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Israel, Gaza, and the Church- How should we respond?

Daniel 12:1- "At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book."

The only Nation in the Bible that has an Archangel from Heaven appointed for its protection is the Nation of Israel. This reality reminds us of the extent to which God has gone in order to ensure that His covenant promises to the Jewish people are fulfilled, and also that the conflicts we are seeing in the earthly realm originate in the spiritual realm. God’s unwavering commitment to preserve the Jewish people is not based upon their “deeds of righteousness” but rather upon His covenant promises given to their forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Therefore, we must understand that there is a war in the spiritual realm against the covenant promises of God that is manifesting in the earthly realm as violence and aggression against the Jewish people. Violence is never permanently solved with more violence, and though war is inevitable in the current situation in Israel- we must look to God’s Word for the ultimate solution to human conflicts such as these.

Matthew 16:18 (ESV):  “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

The Bible presents the Church as more than just a congregation of believers. It is revealed as the Ekklesia, a governing body ordained by God to exercise authority to the natural realm through the spiritual domain. Ekklesia is the original Greek word for “Church” which was used to describe governing councils in different regions of the Roman Empire. This is our role as the Church, we are called to govern as a spiritual body of individuals in the world. Central to this perspective is the understanding of prayer as our most potent spiritual weapon. 

1 Peter 5:8-9 (ESV): "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world."

Acts 12 provides a compelling illustration of prayer and fasting as a spiritual weapon of the Ekklesia. In Acts 12:5, we witness the early Church earnestly praying for the release of Peter from prison as a result of King Herod’s persecution. This was not a passive request; it was spiritual warfare waged against the demonic forces seeking to hinder the spread of the Gospel. In response to their fervent intercession, God intervened, sending an angel to miraculously free Peter (Acts 12:11). What follows is a remarkable event often overlooked: the death of Herod (Acts 12:23). Herod's demise was a direct result of his opposition to God's purposes, underscoring the profound impact of waging spiritual warfare and the authority of the Church to bring about tangible consequences for those who oppose God's will.

Ephesians 6:12 (ESV): "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."  

Ezekiel 28 differentiates between the "prince of Tyre" in verse 2 and the "king of Tyre" in verse 12. The former is referring to the human ruler, while the latter symbolizes the satanic ruler behind the scenes. This passage clearly depicts the “King of Tyre” as a spiritual being (Satan) who faces ultimate judgment from God as the key source of evil that was at work in the human ruler of the Nation of Tyre. This passage highlights the reality that earthly battles have spiritual underpinnings—a struggle between human authorities influenced by demonic principalities. 

The same is true today concerning the situation in Israel. On the news we see human rulers battling it out, but behind the scenes there is a war between demonic forces and angelic forces concerning the purposes of God in our generation. Just as the early Church engaged in prayer and fasting as a powerful form of spiritual warfare to secure Peter's release, we can engage in spiritual warfare to remove the territorial influence of demonic principalities and powers today!

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (ESV): "For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.”

The book of Daniel, specifically in Daniel 10, provides another compelling example of effective spiritual warfare through prayer and fasting. Daniel sought understanding and revelation concerning the future of his people but encountered fierce resistance from the "prince of Persia," a demonic power opposing God's purposes (Daniel 10:12-13). Through Daniel's Biblical strategy of prayer and fasting, God dispatched the angelic realm to break the stronghold of the "prince of Persia" and reveal His divine plans (Daniel 10:20-21). This case illustrates how the Church, as God's governing body in the Spirit, can do the same and dethrone demonic rulers, resulting in the dethroning of wicked human rulers and their schemes.

Let’s take a look at a modern example of God using prayer and fasting to intervene on behalf of His people. This example is a story told by the well-known Bible teacher, Derek Prince. From 1949 to 1956, Derek was pastor of a congregation in London, England. He retained a special interest in God’s dealings with the Jewish people, which had first been kindled his experiences in Jerusalem at the time of the birth of the state of Israel.

Early in 1953, he received information from reliable sources that Josef Stalin, who at the time ruled the Soviet Union as an unchallenged dictator, was planning a systematic purge directed against the Russian Jews. As he meditated on this situation, the Lord reminded him of Paul’s exhortation to the gentile Christians concerning the Jews:

Just as you were once disobedient and rebellious toward God but now have obtained His mercy, through their disobedience, So they also now are being disobedient when you are receiving mercy, that they in turn may one day, through the mercy you are enjoying, also receive mercy that they may share the mercy which has been shown to you—through you as messengers of the Gospel to them (Romans 11: 30-31 AMP).

Somehow, he felt that God was laying at his door the responsibility for the Jews in Russia. Derek shared his feelings with the leaders of a few small prayer groups, in various parts of Britain, who also had a special concern for the Jews. Eventually, they decided to set aside one day for special prayer and fasting on behalf of the Russian Jews. 

Derek doesn’t recall the exact date chosen but he believes it was a Thursday. All the members of their groups voluntarily committed themselves to abstain from food that day and to devote special time to prayer for God’s intervention on behalf of the Jews in Russia. Their congregation met that evening for group prayer devoted primarily to that topic.

There was no particularly dramatic spiritual manifestation in the meeting, no special sense of being “blessed” or emotionally stirred. But within two weeks from that day, the course of history inside Russia was changed by one decisive event: the death of Stalin. He was seventy-three years old. No advance warning of his sickness or impending death was given to the Russian people. Up to the last moment, sixteen of Russia’s most skilled doctors fought to save his life, but in vain. The cause of death was said to be a brain hemorrhage.

Let it be clearly stated that no member of any of Derek’s groups prayed for the death of Stalin. They simply committed the situation inside Russia to God, and trusted His wisdom for the answer that was needed. Nevertheless, Derek was convinced that God’s answer came in the form of Stalin’s death.

Too often, Christians have responded to earthly problems with earthly solutions. We ignore the fact that breakthroughs in the natural realm require warfare in the spiritual realm. Due to this fact, the whole world has been thrown into a state of chaos in these latter days. Famine, plague, wars, and wickedness are rising at a rapid pace, filling the vacuum created by a prayerless Church. So, when it comes to Israel, Gaza and the Church, we must learn how to avoid responding in the flesh and gather together as the Ekklesia with the mighty weapons of prayer, fasting, and the unity of the Spirit! Our enemy is not the Jews or the Arabs, our enemy is Satan whom Jesus defeated at the Cross! We have authority to rule in the spiritual realm in order to shift the earthly realm, but if we continue to be prayerless, the vacuum will grow larger and the chaos will spread further than anyone could even fathom. 

In conclusion, Scripture offers a unique perspective on spiritual warfare and the authority of the Church as the Ekklesia. Rooted in prayer as a spiritual weapon that can alter conflict and end wars, this perspective draws on specific scriptural references to demonstrate the Church's ability to address spiritual issues that have tangible consequences in the natural realm. The case of Acts 12, the differentiation between earthly and spiritual rulers in Ezekiel 28, and Daniel's prayer and fasting all illustrate engaging in spiritual warfare, ushering in God's divine order and purpose in our lives and communities. The Church is not merely a passive observer but an active participant in the spiritual battle that rages behind the scenes, with the power to effect real change in the world. I am calling churches across the globe to organize prayer gatherings that specifically target the demonic forces at work in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. A prayerless Church results in a more dangerous world, but a Church who rises to govern in the spiritual realm will see history altered in the natural realm... And many lives will be saved as a result!

Written by: Kyle Bailey, D.Min.


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