The Word: It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless. Scarcely shall they be planted, scarcely shall they be sown, scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, when He will also blow on them, and they will wither, and the whirlwind will take them away like stubble. To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel: My way is hidden from the Lord, and my just claim is passed over by my God? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. (Isaiah 40:22-28 NKJV)
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” (I Timothy 2:1-2 NKJV)
Pointers for prayer: As it states in 1 Timothy 2:1-4, and in light of the recent United Nations (UNESCO) votes regarding yet more unacceptable resolutions and denial of Jewish biblical and historical places in Israel, please bring the governments of the world and the United Nations before the Lord that they may, even now, enquire of the Lord God regarding how they treat the only Nation that God has set apart for His own glory – Israel.
- At the United Nations this week, UN General Assembly president Peter Thomson actually wore a Palestinian flag scarf on the occasion of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. May the United Nations recognize their true frailty. They may believe they are invisible and above reproach but the LORD God declares that, “He makes the judges of the earth useless… the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.” (Isaiah 40).
- The recent fires that have devastated much of Israel around the Haifa region and various other areas of Israel have been called ‘terrorist attacks’ due to the probability that Arab Palestinians have both caused and increased the fires. Pray that God would send much needed rain; pray against further fires being lit, and pray for all who have suffered from these fires.
- In the midst of continuing troubles within Israel, some good news came through that some Arab Palestinians are helping Israel to stamp out all the fires. Please do continue to pray that ordinary Jewish and Arab people, whether living in Israel proper or what the world terms as the “territories”, will have a desire for reconciliation and to live side by side in peace and harmony.
Lift up your eyes on high (Part one)
Today is the first of Kislev, 5777. What is the connection and relevance between Chanukah and the gospels? What is the connection between Chanukah and the United Nations? What is the relevance between Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon and Jerusalem? And can the festival of Chanukah really bring any hope? These are some of the questions I hope to bring answers to over the next three weeks. Indeed, we are already into the days of December, and it’s hard to believe that 2016 is almost at an end. As I looked at my office wall planner, I was shocked that I only have 3 reports left to write this year (including this report). The nights are already closing in long before the working day is done – in fact the shortest day of the year is fast approaching. This year both Christmas and Chanukah happen at the same time (in 2016, Chanukah starts on December 24 and goes through until January 1). In the UK many homes already have their twinkling lights in windows as people prepare for the festive season. However, it’s not just the decorations and tree lights that are twinkling on a night, as the skies where we live have been very clear of late, meaning that temperatures have dramatically dropped, but the skies have been full of stars – indeed the recent ‘super moon’ has been amazing and has brought some great photos on my camera. With this in mind, I’m reminded of the book of Isaiah chapter 40 (above) where the Lord reminds His people to “Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing.”
Chanukah is of course a time to celebrate miracles. The holiday commemorates two major miracles which took place in the time of the Maccabees: the miraculous victory of the tiny Jewish army over the vast Syrian-Greeks, and the miracle of the small vial of oil which burned for eight days when it should have lasted only one day. The Festival of Lights is indeed a celebration of the victory over all pagan and anti-Semitic forces – the victory of the sons of Zion against the sons of Greece! But can the festival of Chanukah really bring any hope? Well keep reading over the next few weeks and hopefully we will all be encouraged to keep pressing on in our intercession for Israel despite what might seem an impossible battle ahead for the Jewish nation.
An update on the Israeli fires
Without doubt, Israel are in a huge battle – not just with unacceptable resolutions by the United Nations that have brought about the denial of Jewish biblical and historical places in Israel, along with more conflict with the Arab Palestinians, but Israel itself has been engulfed in horrific fires that has brought much trouble to the lives of people living there. Though very little has been reporting in the western media, this past week has seen over 2,500 firefighters having to battle against approximately 630 fires throughout Israel. One and a half million tons of water and fire inhibitors have been poured on the ground in over 480 airplane sorties. Hundreds of houses have gone up in flames; tens of thousands of people have been evacuated; and so far 133 people have been injured.
The large fires in central and northern regions of Israel have been so serious that Israel had to request help from overseas to fight them. Arson by Palestinian Arabs has always been suspected, however film clips of Palestinians lighting fires have now been released. These fires have forced thousands of Israelis – both Jews and Arabs – to be evacuated from their homes with extensive property damage and dozens of people suffering smoke inhalation (including toddlers and children). Israeli police reported that many of the fires were started by arson and 23 people – most of them Israeli Arabs, the rest Palestinians – were arrested on suspicion of arson in connection with fires.
The good news is that there are Arabs willing to help as Palestinian fire crews have assisted Israeli crews in northern Israel and near Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu heralded the fact that Jews and Arabs alike opened their homes to victims of the fire. The Palestinian Civil Defence provided eight fire trucks in response to an Israeli request for help, according to Nael Al-Azzeh of the Palestinian Civil Defence, based in Ramallah. Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld has tweeted images of the Palestinian firefighters working alongside their Israeli counterparts in Haifa. Thankfully, there has been improving weather and with the massive injection of support from several countries around the world to help Israel, the raging fires are starting to get under control, although several areas continued to burn on Monday morning. Unofficial and preliminary estimates put the financial damage from the fires at over NIS 2 billion, making it one of the costliest disasters in Israeli history
The bad news, apart from the fires themselves, is that many Arabs, along with anti-Israeli supporters around the world, have been tweeting sickening tweets rejoicing in the fires burning, as evidenced by the fact the fires are one of the top trending topics currently on Twitter, and not because they are expressing their condolences. However this has really caused me to question something that most have probably not even thought about! What does this actually say about those who are making these hateful tweets? Besides their hatred for Israel, what these celebratory tweets show is how little these anti-Israel / pro BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) supporters care for the Arabs and Muslims living in Israel! After all, these Arabs and Muslims living in Israel are also in harm’s way. It also goes to show how little they really care about the land of Israel, as Leibel A Mangel, Combat Veteran of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) stated in a recent blog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ix_13icJzUQ If you are on Twitter, you can follow Leibel @LeibelAMangel. As Leibel rightly states, “Israel is burning at the hands of those who claim is theirs. Does that make any sense? Maybe they don’t really care about the land?”
In Haifa alone it is estimated that 70,000 people were evacuated from their homes, with nearly 700 homes damaged, 350 of them are now uninhabitable. You can help bring relief to this disaster by donating through Christian Friends of Israel UK here: http://www.cfi.org.uk/projects.php?tab=1318&viewproject=Fire%20Emergency%20Appeal
So do the Arab Palestinians care?
With this in mind regarding Leibel Mangel’s comments and my observations above in regards the fires throughout Israel, the question has to be asked… do the Arab Palestinians really care about the land? Now I know I’ve been writing about this since Yom Kippur, but I’ll keep banging the drum until the truth is told and the United Nations denounce the utter abomination that has been declared by UNESCO in regards to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. As reported in previous reports, Mahmoud Abbas and his advisors have for many months – indeed years – been on the campaign trail to fabricate an imaginary, continuous 6,000-year-old Arab Palestinian history in the land of Israel which Abbas states ‘predates Abraham and the Jewish people’ thus twisting the words of the Bible to support his claim. Abbas, along with many Arab nations have been forcing their delusions with a series of resolutions which were passed at the United Nations UNESCO that ignore Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and Western Wall area.
The plain facts however prove a different story. In the King James Bible, the word Temple (in relation to the Jewish Temple) appears 204 times. The Jewish connection to Jerusalem is also an ancient and powerful one. Judaism made Jerusalem a holy city over three thousand years ago and through all that time Jews remained steadfast to it. Jews pray in the direction to Jerusalem, mention its name constantly in prayers, close the Passover service with the wistful statement “Next year in Jerusalem,” and recall the city in the blessing at the end of each meal. The destruction of the Temple in 70 AD looms very large in Jewish consciousness; remembrance takes such forms as a special day of mourning, houses left partially unfinished, a woman’s makeup or jewellery left incomplete, and a glass smashed during the wedding ceremony. In addition, Jerusalem has had a prominent historical role, is the only capital of a Jewish state, and is the only city with a Jewish majority during the whole of the past century.
