The Christian and the War in Gaza

Emotions are running hot, as Israel’s relentless attack on Gaza continues. Everyone was appalled at the October 7th attacks, but is Israel’s response justified?

That’s a question we’re not going to address. A Christian’s duty is not to get involved in the politics: it is to try to please God. God has given us the Bible as our guide for life. It also explains the present conflict – it shows us the background, and also how it will end.

The Bible is about Jews. Jesus was a Jew. People, including many Jews, often point out that God gave the land of Israel to the Jews. In fact, God said that the land was His, but that the Jews could live there, and that it is ultimately promised to the Jewish descendants of Abraham:

The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me (Leviticus 25:23).

And I will give to you [Abraham] and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God (Genesis 17:8).

God also said that the Jews cannot be exterminated, because they are proof of His very existence and power:

I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior. I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses, declares the Lord, and I am God (Isaiah 43:11-12).

Of course, none of this means that the Jews please God in all that they do. They cannot, for few of them believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Throughout its long history the nation of Israel has frequently been godless, and it is now. But this will change. It will change when Jesus comes back and Israel is the centre of God’s worldwide kingdom on earth:

And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn (Zechariah 12:9-10).

Peace in the Middle East will not come before that. For there can never be true peace without righteousness:

And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trustfor ever (Isaiah 32:17).

This peace is not the defeat of Hamas, nor anyone else, by Israel, but Israel’s reconciliation to God.

Sadly, there will be further suffering and war around Israel prior to the return of Jesus. Many of the Jewish prophets said this (for example Psalm 83, Joel 3, Ezekiel 38).

So what about us as we see tragedies in the world? The best things we can do are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6); to try to obey God and to follow Jesus in our lives; and to ensure that we are ready, when Jesus returns.

Anna Hart

Photo credit: OwenBlacker, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

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