My Minority Report on the Hamas-Israeli War: Good News and Bad

Nov 10, 2023 by David Fowler

My Minority Report on the Hamas-Israeli War: Good News and Bad
My Minority Report on the Hamas-Israeli War: Good News and Bad
The first war with the modern state of Israel that I remember was the Yom Kippur War in 1973. I was in the ninth grade. Standing in the school cafeteria line I overheard some classmates saying their parents thought this was the “end time” war, and Jesus’ second coming was around the corner. There have been a couple more wars involving Israel since then. Here is my minority report on the current war between Israel and Hamas: The good news explains the present bad news.
My report is both good news and bad news. The obvious bad news is the war itself and that civilians have been and are being killed. The good news is less obvious, but I think it explains the bad news.
But before I begin my minority report, let me be clear: no person should be murdered, imprisoned, or have their property confiscated (the three fundamental rights of all human beings at common law) because of their ethnicity.
The context for why my take on wars involving Israel changed.
The difference between my sense of foreboding about the Yom Kippur War and what I now take as the good news in my minority report is there were some things in the Bible that didn’t make sense to me then that now do. Here are a couple of them relevant to my view of what is now taking place in Israel and Palestine.
Please bear with me as I explain them; I pray my journey helps those who are like I once was.
First, what was the Old Testament’s emphasis on “cleansing” associated with male ejaculation, described as “seed,” all about? I had no idea why something so natural was so important?
Second, what was with all the wars involving God’s people in the Old Testament given Jesus’ refusal to take up arms or even allow His disciple Peter to take up arms when the Temple Guard came to arrest Him? Some explain it by saying the Old Testament is a primitive depiction of God and the New Testament is a better or more enlightened depiction of Him.
I didn’t really know how to explain all the Old Testament fighting considering the New Testament but I knew a God who changes is deficient in some one or more respects and that makes God look fallible like me. Besides, the Bible says God never changes.
With that as context, let’s move onto the good news.
The Good News: Israel’s Warfare Has Ended.
The good news about war and Israel is declared in Isaiah 40, verse 1. I don’t believe Christians, especially those in public office, can evaluate the present war rightly without serious consideration of what Isaiah wrote on the subject:
“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” says your God.
“Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”
Considering the present war, how and in what way could the prophet say Israel’s warfare is ended? Was he wrong? Or is that day still coming?
On those questions, I think Isaiah’s next words are critical: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’”
There seems to be a connection between the end of warfare for God’s people and this person who will come crying in the wilderness.
The Connection in Isaiah Is Made and the Warfare Ends
When Jesus’ cousin, John, shows up “preaching in the wilderness of Judaea” about repenting “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” Matthew, a member of the Levitical tribe of priests who becomes one of Jesus’s twelve disciples, writes that John was the “one spoken of by the prophet Isaiah” (Matthew 3:3). John told the priests and Levites that’s who he thought he was (John 1:23).
John, in turn, declares that Jesus is the person described by Isaiah in Isaiah 53 who would end the warfare (John 1:29). But if Jesus’s ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension is the end of the warfare that God brought against Israel as His judgment for its iniquity, how do we explain the present warfare? This is where the thing about the seed comes into play.
The critical importance of “seed” in the Old Testament.
What didn’t make sense to me most of my life about the treatment of the man’s “seed” now makes sense. It is critically important to understanding an aspect of the Old Testament involving warfare that did not serve as God’s judgment on the nation for its iniquity.
The promise of God made to Adam and to Eve after they ruined the perfection of their relationship with God and made everything about our lives harder than it was supposed to be, even bringing death upon us, was that He would send “a seed” that would put everything back in proper order. (Genesis 3:15). “Seed” was thereby given a significance way beyond its biological composition and relation to human procreation! 
In time, God narrowed down that general prophetic word to a seed coming through Abraham. That’s why its “spread” was so important during the Mosaic polity that followed Abraham; God spent several centuries driving home its importance so that when the seed promised to Adam and Eve and then to Abraham arrived its cosmological significance would be appreciated: Seed was about more than mere procreation.
And that’s what the great Jewish Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus, later known as the Apostle Paul, came to understand. Paul tells us that the law of Mosaic polity governing the ethnic Israel descending from Abraham’s physical seed was “added because of transgressions till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made.” (Galatians 3:19). Don’t hurry by that, as I once did.  
The seed that Paul identifies with the promise is Jesus. What? Wasn’t “the promise” made to Adam and Eve or, in any event, eventually made to Abraham as the progenitor of ancient Israel?
There was, indeed, a promise made to them, but remember that in Genesis 3:15 we were told that the big promise — the promise of cosmological significance — would be a “seed of a woman” (Genesis 3:15). That surely seemed odd to Moses when he first wrote it, because the rest of what he wrote associated seed with the man.
But later his words become clear when we learn the “seed” in the womb of Jesus’ mother, Mary, was not that of a man. Her pregnancy was going to be the result of “the Holy Spirit,” who would “come upon” and “overshadow her” (Luke 1:35). Mysterious sounding language to describe a mysterious thing, but not different in principle from God creating Adam from dust.
What promise did God make that would bring an end to Israel’s warfare?
What was this promise to Jesus? Protestants rarely speak of this promise and its foundation anymore, but it’s out there waiting to be rediscovered. Here’s the deal on how Mary’s seed would “crush the Serpent’s head” (Genesis 3:15).
God the Father would “set” His Son as His “King on [His] Holy Mountain.” And God the Father would “give [His Son] the nations for [His] inheritance and the ends of the earth for [His] possession” (Psalm 2:6-8).
That promise by the Father to the Son is why Psalm 2 closes with God telling the “kings” and “judges” of the earth to be “wise” and “instructed,” respectively.
The reason for the admonition was that God the Father took His promise to the Son so seriously that He authorized Him to “break” these kings and judges “with a rod of iron” and “dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel,” respectively, if they took “counsel together, against the Lord [meaning the eternally existing source of all being] and against His Anointed [Jesus], saying ‘Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us’” (Psalm 2:2-3).
In other words, God gave to Jesus, the Son of God revealed in human flesh through Mary, the authority to war against those who denied His authority over all things.[i]
“Okay,” you say, “but we still don’t have an answer to why the nation we call Israel is in a physical war today.” You are correct. For that we need to understand another kind of warfare Jesus ended.
There was another “Old Testament warfare” that Jesus ended.
Whether the whole of ethnic Israel as a nation understood it, I don’t know, but the unseen spiritual reason behind the warfare against Israel unrelated to judgment for its iniquity was the desire of the Serpent in the Garden to prevent the arrival on the world scene of the Seed God said would crush his head. If you were the Serpent, isn’t that what you would want to do?
In other words, if Satan who animated the Serpent could provoke those following in the rebellious train of Adam and Eve against God to destroy the descendants of Abraham (later collectively called Israel), he thought there would be no seed.
For the same reason, once the seed of the woman, Mary, is born, we find a cosmological explanation for Herod ordering the death of all the first-born around that same time: Herod’s fear of a rival power, (Matthew 2:16), was manipulated for the sake of killing Mary’s Seed.
I now understand that a number of the Old Testament wars were “just wars” in that God was keeping intact His eternal plan to bring into the world the Seed who would set all things back in order.
But now that the Seed has come in Jesus, and He “sits” figuratively “at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:9, Act 2:33, Romans 8:34, Colossians 3:1, Hebrews 10:12, 1 Peter 3:22), as was written in Psalm 2, that kind of warfare involving Israel has ended!
How the old “Seed warfare” took on a new form.
The change from the Old Testament to the New Testament becomes clear, and the good news about the Seed warfare becomes apparent when we compare verses in Psalm 149 with parallel passages in 2 Corinthians 10 and Hebrews 4.
In Psalm 149 we read:
Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. . . . Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, And a two-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute of them the written judgment—this honor have all His saints. Praise the Lord!”
There are two things we need to notice in this passage. First, ethnic Israel’s warfare carried out of God’s “judgment” against those who conspired against God and His Anointed, which He said would be done in Psalm 2.
Second, the judgment was to “bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron,” a fitting and parallel judgment for those described in Psalm 2 as counseling against the Lord and His Anointed to “break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords.” God’s judgment was to bind those who thought they could be unbound from Him and the Son’s authority over them to bring all things back to Himself (Psalm 2:8, Romans 11:36)!
But, now, for the true “Israel of God” (See Galatians 6:16; compare Romans 9:6-7, 27 and the “remnant” of ancient Israel to the Israel “saved” in 11:26), the “warfare” has changed. We read the following in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
In this new era of war even the “two-edged sword” of Psalm 149 is transformed:
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
And, finally, Isaiah gives us the good news about that new kind of two-edged sword:
My word . . . that goes forth from My mouth, it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:11)
Sometimes it prospers by breaking and bashing to pieces those who conspire against God and His Son in the person of Jesus.
Why is Israel at war with Hamas and the Palestinian nations that support it?
I will let you draw the conclusion from the preceding about what kind of war is now taking place, but this is my minority report: The rulers of Hamas and of the geo-political state of Israel, along with all those in authority everywhere, need to do as the Psalmist said, “be wise” and “be instructed” because God has put His Son on His Holy Hill.
To fight against the bonds and cords of God’s Anointed and His rule over the nations is deadly serious business.
[i] In fact, Isaiah says that when the “child is born” that is Jesus, the “government will be upon His shoulders” and “of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end” (as He continues to break and dash apart the wicked). And how will this be done?  The “zeal of the Lord of host will perform this” (Isaiah 9:7). God is warring to recover what is rightfully His against all usurpers while holding out to all that, in Christ, they can be at peace with God (Romans 5:1). Lamentably, many find warring with God preferable to the peace that comes from recognizing and submitting to the great, but limited authority God intended us to have. (Compare Psalm 89:11 and Psalm 115:16). Like our very first ancestors, we still want to be God and determine good and evil for ourselves. (Genesis 3:5).

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