Watching Over Zion - 3rd November 2016
The Word: Moshe (Moses) led Isra’el onward from the Sea of Suf. They went out into the Shur Desert; but after traveling three days in the desert, they had found no water. They arrived at Marah but couldn’t drink the water there, because it was bitter. This is why they called it Marah [bitterness]. The people grumbled against Moshe and asked, “What are we to drink?” Moshe cried to Adonai; and Adonai showed him a certain piece of wood, which, when he threw it into the water, made the water taste good. There Adonai made laws and rules of life for them, and there he tested them. He said, “If you will listen intently to the voice of Adonai your God, do what he considers right, pay attention to his mitzvot and observe his laws, I will not afflict you with any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians; because I am Adonai your healer.” They came to Eilim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and camped there by the water. (Exodus 15:22-27)
Pointers for prayer: As we mentioned last week, the enemy wants to deny Israel their Biblical and legal right to the Land of Israel. In many ways, the Islamic nations can war all they want... UNESCO can vote all they want... but the Word of God is everlasting and whoever tries to take Jerusalem away from Israel will rupture themselves! (Zechariah 12:3). Please continue to pray for Truth, and ask the Lord to bless in abundance His people Israel (Numbers 6:22-27).
Please continue to pray that the Church worldwide would sit up and take note of the recent disturbing vote by UNESCO. Pray that there would be a worldwide condemnation against the UNESCO vote which is anti-Israel and anti-Semitic, for if the sites of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall were exclusively Islamic, as UNESCO are declaring by their vote, then the Gospels are invalid.
As we enter what is hoped to be the rainy season in Israel, please do pray for much rain (see below).
The significance of the days we live in As I begin to write another news report, we have come to a close of the Jewish month of Tishri, and the month of Cheshvan is upon us. Gone are all the High Holy Days and all that go with them. Rosh HaShanah (The Jewish New Year); Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement); Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), and Simchat Torah (Day of Celebrating the Torah) have once again come and gone. The only Jewish festival to look forward to is Chanukah – which although found in the New Testament (in the gospel of John) is not a Biblically commanded festival. And so, can we really learn anything from this month of Cheshvan, and does it have any significance to the days we are living in? Well, I believe there is great significance, and here is why – of which I’m hoping will inspire you to continue in your intercession for Israel.
Today, what was Marcheshvan has been shortened to Cheshvan, and this is the second month of the civil year. Now, notice the first three letters spell the word mar. In Hebrew, this word means “bitter,” which some connect to the fact that there are no special occasions that occur in this month. Even the month of Av when the Jewish people mourn the destruction of the two Holy Temples (of which UNESCO believe never existed!), is not referred to as “bitter,” because although they are sad days, the Hebraic mind-set states, “At least it gives us an opportunity to contemplate where we have gone wrong.” But Cheshvan appears bereft of any significant days. But are they?
It is interesting to note that Cheshvan or Marcheshvan were not the original name. According to sources, Cheshvan is a Babylonian name which was adopted when the Jewish people went through the 70-year exile between the first and second temples. The original Hebrew name for this month was Bul, which gives the idea of things “drying up.” Well, as autumn has certainly kicked in here in the UK, and as we approach winter, the leaves have indeed started to dry up and decay. However, more significantly, truth has appeared to decay – especially if one thinks about the recent UNESCO vote on making Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and Western Wall an Islamic only place. Clearly, as this month’s name suggests, Cheshvan (or Bul) is a month of darkness and decay.
However, it’s also interesting to learn that the Books of Kings in the Scriptures refer to Bul as the month when King Solomon completed the construction of the first Temple – though the dedication did not take place until a year later, in the Hebrew month of Tishrei. It’s also interesting to learn that in Jewish tradition, the flood in the days of Noah began on the 17th of Cheshvan, and the waters receded by the following year on the 27th of Cheshvan, allowing Noah and the other inhabitants of the ark to disembark, and start life again. Now although we don’t require any floods to happen, we should be praying for the rains to fall in abundance throughout Israel. The Sea of Galilee was so low recently that a small island appeared in the middle of the Kinneret which caused ecologic alarm. The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is Israel’s main reservoir of fresh water. So please do pray for much rain.
Cheshvan also begins the time lapse between the Biblical festival of Tabernacles and the next Biblical festival of Passover. The message of Cheshvan therefore is that despite the cold long days and the darkness, there is a future growth that awaits us. It is now that Israel should be “gathering the seeds from the holidays of the month of Tishrei, planting them, and praying for the water to be provided through the winter months, so that the beautiful spring bounty will bloom. In the Bible, water can also represent the Holy Spirit. May we pray that Israel may truly learn the significance of the full meaning of Yom Kippur and Tabernacles (of God dwelling with them), and look forward to the fullness of Passover, and see the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of mankind (John 1:29).
Truth will have its day The truth is a powerful thing, but when it’s being ignored, judgement won’t be far away. As I’ve included in the above Scripture reading, following their miraculous journey out of Egypt, the Israelis travelled through the desert and after finding no water, they arrived at Marah but couldn’t drink the water because it was bitter. As mentioned above, mar, the root of marah means “bitter.” However, we should not get mixed up with the word Mar and the modern Hebrew use of the word ‘ma’ (מה). Often, when in Israel, one will hear people shout “Ma?” You’ll see them with their hands in the air yelling Ma? – meaning “what?” Of course it can mean “sorry what did you say” or it could imply “I can’t believe it”. It’s an expression of unbelief in a certain action, and without doubt there has been a lot of expressing ‘unbelief’ in Israel at the most outrageous lies being agreed upon in the United Nations with UNESCO.
As I’ve written quite a lot on this subject over the past two weeks, I don’t really want to repeat myself; however we must keep acting upon this and certainly praying about it. With the United Nations agency, UNESCO, attempting to rewrite history, and in the process vote against God’s will and Word of God, with the UNESCO member countries voting to deny the involvement of Israel and the Jewish people with the Temple Mount and the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and declaring they were Muslim heritage sites only, this surely will only result in bringing the wrath of God’s judgement upon those nations who are making a mockery of God’s word – the Bible (Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7). When the vote was taken, the majority voted that the Temple Mount and the Western Wall in Jerusalem had no significance for Israel and the Jewish people, or indeed for Christians, and were Muslim holy sites only.
Now of course, anyone who knows anything of history, archaeology and the Bible doesn’t need to rely upon Islamic issues, as we all know that this UNESCO vote was the most ridiculous decision any UN member could make, and made them look very foolish. However, when Islamic artefacts declare that there was a Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah, then the Islamic leaders of today who deny it do look a bit foolish. An inscription from the early Islamic period has been added to the mountain of evidence attesting to a long Jewish connection to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, contrary to recent decisions taken by the United Nations. The inscription, which was found during the excavation of a mosque in the Arab Palestinian village of Nuba near Hebron, refers to what is now called the Dome of the Rock as “Bait al-Maqdess,” the Arabic version of “Beit Hamikdah,” which is Hebrew for The Temple.
According to Israeli archaeologists Asaf Avraham and Peretz Reuven, the unique inscription dates to the 10th century, and further confirms that for centuries after the Islamic conquest, Muslims continued to link Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to the Jewish Temple of the Bible. Numerous Islamic sources from the time attest to this. Avraham and Reuven noted in a press conference last Thursday that early Islam drew much from Judaism, leading to the building of the Dome of the Rock where the Temple previously stood. So why is it, that when PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas decided he would orchestrate all the Islamic nations to pull the wool over UNESCO’s eyes, and the non-Islamic nations who voted in agreement followed them like dim-witted sheep, somehow they thought they could obliterate the three-thousand year unbroken relationship that the Jewish people have with Jerusalem, and particularly with the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
In Zechariah chapter 12:3, the Bible warns that a day will come when the nations of the world will attempt to take Jerusalem from the Jewish people. This vote by UNESCO does just that. Perhaps they need to go on and read Zechariah 12 verses 3 to 6 which speaks of God’s anger against those who come against the Jewish people’s right to be in Jerusalem. However, what about the Christian church? As I mentioned in last week’s report, surely this is a great cause for concern for all Christians too, as if these sites (The Temple Mount and The Western Wall) were exclusively Islamic, as UNESCO have declared by their vote, then the Gospels are invalid, as they cannot be true! However, how many in the church know about this vote as the mainstream news media have not broadcasted this. This decision must surely awaken the church worldwide, to stand and do something about this, for by this vote, the United Nations have declared that the Gospel writers, and therefore by implication all the New Testament is untrue, inaccurate and full of fables – as Jesus could not have done what the Bible proclaims.
During the Holocaust, some of the German church just sang louder when the cattle trucks, that were full of Jews going to their deaths, went past the church. The Christian church ignored it and did nothing. Likewise, Israel and the Jewish people are today being attacked in another anti-Semitic way by the United Nations. Will the worldwide church today stand with Israel against the United Nations and Islam, or will we just sing a little louder? Please watch the short film that testifies to this here: here. Last year at the CFI conference in Jerusalem, I actually spoke about this man in the video in my teaching session. You can view that session here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4Fjkr23O9o.
You know, the more I think of the UNESCO decision to state that Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and Western Wall have nothing to do with Judaism or Israel's history, and to make them purely Islamic sites, the more I get angry. Yet anger does no one any good, and therefore we must pray and pray and pray some more that even now the rest of the UN nations would stand up and demand UNESCO to change this decision. However, the more I think of what they have done, the more ironic it is. How is it that they have believed the lie, instigated by PLO’s Abbas and the Islamic nations? It’s not as if the history books speak of an affluent Islamic past in the land Rome changed from Israel to ‘Palestine’. Mark Twain, in his inimitable fashion, expressed scorn for what he called the "prejudiced" accounts of Jewish Palestine after he visited the Holy Land in 1867. In one location after another, Twain registered gloom at his findings. To find ". . . the sort of solitude to make one dreary," one must, Twain wrote dramatically, "Come to Galilee for that... these unpeopled deserts, these rusty mounds of barrenness, that never, never do shake the glare from their harsh outlines, and fade and faint into vague perspective; that melancholy ruin of Capernaum: this stupid village of Tiberias, slumbering under its six funereal palms.... We reached Tabor safely.... We never saw a human being on the whole route.” He stated, “Nazareth is forlorn .... Jericho the accursed lies a smouldering ruin today, even as Joshua's miracle left it more than three thousand years ago: Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and their humiliation, have nothing about them now to remind one that they once knew the high honour of the Saviour's presence; the hallowed spot where the shepherds watched their flocks by night, and where the angels sang, "Peace on earth, good will to men," is untenanted by any living creature... Bethsaida and Chorzin have vanished from the earth, and the "desert places" round about them, where thousands of men once listened to the Saviour's voice and ate the miraculous bread, sleep in the hush of a solitude that is inhabited only by birds of prey and skulking foxes. Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes.... desolate and unlovely…” Twain wrote with remorse. Now although the land wasn't under the control of Israel when Mark Twain toured the land, it certainly wasn't what the Arab Palestinians of today proclaim - as there has never been a sovereign state called Palestine run by Palestinians. Not so now since Israel have once again become the rightful owners. As God is being faithful in fulfilling in promises in Scripture, by bringing the Jewish people home, the Land of Israel is far from barren. Today the land is awash with colour and life.
In the gospels, Yeshua's (Jesus) earthly ministry centred around the Sea of Galilee, while the important events occurred in Jerusalem – many upon the Temple Mount in Herod’s Temple. First-century A.D. Jerusalem was impressive by anyone’s standards. With a population of tens of thousands - by some estimates, even 100,000 or more - it was the largest city in Israel (for a good study of the Temple in Jesus’ day click here: http://www.bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_jerusalem_temple.html. The Temple Mount not Jewish? I couldn’t help but smile at Israel’s Ambassador to Sweden, Isaac Bachman, who has blasted the resolution on Jerusalem by UNESCO, stating that “to say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount is like saying that Sweden has no connection to IKEA or that France has no connection to the Eiffel Tower.” The Israel envoy invoked the Swedish-founded furniture giant and the iconic Parisian landmark in an op-ed published Monday in the Scandinavian country's Göteborgs-Posten newspaper.
What now for America? During nearly eight years of US President Barak Obama’s term in office, he has always insisted that he stands with Israel. The reality however is painfully different as Obama’s appalling foreign policy has been geared toward the creating of a huge gulf between Israel and America. Obama clearly reneged on the longstanding policy that the US would never force Israel into reverting to the 1949 armistice lines. That policy was drafted into the UN Security Council Resolution 242, unanimously adopted on November 22, 1967, which stated that Israel would never be expected to revert to indefensible borders. The armistice lines imposed at the end of the War of Independence were never considered formal borders. They left Israel only 14 kilometres wide at its narrowest point.
On May 19, 2011, just hours before meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama stunned Netanyahu by radically reneging on this US policy. He did so when it was clear that the Palestinian Authority was totally inflexible and the region was in civil war. Obama chose that time to side with Abbas and state that “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.” However, with less than a week to go, what hope is there now for the USA? For those who stand with Israel, we must realise that the USA have always stood with Israel – albeit Obama, along with Carter many years before, have been woeful. America do need to return to the Lord and seek God’s blessings, and by doing so, they will be in the better place to bless and stand with Israel. However, I have to admit I’m fearful for America if the only choice is Trump or Clinton. It does appear that God’s judgment is being unleashed upon the USA. Therefore, in a very timely video, Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham) has been travelling to every state capital in America on a historic Decision America Tour. You can watch the struggles and triumphs of the tour and be inspired by Franklin’s bold challenge for Christians to live out their faith. Click here.
(CFI Church Liaison Officer (UK) & WoZ News Report Correspondent)
Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, Christian Friends of Israel UK & Jerusalem, Israeli Embassy London, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/ & Israel National Radio