Blessed Are the Warmongers? (When Christians Pray for War Instead of Peace)


Blessed are the warmongers*, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9, Christian Zionist version)

*Of course, Jesus didn’t say, “Blessed are the warmongers,” but rather, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” A watching world, however, could be forgiven for thinking that Jesus taught His people to love war, killings, and bloodshed when some of His professing followers say the things they do. 

A couple days ago, a good friend shared a link to an article titled, “Unite Against the Ceasefire.” This article literally contains a prayer asking God to “collapse” a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza so that Israel could “go back with full force into Gaza,” and Christians were asked to agree with that prayer. In other words, this prayer asked God to allow war and bombs to continue.

The article in question was posted on August 26, 2014 by Stan Goodenough at the Jerusalem Watchman website. Stan is or was connected with International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ). As the website’s “About” page reveals, Stan believes that peace efforts for the Middle East are “always doomed to fail.” The following is the prayer that Stan asked other believers to pray together with him (I have underlined certain parts of this prayer and will comment on them at the end):

If the following resonates in your spirit, fellow believer, then stand in prayer with me right now, and get all you believe will agree to join with us. Call on Heaven to bear witness to the massive humanistic and Islamic effort to propagate the enemy’s plan, and pray – with the high praises of God in your mouths, the two-edged sword of His word in your hands, for the speedy and total collapse of the ceasefire that was set to begin at 19:00 tonight. (August 26, 2014)

More than 60 rockets were fired from Gaza in the hour leading up to the ceasefire. One Israeli was killed and five were injured in the barrage.

Arise, O Lord, in Your anger;
Lift Yourself up because of the rage of my enemies;
Rise up for me  to the judgment You have commanded!
So the congregation of the peoples shall surround You;
For their sakes, therefore, return on high. (Psalm 7:6-7)

This is my prayer:

Our Father in heaven, holy, righteous, glorious and eternal King,

Concerning Your determined, declared purpose to restore the kingdom to Israel, and in and through Israel to finalise the complete redemption of this world, may Your name be hallowed in and through all that is happening in and around Your land today; may Your will be done on the earth.

Lord God of Israel – Your ways are not our ways, and Your thoughts are not our thoughts. We do not presume to know everything there is to know about the outworking of Your plan – the methods You employ, the forces and currents You bend to Your will. You alone can see into the heart of man. You alone can see into tomorrow and into the future. Far be it from us to do anything to in any way hinder what You are accomplishing.

What I do see from Your Word – clear as the daylight – is that You have sworn that as long as the sun hangs in the sky, Israel will remain a nation before You.

What I see in Your Word, and what we see all around us in the world today – is that an apocalyptic battle is already raging against this nation, which You have physically reconstituted in Your land as You swore to do. The battle is raging to undo what You are doing, to reverse the restoration that You are bringing about.

It is a war against Heaven itself.

Tonight, from my post on the walls of Jerusalem where You have placed me (and many of Your children), I hear how Hamas is celebrating their “victory” over Israel and, LORD God of Israel, over You.

Just as the ancient Philistines once thought they had beaten You – and carried Your ark triumphantly down to Gaza, so too are the Palestinian Arabs today believing that their god has defeated You. Tonight they will sing his praises throughout the streets of Gaza as in their minds they believe they have triumphed over the armies of Israel.

Rise up, LORD God, for the sake of Your great name. I pray that You will bare Your holy arm in the site of the nations of the world who – in one accord, are pushing for this ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in their vain and bankrupt apparent belief that this is a way towards peace.

The ceasefire will not lead to peace but only to more violence, more terror, more destruction and death.

Make every plan that dishonours You Lord come to nothing at all, no matter how big or how small, no matter who makes it, grind it into dust under the heel of Your Foot, I beseech You.

Stop it – LORD God, I pray. Command Your angels into the fray to bring about the undermining and collapse of the ceasefire as quickly and as irreversibly as possible.

Undermine the work of Secretary of State John Kerry and his boss Barack Obama. Confound Egypt’s Sisi. Expose the evil in the hearts of Turkey’s Erdogan and Iran’s Khamanei

I see Hamas nearly against the wall, LORD – hundreds of its fighters and commanders have been destroyed; years and years of plotting and working to build tunnels to carry out massive terror against the Jewish people have been nullified; its rocket stocks are nearly depleted; it is bordered by the powerful State of Israel and an Egypt today unsympathetic to its cause.

The heart of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also in Your hands – and You can turn it like the watercourses in the desert. Turn it. Turn him, Lord. Use the poll results that show he is massively losing support as Israelis see him failing to crush Hamas; failing to stop the rocket fire and terror. Use these results to reinvigorate him – to prepare him, when the ceasefire collapses, to go back with full force into Gaza, and to show Hamas no flag but the black flag – no quarter for the mujahedin in the armies of Allah.

Almighty God – do not enable Hamas to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Crush Hamas and, with it, humble Islam and shake the faith of the Muslim world.

LORD God of Israel – why should the Islamic world say, concerning Israel “Where is their God?” Why should the godless Russian and Chinese people say, concerning Israel, “Where is their God?” Why should the increasingly secular and ungodly United States, European and other western countries deride Your name and say, concerning Your people and Your land: “Where is their God?”

Show them where Israel’s God is, LORD. For the sake of Your name, arise, we beseech You. Do not forget Your promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and to their seed.

Again, humbly acknowledging that we do not know all there is to know, I nonetheless pray this way with boldness and with faith, believing that, if our prayers are in line with Your will at this time, You will hear from heaven and move to secure, until you have completed it, the deliverance of Israel and her firm establishment in the land You gave her forever.

I pray this in Your name.

Redemption is available for this world, not “in and through” a nation in the Middle East (Israel), but in and through Jesus. This is the core message of the Bible. This is Christianity 101. This message is represented by probably the most famous verse in the Bible: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). 

It’s both absurd and inaccurate to say that “Palestinian Arabs today [are] believing that their god has defeated [the God of the Bible].” Stan’s words here suggest that all Palestinian Arabs follow the same religion, Islam. Some Palestinian Arabs are Christians! Of course they don’t believe that the God of the Bible has defeated the God of the Bible. Furthermore, plenty of Arabs don’t support or appreciate Hamas, the public face of this recent war that made a declaration to this effect.

It’s ironic that Stan speaks of “the godless Russian and Chinese people” and “the increasingly secular and godless United States” in contrast to Israel and “their God.” Phil Zuckerman, Professor of Sociology at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, published a survey in 2005 revealing the top 50 most Atheistic/Agnostic countries in the world. Russia came out only slightly higher than Israel in terms of the percentage of its people who identify as Atheists or Agnostics (24 – 48% in Russia versus 15 – 37% in Israel). China, which is seeing an incredible and amazing movement to Christ, was well below Israel (8 – 14% Atheist or Agnostic), as was the United States (3 – 9%). There is all kinds of godlessness in Israel, including the brutality with which this recent war was carried out.

Who is “the God” of Israel? Well, according to Wikipedia, 55% of the people in Israel say they are traditional Jews, 20% are secular Jews, 17% are Zionist Jews, 16% are Muslim, 2% are Christian, and 1.5% are Druze. It turns out that only 2% share Stan’s faith in Christ. A notable survey carried out by the Avi Chai Foundation in Israel in 2009 actually found that 46% of Jews there describe themselves as “secular.” Interestingly, among American Jews nearly 50% doubt God’s existence while only 10 – 15% of non-Jews in America feel the same way (source).

I am grateful that God did not honor the prayer of Stan and others who agreed with it for a “total collapse” of the Israel/Gaza ceasefire “as quickly and as irreversibly as possible.” Thank God that a 50-day war, which caused more than 25% of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents to flee their homes and killed more than 2000 of them, is finally over. Thank God that humanitarian aid and goods are being allowed in now:

Vital humanitarian aid poured into Gaza on Thursday as residents began rebuilding their lives following a devastating 50-day war between Israel and Hamas that experts say left no winners.

Millions in and around the war-torn coastal enclave were enjoying a second day of peace after the guns fell silent.

The truce, which went into force on Tuesday evening, saw the warring sides agree to a “permanent” halt to seven weeks of bloodshed in a move hailed by Washington and the United Nations.

Israel agreed to immediately lift restrictions on fishing, allowing boats to work up to six nautical miles from the shore in a move which went into effect early on Wednesday.

It also pledged to ease restrictions at the two crossings into Gaza, Erez and Kerem Shalom, to allow the entry of goods, humanitarian aid and construction materials.

Debate on crunch issues such as Hamas’s demand for a port and an airport, and the release of prisoners, as well as Israel’s calls to demilitarise Gaza have been postponed for another month until the sides resume talks in Cairo.

The focus is catering for the immediate needs of the 1.8 million residents of the Gaza Strip, nearly half a million of whom were forced to flee their homes because of the fighting.

Jesus is known as “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) and He has called His people to make peace, to “be peacemakers.” It would be nice if a watching world could know from our words and actions that we take that calling seriously.

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8 thoughts on “Blessed Are the Warmongers? (When Christians Pray for War Instead of Peace)

  1. Adam, well said. I can’t believe that Christians would actually back the warmongers, haven’t they read what Jesus said about loving our enemies and praying for those who misuse you? It occurs to me that dispensationalist want to be like old testament Israel and physically defeat their enemies, instead of praying and believing God for his will to be done.
    Good article,blessings…Jack

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  2. The fruit of Dispensationalist-Christian Zionism, is indeed rotten to the core. Not only has the author called for Christians to unite in a prayer which totally goes against the teachings of Jesus, but reading through all 60+ comments, there is not one voice which points this out…instead, all 60+ voices (comments) strongly agree with him.

