Please note: I am at New Wine for two weeks, so although I will try to get a report out next week, I may not have the opportunity. Do pray for all of us working at this event.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
The glory of the Lord entered the temple through the gate facing east. Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me from inside the temple. He said: “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place for the soles of My feet. This is where I will live among the Israeli’s forever. (Ezekiel 43: 4-7)
Pointers for prayer: As you read through this week’s Report, please share with your prayer groups the information and may it enable you to cry out to our LORD regarding His Church, and His Land and His people – Israel. Let us seek God and set our faces like flint to fulfil our calling until He calls us home. Let’s continue the work. (1 Chronicles 22:6-14).
We are living in a sobering moment in history that calls us, as believers in Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), to take a stand with Israel. This is not about politics; this is about the Word of God, but the political ramifications are extremely dramatic. God is sovereign – so may we declare God’s sovereign power to accomplish all His purposes in Israel and the Middle East. Stand in prayer against those who would deny Israel’s right to its ancient homeland, and please continue to pray for the complete restoration of the nation of Israel. Pray for a great revelation of Biblical truth to saturate the Arab world – especially with the Palestinian youth – along with those countries that are not ethnically Arab but Muslim – such as Iran and Turkey. Pray that these Arab/Muslim countries would break free from the bondage of false religion and come to a place where the true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – the God of Israel – would set them free (John 8:32)
A time to weep, a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance
As the difficult day of the 9th of Av passed last Sunday, whilst sat on my own at home I pondered on just why many within the world hate the Jew, and just why so many also hate the nation of Israel. Tisha b’Av started last Saturday evening and closed as the sun was going down on Sunday. Tisha b’Av (the 9th of Av) is a difficult day in the Jewish calendar to grasp. On this date in history, the First Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 BC. Five centuries later in 70 AD, the Second Temple was destroyed on the same day as the first – the 9th of Av. When the Jewish people rebelled against Roman rule, they believed that their leader, Simon bar Kochba, would fulfil their messianic longings – even though their Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus) had predicted the destruction of the second temple many years earlier (see Matthew 24). Of course many Jews did accept Yeshua as Messiah and birthed the first Church, however many didn’t accept Him and looked to bar Kochba, but their hopes were dashed in 133 AD as the Jewish rebels were brutally butchered in the final battle at Betar. The date of the massacre was again on the 9th of Av!
Sadly, trouble erupted on the Temple Mount on Sunday as Arab Palestinians – mainly youth – clashed with Police. The Jerusalem Post posted footage of Arab Palestinians barricaded in the Al-Aqsa Mosque throwing rocks, metal bars, fire-bombs and other items at police. The rioting took place as tens of thousands of Jews fasted and prayed at the Western Wall to mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples that once sat on the Temple Mount. According to Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, officers entered the compound on the morning after receiving intelligence that a large group of masked Palestinian youths barricaded themselves overnight in al-Aksa Mosque to attack Jewish visitors on Sunday morning. The Muslim rioters had intended to use the deadly stockpile to launch attacks against Jewish and Christian visitors to the Temple Mount as well as for attacks on security services, but were stopped after police, acting on a tip-off, swooped in and pre-emptively dispersed them, seizing their weapons. Raw footage posted on YouTube can be seen here:
At one point in the footage, the Police shield their faces and heads as a barrage of rocks and other items are forcefully thrown at them.
Despite being the holiest site in Judaism, Jews and Christians are forbidden to perform any acts of worship on the Temple Mount, including uttering prayers, due to Muslim threats of violence. Visibly-religious Jews are scrutinized carefully by police and arrested if suspected of praying. On the Al Qassam website – Al Qassam Brigades, which is the armed wing of the Hamas Terrorist group, warned on Monday that the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount is “a red line and any harm done to it would not pass unpunished.” Abu Obeida, the spokesman for Hamas, posted a tweet on his official page on the social network “Twitter” stating that Palestinian resistance in the so-called ‘West Bank’ “will certainly find a way to respond to Israeli attacks.” Hamas termed the action of the violent mob in the al-Aksa Mosque as “peaceful congregation.” Obeida stated, “The Israeli atrocities in the occupied West Bank and occupied Jerusalem prove that resistance is the sole option to deter Israeli crimes”, he wrote on Twitter. The statements can be found in English on the Al Qassam website – however before you click, please make sure you have an up-to-date anti-virus system and a good fire wall on your computer, and view with caution. The article on the Al Qassam website can be seen here. Fatah have also been busy stating that the Jewish Temple Mount and Israel’s history is all fabricated – see the report later.
