The Rage of My Adversaries
By Tim Moore
In the classic musical, Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye looks to heaven and exclaims, “I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can’t You choose someone else?”
Most of us have never been viscerally hated for who we are. We have not lived alongside people who proclaim their greatest aspiration is to eradicate our nation and our families. Welcome to the reality of Israeli Jews.
On October 7th, the long-declared intention of Hamas was carried out with murderous results. For a few traumatic hours, a few thousand Hamas terrorists and other Palestinian opportunists rampaged in southern Israel. They massacred over 1,400 men, women, and children, wounded scores more, and kidnapped 242 people—dragging them back to Gaza and imprisoning them in an underground warren of terror tunnels. Even now, the fate of those hostages remains maddeningly unclear.
To understand the biblical and prophetic implications of this attack—and the ensuing War in Gaza—we need to consider the who, what, when, where, and why.
The terror organization behind this most recent atrocity is Hamas. The word “Hamas” is an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Isamiya (Islamic Resistance Movement). It emerged in the 1980s as a spin-off of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. Palestinian cleric Sheikh Ahmed Yassin brought the militant activism of the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt to the West Bank and Gaza after the Six Day War in 1967.
Following the first Intifada (launched by Yassir Arafat in 1987), Yassin asserted Hamas’ political influence—initially standing in opposition to both Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad but demonstrating a willingness to engage in dramatically more violent attacks against Israel. In 1988 Hamas published its charter promising a “very great and very serious” struggle against the Jews. It committed itself to vanquishing the enemy in order to “raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine.”
The single-minded fixation of Hamas—along with Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Islamic State (or ISIS)—to annihilate the Jews has at times led to pitched rivalries with their fellow Muslims. That is why Hamas competed with the Fatah (the political wing of the Palestinian Authority) for control of the Gaza Strip in 2005 when Israel unilaterally withdrew its military under pressure from the Bush Administration. Following Arafat’s death, the PA was no competition for Hamas’ more extreme ideology. As it consolidated power, Hamas militants murdered Fatah leaders. Tellingly, a majority of Palestinians in Gaza affirmed Hamas’ radical leadership, handing Hamas 56% of the seats in their Gazan parliament.
Almost immediately, Hamas demonstrated its intention to incite more violence against Israel. It quickly drew the ire of even Arab countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordon. Egypt had firsthand knowledge of the radical Muslim Brotherhood and its destabilizing influence in its own country, and did not want any part of an even more dangerous organization.
Fast-forward to this past October. Some in the West expressed shock that Hamas had squandered millions in aid intended to benefit the people of Gaza in pursuit of its war against Israel. While Gazans live in squalor, Hamas militants amassed thousands of rockets, built 300 miles of terror tunnels, and prepared to launch its all-out attack on Israel. But Hamas spokesman Taher El-Nounou was quite candid when he confessed, “Hamas’s goal is not to run Gaza and to bring it water and electricity and such. I hope that the state of war with Israel will become permanent on all the borders, and that the Arab world will stand with us.”
Although fraught with internal divisions of their own, the major Arab nations around Israel have declined to adopt the radical position of Hamas. In fact, they have made it rather clear that they would like to see Israel excise this infectious cancer. Exceptions have included Syria—a long-standing and rabid foe of Israel, Yemen, and Qatar. Qatar has been particularly duplicitous throughout, because they allow the string-pulling heads of Hamas—Ismail Haniyeh, Moussa Abu Marzuk, and Khaled Mashal—to live in luxury and security. American news outlets have reported that those three Hamas leaders are worth over $11 Billion. They have enriched themselves while relegating the Palestinian people to refugee camps and poverty, even as they funnel millions toward terror against Israel and the West.
But as evil as Hamas is, it is not alone. Hezbollah has overrun south Lebanon and has even more weapons, more fighters, and more support from the financier of most Middle Eastern terrorism today: Iran.
From a biblical perspective, Hamas and Hezbollah would consider themselves Arab organizations. As such, they trace their lineage back to Abraham’s son Ishmael. In Genesis 16:11-12, God told Hagar that her son would be a: “wild donkey of a man” and that: “his hand will be against everyone.” To this day, that prophetic word lives on in an oft-quoted Arab proverb:
Me against my brothers. Me and my brothers against my cousins. Me and my family against the tribe. Me and my tribe against the world.
Many of the details of October 7th are well-established. In a surprisingly coordinated attack, Hamas militants pierced the security fence separating Israel from Gaza and rampaged through several Israeli towns and villages. They quickly overwhelmed a local military outpost and police station, rendering the civilian population virtually defenseless.
Many people have speculated on how Hamas could plan such a complicated mission without the vaunted Israeli intelligence organizations getting wind of the plan. But Hamas’ operational security was exceeded only by their audacity and blood-lust. Utilizing drone technology, paragliders, sea-borne craft, and motorcycle-mounted gunmen, Hamas terrorists first blinded the electronic monitoring equipment and then began their murderous rampage.
An inevitable Israeli investigation will determine just how such an intelligence failure occurred. From a military perspective, it is obvious that Israel’s reliance on high-tech gear and smug self-confidence in the face of constant boastful but unfulfilled threats had led to complacency. There is another uniquely Western attitude that was certainly at play: an inability to recognize that the enemy is as ruthless as their words would indicate.
So, when the first wave of militants blinded the IDF’s local surveillance equipment (and reports are already being circulated that women IDF soldiers monitoring that equipment warned of a possible attack but were ignored), following waves were able to range throughout the region of Israel surrounding Gaza with no resistance.
What has also become obvious in recent weeks is that scores of Palestinian civilians streamed through the breaches in the border fence to engage in atrocities. Some of the most horrific mutilations of dead Israelis was at the hands of those radicalized Gazans civilians.
Once again, it is difficult to understand hatred that is incited from birth. We cannot conceive of teaching our children that their greatest aspiration should be to die while killing Jews. But that is the undeniable ideology of those who cheered when Hamas terrorists brought dead, wounded, and helpless people back to Gaza from their assault into Israel.
This latest war began on October 7th—exactly 50 years and a day after Egyptian and Syrian forces launched the Yom Kippur War—but the reverberations continue to this day. It is likely that the War in Gaza will continue for some time. For its part, Israel has been clear about its intention to destroy Hamas—a feat that will take months or years to accomplish (if it can be done at all).
What complicates every war Israel has fought is the pressure that is brought to bear by the world at large. In 1948, the world did not intervene when Israel was threatened with annihilation by five Arab armies. In 1956, Great Britain and France did not keep Israel from bearing the brunt of Egypt’s attacks even though they had instigated the war in a secret pact with Israel.
In 1967, the world did not feel any compulsion to intervene while Abdul Nassar was falsely claiming to be devastating the Jewish nation. But it forced Israel to stop the war after six days when it realized the forces of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan had been defeated so soundly. When it became obvious that Israel had the upper hand, the United Nations insisted on a cessation of hostilities.
Even in 1973, the United States only intervened once it became apparent Israel was in such dire straits that it was considering a nuclear option. And the rest of the world only became concerned and demanded a ceasefire when Israel turned the tide against Egypt and Syria and was driving toward Cairo and Damascus.
This war is no different. The outpouring of support for Israel from the West has already waned dramatically. America and its European allies are quite alarmed at the possibility of this conflict widening to encompass the entire Middle East. And they are all mired in internal protests from loud and violent Muslim and Progressive agitators. Our own President Biden, who declared “America stands with Israel” when they began their own just war, has wavered in his support due to political pressure from Leftists in the Democratic party. [The Squad Stands with Hamas]
By mid-November, I became personally aware that the Biden Administration was attempting to stop the transfer of defensive gear like bulletproof vests and helmets to Israeli citizens. So much for standing with Israel.
Prophetically, we know that the remaining Jewish diaspora will be motivated to return home to Israel. This war may spark a mass Aliyah. [Aliyah = “Going Up”, a Jew returning to Israel] But we also know all the nations of the world will come against Israel in the End Times. Rising Antisemitism in the West is providing the motivation for the diaspora to return, and the rapidly shifting sands of political expediency demonstrates why the nations will turn against God’s chosen people when they are fully regathered to their ancient homeland.
The accelerating pace of world events is yet another sign that we are living in the End Times. The wars forecast in Scripture may materialize very soon—and in rapid succession.
But this moment in time also demonstrates that the ramifications of this war extend far beyond the borders of Gaza or Israel.
We often tell people that Israel is about the size of New Jersey. A better reference might be the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, both in size and in population. Compared even to Israel, Gaza is tiny—just over 17 square miles. (By comparison, Manhattan is almost 23 square miles.)
In terms of population, Gaza is home to just over 2 million Palestinians (Manhattan only has 1.6 million). The fact that the world attention is focused on Israel and Gaza is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Zechariah foresaw that the nations of the world would become fixated on the land around Jerusalem—and that they would come against Jewish people regathered there (Zechariah 12:2-3; 14:14-16).
Today, billions of dollars in US military assets and thousands of American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are arrayed around Israel, offering demonstrable proof that Israel is once again at the center of the world’s attention. But the war raging in Gaza and threatening to escalate into a regional conflict is already causing skirmishes around the globe.
