Time of War
By John Myers
Shemen Sasson congregation in Jerusalem
More than a month ago, on June 25, Palestinian terrorists used an
800 meter-long tunnel to breach the security fence on the southern
border of the Gaza Strip and attack an Israeli military post. In
the attack two Israeli soldiers were killed and a third was captured.
Israel responded to this attack by launching an incursion into Gaza
with the objective of recovering its captured soldier and bringing
a cessation to the Kassam rocket attacks from Gaza, which had been
striking Israel's southern city of Sderot with regularity and had
recently reached as far north as Ashkelon.
Seventeen days later,
on July 12, Hezbollah launched a salvo of Katyusha rockets and mortar
shells from southern Lebanon into Israel's northern communities.
This was a diversionary tactic to mask their simultaneous cross-border
attack on an Israeli border patrol. In this attack and in Israel's
subsequent attempt to recover
the bodies of its dead, eight Israeli soldiers were killed and two
were captured. In response to this act of war, Israel initiated
a military operation in Lebanon with the objective of recovering
its captured soldiers and dealing a strong blow to Hezbollah, an
Iranian and Syrian-backed terrorist militia, which has entrenched
its troops in southern Lebanon and deployed an estimated 13,000
rockets aimed at Israel from Lebanese soil.
Israel has traded land
for "peace". The political platform and stated objective
of Israel's current government is to do so again. Much criticism
of these policies can and should be expressed in the light of scripture
and on the basis of the fruit that they have produced. Nevertheless
this is not the time to evaluate past mistakes, criticize leadership,
or develop policies for the future. This is a time of war for Israel
and for the people of God. Many believing and secular sources are
providing detailed reports and statistics on the fighting. That
is not my purpose in writing to you. Because this is a time of intensifying
warfare in the natural realm and in heavenly places, because God’s
people are called to engage in spiritual warfare, because Israel
is on the frontlines of the natural manifestation of this spiritual
battle, because Israel cannot prevail without God’s help,
and because God is calling the Church to stand in the gap for Israel
in this hour, it is essential that God’s people have both
a biblical perspective on war and God’s perspective on this
current conflict. It is for this purpose that the following commentary
has been written.
A Time of War
Israel is at war. The truth is that Israel is always at war.The
escalation of the current conflict simply reinforces the reality
that the annihilation of Israel is a primary objective of Islamic
terrorists and the powers of darkness that inspire and empower them.
Attacks on Israeli soldiers which were perpetrated on Israeli soil
and were launched from territory previously relinquished to Israel’s
enemies have forced an Israeli government, otherwise inclined to
appeasement and further withdrawal from its biblical homeland, to
stand up and fight.
It is hard for many believers in Jesus to find their way in a time
of war. We have been taught on a personal level to turn the other
cheek to violence. (Matthew 5:39) We have been taught not to overcome
evil with evil, but evil with good. (Romans 12:21) We have been
taught to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us. (Matthew
5:44) Therefore, in time of war, we are challenged to answer many
questions. Is war always wrong? In time of war, should we fight
and send our children to fight, or should we let others fight for
us? Should we pray for victory or just an end to conflict? Does
God take sides in war? To these and many other questions, we must
We all look forward to the day when we shall beat our swords into
plowshares, and our spears into pruning hooks; when nation shall
not lift up sword against nation, neither shall we learn war anymore.
(Isaiah 2:4) We all look forward to the day that the wolf shall
dwell with the lamb and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; when
they shall not hurt nor destroy on God’s holy mountain; when
the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters
cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9) But that time is not this time. This
is a time of war.
Ecclesiastes 3:1,3,8b - To everything there is a season, a time
for every purpose under heaven... A time of war, and a time of peace.
God is love, but He is no stranger to war. We are all aware of this
aspect of God's nature as revealed in the Old Testament. God is
referred to as either the God of Hosts or the Lord of Hosts 270
times in the Old Testament. Hosts are armies. It was He who taught
Joshua to be strong and of good courage. (Joshua 1:9) It was He
who trained David's hands for war and his fingers for battle. (Psalm
144:1) It was He who taught Israel how to battle against their enemies,
and He who promised to fight by their side.
Deuteronomy 20:1-4 -
When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and
chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of
them; for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up from
the land of Egypt. So it shall be, when you are on the verge of
battle that the priest shall approach and speak to the people. And
he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the
verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint,
do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of
them; for the LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for
you against your enemies, to save you.
In the New Testament,
the nature of God is further revealed to us through the Word made
flesh, Jesus Christ. The New Testament confirms that He is the Lord
of Hosts, the Commander of the armies of heaven. (Psalm 24:8-10,
Isaiah 8:13-14, 1 Corinthians 2:7-8, 1 Peter 2:7-8) During His earthly
ministry His tactics were not those normally associated with warfare,
but make no mistake, He was at war. He was fighting for us, and
He fought to win.
1 John 3:8b – For
this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy
the works of the devil.
Hebrews 2:14 –
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood,
He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might
destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.