However, back to Tisha b’Av, more sad facts are also linked to this date. According to records, the Jewish people were expelled from England in 1290 AD on the 9th of Av. Then in 1492, the Golden Age of Spain came to a close when Queen Isabella and her husband Ferdinand ordered that the Jews be banished from the land. The edict of expulsion was signed on March 31, 1492, and the Jews were given exactly four months to put their affairs in order and leave the country. The Hebrew date on which no Jew was allowed any longer to remain in Spain where they had enjoyed welcome and prosperity was the 9th of Av. But did you know, World War II and the Holocaust, historians conclude, was actually the long drawn-out conclusion of World War I that began in 1914, and Germany declared war on Russia, effectively catapulting the First World War into motion on the 9th of Av. And… it is said, the first gas chambers in the Holocaust were first put into use on the 9th of Av.
Understandably, the Jewish people mourn on this date. As the Jewish people mourn, my thoughts turned to how our duty as Christians is to love them, stand with them and pray for them. What a shame much of the church spurns the Jews – specifically when it comes to Israel. How true of the famous quote that states, ‘How odd of God to choose the Jews. But not so odd as those who choose, a Jewish God yet spurn the Jews!’ Feeling not unlike Solomon when writing his book of Ecclesiastes, I started to ponder more famous Jewish quotes. Golda Meir, Israel’s first female prime minister, during a 1957 speech stated, “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” On a similar theme, Benjamin Netanyahu in 2006 stated, “The truth is that if Israel were to put down its arms there would be no more Israel. If the Arabs were to put down their arms there would be no more war.” It was another Israeli Prime Minister, this time Yitzchak Rabin in 1993 that stated, “We, the soldiers who have returned from battle stained with blood, we who have seen our relatives and friends killed before our eyes, we who have attended their funerals and cannot look into the eyes of their parents, we who have come from a land where parents bury their children, we who have fought against you, the Palestinians, we say to you today in a loud and clear voice: Enough of blood and tears. Enough.” Sadly, the Arab world have not listened, nor learnt that they cannot oppose Israel without first opposing God (Zechariah 2:8).
In pondering on the issue of the first gas chambers in the Holocaust being put into use on the 9th of Av, I’d like to include one last famous Jewish saying from the Mishnah that states, ‘Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.’ (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9). When horror on a grand scale is witnessed by simple human beings who have some form of humanity – a kindness or gentleness within their spirit – they often find it impossible to put into words just how they feel. I remember one story from Major Leonard Berney as he tried to describe what he witnessed being one of the first Allied soldiers to enter the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp towards the end of the Second World War. Major Berney stated that words could not describe the “absolutely horrendous” scenes which greeted him when he first drove through the gates of the prison camp in Germany on April 15 1945. In one interview I heard him trying to describe what he witnessed, he stated, “We’d all been fighting for months through Germany and we were used to seeing casualties and people being killed and maimed, but never had we ever seen anything like this. When we got there, there were said to be about 60,000 people in the camp, of which 10,000 were dead, and they were, in fact, dying at 500 a day.” Major Berney went on to state, “The disease, the emaciation and the horrors that were there were absolutely indescribable.” For the Jew, the 9th of Av is indeed a time to mourn. But oh how we long that the time to dance would fall upon us. May the nation of Israel and indeed every Jewish man, woman and child know the day of salvation, and know the awesome hand of the Lord upon them, to give them hope, peace and joy – even in this time of uncertainty.
Palestinian Authority denies that there ever was a Temple
As mentioned above, Fatah have also been busy stating that the Jewish Temple Mount and Israel’s history is all fabricated. Now we need to remember that Abbas’ Fatah party are supposed to be the ‘moderate’ group! As the Jews mourned the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem (586 BC and 70 AD) over the weekend, the Palestinian Authority (PA) stated that there was never a Temple, consistently referring to Solomon’s Temple as “the alleged Temple.” Moreover, the PA also teaches its own people that there was never a Jewish history in Jerusalem.
The PA claims persistently that Israel is “Judaizing” Jerusalem, as Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has documented. Israel is said to, ‘falsify historical artefacts in order to prove a “false” Jewish history in Jerusalem’; ‘destroy Palestinian and Islamic relics and signs of an Arab presence in the city’; ‘plot to take over and destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to rebuild the “alleged Temple” in its stead’. A cartoon published by Fatah captures this Palestinian narrative: Israeli soldiers are shooting their rifles and rolling a Torah scroll over the word “Jerusalem” which is bloodstained. Fatah state that Israel is said to be forcing a fake Jewish history on Jerusalem. Click here to view the full article from PMW. How far from the truth the Palestinian Authority’s claims are. The Word of God in Ezekiel 43: 4-7 states, ‘The glory of the Lord entered the temple through the gate facing east… While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me from inside the temple. He said: “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place for the soles of My feet. This is where I will live among Israel forever.’