    From Nathan Pitchford’s excellent message at Monergism: “The Threat of Christian Zionism”

    “The Christian Zionist movement is the result of an aberrant theology, and is dangerous on several fronts: it tends to distract and confuse true believers in a vast segment of worldwide evangelicalism; it tends to obscure the true message of the gospel from the Jewish people, by presenting to them a false dichotomy which demands that they forfeit the Abrahamic promises if they should come to Christ (who actually fulfills them – tragic irony!); it tends towards greater doctrinal confusion and heresy, which has been seen even in the most respected and influential leaders of the movement, and not just on the radical fringe; and it tends to work against the preservation of peace in the Middle East, by obstinately refusing any sort of compromise. Any movement that has such a destructive potential, and that has in fact already had many such harmful effects, is no small issue. Perhaps it is time for the leaders of the worldwide Church to present a united front of opposition to a very widespread and alarming threat”

    http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/zionism.html

    My prayer is the eyes of those deceived be opened before it’s too late.

    Great message Adam. May the Spirit of God use it to reach the blind and deceived with the truth…

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    • PJ, that’s an excellent quote from Nathan Pitchford. Thank you for sharing it here. Yesterday I left the following comment under Stan’s article, but I just checked and it’s still in moderation. We’ll see if it gets posted:

      “Unlike so many here, this prayer does not resonate in my spirit, but rather disturbs my spirit. It suggests that the world’s redemption is made complete in national Israel, and not in Jesus. It’s an open call for war to continue (which would mean more people killed, made homeless, etc.). It suggests that national Israel collectively serves the God of the Bible, when in fact there are Atheists, Agnostics, Muslims, Druze, secular-minded folks, and Jews who reject Jesus living in Israel. It suggests that all Palestinian Arabs are fighting against the God of the Bible, forgetting that there are also Palestinian Christians who are our brothers and sisters in Christ. My response to this prayer can be seen in more detail here:

      http://kloposmasm.com/2014/08/29/blessed-are-the-warmongers-when-christians-pray-for-war-instead-of-peace/

      Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts,
      Adam Maarschalk”

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    • ” and it tends to work against the preservation of peace in the Middle East” Preservation of what peace? The stated goal of Israel’s enemies is to kill them all. In Islam it is okay to lie to your enemies to gain an advantage. Those are just facts. I am not a Christian Zionist so don’t role out the usual arguments, but don’t be blind to what is happening in this part of the world and think that Israel just needs to “give peace a chance.”
      The Bible, for those of us who see much of prophecy related to this land unfulfilled, speaks of a time when all the nations of the earth gather against this land, to wipe it out. God, not the IDF, rises up to defend, and to bring to fulfillment great and precious promises to have Jerusalem (physically) rise and be the locus of His government on the earth. It is a total miracle of God, one in which He gets all the glory. The current political state in Israel serves a purpose but it is in no way the ultimate fulfillment of anything. Just trying to give a reasonable voice to an opposing view. Thanks for letting my comments exist.

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      • I agree with you, Chuck, that Islam’s holy book, the Qur’an excuses or promotes lying and violence, and that some Arab leaders have called for genocide against Israel, and that this is awful. At the same time, it’s my understanding (of facts) that the Middle East was a relatively peaceful region prior to the Zionist (please notice I didn’t say Jewish) invasion of Palestine. Whether or not Nathan Pitchford should have said “working toward peace” instead of “preservation of peace,” I have to agree that Christian Zionism has both stood in the way of peace and worked against peace by openly and vocally supporting the genocide/ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Some Christian Zionist leaders even repeatedly call for more ethnic cleansing, saying that Israel hasn’t done nearly enough. They say that Israel ought to take all Palestinian territory, and even that God promised them Jordan/Syria/Lebanon/part of Saudi Arabia too, and they are entitled to take it all and should go ahead and do it.

        Earthly Jerusalem was cast out, and God’s government/kingdom is heavenly. Jesus and Paul were very clear about that. Jerusalem did rise, but not the earthly one. It was the Jerusalem above (Galatians 4, Hebrews 12, Revelation 21).

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  3. Who attacked whom? That is the question. Did Israel attack Gaza? Or did the Palestinians (Hamas in particular) attack Israel by murdering three young Jewish kids? This has nothing to do with eschatology, but everything to do with the ability of a sovereign state to defend itself against aggression. Israel is in the right here to launch a punitive raid/assault against Gaza and those IN Gaza responsible.

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  4. Ed, whether or not Hamas authorized/carried out that kidnapping and murder is debatable, but the collective punishment of the Palestinian people and killing of more than 2000 of them is an awful response in any case (especially by an army that has a history of kidnapping and/or killing Palestinian minors).

    Would Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and other countries whose citizens have been killed by US drone strikes be justified if they retaliated against the US? If their response was as disproportionate as Israel’s response, assuming they had the capability, how many US citizens would then die? How many US citizens would be driven from their homes, and how many would no longer have a home to go back to? How many children would no longer have a school to attend? Then the US would counter-attack… What an ugly thing revenge is. It can just keep going, with no end in sight.

    I don’t believe that “Who attacked whom?” is the most important question. Instead, how are followers of Christ responding? Are we praying for peace and for hearts to be softened, and supporting peacemaking efforts, etc.? Or are we praying that war will continue, and even be taken to the next level, as in the prayer highlighted in this article?

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