Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Break Out the Dynamite

In a post last November, I agreed with Australian pastor Matt Littlefield that Israel currently has no divine mandate for the reconquest of Gaza, much as many evangelicals would like them to. We disagree, however, about whether God is at work in the current situation. Matt calls the IDF’s efforts to root Hamas out of Gaza “a work of the flesh seeking to fulfil the things of God, rather than a work of God to fulfil prophecy”. In response, I went back to the Old Testament to demonstrate that those statements are not mutually exclusive.

Even the actions of exceptionally wicked men may be both at the same time.

We are seeing increasing evidence I’m right. At very least, the current conflict is creating exactly the conditions required to speedily fulfill the Old Testament prophecies of the whole world turning against Israel in the end times, of Jews returning to Palestine in large numbers, and even a rebuilt temple in its ancient location.

No Distinction

Two recent articles hit the nail on the head where the war in Gaza is concerned. First, in American Greatness, the venerable Victor Davis Hanson writes:

“We have been lectured ad nauseam that hating Israel has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. The last month has blown up that old shibboleth for good. The left makes no distinction in their eliminationist chants between Israel and Jews. ‘Go back to Poland’ is a homonym for ‘From the River to the Sea.’ Both are shorthand for eliminating Jews — aside from the explicit threats to kill Jews and occasional praise for Hitler and the Final Solution.

When pro-Hamas thugs chase Jews into libraries, block their entrances on campus, and scream ‘beat the Jew’ as they hit piƱatas, they do not first ask Jews whether they support Israel — because they could care less. For the Islamist Middle Easterner on a student visa or green card and his useful American student, it is enough that their targets are Jewish — period.

Remember, the protests started on October 7, not on October 27, when the IDF went into Gaza. At that point, campus and street protests merely changed from euphoric triumphalism on the news that Hamas had slaughtered, decapitated, mutilated, raped, or kidnapped hundreds of Jews (‘exhilarated,’ a Cornell professor gushed of the carnage), to furor and violence. So after three weeks of celebrating dead Jews, the street protests grew furious only when the IDF finally began fighting back and destroying Hamas, even as its terrorists cowardly hid beneath mosques, hospitals, and schools to ensure enough collateral damage to incite pro-Hamas Western throngs.”

When the IDF went into Gaza on October 27, diaspora Jews quickly distanced themselves from Israel’s actions. European Jews made headlines condemning “Israel’s war on Gaza”, taking abuse from both sides to identify with their “Palestinian co-citizens”. In Washington, hundreds of US Jews were arrested for demonstrating against the bombardment and blockade on Capitol Hill.

But, as Victor Davis Hanson ably points out, it doesn’t matter. The pro-Hamas crowd makes no distinction between Jews who identify as Americans and full-blown Zionists. They want to eliminate Jews, period, including those expressing sympathy with their cause. This undiluted racial animus may shortly force Jews abroad to either attempt to hide their ethnicity or else make Aliyah — whether they want to or not.

No Place Under Heaven

A few days earlier, the Israeli Finance Minister called for the “total annihilation” of Rafah [population: 1 million] and other cities in the Gaza Strip, prompting one wag to comment that he was unsure whether “Putting the NAZI in Ashkenazi” was a winning slogan. That was not characterizing it too strongly. Here’s what Bezalel Smotrich actually said:

“There are no half measures. Rafah, Deir al-Balah, Nuseirat — total annihilation. ‘You will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven’ — there’s no place under heaven. Don’t wave a white flag. Don’t let Sinwar humiliate us again and win the war. A government that submits to international pressure and stops the war in the middle will, at that moment, lose its right to exist.”

Smotrich went on to add that Israel must “clear out, with God’s help, with one blow, wicked Hezbollah in the north, and really send a message that what will happen to those who harm the Jewish people is the same as those who have tried to harm us in the past — they will be destroyed, destroyed, destroyed. And it will echo for decades to come.” Let’s just say his remarks were not well received in America.

Obviously, Smotrich’s position is not universal even in Israel, but it shows a growing indifference to, and even contempt for, world opinion that is inevitable under the circumstances. After all, the intensity of sympathy expressed for Hamas and the Palestinian cause in protests all over the planet is making it obvious the Palestinians will never settle for a two-state solution. “From the River to the Sea” is perfectly clear: they want it all, and their public support is only increasing.

When people declare they want you dead, you are wise to take them at their word.

The Lines are Drawn

So the lines are drawn, and even the most reasonable third parties are at a loss to give Israel useful advice about how to proceed.

At present, world opinion is pretty much the only thing keeping Israel from tearing down the Dome of the Rock and rebuilding their temple. Writing for Jewish Voice, Dr. Randall Price says:

The world is radically opposed to Israel’s claims in Jerusalem, much less their contested ownership of the Temple Mount.”

But what if enough Israelis recognize courting public opinion is an exercise in futility, as it certainly appears? Among American millennials, net sympathy for Israel is currently -2%. Under such circumstances, the political will to break out the dynamite* may be generated in short order, and a functioning temple service is the only remaining biblical prerequisite for the abomination of desolation.

After that, it’s “Bring on the day of the Lord!”

* Of course Israelis won’t use dynamite anywhere near the site of the former Holy of Holies, but it sure looks like the prophetic clock is ticking on the Masjid Qubbat as-Sakhrah, the most controversial piece of property in the world.

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