According to the Washington Post, "The Israeli airstrikes came after Hamas fired seven rockets at Jerusalem — the first time the city had been targeted since 2014 — and 200 more at southern Israel. Earlier in the day, violent clashes near al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City between Israeli police and Arab protesters left more than 300 Palestinians injured."
The world watches in horror as violence in the Gaza strip has escalated rapidly. Although tensions have been strong between those in Israel and those in Palestine, building up even more so over the past few years, this past week we have witnessed air raids, retaliations, and rockets being launched between Israel and Hamas, a militant Palestinian group. Hundreds of people have been injured, and dozen have died in this exchange of fire this week. Today we lift up the nation of Israel in prayer and all those involved in the conflict, that the Lord will provide protection, peace, and safety for those caught in the crossfire.
A Brief Overview of the Situation in Israel
Tensions between the nation of Israel and Palestine have existed for more than a century. Ever since the 20th century, the two nations have had to contest over land, especially in post-WWII in 1948 when Israel was established as a Jewish state in the area in which it surrounds today. But most recently, the group Hamas, frustrated with the restrictions placed on them by Israel, fired rockets close to Jerusalem. Israel retaliated, according to Reuters:
"Violent clashes over Jerusalem escalated dramatically on Monday with Gaza health officials saying at least 20 people, including nine children, were killed by Israeli airstrikes launched after Palestinian militant groups fired rockets close to Jerusalem."
Hamas responded by firing 200 rockets toward the Israel town of Tel Aviv. Both catching civilizations in the crossfire. The world watches in horror as the rest of the situation unfolds.
What Does the Bible Say about Israel and the Prophecies Relating to It
Israel is no stranger to having enemies, and they have had such conflicts of these since they came to be a nation during the time of the patriarchs. The Bible does have a lot to say about what will happen with Israel in the Last Days, and perhaps we are seeing a great deal of this prophecy being fulfilled now. Although none of us know the day or hour in which Christ will return, we can watch the nation of Israel, as well as other prophetic signs, for when the Day will fast approach. Let's take a look at a few verses pertaining to Israel and how they will play a role in the End Times.
Ezekiel 37:22: "And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. And one king shall be king over them all, and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms."
Joel 3:2: "I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land."
Daniel 12:1: "At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book."
Zechariah 14:2: "For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city."
Israel plays a huge role throughout Revelation. They are, after all, the nation whom God had chosen back in the Old Testament. As they played a role through history, so will they do so in the End Times. So we boldly approach the throne of God, knowing that he has a plan for the nation of Israel, but also knowing that so much hurt and violence has transpired. We ask God to protect Israel and also to grieve the losses the nation, and the nation of Palestine have experienced in the past few days.
A Prayer for Israel
Dear Heavenly Father, as I watch the events in Israel unfold in the news, I am at a loss for words. So much violence, so much hurting, so much fear I imagine those in Israel and in Palestine must be experiencing right now. I pray that you protect those who are in the midst of this escalation of violence right now. Please shelter people from harm, get families to safety, and shield them with your peace and protection. God, although I do not know what will happen in Israel in the next few days, I do know that you have protected them in the past. You are the God of the nation of Israel. You have protected them from enemies throughout history, and you will not fail to do so now. May we continue to lift up the nation of Israel to you, and trust that you will set everything right with your righteous hand (Isaiah 41:10). Amen.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
“May peace be within your walls,
And prosperity within your palaces.”
For the sake of my brothers and my friends,
I will now say, “May peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.
A Prayer for Jerusalem
Heavenly Father, The psalmist tells us to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem." So I pray for peace for Your chosen people, Israel, and their beloved city today.
You have planned for Israel, provided for Israel, and protected Israel for thousands of years. But as in days of old, there are those today who seek to harm, even destroy, Your people. So I ask You to keep Israel in Your loving care. Put a spiritual hedge of protection around Your people and their land.
Watch over this nation as a Good Shepherd watches over His flock, and may Your chosen people find their ultimate safety and security in You. While You watch over Your people, may Your Spirit awaken in them a hunger to embrace their Messiah—the One who died for them—until they see Him face-to-face. We pray this in His name, Amen. (from David Jeremiah, Why American Christians Should Pray for Israel)
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/John Theodor