The continuing myth of life in Gaza
Caroline Glick, writing in the Jerusalem Post, has a very interesting article on the withdrawal from Gaza, which took place 10 years ago. Caroline Glick states, “Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza was a strategic disaster. But it could have been much more devastating if the ideologues behind it had had their way. Formally, the withdrawal was supposed to do two things. It was supposed to strengthen Israel’s diplomatic position vis-à-vis the US and Europe by demonstrating Israel’s commitment to Palestinian statehood, and it was supposed to enhance Israel’s security by redeploying the IDF along more defensible lines. Neither argument for the withdrawal was particularly plausible. But due to the media’s lockstep support for it, neither was seriously challenged. The truth is, these justifications were never anything more than a smoke screen to hide the true purpose of the withdrawal from the public. The real purpose of the withdrawal from Gaza was to deal a strategic blow to Zionism and the Jewish character of the state.” The full article can be read here.
I pondered on what Caroline Glick meant by “The real purpose of the withdrawal from Gaza was to deal a strategic blow to Zionism and the Jewish character of the state.” Zionism is of course the idea that Jews deserve a state in their historic homeland. And for those who are not aware, this was always preached from the Church in the days of the Wesley brothers, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Charles Spurgeon etc. – the days before large sections of the Church became politically correct instead of Biblically correct. It seems odd, and really sad that many within the Church appear to be siding with the political groups, such as the Palestinian Solidarity campaigners, to propagate the partisan lie that, while Israel is besieged by attempted suicide bombers, surrounded by Islamist propagandists and endures almost daily missiles launched at civilian areas, Israel is made out to be the aggressor, the terroriser, the occupying force. Israel is always in a battle – a human rights struggle. In reality though, Israel is a human rights’ triumph. After all, Israel is the only place in the Middle East that allows ALL to be different, protected by democracy and rights. This is why Israel is the only place where Christians AND Muslims thrive. There are 1.6 million Muslims living in Israel after all!
The other issue apart from the fact that not many people seem bothered that Hamas are in control of their people in Gaza, and Hamas continue to send rockets into Israel, is the fact that Gaza is still being referred to as a ‘prison camp’ while the Palestinians in Gaza are allegedly living in refugee camps, in total squalor, and are starving to death. One year ago to the day, on 30 July 2014, John Prescott was accused of being ‘deeply offensive’ to Jewish people by comparing the Gaza Strip to a concentration camp. Four years earlier, on 27 July 2010, David Cameron described Gaza as a “prison camp” and appealed to the Israeli Government to allow the free flow of humanitarian goods. In this alleged ‘prison camp’, Hamas Leaders Prefer Jewish Doctors and being treat in Israel rather than in their own hospitals; they are manufacturing their own cars; and living what appears to be a life completely opposite to ‘starving’. In fact, according to a report by Mohammed Othman, a journalist from the Gaza Strip, the biggest problem Gazan’s face is… Obesity!
Mohammed Othman graduated from the Faculty of Media in the Department of Radio and Television at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza in 2009. Posted on March 22, 2015, Othman writes, “Samah Khaled, 26, from Gaza City, believes that her excess weight has stood in the way of her finding a husband, so five months ago she consulted a dietitian and has now lost over 40 kilograms (88 pounds).Obesity has become prevalent in the Gaza Strip, as confirmed by the increasing demand on dietitians. Ata Qaisi, health care consultant and owner of Gaza City’s Diet Centre, said obesity can have negative repercussions on a person’s life, making him or her more vulnerable to hypertension, diabetes and joint pain. Obese women are also more susceptible to pregnancy complications and miscarriages, according to Qaisi.” Qaisi told Al-Monitor that there is a large demand in Gaza for weight-loss programs. “The comfort is in the improvement of the figure and this is what we seek through our programs, which are supposed to be followed through diets and not only by relying on weight loss. When the person finds that the weight has been reduced and the shape has been improved, his or her entire life completely changes. This is how people find comfort in their hearts and minds,” he said. And this appears to be a general problem in Gaza as a high proportion of people suffer from obesity with only 18% to 25% of the Gaza Strip’s residents having a normal weight. You can read the full story on al-monitor, here. Amazing, when one considers that the amount of aid donated to the Palestinians by the EU since 1993 is enough to rebuild the crumbling European economy 25 times over!
(Middle East News Correspondent)
Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, Christian Friends of Israel UK & Jerusalem, Israeli Embassy London, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio