Due to Wednesday being Yom Kippur, this report has been sent out later than normal.
The Word: For on this day, atonement will be made for you to purify you; you will be clean before Adonai from all your sins. It is a Shabbat of complete rest for you, and you are to deny yourselves. “This is a permanent regulation. The cohen anointed and consecrated to be cohen in his father’s place will make the atonement; he will put on the linen garments, the holy garments; he will make atonement for the Especially Holy Place; he will make atonement for the tent of meeting and the altar; and he will make atonement for the cohanim and for all the people of the community. This is a permanent regulation for you, to make atonement for the people of Isra’el because of all their sins once a year.” Moshe did as Adonai had ordered him. (Leviticus 16: 30 – 34 Complete Jewish Bible)
Pointers for prayer: Blessed art thou, O Eternal. Our God and the God of our fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God that is great, mighty and tremendous; the Most-high God who bestowed gracious favours, possessor of all, who remembered the pious deeds of the patriarchs, and will bring a Redeemer unto their remotest posterity in love. Remember us unto life, O King, who delights in life, and inscribe us in the book of life… And thou, O Eternal, shall rule alone over all thy works, on Mount Zion, the abode of thy glory, and in Jerusalem, thy holy city; as is written in thy sacred words: The Eternal shall reign forever, thy God, O Zion, from generation to generation. Hallelujah! (From the Yom Kippur prayers).
Praise God for His everlasting covenant with the Jewish people and please pray that all His perfect purposes for the land and the nation of Israel will be fulfilled. Pray that the LORD would have mercy on Israel and forgive the sins of His people both past and present. Pray earnestly that Jerusalem may remain under Jewish sovereignty and for the Lord’s special protection over Jerusalem, both physically and spiritually, and for the safety of all living there.
According to Matthew 5, our light should shine from within! May both the Church and Israel display the various points of light that should shine from within us: the light of faith, the light of hope, the light of reconciliation, the light of love and the light of truth. Pray that true Christians would shine so strong with the light of the Lord, that it would break through any divisions within the Middle East; light up the lives of all who are depressed or living in fear; glow in a world of darkness – specifically in the regions where terror is reigning and inflicting injustice on people of different faiths. In a time of war, may our light bring peace. In a time of hate, may our light be a light of love. Pray that the Lord would help us to let our light shine that all people might see God’s goodness, mercy and power.
Growing threats over Yom Kippur
Due to Wednesday being Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) this report was sent out later than normal.
At the beginning of this week, my prayer, as it often is at this time of the year, was that we (i.e. all those connected to and including all within Israel) would not experience a repeat of 1973’s Yom Kippur attack, or indeed any attacks from terrorist groups. Along with this, I recognised the great need for Israel to be restored spiritually to the Lord God of Israel (more on this shortly). Last Thursday (September 17th) as I was driving down to Dewsbury for a regular radio spot on Branch FM, I was listening to BBC 5 Live, and according to them the UK is on its highest alert against potential terrorist attacks since 2001. It was reported that Andrew Parker, the head of Britain’s MI5, had told the BBC that their intelligence service needed greater powers to keep up-to-date with technology used by terrorists, and warned that the terror alert was currently set to severe – meaning an attack is imminent and that “Britain was facing its most serious terrorism threat since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and had foiled six attempted attacks in the last year… It represents a threat which is continuing to grow largely because of the situation in Syria and how that affects our security,” Parker said.
In August last year, Britain raised its terrorism threat level to “severe”, the second highest stage which means a militant attack is considered highly likely. It was largely due to the danger the authorities say is posed by Islamic State fighters and Britons who have joined them. Intelligence chiefs, along with Prime Minister David Cameron have argued for years that Britain needs to give the security agencies greater powers to address the threat and prevent another attack on the scale of the suicide bombings in London in 2005 when four British Islamists killed 52 people.
This week, Israel also prepared for the Jewish High Holy Day of Yom Kippur amid increased tensions in the Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem, following days of Arab Palestinian rioting centred on the Temple Mount and the al-Aqsa Mosque located within. The Israel Defence Force (IDF) and the Police were on high alert ahead of the 25-hour fast, during which most of Israel would be shut down and roads would be empty. Thousands of policemen would be spread throughout Jerusalem during the holiday to keep the peace. For those following the news closely from Jerusalem, you’ll know that the Israeli security forces have repeatedly clashed with Muslim protesters in and around the Temple Mount over the past week. The clashes were triggered by a police raid at the mosque in the run-up to Rosh Hashanah that discovered bombs, stockpiles of rocks and firecrackers as well as a barricade at an entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque.
