Watching Over Zion - 20th April 2017
The Word: "I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give into your hands the people who live in the land, and you will drive them out before you. (Exodus 23:31)
…“Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say: ‘Our bones are dried up; our hope is lost; we are cut off—by ourselves.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, thus says Adonai Elohim: ‘Behold, I will open your graves. I will bring you up out of your graves, My people. I will bring you back to the land of Israel. You will know that I am Adonai, when I have opened your graves and brought you up out of your graves, My people. I will put My Ruach in you and you will live. I will place you in your own land. (Ezekiel 37: 11-14)
Pointers for prayer: World events appear to be getting out of control. If we look at North Korea, Syria and of course the US governments response; along with all the activity by Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, the PLO etc. to attempt to remove the Jewish people from Israel – and specifically Jerusalem, Israel’s capital – then we must realise that these threats have increased dramatically over the past 10 years. There is much to ponder on and pray into here, however before that, let us seek the Lord to quieten our heart, so that the Spirit of the Lord would rest upon each of us; and that the Spirit of wisdom and understanding; the Spirit of counsel and might; the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord might enable us to truly intercede for these complex and difficult issues regarding all who oppose Israel (Isaiah 11:2). Pray that we will be in the correct position (spiritually) to know how to intercede, and have wisdom and discernment for when to speak up and when to remain silent.
In Israel, feasts and festivals can quickly come and go. Passover has now finished, and I’d like to say a huge thanks to all who stood in the gap for Israel and prayed against any terrorist attacks over this period. Do continue to lift the family of Hannah Bladon before the Lord, who was murdered in the Jerusalem terror attack on ‘Good Friday’. Players of the Football Championship in England’s Derby County and Huddersfield Town bowed their heads during a minute’s silence before the start of their game in memory of Hannah Bladon. Hannah, 20, was a keen Derby County supporter who was studying for a semester at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. Thousands of fans from both Derby and Huddersfield stood in rare respect in the UK, for the victim of a Palestinian terror attack.
Next Monday (April 24) Israel marks its annual Holocaust Memorial Day, a solemn remembrance of the 6 million Jews who perished in Nazi-controlled Europe. Please continue to uphold Israel through this time, and continue to pray that the people of Israel will turn to the Lord God. Isaiah 30:19 states, “He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry. When He hears it, He will answer.” Amen, may it be so.
Pray that the nation of Israel would have a clear vision of what God has called them to be, and that the strong resolute spirit of the Jewish people would enable them to see the Lord God at work within them. Pray that the Lord would pour out His Spirit upon Israel - especially upon the young people so that His works can be declared to future generations.
גְּבוּל (G’vul) - Praying along the borders In the lectures/talks I’ve been taking around many parts of the UK recently (see my last report here for details), I have been stating that last year - 2016 - was a year of great uncertainty. With the Syrian conflict; the Brexit vote, and Donald Trump being elected president of the United States; many were wondering what would come next for international alliances, diplomacy and peace. At the same time, the United Nations through UNESCO attempted to erase Jewish history in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel, and some of the world’s leading forces appeared closer to a world war than any time in the past few decades. For six years now, I have been reporting on the genocide going on in the Islamic Middle East in general and Syria in particular. Islamic group ISIS have slaughtered Yazidis and Christians, and in Syria, Shia Muslims joined Alawite Muslims to exterminate Sunni Muslims –this genocide reached fever pitch towards the end of December 2016 and continued into 2017.
Two weeks ago, I reported on the fact that up to 100 people had been killed and 400 injured in the latest Syrian 'chemical attack', although Assad refused to accept the blame. This led to US President Trump getting involved with what he called ‘necessary retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that killed civilians and children earlier in the week.’ The US then attacked ISIS tunnels and the complex cave areas in Afghanistan by dropping a ‘Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb – the largest non-nuclear weapon in its arsenal. The GBU-43 bomb weighed 21,600 pounds, was 30 feet long and contained 11 tons of explosives. Afghanistan's Defence Ministry said that no civilians were harmed as Afghan media reported that 82 militants had been killed. However, ISIS denied suffering any deaths or casualties in the strike. Enter North Korea. Kim Jong-un stated that North Korea has “vowed to retaliate in a merciless manner as not to allow the aggressors to survive” against the US and its allies if Washington chose to attack them. Kim Jong-un’s commitment to test even more nuclear weapons has led many in the US government to call for new emergency plans in the event of a catastrophic attack.
