Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Darris McNeely] Can it be that Satan, howling with intensified rage, maneuvered the forces of terror to attack at this moment on a sacred Holy Day showing the mercy and compassion of the God who wants to share eternal glory with all mankind? On that day, Satan unleashed an attack upon the walled cities of Israel and his forces surrounded the cities and they poured down fire from above.
[Narrator] Join our presenters from the United Church of God as we bring you help for today and hope for tomorrow directly from your Bible here on Beyond Today.
[Darris McNeely] Maybe you saw the scenes of Hamas terrorists descending Valkyrie like from the skies on their attack on the unsuspecting people who were attending a music festival in southern Israel. No more fitting scene from that horrendous morning describes the evil that was unleashed on the state of Israel. When Hamas terrorists descended on Israeli settlements on October 7th, 2023, it was hell unleashed. More than a thousand Israeli men, women and children were slaughtered in what was called the worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust of World War II. Death in all of its horror descended upon men and women, children and the elderly. Rape, beheadings, incineration of babies, the stories are too horrible to imagine. No reasonable human court of opinion could label this as anything but pure evil.
The attack was timed to occur on a sacred feast day called by the Jews Simchat Torah, which is the eighth day of God's festival calendar. 50 years earlier in 1973 on another sacred festival called the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur, there was another surprise attack, this time by Egypt and Syria, launched upon the state of Israel. It was no coincidence that these two attacks, one in 1973 and the other in 2023 occurred on God's sacred feast days. Satan, called the prince of the power of the air, hates the very purpose and plan of God. He stirs the nations to attack at times that do coincide with God's eternal purpose and these two recent wars in Israel are examples.
This horrendous attack and the subsequent events really can only be understood in the context of what God's word tells us about the conflict between nations and peoples. The evil that erupted on God's sacred feast days can only be understood through the lens of a biblical worldview. And so on this edition of Beyond Today, we're going to explain the spiritual dimension behind this ongoing war in the Middle East.
Now let me first say something about the political events that accompanies any significant event that involves Israel and its Arab neighbors and the Palestinian people in the Middle East. This current chapter is more than a hundred years in the making. We have to go back to the period of World War I, where the British government and later the League of Nations approved a plan for the settlement of Jews in the land of Palestine, a Palestine which is today. The state of Israel was at that time a part of what was called the Ottoman Empire. After World War I, Jewish immigration to this ancient homeland began in earnest. Thousands of Jews from Europe, from Asia, from America, and from other parts of the world settled and began to build a presence alongside the Arab population in that land. And after World War II and the impact of 6 million Jews systematically murdered by the Nazi Holocaust in Europe, there was a pressure for a separate Jewish state in Palestine and it continued to build. And finally on May 14th, 1948, the state of Israel was formally declared to be in existence recognizing the biblical connection of this event.
United States President Harry Truman was the first in line to recognize the new state of Israel, but immediately the young nation was attacked by Jordan, by Syria, and by Egypt in a bid to destroy the state. Israel held its ground and it survived. There've been other wars since then, but that formative event created a class of Palestinian people, people who were displaced by the war, forced in some cases to actually flee the land and take refuge in neighboring Arab states like Jordan. Now, subsequent wars such as the 1967 six day war created even more displaced peoples as the Jewish state expanded it's borders. From these refugees have come different terrorist groups, groups whose sole purpose is to destroy the Jewish state of Israel, driving them into the sea as they chant. They and their supporters from around the world and all the protests that have come since then. No one, no Arab state, no other world power or treaty or any type of arrangement has succeeded in solving this permanent class of refugees that we have today called Palestinians.
Unfortunately, this group has become pawns in the larger dreams of states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Iran, powerful states whose aim has been to become the dominant power in the Middle East. There's been no Arab leader that has demonstrated the ability nor the political will to actually solve this part of the Middle East puzzle, the fate of these Palestinians. For anyone who would even come close, it would be suicidal.
To reach a lasting peace with Israel is not the goal of the Arab world. That's not popular to say but it is actually true. The political picture of the Middle East is long and it's very complicated. After World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, world powers created this modern entity called the Middle East. There's been whole libraries of books that have been written detailing the sad and convoluted consequences of what really is a diplomatic folly. This creation of all these nations, it's best summarized by the title of a book that I have on my shelf called "The Peace to End All Peace." There's never been a lasting peace in this region to this day in any way.
Now the biblical story that contains the origins of this conflict indicates the hatred and the division that is so deep as to be beyond human ability to solve. The present conflict that was started by this horrendous Hamas attack is known to be backed by Iran. Now Iran is the largest supporter of terrorism in the Middle East. They also fund a group called Hezbollah in the northern state of Lebanon just to the north of Israel. Iran's ruling Islamic clerics are very clear in their goal to drive Israel into the sea, removing their presence from the land. Iran is very near to developing a nuclear capability and they've clearly stated that their intent is to kill Jews. Both Hezbollah and Hamas well, they say the same thing and their relentless moves to arm and to attack and vilify press these goals forward. It's the height of folly for Western liberal minded leaders to think that reason and the perfectibility of human nature can alter these plans, history, experience. And again, the very pages of the Bible show us that that will not occur short of a major event. More attacks, more atrocities and continued escalation of conflicts will occur.
