What the great Middle East shake-up is all about.

by Charles Gardner.

It takes a brave soul to try summing up the background to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But my good Aussie friend Kelvin Crombie has met the challenge with great distinction in a 52-page (16,000-word) paper designed to put the record straight.

Of Aboriginal descent1, Kelvin has lived in Israel for 25 years and is particularly familiar with Gaza, having led a number of tours to battle sites in the area associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). In fact, the Anzac Memorial is near Kibbutz Be’eri, one of the communities viciously attacked by Hamas on October 7th.

These Antipodean soldiers made a significant contribution to the restoration of Israel as the Allies fought against the Turks, who had unwisely sided with Germany in World War I.

Gaza, as Kelvin points out, has played a key role in the geo-political history of the Middle East for millennia, with its plentiful water supply and coastal location.

I do not intend to ‘re-invent the wheel’ my friend has so adequately constructed with his Foundational reasons behind the conflict in the land of Israel – an Olive Press Research Paper published by the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people2 – except to highlight the importance of a well-informed and balanced understanding of what has led to the current crisis.

I believe this paper should be required reading at every Bible College, for those intent on ministering the gospel need a clear grasp of the Jewish context in which it is set, and of God’s eternal plans for his chosen people.

In fact, the conflict can be traced to the beginning of time, with the fall in the Garden of Eden which triggered God’s great redemption plan through Abraham and his descendants, with whom he made an everlasting covenant (an agreement that cannot be broken),

Tragically, though forever commended for his faith, Abraham faltered at one point by trying to fulfil God’s promise in his own way rather than trusting the Lord. This led to thousands of years of enmity between the sons of Isaac and Ishmael right up to the present day.

But, in the meantime, God sent his Son to reconcile sinful man, not only with each other, but also with Himself. Today, many in the Middle East and elsewhere are recognising that Jesus is, after all, the Jewish Messiah. Both Jew and Arab are experiencing love and fellowship with one another because – as St Paul put it – the cross has broken down the barrier between them. They have become one in Christ.

True, you will rarely hear about this from the mainstream media because Satan does his level best to hide the truth and the woke world has no trouble falling for his lies.

The peaceful solution to the problem at hand is staring us in the face for those with eyes to see it – those who have bothered to search for the truth with all their heart.

The upheaval in Gaza is not geo-political, or genocidal. It represents a spiritual war that has been raging since the beginning of time, now manifesting itself in all its ugliness and wickedness.

It’s a real battle between good and evil, a cosmic conflict between a covenant-keeping God who seeks companionship with his creation and those who hate and despise him.

Satan has been let loose in all his fury as he senses that his end is near, that the coming of the Prince of Peace is right at the door. Jesus spoke of terrible times that would indicate the imminence of his return when the Jewish nation who largely rejected him would finally recognise him as their Messiah and King ushering in a period of perfect peace with the devil bound in chains. And he has chosen Jacob (Israel), the son of Isaac, as the conduit through which to express his love and faithfulness.

That’s why Jesus, the “glory of Israel” (Luke 2:32), came through the Jewish people. And the remedy for all their troubles – their pain, sickness, suffering and despair – is to be found in him.

As the Apostle John made clear, he is the one symbolised by the bronze serpent Moses raised in the wilderness to heal those who had been bitten by poisonous snakes. “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” (John 3:14f; see also Numbers 21:6-9)

The context speaks of a time of rebellion and complaint among the people (ring any bells?) chastising God for bringing them out of Egypt. The Lord then sent venomous snakes among them, and many died. But they recognised their sin, and the Lord gave Moses a solution. It was the bronze serpent on a pole. Anyone bitten by a snake only had to look at it and live.

Jesus, when lifted up on the cross and exalted to the highest place in heaven, is the remedy for our sin and suffering.

I sense we are at a ‘snakebite’ moment in Israel. Too many have died already as both Jew and Arab cry out for answers…for mercy…for peace. Just look to the one who was lifted up at Calvary outside the old walls of Jerusalem in AD 27 (approximately). His hands, feet and side were pierced for our transgressions, the punishment that brought us peace was on him and by his wounds we are healed (see Isaiah 53:5).

Could we be about to witness the fulfilment of Zechariah’s prophecy of when, in a spirit of grace and supplication, the Jewish people will look on the one they have pierced? (Zechariah 12:10)

The day of redemption is at hand. The vaccine against Satan’s poison is available – just a prayer away, in fact.

1Though happy with this reference, Kelvin adds that “my true and real identity is that I am in covenant union with Jesus the God-incarnate Messiah of Israel and Redeemer of humankind”.

2Available from CMJ UK, Eagle Lodge, Hexgreave Hall Business Park, Farnsfield, Nottinghamshire NG22 8LS, England (tel 01623 883960, email office@cmj.org.uk)