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MA#6   ~~  MAY 2000 –

“O JERUSALEM,” AND THE BACKGROUND TO SYRIA AND THE GOLAN, LEBANON AND HIZB’ALLAH, AND THE PALESTINIAN CONFLICT.

IN THIS ISSUE

*   JERUSALEM! “YOUR HOUSE IS LEFT TO YOU, DESOLATE!

*   “HOW CAN JERUSALEM BECOME THE WORLD CAPITAL?”

*   MESSIAH’S MILLENNIUM IS THE AGE OF GLORY

*   BACKGROUND TO SYRIA & THE GOLAN HEIGHTS,

     AND LEBANON & THE HIZB’ALLAH

*   BACKGROUND TO ISRAEL’S WITHDRAWAL FROM S. LEBANON

*   LEBANON STILL BURNS

*   ISRAEL’S UNILATERAL PULLBACK

*   ISRAELI GENERALS OPPOSE WITHDRAWAL FROM LEBANON

*   PROPHECIES CONCERNING LEBANON & SYRIA

*   BACKGROUND TO THE PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

*   PALESTINIAN "PACT" WITH THE POPE

*   PROPHECY CONCERNING GAZA AND ITS CITIES

*   JERUSALEM - A VERY HEAVY ROCK

*   JORDAN’S KING SEES DUAL CAPITAL FOR JERUSALEM

*   THE POPE IN JERUSALEM

*   KHAMENEI: "DEATH TO ISRAEL"

*   WORLD WAR AHEAD!

*   ULTIMATE BLESSING FOR JERUSALEM, AND ISRAEL

*   ULTIMATE BLESSING FOR ISRAEL’S NEIGHBOURS

*   PRAY FOR JERUSALEM, and “bless Abraham ?”

*   THERE IS A REDEEMER!

O  JERUSALEM!

 

 

 “YOUR HOUSE IS LEFT TO YOU, DESOLATE!”

- Y’shua the Messiah. (Matthew 23:37-39)

                                                                                                          

MAY 2000.  The Middle East Peace Process is reaching a dramatic climax. Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat are striving to conclude the final negotiations by Sept. 13, this year (2000).

Yasser Arafat demands East Jerusalem as the capital of the new Palestinian state. Ehud Barak insists that the whole of Jerusalem is the indivisible capital of Israel.

Hafez Assad is playing a game of high stakes over the Golan Heights. He demands Israel’s withdrawal to the 1967 borders. Such a move would bring Syrian forces down to the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

The Arab League, made up of some 22 nations, demands that Israel relinquish its occupation of all “Arab lands” including East Jerusalem.  Fundamentalist Iran demands nothing less than the death of Israel!

The Vatican calls for a “special status” for Jerusalem, as does the United Nations, and the European Union.

The U.S. demands a “peace” breakthrough - if possible before Bill Clinton vacates the Whitehouse.

The pressures are intense. Will compromise win the day? Will peace succeed?

The intractable positions of Israel and Arabs on the main central issue, Jerusalem, does not augur well for lasting peace, or even a temporary peace. The peace negotiations are fraught with tension and frustration, and the world wonders if there ever will be peace in the Middle East?

Some analysts foresee a stalemate, resulting in a dangerous “no peace - no war” situation. Some commentators see this as probably the best outcome that could be expected from the present impasse. But that situation cannot be maintained indefinitely.

WHY SHOULD PEACE BE SO DIFFICULT FOR ISRAEL ?

Didn’t Egypt make peace with Egypt? And Jordan? Then why not with the Palestinians?

But Egypt did not need to haggle over Jerusalem! And Jordan had already relinquished claim to the holy city.  The Palestinians are, however, compelled to wrestle over East Jerusalem. The old city is such an emotive issue for all Muslims that no Arab or Persian nation will forgive the Palestinians if they do not do their utmost to wrest the city from Israel. The Palestinians must maintain, by all means, a foothold in the city, which is regarded as an Islamic holy place.

According to Israeli reasoning, Mecca is the Muslim's holy capital, while Jerusalem has been the Jews’ holy capital for 3,000 years. East Jerusalem is the very soul of Israel.  But Jerusalem is where an irresistible force meets an immovable object!

The Palestinians will be compelled to accept less than their goal of East Jerusalem as their sovereign capital - at least, for now. Whatever compromises are made, the results concerning Jerusalem will be temporary. There will be no lasting peace as long as the temple mount, which supports the Dome of the Rock and El Aqsa mosque, is under Israeli sovereignty.

Whatever “interim solution” is achieved, it will not satisfy Arab aspirations. And whatever guarantees are provided by the United Nations and the U.S., the peace will be as fragile as the Dead Sea scrolls.

All-out war will be the ultimate consequence of the 4,000 years of rivalry between the sons of Abraham. War will be the inevitable result of the hostility between Moses and Mohammed. A climatic war will be the result of the spiritual conflict between the Man of Sin (Antichrist), and the Man of Glory (Jesus Christ).

Jerusalem, which has been destroyed partially, or completely, 37 times in its history, is destined for one more destruction.

The Almighty, Yahweh, the Eternal One, declares:

“Look! I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the people around. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. And on that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem a very heavy rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will be severely injured.”  (Zechariah 12:1-3)

The Messiah, Jesus Christ, wept over Jerusalem, and foretold its desolation.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together the way a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you were unwilling. Look! Your house is left to you desolate, for I tell you, from now on you shall not see Me again until you say, Baruch haba b’Shem Yahweh Adonai - Blessed is He who comes in the Name of Yahweh the LORD.”  (Matthew 23:37-39)

The Messiah’s prophecy of Jerusalem’s desolation was fulfilled forty years later, (in the year AD 70), when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. And the Scriptures make it clear that the  Messiah’s prophecy is to be fulfilled a second time - in the endtime Tribulation – during the seven years of which the prophet Daniel foretold.

“The end will come like a flood. To the end there will be war, and desolations have been decreed. And he (the endtime Roman Antichrist) will confirm a covenant - a treaty - with the many for one ‘seven’ (seven years), but in the middle of that period he will put an end to sacrifice and offering; and on the pinnacle (of the Temple) he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”  (Daniel 9:26-27)

The Antichrist is the one who will take control of the “City of Peace” - after the Battle of Jerusalem. It is he who will rule the whole world for 3˝ years from Jerusalem, which he will make his world capital.

 

“HOW CAN JERUSALEM, IN A MINUSCULE NATION,

BECOME THE WORLD CAPITAL?”

While answering that question, let me also answer another:

“Why do we have such a persistent focus on Israel?”

It is because of the plans and purposes of the Almighty God. Jerusalem is crucial to prophetic fulfilment. God chose Jerusalem for His purposes, and what He has decreed will be done!  Jerusalem is the City of Destiny!

Mt Moriah is the mountain of Jerusalem where Solomon’s temple was built. Earlier, Abraham was commanded to offer up his son Isaac, on Mt Moriah. (Genesis 22). Later, King David bought a parcel of land on Mt Moriah from a Jebusite named both Ornan and Araunah, to use as a place of sacrifice. (2 Samuel 24:20-25).  Jerusalem is also called Mt Zion, “the city of God,” and “the city of the Great King.” (Psalm 48:1-2. 87:1-3)

Jerusalem is destined to be the world capital during the Millennial reign of the Messiah. (That’s the glorious millennium that we love to talk about!)

“The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:  In the last days the mountain of the House of Yahweh will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream into it.

“Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths.’ For the Torah (instruction) will go out from Zion, and the Word of Yahweh from Jerusalem. 

“He will judge between the nations, and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they learn warfare any more.”  (Isaiah 2:1-4)

 

MESSIAH’S MILLENNIUM IS THE AGE OF GLORY

“And truly, as I live, says the Yahweh the LORD, all the earth will be filled with the glory of Yahweh.”   (Numbers 14:21)

“And one Seraph (angel) called out to another and said, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is Yahweh of Hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory’.”               (Isaiah 6:3)

Messiah’s Millennium is ahead. It is scheduled. It is the culmination of history - it’s the final 1,000 years of man’s residence on earth. Before the Millennium, however, there are a number of events that must take place - the Rapture (the catching up of born again believers to meet the Master in the sky), and then the events of the 7-year Tribulation, including the Battle of Jerusalem, and the 3˝ year reign of the Antichrist.

The main events of the Tribulation centre around Jerusalem. And that’s why this Israeli city is so important.  It is coveted by the Antichrist as his capital, because it is the City of the Great King (Y’shua the Messiah).  The Antichrist will claim that he is the Christ, the Great King, but unless he is enthroned in Jerusalem, most of the world will not accept him as “the Christ.”

It is because of the Biblical prophecies then, that we have such a keen focus on Israel.  Jerusalem is THE FUTURE! But first, let’s look at the present situation.

ISRAEL, AN ALIEN PRESENCE”

The head of the Mossad - Israel’s intelligence agency - has been quoted by a Hebrew newspaper as having told a closed meeting of diplomats serving in Arab countries, that Israel will always be regarded as an “alien presence” by its Arab neighbours.

While the leak of the briefing to the newspaper angered the Mossad chief, he did not deny the accuracy of the article.

According to the report, he also said that while treaties with Arab countries could prevent wars, they would never be considered as more than “cease-fire agreements,” and that Israel should not expect to have warm relations with its neighbours.

That basic Arab attitude is one of the main problems in the Israel-Arab conflict.  Other main problems at the present time:

1   Syria’s anger because of Israel’s continued occupation of the Golan Heights.

2   Lebanon’s chagrin because of Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the 10-mile security zone in south Lebanon, without settling the Palestinian refugee problem in Lebanon.

3   The Palestinians’ demand for the whole of the West Bank, and for East Jerusalem as its capital.

4   Jerusalem, a “very heavy rock.”  22 Arab nations and Iran claim East Jerusalem as Islamic territory, and their determination is to eject Israel from that sector.

5   Water sharing in an area where water is extremely scarce.  This is a serious problem that alone could lead to war.

6   Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees from the 1948  and  1967 conflicts,  wait  to  return  to  their  home  territory, some of which is in Israel itself.

7   The pressure to divide the West Bank which is dotted with Israeli settlements and Palestinian villages, and to negotiate the Israel-Palestine borders.

          BACKGROUND:  SYRIA & THE GOLAN HEIGHTS,

                AND LEBANON & THE HIZB’ALLAH

 

 SYRIA:   “LET OUR GOLAN GO!”

Syria’s main controversy with Israel is over the strategic plateau, the Golan, which Israel captured in the 1967 “6-day war.”   The Golan includes the mountains on the east and north-east of Galilee.  Prior to the 6-day war, the Syrians regularly fired upon the Jewish villages of Galilee from the Golan Heights.

The Golan was known in ancient times as Bashan.  The territory was given by Moses to the Israelite tribes of Manasseh.

So Moses gave to the sons of Gad and to the sons of Reuben and to the half-tribe of Joseph's son Manasseh, the kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og, the king of Bashan, the land with its cities with their territories, the cities of the surrounding land.”        (Numbers 32:33)

Later, King David extended his control beyond the Golan to Damascus. King Solomon exercised effective control of Syria right up to the Euphrates River. During the times of the divided kingdom, Israel lost the Golan to Aram (Syria).

Syria is an age-long implacable enemy of Israel, and in modern times has never made a peace treaty with the Jewish state.

Israeli-Syrian peace talks held in the United States were suspended in January, when Syria sought an up-front promise that Israel would withdraw to the pre-1967 war frontier. Israel refused to make such a pledge. Damascus is demanding Israel's withdrawal from the entire Golan Heights. Such a withdrawal would bring Syria right down to the edge of the Sea of Galilee.

Security is Israel’s main concern. It does not want to return to the pre-1967 conditions in which Syrians regularly fired down on the villages of Galilee.

Late last year, 1999, it was reported that Israel said it would need $83 billion over a ten year period to compensate for retreating from the Golan Heights. This amount included the cost of two squadrons of warplanes, two divisions of tanks and fighting vehicles, air-defence missiles, an advanced warning system, and a rapid-deployment brigade.

The U.S. has so far, rejected Israel’s request for Tomahawk missiles. Most of the U.S. Republicans, and many Democrats, are in no mood to send US forces to the Golan Heights, or to pay tens of billions of dollars to Israel, Syria, and the Pales-tinians in return for peace treaties that could prove fragile.

Recent polls have shown that Israel is evenly divided on the prospect of giving back the Golan Heights in return for peace, though the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, says that support will grow once he presents a complete peace package.

The Syrians, however, are suspicious that Barak does not have the political support to deliver the Golan anyway. Those suspicions may be quite right.

At the beginning of March, Israel’s Knesset (parliament) gave initial backing to a Bill that would make a peace treaty with Syria very difficult to conclude. While it was just the first of three necessary readings on the measure, defections from within Barak’s coalition suggested the consensus for peace-making has been shaken by recent fighting in Lebanon.

The Bill would require any treaty with Syria to be approved by a majority of eligible voters - a stronger requirement than a previous condition that called for a simple majority to approve it.

If passed, it would mean that even if about 80 percent of the electorate participate in the referendum - a typical turnout in Israel - more than 60 percent of those casting ballots would have to say “yes” to get a peace treaty approved.

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis live abroad, but retain the right to vote. They would be counted in calculating the number of eligible voters, but most likely would not make the trip back home to participate in a referendum. Israel does not allow an absentee ballot.

The first reading of the Bill passed by a vote of 60-53. Two further readings have to be taken before the bill becomes law, and horse-trading within Barak’s coalition could prevent the passage of the bill. Barak said, “No parliamentary trick will stop the people from determining their future by a majority of participants in the referendum.”