The secular godless mindset does not acknowledge these events have a basis in the Bible and God's overarching purpose for human life. It prevents them from seeing the source of such evil that breaks out among peoples. Which brings me back to the timing of the two wars 50 years apart. This latest war on October 7th erupted on the last of the sacred festivals that God mentions in scripture. 50 years earlier, the Yom Kippur War occurred on the day of Atonement, and both of these days contain meaning that shapes a very clear view of these events that are taking place in this Middle East war. The Day of Atonement, called by the Jews Yom Kippur, is a High Holy Day, a day so solemn that God tells His people to afflict themselves through fasting to achieve a greater clarity of what makes the world work. On the Day of Atonement, two goats were selected by the high priest in the temple. One of those goats was sacrificed as a sin offering. This was a forerunner of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The second goat was not killed, but after having the sins of the people symbolically laid upon his head, that goat was taken out into the wilderness by a man and released alive never to return to be among the people. This impressive ceremony told in Leviticus Chapter 16 can be understood by the events of Christ's sacrifice for human sin and the prophetic scene of an angel coming down from heaven after the second coming of Jesus Christ, an angel having what is called the key to the bottomless pit with a great chain in his hand. Revelation 20 says that "That angel lays hold of the dragon, that serpent of old who is the devil and Satan and will bind him for a thousand years" that's in Revelation 20:1. Clearly this binding of Satan fulfills the ancient event on the Day of Atonement. With that live goat being led into the wilderness and released with the sins of the people on its head, there will come a time when the source of evil in this world will be removed from the presence of mankind.
A lot of attention has been given to the atrocities committed by the Hamas terrorists on October 7th. As I said, parents were mercilessly killed in front of their children and elderly women who survived the Holocaust in some cases, they were killed and kidnapped. Babies were killed. Innocent life was taken and gleefully celebrated throughout the Arab world. Killing Jews in this manner is expected by those who wage their holy jihad. Comparisons to the Nazi holocaust are very accurate. When one group of human beings cross a moral line and they attack another group of people who differ from them in religion or ethnicity or ideology, it's an evil that is unexplainable, but history is full of such occurrences. People have coexisted together in the same communities going about life having known each other for years and they've been known to turn on one another, kill and maim and destroy the memory of each other.
In Germany in 1938, Germans turned against their Jewish neighbors with whom they had lived side by side. For generations, moved by Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda, they aided and abetted the murderers intent on the final solution of the Jewish race. The Bible reveals the source of such evil. It's Satan the devil. Jesus labeled Satan himself as a murderer. He said, on one occasion "You are of your father, the devil and the desires of your father you want to do." He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources for he is a liar and the father of it. It's in John 8:44.
We should not casually dismiss the coincidence of a war against the Jewish state of Israel beginning on the day of Atonement in 1973. It was more than a strategic move by the Arab world to catch the Jews asleep. The rage of a malevolent spirit being like Satan was targeted against the people representing a remnant of the ancient nation of Israel, descendants of Abraham to whom the land of Israel was promised as a place of residence for a larger purpose that God has for the nations. Satan hates God, he hates humans created in the image of God and he despises the design and the plan that God has to bring humans into glory. Through human instruments, he has worked against God's purpose throughout time. Satan is called the prince of the power of the heir the spirit that works in disobedient humans. It says in scripture that he leads principalities and powers, rulers of the darkness of this age and the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Satan stirs the nations to war against one another through his spiritual henchman known as demons, he influences kings and presidents, emperors, dictators and despotic rulers of history to gather and battle among themselves. World powers from Asia and Europe are controlled by these arch demons.
Satan's pattern has been to hunt down the people of God, whether it be the literal descendants of Jacob or the spiritual church of God, and he uses the armies of religious orders and state organizations to relentlessly pursue those who keep God's commandments and follow the testimony of Jesus Christ. Would Satan move nations to attack the Jewish state of Israel on the Day of Atonement? Should that not be a lesson writ large before the world signifying the rage that this demon has against the God who will one day cause him to be bound by a great chain and cast into the bottomless pit and shut with a seal so that he would no longer deceive the nations until a thousand years are completed.
You know there are times when history is more than a coincidence and we should look deeper at this latest attack by Hamas on October 7th, which was on the eighth day festival of the plan of God. What does that sacred festival teach us about God's purpose and His plan? Let's go back. Each of God's holy festivals outlined in His scripture reveal sequential aspects of God's purpose for His human family and Christ is the center of each of these steps. Beginning with His sacrifice and resurrection, the spring festivals of God's show how sin is removed and how His life can be in us as our hope of eternal life. The eighth day, the last and a very solemn final assembly of God's Holy Day season is little understood today. Jews don't understand that day because they reject the New Testament and Christians don't understand it because they overlook the Old Testament festivals altogether. Do you understand that the meaning of God's eighth day festival that Christians today should be observing?
