The Amazing Demonic Intelligence of Hamas Leader Sinwar

The Hamas plan in the war against Israel has been amazingly intelligent, brilliant, evil
and demonic at the highest level. Let’s review.

1. First, Hamas created a military fortress of weapons and tunnels the lengths of
the New York subway system, under civilian areas with the means to come
above ground to fire rockets and other ordinance at Israel. The tunnel shafts are
in civilian homes, schools and hospitals.
There has never in history been such concentration of military weapons so
concentrated in civilian areas. It is human shield strategy on steroids. Hamas
knows that it can use the death of civilians in propaganda to turn the world
against Israel. This was all brilliantly pre-planned. It is the strategy of Hamas to
get a significant number of civilians killed. Hamas lies about statistics, and about
attacks that did not happen (remember the hospital in the early days?) Its lies
are reported by a corrupt western media as truth.

2. The Hamas invasion and slaughter of October 7 th was an act of evil horror. But it
did not end there. Rather, Hamas took hostages. Sinwar rightly understood that
the hostage issue could eventually be used to undermine the willingness of
Israelis to fight the war against them. While in the early months the Israeli public
by a clear majority supported prosecuting the war over getting the hostages out,
though this was really important too for all Israelis. The pain of the hostages
would wear down the will to fight. Sinwar knows the Israeli mentality well enough
to have anticipated this in his strategy. In addition, the hostage strategy would
divide Israel between the prosecute the war faction and the get the hostages out
at all costs faction even if it means Hamas remains in power. Sinwar anticipated
this and he plays Israel like a master.

3. Hamas depends on media to distort the reality of fighting an urban war. Civilians
will always die in such a war and according to the expert from West Point,
Jonathan Spencer, Israel’s casualty rate is the best in history on protecting
civilians in urban war. Hamas depends on the fact that Israel can be accused of
genocide apart from its legal definition. The genocide and war crimes are on the
side of Hamas. But people do not carefully read the conventions that were
approved that define war crimes, and who bears the responsibility for civilian
deaths. Hamas is responsible for almost all such deaths. They kill their own
people over food distribution, over criticism of Hamas and more. They depend
on the ignorance of people to make claims not based in law. The actual law is
too nuanced and requires real thought. Those accusing Israel are radically
misinterpreting the law. But Sinwar and Hamas knows that people will by the
definitions of propaganda and not respond according to the actual law.

This level of intelligence shows a brilliant demonic inspiration. It has to be defeated by
much prayer as well as by military might.

The Government and Standards of the Body of Messiah, comments on Rev. 2, 3

In my book Passover, Key to the Book of Revelation, I give a reasonable interpretation of Chapters 2 and 3 as preparation for tribulation.  These letters fit the circumstances of the first century when they were written, but will apply in the last of the last days to prepare the worldwide people of God for the final Great Tribulation.  The congregations are exhorted to maintain passion for Yeshua, not lose their first love, and maintain moral purity and doctrinal truth.  The two actually go together.

The letters are written to the angel, or messenger of each congregation.  I argued that the angel addressed is the leader of the elders of the congregation.  A letter given to a heavenly angel would not have any effect for it has to be delivered to the messenger who can actually deliver it.  The messenger is the one that conveys God’s word to the congregation.  I also argued that we Westerners do not rightly understand the nature of the Body in these cities at that time.  It is not like what we call a local church today. By that time, some Church historians argue that when we talk about the seven churches we should see some as in the thousands. By that time, the signs and wonders with the progress of the Gospel led to thousands of believers who met in houses all in different parts of the city, but they were all linked together in an eldership of the city under a lead elder.  In the early second century, this lead elder was called the bishop.  He was not yet a monarchial bishop as in the later second century but governed with the elders of the city (Presbytery).   If this is a correct picture of the situation in the seven congregations of Rev. 2 and 3 and if the messenger is the leader of the elders and a bishop kind of figure, it would bring a clearer understanding of the circumstances of Rev. 2, 3.

The question is raised how some congregations could be both commended and then also corrected strongly for tolerating bad doctrine or loose morals.  The question is raised, who is being addressed as tolerating sin or error, and who is being called upon to correct it?  Two examples suffice to illustrate this point.  With regard to Pergamum, Yeshua says that they “Hold firm to my Name.”   They did not deny their faith even when one of their leaders, Antipas, was put to death.  They have withstood persecution.   This then leads to the question of how a people like this could also be rebuked for sexual immorality and of eating food sacrificed to idols, and the false gnostic doctrines of the Nicolaitans.  (This compromise with sin would fit the loyalty to the city rituals in connection to sacrifices to the city pagan gods and temple prostitution connected to the sacrifices even if the one gathering in the pagan temple did not actually go into the cult prostitute.)  If the congregation was just one gathering in a large house, how could this be possible?  However, if it was dozens or even many more gatherings in houses under an eldership of the city with a lead elder, then it is easy to see that some house groups could have allowed error to creep in.  The leader of the house gathering was compromised and compromising. The messenger is addressed as responsible for bringing correction or discipline.  We assume he could do so with the authority of the elders of the city over all the house gatherings.

We note the same kind of situation with Thyatira.  The commendation is amazing.  “I know your deeds and your faith and service, and that your last deeds are greater than the first.”  Wow!  This is a great commendation.  However, the contrast is stark.  They allow Jezebel to influence them, a false prophetess, who fosters sexual immorality and eating food sacrificed to idols.  This again could well be connected to compromise with the city pagan cult for the sake of civic loyalty but a loyalty contrary to faith in Yeshua.  Again, the angel/messenger has to bring discipline.

When we read these letters in the context of the congregation of the city having many gatherings and most being commendable, but some go astray, we can understand how great commendation can be joined to stark rebuke.  Submission to the elders and the lead elder of the elders is required if there is to be Body discipline.  This gives us a window to government and the importance of elders enforcing doctrinal and moral standards in the first century.

This is a warning for our day.  We indeed are called to enforce standards of good Bible doctrine and Biblical morals and not to compromise with the world or we can lose the Spirit of God, our lampstand of testimony.

Israel’s Radical Right Religious Nationalists Where should we as Yeshua’s Disciples stand? The First Century Zealot Movement, Parallel to Today

In the first century, there was a Messianic movement that believed that the way to see Israel’s redemption was to rise up against Rome in revolt and to cast them out of the Land of Israel.  They were the Zealots.  The Sadducees opposed the Zealots.  They controlled the priesthood and the Temple and were the party most in collaboration with Rome.  The Pharisees also mostly opposed the Zealots.  Many of these two parties believed that the Zealots would bring destruction upon Israel.  Indeed, this fear is manifest in the plan of Caiaphas to arrest Yeshua since the idea of proclaiming someone the Messiah could bring the wrath of the Romans, and the level of autonomy and rule that Romans allowed would be lost.  “You do not realize that it is better for you that one man dies for the people than that the whole nation perish.” (John 11:50)”  

Many think that Yeshua chose two disciples from the Zealots, Judas Iscariot, and Simon the Zealot. Of course, He chose them for a different path, but some think Judas never really left his Zealot leanings.  This may have been a factor in his frustration and betrayal.  Yeshua’s predictions about the destruction of Jerusalem were based on the failure of Israel under its leaders to realize their time of visitation in Him, and hence destruction would come. However, in addition, He no doubt anticipated that with His rejection, false Messiahs would lead Israel to destruction.  (False Messiahs did not enter by the legitimate door but were as thieves and robbers. (John 10:1 ff.)  At the time of His arrest, He warned that those who take up the sword would perish by the sword (Matthew 26:52.)  This could also be an anticipation of the terrible destruction that would happen due to the Zealot revolt.  They rejected Him and thus the Zealot revolt came. 

We can look back now and see the sad history.  After Rome offended the nation with an idolatrous standard set up in Jerusalem, the Zealots finally led a revolt and gained control of the nation.  The fight was valiant and the people resisted the Romans for four years, but then, alas, all was lost. 


Today’s Zealots in the Land of Israel 

We are today seeing the same spirit in the radical nationalist Orthodox Jews who believe that the way for Israel’s messianic redemption is to take all the land and remove the Palestinian Arabs.  As the late Rabbi Meir Kahani, who led the Koch Party, said, “They must go.”  “Take the whole Land by force,” is a good description of their program.  To achieve this, their young adults set up illegal outposts in Samaria and Judea (the West Bank) with the hope that they will become towns.  The State of Israel sometimes dismantles them and sometimes legalizes them under the pressure of their one major coalition partner, Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Strength), under Itamar Ben Gvir.  Some of these Zealots in West Bank towns/settlements abuse Palestinian Arab farmers, uproot trees, and do violence to them.  This is not to overlook the terrible violence against Jewish residents in these territories by Arab terrorists.  The zealots of today believe that the way forward is to act in faith and take the whole Land that is promised.  It is this faith action that is understood by them as the kind of faithfulness that will bring redemption.  Amazingly some Evangelical Zionists support this orientation.   I one time asked a zealot what should be done with the Arabs, and he said, “Kill them.”  This certainly is not the spirit of Yeshua and does not show the humility that should be our orientation on the basis of the teaching of the Bible.   Here are some biblical considerations. 


Attaining the Full Borders of the Land is a Conditional Promise

Deuteronomy 19:8, 9 clarifies that the full attainment of the borders of Israel was conditional upon obedience to the Covenant of Moses and obedience to His Torah/Law. “Carefully obey all these laws I’m giving you today.  Love the Lord your God, and always do what he wants you to do.  Then the LORD your God will enlarge your land as he promised your ancestors, giving you the whole Land he promised them.”  

For us as Messianic Jews, we add the important fact that our people have not yet repented and recognized Yeshua.   However, an Orthodox Jew should look at the Torah and say, do we measure up sufficiently to believe we can at this time attain the full promise of the Land?   Only about 1/5 of the Jewish population of the Land seriously seeks to obey the Torah.  One would expect therefore that we would have difficulty in attaining the full Land promise and that the struggles we are having fit the condition of the Jewish people of this Land today.  How is it that today’s Orthodox zealots do not see this?  Their actions may bring disaster, not redemption.  We add the rampant sin in this nation, the abortions, the support for homosexual sexual relations, the support for radical LGBTQ agendas, and more. 

This zealot orientation is noted by democratic nations.  I totally disagree with President Biden and his administration interfering with Israel’s elected government.  Senator Schumer calls for a change of government in Israel.  The Biden Administration points out their difficulty with Israel’s radical right-wing government leader partners and the zealot behavior in the West Bank and with the treatment of Palestinians by the Army.  They even want to sanction an ultra-Orthodox army division today over mishandling a situation two years ago under the previous government.  This is a terrible policy in the midst of this hard war we are now fighting.  This Orthodox army division is not made up of only the radical nationalists but includes the ultra-Orthodox.  They have a range from being against the existence of the State of Israel (Satmor) to being pro-Israel but not willing to serve in the army and finally those who will accommodate army service. For the anti-state Orthodox, the state delays the coming of the Messiah who alone can set up the legitimate state.   However, this essay is about the ultra-nationalist Orthodox.  These Orthodox need to read their Torah and realize that their program is foolish. 

The Biblical Picture of Today’s Return to the Land

In addition, the most important text on Israel’s return to the Land in this period is Ezekiel 36:24 ff which states that Israel will return to the Land before she is given a new spirit and the Holy Spirit within that will move them to be an obedient people.  Texts about Israel in the Age to Come describe the full borders of an obedient Israel at that time under the rule of the Messiah.  The borders are more extensive than from the Jorden to the Mediterranean!  But that is after this age.  In Zechariah 12 and 14, we read about war and the probability that we have not attained the full promise until the Messiah comes in Zech. 14 and until we look upon him whom we have pierced and mourn for Him (Zech. 12:10)


Supporting Israel to Act Pragmatically

What shall our council then be?  It is that Israel has to act pragmatically.  We on the one hand recognize God’s hand in regathering and hope in Amos 9 that we will never again be uprooted.  However, the government needs to make the best decision based on what is most likely to bring security to the people.  Arabs west of the West Bank are citizens of Israel and it would be well for Israel to be more just in the distribution of services, roads, infrastructure, building permits, and police protection.  What to do with the West Bank?  There is nothing in the Bible that says everyone has to be a full citizen of a state as developed in the 19th century.  Robust autonomy for Arab areas, no military arms, and passports for a type of residency could be linked to Israel or Jordan.  Or after a generation of education in peace, there could be a state, but this seems unlikely.  As for Gaza, it can be freed again as it was in September 2005, but only after a generation of education for peace with the Jewish state.  Until then the freedom can only be partial. 

These are difficult issues.  Though we can imagine solutions, there may not be one that can be implemented before the Messiah returns.  But we should resist the idea that we can take the whole land and expel the West Bank Arab Muslims.  “They must go,” is probably not going to happen!  This would bring the wrath of the world against Israel.  

For us, let us pray and believe for revival in the Land that will reach even to Gaza and the West Bank so that many Jews and Arabs will come to faith in Yeshua. 

Israel-Hamas War

The Jerusalem Post was filled today with evaluations of the state of the war with Hamas and what we should do.  Not all agreed, but there was a good deal of very good commentary.  My own reflections this week agreed with some of the commentators.  This week I was on a leaders’ retreat in the desert (Sde Boker) and also got the perspective of other leaders.

When Israel went to war after the terrible atrocities, Prime Minister Netanyahu declared that the goal was to end Hamas rule in Gaza and to dismantle the terror organization. Once this became the stated goal and was repeated numerous times (can anyone think it is less than 100 times?) anything less will be seen in the world especially the Arab world as a Hamas victory and will discredit Israel and empower Hamas.  Some years ago, Lee Smith wrote the book The Strong Horse on the mentality of the nations in this part of the world.  They want to bet on the strong horse and a weak-looking nation will not gain their alliance.  The Abraham Accords was a bet on Israel as the strong horse to counter Iran’s power.  New accords probably require Israel to defeat Hamas despite what these nations may publicly say.

However, I believe Israel’s leaders have fallen into a Hamas trap.  One of the world leaders in game theory, a Nobel Prize winner, saw this trap clearly.  By getting Israel to delay the war and focus on the hostages, the nation actually diminishes the chances of getting the hostages out and winning the war.  With the Hamas propaganda machine estimated to reach 100 million, the more time that goes by the more Israel is under international pressure to end the war, which would be a disaster.  Israel’s leaders originally said they had till January to win the war and then they would lose international support.  But here it is April. Wow!  And we are still dithering and talking about a cease-fire with only a third of the hostages released. 

If Bibi had in the beginning said that Israel would punish Hamas badly and then withdraw, he could have declared victory.  But now Israel is in danger of being the weak horse due to the claim.  But Bibi was right in the goals because Israel had to end Hamas rule and the periodic terror in the south from Hamas rockets.  But why did Bibi and his leaders think time was not on their side?  Because the pictures of the destruction and civilian casualties would move the world against Israel since it was Israel’s bombs.  Yes, Hamas is the real culprit and the one responsible for it.  Despite the lying narratives about Israel violating International laws of war, the truth is that Israel does not violate the actual written laws, and although we do not know the civilian casualty numbers (we only have Hamas reports), Israel receives the brunt of the outrage, not Hamas. It is wrong and unjust and as John Spencer, the retired West Point expert on Urban warfare argues, Israel’s program to protect civilians and the proportion for urban war especially with civilian human shields, is very good. 

Donal Trump tells Bibi, to get on with it, finish the job, and end Hamas rule.  That seems like good advice and only such an advance might lead to a pause with hostage release.

Israel’s Strategy on a Temporary cease-fire and the Hostages

Israel is under enormous pressure from two directions. First, world leaders want a ceasefire in Gaza due to the number of civilian deaths in the Gaza War. They lie about what the International Laws of war say, and which laws Israel seeks to keep. They do not admit, as key analysts have noted that despite the level of human shielding, for an urban war, Israel’s percentage of civilian causalities is amazingly low. The world says that Israel should not go into Rafah. If she does not go, Hamas wins and can reconstitute and come into power again. 


The second pressure is from some of the hostage families. Not all of them agree. Their protests and the desire for some to see their family members released at any cost is rejected by the majority of Israelis, but their protests have led to awakening the pre-war protests against the Netanyahu government and are breaking down the strong national unity that characterized our nation back in November. 


However, could a temporary cease-fire and the release of hostages and Hamas murderers in Israel’s jails be the right decision to get the hostages back? Could such a cease-fire compromise Israel’s need to defeat Hamas? Maybe but maybe not. And these murderers could be killed in the onslaught after the cease-fire. Would that Israel have a death penalty for terrorist murderers? This would end trading for terrorists. 


The United States has pushed Israel not to invade Rafah, the last Gaza stronghold for Hamas, but there has been a “but.” The “but” is unless there is a credible plan to save the civilians whose number has burgeoned to maybe 1 ½ million in the very small area of Rafah. Israel could use the pause to get their plan in place to move most of the refugees in Rafah and other civilians back to the other areas of Gaza. They can set up checkpoints for all who return North, so no weapons can be taken with them. Until the actual cease-fire, they can clean up the other areas of Gaza so they can be re-occupied by civilians. Right now, it appears that Israel’s primary focus is now cleaning up the areas of Gaza outside Rafah. If Israel does adequate clean-up before the cease-fire, they can evacuate Rafah when the cease-fire ends. Yes, the war is drawn out, but maybe this is Israel’s strategy. 


The other big problem is Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel does need to clean out Southern Lebanon and push the terrorists beyond the Litani River in Lebanon as is the UN resolution 1701. Israel should have done this 15 years ago. Would she continue to fight in Lebanon if there is a cease-fire? Probably not, but this is a huge problem since almost 100,000 Israelis have been displaced due to Hezbollah rockets. I do not see a solution to this. Prolonging their displacement until after a six-week ceasefire will be infuriating to them. Stay tuned. 

Do sign up for my Twitter account, Daniel Calvin Juster, to make sure you do not miss my writings.


Two-State Solution

Some of my friends and followers here may be confused about the idea of a two-state solution, a Jewish state and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace.  Twenty years ago, the majority of Israelis were in favor of a two-state solution to preserve the Jewish majority in the Jewish state and a way for Palestinian Arabs to have their own state where they could live with full national identity among the nations.   Many Messianic Jews in Israel supported this solution, but many did not.  Many were optimistic that this would happen.

Some Messianic Jews agreed with the right-wing nationalist Orthodox who looked at the book of Joshua and saw that Israel had a mandate to take the whole land.  Only by exercising faith and taking all the land from the Jordan to the Mediterranean can we have the blessing of God on Israel.  Palestinians who desire to live in peace and live with some level of autonomy but not citizenship can stay, and those who do not want to live in peace on this basis would have to leave.

Other Messianic Jews rejected this view called maximalist.  Why?  Because Israel has not repented of sin and come to fully embrace the Bible’s teaching on morals and life.  We have not come to Yeshua but even more, the state supports abortion, the LGBTQ agenda and so much more. Of course, the Orthodox Jews do reject these orientations.  We Messianic Jews believe in Israel and the return to the Land, but a counsel of taking the whole Land now may not have God’s favor.  It might bring destruction as the Zealots in the first century brought Roman destruction on Israel.  This is still a debate among Messianic Jews in the Land.

However, today the majority of Messianic Jews and the great majority of Israelis reject the two-state solution, at least for now.  This is not as wrongly perceived in the West because of the domination of the right-wing national Orthodox.  Rather, the Israelis are disillusioned with the Palestinians and the two-state solution. It is not religious reasons that drive them.  Here are the reasons.

  1. Israel sought to have a two-state solution under Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. What happened?   The first big attempt was during the time of Yassir Arafat.  He rejected the plan negotiated with President Bill Clinton.  When he walked away, Clinton said to him, “You have made me a failure.” Prime Minister Olmert negotiated even more generous terms, terms that no Israeli government could go beyond.  He offered 97% of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and East Jerusalem for a Palestinian State.  He offered land swaps for the 3%. He offered a right of return to near relatives of Arabs living on the Israel side of the new border, but other refugees could return to the new state.  Mohammed Abbas rejected the plan.  Again, later there was another violent intifada uprising. Israelis became convinced that the Palestinians did not really want a two-state solution, but it was only a game played for the West.  Maybe Abbas was afraid of the radicals like Hamas and thought if he accepted peace, he would be killed.  Remember Anwar Sadat of Egypt.
  2. Secondly, Israel under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who was pro-settling Judea and Samaria, came to believe that two-states were necessary to preserve Israel.  He withdrew all Israeli settlements from Gaza and turned this completely over to the Palestinians. It was a grand experiment.  There was no blockade.  They were totally free and were encouraged to make Gaza a great place.  This was very controversial.  Sharon’s desire was for them to succeed. If they did then he could withdraw from most of Judea and Samaria except for the big settlement blocks needed for Israel’s territory depth for defense and security.  He said he wanted to draw the border.  Because he did not think the Palestinians would accept any agreement, he decided that unilateral withdrawal was the way forward.

Gaza then came under Hamas rule. They killed Palestinian Authority government leaders and took over.  The population supported Hamas. Hamas did not want a two state solution but wanted to destroy Israel.  They turned Gaza into an armed military camp with offensive weapons galore.  This is the background for the present war.

  1. After this, the left wing parties declined and never again came into power. Labor that had been so big dwindled to  be a tiny party.  Why?  As Israelis looked at this history, they came to believe that there was no real partner for peace.  Palestinian education was anti-Semitic.  The Palestinian authorities gave big support stipends to terrorists who were jailed or killed. This is called pay for slay.

Contrary to Western perceptions, Israel’s rejection of a two state solution was not due to the religious fanatics, but due to a hard evaluation of the history and the present situation.

Only a change of heart among the Palestinians can lead to lasting peace under any scenario.

The Spirit of Depression and Encouragement in a time of War

We’ve recently passed 100 days of war here in Israel.  Some of my Israeli friends are down.  This includes followers of Yeshua.  Why wouldn’t there be depression?  Here is a list of twelve reasons why many are depressed:

1.  The terrible slaughter of over 1200 Israelis. 

2.  The mistreatment of the Israelis, the rape and torture of so many just before their deaths. 

3.  The hostages that were taken captive, some tortured and almost 300 Israeli soldiers killed.

4. Over 1500 injured; what injuries are long-term and life debilitating? 

5.  Over 10,000 Gaza civilians probably killed.  This is not intentional but adds to the depression because Hamas set things up so they cannot be defeated without such civilian casualties. 

6.  The response of the pro-Palestinian Arabs in many nations who now have demonstrated in favor of the terrorists.

7. The response of the “woke” left who identify with Hamas, though Hamas would kill them if they were in the countries that support them.  It is devastating to Jews who were liberal and now believe their political allies have turned on them, and they have. 

8.  The division in Israel between those who want to fully defeat Hamas and those who would stop the war to get the hostages back.  Most Israelis want the war to conclude with a full defeat of Hamas and a pullback by Hezbollah in the North in submission to U. N. resolution 1701. 

9.  That many on the left have accepted the lying narrative that Israel is a colonial settler state and should never have come into existence. The messaging of Hamas has been much more effective than Israel. 

10.  For Messianic Jews, that the Bible and its teaching on the election of the Jewish people and the promise of this Land to our people is ignored, and even by those who claim to believe the Bible but ignore these passages. 

11.  The trauma of missiles form Gaza and Lebanon that have displaced over 200,000 people counting both the north and south. 

12. The proceedings of the International Court of Justice of the U. N. where Israel, the victim of genocide, is being accused of genocide due to civilian causalities in its war against Hamas.  Hamas should be blamed.

Well, you get the idea.  However, God is never defeated and ultimately, He will be victorious.  In Psalm 83, Israel fights against enemies who perhaps would wipe them out in a genocidal war.  The enemy says of Israel, “Come, let’s wipe them out as a nation. Let Israel’s name be remembered no more.”  v. 5.  This sounds just like Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad.   The Psalmist prays that these enemies would be defeated.  But then though praying that the enemies perish, the Psalmist gives a glimmer of hope in the important verse, “Cover their faces with shame so that they may seek your Name.” (v. 17).  Also, we note v. 19, “Let them know that you alone—whose Name is Adonai—are El Elyon over all the earth.”

Some years ago, Lee Smith wrote the book The Strong Horse.  In it he tried to get westerners to understand the Middle Eastern mind.  There is a deep tendency to be in alliance with the strong.  For the more primative mind, the winner at war shows that their God, or their religion is more powerful.  Accommodating radical Muslims will bring about positive change, but their utter defeat.  In Psalm 83 the defeat leads to the confession of the Lord.  Can we believe for a harvest into the Kingdom as a result of this terrible war, this terrible time if Israel is victorious?

The good news is that ultimately the enemies of God will be defeated.  Yeshua will return and put all things right.  We have to maintain this perspective in all times of trail and fight depression with hope.  This is our ultimate hope.  However, there is also much hope that God will bring good in the interim out of these trials.  As we pray for victory for Israel in all these trails, the false attack and so much more, can be not find hope in the present prospects for the advance of the Kingdom?  I think we can.  We see in Heidi Baker’s amazing book, Always Enough, that the worst apparent setbacks led to great advances for the Gospel.

What are some other signs of hope?  First, Israel is recognizing more than ever before that the Evangelical community is her strongest supporter.  This helps overcome the stronghold of the mind that faith in Yeshua and the New Testament leads to opposition to the Jewish people.  It is just the opposite when the Bible is truly believed.  Jewish people are and will also be more open to the Gospel.   We see an advance with both Jews and Arabs.

Secondly, the war is exposing hearts in the West and in the leadership of nations.  Now the bankruptcy of the radical left is being revealed.  Jewish people in the nations as never before are reevaluating their political alliances.  This is a very good thing.   The hearts of the radical left are being revealed as perverted.  There is exposure of the anti-Semitism in the culture, the Ivy League schools and more.  It is not too late for many are now seeing this and strongly rejecting this.  Congressional investigations on anti-Semitism are starting.

We also now see the evil of the leaders of nations.  We see Russia and China ally with Iran, the sponsor of Hamas and Hezbollah. Turkey and South Africa say Hamas is not a terrorist organization.  It is good for us to know that these leaders are evil and that the present war has revealed their hearts.  We hope this changes Israel’s policies and the policies of other nations.

