Pastor and bestselling author Max Lucado has outlined ways Christians should respond amid global conflict — something he says is a "signal of the coming end of this age" — from the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia to the recent attack on Israel by the terrorist group Hamas.
“We live in ever-present fear of worldwide destruction. Let one person press one button and nuclear disaster could happen. Russia has invaded Ukraine. China is threatening Taiwan. Israel feels pinched by Hamas to the south and Hezbollah to the North,” Lucado, the leader of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, wrote in an op-ed published by Fox News.
“Cain was violent first. We are violent still. Yet in the last few decades, the world has seen violence escalate to new levels. The phrase ‘nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom’ is a Hebrew idiom for a world war. A global conflict is a signal of the coming end of this age,” the pastor wrote.
Despite the seemingly endless bad news, the pastor said he has some good news: “Jesus, the one who warned of these days will deliver us from these days,” Lucado emphasized.
“The birth pains will continue. The frequency of deception and division will increase, but Jesus will protect us until he comes, and He will deliver us once he comes. For that reason, Jesus spoke this next phrase, ‘See to it that you are not troubled’ (Mt.24:6).”
Lucado shared three ways Christians should respond to such turmoil.
“First make sure that you are saved. Jesus Christ died on the cross for sinners like you and me. ‘He does not want anyone to be lost, but he wants all people to change their hearts and lives." (2 Pet. 3:9),’” he stressed.
Second, he encouraged believers to “Pray for peace in Jerusalem" (Ps. 122:6.)
“Israel is special to God by covenant. Jesus was born there. He died there. He rose from and will return there. It’s no wonder that the tiny nation of Israel has been the most disputed land in history. It is the staging ground of God’s story of salvation. Pray urgently for the nation of Israel,” he wrote.
Finally, Lucado reminded Christians, “Don’t panic,” adding: “Don’t let the chaos weigh you down. Hold on. Hang tight.”
Lucado is one of many prominent U.S.-based pastors to urge Christians in the West to stand with Israel after Hamas invaded the Jewish state on Oct. 7, killing some 1,400 Israelis. On Monday, Israel said at least 199 people are being held hostage by the terrorist group in Gaza.
In retaliation, Israel launched a series of air attacks on Gaza and cut off water and electricity to the enclave.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports that at least 2,670 Palestinians have been killed and 9,600 wounded since the fighting began. In an earlier update, the ministry said the death toll included 724 children and 458 women.
On Thursday, Southern Baptist Convention leaders, including SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Brent Leatherwood, SBC President Bart Barber and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler, took the lead in releasing a statement condemning the attacks by Hamas and expressing their support for Israel's "right and duty to defend itself against further attack."
"In the wake of the evil and indefensible atrocities now committed against the people of Israel by Hamas, we, the undersigned, unequivocally condemn the violence against the vulnerable, fully support Israel's right and duty to defend itself against further attack, and urgently call all Christians to pray for the salvation and peace of the people of Israel and Palestine," the statement said, in part.
ERLC President Emeritus Richard Land, who signed the statement, voiced his solidarity with the Jewish community, which he said had been distressed by the lack of global outrage.
"I've been contacted by several of my Jewish friends. And they're disturbed," Land told The Christian Post. "They're very concerned that there hasn't been more outrage and there hasn't been more condemnation of these atrocious acts."
"Hamas is a terrorist organization," he continued. "They don't want to negotiate with the Israelis. Hamas wants to drive the Jews into the sea and eradicate them. They are promoting genocide. They're even worse than the Nazis because at least the Nazis tried to hide what they were doing. Hamas is promoting what they're doing. Israel has every right to defend itself against the savagery.”
Last week, American Evangelical leader Johnnie Moore called on the European Union to step up its support for Israel following the attacks which he said "materially involved" Iran.
Moore urged the EU to “give Israel all the support it needs now,” designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hamas as terrorist organizations and prevent any future EU funds from going to Hamas.
“If the representatives cause harm, then punish the Islamic Republic [of Iran],” Moore added.
Moore also called for the renewal of United Nations restrictions on ballistic missiles to Iran and a return to sanctions, which he said was “more than justified.”
He warned Hamas’ attacks on Israel “could again mark the end of justice unless the world now joins in a collective response.”
“There is no place for moral ambiguity here,” he added. “This is the time to choose.”
Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org