The Bill was, nevertheless, a blow to Barak’s ambitious timetable for Middle East peace-making, and it potentially cripples Barak’s ability to make peace with Syria.

The  Knesset’s decision raised questions about the stability of Barak’s government, since three of the six parties in his coalition sided with the opposition which sponsored the Bill. It also raised doubts about his ability to deliver on promises he makes in peace talks, and might deter an already jittery Syria from returning to the negotiations.

ISRAELI OPPOSITION TO GOLAN’S RETURN

The main reason for opposition to a retreat from Golan, is, of course, security.  Israel would become a “sitting duck” once more. An early-warning system, a peace-keeping force, or a U.S. guarantee is no real guarantee when an enemy is already “looking down your nose.”

Silvan Shalom of the opposition Likud Party who sponsored the Bill, acknowledged that he was trying to block a withdrawal from all of the Golan Heights. “A majority of the people opposes a withdrawal from the Golan,” he said.

Shalom was heckled by angry Arab legislators who accused him of trying to neutralize the Arab vote. A large majority of Arabs, who make up nearly 20 percent of the population, are expected to vote “yes” in a referendum.

A peace treaty with Syria would have to pass through three stages - approval by the Cabinet, approval by the Knesset with a special majority of 61 of 120 legislators, and finally, approval in a referendum.

Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, who called the bill racist, said a treaty might pass the first two stages and be rejected in the referendum - even if millions voted for it.  “Those of you who have God in their hearts, won’t do this,” he said.

Cabinet ministers say a loss in a referendum would spell the end of the Barak government, which came to power in July on pledges to make every effort to nail down peace treaties with the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon.

ISRAEL RESUMES BUILDING IN THE GOLAN

In mid-April, Ehud Barak said peace with Syria was a distant prospect!  At the same time he lifted the ban on settlement construction in the Golan Heights - a ban which he had imposed after taking office last year.

This was a move that is likely to anger Syria and hurt efforts to restart the land-for-peace talks that broke off in January.

“I believe it’s only natural,” Barak told reporters, “that since we see the door is left with only a very small crack of possibilities for renewal of talks with Syria, that part of the projects that had been delayed for several months on the Golan Heights, will get permission to move forward. That was the decision that was taken by the director-general of the prime minister’s office.”

A spokesman for Israel’s Regional Municipality of the Golan Heights said the decision to end the freeze applied to tourism and all aspects of building.  “This morning we got a formal notice that all freezing is cancelled,” he said.

An official who declined to be identified, said; “We never totally stopped building in the Golan Heights. There was a freeze in projects, or a slowing down, and now we are allowing the continuance of life to go on there.”

Jewish Golan residents welcomed the move. About 17,000 Jewish settlers live on the Golan Heights along with about the same number of Arab Druze, who have been split from their community on the Syrian side of the border since 1967.

A member of the Golan Residents Committee said that private building had never stopped, and the decision to end the freeze referred to development by the government.

The Golan Settlers’ Council said in a statement that building on the heights should be a ‘premier national goal.’  “Israel should strengthen its hold on the Golan, and in doing so, make clear that the Golan settlements are an irreversible reality,” it said.

PROPHECY CONCERNING SYRIA

“The oracle concerning Damascus. Look! Damascus is about to be removed from being a city, and it will become a heap of ruins.”   (Isaiah 17:1)

 

 

BACKGROUND TO ISRAEL’S WITHDRAWAL FROM S. LEBANON

     LEBANON STILL BURNS

May 2000.  Israel’s entanglement with Lebanon was a fall out from the 1967 war.

The PLO, a coalition of Palestinian organisations, had formed in 1964. In 1967 it was thrown out of the West Bank when Israel captured the area. The Palestinians took refuge in Jordan, but there they made an attempt to topple King Hussein. He cracked down on them, and then they fled to Lebanon, where there were already several hundred thousands of Palestinian refugees. Through a reign of terror, the PLO took over the southern part of the country, and used this as a base to attack Israel.

In 1982, Israel invaded southern Lebanon, to put an end to the attacks. Israel was welcomed as liberators by the Lebanese.  The PLO leaders were driven out, and moved to Tunisia on the north coast of Africa, between Libya and Algeria.

But civil war developed in Lebanon, and this brought Syria into the picture.

Israel withdrew from the territory they had invaded, except for a 10-mile wide “security zone,” in the south of Lebanon. This zone Israel has maintained with the help of the allied SLA (South Lebanese Army).

For years Israel helped the primarily Christian SLA to defend its homes, villages and lands in south Lebanon from the PLO, and from Hizb'allah and other terrorist groups.

Since becoming involved in Lebanon, Syria has exercised virtual control over the country. At the same time, the fundamentalist Hizb'allah, supported by Iran, has grown in strength. 

Attacks on Israel from Lebanon come primarily from Hizb'allah and their Katyusha rockets. More than 300 Israeli soldiers were killed in Lebanon since 1982.

During the first six weeks of the year 2000, there were almost as many Hizb'allah missile attacks as in all of 1999. In the first three months of the year, there were 118 attacks in which Hizb'allah fired hundreds of missiles at Israeli forces, or territory.

Iran reportedly stepped up weapons shipments to Hizb'allah - which adheres to Iran’s brand of radical Islam - in an attempt to scuttle Israeli-Syrian talks. The thing that has puzzled Israelis most, is that Damascus, which controls the Lebanese government and the flow of goods to Hizb'allah, did nothing to curtail the terrorist organization’s activities.

Ehud Barak had hoped that Syrian President Hafez el-Assad would pressure Hizb'allah to cease its activities while peace negotiations between Israel and Syria were in progress, especially in the light of the promised date for departure. However, not only did the attacks not stop, they increased.

Recent new casualties, of both Israelis and SLA, increased pressure on Barak to order a total withdrawal from Lebanon.

Barak indicated that a treaty with Syria is still one of Israel’s highest priorities, although he said it would be difficult to conduct negotiations in the current atmosphere of attack. 

U.S. officials, have expressed their disappointment at the status of talks, but are still pushing for their continuation.

 

ISRAEL’S UNILATERAL PULLBACK

Ehud Barak, Israel’s most decorated war hero, was elected prime minister partly on a pledge to have the last Israeli soldier out of Lebanon by July 2,000 - with or without an agreement with the Lebanese government.

Barak had hoped that the pullout would be carried out within the framework of an overall agreement with Syria and Lebanon that would pacify the border and ensure the safety of the SLA.  But that possibility became remote, especially since Syrian President Hafez Assad, at a meeting with Bill Clinton in March 2000, in Geneva, rejected the terms offered by Mr Barak.

Prior to the fray in Lebanon, the Syrian daily Tishreen launched a classic anti-Semitic attack against Israel .  The state-run paper, which is known to express official opinion, accused Israel and Zionist organizations of perpetuating the “myth” of the Holocaust in order to get reparations money from the West. It also accused Israel of being worse than the Nazis by committing against the Arabs crimes that are uglier than the ones committed by the Nazis.

Some analysts are pondering why Israel has not yet interpreted the message that Assad is sending out - that he is not really interested in any kind of agreement with Israel. Look at the signs:

*    Assad, himself, was not willing to attend the renewed Israeli-Syrian talks last January (2000).

*    Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Shara, who attended in his place, delivered a blistering opening comment at the first round of talks; and by the second round, Shara still wouldn’t shake Barak’s hand - an important symbol for Israelis.

*    To start, Assad demanded land that was beyond the 1947 international border. Later he demanded a written guarantee prior to the agreement, that Israel would leave the Golan.

*    The Syrian press openly renewed its anti-Semitic attitudes.

*    Damascus has allowed Hizb'allah in Lebanon to hit Israeli troops without  restraint.

Other analysts have said that all of this is part of Assad’s negotiating tactics, in order to obtain more concessions for Israel, and more perks from the U.S.

The recent deaths of Israeli soldiers renewed the debate in Israel about an IDF withdrawal from Lebanon. However, the argument is no longer about whether or not Israel should leave the so-called security zone, but about just how soon.

Many of even the most hawkish Knesset members are now ready to leave, though some are demanding an even harsher response in Lebanon. They want to make sure that it is understood that Israel is not running away from Lebanon in defeat, nor will it tolerate cross-border terror attacks once it withdraws to the international border.

In a breach of army protocol, two Israeli soldiers serving in Lebanon were interviewed on radio without permission, and both expressed their desire to leave Lebanon NOW. Neither, they said, had any aspiration to be the last soldier killed in south Lebanon.

Many of the soldiers - and their parents - are now asking, “Why wait until July?” Those critical of Barak say that he has made the Israeli soldiers serving in Lebanon into canon fodder by setting a date for withdrawal.

Until recently, soldiers serving in south Lebanon were highly motivated to do so. They knew the enemy and dangers there. And it was much more honorable to be fighting a war against guerrillas in Lebanon than manning posts in Palestinian villages where the enemy could be stone-throwing children.

ISRAEL TO QUIT BY JULY 7, 2000

The  Lebanon President, Emile Lahoud, threatened Israel with war if it withdraws from south Lebanon without a simultaneous withdrawal from the Golan Heights. “We also want to put an end to the difficult problem of 360,000 Palestinian Arab refugees in Lebanon by repatriating them to their original homes, their land, and their villages,” he said.

Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy formally notified U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on April 17, that Israeli troops occupying parts of southern Lebanon would complete their withdrawal “in one phase,” by July 7, 2000.

There are fears that the pullout, in the absence of  an agreement with Lebanon and Syria, the main power broker in Lebanon, could result in attacks against northern Israel by Iranian-backed Hizb'allah guerrillas, and possibly by dissident Palestinian groups.

This would certainly spark strong Israeli retaliation, resulting in a serious upsurge in fighting which, in turn, would have an impact on the UN peace-keeping force deployed in southern Lebanon since 1978. The 4,500-strong force comprises contingents from Fiji, Finland, France, Ghana, India, Ireland, Italy, Nepal and Poland.

All parties, including Kofi Annan, hoped the withdrawal could take place in the context of a prior agreement between Israel, Lebanon, and Syria which has some 35,000 troops in Lebanon.

But believing that no one is really interested in war, Mr Barak apparently still hopes that his gamble will bring Damascus back to the negotiating table.

Israel has agreed to a UN proposal to send representatives to help determine its border with Lebanon, which will enhance Israel’s legal right to respond in the event of cross-border attacks.

 

ISRAELI GENERALS, (and SYRIA),

OPPOSE WITHDRAWAL FROM LEBANON

Syria and most of the Israeli generals found some common ground on the question of the withdrawal.

The Tel Aviv paper Ma’ariv reported in April 2000, that “a majority of rele­vant members of the general staff” oppose the unilateral pullout planned for July because it endangers Israeli border settlements. “We’re talking about an unprecedented gamble with the lives of civilians,” an unnamed general is quoted as saying.

Syria also opposes the pullout, but for the opposite reason. It wants Israeli troops to remain in southern Lebanon so that their losses in clashes with Hizb'allah guerillas will pressure Israel to accept an overall peace settlement that will include the return to Syria of all land captured in the Six-Day War.

Hizb'allah leaders have been deliberately ambiguous about whether or not they would attack settlements inside Israel once Israeli troops leave Lebanese territory.

The Israeli army has begun to renew its defence line along the international border it crossed 18 years ago at the beginning of the Lebanese war.

Lebanese President Emile Lahoud warned in April that even if UN troops were posted on the border, Palestinian militia from refugee camps inside Lebanon could well attack Israel across the border.  “Do you think that international forces will be able to prevent daily little wars on the border,” he asked in a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The Lebanese Government fears Israel will strike heavily against the country’s infrastructure if there are cross-border attacks. And that fear should be pretty correct!

If the pullback is followed by cross-border attacks, the Israeli response is almost certain to be fierce. It may extend not only to Lebanese power sta­tions and to villages from which Hizb'allah operates but, for the first time, to the Syrian troops in Lebanon as well. The possibility of events escalating out of control is clear to all the leaders in the region.

Recently, Foreign Minister David Levy threatened: “Lebanese soil will burn,” if Hizb'allah attacks against Israeli and South Lebanese Army (SLA) targets continue. Levy’s warning to destroy Lebanese infrastructure came a day after Israel Air Force (IAF) jets bombed three power stations in Lebanon, plunging much of the country, including the capital, Beirut, into darkness. However, the precisely planned attack caused no casualties.

The IAF bombing came in response to a ruthless wave of Hizb'allah attacks against Israeli and SLA positions, which left seven Israeli soldiers and four SLA militiamen dead in less than three weeks.

Hizb'allah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has vowed that his organization would continue its attacks on Israeli targets until Israel had left Lebanon, and hinted that attacks on northern Israeli communities were still a possibility.

In the past, Hizb'allah has said that even if Israel left south Lebanon, it would continue to fight all the way to Jerusalem.

CONCERN FOR THE SAFETY OF THE S.L.A.

One of the questions gnawing at Israeli politicians and military personnel is how to ensure the safety of the South Lebanese Army SLA and their families (who are Israel’s Christian allies), when Israel withdraws its troops to the international border.

The planned pullback from the Security zone will make the 2,000-man SLA, vulnerable to Hizb'allah revenge.

Militiamen and their families are seen as traitors by both the Hizb'allah and the Lebanese government. Hizb'allah has vowed to kill all SLA soldiers who do not defect and join them. They are vicious and will not hesitate to do so.

Col. Akel Hashem, one of the SLA militiamen killed, was assassinated by a “well-placed” series of explosive charges at his family’s farm. Hashem, second in command of the SLA, was well-liked and highly respired by both his troops and the IDF. He was favoured to replace the current SLA commander General Antoinc Lahad, 71, when he retires. His death - a blow to the SLA - sent shock waves through the residents of south Lebanon.

In a first-ever statement of its kind by a Lebanese leader, the Lebanese Defence Minister said his country’s army could secure its southern border to ensure that Hizb'allah and other organizations would not launch cross-border attacks. He also said that the government was not concerned about massacres.

However, the Christian population is afraid of a kind of ethnic cleansing if Israel withdraws its troops. Even if an amnesty is granted by the government, there is no guarantee that the residents would be safe. Past amnesties have not necessarily been observed. Christians were often kidnapped and murdered.

Israeli U.N. envoy, Yehuda Lancry, has now clarified that Israel, as part of a “humanitarian solution,” would take in “between  3,000 and 4,000” members and relatives of the South Lebanon Army (SLA) militia who have been assisting about 1,000 Israeli troops in southern Lebanon, and who face the risk of reprisals after Israel pulls out. “Of course, they have the freedom to choose any country of their choice,” he added.

 

POSTSCRIPT: THE WITHDRAWAL FROM SOUTH LEBANON TOOK PLACE A LITTLE AHEAD OF SCHEDULE. HIZB’ALLAH STEPPED INTO THE VACUUM, AND HAS CONTINUED ITS ATTACKS ON ISRAEL, LEADING UP TO THE “KATYUSHA WAR” IN 2006.

 

 

 

PROPHECIES CONCERNING LEBANON & SYRIA

“For Yahweh of Hosts will have a day of reckoning,against everything proud and lofty; against everything lifted up - and it will be brought low. And it will be against all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, against all the oaks of Bashan (Syria), against all the high mountains, against all the lofty hills, against every high tower, against every fortified wall, against all the ships of Tarshish and against all the beautiful craft and vessels.  The arrogance of man will be humbled and the loftiness of men will be brought low. Yahweh alone will be exalted in that day, but the idols will completely pass away. Men will flee into caves of the rocks and into holes of the ground, from the terror of Yahweh and the splendour of His majesty, when He arises to make the earth tremble.”   (Isaiah 2:12-19)

“Open your doors, O Lebanon, so that fire may devour your cedars. Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, because the magnificent trees have been destroyed. Wail, O oaks of Bashan, for the dense forest has come down. Listen! the wailing of the shepherds, for their splendid attire - their rich pastures - is ruined. Listen! the sound of young lions roaring, for the lush conditions of the Jordan are ruined.”  (Zechariah 11:1-3)

ULTIMATE BLESSING FOR LEBANON

“Is it not yet just a little while before Lebanon will be changed into a fertile and fruitful field, and the fruitful field will be regarded as a forest? On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.  The meek and afflicted will increase their joy in Yahweh, and the needy of mankind shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the ruthless will come to an end; the scorner will be consumed, and all who are intent on doing evil will be cut off.”        (Isaiah 29:17-20)  

 

BACKGROUND TO THE PALESTINIAN CONFLICT  

THE PALESTINIANS: IMPATIENT FOR STATEHOOD

The history of the Israel-Arab conflict goes back to the time of Abraham. In more modern times, “the Land” (Israel, Palestine), was ruled by the Ottoman Turkish Empire for some 400 years.

The Palestinian presence was concentrated in the Gaza strip, Jerusalem and a number of towns throughout the Land.  A smaller Jewish presence also existed, mostly  in Jerusalem, and in Safat in Galilee.

During World War I, British forces, aided by Hashemite Arabs, fought the Turks and liberated Jerusalem. Thereafter, the Ottoman empire disintegrated, and the Land came under British administration, through a mandate of the League of Nations.

After the war, in accordance with its Balfour Declaration, Great Britain permitted Jews to return to the Land. At first, the Jews migrating to Palestine from many parts of the world, were welcomed as “brothers” by the Arabs in the Land. But it was not long before conflicts developed. Those conflicts continued right up to, and through, World War 2. After WW2, the conflicts developed into a 3-way battle between the Arabs, the Jews, and the British.

By 1947, Britain decided that it would pull out of Palestine, and handed the Arab-Jew conflict over to the United Nations. After investigating the situation, a U.N. committee proposed that Western Palestine be bifurcated. This proposal was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in November 1947. Resolution 181 called for the creation of two states - a Palestinian state and a Jewish state; and for Jerusalem to become a separate identity under U.N. auspices.

On May 14, 1948, the 500,000-strong Jewish community in the Land, proclaimed the rebirth of the State of Israel, with David Ben Gurion as its first Prime Minister, and Chaim Weizman as its first President. 

The Palestinian and the Arab nations opposed a Jewish state in the Middle East, and therefore rejected the UN partition plan. They attacked Israel on the very day it was established. The world watched, and expected Israel to be wiped out within a matter of days.

But Israel survived, not by its own strength, but by the decree and the mighty Right Hand of Yahweh, “the Mighty One of Israel,”  the One who is no other than the Great Creator, the Eternal One. Yahweh the Lord had long before declared:

“It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am doing this, but for the sake of My holy Name, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. I will sanctify - set apart - My great Name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the gentile nations will know that I am Yahweh, declares the Lord, Yahweh, when I prove Myself holy and set apart in you in their sight. For I will take you from among the nations; I will gather you from all countries, and bring you into your own land.

“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; and I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My laws, and you will guard My judgments, and do them. And you will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I - I will be your God.”         (Ezekiel 36:22-28)

An intense 18-month war followed Israel's rebirth, which produced a great number of Palestinian refugees, and also resulted in Jordan occupying the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

After an armistice was signed, Israel strengthened its position in approximately half of West Palestine. (East Palestine had already been carved off, shortly after World War I, to form the nation of Transjordan - now Jordan.)  There was no attempt in 1948 to form a Palestinian state.

In 1967, three Arab nations - Egypt, Syria and Jordan - joined together to settle the Jewish problem once and for all - total destruction of Israel. The Arabs were poised to attack, when Israel, in a brilliant pre-emptive attack, destroyed the three nations’ air planes before they could take off.  Then followed the 6-Day War.

In those six days, Israeli forces drove the Egyptian army from the Sinai, captured the Gaza Strip from Egypt, wrested the West Bank, and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and drove the Syrians from the Golan Heights.  Israel once more became a legend.

East Jerusalem was reunited with the western part of the city, and later, the unified city was proclaimed by the Knesset, “the indivisible and eternal capital of the State of Israel.”

The victories of Israel, however, presented new problems - the problems of occupied territories.

In 1973, Egypt and Syria joined together again, to attack Israel. The surprise attack began on Yom Kippur, Israel’s most sacred day. At the beginning, the 18-day war was a serious threat to Israel, but the tables were gradually turned against the Arabs.

After it signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, the Sinai was returned to Egypt.

Then Jordan relinquished its claim to the West Bank in favour of the PLO in 1988, and also made a peace accord with Israel in 1994.

The main conflict after 1973 has been the ongoing Palestinian struggle for a state of their own. A state was offered to them  through UN Resolution 181 in 1947, but that was rejected.  They did not want to share Palestine with Jews. And until recently, the Palestinian manifesto called for the destruction of Israel.

Israel and the PLO were for many decades, each other’s worst enemy. But through the pressures and circumstances beyond their own control - the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Sadam Hussein’s foray, the Gulf War, the rise of Hamas, and George Bush’s concept of a New World Order, in particular - the two enemies had to face up to the reality of each other’s presence and capabilities.

Pressure from the U.S. and the U.N. finally caused the two enemies to begin to talk about peace. The talks began after the Gulf War in 1991, in Madrid, but for nearly two years there was little movement.

A breakthrough came in 1993. After months of secret negotiations in Oslo, Norway, a peace accord was announced, and soon Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat were signing the accord at the White House in Washington. The document called for the settlement of the Israel-Palestinian dispute within five years.

The constant on-off negotiations between the two obstinate parties, have, surprisingly, produced some tangible results; for the Palestinians - a Palestinian Authority (a self-rule body headed by Arafat); control of Jericho, most of Gaza, Hebron, and at present 40% of the West Bank; an international airport in Gaza; a Palestinian police force; and international aid.

Statehood is now a foregone conclusion, but the PA is still demanding the rest of the West Bank, and East Jerusalem as its capital. It is demanding also the right of return of Palestinian refugees, and compensation for the past deprivation.

For Israel, the benefits so far, are mostly a promise of “peace” in the future. Israel’s agreement and cordial relations with Jordan is a spinoff of the peace process, but the expected benefits from a negotiated settlement will include a small amount of the West Bank that it may be permitted to annex; and, it hopes, the legitimacy to maintain control of united Jerusalem.

Legitimacy on Jerusalem, though, is a hope that is likely to elude Israel. The “holy city” is the thorniest of issues, and it could yet prevent a final peace treaty.

At present both sides remain deadlocked over the borders, Jerusalem, the Palestinian refugees, and Jewish settlements.

Jewish settlers are building new homes in the West Bank, and vowing to fight any territorial concessions to the Palestinians. In one settlement, they are defying a government ban, and say they will build more than 200 homes on the site.

El-Taiyeb Abd El-Rehim, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Authority, warned that the situation in the West Bank area will become similar to that in Lebanon if the Israeli Army’s troops do not withdraw from it and the peace process fails.

A PALESTINIAN STATE IN 2000?

Earlier this year, 2000, Arafat’s Fatah Revolutionary Council stated that a Palestinian State would be declared unilaterally, by September, if a final arrangement between Israel and the  PA had not been signed by then.

Yasser Arafat stated in April that the issue of the Palestinian state has been already determined, and that it will be announced during the current year.

This month, May, is the deadline for a “framework accord,” to be completed ahead of the final permanent peace treaty scheduled for September. The framework agreement is to provide an outline for final status talks which include the status of Jerusalem, Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, the return of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees, and final borders.

Yasser Arafat now says he would like talks to focus on a final peace treaty. Israel has said it would like to combine some interim issues that are still outstanding into the final status talks.

Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak have set September 13, 2000 as a deadline for achieving the permanent arrangement (seven years from the signing of the Oslo accord.) 

The Israel daily, Ha’aretz, said in April that Ehud Barak is putting together a proposal for a long-term partial agreement, instead of a full peace treaty, because he feels sensitive issues, like the future of Jerusalem and the return of Palestinian refugees, cannot be resolved by September.

Under the plan, Israel would annex about 10 percent of the West Bank - areas where most of the 200,000 Jewish settlers there live - and recognize a Palestinian state in about 50 percent of the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip.

Negotiations over the rest of the territory and the outstanding issues would then continue.

The paper said Barak believes there would be less likelihood of attacks against Israelis by Palestinian extremists if the negotiations are conducted by two sovereign states.

The Palestinians want to set up a state in all of the West Bank and Gaza, with the Arab section of Jerusalem as its capital. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said, “that is what the Israelis should read and hear,” not plans like the one in Ha’aretz.

 

POSTSCRIPT: NEGOTIATIONS AT CAMP DAVID BROKE DOWN IN JULY 2000 AS YASSER ARAFAT REJECTED EHUD BARAK’S OFFER OF PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD. AN INTIFADA BROKE OUT SHORTLY AFTER THE COLLAPSE.

 

PALESTINIAN "PACT" WITH THE POPE     

Little more than a month before Pope John Paul’s March pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Yasser Arafat - on behalf of the PLO - signed a pact with the Pope, to protect the status of the Catholic Churches in PA areas.

Israel was angered by the political nature of the agreement, which called for - among other things - an internationally-guaranteed “special statute for Jerusalem.” According to the document it would include freedom of religion; equality of the three monotheistic religions - Christianity, Judaism and Islam - under the law; and freedom of access to the Holy Places.

Israel argued that it already guarantees those rights, and that it has more judiciously monitored those rights than any regime in history.

The Vatican denied that the agreement contained any political references, and said that it was only concerned about the spiritual significance of the city. But the PLO considered the signing of the pact as a major coup.  One PA leader said that it acknowledged the fact that Israel does not have the exclusive right to rule over the city.

 

PROPHECY CONCERNING GAZA AND ITS CITIES

“Ashkelon will see it and be afraid. Gaza too with writhe in great pain; Ekron also, for her expectation has dried up. Moreover, the king will perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon will not be inhabited. A mixed race will settle in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. And I will remove his blood from his mouth and his detestable things from between his teeth.

“Then those that remain will be a remnant for our God, and be like a leading clan in Judah, and Ekron will be like a Jebusite. Then I will encamp around My House, because of the marauders who pass through and return, and never again will an oppressor overrun My people, for now I have seen with My eyes.”  (Zechariah 9:5-8)

Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gaza and Ekron are all ancient Philistine cities. The word Philistine later became Palestine. 

Zechariah’s  prophecy indicates an  ultimate blessing for a remnant of Palestinians.

 

JERUSALEM - A VERY HEAVY ROCK  

“The message of the word of Yahweh concerning Israel ... ‘Look! I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the people around. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. And on that day,  when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem a very heavy rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will be severely injured’.”  (Zechariah 12:1-3)

The future of Jerusalem is one of the most emotional and sensitive issues in the Israeli-Arab conflict.

After capturing East Jerusalem, Israel declared all of Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital.

The Arab contests this claim because East Jerusalem is, to them, their third most holy place, after Mecca and Medina. The PLO wants East Jerusalem as the capital of the independent state it hopes to establish in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The status of the city is the main issue to be decided in the peace process.

 

JORDAN’S KING SEES DUAL CAPITAL FOR JERUSALEM

Jordan’s King Abdullah urged a dual capital solution for Jerusalem in an Israel Television interview broadcast on 23 April, after he returned home from his first visit to Israel since assuming the throne.

 “When we look at Jerusalem,” he said, “I believe on the political level that Jerusalem has enough room for a Palestinian and an Israeli capital. On the religious side, I believe that Jerusalem should be a city for all of us - an open city,” he said.

 

   THE POPE IN JERUSALEM

During Pope John Paul’s pilgrimage to the holy land in March, Israel wasted no time in underlining its hold on Jerusalem. As the pope viewed an honor guard at Tel Aviv airport on his arrival, the army band played, “Jerusalem of Gold,” a song symbolizing Israel’s claim to the city.

And Israeli President, Ezer Weizman, told the pope in his welcoming speech, that Jerusalem was Israel’s “eternal capital.”

When the Pontiff visited Palestinian-ruled Bethlehem, in what looked like a direct response to Weizman, Yasser Arafat welcomed the Pope to “Palestine and its eternal capital Jerusalem.”

In Jerusalem, what was supposed to be a non-political, religious meeting with Pope John Paul, turned into an emotional display of animosity between Muslim and Jew over the Holy City. The gathering was held in a Catholic educational institution, between East and West Jerusalem

Israeli Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau ran the red light first, with a Muslim cleric close behind. In his opening remarks to the inter-religious assembly, Lau appeared to equate the Pope’s pilgrimage to the Jewish state with “recognition of Jerusalem as (Israel’s) united, eternal capital city.”

“The pope has never recognized that,” someone shouted from the audience.

Muslim cleric Tayseer al-Tamimi stoked the passions in his speech, issuing a fiery political plea for a “just peace” that would “create an independent state on national land ... with Jerusalem as its eternal capital.”

In booming tones, Tamimi, chief judge of Palestinian religious courts, also advocated “the return of the refugees to their homeland, Palestine,” an end to Israel’s occupation of Arab land, and the release of Palestinians from Israeli jails.  Muslims in the audience applauded enthusiastically. The Jews sat in silence.

Tamimi took center stage after the Grand Mufti, Sheikh Irima Sabri, the leading Muslim cleric in Jerusalem, said he would boycott the interfaith meeting in protest at the Israel's chief rabbis' support for the Jewish state’s annexation of East Jerusalem after the 1967 war.

“Rabbis ... support the building of (Jewish) settlements on occupied Palestinian land and are against the peace process ... therefore there is no benefit from meeting them,” the Grand Mufti said.

Tamimi left the assembly before it ended, shaking the pope’s hand but ignoring Lau.

The pope, in his remarks to the interfaith gathering, said that if the various religious communities in the Holy Land succeeded in living and working together in harmony, “Jerusalem will truly be a City of Peace for all peoples.”

“Perhaps no other place in the world communicates the sense of transcendence and divine election that we perceive in her stones and monuments, and in the witness of the three religions living side by side within her walls,” the pontiff said. “Not everything has been or will be easy in this co-existence. But we must find in our respective religious traditions, the wisdom and the superior motivation to ensure the triumph of mutual understanding and cordial respect.”

Israeli cabinet minister, Haim Ramon, said on 23 April, he believed the sides could agree on all the issues except East Jerusalem.

THE ARAB LEAGUE HARDLINE

An Arab League meeting in Beirut last March, was attended by 22 Arab foreign ministers. It adopted an uncompromising stance towards Israel, calling for an Arab boycott of any international convention in which Israel participates, and called for a complete Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon, the Golan, and all “Palestinian territories including Jerusalem.”

 

      KHAMENEI: "DEATH TO ISRAEL"

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called for the destruction of Israel, claiming it is the only way to resolve conflict in the Middle East.

The declaration came at the end of December as Iranians held rallies across the country to protest Israel’s hold on Jerusalem, the city where Moslems believe the Prophet Mohammed began his journey to heaven.

“From Islamic, humanitarian, economic, security and political points of view, today the presence of Israel is a very big threat to the regional nations and states,” Khamenei said. “And there is only one solution to the Middle East problem, namely the annihilation and destruction of the Zionist state.”

Khamenei also attacked the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Yasser Arafat’s role in the Middle East peace process. He said, “Peace is very good, but where and with whom? Someone has entered your residence, insulted your family, and now talks about peace.”          

- Daily Mail / UK / I Jan 00

WORLD WAR AHEAD!

The outcome of the Middle East perplexity is war - as the Arab nations and Iran are reportedly planning.  The Palestinians will extract as much as they can through the present negotiations, but whatever concessions they receive will not satisfy them, or the rest of the Arab world. A comprehensive peace treaty will eventually be signed, but it will breakdown, and the ultimate holocaust will break out. The Biblical prophecies are clear concerning this war. The LORD declares:

“Watch! For in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations, and bring them down to the valley of Y’hoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land.

“Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war! Rouse the warriors! Let all the men of war draw near. Let them come up to attack! Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weak say, ‘I am strong!’

“Come quickly all you surrounding nations, and gather yourselves together! Bring down, O Yahweh, Your mighty ones! Let the nations be aroused and come up to the Valley of Y’hoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side.”           (Joel 3:1-2, 9-12)

“‘For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to fight against it, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into captivity, but the rest of the people will not be exiled from the city.’

“Then Yahweh will go out and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is east of Jerusalem; and the Mount of Olives will be split in two, from east to west, forming a very large valley, with half of the mountain moving to the north and the other half moving to the south.”   (Zechariah 14:2-4)

 

ULTIMATE BLESSING FOR JERUSALEM, AND

ISRAEL, WHEN THE LORD RETURNS TO ZION

There is ultimate blessing for Jerusalem - it will become the joy of the whole earth!  But before that blessed, joyous day, war is decreed! Yahweh the Almighty God declares:

 “Listen! The voice of your watchmen! They lift up their voices; together they shout joyfully, for every eye shall see the return of Yahweh to Zion.” (Isaiah 52:8)

“Yahweh will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and give them rest in their own land. Then foreigners and strangers will join them, and be united with the house of Jacob.”           (Isaiah 14:1)

“And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication, so they will look on Me, the One they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly for Him, like the bitter weeping over a lost first-born ... In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and uncleanness.”  (Zechariah 12:10. 13:1)

“Great is Yahweh; and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, in His holy Mountain. Beautiful in its elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, the City of the Great King.”            (Psalm 48:1-2) 

 

ULTIMATE BLESSING FOR ISRAEL’S NEIGHBOURS

“Yahweh will strike Egypt; He will strike but heal. They will return to Yahweh, and He will respond to their pleas and heal them. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrians will come into Egypt and the Egyptians into Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will serve and worship together.  In that day Israel will be the third - along with Egypt and Assyria - a blessing at the centre of the earth, whom Yahweh of Hosts will bless,  saying,  ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria My handiwork, and Israel My inheritance’.”  (Isaiah 19:22-25)

 

PRAY FOR JERUSALEM, and “bless Abraham”

 

 

The Scriptures encourage us to ...

