The Word: Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey–riding on a donkey’s colt. (Zechariah 9:9)
As they approached Jerusalem and came to the Mount of Olives, Yeshua sent two talmidim saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” The talmidim went and did as Yeshua had instructed them… A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” …When Yeshua (Jesus) entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” (Matthew 21: 1-10)
Pointers for prayer: As we move into 2016, pray that the Lord would strengthen and anoint afresh all who belong to the CFI family – the Staff, Trustees, Area Reps, Volunteers, Prayer Warriors and supporters both here in the UK, along with our CFI Jerusalem office and team, and the many International Reps. Pray God’s favour and blessings upon each of us, as we continue to try to be faithful to our calling.
As Israel started 2016 as it ended 2015 – with more terrorist attacks- please continue to lift the people and Nation of Israel before the Lord and as Elijah prayed, may we all pray: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
Behold the King is coming
As a British citizen, if, when watching the enormous amounts of money being fired into the Westminster night skies, as thousands cheered the firework display and heard the midnight bells bring to an end 2014 to rejoice with the new year of 2015, could one have imagined what the next 12 months would bring? The year of 2015 was without doubt a year of turbulence, grief and change. Terrorist attacks shocked the world, claiming thousands of lives across the globe. The deepening refugee crisis brought both support and anger, almost dividing European countries in how they should deal with the crisis. The so-called Islamic State continued its death and hatred campaigns against other Muslims and Christians. In the UK, the election results made a mockery of the polls as the Conservative Party won their first majority since 1990, while the surprising rise of Jeremy Corbyn divided the Labour party. And the people Mr Corbyn has in the past publically stood in support with – Hezbollah, Fatah and Hamas – continued on with threats against Israel and their bombing and stabbing campaigns, with the leader in Hamas rejoicing over the ongoing Palestinian uprising, saying that the ‘Jerusalem Intifada’ will “continue till achieving its aims… Gaza is ready more than any time before to unite with West Bank [Fatah] and occupied Jerusalem… We will not abandon any inch of Palestinian land and we’ll never give up on any of our rights.”
2015 had barely started when Islamic terrorists struck France as the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were hit. The spread of the Islamic State, which is also known as Isis, Isil or Daesh, also carried out a horrific attack in June as a gunman killed 38 people, most of whom were holidaymakers on a Tunisian beach. Thirty Brits lost their lives in the attack, with the terror group claiming responsibility. By September, the shocking image of a three-year-old child, Aylan Kurdi, became the focal point in the deepening refugee crisis as the child was found lying face down on a Turkish beach making worldwide headlines. In November, a Russian airliner crashed in Egypt, killing all 224 on board. ISIS claimed responsibility whilst thousands of tourists were left stranded in Egypt as all flights between the UK and Sharm el-Sheikh were suspended. And Islamic terror returned to the streets of Paris in November as France was once more rocked as 130 people died in a series of co-ordinated attacks by Islamist gunmen. The attacks came just hours after the US military announced it was “reasonably certain” that ISIS extremist Jihadi John had been killed in an air strike on Syria. The following month Britain joined air strikes on ISIS targets in the war-torn country after MPs voted in favour of extending military action from Iraq.
Meanwhile, largely unreported by the Western Media, from Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year in September – there had been over 800 terrorist attacks on Israel – many coming from rocket fire in Gaza. The Israeli Ambulance service (Magen David Adom) stated that between September 13, 2015 – January 2, 2016, 27 Jewish people have been killed and 279 wounded – 25 of them seriously. According to the Isreal Defence Force (IDF), there have been (as of January 3) 99 stabbings, 37 shootings and 22 car rammings – this is terrorist attacks carried out by Palestinian Authority controlled Arabs. In November 2015 alone, 10 people (one Palestinian and 9 Israelis) were killed in terrorist attacks, and 58 were injured. Among the non-fatal casualties, 22 were wounded in stabbings (including 5 in Jerusalem and 10 within Israel). 24 people were injured in vehicle attacks, and 12 in shootings.
With Palestinian Arabs committing stabbing attacks against Israelis almost daily, the PA and Fatah chose to glorify and promote the ‘blood’ and Martyrdom motifs. The Facebook page of the official spokesman of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Security Forces Adnan Al-Damiri, posted a message from Fatah Shabiba youth movement to children that the way to succeed in ‘revolution’ against Israel is to “water it with blood”: “Teach your children to love the land. Teach them that we live a life of suffering. Teach them that there is a seed in the ground if they water it with blood, a revolution will flower. Teach them that Fatah is the eternal revolution, that the ‘Storm’ is the blade of the intifada, and that the Shabiba are the knights of the rocks.” [Facebook page of official spokesman of the PA Security Forces, Adnan Al-Damiri on Dec. 21, 2015].
During the Christmas period, I posted four photos on my personal Facebook wall depicting events that were happening in the PA controlled areas. The first two were of Palestinian terrorists dressed up as ‘Father Christmas’ throwing rocks. The third photo was of a three-year-old boy, dressed in a Palestinian head dress, throwing a rock.
The fourth photo [above] was of a young boy (about 7-years-old) with a Hamas head dress on, stood upon an Israeli flag, dressed as a Suicide warrior with a rifle in one hand and a large knife in the other. I can’t even imagine what type of sick and perverted mind-set the parents of these children must have. None of these photos were shown in Western Media reports; however our TV screens and newspapers were awash with photos of Isa Dare, the 4-year-old boy who was paraded in military fatigues and an ISIS bandanna while being made to declare: “We are going to kill the kaffir (non-believers) over there.”
Whilst most of the world was celebrating the New Year for 2016, 10 Israelis were injured and 2 more Israelis were murdered in a pub in Tel Aviv by a Radical Muslim Terrorist. Shimon Rawimi, 30, and Alon Bakal, 26 were celebrating the New Year but sadly both were killed when a terrorist opened fire in Tel Aviv murdering them and reportedly injuring at least 7 more. Israel sadly woke up to 2016, the same way they said goodbye to 2015 – with the continuation of disgraceful terrorist attacks targeting Israeli civilians.
And so, back in the UK, as the nation watched the enormous amounts of money being fired into the Westminster night skies, as thousands yet again cheered the firework display and heard the midnight bells bring an end 2015 to rejoice with the new year of 2016, I pondered on whether anyone gave any thought to the many lives lost during 2015 to Islamic terrorism? Or indeed, if anyone might be wondering what the next 12 months would bring? None of us of course really know what to expect. However we all surely must pursue wisdom and discernment in the months ahead, and keep prayer as our foundation. The battle over Israel continues, and the battle over the Temple Mount remains. More on this at the end of this report.
Israel is the only country ISIS terrorist group fears
Even though I was away from my desk over the past few weeks, I was still keeping up with the news, and even reporting on my social media sites. And as I reported on December 27, 2015, on Twitter, Facebook and my own blog page – davidsoakell.com – I felt I needed to report on the German journalist who stated ISIS’s greatest fear is towards the powerful Israeli army. Well, on January 3, 2016, the British media appear to have finally caught up as The Independent has reported, “Isis: Israel is the only country terrorist group fears, says first Western journalist to survive ‘Islamic State’.” What I find amazing is that even though this story was reported on Jewish News during the last week of December 2015, along with other media groups such as the Jerusalem Post and even by the old man himself on his blog site (that’s me by the way), The Independent went and put a copyright on their report. You can read their version of the report here. In my report which was posted December 27, 2015, I stated, “Despite being on holiday, I couldn’t resist reporting this piece of news. According to sources the terrorist group ISIS have revealed their real fear towards the powerful Israeli army (IDF). According to a journalist who spent time with ISIS, the Islamic terrorist group fear no one, barring Israel, and they know they cannot defeat Israel. Jurgen Todenhofer, a journalist from Germany spent ten days in the Islamic State during part or 2015 and has in an interview said Israel is not included in Isis’ planned “first stage” of colonisation in the Middle East. ISIS, who have wreaked their murderous jihadist warfare throughout vast areas of Syria and Iraq is deterred by only Israel.”
My report on davidsoakell.com continued, “In an interview with the British Jewish News, Todenhofer recalls his very short time behind enemy lines during which he spoke with ISIS fighters. According to Todenhofer, ISIS branded their coordinated attacks on Paris that claimed 132 lives as “the first of the storm”. He also wrote that ISIS wants to lure British and American forces into Syria and Iraq – areas where it thinks it has an advantage. However, Todenhofer, a former member of the German parliament, also went on to state that the only country ISIS fears is Israel. “They told me they know the Israeli army is too strong for them” Todenhofer stated. He went on to state, “They think they can defeat US and UK ground troops, who they say they have no experience in city guerrilla or terrorist strategies, yet they know the Israelis are very tough as far as fighting against guerrillas and terrorists.””
I concluded my report by stating, “Having interviewed various IDF soldiers and officers over the past 15 years and seen them in training, I know the Israeli army is one of the best in the world. However, the Western world generally gives them bad press. However, as I mentioned in my Watching over Zion Report, posted on December 9, 2015, even though the IDF come under a lot of world criticism, and many proclaim them to be an oppressive force that targets innocent Palestinian civilians and commits war crimes, this is simply not true. And according to Colonel Richard Kemp, who was the commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, and was also in Israel during its war against Hamas in 2014, Israel have the finest, ethical army in the world. Watch his report here:
The news to come.
So, after reflecting over the past 12 months, what might we expect to see happening throughout 2016. Well, we don’t use crystal balls and I don’t feel I have any ‘prophetic words’ from the Lord. However having looked through the newspapers these past few weeks and pondered on these issues in prayer, I have to say that we must expect a continuation in these troublesome areas. For example, relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran are at their worst for nearly 30 years. The BBC reported that tensions have spiralled following the execution of Saudi cleric Nimr al-Nimr, the subsequent setting ablaze of the Saudi embassy in Tehran, and Riyadh’s expulsion of Iranian diplomats. The struggle between Riyadh and Tehran for political and religious influence has geopolitical implications that extend far beyond the Gulf and encompass nearly every major conflict zone in the Middle East. Most notably, perhaps, the crisis means prospects for a diplomatic breakthrough in Syria and Yemen now look much more remote, just as international momentum for negotiations seemed to be on the verge of delivering results.
The current standoff between Saudi Arabia and Iran is as dangerous as its 1980s predecessor, which first saw diplomatic ties suspended between 1988 and 1991. This occurred at the end of the turbulent opening decade after the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and the grinding eight-year Iran-Iraq War from 1980 to 1988. I often call the whole of the Middle East as a ‘tinderbox’, however, the Persian Gulf has indeed become a strategic tinderbox. I believe Saudi Arabia’s decision to behead the Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr marks a point of no return in the bitter Sunni-Shia conflict engulfing the region. Without doubt, this is a dangerous escalation in the Kingdom’s struggle with Iran for regional hegemony. One headline in the Daily Express even stated, “World War 3? Furious Iran threatens to DESTROY Saudi with ‘harsh revenge’ over executions”. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has indeed vowed swift and harsh revenge, promising to bring down the Saudi dynasty to avenge this “medieval act of savagery”. Whether this could lead to another world conflict remains to be seen, however I doubt it – as Israel are not involved in this issue. One notable concern however is that Brent crude oil jumped to a three-week high of $38.91 a barrel as traders began to price in the first flickers of political risk. Roughly a fifth of global oil supply passes through the Strait of Hormuz, where tankers would in extremis have to run the gauntlet past Iranian warships. One area that certainly needs our continued prayer through 2016 is Israel’s borders. As you will see in this video, a third World War could erupt if Israel’s borders are attacked by the Arab world:
It’s merely a thought, and as always, I’m not proclaiming some end-time prediction, however I heard a story recently that I believe took place in Scotland over 100 years ago. The story goes… two men were sailing along the coasts of Scotland. They anchored their boat at Inverness and went ashore to explore. At the end of the day they were lost and decided to try and find lodging before night fall. They knocked on the door of a humble cottage and requested a meal, bed, and offered to pay. The farmer looked at the two men with suspicion and sent them away and so they went next door. This time the owner welcomed them and gave them a warm meal and bed for the night. Only in the morning did the host discover that one of his guests was Edward, Prince of Wales, who would later become King Edward V. Imagine the shame or regret of the first farmer who refused to open the door to his future king.
The scripture reading from Zechariah 9 at the top of this report was alluded to in my last report of 2015, during Chanukah. In verse 13, it seems to be speaking a prophesy regarding the event that took place in 163 BC, when Judas Maccabees “The Hammer” rallied an army of Jewish men to fight against the Syrian Greeks who occupied Jerusalem. They went to the Temple, cleaned it out, burned incense, offered sacrifices, and light a huge menorah that burned for 8 days. We of course (along with the Jewish world) still celebrate the Festival of lights/Chanukah. However, in verse 9 it appears to be a prophesy regarding when Yeshua/Jesus first came to Jerusalem as a ‘servant King’. Certainly the gospel of Matthew 21: 1-10 backs this up. However, this prophesy of Zechariah in chapter 9 also appear to have three time periods in history, with the third still unfulfilled – as verse14 – 16 states, ‘Then the Lord will appear over them; His arrow will flash like lightning. The Sovereign LORD will sound the trumpet (shofar); He will march in the storms of the south, and the LORD Almighty will shield them… The LORD their God will save His people [Israel] on that day as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in His land like jewels in a crown.’ The battle over Israel continues, and the battle over the Temple Mount remains. Chanukah might be long gone now, but keep your head held high for behold the King is coming.
(Middle East News Report Correspondent)
Tweet me @David_CFI
Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, Israeli Embassy London, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio