King David promised that the God of Israel “sets a table for His people in the presence of their enemies.” Psalm 23:5.
In my mind’s eye, I have always seen this as having a picnic with the Lord in front of the gates of hell. With arrows and missiles flying overhead and hostile forces facing us, we are invited to nevertheless enjoy the goodness of our God and the fullness of His gifts of life and joy and family and purpose and meaning EVEN WHILE battles still rage around us and conflicts (both internal or external) are far from over.
This promise is for God’s people whomever they may be, and it’s for you when you receive God’s living word by faith and trust in Him.
Enjoy this video. In it, you’ll see the beautiful work of young Israeli evangelists bringing the hope of salvation to the people Israel directly from Isaiah 53, the “forbidden chapter” according to much of Jewish tradition.
Please pray for these young evangelistic teams as the battle is fierce, and stay blessed!
50 years ago Jerusalem was reunited and came under Israeli sovereignty! This year also marks the 100-year Anniversary of Jerusalem changing hands from the Muslim Turkish rule of the Ottoman Empire to the British Empire. Here’s my take …
Watch my 5:42 minute video where I share some of my thoughts on Israel’s 69th Independence day, which in Israel is celebrated just one day after Memorial Day, which commemorates Israel’s fallen soldiers and citizens.
Today was Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel (Yom HaShoah). At 10am air-raid sirens sounded throughout Israel and the nation stopped in its tracks. Here you can see how the people literally pause from what they are doing to stand in silence for two minutes to reflect on and pay respect to those 6 million Jews who perished. We remember.
While there is always “bad news” that can cloud our minds with fear & anxiety, the God of the Bible continues to lead His victorious campaign all over the world as thousands of new disciples keep turning to Jesus daily in the darkest Islamic nations; as the wise virgins of Matthew 25 keep their lamps burning bright; and as Israel continues to rise in spite of its inherent flaws and the diabolic hatred coming against her from all sides.
$15 BILLION DEAL
Intel’s record-breaking $15 billion acquisition proposal for the Israeli automotive technology company Mobileye demonstrates the business community’s belief in Israel as a major business partner and technology hub. Intel will also move its entire automotive unit to Israel, where it will be headed by Prof. Amnon Shashua, Mobileye’s co-founder, chairman, and CTO.
“We think of ourselves as an Israeli company as much as a US company,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said at a press conference in Jerusalem.
The California-based chipmaker said that its acquisition of Mobileye, which develops sensors and cameras for driverless cars, will help “accelerate innovation for the automotive industry and position Intel as a leading technology provider in the fast-growing market for highly and fully autonomous vehicles.”
And so, while “bad news” continues to try and set the agenda, God’s Word, grace and faithfulness continue to raise Israel up as a superpower in knowledge, technology and innovation, with a continual stream of international executives making “business pilgrimages” to Israel in search of new opportunities, innovation and technology. And “He who sits in the heavens, laughs…”
So take courage, God is moving on your front as well.
Come visit us in Israel to “taste and see that the Lord is Good,” and stay blessed.
Two healings in Jerusalem – 1,000 year score to settle
Most Bible scholars agree that the Lord Jesus performed at least 38 miracles throughout his 3.5 years of public ministry. These supernatural works pointed to of His authority over creation, His power over sickness and death, and His great love and compassion for humanity. Yet, only two (2) of these miracles were performed in Jerusalem, while the great majority of them took place in the Galilee, Judea, Phoenicia, and elsewhere. Why?
One would think that Jesus, knowing Jerusalem’s centrality in God’s plan and its significance as and the focal point for His coming crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection and ascension, would specifically target this City with many powerful miracles in order to make a BIG impression. But He didn’t. Instead, He performed only two miracles in Jerusalem, healing one blind man and one lame man. Was this a ministry oversight, a missed opportunity? Or were these miracles pointing to God’s exceptional purpose?
The first Jerusalem miracle is recorded in the Gospel of John, saying, “After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda,having five porches.In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him,“Do you want to be made well?”The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him,“Rise, take up your bed and walk.”And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.” John 5:1-8.
This first Jerusalem miracle took place at the Pool of Bethesda during the Feast of Passover when the city was packed full with pilgrims. The Pool’s name in Hebrew means “House of Mercy,” and like a battleground strewn with wounded bodies or an overcrowded nursing home, Bethesda’s was filled with pain and misery.
No doubt, the Lord felt the sufferings of this great number of people, and also the presence of the great Temple just a few blocks away where the priests and religious practitioners neither understood nor regarded these sufferings. Most of them believed that any kind of disability meant that that person was guilty of or affected by sin, and that their suffering was some sort of direct retribution. They even believed that a baby sinning in its mother’s womb will suffer a physical deformity as a result.
But Jesus’ eye was fixed on one lame man who was waiting for 38 long years, probably the most pitiable, helpless and hopeless of all the cases there. Jesus didn’t demand faith nor corrected this man’s flawed theology; He simply commanded and expected obedience. And by the Lord’s word, “Rise, take up your bed and walk,”a miraculous, instantaneous and complete healing came over the infirmed limbs as long-suffering and misery met the Savior’s love. His word still speaks today to all who have ears to hear.
The second Jerusalem miracle took place not too far from the first, and is also recorded by John, saying, “Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth.And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered,“Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.And He said to him,“Go, wash in the pool of Siloam”(which is translated in Hebrew, “Sent”). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.” John 9:1-6.
This miracle took place following a heated confrontation with the Pharisees during the Feast of Tabernacles. Objecting to Jesus’ claim of possessing eternal life and a divine origin, the Pharisees wanted to stone him for the “blasphemy,” and as He slipped away from them he met this blind man. It is important to note that this was the ONLY sick person recorded in the Gospels whose condition existed from birth and was not the result of some later misfortune. And, as we saw earlier, this was the reason the disciples asked who was to blame for his severe birth defect, himself or his parents?
In the Lord’s view, however, it’s never about who is to blame, The Savior would soon be crucified and the time for theological trivia has long past. This blind man was a miracle waiting to happen, chosen from all eternity for this very moment to manifest God’s glory. And this same redemptive perspective still guides the Lord’s view of all who call on Him.
This healing took place at the pool of Siloam, a short distance from the Temple Courts, where the royal complex of King David’s palace and government buildings once stood. At the time of Jesus, this pool served as a public “Mikveh,” a large bathing pool for Jewish worshippers before entering the Temple, as well as the source from which the priests drew water daily for the famous Temple water ceremony. It was at this crowded and popular spot that the Lord chose to perform this second Jerusalem miracle, proving Himself to be indeed the light of the world.” Both miracles were public, resisted by the religious authorities, and visible to all.
Only two healings were performed in Jerusalem, and the reason for that mystery goes back a thousand years before Christ appeared. It was soon after consolidating all the tribes of Israel into one kingdom that young King David moved his capitol from Hebron (where he reigned over Judea) in search of the City God promised the patriarchs long ago (Ex 12:12). And it was during this campaign that David found himself by Mt. Moriah (where Father Abraham offered his son Isaac) facing the most fortified city in the land, Jerusalem, which was the Jebusites’ capitol.
Looking down with contempt upon David’s army from the heights of his fortress stronghold, the Jebusite king mocked them, saying, “You shall not come in here; but the BLIND and the LAME will repel you,” thinking, David cannot come in here.”” (2 Samuel 5:6). In other words, full of pride and arrogance, the enemy tells the young king of Israel that he will never conquer Jerusalem even if all her defendants were LAME and BLIND soldiers.
However, David prevailed, and Jerusalem became Israel’s eternal capital and the center of worship and national life for God’s people for all time. And Jesus, 1,000 years later, working the Messiah’s work, had an old score to settle; an ancient curse to break. He came to undo the words of mockery the enemy uses against God’s people still echoing down the generations, and for Him it was personal! When He came into Jerusalem there were only two miracles on His mind, the BLIND and the LAME.
Fifty years ago this year, the City of Jerusalem was reunited for the first time under Israeli sovereignty since it was sacked by the Romans in 70 AD. This took place during the Six Day War of 1967 when the paratrooper’s division of the Israeli Defense Forces defeated three Arab armies and chased the Jordanian Legionnaires out of Jerusalem and beyond the eastern bank of the Jordan River, restoring Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem to Jewish hands.
One hundred years ago this year, General Allenby led the British campaign across Egypt and into what was then called Palestine. The swift campaign defeated the forces of the Turkish Ottoman Empire which was sided with Germany, ending 400 years of Islamic rule in the region, and the City of Jerusalem was liberated in Dec of 1917. As King George V wrote in a telegram to General Allenby, “Today you have given the British people the greatest Christmas gift.”
As you can see, 2017 is a BIG year for us here in Jerusalem.
If you are on our mailing list, you probably appreciate the Judeo-Christian foundations of society and culture as reflected throughout the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, God speaks to those who care to listen and to learn, and His Word is not only transformational in nature, it is also powerful to perform all that He has purposed and promised to achieve on behalf of His elect.
The nation of Israel has been miraculously brought back to life following 2,000 years of dispersion, rejection and persecution, to serve as an undeniable witness of God’s sovereignty, covenant, severity, mercies, faithfulness and power. In fact, more biblical prophecy has been fulfilled on planet earth during the last 100 years than in the recent 2,000 years combined, and most of it had to do with the final harvest of the nations and the resurrection of Israel in preparation for the return of Christ in the fullness of His Kingdom. You and I live in incredible times.
What is possibly the Lord’s most studied, detailed and far-reaching prophecy, the Olivet discourse of Matt. 24, addresses the preparations of the earth and her inhabitants for Christ’s return. And in the heart of this difficult prophecy are two keys that the Lord emphasized – the proclamation of the Gospel to the whole earth, and the budding of the Fig Tree (signifying Israel’s national resurrection). We hope that you are committed to the unfolding of both promises, as both are fiercely opposed by the enemy and dear to the heart of God.
In light of the recent UN resolution (and subsequent uproar) condemning any Israeli territorial presence beyond the 1967 borders (including east Jerusalem, Temple Mount and the Western Wall), every truth-loving individual should be reminded of the nature of this lie. This misleading rhetoric has been consistently chanting, for over 100 years now, that the primary problem preventing peace in the Middle East is Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian lands. The false argument is that the root of the Middle East’s problems is Israel’s aggression, occupation and settlement activity, and that if we could only get rid of these “political and human injustices,” then peace could come.
However, for those who believe the Word of God and the claims of the Bible, both historic and futuristic, the truth is not only undeniable, but visible for all to see. And those who cannot see it, don’t because they don’t want to.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL & HISTORICAL EVIDENCE
The Hebrew nation is the ONLY people group that have had a consistent, proven and visible presence in the Land going back to 1,000 BC. Other people groups came and left, occupying armies passed through, and migrating populations arrived in search of opportunity; but only the Jewish people kept an uninterrupted and demonstrable presence in the land.
In other words, since the time when Father Abraham first arrived and built altars to worship Jehovah throughout the land, and certainly since Joshua led the 12 tribes to possess and occupy the Promised Land, the Hebrew nation has been the only national entity that possessed, loved, cultivated and defended the land consistently. No other people groups established their capital there and no other powers claimed this territory as their own homeland. Never!
The last Islamic power to rule the region was the Turkish Ottoman Empire between 1517 and 1917, at which time the land was liberated by the British Expeditionary Forces which swept the Ottoman forces out during WWI. Consequently, after the war ended, the historic “British Mandate” was granted to Great Britain by the League of Nations which was based on agreed upon international principles (including the San Remo Resolution of 1920) with the objective to administer the territories taken from the disintegrating Ottoman Empire. Of special emphasis and legal significance is the preamble of the Mandate document which declared:
“Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country… Whereas recognition has thereby [i.e. by the Treaty of Sèvres] been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine, and to the grounds for reconstituting their National Home in that country.”
Simply stated, the international community, in its commitment to administer the territories liberated during WWI from the Ottomans, agreed that as far as “Palestine” is concerned (the area of historic Israel), the mandate:
Favored the establishment of a Jewish national homeland.
Required that this new Jewish homeland will not obstruct any CIVIL or RELIGIOUS rights of non Jews living in the area, whereby acknowledging the fact that there were no other people groups present in the area, apart from the Jews, who had recognizable NATIONAL rights.
Recognized and declared the historical connection of the Jewish people with the land.
The reader should remember that the term “Palestine” had nothing to do with the present day Palestinians, many of whom migrated into the region in recent centuries from poor neighboring Arab nations in pursuit of economical opportunities. Rather, the title “Syria Palestina” was given to the territories of Judea and Israel by the Romans in 135 CE while naming a new Roman province after crushing the Bar Kokhba Jewish Revolt. It was a political title copied from Israel’s ancient foes, the Philistines (as recorded in Genesis, Judges, etc…), with the aim to humiliate the defeated Jews and crush any remaining national aspirations.
The fact is that after King David’s military campaigns (3,000 years ago) the surviving Philistines assimilated and became extinct. And since then, there has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Today’s Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (also a recent creation), Syrians, Iraqis, etc. There is no Palestinian language, historical records, coinage, traditions, or a demonstrated national heritage.
In fact, according to honest Arab (and Palestinian) historians, it was only after the Jews re-inhabited their historic homeland of Judea and Samaria, following the 1967 Six Day War, that the myth of an Arab Palestinian nation was created and marketed worldwide. In contrast, with more than 3,000 archaeological sites throughout Israel, discoveries emerge almost weekly bearing proof after proof of a rich, documented and demonstrable Hebraic/Jewish heritage that goes back thousands of years and confirms the witness of the Bible, both Old and New Testament scriptures.
A TWO STATES SOLUTION? One for the Arabs and one for the Jews, living peacefully side by side?
I wish it was as simple as it sounds, but the reality is far more complex. If that were the case, then the Arab nations in the Middle East had multiple opportunities to sign a peace treaty with Israel during the past 70 years since the formation of the State of Israel in 1948. But the undeniable fact is that, time and again, the neighboring Arab nations exhibited hostility and attempted to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, and would have succeeded were it not for God’s hand of protection and Israel’s capable Defense Forces.
The fact is that the political circus focusing on Israel’s presence in the disputed territories (this is their correct legal term, “disputed,” and not “occupied” territories) is a hoax. Israel had to face and repel three wars between 1948 and 1967 before it occupied even one inch of the “disputed” territories beyond the 1967 lines. So obviously, territory is not the issue. It’s Islamic diabolic and unrelenting ideology that drives this campaign of hatred and of rage that is by now infecting the whole world.
And, assuming that the region does move toward a two-state solution, will all Jewish villages and communities be removed from the Arab State creating a de-facto “Jew-free zone” (with all its ugly implications) as the Palestinians demand? And if so, will all Arab villages and towns be removed from the Jewish State? With more than one million Arabs living in Israel and enjoying all the benefits and provisions of citizenship in the region’s only prosperous democracy, this too is highly unlikely.
The tragic fact is that the Palestinians, deep inside, don’t really want a two state solution, knowing that as soon as Israel pulls out the IDF security forces from the disputed territories, Hamas will forcibly take over the PA, murder the moderate Palestinian leadership as it did in Gaza soon after Israel pulled out in 2005, and create another terror state on Israel’s eastern frontier. Hamas’ charter doesn’t call for two states. It calls for only one state, a Palestinian state all across the region with no Israel in it at all.
So, as you can see, this is quite an impossible situation, humanly speaking, which brings us to the third and last point of this writing.
THE SPIRITUAL REALITY – There does not seem to be any viable, workable human solution to the issue since the roots of this dilemma are spiritual. The Biblical truth is that Israel is not occupying or settling someone else’s land. Rather Israel, by God’s amazing grace, is re-possessing its own territory according to scripture, the only land in which the Jewish people have had a continual presence for over 3,000 years.
This past history is recorded in the Scriptures, as is the modern day claiming of the land that we see in our generation. And the only way to explain the extreme hatred and chronic resistance to the presence of the State of Israel in its ancient homeland is to agree with the Biblical world view which says that:
There is a God who is in charge.
His covenant promises are eternal.
His will and purpose dictate human history.
He not only kept the Jewish nation through thousands of years of hatred and rejection, but also raised them back to life again as a witness.
The battle is not over land, territory or ideology. The real battle is over the WORD OF GOD, and the only question is, “will the word of God come to pass as it is written?”
And remember that God cares for all creation and His mercies extend also to the Palestinian people who are caught in the abusive grip of dark spiritual powers and failed human leadership. More on that in the next article.
We would love to have you join us for our upcoming Messianic Bible Teaching Cruise, IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE APOSTLES, sailing from Rome to Jerusalem in the summer of 2017 while celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. Details will be available on our website soon.