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Let those who love you be at rest. May peace be within your walls, rest and security within your citadels. For the sake of my brothers and my companions, I will now say, ‘May peace be within you.’ Because of the House of Yahweh our Elohim I seek your good.”   (Psalm 122:6-9)

We are told also to bless Abraham ...

“Now Yahweh said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, and your relatives and your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you. And I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you will be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed’.”             (Genesis 12:1-3)

At present, the nation of Israel and the majority of the Jewish people are in unbelief. Scales are upon their eyes so that they do not recognize God’s Anointed One  - the Messiah. But the day of awakening for Israel is near.

“For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brethren, lest you be wise in your own estimation; a (temporary) hardening has happened to a part of Israel (which will continue) until the full number of Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ‘THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.’  As far as the Gospel is concerned, they are enemies (of God) for your sake, but as far as God’s Choice is concerned, they are still the beloved for the sake of the Patriarchs; for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.”   (Romans 11:25-29)

We pray for Israel that it might be saved! We pray for Jerusalem because of God’s purposes for that city. We bless Abraham and his descendants, because it’s through Abraham’s seed, that all the nations of the earth will be blessed.

It’s through Abraham’s seed that we have the Holy Scriptures in our hands; it’s through Abraham’s descendants that we know there is a Redeemer, a Saviour - Y’shua, Jesus, the Messiah.

Y’shua Himself was a descendant of Abraham. He was born a Jew, but, of course, He was more than a Jew.  In His humanity He was a Jew; in His deity He was the eternal Son of God.  He was the God-man, and always will be. He is the One who will fulfil the prophecies concerning the Millennial reign of the Son of David. And He’s the One who will reign for ever.

“The kingdoms of the world have become the kingdom of Yahweh our LORD and of His Anointed - Messiah; and He will reign for ever and ever.”   (Revelation 11:15)

 

 

THERE IS A REDEEMER!    

The Lord Jesus is the Redeemer who saves sinners from the wages of their sin. He is the One who loved us, and who died to take away the sins of the world. He is the Redeemer who “buys us back” and delivers us from the bondage of Satan. Jesus Christ is the One who reconciles the believer to the Heavenly Father.

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance, that the Messiah died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” ...  “God was personally present in the Messiah reconciling the world to Himself, not counting men’s trespasses against them.”  (1 Corinthians 15:3-4.  2 Corinthians 5:19)

“For Yahweh, the Almighty God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have eternal (everlasting) life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world; but so that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not condemned; he who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only begotten, the one and only eternal Son of God.”   (John 3:16-18)

The Lord Jesus is the One who will bring ultimate blessing to the nations - to the individuals who trust in Him. He is the One who will turn the hearts of the Jews to the Father. He will shortly save “all Israel.” And He will save you now, my reader, if you call upon His Name.

“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek (Gentile); for the same Master is Master of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him; for WHOEVER WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF Y’SHUA (Jesus) the LORD WILL BE SAVED.”  (Romans 10:12-13)

The Lord Jesus is the One who has prepared a place in Heaven for His people. He is the One who is coming again to receive them unto Himself. He is the One who will keeps and satisfies the redeemed, and who shares His life with them, now, and for eternity.

“In My Father’s House are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you, for I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, so that you also may be where I am.”  (John 14:2-3)

What blessing!  Saved from the penalty of sin!  Saved from the clutches of Satan!  Saved from Hell!  Saved for eternity!

My reader, do you know Him as your own personal Saviour?

If you don’t, please do not hesitate! Don't delay. Today is the day of Salvation! Tomorrow you must stand before your Creator. And the question is, When you meet Him, will you meet Him as your Redeemer, or as the One whose love, grace and salvation you have neglected or spurned?

This gracious, holy and Almighty God says to Israel, and to all nations today:

“‘Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not be a stumbling block to you. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,’ declares the Lord, Yahweh. ‘Therefore, turn to Me and live’.”     (Ezekiel 18:30-32)

This is like saying to someone on a cliff edge, “Don’t suicide! Why should you die? There is hope. There is an answer!  You can have a new life!”

And when God says, “Make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit,” He is not saying we must make ourselves new. Because we can’t! It is God Himself who creates a new heart in us when we simply believe and trust in Him. God says:

“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; and I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My instructions, and you will observe My ordinances, and do them.”  (Ezekiel 36:25-27)

Today the loving Messiah is reaching out to you. He says:

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls.”    (Matthew 11:28)

At the same time, the Lord Jesus is emphatic that we need to repent. He says:

“Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”  (Luke 13:3)

To repent means to change your mind, and to change your direction. It means to turn from sin, and to turn to the Saviour. It means to come back from the cliff edge, and to let the Rescuer embrace you and take care of you.

Many people want to receive care and comfort, but they don’t want to turn away from the sin that causes them distress and guilt. It will never do! It’s like a drunkard who wants to be delivered from drink, but he doesn’t want to give up the bottle. It’s like someone who is dying of thirst, but who refuses to bend down and drink water from a flowing stream.

The Lord Jesus said to orthodox religious Jews:

“‘You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify of Me. Yet you refuse to come to Me that you may have life’.”  (John 5:39-40)

He may be saying the same to some of my readers today - “you refuse to come to Me that you may have life.”

But to all who received Him as their personal Saviour, to those who believe in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God.”                            (John 1:12)

The last verses in the Bible include this invitation:

“‘Come.’ So let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires it, take the water of life freely - without cost.”       (Revelation 22:17)

Yes, it’s free, my reader.  The cost of your salvation has already been paid for by the Lord Jesus. Now He offers you the gift of God which is eternal life.  And there's no way you can pay for eternal life, either though your money, or through your efforts and good works. No!  He says, “Come and drink freely.

My dear reader, if you have not received the Lord Jesus as your personal Saviour, the following Decision Prayer can help you make that decision, by expressing your faith in the Redeemer.

 

DECISION  PRAYER

 

Heavenly Father, I come to You in the Name of the Lord Jesus. I come just as I am, a sinner, needing forgiveness and salvation.

Father, You have said that whoever believes in the Lord Jesus will become Your child. I am not worthy to be Your child, but I believe the Lord Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty of my sins. I believe that He rose from the dead, and lives to save all who call upon Him.

Lord Jesus, I call on Your Name, and I trust in You to save me right now. By Your grace, I will follow You, and own You as my Master all the days of my life. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, and the joy of Your Salvation, I pray, and make me Your faith­ful witness until You return to take me to the Father's House.

Thank You, Father, for hearing my prayer. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for taking my sins away. Thank You for Your salvation. Thank You, Master. Thank You, Father. Amen.

 

                    Signed ……………………................    Date  ……………..         

 

PLEASE KEEP YOUR SIGNED PRAYER WITH YOU AS A REMEMBRANCE OF THIS WONDERFUL DAY IN YOUR LIFE.  AND WE WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO HEAR OF YOUR DECISION. KINDLY WRITE TO ONE OF OUR CONTACTS ADDRESSES.

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The One who is coming will come, He will not delay