On Monday night a Palestinian youth was killed near Hebron, in what appears to have been a failed attack on Israelis. When IDF troops arrived at a road in the South Hebron Hills to investigate reports that rocks were blocking the motorway, they heard an explosion and found the young man’s body near the blockage. Officials said they believed the youth had intended to throw a bomb at either Israeli civilians or the soldiers, but that the device had detonated in his hands, killing him. Along with this, dozens of people were arrested in Jerusalem over the past week, including some detained in connection with the unrest on the Temple Mount, which saw Israeli police clash with rioters. Many of these incidents have been ‘overlooked’ by the general media – maybe they know that Israel are the victims here. Yet what should not be overlooked by anyone is the fact that the ‘moderate’ Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas could be behind the unrest. Published on September 18, 2015, the following news clip shows the PA Chairman Abbas stating: “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem…blood on its way to allah… they [Israel] have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet and we won’t allow them to.” Click here to view:
As mentioned, the IDF and the Police were on high alert and thousands of security personnel moved to high alert in advance of the start of the most solemn holy day on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur. Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered the complete closure of crossings with Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The closure began at noon on Tuesday (Sept. 22) and lasted until midnight Wednesday, Sept. 23, several hours after the end of Yom Kippur. Access to the Temple Mount was also restricted due to the ongoing violence by Palestinian Arabs. Beginning on the Tuesday morning, police were allowing entrance to the Temple Mount only to Arabs over the age of 40 with Israeli identity cards. Security in the Old City of Jerusalem was also heavily increased in an effort to provide extra protection for the thousands of Jewish people expected to pray at the Western Wall for Yom Kippur.
The Day of Atonement
As I mention above, on Yom Kippur, tens of thousands of Jews visit the Western Wall below the Temple Mount. The opening prayer of Yom Kippur is of course the Kol Nidre which means “annulment of vows” and is recited at sun-set of Yom Kippur eve. The Kol Nidre service consists of the opening of the Ark and taking out the Torah scrolls, reciting the Kol Nidre and returning the Torah scrolls to the Ark. Kol Nidrei, the prayer which ushers in the holy day of Yom Kippur, is perhaps the most famous one in the Jewish liturgy. This prayer, or rather a statement, deals with promises, vows and other sorts of verbal commitments commonly made in the course of the year. The Torah places strict demands on keeping one’s word, and not fulfilling a vow is considered a serious misdeed. This is indeed a serious call. However, as most of my readers would consider themselves as “Christian”, this also brings into mind another issue.
The Hebrew word for soul is “nefesh“. The soul in a man is that which gives the body its life and its vitality – Genesis 2: 7. The soul is the seat of the passions, the feelings, and the desires of man; and Satan’s crew are satisfied if they can master these. F. W. Grant once stated, “The soul is the seat of the affections, right or wrong, of love, hate, lusts, and even the appetites of the body. The soul of man – that is – his affections and desires, are never directed Godward until after the spirit has become regenerated. Man can never love God nor the things of God until he is born from above. He may have a troubled conscience or be so stirred emotionally that he may weep bitterly, and still remain dead in his sins.” Surely, this is a cause for all of us to truly seek God and intercede for the nation of Israel in ways we maybe have not before!
One of my favourite films from the early 80s is the Jazz Singer, which featured Laurence Olivier and Neil Diamond – who plays the son of a Jewish Cantor. My favourite part is the reconciliation scene between the father and son on the eve of Yom Kippur. Healing is needed and Neil Diamond sings his version of the Kol Nidre. And ultimately, this is what we all long for – that the people and Nation of Israel turn and be reconciled to the Father – the LORD God of Heaven and Earth. May we pray through the words of Luke 15:20 – 24 and bring the whole nation of Israel before the LORD in our prayers.
In response to Syria… why now and why so late?
[Photo left featured in the Daily Mail]
In last week’s report I covered an article regarding the fact that for the past four and a half years, I have been covering on a regular basis in my reports the violent civil war in Syria. The unrest began way back in the early spring of 2011 within the context of what was then referred to as ‘Arab Spring protests’, with nationwide demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad’s government, whose forces responded with violent crackdowns. I went on to state that the whole of Europe now appears to be panicking as thousands upon thousands are fleeing. As Germany and other European countries restrict their borders, refugees are growing increasingly worried.
I have had a lot of excellent feedback from this – some in total agreement to what I’d written; others with a different point of view – but all valid comments. However it has also highlighted another problem that I have covered in the past, and of which one of my readers responded to. In trying to look at the other ‘side of the coin’, and write about how bad the rebel forces are who are fighting against Assad, the recipient replied (which is printed here with her permission): “I have also seen footage of mass killings and beheadings conducted by the rebel forces, who targeted Christians as they were regarded as being loyal to Assad, who actually treat them well. These included a Shia child, who was tied to railings and forced to watch her parents being murdered and who later on had her heart cut out. I have seen a Christian child beheaded and many individual Christian men forced to convert to Islam or be beheaded. I have seen a rebel soldier eating the heart of a Syrian soldier. The list is endless. It is also very probable that the chemical weapons which have been used were released by the rebels. Many of the victims of at least one attack were Syrian Soldiers.”
The writer goes on to say, “The problem is, it is the Christians, not Muslims who are in most danger, especially since ISIS has emerged. But Western Governments have been completely unconcerned by this ethnic cleansing that has been going on for these four years. It is only when Muslims are the victims that they take notice. It is the same in Africa: Christians are being massacred daily by jihadist groups such as Boko Haram and Al Shabab, who have pledged loyalty to ISIS. Having ignored the plight of the Christians throughout this whole episode, a crisis of enormous proportions has been allowed to develop, as ISIS has basically been given a free hand to do whatever they like without much in the way of consequences. The rebels have been funded and armed by the West!! Many Christian refugees have already fled the country or at least from their homes, in order to save their lives. Many more have been massacred: whole villages wiped out. Barnabas Fund has been working with some of these. However, what is happening now on Europe is nothing short of a Muslim invasion.” The writer continues, “There are obviously genuine refugees among those trying to claim asylum, but many are jihadists who are basically invading the West masquerading as refugees. About 75% are young men of fighting age and they are now causing mayhem in Europe, rioting and setting fire to vehicles and property… I have seen several clips showing supposed refugees throwing away the food parcels they have been given because the contents were not halal or in other ways not good enough. This alone shows that they are not genuine refugees.” This is an issue that I have been concerned about – especially when the refugees have refused to go to certain ‘holding areas’ and refused to give their details.
In this week’s news, a 21-year old from Morocco was arrested by German authorities at a refugee centre near Stuttgart on suspicion of being an Islamic State recruiter. The man was sought under a European arrest warrant issued by Spanish authorities. He used a false identity to pose as an asylum seeker. According to sources, this is the first time German authorities have arrested a terror suspect masquerading as an asylum seeker. At the same time it was reported the German government seized 10,000 fake Syrian passports, which are being sold to those seeking to gain entry to the EU for around $1,500 each. Possession of a Syrian passport makes claiming asylum a lot easier. However, out of 213,000 migrants who arrived in April, only 44,000 were from Syria, according to figures from Eurostat, the official EU statistics agency. Others come from a variety of countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and across North Africa.
I have read numerous reports on the delicate balancing act now required of Europe’s policy makers in response to the crisis. The Islamic State has said it is importing fighters into Europe disguised as refugees. These numbers will be compounded by the threat from returning European citizens who fought as jihadists in Syria. ISIS is also profiting from the lucrative people-smuggling industry that has sprung up as the Syrian Civil War has worsened. Time magazine reported earlier this year it had seen intelligence reports saying ISIS had deliberately attacked refugee camps and created additional refugees to create more refugees – and thus more customers for its people-smuggling operation. As I mentioned in my ‘pointers to prayer’ last week, as the large amount of Islamic refugees continue to flood Europe, please pray that innocent victims from the harrowing war-torn nation of Syria would be helped and that these people would be rescued and find peace. However, do pray that all the authorities would be on high alert to the potential of terrorists entering our nations under the disguise as refugees.
I would, however, like to conclude this report on another observation. Did you know that the Saudis are building a 600-mile-long “Great Wall” — a combined fence and ditch — to separate the country from Iraq to the north? Did you know that Kenya is building a wall? Not just any wall, but a “separation barrier”, along sections of its notoriously porous border with Somalia – of bricks, mortar and barbed wire? Did you know that 64 other nations have also built walls due to security fears and an alleged widespread refusal to help refugees including Spain, Cyprus, Hungary, Greece, USA, Morocco, Turkey and India? Did you know that Northern Ireland have an 18-foot-high (5.5 m) wall along Springmartin Road in Belfast, with a fortified police station at one end, to separate Irish nationalist and unionist neighbourhoods? And, of course, on top of this, US presidential candidate Donald Trump wants an actual wall instead of a fence along the US-Mexican border, and he wants Mexico to pay for it! So taking all this into consideration, why do the nations rage against Israel’s security wall, knowing full well that terrorist attacks from Islamic terrorists have been reduced to almost zero in Israel? So will we now see the BDS supporters and palestine solidarity campaigners scrapping their nonsense against Israel and start attacking all these other nations? I somehow don’t think so!
(Middle East News Correspondent) Tweet me @David_CFI
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