The following is a written update related to current events in Israel and Gaza from President of Chosen People Ministries, Mitch Glaser. Talbot partners with Chosen People Ministries for The Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies in Brooklyn, New York. This jointly run center is named for Charles Feinberg, a Messianic Jewish believer who was an influential Talbot dean and leader for decades.
It is a disastrous time for Israelis and for the innocent Palestinian victims of Hamas. How can we, as followers of the Prince of Peace, Jesus the Messiah, respond to difficulties of this day?
Of course, first and foremost we must turn to the pages of Scripture and discover what the Lord has told us to do. In Psalm 122:6, the Psalmist calls upon the faithful to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May they prosper who love you.” (Psalm 122:6)
Our first action step must be prayer! But how do we pray and for whom?
I believe that when we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we are praying for more than a single city in the Holy Land, and in fact we are also praying for the entire nation of Israel and Jewish people everywhere and praying for the blessing of peace to fall upon all those who live in the Holy Land. It is also that we are informed so that our prayers have more power!
May I try to summarize the events of recent days as a reminder and provide an overview of what has transpired since Saturday, October 7 at 6:30 a.m. in Israel.
A War Update
Below is some of what transpired in the first four days of the war.
Israeli forces have killed more than 1,500 Hamas terrorists who broke through the Gazan border into Israel.
1,400 Israelis were killed, and more than 3,000 were wounded or injured and just under 200 Israelis were kidnapped and brought into Gaza to be used as pawns in the conflict.
Upwards of 3,000, mostly noncombatant Gazans were killed so far and many more injured in the midst of the conflict.
The Israel Defense Forces mobilized 360,000 reservists.
Israel has now stationed a large number of troops in the north adjacent to the Lebanon border and is ready for the possibility of a war with Hezbollah in the north.
Israeli forces continue to make air strikes in Gaza focused on munitions factories — large and small — and the offices of the Hamas leadership.
Israel is preparing for a ground invasion of Gaza. .
The Evils of Hamas, Our Ministry’s Eyewitness Account
Day by day and hour by hour we are receiving reports of the ways in which the Hamas terrorists treated the Israelis irrespective of age or gender. Most of those who were killed were civilians; the present number of soldiers serving in the Israeli defense force who have died number approximately 300. This means that the Hamas terrorists murdered a thousand Israeli civilians, including children and the elderly. We are now hearing of gruesome stories of inhuman treatment of innocent people including reported abductions, torture, and killings of people attending a music festival. The news is reporting horrific atrocities, and I’m hearing from my staff who are in Israel about their firsthand accounts witnessing the tragic events.
Five of the elderly Holocaust survivors Chosen People Ministries Israel ministered to and loved deeply were killed. Let me share a poignant report from Maxim, one of our missionaries who has been working among these elderly and beautiful people who suffered greatly before they moved to Israel.
"Today was a very hard day for us. We found out that 5 Holocaust survivors we worked with were killed! There is a suspicion that a 6th was killed but we cannot find the body so this elderly Holocaust survivor may have been abducted and taken to Gaza. It is so difficult to think that after all they went through when they were children at the hands of the Nazis and then moved to Israel where they could be free,their lives ended in such a horrible way. It is so unfair, and my heart is broken. Also, one of the Russian immigrant kids who was part of our camping programs died in battle!"
Our Ministry Through the War
Our Jerusalem center is providing shelter for about a dozen children whose parents fled the border town of Sderot where we have ministered for two decades. The parents had to work, and schools are again shut down. My team brought the children to Jerusalem where it is a little safer and created a program for them to have fun and learn more about the Lord.
We are also providing everyday staples of food, water, clothing, and toiletries that are needed by the soldiers and families of those whose husbands and fathers left for the battlefield.
Here’s an account from one of our staff members:
"Today, we delivered supplies to the bases in the north. While the army provides most of their needs, the sudden call-up of 360,000 civilians meant many of them lacked essential items. In some areas, soldiers are on the front lines and can't access daily necessities like showers. We purchased T-shirts, underwear, socks, and sleeping bags based on requests from base commanders. On our way north, we met friends who contributed more supplies and we traveled with three vehicles. As we approached the border, the atmosphere grew increasingly tense. The soldiers, many of them very young, had serious expressions. We saw numerous tanks and police in combat vehicles. When we reached the designated location, we connected with an officer. Soldiers from the bases came out to collect the items. They were very happy to receive them, and we conveyed that Christian friends of Israel are praying for and supporting the Jewish state during this difficult time. Some soldiers shared stories about their children and wives back home."
How to Pray During this Time:
· Pray the conflict will end soon with minimal further loss of life.
· Pray the hostages will be released.
· Pray the terrorists who are still alive will repent, turn to Jesus, and pursue peace.
· Pray this crisis will draw many in Israel and Gaza to believe in Jesus.
· Pray for those in Israel and Gaza who have lost friends and family.
Be sure to go to our Chosen People Ministries’ website for updates of how God is using our 30-plus staff members (some of whom are Talbot graduates or current students in the Charles Feinberg program). We are concerned for their safety and that of their families but know that God has placed them in this position to use them for His glory and to bless others. It would be wonderful for them to know you are praying for them.
For more information and the opportunity to support our ministry in Israel, please go to chosenpeople.com/war.
Learn more about the Charles L. Feinberg center.