Suddenly, A Burden for Israel


On Shabbat morning, following the conclusion of the Feast of Tabernacles, on Simchat Torah—a day set aside to commemorate the joy that flows from God’s Law—terror fell upon Israel.

On Oct. 7, 2023—50 years and a day after the onslaught of the Yom Kippur War—the forces of Hamas pulled back the curtains and showed the face of undiminished wickedness, their capacity to commit horrific acts of barbarism being matched only by their hatred for Israel and the Jewish people. They undeniably “[touched] the apple of His eye” (Zech. 2:8). From their attacks against “the Holy Land” (Zech. 2:12), targeting the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we gain significant insight into the depravity of the human heart.

Indeed, the ultimate “Seed” (Gal. 3:16) of Abraham, our Lord Jesus, explicitly warned us that the days before His return would increasingly resemble “the days of Noah” (Matt. 24:37). Those were days fueled by demonism—to such an extent “that every intent of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). Thus, “the earth was filled with violence” (Gen. 6:11). Clearly, the world is moving toward a future time of tribulation when all the restraints against evil will be cast off (see 2 Thess. 2:6-7).

Yet, even on this—a day reminiscent of the Holocaust for the Jewish people—God was watching over His chosen people and their land. He calls to us through the words of the prophet Zechariah saying:

My cities shall again spread out through prosperity;
The LORD will again comfort Zion,
And will again choose Jerusalem. (Zech. 1:17)

Appropriately, many Christians are now feeling as if we carry a renewed burden for Israel and the Jewish people. After all, they have bequeathed to us our Scriptures and our Savior, and we anticipate the day when we will share with them in His kingdom—there in their land. More broadly, as Americans we recognize Israel’s colossal contributions to the development of Western civilization, and today she serves as a deeply cherished ally in the Middle East.

This is a time and opportunity then, first of all, to seek to “bless” (Gen. 12:3) the people of Israel. Let us not attempt to rid ourselves of this burden that we feel. Rather, may it drive our passions for Israel to run even deeper than they ever have before.

I believe that many Christians are wondering what all of this means with regard to God’s prophetic timetable for Israel and the world. I am sure that many entered churches last Sunday with the hope of hearing comforting words which would also give them perception to put these events in Biblical context. I am certain that many of them left disappointed.

I would love the opportunity to address those pastors and church leaders who could yet be persuaded of the Biblical importance of Israel. Perhaps they even claim to hold to a dispensational understanding of Biblical history and prophecy, and yet have not focused sufficiently on these areas. Perhaps they’ve been neglectful in dealing with them from the pulpit. If I could, I would simply tell them that there will never be a better season to shepherd their people toward an understanding of Israel’s past, present and glorious future—rooted in God’s covenant-keeping love. Although they are currently a nation in unbelief, yet He is working within history to guide His people into “an everlasting salvation” (Isa. 45:17).

Will all of this take wisdom, courage and boldness—for all of us, and for some more than others? Of course—just as it did when The Friends of Israel was founded 85 years ago this December … even when there was no Israel to befriend.

The events of last Saturday are a huge weight to bear for Zion, and for all who love her (see Ps. 87:2). Jesus certainly warned us of such times, stating in Luke 21:24:

Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

We know that Israel will indeed be the staging area for end-time events, and God must—and will—protect her. We thank Him for that glorious word until in the passage referenced above—which means that there is a purpose and a termination to all of this. The prophet Isaiah described it like this:

I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off;
My salvation shall not linger.
And I will place salvation in Zion,
For Israel My glory. (Isa. 46:13)

In the end, those who refuse to carry this burden for the people of Israel, and for their eternal salvation, will learn how Jerusalem itself will become “a very heavy stone for all peoples” (Zech. 12:3).

Now is not the time to equivocate. This is our generation’s opportunity to stand with the people of Israel. I implore you to do so without hesitation or shame.

NKJV - Source

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


I have a lot of uncertainties about how the Israel of the Bible relates to the current state of Israel. It’s certainly mostly the same land and a lot of connection to the same people.

What I’m sure of is that nothing the modern state has done justifies Hamas’ massacre. It’s clear who the evildoers are in this case. Also clear to me, from Scripture: God has not-yet-accomplished plans for a real ethnic entity—a nation—of Israel.

I guess, to clarify my first paragraph a bit maybe, I don’t know where we are in God’s timeline for Israel, and without knowing that, I don’t know where today’s Israel fits into it. (We know where we are in the timeline in reference to the past but not in reference to the future.)

And what does it mean to “bless” them? If they were in the wrong, would blessing them mean backing them anyway? Fortunately, we don’t have to answer that question in this case.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

As Aaron stated above, the modern nation state of Israel may or may not be the Israel of the Bible.

That said, the modern nation state of Israel is not above reproach in how it has dealt with its Palestinian neighbors. Does that justify Hamas' actions last weekend? Of course not. But, "blessing" the modern nation state of Israel does not include turning a blind eye to their treatment of Palestinians. How has the Friends of Israel addressed this?

Given that Israel completely withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and that Gaza’s current government since 2007 has as one of its basic principles the idea that Israel should be destroyed and/or not exist, what are you suggesting Israel could have done or do differently regarding Gaza or the people in it?

And given that the Palestinians do not want to be citizens of the nation of Israel, what actions from Israel will lead to the ideal “2-state” solution, where Palestinians have complete freedom and Israel’s security needs are met?

Dave Barnhart

It is an untenable situation on both sides. Israel has restricted and pushed the people of Gaza essentially into a migrant camp. They control all aspects of their life with freedom of the own people. Hamas does not represent Gaza, they are a punative dictator over the people. Polls have been clear that they don't support Hamas, but they have little choice as Hamas brutally represses them, and Israel and Egypt further repress them. Nothing justifies what Hamas did. But you have 2 million people that are oppressed on all sides with a political group leveraging that to take advantage of the situation by using the land to launch strikes against Israel. Nothing good will come from this on both sides of the fence.

I think this "need to stand for Israel" is misplaced Biblical application. Christ spoke out against Israel for her sins. Do we scold Christ? Instead of blindly following hand picked verses, we should instead follow Christ, when he says that the second most important action someone should follow is to love their neighbor as themselves. It is clear that neither side is following Christ. We could further lay out that neither side is loving God. When neither side is seeking to love God and love their neighbor, sin and destruction will follow. We should pray. Not pray for the blessings of Israel, but pray for repentance of sin.

The Palestinians are, at least theoretically, predominantly the Muslim brothers of the Arabs who inhabit Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and the other Middle Eastern countries. There is nothing that prevents them from accepting a lot of immigrants from that area. So why don't they do it?

Answer; because some of those nations are using the Palestinians as "useful idiots" for attacking Israel while retaining plausible deniability and avoiding retaliation directly from Israel, and other nations see how the first group of nations have radicalized the Palestinians, and not surprisingly are no more enthusiastic about them coming to their country than Israel is about them coming to Israel.

And let's draw a picture here. When, after the surrender, Germans were shown footage from Nazi death camps, they were justifiably shocked, and the new country of West Germany banned Nazi imagery, songs, and more, including the first verse of the national anthem, Deutschland Ueber Alles. When Hamas terrorists brought Israeli corpses and paraded them through the streets this weekend, huge crowds cheered.

Do you want people who can do that in your neighborhood? I don't.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

From NPR:

Following the 2021 Israeli-Gaza conflict, an opinion poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in the West Bank and Gaza Strip showed a dramatic surge in support for Hamas.

In the poll, 53% of the 1,200 Palestinians surveyed said they believed Hamas is "most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people." By contrast, just 14% said the same of Fatah.

So, the majority of Palestinians do support Hamas, despite (or because of?) their terrorist activities.

Many years ago, I taught a non-credit, adult education class at BJU that went through numerous passages in the Prophets to prove that God yet has a glorious future for national Israel for the glory of His name. This fall, I am teaching an adult Sunday School class that is surveying the Latter Prophets. I am emphasizing to my class how plainly the Bible teaches that there will be a Millennium in which God will exalt Israel among all the nations of the world and that He will do so for the glory of His name.

Regardless of where the current events in Israel fall in God's timetable for the future of Israel as a nation, there certainly will be a time in the future when God is going to do great things for them and deal decisively with all their enemies. We can pray for what is happening in Israel right now by praying fervently that God's name would be hallowed, His kingdom (especially the Millennial Kingdom) would come, and His will would be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Excellent comments from Bert and Rajesh. The Palestinian attacks on women and children, and taking them hostage are acts of cowardice and are devilish. Yes, Israel is in rebellion to God, and are just as unrighteous as our Western nations, but nothing makes Hamas and Hezbollah anything but wicked.

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.