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Many Prayers For the Gaza Crisis
24 July 2014
 
 
Various people of faith around the world are praying to their God about the violent, deadly crisis in Gaza, according to their view of the situation.

Some staunch Christian supporters of Israel are expressing an Old Covenant understanding of victory by praying:
"As Christians of biblical faith, we stand with Israel.... Pray that God will give Israel victory over its enemies." (Source)

Many Jews are praying for the safety and success of the Israeli army:
At the Western wall, rabbis call on people to read passages from the Book of Psalms for the success and safety of the IDF. (Source)

"Strengthen the defenders of our Holy Land; O God, grant them salvation and crown them with victory." (Source)
Many Muslims are praying for the destruction of Israel:
"Oh Allah, destroy the Zionist Jews. They are not challenge for you." (Source)

"Oh, Allah increase the pressure You exert upon the plundering Jews. Demonstrate upon them the miracles of Your might, for they are no match to You. Count them one by one, and kill them to the very last one. Do not spare a single one of them. Oh Allah, disperse them. Oh Lord, freeze the blood in their veins. Oh Allah, tear them asunder. Oh Allah, sow discord in their hearts. Oh Allah, do not let them prevail. Make an example of them for their allies. Oh Allah, bring down the planes of their air force, burn their infantry and sink the ships of their navy." (Source)
In one of many recent newsletters this month from Messianic-Jewish believer Avner Boskey in Beersheva, he lists these prayer points (source):
  • Pray for the blunting of the enemy's weapons and goals
  • Pray for the salvation of the Jewish people through revelation of Messiah Yeshua
  • Pray for the protection of Gazan civilians caught in the crossfire between terrorists and the IDF
  • Pray for the IDF to achieve its goals quickly, expeditiously and with minimum loss of life
  • Pray for Israel's media to receive a lion's heart and God's perspective instead of fear and defeatism
  • Pray for the Jewish people to into the fullness of their calling and gifts as a prophetic and mighty army
  • Pray for the revelation of Yeshua to many in Gaza, and for salvation and protection to all innocents there
  • Pray for eyes to be opened among the nations regarding the reality of Yahweh fighting for Israel in our day
Jewish Christian and best-selling author Joel Rosenberg, in his many recent blog articles this month, exhorts his readers:
Please keep praying for calm to be restored sooner rather than later, and for the Lord to comfort the wounded and grieving on both sides, Palestinians and Israelis. Please pray, too, for the IDF soldiers to be able to successfully neutralize the terrorists without any more civilian casualties.

Please pray this will all end quickly. Please pray for calm to be restored. And please pray for mercy for Israelis and Palestinians. It is so painful to see the suffering and trauma on both sides. The Bible commands us to pray for peace — let us be faithful.
For Muslims and Jews, praying to God that their human enemies be destroyed is legitimate, because they are not followers of Yeshua. But for those who ARE followers of Yeshua, whether Jew or non-Jew, the New Testament holds us to a higher standard, and it provides a much-different perspective. As I wrote in my last article, Loving Not Our Lives Unto Death:
Your fellow human being is NEVER the enemy! The true enemy is Satan. Those who do his evil work are not our enemies, but tools and captives of The Enemy who need to be set free from bondage to Satan, so that they can live for God instead.... Because Satan is the true enemy, and not flesh-and-blood human beings, true followers of Yeshua have therefore absolutely NO reason to fight against flesh-and-blood humans.
In light of this reality, it REALLY disturbs me to see well-meaning Christians refer to the "Palestinians" as "enemies" which Israel must defeat by killing them. When referring to human beings called terrorists, Mr. Rosenberg uses the euphemism "neutralize" instead of the much more gritty "kill." Why try to obscure reality with the opaque but sterile-sounding "neutralize"? Is it too hard for Christians to admit that fellow human beings are being killed and most likely dispatched to Hell for eternity?

In our zeal and love for Israel and the God of Israel, we Christian Zionists can easily start to demonize the "Palestinians" as the true enemies. But the only way we can do that is when we lose our grasp on New Testament teaching, and focus mainly on the Old Testament, as Mr. Boskey does in his many articles about the current Gaza crisis. As I wrote in Violence and Victory Under the Old Covenant:
In case you haven't noticed, there is a HUGE difference between God's Old Covenant and His New Covenant — see The Really Awesome News! for more details. While it is absolutely true that God NEVER changes, as the Bible declares in a number of passages, it is absolutely crucial to understand that His METHOD of dealing with humans DOES change. The whole story of the Bible is a record of the various ways God has interacted with humans over the millennia.
King David's prayers are typical of the Old Covenant view of human enemies:
Arise, O Yahweh! Rescue me, my God! Slap all my enemies in the face! Shatter the teeth of the wicked! (Psalm 3:7)

Let death stalk my enemies; let the grave swallow them alive, for evil makes its home within them. (Psalm 55:15)
In the New Testament, King David's descendant, Yeshua, the Messiah, the greater David, prayed in this way about His "enemies" who were executing Him on the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34)

In the same way, when Stephen, one of Yeshua's early followers, was being murdered for his testimony about Yeshua, he prayed like his Master: "Don't charge them with this sin!" (Acts 7:59) Disciples of Yeshua today would do well to follow the example of Stephen, rather than the example of Peter when Yeshua was arrested. Just as He said when He rebuked Peter, Yeshua would say the same words to His followers today: "Put away your sword. Those who use the sword will die by the sword." (Matthew 26:52)

It's so hard to rise above our human nature! When we see how much the Jews endure and suffer, when we see how wickedly the Muslims treat them, it's only natural for us to want the Israelis to rise up and beat the hell out of the "Palestinians." It satisfies our sense of justice to see the "bad guys" get what's coming to them.

But is that what GOD wants? Is it truly God's will that the Jews fight and kill and defeat the "Palestinians"? Even though I am a fervent Christian Zionist and a lover of Israel, I am not so sure about that being God's plan for the "Palestinians" As I wrote in my recent article You Will Always Harvest What You Plant:
The God of the Bible, Yahweh, the God of Israel, the Father of Yeshua — this God did not rejoice when Osama Bin Laden was murdered. He does NOT rejoice when innocent "Palestinians" are killed. He does NOT even rejoice when GUILTY "Palestinians" are killed! This is God's heart and urgent message for the "Palestinians":
Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the Sovereign Yahweh. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live. I will judge each of you according to your actions, says the Sovereign Yahweh. Repent, and turn from your sins. Don't let them destroy you! Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die? I don't want you to die, says the Sovereign Yahweh. Turn back and live! (Ezekiel 18:23,20-32)
 
As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Yahweh, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness! Why should you die? If wicked people turn from their wickedness and do what is just and right, they will live.... I judge each of you according to your deeds. (Ezekiel 33:11,19,20b)
God, in His sovereign plan, has much more in mind than the short-term, earthly matters which so easily occupy us humans. Although He cares about every small detail of each of our lives, ultimately He is working everything together into the big picture of His eternal Master Plan — a Plan that includes the "Palestinians" as well as the Jews. The apostle Paul wrote "God our Savior wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth" (1 Timothy 2:3b,4). Yeshua explains the Master Plan in these words:
This is how much God loved the world: He gave His Son, His one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending His Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in Him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust Him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to Him. This is the crisis we're in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won't come near it, fearing a painful exposure. (John 3:16-20)
Yeshua also declared: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). This applies to every single human being on Earth. It goes for the Jews, who for the most part still stubbornly refuse to accept Yeshua as their life-giving, sin-removing Messiah. It goes for the Muslim "Palestinians," who stubbornly and fanatically cling to their demonic-impostor-god Allah.

In this Gaza war crisis, "Palestinians" are killing Jews, dispatching those who have not accepted Yeshua's salvation to an eternity in Hell. Likewise, Jews are killing "Palestinians," dispatching those who have not accepted Yeshua's salvation to an eternity in Hell. This tragic state of affairs is infinitely more important to Father God than who controls which piece of land or which army gains a human "victory" over the other!

In past articles I have quoted from the newsletter of a ministry that I really respect (and support financially on a monthly basis) — Emmaus Way in Israel, led by Arni and Yonit Klein. It has happened a number of times that I have been writing an article about a certain topic, and then I receive their latest newsletter which addresses the very same topic. Well, it happened again today! Referring to the current Gaza crisis, Arni writes:
We have no doubt that Father will go to whatever lengths necessary to open our eyes to eternal realities. His perspective is not like ours. His concern for the glory of His Name and our eternal union with Him will take precedence over His very real and deep compassion for human suffering.... In the end of the day, as we understand it, Heaven's goals are to make a clear distinction between light and darkness, glorify the Name of the Lord, and call out and purify the Israel of God ... the Bride of Messiah.
So why are we so consumed with our short-term, humanistic interests, which cause us to direct our prayers along those lines? The apostle Paul lamented about this very same problem: "Everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Yeshua the Messiah" (Philippians 2:21). It is high time to put aside our petty, earth-bound interests and align our prayers with Yeshua's interests instead. The eternal issues at stake should cause the temporal issues, which seem so important to us, to pale in comparison!

Without Yeshua, both the Jews and the Muslims are in bondage to sin and religion. As I wrote in Enmity and Reconciliation:
Is there no hope at all? In the natural, there is no hope. In human efforts to find a human solution with human reasoning, there is absolutely NO hope! Apart from God, there is NO hope! So what hope is there in God?
 
Well, there is only ONE WAY in the entire universe that the Jews and the Arabs will be reconciled. So what is the secret formula? It's found in the writings of the Apostle Paul:
For Messiah Himself is our peace [shalom,salaam], Who has made the two sides one, and through His sacrificial death has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility and enmity. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, He created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody. Messiah reconciled both groups to God, and to each other, through His death on the cross, thereby killing the mutual enmity and bringing the feud to an end. (Ephesians 2:14-16, various translations)
There you have it — God's road map to peace! When Jews and Arabs surrender their lives to the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus, Isa in Arabic), then, and only then, is peace between them possible. Jews and Arabs kneeling together at the foot of the cross, receiving forgiveness of sins from Yeshua, and extending forgiveness to each other. THIS is the new kind of human being mentioned in the text above: a follower, a disciple, of Yeshua, the Prince of Peace.
When I pray for the Jews and "Palestinians," I don't pray for the Israelis to defeat their human "enemies." I pray for the defeat the evil schemes of Satan, The Enemy, who is keeping both Jew and "Palestinians" in bondage. I don't pray for Israeli success to "neutralize" their human "enemies." I pray for God to spare the lives of both "Palestinians" and Jews so that they still have an opportunity to repent and escape an eternity in Hell.

I don't even pray for the conflict to be over as soon as possible, because God may very well be using the pain and misery of it to accomplish His eternal purposes, as alluded to by Arni Klein in the quote above. I pray for God's will to be done in the Middle East, that He will be glorified, the name of Yeshua will be lifted up, and that in their despair and desperation, both Jews and "Palestinians" will cry out to Yeshua for salvation.

This series continues with Yeshua In the IDF.
This article is 32nd a series of articles on this Web site related to Modern Christianity and the Church which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
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9  Nov  2008
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27  Nov  2008
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24  Feb  2014
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Many Prayers For the Gaza Crisis
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