How to pray for Hamas – God’s way

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In 70 A.D. the power of Rome crushed the Jewish Revolt and destroyed Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem, as well as all architectural symbols of Jewish independence. Bronze, silver and gold commemorative coins celebrating the defeat of the Second Jewish Commonwealth were issued across the Roman Empire in Latin and Greek, under the reigns of three Caesars – Vespasian, Titus and Domitian.  Three inscriptions predominated:  IUDAEA CAPTA (‘Judaea is conquered’); IUDAEA DEVICTA (‘Judaea is defeated’); and DE IUDAEIS (‘[from the booty] of the Judaeans’). From the perspective of Rome (and later, of Roman Catholicism) the Jewish state would never rise again. Similar to subsequent jihadi views, the Roman Christian perception was that the Jewish people have been decisively knocked out of the boxing ring of history. Their fate would be to remain wanderers forever. A chosen people? Yes, but chosen now as a symbol of divine rejection (according to Saint Augustine of Hippo), and cursed for the crime of deicide.

The re-establishment of a Jewish state in the Promised Land caused some Christian theologians to do a double take. If the Jewish people were being restored physically to their homeland according to the prophecies in the Old Testament, could it be that God has not abandoned or rejected His people? Of course, such a radical thought would have been no surprise to the Apostle Paul, who made this a central pillar of his Messianic gospel in Romans 11:1-2: “I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? Far from it! For I too am a son of Israel, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.”

As the Roman Empire Christianized, the Roman army became the army of the Holy Roman Empire. Jews no longer had an army, though. Christians assumed that Israel would never again have military might. Such a thing could only be carnal and a reversal of what God (and the Church) wanted. The restoration of the Jewish state and the restoration of a sovereign Jewish army – these were thoughts considered anathema, heretical, cultic.

  • Yet here the Jewish people are – once again on the pages of history. And much of the world is not too pleased – and that world is now mostly pagan, Islamic, ex-Christian and ‘woke.’ These ‘new enemies’ of the Jewish people and this reborn hatred of the Jewish people and their state is the wave of the present and of the future. How are followers of Messiah Yeshua supposed to respond to this new hatred of the Jewish people and these new enemies? How will the God of Israel Himself deal with these enemies?

The enemy in the garden

One of the first prophetic words spoken by YHVH refers to e lasting enmity between the Serpent (and the devilish power behind him) and a descendent of Eve: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed. He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel” (Genesis 3:15).  The unfolding of history would flesh out the ramifications of this Messianic prophecy. But one thing for sure – there would be war between mankind and the great serpent until the final coming of Messiah.

The enemy of the Jews is the enemy of God

A next important key in this battle comes with YHVH’s prophetic promise over Abram: “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who dishonors/curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). The enemy’s strategy would be to curse Abraham and to curse his covenant descendants. YHVH established a covenant shield around Abraham, speaking a curse over any party who would wickedly harm the Jewish people.

Wicked people really do wicked things, and God has both the power and the authority to condemn and punish them. What God has chosen to love and bless (that is, the Jewish people), the Serpent has chosen to hate, kill and destroy (that’s Satanic anti-Semitism). The Abrahamic Covenant declares that God will curse Israel’s enemies. When we agree in prayer with this aspect of the divine covenant promise, our prayers are called ‘imprecatory prayers.’ To imprecate is to invoke judgment, calamity or curses upon the enemies of God. God lets us know early on in the Great Story called ‘history’ that those who are the enemies of Israel are immediately considered by Him to be enemies of God as well. YHVH declared this truth to Moses and commanded him to tell the same to the Jewish people:

  • And when you go to war in your land against the enemy who attacks you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, so that you will be remembered by YHVH your God, and be saved from your enemies . . . Then it came about when the ark set out that Moses said, “Rise up, YHVH! And may Your enemies be scattered, and those who hate You flee from Your presence” (Numbers 10:9, 35)

King David echoed the same truth four hundred years later:

  • May God arise, may His enemies be scattered, and may those who hate Him flee from His presence. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away! As wax melts before a fire, so the wicked will perish before God . . . God certainly will shatter the heads of His enemies” (Psalm 68:1-2, 21)

Asaph the seer and psalmist repeats these thoughts of God’s heart when he prophesies about the coming Middle East war. He declares that to conspire against the Jewish people is to conspire against the God of Israel:

  • God, do not remain quiet! Do not be silent and, God, do not be still. For behold, Your enemies make an uproar, and those who hate You have exalted themselves. They make shrewd plans against Your people, and conspire together against Your treasured ones. They have said, “Come, and let’s wipe them out as a nation, so that the name of Israel will no longer be remembered.” For they have conspired together with one mind. They make a covenant against You! (Psalm 83:1-5)

The Angel of YHVH prophesied to Abraham that the Jewish people would possess the Land of Canaan and would gain total control over any enemies in that land: Then the Angel of YHVH called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, “ . . . Indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand, which is on the seashore. And your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies!” (Genesis 22:17).

Balaam, a man who cursed people for a living, met his match when he tried to curse the Jewish people. YHVH filled his mouth with the Holy Spirit and commanded him to speak out a prophetic word against the enemies of Israel:

  • “God brings [Jacob] out of Egypt. He is for him like the horns of the wild ox. He will devour the nations who are his adversaries, and will crush their bones, and smash them with his arrows. He crouches, he lies down like a lion, and like a lioness, who dares to rouse him? Blessed is everyone who blesses you, and cursed is everyone who curses you” (Numbers 24:8-9)

Is the God of Jacob a ‘peacenik’?

Moses unpacks God’s heart to the Jewish people as they prepare to enter the Promised Land of Israel:

  • When YHVH your God brings you into the land where you are entering to take possession of it, and He drives away many nations from before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when YHVH your God turns them over to you and you defeat them, you shall utterly destroy them. You shall not make a covenant with them nor be gracious to them. Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them: you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, and they will serve other gods. Then the anger of YHVH will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you. But this is what you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, smash their memorial stones, cut their Asherim to pieces, and burn their carved images in the fire. For you are a holy people to YHVH your God. YHVH your God has chosen you to be a people for His personal possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. YHVH did not make you His beloved nor choose you because you were greater in number than any of the peoples, since you were the fewest of all peoples, but because YHVH loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, YHVH brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the House of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that YHVH your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His faithfulness to a thousand generations for those who love Him and keep His commandments; but He repays those who hate Him to their faces, to eliminate them; He will not hesitate toward him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face (Deuteronomy 7:1-10)

King David was not only a sweet psalmist in Israel; he knew much about hand-to-hand combat on the battlefield. And God taught him how to bring divine judgment on Israel’s enemies:

  • For who is God, except YHVH? And who is a rock, except our God? God is my strong fortress, and He sets the blameless on His way. He makes my feet like deer’s feet, and sets me on my high places. He trains my hands for battle, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your help makes me great. You enlarge my steps under me, and my feet have not slipped. I pursued my enemies and eliminated them, and I did not turn back until they were finished off. And I have devoured them and smashed them, so that they would not rise; And they fell under my feet. For You have encircled me with strength for battle. You have forced those who rose up against me to bow down under me. You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me, and I destroyed those who hated me. They looked, but there was no one to save them; even to YHVH, but He did not answer them. Then I pulverized them as the dust of the earth; I crushed and trampled them like the mud of the streets (2 Samuel 22:32-43)

The cry in the night

David’s son Solomon, a wise man, adds his imprecatory prayer to the mix: “May [the king] vindicate the afflicted of the people, save the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor!” (Psalm 72:4).

Asaph adds his perspective and imprecatory prayers in Psalms 74, 79 and 83:

  • God, why have You rejected us forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture? Remember Your congregation, which You purchased of old . . .  The enemy has damaged everything . . . Your adversaries have roared in the midst of Your meeting place. They have set up their own signs as signs . . . They said in their heart, “Let’s completely subdue them.” They have burned all the meeting places of God in the land . . . How long, God, will the enemy taunt You? Shall the enemy treat Your name disrespectfully forever? Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand? Extend it from Your chest and destroy them! (Psalm 74:1-11)
  • God, the nations have invaded Your inheritance; They have defiled Your holy temple; They have laid Jerusalem in ruins. They have given the dead bodies of Your servants to the birds of the sky as food, the flesh of Your godly ones to the animals of the earth. They have poured out their blood like water all around Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury them. We have become a disgrace before our neighbors, an object of derision and ridicule to those around us. How long, YHVH? Will You be angry forever? Will Your jealousy burn like fire? Pour out Your wrath upon the nations which do not know You, and upon the kingdoms which do not call upon Your name. For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his settlement . . . Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Let vengeance for the blood of Your servants which has been shed be known among the nations in our sight! (Psalm 79:1-7, 10)
  • God, do not remain quiet! . . . For behold, Your enemies make . . . shrewd plans against Your people . . .  They have said, “Come, and let’s wipe them out as a nation, so that the name of Israel will no longer be remembered.” . . . Deal with them as with Midian, as with Sisera and Jabin at the river of Kishon, who were destroyed at En Dor, who became like dung for the ground. Make their nobles like Orev and Ze’ev, and all their leaders like Zebah and Zalmunna, who said, “Let’s possess for ourselves the pastures of God.” My God, make them like the whirling dust, like chaff before the wind. Like fire that burns the forest, and like a flame that sets the mountains on fire, so pursue them with Your heavy gale, and terrify them with Your storm. Fill their faces with dishonor, so that they will seek Your name, YHVH. May they be ashamed and dismayed forever, and may they be humiliated and perish, so that they will know that You alone, whose name is YHVH, are the Most High over all the earth (Psalm 83)

The Angel of YHVH, another name for Messiah Yeshua, raises His intercessory cry to the Father, the Lord of the Armies of Israel: “Then the Angel of YHVH said, ‘YHVH of armies, how long will You take no pity on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant for these seventy years?’” (Zechariah 1:12).

The imprecatory cry from Heaven

The Revelation of Yeshua tells us of a future moment in Heaven, when the imprecatory prayers of those who have been martyred because of the word of God will take stage front and center at the breaking of the Fifth Seal:

  • When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been killed because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who live on the earth?” And a white robe was given to each of them; and they were told that they were to rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers and sisters who were to be killed even as they had been, was completed also (Revelation 6:9-11)

A nameless angel comforts believers – which includes all saints and prophets – with the good news that God will answer these imprecatory prayers: “Rejoice over [Babylon], O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her” (Revelation 18:20).

A great multitude in Heaven will shout out with a loud voice, shaking creation:

  • After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelu Yah! Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God, because His judgments are true and righteous! For He has judged the great prostitute who was corrupting the earth with her sexual immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her [see Deuteronomy 32:43]. And a second time they said, “Hallelu Yah! Her smoke rises forever and ever [see Isaiah 34:10]” (Revelation 19:1-3)

Be prepared and be praying!

Many believers in the West have been raised in a Pietist and pacifist tradition. Some of the roots of those traditions come from believers who were persecuted and martyred by State Churches who brooked no opposition to their pet theologies. The only option in such empires was to take a pacifist and non-militaristic stance. Yet the Bible does not take a pacifistic or non-militaristic stance, as the above Bible passages clearly demonstrate.

For those who understand Biblical teaching about the restoration of Israel – both physical and spiritual – we recognize that the return of the Jewish people to the Promised Land comes at a cost. The enemy of God, who is also the enemy of the Jewish people, is pulling out all the stops to crush the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We Jewish people, and those of us who stand with the Jewish people, need to stay alert on the walls of Jerusalem: “On your walls, Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen! All day and all night they will never keep silent. You who proclaim YHVH, take no rest for yourselves, and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise on the planet!” (Isaiah 62:6-7)

  • We pray for the ingathering of the Jewish people to their Promised Land; for their protection and salvation; for the Last Days harvest of the nations; for the return of Messiah Yeshua the Son of David to His throne in Jerusalem. We also pray for the justice of God to be done in His judgment of His enemies and the enemies of the Jewish people. Messiah Yeshua reminds us to push through in prayer on these points: “Now, will God not bring about justice for His elect who cry out to Him day and night, and will He delay long for them?” (Luke 18:7)

How should we then pray?

  • Pray for Hamas’ cruel terror dictatorship in Gaza to be finally shattered and all chains broken off the Palestinians living there
  • Pray for jihadi deception, dissimulation and lying to be uncovered and rejected by world leaders 
  • Pray for justice, clarity, moral courage, discernment and divine strategies for Israel’s leadership in utterly destroying the Hamas threat
  • Pray for minimal loss of life on Israel’s side and for those Gazans who are truly innocent
  • Pray for the physical rescue of the approximately 141 Israelis (including babies) kidnapped by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLO)
  • Pray that the outstretched arm of YHVH will not return before it brings justice to God’s enemies
  • Pray for the raising up of Ezekiel’s prophetic Jewish army throughout the earth