Israel is an instrument of revealing God to the nations.  We believe that this is taking place.

Therefore, despite the 12 reasons for depression, let us look up to Him and have hope that God is mightily at work.

The Anti-Missionary Campaign and the Jerusalem Post

For many years I have observed the anti-missionary groups that attack Messianic Jews and Christians who share their faith with the Jewish people. Years ago, the well-known Messianic Jewish apologist, revivalist, and cultural critic, Dr. Michael L. Brown, debated their leading figure.  That anti-missionary was bested so badly that the word went out to not debate Dr. Brown.  There are Rabbis and even some Orthodox ones, who have treated Messianic Jews fairly, honestly presenting who they are, what they believe, and why they disagree.  We had good relations with conservative Rabbi Matthew Simon in the Washington D. C. area and the head of the Rabbinic Council in Washington, Rabbi Joshua Haberman.  Rabbi Haberman even read my book Jewish Roots and asserted that we should be accepted in the Jewish community but that it would take another generation or two.  I am used to the anti-missionary diatribe, and it is almost boilerplate, stereo-typing, and misrepresenting.  One canard is that Messianic Judaism leads to assimilation and is a danger of destroying Jewish identity.  Yet, the foundation of Messianic Judaism, in which I played a somewhat formative role, is a faith commitment that Jews who come to faith in Yeshua are called to identify and live as Jews, as part of their people.  Messianic Jews are much more Jewish observant than the majority of Jews.

The article in the last Friday, Dec. 29, edition of the Jerusalem Post Magazine section, entitled, “Uncovering missionary efforts.” was the same boilerplate but more troubling.  Why?  It was the timing.  Messianic Jewish congregation leaders in Israel have listed over 1000 Messianic Jews who are serving in the war, both in Gaza, in the north against Hezbollah, and in the West Bank.  I am personal friends with some of these Messianic Jews.  Their patriotism is stellar.  In the midst of the war, the Jerusalem Post editor approved a boilerplate article full of misrepresentation of Messianic Jews, fostering mistrust and division.  Where on earth was the editor’s mind or wisdom?  Do they ever seek a Messianic Jewish response?  They slandered good people by name!

The writer, Atara Beck, gives some credit to Christian Zionists who are supporting Israel in this dark time, but even then undercuts this credit by discrediting one such ministry that requires all that come to serve with them to sign a statement that they will not seek to share their faith with Jewish people in Israel while working with them. So much for the leading of the Holy Spirit in this ministry. However, even this ministry is slammed because its leader hopes that their acts of unconditional love will eventually lead to the Jewish people softening their hearts and embracing Yeshua.  And this is so terrible?  This is total hypocrisy from the writer.  Why?  Because Orthodox Jews, Evangelicals, and Messianic Jews all believe that one day all will embrace the true Messiah and Israel and the nations will be one under the rule of Israel’s true Messiah.  Orthodox Jews believe that this is not Yeshua/Jesus but will be a yet-to-be-revealed person, but they believe all will convert to faith in the true Messiah and become Noachides.  Messianic Jews and Christians believe that the true Messiah is Yeshua/Jesus.  For Evangelicals and Messianic Jews to not believe that someday Israel will confess him would be to deny their own faith.  Isn’t this obvious?  Not to the anti-missionary who is blind to the contradiction. Even the Catholic Catechism, paragraph 674, puts out the faith statement that one day Israel will confess Him and that this will lead to his return.  Yet, the Catholics have rejected an explicit missionary effort to the Jews.  This does not mean that Catholics think that Jews coming to faith is wrong.  Such Jewish believers are embraced, like the late Jewish Cardinal Lustiger of Paris who called himself a Messianic Jew.

The anti-missionary does not engage with the Messianic Jewish arguments and respond honestly after showing that he or she has understood it.  They cannot present it objectively but have to resort to diatribe and propaganda. When they present their apologetic against faith in Yeshua it is a pile of distortions an misrepresentations as fully shown in Mike Brown’s masterpiece six volumes, Answering Jewish Objections.

Messianic Jews and Bible believing Christians have different views on approaching Jewish people, but all agree that Yeshua is the Messiah and by definition this means that Israel will eventually embrace him. However, other than that they have different views on  practical engagement with Jewish people.

  1. Most believe in a legitimate witness of sharing faith with Jewish people as led by the Spirit with the hope the Spirit will enlighten and bring a change of heart and faith in Yeshua.
  2. Some believe in overt public witnessing and proclamation in streets and in media and some do not.
  3. A minority believe that only Jews should share their Yeshua faith with Jews since if Gentiles share it could lead to assimilation.
  4. A minority believe that the Jewish people have their own covenant status and acceptance with God if they are committed to God and that sharing faith should be avoided.  If Jews come to faith, it should be by a supernatural act without a witness from another follower of Yeshua.  This seems to be the case with the leaders of one of the ministry leaders described in the Jerusalem Post article.

Unlike the implication of the tone of the article, Messianic Jews are not stupid people who just bought into propaganda. That is what you would conclude from the article.  On the contrary, many are intelligent and thinking people and a larger and larger number of Messianic Jewish scholars are doing great work. They have Ph. D’s from Duke, Cambridge, Emory, New York University, Tel Aviv, Hebrew University, Bar Ilan and other famous schools.  For all, believing in Yeshua is by revelation of the Spirit and sometimes a response to real miracles. For many, they have responded to overwhelming evidence (see my book, The Biblical Worldview, An Apologetic)

We are grateful for those Jewish leaders who though they do not believe in Yeshua, engage with Messianic Jews with honesty and seek an objective engagement.  A few have even written books arguing for mutual respect.  (See Rabbi Cohn Sherbuck, Messianic Judaism.

The Revelation of God and the Miraculous

The older I get the clearer it becomes that the primary revelation of God is through the miraculous.  It is not speculation about the nature of the universe, time and eternity, first causes, or other philosophical approaches.  There are some such verses in the Bible.  Romans says that the creation reveals God’s power and divine majesty, (Romans 1, Psalm 19).  However, the idea may be that the perception of the universe itself and our existence in it is perceived as miraculous.

The Hebrew Bible

In the Bible, God is known for doing great miracles and then by the prophetic word that interprets the miraculous.  The flood and the deliverance of God have miraculous features.  Its meaning is interpreted by God’s prophetic words to Noah. The call of Abraham and Sarah’s pregnancy is a miracle.  God speaks to Abraham and gives him an understanding of this miracle. The plagues and the Exodus from Egypt are miraculous.  Moses and Aaron interpret these events.  Then there is miraculous provision in the desert.  The miracles continue in the phenomena at Sinai.  The miracles are the context for giving the Mosaic constitution, Exodus through Deuteronomy.  They prepare the way to accept God’s word, a constitution for the nation of Israel. Jericho’s walls fell down, a miracle. Jehoshaphat is sent with worshipers and the invading armies kill one another (II Chron. 20:18-23). Elijah confronts the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel and God reveals himself in the miracle (I King’s 18).  We know who God is and what He is like through His miraculous interventions and the interpretation of these events by the prophets. God is known by the biblical narrative of the people of Israel and the history of their history of miracles and their interpretation.

The Ministry of Yeshua on Earth

With the coming of the New Covenant, the fulfillment of prophecy itself is sometimes miraculous and is interpreted prophetically.  The progress of the ministry of Yeshua is through a plethora of miracles.  Yeshua is the great prophet who interprets these miracles.  He calls people to believe in Him based on his miraculous works (John 10:37, 38).  The resurrection was the great miracle that was interpreted by Yeshua and his disciples after his resurrection.  The Gospels are the interpretation of meaning from the miracles of compassion and deliverance from Yeshua and his apostles during the day of his life on earth.

Progress through Yeshua’s Apostles, Evangelists, and Prophets

The Gospel progresses in Israel through miraculous events interpreted by his New Covenant Apostles and Prophets.  This continues with Paul as he takes the Gospel to the nations. Miracles continue to be part of the cutting edge of extending the Gospel.  Those miracles then are interpreted and provide the occasion for proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom.  The theology of the New Testament, the books themselves, are the teaching of the Spirit through apostolic writers given their foundational credibility by the miraculous as a foundation for belief.  Yes, the lofty nature of the teaching does give it credibility as well.

The First Centuries of Progress after the death of John the Apostle

This continues into the next two centuries after the death of John the last of the 12 Apostles.  It is the key to the growth of the early Church.  It continued into the fourth century.  After this, the miraculous was not as frequent but never ceased. Ramsey McMullen, a noted Yale historian of the Roman Empire, wrote an amazing book, Christianizing the Roman Empire, where he argued that Christianity progressed and overcame paganism largely through the plethora of miracles through this period.  Its miraculous power was demonstrated as far beyond that of paganism. One can doubt that the miracles really happened, but this is the testimony of the people who provided the records from those days.

The Testimony Today, the Story Continues

The testimony today is that on the cutting edge of the extension of the Gospel of the Kingdom in much of the world, especially Southern Global Christianity, the same pattern of miracles continues.  We are seeing a return to the biblical pattern of miracles being a key to the extension of the Kingdom. The writings of Dr. Craig Keener in his Miracles, two volumes of amazing documentation in almost 1000 pages, show that this is key to the progress of the Gospel.  Signs and wonders are key to the conversion of the peoples of nations all over the world.  God shows himself in the miraculous and his evangelists interpret these miracles.  God still heals the sick and casts out demons through his emissaries.  He still raises the dead.  Miracles today are not the context for a new revelation that is authoritative, but instead, confirm the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom and the authority of the Bible as our foundational book for how we are to believe and how we are to live.


Without the interpretations of miracles, we do not have sufficient revelation of God.  We find that God is a God of love, who seeks to give people eternal life.  He brings them into a loving community.  However, he is a God of declared righteous standards and judgment for those who will not submit to God’s lordship and the Lordship of Yeshua.  The God who heals the sick, cleanses the leapers, and raises the dead, also says that we are to live in fidelity in our marriages, raise our children in the faith, care for the poor and widows, and extend the Kingdom in sharing the Gospel.  He confirms the universal standards of the Torah for all people (Matthew 5:16-19).  The history of God’s miracles in the Bible is our narrative theology, or our theology is narrative.  The history after the Bible is the story of the continued advance of the Gospel.  This is why a true biblical theology is a charismatic theology.   Isn’t it wonderful to live in a day of miracles?!

We foster this kind of Gospel of the Kingdom movement in Israel. Our new Bible College will be a school that teaches and fosters the supernatural miraculous Gospel of the Kingdom movement in Israel.

How did we get here? Israel’s policy mistakes and one American policy mistake

Israel made many bad decisions historically and appeased their enemies.  This is one reason for the terrible war now and the dangerous state of affairs. What I write here is not my playing Monday morning quarterback because I was deeply grieved and saw the error at the time of those decisions. We are dealing with two primary entities, the state of Lebanon and Gaza.  The Lebanon problem is older so I will deal with that first. Here is my list and explanation.  These views of the events were formed at the time of the decisions.

1.  The withdrawal after the First Lebanon War, 1982.  In June 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon to end the attacks from the Palestinians.  The campaign was known as Operation Peace in Galilee.  The Christian Maronite militia allied with Israel.  The terrorist Palestinian Liberation Organization was expelled.  The hope was to see a Christian government under Bashir Gemayel that would make peace with Israel.  Many things went wrong.  For one thing, this leader of the Lebanon government was assonated.  His brother who came to leadership was weak.  Secondly, the Maronite army perpetrated a massacre against civilian refuges in two of the camps.  Israel lost her heart for the war after this and withdrew.  However, she should have continued to see full victory and then to ensure a Christian government in Lebanon.  Israel still had the Southern Lebanon Army Christian Zone that was controlled by the SLA with Israel’s support.  There was still a buffer.

2. The United States abandoned Lebanon after the bombing of the Marine barracks.  The Marines were part of a Multinational Force providing security and peace after the Lebanon civil war. Islamic Jihad, akin to Hezbollah, a Shiite group, sent suicide vans to bomb the Americans and French. The U.S. Embassy had been bombed prior to this.  My desire at the time was that President Reagan would go to war against Islamic Jihad, and take out their leaders, and destroy their militia.  He did not. He withdrew.  This show of American weakness empowered terrorism. Now the Christian leader Gemayel had to deal with this.  Islamic forces were growing at the expense of Christians.   

3. Israel’s decision to withdraw from South Lebanon and to abandon the South Lebanon Christian Army.  In April 2000 Israel began to withdraw from Southern Lebanon.  Israel was not the primary fighting force but a support to the South Lebanon Christian Army.  Yes, Israel lost a few soldiers from time to time, but the brunt of the responsibility and dealing with the terrorist Palestinians was the South Lebanon Army.  Yet for Israel, their losses were too much.  Yet this withdrawal would lead to the loss of many more Israelis.  When they withdrew the South Lebanon Army was not strong enough to continue without Israel’s support, so many were allowed to move to Northern Israel.  My daughter was in Israel with a group known as Souled Out at the time and remembers the pain of the Christian soldiers.  They danced and entertained the soldiers from this army.  At the time I shouted inside, NO!  I knew the vacuum would be filled by Palestinian terrorists.  Israel had a great buffer against Hezbollah, a Christian Ally. As I and others predicted, the radical Islamists took over South Lebanon and made it a place of operations against Israel.

4.  Israel allowed Hezbollah to regroup and be rearmed after the 2006 Lebanon War.  After Israel went to war in Lebanon against Hezbollah she made a tactical mistake.  The head of the military was an air force man who pummeled the infrastructure of Lebanon including Beirut.  This turned many who were not anti-Israel against Israel. Israel waited too long to send ground troops. I remember watching the news with my brother in Georgia.  He had been an Air Force major and was quite dumbfounded that they were depending on air power for so long and delayed the invasion. Finally, when Israel invaded, world pressure sought a withdrawal before Israel could decimate Hezbollah.  The U.N. then agreed to send peacekeepers.  The agreement with Lebanon and the U.N. was that Hezbollah would not be allowed to re-arm. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called this a robust Chapter Seven U. N. agreement.  I knew at the time that the U.N. would not enforce this agreement.  Soon Hezbollah was rearming and not only that but importing missiles.  Today there are from 150 to 200,000 missiles, some of them precision ones that are geared to destroy Tel Aviv.  When it became clear that the U.N. would not enforce the agreement. Israel should have gone to war and then said to the U.N., “Until you enforce this agreement we will return again and again and will enforce this agreement.  Alas, Israel allowed this to happen under successive governments, but primarily under P. M. Netanyahu.

5.  When Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, they turned over the government to the Palestinian Society.  They were released to be a free territory with open borders to Egypt and the sea.  Hamas rebelled and overthrew the Palestinian authority.  Some of its leaders were killed.  Since Hamas is a terrorist organization, whose charter is to destroy not only Israel but world Jewry, Israel should have invaded Gaza. Hamas was still weak.  They should have said, that Israel would not allow terrorist government on its borders.  They then could have reinstalled the Palestinian Authority.  However, Prime Minister Netanyahu had the idea that as long as the Judea and Samaria Palestinian areas are ruled by the P.A. and Gaza by Hamas, there could be no two-state solution.  Of course, Hamas could declare Gaza a state but will not do so since they want their state and rule to first include Judea and Samaria and then all of Israel.   Israel then set a blockade to prevent Hamas from receiving offensive arms.  This policy has failed.  The naval and border blockades did not prevent a terrible level of arms and missiles from being stockpiled in Gaza.  Israel should as a policy both for Gaza and the Palestinian areas of Judea and Samaria say that no government will be allowed that is terrorist.  Elections must exclude individuals and parties that are terrorists.  Netanyahu thought he could contain Hamas.  He was wrong.  In 2006 when Hamas came to power, I saw the handwriting on the wall.

These mistaken policies have brought us to this sad situation, but the good thing is I hope that Israel will not allow Hamas to rule on territory on its borders.