Israel Celebrates Hanukkah
by Sandy Teplinsky
Nine-branch menorahs brighten the streets of Jerusalem. Freshly baked jelly donuts tantalizingly infuse the air. For the next few days, Jerusalem remembers Hanukkah. She recalls that time, so very long ago, when her sons and daughters overcame the spirit of the world by the Spirit of her God. As 2010 draws to a close, she can't help but wonder, How long? How many more years until another Hanukkah miracle for the Jews?
Praying for the Peace of Jerusalem in the Second Decade of the 21st Century
Israel's relationship with the world changed dramatically during the first decade of the 21st century
. A quick review of events affecting her since the year 2000 suggests trends that will soon impact the Church. Traditional battlefronts have shifted. The year 2011 promises to bring with it even more change. Your life as a follower of the Lord Yeshua has already been impacted. As you pray intelligently and sincerely for Israel, you pray about spiritual shifts and battles that will impact you.
Just before Rosh Hashana 2000, Palestinians in Jerusalem launched the Second Intifada (Palestinian uprising) against Israel. Daily, the Intifada brought deadly terror attacks to the Jewish state. Most were in the form of suicide bombs detonated in public buses, cafes, and other heavily populated sites. These terror attacks were subdued largely through the building of a security wall in 2005
. The security wall limited access to Israel from Palestinian areas, putting added strain on border checkpoints. No doubt this resulted in hardship and unjust suffering on the part of some. Sadly, Palestinian suffering was the unavoidable result of their own persistent assault---or cursing---of Israel.
As surely as the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, the sword of the enemy is the lie of the devil
. Defeated on the battleground of terror, the Palestinians re-branded their war with Israel as a global matter of human rights. In collaboration with surrounding Arab states, from then on and continuing through 2010, the strategy to destroy Israel focused on the battlefront of media. Vicious lies against Israel were rapidly fuelled by Islamic resources from Iran, Syria, Turkey and elsewhere. The pan-Arab/Islamic goal, which would now appear within reach, is to eliminate any international legal right for Israel to exist.
University of California
In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza. Gazans elected into power the terror organization Hamas, which openly calls for the annihilation of Israel. The semi-autonomous Hamas government smuggled and amassed stockpiles of weapons, launching one terror attack into Israel after another. Finally, Israel was forced to defend itself militarily. Limited air and ground operations were conducted in 2008.
She put into effect a maritime blockade, requiring all Gaza-bound vessels to undergo cargo screening for weapons a few miles north of the border, inside Israel, prior to delivery. (Click here
to read about the flotilla incident in May 2010.)
Israeli military measures were all defensive in nature. But by 2010 the world was predisposed to believe any anti-Israel report that any anti-Israel source might divulge
. Accusations against Israel for defending herself reached unprecedented levels. Never in history have so many nations, organizations and individuals, all at the same time, despised Israel and Jews as they do today
Pernicious assault against Israel now stems, of all places, from traditionally Christian nations in the West
Irish students protest Israel
. Apart from American influence, the UN and other international nongovernmental organizations are so anti-Israel as to alarm any fair-minded individual genuinely concerned with human rights.
Over the past decade, these organizations have fostered economic, academic, social, political and other boycotts of Israel. Israeli citizens are singled out and excluded from professional organizations of many kinds. Arrest warrants for Israeli political leaders issued by some Western nations under "international jurisdiction" preclude them from traveling to those nations. Increasingly, Western educational institutions and media teach only a terribly re-written history of Israel and the Jewish people. As a result, the next generation will be even more predisposed toward falsehood. Meanwhile, Israel is the only democracy in the entire Middle East. We recommend reading a superb analysis of this issue here
At Hanukkah 2010, the light of truth is dimming about Israel as never before on earth. Just last week the Palestinian media announced recent "scientific findings" that showed the Western (Wailing) Wall was never part of the Jewish Temple compound. Their "research" found no legitimate historic Jewish claim to Jerusalem---ever. Sadly, many are listening with itching ears.
The first decade of the 21st century witnessed a sobering disregard for moral and factual truth. As a willingly deceived world unites in unprecedented ways to intervene in the affairs of the Jewish State, it also sets in place new apparatus for global governance. To the extent this global governance is anti-Semitic, it will also be anti-Christian
. Be forewarned, pray and act: these two forces, both in direct opposition to God, operate together.
The Jewish state faces a dilemma not unlike that of Hellenist Israel before her surrender to Antiochus IV, foreshadow of the anti-Christ
. How then do we pray?
■ Please pray for a spirit of grace and supplication leading to repentance.
Gay pride parade in Tel Aviv
Sadly, many in Israel today desire to be like the other nations more than they desire to be a light to the nations. We've embraced the humanist ways of the world in the same manner we once embraced Greek Hellenism. God will not allow this to continue. "What you have in your mind shall never be, when you say, 'We will be like the Gentiles, like the families in other countries, serving wood and stone'." (Ezekiel 20:32)
■ Pray that as nations align against us, we will cry for mercy from the God of our fathers. While we're thankful for the support of nations who still stand with us, our trust must be in Him alone. "Look! You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him." (Isaiah 36:6)
■ Pray that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government will stand in Maccabean courage and wisdom, uncompromising on biblical values. "Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.For I have bent Judah, my bow, fitted the bow with Ephraim, and raised up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and made you like the sword of a mighty man." (Zechariah 9:12-13)
■ Pray for God's mercy amid judgment in the Middle East. He desires to shine light over millions trapped behind the Islamic veil. Pray for revival among the Palestinian, Arabic and Muslim peoples. Former Muslim believers who love Israel offer a compelling message and powerful testimony to the Jews. "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
■ Pray for stabilizing forces in the governments of nations in the Middle East that have not fallen to Islamofascism, specifically, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and the future Iraqi government. " In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, 'Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.'" Isaiah 19:23-25
■ Pray for God to mercifully withhold war from the Middle East until He sounds the battle cry. Pray the Israeli army, navy, air force and civilian homeland will all be prepared. Pray for protection, morale, leadership, intelligence, strategic coordination, and supply, as well as quick victory with minimal casualties. Pray that war will result in new openness to the Gospel throughout the Middle East. "The Lord gives voice before His army, for His camp is very great. For strong is the One who executes His word. for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; who can endure it?" (Joel 2:11)
■ Pray that Christians and churches aligned against Israel will repent of any ungodly hatred or anti-Semitism. Pray for a passion for truth to be restored to the Body of Christ. Pray that Israel will increasingly see that her only true friend is the Body of Christ. And pray for the release of bountiful blessing to the Church as a result.
The Feast of Lights: Hanukkah and Messiah's Incarnation
by Sandy Teplinsky
Though most believers now agree that Jesus (Yeshua) was not born on December 25, those choosing to celebrate the Incarnation at this traditional time may not be far off. The best Scripture-based estimate of the timing of Messiah's conception---and in that sense, incarnation---would be during the Hanukkah season
. The implications are prophetically insightful.
The time of Yeshua's conception is ascertained from a straightforward reading of Luke 1:5-13 and 36, together with 1 Chronicles 24:7-19
These passages give us the date when Elizabeth's husband Zechariah would have performed his priestly duties in the temple, based on the priests' temple rotation list in 1 Chronicles 24. Accordingly, Zechariah's temple service would end in early Sivan, which corresponds generally to June. We can assume Elizabeth conceives John shortly thereafter. Then, in Elizabeth's sixth month of pregnancy, the angel Gabriel visits Mary and she divinely conceives the Son of God (Luke 1:26-40). Six months from Elizabeth's conception in Sivan takes us to the month of Kislev. This would mean Mary conceived Yeshua in December---quite possibly, during Hanukkah. Messiah's actual birth would then have occurred on or near the Feast of Tabernacles. (For a more thorough discussion, please see http://biblelight.net/sukkoth.htm
.) Hanukkah may be recognized as an appropriate commemoration of "the Word made flesh" (John 1:14)
The Light of the World is sent to us, hidden in a humble virgin's womb, at the darkest season of the year
. The Son of God empties Himself of His glory, indwelling microscopic flesh and blood. Then, thirty or so years later---on Hanukkah---Yeshua affirms His deity to the Jews (John 10:12-17) and declares Himself the Light of the World (John 9:5-7, 12:35-36). "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God ... To Him be the glory forever!" (Romans 11:33, 36)
The Last Days' Message of Hanukkah
If Yeshua came to us the first time during Hanukkah, what might this reveal about His second coming?
Instructive clues can be gleaned from events surrounding the original holiday. Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of God's Temple in Jerusalem after its defilement by a demonized Syrian emperor, Antiochus IV, in the 2nd century BC. Antiochus IV boastfully named himself Antiochus Epiphanes, meaning "Antiochus the Visible God". He is regarded by many as a biblical foreshadow of the coming anti-Christ (Daniel 8 and 9:27). In fact, the whole story of Hanukkah can be seen as a foreshadow of the end-times as described in the books of Daniel and Revelation.
Israel's dark tribulation culminating with the Hanukkah victory in many ways parallels the future Great Tribulation leading to Yeshua's return. The holiday commemorating the rededication of God's Temple calls upon us to rededicate ourselves to Him as the bodily temples in which His Spirit now dwells. (See 1Corinthians 6:19)
The Hanukkah story is chronicled in historical books known as the Old Testament Apocrypha. These lessons of history can help empower us, by the Spirit, to overcome in the end times.
The paragraphs below suggest how.
■ How did Antiochus IV gain power over God's people?
Sadly, many Jews had rejected biblical faith to embrace the ways of a Hellenist world. They wanted the economic and social advantages of "advanced nations" that had adopted Hellenism, a form of Greek paganism demonically fueling Antiochus IV. These Jews took on Hellenist thought, language, culture and religion (I Macc. 1:15). In this manner, they were unwittingly primed to submit to Syrian Hellenist rule. Antiochus IV offered (false) peace and security, and they accepted. Our love must not grow cold (see Matthew 24:12). If we're not passionate for biblical Truth, we may find ourselves primed for deception that can overtake even the elect (Matthew 24:24). We're to resist friendship with the world, assimilation, or religious correctness that is at enmity with God (James 4:4).
■ What was Antiochus IV's abomination that caused desolation?
The emperor became enraged by his inability to conquer the entire, then-known world. His fury was further evoked by Jewish disloyalties, for a sizeable remnant had remained true to their God. He erected an idol of Zeus---with his own face---inside the Temple. On Zeus' alleged birthday, that year falling on the 25th of both December and Kislev, he sacrificed a pig on the altar. He then sprinkled its blood on the holy of holies (I Macc. 1:39, 3:45). This abomination of desolation led to years of Jewish suffering and blood-curdling martyrdom (2 Macc. 7; Hebrews 11:35-38). When you faithfully worship the one true God, do not be dismayed if anti-Christ powers are enraged. These powers operate only within divinely set limits. God is teaching us how to receive by faith, day-by-day, the anointing to not love our own lives so as to shrink from death (Revelation 12:11).
■ How did the Jews recapture the Temple?
A faithful family of priests, the Maccabees, organized a guerilla-like military coup. The tiny band of freedom fighters miraculously wrested back control of Jerusalem, including the Temple. They quickly cleansed the sanctuary and built a new altar.
On Kislev 25, three years from its defilement, the Temple was rededicated to God. The word "Hanukkah" literally means dedication. Though evil will increase, "the people who know their God will be strong and carry out great exploits" (Daniel 11:32). When darkness covers the earth, His glory rises upon you.
■ How does Hanukkah speak of light?
According to Jewish Talmudic tradition, when the Maccabees recaptured the Temple they found only a day's supply of consecrated oil with which to light the golden lamp stand, the menorah. Miraculously, this oil burned for eight full days, until a new supply could be consecrated. Therefore, Hanukkah is also known and celebrated as the Feast of Lights. This Hanukkah, ask the Holy Spirit to pour fresh oil into your lamp. When enduring a dark season, be encouraged, for God says, "Let there be light." At the appointed hour you will see His deliverance.
Let There Be Light!
God's kingdom is a kingdom of light (Colossians 1:12). In Chapter 1 of the Bible, His first words are, "Let there be light."
In the last chapter He says that He Himself will be light for His people. God is light (1 John 1:5).
As we step into 2011, expect change. Ask the Most High to overshadow you with His light. Perhaps you've been experiencing a dark season. Your deliverance may be hidden for a time in an unlikely womb. But even in the darkest of hours, the Light of the World is with you. In the spirit of the season, we proclaim over each of you, "Let there be light!"
New Year, New State?
by Kerry Teplinsky
There has been a recent flurry of diplomatic activity by the Palestinians aimed at securing international support for unilateral declaration of a state. But Palestinian President Abbas knows he cannot negotiate peace with Israel while Hamas controls Gaza and factions within Judea and Samaria. Will the Palestinian agenda to create a de facto Palestinian state without Israel's agreement prove successful in 2011?
The final weeks of 2010 saw five Latin American countries (Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Ecuador) formally announce recognition of a new Palestinian state with borders which predate the war of 1967. In addition, Norway, along with those five Latin American nations, has granted full diplomatic status to the Palestinians with the establishment of a Palestinian embassy. What does this flurry of diplomatic activity mean? It is not the first time something like this has happened. In 1988, while in exile in Tunisia, former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat declared an independent Palestinian state which was subsequently recognized by over 100 nations. However, neither that declaration nor the subsequent endorsements resulted in Palestinian autonomy, statehood, or acceptance among the community of nations. It appears that the Palestinians are employing a new (old) tactic in their efforts to establish their own state; one that does not involve negotiations with Israel. Let us examine why
In 1988 Yasser Arafat, widely regarded as the father of modern day terrorism, was unequivocally the recognized leader of the Palestinian Arabs. His declaration of statehood was not an announcement that a new country was now open for business. He was putting forth an idea, hoping that international support would cause it to grow into a reality. However, nations are not born from mere declarations. They require infrastructure and institutions along with men and women educated and experienced enough to govern, none of which existed in 1988.
From 1988 through 1993, while Arafat was in exile in Tunisia, there was no development of Palestinian governmental infrastructure. The plans for development began in 1993 after Israel signed the Oslo Accords with Arafat. The Accords provided a framework and guidelines for the development, with Israeli assistance, of systems that would be needed for an autonomous Palestinian entity. They also called for the Palestinians to forsake violence as a negotiating tool, recognize Israel as a nation, and promote peace. Israel, among other things, promised to give up land to the Palestinians. The Palestinians had no land or resources to give up. What they brought to the negotiating table was the promise to give up terror, war, and incitement of hatred. Arafat's prominence among the Palestinians was such that he could make such promises because he carried the authority, if he desired, to see them fulfilled. Unfortunately, history reminds us that those promises were not kept, terror did not cease, and despite billions of dollars in international aid, Palestinian development did not occur at the expected pace
Barak, Clinton, and Arafat at Camp David
Despite failed Palestinian promises, in 2000 Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak presented Arafat with a far reaching offer that would have given the Palestinians almost all of their demands in exchange for one thing: Arafat's agreeing to cease hostilities with Israel. These represented the greatest concessions that Israel had ever made towards the Palestinians. However, the offer was rejected by Arafat, who famously stormed out of the meetings. Observers of this summit, including US president Clinton, reported that the discussions failed entirely because of Arafat's unwillingness to cease hostilities with Israel. From his beginnings in the PLO, terror was Arafat's main tool. His legacy will not be as the father of Palestinian statehood, but as the father of terrorism. His single bargaining chip, terror, was really what defined both he and his movement, and was something he could not give up. Indeed, immediately after the failed discussions, a new round of Palestinian violence erupted within Israel. As a result, Israel built the infamous security barrier between it and the Palestinians. From the failure of the Camp David talks until his death in 2004, Israel was never again involved in peace discussions with Arafat. They recognized his unwillingness to stop terrorism, and apart from that, the Palestinians had nothing the Israelis wanted.
The death of Arafat raised expectations for successful peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Arafat had long been perceived as the principal obstacle to peace. Those expectations were not, however, fulfilled. Despite his intransigence, Arafat was the only Palestinian leader powerful enough to have assured an end to terrorism was he so inclined
. His death resulted in violent disunity among the Palestinians, who no longer could be truly represented by one voice. Therefore, paradoxically, the opportunity to negotiate a bilateral peace agreement died in 2004 with Yasser Arafat.
After Arafat's death in 2004, Mahmoud Abbas, one of the negotiators of the Oslo Accords, became the new Palestinian president. He was viewed as much more moderate than Arafat, and expectations increased for a negotiated peace. Negotiations did resume, but it became clear that Abbas did not command the allegiance of the Palestinians to the same degree as did Arafat, perhaps because of his moderation
. Discussions gained little ground, and in 2005, unwilling to provide full time security for the Israeli minority living there, Israel unilaterally withdrew its military and evacuated its citizens from Gaza.
Civil war in Gaza
After the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, Abbas' true lack of command was revealed as civil war erupted among the Gaza Palestinians. By 2006 the Palestinian terror group Hamas had assumed control of Gaza, expelling or killing all personnel loyal to President Abbas. For all practical purposes, since that time there have existed two Palestinian entities: one deemed moderately violent in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) led by Abbas, and one extremely violent in Gaza led by Hamas. Although he is the elected President of the Palestinians, clearly Abbas does not speak for Hamas or Palestinians in Gaza. This is the critical factor in the present stalemate. Abbas, who may indeed be willing to negotiate with Israel, no longer has anything with which to bargain. He cannot bring about the cessation of violence against Israel because he cannot control Hamas, which is pledged to the destruction of Israel. Therefore, the one thing Israel needs through negotiations, peace, Abbas is unable to provide
I believe that Mr. Abbas is fully aware of this dilemma and that he understands he has nothing with which to negotiate. Perhaps this explains why in 2008, when Israeli Prime Minister Ohmert went even farther in his offer to the Palestinians than had Barak, Abbas could not accept the offer in exchange for peace. Perhaps it also explains why Abbas did not negotiate with Israel during the 10 month construction freeze of 2010 which Prime Minister Netanyahu called specifically in hopes of restarting direct negotiations. Presently Abbas insists there will be no direct negotiations with Israel until it initiates yet another building freeze, something he knows Netanyahu will not do as it yielded no fruit earlier in the year. It is political gamesmanship of Abbas to demand a settlement freeze, knowing Israel will not consent, in order to ensure that he does not have to come to the negotiating table and show that he has no cards to play. For this reason, serious peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians cannot proceed, let alone succeed at present. This premise, that Abbas knows he cannot negotiate, explains the recent change in tactics utilized by the Palestinians, turning away from negotiations and instead rallying world support in favor of a state
For the past 18 months Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad has pointed towards summer 2011 as the time the Palestinians would be ready for the business and institutions of statehood -- police, courts, schools, road repairs and water works, among others. Indeed, there has been successful development of some infrastructure during this period as well as economic improvement. Netanyahu recognizes this development is critical for progress towards peace, and has even promoted it as "economic peace" which will precede a Palestinian state. This was a major plank in his campaign platform of 2008-2009, and he has subsequently stated he envisions a Palestinian state. There has been an increase in prosperity in the West Bank and Gaza over the past two years, (despite what the organizers of the "free Gaza" flotillas would admit - click here
for more), and there has also been less terror. It makes sense that there would be a relationship between diminishing terror and economic prosperity.
Prime Minister Fayyad and President Abbas
What is different now from in 1988 is that Fayyad has focused on substance rather than rhetoric. He has stated "this is not about state declaration; this is about building a state." His goal has been to establish sovereignty in the Palestinian territories gained by Israel in 1967: the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), Gaza and East Jerusalem. However, economic, structural, and cultural progress aside, there remain more than a few obstacles to the creation of a Palestinian state. First, and of prime importance, Gaza has its own government, run by the terror organization Hamas, which will not abide by treaties negotiated between Abbas and Israel, and which continues to call for the destruction of the Jewish state. How can Israel make peace with the Palestinians to the east, and be at enmity with those to the west if they are one nation? Second, the terms of office of both President Abbas and the Hamas-dominated Palestinian legislature expired two years ago in violation of the Palestinian constitution. Therefore, the legitimacy of their government is called into question, as would be any treaty they might enter into with Israel, or any nation. (click here
It appears that the Palestinian agenda heading into 2011 seems to be the creation of a de facto Palestinian state without Israel's agreement through international recognition
. The Palestinians are actively pursuing the European Union and United Nations for similar declarations and resolutions outlawing Israeli construction and development within the "disputed territories". Their goal is to see a diplomatic boundary drawn around Israel without Israel being part of the process. This would essentially define the borders of their nation. Such proposals would win near unanimous support at the U.N. and pile enormous diplomatic pressure upon Israel. The question would then be whether the international community would have a way of implementing Palestinian statehood over Israeli objections
. This becomes a point of considerable divergence of opinion. The Bible speaks of a time when the nations will divide up Israel earning the wrath of God. It also speaks of a time when the nations will gather outside Jerusalem militarily. Could 2011 represent that climactic time? If so, would it be God's timing or that of God's enemies?
