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We are in full-time ministry with Chosen People Ministries, Israel. We serve the Lord by managing the Tel Aviv Messianic Center, Directing the Gospel Cafe Outreach and as founders of the Tikvat Yisrael School (elementary) which will open in 2013.


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The Gaza Conflict

Nov 29, 2012

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The Convergence of Three Theologies:

background to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict

The Convergence of Three Theologies:
 background to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict

In the past I have written several articles on conflicts in the Middle East and these were geared mostly towards current events. At this time, it seems wise to take a look at who is behind this conflict and what brought it about.

Islamic Theology
There are three Islamic theological points that drive the conflict between Israel and its Muslim neighbors. All three became an issue the very moment Israel declared its statehood and the source of the conflict is that one singular act.  In fact, it could be said and most would agree that the Islamic world strongly desires to undue that event; the creation of Israel in 1948.

  • The first theological point, according to Islam, is that once land has been conquered by Islam, it is Islamic land forever, and it is the duty of every able bodied Muslim to liberate any land that is not under Islamic sovereignty. The land of Israel was conquered by Islam and then the state of Israel was formed. According to even moderate Muslims, this tenet of their faith drives their desire to eliminate Israel as a state.
  • The second theological point, according to Islamic end times theology, is that a major battle will be fought against Israel and the Islamic Messiah will reveal himself, command a victorious battle, conquer Jerusalem and reign from Jerusalem. It is important to note that although Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran, it is mentioned in the writings of Muslim sages and their End Times theology also comes from these writings and not the Koran.
  • The Third theological point is that the Islamic holy book, the Koran, teaches that eventually Islam will dominate the entire world by either forcibly converting or conquering every nation. Through a massive war, the Messiah of Islam will bring peace by converting everyone to Islam. At that time the last Jewish person will be murdered. It is this desire for global domination that drives the Muslim hatred of Israel. If Islam is to conquer every nation in the world, they must first succeed in conquering every non-Muslim nation around them. Israel flies in the face of this theology by creating a non-Muslim state in the middle of Islam's most powerful portion of the world. 
A lot could be said about how this theology has not only contributed to the conflict but in essence created the conflict. Rather then get into such details, a summary must suffice. In 1948, the UN partition plan called for the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state within the borders of what once was the historic Jewish homeland. At that time, the Arab residents chose not for form a nation, and the Jewish residents declared the State of Israel. The moment statehood was declared, seven Arab nations invaded and tried to destroy Israel. At that time a Palestinian was anyone born in the land so both Jewish people and Arabs were called Palestinian. At that time, Jerusalem was not considered a holy site in Islam. It is not mentioned by name even once in the Koran and was only elevated to a holy site in the 1970's. Since the creation of the State of Israel, Muslim leaders and extremists have been trying to undue the declaration of the State of Israel. They frequently call for all Israelis just to leave and go live somewhere else. They threaten to wipe Israel into the sea or worse. 

But the spread of Islam will not stop at Israel and many world leaders are beginning to understand this. The goal of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), or its sister organization Al Qaeda, are to conquer the whole world. The differences between these two groups lie only in their strategies not their goals. Al Qaeda and their Salafist allies believe in actively trying to weaken and destroy secular nations by damaging their economies through wars and attacks on their financial institutions  (Arab Spring, 9/11, Afganistan, Iraq). The MB prefers a more subtle and patient strategy of taking over using democracy and demographics (i.e. moving to Western countries actively converting and having lots of kids). But will they succeed?  Your answer depends on your theology.

Jewish Theology
To be honest, the main initiator of the conflict is the Jewish historical ties to the homeland and the recreation of the Jewish State of Israel. Although this act initiated the conflict, it didn't start it. The Jewish desire to return to the homeland is part and parcel of both Jewish culture and theology. Clearly the Jewish scriptures speak of a time when all Jewish people will return once more to their homeland and then the Messiah of Israel will be revealed. Even the most anti-religious Jews have a heart for the homeland because it is where we came from.  Although most Israelis are secular, the desire to live in the land of our ancestors is deeply rooted and is fiercely defended. In Jewish End Times theology, in the latter days, the Messiah will come and teach the world how to worship God. He will bring peace and no one will make war anymore.

Christian Theology
Most of those reading this will ultimately know more about this topic than the others, so I won't go into great detail. In summary, both the Jewish scriptures (the Old Testament) and the New Testament speak of a large End Times battle.  The book of Ezekiel and Revelation speak about these in great detail. Ultimately, they predict that Israel will be surrounded by enemies who will do anything, lie, cheat, steal and murder in order to destroy Israel. A great battle must be fought (it is often called the time of Jacob's Trouble). In fact this time speaks of two wars and not one. The first war ends in a peace treaty which is supposed to last for seven years. At the end of the seven years the treaty will be broken and a new war will break out. It is at this time that the person whom the Bible calls the anti-Christ will reveal himself, conquer Jerusalem and declare himself the victor. At Israel's weakest moment, when it seems all is lost, God Himself will come down and destroy the invading armies and the anti-Christ.

The Convergence
You will notice the convergence of the three theologies all center around one singular figure and one historic future event. In Christianity and Judaism, the figure is the Messiah, a peaceful leader who rescues his people from evil. In Christianity there is also a villain called the anti-Christ who claims to be the Messiah, he is a warrior driven by a convert-or-die strategy of conquering the world and Israel in particular. In Islam their Messiah is a warrior driven by a convert-or-die strategy of conquering the world and Israel in particular. The parallels are inescapable. The description of the Christian anti-Christ and the Islamic Messiah are nearly identical.

It is this convergence that is the actual source of the conflict. Islamic activists believe that they must wage a war against Israel for many reason and peace talks, ceasefires and treaties will not deter them because they are convinced that they will succeed eventually. Israelis are not a staunch religious people anymore, they will fiercely defend their homeland in the hopes that their neighbors will eventually desire peace. The few religious hope and pray that the Messiah will come and lead a victory over our enemies, so that we may live in world peace. Christians read the many prophecies about the End Times, hoping and praying that they are still afar off, but knowing in their heart that they are truly around the corner.

Applying these priniciples in Gaza
Those who have spent considerable time investigating the public relations machine working on behalf of Hamas are not at all surprised by the cleverly devised misinformation, the well planned cries of disproportionate attacks and the outright lies. I recenlty posted several examples of these on Facebook because I think people are often too busy to notice these clever lies.  In one picture posted on a major news network, there were two children running into a bomb shelter, with a caption, "Gazan Children Running from Israeli Air strikes". The signs in the background were in Hebrew not Arabic. Clearly these were Israeli children running from Hamas missiles. Another example would be a video, again on a major world news network, showing a man being carried away, with a caption about the many wounded by Israeli aircraft. A few minutes later the same man is seen walking, clearly uninjured, helping someone else. This latter video was staged by Hamas, a tactic used very often to fool western media. The most successful tactic has been to plan interviews with reporters with the goal of bringing about war crimes charges. Most of the interviewees are telling lies. They were so successful in 2009, that they fooled the UN Goldstone commission. The head of that commission, Goldstone himself, retracted most of the conclusions after it became clear that many of the "witnesses" were lying.

The truth is that Israel has done more to preserve civilian lives than any other military in the world. In Afganistan, for example, the US considered it acceptable to lose three civilians to one insurgent. This three to one ratio is the global average for Western militaries. In Gaza, as of day six of the Gaza war, the ratio was two to one in the other direction. Two terrorists to one civilian. Taken together with the fact that Hamas hides intentionally behind human shields, that number is not only surprising, its borderline counter-productive. And yet, Hamas's "witnesses" frequently claim that Israel intentionally targets civilians.  In addition, you should know that Israel dropped millions of leaflets warned civilians to stay away from Hamas operatives, bases, and missile launching sites etc... Even more amazing is the hundreds of thousands of phone calls and text messages sent to areas about to be attacked, warning them to leave.

These examples demonstrate, simply that Hamas and organizations like it, are willing to lie, cheat, murder and even steal in order to achieve their goal of the destruction of Israel. We know that they will not succeed and yet we also know that they will not give up. Though this battle may be winding down with a ceasefire, the war will continue.

There is Hope
I have lived long enough and researched well enough to believe that three things can give us hope in a crisis like this. We have hope that there is a God (the God of the Judeo-Christian faith) who watches over Israel. Our God has predicted many things and they have come true according to the timetable he set. He is a faithful and true God who does not lie. We have hope because God predicted these events would unfold, just as they are doing now and we have hope because He assured us that whether in life or death, we will be victorious with Him.

I have been asked by secular people who live here in Israel, why don't you just go back to the USA where life is easier and less dangerous. I like to answer this question. The truth is that I don't fear death. Yeshua (Jesus) promised us eternal life and those promises cover the pages of the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament. My life is fulfilling and gratifying because I live and do as I believe God has called me to do. If I were to live somewhere else, somewhere safe, I would not be happy or fulfilled. Yes, I am concerned about my family's safety. But I trust in God's protection over them. Even in the USA, life is not safe. At least in Israel, I know which direction the rockets are coming from. Lastly, I am  really looking forward to seeing Yeshua return and I'd rather see it with my own eyes than watch it on CNN. Nevertheless, I will go where I feel God is leading me and at this time, I am called to stay in Israel and continue the work of the Lord here.






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Bio

Jason Rose grew up in a Jewish home in Minnesota and became a follower of Jesus at the age of fifteen through the strong testimony of his older brother. After high school he joined the U.S. Navy and was stationed in New Orleans where he was discipled and trained as a worship leader. When his naval service ended, he attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, completing a BA in Jewish Studies in 2002. Following his graduation Jason went to Israel and began a Masters degree in English Language Teaching and Learning. After completing his Masters Degree program in 2006, Jason felt led to make Aliyah (immigration). Jason is the Director of our Tel Aviv Messianic Center. His main ministries are planting a new Hebrew-speaking congregation, managing the Gospel Cafe Outreach and opening a Christian/Messianic school. Jason and his wife Janice live in Tel Aviv and have three young sons, Yonatan, Shimon and Benji.

 

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