Light for the Last Days

Israel today – War or Peace in the Middle East

In the volatile landscape of the Middle East, Israel finds itself once again plunged into a state of war. This abrupt shift follows a surprising attack by Hamas from Gaza, which initiated a call for an Islamic uprising against Israel, with a focus on defending the sacred Al-Aqsa Mosque. Supporters in the West Bank are poised to join the conflict, while Hezbollah from Lebanon and Iran’s involvement loom ominously. The spectre of Russia’s potential role adds another layer of complexity to this already dire situation.

Just a few weeks prior to this crisis, on September 22, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech at the UN. He began by invoking Deuteronomy 11.26-32 from the Bible, emphasizing the blessings of peace that could result from obedience to God’s commandments.

Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known. Now it shall be, when the Lord your God has brought you into the land which you go to possess, that you shall put the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal.  For you will cross over the Jordan and go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and you will possess it and dwell in it.  And you shall be careful to observe all the statutes and judgments which I set before you today.

Deuteronomy 11.26-32

Netanyahu highlighted the potential for peace across the Middle East by envisioning Israel uniting with Arab nations.

Netanyahu also spoke about a groundbreaking initiative unveiled during the G20 summit in New Delhi. This initiative seeks to foster economic growth and political cooperation, building on the foundation of the 2020 Abraham Accords and the anticipated normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel. The project aims to create a vast economic corridor spanning from India through the Middle East to Europe, with Israel serving as a central junction. It is viewed as an effective means to counter the influence of Iran, Russia, and China in the Middle East.

Netanyahu presented two starkly contrasting visions of the future. In one, Israel achieves an historic peace treaty with Saudi Arabia, followed by other Arab and Muslim states. Iran and the Palestinians choose peace over terrorism and nuclear war, while the world collaborates to harness the benefits of Artificial Intelligence for global prosperity.

The other vision is one of escalating war. Iran and the Palestinians choose war over peace, leading to a catastrophic conflict in the Middle East. The recent escalation in the Middle East has significantly increased the likelihood of this grim scenario.

Do not keep silent, O God!
Do not hold Your peace,
And do not be still, O God!
For behold, Your enemies make a tumult;
And those who hate You have lifted up their head.
They have taken crafty counsel against Your people,
And consulted together against Your sheltered ones.
They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation,
That the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”

For they have consulted together with one consent;
They form a confederacy against You:
The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites;
Moab and the Hagrites;
Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek;
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
Assyria also has joined with them;
They have helped the children of Lot. Selah

Deal with them as with Midian,
As with Sisera,
As with Jabin at the Brook Kishon,
10 Who perished at En Dor,
Who became as refuse on the earth.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and like Zeeb,
Yes, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 Who said, “Let us take for ourselves
The pastures of God for a possession.”

13 O my God, make them like the whirling dust,
Like the chaff before the wind!
14 As the fire burns the woods,
And as the flame sets the mountains on fire,
15 So pursue them with Your tempest,
And frighten them with Your storm.
16 Fill their faces with shame,
That they may seek Your name, O Lord.
17 Let them be confounded and dismayed forever;
Yes, let them be put to shame and perish,
18 That they may know that You, whose name alone is the Lord,
Are the Most High over all the earth.

Psalm 83

Israel, despite recent peaceful overtures with Saudi Arabia, now faces a grave crisis. Hamas has now launched a significant assault that resulted in over 200 IDF casualties. Thousands of projectiles were fired into Israel, and hostages were taken into Gaza. Israel’s Prime Minister declared the country to be at war, prompting the mobilization of reservists and the general army population. Citizens in affected areas were advised to stay in shelters, evoking memories of the Yom Kippur War in 1973 when Israel was caught off guard. The recurring theme of intelligence failure on Israel’s side underscores the seriousness of the situation.

Israel’s intelligence failure has created a massive security crisis. The fear of being overwhelmed by Islamic revolutionary forces, led by Iran, is pervasive. This crisis may jeopardize the previously envisioned Israeli-Saudi peace deal, which required Israeli concessions to the Palestinians—a prospect that now seems unlikely.

Hamas commander Muhammad Deif declared Operation “Al-Aqsa Flood” in defence of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, claiming that over 5,000 rockets had been fired into Israel. He called on Arabs in Israel, the West Bank, and Iran-backed terror groups to join the fight. This operation is in response to Israel’s perceived desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, making it a significant flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Hamas has kidnapped Israelis, holding them hostage, raising the spectre of an invasion. The region faces perilous times that could potentially escalate into a regional or even world war.

26 “And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.”

Daniel 9.26-27

The current situation holds the potential for significant destruction in Israel and Gaza, as well as unrest in the West Bank and Jerusalem. The involvement of Hezbollah could further plunge the region into war, with the consequences likely to spill over into other parts of the world.

The crisis has sparked tensions globally, with supporters of Hamas in Muslim and leftist groups harassing Jews. The situation is not confined to the Middle East, as it has far-reaching implications for international relations, security, and economic stability.

Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scornful men, who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol (hell) we are in agreement. When the overflowing scourge passes through, it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood we have hidden ourselves.”

Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily.  Also I will make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the plummet; the hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters will overflow the hiding place.” 

Your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; When the overflowing scourge passes through, then you will be trampled down by it.  As often as it goes out it will take you; for morning by morning it will pass over, and by day and by night; it will be a terror just to understand the report. … Now therefore, do not be mockers, lest your bonds be made strong; for I have heard from the Lord God of hosts, a destruction (a complete end) determined even upon the whole earth.

Isaiah 28

The world is on the brink of multiple crises. Tensions between Russia and Ukraine could lead to a nuclear conflict, causing untold devastation. China’s threat to Taiwan, North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, Iran’s terrorism, and the involvement of the Taliban all add to the growing global turmoil. Additionally, massive debt crises threaten Western economies, particularly the United States, with $33 trillion in debt and rising.

Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, And your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east.

Zechariah 14.1-4

The world faces perilous times, as prophesied in the Bible. These tumultuous events could lead to the rapture of the church and the tribulation. Amidst this uncertainty, faith in Jesus Christ is seen as the only hope.

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

Revelation 19

In summary, the Middle East stands at a critical juncture, with the prospect of war looming large. The crisis has shaken Israel and the region to its core, and its repercussions extend to the global stage. The pursuit of peace, as outlined by Netanyahu, now seems distant, and the world watches with bated breath as events unfold in this volatile region.

Tony Pearce

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