Over these past few weeks, I have been particularly watching what has been taking place in Israel and Syria, with many of the world powers, especially the USA and Russia, sticking their oar in and, if UK media (mainstream, alternative and social) is anything to go by, all sorts of people are coming up with a diversity of views and, given the precarious situation that region finds itself, a full scale war including use of nuclear weapons cannot be ruled out. But I am not a fly on the wall and I do not possess a brain the size of a planet, but I have been studying, watching and praying and have already written on the subject (see here). What I propose here is to review the present situation, knowing a much deeper analysis is needed.
I first want to get off my chest what I promised a well known and widely followed theologian I would do. I would like to give a view based on a historical and biblical perspective, although for the time being I am merely providing a stake in the ground. Israel has many definitions and for much of this article I refer to the land that is called Israel but for this theological point I refer to the people who call themselves Jews (including those who are descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) and those who have converted to Judaism e.g. in the time of Esther). While I see Israel as being under judgment because they have disobeyed YHWH and rejected their Messiah (Yeshua – Jesus), although there are reports of a significant number turning to Christ, they have not been discarded by their God, who has a special place and purpose for them. There is much unfulfilled prophecy that applies to Israel and a blessing to look forward to; for one day there will a mass turning back to YHWH. As for the land of Israel, this was part of the land YHWH promised to Abraham’s descendants, and He never reneges on a promise.
The majority of Christendom (at least those who have given the matter thought) have rejected the special place of Israel view, believing the Church has replaced it, and any covenant YHWH has with Jews is the New Covenant that embraces Gentiles, subject to the same conditions i.e. being born again, on the basis of faith and grace. As for those who don’t go along with such views e.g. many Zionist leaning US fundamentalists, they not only believe as I do in Israel’s place in God’s plans but often go out of their way to support Israel (the government) against their enemies (many who wish to take over the land and drive the Jewish inhabitants away and currently dealing in terrorist activity) and are often incredulous when accusations are made of the many wrongs being currently perpetrated by the Israeli government toward the Palestinian people, some whose families have lived in the land for hundreds of years. Some in doing so reject the Gospel message needing to apply to Jews as well as Gentiles. Often I see polarized positions being taken up by these Replacement and Zionist Christians, just as is the case with Zionist and non Zionist factions outside Christianity, with too little common ground found on what are right views and actions.
Like many I have been watching with consternation the recent events taking place in Gaza and yet another Palestinian uprising. I have read conflicting reports blaming one or other side. The pro-Israel lobby has accused the Palestinians, led by the terrorist organization, Hamas, and their like, of starting the violence with the Israel Defence Force (IDF) merely taking appropriate actions to maintain security. The anti-Israel lobby has accused the IDF of heavy handiness and even perpetrating atrocities and point to legitimate grievances that have remained unaddressed over many years (thus the uprising). I have not come to a fully thought through view on the matter and while I believe that Israel has the right to exist as a nation on broadly the same basis as when modern Israel was formed in 1947 it is with some unease because some of the grievances raised by some of the Palestinians are legitimate.
While the subject that became a hot topic for discussion, that of Jeremy Corbyn’s alleged anti-Semiticism, has been toppled from the headlines because of other more pressing events, the subject has not gone away. Corbyn’s Labour party are not out of the woods yet as the discontent among Jewish members and sympathizers indicate. I don’t believe given the strict definition of the term that Corbyn is anti-Semitic but I question the wisdom and even the motives of his apparent siding with those anti-Israel factions that are intent to do down the Jews living in Israel. I also question the anti-Corbyn brigade intent to undermine his leadership for political purposes and oppose those who wish to question Israel government policy.
So the big question the hour is what to do with President Assad’s Syrian government regime, now backed by powerful allies like Russia and one that Israel is particularly opposed to – Iran. The Salisbury nerve agent attack on Russian citizens opposed to President Putin resulted in Russian diplomats being expelled from the UK (and the US) and an escalation in the modern day version of “the Cold war”. Whether the Russians did it is still an open question even though the British government seems to have made up their minds. This was further escalated with chemical attacks carried out on Syrian citizens with the finger being pointed at the Assad regime and threats by the US and allies to attack him, with Assad’s allies, principally Russia, promising to resist any US attack. Listening to the rhetoric of Theresa May and Donald Trump, both seem to have made up their minds on insufficient evidence. While I believe Russia has been unfairly demonised, I don’t believe them as entirely innocent party and note now an even less innocent party, China, has joined the fray. All this is worrying for such a conflict can easily severely escalate, including into a thermo-nuclear world war.
My previous reaction to US with UK assistance going in against Assad was sympathetic, given I had been sold the idea he was a tyrannical ruler that oppressed the people he ruled over, but now I am less sure. The toppling of countries like Iraq and Libya with guns then being pointed at Syria as well as conflicts in other Middle East countries has left me wondering if that was the right course of action and of the motives of those really behind these moves (destabilize the region, undertake false flag attacks like 9/11, overwhelm Europe with refugees, bring about WW3, set up a World Government, subjugate the populace to tyranny etc.), along with the enormous costs (money and lives) with relatively little gain. That would have once been dismissed as wild conspiracy theory but I am no longer sure. Assad for all his faults and I agree he has much to answer for, and Russia for all its agendas for dominance, and its stubbornness in opposing calls for investigation of attacks, did play a major part in defeating Isis and as recent history has shown getting rid of a bad regime for it to be replaced by something worse never bodes well. Many rebels opposing Assad are not nice people and often they have been paid by the West. As for the recent attacks, who is to say it is not yet another false flag. For this reason I look upon recent western sabre rattling with consternation and despite his faults why I sympathize with someone like Corbyn, who is saying so. A conflict involving the likes of Syria, Russia and Iran on one side and USA, Israel and Saudi on the other, which is what is being led up to, is not one to relish, but if I read my Bible correctly, can be expected. And while the focus here is Syria, one of the central players in this ever hotting up drama unfolding, and never far from the action, is Israel.
As I said at the outset, I am using my latest article on the subject to give vent to my feelings on some of the important happenings that involve Syria and Israel (who while they are not yet at war clearly are strongly opposed to each other). I admit I raise more questions than answers and there are big gaps in my knowledge, and it is hard to predict. As I often say: I may not be able to do much but I can watch and pray, and just maybe do my part in making this world a better place. While I started out using terms like “worrying”, we can and must put our trust in the Lord God of Israel who does all things well and gives His “Shalom” to those who acknowledge Him.
Update 14/04/18: Events take place at a rapid rate. Soon after posting and as I feared / anticipated, the US with UK and France assistance launched air strikes against Syrian chemical weapons sites as this, one of many, account reports: US and allies attack chemical weapons sites. One wonders – what happens next? I am listening to Mrs May making a statement why bombing took place, convinced this was the only action to take in the light of the earlier chemical weapon attacks with impunity by the Assad regime.