Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Israel and Hamas

Photo: Hamas baby

Like many other American Christians, with with growing shock last week I watched Hamas win the Palestinian election. Hamas, whose platform rests solidly upon terror and a refusal to acknowledge Israel's right to exist, now controls the Palestinian government--which has recently moved into take lands vacated by Israelis.

I was even more shocked to learn that many Christians living in Israel actually voted for Hamas, preferring them to the more moderate (at least on the surface) Fatah government, best known as the party of the late Yasir Arafat.

You may be aware of my longstanding interest in eschatology. You may also know of my sincere belief that God ceded the land of Israel to the Jews, and it should be--and one day will be--theirs. Scripture informs me that the Abrahamic covenant, in which God granted an everlasting title to the land of Israel, has not been set aside. The church has not replaced Israel in God's eternal plan; Scripture says we have been "grafted" into their tree.

I do not know exactly how God will reveal his messiah to the Jewish people, but I believe the day Zechariah wrote about is coming : “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication,” wrote the prophet, “then they will look on Me whom they have pierced; they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn” (Zech. 12:10).

I have been amazed on occasion to realize that many Christians seem to resent God's grace toward his chosen people. In one of the Heavenly Daze books, I had an angel report to duty. In the course of telling his past assignments, he said that he had comforted a Jewish family during World War II. I was startled when a reader castigated me for that position in a public book review forum.

Anyway, I digress--back to Hamas. Unlike many prophecy teachers who will be quick to proclaim that this is another sign of the end times, I'm simply going to watch and listen. It may be a sign of the latter days. It probably is. But I'm not going to stop paying my bills because Hamas is ruling in Palestine.

I did find this interesting--from Sunday's New York Times:

Mr. Schmidt sighed, then chained one careful word to the next on what it means
that Hamas is now the official Palestinian power. "I tell you," he began, "we
think it is actually the best thing that can happen to

"Because now we see the real face of the Palestinians," said Mr. Schmidt, 56, a computer
engineer from Haifa who considers himself neither on the left nor the right.
"From their vote we can understand their theory to destroy the state of Israel
is not a theory but a fact.

"So," he said, in a conclusion that may not seem
immediately logical to outsiders but was repeated again and again in interviews
here, "I think it is the best chance for peace. I think Hamas can understand
there is no way to destroy the state of Israel and will take a course to
peace. "Hopefully."
. . .

"There is going to be a big explosion between Hamas and Fatah," said Joseph Brenner, 58, a gardener sitting with friends in Rabin Square. "It's good for Israel. And God is the director. We didn't have to do anything. God did all the work for us."
(Article by Ian Fisher)

Ah. Mr. Brenner has it right. God knows his timetable, and he is sovereign over even these startling circumstances. God has always kept his hand upon Israel. But one day that small nation will be (as it has always been), the centerpiece of world events. Worth keeping an eye on that significant piece of real estate.


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