Hell Unleashed: The Spirit Behind the Hamas Attack on Israel

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Hell Unleashed

The Spirit Behind the Hamas Attack on Israel

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MP3 Audio (14.17 MB)


Hell Unleashed: The Spirit Behind the Hamas Attack on Israel

MP3 Audio (14.17 MB)

When Hamas militants crossing from Gaza descended on Israeli settlements on Oct. 7, 2023, it was hell unleashed. More than a thousand Israeli men, women and children, along with many foreigners, were slaughtered in what was called the worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust of World War II.

Violent death descended on men, women, children and the elderly. Mass butchery, 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.

Sadly, the world is not reasonable, being under the overarching influence of Satan the devil (Ephesians 2:2; 1 John 5:19). Many in the West are now denying what Hamas perpetrated, but the terror group itself promoted what it did as a recruiting tool for holy jihad against the Jews—and many around the world gleefully celebrated the heinous attacks.

The attack was timed to occur on a biblical Holy Day the Jews call Shemini Atzeret, the Eighth Day following the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles. (In Israel this day is combined with another celebration called Simchat Torah, rejoicing in the completion and restarting of the annual Torah reading cycle.) This was 50 years after an earlier surprise attack by Arab neighbors on another fall Holy Day called Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement, which fell on Oct. 6 in 1973.

It was no coincidence these attacks occurred on God’s Holy Days. On one level these were chosen as days the Jewish people were more focused on spiritual observance and less alert to military invasion. They were also likely meant to portray Islam victorious over Jewish religious practice.

But beyond that, these attacks were demonic, instigated by Satan. He hates these festival days that lay out the purpose and plan of God, including Satan’s ultimate defeat, and he wants to destroy the people and land that are a major focus of God’s plan for history. Indeed, the evil that erupted on God’s sacred feast day this past fall, like that of 50 years ago, can only be understood through the lens of a biblical worldview.

A history of conflict

The roots of today’s conflict go back to biblical times, with seemingly intractable hatred and division (see our free study guide The Middle East in Bible Prophecy). And its current phase has been developing since early in the last century. During World War I the British government, and later the League of Nations, approved a plan for the settlement of Jews in the land of Palestine, then a part of the Ottoman Empire of the Turks. After the war, immigration of Jews to their ancient homeland began in earnest. Thousands of them came in from Europe, Asia, America and other parts of the world. The Arab population there was also increasing due to immigration.

At the same time, the world’s great powers were redrawing the lines of the Middle East in a diplomatic folly perhaps best summarized by a book on the subject titled A Peace to End All Peace (David Fromkin, 1989).

After World War II, the Nazi Holocaust in Europe increased pressure for a Jewish state in the Holy Land. And on May 14, 1948, the state of Israel was declared. Immediately the young nation was attacked by Jordan, Syria and Egypt in a bid to destroy it. Israel held its ground. The largely Arab denizens in the land who supported the invasion became displaced by the war, with some fleeing to neighboring Arab states as refugees. These would later be known as the Palestinians. Subsequent wars, such as the 1967 Six-Day War, created more displaced peoples as the Jewish state defeated attacking enemies and expanded its borders in captured territories.

From these refugees, motivated by an Islamist view that does not tolerate lands conquered by Islam falling back into infidel hands and that came to see the Jews as subhuman, have come different terrorist groups whose main purpose is to destroy the state of Israel, with many others urging them on. The terror group Hamas was the elected government in Gaza (which then abolished elections once it gained power).

Along with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas is largely funded and often directed by the biggest state supporter of terrorism in the Middle East—Iran. The Iranian leaders have long declared their goal is to wipe Israel from the map, even as they near development of nuclear capability. Iran and its terror proxies clearly state their intent to use whatever means necessary to destroy the Jews. And we can expect that continued escalation will occur.

The secular godless mindset can’t see that what’s going on has its basis in the Bible and God’s great purpose for human life and the nation of Israel—and the opposition of wicked spiritual forces (see Ephesians 6:12).

With that in mind, we return to the timing of the two attacks, 50 years apart, the latest on the Eighth Day, the last of God’s listed annual festivals, and the earlier one on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. What these days symbolize gives us biblical perspective of what is ultimately happening in the Middle East conflict.

When Satan is banished

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:26-32), is 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.

In a special ceremony on this Holy Day, two goats were selected by lot, one to be killed as a sin offering and the other to figuratively bear sin and be banished into the desert (Leviticus 16). The first goat symbolized the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in dying for our sins. The other is fulfilled in the prophetic scene of an angel coming down from heaven, after the second coming of Christ, to bind Satan, the instigator of sin, away into a bottomless pit for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1).

There will come a time when the source of evil in this world will be removed. That source of evil is Satan. The Bible presents him as the great deceiver and tempter (Revelation 12:9; 1 Thessalonians 3:5). Jesus labeled him a murderer and the very father of lies, leading people into his ways (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 Arab leaders to catch the Jews asleep. Satan’s rage 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 specific purposes within the larger purpose of God for the nations.

And Satan hates God. He hates human beings created in the image of God. He despises the design and plan of God to bring people into divine glory. Through human instruments he has worked against God’s purpose throughout time.

