Rockets Rain Down on Israel

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IDF airstrike inside Gaza (Times of Israel photo)

Since Sunday night’s IDF special ops raid into the Gaza Strip, activity has ramped up in and around Gaza.  A top Hamas commander and several other terrorists were killed as a result of that mission, though it came at a cost.  Israeli sources have now confirmed that an IDF special ops officer was killed in that mission into the Strip on Sunday night, and another soldier was wounded.

Since then, Hamas has rained down at least 300 rockets on Israeli cities (perhaps the largest one day total ever), and the IDF has targeted over 70 Hamas and Islamic Jihad sites (backed by Iran) in the Gaza Strip.  Air raid sirens have gone off almost continually in cities throughout southern Israel and the Gaza Envelope (areas surrounding the Gaza Strip).  You will find a timeline and several videos here.

Meanwhile, other interesting things relative to the region are happening elsewhere.  During an official state visit to Paris to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.  It was the first meeting between Netanyahu and Putin since the Russian-made S-200 missile system (operated by Syrians, in Syria) shot down a Russian plane.  Israel was ultimately blamed for the incident.   Though no details of the meetings were reported, it is probable that Iranian influence in Syria and the region (including their backing of Hamas in Gaza) was a focal point in those conversations.

It is currently in the best interest of both Russia and Israel to cooperate at least to some degree militarily, in terms of not getting in each other’s way.  However, as we see events around the world, particularly in the Middle East, confirm Bible prophecy day-after-day, we know the stage is being set for end time events.  We see evidence suggesting the imminent destruction of Damascus (Isaiah 17:1), setting of the stage for the War of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38-39), and the rise of the Antichrist out of Europe (Daniel 2, 7).

In fact, one cannot help but think the spirit of lawlessness, described in 2 Thessalonians 2, is already at work.  As I look at what’s happening in our world…and even America and evil things for which so many stand…I am reminded that our time is short.  What we see are signs of the tribulation,yet our rapture occurs before that terrible time of hell on earth.

As we see these things, we must be alert,  be about our Father’s business (as Jesus was in Luke 2:41-51), be watchmen on the wall (Ezekiel 33:1-6, Isaiah 62:6-7), sound the alarm (Joel 2:1, Jeremiah 4:5-6), and be ambassadors of Christ while still on this earth (2 Corinthians 5:20).

How are we doing?

PS: For a timely commentary on why Gaza is such a problem, check back later today.  Blessings!

For Zion’s Sake – November 2018

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Greetings friends!  Indeed, time spent in prayer is never wasted, so I hope it is your habit to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as Psalm 122 exhorts.

On the first Wednesday of every month we join believers from all over the world to do just that.  Our Father in heaven is pleased when His children unite together at the foot of the throne.  Today’s the day, so let’s go there!

PRAISE:  Lord, we praise You that You are a God of encouragement.  A great Salvation is coming for Israel, as this great Salvation came for us.  We praise You for Jesus, Messiah of Israel.  Amen.

PROCLAIM:
Behold, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth,
Say to the daughter of Zion, “Lo, your salvation comes;
Behold His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.”
~Isaiah 62:11

PONDER:  In spite of the variety of deadly enemy campaigns against Israel throughout the ages, there is a promise that this darkness will fail.  We are called to encourage Zion with the assurance that a great deliverance is coming, that there will be a blessing, and that this salvation is embodied in a person, the Messiah, who died for them.  His reward for Israel is with Him, to the embarrassment of all who have ever hated Israel, including (at times) the Church.  There is a glorious future beyond the present which is a blessing to Jerusalem and a blessing to us.  Let us usher Him in with our prayers.

PRAY:  See this month’s prayer points, posted by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and pray accordingly.  Find the “Current Prayer Guide” here.  (Hint: there are several prayer points, so why not split them up and pray for a few of them each week throughout the month of November.)

“Hatikva” Played for First Time in UAE Following Israel’s Gold Medal Win

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Earlier today, Israeli judo champion, Sagi Muki won a gold medal at a major international event in Abu Dhabi UAE.  This is not the first gold medal win for Muki or the Israeli team, so what is so special about today’s win at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam?

History was made as “Hatikva” (the Israeli national anthem) was played and the Israeli flag raised for the first time in a sporting event hosted by an Arab country.  It has only been in recent years that athletes from Israel were allowed to compete in international sporting events in Arab countries.  Initially, not competitive enough to vie for podium positions, it was a non-issue.  However, as Israeli athletes improved and took well-earned positions on the medal stand, they were forced to do so without their flag being raised or their anthem played.  As recently as the same event last year, Israeli gold medal winners were deprived of the same recognition as other gold medalists.

That all changed today when Muki’s victory was celebrated in full, including flag and anthem!  In attendance at the event was Israel’s Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, who presented the medals and showed visible emotion as she proudly mouthed the words of “Hatikva” as it played.

Amidst chaos and evil hogging headlines these days, we are wise to recognize how the Lord continues moving pieces into place to fulfill Bible prophecy.  Not only is there rising cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia, but even Arab media is reporting that officials in Oman are recognizing Israel as a nation state.

“Israel is a state present in the region, and we all understand this. The world is also aware of this fact. Maybe it is time for Israel to be treated the same [as other states] and also bare the same obligations.”
~Omani official Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Aljazeera, 10/27/2018

Just as God spoke through the prophets of old, we are seeing moderate Arab nations separate themselves from other more radical Muslim countries and forging relationships with the Jewish state.  In the end, Egypt and Assyria, along with Israel, will reap blessings from the Lord.  (Isaiah 19:24-25)  Likewise, the Arabian peninsula (including Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE), known as Sheba and Dedan in Ezekiel 38:13, are among Muslim nations who will not join other Muslim nations (and Russia) in attacking Israel.

So, is a gold medal ceremony following a sporting event really that big a deal?  It is when it reveals another small piece of fulfilled prophecy!

For more information on the gold medal win and its impact on the Israeli delegation, click here.

The Jerusalem Post Recognizes ICEJ’s Service to Israelis

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Hi friends!  In May, the US moved its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem.  However, if you are a Christian, did you know YOU have an embassy in Jerusalem, and that it was the only embassy in Jerusalem for many years prior to America moving their embassy there?

Indeed, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has been representing Christians from around the world to Israel since 1980, with Biblical purposes of providing comfort and blessing to Israel (Isaiah 40:1, Genesis 12:3), as well as proclaiming God’s steadfast plan to fulfill His promises to restore the Jewish people to their land and to relationship with God (Ezekiel 36:24-28).  They are the “hands and feet” of all of us who love Israel and wish to bless her!

Over the years, the ICEJ has worked tirelessly:

  • Providing care and a place to live to Holocaust survivors (Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors)
  • Providing dozens of portable bomb shelters to cities along the Gaza border
  • Donating several fire-fighting vehicles to battle the arson fires set by incendiary balloons and other devices from the Gaza Strip
  • Outfitting IDF and police units with body armor
  • Sponsoring numerous plane loads of Jews making aliyah (returning to the homeland)
  • Teaching and speaking all over the world, emphasizing the importance of understanding Israel’s place in God’s plan
  • Hosting an annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration where Christians from around the world come to Jerusalem to worship the King of Kings, and to share their love with Israeli citizens
  • Hosting tours for pastors and for young people, designed to encourage leaders and young people to spread the truth about Israel
  • Providing Passover meals and other food to those living in poverty in Israel
  • Providing basic needs, loving, and caring for orphans, children and at-risk youth
  • …many other humanitarian and educational initiatives

The ICEJ has been praised by the Israeli government, other NGOs, and the people they serve.  Recently, The Jerusalem Post published a glowing article touting the efforts of the ICEJ.  (Find it here.)

If you are a Christian who loves Israel and desires to obey the Biblical command to bless Israel, I encourage you to learn more about the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and consider partnering with them in prayer and/or financially.  You will be blessed!

Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.
~Luke 6:38