The book of Revelation describes spiritual warfare in the end times. That warfare is between angels loyal to God and angels that fight against God (demons). "There was war in the heavenlies. Michael and his angels fought with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought." (Revelation 12:7)
Our primary battle is not with flesh and blood, but with spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:11-13; II Corinthians 10:3-5). In the recent crisis in Gaza, our war was not with the Gazans themselves but with the spirits of Jihad, terror, anti-Christ, and anti-Semitism that have taken control there.
Since the war is spiritual, it involves not only tanks and rockets, but world public opinion and media. Israel finds itself in a bizarre trap, having to fight Islamic Jihad through Hamas and Hizballah on the one side, and liberal leftist humanism in the media and the U.N. on the other side. The soldiers have to be courageous to fight the terrorists, yet have the integrity and patience to act according to the strictest principles of ethical warfare.
Every missile shot was recorded ON CAMERA from the plane or helicopter, verifying its target. No army in history has taken the kind of precautions the Israeli army took during this war. The reason that civilians were hurt is because they had been lied to by Hamas to act as human shields. The cockpit films of the Israeli army show Hamas rockets being launched from schools, homes, and mosques.
In Daniel chapter 10, the prophet prays and fasts for three weeks. The glorified Angel of the Lord (Yeshua in His pre-birth form) appears to Daniel (Daniel 10:5-6), and gives him a revelation. "I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the last days for the vision is yet for many days." (Daniel 10:14)
The revelation was about what would happen to the people of Israel in the end days, in the distant future from the time of Daniel. All revelation about the end times is connected to Israel and it is connected to war.
In this vision, the Heavenly Messenger tells him the conditions of the battle. "I will return to battle against the Prince of Persia and I will go out and behold the Prince of Greece will come." (Daniel 10:20) In modern terms, Persia is Iran. Iran today is the primary source of funding for Hamas and Hizballah. Greece was the birthplace of secular humanism, the same humanism found in the media and the U.N. today.
The Angel of the Lord was found fighting against these two powers, much in the way Israel is found fighting against them today. "I will tell you what is recorded in the Scripture of Truth, and no one is strengthening himself together with Me against these except Michael your Prince alone." (Daniel 10:21) There was no other national angel fighting together with Yeshua against these demonic forces except Michael, because no other nation other than Israel was willing to fight against them.
Only the United States consistently supports Israel in the U.N., but at a recent Security Council vote, even the U. S. abstained. Will anyone stand with Israel and the Angel of the Lord against the forces of secular humanism and Islamic Jihad in these end times?
Back in the 1980's I photocopied all the passages in the Bible about the end times and went over them again and again until they began to make sense. I came to a few simple conclusions:
Revelation 19 describes Yeshua coming out of heaven, leading an army of angels to punish the nations of the earth. Zechariah 14 describes the nations coming to battle against Israel, with the Lord coming out to fight against them.
This section of the book of Zechariah describes four times that all the nations of the world will attack Jerusalem.
Zechariah 12:3 - "I will place Jerusalem as a burden-some stone ... and
all the nations of the earth will be gathered against her."
Zechariah 12:9 - "I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem."
Zechariah 14:2 - "I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to battle."
Zechariah 14:12 - "This will be the plague against ... all the peoples that came against Jerusalem to battle."
Spiritual warfare is also a battle of the truth against the lie. Why is it that the nations do not want to hear the truth? Why don't they realize they are being lied to? Here is what a Hamas member of the Palestinian parliament, Dr. Yunis al Astil, said about the goals of radical Islam: "We will conquer Rome and after that all of Europe. And then we will conquer both of the Americas" (B. D. Yemini, Maariv Weekend, 9-1-2009).
Our friend "F", a high school teacher in Europe, called our staff this week to say that some of the Muslim students threatened him because he was not teaching against Israel. The principal called him to the office and told him he was in danger of losing his job if he did not teach against Israel.
In every place in the world dominated by Islam, anyone caught sharing the gospel is in danger of being murdered on the spot. The famous hadith quoted by radical Muslim preachers today says that the hour of the resurrection will not come unless the Jews are killed by Muslims and that the rocks and trees will cry out saying that there is a Jew hiding behind them.
Our heart's desire is for Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians, to find eternal life, grace, and forgiveness through Yeshua the Messiah. The only way for Gaza to be liberated, both spiritually and politically, is for Hamas to be taken out of power. Let us pray for Gaza to be liberated. Only with Hamas gone will there be any chance to freely share the gospel. Only then will there be a chance for peace.
[Betty is the mother of an army captain on active duty in the Israeli Defence Forces.]
When asked to pray for our soldiers, the natural reaction is to pray for their safety and protection. Although this is first and foremost, as a mother of soldiers I know the needs go beyond this.
One is physical strength and renewal. Soldiers in combat or areas of responsibility often work long hours with very little sleep. Our son sometimes calls and says for the past three days he only slept a few hours.
Another is relationships. Soldeirs live together virtually 24/7. When there are breakdowns in relationships the emotional stress can be unbearable.
An especially important prayer in time of war is right decision making. There were incidents of friendly fire in the Gaza operation which cost the lives of soldiers. Although it does not get much publicity, the guilt upon those responsible is often agonizing.
There is also the need to pray against battle shock. I know personally three believing soldiers who've spent years working through the trauma of seeing others killed or wounded, often close friends.
In addition, prayer is needed for the disruption in the lives of these young men. Those being called in for reserve duty are often students, husbands and fathers, young men beginning their careers. Although there is some compensation, life goes on and what is missed cannot always be retrived.
Lastly, the spiritual state of the believing soldiers is crucial. In many cases there is literally no opportunity for "quiet" time. At a recent Shabbat meeting we spontaneously devoted our entire service to prayer for the soldiers and war. One young woman whose brother served in Gaza broke down over his spiritual state and that of all the soldiers. She rightly cried out, if everything else goes well but they are broken spiritually what is it all worth?
Thank you for labouring with us in prayer.
Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Daniel Juster: Shrunken Cloth|
|A Father's Heart for a Soldier Son|
|Marty Shoub: Portrait of the Artist|