Jesus even referred to Satan as the ruler of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). He and his spiritual henchmen, known in the Bible as demons, influence the world’s leaders to fight among themselves and to oppose the people of God, whether it be the literal descendants of Jacob or the spiritual Church of God. He uses the armies of religious orders and state organizations alike to relentlessly pursue those who keep God’s commandments and follow the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:15-17).

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 this demon has against the God who will one day cause him to be bound and cast into a bottomless pit, as symbolized by this very day? There are times when history is more than coincidence.

Satan’s influence ultimately no more

We should also look deeper into the Holy Day the recent Hamas attack occurred on, the Eighth Day, the day immediately following the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles (see Leviticus 23:33-36, 39). What does this sacred festival of God teach us?

God’s holy festivals reveal a progression of steps in His plan to save humanity, all people who are ultimately willing. Christ is at the center of each of these steps. Beginning with His sacrifice and resurrection, the spring festivals (per Holy Land seasons) show how sin is removed and how His life can be within us as our hope of eternal life.

The fall festivals point to Christ’s return to lead the world into righteousness and peace. As noted, the Day of Atonement shows Satan bound away. The Feast of Tabernacles, which all nations will observe at that time (Zechariah 14:16-19), pictures the 1,000-year reign of Christ and His followers of this age, known as the Millennium.

The Eighth Day, a solemn final assembly, is understood by very few. Jews don’t understand because they reject the New Testament. Christians don’t understand because they overlook the Old Testament festivals and what Scripture actually reveals about life after death—that there will be a resurrection of Christ’s followers at His return, with all others who have died being raised to life after the 1,000 years (Revelation 20:4-6).

The final Eighth Day festival holds the comforting and encouraging truth that God is just and fair. In the resurrection after the Millennium, He will offer salvation to all those who in this life never had a real opportunity to accept Christ as Savior nor knew His true teachings, being subject to Satan’s deceptions (verses 11-12; and see “The Eighth Day: Eternal Life Offered to All” in our free study guide God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind).

Just before this, at the end of the Millennium, Satan will be released from his prison and will again lead great numbers of people to battle against God, surrounding God’s people encamped at Jerusalem. Yet these forces will meet with fiery destruction from God, with Satan now gone for good (verses 7-10).

As the dead of past ages are then brought to life, they will live without the deceiving influence of Satan. God will remove the veil of deception. Buddhists will learn there is a personal God. Hindus will learn there is one cycle of life that counts. Muslims will learn of the one true God revealed in the Bible, including the fact that Jesus is the Son sent by the Father for the salvation of the world. The Jews will recognize Jesus as their prophesied Savior who died for their sins. And those who assumed they were Christians but didn’t really understand the truth of God will come to worship Him in Spirit and truth (John 4:24).

Ezekiel 37 portrays the resurrection to fleshly existence of the Israelites from all history at that future time—then restored to the land of Israel and given God’s Holy Spirit to be the exemplary nation God intended them to be (verses 11-14). At that time, all people will be able to learn and live in God’s ways. Then, with a changed heart and healed minds, Satan’s nature will start disappearing from human character. In the end, there will still be some who stubbornly refuse to follow God, but they will be burned up in a final destruction (Revelation 20:14-15). The masses of humanity who ultimately continue to follow God will receive divine glory with Him—to live in a New Jerusalem that comes down from heaven (Revelation 21-22).

This is the deep meaning of the Eighth Day festival. This is the day many were observing, though most not understanding why, when they heard the news of another war breaking over Israel. The day hell was unleashed, and a demonic massacre occurred.

Could it be that Satan, howling with intensified rage, knowing 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 mankind, Satan unleashed an attack upon the unsuspecting towns of Israel, his forces surrounding them and pouring fire on people and homes—here in this place where Satan will ultimately be defeated and Israel will be restored.

More lashing out to come

These wars, the Yom Kippur War of 50 years ago and this latest Israel-Hamas war starting on the Eighth Day, should be understood from the perspective of these truths. The lens of the Bible can give deeper insight into what’s happening.

Bible prophecy shows us a number of other events along the end-time path to Christ’s return that must yet occur. In Arab nations galvanizing against Israel we could be seeing an alignment that could lead to or be a foretaste of an even bigger attack brought by what the book of Daniel calls the King of the South on an opposing power called the King of the North (Daniel 11:44). This King of the South will evidently be an Arab Islamic power emboldened to launch an attack on the North, here signifying Europe.

The northern power, called the Beast and Babylon in Revelation, will retaliate in massive force, invading and occupying much of the Middle East, and then coming into the Holy Land. This will lead into what Scripture calls the Great Tribulation. That will come after Satan, following another attempt to assault heaven, is cast down. He will then come against people in great wrath, knowing his time is short (Revelation 12:12-14).

Thankfully, all of Satan’s lashing out will not stop the plan of God. In the end, the devil will be vanquished, and God will reign supreme—to set all things right. Thankfully, the victims of the Eighth Day Hamas attacks will later be resurrected on the fulfillment of that Eighth Day to live a joyful new life.

God’s promises are certain. Look to His Word for how it will all work out. And trust in Him to see us through!