The stage is being set for what could turn into an almighty battle in the Middle East. Israel was already surrounded by sworn enemies before Russia entered the toxic fray, and we are now witnessing an extremely dangerous situation which could erupt into a major conflict at any moment.
But the entire scenario needs to be seen through a biblical lens. With such a focus, we should be in no doubt that this is a battle for truth more than anything else; it is not just a physical reality, but a spiritual certainty. The God of Israel is pitched against the old enemy, Satan, who is employing all his usual tricks in a bid to deceive the world with a torrent of lies.
Through the natural lens it may well appear as yet another young David facing up to the seemingly impossible task of slaying the nine-foot Philistine giant Goliath. But in fact David, through whose line Jesus traces his ancestry, never saw it that way: “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” (1 Samuel 17.45)
David became the greatest king Israel ever had, and today’s re-born nation would do well to adopt their hero’s total faith and trust in Elohim.
True, today’s Israeli society is as secular as Britain’s in many ways. But there are encouraging signs that this could soon change. The prophets foretold that, before Messiah’s return, there would be a great spiritual awakening among God’s people whose hearts would be melted as they recognised the One who declared his everlasting love for them with outstretched arms.
The stage is set for this great unveiling, and the key lies in the Word of God. Israel has miraculously survived many attempts to destroy her, but when the beleaguered nation finally takes her eyes off the ‘horses and chariots’ that have helped defend her thus far, they will surely put their total trust in the Lord. It is heartening to know that Prime Minister Netanyahu is a convinced believer in the Bible, which is well able to impart ultimate truth (2 Timothy 3.16) as he seeks the Lord on major decisions. We also hear of a colonel working to bring strong biblical values to IDF soldiers. A recent survey has revealed that an impressive 95% of Israelis have a Bible in their homes. And the heart of its message is: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105) The Jewish people will very soon welcome their Messiah.
But the onus is not only on them. The Gentiles have a big responsibility to help in this process through their love and support, and indeed through sharing the message originally passed on to them by Jews such as the Apostle Paul. In this respect Russia’s establishing of a military base in the Syrian city of Latakia is a wake-up call to the Church. The city was known in ancient times as Laodicea, home of the first century church which earned a stern rebuke from our Lord that they were neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm, and he was going to spit them out of his mouth. It’s a good description of the Church’s attitude to Israel’s predicament today; they’re neither hot nor cold about it; they simply can’t see its relevance to them. (Revelation 3.14-22)
Russia’s presence, complete with tanks, ships and airplanes, is meant to prop up the Assad regime, a key ally of Iran which has made no secret either of its intention to wipe Israel off the map or of its support for the Hezbollah terrorists posing a major threat on Israel’s northern borders. In fact Iranian forces are now reported to be on the Golan Heights. The clash of interests is as obvious as it is frightening. All the while tensions in Israel itself are almost at boiling point with seven children orphaned in recent attacks on innocent Jews.
Against this background the world continues to witness the deceit and hypocrisy of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas who, at the UN, compared Israel to apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany, and declared that the PA no longer considered itself bound by the 1993 Oslo Accords. Does this mean they’re now officially terrorists again as the Oslo Accords had legitimized them? The PA has never kept the agreement anyway as their former leader Yasser Arafat was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on the basis of dropping Israel’s destruction from its charter. That never happened!
The raising of the PLO flag at the UN headquarters for the first time was about as effective as Goliath’s shield. All that is needed is one well-aimed rock of God’s truth and the whole sorry propaganda edifice will come crashing down as people finally realise there never was a Palestinian state and that it was the Jews who were known as Palestinians before 1948.
As bestselling author Jack Engelhard wrote last week, “The entire world is arming itself against radical Islam, and it was to support radical Islam that Mahmoud Abbas came to the United Nations.”
The word of God says: “The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.” (Obadiah 1:15)
And now Jew-hatred is effectively being exported to Europe where many of the refugees fleeing Muslim countries will have been brought up on decades of anti-Semitism learned and promoted through schools, newspapers and social networks. Worse still, some of the refugees will undoubtedly turn out to be ISIS fighters in disguise.
Also in the Middle Eastern firing line are Christians, who worship Jesus, the Jew. I have just received a shocking report (from California-based Assist News Service) of the beheading and crucifixion of a dozen indigenous Christian workers near Aleppo in Syria.
Supported by US-based Christian Aid Mission, they had opportunities to escape, but chose to stay in order to provide aid and comfort in the name of Christ amidst the carnage. All were ex-Muslims who refused to renounce Christ, and were badly brutalized before being executed, with the two women among them publicly raped. Yet they prayed throughout their ordeal. And in the midst of such unspeakable horror, the region’s underground church has mushroomed since June 2014. One former ISIS fighter fled to Jordan where he intended to kill Christian aid workers. But something stopped him from following through with his plan and that night he saw Jesus in a dream. He subsequently received Christ with tears, and now he’s helping in the church.
A spokesman said: “In the past we used to pray to have one person from a Muslim background come to the Lord. Now there are so many we can barely handle all the work among them.”
Jews and Christians are in it together because they share their Messiah who is clearly coming soon judging by the many signs of his imminent return. The nations are being shaken. It’s time to stand with the God of Israel and the Israel of God!
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com