As we draw near the end of this Age of Grace, the Bible warns us that assaults on the people of God will increase dramatically.
In fact, Jesus Himself warned all true believers that they can expect persecution simply for believing in Him and following Him. The New Living Translation (NLT) puts it in modern language. In Luke 21:22, Jesus said, "...there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers."
The reference to being "dragged into synagogues" implies that not only will we be prosecuted by the secular authorities, but those who believe on and follow Him will be persecuted by the "religious" powers of the day. In the time when Jesus uttered those words, the rabbis, high priests, and Sanhedrin were the religious powers of the day.
But to make sure that no one misunderstood, just a few sentences later in Luke 21:17, Jesus makes it crystal clear. He said, "And everyone will hate you because you are my followers." (NLT)
So, just by those warnings alone, we know that things are going to get intense -- and uncomfortable -- for those who claim the name of Christ.
But because Satan hates anything and everything of God, we know that these times will bring increasing attacks on anything and everything that represents God. And represents the truth of God's Word.
That includes God's chosen people: the Jews. And the nation that God promised will arise at the end of this Age: Israel.
It is especially important that evangelical Christians who support Israel are aware of the intense spiritual warfare going on there. We, of all people, should be able to understand the context in which these developments are happening.
Satan's goal is to destroy Israel. If he cannot succeed from the outside, he will try to destroy it from within. The miracle nation of Israel is a glaring example of the veracity of God's Word. If He said it, we can believe it.
God said that in the last days -- despite the seeming impossibility of it -- the nation of Israel would be reborn. And it was. That means we can believe everything else the Bible says. And Satan simply cannot tolerate that. So he must do everything in his power to destroy it and prove God to be a liar.
There is a drama unfolding in Israel today that perfectly illustrates Satan's efforts to destabilize and destroy Israel by weakening it from within.
Israel's safety is guarded and guaranteed by the vaunted -- and feared -- Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). In many ways, the IDF is the most critical institution in Israel. It literally protects Israel from annihilation by the hostile nations that surround it and the hostile enemies that lurk within its borders.
It is almost impossible to overstate the IDF's importance to Israel's continued existence as a nation.
In Israel's system of government, the Minister of Defense nominates the "Commander-in-Chief" of the IDF. The "Commander-in-Chief" is not the head of state, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is the ranking military officer who has direct command and control of all military forces and operations in Israel. Needless to say, it is a most critical position.
The Israeli Minister of Defense, Avigdor Liberman, is preparing to name his choice. He has four candidates for the position and rumor has it that he has made that choice.
But there's a rub.
This is how Caroline Glick, the Senior Contributing Editor at The Jerusalem Post, describes it.: "Today, the IDF General Staff is in open rebellion against the government and the citizens of Israel."
That sounds extreme, but here's the short of it. As Ms. Glick points out, of the four candidates for "Commander-in-Chief," two present glaring and dangerous problems.
One has publicly stated that he sees parallels to Nazi Germany in Israel.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) is an organization of 31 member nations, including the U.S. and 24 E.U. member states. One of the elements in the IHRA definition of "antisemitism" is, "Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis." So this candidate to lead the IDF technically qualifies as an "antisemite."
It seems to me that could be a problem in Israel!
A second candidate has previously shown disturbing tendencies to dismiss Palestinian atrocities and acts of terrorism. He has famously excused them as normal responses to extenuating circumstances. He has morally equivocated gruesome Palestinian acts of terrorism (the brutal murders of five members of a Jewish settler family) to petty incidents of vandalism by teenage Jewish hoodlums.
In one case of Palestinian security forces gunning down an unarmed Jewish student leaving Joseph's Tomb, he claimed that the IDF would have done the same thing.
Dani Dayan, currently the Israeli Consul in New York responded, "Slandering IDF soldiers to whitewash Palestinian crimes [is] a severe moral failing."
This candidate has even criticized Israeli support among members of the U.S. Congress.
It's disconcerting that Israel's top military leadership has been infected with such blatantly anti-Israel beliefs. If you publicly state that Israel is turning into a fascist state. Or if you imply that murderous acts of Palestinian terrorism are morally equivalent to acts of Jewish petty vandalism, you shouldn't even be in the IDF much less leading it!
As believers, we have a scriptural imperative: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem...." (Psalms 122:6 KJV) That includes praying for protection against any force that comes against Jerusalem's, and Israel's, peace.
Even if the threat comes from the IDF leadership!