One year ago today, Israeli Defense Forces were engaged in Operation Cast Lead, a long overdue offensive into Gaza to stop Hamas from firing thousands of rockets and mortars at innocent Jewish civilians in southern Israel.
As 2009 comes to an end, the assessment of Israeli security services is that the operation was very successful. The IDF severely damaged Hamas, bringing such attacks almost to an end. The IDF — along with Bibi Netanyahu’s election and new policy of retaliating for every single Hamas attack, not just the ones that cause damage, injury or death to Israel — also restored an important measure of deterrance. Terrorists now know once again that Israel will hit back, and hit back hard, something they hadn’t believed during the years of the Olmert administration.
Snapshot from the Ynet story, entitled, “Shin Bet: 2009 Was A Quiet Year”:
- “For the first time this decade, no suicide attacks were carried out this year.”
- “The number of those [Israelis] wounded in [other kinds of] attacks also dropped, with 15 killed compared to 36 in 2008.”
- “In 2009, just 566 rockets from Gaza were fired into Israel, mostly in January during the IDF operation, compared to 2,048 launched in 2008.”
- Israeli officials see major threats rising, of course — Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and al Qaeda are all building up their offensive capabilities and key allies like Turkey and Jordan are steadily turning against the Jewish State
- But for 2009, at least, Israelis were more secure than at almost any other time in the nation’s recent 61 year history.
- Does this level of security fulfill the biblical precondition set in Ezekiel 38:8 that Israelis are “living securely in the land” right before Russia, Iran, Turkey, Libya and several other enemies launch the prophetic “War of Gog and Magog”? This remains to be seen. It’s still too early to draw a conclusion. But there is no question that events in the epicenter over the past decade — and particularly in the last few years — are remarkably consistent with the prophecies detailed in Ezekiel 38-39. God in His sovereignty could still kick the “prophetic can” up the road several decades, if He so chooses. But never in human history have geopolitical conditions in the epicenter been so ripe for the “War of Gog and Magog” to occur.
- The real question is, “So what?” How are we supposed to live differently in light of these trendlines, and the fact that the Bible teaches that we are living in the “last days” before the return of Jesus Christ? One clue comes from Ezekiel 38:7. The Lord tells the enemies of Israel to “get ready, be prepared” (NIV) to be involved in prophetic events. Shouldn’t followers of Jesus Christ get ready and be prepared as well? Absolutely. I believe we should be ready to meet Jesus face to face and not be ashamed at His coming, ready to show unconditional love and Christ-like mercy to Israel and her neighbors, ready to mobilize a global movement of people praying for the peace of Jerusalem, ready to care for the poor and needy, ready to care for victims of war and terrorism, ready to teach people around the world from the Bible about God’s love and plan for Israel and her neighbors, ready to share the good news of God’s love with anyone around the world and throughout the epicenter who has ears to hear and eyes to see, ready to strengthen our brothers and sisters in the region who are suffering persecution, ready to suffer persecution and endure hardship ourselves, and ready to lift up the Name of Jesus with praise and worship because He is most worthy of our supreme love. How are you doing? Are you ready? Are you prepared? [Would you like to know God personally, have your sins forgiven, and receive eternal life as you begin 2010? Here’s a link to a wonderful, powerful and simple explanation of the good news of God’s amazing love for you.]
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GO: Epicenter Conference in Manila, Philippines in January 2010