I personally believe it is not God's time in 2011, and that He is calling us to pray for His will in His time. Therefore, I believe 2011 will be a year of yet increased international pressure upon Israel as a result of diplomatic isolation, with the goal of achieving Palestinian statehood
. Yet God warns in Joel 3:2: "I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land."
Please join us in praying for the government of Israel. Pray that righteous and God fearing men and women will rise up in wisdom through supplication and humility to govern this land and this people in the difficult seasons that lay ahead. Pray for the Palestinians, that they might recognize what and who can help achieve their goals, and recognize He alone who can make for their ultimate peace. "Arise, O Lord, Do not let man prevail; Let the nations be judged in Your sight. Put them in fear, O Lord, That the nations may know themselves to be but men." Psalms 9:19-20 (NKJV)
Aligning with Israel: Countering De-Legitimization
by Sandy Teplinsky
Jewish Nazi Holocaust victims
The Jewish people say that through history, tides of anti-Semitism rise according to a recurrent pattern. First a nation, society or group declares, "You have no right to live among us as Jews." Next it demands, "You have no right to live among us." Finally what is decried is the very existence of the Jews themselves: "You have no right to live." In 2010, we see the world edging again toward that potentially fatal decree, aligned against Israel as never before in her 4,000+ year existence
. The present scenario seems to ominously echo the refrain of Psalm 83:6: "Come, let us destroy them [Israel] as a nation."
The Palestinian/Islamic objective is to strip Israel of its legal right to exist by fostering global hatred of the Jewish state
. Unsuccessful thus far on military battlegrounds or through terror, Palestinians wield weapons of war in international propaganda that re-writes history and mocks scientific facts. Israel's enemies have grown expert in false and biased news reporting. They are adept at organizing world wide boycotts of Israeli products---and Israeli people; at hate-mongering and scapegoating (blaming) Israel for the current climate of global distress; and, sadly, at resuscitating Christian replacement theology in the form of "fulfillment theology."
Last month, in the delegitimization war facing Israel, two battlefronts emerged assailing her legal right to exist as a nation: one political and one theological. Theologically, our hearts break that on October 23, in response to a call by Pope Benedict XVI, Catholic bishops convened, issued a strongly worded anti-Israel statement---and re-affirmed replacement theology
. The bishops detailed a long (and unsubstantiated) list of alleged Israeli abuses against Palestinians. Then they decreed:
"The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel, or the displacement of the Palestinians, or to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands." ... We Christians cannot speak of the 'promised land' as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people. This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people---all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people."
(Emphasis added.) (Quote reported by The Jerusalem Post, 10/24/10, p. 3.)
In their "Appeal to the International Community," the bishops called upon the nations to establish a Palestinian state from all land gained by Israel in the Six-Day War, including Judea, Samaria and portions of Jerusalem.
No outcry against the bishops' decree has been publicly issued and heard in Israel by representatives of the Catholic Church or any Christian group
. The sounds of silence do not bode well for the Jewish perception of Jesus. Even worse, what does this silence say about the international Body of Christ? Shall we tacitly accept this official pronouncement that God's promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob "was nullified by Christ"?
A second battlefront arose against Israel last month on the political front. The Palestinians have announced their plan to unilaterally declare a sovereign state, carved out of Israeli soil
. The prospect for "self-appointed statehood" would have been approximately zero just a few years ago. Indeed, in the 1990's, former PA President Yasser Arafat threatened such a maneuver. But today's international arena is different.
"Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth" (Habbakuk1:4). As a former lawyer, I (Sandy) have observed how modern international law, based on traditional concepts of right and wrong, has given way to postmodern moral relativism. Moral relativism defines right and wrong according to humanistic principles of "situation ethics" bearing little relation to Biblical truth or justice. Furthermore, until now, the United States could be counted upon for a UN veto of a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. But Islam's mounting influence in both the UN and US administration, coupled with rising, worldwide anti-Israel sentiment, renders plausible the heretofore unthinkable. Although it would be terribly wrong, it is not necessarily impossible for the nations to collectively strip Israel of portions of her God-given land
. Do the Scriptures suggest this could occur?
Joel 3:2 indicates that in the last days the nations divide up Israel's land. Pointedly, in Ezekiel 36:1-5, the Lord admonishes His enemies who plunder and take possession of "the mountains of Israel."
"The mountains of Israel" refers to Judea and Samaria, commonly known today as the West Bank. The Golan Heights may also be included. In verse 7, God swears on oath that He will return those wrongfully confiscated mountains to Israel. Then He'll cause them to flourish fruitfully and securely. Never again, declares verse 15, will the mountains hear the taunts of the nations or bear the peoples' reproach.
Sadly, the mountains of Judea and Samaria are still subject to the daily taunts of the nations and bear the peoples' reproach. Israel does not yet peaceably inhabit these lands, despite the best efforts of many Jewish settlers. When Ezekiel 36 is read in connection with Joel 3, it seems that in the last days---which could include our days---the nations outrageously divide Israeli land, at least for a brief period
. (See also Ezekiel 35:1-14.) This is deeply grievous to God and to us. Both Ezekiel and Joel describe how the matter rouses God's fury and judgment toward the nations.
One not impossible scenario is that, quite sadly, the mountains of Israel are taken from the Jewish people by a Palestinian State
. Not long thereafter, regional military operations could result. But God miraculously intervenes. He glorifies His Name over the gods of both Isalm and traditional Judaism. Revival wonderfully erupts in Israel and the Middle East for a season. A great last days harvest sweeps the region!
In the above scenario Psalm 83 could represent the military operation involved
. Never in Jewish history has the specific alignment of nations described in this psalm taken place. The people groups listed in that passage refer to areas in modern-day Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Gaza,and Western Iran. Also included are the Palestinian peoples. The aim of this international alliance is quite the same as the mantra sounded in the move to delegitimize the Jewish State: "Come, let us destroy them [Israel] as a nation (v.4)."
In Psalm 83, God's people beseech Him to defeat His enemies and deliver His people. But then the psalm concludes with a powerful missionary petition: "That they [Israel's enemies] may know that You, whose name alone is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth." God's goal in war is that His glory be made known. He wants all to come to the knowledge of truth, turn to Him, and be saved
When we pray for Israel, we must pray as well for her enemies. God's heart yearns for both Jews and Arabs, indeed all peoples, to know He is Most High over all the earth. He's preparing for---and so should we---the world's most spectacular harvest of souls
! As He told the prophet Habbakuk, "I will work a work in your days which you would not believe...For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God!" (Hab.1:5; 2:14).
Seed of the Woman, Seed of War
by Sandy Teplinsky
The phenomenon of anti-Semitism has puzzled Christians and nonChristians, Jews and non-Jews, sociologists and prophets alike for millennia. Why does the world persist in despising to death the Jewish nation, no matter what they do---or do not? The root of this ancient hatred traces all the way back to the Garden of Eden
God wants our eyes and hearts focused on Him. But He does not want us ignorant of the schemes of the devil (2 Cor. 2:11). One reason anti-Semitism flourishes today, even among some Christians---is that many do not recognize it. In 2010 anti-Semitism has been subtly re-packaged as global anti-Israelism
. The disguise is so wily that even God's elect could be deceived---the consequences of which are serious. Zechariah 2:8 (NIV) says "whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye." The Hebrew implies that whoever lifts a finger to harm Israel, in a sense, pokes their finger into the Almighty's eye. The result is their own vision is obscured. Such a person may no longer discern truth; they're prone to deception not only concerning Israel but God Himself. Now, because truth sets us free, to understand the true root of Israel hatred is to be empowered to withstand it. But there's more. To be empowered against the anti-Israel spirit is to be also empowered against the anti-Christ spirit. To be empowered against the anti-Christ spirit is also to be empowered to overcome the spiritual warfare affecting you personally in these last days
Seed of the Woman, Seed of War
Return with me momentarily to that glorious Garden called Eden, when all was well in paradise---until, tragically, the unimaginable occurs. Satan tempts the woman Eve with a lie. Eve succumbs to the lie, Adam follows, and humankind---the pinnacle of God's creation---falls from His presence and grace. Horror reverberates throughout the universe. Only the Creator Himself can redeem what has now taken place. Stunningly, this is precisely what our loving Father prepares to do. Thus He pronounces, "I will put enmity between you [Satan/the serpent] and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall crush your head, and you shall strike His heel." (Gen. 3:15, NIV).
In this passage, God prophesies His infinitely spectacular plan of redemption. The seed of the woman will crush the serpent's. And now, as a result, Satan has great wrath. "...Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time." (Rev. 12:12, NKJV)
Genesis 3:15 and Revelation chapter 12 expound on each other. When these passages are studied in tandem, a striking, threefold pattern emerges from Scripture. First, we see that God's plan of redemption occurs in phases
. The watershed event in His overarching plan for redeeming this fallen world is Messiah's cross and resurrection. But redemption does not climax until Messiah returns, and a Milennium later, ushers in a new heaven and earth. Second, we see that from the Garden to the Great Tribulation, whenever God is about to unleash the next phase of His redemptive plan, the devil ferociously unfurls his wrath
. Fearful of losing his place on earth, Satan strikes preemptively and venomously, as if he could actually defeat his Creator. Third, we see that each time the devil unfurls his wrath, it is especially aimed at the woman and her seed---in an attempt to thwart redemption
. To stand firm in truth and love, aligned with God's plans, it helps us to know who the woman and her seed are, and how Satan's wrath unfurls.
Who is the seed?
If you know and love Messiah Jesus, you know He is the "seed of the woman," or as described in Revelation 12:5, the "male child who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter." The word "seed" in Hebrew is singular, as is "male child" in Greek, referring to an individual rather than a corporate or plural seed. Yeshua, fully divine and fully human, crushed the head of the serpent through the power of His cross and resurrection. However, to the extent you and I are spiritually in Christ, the seed can at times refer to us as well.
The "seed of the serpent" refers in its most literal interpretation to the anti-Messiah. In a broader sense, his seed encompasses the fallen angels or hosts of hell, all those given over to wickedness, and the evil they unleash.
Who is the woman?
The identity of the woman is multidimensional. Indisputably, in the fundamental, most literal sense, Yeshua's mother, Miriam or Mary, is that most highly esteemed woman. But according to many Christian theologians and Jewish rabbis, in the more general biblical and natural context, the woman refers to Israel
. This would explain the last days' outworking of Rev. 12:13 and 17: "When the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. ... And the dragon was enraged at the woman, and went to make war with the rest of her offspring [seed], who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." (See the remainder of chapter 12 for a more complete understanding.)
