Wars on the Three Pilgrimage Feasts Define the End Times Generation
Over the years, Israel has had many wars since she gained independence in 1948, with four of them being existential threats to her survival: the War of Independence (1948); the 6-Day War (1967); the Yom Kippur War (1973); and the Israel-Hamas War (2023). All four wars coincided with Jewish festivals, but it is three of them I wish to discuss, for they also reflect her growth from birth, to youth, to maturity. (The Yom Kippur War coincides with another historical Timeline, but that is outside the scope of discussion for this article).
The three annual pilgrimage festivals that Jews celebrate are: Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost), and Sukkot (Tabernacles). We see these festivals being fulfilled historically in the modern nation-state of Israel, for they coincide with wars Israel fought at those times.
Thousands of years ago, the prophet Isaiah posed an enigmatic question:
Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? (Isaiah 66:8, NIV, emphases are mine)
The answer to both questions of course is an emphatic yes: the “day” was May 14, 1948, and the “moment” was midnight. Passover in 1948 had ended on May 1, just 13 days prior to Israel’s independence on May 14. The next day, seven Arab armies (Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Yemen) declared war, with five invading Israel. Six months prior, the Arab League’s Secretary-General Azzam Pasha had said:
“This war will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.” [i]
It took Israel ten months to win that war at great cost and against overwhelming odds for victory. But her birth as a nation was secured.
Nineteen years later, in 1967, Israel was once again at war, this time the celebrated 6-Day War. On May 26, 1967, ten days before the war began, Egypt’s President Nasser had declared his real objective of the war in a speech to Arab Trade Unionists, when he said:
“The battle will be a general one and our basic objective will be to destroy Israel.” [ii]
The war ended on June 10, with Israel gaining control of Jerusalem for the first time in nearly 2,000 years. Four days later, Jews were in the streets celebrating not only Pentecost, but also their spectacular victory in just six short days. Once again Israel prevailed, this time in her youth.
Seventy-five years after Independence, on October 7, 2023, a day when Israel was commemorating Simchat Torah, Hamas launched its brutal attack, killing more than 1,200 men, women and children, and kidnapping a further 240. This day was also the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Senior Hamas official, Ghazi Hamad, said:
“Israel is a country that has no place on our land. We must remove that country because it constitutes a security, military and political catastrophe to the Arab and Islamic nation, and must be finished.” [iii]
These three wars have coincided with three Jewish festivals: the first war gained Israel its independence just after she celebrated Passover (Israel’s birth); the second war 19 years later brought Jerusalem back into Jewish hands for the first time in 2,000 years just before she celebrated Pentecost (Israel’s youth).
So now that Israel is 75 years old and has reached maturity, what could be the significance of this third war that coincided with the last day of Tabernacles?
For seven days present food offerings to the LORD, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present a food offering to the LORD. It is the closing special assembly; do no regular work. Leviticus 23:36 (NIV)
So Solomon observed the festival at that time for seven days, and all Israel with him—a vast assembly, people from Lebo Hamath to the Wadi of Egypt. On the eighth day they held an assembly, for they had celebrated the dedication of the altar for seven days and the festival for seven days more. 2 Chronicles 7:8-9 (NIV)
The last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the eighth day, was a solemn assembly. It was also on this eighth day of the feast that Hamas launched its violent attack on Israel.
I believe what we are witnessing, and what Israel is currently experiencing literally with boots on the ground in Gaza, is the birth of the Messianic era. And like any birthing process, it will be labour intensive, painful, messy, and bloody. My heart goes out to Israel at this moment, for she has no other choice but to persevere and go through this.
But as any mother knows, once the birthing process is over, there is much joy. And I believe that once Israel has persevered and triumphed over her enemies, there will be much joy, for then the fruits of her labours will become apparent.
The Temple Institute has spent the last three decades preparing and constructing all the vessels required for temple service. In 2016 a school was established to train Levite priests. In 2018 a project to create a golden crown to be presented to the Messiah was begun. Everything is now in place for the third temple to be built. But to do this, Israel must also gain control of the Temple Mount.
Although the war is currently focused on Gaza, Hamas’ real focus can be seen in the name they chose for this attack: Al-Aqsa Storm, as reported in an analysis provided by the website Rasanah, the International Institute for Iranian Studies, written seven days after Hamas launched its attack on Israel on October 7, 2023. The word “storm” was chosen for that is how Muslims interpret Jewish visits to the Temple Mount,[iv] but the term Al-Aqsa Storm is itself prophetic, for it highlights both the spiritual source of the conflict, and where the battle will ultimately be waged:
The ideological dimension of the military operation emerged from the very beginning. Operation Al-Aqsa Storm was launched in response to the continued attacks on the sacred Al-Aqsa Mosque which was recently stormed. On July 27, 2023, Israeli Security Minister Tiamat Ben-Gvir stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque under protection from the Israeli police, saying, “This place is the most important for the people of Israel, and to which we should return and on which we should impose our sovereignty.” At the time, the spokesman for Hamas considered the move to be a dangerous escalation of the religious war. Earlier in October 2023, hundreds of Israeli settlers stormed the courtyard of Al-Aqsa Mosque under protection from the Israeli police. Hamas also reiterated that such steps are an escalation of the religious war.
These three wars outline a narrowing of geographic focus: the War of Independence in 1948 gained Israel the land; the 6-Day War in 1967 gained Israel the city; the Hamas-Israel war in 2023 must ultimately have Israel secure control of the Temple Mount so she can fulfill her purposes in God. Israel’s birth in 1948 to maturity 75 years later in 2023 outlines a generation, defined as between 70 and 80 years (Psalm 90:10), which denotes the period of the last generation before the Messiah comes!
So Israel, be encouraged. Take back the land that God gave to your forefathers. Regain control of Gaza, annex the West Bank, and secure the Temple Mount so you can build the third Temple to be a house of prayer for all nations, and fulfill your destiny to be a light unto the nations (Isaiah 42:6).
Your land has been divided for too long, and so have your people. Unite your land so your people can be united too. And turn back as one to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob so you can experience a spiritual renewal in your nation, thereby fulfilling this famous verse:
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
[iv] This was a reference to Jews marching to the Temple Mount daily during the Feast of Tabernacles in 2023, but there were also violent confrontations there in April 2023 on the convergence of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the Jewish Passover, and the Christian Holy Week. On October 2, 2023, the third day of Tabernacles, 1,400 Jews visited the Temple Mount, with some ugly confrontations between Jews and Muslims that were instigated by Jews, prompting Hamas to say in response, “The occupation is wrong if it thinks that its aggression against al-Aqsa Mosque and the women will go unpunished.” Additionally, on October 4, some ultra-Orthodox Jews spat on Christian worshipers carrying a wooden cross, which was widely condemned by Jewish political and spiritual leaders alike.