The conflict in Israel is dominating the news these days, and affecting many people here in the U.S. The conflict initially began on October 7 when Hamas (the governing leadership in Gaza) fired over 3000 missiles into Israel and Hamas terrorists invaded Israel. During the invasion over 1300 Israeli's and 22 Americans were killed, and hundreds of people (including children, women and elderly people) were captured and taken back to Gaza.
Since the news of that invasion was received here in the U.S., at Celebration we've been praying for the ceasing of the conflict, the return of all of the hostages, comfort for Israelis and Palestinians who have lost loved ones and for justice to prevail. We've also been praying for and communicating with some of our missionaries in Israel as they've been serving and helping refugees who were driven from their homes and towns by the Hamas terrorists.
Yesterday U.S. President Joe Biden flew to Israel to show support for Israel and to see if any type of negotiations for peace can take place. Meanwhile here in the U.S. and in other nations there have been protests and conflict regarding what is happening in Israel and Gaza. Many critics of Israel have claimed that the Israeli people "colonized" their land from its previous Palestinian owners, and that Israel continues to oppress the Palestinian people. They've voiced their opposition in the U.S. and other countries via protests on college campuses and city streets. At the same time, many others have defended Israel's right to govern over the land formerly known as Palestine and protect their people. And they have protested what Hamas has done by invading Israel, killing innocent people and taking the most defenseless people (little children, women and the elderly) as hostages, hostages who may be tortured and/or killed.
The word "Palestine" comes from "Philistia," the name given to the land occupied by the Philistines of the Bible. In Old Testament times the Philistines were warring with the Israelites for the land they're still fighting over thousands of years later. Over the centuries the land has been ruled by the Israelites, Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, Romans, Byzantine Arabs, European Crusaders, Mamluks and the Ottoman Empire. Regardless of who has ruled over Israel or Palestine, Christians and Jews believe God gave that land to Abraham and his descendants, as our Pastors and I preached about this past Sunday. To listen to the message, go to Gotta Have Faith | Choices That Lead To Change | CELEBRATION CHURCH SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP SERVICE.