Saturday, 24 January 2009

Hamas the modern Philistines

The retaliation of Israel against Hamas in Gaza has opened a "can of worms" as far as the United Nations is concerned, but it has reinforced the expectations of those who understand the Plan and Purpose of God Almighty that we are living in what is scripturally termed "the Last Days." The attention of the world has now centred on that tiny country and, in the near future, that attention will focus on Jerusalem, for God has decreed He will draw all nations against it to battle. The god of the world, Money, has proved powerless to save.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
and a light unto my path”. Ps 119:105 SIGNS OF OUR TIMES
Isaiah 11:14 But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward
the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their
hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.

Sings of our Times Vol. 20 No. 2
February 2009

HAMAS - THE MODERN PHILISTINES

The above passage from Isaiah is found in the context of a prophecy which foretells the return of the Jews to Israel.
Isaiah 11:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall remain, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. 13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and they that vex Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.

However, the earlier section of the chapter contains the well-known passage
“6 And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them,” so it is difficult to know if the attack on the Philistine territory now known as Gaza refers to the present or the future when Christ (“a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” [v.1]) is ruling in Jerusalem.

Certainly the Israelis are dwelling together amicably and the old divided nation consisting of two kingdoms, Israel and Judah, has been replaced by “the nation of Israel” in fulfilment of the latter part of v.13 “..... Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.” However, the earlier part of that verse reads: “The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off:”

Perhaps we are witnessing this prophecy in progress, but the following extract from an article from TIME
Magazine, January 19, 2009 itemizes the difficulties.

AS ISRAELI TROOPS ENCIRCLE Gaza City, their commanders are faced with a painful dilemma: How far must they advance into the deadly labyrinth of slums and refugee camps where Hamas militants await with booby trapped houses and snipers? With each passing day, Israel's war against Hamas grows riskier and more punishing, with the gains appearing to diminish compared to the spiralling costs - to Israel's moral stature, to the lives of Palestinian civilians and to the world's hopes that an ancient conflict can ever be resolved. Ideally, in a war shaped by television images, Israelis would like a tableau of surrender: grimy Hamas commanders crawling from underground bunkers with their hands up. Instead, the deaths of at least 40 civilians taking shelter at a United Nations-run school north of Gaza City are more likely to become the dominant image of the war. Israeli politicians and generals know that the total elimination of Hamas' entrenched military command could take weeks; it might be altogether impossible.

The more realistic outcome is an unsatisfactory, brokered truce that leaves Hamas wounded but alive and able to regenerate - and Israel only temporarily safe from attack. Israel's Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, has promised a "war to the bitter end." But after 60 years of struggle to defend their existence against foreign threats and enemies within, many Israelis may be wondering, Where does that end lie?

The threat posed by Hamas is only the most immediate of the many interlocking challenges facing Israel, some of which cast dark shadows over the long-term viability of a democratic Jewish state. The offensive in Gaza may degrade Hamas' ability to menace southern Israel with rocket fire, but, as with Israel's 2006 war against Hizballah, the application of force won't extinguish the militants' ideological fervour. The anti-Israeli anger swelling in the region has made it more difficult for Arab governments to join Israel in its efforts to deal with Iran, the patron of both Hamas and Hizballah and a state whose leaders have sworn to eliminate Israel and appear determined to acquire nuclear weapons. Just as ominous for many Israelis is a ticking demographic time bomb: the likelihood that Arabs will vastly outnumber Jews in the land stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean is a catastrophic prospect for a nation that defines itself by its faith.

Israelis will have to choose between living with an independent Palestinian state or watching Jews become a minority in their own land.

As much as any other nation on earth, Israel is based on a dream: the aspiration to establish a home for the Jews in the birth-place of their ancestors. To a remarkable extent, that dream has been fulfilled, as Israel has grown into the most modern and democratic country in the Middle East. A strong, confident Israel ... is one that can find peace with its neighbours, cooperate with the Arabs to contain common threats and, most important, reach a just and lasting solution with the Palestinians. But how do you make peace with those who don't seem to want it? How do you win a war when the other side believes time is on its side? And what would true security, in a hostile neighbourhood populated with enemies, actually look like? As is always true in the Middle East, there are no easy answers.

How to Deal with Hamas

THE MOST IMMEDIATE CHALLENGE facing Israel is that posed by Hamas. Gaza's tragedy has for days been playing out on the world's TV sets. By Jan. 7, more than 700 Palestinians, many of them non-combatants, had been killed. But there's something tragic, too, in Israel's predicament: in any confrontation with its enemies, it is damned if it does and doomed if it doesn't.

Across Israel's political spectrum there seems to be a consensus that Hamas' provocative rocket barrages could not go unanswered - though whether Israel's response has been proportional to the threat is, at the least, questionable .Perhaps more threatening than the rockets themselves was the doubt they cast over Israel's vaunted power of deterrence, which is key to keeping its hostile neighbours at bay. That power was badly eroded in 2006, when Hizballah was able to withstand the Israeli onslaught, force a cease-fire and claim victory in the process. That surely emboldened Hamas, which intermittently sent rockets into southern Israel and finally prompted Israel to respond in force. As respected Israeli columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth, "A country that is afraid to deal with Hamas won't be able either to  deter Iran or to safeguard its interests in dealing with Syria, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority."

-WITH REPORTING BY TAMIL HAMAD/RAMALLAH, AARON J.
KLEIN/GAZA BORDER AND SCOTT MACLEOD/CAIRO ? (Abridged)


GOD’S ANSWER TO ISRAEL’S DILEMMA

We have seen in Isaiah 11 that God will have an input into what seems to be, in human terms, Israel’s  dilemma.

Surrounded by enemies on every side with the vowed intention of eliminating that tiny State - which, with the
backing of Iran and Russia, seems quite feasible, Israel appears to have a limited existence.
However, God has decreed that Israel will survive after going through “a time of trouble such as never was.”

Below are a number of verses taken from the prophecies of Jeremiah. They are being fulfilled in this generation.

Jeremiah 30:3 [NKJ] ‘For behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,’ says the LORD. ‘And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.’"
4 Now these are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah. 5 "For thus says the LORD: ‘We have heard a voice of trembling, Of fear, and not of peace. 6 Ask now, and see, Whether a man is ever in labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins Like a woman in labor, And all
faces turned pale?
7 Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, But he shall be saved out of it.

The present retaliation by Israel against the thousands of rockets fired by Hamas into Israel over the past year has roused the ire of hordes of protesters world-wide.
Throughout Eastern and Western Europe, the UK, and all the Islamic countries down to Indonesia and even in Australia. Synagogues have been torched and antisemitic feelings have manifest themselves in vandalous actions.

The Scriptures indicate a united Arabic conglomerate that will attack Israel prior to the Return of Christ.

Psalm 83 gives the ancient names of all the nations that surround Israel today. The prophecy of Joel 1, 2 &3
describe a huge “locust horde” of nations conducting a “holy war’ (jihad) against Israel. Zechariah 12 & 14
includes “all the nations round about” in a siege against Jerusalem that results in “the city ..... taken ..... and half the city shall go into captivity.”

God’s solution to this event is outlined in the same Scriptures already referred to:

Zechariah 14:3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

Joel 3:16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

Perhaps the clearest record of Israel’s present and future condition is to be found in Jeremiah 30:
11 For I am with you,’ says the LORD, ‘to save you; Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, Yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, And will not let you go altogether unpunished.’12 "For thus says the LORD: ‘Your affliction is incurable, Your wound is severe.13 There is no one to plead your cause, That you may be bound up; You have no healing medicines. 14 All your lovers have forgotten you; They do not seek you; For I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, With the chastisement of a cruel one, For the multitude of your iniquities, Because your sins have increased. 15 Why do you cry about your affliction? Your sorrow is incurable. Because of the multitude of your iniquities, Because your sins have increased, I have done these things to you. 16 ‘Therefore all those who devour you shall be devoured; And all your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; 
Those who plunder you shall become plunder, And all who prey upon you I will make a prey. 17 For I will restore health to you And heal you of your wounds,’ says the LORD, ‘Because they called you an outcast saying: "This is Zion; No one seeks her."’

ISRAEL’S FUTURE

Some time in the near future, Israel will find herself without a friend in the world “All your lovers have forgotten you; They do not seek you” [v.14]. In other SOTs we have shown from Revelation 9 & 16 that
the nations east of the Euphrates will rise against the West. Perhaps this will prevent the US from assisting
Israel; or the economic situation will be too severe; or ecological calamities wreck all communication and
travel - what ever it is - Israel will stand alone!
Israel will cry to God for help - and it will come!

Jeremiah 31:10  "Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, And declare it in the isles afar off, and say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, And keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’ 11 For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, And ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he. 12 Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, Streaming to the goodness of the LORD––For wheat and new wine and oil, For the young of the flock and the herd; Their souls shall be like a well–watered garden, And they shall sorrow no more at all. 13 "Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, And the young men and the old, together; For I will turn their mourning to joy, Will comfort them, And make them rejoice rather than sorrow.
35 Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for a light by day, The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, And its waves roar (The LORD of hosts is His name): 36 "If those ordinances depart From before Me, says the LORD, Then the seed of Israel shall also cease From being a nation before Me forever."

Let us turn finally to Daniel 12:1  And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people [Israel]: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

“Even so, Come, Lord Jesus.”
 YBIC, Arthur Wright