In the natural realm, Eve birthed Abraham and Sarah, who birthed Israel, who birthed Miriam, who gave birth to Yeshua. In the natural realm, Israel's offspring in the last days who keep both God's commandments and the testimony of Jesus are Messianic Jewish believers in Yeshua.
In another and broader sense, or in the supernatural realm, the woman includes all those who worship the God of Israel, or Jewish and Gentile believers in Yeshua. As we'll soon see, this interpretation explains the relationship between the anti-Christian spirit and the anti-Israel spirit
. Particularly in these last days, both demonic forces operate in tandem. And increasingly, the remnant of those keeping both God's commandments and the testimony of Jesus will include Gentile, as well as Jewish, believers in Yeshua.
How Satan's wrath unfurls: the recurrent biblical pattern
How does Satan's wrath unfurl? The father of lies, lies
(John 8:44). From the Garden to the Great Tribulation, the lie serves as his prime weapon of choice. His choice goal, however, is death. He aims to destroy both the woman and her seed in order to thwart God's redemptive plans. Recall that Yeshua said the devil was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). The devil's very first lie to humanity brought about their death (Genesis 3:3)
Viewing Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 12 together, the recurrent pattern emerges from the Scriptures. The devil tries---unsuccessfully---to abort each new phase of God's redemptive plan through a spirit of death:
1. God initiates the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis 12:1-3. However, barrenness befalls the patriarchs and matriarchs
. Because barrenness precludes new life, it is a type of spirit of death. Satan causes Abraham and Sarah to be barren, he causes Isaac and Rebekah to be childless, and Jacob and Rachel are similarly unable to reproduce. Yahweh intervenes each time to birth the godly seed. Each time He is glorified.
2. Many years pass and the sons of Israel grow into a nation. God's next phase of redemption is the Mosaic covenant. But down in Egypt, Satan's propaganda campaign begins. He lies to the pharaoh (Exodus 1:8-10), who then orchestrates history's first mass murder of the Jews
. Again his goal is to destroy the seed of the woman that crushes his head. But God preserves Moses, Israel's unmatched leader destined to mediate the written Word. Moses also directs the first great aliyah
, or taking of the Promised Land. The Land is an integral part of the divine redemption. Bear in mind the Creator is redeeming not just humanity but His entire creation.
3. The Davidic covenant represents the next stage of redemption. Through King David the Messianic lineage is set in motion. But David's predecessor Saul believes a lie about the young warrior's motives and seeks to slay him
(1 Samuel 18:8-9, 24:9). Once more, God is victorious and glorious.
4. In the book of Esther, Israel has been exiled and is living in the Persian Empire. Again Satan inspires the attempted genocide of the Jews. He concocts lies about them to the Persian king through his wicked adviser Hamaan
. Is it coincidental this takes place shortly before the Israelites return to the Land? God marvelously defeats the devil, and the second Jewish aliyah
is described in Ezra and Nehemiah.
5. After the Jews return to the Promised Land, once more the father of lies, lies. Ezra and Nehemiah record how Israel's Arab neighbors relentlessly resist the rebuilding of Jerusalem. When these enemies are unsuccessful they lie outrageously to the authorities
, falsely alleging the Jews will upset the "powers that be." Today almost 2,500 years later, the reality of Ecc.1:9-10 rings sadly true---"there is nothing new under the sun; what has been done will be done...it has already been in ancient times before us" (NKJV). By demand of Israel's Arab neighbors animated by Islam, world powers again relentlessly resist the Jews' rebuilding of Jerusalem.
6. Hundreds of years later, the New Covenant comes to pass in the fullness of time. Immediately prior, King Herod rises to power and is told a lie. A Jewish child, word has it, will someday usurp his Roman throne and rule the province. The lie is based on prophetic truth---but it remains a lie. Nevertheless, the crazed king executes every baby boy in the Land. Behind the scenes, Satan is attempting to abort the prophetic fulfillment of Genesis 3:15 and the crushing of his head
. But God isn't worried. His Son the Savior is swiftly tucked away and survives. Sadly, in the process thousands of innocent Jewish babies are cruelly killed. Rachel weeps for her children and cannot be consoled (Matthew 2:17-18). Messiah's coming is not quite as expected.
7. In a last ditch effort to abort the Messianic mission and world redemption, Satan inspires the crucifixion of Jesus
. Now the enemy is outwitted in the most stunning victory ever. The spilt blood of Jesus unleashes forgiveness of sin. The Resurrection represents humanity's inheritance of kingdom-of-heaven authority. The Holy Spirit's outpouring births the Body of Messiah from all families and nations on earth.
8. Satan's wrath is great. Fierce persecution (based on lies) is unleashed against Israel and the Church---though at this point, the Church is mostly Israeli. As a result God's people are scattered abroad. The next phase of redemption history unfolds---the spread of the Gospel to the nations
9. Nearly 2,000 years later, the set time to favor Zion has come (Psalm 102:13)
. In 1920, a global body known as the League of Nations establishes a Mandate for a Jewish State. The Mandate is adopted in full accordance with international law. (Boundaries for the Jewish State encompass 90 percent more than the size of Israel today.) The "woman" is about to be revived, heralding the prophesied end times restoration of Israel
. The Old Testament Scriptures and Yeshua Himself indicate the Jews must be back in the Land---and Jerusalem---before He comes as conquering king (Matthew 23:39).
What happens next? The Nazi Holocaust endeavors to eradicate every Jew on earth. Once more, the power to murder flows from the power to propagate lies. The father of lies, lies. In World War II he employs propaganda at unprecedented levels about the Jewish people
. Six million tragically perish. Yet ultimately God's plan prevails.
After World War II, the League of Nations is replaced by the United Nations. The UN is by law required to adopt all mandates legally passed by the League of Nations. Despite the hellish horror a few years prior, the third Jewish aliyah
begins. Israel is re-born in the natural realm. At about the same time, the spread of the Gospel in Holy Spirit power exponentially increases. Millions of Gentiles are re-born in the spirit realm
---but only after millions are viciously killed in two world wars. At this point, the interrelationship between the anti-Israel and anti-Christ spirit sharpens into focus.
10. In 1967 the nations surrounding Israel plot her final demise. The seed of the serpent spins his viperous lies, weaving together Nazi propaganda with modern-day, murderous Islam. But God is gloriously victorious. In the lightning-speed Six Day War, His enemies are defeated and physical Jerusalem is restored to the Jews. In a sense, spiritual Jerusalem is restored to the Gentiles, as global revival simultaneously escalates
Interpreting the times: seed of the woman, seed of war
In 2010, a small remnant of Jewish lovers of Yeshua live in Israel and are beseeching Him to return
. We're saying daily from Jerusalem, "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord" (Matthew 23:39). We're joined by untold numbers of Christians from the nations. Together as the Bride, we're preparing the way for Messiah to return.
The devil's wrath---and fear---are greatly roused. Therefore he is rousing wrath worldwide toward Israel as never before. The woman and her Seed represent seeds of war
To his deadly Islamic, anti-Israel propaganda, Satan has now infused the inherently anti-Christian lie of humanism
. Humanism defines truth not as an objective standard set by One greater than humanity. Instead, truth becomes subjective; it is seen as whatever standard of right or wrong appears to best serve collective humanity, given current circumstances. To the extent Biblical Truth is denied, so too is the Biblical basis for Israel's existence. As a result, fertile ground is found for nontruth, or lies, to flourish about the Jewish State.
Israel's existence reminds the world of an inconvenient reality that runs counter to the goals of humanism. That "inconvenient reality" is the existence of the God of Truth.
Tragically, many Christians fall prey to the deception. Anti-Semitism takes hold in their hearts and, by harming the apple of God's eye, their own vision is dangerously harmed. They may no longer see truth or discern clearly. (For this reason, the same liberal churches that disdain Israel generally embrace the ways of the world regarding homosexuality, abortion, and other similar issues.) Today's anti-Israel movement is repackaged anti-Semitism, together with the anti-Christ spirit
While the enemy animates the world against Israel, God is watching. The Holy One uses anti-Semitism as a test for the nations. When (not if) you hear accusation upon accusation in the coming days and years about Israel, remember the father of lies, lies. The enemy of your soul has great wrath toward the woman whose Seed crushes his serpentine head. He opposes God's plan for redemption by opposing the people through whom God will bring the next phase of His redemption into effect
. Those people are the Jews---and all who keep the holy commands in Yeshua's name. Those people are you and me.
Birth pains at unprecedented levels will accompany the days leading to Messiah's Second Coming. The woman, like Rachel, will once more weep for her children. But her consummate victory is at hand:
"Now salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ, have come, for the accuser of our brethren...has been cast down... And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them!" (Rev. 12:10, KJV)
UPDATE POSTED JUNE 2, 2010
NOON, ISRAELI TIME
At this writing, reports indicate two additional ships plan to leave Turkey for Gaza. Iran is calling for an international confrontation with Israel to break the blockade. Please pray the Israeli military and government will respond in God's wisdom. Pray with us for Israelis to cry out to Him for mercy on our nation.
Listed below are concise video clips documenting events aboard the "humanitarian aid" ship intercepted by Israel on May 31.
The goal of the flotilla
"Peace activists" prior to their departure
Soldiers attacked aboard vessel
Distressing sound clip from naval troops met with gunfire
Evidence disclosed over past days has confirmed the information presented in the following article.
"What has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9). The biblical truism applies only too well to Israel and her enemies today---as it did yesterday. How has Satan manipulated world weapons of deceit against the Jews? The father of lies, lies."
Facts on the Flotilla -
May 31, 2010
by Sandy Teplinsky
The above is an excerpt from my 2004 book, Why Care about Israel?
The book includes a section describing and documenting Satan's timeless weapon of deceit about the Jewish people and Israel. From the era of the Egyptian pharaohs, to the days of Queen Esther, to the rebuilding of Jerusalem under Ezra and Nehemiah, and up through the Middle Ages, the Reformation, the Nazi regime, and today, the father of lies, lies.
Sadly, On May 31, 2010, we awoke to the news that early that morning, Israeli naval troops were forced to respond to an armed attack against them aboard a convoy of ships illegally attempting to "break Israel's blockade" against Gaza.
