These past few weeks, the world witnessed yet another escalation of violence in the Middle East, when Hamas viciously attacked Israel, the worst assault in 50 years. As I watch these events unfold, I reflect on the root causes of this conflict, how biblical prophecy is being fulfilled and the Christian response in the face of such tragedy.
What's truly intriguing is the reaction from Iranians. While the Iranian government celebrated on the streets of Iran at the death of Israelis, the Iranian people showed a different perspective. Surprisingly, Iranians took to the streets in rallies, both inside and outside Iran, to express support for Israel. This display of solidarity with Israel is a significant counter-narrative to the government's stance. The top trending hashtags in Iran over the last few days have included sentiments like, “I support Israel,” despite the government's support for Hamas and the Palestinian cause. This disconnect between the government and its people highlights the complex dynamics at play.
There is a prophetic dimension to this atrocity. Prophecies in the Bible tell us that in the “latter days,” a group of nations will form a massive military coalition and invade Israel. These attackers will come “out of the uttermost parts of the north,” and there will be so many that God says they will be “like a cloud covering the land” (Ezekiel 38:15-16). The strike force will be so overwhelming that Israel has no chance of survival.
There are two relevant prophecies from the Bible, one predicting Iran's alignment with other nations, including Russia, to attack Israel, and another envisioning God setting His throne in Iran. These prophecies are unfolding simultaneously. Iran, or Persia, will have alliances with other nations such as Russia, and will attack Israel at the end. The hatred and threats towards Israel are not going to go away. The Iranian government is developing nuclear power and once they have it, it's very likely that they may use it against Israel.
The second prophecy is from Jeremiah 49:38, where it states that the Lord will set His throne in Iran. The government of Iran hates Israel and wants to wipe the nation off the map, as we see in Ezekiel 38. At the same time, people are coming to Christ, and they are turning to become friends of Israel, as stated in Jeremiah 49:38, “’I will set my throne in Elam and destroy her king and officials,’ declares the Lord.”
As Christians, this calls for a compassionate response and to see this attack as God sees it. Ezekiel 33:11 states, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.” God is not even happy even when an evil person dies. As Christians, we should reflect the mourning and love of our Lord, who grieves the loss of lives on both sides of the conflict. Every human life is valuable, and violence and injustice should be opposed. God grieves for the death of an Israeli child as much as He grieves for the death of a Palestinian child. We need to make sure we have God's heart for humans. He died for the whole world and because of this we know that every soul and every person is infinitely valuable to the Lord.
Christians are urged to pray for peace and reconciliation and to remember that God is not finished with Israel. There is a divine plan for the nation that is yet to be fulfilled. God is not the author of evil, but we know that the Lord is so loving, He will even use the evil of men for the benefit and blessing of men. God loves us so much that He even uses our sins to bring people to Christ.
The Israel-Hamas conflict is a deeply complex and tragic issue with no easy solutions, but our call as Christians is to have a response rooted in love, empathy and prayer. Even in the darkest of times, hope and compassion can prevail.
Looking back at the suffering ISIS brought to millions of people, and that the Islamic government has brought to its own people, we can see that the Lord has used it to open the eyes of millions of Muslims to see what the true Islam is and to become open to the message of the Gospel.
Now, looking at what Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups are doing, we can expect that more Muslims will become open to that Gospel. Let us pray for that, show God’s love by helping those who have suffered from this war, and reap a harvest of souls that the Lord has prepared.
Dr. Hormoz Shariat is the founder of Iran Alive Ministries, which utilizes Satellite TV to reach the millions of lost and broken people in Iran and the rest of the Middle East. Today, they broadcast the Gospel 24/7 from their studio in Dallas to Iran and the Middle East, trusting the Lord to use them to transform an Islamic nation, which is responding to the Gospel unlike any other time in history, to a Christian nation. Dr. Shariat firmly believes that Iran will be the first Islamic nation that turns to Christ. He is the author of the book “Iran’s Great Awakening,” which is the No. 1 source of information about what is happening in Iran today, and how the Bible prophecies align with the current events.