October 15, 2023
There is a lot happening in the world today - mainly in Israel. Ever since I was a little kid, my
parents had the radio on and I remember hearing about wars and battles taking place in the
Middle East. I only remember the Six Day War in 1967, where Egypt attacked Israel and was
quickly defeated, because I read about it in history. I was a young teenager in 1973 when the
Yom Kippur War broke out. At that time, I remember hearing about The Golan Heights and the
Sinai Peninsula and the Suez Canal every day in the news - but I understood very little about
what was happening over there - nor did I really care. I remember Syria being in the news too. I
didn’t understand it then, but later as an adult, I began to understand why Israel was always in
the news - and always will be in the news. It has Biblical proportions.
The attacks last week were horrific. The terrorist organization, Hamas, launched massive and
indiscriminate rocket fire toward civilian population centers in towns and communities near the
Gaza Strip. They blew a hole in the fence, and with trucks and motorcycles and foot soldiers,
they invaded Israel. They went into villages and began to slaughter civilians. They intentionally
and purposely targeted innocent civilians and children and elderly women, then they took
prisoners and boasted about it. They showed obscene photographs of them in the back of
pickup trucks - as they were being carried off into captivity for torture and death. They went
literally home to home, door to door, looking for the young and for the elderly. There are
hundreds, maybe thousands dead and thousands more wounded. Some have likened this to
9/11 - and just to compare, Israel has a population of fewer than 10 million people, 900 killed is
equivalent to a mass casualty event of 30,000 Americans. In response, the Israeli government
quickly declared a state of war, reportedly calling up over 300,000 reservists and laying the
groundwork to battle and destroy the terrorist group that has long vowed to annihilate them. This
drove Prime MInister Benjamin Natenyahoo to say: “We are now at war with Hamas.”
It’s interesting how world events always come back to Jerusalem. The Bible predicted
thousands of years ago that the end time events would revolve around Jerusalem. Not
Washington D.C., not Moscow, not Paris or Berlin, but Jerusalem - this tiny little city, and this
tiny little sliver of land called Israel - will play a key role in the events of the last days. It’s the
focal point of end times events in the Bible.
It’s amazing when you think about it because in Zechariah 12, God says, “I will make Jerusalem
like an intoxicating drink that makes the nearby nations stagger when they send their armies to
besiege Jerusalem and Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock. All the
nations will gather against it to try to move it, but they will only hurt themselves,” (Zecharaiah
12:2-3). In other words, the world will hate Israel, and they will try, but not succeed in wiping her
off the map.
But here’s where it gets interesting. The Bible tells us that Israel will be scattered and
regathered. You want to talk about signs of the times? The super sign of the last days and really
the sign that set the prophetic clock ticking was the regathering of the nation Israel into their homeland on the heels of the Holocaust. Who would have ever thought that the Jewish people
who lost six million of their people to the Nazis, would somehow regather in their homeland? But
it happened against all odds, and on May 14, 1948 Israel became a nation. And the United
States was the first nation to acknowledge that.
God said Israel would be regathered and the Lord said she would come under attack. That is
what we are seeing today. Israel is under attack. This is not an exercise. It is a public
expression of hatred and we should understand with clarity that it is anti-semitism - the hatred of
the Jewish people.
So what should we do in light of all this? Jesus said, “When you see these things begin to
happen, look up because your redemption is drawing near,” (Luke 21:28).
That’s what we need to be doing - looking up - and praying. The Bible tells us to pray for the
peace of Jerusalem - and we want to pray that they arrive at some kind of peace. We want to
pray that this horrific terrorism stops and that they are able to live in peace in the land God gave
Psalms 122:6: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin).