Shalom in Messiah with the peace that only Yeshua gives… to those who believe and trust in Him.
We have been through nearly three weeks of war now that began on Shabbat, Oct. 7, on the celebration of Simchat Torah. Although the war is called Swords of Iron, it will probably be better remembered as the Simchat Torah War.
We suffer with those who suffer, and rejoice with those who can rejoice. It is still unclear how this war will progress with so much required of Israel from outside parties (Dt 28:13), but it is very clear already that the impact on the country and its residents will be extremely costly, and also on the Gaza Strip. Such is war.
Today, in this generation, we are living in “Bible times." The scriptures are written for us living at the end of the ages. (1 Cor 10:11; Dt 4:29-31; Jer 23:20; Dan 12:4). The written Word of God speaks today by the Holy Spirit and with faith that what He has given us is Truth. YHVH God is the only God who knows the end from the beginning (and, the beginning from the end), proving that the saying is true: we know the end of the story, even if the present chapters right now seem to be catastrophic, very difficult to read, and moreso, to live in the reality of them. So we have a living hope, and a peace that surpasses all understanding from our Father in Heaven and our Lord Jesus Christ.
As believers, and as a sovereign nation-state, we have a moral dilemma, which is because of the character of God: There is a time for war, and a time for peace. Right now it is a time for war.
The dilemma is this: On the one side of one scroll, God is holy: He is righteous; He is love and full of mercies. Therefore, we pray and hope for mercies, and for the salvation of individuals on both sides, including for the more than 200 hostages held by Hamas, the enemy, and not forgetting to include the four hostages already being held there for already too long: two dead soldiers and two living civilians.
On the other side of this same scroll, YHVH (the triune one God) is the God of Armies. We are citizens and residents of Israel, and Israel is the nation that has the moral responsibility to protect its borders and citizens. We pray that the Israeli military and political leaders win this war decisively, which, unless God does a miracle, will result in many deaths on both sides, and maybe even of the remaining hostages.
Therefore, we must trust the sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah for an outcome that advances God’s desire that many more Arabs and Jews should repent unto salvation, and that God would separate more the light from the darkness, those who fear God and work righteousness from the workers of evil, the holy from the unclean, those who are with Yeshua/Yasua/Jesus from those who are against Him. Not all unbelievers are knowingly against the truth of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. But there are many who actively oppose the truth of who He is, even from among those who profess Him with their lips, just as the Lord spoke to His own Jewish people.
There are Messianic Jewish voices calling for ridding the Land of all Arabs who oppose God’s promises regarding the inheritance and permanent possession of this land. This is not a Holy Spirit answer, and there will be no such fulfillment without the Jewish people/Israel repenting and returning to YHVH, the Father and God of Israel, through faith in HIS Anointed One/Messiah/Christ, who is His Son, Yeshua/Jesus.
There are Arab brothers and sisters calling for an immediate ceasefire, and for Israel’s destructive attacks to cease, thereby making peace possible between the warring parties. This is the way it has gone many times before. A ‘spirit’ cannot be defeated by carnal weapons, nor can giving in to endless resentment and bitterness and murderous hatred bring any righteousness or peace. Only God can defeat a “spirit”, and Yeshua’s sacrificial death and His subsequent resurrection assures us of that! Those who call for Israel to stop defending its very existence are often those who reject that the modern State of Israel has any right to exist, despite the Lord's own word and promises, and despite His wisdom to have Gentile powers after WWI and WWII to pass international laws granting the right of the Jewish people to return to and establish their homeland. To them it is only seen and internalized as being Nakba/a catastrophe for the Arab Palestinians and the Islamic world. This is to reject the sovereignty of the one true God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and His righteousness and wisdom on how to redeem the lost and make HIS claims on the parcel of land that He has specifically said is His, for His own holy name’s sake and for HIS glory. The Earth is the LORD’s!
This is part of our moral dilemma, and we can easily fall into hypocrisy: Calling on the sovereign state to not act in accordance with its delegated responsibility from God (and for which citizens are to pay taxes), while not insisting that Hamas, and the Islamic Jihad, and the Palestinian Authority, and Hezbollah, and any other like-minded groups and nations (such as Iran) cease their attacks, threats, and wars against Israel, which is causing all of them and us so much terror and death and destruction. They are not at all interested in peace or justice. They want to wipe out Israel from being a nation, and its memory. (Ps 83:4) (God is no respecter of persons or of religions: This is what He Himself says He will do to Amalek (Ex 17:13-16; Dt 25:17-19), and it is what Talmudic Judaism says about Yeshua by referring to Him as “Yeshu.” We know the end of the war and its history!) If we expect justice and peace in this world while the devil is the god of it, then we will be among the most miserable people on Earth with no more hope than atheists. At the revelation of Jesus Christ in that day, He will bring the Father’s kingdom of righteousness and peace with joy in the Holy Spirit to the world that YHVH created and made to be filled with His glory, acknowledged by the whole of Creation!
Each of us needs to examine ourselves and be sure from deep in our hearts that we believe in and love Jesus our Savior and Lord more than anything or anyone else. We need a deep work within us at such a time as this to ask for the sufficient grace to love even our enemies, even as we war with them. God begins His judgments in His own house and family, that is, the Body of Messiah/Christ. (1 Pt 4:17-18) (Israel is already under His judgment until their day of repentance.) Let us examine and judge ourselves, so that we do not need for God to judge us with the world.(1 Cor 11:31-32) May He have mercy on us and help us — whom He has called out from every people group and camps — in striving to maintain the unity of the Body in the bond of peace!
Let’s pray what the Messiah and Son of God teaches His disciples — His brothers and sisters; those who do His Father’s will: “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed by Your Name. Your kingdom come; Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil.
For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever!” Amen.
YHVH bless you and keep you;
YHVH make His face shine towards you, and be gracious to you;
YHVH lift up His countenance towards you, and give you peace.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Howard Bass is the congregation pastor/leader of Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua's Inheritance) in Beer Sheva, Israel.