Colossians 2:15 –
Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle
of them, triumphing over them in it (the cross).
Jesus Christ came the
first time to earth as the Lamb of God, to lay His life down as
a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. This act should not be mistaken
for an expression of weakness. It was in fact the crushing blow
to Satan himself and to his hold upon mankind. This atoning sacrifice
need not be made again. When Jesus returns the second time to earth,
He will not hang upon a cross, nor will anyone spit in His face.
His enemies will be hiding in the caves and in the rocks of the
mountains from Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of
the Lamb. (Revelation 6:15-16) He will sit upon a white horse and
the armies in heaven will follow Him. (Revelation 19:11-16) When
He sets His feet again on the Mount of Olives, it will be as the
Lion of the Tribe of Judah, (John 1:29, Revelation 5:5) to fight
against the enemies of Israel and to establish His throne in Jerusalem.
(Zechariah 14:1-4, 8-9)
God loves people more than it is possible for the human mind to
grasp. He is merciful, gracious, longsuffering, and kind. He makes
the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the
just and the unjust. (Matthew 5:45) We know that there is no partiality
with God. (Romans 2:11) We know that it is not God’s will
that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9) We know that Lebanese and Palestinian souls are just
as precious to God as Israeli souls. We mourn the loss of all innocent
life and pray for God’s protection of the innocent on both
sides of the current conflict. Yet none of these things mitigate
our strong conviction that God is not neutral in this war. Israel
is the one nation on the face of the earth to whom God has promised
a specific piece of real estate. The gift of the land of Canaan
to Israel was unalterably confirmed by God’s word, command,
statute, everlasting covenant, and oath. (Psalm 105:7-11) Due to
Israel’s sins, God plucked them from their land and scattered
them among the nations of the world. Yet even in their absence,
the land continued to be theirs by divine decree.
After 2000 years of dispersion,
God gathered the children of Israel out of all countries and brought
them back into their own land in fulfillment of His prophetic word.
He did not do this for Israel’s sake, or on the basis of Israel’s
worthiness, for Israel stands equally guilty with all other nations
before a just and holy God. He did it for His holy name’s
sake and to reveal to the nations that He is God. (Ezekiel 36:16-28)
The leaders of Israel and the majority of Israeli citizens may not
know the ultimate reason and purpose for their return and for the
unrelenting violence that has opposed it, but God does. The Arab
nations surrounding Israel, situated from the Atlantic Ocean to
the Persian Gulf, possess a landmass of 14 million square kilometers.
Israel possesses a landmass of 28,000 square kilometers. The unremitting
battle over Israel, the battle currently raging on her southwestern
and northern borders is not first and foremost a political battle.
It is not first and foremost a battle over land. It is a battle
over the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’s right to sovereign
lordship over His creation, and as such it is a battle that will
not be lost.
An unholy alliance of
Islamic terrorist entities, that are supported and funded by evil
leaders of rogue nations, the most notable being Iran and Syria,
have covenanted together to destroy the nation of Israel. They will
not prevail. This is a war that must be decisively won by Israel,
not simply fought. Some in the media have decried Israel’s
“disproportionate military response”, as though there
must be some mathematical balance in the statistics of wounded and
dead for a war to be just. For a war to be won, the results must
be disproportionate. Hezbollah’s offensive capabilities must
be destroyed. The 13,000 missiles aimed at Israel’s population
centers, which they have deployed in southern Lebanon, must be destroyed.
The evil agendas of Iran and Syria, who are using Hezbollah as their
proxy in this war, must be thwarted. The army of Israel that is
confronting Hamas and Hezbollah this very moment on the field of
battle must prevail. As Israel’s ancient and current history
has proven time and time again, Israel can only do so with the help
The army of Israel is
fighting on the earthly battleground. Will you take your place on
the walls of Jerusalem? (Isaiah 62:1,6-7) Will you stand in the
gap and petition our God on behalf of the land and the people who
are called by His name? Those who stand with God should be fighting
on the spiritual battleground on Israel’s behalf. The weapons
of our warfare are not carnal but they are weapons and they must
be wielded. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) Our enemies are not flesh and
blood, but they are our enemies and they must be defeated. (Ephesians
6:12) To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose
under heaven. This is a time for war and a time to fight to win.
Please join us in praying:
• That God will enable Israel to win a decisive victory in
• That Hezbollah's
control over Lebanon will be broken, its capability to strike Israel
eliminated, its supply lines from Iran and Syria severed, and its
• For the three Israeli soldiers that have been captured,
Gilad Shalit by Hamas, and Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev by Hezbollah,
to be released unharmed.
• For the safety of Israel's soldiers, and special grace and
protection upon the believers in Jesus, who are currently serving
in the Israeli army. In this regard, our son, Joshua, who is a pastor
on staff with us, and is also an officer in the Israeli army reserves,
has been called up for active duty due to the current conflict.
He and his unit will initially be deployed in the West Bank. Please
pray for his safety and the safety of those under his command.