As much of the Western world has been inundated with ridiculous circus acts of western politics, many have questioned if the conflict in the Mideast has cooled. Not so. Storm clouds have continued to gather, and although there have been movements of troops and military weaponry shifted from one location to another, with nothing major having broken out yet, the coming storm has not nor will it go away. I believe that soon the inevitable conflicts in the Middle East will likely erupt with an intense fury not seen in decades.
In this writing, we will take a close look at what is developing in Gaza as it is quite telling of what may possibly unfold in tandem with it. There is a very pointed passage of Scripture found in the Book of Jeremiah which I will refer to several times as we take a look at what is unfolding before our eyes in real time. The passage written by Jeremiah is found in chapter 12, verses 14-17:
Thus says the LORD: “Against all My evil neighbors who touch the inheritance which I have caused My people Israel to inherit—behold, I will pluck them out of their land and pluck out the house of Judah from among them. Then it shall be, after I have plucked them out, that I will return and have compassion on them and bring them back, everyone to his heritage and everyone to his land. And it shall be, if they will learn carefully the ways of My people, to swear by My name, ‘As the LORD lives,’ as they taught My people to swear by Baal, then they shall be established in the midst of My people. But if they do not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation,” says the LORD.
Throughout Israel’s history in the Old Testament, God had always made provision for Gentiles to be able to join with the household of Israel and enjoy the same benefits as the Jewish people with the condition that they follow God’s laws as taught by His prophet Moses and recorded in the Torah. Today, Israel is more than willing to live at peace with its Arab neighbors but this is not happening.
I won’t take the time to review what has already been covered in the previous two articles but will explain, sometimes in detail, what is unfolding today, particularly in the Gaza strip and how that will likely lead to a major Mideast war, including the prophesied total destruction of Damascus. I will also provide a summary explanation of the conflicts between the Muslim leadership factions and how they affect Israel. Much happens behind the scenes and is not common knowledge but these details make it easier to understand events as they are unfolding.
Most readers of this article have at least a minimal knowledge of the conflict on the Gaza / Israel border. What became world news, especially since March 30, 2018, is being called, “The Great March of Return.” The protests center on the demand for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to be allowed return to the land from which they claim to have been displaced, Israel. The demonstrators / rioters are also protesting the blockade of the Gaza Strip and also the moving of the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. These demonstrations, which started with 30,000 on March 30th, have become the deadliest of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians since the Israeli / Gaza War of 2014.
Those who are not aware of the real issues of this conflict ask why Israel doesn’t just allow the Palestinians the return they are demanding. Let me begin by sharing some quotes by leadership of both sides of this issue.
The official leader of the terrorist organization, Hamas, is Ismail Haniya. However, in Gaza, he is more of a figurehead. The real leader of Hamas in Gaza is Yahya Sinwar. As the United States and Israel demanded that Hamas lay down its arms and recognize the Jewish State, Yahya Sinwar dismissed the demands by saying, “Over is the time Hamas spent discussing recognizing Israel. Now Hamas will discuss when we will wipe out Israel.” Sinwar is also quoted as saying, Disarming us is like Satan dreaming of heaven. No one can take away our weapons…no one in the universe can disarm us.”
Since its inception nearly 30 years ago, Hamas has sought to destroy the State of Israel. Sinwar’s statements above, including his threats against Israel, came at the time when Hamas is wanting to join the internationally recognized government of the Palestinian Authority, which is controlled by PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s party, Fatah.
Hamas is part of the Muslim Brotherhood organization which began in 1928 and presently is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt. Mohammed Morsi, the fifth president of Egypt belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood and served from June 30th, 2012 to July 3, 2013, when he was removed by Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in the Egyptian coup after the June 2013 Cairo protests. The brotherhood has never forgotten this, nor have they settled for the results. Hamas happens to lean more toward a Sharia type of Islamic law, as does the Muslim Brotherhood, and they want every single Jew dead.
Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas is more related to Palestinians in the Jordan area. Although they believe in Islamic law, they are not as fanatical in their observance of Sharia law. Abbas wants a coalition with which to petition the UN for Palestinian Statehood. As Abbas is now in his 80’s, his health is among several major issues which have been thrown into the works to disrupt his plans and he is becoming desperate. Three disruptors that have become a huge problem to Abbas and his plans are these:
- The United States embassy was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
- UNRWA (United Nations Relief Works Agency) was defunded by the U.S.
- Mahmoud Abbas is losing control
There is nothing that Abbas can do about the US embassy having been moved to Jerusalem. This was a huge complication to his plans of making East Jerusalem the capital of a Palestinian State. Then there is UNRWA. This relief organization was originally formed in December of 1949 and was created to support more than 5 million registered Palestinian refugees, and their patrilineal descendants, who fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1948 war of independence of the State of Israel. The problem is that the United States had been providing at least 1/3 of UNRWA’s annual budget of $1.1 billion. When the U.S. found that the agency was rife with fraud and the number of registered Palestinians at least 10 times the true number, the United States defunded the program. There was no truth to the numbers and so the funds were greatly misused.
Adding to the problems above for Mr. Abbas, the United States has urged Hamas and Israel, with the help of negotiators from Egypt, to make a deal that will tamp the violence down. Abbas and the Fatah party have not been invited to the negotiations. The strength of the Fatah party lies in building a powerful coalition with which to apply to the United Nations for Palestinian Statehood. Mahmoud Abbas intends to control this territory, and eventually control everything including the government of Israel, essentially making the Jewish people subservient to the Palestinians. Abbas is seeing his lofty plans fall apart.
This brings us back to the passage in Jeremiah. God had made provision for Gentiles to become part of the Jewish nation, not the other way around. As we see in this Scripture, if the Gentiles refuse to recognize the true Creator, Jehovah GOD, they will eventually be plucked out from amongst the Jewish people and due to their unending insistence on taking God’s promised land from the Jews and attempting to enslave or even kill them, God will wipe them out. This is what we see coming.
In a very real sense, Israel has already tested the two-state solution when they handed the entire Gaza territory to the Palestinian leadership in 2005, withdrawing completely. It was a complete failure. What did the Palestinians do? One of the first things their leadership did was to destroy the infrastructure that had been left for the Palestinians. All of the green houses, agricultural farms, schools, and other buildings that had been left intact were completely destroyed. By 2007, the terror group Hamas was voted in and there has been no end to the terror activities ever since.
Why was Gaza blockaded? So that the continuous line of weaponry and tools of terror could be stopped, or at least controlled. At this point, Abbas is more than happy for there to be war between Israel and Hamas. He hopes that this will give him eventual control over the Gaza Strip and he will be able to rule both territories. The fact is, Mahmoud al-Habash, the supreme sharia judge in the Palestinian Authority and President Mahmoud Abbas’ adviser on religious and Islamic affairs, insists that “the al-Buraq wall is an integral part of the Islamic faith and religion, and is associated with the Prophet Muhammad.” He said this in a sermon just this last Friday, using the Islamic name for the Western Wall (the wailing wall). He went on to say, “It is an Islamic Waqf (endowment) that can never be for non-Muslims. It cannot be under the sovereignty of non-Muslims…The al-Buraq wall belongs to us and can not be conceded…We cannot possibly relinquish a single millimeter, a single stone, a single micromillimeter of the Al-Buraq Wall and of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque…” This sermon was broadcast on official Palestinian Authority TV.
This wall, the wailing wall, is revered by Jews for its historical connection to the ancient Jewish temples in Jerusalem. As part of the retaining walls of the Second Temple, it is the Jewish people’s holiest place of prayer. Muslims on the other hand, believe the Prophet Muhammad tethered his winged steed, named Buraq, to the wall during his miraculous journey from Mecca to Jerusalem.
Week after week at Muslim prayer gatherings on Fridays, the Imams are telling the Palestinians that this is now the beginning of an uncompromising religious war for Islam against the Jews. They are told that the Jews are the enemy of Muslims; that they are representatives of Satan. They are told that this battle that has begun is the one described in the Quran as “the final promise”, leading to the complete destruction of the Children of Israel. It sounds just like Hitler’s “Final Solution” to me!
Many Muslims believe that, whether they are prepared for this war or not; no matter how much chaos or carnage, their Mahdi will show up and win the war for them. They also teach that Isa / Jesus, will be the Mahdi’s deputy and will help in the extermination of all people of the Book, both Jews and Christians! Keep in mind that this “theology” or belief system was birthed at the beginning of the start of the 7th century, 600 years after Christianity. What a huge deception it has become for a large part of the world! Do you think that the knowledge of this unfolding war would embolden them? Absolutely!
One of the very latest developments—in fact, in the last couple days, Qatar offered to pay for a fuel shipment to Gaza. Israel allow four tankers of gas into Gaza. This only led to increased violence at the border after the shipment and the blockade was set in place again. Defense Minister Lieberman said that this was the last straw for him. He is now calling for a military campaign into the Gaza Strip. In a visit to the Gaza Division, he said, “We are not willing to accept the level of violence we see one week after another,” adding, “A serious blow to Hamas could bring us at least five more years of quiet.” He added additional commentary saying, “The defense establishment has done everything…by using force, by using persuasion, by cooperating with those who wanted to help…There were all sorts of attempts to reach an arrangement led by Egypt and the UN and UN envoy. We tried all of the other ways, I didn’t see any results unfortunately.”
Lieberman explained that the reason Friday’s rioting was the last straw was, “after allowing the UN to bring in four tankers of gas (into Gaza) in the morning, in the evening we got a wave of violence, at a level I don’t remember.” He also quoted Hamas leaders, including Ismail Haniyeh, who said neither fuel nor salaries will stop the violence. “Their goal is to lift the siege, which means one thing: uninterrupted free ability to bring in weapons, Hezbollah fighters, Iranians into the Gaza Strip—and we will never allow that…they want to get salaries, fuel, all of the benefits without giving anything back, without an arrangement on the MIA’s and POW’s, without giving up the article in their charter that calls for the annihilation of the State of Israel, and of course without giving up the manufacturing of weapons and the digging of tunnels,” the defense minister explained. “To me, there’s only one formula: reconstruction in return for disarmament.”
