The Pastor’s Piece – October 15, 2023

The Pastor’s Piece


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 stateof 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 them. 

Psalms 122:6: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”

(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin).