~ April 6, 2017 ~ (Nisan 10, 5777)
The Word: Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door-frames of the houses where they eat the lambs… Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the door-frame. Not one of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. (Exodus 12:7 &22)
The next day, Yochanan saw Yeshua coming toward him and said, “Look! God’s lamb! The one who is taking away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
Pointers for prayer: As we continue to monitor events in and around Israel and the Middle East, and pray into these situations, may we know at all times that the LORD God is in complete control irrespective of what we see. As the nation of Israel prepares for Passover, they could be facing a time when the enemy might try to use terrorist attacks against the Jewish people. Please stand with Israel over this period and pray for Israel’s protection.
As we enter the time of Passover may we pray for truth and God’s revealed purposes. May we be seen to carry Israel on our prayers, asking the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for blessings to be bestowed upon Israel, and that God in His mercy, would “cleanse them with hyssop”, that they would know the Passover Lamb in whom they seek.
As you may have seen from the latest news updates, there have been further horrific chemical attacks in Syria. As many as 100 people may have been killed and over 400 injured in Syria’s ‘chemical attacks.’ There is a report with links below. Please pray into this horrific situation.
Praying around Pesach
[Above photo taken by D Soakell]
As often happens, Easter and Passover fall at the same time this year. Passover starts on Tuesday April 11, 2017 for one week and continues throughout the Easter weekend. Passover of course marks the Israelis liberation from slavery and their exodus from Egypt around 3000 years ago to their freedom. For this freedom, a lamb was sacrificed for each family. Easter on the other hand celebrates the Christians freedom from sins through the death and resurrection in the Messiah Jesus (Yeshua).
The central part to the week-long festivities for Passover is the Seder meal. My family celebrate this meal with our friends at our home. In addition to telling the story of Passover (from the Haggadah), we also read from ‘The Song of Songs’ (Song of Solomon), which is the traditional thing to do. This is one of the five scrolls that are connected to particular festivals. But why is Song of Songs read at Passover? Well, what is the Passover all about? In many ways it’s more than the story of the Jewish people finding their freedom… It’s a love story! It’s God demonstrating His love for His covenant people, the Jews – or Israel as they are known nationally. After all, it’s the same God who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son ~ the ultimate Passover Lamb, so that Believers in Yeshua could also be engrafted into His people Israel, and know God.
In Song of Songs chapter 2:8-13, we read, “The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes, leaping upon the mountains… My beloved spoke, and said to me: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth… Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away!” Here God is calling His beloved Israel, “Rise up My Beloved… Come to Me, I want to love you”. This is what the Passover is all about, and this ultimately is what the Easter story is also about – God’s love for us – seeking our relationship through His Communion with us. May we all know this awesome love of God both for His people Israel, and for His Church.
However, we also need to remain alert over this period. Palestinian Media Watch have reported this week that they have had information stating that April 17 will be day of terror and killing (according to Fatah’s student movement). Fatah have been quoted as saying, “Let us turn April 17, 2017 into a fire that will burn the occupiers and burn the land like an inferno… We declare in a clear manner that splits the sky… We will not hesitate to burn the land under the feet of the tyrants if [Israel] harms the prisoners… Remember the Wadi Al-Haramiya operation (i.e., terror attack, 10 murdered), the Ein Arik operation (i.e., terror attack, 6 murdered), and the hundreds of heroic operations that were carried out by Fatah members and the fighters of our people.” [Source: Official Fatah Facebook page, March 29, 2017]. On April 17, Fatah (Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority) celebrates its annual ‘Prisoner’s Day’ and Fatah’s student movement Shabiba has called for a day of terror against Israel. Fatah encouraged students and other Palestinians to use violence and “escalate the confrontation with the occupier:” A full report from PMW can be found here.
Over the past few days, many sources have stated that Israel is expecting attempted terrorist attacks from both Fatah and Hamas. Israeli’s residents have been warned, and the IDF (Israel Defence Force) and the Police are on high alert. Last week, Hamas closed its only civilian border crossing with Israel on Sunday, and Israeli troops were on high alert as tensions continued to rise. This followed the death of a senior Hamas operative who was mysteriously shot dead at point-blank range in the parking garage of his home. Hamas has accused Israel of being behind the killing of Mazen Fuqaha, 38, a senior commander in the militant Islamist movement’s military wing. He spent nine years in an Israeli jail for his part in planning numerous suicide bombings that killed multiple Israeli civilians during the second Intifada in the early 2000s. Fuqaha was eventually one of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners released in 2011 in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Upon his release, Fuqaha was barred from returning to the ‘West Bank’ and expelled to Gaza. From there he managed Hamas’s terrorist operations according to multiple sources.
Up to 100 people killed and 400 injured in Syria ‘chemical attack’
For the past six years I have frequently brought updates from the harrowing situation in Syria. This nation has seen Shia Muslims join Alawite Muslims to exterminate Sunni Muslims – a classic definition of genocide where an ethnic group is target for annihilation, yet the United Nations have done very little – if anything – about it. UK-based monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll in Khan Sheikhoun at 72, including 20 children, but other sources state that the current death toll is much higher – even around the 100 mark. Footage from the scene showed civilians, many of them children, choking and foaming at the mouth. Witnesses said clinics treating the injured were then targeted by air strikes. Khan Sheikhoun in the Idlib Province is half way between Aleppo (to the north) and Homs (to the south) – see map below.
[Above map by Google Maps – picture created by D Soakell]
The United States have blamed the Syrian government and its patrons, Russia and Iran, on Tuesday for one of the deadliest chemical weapons attacks in the six years of war in Syria. As I watched the scenes unfolding on the news channels, we were warned that the scenes were horrific, and indeed they were. A senior State Department official said the attack appeared to be a war crime and called on Russia and Iran to restrain the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria from carrying out further chemical strikes. Britain, France and Turkey joined Washington in condemning the attack, which they also attributed to Mr. Assad’s government. The United Nations Security Council was scheduled to be briefed on the attack on Wednesday – but have made little response in six years of war. The White House says it is “confident” Bashar al-Assad’s government was behind an apparent chemical attack in north-west Syria.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that strikes on Khan Sheikhoun by Syrian government or Russian jets had caused many people to choke. Later, aircraft fired rockets at local clinics treating survivors, medics and activists. Syria’s army denied the government had used any such weapons.
I have included footage of the attacks, however these come with a clear WARNING as the footage is disturbing:
As mentioned, the latest death toll could be as high as one hundred people killed and over 400 injured in the apparent chemical attack. A video report by ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent can be seen here: http://www.itv.com/news/2017-04-04/at-least-18-dead-and-dozens-injured-idlib-gas-attack-in-syria/
A call of God? Challenging churches to intercede
[Above photo: D Soakell]
As many of you may be aware, my wife Julia and I have been touring the UK speaking at various places for CFI including three dates in the North of England; three days in Norfolk, and another speaking engagement plus a conference on the Isle of Wight.
The main theme of the talks has centred on the issue of Jerusalem. As Israel’s Communications Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said in Washington recently, “Moral claim to the land [of Israel] come from the Bible, not Google or Wikipedia.” Tzachi Hanegbi was speaking at an event held in support of placing what are alleged to be ‘West Bank settlements’ or rather Jewish Communities within final borders of the Jewish state of Israel. Needless to say, as the end days approach, the City of Jerusalem will, and is, becoming centre stage in world history. Are we nearing the words of Zechariah chapters 12 & 14 coming to pass? (All nations will gather against Jerusalem – Zechariah 12:3).
At the conference on the Isle of Wight, along with a meeting in Norfolk, Julia spoke on a ‘Heart for a Generation’ which included updates and answers to prayer. In three of my talks, I spoke on how 2016 was a year of great uncertainty. The Syrian conflict saw the historic city of Aleppo slip further into peril; the Brexit vote initiated the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union and Donald Trump was elected the next president of the United States, leading many to wonder what comes next for international alliances, diplomacy and peace. All the while, the United Nations through UNESCO attempted to erase Jewish history in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel.
Throughout 2016, there was and still is, genocide going on (see above report), which has been going on for years and years in the Islamic Middle East in general, and Syria in particular. Islamic group ISIS have killed multitudes of Christian and other minorities; and in Syria, as mentioned earlier, Shia Muslims joined Alawite Muslims to exterminate Sunni Muslims – a classic definition of genocide where an ethnic group is target for annihilation, yet the United Nations have done very little about it. Yet worse was to come. The United Nations not only appeared to ignore the issue with Syria but focused condemnation on the world’s only Jewish state, Israel – a country the size of Wales that has nearly 2 million Arabs living in complete safety – the only place in the Middle East where Muslims are safe. All the while, Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority demanded the U.N. acknowledge the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City to have no historic ties to Judaism.
In many of my talks, I challenged the Christian audiences that if the U.N. agreed that the Temple Mount and the Western Wall were exclusively Islamic and had nothing to do with Judaism, then they were declaring that the Gospel writers, and therefore by implication all the New Testament is untrue, inaccurate and full of fables, as Jesus could not have done what the Bible proclaims He did in and on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Proving through archaeology, and taking the audience on a pictorial journey through the Western Wall tunnels and the Southern Wall’s ancient steps that date back to Herod’s Temple and beyond, I then hopefully enabled the church to see the importance of the truth, and how we needed to act and pray against these actions by the U.N. in dismissing Israel’s biblical history. All the talks at St Paul’s Church, Newport, Isle of Wight can be heard on MP3 at http://www.stpaulsbarton.co.uk/.
To watch one of the talks from an earlier event, click here:
Praise God for answers to prayer
Following on from the above report, news has just literally come in that on April 4th, 2017, in Brussels, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has firmly rebuffed any attempts to deny Jewish history connected to Jerusalem. In a unique statement at the ECI policy conference in the European Parliament she said that “in the Torah, Jerusalem is the capital of King David, where Solomon built the Temple and placed the Ark of the Covenant.” Distinguishing between her role as the highest official of UNESCO and the resolutions passed by member states of the same organisation, she stated, “To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justifies its inscription in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The protection of the heritage of Jerusalem is part of a broader vision for peace and the fight against all forms of denial of Jewish history, delegitimisation of Israel and anti-Semitism.” UNESCO is the United Nations specialised agency for education, science and culture, and their original resolution, which referred to the Temple Mount solely by its Muslim name of ‘Al-Haram Al Sharif,’ was approved by the United Nations at its 40th session last year, and was the reason that I felt called by the Lord to speak around the country and ask the Church to pray against this. It appears prayers have been answered!
The statement by Irina Bokova were conveyed by UNESCO Director Genc Seitii and were warmly received by the conference, which included Israeli Ambassador to the European Union, Aharon Leshno-Yaar. Given the official EU policy of supporting a re-dividing of Jerusalem and the creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital, the conference was unique in that it clearly contradicted EU policy and ambitions. In his keynote speech Dr Dore Gold from the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs presented two competing schools of thought that the EU will have to choose between. “One school of thought teaches that Islam is superior to any other religion while the other school of thought wants to protect all religions. Only Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem can preserve all the holy sites while radical Islam will seek to destroy them”, he said. He illustrated his point by recent examples, such as the blowing up of ancient Buddha statues in Afghanistan by the Taliban in 2001 as well as the occupation and desecration of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002 by Palestinian militants who were later given free exile in Europe and Gaza. “Which side will Europe chose – the side which protects holy sites or the one which seek to destroy them?” he asked.
The Vice-President of the European Parliament MEP Ryscard Czarnecki gave the Israeli government credit for protecting all the holy sites after recapturing Jerusalem in 1967. In a written statement, he acknowledged that the Jewish people have had a long history in his native Poland but pointed out that no other city can illustrate Jewish identity and aspirations more than Jerusalem. The European Coalition for Israel’s (ECI) Founding Director, Tomas Sandell, added that “Jerusalem is not only of legal, political and strategic significance but symbolises the very values that our Western civilisation are built on. To abandon Jerusalem is to dismantle these very values.” The conference concluded with the presentation of an open letter in support of a united Jerusalem. In his remarks ECI Legal Counsel, Andrew Tucker, explained why Jerusalem needs to remain the un-divided capital of the State of Israel, adding that even a majority of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem prefer to live in the state of Israel rather than in a Palestinian state.
The Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, while not being able to participate in person, had sent a recorded video message to the conference illustrating the diversity in Jerusalem by noting that “in one square kilometre we have more churches, mosques, and synagogues than anywhere else in the world.” The conference was organised with the support and active participation of MEPs from the four largest party groups in the European Parliament: European Peoples’ Party (EPP), European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and Socialists and Democrats (S&D). For more information on this click here: www.ec4i.org.
Finally, I’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to my good friend and journalist Charles Gardener. Charles has in the past used my reports in the Israel Today magazine. In his recent article in Israel Today Charles writes, “As genocide is being committed against Christians, Yazidis and even ‘dissident’ Muslims across the Arab world, the international finger of criticism continues to point at Israel. The latest example is a UN report urging swift action to oppose and end Israeli “apartheid”. Thankfully, my Christian Friends of Israel colleague David Soakell has produced an ‘ace’ card exposing all this nonsense with a timely series of testimonies from Arabs which I have aptly titled Apartheid Claims Exposed (ACE). He tells us that Israeli Arabs – both Christian and Muslim – are risking disapproval from their own communities by volunteering for the Israeli Defence Forces in increasing numbers, disproving the lie that Israel is a racist, apartheid state. (Non-Jews are not obligated to serve in the IDF).” To read the report click here: http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/31312/Default.aspx & https://davidsoakell.com/2017/03/09/land-of-apartheid/
(Middle East News Correspondent)
Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio