Israel has finished 17 days of war against Hizballah; an average of 100 katyusha rockets have been fired into northern Israel every day. Israel has called up 3 divisions of reservists. Syria has put its army on high alert. At the moment of writing this, Israeli Army commander-in-chief General Haluts has been admitted to the hospital with stomach pains.
This war is both physical and spiritual. Here are some insights and information to help you as you pray:
Psalms – Rockets in Hebrew is “Teelim”; Psalms are “T’heelim.” An Israeli saying goes, “We use t’heelim (psalms) against teelim (rockets).” More than a coincidence occurred this week when Israeli chief rabbis called for the nation to read Psalm 83 publicly just when an ancient Latin manuscript (dating to 1000 AD) was discovered in a bog in Ireland, opened to Psalm 83.
Justified War – Israelis feel that they had no choice but to fight this war. When Hizballah attacked, there was not one Israeli soldier in Lebanon. Hizballah crossed an international border unprovoked to attack us. A poll this week showed 90% of Jewish Israelis believe our military response is justified. (80% say the Israeli army is doing a good job; 70% say Prime Minister Olmert is doing a good job; and 60% say Defense Minister Perets is doing a good job.)
Moral Dilemma – Israel has suffered losses this week, mainly provoked by the army’s cautiousness not to harm innocent Lebanese civilians. Hebrew front page newspaper editorial asked today (Rafi Ginat, Yediot): “What is more correct? Should we suffer losses of our best soldiers in order to protect the lives of Southern Lebanese villagers? Should we use limited force, which will in turn lengthen the extent of the war and the number of missiles landing on our citizens; or use a more lethal force and feel a little less ‘ethical’ while we hasten the end of the fighting and strengthen our deterrence ability?”
Financial Difficulties – Close to a million people in northern Israel have been affected by the current war. Tourism has halted; businesses have been shut down. The economy in the north has come to a stand still. The Israeli Treasury department has agreed to pay the salaries of ALL the workers in the north who couldn’t go to work this month. Obviously that subsidy can not continue. The financial difficulties of the war may have a great influence on the outcome.
International Peacekeeping Force – On September 2, 2004, the U. N. Security Council passed Resolution 1559; paragraph #3 “calls for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias.” (That meant Hizballah.) The U. N. then sent its UNIFIL forces to carry out this worthy agenda. However just the opposite happened; the U. N. forces became the cover-up and “human shield” for the massive weapons build-up and entrenchment of Hizballah forces, that led to the current war.
Battle of Hattin – On July 4, 1187, on a hill a few kilometers west of Tiberias, an army of an estimated 20,000 European crusaders marched against the Muslim forces’ Ayyubid dynasty under Tsalach–a’ddin (Saladin). The crusaders stupidly allowed themselves to be surrounded, dehydrated in this field under a burning Middle East sun. Saladin’s forces routed them, and thus took control over all the Middle East, including Jerusalem! This battle was a turning point in the history of the Middle Ages. The figure of Saladin became an almost mythical one, representing the victory of Muslim forces over Western “Christianity.” There is little doubt that Nasrallah sees himself as a modern day Saladin, who hopes to rout the “Christians” and re-conquer Jerusalem. The Saladin psychology still casts a long shadow over Middle East conflicts even today.
Curse of Goliath – David said to Goliath, “I come against you in the name of the LORD of Armies, the God of the battalions of Israel, whom you have defied (I Samuel 17:45).” In my view, in a similar way, Nasrallah has defied and cursed the God of Israel. Putting an end to Nasrallah would be one of the important keys to ending the current conflict as quickly as possible.
Spiritual and Physical Warfare – Many have written on spiritual warfare better than I could. Perhaps the insight that I can help with from the Jewish or Israeli background of the Scriptures is to point out that spiritual warfare is connected to military warfare. The New Covenant view of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6, II Corinthians 10) does not “replace” military conflict. The two often go together. The New Covenant gives revelation into the spiritual forces behind the conflicts. Those two levels were always there simultaneously (II Samuel 5:24; II Kings 6:17; Daniel 10:3, 13). Let’s not allow “replacement” theology to affect our understanding of spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare is connected to military conflict; and that in turn is connected to Israel. Think how many, many scripture passages describe the relationship between prophecy and military conflicts with Israel.
Righteous Judgments – We are used to praising God for His blessings, and rightly so. However, God is also to be praised for His judgments. They display His righteousness, His holiness, and His power. When we praise Him for His judgments on the earth, including military conflict, He receives glory. “All the nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested (Revelation 15:4).” “You are righteous O Lord … for You have judged these things. True and righteous are Your judgments (Revelations 16:5, 7).” It is essential for us to understand as we enter into the tribulations of the end times, that one of our roles as a spiritual priesthood is to praise God for His judgments.
Good Qualities – God often calls for His people to go to war. I am amazed at what is happening in Israel these days. The people are displaying patriotism, self sacrifice, serving one another, kindness, seriousness, generosity, motivation, optimism, faith in God, prayer, unity. Political divisions and the spirit of criticism have ceased. Sexual immorality has dropped way down on the television. I believe God would like those same qualities in believers around the world. May it happen to the end times’ Church.
Wider Conflict – Once again President Bush stood up against the forces in Europe and the U. N. that wanted to attack Israel. If not for him, we could be facing a united international condemnation of Israel. (For those Christians and Messianic Jews who have been blasting Bush, I would ask you what you are expecting to get when he leaves office.) In some ways Hizballah is the military arm of Syria and Iran, who in turn are leading the world-wide “Jihad” movement of radical Islam. In some ways, Israel is doing the dirty work for the United States, which in turn is doing the dirty work for the evangelical world. Spiritually, this is a conflict between evangelicalism and radical Islam. As a Christian, you may want to avoid this conflict, and you may not want to interpret it that way. However, the conflict is not going to go away.
Need to Win – Another aspect of spiritual warfare that should be obvious, but is often missed. We need to win. God is glorified when the good triumph and the wicked are defeated. This war needs to be won. The forces of terrorism and Jihad must be defeated – and decisively. Our job is to secure the victory. Get that defeatist, humanistic mentality out! When Moses raised his hands, the Israelites defeated the Amalekites. When his hands were lowered, Israel was defeated (Exodus 17:10-13). It was not the army that determined the outcome, but the raised hands of Moses (The word for the hands of Moses being “steady” in the original Hebrew is Emunah, literally meaning FAITH). When Moses’ faith was up, Israel won the victory. Let’s keep our hands up in prayer, praise, and prophecy, until the victory is won.
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.