This week, Alan Dershowitz wrote in the Gatestone Institute, “We failed to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. As a result, our options to stop them from developing a delivery system capable of reaching our shores are severely limited. The hard lesson from our failure to stop North Korea before they became a nuclear power is that we MUST stop Iran from ever developing or acquiring a nuclear arsenal. A nuclear Iran would be far more dangerous to American interests than a nuclear North Korea. Iran already has missiles capable of reaching numerous American allies. They are in the process of upgrading them and making them capable of delivering a nuclear payload to our shores.” The report goes on to state, “Its fundamentalist religious leaders would be willing to sacrifice millions of Iranians to destroy the "Big Satan" (United States) or the "Little Satan" (Israel). The late "moderate" leader Hashemi Rafsanjani once told an American journalist that if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons, they "would kill as many as five million Jews," and that if Israel retaliated, they would kill fifteen million Iranians, which would be "a small sacrifice from among the billion Muslims in the world." He concluded that "it is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality." Recall that the Iranian mullahs were willing to sacrifice thousands of "child-soldiers" in their futile war with Iraq. There is nothing more dangerous than a "suicide regime" armed with nuclear weapons.”
Now have a look at a map that was created in August of 2013 – nearly four years ago – and reflect on the dangers that Hamas, the PLO/Palestinian Authority, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria are to Israel’s borders. Remember, Israel is the size of Wales, 0.1% of the Islamic Middle East. Remember, that map and the statistics is nearly four years old. Hamas and Hezbollah have dramatically increased their arsenal. What of Iran?
And one nation that we shouldn’t ignore is Turkey. Is Turkey a friend of foe to Israel? Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has just narrowly won a referendum to expand presidential powers, which could keep him in office until 2029. Putting Hamas and Hezbollah to one side, many believe that after Iran's theocratic Islamist state, the greatest threat to Israel is Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey and Turkey's Islamist government. This is surprising because Turkey and Israel used to be close allies. However, the rift between the countries is directly linked to the ascendancy of Islamist rule in Turkey. This is a nation that many within Israel are keeping a close eye on.
In Hebrew, the word for border, boundary, and territory is G’vul. I feel now is a good time to really pray and that those who have a calling to stand with Israel, would take up their positions and really intercede, and even see if people couldn’t pray in teams 24/7 along the borders of Israel. I have no desire to be a ‘false prophet of doom’, nor do I wish to ever jump on the media’s war-glorifying bandwagon of sensational fake news. Far too many news channels today have dropped most fact-checking and critical analysis steps in order to churn out news more cheaply and quicker and as a result untrue stories are appearing in mainstream news more than ever before – especially if it relates to darkening the name of Israel. I believe we need to pray for great wisdom and discernment in these days. However, I also believe we need to pray for secure borders around ALL of Israel, and for safety of all who live within the Land.
Why did Fergie use the Balfour 100 year to help Palestinian propaganda? A.J. Balfour (Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, British Foreign Office) stated that "His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people ... it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine..." Formally, this became known as 'The Balfour Declaration'. In 1920, the San Remo Peace Conference gave Britain a provisional 'Mandate for Palestine' based upon the Balfour declaration. In legal terms, 'The Mandate for Palestine' was 'The Trust' and Britain was the 'Mandatory' or 'Trustee'. The primary objective of the Mandate was to grant political rights in respect to what was essentially Jewish Palestine to the Jewish people. Initially the Mandate defined "Palestine" as spanning both west and east of the Jordan. In 1922, the British Mandate was formalized in September 1922 by the Council of the League of Nations.
Essentially this body gave unanimous approval for a Jewish national homeland in historic Israel – a land the Romans renamed ‘Palestine.’ Article 25 of this Mandate enabled the Mandatory to change the terms of the Mandate in the territory east of the Jordan River. Britain, under Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill, activated this option and cut away 77% of the original mandated area for the Jews and created a new country called Trans-Jordan, later called Jordan (this was to be Arab Palestine). The East Bank was therefore given to Britain's Arab allies! This reduced mandated area for a Jewish homeland included the Gaza strip and the Golan Heights, plus Judea and Samaria, today's 'West Bank'. According to the Mandate, the Jews could settle anywhere between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea. To date, this is the last legally binding document regarding the ‘West Bank’ and Gaza. The Mandate did not grant any national political rights to Arabs in what became the rebirth of Israel, but Article 2 did safeguard the civil and religious rights of all inhabitants of what was Palestine, irrespective of race or religion. Political rights were given however to self-determination for Arabs by the League of Nations in four other mandates (for Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Jordan). So why is it that people who should know better, appear to know little regarding this legal document, and wilfully swallow a diet of make-belief and lies from the Palestinian Authority (PLO) leaders?
Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, as a part of her ‘charity and human rights work’, visited Bethlehem (Judea) on Tuesday, where she met with Islamic Palestinian personalities and visited different sites. The visit included a tour of the Nativity Church (Christian not Islamic) and the Old City district of Bethlehem (where the Jewish Messiah was born), in addition to what she described as “the apartheid wall.” In an interview with the Arab Palestinian Press, the duchess said that her mission in ‘Palestine’ is to support Palestinians and the people in the area to be able to build a hospital. The Duchess of York stated, “I come as a mother… and if I was suddenly unable to give my girls the right to play in olive trees or to go to school because someone has put a wall there I would be very upset…” She added, “If my children can’t have a heart operation, but the people on the other side of the wall can have the heart operation, I’d be very unhappy as a mother.” To view the news clip, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbA3cBVtIU0
Needless to say, there was no mention of her speaking out against the Palestinian Authority’s constant manipulation to teach Arab Palestinians to hate and murder Israeli Jews; there was no mention of why the wall had to be erected to try to stop all the Islamic Palestinian suicide attacks; there was no mention of the thousands of Arab children that have had successful heart transplants and other operations in Israel’s hospitals – performed by Jewish Israeli surgeons and doctors, nor the brilliant work of groups like Shevet Achim (https://www.shevet.org/il). In a very one sided, Palestinian propaganda campaign, one has to seriously question why Sarah Ferguson chose this specific time and year to speak out against Israel, and who gave her the right to do this?
Rising from the ashes Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day) takes place this year on May 2nd. However before that can be celebrated, a very thought provoking and sombre occasion happens in Israel. Although the UK commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27th, next Monday (April 24) Israel marks its annual Holocaust Memorial Day, a solemn remembrance of the 6 million Jews who perished in Nazi-controlled Europe. Out of the ashes of Nazi Europe, the Jewish nation was re-birthed, however we still need to reflect just where Israel came from and what preceded the re-birth. And so, sirens will wail throughout the Land of Israel on April 24, and public life will come to a standstill in honour of the victims of the Holocaust. Last year when this happened, my wife and I stood on our balcony in Poriya overlooking Tiberias and the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) as the mournful, eerie sirens filled the sky (click here to view this: https://www.facebook.com/pg/CFIUK/videos/?ref=page_internal).
When I first got involved with Christian Friends of Israel (some 30 years ago), there was 250,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel. Today, however this number is significantly less. One thing that is certain however, these precious people are now very old and in 10 or 20 years’ time, no eye witnesses to that horrific chapter in human history will be left. This is why we must remember this time. My eyes were opened to the horrors of the Holocaust through Anne Frank. As a young boy, I watched a film about Anne Frank. Following this, and after reading her diary over and over I could not get her story out of my mind… indeed, her short life is engraved in my soul - and so I guess God would end up using me somehow to help those who survived the Holocaust. Spending many years writing songs and poems around this theme birthed my book called ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ - a gathering of written works originally set to music, which try to reflect something of the horror of the Holocaust and beyond. To purchase your own copy of ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ click here: http://www.cfi.org.uk/shop.php?product=1104. In an age when Israel’s enemies are denying the Holocaust took place for political gain, we need to keep the candle burning, and challenge the youth regarding this issue. Click here if you would like to help us support our work with Holocaust survivors or if outside the UK, click here.
The official events commemorating the Shoah or Holocaust – the systematic slaughter of the Jews in Europe in the course of the Second World War – will begin at the Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Memorial Centre in Jerusalem). Then, as it does every year on the 27th/28th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, Israel will come to a standstill at 10 AM on the Monday morning as air raid sirens blare across the country commemorating the massacre of six million Jews in the Nazi Holocaust.
A day of teaching & prayer – CFI Conference Finally, I would like to let you know that CFI UK are putting on a teaching & prayer conference in the Scottish Borders on Saturday May 6, 2017 (10 am – 4 pm). The day conference, entitled ‘Israel - God’s Promised Land’ will be held at Elim Community Church, Fairhurst Drive, Hawick, TD9 8HU, Scottish Borders. The speakers are Julia Soakell (CFI UK Liaison Support/prayer) and Julie Archer (CFI North East England Regional Link). The day is being organised and hosted by our Scottish Borders Regional Link, Philip Aitchison. Contact details are firstname.lastname@example.org (07443 900244).
(CFI Church Liaison Officer (UK) & WoZ News Report Correspondent)
Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio