This article was written with the help of an American Messianic Jewish leader. It discusses recent events in Israel, Gaza, and the Middle East, aiming to provide a biblical perspective on the events of October 7, 2023. It highlights the significance of understanding God’s perspective, emphasizing five key principles from God’s Word, and urges believers to pray for the unmasking of Satan’s plans, the opposing of lies, and the advancement of God’s kingdom plans.
Many are seeking to understand the events that are taking place in Israel, Gaza, and the wider Middle East. People are glued to media reports and trying to understand what is happening. Different groups have interpreted the events in very different ways, and Christian believers are struggling to gain God’s perspective and to know how to pray.
This Discerning the Times aims to articulate what we believe is God’s perspective on the events of October 7 (as we understand them) and the events that have continued to unfold and which, even now, seem to threaten to bring us all into a broader world war. Believers need to see the events from God’s perspective so that they can pray and intercede, and so that they can answer objections that they hear and speak the truth to those around them who may be caught in a web of confusion and deceit.
Some believers wonder whether they should “stand by Israel,” but are upset by the level of violence and the number of deaths in Gaza and are confused by reporting that has emphasized the suffering of the people of Gaza and has portrayed Israel as engaging in “genocide.”
First, perspective is necessary. There was peace in the region, and Israel was allowing many inhabitants of Gaza to work in plentiful, well-paying jobs in Israel. They had recently increased the number of guest workers allowed.
There was a higher level of peace in the Middle East than at any earlier time, as Israel had signed peace treaties with several Arab states and was working towards a peace treaty with Saudi Arabia. Israel and the Saudis were talking of collaborating on a new trade route that would land goods on the Indian Ocean coast and then move them by train to Israel for transshipment around the world.
General peace and prosperity were on the rise in the region. Enemies of Israel and the West, including Iran and its proxies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, the West Bank, and Yemen, were threatened by this peace.
October 7, 2023
Then, on October 7, 2023, a great evil was unleashed against Israel. Hamas launched a massive attack that overwhelmed border defenses and spread massive bloodshed and horrendous, unspeakable acts of violence into Israel. Hamas is a terrorist group that calls in its charter for the extermination of all Jews and the conquest of the entire land of Israel. They used information gleaned from guest workers and others to plan their assault.
These attacks were designed to be as horrifying as possible, both to provoke an Israeli response and to unleash evil. Over 1,300 Israeli citizens and citizens of other countries were murdered. Many were tortured before being killed. Parents were forced to watch their infants being slaughtered before their eyes. Women were brutalized in unthinkable ways and then killed. More than 200 hostages were taken back into Gaza as trophies and to be used as human shields.
Responding to that pogrom-like attack—the most significant loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust—Israel was determined to attack Hamas in Gaza with the twin goals of recovering the hostages, attacking Hamas, and degrading their capability ever again to launch such an attack. The Israeli Defense Forces are still engaged in those actions, even as negotiations allowed the release of some hostages.
To truly grasp the significance of these horrific events, we need to understand five key principles from God’s word. We pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” God has a plan for the earth and every life. But evil is real, and Satan is a real being who is opposed to God’s work and wants to stop God’s plans. We need to be aware of the supernatural battle happening all around us.
1. God has a special, irrevocable calling on the Jewish people, and He has stated that He will judge the nations and people according to how they treat Israel
God called Abram and covenanted with him to give him the land of Israel (Genesis 12–15). He further promised that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through the Jewish people and that whoever blessed Israel, God would bless, and whoever cursed Israel, God would curse. This flies in the face of our humanism. It doesn’t seem fair that God would favor one person or nation, but this is the truth that God has declared in his Word.
2. History proves that Israel is not perfect and has fallen into sin, but that God’s promises still apply to them. God judges Israel for their sins, but still judges those who curse her
We do not know why God allowed this attack to occur, but there are certainly things in Israel that displease God. We need to pray for repentance for Israel for those sins that beset her, and especially that they will turn and accept their Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus). But Scripture makes it clear that the nations that are used to judge Israel are themselves judged. We need to pray for revival throughout the Middle East and for reconciliation between the children of Isaac (Jews) and Ishmael (Arabs).
3. The October 7 attack was Satanically inspired and directed. Satan would like to use it to provoke a World War and bring destruction and death to the whole earth
Satan has acted throughout history to oppose and try to kill the Jewish people. We must see the supernatural plans of the Devil in the centuries-long history of nation after nation trying to exterminate the Jewish people and God bringing them through.
Look at pogroms and blood libels throughout history: read the book of Esther: read about the Spanish Inquisition (aimed particularly at the Jews): read about Hitler and the Holocaust; look at Stalin planning to eliminate the Jews in Russia; consider Israel struggling through wars since their rebirth in 1948.
Look, even now, at accusations that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza – while Hamas, which openly calls for genocide and was attempting to carry out genocide, is not charged. Yet Israel, who takes great care to warn civilians of danger, is charged. Satan wants to stop the plans of God.
He knows that when the Jewish people come to faith in Yeshua – as is foretold in the Bible, it will be “Life from the dead” (Romans 11:15). Just as Satan inspired Herod to slaughter the children of Bethlehem in an attempt to kill Yeshua as an infant, so today he keeps stirring up murderous hatred of the Jewish people.
4. Some human actions are both revelatory and catalytic. October 7 was such an event
Some events are revelatory in that they reveal the deeper intentions of the people involved in them. Some events go beyond the human actors to reveal either God’s intentions behind the human actions or the presence of the Devil at work. At the same time, certain events reveal God’s intentions and plans or expose Satan’s goals and schemes. These events will accelerate or spread those plans already set in motion by previous events.
These revelatory and catalytic events often mark the hinge points in human history. They lead to the fulfillment of either God’s or Satan’s intentions. God’s intentions result in greater good for humanity, which includes life, justice, and prosperity. Satan’s intentions result in greater evils, such as death, oppression, injustice, misery, and want.
When clothed in action, an idea or a vision (whether good or evil) builds the psychological and spiritual conditions within people that are needed to draw them into taking part in fulfilling the vision that has been presented. Actions that embody God’s manifest presence and kingdom draw others into God’s presence and plans and build faith. They also draw out in people what is good and noble, which is then energized by the presence of the Holy Spirit. We see this dynamic at work when good deeds and acts of kindness evoke similar sentiments in others and lead to more good deeds.
Evil actions have the potential to unleash greater evil. When a person or a group does something evil, their violent or dehumanizing acts, causing harm or death, can spark further evil acts. We see this in the evil events of Kristallnacht in 1938 or in the October 7 Massacre. This cycle draws others into similar immoral and inhuman acts.
5. Satan cloaks his actions so that his actions are not easily understood or perceived
One other concept that we must recognize as we embark on this discernment and prayer work is that Satan will do everything possible to obscure and hide what he is up to in the world. We can call this “demonic cloaking.” This cloaking takes place through all sorts of psychological and spiritual processes. Satan actively works to obscure, distort the truth, and hide his true intentions. This takes place through deliberate subterfuge and a highly effective process of warping what we perceive as real and true.
When we apply these discernment principles to the October 7 Massacre of Jews to determine what is really taking place and what has been set in motion, we see we are contending with major demonic cloaking, which is obscuring the true meaning of what took place. We see evidence of this cloaking in the media reporting of alleged civilian casualties in Gaza or the UN’s one-sided condemnations of Israel, without any context of the October 7 Massacre and with no reference to Hamas’ proven practice of using their captive population as human shields.
We also see this cloaking at work in the removal of many of the horrible images that the Jihadists themselves posted on the internet, boasting of their killing of Jews. We can see it in media reports that accept statistics and stories from Hamas uncritically while disputing or not presenting statements from the Israeli government. We can also see this in operation when, across university campuses and major cities in the United States and Great Britain, there are massive outpourings of support for Hamas—often by people who have little or no understanding of the facts on the ground—calling for Palestine to be established “From the River to the Sea” (a Hamas slogan which refers to the complete elimination of Israel.)
How should believers respond and pray?
Here are some suggestions of ways to respond in prayer and intercession to the events that are taking place. As always, believers should allow their prayers to be directed by the Holy Spirit.
- That Satan’s plans would be completely unmasked and become obvious to observers
- That people would speak up and come against the lies of the devil confronting them.
- That all people, but especially believers, would understand God’s plan and calling for Israel and would pray for the Jewish people to come to faith.
- That God bring reconciliation to the offspring of Isaac and Ishmael.
- That God would bring revival to the Arab world and to Iran.
- That Israel and the Jewish people come to faith in their Messiah – Yeshua.
- That God would, in His mercy, stop the hands of evil men so that no further blood would be shed, removing them from power and removing the sources of funding that allow terrorist organizations like Hamas, the Houthis, and Hezbollah to operate, as well as rogue nations like Iran to act against Israel and the United States.
and most of all, pray that God’s plan of worldwide revival will start.