To the Jews – and may I add the Christians – the Temple Mount is significantly important. It is THE MOST Holy place in Judaism – so much so that most Jews would not walk upon the Temple Mount in fear that they may be standing above the Holy of Holies. Rabbi Moses ben Nahman, commonly known as Nachmanides, a leading medieval Jewish scholar, stated in the year 1268, “The glory of the world is Eretz Israel; the glory of Eretz Israel is Jerusalem; the glory of Jerusalem is the Holy Temple.” The Word of God declares, “Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the centre of the nations, with lands around her.” (Ezekiel 5:5). In the Bible, Jerusalem (or Zion) is first referred to as “the place which the LORD your God chooses” (20 times) until the designation changes to “Jerusalem”, which itself occurs 811 times plus 161 times as Zion, a total of 972 times. It is abundantly clear that God chose Jerusalem. “… Jerusalem, the city which the LORD had chosen from all the tribes of Israel to put His name there.” (I Kings 14:21). What’s more, Jerusalem has been continuously inhabited by Jewish people for the past 3,000 years, in fact ever since its conquest by King David. By virtue of continuous occupation, the Jewish people have an unassailable claim to this city, of which by the way, has never been the capital of any other nation, least of all any Arab/Muslim nation. It has only ever been a capital of a sovereign Jewish state. To the Jew, the Temple Mount and Jerusalem is the most holy place.
So what of Islam? If it was, as they proclaim, only the third most holy place – behind Mecca and Medina – would they not treat the Land as precious to them like Israel do? Would they deliberately desire to burn the land – destroy it by flames? And what about the Temple Mount – surely they would show huge respect, no? Yet daily (as you will see from the following link) we can clearly see Arabs having picnics upon the Temple Mount as if it were some common park, and Arab Palestinian kids playing football upon it as if it was some common sports area. This film clip was filmed 7 years ago… sadly it has got much worse since then: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxmXveweJg8&list=PLFA61B1E4C824849F
Above photo: UNGA President with Palestinian scarf. (photo credit:MEXICAN MISSION TO UN/TWITTER)
As for the United Nations… what can I say? At the United Nations this week, UN General Assembly president Peter Thomson actually wore a Palestinian flag scarf on the occasion of ‘International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.’ Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon reacted shortly after Thomson was seen with the scarf, saying he is “supposed to stand for diplomatic neutrality... It is unfortunate that Thomson chose to wrap himself in the Palestinian flag at an event whose sole purpose is to spread lies and deceit about Israel,” Danny Danon said. He went on to say, “This is proof of the bias against Israel and the slander spread about us on a daily basis at the UN.”
Isis still threaten Israeli border
Well over 200,000 people (mostly Christians and Muslims) have been killed in Iraq alone by ISIS. However hundreds, if not thousands of Christians and Yazidis have also been murdered by ISIS (Daesh) in other countries. ISIS might be losing ground in parts of Iraq, however in Syria they are still a threat. Israel still remains on high alert on the Golan Heights. In a country surrounded by instability and strife, where threats to its borders have come from the air, by sea, on land or underground, Israel has to remain alert. Along all of its borders, Israel has deployed or is in the process of deploying integrated command and control networks of sensor-fused barriers — mostly 5-metre-high fences, but in some limited places, concrete walls — all supported by combat assets of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). Altogether, security sources in Israel estimate that Israel has invested tens of billions of shekels to secure more than 600 kilometres of frontiers with Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, Egypt and, most recently, its northern and southern stretches of border with Jordan.
Yet despite the high-tech fortress that Israel has built around itself to safeguard its sovereignty, it remains vulnerable to underground threats. Given the magnitude of the threat, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken about the need to deploy “an underground Iron Dome” to defend against subterranean intrusions. Painful lessons from the 2014 Gaza war exposed Israel’s defence by the Hamas terror tunnels. Since then, Israel has fast-tracked pre-war development plans for a number of technological solutions aimed at detecting, mapping and operating in the subterranean environment, spending about $200 million in the process. However at Israel’s northern borders with Lebanon and territory in Syria that is now controlled by anti-regime extremist groups, Israel is wary of the possibility for tunnels but is focusing its efforts for a different threat: a full assault by Lebanese-based Hezbollah or its allies. One Army source stated, “Radical Islamic elements at our borders make them extremely volatile and unpredictable. We need to be ready for potential spill over at any given moment.” Sources have also stated that the IDF killed four ISIS militants last Sunday after they attacked Israeli forces in the Golan Heights. Islamic fighters, riding in a vehicle with a machine gun mounted on its roof, had assaulted an Israeli reconnaissance unit with gunfire and mortars on the Israeli-controlled side of the contested territory. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said the soldiers had “successfully repelled an attempted attack on the triangle of borders,” or the point where Israel, Syria and Jordan converge. Israel has generally tried to keep out of the Syrian civil war, but has carried out a covert campaign to prevent the transfer of sophisticated weapons from Syria to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant group that is aiding Mr. Assad and is an enemy of the ISIS.
(Middle East News Correspondent)
Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio