On October 7, 2023, monsters descended on the nation of Israel.
As word spread, many Israelis rushed to their cellphones or television screens to see images of terrorists crossing Israel’s borders by land and sea—even by air in small, improvised aircraft. They descended upon a music festival packed with dancing youth. They encroached on neighborhoods. They entered homes. And their mission was clear: to kill, to maim, to rape, to torture, and to kidnap.
That is, to terrorize.
As of this writing, the numbers are still being compiled. But current reports indicate that Hamas terrorists have killed more than 800 in Israel, kidnapped at least 100, and injured more than 2,000.
We might hope that those Western media outlets previously reluctant to call Hamas a terrorist organization will reconsider as they watch footage of Hamas “soldiers” parading about town the desecrated and spat-upon corpses of raped and murdered young women. Sadly, early evidence from some of those outlets is not encouraging, as we see morally bankrupt ideologies continuing to hold sway among so many “influencers” and shapers of public opinion.
Some in the West see Hamas’ actions as justified acts of aggression against “colonizers.” To these sad souls, the brutal rape of women, the systematic terrorizing and butchering of innocent men, women, and children, and the celebratory desecration of the bodies of the murdered become acceptable forms of violence when the motive is said to be “decolonization.” Western civilization has sunk to a level at which a self-proclaimed “feminist” organization like CodePink can publicly and unabashedly support the rape of defenseless women, the display of women’s corpses as trophies, and the kidnapping of terrified women by men who intend them untold harm. As such ideological rot continues to grow, the words “Western” and “civilization” are becoming unrelated.
No political affiliation—or political concern of any stripe—is needed to see that the actions of October 7, 2023, are evil. Yes, international relationships are complicated, especially in a region as turbulent as the Middle East. And no one says that the state of Israel is beyond reproach in its modern history. But none of this can change the plain truth that Israel has suffered an atrocity for which there is no excuse. Anyone who would claim that Hamas’ latest actions are part of some acceptable “tit for tat” trade of offenses—as if there is some moral equivalence between Hamas’ atrocities and the actions of the state of Israel—is deluded and has been captured by a morally corrupt view of our world.
Hamas, and organizations like it, are happy to use their own children’s schools and their own people’s hospitals as cover for launching their assaults, trusting Israel’s reluctance to strike back and kill innocents. But who will pretend that, if the situation were reversed, a Hamas terrorist would not be all the more eager to strike at Israel in a way that killed as many innocent Israeli citizens as possible? For anyone fantasizing otherwise, these latest Hamas attacks should shatter such delusions. The murder, maiming, and torturing of the innocent was the objective of Hamas’ attack. And there is no moral equivalence between one side that uses human shields and another that is deterred by the presence of human shields.
Similarly, there is no moral equivalence between one side that often gives warnings to locations about to be bombed so that the innocent may flee—even when that warning risks reducing the effectiveness of a strike—and another side that attacks without warning, to ensure that as many innocent victims as possible will be raped, terrorized, and slaughtered. And there is no moral equivalence between one side that seeks to minimize collateral damage among non-combatants, and another side that broadcasts its abuse of their enemy’s children, boastfully displays the naked and desecrated bodies of their enemy’s daughters and wives, and circulates videos of their humiliation and terrorizing of their enemy’s grandmothers.
International relations and politics are complicated. And warfare between nations always involves moral compromises, both sanctioned and unsanctioned. Rarely in any conflict does either side emerge with clean hands. But there is nothing complicated about the actions that took place on October 7. There is no moral equivalence here.
So, we may wonder: In this deadly Middle East landscape—with its deep-seated hatreds rooted in an animus that goes far deeper than disputes over borders and resources and political intrigues—how and when will peace finally come?
Some interpret these latest attacks—coming 50 years after the last such attack of such severity—as a sign that there may never be peace, at least not a truly sustainable peace, in the Middle East. And they are not far from the truth. Mankind’s efforts alone will never bring peace. Scripture describes the years ahead for the peoples of Israel and the city of Jerusalem—ironically, its name means “City of Peace”—as years of violence and bloodshed. No, human efforts will not solve the problems facing Jerusalem and all of Israel.
Yet a day is soon coming when more than human effort will come into play. As Richard Ames writes in The Middle East in Prophecy, “We need to remember that true peace can only come about in the lives of men and women when their human nature gives way to God’s Spirit. In the Millennium and beyond, the vast majority of people will accept God’s gift of His Spirit. Then they shall learn how to find the way to peace” (p. 43).
That day is coming. The Prince of Peace is coming, and He will come with “healing in His wings” (Malachi 4:2). Sadly, there will be more bloodshed in the days and years ahead. Israel—as well as the United States and Great Britain—face a future tribulation that will cause all the sufferings of the past to pale in comparison (Matthew 24:21; Jeremiah 30:7). Unless true repentance and a fundamental returning to the Creator and His Son take place, the coming of that suffering is assured.
But there is good news. After the suffering will come a time of healing and peace such as the world has never known. Those whose cruelty has known no bounds in this life will face justice at the hands of the One who holds out no mercy to those who have shown no mercy (James 2:13). The monsters of October 7 should shudder at the knowledge that such a day is coming, and that the God of the fatherless and the widow declares that He hears their cries—and that He will repay (Exodus 22:22–24).
The rest of us ought to turn to the God of heaven and pour our hearts into our prayers that God will send Jesus Christ and His Kingdom soon (Matthew 6:10; Revelation 22:20). And, until today’s world becomes tomorrow’s, let us all pray “for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).