Israel and Hamas: Will There Ever Be Peace?

By Milo Jones | Posted October 16, 2023

When King Solomon built Israel’s first temple, peace dominated the landscape. Solomon’s father, King David, had spent most of his reign defeating Israel’s enemies and surviving civil wars (2 Samuel 2, 3, 8, 10, 15‒20). His victories on the battlefield had prepared the way for his son’s work on the temple.

Today, Christians around the globe are looking to Jerusalem for the temple to be rebuilt. But, just as in David and Solomon’s day, that cannot occur until Israel conquers all her enemies, restoring peace to the region. Considering the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, is Bible prophecy being fulfilled?

Going Backward

On October 7, the radical Islamic group Hamas attacked southern Israel, killing more than 1,300 men, women, and children, and taking at least 150 hostages. Israel retaliated by pounding northern Gaza with nearly a week of airstrikes, killing even more men, women, and children than Hamas did. “Suddenly, it’s back to people killing people, and people cheering others for killing people,” said the head of the Dubai Public Policy Research Center. “We’re going backward.”

Just eight days before Hamas’ attack, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan was promoting the Biden administration’s successes in the Middle East. The “region is quieter today than it has been in two decades,” he said. Apparently, the Hamas assault—the deadliest for Israelis since the Yom Kippur War 50 years earlier—came as a shock to U.S. officials.

The conflict goes back to 1948, when Israel was established as an independent state. The United Nations, preparing for the end of Britain’s occupation of Palestine, partitioned it into two countries: the Jewish state of Israel and the Arab state of Palestine. But the Palestinians and the Arab League—at the time comprising Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabi, and Yemin—rejected the partition and attacked Israel. After about nine months of fighting, Israel occupied much of the land the United Nations had designated to the Arabs. 

In the Hebrew tongue, this first Arab-Israel war is called the “War of Independence.” In Arabic, it’s called “The Catastrophe” because it displaced more than 700,000 Palestinians, many of whom took refuge in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Since then, there’s been a series of wars between these two peoples. 

On October 13, after Israel had dropped 6,000 bombs on the Gaza Strip and amassed some 360,000 troops along the border, a reporter for The New York Times made this assessment: “As Israel’s army prepares for a possible ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, the inferno flaring out from Gaza is turning into a potential nightmare for the entire region, threatening to destabilize not just Israel and the Palestinian territories, but also Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.” 

It’s no guess, therefore, that world leaders are scrambling to contain the conflict to Israel and Hamas. “If the conflict fully reaches Lebanon, or Iran is brought into it directly,” said a Saudi official, “it would be a catastrophe.”

Yet the ripples of this fight have already begun to spread. On October 15, a second front was opened against Israel when Hezbollah, another Iran-backed militant group, launched at least five anti-tank missiles from Lebanon into northern Israel. A day before, Iranian officials warned that Hezbollah “was poised to join Hamas’ fight.”

Praying for Peace

Throughout the decades of conflict, Jews and Christians alike have continued to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6). Jerusalem’s name, in fact, means “peaceful.” But does the Bible really predict peace for this earthly city, which coincides with the rebuilding of its temple?

According to many Christians—yes! The Jews are still waiting for the Messiah to rebuild their temple, which “can’t happen until there is eternal peace.” But since the Messiah already came in the person of Jesus Christ, as every Christian knows, the person the Jews are expecting will actually be the antichrist who will sit “in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

There’s just one little problem for Christians: This text is not talking about a literal temple. 

While Jesus predicted the destruction of the second temple (Matthew 24:1, 2, 15, 16), accomplished by the Romans in AD 70, the only thing He uttered about a temple being rebuilt was “the temple of His body” (John 2:19‒21). Speaking to the “church,” the apostle Paul said, “You are the body of Christ, and members individually” (1 Corinthians 12:27, 28); “you are the temple of the living God” (2 Corinthians 6:16). Paul further describes this temple in Ephesians 2: “You are … members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (vv. 19‒21). Clearly, God’s temple in the gospel dispensation is His church, whose members are spiritual Jews (Romans 2:28, 29).

If this is true, then the antichrist will reside not in the Holy Land but in Christendom! How ironic that many evangelicals, while saying that the Jews will mistake the antichrist for the Messiah, will themselves be deceived because they’re looking for the antichrist in the wrong place! To avoid such deception, read Who Is the Antichrist? or watch Revelation Reveals the Antichrist.

Following the attack on October 7, a popular evangelical pastor asked Christians to join him in praying that God would “put a spiritual hedge of protection around [His] people and their land.” This pastor believes that “Israel fulfilled numerous prophecies … in 1948, but to this day, its boundaries do not reach the full extent of the Promised Land.” The implication of his words is disturbing: The temple cannot be rebuilt until Israel dispossesses the inhabitants of “Lebanon, … the West Bank of Jordan, [and] substantial portions of Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.”

Is that the kind of peace we should be praying for?

Listen to Israel and Hamas: Will There Ever Be Peace? below
Milo Jones
Milo Jones is a writer and editor for Amazing Facts International and lives in College Place, WA.

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