My wife and I were supposed to board a plane to Israel on October 8. But the day before, on Saturday, October 7th, thousands of Hamas terrorists penetrated the security fence around Gaza. They came into Israel on motorcycles, Jeeps, and paragliders from the air.
The terrorists proceeded to brutally, savagely murder Israelis at a music festival. At the same time, others went on to raid several kibbutzim along the border with Gaza, murdering… — I’m sure you’ve heard the stories. It was brutal, and one can only describe it as “pure evil.”
Needless to say, our trip was canceled. But our focus very much remained on Israel and her people. These horrors should be a brutal reminder to every Christian that we need a Biblical perspective on what we see happening in the Middle East.
Why is it important for us to keep our eye on Israel?
The Bible is a book about Israel. The Bible records historical things about Israel, and the Bible records prophetic things that are yet to happen in Israel.
And of course, God gave a Savior to the world. His name is Jesus, who was born in Israel, died in Israel, rose again in Israel, and by the way, is coming back to Israel. And so, we need to keep our eye on Jesus.
I want to say from the outset, our church is unequivocally standing with Israel and the Jewish people.
But also, just as there were some sensible Germans who opposed Hitler and Nazism in the 1930s and 1940s, there are also some sensible Palestinians today who oppose Hamas and Islamic terrorism. They believe in Israel’s right to exist, and to those Palestinians we also say: we stand with you, too.
Who or what is Hamas?
Hamas is a terrorist organization made up of Sunni Muslims. Hamas, the name of the organization, is an acronym of Arabic words that translate to “the Islamic Resistance Movement.”
However, it is also a play on words, because the word itself (not the acronym) in Arabic means “zeal or strength.” What is interesting, the word also exists in Hebrew and means “violence.” And maybe that’s the most appropriate definition of what Hamas is all about.
Hamas does not care about anyone or anything that stands inw the way of their one mission. And that is, to kill the Jews and wipe Israel off the map.
The Evil Plot to Destroy Israel
I’m not the one saying this – this is what their charter says! The Hamas Covenant, the Hamas Charter, which was adopted in 1988, says this in the opening paragraph: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
And article seven says: “The Day of Judgment would not come until the Muslims fight and kill the Jews [sic].”
As you can see, they are bold in their declarations. This is not a conspiracy or hearsay. Their foundational desire is to kill Jews, to wipe Israel off the map, and to establish an Islamic state in its place.
And like I mentioned, they will also kill and destroy anything and anyone who stands in the way of that mission.
But it’s not just the Jews who are suffering. Hamas doesn’t even care about Palestinians, whom they use as human shields. The terrorists intentionally set up rocket launchers in schools, hospitals, and civilian apartment buildings.
The Tragic Position of Gazans
Hamas knows such a setup will make Israel hesitate to retaliate. But when Israel does retaliate, it will be wonderful optics for Hamas – innocent civilians killed or wounded, damaged hospitals and schools as if Israel was targeting them.
And which nation drops leaflets in the language of the local people to tell them in advance, “You better get out. We’re coming in for the bad guys”?
That’s what Israel’s been doing. They’ve been dropping leaflets from the sky, in Arabic, telling Palestinian civilians, “Exit the northern part of Gaza, move south, because we’re about to come in to destroy Hamas.
Israel is giving them advance notice. But do you know what the terrorists are doing? Hamas terrorists have kept 170,000 Palestinians from exiting Gaza City under the pretext of “solidarity”: “We’re forcing you to stand with us and stay here.”
Jews and Arabs in Israel
Meanwhile in Israel, it is not just Jews who live in Israel proper. There are also Arab citizens of Israel who are Muslim, Druze or Christian. An Arab Israeli bus driver I befriended on our tours to Israel just called me two days ago. He’s a Christian, after he became a Believer in Jesus about 10 or 15 years ago. He presently lives in Nazareth.
They live, work, and raise their families in Israel proper, while peacefully coexisting with the Jewish people.
On October 7, when the terrorists entered Israel, there were also Arab Israelis at the music festival in the south. But Hamas didn’t care – they killed them, too. See, they will kill anyone who stands in their way of wiping Israel off the map. They are an evil, demonic ideology, and they want to advance their agenda at any cost.
The History of Hamas
Hamas was founded in 1987 in Gaza by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a Palestinian cleric. It was an offshoot of the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood. In 1988, Hamas published its charter calling for the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic state in its place.
Then in 1991, its military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, was established. Only two years later, Hamas began suicide bombings in Israel – just before the Oslo Accords.
The Oslo Accords were intended to bring some peace between Israel and the Palestinians. They gave the Palestinian Authority autonomy and limited authority in Gaza and the West Bank.
But Hamas is opposed even to the Palestinian Authority — which they consider too secular – and chose the path of violence. So, in 1997, Hamas was designated a terrorist organization by the United States along with dozens of other countries.
In the midst of this crisis, Iran revealed its colors by supporting the use of explosives and rockets, along with suicide bombings and kidnappings, to target Israel. As a result, in 2000, Hamas started their second deadly uprising, called intifada.
Autonomy of the Strip of Gaza
In 2005, Israel evacuated all their troops and residents from Gaza, to give complete control of this region to the Palestinians. That is also when the Israeli government decided to start putting up a fence around Gaza, to protect her residents.
In 2006, Hamas won a surprise victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections and swiftly seized full control of Gaza. They overthrew forces loyal to the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. As a result, much of the international community cut off aid to Gaza because they did not want to finance a terrorist-sponsored territory.
I hope you begin to see where all the suffering of the Palestinian people comes from, while Israel continues to get blamed for a lot of it. And yet, Israel has been supplying – up until this war – electricity, humanitarian aid, and food to Gaza. They even allowed some of its residents to come into Israel to work.
The international community realized when a terrorist organization begins to run a territory, they can’t continue to finance it, at least not on the same level.
Free Palestine… from Hamas
The Palestinian people in Gaza have no one to blame except Hamas for their poor living conditions and for their isolation. When protesters in the United States hold up signs that say, “Free Palestine,” they should correct them to “Free Palestine from Hamas.” Hamas is responsible for their suffering.
After Hamas came to power, instead of taking finances they had accumulated to help build infrastructure in Gaza and assist with humanitarian aid, they built tunnels. Instead of building factories, they amassed munitions to target Israel.
All the resources that could have better the lives of Palestinians in Gaza were devoted to the destruction of Israel.
Why is Hamas so intent on destroying Israel and the Jewish people?
There are ideological answers to this, as well as political and even religious ones. But I want to give you the spiritual answer – the Biblical answer.
Why is Hamas so intent on destroying the Jewish people and wiping Israel off the map? You could trace this hatred back to the animosity described already in the book of Genesis.
Abraham had a son of the covenant; his name was Isaac. But Abraham, in a moment of flesh, slept with Hagar, a slave woman from Egypt. It was not part of the will of God, but a son was born, whose name was Ishmael.
The descendants of Ishmael are the Arab people. Meanwhile, the descendants of Isaac, the promised son, are the Jewish people. So, there’s been animosity between the children of Ishmael and the children of Isaac since the days of the patriarchs.
Jealousy over God’s Promises
In a nutshell, it is jealousy over the promise. Jew-hatred is something that Satan incites among individuals, nations, and groups of people, because he hates God and God’s sovereign plan.
“And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.” (Revelation 12:4)
The dragon is a picture of Satan, and the woman is a picture of Israel. The child that she gave birth to is the ultimate child of the promise – the Messiah Jesus.
Satan, the dragon, has always stood opposed to the redemptive plan of God. He has done everything he can to hinder, thwart, and totally ruin the redemptive plan of God that was revealed through a particular nation.
Humanity, in its sinful condition, needed a Savior to rescue all of us. God, in His providence, chose a single individual, Avram, whose name God later changed to “Abraham.” Avram was a Gentile. He wasn’t a Jew. Because back then, there were no Jewish people.
Abraham was living in the land that today is Iraq. God called him to a land that He would give Abraham and his descendants. So that, through the seed of this man, a race and a nation would be born: the people of Israel, the Jewish nation.
Israel as a Sign
Ultimately, through this race of people would come the Jewish Messiah, a Savior not just for the Jews, but a Savior for the entire world. Because “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Satan has been stirring nations, people, and groups of people from the beginning of time to hate the Jewish people, because they represent the ultimate redemptive plan of God. And this redemptive plan of God is centered around Israel, so Satan is doing everything he can to destroy it.
Israel is a sign of the covenant and the redemptive plan of God. This is where the Savior was born, died, rose again, ascended from, and is coming again to. So that is why Satan wants to bring the attention of an evil world with all their hatred and animosity against this one location.
The Spiritual Legacy
But God says in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless Israel, And I will curse those who curse Israel.”
His eye is on this land because He chose this particular location and these particular people. Through them, He reveals His ultimate redemptive plan for the sake of the whole world.
So, if you’ve ever wondered why there is so much hatred for the Jews, this is where it comes from. Anti-Semitism is Satanism. This is a spiritual war that we’re seeing happen before our eyes. And the physical wars are incited by the spiritual.
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