. When Israel reaches its limit, and turns to God asking for his forgiveness and help, then they will see their Messiah arrive to their aid ( Zech 12:9-10 ). At that moment, Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, the Savior of the World, the Lamb of God, the Lion of Judah will come in glory, with all his Saints, to save Israel, judge the world, establish his kingdom, and reign with Justice.
What should I do? #
Therefore, my position regarding Israel’s military activities in Gaza is of deep concern, because they demonstrate Israel’s attitude of arrogance, of self-sufficiency, which will ultimately bring them divine judgment. God “does not leave the guilty unpunished” and this includes both Jews and non-Jews. The only hope for humanity to escape judgment is repentance and faith in Christ.
Jew, be careful not to rely on your own strength, on your works. You are part of the chosen people, but your trust cannot be in your own strength. Israel exists today as a nation by divine will, just as it ceased to exist for almost 2000 years by the will of the same God. Be careful with the decisions you make today because they have eternal consequences. Repent and convert to Jesus, the Messiah, whom heaven will contain until the times of the restoration of all things .
Christian, be careful not to oppose God’s plan in Israel. You are just a grafted branch and if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Strive for your reconciliation and remain in the goodness of God. Also be careful not to be a hindrance to those who today hate Israel from entering the flock of the Chief Shepherd. They are enemies of God today, but you were also enemies, and you have received reconciliation.
To all non-christians I say, pay attention to the signs of the times. The time of God’s patience will not last forever but there is still time! Today you have the opportunity to repent. Today you can have all your sins forgiven. Today you can receive peace with God.
Israel only exists today by divine will. It is a miracle that Israel exists, but a time of great tribulation for Israel is approaching.
All Christians are called to preserve life, and to eliminate suffering, both earthly and eternal suffering.
We must support Israel in its tribulation, and show mercy and forgiveness to Israel’s enemies.
This is our mission, following the example of Jesus, until death.
This is the message of the gospel.
Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.Mathew 10:39