Light for the Last Days

Israel Desk – January 2024

What next for the war?

Despite pressure from the US and the UN, the Israelis have no intention of ending their campaign in Gaza and calling a ceasefire now. The military is now focusing on killing Hamas’s leaders and dismantling its extensive tunnel network. 

News reports say it may take “months” for the IDF to finish their work, as Hamas guerrilla tactics are causing casualties to mount among Israeli troops. To have a ceasefire Israel wants the return of all hostages, demilitarisation of Gaza, the end of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and control of security in Gaza, including Gaza’s southern border where munitions have come through (including underground tunnels) from Egypt.

Fighting along Israel’s northern border has escalated significantly, and this is causing great concern. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly stated that he plans to finish the conflict in the south before dealing with Hezbollah, but he may not have a choice in the matter. Hezbollah forces continue to fire at targets in northern Israel and the IDF continues to carry out strikes in response. Because of the attacks over 100,000 Israelis have been evacuated from northern area, now accommodated in hotels in Tel Aviv and the surrounding area.

Netanyahu wants the IDF to push Hezbollah north of the Litani River in southern Lebanon, about 40 miles from the Israel – Lebanon border. Hezbollah will never pull back to the Litani River willingly, and so a conflict between Israel and Hezbollah is coming. Most of Hezbollah’s long range and deadly missiles are stored north of the Litani river. If they were to be loosed on Israel, Israel would launch a potentially devastating arial attack on Lebanon, including Beirut.

Iran’s proxies, the Houthis in Yemen are attacking shipping bound for Israel in Red Sea and have now extended it to all shipping. This is disrupting shipping lanes to Suez, affecting around 12% of all global trade, adding to the expense of goods now diverted around South Africa. The US and UK have launched a missile attack on Houthi bases in Yemen, prompting a potential revenge attack from the Houthis.

Iranian militias in Iraq and Syria have launched attacks on targets associated with Israel and US bases in the region.  Iran may be just weeks away from being able to create a nuclear bomb. Since Iran is behind all this confusion there are those who are now saying the only option is a US led coalition attack on Iran with the aim of bringing down the Islamic regime. Since Russia and Türkiye are in an alliance with Iran that could bring them into the fray, with the potential line up of Gog and Magog in view. 

Meanwhile the threat of radical Islam is now spreading in the West Bank, the Arab / Muslim world and even here in the west. We have radical Islamists using the anti-Israel demos to recruit people, especially young people into their cause. They are calling for a jihad against the infidel west, and attacks on Jews in cities like London, Berlin and New York and on those, like us, who stand by Israel.

At the London rally on 13 January black flags for ISIS were carried and a speaker called Mohammed el-Kurd said, ‘We must normalise massacres as part of the status quo.’ 

This is an incitement to murder and terrorism and is illegal under UK law. Truly we live in perilous times.  The last days before the return of the Messiah.

Ani Ma’amim – I believe

Israel 365 website carried an article about an MK Galit Distel-Atbaryan who addressed the Knesset, and despite self-identifying as non-religious, praised the “messianic” manifestations appearing among the IDF in Gaza. Distel-Atbaryan described a gathering of hundreds of soldiers singing “Ani Maamin” (“I believe”) before going into combat in Gaza. The song’s words are “I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah, and, though he tarry, I will wait daily for his coming”. It is the twelfth of Maimonides’ thirteen-point version of the principles of faith and is a declaration of a belief that the Messiah will surely come. 

I watched it. It sent shivers down my spine. You can watch it on our ‘This month in prophecy’ talk (near the beginning):

Galit Distel-Atbaryan drew attention to the conflict between the religious and the secular in Israel. She commented that much of the left leaning Israeli press and TV media, consider expressions of Israel’s hope in the Messiah to be dangerous right wing politics which are a threat to the country. She then said how once she viewed the peace programme as the way to the messianic programme. 

She said,

“my messiah was the Oslo Accords.” “These messiahs were false messiah. Not only were they false, but they were dangerous. Now I want to defend the Messiah of the Jewish nation, the concept of the messiah. I wonder what went wrong with us as a nation that this ascendant idea, this progression towards the eternal that brings the Jewish Messiah, why is it so ridiculous and ridiculed as being dangerous?”

Knesset Member declares from podium: “I believe in the Messiah” – Israel365 News

In fact, if you look at every aspect of the current crisis affecting Israel and the world the only hope we have is the Messiah. If you take God and the Messiah out of the situation in Israel, I would say there is no hope. But not just Israel the whole world situation is on a cliff hanger threatening to tip us over into calamity at any time. 

