The Prophetic Significance of the Hamas/Israel War

On October 7, 2023, Hamas literally broke a ceasefire that had been in effect since 2005, when they sent terrorists across to Israel and murdered 1,200 innocent civilians and took over 240 hostages (several of them also murdered since that initial date.) On October 7, Hamas had declared war on Israel. Within a few hours, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu declared: “We didn’t start this war, but we will finish it!”

The war is ongoing, and many Bible students are wondering if it has any prophetic significance. Is it connected to any Bible events that are predicted for the future? Is it the war of Psalm 83? Is it the war of Gog and Magog? Is it the beginning of the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, also known as the Tribulation? Maybe it is also connected to the events described in Zechariah 12. Let’s look at all four possibilities.

Is It the War of Psalm 83?

Psalm 83 was written by Asaph and is a clear example of the hatred that the enemies of Israel have for the Jewish land. Verse 4 literally reads like a news headline: “They have said, ‘Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more.’

Further down into the Psalm, we are given a list of the ten nations that are “conspiring” against Israel. Incidentally, they also conspire against the God of Israel according to verse 5: “For they have conspired together with one heart; Against You they cut a covenant.” So, keep in mind that you cannot hate the Jews and love God.

The ten nations are found in verses 6-8, “The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them.

In modern times, these ten nations are divided as follows: Jordan (Edom, Moab, Ammon), Saudi Arabia (Ishmaelites), Egypt (Hagarenes, Amalek), Lebanon (Gebal, Tyre), The Gaza Strip (Philistia), Iraq and Syria (Assyria.)

Two of these countries, Egypt and Jordan, have official peace treaties with Israel and are currently not a threat to the safety of the Jewish people. Additionally, there has never been a conspiracy of all ten countries in the history of mankind.

Another way to look at Asaph’s lament is to see it as a literary device he used to express to his God that everywhere he looks, the Jews have enemies. It is akin to someone saying, “The whole world is against me” when many negative things simultaneously happen to that person. It is very likely that the war of Psalm 83 isn’t really a war to start with.

Is It the War of God and Magog?

The war of Gog and Magog is also a very debated topic among Bible students. Ezekiel chapters 36-39 provide much information on end times. Chapters 36 and 37 speak of the regathering of the Jewish people into the land, first in unbelief (36) and then, as they are being regenerated (37), with that beautiful passage about the Valley of Dry Bones.

Ezekiel 38:1-7 lists ten proper names for the reader. Gog (a person), Magog (former Soviet Union), Rosh (Russia), Meshech and Tubal (Turkey), Persia (Iran), Ethiopia (Sudan), Put (Libya), Gomer (Central Turkey), Beth-Togarmah (Turkey).

This is a real war and can probably be described as one of the greatest existential threats that modern Israel will know in the future. Furthermore, in Ezekiel 38:8, 11 and 14, we are told that the battle will take place while Israel is at rest and at peace, something that is clearly not the case currently, especially since October 7, 2023.

Ezekiel 38:11 and you will say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates.

A preferred view for Gog and Magog would be after Israel has signed a peace treaty with the Antichrist, something that will indicate the starting point of the seven-year Great Tribulation. At that point, Israel will be at peace–albeit false–for the first three and a half years of the seven-year Tribulation. This is also in line with the prophecies of Daniel 9. Things are moving very fast in the Middle East right now and many events take place unexpectedly, but we are not in the midst of Gog and Magog.

Is It the Start of the Great Tribulation?

It is no secret that I adhere to a premillennial, pre-tribulational view of the end times, with the next event on the prophetic clock being the dateless, signless Rapture. Regardless of one’s view of the Rapture, serious students of the Bible agree that what starts the Tribulation is the signing of a peace treaty between the Antichrist and Israel, and this hasn’t happened quite yet.

Simply put, the current situation in Israel has not started the Tribulation. Incidentally, nowhere in the Bible do we find even one verse telling us that everything will be fine for believers all the way to the start of the Tribulation. Things can and probably will get worse before they get better, and eventually, the Tribulation will start.

Is It Connected to the events of Zechariah 12?

The prophet Zechariah sheds more light on the end times. He tells us that in the end, Jerusalem will be at risk:

Zechariah 12:3 But it will be in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who heave it up will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.

Further down in the chapter, we learn that God will go after all the enemies of Israel, something that even Asaph was praying for in Psalm 83.

Zechariah 12:9 And it will be in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

         While we still do not have an exact timing for these events, we can say with assurance that the world stage, and certainly the Middle East stage, is being set for these battles. The worldwide irrational and demonic increase in antisemitism is showing us again that we are ever so close to the return of Yeshua of Nazareth. Satan knows that his days are numbered and that he will eventually be thrown into the Lake of Fire after Yeshua has returned.

         This time, Yeshua will return as the Lion of Judah and not the sacrificial lamb of God. He will decimate all the enemies of Israel and inaugurate the Millennial kingdom in Jerusalem from where He will reign from the throne of David.

         So, while this is not the War of Psalm 83, Gog and Magog, or the Tribulation, the stage is being set, and all the players are in place. Now would be a really good time to examine your heart and make sure that you have made peace with God by trusting the atonement made by Yeshua, the Messiah, on your behalf. When all these events become a reality, while salvation will still be possible, life will be much more complicated.

Antisemitism in 2015: A Year in Review!

Within a week of the start of 2015, terrorism hit France in what became the worst terror attack in decades, claiming 17 lives. Eleven month later, in some sort of an erie xenophobic bookend, France was hit again, this time losing 130 innocent people. As I see the fabric of our global village changing daily, especially with the recent migrant crisis in Europe, I am greatly concerned with the fate of my people and of Israel. 2015 was packed with events, incidents and tragedies affecting Jewish people globally, yet, for the most part, the world kept going, trying to convince us that global warming is our biggest enemy. Of course, if by global warming you mean a nuclear meltdown instigated by Iran, then I guess IT IS our biggest problem! But there is much more. Let us take a quick look at antisemitism in 2015.

JANUARY: Will the Paris March Against Terror only be a Historic Day?
After three horrific days of unprecedented terror in Paris resulting in the death of 17 innocent victims, the City of Lights was the center of a historic event on Sunday, January 11, 2015. A solidarity march was organized by the French government, hoping to rally its citizens under the banner of unity and freedom of expression. What took place on that Sunday made history with 4,000,000 all over France and 2,000,000 in Paris alone. About 50 heads of state were present at the march. America also made history on that Sunday as President Obama’s absence was an embarrassment and a message in and of itself. French Prime minister Manuel Valls said: “France without its Jews isn’t France anymore”. I agree with him, even though I am not sure that he fully grasps the meaning of his statement. No matter what follows, Sunday January 11, 2015 will always be remembered as the Paris march against terror. On that Sunday, France led the free world in showing us how to stand up against the cancer of extremism, but we all know that diagnosing cancer is pointless if you don’t aggressively attack the disease. Tomorrow will tell!

FEBRUARY: Eschatological Anti-Semitism is Here and the Clock is Ticking!
While Jews around the world have been able to preserve their identity through the ages, they have not been so successful in escaping the re-birth of antisemitism. As a matter of fact, I believe that we live in an age where the recent New antisemitism is merging with classic antisemitism giving birth to a new hybrid hatred of the Jews that I call “Eschatological antisemitism." By this I mean that the already loathsome and pervasive hatred of the Jews that we have witnessed through the centuries has now joined forces with post-modern antisemitism and anti-Zionism. The goal being the final blow on God’s chosen people. This is the final chapter in Satan’s book of hatred against the Jews. It was evident in France, where last February, Paris witnessed a street protest of about 20,000 people that would make both Hitler and Ahmadinejad very proud. In an interesting turn of events, the march that was originally labeled as “Day of anger against Hollande” turned into a march against French Jews where people did the Nazi salute and chanted slogans such as: “Jews, get out, France is not for you!” Eschatological antisemitism shouldn’t surprise any serious student of the Bible, but it should compel us to reach out to our Jewish friends with Yeshua as the final chapter of human history is being written.

MARCH: Fear not American Jews, our government is “disappointed” at antisemitism!
In March, President Obama was on his way to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where he met with the Saudi King. Prior to his Riyadh visit, Mr. Obama received requests from numerous non-governmental agencies as well as a bi-partisan group from Congress to confront Saudi Arabia about their ongoing human rights violations. But, the boldness required to confront the Saudis about their treatment of women, activists, religious minorities and Jews is something that simply doesn’t seem to exist within the current administration. Incidentally, Jerusalem Post Washington Bureau Chief, Michael Wilner originally planned to join Mr. Obama and staff. But Michael Wilner was denied a visa to the gulf country. He is the only journalist who was denied entry to Saudi Arabia on this upcoming trip. Mr Wilner is Jewish, not Israeli Jewish, simply a Jew who lives in America and reports for the Jerusalem Post. What greatly concerned me was the US administration’s reaction to the banning of Mr. Wilner’s entry into Saudi territory. They are not disgusted, outraged, or even highly offended. They simply are “deeply disappointed” as was stated: “We are deeply disappointed that this credible journalist was denied a visa, we will continue to register our serious concerns about this unfortunate decision.” The US administration’s decision to make such a weak statement certainly sent a clear message.

APRIL: Appeasement is a Weakness Leading to Collaboration!
Western civilization is now on a new threshold as world leaders met in Switzerland regarding Iran’s nuclear deal. The apparent progress made in April warranted that the dialogue would continue. One of the big issues that Iran has is with sanctions imposed on them. Their economy has suffered greatly in the last few years, and they demand that sanctions be lifted in a way that would also prevent them from being reinstated automatically. It is obvious that they are politically and ideologically very unstable. That fact was clearly delineated in a speech to Congress on March 3rd when Netanyahu risked his whole career, two weeks prior to the Israeli elections. His plea wasn’t for the safety of Israel but for the survival of Western civilization. The White House felt that this was the last straw that justified what could one day be remembered as “The Great Diplomatic Divorce” of the 21st Century. Never before had an American president showed so much contempt for Israel and its current Prime minister. Mr. Obama is trying to convince the world that Iran not only can be included to the negotiating table, but that they can also be trusted. So much so that it could be argued that Mr. Obama is no longer simply appeasing Iran but he is now collaborating with Iran. Let’s pray that the current “Appeaser-In-Chief” doesn’t turn into a “Collaborator-In-Chief”

MAY: BDS really stands for Bullying, Delegitimizing and Slandering!
Many people have never heard of BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions). This movement has picked up a lot of momentum in the past few months and has become quite pervasive. It was borne out of a Palestinian desire to enroll otherwise unengaged and apathetic people in their fight against Israel. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas’ goal might be the total destruction of Israel, at the end of the day you can only bomb and kill so many people before the more reasonable people in the world turn on you. But what if you could get support from a different angle, this would greatly help your cause, wouldn’t it? BDS does just that and it does it well, in the government, the universities (here and here) and even some Christian denominations such as PC USA (the same PC USA  that unsuccessfully tried to blot out “Israel” from their prayer and hymn books in 2014). BDS is most rampant on US university campuses. As a matter of fact BDS is the main weapon used on US campuses to delegitimize Zionism and demonize Israel. Anti-Israel proponents are organized, eloquent and very resourceful. BDS relies on the Bullying, Delegitimizing and Slandering of Israel and does it on a foundation of lies that can be debunked.