Purpose of the Flotilla
Rather than repeat fabrications already circling the globe, this article describes today's conflict off the coast of Gaza according to Israeli reports. Bear in mind that not all the facts are yet in. But one thing is certain: The purpose of the flotilla convoy was not primarily humanitarian and not primarily peaceful. This is evidenced by the following: (1) Leftist extremists, jihadist Muslims and terrorists calling for the destruction of Israel were aboard, heading toward Israeli territorial waters. (2) The flotilla of ships was loaded with humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza---but also with weapons. (3) The Israeli navy issued numerous warnings to the flotilla to turn back and offered to peacefully unload and distribute all the humanitarian aid aboard. If their true aim had been to alleviate suffering in Gaza, the "peace actibvists" would have followed this simple procedure. (In fact, this is the same procedure we had to follow as Israeli citizens when we shipped our personal belongings here from America.) (4) As seen on video, the ship's passengers then opened fire on the Israeli navy. (5) Israel already allows a daily influx of tons of aid into Gaza. Tragically, this aid is regularly stolen by the Hamas-run Gazan government, which now boasts a small but very wealthy class of individuals. The media does not depict the flourishing businesses, including upscale restaurants, large department stores, luxurious homes and Olympic size swimming pools that exist in Gaza amid the more widespread squalor. (The Jerusalem Post, May 27, 2010, p. 19)
The main purpose of the flotilla was to stage a media event to make Israel look bad
. Accordingly, Israel was placed in a dilemma no other nation would be forced to tolerate. On the one hand, had Israel let the ships into Gaza, our national sovereignty and security would have been breached by terrorists----not just peaceful protestors. On the other hand, it was known in advance that by stopping the flotilla, the international media would inevitably falsely assail Israel, with serious consequences in the political realm. Israeli commentators described the matter a few days ago, before the confrontation, as a "lose, lose situation."
The flotilla was organized, in part by Turkey, in the wake of Amnesty International's recently released annual report. The report alleged Israel's blockade of Gaza has created a humanitarian crisis. (The organization has a long history of undue focus and attack on Israel.) The Israeli government replied that Amnesty International's report was false, was compiled without credible evidence, and rested on hearsay testimony. (The Jerusalem Post, May 27, 2010, p. 19) The Israeli government then released the following statement:
"Over a million tons of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza from Israel "over the last 18 months, equaling nearly a ton of aid for every man, woman and child in Gaza. ... Food and supplies are shipped from Israel to Gaza six days a week. ... In a typical week the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] coordinates the transfer of hundreds of trucks containing about 15,000 tons of supplies. ... No Palestinian is denied medical care in Israel. However, if the Hamas regime does not grant permits for medical care, the Israeli government can do nothing to help the patient. ... In 2009 alone, 10,544 patients and their companions left the Gaza Strip for medical treatment in Israel. ... Palestinians exploited medical care arrangements more than 20 times to carry out terror attacks."
The report also addresses issues such as building materials brought in to Gaza, school supplies provided, electrical and water infrastructures, and more. It points out that certain building materials are prohibited only because they are used to construct weapons for ongoing terror attacks against Israel, mostly in or near Sderot
The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs justified the Gaza blockade on its web site last week: "Israel has imposed a maritime blockade on Gaza because Israel is currently in a state of armed conflict with the Hamas regime that controls Gaza
. According to Sarah Weiss Maudi, the Israel Foreign Ministry's expert on maritime and humanitarian law: "Hamas has repeatedly bombed civilian targets in Israel with weapons that have been smuggled into Gaza by various routes, including the sea....Maritime blockades are a legitimate and recognized measure under international law
, and may be implemented as part of an armed conflict at sea....The naval manuals of the US and UK recognize the maritime blockade as an effective naval measure that can be implemented in times of armed conflict." In fact, Egypt has agreed to, and also participates, in the blockade regarding Gaza
Hebrew University international law expert Dr. Robbie Sabel explained the legality of the IDF action in international waters. In time of conflict, a state can impose an embargo, and while it cannot carry out embargo activities in the territorial waters of a third party, it can carry out embargo activities in international waters
. Within this framework it is legal to detain a civilian vessel trying to break an embargo, and if in the course of detaining the vessel, force is used against the forces carrying out the detention, then that force has every right to act in self-defense. Sabel added there is a long history of embargo activities in international waters. (Independent Media Review Analysis, www.imra.org.il, May 31, 2010)
Events On Board
As reported today by the Jerusalem Post, based largely on information directly from the IDF, violence erupted this morning when "activists aboard the flotilla of ships on their way to the Gaza Strip opened fire on IDF soldiers who boarded the ships to prevent them from breaking the Israeli-imposed sea blockade. ... The international activists 'prepared a lynch' for the soldiers who boarded the ships
at about 2 a.m. Monday morning after warning them to leave, or follow them to the Ashdod Port several hours earlier. [Click here
to see videos of this warning and other aspects of the incident.]...At least 10 activists were killed during the ensuing clashes as well as 6 navy commandos, some of them from gunfire and at least one in serious condition with a head wound. ... Upon boarding the ships, the soldiers encountered fierce resistance from the passengers who were armed with knives, bats and metal pipes. The soldiers used non-lethal measures to disperse the crowd. The activists succeeded in stealing the weapon from one of the IDF's soldiers and opened fire
, leading to an escalation in violence. 'It was like a well-planned lynch,' one IDF officer said. 'These people were anything but peace activists.'
"The IDF said the ships would be taken to the Ashdod Port where, despite the violence, the cargo that they are carrying will be inspected and then transferred to the Gaza Strip
via land crossings." (www.jpost.com, May 31, 2010) Indeed, as of this writing, the ships are en route to Ashdod.
According to the IDF's web site earlier today, "[Israeli naval] forces operated in adherence with operational commands and took all necessary actions in order to avoid violence
, but to no avail. ... All of the injured parties, Israelis and foreigners, are currently being evacuated by helicopter to hospitals in Israel."
Israel's deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Israel regrets any loss of life and did everything to avoid this outcome. He described the convoy as a "premeditated and outrageous provocation," calling it an "armada of hate".
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, international leaders, and global bodies are quickly condemning Israel's actions, alleging we have committed a massacre and act of terror. Palestinians are rioting in protest today in various locations in Israel. Will the world ever hear the truth?
Please join us in praying intently for this situation
. Pray protection and wisdom for the Israeli navy, police and government officials. Pray for the salvation of all involved and for the wounded. Pray for truth to emerge. May even this tragic conflict be used for God's ultimate kingdom purposes.
"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem ..." Psalm 122:6
Prophetic Perspective on the News
by Sandy Teplinsky
Grieving soldier on Memorial Day
Abounding shalom to you in whatever circumstances this letter finds you. As we write, Israel is on the miraculous brink of celebrating her 62nd birthday tomorrow. The Jewish State was officially re-born on May 14, 1948, the 6th of Iyar according to the Jewish lunar calendar, which falls this year on April 20. The air is rife with bittersweet anticipation.
Daughters of Zion celebrating Independence Day
As you may know, Israeli Memorial Day is always observed immediately before Independence Day. Today, therefore, the country mourns and honors those fallen on its behalf. The State's founders intentionally juxtaposed the two annual commemorations. "Weeping may remain for the night, but joy comes in the morning." In the world we will have tribulation, but "His favor is for life." (Psalm 30:5)
In days ahead world circumstances may rapidly worsen before your eyes. Because we watch and pray as the Lord told us to do, we can not deny a dark reality. But we also see beyond the present outworking of events. We cherish the sure promise of His Word in our hearts, standing firm in love. We focus on what He is doing under the cloak of darkness. Our Beloved is touching souls with His glory and preparing the way of kingdom righteousness. As we pray, and even as we travail in intercession, we remember that weeping may remain for the night---but joy comes in the morning.
Acts of global anti-Semitism doubled in 2009 over 2008
, mostly in Europe and North America. This increase represents the largest spike recorded since World War II and is said to be the result of mounting international anti-Israel sentiment. For more information, click here
Israel's relationship with the United States continues to deteriorate
. The two nations have been historic allies in large part because Middle Eastern Muslim nations were at enmity with America. The Obama administration seeks to reverse this situation, however, by appeasing Muslim demands in pursuit of world peace.
The reasoning is that if Islamic regimes can be placated, Israel will no longer be needed as an American ally or friend. According to this (demonic) logic, Israel's "unfortunate" demise by, let's say, an Iranian bomb, could in the end make the rest of the world a safer place. But God has another plan.
On the one hand, Israel's trust must rest in her God alone. On the other hand, America will sadly but inevitably suffer for her mistreatment of Israel (Genesis 12:3). Pray with us for the balance of these truths and divine goals. God wants to unite His faithful Body in America, together with the true remnant of Israel, in such spiritual unity and strength that powerful blessing is released over both nations.
Evidence is mounting that the Obama administration will take serious steps to impose its own Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, backed by Arab countries and the EU. Israel may be forced to comply with these demands in exchange, perhaps, for a promise-of-sorts for global measures against Iran. For more information click here
. Reports also indicate the US administration may be attempting to manipulate a regime change in Israel. A prime minister more left-wing than Netanyahu would likely be more accepting of a US-inspired peace plan. For the full article, click here
Arab Christians and well known evangelical leaders devised new strategies to oppose Christian Zionism
at a conference in Bethlehem last month. "Christ at the Checkpoint" took place at Bethlehem Bible College, an Arab evangelical institution. Please pray for our Arab brothers and sisters in Messiah who sadly reject His unconditional covenant with the children of Israel. To see how some Arab Christians are infusing an unbiblical perspective on Israel into the Western Church, please click here
One courageous Arab Christian spokeswoman recently declared her love for the Jews and squarely placed blame on the Palestinians for their current plight
. Said Noni Darwish, "I cannot blame the Jewish people, or the government of Israel, for what you call the 'misery' of the Palestinians. I can only blame Arab and Islamic culture. I believe that this is an Arab self-inflicted crisis..." Pray for more bold voices like Darwish to resonate in the Palestinian/Muslim world. This article
is worth the 5 minutes it takes to read.
Many voices in Israel decry it may be too late to prevent another Holocaust
, the second worse than the first. Iran has announced it will go nuclear in May. International Jewish leaders are protesting, and some Christians are mobilizing to varying degrees, but the nations are doing little. Allegedly, Iran has now threatened that if it is attacked by Israel, nuclear devices will detonate in American cities. Please click here
to read the full article. Because we have many Chinese friends, we also need to share that sadly, China is economically aligned with Iran and doing what she can to prevent any severe international sanctions from being imposed on Iran. Please pray for China.
