Israel Is Ground Zero

By Jimmy Evans, Tipping Point Prophecy Update

I want to use today’s post to summarize what has happened to this point and what we can expect going forward. Of course, the reality on the ground changes quickly, and the situation is rapidly developing. Even by the time we post this, other events may have happened.

I’m going to give an overview in a short, bullet-point format and then I will close by sharing some ways to be praying about this situation. If you are new to Tipping Point, I would love for you to subscribe for ongoing updates about current events and how they relate to Bible prophecy. God gave us end-times prophecy to calm and comfort us, and my desire is always to help you have hope and peace in the midst of turmoil.

If you are already a subscriber, I invite you to share this post with a friend, family member of colleague who has questions about what is happening in Israel.

What Has Happened So Far

  • Early on Saturday, the militant Palestinian group Hamas launched a massive and highly coordinated attack on Israel from Gaza, a territory it controls in southern Israel.
  • This came after several months of conflict in Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as tensions at the Temple Mount between Jews and Muslims. As I’ve said before, the Temple Mount is Ground Zero for the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, and Hamas claimed “desecration” of the Temple Mount—which used to be home to the Jewish Temple and where the prominent al-Aqsa Mosque is now located—was the provocation for the attack. Hamas is calling their attack Operation Al-Aqsa Storm.
  • Despite the Hamas claim about recent provocations, most experts believe this attack wasn’t just the result of recent events, but had been planned for months. The U.S. and Israel had been discussing a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia that many Palestinians viewed as abandonment by the Arab world. One Hamas spokesperson said the attack was intended to be “a message” to countries like Saudi Arabia.
  • The militants killed at least 1,000 people inside Israel, including Jewish women, children and other civilians. The U.S. State Department has announced that at least 25 U.S. citizens were also killed and several more were taken hostage. Another 3,000 Israelis have been wounded.
  • Hamas also kidnapped civilians as hostages, including children, and have threatened to kill these captives if Israel retaliates.
  • The stated aim of Hamas has always been the complete destruction of Israel. The language in its charter refers to the obliteration of Israel by the forces of Islam.
  • Israel described this attack as their country’s equivalent of 9/11. Others have called it the worst atrocity against Jews since the Holocaust. As Mark Hitchcock pointed out in Tuesday’s Marking the End Times, the death of 1,000 Israelis in a nation as small as Israel is similar to at least 40,000 Americans dying in a single attack.
  • Israel officially declared war against Hamas in response and announced a siege against Gaza, including airstrikes. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced, “We are going to change the Middle East.”
  • The Israeli Defense Forces claims it has already killed 1,500 Hamas militants, and another 4,000 residents have been injured in the airstrikes.
  • As of Tuesday, Israel said it had secured most of its border with Gaza. It has cut off Gaza’s access to water, electricity, fuel and food for the 2 million people who live in the territory.
  • Within a few hours, President Biden had condemned the terrorist attacks as “pure, unadulterated evil” and promised support for Israel, announcing that America was sending warships and squadrons of aircraft into the Eastern Mediterranean. “Like every nation in the world, Israel has the right to respond—indeed has a duty to respond—to these vicious attacks,” he said.
  • This morning, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stood alongside Benjamin Netanyahu and said, “The message I bring to Israel is this: you may be strong enough on your own to defend yourself, but as long as America exists, you will never, ever have to. We will always be there by your side.”
  • Yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political rival, Benny Gantz, agreed to a “wartime cabinet” deal and unity government for emergency decision-making as Israel prepared for an escalation of war.
  • Israel has called up more than 360,000 reservists, a record number. It is likely that the next phase of Israel’s defense will be chaotic urban fighting, street-by-street, supplemented by air and artillery attacks. This is why Netanyahu has, to date, been reluctant to send troops into Gaza since withdrawing them in 2005. But I expect a ground invasion to happen.
  • Hamas has planned for this kind of retaliation, and has embedded its fighters in civilian areas. They wear civilian clothing, which means it will be difficult for Israeli soldiers to distinguish between fighters and civilians. Hamas hides munitions in mosques and hospitals on purpose—even though they know this will result in the deaths of civilians. This is part of the evil of Hamas. They use their own people as human shields. Gaza is so dense that it is impossible to destroy military targets without impacting civilians. Hamas planned this attack knowing it will hurt their own people.
  • Israel is already conducting large-scale attacks on Hamas targets and the violence will get worse. Israel will respond to the attacks—as they should. Netanyahu has said that, by the end of the operation, Hamas will have “zero military capabilities.” But Hamas has always used any Israeli defense tactics as justification for additional provocation. Tragically, more civilians may die on both sides.
  • This morning, two Syrian airports in Damascus and Aleppo have been hit by airstrikes, damaging the runways. Israel military sources have confirmed the bombing.
  • Iran is watching. In fact, I won’t be surprised if we find out that Iran helped plan the attack. We know that Hamas is a proxy for Iran, and Iran has been supplying and training Hamas for years. Hezbollah, to the north, is already a proxy for Iran, which means Israel has enemies on almost all sides. Things may quickly spiral out of control into a regional, multi-front war. At what point will the United States be forced to get involved?
  • Russia is also watching, and may be connected. Vladimir Putin would like nothing more than the world’s attention to shift from his invasion of Ukraine to the conflict in Israel. He might even be hoping that the United States will provide arms to Israel, which will diminish what we are able to provide to Ukraine. In March, a high-level delegation from Hamas visited Russia. Russia already uses Iran-made drones and has a lengthy connection to the Palestinians. One Russian official has warned that the Israel conflict could quickly spill over from the Middle East.
  • In Turkey, President Erdogan has criticized the U.S. for sending warships to the region and has called Israel’s response a “massacre.”
  • Remember, Iran, Russia and Turkey are all mentioned as participants in the Ezekiel 38 war, during which nations from the north invade Israel.
  • In the United States, Europe, and elsewhere, protestors have also been clashing. Pro-Israel crowds have met resistance in the form of pro-Palestinian protestors. Antisemitism continues to be a problem all over the world.

This conflict is just beginning. It will continue for weeks and maybe months. It will get worse. And while obviously we stand with Israel and know Israel has the moral right to defend itself against evil, we also know there will be devastating casualties on every side of the conflict. Every human life—Israeli and Palestinian—matters to God, and I hope our prayers reflect that.

How We Can Pray

  • Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
  • Pray for the end of bloodshed and violence, especially against civilians.
  • Pray for families who are grieving, whose lives have been shattered by the violence.
  • Pray for those who are suffering.
  • Pray for the hostages who have been abducted and are now living in fear.
  • Pray for the leaders of Israel as they consider how to respond.
  • Pray for first responders who are still working to rescue the injured.
  • Pray for the Christians living in Palestinian territories as well as in Israel, that they will be a source of hope, pointing others toward Jesus.
  • Pray for global leaders who are working to bring reconciliation. I’m not sure this immediate crisis will be solved by violence, but negotiations may bring a cease-fire.
  • Pray that the violence will not spill beyond the borders of Israel.
  • Pray against the rise of antisemitism around the world and in our own communities.
  • Pray that current events will draw more people to faith in God. He knew this was going to happen. He is not surprised, and He knows what the future will bring.
  • Pray for Christ’s soon return.

My ongoing prayer is always that of the end of the Book of Revelation:

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Revelation 22:20-21 NKJV