God's holy festivals reveal man's destiny is eternal life through a resurrection becoming members of the family of God. Those days show Christ will intervene in this world to end the war and the suffering, which in time will threaten human survival. Christ will bind Satan's deceptive influence shown earlier. When we discussed the Day of Atonement, there will be a 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth with the resurrected saints to follow. There will be a better world and a period of peace that will confirm God's way does produce a world that can be aligned with its creator, producing peace and joy. And the final eighth day festival of God's Holy Day plan shows a comforting and encouraging truth that God is just and fair. That day shows that God will offer salvation to the many who in this life never had a chance, never had the opportunity to accept Christ as savior, nor knew Him as the true son of God sent for the reconciliation of the world.
In a little understood chapter of the book of Revelation, chapter 20, it reveals that there is a resurrection there called the second resurrection of people who are called the dead, small and great. This second resurrection includes those who have lived in the world and were subject to Satan's deception. Satan is described as having a dominion in this present world. Make no mistake about that. He is called the God of this world. He offered Jesus Himself on one occasion, kingship over all the kingdoms of the world if He Jesus would only bow down and worship him. Satan has one desire, to be worshiped by humans, and Revelation 20 shows us God will allow Satan and his evil influence to once more be unleashed upon the world. It says when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and he will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog to gather them together to battle whose number is as the sand of the sea. And it says that they went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints in the beloved city. Fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them and the devil who deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
God will allow one more period of deception to cleanse mankind of every trace of a nature that can be taken in by the subtlety of Satan's craftiness before God moves to bring to life those who never knew Him. He will prove finally that Satan and his evil reign is over, and the dead are then brought to life and they will live without that deceiving influence of Satan. And those who could not see the Christ of Revelation because of a veil laid over their heart will come to see Him as He is and worship Him in spirit and in truth. This is the deep meaning of the Eighth Day Festival, the day many Christians were keeping when they heard the news of another war breaking out over Israel. The day hell was unleashed and a demonic massacre occurred. Can it be that Satan howling with intensified rage knowing that his time to work grows shorter maneuvered the forces of terror to attack at this moment on a sacred holy day showing the mercy and compassion of the God who wants to share eternal glory with all mankind. On that day, Satan unleashed an attack upon the walled cities of Israel and his forces surrounded the cities and they poured down fire from above.
It's a small forerunner of an event preceding the time of God's great day of salvation. Are we watching in these events? The futility of evil manifested in time and place through willing human beings who have given themselves to a violent hatred of a people who bear a name from the Bible. Israel. I believe these wars, the Yom Kippur war of 1973 and this latest eighth day war, should be understood from the perspective of these truths. You will not hear or read an analysis or reporting from that perspective, but a clear perspective through the lens of the Bible can give insight to understanding what is working in these events. I would say that this stirring among the Arab nations, that we could be seeing an alignment that will lead to even greater attacks brought by what the book of Daniel calls the King of the South upon an opposite power called the King of the North. This King of the South will be a combined Arab Islamic power emboldened to launch an attack upon Western powers who they perceive to be weak and powerless to respond. But they will be wrong because their attack will awaken a beast like power from slumber and the force of a retaliatory response will carry this King of the North into the Middle East and to the very gates of Jerusalem.
History from the eighth century after Christ is a prelude to this event. From there other events of prophecy will unfold and we should watch these historic events and let them stir us awake. These are more than just historic milestones. They are markers on a prophetic road leading to bigger events foretold by Jesus and the prophets.
The free study guide that is accompanying this program today is the study guide called The Middle East in Bible Prophecy. This thorough guide takes you through the Bible and history to understand what is behind the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. You'll understand why there is such hatred among the various peoples of this region. The Bible provides the key. You can receive a free copy of this guide, The Middle East in Bible Prophecy, by writing or calling the address on your screen, or you can go online and begin reading it today at Beyondtoday.tv.
The Middle East in Bible Prophecy will become your guide through the Bible. To understand this latest war hell was unleashed on unsuspecting people in this latest round of war in Israel. It is one more warning for you and me that we live in momentous times. I urge you to let it be a wakeup call. Redeem the time that you have been given right now. Think about tomorrow. Will you choose to live it for yourself or will you live it to serve God? It's time to awake from a spiritual sleep, draw closer to God and be sobered by these times.
[Narrator] Please call for the booklet offered on today's program, "The Middle East in Bible Prophecy." When you hear about disturbing unsettling events in that critical region of the world, you really need to understand its biblical and historical background. Our free Bible study aid, The Middle East in Bible Prophecy will help you better comprehend prophesied events and how they will affect your life. Order now. Call toll free 1-888-886-8632 or write to the address shown on your screen.
Many Bible prophecies focus on the Middle East as the stage for events leading to the second coming of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God on Earth. This booklet, The Middle East in Bible Prophecy, covers those important prophecies. When you order this free study aid we'll also send you a complimentary one year subscription to our Beyond Today magazine. The Beyond Today Magazine brings you understanding of today's world and hope for the future. Six times a year you'll read about current world events in light of Bible prophecy, as well as practical knowledge to improve your marriage and family. Call today to receive your free booklet, The Middle East in Bible Prophecy, and your free one-year subscription to Beyond Today Magazine. 1-888-886-8632 or go online to beyondtoday.tv.