The final verdict in an unprecedented lawsuit filed by Messianic Jews in Beersheva against anti-missionaries will be rendered within a month
. The case is based on a violent attack on a Messianic congregation in 2005. Although a verdict against the plaintiffs could inspire further violence against Israeli Messianics, please pray with us that God will work all matters regarding this case for good (Romans 8:28). For details on the trial, click here
Major corruption scandals involving former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski are sending shock waves across the country
. Sadly, corruption is a way of life throughout the Middle East. Israel's moral standards and commitment to biblical integrity are relatively high. However, as the country has strayed from the Lord she has inevitably strayed from righteousness. Pray with us that a convicting fear of the Lord will fall upon our people, drawing us back to His ways and to His Messiah. For more information, please click here
I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. (Isaiah 62:6-7)
The Unleavend Bread of Sincerity and Truth
by Sandy Teplinsky
The manifest fullness of Messiah's rule and reign on earth is not without opposition. But as at the Passover exodus, God will use the enemy's schemes to bring us to the place of His promise. He is taking us from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18) that we might live in His gracious rest (Hebrews 4:1-11). Every testing is intended to bring us to a new place of promotion. How will you respond to your tests and trials as you're taken to your promised land?
Will you unwittingly consume the "leaven of malice and wickedness" or the "unleavened bread of sincerity and truth?"
When bread is prepared, only a tiny portion of leaven is added to it. Yet that tiny portion soon permeates and puffs up the entire loaf. Leaven inflates its host substance through the natural process of decay, a form of death
. For this reason leaven is symbolic in the Scriptures of sin. On the other hand, unleavened bread resists decay. Retaining its nourishing properties, it remains fresh and alive. The unleavened bread of sincerity and truth symbolize God's Word.
Sometimes, even as committed followers of Messiah, we unintentionally consume a bit of leaven. Such leaven usually finds its way in us through deception. We unwittingly embrace a subtle lie and before long, we're puffed up from decay
. The Bible cautions that deception will increase in the last days. We're told to stay alert---out of love for the Lord, not fear or anger---to the myriad of sensory input swirling around us. The closer we come to the time of Yeshua's return, the increasingly pervasive the leaven of malice and wickedness.
The leaven of malice and wickedness is the spirit of the age, and can be summed up today as humanism. Humanism extols mankind's capacity for his total fulfillment through human means apart from God. Objective standards of morality do not exist. Moral truth is seen as merely relative to individuals and their circumstances; hence the term, moral relativism
. Under moral relativism, the Bible is no more authoritative than the Koran, the Talmud---or CNN. Good and evil, as well as truth and deception, are those qualities which seem to most benefit humanity.
Sadly, the world today feasts on the spirit of the age when it swallows information about Israel. Even much of the Church gorges herself into a semi-stupor from deceptive dainties heaped on today's platter of "Israel."
In replacement of pure biblical truth, the leaven of malice and wickedness is served up.
Recall that Israel is God's signpost. What He does with the Jewish nation He will soon do in parallel manner with His people across the earth
. So watch and pray---and take heed in love.
Since last Passover, the global shift from biblical truth to humanistic moral relativism has led to the following realities:
►Israel's rapidly approaching existential threat is not acknowledged. Iran is now treated by the international community as a legitimate partner on the global scene
. Based on what the world is doing rather than saying, Iran's nuclear interests
are regarded on a par similar to that of other nations---despite its repeated threat to wipe Israel off the map. Now, because of God's covenant with Israel, He will not allow Iran to wipe us off the map. Nevertheless, as history teaches, millions of Jews could be murdered in the process.
►An international de-legitimization of Israel movement was launched in 2009 through the UN Goldstone Report
. This inordinately biased report concludes that Israel's defense against terror in 2008 in Gaza ran contrary to international law. As a result, Israeli leaders are now subject to arrest for crimes against humanity when they travel abroad to some nations. The effect of the Goldstone Report is to essentially undermine Israeli national sovereignty on the ground it (Israel) undermines the welfare of humanity
. This de-legitimization movement, based on devilish deception or the leaven of malice and wickedness, has escalated exponentially, even in the US. Wildly outlandish accusations against Israel, too numerous (and unedifying) to list here, fly across the earth with lightning speed.
►The entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict is now regarded apart from its biblical context. This conflict is at its heart a dispute with God over His Word. By His Word, God delegated unconditional stewardship over the Land of Israel to the Jewish people
. (Genesis 12:3, 15: 7-17, 17:19-21) The children of Ishmael, or non-Jewish Palestinians, do not have the same biblical claim. Now, unjust Palestinian suffering can be terribly tragic. Israeli suffering from continued terror is also tragic. These wrongs must be made right. But they do not provide a reason to re-interpret the Scriptures.
►As a result of all the above, a matter as seemingly routine as adding apartment units to a thriving Jewish neighborhood in the nation's capital of Jerusalem, not located on Arab-owned land, namely Ramat Shlomo
, has caused American-Israeli relations to drop to an historic low.
This Passover and through the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we will purge our homes of leaven in a literal sense. But let us purge out the figurative leaven as well
. Messiah, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast not with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Resist devilishly deceptive delicacies concerning God's Word, including His ancient covenants. By embracing biblical truth about Israel, you automatically close doors to deception about your own destiny in God. Ask the Spirit to burn His truth in your heart as never before. As He did millennia ago in the Hebrew exodus, He plans to use the enemy's schemes to propel you into your promised land---a place of rest. Despite the challenging realities described above, this is how we ourselves are committed to live in grace before Him in His literal Promised Land. Happy Passover!
The Purim Iranian Threat
by Kerry and Sandy Teplinsky
Shalom Dear Friends,
Scroll of the Book of Esther
And happy Purim to each of you! Purim, falling this year on February 28, is the most joyous festival of the Jewish year. The holiday is based on the breathtaking events of the book of Esther. It celebrates God's miraculous deliverance of the Jews from a genocidal holocaust planned by a nefarious Persian governor, named Haman. Due to the intervention of Queen Esther, and prayer support of God's' people, the Jews were spared while Haman, together with his family, was executed instead.
Now fast forward about 2,500 years. Ancient Persia has evolved into the modern day Islamic Republic of Iran. Sadly, there the spirit of Haman still lives on. Given the dire Iranian threat to Israel today, what might be the Word of the Lord to us this Purim?
PURIM AND THE IRANIAN THREAT: ARE WE OUT OF TIME?
Looking back to an article we wrote four years ago at Purim 2006, we read the following words: "Iran's threat to wipe Israel off the map is far more than mere rhetoric. According to Israeli news sources, Iran's nuclear program is now past the point where it can be destroyed. ... Israel understands that a preemptive strike on its part will result in a retaliatory hit by Iran in the future that, given Israel's small size, could erase the entire country. So for now, the Jewish nation sits and waits for the Western world to decide whatever it will do."
What's changed in four years?
How has the Iranian threat changed since our first article? In this updated analysis we simplify complex facts presented in the Israeli media, as objectively as we can. We then offer a biblically prophetic perspective. Finally, we provide a practical, Spirit led strategy for prayer.
Since we first soberly shared about the Iranian threat, Israel has engaged in two formal wars: Lebanon II against Hezbollah in 2006; and Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in 2008. These wars, fought against Iranian-backed terror groups
under the direction of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, are generally regarded as moderately successful. On the one hand, rocket fire from Lebanon and Gaza into Israel has been (temporarily) reduced dramatically. On the other hand, critical deterrent power previously ascribed to the Israel Defense Forces has lessoned in the enemy's eyes. In addition, "legal" platform now exists in the international community for bringing war crimes charges and investigations---however biased---against Israel. What we now see is that any successful military defense of Israel is inversely related to world opinion or support of the Jewish State
And in Iran?
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seems to have rightly assessed, as did Adolf Hitler before World War II, that the world will do little or nothing to stop a threatened eradication of the Jews. In mid-February he boasted that the Islamic Republic possesses the capability to enrich uranium to levels needed for military purposes. These developments occurred while Iran remained a signatory to the international nuclear non-proliferation treaty, while the International Atomic Energy Commission issued toothless violations of the treaty, while the world watched his regime brutally repress those Iranians expressing opposition---and while Ahmadinejad continued calling for the destruction of Israel.
What in the world happened?
In 2007 the US National Intelligence Estimate on Iran concluded "with high confidence" that Teheran had halted its nuclear weapons program back in 2003
. American officials now regard the report as mistaken. Nevertheless, the US response has tended toward delay, denial, and distraction. Two other nations wield considerable power over the Iranian threat due to their permanent status on the UN Security Council: China and Russia. However, China's day-to-day life depends on Iranian oil. And one of Russia's best customer in the financial sector is the Islamic Republic, with its voracious appetite for the purchase of high-level military equipment. China and Russia together bloc any unified international action. (We have ministered in both countries. We sincerely love the Russian and Chinese peoples and urge you to pray for them.)
The facts today
Nuclear enrichment facility in Iran
Just days ago, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was asked by Russian leaders what proof Israel had that Iran wanted to build nuclear weapons. Netanyahu replied, that to summarize, the evidence was fourfold. First, Iran has an arsenal of long range ballistic missiles
which reach not only into Israel, but well into Europe, including Russia. Second, Iran recently took out of hiding its secret uranium enrichment facility
at Qom. Why, Netanyahu asked, build a secret enrichment facility if there is no intent to weaponize a nuclear program? Third, Ahmadinejad announced this month he would enrich uranium up to 80 percent---a level needed for only one purpose: the production of nuclear weapons
. Finally, nonpublic intelligence information shared by key governments
around the world corroborates Iran's weapons-oriented program. (The Jerusalem Post,
"Iranian Threat 101," Herb Kleinon, February 19, 2010)
A best case scenario is the internal fall of Ahmadinejad and the Islamofascist Shi'ite regime that fuels him. It is reported that many Iranians are turning to faith in Yeshua daily, and that an undercurrent of revival could eventually shift political realities.
Underground church in Iran
A window of opportunity for a regime implosion seemed to present itself after last summer's post-election uprising. However, Western democracies chose not to support the grass roots opposition, which has since been brutally quelled. In any case, revolutions typically take time---which we no longer have. Finally, a successor, even democratic government, would not necessarily abandon the nation's nuclear ambitions and anti-Israel theology. Therefore, an internal collapse---though likely to occur in the future---does not seem a viable solution to Iran's imminent threat
A second option is the imposition of economic sanctions against Iran. The international community continues to mull over in its global mind the efficacy of such sanctions. This mulling has gone on for several years. No agreement has been reached, and no effective agreement appears reachable in the immediate future
. Notwithstanding, high ranking US military delegations visited Israel several days ago to make clear, according to news reports and/or rumors, that America does not support an Israeli defensive, pre-emptive strike.
The remaining option is the military resort. Many evangelical Christians believe Israel will go it alone and preemptively attack Iran. However, most Israelis do not share this opinion. The Netanyahu administration states it does not intend to strike Iran; however, "all options remain on the table." But news sources agree Israel does not have the ability to wipe out Iran's capabilities as it did in 1981 with Iraq or 2007 with Syria.
Developments on the ground have rendered the situation nearly impossible for a military assault to succeed
. One of several key factors is that Turkey, formerly a friend of Israel, is now aligning at varying, new levels with Iran, Syria and the Palestinians. So the use of Turkey's airspace---very helpful for an Israeli strike on Iran---is no longer available as in the past. Of course, high level Israeli military and intelligence sources have access to information not reported in the media. So despite all we've said, a military raid should not be ruled out.
Consensus: Regional War is Coming
While Israeli debates on Iran show no sign of abating, the more imminent concern is that our next war---whenever it occurs and with whomever---will be regional in scope with widespread devastation. The next battle ground is expected to be the Israeli home front itself
. What's worse is that nonconventional payloads (biological, chemical, nuclear, etc.) are expected by most intelligence officials. The focus is no longer on the traditional military capacities of our immediate neighboring states, but rather on the nonconventional threat to do us harm by al-Qaida, Hamas, Hizbullah, Syria---and of course, Iran. All five of those players are incontrovertibly scheming, right now, to damage Israel
. And there is another quintet - Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Libya - which, in the dispassionate, nondiplomatic analysis of the intelligence community, cannot be discounted as potentially joining them. (The Jerusalem Post,
"If he got it, would he use it?" David Horowitz, February 12, 2010)
Israel is undergoing regular civil defense related drills, and gas masks are soon to be redistributed to its citizens. Nevertheless, it is openly acknowledged that the country is quite unprepared for the massive, wide-scale terror attacks we're told are soon coming. And so, four Purims after we first wrote on this matter, we are left with the same conclusion: the Jewish nation sits and waits for the Western world to decide whatever it will do
Returning to the book of Esther, it is instructive to note the cause for Haman's attempted annihilation of the Jews. The proud power monger had decreed that he be worshiped throughout the empire. A righteous Jew name Mordecai refused to do so. "When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. Yet having learned who Mordecai's people were, he [Haman] scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead, Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai's people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom..." (Esther 3:5-6) It was the worship of the God of Israel that roused satan's fury
The devil is desperately trying to prevent Israel from worshiping her God in Spirit and in Truth. Yet a growing remnant of Jews have either come to faith in Messiah or are opening their hearts to Him. Satan knows that when this worshiping remnant reaches its critical mass, and when a Jewish Jerusalem welcomes back her King his time and space in the earth realm ends
. (See Matt. 23:37-39; Rev. 20:3) Yeshua declared satan was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). As the last days unfold, he will prove himself a murderer up to the end.
In the end, one thing will make a difference: You, the Bride of Messiah
Esther before the king
. As His Bride and favored one, you are the Esther of today. How will you respond to the very real and present threat to Israel? History plainly teaches that while God will not allow the Jewish people be totally wiped out, millions of us could be murdered in the process
. Know for a fact that the intercessory prayers, campaigns, strategies and support of the true Church will shape the future---and history. As Mordecai urged Esther long ago, "If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position [into the Kingdom] for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14) You, dear saints, have a high calling and glorious destiny ahead. Yeshua's Bride is about to enter her finest hour.
Call to Action: How to Pray
The spirit of Haman is related to the spirit of Amalek. God declared He Himself would war against this spirit throughout human history. Amalek is a type of antichrist principality, which means it is also viciously anti-Jewish. As an intercessor, prophetically declare the Word of Yahweh's victory over Amalek.
"The Lord said to Moses...."I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. ... The Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation." (Ex. 17:14, 16 )
► PRINCE OF PERSIA.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is affected by an evil principality identified in the Word as the "prince of Persia." According to Daniel 10:10-21, this demonic spiritual power battles against the purposes of God. The prince of Persia wars against Israel, the archangel Michael and Michael's heavenly troops. Prophetically pray and decree victory in the heavenlies according to God's purposes for Israel, as in Daniel 10
► ESTHER ARISE.
Pray for God's "Esthers" of today to arise in humility and boldness. Being an Esther is first about character formation, and then about living as an intercessory mouthpiece---both to the King of Heaven and to kings of the earth. The godly character of Queen Esther is evident in her response to Mordecai's plea to intercede before the king--an act that could have cost Esther her life. She states, "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish." (Esther 4:16)
► MORDECAI ARISE.
Mordecai innocently "instigated" the crisis with Haman through worship. But he also provided the solution. First, he dearly loved Esther, who also was a Jew. Second, he wisely counseled her to speak to the king. He urged her "to go into the king's presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people." .... "Do not think," he told her, "that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape." (Esther 4:8, 13)
Please ask God to release many "Mordecais" who worship Him alone, and who therefore carry an anointing to counsel and help release the "Esthers."
► A NEW DECREE.
After Haman's decree was written, according to the law of Persia, it could not be revoked. However, it could be overridden by a subsequent decree issued at the same or higher level of authority. Pray for the release from heaven and into the earth realm of another decree by the King of Kings to override Iran's present decree against Israel. "Now write another decree in the king's name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king's signet ring---for no document written in the king's name and sealed with his ring can be revoked." (Esther 8:8)
According to the Scriptures, Mordecai did not sin so as to arouse Haman's ire; he merely refused to worship any god but the Lord. Sadly, the same cannot be said concerning Israel as a State today. Like any other unregenerate nation, the Jewish people as a whole are not walking with God. Pray for an outpouring of the Spirit on our nation, that we might sincerely repent for any and all embrace of evil, that God might forgive our sin and heal/protect our land. "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look [toward] me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son." (Zechariah 12:10)
► SOVEREIGN SOLUTION.
It seems to us the best "option" regarding Iran is a sovereign intervention by God that glorifies Him alone. Ask Him to deal sovereignly with Iran so that a military option becomes unnecessary. "The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance." (Psalm 33:10-12)
► SALVATION OF PERSIA.
Pray for the salvation of the precious Iranian people and strengthening of the Church in that land. Pray for the God's prophetic destiny for Persia/Iran to be fulfilled. In biblical times she served as a supportive friend to Israel. (See 2 Chronicles 36, Ezra 1 and 4) Pray for the last days' Church of Persia/Iran to align with the Jewish nation as a powerful means to Israel's salvation. "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse..." (Genesis 12:3)
If God's will is the execution of a military option, pray He will make this very clear to Israeli authorities. Pray fervently for the Israeli armed forces (IDF). Ask for a spirit of grace and supplication that would bring them to know Yeshua as Captain of the Armies of Heaven. Pray for honest, accurate, supernatural intelligence. Pray for warrior angelic protection, strategy and supernatural strength.
Pray that God would put all those---and only those---in position who should be in military or intelligence positions. Please pray the IDF would abolish its murderous policy of offering free abortion to pregnant soldiers. (This not only grieves God but opens a door to the spirit of death.) Pray that if God wants Israel to attack Iran, she would do so despite world pressure, and do so successfully, victoriously, supernaturally, and with minimal collateral damage. Pray that such attack (and war following, if that occurs) would turn many hearts to Yeshua. "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:...a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time for war and a time for peace." (Eccles. 3:1, 3, 8) "It is God who arms me with strength....He trains my hands for battle." (Psalm 18:32, 34)
Pray for Ahmadinejad and the mullahs that control him. Lift him up into the hands of the fearsome God of Israel! "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases. (Proverbs 21:1)
► PROACTIVE INITIATIVES.
Hundreds of Chinese Christians
gather in Jerusalem to support Israel
We believe the most important call to the Body of Messiah is prayer and fasting, even as Esther urged God's people to pray and fast with her before she approached the king. This year, the annual three day Fast of Esther (Esther 4:15-16) takes place February 25-27. Will you join the Jewish people for these three days as we seek God for deliverance?
Believers throughout Israel will be gathering in Jerusalem this Friday, February 26, for this purpose. We also encourage you to ask the Spirit about writing/emailing/phoning/faxing your elected political officials, local newspapers, clergy leaders, and others in your personal sphere of influence. God will show many of you ways to creatively express your voice, speaking Christ-centered truth in love.
We encourage you to continue praying regarding (1) needed rainfall in Israel, as the past month has been unseasonably warm and dry; (2) IDF soldier Gilat Shalit, still held captive in Gaza, as negotiations for his release have collapsed; (3) mounting anti-Semitism on American college campuses ominously reflecting a forthcoming generation of potentially anti-Israel, antiSemitic leaders; and (4) the nations' rage against Israel over her presumed (not proven) murder in Dubai of a dangerous terrorist mastermind, when most of those same nations use similar secret forces for similar covert operations---and for which biblical precedent can be said to exist (see Judges 3:12-28). "You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come" (Psalm 102:13).
THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVE FOR THE LORD AND HIS PEOPLE!
The Intercessory Sacrifice of Praise
by Sandy Teplinsky
Shalom Dear Friends,
Grace and glory to you, as together we serve the coming Bridegroom King. Those of you who have been faithful friends to Israel for any period know there's never been a time the 61 year old country has not been in crisis. For years we've prepared regular updates about Israel's critical needs and prayer points. But this month, despite developing exigencies, we feel led of the Lord to do something different. We share Israel's good
news of the past four weeks---as a sacrifice of praise. We do not offer prophetic perspectives, but focus on praise. Not only is God pleased with praise, but praise itself can serve as intercession
On behalf of our people, we deeply thank each of you who intercede for Israel---you have borne fruit! So please join us in offering the Worthy One a sacrifice of praise as you read our report. We believe you'll be blessed as you do. (Proverbs 25:25)
Israel rescue and medical relief to Haiti
Dubbed Operation Light to the Nations, Israeli disaster relief efforts in Haiti proved so heroic as to garner international accolade. In the US, even CNN could say only good for the country's work. Dr. Jennifer Furin of Harvard Medical School summarized the situation to reporters: "I've been here since Thursday; no one except the Israeli hospital has taken any of our patients.... It's like another world here compared to the other hospitals. They have scanning machines, operating theaters, ventilators, monitoring. It's just amazing." Ten days after the quake and against all odds, Israelis dug a young man out from the rubble---appropriately named Immanuel ("God is with us.") "O, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men" (Psalm 107:21).
2009: a year of relative peace
During 2009 the country endured the fewest number of terror attacks and casualties in nearly a decade. This is attributed to the success of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, improved intelligence that thwarted numerous planned attacks, and the perceived strength of PM Netanyahu. "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety" (Psalm 4:8).