On the other hand, some might say the Messianic hope is about the nations living in peace, so a group of soldiers armed with machine guns singing about the Messiah and about to go to war is a bit of a contradiction. The Jewish hope for the Messiah is that he brings the Jews back to the Torah and to the land of Israel, rebuilds the Temple and creates world peace. If the present restoration of the State of Israel is part of this process then that state needs to be defended against its enemies who seek to destroy it. 

As Golda Meir once said,

“If the Jews lay down their weapons there would be no more Israel. If the Arabs lay down the weapons there would be no more war.”

Golda Meir – Quotes, Book & Facts (

According to Israel’s enemies, the Arabs should be able to launch terrorist attacks on Israel spread propaganda with messages of hatred of Israel and build up weapons of mass destruction to destroy Israel. Israel should not be allowed to defend itself against these attacks. From our point of view, believing that Israel exists by right as a fulfilment of the word of God, Israel does have the right to defend itself and therefore these soldiers have the right to sing about the Messiah as they go to war.

But the one issue we do have here is the identity of the Messiah. And that is a big issue. It is actually the heart of the issue. 

The Jewish view of the coming of the Messiah is that he is a great man who teaches the Jews to live properly according to Torah and then the world is so impressed by this that they turn to the true God and act with loving kindness, mercy and truth and stop fighting, whoring around, lying, doing drugs and violence etc. 

But this is not going to happen. When the world looks at Israel today it is not being attracted but turned off.  Images of the suffering of the people in Gaza is leading to an outburst of Jew hatred, that is reminiscent of the days leading up to the holocaust in Germany. For friends of Israel watching the news has become a form of torture. 

We can understand why Israel has to go after Hamas and try to take them out, because they and the alliance of rejectionist groups backed by Iran want to destroy Israel altogether and plunge the whole area into a terrible war ending with Islamist tyranny. What is going to happen is what is recorded in the Hebrew Prophets and the New Covenant for ‘acharit ha yamim’, the end of days, the unique time of trouble that will precede the coming of the Messiah. And it’s on its way.  Which means that the Messiah is on His way.   

We too believe in the coming of the Messiah, but we have to insert one little word into the phrase ‘I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah.’  It is the word ‘again’. Because he has been once before. And that makes a huge difference. And the only one who can save Israel and the world is this Messiah who has already been once and whose name is Yeshua / Jesus. He has come once to bring yeshua / salvation to the world by paying the price for the sin of the world, dying and rising again from the dead as a sacrifice for our sins in fulfilment of Isaiah 53 and other passages in the Hebrew scriptures. 

He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53.3-6

He will come again as the reigning king Messiah with all the power of God at his disposal to put right the mess which humans have made of the world. He will judge the world according to how we have responded to his message in the gospel. He will destroy the rule of the wicked rulers of this age. Psalm 2. He will save Israel at the last battle and bring in the rule of the Messiah, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 2.1-4 causing the nations to beat swords into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks and not study war anymore. 

5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:

“Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”

“I will declare the decree:
The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ”

10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

Psalm 2.6-12

Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.

Isaiah 2.2-4

Before he comes there will be a time of great tribulation, the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30) including Milchamat Gog u Magog, the war of Gog and Magog, (Ezekiel 38-39) centring on Israel and affecting the whole earth. Maybe that time has already begun or at least is in the throes of happening. 

Hebrew prophets also tell us that God will pour out the Holy Spirit on his people Israel and reveal the truth that Jesus is the Messiah. Today we see ministries like One for Israel making inroads into Israeli society, secular and religious, with the message of the Gospel. So we look with faith to the coming again of the Messiah Yeshua and pray for Israel to be saved.

The Palestinian Jesus

Meanwhile we see all kinds of errors being taught in His name by those who oppose him and also many of those who claim to be his followers. One such error is the Palestinian Jesus.  Palestinians want to kidnap Jesus and take him a hostage to their cause. 

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW is an Israeli organisation that monitors Palestinian media) produced a video of Palestinian Authority spokesmen claiming Jesus as a Palestinian  Here are some of the things it said:

  • Jesus is a Palestinian par excellence. PA Mufti Mohammed Hussein
  • The entire world knows that Jesus is a Palestinian. Israeli Arab MK Sami Shahada.
  • Christmas is the holiday of the birth of the Palestinian prophet Jesus the son of Mary. PA Govt spokesman Ibrahim Melhem.
  • ‘The greatest Palestinian in history since Jesus is Yasser Arafat.’ Jibril Yajoub Deputy Secretary of Fatah Central Committee. 

