Hamas, the largest terrorist organization in the world, freshly funded by a financially buoyant Iran1, had calculated their attack. Coming by land, air, and sea, terrorists launched one of the deadliest attacks in Israel’s short life since being reestablished as a nation. On the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, one of the high holidays of Israel, we woke on Shabbat, October 7, to air raid sirens and very bad news. It’s been nothing short of a massacre.
The spirit of Amalek
In Hebrew the word Hamas (חמס) means violence. It could not be more fitting. To date some 1400 Israelis have been slaughtered in cold blood, 2500 wounded, and it’s estimated that more than 160 have been captured and taken back to Gaza as hostages. An 85 year old grandmother was paraded through the streets of Gaza as a trophy, unaware of her dire situation because she has dementia and is now without medication. Just one example of the inhumanity of the Hamas terrorists. They have taken young men and women, little children and even babies, and the elderly and frail. Just like the Amalekites did as ancient Israel escaped from Egypt. They picked on the weaker ones trailing behind, the children, the infirm, and the elderly… and God did not forget it. We see that same spiritual hatred of Israel, the Amalek spirit, raising its ugly head once again in our days. We are not fighting against flesh and blood.
“Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of Egypt, how he attacked you on the way when you were faint and weary, and cut off your tail, those who were lagging behind you, and he did not fear God.” (Deuteronomy 25:17-18)
Young people at a music festival for peace were caught and killed in their hundreds, many more taken off screaming into Gaza. Women were violently yanked about by their hair, tied up and terrified. Little children shot and abused, 40 babies were found beheaded. The broken bodies of naked women displayed and spat upon, dead soldiers celebrated over with jubilance…
We’ve seen things we cannot unsee. It’s impossible to absorb the evil we have witnessed.
Hamas terrorists flooded through the bulldozed border and went door to door in Israeli communities, to steal, kill and destroy. One grandmother was shot and her phone taken to upload the picture of her body on her own Facebook page. That’s how her family found out. The wickedness is chilling. We are devastated. We are heartbroken.
Oh that my head were waters,
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
that I might weep day and night
for the slain of the daughter of my people!
We have been so moved by the thousands of messages of solidarity we have received from people all around the world. We appreciate the comfort from people like you, and the thousands of prayers sent up to the One who can really help. In our time of horror and bewilderment, we look to God for salvation, for hope, for understanding.
Fighting spiritual forces
Jeremiah saw similar things happening to Israel also in his day. It’s not the first time that the people of Israel have been brutalized on such a scale. Nor, I’m sorry to say, will it be the last. This ancient hatred goes way back. It’s satanic. The murderous Amalek spirit rises again and again to destroy Israel in the Bible, and continues throughout history until this day. Indeed, it is prophesied that it will only come to an end in the last days, when Balaam speaks God’s words about the end times:
Then he looked on Amalek and took up his discourse and said,
“Amalek was the first among the nations,
but its end is utter destruction.” (Numbers 24:20)
The ancient Israelites fought the Amalekites and won at Rephidim (Exodus 17), but the Amalekites kept coming back and were continually waging war against Israel during the times of the Judges. They rose up again to terrorize in the times of Saul and of David, at one point raiding David’s camp at Ziklag—much like Hamas—taking wives, children and plunder. But through God’s help all was recovered. We pray now that just like the episode of Ziklag, that we will see the safe return of our loved ones.
When David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. (1 Samuel 30:3-6)
Later, the book of Esther tells us, while the Jewish people were in exile in Babylon, another descendant of Amalek named Haman contrived yet another a plot to annihilate the Jewish people. The situation looked so bad the entire people fasted in sackcloth and ashes for three days, praying against the imminent genocide. Then God raised Esther up with courage to speak to the king on behalf of her people, and saved the day. We are not dealing with flesh and blood here.
This is a spiritual war against God, His purposes, and His people.
The spirit of Amalek continues throughout the generations, breathing murderous threats and constantly attempting to wipe Israel out for good. Of course, the Holocaust was yet another appearance of Amalek and its hatred of the Jews. That is what we are up against. Hamas as a terror group may have human agents, but the spirit behind it is demonic.
Arabs are not the enemy
The situation is devastating for Jewish people in Israel all over the world who are watching Palestinian supporters rejoicing in the slaughter of their people. But it is also extremely difficult for Israeli Arabs. There are reports of more than forty Arab citizens of Israel killed by Hamas. According to Yair Wallach there was even a woman wearing a hijab who was not spared, but was shot and killed at close range in her car. A mosque near Jerusalem has been hit, and it’s clear that Hamas is not discriminatory or concerned about who or what is destroyed. When the sirens go off, we all run for shelter, Jews and Arabs alike.
Nuseir Yassin (of Nas Daily) used to describe himself as a Palestinian Israeli but he just wrote this: “After recent events, I started to think. And think. And think. And then my thoughts turned to anger. I realized that if Israel were to be “invaded” like that again, we would not be safe. To a terrorist invading Israel, all citizens are targets. 900 Israelis died so far. More than 40 of them are Arabs. Killed by other Arabs. And even 2 Thai people died too. And I do not want to live under a Palestinian government. Which means I only have one home, even if I’m not Jewish: Israel. That’s where all my family lives. That’s where I grew up. That’s the country I want to see continue to exist so I can exist.”
Yet the situation between the Arabs and Jews in Israel is sadly now extremely tense. An estimated 1000 Gazans flooded through the broken border on Saturday, and although 400 Hamas terrorists have now been rounded up, there could easily be hundreds still on the loose. Additionally, Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank have been urged to join in the battle to “reclaim Jerusalem” and we know from the past that there are plenty who don’t need much encouragement. The age old lie that “Jews are storming the Al Aqsa Mosque” is banded about to stoke fires of rage, and so it can be hard to rapidly tell who is a Hamas terrorist, who is a furious Palestinian wanting to join the fight, and who is just a dentist, a greengrocer. or even a fellow believer. Arab brothers and sisters feel unsafe, concerned that they will be wrongly identified as an enemy just because of their accent or appearance. But Arabs are not our enemy. The enemy of our souls is the enemy. This war is a tragedy for the whole house of Israel and all who long to live here peacefully.
Hope on the horizon
Bleak as the picture is right now, just like it is in every blistering prophecy in the Bible, there is always hope. A secular friend lamented, “There is never ever going to be resolved”, but he’s wrong. There is an end in sight and it’s absolutely glorious. Jesus will return to Jerusalem and put all things right. In the meantime, we will worship and praise His name through the night. Arab believers in Nazareth are setting their faces to worship till the breakthrough comes, and prayer from round the world has been mobilized on a massive scale… many using the infrastructure of the Isaiah 62 prayer initiative set up back in May. We at ONE FOR ISRAEL will continue to reach out to support people here in Israel, encouraging Israelis to turn to God, and also sharing the good news with people in Gaza. Jewish and Arab believers are coordinating to provide help and care for all who need it, and to be lights in the darkness. God has given us the handbook so we know what to expect. Jesus told us there would be trouble in this world, but also that he promised that He has overcome. He is the LORD.
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
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- The Wall Street Journal, Iran Helped Plot Attack on Israel Over Several Weeks, Summer Said, Oct. 8, 2023