The war between jihad and the Jewish state enters its fourth week. The fog of war is clearing, and outlines are becoming sharper. What follows is a summation of the flow of the past three weeks, a description of the developments of the past 24 hours, and some guidelines for prayer.
Background to this war
On June 12 a Hamas squad in Hebron kidnapped and quickly murdered three Jewish teenagers hitching home from an Orthodox Jewish high school. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) set up a dragnet in the West Bank to find the boys and the terrorists and by June 30 the boys’ bodies were found. The search then turned to the terrorists, and a significant amount of Hamas terrorists were arrested in the West Bank, and their underground organization was collapsing. This was good news for Abu Mazen and his Palestinian Authority (PA, formerly PLO) who see the Islamist Hamas as their mortal enemy.
In an effort to change the equation, Hamas in Gaza began to fire rockets at Israeli kibbutzim, farms, towns and cities. This quickly increased into a torrent of rockets, reaching the major cities of the south (Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheva, Kiryat Gat), the Greater Tel Aviv area (Rishon L’tziyon, Rehovot, Holon, Bat Yam, Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, etc), the Sharon Plain (Hadera, Netanya, etc) and even the Jerusalem area. Israel tried to negotiate a ceasefire to no avail. The Israel Air Force (IAF) began bombings of rocket launcher sites, weapons depots, empty homes of Hamas leaders, and command-and-control centers in Gaza. Over the years Hamas had developed an inventory of over 10,000 long and short range rockets, well hidden in exclusively urban areas (mosques, kindergartens, schools, medical clinics, hospitals, homes and United Nations UNRWA schools).
Body counts and Nazi propaganda
Hamas has placed its rocket launchers smack in the middle of its civilian population. This is a deliberate part of Hamas’ war strategy, and has been repeated every time its jihad forces fire rockets into Israel (2009, 2012). The casualties which result when Israel tries to destroy rockets and launchers from the air are turned into what the KGB called “agitprop” – the use of media for political agitation and propaganda (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agitprop). Israel’s defensive measures are twisted by Hamas and they influence world media into changing the storyline – now it is Gaza’s citizens who are the victims and Israelis who are the aggressors, while jihadi rocket fire continues merrily along its way.
Hamas is an Islamist dictatorship. It beats or kills newsmen who do not report news according to Hamas’ agitprop rules:
International journalists in jihadi Gaza are not free to interview whom they wish. They have Hamas minders at all times. To borrow George W. Bush’s terminology, Islamo-fascists are dictating Gaza’s news bulletins, and the West is eating it up. Casualty statistics are exaggerated by Hamas or simply fabricated. The death of Hamas fighters, and even their bodies, are concealed from foreign media. Instead, the figures of casualties among women and children are usually inflated.
British Colonel Richard Kemp, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, has addressed this issue in world media and also at the UN quite lucidly (www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/A-salute-to-the-IDF). Addressing the U.N. Human Rights Council he stated, “During its operation in Gaza (ed., 2009), the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX6vyT8RzMo). He continues to speak directly to this dynamic as fleshed out in this war (www.algemeiner.com/2014/07/30/col-richard-kemp-israeli-pilot-aborted-gaza-strike-17-times-to-protect-civilians-jewish-people-should-be-proud-of-the-state-of-israel-interview/).
In the same way as Nazi Reichsminister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels twisted the news media into an organ of persecution and murder of the Jewish people, so Hamas is twisting Western media, and millions of consumers are being poisoned into hating and opposing the Jewish people and their state.
- Pray for the frustrating of Hamas’ jihadi plans to seduce Western media, and for the shining of truth upon Hamas propaganda and lies
Hamas has spent many years preparing a network of terror tunnels which snake under the border between Gaza and Israel. These are being used even now to launch attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers. These tunnels are often 90 feet deep and run for up to 1.6 miles (2.5 km). Hamas was planning a 9/11 type attack for September 24 this year (Rosh Hashana/ Feast of Trumpets), involving somewhere between 200-400 terrorists exiting 20-40 tunnels simultaneously to murder and kidnap men, women and children on kibbutzim in the Gaza area. Over the past two weeks the IDF has been locating and destroying these tunnels, but the network is extensive and not easily located, and the work needed to destroy these tunnels is complicated; at least another week is needed to deal with the lion’s share of them. To be safe, a security belt of at least 4 kilometers should be established between Israeli kibbutzim and the Gazan populace. In recent days at least ten IDF soldiers have been killed in tunnel attacks. Today IDF Givati Battalion Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin (23) from Kfar Saba was kidnapped in southern Gaza by Hamas in a combined commando/suicide bomber operation.