PMW writer Itamar Marcus wrote: 

‘The Palestinian Authority is desperate for a history that connects them to the Land of Israel in order to claim a right to nationhood and to deny Israel’s right to exist. So, it lies repeatedly that Jesus, the Jew living in the Land of Judea / Israel, was a Palestinian, brazenly contradicting the Christian Bible, in the hope that its own people and its supporters worldwide will believe them.’

Itamar Marcus – Wikipedia

Of course Jesus was a Jew. The first verse of the New Testament in Hebrew reads: ‘Ze sefer toledoth Yeshua ha Mashiach, ben David, ben Avraham’, that is: ‘The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, son of Abraham.’ (Matthew 1.1). That is about as Jewish an introduction to Yeshua as you can get.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Jewish kingdom of Judea. He preached throughout the Jewish regions of Galilee and Judea (Matthew 19:1). 

He was circumcised on the eighth day and presented as a baby for the pideon ha ben, redemption of the first born ceremony in the Temple, where He was recognised by the elderly priest Simeon as the Messiah who would bring revelation to the Gentiles and be the glory of His people Israel. Luke 2. 

25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

33 And Joseph and His mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Luke 2.25-35

Luke 4 tells us that Jesus also regularly attended synagogue in Nazareth as he was growing up, prayed and taught as a Jew at the Temple in Jerusalem, attending Jewish festivals like Passover and Succoth. 

“Palestine” is never mentioned in the New Testament. That is because during Jesus’s lifetime, “Palestine” never existed. When the family are in Egypt after fleeing from Herod’s massacre of the first born, they are told to return to the land of Israel (Matthew 2.20). The Romans renamed the land Palestina after the second Jewish revolt in 135 in order to de-Judaise it, as they did with Jerusalem, calling it Aelia Capitolina.  The world today wants to break the Jewish connection and call it Palestine too. 

It is interesting that Israelis are recognising that they need to reclaim Jesus as a Jew in order to fight the propaganda war against Israel. The Jerusalem Post writes:

“Understanding this denial of Jesus’s Jewishness is therefore crucial for understanding global anti-Israel misinformation and antisemitism. As a victim of antisemitism, Jesus likely would have been confused, and perhaps insulted, to be portrayed as Palestinian, an identity given by the very empire – the Romans – whose soldiers subjected him to antisemitic abuse before crucifying him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” the Romans said, before slapping him (John 19:03).  However, when history is politically inconvenient, sometimes truth hardly matters. The anti-historical myth that Jesus was a Palestinian is often rooted in nationalist propaganda designed to erase Jewish history and memory, a centuries-old system of anti-Jewish oppression. For the sake of preserving intellectual honesty and historical integrity, one must not only restore Jesus’s Jewish identity and indigeneity but dispel once and for all the claim that ‘Jesus was Palestinian.'”

Jesus was not a Palestinian – opinion – The Jerusalem Post (

In other words Jews / Israelis need to rediscover the Jewishness of Jesus to fight for the truth in the propaganda war in the Middle East.

Another interesting comment comes from an Orthodox Jew called Jonathan Feldstein.

