And the War Continues

And the War Continues Jackie Santoro

Day 163 of the War. Anti-semitism is increasing dramatically and the world is seeing Israel as the cruel oppressor. Several countries are threatening sanctions against weapons sales to Israel if they go into Rafah, the last Hamas stronghold in Gaza and where the IDF believes the hostages are being held. The international community doesn’t want Israel to fight this final battle which Israel deems essential because they are concerned, or so they say, about civilian casualties. Hamas is controlling the flow of humanitarian aid and the Gazans are suffering and Israel is being blamed for not doing enough. Interestingly, there is very little international outcry or demand for the release of the hostages in the midst of all this.

The United States is putting tremendous pressure on Israel to not go into Rafah during this month of Ramadan as it can cause violent eruptions, which is just what Sinwar, the Hamas chief in Gaza, is trying to make happen. Israel is blamed for not agreeing to a ceasefire when it is Sinwar who is silent and enjoying the pressure being applied to Israel. Hamas is demanding what they know to be totally unreasonable conditions and Netanyahu is being backed into a corner of isolation as the world blames him for mishandling the war effort.

Everyone seems to have forgotten why we entered the war in the first place. A ceasefire is more important than eradicating the terrorist threat while there are terrorist attacks in Israel every day with someone wounded or killed. Just recently, a terrorist knifed a soldier in the back and though fatally wounded, the soldier managed to get his gun out and kill the terrorist. He died of the knife wounds soon after. The world thinks that if only there were two states – peace would reign. The lies spread like fire while the truth is a whisper that most don’t hear.

We continue to fight the war inside the country and outside against world opinion. We are doing well against Hamas militarily but we seem to be losing against the lies that the world believes.

We wrestle not against flesh and blood but spiritual wickedness in high places. This is the same spiritual battle that Israel has been fighting since the beginning. From their slavery in Egypt and Pharaoh’s command to the midwives to kill all the Hebrew baby boys to the church fathers being deaf and blind to the words of their own Savior, who spoke of His undying love for those of His own family, the Jews have been the object of centuries of church persecution including expulsion from every nation where they were living to suffering through plans for their extinction that would arise in each generation, culminating in the Holocaust. Has there every been a nation of people who were hated and despised with such intensity?

Although by the mighty hand of God, Israel was reborn as a result of all this suffering and returned to their own Land after thousands of years of wandering, the warfare has not abated but only intensified, finally reaching a new level on October 7th with the devastating massacre by Hamas and Israel’s subsequent declaration of war and its commitment to eradicate this evil.

And what is amazing is that no one seems to question why this is happening to this relatively tiny group of peace loving people who have had to fight for their right to exist without a break. Even in an obviously justified war, the forces of evil who are committed to Jewish destruction have succeeded in turning good into evil and Israel has had to defend itself against charges of genocide and occupation.

Satan hates Yeshua but since he can’t touch Him, he has determined to destroy His precious and beloved family – those of His own race – the Jewish people. And though he started with the Jews, he won’t end with them. All those called by His name are His family and will ultimately be the objects of the destructive fury of satan. Islamic Jihad wants the whole world under its control, not just the Middle East.

Please stand with us and pray fervently during this season of Purim. Read the book of “Esther” and recognize that we are in the same struggle now as then. Haman had a plan to kill all the Jews in the empire but through the courage of Mordecai and Esther in the mercy of God, the plan was thwarted and Haman killed.

Pray and fast with us on the day that commemorates the Fast of Esther – Thursday March 21. Pray for the tearing down of the demonic strongholds and for victory on the ground. Pray against the spirit of division which is raising its destructive head once again. The hostage families are heart-breakingly desperate for a deal and there are continual demonstrations which have been joined with demonstrations against the government and calls for new elections. Once again, the demonstrators are closing the highway and police have to disperse them. Politics has taken center stage and is fueling the division. The USA is also promoting this division by its need to tell us how to run this war! May unity prevail!

Pray for PM Netanyahu, Gallant and Gantz that they can take their stand against the devil’s schemes and listen to heavenly counsel. May they make wise decisions and recognize their need for supernatural strength in these difficult and tumultuous times.

The anti-semitism is causing Aliyah requests to rise significantly. God is calling His people home. Israel is the only place for Jews who want to live free of anti-semistism. It is not always easy to live here but always worth the challenge. Please pray that there would be wide open doors for all Jews and especially the Messianic believer who is currently denied entry.

In spite of all the grief and mourning and intensity of these days, in His presence is fullness of joy! At Ahavat Yeshua, we rejoice to gather together each week and we can feel the hand of favor upon us as we join our hearts to praise and worship the King. We have at least four women pregnant and two gave birth a few weeks ago on the same day! We have many young strong couples and we feel an excitement in the spirit each week. There is a special anointing on our children and they like to sit in the front row and dance and worship with all their heart. We can see the next generation of leaders being groomed in our midst. What an encouragement and joy to witness!

Please continue to pray for our congregation, Ahavat Yeshua that we would always be a place of love and a refuge in the storm, a beacon of light in these dark days and for the name of Yeshua to go forth from us and be a magnet drawing people in. Pray protection for all our soldiers and for these young ones. May they grow in love for their Messiah and may no weapon formed against them prosper.

Last week there was a national woman’s conference attended by 500 women which broke all previous records. We were blessed by the turnout and the unity in the spirit and the hunger for the comfort of the Lord in these days.

Pray for more of these kind of unifying events as we continue to grow as a national Body in wisdom, strength and unity and take our place in the international Body to which we are joined.

I thank you deeply for your faithful support and for standing always with us as we fight the good fight of faith. We are strengthened by your love as we battle the forces of hate. You are a blessing!

We continue to proclaim the promises of God. Israel will always continue to exist and will yet be a light to the nations. Great and wonderful things are on the horizon. The zeal of the Lord will accomplish this as we labor together with Him to establish His kingdom in Jerusalem and to the ends of the earth.

With love from Zion,