The shirt says "a product of the land of Israel"
Sadly, legal abortions are easily obtainable in Israel. As many Jewish children have been lost in Israel through this sin as were lost in the Nazi Holocaust. But recently the Chief Rabbinical Council declared in an unprecedented statement that abortion is murder. "Tens of thousands of Jewish souls are being lost each year," the Council said. "In addition to the enormity of the transgression, it is also delaying the redemption." (HaAretz
online, 12/30/09) Rabbis throughout the country were urged to preach against abortion at their Shabbat services on January 9-10. Although these statements were opposed by many, voices are at last being raised to rid the country of this sin. "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. ... Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139: 13-16)
When leading a prayer watch last fall, the Lord spoke clearly to Sandy's heart that now was a kairos time to mobilize intercession against abortion
. Since then our meetings have involved focused repentance and prayer on the subject. She's also spoken to other prayer leaders, who have taken up the call. You may know that the IDF provides pregnant soldiers with up to three "free" abortions. This deeply grieves the heart of God and curses our people. The Spirit spoke to her, among other things, the obvious: The slaughter of Jewish lives inside
the womb, especially by our own army, opens a wide door for the slaughter of Jewish lives outside
the womb and hinders the extent to which God can use our army protect Israel. A soon coming war here will be so great that this door must be closed. Please stand with us for the eradication of abortion in Israel, and for great anointing on Messianic pro-life organizations.
Rains pouring down
Due to the seriously dry winter, one of Israel's Chief Rabbis recently called for a national day of fasting and prayer. The connection between sin and drought was specifically stated: "Because of our sins the water situation is in a serious state. Our duty in this situation is to scrutinize and examine our actions and brings ourselves close to God with all our hearts. We must be repentant with broken hearts and anyone who is able, should fast, if not a whole day, at least a half day." (Jerusalem Post
online, 1/11/10, "Chief Rabbi calls fast day for Thursday") Rain poured down within a week. Water levels have significantly risen, though much more rain is needed over upcoming weeks and years to end the drought. "O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever" (Psalm 106:1).
Iron Dome interceprs rocket
Israel is progressing well with erecting its "invisible shield" over the country, called an iron dome. The iron dome attracts, deflects and diffuses incoming rockets (but not nuclear bombs). It is hoped the iron dome will be operative within a couple of years. "You O Lord are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head" (Psalm 3:3).
Many years ago, Sandy had a dream amazingly reminiscent of the iron dome. Her dream has helped sustain her in the Land, and we believe it will encourage you in your ministry of intercession.
Though we were living in California at the time, in her dream, our family had moved to Israel. Rockets had been fired at us from enemies all about. But whenever a rocket was about to fall, the face of a praying believer appeared in the sky. The rockets were attracted to the faces of the intercessors, and hit them instead of Israel. At that instant, the rocket would self-destruct and disintegrate in mid-air. Meanwhile, nobody
was hurt---not the praying saints, and not the Israelis on the ground! In fact, the believers were oblivious to the fact they were deflecting an assault, for at the moment of impact, each stayed entirely focused on the Lord in prayer. This not only defended us, but enabled military strategies on the ground to unfold according to God's will. The dream ended with those of us on the ground lifting our heads in amazement. Friends, today we know this groundwork includes not only natural warfare, but spiritual military strategies---especially the ministry of salvation.
Despite the global recession, Israel's economy prospered surprisingly well in 2009. The country is considered one of the best places in the world to invest in 2010. It has been nicknamed "start-up nation" for its swell of start-up businesses in recent years. (Please note, without detracting from the good news: Because the shekel has done so well, the value of the dollar has dramatically declined. Individuals and ministries like ours that are paid in US dollars have significantly less spending ability as a result.) "Sing to God, sing praises to His name...He brings out those who are bound into prosperity" (Psalm 68:4, 6b).
Israel a prophetic voice to the nations
On January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, PM Netanyahu addressed the nations pointedly and prophetically, quoting the Bible, for the second time in less than six months (the first being his September 24, 2009 speech at the UN). Warning the world against evil regimes, the Israeli Prime Minister summarized Deuteronomy 25:17-19, where God tells us never to forget what Amalek has done. He prayerfully and very specifically invoked God's blessing to this end. "I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies." (Psalm 18:3).
The feast of Purim, celebrated later this month, commemorates God's historic deliverance over the ongoing battle with the spirit of Amalek.Click here for information on the prophetic holiday of PURIM
Much fewer people have died or suffered from swine flu thus far than was expected. "Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all His benefits...Who heals all your diseases" (Psalm 103:2-3).
Knesset Bible study
A Bible study (Old Testament only) started in the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) in late 2009, led by Hebrew University Bible scholars. Topics include studies about Elijah, Joshua and Rahab, Jacob and Esau, and Samson. "Good and upright is the Lord, therefore He teaches sinners in the way" (Psalm 25:8).
According to the Jewish Agency (agency for global aliyah), 2009 saw a 17 percent increase in aliyah compared to 2008. "Lord, You have been favorable to Your land; You have brought back the captivity of Jacob" (Psalm 85:1).
The State of the Gospel in the State of the Gospel
Despite increased pressures against believers in Israel, areas of receptivity to Yeshua are increasing as well. On January 29, a Messianic leader from Jerusalem taped an interview with one of Israel's two primary national TV channels for broadcast in the near future. The interview included a clear presentation of the Gospel and his personal testimony. "Praise awaits you O God in ZIon" (Psalm 65:1a).
I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High. (Psalm 9:1-2)
Gilad Shalit: A Prophetic Perspective
Prayer Points for Israel at the New Year
by Sandy Teplinsky
Negotiations continue for the release of Gilad Shalit, the young Israeli soldier kidnapped 3 ½ years ago and held captive by Hamas in Gaza. For his return, Hamas demands an exchange of nearly 1,000 terrorists from Israeli jails. Some of the terrorists are major Hamas masterminds. Many Israelis are demanding Gilad's release at any cost. Others with a more conservative approach toward prisoner exchanges nevertheless ache deeply for the young man and his family. Israelis instinctively sympathize with the Shalits, as the next kidnapped soldier could be their own son, dad, or brother. Unwittingly and probably unknowingly, Gilad Shalit has captured the heart of the nation.
Several times in the past, Israel has released huge numbers of terrorist prisoners in exchange for less than a handful of its own soldiers. Sadly, some of those soldiers have been returned as corpses. Meanwhile, it is known that over half the terrorists released have gone on to murder more Israelis. As Prime Minister Netanyahu put it, he must make the difficult choice of saving a young soldier's life or protecting the country from the loss of other lives in the future.
In the Bible, the name Shalit means "prince" or "warrior," while Gilad means "site of testimony." Because "Israel" can mean "prince with God," perhaps the Jewish State can be seen as a warrior-prince testifying to the world through captured Gilad. As this dear young man suffers humiliation and torture at the hands of allah-worshipers, what is God's message to us?
The prophetic Scriptures describe a sober situation when "one thousand shall flee at the threat of one" (Isaiah 30:17). In that context God is rebuking His people for seeking man's help, rather than His help, in times of trouble. Today, potentially a thousand terrorists are ready to flee at the threat of one, specifically, the murder (God forbid) of Gilad Shalit. No good solution exists. There is only one genuine hope for Israel---as there is for the nations of the world---and as there is for you and me in our own times of trouble.
Gilad's father Noam holding a picture of his son
We generally do not include lengthy portions of Scripture in our articles and letters, but in this instance a summary does not suffice. The larger context of Isaiah 30:17 seems to bespeak the testimony of warrior-prince Shalit:
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, 'No, we will flee on horses.' Therefore you will flee! You said, 'We will ride off on swift horses.' Therefore your pursuers will be swift! A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill." Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you
. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Then you will defile your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, "Away with you!" He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. (Isaiah 30:15-23, NIV, emphasis added.)
to be gracious to us. He rises to show us compassion. He is merely waiting for our sincere cry to Him for help. As soon as He hears it
He will answer and show us His ways. Blessings will abound.
The collective soul of the country aches over Gilad Shalit. But God knows how to free this soldier and redeem the tragic situation. May broken hearts turn to Him in spirit and in truth.
- A spirit of grace and supplication that leads to repentance and placing our trust in God rather than in man or other nations, especially on the part of PM Netanyahu.
Hamas released photo of Gilad Shalit
- Hearts and motives are being tested in this matter. Pray that whatever decision Israel makes through Netanyahu will be based on godly motives.
- Pray that God will visit Gilad as he is tortured and humiliated by Hamas and bring him to salvation. Pray the same for his grieving family. Pray that if he is destined for martyrdom, he'll first be crowned with eternal life. Pray for the salvation of those holding him captive.
- Pray for justice in the terms of any negotiated agreement and its aftermath. If an exchange occurs, pray that Gilad will be returned alive, not as a corpse.
- Pray for protection from further terrorist murders of any released prisoners.
- Pray life over Israel and the entire Middle East, which in a sense is enshrouded by a spirit of death.
Other Matters for Prayer
Iran and its Coalition
Undeniable evidence was recently uncovered that Iran has been developing a military nuclear program for several years, despite its attestations to the contrary. The nations of the world, led by the US, have been unable to agree on sanctions, but seem intent on limiting Israel's military options. Notwithstanding, any strike on Iranian facilities would be extremely difficult due to their unique construction, in contrast to the facilities destroyed by Israel in Iraq and Syria. Meanwhile, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas, as well as Lebanon, all increasingly function to advance the Iranian anti-Israel agenda. In the event of an Israeli strike on Iran, these proxy forces would retaliate immediately with thousands upon thousands of illegally obtained weapons. Israel expects its next war will therefore involve widespread civilian attacks throughout this country.
- Pray that God will supernaturally intervene to disrupt this program of mass destruction. If He chooses not to intervene, pray that Israel will have the wisdom, strength, knowledge and fortitude to succeed in any military operation.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas
PA leader Abbas gives mixed signals about his willingness to negotiate a peace with Israel that might lead to a Palestinian State. In any case, Abbas does not speak for Hamas, which opposes any recognition at all of the Jewish State. Meanwhile, momentum is increasing in the European Union to support a unilateral declaration of a Palestine in 2010. At the same time, pressure from the US is mounting on Prime Minister Netanyahu to make further concessions to the Palestinians. Netanyahu is showing signs of possibly succumbing to international pressure.
- Pray that no Jewish land or homes would be relinquished for a false peace. Pray that Israel's leadership would fear God more than man, holding fast to His will as revealed in the Scriptures. Pray that pressure on Netanyahu from the US would cease.
Israel continues to suffer severe drought, receiving in the past five months only 66% of average expected rainfall for that period. Voluntary water rationing has graduated to a 25% increase in water prices this winter, with another 14% increase anticipated in the summer. If more rain does not fall, the country will need to find other places and costly means to obtain water.
- Please pray for God to bring rain and ease the drought. Ask Him to show the believers here specifically how to pray and repent to the extent this represents a judgment on our nation.