Israel’s enemies at both ends of its country are busily preparing for the next onslaught against her. Iranian backed Hizb’Allah in the Lebanese north and Hamas in the Gazan south are rearming at a brisk pace.
Despite a UN presence that is supposed to prevent rearmament, Syria is an unhindered conduit for Iranian weapons and rockets for supplying Hizb’Allah. Large quantities of Russian made guided anti tank missiles have recently arrived. The tunnelling under the Egyptian/Gaza border, through which armaments reach Hamas, is so extensive that Israeli intelligence describes the area as a rabbit warren.
The anti-Israeli forces in each area have problems to over-come. In Lebanon, Hizb’Allah is trying to overthrow the independent Lebanese government, by civil disturbances, strikes and demonstrations. They need to reduce Lebanese control over the country. In Gaza, the civil war clashes between Hamas and Fatah need a long term resolution before a co-ordinated attack on Israel can be mounted. The upper hand is going to Israel’s sworn enemy Hamas. Hamas is consolidating its hold on north Gaza strip and parts of Gaza city to the extent of erasing buildings used by Fatah. Many senior Fatah officials and their families are fleeing to the West Bank.
Therefore it seems that the next war is a little way off yet but if, unlike last time, it is co-ordinated from both north and south at the same time, it will be very serious for Israel.
It is just as well for Israel that it looks as if there is a time delay. The chief of armed forces recently resigned over poor results in the last conflict and the position of Olmert as Prime Minister is shaky. A more resolute and skilled leadership is needed in Israel.
Not every people’s choice for leader is successful and sometimes God allows such bad people’s choices to proceed. King Saul of Israel is a good example [1 Samuel 9]. He was good looking, imposing and attractive to the people but he possessed fatal weaknesses. Eventually he was replaced by God’s choice, King David. No doubt, for good reasons, God allowed the election of Olmert as Israel’s Prime Minister to stand. God’s purpose in never ultimately frustrated and events will soon move to a better outcome.
The final outcome of victory for Israel is assured, “ ‘For I am with you,’ says the LORD, ‘to save you...[but I] will not let you go altogether unpunished...all those who devour you shall be devoured; And all your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; Those who plunder you shall become plunder and all who prey upon you I will make a prey” Jeremiah 30:11&16. Israel’s God-directed discipline still continues as the rockets fall but that time will end when God will give Israel the victory. The total victory over Israel’s neighbours is described in Obadiah’s prophecy vv.18-19 and Isaiah 63. The path will be cleared for Jesus to proceed to Jerusalem and establish his Kingdom capital there.
The whole destiny of the Middle East and its conflicts are clearly laid out in Scripture but any belief in the Bible’s information is superficial, especially among most churches. They have their own ideas about events that takes precedence over God’s revelations. Three times, Isa. 6:10, Mat. 13:15, Acts 28:27 God says, “For the hearts of [the] people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts.”
Civil War Stacks the Odds Against the Arabs
The Arab propensity for civil war is one of a number of characteristics that make Islamic armed conflict against international opponents a difficult prospect. Two simultaneous Arab civil wars threaten to destroy the living space in which they are being fought.
The high profile Arab civil war is in Iraq. The miniature copy is in Gaza.
IN IRAQ the whole complexion of the war has changed. From a war that turned out to be a coalition attempt to effect a regime change has moved on to be a contest between Islamic factions fighting each other for control. In effect the coalition forces are now trying to play the role of referee but the spectators have flooded onto the field and taken over the game. At present Iraq is a civil killing field out of control.
IN GAZA the conflicting elements are essentially the same but on a much smaller scale. Because of its reduced size it probably will come to some conclusion in the medium term but, in the meantime, inflict enormous pain and suffering on the Gaza residents.
Because the Gaza situation has a more immediate effect on Israel, a centre piece of Bible prophecy, we will look at this battle first.
The Gaza Civil War and Israel’s Reaction
Well over a year ago, the then Israeli Prime Minister Sharon evacuated all Israeli citizens from the Gaza strip. It was clear at the time that God’s foreknowledge of coming events influenced that move and it soon became apparent that the subsequent election win of Israel-hating Hamas would have resulted in the destruction of any remaining Israelis.
Hamas is bent on the complete and immediate destruction of the State of Israel. Fatah favours a Palestinian state alongside Israel as a preliminary to the eventual removal of all Jews from Palestine.
One result of the Hamas election victory was the severing of overseas financial support and the impoverishment of most of the population. Fatah has attempted to cancel the Hamas election victory to alleviate this situation which has triggered the civil war.
In Biblical history, confusion and self destruction has been a divine method of retribution among Israel’s enemies. An example, “The Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah...And when [Moab] had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another” 2 Chronicles 20 22-23. In 2007 we have the same method being used.
None of this would have been possible if the Israeli settlers had still been living in Gaza. Hostile action against these Israelis would have united the Palestinians. Not having a common enemy inside Gaza, the Palestinians have turned on each other.
Despite a recent truce, many Arab rockets have still been fired on south Israel. When asked why the Israeli armed forces had not gone in to Gaza to prevent these attacks the spokesperson said, “Why should we go in and interfere when they are making such a good job of killing themselves.”
It seems that the time is not yet ripe for Obadiah to be fulfilled, “The lowland [Israelis] shall possess Philistia” [v.19] the Biblical name by which the Gaza strip was then known. At a future time, by whatever means, the Gaza area will become sovereign Israeli territory.