Last night around 9:40 (21:40) a grad rocket launched from Gaza hit near our neighborhood in Beer Sheva.  The rocket was the first to hit a major city in Israel since the 2009 war against Hamas, which Israel  launched near the end of 2008 because of eight years of thousands of rocket attacks against cities both near to and farther out from Gaza.  Thankfully the warning siren worked properly and lives were saved, even though houses and cars were damaged.  The Islamic Jihad group took ‘credit’ for the attack; Israel responded with air strikes against launching sites.

This overt provocation comes at a time when the whole Middle East (Near East for the Europeans) and North Africa is a powder keg, with uprisings in several countries, and violence a too-characteristic way of dealing with fear and despair.  Instead of brotherly love, we have civil wars and brotherly hatred.  All of these events could be setting the stage for wars and tribulation as prophesied for the end-times, such as what is written in Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38, Matthew 24:3-14, 2Thes 2:3.  Many Muslims from these Gentile nations willl, by the sovereign grace and wisdom of God, be saved by the only Mediator and Savior whom God has given for any person or nation. (1Tim 2:1-7)  They will be truly and radically revolutionized with a new heart and a new spirit from the one true living God, who alone gives and fulfills promises of righteousness and peace and Godly joy!

Who really identifies with his people and nation and homeland?  Who really cares for the well-being of their people — both old and young — and fears and trembles at upheavals within the social order?

Next Tuesday evening, March 1, a major demonstration by a sect of ultra-orthodox Jewish people is planned against the Messianic community of believers in Yeshua in the small Negev town of Arad, situated between Beer Sheva and the Dead Sea.  The police have given permission for 200 (after rejecting the initial request for 400) Hasidei Gur adherents and yeshiva (seminary) students, and Yad L’Achim activists and paid ‘volunteers’, to protest the presence of believers in Jesus in Arad, and this in front of the private home of a widow and foster mother who lives in a cul-de-sac (dead-end street).  The Arad Messianic/Christian community has exhibited much patience and general self-control through nearly seven years of being daily harrassed, cursed, having their peace disturbed even in their homes and public places, while the religious and civil authorties have till now conspired together to protect them. 

The believers are fasting and asking for prayer seeking God for the salvation of many of these precious souls for whom Yeshua died to offer God’s forgiveness of their sin of unbelief in Him, which thing leads to all kinds of sins.  The Hasidei Gur do not even believe that the State of Israel is legitimate because to them the Messiah has not come, and only He can bring redemption, which includes the return of the Jewish people to their own land as promised by YHVH God to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob and their descendants.  Praise the Lord, Messiah has come, and is fulfilling His redemptive plan to save His people and to fulfill all of His promises pertaining both to the Land of Israel, and to the whole Earth!

WAR – 3 Jan 2009

(Also printed as article in www.comeandsee.com 8 July 2011 under Opinions)

One of the names of the God of Heaven and Earth is YHVH of Hosts (Armies).  When the apostle John wrote (Jn 12:37-41) to us what Isaiah saw (Is 6), he reveals to us the Messiah – Yeshua/Yasu/Jesus – is YHVH of Hosts!  Our God has not changed, and continues to wage war, both in the heavenlies and on the Earth, at least until the Lord Jesus Christ returns to reign with righteousness and justice.

God has given responsibility and authority to human governments – even to unbelievers – to protect the innocent and punish the evil-doer.

Rom 12:17-21 – 13:7   Neither our own past personal or national sins cancels out or disqualifies the present duty and responsibility of governments – which the Spirit tells us God Himself has ordained – to protect the general welfare of a people against internal criminals and against external enemies.

It is wrong to execute personal vengeance.  God has established civil government to act against evil-doers in such a way as to deter future acts of evil.

It is not a sin, then, in this present evil world, for governments or its citizens to engage in war, but, in fact, may actually be an act of righteousness and love to protect the people.

1Tim 2:1-6   God recognizes that most leaders in authority are not born-again, and so commands believers to pray for all men, for kings and all who in authority. . .that they be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

Even born-again leaders are in a dilemma:  how to govern a worldly nation according to the teachings of Messiah and the cross, when all the kingdoms of this world are opposed to the Kingdom of God?  The believer in prayer is also in somewhat of a dilemma:  not only may we suffer for righteousness’ sake, even though praying for our leaders and living godly lives, but the wisdom for our leaders, even if they are believers, may still fall far short of accomplishing a ‘good’ solution, no matter the outcome of war.

Believing and unbelieving leaders have been given by God a moral responsibility before God and for their nation to protect and defend its legitimate interests.  It is true that not all leaders ‘love’ their own people or their enemies.  Not all wars are justified by those who strike first.  God will judge, and He knows how and when to defeat a nation, and to raise one up victoriously.

All killing is not murder in God’s view, and godly people are sometimes in a situation requiring them to kill and to be killed in war – even innocent civilians are killed.  It is the intent and purpose of the killing that God will judge as merely killing or whether as murder.  Although very grievous, it is not sin in war when non-combatants or otherwise innocent people are killed if there was no deliberate intent or act to kill them without regard.  The Sixth Commandment, which Yeshua/Jesus confirms in His Sermon on the Mount, is “You shall not murder” (Lo tirtzach).

The use of force is sometimes necessary to achieve desired righteous results, and even to express love.  Parents are instructed by God to use the rod to chasten their children if they love them and if ‘talking’ was not enough. (Pr 13:24; 22:15)  Abraham, surely a man of peace, and called a friend of God, knew how to wage war to rescue his ‘brother’ Lot. (Gen 13)  God Himself, the perfect Father, must at times use strong measures when we who are His children do not properly respond to His grace.  He will also need to use strong and terrible judgments to teach the inhabitants of the world [His] righteousness. (Is 26:9)

When criminals and enemies transgress the accepted law beyond what is tolerable, civil governments have God’s delegated authority and approval – they are His ministers – to take up arms and to even kill.

If we who are born-again and have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us do not always use peaceable means to settle conflicts between believers, what should we expect from those who do not know the love of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ?!

War is a terrible reality of the present ages.  Yeshua won the war on the cross; most people have either not yet heard or believed the report.  More people have died since the ‘peace treaty’ was signed by God through their continued unbelief and open rebellion.  May many amongst the Arabs and the Jews come to know the love of the truth as it is in Jesus.

May He return in our own days, and cause war to cease!  Amen.

_ _ _

Afterword:   For the record, I myself refused to take up arms when I had to serve in the IDF, as I believed that was God’s will for me. Israel didn’t understand, of course, and neither did many of the believers.

But, despite my own responsibility before God on the matter, it doesn’t allow me to impose my own personal experience or application upon the Scriptures (including NT) for everyone else, when the Word of God seems to allow for other responses.