Praise God for America’s “Cyrus Moments”

Ok Bible scholars, who recalls King Cyrus and what he did on behalf of the Jews?  If you said he was a Persian king who conquered Babylon, then gave a decree allowing the Jews to return to their land and rebuild the Temple, you are right!  God used a foreign ruler to accomplish His purpose with His people.

It is not often that God works multiple times in the same way, but we see evidence of His use of American presidents to accomplish His purposes with His people as well.  Three presidents come to mind:

  • Harry Truman – In 1948, when Israel seemingly had no backing in their quest to become a state, they found a friend in Harry Truman.  On May 12, 1948, against the will of his Secretary of State who opposed recognizing the new Jewish state, Truman stuck to his guns:

“In an area as unstable as the Middle East, where there is not now and never has been any tradition of democratic govern­ment, it is important for the long-range security of our country, and indeed the world, that a nation committed to the democratic system be established there, one on which we can rely. The new Jewish state can be such a place. We should strengthen it in its infancy by prompt recognition.”

The US was the first to recognize the re-born state of Israel on May 14, 1948.

  • Richard Nixon – Nixon’s mother was a Quaker who told her son that if he was ever in a position of power and a situation arose in which the Jews needed help, to do so.  Apparently, that directive was not lost on young Richard.  Despite tendencies toward anti-semitism, his mother’s words rang in his ears when he got a call in the middle of the night from Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in October 1973.  Israel was under siege from Egypt and Syria and defeat was almost certain.  Nixon had not been reactive to previous requests for help, prompting Meir to state that if the US didn’t help soon, there would be no more Israel.  The advice of his mother prevailed and Nixon ordered equipment to be sent immediately to Israel…against the advice of Henry Kissinger and his other advisors.
  • Donald Trump – Following passage of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, the policy of the US was that 1.) Jerusalem was to be an undivided city, 2.) it should be recognized as the capital of Israel, and 3.) the US Embassy should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.  However, there was one caveat: Section 7 of the act allowed Presidential waivers if there was a security threat to the US.  Based on that waiver, every American president since 1999 exercised their right to the waiver every six months!  Under constant threat from Palestinians and other Arab nations, not one president had the gumption to do what was required by law…until President Donald Trump announced in December 2017 that the US not only recognizes Jerusalem as the capital, but would move its embassy there!

Yesterday, the American Embassy was officially opened in Jerusalem!

America has capitalized on three “Cyrus moments,” culminating with the most pro-Israel administration ever fulfilling the promise to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move the embassy.

And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.
~Genesis 12:3

May the US continue blessing Israel, so that Israel may bless all the families of the earth!

The Embassy is Open! What a Day it was!

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Today, as President Donald Trump spoke to the delegation in Jerusalem at the official opening of the US Embassy, our crowd here in Washington DC tuned in as well.  What pure joy to be among staunch Israel-supporting Christians as the celebration took place!  The room erupted many times in applause and celebratory cheers as we watched history being made.

If you missed President Trump’s congratulatory remarks and the unveiling of the official embassy seal, here is the 4 1/2-minute clip:

Later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a rousing speech, thanking President Trump for following through on his  promise to open the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

“What a glorious day! Remember this moment!  This is history.  President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history!”
~Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel

Watch his exuberant remarks here:

Indeed, it was a glorious day!  Spending it with those who love Israel was a true blessing.  Here in Washington DC we heard from other dignitaries and Christian leaders such as Yaron Gamburg (Minister of Public Diplomacy, Israeli Embassy in Washington), Dr Jurgen Buhler (President, ICEJ), Dr Jerry Johnson (President and CEO, National Religious Broadcasters), Pastor Saleem Shalash (Christian Arab Pastor at Jesus the King Church in Nazareth Israel) and many others.  How encouraging to know that Christians are leading a worldwide movement to share the truth about Israel, and to exhort others to speak out and act boldly on behalf of God’s chosen land and God’s chosen people.

In days ahead I’ll share more about the content of this first-rate gathering, beginning with America’s “Cyrus Moments” tomorrow.  See you then!

Happy 70th Birthday, Israel!

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Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments to the ACLI/ICEJ Conference in Washington DC

It’s finally here…HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ISRAEL!

Image result for seventy and strong galaI’m in Washington DC to celebrate two very important things: Israel’s 70th birthday, and the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.  American Christian Leaders for Israel and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem have teamed together for a huge gala celebration, hosted by the Museum of the Bible.  (All three are partners in standing for Israel.)

Last night’s gala was a sold out event where 400 Christian Leaders gathered to celebrate.  One highlight was a message from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, sincerely thanking American Christians for standing with Israel and helping to drive forward the move of the Embassy to Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, in Israel, Netanyahu welcomed the US delegation to Jerusalem and lauded President Trump and his administration for their leadership.  The true test of a leader is whether or not anyone follows, and the Prime Minister glowingly mentioned the move of other embassies to Jerusalem in the coming days and weeks.  Indeed, America has led the charge.  Here is Netanyahu’s welcoming remarks to the US team in Jerusalem:

 

At the gala we also heard from several Christian leaders and people of influence.  Gary Bauer (Family Research Council and former official in President Reagan’s administration) was especially poignant, pointing out the foreign policy successes of the American administration during the Trump era.

We were also reminded of “Cyrus moments” in our nation’s history.  It’s fascinating, and I’ll share more about that as I have time to write.  (Check back this afternoon or tomorrow.)

Meanwhile, let’s all join together in wishing Israel a blessed 70th birthday…and a prayer that, as the Lord continues to watch over her, that the eyes of His people will be open to see Him as their Messiah!

Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
~Psalm 121:4

 

The Iran Deal is Nixed, but What Other News Can We Expect over the Next Few Days?

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Netanyahu attends a Victory Day parade (WWII Soviet victory over Nazi Germany) ahead of meeting with Putin  (Photo credit: PMO)

Welcome back friends!  As you know, President Trump has pulled the US out of the Iranian nuclear deal.  However, that’s only one of the many newsworthy events expected in the next few days.

Certainly, there is fall-out from Trump’s announcement yesterday.  Netanyahu, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, European leaders, as well as some Arab states have all responded to the news in one way or another.  (See various comments here.)

Also,  the Israeli Air Force took care of business by destroying Iranian missiles aimed at Israel.  (See this morning’s post.)

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Big news for sure, but other “newsy” days are ahead.  Here is a recap of what is on tap:

  • Today – Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation in the Middle East.  (See yesterday’s post for more info about that meeting.)  Information is just coming out about that meeting, where Netanyahu is said to have thanked Putin for engaging in a conversation about regional issues, and warned the Russian premier that Iran’s ambition is another Holocaust.  Putin’s response: “We remember the tragedies of the two world wars, about the lessons of history which do not allow us to become blind. The same old ugly traits are appearing along with new threats: egoism, intolerance, aggressive nationalism and claims to exceptionalism. We understand the full seriousness of those threats.”  Time will tell!
  • Related imageSunday, May 13 – Jerusalem Day (Hebrew: יום ירושלים‎, Yom Yerushalayim) is the day Israel celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem following the 1967 Six-Day War.  Though Israel was victorious in the War of Independence (1948) and the Suez War (1956), in which they legally took control of their land, part of Jerusalem (and what is known as the West Bank today) fell under control of the Jordanians.  When Israel was threatened again in 1967, they were again victorious, reuniting Jerusalem.  Obviously, that is much disputed to this day, as there continues to be argument over the “pre-1967” borders.
  • US Embassy SignsMonday, May 14 – Israel will celebrate her 70th anniversary and the US will officially open its embassy in Jerusalem.  Many protests are expected, particularly from the Palestinians who continue their “March of Return” protests along the Israeli security fence.  Hamas if fueling the riots there, and they are expected to grow in intensity.
  • Tuesday, May 15 – Palestinian observance of nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic), marking the establishment of the state of Israel.  Again, protests in Gaza and the West Bank are expected to reach a fever pitch during these days.
  • Wednesday, May 16 – Guatemala will officially open their embassy in Jerusalem.

As you can imagine, opportunities for conflict over the next few days abound.  Pray for peace, and pray for wisdom of world leaders.  Things are boiling beneath the surface and the eruption is bound to occur at some point.

As believers, we know these to be “birth pangs” Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:1-8 and Mark 13:1-8.  Never in the history of the world have we seen the stage so fully set for end time prophecies.  Not to set dates or predict when the rapture (next thing on the prophetic calendar) will happen, but to simply say:

You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
~Matthew 24:6-8

But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.
~Luke 21:28

Our Lord could tarry, but our duty is to be ready, and to be about our Father’s business as we wait.  Keep that in mind as we navigate the days ahead!

PS: Stick with me, as I hope to report from the ICEJ/ACLI Conference and a celebration in a few days at the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC.