One of the great spiritual battles of our generation is against Islamic terrorism and Jihad. This battle has both spiritual and natural aspects to it. It is connected to what is called “the Beast” in Revelation 13:1-2. Since the Beast will be destroyed finally at the second coming of Yeshua/Jesus (Revelation 19:19-20), we know that: 1. This battle will continue to be more and more severe, and 2. In the end, the righteous are victorious.
The two men that God has currently appointed as the leaders of the natural side of the battle against Islamic terrorism are 1. George Bush, the President of the United States, and 2. Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister of Israel. Those of us who are born again, Spirit-filled believers in Yeshua all have responsibility for the spiritual side of the war.
The spiritual aspects of our war include: 1. Prayer, praise and prophecy, 2. Preaching and teaching the Word of God, and 3. Repentance, reconciliation, and restoration.
The Bible teaches that the victory in military warfare is limited to the victory in angelic warfare, and the angelic warfare is limited to the extent of our spiritual warfare. (See Genesis 28:12, Exodus 17:11, Joshua 5:14, II Samuel 5:24, II Kings 6:17, II Chronicles 20:22, Isaiah 37:1-36, Daniel 10:2-13, Matthew 25:31, Acts 12:5-10, Revelation 19:11.) We can’t expect the army to win more battles than we are willing to pray and fast for.
You can’t hurt an evil spirit with bombs alone. We can stop the criminal aspects of terrorism, but the greater enemy is the lies of Islam that are brainwashing millions (John 8:44). Those lies must be fought with the word of God. When they know the Truth, the Truth will set them free (John 8:32).
Part of our spiritual warfare is to stand in FAITH. The world has no reason for hope or optimism. We have to provide that for them. Israel also needs us to provide that spiritual source of vision. When Moses held his hands up in faith (Exodus 17:12), the Israeli army was victorious; when he lowered his arms, the army faltered.
In this recent war in Lebanon against the Hizballah terrorists, the Israeli army won a victory, but it was not a total one. That represents our spiritual state as well. We won a spiritual victory, but not a total one.
And yet there is reason for us to rejoice. When the children of Israel wandered in the desert in the time of Moses, they constantly angered God by their complaining and rebellion. We Messianic Jews and Evangelical Christians often do the same today. It’s a miracle of grace that we see as much victory as we do. Our words have spiritual power and authority (Mark 11:23, Mathew 18:18-19). When we give ourselves to complaining and rebellion, we don’t realize that we are giving our mouths to the devil as tools of his “bringing accusation before our God day and night (Revelation 12:12).”
The book of Revelation is filled with tribulation, natural disasters, war, and judgments. Yet we are called to praise and worship God all the way through those difficulties. And we are not supposed to praise God in spite of His judgments, but because of His judgments; because they are righteous. (Please read Revelation 11:17-18, 12:10, 12:12, 15:2, 15:3-4, 16:4, 16:5-7, 18:20, 19:1-2, 19:6-7)
In analyzing the current cease-fire agreement, we have to discern between the agreement and the implementation. The agreement itself is very good; the implementation of the agreement will be very difficult. The first half of the war has been completed, the second half is about to begin.
There is a saying in golf: “It’s all in the follow through.” In spiritual warfare, we need to correct the tendency to win the first part of the battle and forget to follow through. In the war in Iraq, the first part of the battle went brilliantly. In the transitioning the government into Iraqi hands, there have been huge losses. If we are going to see a victory over terrorism and the gospel spread to millions of Muslims, we are going to have to pray not only for the first big bang, but to be persevering in prayer and follow through until there is complete restoration.
In a debriefing session with some of the front line tank soldiers, Israeli army Northern command General Udi Adam said, “We have won a military victory. We have fought against what was actually a full division of the Iranian army. We have a cease-fire agreement. It is a good agreement; it has holes in it and will be difficult to implement, but it is a good agreement none the less.”
One area of follow through that we need to pray for is the owners of small businesses in northern Israel to overcome their losses and re-establish the economy. They are part of the soldiers in the second half of the war.
In reading the cease-fire document, I found 25 individual points; all 25 of them are good for Lebanon; 21 of them are good for Israel; 4 are good for Hizballah. The agreement gives a window of opportunity to the Lebanese people and the government under Prime Minister Seniora. With that opportunity also comes responsibility. They face the difficult task of disarming Hezbollah, overseeing his army’s deployment in southern Lebanon, and rebuilding the nation after the damages of war.
Hizballah is already twisting and manipulating the cease-fire agreement; and is threatening to take over the Lebanese government. (Some Hizballah political figures have started making violent and ugly verbal attacks against the Lebanese government.) Let us remember that the main weapon of terror is intimidation; and the Hizballah intimidation is first toward the Lebanese people and secondly toward Israel. Israel will not be intimidated. Let us pray for the Lebanese church, the Lebanese people, and the Lebanese government.
Until now Kofi Anan and the French and UNIFIL forces have been simply covering up for anti-Semitism and terrorist activities. Let us pray for them to do the work that is written in the cease-fire agreement, to keep Iran and Syria from re-arming Hizballah.
Side Note 1 – German press sources released yesterday that intelligence information passed on by the Israeli Mossad helped Scotland Yard on Thursday to arrest the 24 terrorists in England who were planning to blow up ten passenger jets from London to the U.S.
Side Note 2 – Yesterday in Sweden, Israeli veteran pole jumper, Alex Auerbach won the gold medal for the second time at the European championships. At the winner’s stand, during the playing of the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah, Auerbach pulled out an Israeli flag, and with tears in his eyes, waved it before the crowd of 30,000 cheering Swedes. He said afterward, “I kept thinking how I wanted to bring some happiness to my country.”
Appendix: Israeli Press Reports
I’ve attached here four reports from the Israeli Hebrew Press that we have summarized and translated. All come from senior Israeli journalists.
Report One: Drama about the Cease Fire, by Shimon Shefer
So many mothers of Israeli soldiers flooded Olmert’s personal telephone with requests to pull the soldiers out of Lebanon that staff finally had to block the phone line.
At 2:00 AM Israel time, between Thursday and Friday, Olmert’s office received a copy of the original draft of the cease-fire agreement. It was disastrous; a capitulation to the demands of Hizballah. Frantic diplomatic efforts behind the scenes were put into motion, coordinated by Olmert’s liaison, Yoram Turbovitch, and White House liaison, Steve Hadley.
At 3:00 AM, after a tense telephone conference, Israeli cabinet members decided to reject the document.
At 4:50 PM on Friday afternoon, they gave the order to execute the expansion of ground operations in southern Lebanon.
Behind the scenes, President Bush intervened to demand changes in the proposal according to Israel’s security needs. Condeleeza Rice’s team formulated a new version with the French delegation.
At 11:30 PM, Friday night, there was a breakthrough. All the parties agreed to the new proposal.
At 3:00 AM, on Shabbat – Israel time, (8:00 pm New York time), the proposal was unanimously accepted by the fifteen members of the security counsel.
After the vote on the cease-fire, Olmert called President Bush personally to thank him for his help. In their eight-minute conversation, Bush told Olmert, “I have been watching how you are managing the war. I know what challenging decisions you have to face. Iran stands behind Hezbollah, and your war is, in fact, a war with militia sent from Teheran. We are partners in this battle.”
Olmert responded to Bush, “Many times I have thought about what you have gone through in the past few years. Your determination to make tough decisions has given me inspiration in our difficult times.”
Bush later called to encourage Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora, telling him, “In order to build up Lebanon successfully, you will have to disband Hizballah.”
Report Two: Nasrallah’s Demise, by General Yair Cohen
The feeling of the public’s pain over the terrible human suffering in this war is quite understandable. But the feeling of failure that clouds us in regards to its results is not understandable.
This war originated in Nasrallah’s delusion that the Israeli public was weak as “a spider’s web” and would collapse at any attack, particularly the kidnapping of our soldiers. His worldview was shattered – according to which Israel would humiliate herself to release the kidnapped soldiers and not take the risk of running a military offensive.
Nasrallah abandoned his army and flock to be destroyed, while he fled to hide in a bunker. His stronghold in Beirut was destroyed, as well as the military installations in southern Lebanon. A lifework of 24 years, that elevated the Shiites to dominance in Lebanon, was set back to its starting point.
Nasrallah’s attempts to unite the Arab world under his wings were rejected in disgust. The shapers of Lebanese public opinion have misunderstood the so-called “lack of proportion” in the Israeli offensive. However they have also hotly criticized Nasrallah. The pro-Syrian journal “Al-Safir” writes that “Hizballah cannot win but only try to make its defeat look better. The Lebanese have a right to demand from Nasrallah to stop abusing them”.
Druze leader Junblatt said that Nasrallah is an “instrument in the hands of Syrian fascists and those possessed with Iranian messianism.” The list is long of those who denounce the “suicide culture for the sake of foreign interests.”
Report Three: Difficulties of the Cease Fire, by Alex Fishman
The soldiers that wake this morning, in the hills of southern Lebanon, will face a new reality. Israeli Central Command has ordered a cease-fire at 7:00 AM sharp, meaning – stop all offensive actions. There is no longer a case for “preventive fire.” You see suspicious movement? You don’t shoot. Any shooting must be verified first. Firing? – Only out of defense. The IDF will not advance northward. It can comb the areas under its control to search for weapons. In the case of armed resistance during the searches, there is permission to return fire. This means that the fighting and friction will continue.
Aerial attacks deep into Lebanon will cease. In the closing hours before the cease-fire, the air force completed attacking a series of “quality targets” in northern Lebanon.
One of the “holes” in the cease-fire agreement is – what happens if a truck carrying weapons from Syria crosses the border before the multi-national force is deployed. If Israel attacks, is that considered a breach of the cease-fire? At this point there is no answer.
Report Four: U. N. Resolution 1701, by Sever Plotsker
The decision of the Security Council 1701, as was reached over the weekend, was an unprecedented political achievement for Israel as a Jewish state. It adopts the basic Israeli approach to the war. There is no denunciation of our military activity in Lebanon; the oppressor mentioned is Hizballah; and there is full recognition of our right to a strong military response.
Before July 12th, when Hizballah induced a surprise attack upon Israel, Nasrallah was holding all the cards and his control in southern Lebanon was uncontested. Today the IDF is positioned in most of the territory up to the Litani River, Hizballah has taken continuous hits that it never dreamed of, and the Security Council has made a unanimous decision sending 15,000 UN soldiers to “Hizballah land.” Both the Lebanese government and the Arab League of Nations were partners in this decision.
Was it possible to reach the same result without the war? Absolutely not. If Israel did not react the way she did, we would today be stuck in humiliating negotiations with Nasrallah, who would be glorified as having subdued Israel. We cost him and those surrounding him a heavy price. He knows it. And the entire Arab world knows it.
Indeed, our North is devastated and we have many casualties and wounded. Hizballah somehow survived. The Olmert-Peretz government made many mistakes, some of which are unforgivable. There are many faults in decision 1701. However, if this decision is implemented as it is written, including the return of our kidnapped soldiers, the strategic advantages to Israel – and to a free Lebanon – will be apparent above all.
Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.
He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.
Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.