Import jQuery

Some Thoughts on Warfare

Dear Kineti readers, my friend Aaron Hecht asks you to pray and fast for Israel and her salvation in this excellent guest post. Israel is up against both significant physical and spiritual warfare. It faces a growing list of internal crises: drugs, political corruption, secularism, homelessness, emigration out of Israel due to cost of living, and more. He urges that if you support Christian organizations in Israel, that you do so only with those that preach the Gospel, as many abdicate that responsibility in order to appease Jewish religious leaders.

As anyone who reads blogs like this one will know, Israel recently came through a round of kinetic warfare with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group in the Gaza Strip. What you might not have heard yet is that Hezbollah (a heavily armed terrorist group based in Lebanon which like PIJ in Gaza is a front for Iranian power in the region) is holding exercises this week that it has explicitly said are meant to be a dress rehearsal for an attack against Israel. Tensions between Israel and Iran, always on a simmer, appear to be escalating. Almost everyone in Israel's strategic community agrees that it is only a matter of time before a full-scale war between Israel and Iran will begin.

Kinetic wars, terrorist attacks, riots, and violence have been part of the story of the modern state of Israel since the very beginning. I've lived in this country a bit more than 20 years and I have literally lost track of the wars that have been fought here in that time. Most of these wars have been short but intense affairs like this one that just happened, with exchanges involving rockets being fired into Israel from Gaza and Israeli air strikes on terrorist targets in the Strip. There was also a medium-sized conflict between Israel and the Hezbollah terrorist group in Lebanon back in the summer of 2006. I was working for the Jerusalem Post newspaper at the time and that was a very good season for selling newspapers I can tell you that.

As someone said once, "Blood's cheap, but there's money in it."

That phrase has become highly relevant in recent months as headline after headline has appeared in Israeli news outlets announcing purchases of Israeli-built weapons systems by European countries. It would seem that the war in neighboring Ukraine has reminded Europeans that wars still happen occasionally, and they need to be ready to fight for their way of life. A similar re-awakening if this awareness and with it a renewed interest in buying weapons and ammunition in truly staggering quantities, seems to have also taken hold in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and even Canada.

For companies that manufacture weapons, ammunition, military equipment, electronics, and even camping gear, it's a bonanza. For taxpayers in all of these countries, it's going to mean their governments have less money and bandwidth to provide them with healthcare, education, and many other services. For many young people of an age where they're eligible to be conscripted, there might also be that possibility to contend with.

This is, of course, on top of all the other heavy news we're all dealing with.

It's a very stressful time to be alive, especially if you're like me and you have small children who have their whole lives ahead of them.

Spiritual War

In the midst of all this, the last month saw something happen that gave me a great deal of comfort.

I am referring by the initiative coming from the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City to pray for Israel and the salvation of the Jewish people in the 21 days leading up to Shavuot (Pentecost.) Millions of Christians all over the world joined this initiative, including several congregations here in Israel, and the results are already beginning to emerge.

Brothers and sisters, with all due respect to the active kinetic wars in Ukraine and Israel, and the rumors of imminent wars between Israel and Iran, China and Taiwan, North and South Korea, and many other places, this prayer initiative was the really big story this past month.

Prayer and fasting are the weapons of spiritual warfare that every follower of Jesus of Nazareth has at their disposal, and it is with these weapons that we fight the spiritual war of which these physical kinetic battles are merely a shadow.

I beg to draw your attention to the following passages of Scripture.

II Corinthians 10:3-5 says,

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Ephesians 6:12 says,

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Revelation 12:11 says, 

And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

Brothers and sisters, the REAL wars being waged in this season of history we're passing through aren't being fought with tanks, missiles, drones, and machine guns. The battlefields aren't in faraway places in Eastern Europe, the Pacific Rim, or even the Gaza envelope.

There is a battle being fought for the hearts and minds of my children and yours. There are battles being fought over my marriage and yours. There are spiritual forces working to tear apart families, congregations, denominations, and entire civilizations. The dark forces of Hell know their time is short, and they're not holding anything back. They're not saving anything for later, because they know there won't be a later for them. They're doing everything they can, while they still can, to take as many human beings as they can with them into an eternity in Hell, separated from God.

Orthodox Jewish protesters demonstrating against Christians during Shavuot (Pentecost) last week. Protesters shouted, "Missionaries go home!" outside the Davidson Center, where Christian groups had gathered for Pentecost 2023: A Global Day of Prayer for Jerusalem.

Why would they do that? They would do that because it's all they've got left. It's the only thing they can do. They hate human beings so much that even though they know they've got no future, they can at least indulge their hatred of human beings and destroy the future for as many of us as they can.

You and I can't punch Satan in the face. We can't pick up a hammer and hit him with it. We can't shoot him with a gun or run over him with a truck.

But we can push back against his plans and purposes for our lives, the lives of our children, and the lives of our congregations and communities, and nations. We can push back with our prayers and our fasting, and that's what this recent initiative led by IHOP was meant to do. I would encourage everyone who was part of that initiative to keep praying and if it's medically safe for you to do so, try to fast at least once a week.

Most congregations and fellowships designate at least one evening a week for prayer. Find out if your congregation has such a prayer evening and make it a priority to join it, and that would be a good day for you to fast. If there isn't one, ask your pastor to let you start one.

If Israel and the Jewish People aren't on your list of things to pray about yet, please start praying for us.

I'd like to suggest a few issues regarding Israel and the Jewish People that you can pray into.

Almost everyone knows that Israel is surrounded by hostile, heavily armed neighbors with which we've fought several wars in the past. Everyone knows about the ever-present threat of terrorist attacks.

What you might be less aware of is the rise in recent years in violent crime in this country. Most of this crime happens within the Arab community, but there's plenty of violence that Jews are also victims of. There's also an appalling amount of domestic violence, sexual abuse of children (increasingly this abuse is being committed by other children, often from within the victim's own family), and many other heartbreaking problems. Drug abuse, while still at levels far below most other Western countries, is also on the rise and Israel is actually grappling with a rate of opioid abuse that is above the rates in many other Western countries.

In short, all the problems you're used to hearing about where you're from are here too, and in some respects, they're even worse.

Another problem Israelis are dealing with is a spiraling cost of living. Everything from groceries to real estate to gasoline and everything in between is more expensive here than it should be. The reasons are complex and solutions have eluded one governing coalition after another for decades. But the effects are all-too-easy to discern, including a small but growing exodus of people who have a passport that allows them to live in other countries. In the 20 years I've lived here I've gone to dozens of parties to say goodbye to someone who was leaving Israel to go live in America, Canada, Western Europe, or even as far away as South Africa or Australia. The expense of living here was a factor in nearly every single one of those decisions.

Just a few days ago I got a message from a woman I studied with in Ulpan when I was a new immigrant back in the day, saying that she was getting ready to pack up her daughter and move back to France. It was utterly shocking to me since this woman is one of the most strongly Zionist people I've ever known, but she told me very candidly that she just can't afford to live here anymore.

So brothers and sisters, by all means, pray for Israel to be strengthened and protected against the military threats from Iran, the terrorist groups in and around Israel, and all the non-kinetic but still very serious rhetorical threats Israel faces at the UN, on university campuses all over the world, etc.

But spare some time to pray into some of the more pedestrian issues that affect Israel, like crime, drug abuse, domestic violence, and just the simple cost of living.

Toward Israel's salvation

Last but certainly not least, I would ask you to pray for the Gospel to be proclaimed and received in this country, and for the already existing Body of Christ to be strengthened and expanded. This is an issue that I have long had strong feelings about but in the last year or so I've become actually very angry at the way it's being neglected and even opposed by many self-described Christian Zionists.

There are, sadly, many Israel-supporting Christians who are on a spectrum of Dual Covenant thinking that causes them to treat the Gospel and Israel's household of faith with indifference and in some cases, even outright opposition and hostility.

This has got to stop.

Dual Covenant Theology is a ludicrously absurd lie from the Pit of Hell and it is baffling to me that it even exists, much less that it has become so widespread. Even a very casual reading of the New Testament scriptures will allow anyone who is sincerely interested in the truth to refute this idea, but there are some passages in particular that utterly demolish it. 

My personal favorite is Romans 11:15, where the Apostle Paul, speaking of the Jewish people, said,

For if their rejection (of the Gospel) proves to be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 

I don't know about you, gentle reader, but I look around and see a world that's dying. If there's going to be any life in this dying world, the Scripture tells us that Jewish people accepting their Messiah is what will bring it. If you're not praying for that, and if possible WORKING for it, then you're part of the problem. If you're working AGAINST this goal, as some who call themselves "Christian Zionists" sadly are (mostly because of Dual Covenant Theology, which is the great curse of Christian Zionism) then you're REALLY part of the problem.

As I said before, Satan and his demons aren't holding anything back. They're not saving anything for later. They know this is the end game. You and I have to internalize that as well. We need to get in this fight and stay in until it's finished.

We need to be fasting regularly and praying daily for our own families, our own congregations, our own governments (including people we might not have voted for), and our own pastoral leadership. We also need to be praying for Israel and the Jewish People, and if possible we also need to be WORKING for Israel and the Jewish People, and that most definitely includes their salvation.

One last thing.

Brothers and sisters, it is my sad duty to inform you that there is a LOT of money, time, effort, energy, and resources being sent to "do the work of the Kingdom" in Israel but it's not being utilized in a way that'll bring any fruit for the Kingdom. That doesn't mean the work of the Kingdom won't get done, or even that it'll be slowed down. But it DOES mean that a lot of money, time, effort, energy, and resources are being wasted, and that's obviously not what we want.

So if you're giving money, time, prayer, or any other kind of support to any Christian organization that is working in Israel, I BEG OF YOU(!!!) to find out what that organization is doing to share the Gospel with the Jewish People and support the Body of Christ in this country.

Call the leadership of these organizations up and ask them direct questions. If they don't give you direct answers, they're probably trying to hide something from you and it's probably not for a good reason.

If they DO give you answers, do some cross-checking. Ask around and find out if they're being completely honest and transparent. If you find out they're not, then ask them why they're being less than completely honest with you. Once again, if they don't, can't, or won't give you a direct answer, you'll know something's wrong.

Before you do this though, cover yourself in prayer and make a VERY serious effort to read the Biblical passages related to the Jewish People and their need for the Gospel. Then do some reading to find out what "Dual Covenant Theology" is all about and where it comes from and what the buzzwords are, and otherwise how you'll know it when you see it. 

If you do that, and then you start investigating the Christian Zionist organizations that are operating in Israel, it probably won't take you very long to see exactly what I'm talking about in this blog.

So brothers and sisters, in conclusion, I encourage you to get more involved in fighting the spiritual war. The weapons of our warfare are prayer, fasting, our testimony, and our faith. These weapons are sharpened by regular Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with other Believers.

Now stop reading this blog and go do all that stuff!

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