In every nation where Jews and Muslims have immigrated, protests and riots have ensued in recent weeks. What began as an initial outpouring of support for Israel and solidarity with the Jewish people quickly turned into Antisemitic outrage. And in places where sizeable Muslim populations are located, the rage of Hamas has been echoed in the frenzy of its unapologetic supporters and their fellow travelers.
Even here in America, security experts have warned that terrorist sleeper cells, Palestinian agitators, and radicalized individuals are poised to spark their own Intifada (violent uprising). Unlike past wars that largely took place “over there” in distant lands, the war on Jews and those who support the Jewish state will ensue wherever masses stoked to hate God’s chosen people live.
Regardless of the turmoil that lies ahead, we can be certain that the satanic effort to destroy Israel will fail. God promised to : “assemble the banished ones of Israel, and [gather] the scattered of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:12). And having regathered them, He promised,: “I will also plant them on their own land, and they will not again be rooted out from their land which I have given them” (Amos 9:15).
Despite Palestinian propaganda and lies, the Jewish people will continue to live and thrive in their land—the Land God gave them.
In addition to God’s prophetic word regarding Ishmael and his descendants, there is another tragic prophetic passage that explains the unceasing animosity of the “Arab” people living in and near Israel. When the Hebrew nation entered the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, they were told to act as agents of God’s judgment against the sin of the Amorites. Those pagan people had offended God by even sacrificing their children to false gods.
The Children of Israel started strong, but soon grew weary of their task and became intermingled with those idol-worshipping Canaanites. So God declared, “I will not drive them out before you; but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you” (Judges 2:3). The people wept when they heard that pronouncement, and over 3,000 years later, their descendants are still beset by thorns close at hand.
Much of the ancient animosity between the children of Israel (Jacob) and Esau (let alone Ishmael) is based on resentment and jealousy. Because God blessed Isaac instead of Ishmael, and bestowed a blessing on Jacob instead of Esau, the unchosen Arabs have been jealous of the Chosen Jews. Islam merely added fuel to the fire. Mohammed gave sanction to killing Jews because they rejected his new religion worshipping Allah.
Palestinians take that animosity to new heights. They consider the modern state of Israel to be a catastrophe (called the Nakba in Arabic). Outcast by the rest of the Muslim world and used as pawns in the 75-year struggle against the “Zionist Entity,” the Palestinians have focused their anger on the Jews instead of their Arab kin—even when Arab states like Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon have abandoned and persecuted them dramatically.
Ironically, in spite of exporting unrest and terror for generations, the Palestinians have become a cause célèbre in many parts of the world, while the Jews have become despised and hated. Thomas Sowell provided insight to this trend when he responded to a Jewish friend’s inquiry on why the Jews have become so hated. Sowell responded that the Jews “not only succeed, they succeed in a way which is a threat to the egos of other people.” Sowell’s advice to minimize hostility to the Jews? “Fail. Because as long as you succeed, you’re going to be hated.”
The mindset of people so consumed by hate is beyond the comprehension of most Westerners. Witnessing the self-destructive ideology of those determined to destroy Israel, Golda Meir said, “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”
Waiting for the Prince of Peace
While the word Hamas is an acronym for the terrorist organization that controls Gaza, it is also a word in both Arabic and Hebrew. In Arabic the word means “zeal that is manifest in exuberant rage.” In Hebrew the word means “violence.” Many Gentile Christians would be surprised to learn that the word actually appears in Scripture. Genesis 6:11 says, “Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with hamas (violence).”
Jesus said in Matthew 24:37 that the coming of the Son of Man will be: “just like the days of Noah.” Corrupt and filled with violence—sounds like a fitting description of our sin-weary world.
Many centuries ago, King David also found himself surrounded by enemies seeking his life. He understood the sting of animosity and hate, and prayed, : “deliver me from those who do iniquity and save me from men of bloodshed. For behold, they have set an ambush for my life; fierce men launch an attack against me” (Psalm 59:1-3, NASB).
In Psalm 7 (a fitting Psalm I read the morning of the Hamas attacks), David began, “O LORD my God, in You I have taken refuge; save me from all those who pursue me, and deliver me, lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver” (v. 1-2). In verse 6 he cried out, “Arise, O LORD, in Your anger; lift up Yourself against the rage of my adversaries, and arouse Yourself for me; You have appointed judgment” (NASB). And in verse 9-10, he says, “O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; for the righteous God tests the hearts and minds. My shield is with God, Who saves the upright in heart.”
In another great testimony of faith in the “LORD my salvation”, David declared, “Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident” (Psalm 27:3, NASB). He concludes that Psalm in a way that resonates in the heart of all who await Jesus’ soon return: “Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD” (Psalm 27:14, NASB).
We will be strong and courageous—while we wait…