“With the war against Hamas raging, scores of Israeli soldiers having been killed in combat along with many more injured, and still some 130 hostages who were kidnapped from Israel on October 7 being held in captivity, it might be intuitive that this Christmas I would be praying for anything other than the swift and full eradication of Hamas, the safe return of all our soldiers, including my son and son in law, and release of all the hostages.  Then again, as an Orthodox Jew, one might think it odd that I would be praying for anything specifically on Christmas. But I am. I am praying for Gazans to get a little Jesus. 
As talks of another cease-fire loom, the UN and other international bodies pressing for a cessation of all combat (even without the return of all the hostages), I am looking to the day after the war ends. Whenever that may be. Israel has a different vision for what the day after will look like. The US, western powers, along with the Arab world still call for a two-state solution, to be under (a perhaps revamped) PLO-led Palestinian Authority.  Israel is not being so foolish because it knows that the PLO is nothing more than a gentler terror group that also does not accept Israel’s right to exist, incites terror, and pays pensions to terrorists as if they are national heroes. Even if it were a practical solution once upon a time, it is not practical now, and the idea is a gift to terrorists that if they keep slaughtering Jews, they will get a state. 
Eventually, Gaza will need to be rebuilt.  No matter what, there are some two million Gazans who need a place to live. The destruction of Gaza has been commensurate with how deeply Hamas embedded itself among the population and within civilian infrastructure such as schools, mosques, hospitals, UN facilities, and residential areas. There’s lots of work to be done.  Perhaps this time, unlike in 2007 when Hamas took control and began its reign of terror over the population, Gazans will want to get it right. If rebuilt properly, purging the terrorists, and supervised responsibly, Gaza can become a thriving entity like Singapore. Maybe, just maybe, there can be peace.  
Rebuilding needs to start from under the ground up, first with anything left of the underground city that’s a maze of terrorist tunnels being destroyed along with the evil Islamic ideology that birthed Hamas originally, and was nurtured from Iran all these decades.  
But who can do the long-term full-time recovery that’s needed?  It’s not clear that any of the Arab states individually, or as a consortium, can or are even willing to do so. Certainly not Islamists whether from Iran or Turkey or anywhere else.  None of these would be objective players, each looking out for their own interests, also turning a blind eye to the smuggling of weapons that threaten Israel. The last thing Israel and Gaza need is a rebuilding of the extremist Islamic ideology at the foundation of rebuilding the territory, and resumption of arms smuggling. If there’s ever hope for a lasting peace, there needs to be an overhaul of more than the physical infrastructure.  There needs to be a change of heart. 
I was asked in an interview recently if I thought Jesus should come back, suggesting that he would bring peace.  I replied that I didn’t know if Jesus coming back would bring peace, but that Gazans sure could use a lot more Jesus. 
I responded that if it were up to me, Billy Graham would come back and hold months of crusades throughout Gaza. There are also many former Muslims who have become Christians, many speak Arabic and know the culture, who I would bring along as well.  I’d be sure that from day one, Gazans are fed a diet of Christian faith to counteract the buffet of hate that they have ingested.  I told my interviewer that the only chance I saw for real peace is that Gazans become real Christians. In doing so they will not just abandon Allah in favour of the God of Israel, but they will also come to love Israel: the Land, the people, and the State, as a realization of God’s promise to His people. 
I would send along Christian ministries that can bring thousands of volunteers of all backgrounds and skills, charged with education, medical and spiritual well-being, and physical reconstruction.  Ministries like these can bring masses of the most faithful and committed volunteers. They will be the most objective, with the greatest ability to succeed in rebuilding Gaza by both genuinely loving and caring about Israel and its safety, but also about the well-being of Palestinian Arabs. They will not allow the restoration of a massive terrorist infrastructure under their noses as the UN, Red Cross, and other “humanitarian” groups have allowed over the decades.
The best and safest way to change the situation and bring peace is for the masses of Gazans, and Palestinian Arabs in general, to convert to Christianity. Any Christian who understands the Biblical covenant between God and the Jewish people, that it’s eternal and unbreakable, will transform his or her heart. That’s how true peace can be achieved. 
This is not a task for the Jewish people. Our covenant is unique. We are meant to be a light unto the nations. Nobody wants to live in peace more than the Jewish and Israeli people. But to really bring lasting peace, we need an army of Christians to restore Gaza. 
It may sound crazy, an Orthodox Israeli Jew proposing a plan to establish peace in Israel not based on a mistaken formula of two states, but by calling for our neighbours living in spiritual darkness to become spiritual allies by becoming Christians. The reality is that anger among Gazans toward Hamas is growing to such a degree that if presented a viable alternative, one based in morality that can bring prosperity, the ground is fertile for such an opportunity.  Let’s pray that Gazans’ dissatisfaction with Hamas increases and that they all get a little Jesus this Christmas.”

The Growing Need for Jesus in Gaza (

That’s a nice idea. It’s not going to happen but it is interesting that an Orthodox Jew sees Jesus as the hope for changing Gaza. Actually, in God’s sight this is a task for the Jewish people. In Romans 9 Paul says ,

to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

Romans 9.4-5

In Romans 10.1-4, Paul says: 

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Romans 10.1-4

And in Romans 11.25-27, we read:

25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”

Romans 11.25-27

In Revelation 7 we learn about of the 144000 of the tribes of Israel who are supernaturally saved at the beginning of the Great Tribulation period and go out with the Gospel message to bring a great multitude to faith in Jesus the Messiah.

And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:

of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed.

Revelation 7.4-8

Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.

Revelation 14.1-3

All that is connected with the end of days programme, but in the meantime the probability for the Middle East is of more war and conflict,

until the Messiah comes. Again.

Tony Pearce

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