- Pray for the safe return and salvation of Hadar Goldin, for the capture of his captors and for the frustration of Hamas plans here (Jeremiah 30:16)
The Islamist phoenix – ISIL, Iran, Al Qaeda etc
The rise of Islamist violence is world-shaking in its scope. The jihadi genie was originally let out of the bottle in Egypt of the 1950’s, but quickly metastasized in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan under the al Qaeda-Taliban confederacy. This zealous revival movement in Islam conjured up the original jihadi spirit which had guided Mohammed in his wars of colonialism, enslavement, robbery and conquest. Today’s jihadi Sunni movement reaches for global jihad, while working locally for the overthrow of secular Muslim governments. It also plans and carries out terror attacks against Shiites, Western Christians, Jews, and the State of Israel. Most of their effort has been directed at destroying these ‘enemies’ rather than on constructive achievements which would ameliorate conditions in the Muslim world.
The recent dramatic spread of ISIL/ISIS in Iraq, al-Nusra in Syria, Boko Haram and al Shebab in Africa, and Hamas in Gaza are all part of the same ideological movement. Though they may disagree among themselves on certain tactics, their long-term strategies are exactly the same – total jihad across the face of the globe; the application of original shari’a law; a dhimmi slave status for non-Muslims; destruction for the Jewish people and their state.
Hamas has managed to blind many Westerners to their own blue-blood jihadi foundations, and instead have postured themselves as freedom fighters rallying against Jewish oppression.
- Pray that the Western world may wake up to the dangers of jihadi Islam, and strengthen the things that remain (Revelation 3:2)
The destruction of Middle Eastern Christianity
Though our focus is mostly on the Bible’s priority emphasis on the Jewish people and their key strategic role in world revival, we want to draw attention to how Islamist jihad is destroying the ancient Christian traditions (what are called the ‘historic churches’) in the Middle East. In Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Gaza, Christians are being persecuted, tortured, beheaded, raped, robbed and burned. This is the same spiritual principality that Israel is confronting in the Gaza Strip, and this current war is part of the front lines of that battle.
- Pray for the protection and resuscitation of believers in Yeshua across the Middle East, for the spread of the Good News of the Messiah, and for the bold witness to Yeshua among the Muslim and Arab peoples
A Smorgasbord approach to Islam
Many in the West find it hard to believe that Muslims still believe in jihad, or that the source documents of Islam actually call for such religious atrocities. Some would like to visualize a ‘gentler, kinder” Islam, or transform Islam into a Middle Eastern form of Unitarianism. Yet a smorgasbord approach to Islam will not work; that is an ostrich-like approach to a clear and present danger to the civilized world.
Just as Communist sympathizers in the West in the 1930’s and 1940’s attempted to pave the way for the spread of Marxist-Leninist revolution, so it is with those who sympathize with the Muslim Brotherhood. They are attempting to shift America and Europe away from their original Christian moorings and foundations, while empowering the spread of jihadi revolution.
- Pray for Western leaders to wake up and receive a revelation of the dangers in the spreading movement of pro-jihadi Islam
“A plague on both your houses?” – Christian geldings
Many in the West simply don’t understand the Middle East and have little patience for it. They are not looking at things from a biblical perspective and have no grasp of what God is doing in these Last Days with the restoration of His Jewish people to their Promised Land. They simply see an endless schoolyard fight between stubborn and violent people. The attitude of these Westerners, including some believers, is simply to say that both sides in the Jewish-Islamic conflict are speaking propaganda, that God is not involved in the process, that He doesn’t take sides, that He has no commitment to the Jewish people, and that Westerners should only support what is in their own best economic interest.
When those heart attitudes are combined with “politically correct” or leftist or anti-globalization viewpoints, or BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) groups or human rights groups with an anti-Israel bias, or Palestinian Liberation theology Christian Replacement theology groups which call for boycotts and civil disobedience/violence against Israel – one has the makings of a new toxic campaign which will outdistance Nazism in its poison and murderous effect.
- As God draws His plumbline through human hearts, pray for the hearts of many to be softened and tenderized once again towards the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8)
Good morning Vietnam Syndrome!
Years ago there was much talk about something called the “Vietnam syndrome.”
A malaise spread throughout the United States, trumpeting a suspicion of all leadership and authority (“don’t trust anyone over thirty”), a rejection of armies and warfare (“make love not war”), and a shame about being a superpower. Certainly the Nixon years had demonstrated some cause for concern, and the Vietnam War had some very bad and corrupt moments. But the result was a loss of heart, confidence and a sense of just cause for many Americans. The American hero was replaced with the anti-hero – in movies, on TV, in fiction, in video games and in politics.
Add to this the “Crusader syndrome” (a perception that fighting for religious freedom and defending one’s faith is ethically reprehensible) and the “Chamberlain syndrome” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeasement; a perspective that war is unthinkable and peace by appeasement of cruel dictators is preferable), and we have a pretty accurate description of many people in the West: a gut-level embarrassment about Israel, a hatred of those who see the reborn Jewish state as a fulfilment of Biblical prophecy, a tendency to defend Islamist terrorists if it will bring a short-term peace to the Middle East (and especially uninterrupted oil supplies).
Western believers need to reclaim the forgotten biblical heritages of warriors, prophets and kings. Even as J.R.R. Tolkein singlehandedly resurrected many of these themes in his Lord of the Rings trilogy, so believers in the God of the Bible need to recapture the heart essence of what Moses declared in ancient days: “Moses built an altar and named it ‘YHVH is my Banner.’ And he said, ‘YHVH has sworn. YHVH will have war against Amalek from generation to generation” ” (Exodus 17:15-16). Where are today’s banners? Where is the enemy?
- Pray for this generation to be irradiated with the word of God, so that we will know the Bible, think biblically and act biblically (Amos 8:11)
Yeshua once prophesied that “there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops” (Luke 12:2-3). Anti-Jewish attitudes have lain fallow for years in some hearts, even in some hearts of those who call on the name of Yeshua. This virus morphs like cancer, and attempts to suck the spiritual life and vigor out its hosts.
I have met believers who tell anti-Jewish jokes (even to Jews), who dismiss clear teaching about God’s priority choosing of Israel and His restoration of the Jewish people to their land as propaganda, as simply ‘one side of the story.” I have met believers who were raised with a love for Israel, but whose hearts have grown chilled and alienated. They neither know Joseph nor feel warmly disposed to Joseph’s people (see Exodus 1:8).
David DuPlessis once said that God has no grandchildren – only children. There are those who have tasted of the good gifts of God, who have bathed in the warmth of God’s heart for Israel, and yet they have moved away from that place of blessing, tenderheartedness and revelation (see Hebrew 6:4-12). Somehow the heart of the matter has shrunk. Somehow the spirits of some men and women have been shriveled by the enemy.
C.S. Lewis talked about this dynamic in his thin book “The Abolition of Man.” “In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”
- Pray for those believers who once knew God’s heart for Israel but somehow have moved away and become chilled. Pray for a visitation of holy fire and for revival
Writing in a heavenly book
Jewish people tend to remember things. Our recorded history in the Bible helps us to remember the highlights and the low points. The prophet Zechariah’s name means “YHVH remembers.” God asks, “How can I forget you, O Israel? I will never forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15; Hosea 11: 8).
The psalmist swears to God and asks for his right hand of livelihood to be cursed if he does not remember Jerusalem and prioritize her above his own greatest joy (Psalm 137:5-6). He then asks YHVH to remember the hatred and cold-heartedness that Edom exhibited when they fought against Israel and cursed her (Psalm 137:7). He asks the God of Israel to remember Edom’s deeds and to curse her.
One way God helps us to remember is by writing things down in a book. “Then those who feared YHVH spoke to one another, and YHVH gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear YHVH and who esteem His name. ‘They will be Mine,’ says YHVH of armies, ‘on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.’ So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (Malachi 3:16-18).
God has books wherein all our deeds are written down. He promises that He will weigh and judge all our thoughts as well – including the attitude of our hearts toward Israel His beloved (Revelation 20:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; Matthew 25:37-40). Knowing the fear of God, we try to persuade men (2 Corinthians 5:11).
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do!
In Messiah Yeshua,
Donations can be sent to:
FINAL FRONTIER MINISTRIES
BOX 121971 NASHVILLE TN 37212-1971 USA
Donations can also be made on-line (by PayPal) through: www.davidstent.org