JUNE: Western Civilization’s Assisted Suicide!
I have watched the erosion of Judeo/Christian values over the last two decades with much sadness at first. I have great concern and even fear for the increasingly decaying state of the West. There is no doubt in my mind that western civilization is slowly committing assisted suicide. End-Times antisemitism is in full force across the globe, swinging it’s lethal pendulum from liberal Left to neo-Nazi extreme right. Somewhere on the edges we can spot the agnostics, secularists, atheists and universalists, along with radical Islam smack in the middle. While the pendulum swings destructively and endlessly from one extreme to the next, I believe that the bulk of the damage is performed by the center part. They have scared the West into unchallenged submission or “dhimmitude“ defined as "the Islamic system of governing populations conquered by jihad wars, encompassing all of the demographic, ethnic, and religious aspects of the political system.…. ruled by the same type of laws, based on the shari’a. Political correctness is one of the most viral enemies of America. It blinds people into one-sided tolerance and will lead to the death of Western civilization by assisted suicide!

JULY: Could the conspiracy of Psalm 83 against Israel involve ISIS?
It was only fifteen years ago that I was conducting research for my first book on anti-Semitism They Have Conspired Against You. This led me to an in-depth study of the 83rd Psalm written by Asaph and I was intrigued by the ten people groups who were described as conspiring against Israel. In digging a little deeper, I realized that this covenant of nations had never taken place in the history of Israel. Asaph could very possibly be using a literary device to express emphasis in despair akin to someone with a few foes saying:”The whole world hates me!” An equally valid interpretation could be that it is a future attack on Israel by a confederation of countries and/or states. I find it fascinating to look at the people described in Psalm 83:6- and compare them to their respective modern equivalent countries. The results are too close for comfort. We can then list Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq, Syria, the Sinai Peninsula among them. ISIS has infiltrated all the areas listed in Pslam 83, INCLUDING JORDAN AND EGYPT, the only two countries with existing peace treaties with Israel. The minute that ISIS crosses the line where Israel feels threatened, they [Israel] will respond swiftly and efficiently. No question about it. The prophetic hourglass was turned on May 14, 1948 and it is running out of sand in its top section!

AUGUST: As a Jew, I can support Palestine!
Depending on which side of the Middle East fence you are on, Palestine and the Arab/Israeli conflict will vary greatly based on which definition you adhere to. Let us start with what we know from history and define a geographical Palestine. It is therefore critical to differentiate between the “Land of Palestine” as a geographical area and the “State of Palestine” as a political entity. Palestine is a piece of land in Eastern Asia between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, squeezed in a very strategic region between Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Iraq. The tide began to turn in 1929 during the Hebron Massacres and the Arab revolt of 1936-39. Around that time, it was still appropriate to speak of ” Palestinian Jews” and “Palestinian Arabs”. In 1948, Palestinian Jews became known as Israelis and Palestinian Arabs started to be called Palestinians as the narrative switched from geographical Palestine to “historic” Palestine. You can choose to call that land the Holy Land, Eretz Yisrael, Jewish Palestine or even Western Palestine as long as the name refers to a geographical area. From that angle, I support Palestine. The moment that it becomes a political entity with a fictitious displaced people, I draw the line! Geographical Palestine exists while historic Palestine never did. We might not be able to come-up with a viable solution any time soon, but this shouldn’t give us the liberty to ignore historical facts.

SEPTEMBER: Refugees, Migrants and Terrorists: Europe is out of Control!
At the very time when global borders should be tightly monitored because of the ISIS invasion, Europe is faced with a tsunami of migrants. The guidelines of acceptance vary from one European country to the next. It goes from Germany having pledged to receive in excess of 800,000 refugees in 2015 alone to other countries building fences and walls to prevent anyone from entering illegally. The one thing that all these countries have in common is a lack of preparedness for such a tidal wave of people. We have already seen issues in the area of space needed, health and safety. Curiously enough, most Gulf States like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait that speak a similar language, have similarity in culture and religion have taken none. NONE! They do have the space, a similar ideology and are some of the richest countries in the world and they have taken none, WHY? Then we have those who choose to pose as Syrians to be granted asylum but enter a country with a different agenda. The last 18 months have shown us the damage inflicted by ISIS infiltration and recruitment. It is virtually impossible to detect a Syrian from a non-Syrian refugee, so how do various European governments expect to detect ISIS impostors? Many European countries already have a severe “native birthrate drought” and are seeing a demographic Muslim takeover. This blurred combination of stealth jihad, demographic jihad and radical apocalyptic jihad is a lethal cocktail that Europe doesn’t seem to be able to control!

OCTOBER: Terror in Israel: Lone Wolves are still Wolves!
In October, Israel has reported almost 800 acts of terror. Much speculation arose in the media around the globe as to the possibility of a third Intifada slowly taking place. But if we compare the current events to those of the First Intifada of 1987-1991 and of the Second Intifada of 2000-2005, we are not seeing an out-of-control uprising of a large number of Palestinians. Yet it might end-up being more damaging than the previous two intifadas. If creativity prevails, we will see more attacks in ways that nobody could predict. This has become a logistical nightmare for Israel. No wonder the mayor of Jerusalem recently announced to its Jewish residents that if they had a valid carry license, they should never leave home without a firearm. The wolves attacking Israel might not come in packs and might be far from being well organized and structured, but they remain wolves with a ferocious appetite for Jewish lives. It is not about Jerusalem, it is not about the Temple Mount and it is not about the disputed territories. It is simply about the complete eradication of Israel and all Jews. I guess we could call it a "spontaneous Intifada."

NOVEMBER: France’s Second Chance to lead the War against Apocalyptic Islam!
On Friday November 13, 2015, France was hit by yet another series of terrorist attacks in Paris, claiming the lives of 130 innocent people in several locations practically simultaneously. I had just returned from my biannual ministry trip to France four days prior, on the 9th of November. On the 7th, my wife and I attended a concert in Paris in a place as frequented and as famous as the Bataclan. Almost everyday of our stay we ate meals at restaurants and bistros near the attacked venues. There was 130 victims, but it could have easily been us or it could have easily been you! France was devastated last January and had a chance to take action with the kind of authority and leadership that would have led the free world into an all out war against apocalyptic Islam. That ship has sailed! But now it returns as an armada and with a vengeance, because the Islamic State hates France and all that it represents. France is at a critical crossroads for the second time in one year. How many more terrorist attacks by ISIS will it take, in France or anywhere else, for us to take them seriously? Protect synagogues and Jewish schools and they attack a stadium, restaurants and a concert hall. Protect these venues and they will attack a movie theater, a mall or amusement park…and the list goes on! Too many innocent lives are destroyed by people who glorify death. This is France’s second chance to fight the war against Islamic terrorism and it might very well be Europe’s last chance!

So it has been another fruitful year for the demon of antisemitism as the world continues to be more self-absorbed and further blinded by the mirage of multiculturalism. Israel receives less and less support from government, academia, and even some of her long time friends in the evangelical churches. It seems as if the world has completely assimilated the Middle East Palestinian narrative as truth. With the Islamic State looming at any corner of the planet and Iran being months from having the bomb, we can only expect a 2016 even more volatile than 2015. Yet, in spite of all this, God remains in control because: "He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep" (Psalm 121:4.)

Could the conspiracy of Psalm 83 against Israel involve ISIS?

It was only fifteen years ago that I was conducting research for my first book on anti-Semitism They Have Conspired Against You. This led me to an in-depth study of the 83rd Psalm written by Asaph who was a contemporary of King David. Psalm 83 spoke of many enemies of Israel and of the pleading of Asaph with God for His miraculous intervention on behalf of the Jewish people. Of the several points made by this short psalm, I was intrigued by the ten people groups who were described as conspiring against Israel. In digging a little deeper, I realized that this covenant of nations had never taken place in the history of Israel. I also thought that there was a strong possibility that Asaph usage of the sentence: "They make shrewd plans against Your people, And conspire together against Your treasured ones. They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more." could very possibly be a literary device to express emphasis in despair. Maybe Asaph wanted to express that Israel had enemies–a true statement–and for emphasis, he described all her neighbors as the enemies, akin to someone with a few foes saying:"The whole world hates me!"

Of course, an equally valid interpretation could be that it is a future attack on Israel by a confederation of countries and/or states. I find it fascinating to look at the people described in Psalm 83:6-8: The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them, and compare them to modern day countries or people groups. The results could even be too close for comfort.

Edom - Southern Jordan
Ishmaelites - Ishmael was one of the fathers of all the Arabs.
Moab - Central Jordan
Hagarenes - Egypt
Gebal - Lebanon
Ammon - Northern Jordan
Amalek - The Sinai Peninsula
Philistia -  The Gaza Strip
Tyre - Lebanon
Assyria - Iraq and parts of Syria

By these standards, Israel finds herself surrounded by enemies who have conspired together to destroy the Jewish state. This would be a likely scenario in light of the fact that eventually the whole world will go against Israel, but we are faced with an inconsistency. There are two countries that have an ongoing peace treaty with Israel in the whole Middle East: Jordan (Edom, Moab and Ammon) and Egypt (Hagarenes, Sinai Peninsula). Yet these are listed as enemies of Israel, so how can this be possible? I wonder if the answer could not be found in the events of the last year and the progress of ISIS (Islamic State) in the region? ISIS is continuously making progress in a very volatile region, not to mention their global recruitment over the last year. A quick review of their progress could lead credence to an upcoming fulfillment of Psalm 83:

• ISIS started their bloody takeover campaigns in parts of Iraq and Syria.
• ISIS has also been trying to gain some ground in Northeast Lebanon and Northern Lebanon. The mere idea that Lebanese Christians would praise Hezbollah for fighting ISIS is frightening at best and most likely temporary.
• They even got into the Gaza Strip, giving Hamas a run for their money.
• Of course, they also recently launched an offensive in the Sinai Peninsula. How's that peace treaty with Israel looking right now? Very shaky if ISIS spreads further into Egypt!
• This leaves us with Jordan and the Iraqi border, which have also been affected.

So there you have it in a nutshell. To an extent, ISIS has infiltrated all the areas listed in Pslam 83, INCLUDING JORDAN AND EGYPT, the only two countries with existing peace treaties with Israel. Asaph might have spoken prophetically and we might be getting really close to seeing the evil confederacy of Psalm 83 being formed. It was almost impossible to fathom that Psalm 83 would have a literal fulfillment 15 years ago. Today and with the advance of the Islamic State, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it took place. And what if it did take place?

While the entire civilized world appears to be in agreement regarding the barbarism displayed by ISIS, it is now becoming obvious that the terrorist group is not being stopped, let alone even contained. It is very surreal and quite puzzling to see ISIS recruits coming from all corners of the world to train under "the black banner of death". So yes indeed,  the grip around Israel is tightening at the hands of ISIS.

Israel has her plate very full with a Hamas ruled Gaza Strip in the south and a Hezbollah ruled Lebanon in the north. The Jewish state has been on high alert since May 14, 1948. They will not provoke but they will certainly respond. They will do it better and faster than the rest of the world because their existence depends on it. To an extent, the rest of the world's existence also depends on how serious we are about ISIS. But when you hear people such as Richard Barrett, former head of counter-terrorism at MI6 who said that:We cannot destroy ISIS, so we will have to learn to live with it", you wonder how serious anybody really is about defeating ISIS? We are not even discussing how Islamic ISIS really is or is not, but we are still faced with a terrorist group that is organized, wealthy, well advertised and very arrogant. The minute that ISIS crosses the line where Israel feels threatened, they [Israel] will respond swiftly and efficiently. No question about it.

We must also keep in mind the rest of Psalm 83 like verse 5 describing the enemies of Israel as the enemies of God Himself:"For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant." God might or might not intervene between ISIS and the world, but if they [ISIS] go against Israel, I am certain that He will get involved. Yet, there is still time for the enemies of Israel to repent because God might be just but He is also patient as Psalm 83:15-18 says:
So pursue them with Your tempest And terrify them with Your storm.
Fill their faces with dishonor, That they may seek Your name, O Lord.
Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever, And let them be humiliated and perish,
That they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord, Are the Most High over all the earth

The prophetic hourglass was turned on May 14, 1948 and it is running out of sand in its top section!