King Saul and his son Jonathan died defending the people of Israel on the mountains of Gilboa. Jonathan was killed in the battle, while Saul took his own life, falling on his sword. David son of Jesse, the soon-coming king, led the tribe of Judah in a public lament known as ‘the mourning song of the bow.’
- Then David sang this song of mourning over Saul and his son Jonathan, and he told them to teach the sons of Judah the mourning song of the bow. Behold, it is written in the Book of Yashar: “Your beauty, Israel, is slaughtered on your high places! How the mighty have fallen! Tell it not in Gath; proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the Philistine daughters rejoice, and the daughters of the uncircumcised celebrate” (2 Samuel 1:17-20)
The surprise attack on the morning of October 7 by Islamist terrorists from Hamas and Islamic Jihad has brought forth its demonic fruit – the slaughter of at least 250 Israelis, the wounding of over a thousand Jewish people, and the kidnapping to Gazan underground tunnels and prisons of hundreds more citizens of the Jewish state. These crimes were met with rejoicing among the bestial mobs of Gaza. Golden-ager Jewish women were shot at point blank range by jihadi terror squads, as were their daughters and grandchildren. Bodies of young women and soldiers were dragged across public squares and stomped on by mobs screaming out ‘Allahu akbar’ – ‘Allah is greater.’ Teenaged girls were hauled by their hair past violent crowds, while candies and sweet pastries were distributed to the Gazan bystanders in celebration of this ‘uncircumcised victory.’
What has happened here? What is about to happen? How did these events catch the Israel Defense Forces seemingly by surprise? How can we pray into these matters?
“They make shrewd plans against Your people”
On Friday September 1 and Saturday September 2, 2023, two fateful meetings were held in Beirut. At the first meeting Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian met with Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri and Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziyad al-Nakhalah to discuss the upcoming October attacks on Israel. On the next day, they were joined by Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah to work on “the importance of coordination between the resistance movements, especially in Palestine and Lebanon, on all political, security and military developments.”
The words of Asaph the psalmist carry enormous prophetic weight here:
- God, do not remain quiet! Do not be silent and, God, do not be still! For behold, Your enemies make an uproar, and those who hate You have exalted themselves. They make shrewd plans against Your people, and conspire together against Your treasured ones. They have said, “Come, and let’s wipe them out as a nation, so that the name of Israel will no longer be remembered.” For they have conspired together with one mind; they make a covenant against You: the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre (Psalm 83:1-7)
The date chosen was fifty years plus one day after the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, which happened on October 6, 1973. The symbolism here is also reflected in the attacks on the US diplomatic compound and CIA annex in Libya on September 11, 2012, the anniversary of al Qa’eda’s World Trade Center jihadi terror attack of September 11, 2001. In the Egyptian narrative, the Yom Kippur War is seen as an Arab victory against the Jewish state.
“They make shrewd plans against Your people”
In a sober parallel to how Israeli military intelligence was unprepared for the Yom Kippur war, so it seems that the Israel Defense Forces were painfully taken by surprise by the Hamas terror incursion into the sovereign State of Israel. The prophet Isaiah saw something similar in his own day: “His watchmen are blind! All of them know nothing. All of them are mute dogs unable to bark – dreamers lying down, who love to slumber” (Isaiah 56:10).
Intelligence failures do happen. Pearl Harbor, 9/11, Vietnam, Afghanistan (for British, Russian and American armies) – all indicate that such things are not foreign to military history. In 1973 Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Dayan as well as some in AMAN (Military Intelligence Directorate) were guilty of hubris (hutzpah in Hebrew) in underestimating the enemy and in overestimating the IDF’s battle readiness. After the shooting stops in Israel and the smoke clears after this round, the commission looking into these blunders will have its work cut out for it.
How did the incursion happen?
Hamas unleashed a barrage of rockets aimed at civilian targets at 06:30 am, Saturday October 7, 2023. Kibbutzim, moshavim, towns, cities and military posts were attacked. Simultaneously, parachuting terrorists on ultra-light single-place powered vehicles glided onto Israeli territory next to kibbutzim (communal farms). Zodiac rubber boats crossed the short distance between Gaza and Israel, unloading heavily armed jihadis. Hamas engineers cut through the border fences, allowing at least ten pickup trucks armed with sub-machine gun and RPG-toting terrorists to break through and head to at least 21 different locations. Their goals: to murder Israeli men, women and children; to take hostages and spirit the captives back to Gaza or, in worse case scenarios, to engage in negotiations with the IDF for the release of Hamas terrorist jailed in Israel; to strike terror into the hearts of Israelis; and most probably to feint with a strategic diversion, drawing down IDF forces from the Lebanese border so that Hezbollah would have greater freedom of movement in attacking Israel.
All of these goals were successful.
Approximately 21 kibbutzim, moshavim, towns and cities were assaulted by Hamas terrorists. It took the IDF many hours to arrive, organize and counter-attack. Though in the end they have achieved some mastery of the areas involved, many civilians were murdered or kidnapped to Gaza in the meantime. Our personal friends had their home broken into while they hid. The Hamas terrorists staked out the living room and were there for some hours before IDF special forces broke in and freed our friends. Our friends’ son had some of his best friends captured and dragged off to Gaza in a jihadi kidnapping. Many others on that kibbutz were also kidnapped.
Over 250 Israelis have been murdered by the jihadis and over 1,100 have been wounded, many severely. Hundreds are presumed kidnapped. Hamas is presently firing rockets into civilian areas in the Greater Tel Aviv area, and they are firing those rockets from civilian neighborhoods in Gaza. This is a double war-crime.
Where do we go from here?
The IDF’s immediate military goals are twofold: to destroy any and all Hamas/Islamic Jihad rocket fire through the Israeli Iron Dome mobile air-defense system; to wipe out any Hamas terror squads that are still operating freely in Israel. One example is at Kibbutz Be’eri adjoining the Gaza Strip, where approximately 50 kibbutz members are being held hostage in the communal dining hall. There seem to be at least seven centers of terror activities, though there originally were 21 earlier this afternoon. A general call-up of reserves has been taking place this afternoon, and normal Israelis in all walks of life (including many Messianic Jews) have headed out to the front lines, preparing for a land incursion into the Gaza Strip.
When Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to withdraw all Israeli civilians and military from Gaza, he was applauded by many of the left of center – including by one or two well-known Israeli Messianic leaders. Gaza quickly fell to Hamas in the only free elections it ever had in 2006. The USA contributed USD $2.3 million through USAID to help, and former president Jimmy Carter’s Carter Center reported “a professional and impartial performance of election officials.” As soon as Hamas won the election, it proceeded to knee-cap, torture and murder Arafat’s PLO cadres. Within a short time Gaza became a jihadi terror base aimed at destroying Israel. Sharon’s legacy has blossomed into an ongoing terror campaign funded and overseen by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Gaza Strip is honeycombed with terror tunnels – far more than those faced by US forces in Vietnam. Hamas has hidden kidnap victims in these tunnels, which are heavily mined. Hamas’ high command HQ is situated under Shifa Hospital, raising ethical dilemmas for Israel’s warrior strategists. In order to ‘crush the head of the serpent,’ the battle must be prosecuted on land and underground as well. Hamas has spent much time preparing for these clashes, and will attempt to exact a high price in dead, wounded and kidnapped Israeli soldiers.
Hezbollah on the move
Israel’s doyen of military commentators Ehud Yaari has reported today that Hezbollah forces in Lebanon have raised their level of military preparedness to standby for their long-stated goal of invading Israel and unleashing their arsenal of 150,000 GPS-guided rockets. The UN UNIFIL observer forces have been moving into their comfortable military bases to get out of the way, as was once done in Sinai prior to the Six Day War on May 19, 1967. Time will soon tell, but it is highly likely that Hezbollah will enter the theater of combat in the very short future.
Israel has clearly warned Lebanon over the past decade that Hezbollah’s use of its rocket arsenal would force Israel “to return Lebanon back to the Stone Age . . . We will not hesitate to use all our power,” said Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
- If this long-discussed battle breaks out, with Lebanon attacking Israel through tunnels, hang gliders, commando incursions and rockets, the Middle East may be facing one of the most intense periods of war that it has ever seen.
How should we then pray?
- Pray for the defeat and destruction of Islamist terrorist invaders
- Pray for the physical rescue of Israelis under siege, those who are kidnapped, those who are wounded
- Pray for divine wisdom and decisive strategy to be given to Israel’s leaders in every area
- Pray that Lebanon’s leaders will be able to restrain Hezbollah from making moves which are suicidal to that country
- Pray for the raising up of Ezekiel’s prophetic Jewish army throughout the earth
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do.
In Messiah Yeshua,
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