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Applying Scripture to Current Events

Updated: May 7

We study Scripture so that we can apply it to our lives.

 

Our Bible study group recently finished studying Elijah in the Old Testament. God sent the prophets Elijah and Elisha to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. They called the people to repent from their evil ways and return to worship God and God alone. The people did not listen to all the prophets God sent to them in those 209 years. They rejected God. God judged their evil hearts with the brutal Assyrians in 722 BC.

 

We learned many lessons about God in studying Elijah in the Old Testament. He is loving and merciful. He is just. He controls the fate of the nations. What God says will happen does happen.

 

The applicability for us is that we confirm God’s character and attributes and we know we can trust Him. He is true to His word. We can take hold of His promises. And what we know to be the truth plays out in our hearts and minds and actions.

 

Jesus has told us that we are under a new covenant. (Luke 22:20)

We are saved by faith in Him.

People will know that we are His disciples if we have love for one another.  (John 13:35)

 

We studied where Peter spoke at the Jerusalem Council. Peter said in Acts 15:7-9, “… the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us: and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.”

Our calling is to take the gospel to all nations and to all people. We are to proclaim to all nations that repentance for forgiveness of sins is in His name. (Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8)

Through Jesus is the only way to be forgiven of our sins and to be saved.

 

God still wants no one to perish.

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

 

Acts 13:46,47

Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. “For so the LORD has commanded us, ‘I have placed you as a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the end of the earth.’”

 

God has always loved the entire human race. We are all created in His image. Jesus shed his blood as an atoning sacrifice for everyone, and that was always God’s redemptive plan.

 

While studying Acts and the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles, we discussed Romans 11:13-36. It tells us Israel is not cast away. Israel’s rejection of Jesus as the Messiah is salvation to the Gentiles. Their rejection is the reconciliation of the world. (Romans 11:15) We are told Israel was broken off for their unbelief. (Romans 11:20)

Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell severity, but to you, God’s kindness,… And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.  (Romans 11:22,23)

... that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:25)

 

God wants as many people to come to Him for forgiveness of sins before Christ will return.

That is His redemptive plan.

 

Our group purposely did the Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus study* to help us have a better understanding of God’s redemptive plan for all people. Our group purposely did the LifeChange Series study* of Luke to learn what the gospel is and to learn what this new covenant is. We purposely did the LifeChange Series study* of Acts to learn the role of the church in His plan and our part in it to bring salvation to all nations. And we learned in studying Elijah’s ministry that the biggest sin the Israelites committed was unbelief.

 

We have learned in the past several studies that belief in His name has adopted us into His people and it is our glorious inheritance.

 

The big question though is: Has what we learned changed our hearts towards others in a lasting way? Studying Scripture should transform us.

 

After we finished talking about Elijah in the Old Testament we fast forwarded it to current events going on in Israel and Gaza. Honestly, this part of our discussion did not go very well. They had strong beliefs on which party is right and which one is wrong. I wanted them to see the bigger picture.


[Source Photo: FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images in article Hamas’s October 7 Attack: Visualizing the Data]


Hamas is a terrorist group primarily in Gaza, but they also have a presence in the West Bank. The United States classified Hamas as a terrorist organization in 1997. They have between 20,000 to 25,000 members. They are committed to armed resistance to Israel and the formation of an Islamic Palestinian state. Hamas ousted the Palestinian Authority in Gaza in 2007 and in effect has been ruling Gaza since then. The conflicts between Hamas and Israel have increased in the past five years. Before October 7, 2023 there had been four major conflicts between Israel and Hamas.


In 2019 many Palestinians in Gaza protested against Hamas. The protests were put down. The 2019 protests in Gaza highlighted the terrible living conditions for the Palestinians. The following are excerpts from Hamas violently suppresses Gaza economic protests.

 

Hamas rules Gaza, a 140 sq mile territory, while Israel controls the strip’s air, sea and most of its borders. Israel’s military occupies the West Bank, with small enclaves run under the limited autonomy of the Palestinian Authority.

 

The World Bank says Gaza’s economy is in freefall, with youth unemployment hovering at about 70%. It primarily blames a crippling decade-long Israeli-Egyptian blockade that severely limits the movement of people and goods into the strip.

Both countries say the restrictions are for security reasons, but UN experts call it collective punishment for Gaza’s roughly 2 million residents.


Last month UN investigators accused Israeli soldiers of intentionally firing on Palestinian civilians. The independent Commission of Inquiry said Israeli forces had killed 189 people and shot more than 6,100 others with live ammunition, in attacks that may amount to war crimes.

 

Food insecurity in the Gaza strip reached 71% in 2021. The problems have been going on a long time with relatively little notice from the rest of the world.

 

The situation in Gaza became much worse as relayed in this 2022 article, Palestinians vent against Hamas in rare online event. The alarm was being sound, but the world was ignoring it.

 

Hamas brutally attacked Israel on October 7, 2023 and murdered 1200 Israelis and took 253 hostages. Horrible!


The October 7 attack is the deadliest per capita terrorist attack since the Global Terrorism Database started data collection in 1970, with a rate of slightly over one person killed per every 10,000 Israelis.” [Source: Hamas’s October 7 Attack: Visualizing the Data]



What Hamas did was horrific and the global community should be outraged and demand justice. It is absolutely heartbreaking.

 

Why did it happen? The situation in Gaza and with the Palestinians has been quite dire for some time. Really ever since Israel occupied the Sinai peninsula, the Golan Heights, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem after the 1967 Six-Day War. Terrorist groups have picked up their attacks on Israel in the past few years as the situation deteriorated in Gaza. As a result Israel has come down hard on the Palestinians. Many Israelis have died in the years of conflict between Hamas and Israel, but a disproportionately large amount of Palestinians have died. For instance in 2021 the BBC reported, "Of the 219 people who have been killed in Gaza, at least 63 are children, according to its health ministry. Of the 10 people killed in Israel, two children are among the dead, the country's medical service says."

 

If you really want to know what the conflict is about, back up in history to the forming of the Zionist movement in 1897 and to after World War I when the allies promised the Palestinian people that Britain would establish a temporary Mandate Government in Palestine to stabilize them, gradually withdraw, and leave Palestine a sovereign nation. This promise to the Palestinians was one the allies never intended to keep.

 

Since October 7, 2023 we have seen Israel once again come down with all of their might on the Palestinians.

 

“In their stated intent to use all means to destroy Hamas, Israeli forces have shown a shocking disregard for civilian lives. They have pulverized street after street of residential buildings killing civilians on a mass scale and destroying essential infrastructure.” [Quote by Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.]

 

Since the terrorist organization Hamas launched its attacks on Israeli soil on October 7, 2023, around 1,200 Israelis died, and 5,431 were injured. Through retaliation attacks by the Israeli armed forces against Hamas in Gaza, 33,797 Palestinians were killed, and 76,465 were injured.


72% of the victims in Gaza since October 7, 2023 were women and children.


The Palestinian people in Gaza have nowhere to go from this conflict. We are seeing unbelievable suffering of innocent adults and children. It is absolutely heartbreaking.

 

How do we apply Scripture to the current war between Israel and Hamas?

 

First of all here is what we cannot apply. We cannot draw some conclusion between the current political situation in Gaza to specifics of the second coming of Christ. By that I mean we cannot justify unbridled support for the actions of the nation of Israel against the Palestinian people as prophetical. Remember God judged the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 BC and the Southern Kingdom of Judah in 586 BC for their unbelief. We can hold to the truth God uses history to draw all people to Him; that He wants no one to perish; and that all people are made in His image and therefore have worth in His eyes. We can hold to the truth that Christ will return and every knee will bow to Him. But how that will all come about is unknown to us. We should not claim to have knowledge we do not have.

 

Christians should hate injustice. All injustice.

 

What Hamas did to Israel on October 7th was evil and should be punished. We can get behind Israel’s right to punish that attack and defend themselves against future violence.

 

We can acknowledge the unfair way the Palestinian people have been treated in the past century. We can want the suffering they are experiencing to stop.

 

We must separate the political actions of the leaders from the people. The reality is you and I have virtually no control over what our leaders do. It is no different for the Jews or for the Palestinians.

 

We must in our minds separate the actions of the terrorist group Hamas from the Palestinian people.

We must in our minds separate the actions of the Zionists and Israeli’s political leaders from the Jewish people.

 

There should be no hate in us.

We should love the Jewish people. Anti-semitism has no place in a Christian’s life.

We should love the Palestinian people. Arabophobia or Islamophobia has no place in a Christian’s life.

Any kind of racism has no place in a Christian’s life.

 

Remember the Sermon on the Mount? (Matthew 5-7) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Blessed are the merciful. Blessed are the peacemakers. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.

 

Christianity is an inclusive religion. It does not matter whether you were born in Gaza or born of Jewish heritage. The free gift of saving grace in Christ Jesus our Lord is offered to both the Jew and the Palestinian. The gospel is for all people of every nation.

 

We recognize injustice and stand up against it. We are to be His peacemakers. We are to imitate Him and have compassion on others. We are His witnesses to the remotest part of the earth. The Jews need Jesus. The Palestinians need Jesus. And we are to tell them about Him and to show them our Lord.

 

We love others as ourselves. 

We pray for peace and justice. We know He hears our prayers.

God is on His throne. He controls the fate of the nations.

God knows the injustice and suffering going on and He is doing something in the midst of it.

We ask Him for a cease fire, for justice to be served, for comfort for the grieving, for immediate aid for the suffering, and peace for the region.

We trust Him.



*Affiliate links to Christianbook.com

To read what I wrote six years ago about the Israel - Palestinian conflict, read Blessed are the Peacemakers.

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