“Is there a connection between Bible prophecy and the war in Gaza right now?”
I’m getting asked that everywhere I travel here in the epicenter. It’s an intriguing question, and there are two quick answers — no, and yes.
1.) No, there is no specific passage of Scripture that points to this specific war between Israel and terrorists in Gaza in the “last days,” though there are certainly some passages that are evocative of the current conflict. The Lord once said through the Hebrew Prophet Amos, for example, “I will send fire upon the wall of Gaza and it will consume her citadels….I will even unleash My power upon Ekron, and the remnant of the Philistines will perish.” But this was fulfilled between 760 and 750 B.C.
2.) That said, the current war between Israel and the terrorist leaders and fighters of Hamas in Gaza could be preparing the way for the coming “War of Gog and Magog” described in Ezekiel 38-39. In that prophecy (as well as chapters 36 and 37), Ezekiel says that:
- The State of Israel will be resurrected in the last days
- Jews will pour back into the Holy Land after centuries of being scattered in exile all over the world
- By God’s grace, the Jews will rebuild the ancient ruins in the land of Israel
- By God’s grace, the Jews will see the land of Israel blossom and bear fruit like never before
- Ezekiel also says that prior to the alliance against Israel led by Russia (Magog) and Iran (Persia) to destroy Israel, the people of Israel will be “living securely, all of them.” (38:8b). The text, however, never uses the word “shalom,” the Hebrew word for peace. So Ezekiel does not seem to be referring to full and complete peace. Rather, he seems to be suggesting that there will be a sense among Israelis that they are safer than they previously had been.
- In most respects, Israelis are today living more safely and securely than any time since independence in 1948. Consider that Israel has formal and reasonably effective peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. Saddam Hussein is gone. Yasser Arafat is gone. Suicide bombers are largely a terror tool of the past. Israel has the most powerful air force in the region. Israel has the most advanced missile defense system in the world. The U.S. is on offense against radical Islamic terrorists in the region. No wonder most Israelis — even today — feel more secure and relaxed than ever before, given the modern history of the Jewish people. They’re going to the malls, to the movies, to the beaches. They are getting married and having bar mitzvahs and growing their businesses and sending their kids to college. Normal stuff, like normal people, despite all the wars and rumors of wars that continue to plague the region.
- In my first novel (written in 2001 before 9/11, but published in November 2002), The Last Jihad, I wrote that in order for Israelis to feel secure enough to set into motion Ezekiel’s “War of Gog and Magog,” Saddam Hussein could no longer be the ruler of Iraq. After all, Iraq is not mentioned as one of the countries that is part of the Russian-Iranian alliance against Israel. Moreover, how could Israelis feel secure with the “Butcher of Baghdad” in power, a man who fired 39 Scud missiles at Israel and threatened to use chemical weapons to “scorch half of Israel” back in 1990? They couldn’t, which is why I wrote about a kamikaze attack by radical Islamic terrorists against an American city that would lead to a war between the U.S. and Saddam Hussein over fears of a link between Iraqi-sponsored terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Remarkably, these events have actually come to pass in real life. In my second novel, The Last Days, I wrote about the death of Arafat and a civil war that would ensue afterwards between the secular nationalist forces of the Palestinians (Fatah) and the Islamic Jihadists in the West Bank and Gaza (Hamas), vying for control in Arafat’s absence. That was fiction, but in real life Arafat ended up dying 13 months after the novel was published, and the battle between Fatah and Hamas erupted almost immediately.
- That said, in The Last Days, a moderate Palestinian rises to power and create real (though temporary) peace with Israel. In real life, a moderate by the name of Mahmoud Abbas (aka, Abu Mazen) has emerged in the West Bank, and the West Bank is very quiet. But Hamas gained control of Gaza in 2006, and Israel has remained threatened by rockets, missiles and mortars coming in from Gaza ever since. According to Ezekiel, all Israelis must be living securelybefore the conditions are set for the “War of Gog and Magog.” If that war is to happen in our lifetime — much less in the next few years — that would have to mean that rockets, missiles and mortars are not being fired from Gaza day after day, week after week, year after year at innocent civilians in southern Israel. Thus, this war — if it is truly effective in stopping the rocket barrage — could, in fact, prove to be a precursor to the coming Russian-Iranian alliance against Israel in that it may help create a secure southern border for Israelis for the next year, or the next several years.
- It is early yet. It is not clear what the lasting effect of this conflict will be. We must first and foremost pray for peace, and pray for Hamas to be crushed and all Gazans to be liberated from their evil tyranny. We must pray for the physical and emotional recovery for Israelis and Palestinians who have been severely affected by this war and by previous terror attacks. And we must pray that the Lord would comfort those on both sides and draw them close to His heart.
- At the same time, I do believe it is worth watching closely to see if we are getting closer to the events described by Ezekiel.
- It is noteworthy to me that Egypt is playing a somewhat helpful role in opposing Hamas and offering to do more to stop arms smuggling into Gaza — not for Israel’s sake, really, but to make sure Hamas doesn’t become a terror force that could destablize Mubarak’s regime in Cairo. Ezekiel does not mention Egypt being part of the Russian-Iranian alliance in the last days, and currently Egypt’s actions are consistent with the prophecy.
- Over the past few weeks, Turkey has moved significantly away from Israel and the West and towards Russia and Iran, even calling for Israel to be banned from U.N. meetings. This is noteworthy because Turkey is “Gomer” in the prophecy and is a key player with Russia and Iran against Israel.
- Let me conclude by reminding my readers that I have no idea when the “War of Gog and Magog” will occur. Many geopolitical events currently look consistent with Ezekiel’s writings. But we must be cautious. Let us not overreact or speculate wildly. Let us calmly and prayerfully analyze these present times, and follow our Lord Jesus Christ to do now what we know is right according to the Scriptures.
JOSHUA FUND UPDATE:
Thank you so, so much to all of you have graciously and generously invested in the work of The Joshua Fund. By God’s grace and by the donations of so many of you around the world, we were able to fill that storefront in Sderot with a truck load of rice, beans, corn, peas, cooking oil, flour, sugar, Corn Flakes, salt, paper towels, toilet paper, and other necessities. The truck arrived on Wednesday morning and we had a wonderful little team of volunteers to help unload the truck and get everything moved into the storefront and onto those previously barren shelves — we had Israeli sabras helping, Jews from the U.S., and evangelical Christians from the U.S. as well. Lord willing, we’ll have pictures of it all up on the site in the next few days. “Hope For Sderot” is a non-profit organization run by residents of Sderot with financial and organizational assistance from The Joshua Fund. Please be praying for these dear allies as they seek only to care for the neediest individuals and families in the rocket zone with unconditional love and unwavering support. As God provides, TJF will continue to help Hope For Sderot resupply each month, and we would be grateful for your faithful, daily prayers for them and for us, and for your financial assistance. This is just one of the projects TJF is doing to bless Israeli living on the southern border with Gaza, but it is one very near and dear to our hearts. If you would like to make a secure, tax deductible contribution to The Joshua Fund on-line — or learn more about what we’re doing to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus — please click here.
LATEST HEADLINES TO TRACK:
- Israel still divided on Egypt offer for Gaza truce
- Livni sets out to US to sign deal on preventing arms smuggling
- Israel kills one of Hamas’ most senior leaders in Gaza
- Fatah cracks down on Hamas in W. Bank
- Polls show Americans strongly backing Israel in Gaza op
- War casts pall on Israeli business overseas, tourism
- Turkish prime minister: Israel should be barred from UN
- Turkey’s drift away from the West
- Iranian president Ahmadinejad: ‘Not feasible’ for Israel to live
- Hayden: Iran near nuke decision — Departing CIA chief says American intelligence agency Tehran appears to be nearing decision on whether to build nuclear warhead