yeah the eyes of the world are certainly on the events of Israel and Gaza at the moment. And it isn't easy to watch as you say. The reality is that the events to come surrounding Israel are not easy. Very difficult days lie ahead. In fact the day of Jacob's trouble lies ahead. But the scene first has to be set before the prophecies can be fulfilled. This war will be part of that stage setting.
So firstly, is this current specific war in Gaza in Bible prophecy? There are prophetic verses that speak of the destruction of Gaza. Many believe these have been fulfilled. But there is one verse in particular that seems to place it around the time of Israel being regathered back into the land, either before the tribulation or during the day of the Lord. We cannot be dogmatic on whether it is currently being fulfilled or is still to come, but it is worth noting and being aware of.
Zep 2:1-4 Gather yourselves together, yes, gather, O nation without shame, (2) Before the decree takes effect-- The day passes like the chaff-- Before the burning anger of the LORD comes upon you, Before the day of the LORD'S anger comes upon you. (3) Seek the LORD, All you humble of the earth Who have carried out His ordinances; Seek righteousness, seek humility. Perhaps you will be hidden In the day of the LORD'S anger. (4) For Gaza will be abandoned And Ashkelon a desolation; Ashdod will be driven out at noon And Ekron will be uprooted.
Things to note:
- It is speaking to the nation of Israel whom are called a 'nation without shame'. So it is speaking of the nation of Israel still in unbelief before repentance and salvation.
- They are told to gather together BEFORE the day of the Lord and His anger comes upon you. That is what we see in our day where Israel has been gathered together, in unbelief, in preparation for the day of the Lord.
- There is a command to all those in the earth to seek the Lord and His righteousness so that they may be hidden in the day of the Lord's anger. This seems to give a promise to those in the earth (Gentiles), to find the righteousness in the Lord and thus be part of the rapture that will hide the true believers before the day of the Lord comes.
- And then it gives a prophecy saying that Gaza will be abandoned. Again, we don't know if this is before the day of the Lord or during it. But it's context does put it back in the day when Israel is regathered and back in the land in the last days. So it could be speaking of today.
One thing is sure and that is the spirit behind the current attacks upon Israel certainly are prophetic. And what most Bible prophecy scholars are watching for is where it leads. It is all about the fall-out from it. Here are a few thoughts with some prophecies that are relevant for various reasons at the moment.
Psalm 83 War
Psa 83:1-12 A Song, a Psalm of Asaph. O God, do not remain quiet; Do not be silent and, O God, do not be still. (2) For behold, Your enemies make an uproar, And those who hate You have exalted themselves. (3) They make shrewd plans against Your people, And conspire together against Your treasured ones. (4) They have said, "Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more." (5) For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant: (6) The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites; (7) Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; (8) Assyria also has joined with them; They have become a help to the children of Lot. Selah. (9) Deal with them as with Midian, As with Sisera and Jabin at the torrent of Kishon, (10) Who were destroyed at En-dor, Who became as dung for the ground. (11) Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb And all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, (12) Who said, "Let us possess for ourselves The pastures of God."...
Some prophecy scholars see this as a future attack of the 'inner ring' of nations against Israel. Others see it as having been fulfilled already in the 1948 war of independence and/or the 1967 6-day war. Either way, it certainly expresses the 'spirit' that is so prevalent around the world at the moment. When it speaks about the enemies of Israel you see that their goal is to 'wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.' And 'let us possess for ourselves the pastures of God'. This same goal is being expressed right around the world as millions have been protesting chanting 'from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.' This is the same spirit and thought - from the river (the Jordan river) to the sea (the Mediterranean sea) being Palestine means no Israel at all. It means the destruction of Israel which is the goal of Israel's enemies including Hamas, Hezbollah and certainly Iran. And you can add to that list thousands of misled University students throughout the Western world! For more thoughts on this everlasting hatred, see here: https://jesusplusnothing.com/series/post/Ezekiel35
Just as a side note, while the name Hamas is an Arabic acronym meaning "The Islamic Resistance Movement", in Hebrew it is the word for 'violence'. How fitting. The first mention in the Bible is:
Gen 6:11 Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence (Hamas).
Gog & Magog War - Ezekiel 38
The big war where God really makes His name known to both Israel and the nations is the war of Gog & Magog as spoken about in Ezekiel 38 and 39. I've written about this elsewhere:
One interesting thing about this is that it comes at a time when Israel is dwelling securely and at peace.
Eze 38:8 "After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them.
Eze 38:11 and you will say, 'I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates,
Some have speculated that before this war, Israel will first be victorious over the 'inner ring' of nations to have the conditions necessary for being 'at rest' and 'dwelling securely'. If so we watch to see what comes of this current war. It could be that this Gog/Magog war comes about at the start of the Tribulation period where Israel has signed the so called 'peace agreement' with the Antichrist and thus feels secure and at ease because of that agreement. Again, time will tell. But one thing we do see currently is an alignment of the nations that are mentioned in this prophecy against Israel. Notably Russia, Turkey and Iran. The players are moving into position.
Hunters and Fishers - the return to Israel
Jer 16:14-16 "Therefore behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when it will no longer be said, 'As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,' (15) but, 'As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.' For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers. (16) "Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen," declares the LORD, "and they will fish for them; and afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and every hill and from the clefts of the rocks.
There is another interesting repercussion of the current war. With the rise of antisemitism around the world, more Jews in Europe and other nations no longer feel safe and are emigrating to Israel. This prophecy above has its context in the Babylonian captivity but goes wider than that speaking of the day that God restores the sons of Israel from all the countries where He has banished them. God says He will use fishers and hunters to do so. Fishers lure their catch while hunters chase and catch them. Both are used to get the Jews back to Israel even in our day. The lure of returning to a true Jewish homeland has already seen many return. The rise of Jewish hatred is also driving them home. The current events playing out around the world are being used by God to fulfill His purposes for the final scenes to play out in the last days.
Jer 30:7 Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob's trouble, But he shall be saved out of it.
What lies ahead will be very difficult for Israel as this scripture says. But it is all in the plan of God and ultimately 'he will be saved out of it.' God always uses tribulation for salvation. I have heard that in Israel currently even non-religious IDF soldiers are asking for prayer and reading the psalms and scripture. That is understandable when faced with war. But there is a general move back to the God of Israel in the hearts of the people and the IDF is praying, calling on the God of Israel, before their operations. I have also heard that ministries in Israel that preach and teach about Jesus as the Messiah are fielding a lot more calls as people are asking wider questions about the Messiah and where this all leads. And it is not just with the Jews. Pastor Skip Heitzig recently spoke about reports that some Palestinians in Gaza were receiving dreams about Jesus telling them that He is the way, the truth and the life. That is incredible. God cares for all and always makes use of these difficult times - especially for salvation, no matter what the person's background - if they have a heart for Him.
So to sum up, I see Israel being victorious in the short term leading to a position of temporal ease and security. Whether this war truly deals with Hamas and other enemies like Hezbollah remains to be seen. There is a lot of pressure on Israel from various nations (including the US) to stop this war. But at some stage soon these close 'neighbour' enemies that essentially live for Israel's destruction, must be dealt with for Israel to be at ease and peace. This will eventually lead to a far bigger war - Gog and Magog (including Russia, Iran, Turkey and others) - which Israel cannot win through natural means. And they won't have to. God will step in and make His name known through supernaturally stopping these far more powerful enemies of Israel. But this is not the end... there will be a peace treaty with the Antichrist which will eventually lead to another holocaust where the prophet Zechariah spoke of 2/3 being killed within the land of Israel:
Zec 13:8-9 And it shall come to pass in all the land," Says the Lord, "That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, But one-third shall be left in it: (9) I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, 'This is My people'; And each one will say, 'The Lord is my God.' "
But for the 1/3 that remain, they will call upon the Lord and He will say 'this is My people'. And important in all of this is that for this 1/3:
Zec 12:10 "I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.
So there are some quick thoughts. In the short term I get the feeling that 2024 could quite possibly be NUTS. We've still got the Russia Ukraine war going on even though it has taken a back seat with Israel's war. We've got war in the Middle East obviously and some rabid antisemitism rising. We've got the US elections in 2024 which has the feeling of being completely chaotic. So strap yourself in. Better still, stay close to the Lord and thank Him for His presence and protection over your life! Keep looking up!
And as you said 'Come Lord Jesus!' : )