I will add one last quote by Mr. Lieberman in which he accused Hamas of inflaming the tensions, “15,000 people don’t just come of their own accord to the border fence. Hamas is bringing them, paying for the buses. Hamas members go out and call on residents to get in the buses, then they drive them there. Hamas set up tents there and is trying to turn it into an event. This isn’t the spontaneous action of innocent residents; it’s the Hamas members who bring people almost by order. Had Hamas not paid for the transportation, no one would’ve come on foot to the border…It’s time to put an end to it.”
Hamas has said, “If the fuel is shut off, they’re going for it…” Lieberman says, “We need to deliver a very harsh blow to Hamas and stop all this…”
Again, we must remember what our Jeremiah passage says. If Israel’s enemy neighbors continue in their headstrong intentions to destroy Israel He, GOD, will pluck them out from among the Jews and destroy them! Another passage of Scripture that confirms what Jeremiah had to say is found in the Book of Zephaniah:
Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O undesirable nation (unashamed, without longing) before the decree is issued, or the day passes like chaff, before the LORD’s fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the LORD’s anger comes upon you! Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility, it may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD’s anger. For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon desolate; they shall drive out Ashdod at noonday, and Ekron shall be uprooted. Woe to the inhabitants of the seacoast, the nation of the Cherethites! The word of the LORD is against you, O Canaan, land of the Philistines; “I will destroy you; so there shall be no inhabitant. The seacoast shall be pastures, with shelters for shepherds and folds for flocks. The coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah, they shall feed their flocks there; in the houses of Ashkelon they shall like down at evening, for the LORD their God will intervene for them and return their captives. Zephaniah 2:1-7
This passage begins with statements clearly indicating it is a “latter day” prophecy. Verse 2 sets the time-frame of this chapter as being just “before the day of the LORD’s anger,” and verse 3 reconfirms that this prophecy applies to the time just prior to “The Day of the LORD.” Verses 4-5 pronounce “woe” upon the cities and inhabitants “of the seacoast,” and it is clear that the “seacoast” of Palestine is being discussed due to the mention of the cities of Gaza, Ashdod, and Ekron. Verse 7 describes the “woe” that will befall these people (also called “Cherethites” and “Philistines” in verse 5) in the following prophecy of God: “the coast shall be for the remnant of Judah; they shall feed thereupon; in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening; for the Lord their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.”
This prophecy clearly says that God will give the historic land of the Philistines to “Judah” just prior to the “Day of the LORD.” The phrase, “turn away their captivity” is a little confusing; the literal meaning is “end their captivity.”
Now here we are today, mid-October 2018, and although Israel took over control of the designated land of Israel, the Gaza Strip was given back into the control of the Palestinians since 2005 again and as of 2007 has been ruled by the terror group Hamas. The Old Testament prophets, in several passages confirm that Israel will be in complete control of not only the Gaza Strip, but of other lands not presently under their sovereignty. What is about to happen? War is coming. MAJOR war is coming, and it may very well begin in Gaza.
According to the Old Testament prophets, God intervenes and plucks Israel’s enemies out of their way. What will happen when Islam suffers such a heavy defeat? Will it affect the beliefs of the Muslim people? God spoke through Jeremiah, saying…”If they had just believed…”
Will this just be an isolated skirmish between the IDF and Hamas? Will Hezbollah just sit back and observe? How about Iran’s Republican Guard? How about Assad’s Syria? For that matter, how about the Palestinians in the West Bank? It could be an isolated mini-war, but according to Jeremiah 12:14-17, probably not. Defense Minister Lieberman’s statement about Hamas driving the Palestinians to the borders reminds me of the prophet Obadiah’s prophecy that the Palestinian’s allies would push them to the borders, using them as pawns to start a war with Israel. That is exactly what is happening today!
Maybe this will all settle down for a few days, a few weeks, but how long? Remember the Islamic clerics are telling the Muslim people that the war promised as the final Islamic holy war against the Jews has already begun! I don’t believe that Hezbollah, Iran, Assad’s forces, Iraq’s militants, and the rest of Israel’s enemies will sit back and allow Israel to put Hamas down without them joining the conflict, and there we have the Psalm 83 war. How long will it be until Damascus and its surrounding territories are destroyed? How long until ancient Elam is destroyed as is foretold in Jeremiah 49? It will all happen in very short order! Almighty God, who is outside of time, said these things would unfold just prior the beginning of the Apocalypse described by the Apostle John. That is where we are on God’s timeline today!
Israel knows that war is coming in on all sides. The United States knows it too. Some say Israel is dwelling safely today. Are they really? They are the most walled in nation on earth today. But, not for long.
What is next on God’s timeline? Is it the Rapture / Harpazo of the Church? Is it the much awaited peace treaty for Israel? I believe the final peace treaty mentioned by the prophet Daniel will be a result of a major happening in the Middle East. Israel will want peace after having faced enemies since the day of their independence. The world will want a peace treaty with Israel because there is not a nation on earth that is able to destroy Israel.
Amazing times we live in!!
In Part Four we will finally get to the destruction of Damascus and events that surround it.