Comment: A spiritual war is raging

To deal with the threat of WMD, Israel and its friends must arm themselves with weapons that are “out of this world,” weapons that have divine power.

bible_311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Many suspect that the American and British governments knew all along there were no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq. Dr. David Kelly, head of biological defense at the secret British military research establishment at Porton, Wiltshire, was one such person. His opposition to the government’s spin on WMD likely resulted in his death.
On January 5, 2004, Nizar Nayouf, a Syrian journalist who defected to France, wrote to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that chemical and biological weapons were smuggled from Iraq into Syria before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Nayouf claimed to know three sites where these WMD were being kept: in tunnels under the town of al-Baida in northern Syria; in the village of Tal Snan, adjacent to a Syrian Air Force base; and in Sjinsjar, on the border with Lebanon.
Everyone believes by now that Iran has been building a nuclear bomb in full view of the world – with the help of Russia.
Russia’s arms sales and nuclear cooperation with Syria and its new brother-in-arms Iran is a serious threat to Israel. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, meeting with Syrian leaders on Yom Kippur, said Iran- Syria relations were “solid and strategic, with a unified view.”
Everyone knows this “unified view” is the annihilation of Israel. While denying the Holocaust, this Iranian Hitler is preparing another. Everyone also knows that Hizbullah has between 40,000 and 80,000 rockets. They also have Shahin I missiles and Russian 122 mm Katyusha rockets, many of which have the ability to carry biological and chemical warheads.
The head of the Eshkol Regional Council in Israel has filed a complaint to the UN over recent Hamas terrorist attacks on southern Israel, where mortar shells carried phosphorus warheads, forbidden against civilians.
Everyone knows Hamas is in possession of Grad 1 (enhanced Russian Katyusha) rockets with a range of 40 km, threatening Israel from the southwest.
Some readers may be wondering, “Why do we need all this bad news?” Well, it may be bad news but it’s also reality – which those who pray for the Peace of Jerusalem need to keep in mind. The good news is that while it seems that Israel’s enemies are increasing like a flood, the spirit of the Lord is raising a bulwark. The bulwark is not the Iron Dome missile defense system or any other military countermeasure. While all these things are certainly necessary, the bulwark is constructed of prayers by the increasing host of Friends of Israel.
To deal with the threat of WMD, Israel and its friends must arm themselves with weapons that are “out of this world,” weapons that have divine power:
For though we live in the world, the weapons we fight with are not those of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought, making it obedient to Jesus.”
(2 Corinthians 10:3)
When God placed us in this world, He knew the end from the beginning, in detail. He knew about the rise of evil, and He did not leave His people defenseless. The Bible reveals three weapons of immense power:
1 Samuel 17:45: David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”
Humanly speaking, the odds are overwhelming. Yet in God we have a mighty fortress in whom we can find refuge: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10).
The “safety” suggested in these scriptures does not talk about the escapism of the Rapture. The safety promised through the name of the Lord is the protection and intervention of God, who is mighty to save. Some focus on the Tanach, others on the New Testament, but the message is the same: “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:32/Acts 2:21).
Those who believe know the power of His name. Even those who doubt cannot change the fact that His name takes down satanic strongholds and makes demons tremble.
For thousands of years it has been said: “Salvation is found in no one else.”
Jeremiah 23:29: “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?”
The Bible contains the eternal Words of God. Through the Bible we are instructed in how to pray according to the Word. Prayer based on the Word rather than on feelings is very powerful. This requires a paradigm shift from “baby-in-the-manger” sentimentalism to the biblical dimension, where we continuously cry “Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered.”
We remember that Israel is His Land, the Jews are His people, the Messiah is His promise, history is His story, and the battle for Jerusalem is His battle. If we are to learn from history, we must remember His stories in the Book which tell us again and again that the God of Israel watches over His people:
“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and evermore” (Psalm 125:2).
Discussing Israel’s history with a senior member of the Mossad, he admitted, “Israel has made some bad mistakes in its dealings with its enemies.”
Bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities would be one of those mistakes; it could trigger a battle of Armageddon proportions. Through our prayers, God will surround Israel and prevent it from making such fatal mistakes.
Though military analysts predicted a major war in the Middle East in the summer of 2010, it did not happen. I believe the reason bad things don’t happen is that good people pray, paraphrasing Edmund Burke to say “Evil did not prosper because good people did something.”
Israel’s enemies are His enemies. We must pray that He will scatter them rather than destroy them. Destruction was often the last resort after all alternatives were exhausted. In fact, Yeshua commands us to pray for our enemies:
“Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who ill treat you. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked” (Luke 6:27).
Unfortunately, too many Christian Zionists, in a mistaken desire not to offend the Jews, focus on the Tanach. This is unnecessary, since everyone knows that the brit hadash is an authentic Jewish document written largely in Hebrew; It doesn’t pose any real problems to Jews who “don’t believe in it,” since many Jews don’t seem to believe in the Tanach either!
To pray for our enemies or Israel’s enemies will require the right kind of praying. The “Oh God! Kill them” prayer will not work, as it is not God’s intent for anyone to perish:
Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
Admittedly it is hard to pray for one’s enemies. Our in-built sense of judgment, revenge and punishment all too often clouds our judgment. It was hard for the disciples, too. When they faced rejection and hostility, they said to Jesus: “Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” Like many modern Christians, the disciples walked with Jesus yet lived in the past, without realizing that yesterday’s light cannot show the way to the future. That is why Jesus “turned, and rebuked them, and said, ‘Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of’” (Luke 9:53).
They had the wrong kind of spirit! Because their hearts were full of anger, their spirit reacted with only one thing on their mind: Let’s kill them. But this is not God’s way. To pray for our enemies requires a different kind of spirit – the spirit of a God who actually loves His enemies and bids us to do the same.
While the spirit controlling Iran may be evil, its people are not. They are beautiful. The spirit controlling Lebanon may be ugly, but its people were created in the image of God. So are the members of Hizbullah, Hamas, the Palestinians, suicide bombers and terrorists. Think about it!
“In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt, and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria – a blessing on the earth” (Isaiah 19:24-25).
It requires a different kind of spirit to include enemies while praying for the Peace of Jerusalem. It requires the Holy Spirit to do something that is humanly impossible.
The disciples who wanted to call fire from heaven revealed a wrong spirit in their hearts. It’s an ancient problem, the cause of all human problems, the root of anti-Semitism and the force behind all terrorism. It’s the raw, untamed human spirit, contaminated by religious prejudice, racial hatred and desires for revenge. This carnal spirit must be captured and transformed by the spirit of God: “We take captive every thought and make it obedient to Messiah” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
The spirit of God is a life-giving spirit: “And afterwards, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions” (Joel 2:28).
Without the spirit of God, the Bible becomes a confusing jumble of writings, and the name of the Lord remains a mystery. But when God pours out His spirit, the Bible comes alive and the name of the Lord becomes an awesome reality that changes hatred into love, the sons of terrorists into Zionists, in fulfillment of Isaiah 60:14: “The sons of your oppressors will come bowing before you; all who despise you will bow down at your feet and will call you the City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.”
Truly the weapons of God’s Kingdom have the power to penetrate the darkest darkness and pull down the most demonic stronghold. These divine weapons have the power to change the hearts of oppressors. Let us pray that the oppressors of Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Gaza may be smitten by the spirit of God. That the Holy Spirit will invade their strongholds, cause them to bow before the Holy One of Israel and declare Jerusalem the city of God.
The contrast could not be greater between the war-mongering spirit of the world that wants to kill Jews and Christians and the world-changing spirit of God that is advancing God’s Kingdom. It is awesome to see the weapons of the Kingdom of God in action, destroying the walls of hostility between Jew and gentile, between Israel and Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Gaza, Jordan, Egypt:
The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance” (Isaiah 19:25).
During the countdown to Armageddon, it is important to focus on these realities – so that when we bless Egypt, we bless them as people God created. When we bless Assyria (and all the nations of the Middle East), we bless God’s handiwork. In doing so, the God of Israel will protect His inheritance and the Kingdom of God advances irresistibly, transforming enemies into friends. That is what matters most.

Werner Oder is the son of an Austrian Nazi SS officer. After his deliverance from anti-Semitism, he became Pastor of – a congregation that loves and supports the nation of Israel.