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Wake-up call for America

On Saturday, August 12, I was honored to speak at Yad Vashem’s Graduate Event for those who have completed their Christian Leadership Seminars in Israel. It was encouraging to see the commitment to fight anti-Semitism from Christians of different denominations and continents around the globe.

Yet, it was surreal and frankly disturbing to see later that same day the breaking news on TV screens as I walked through Washington-Reagan airport. Violent scenes were broadcast live from Charlottesville, Virginia, where neo-Nazis were brazenly out on the streets of America displaying all their race-based, anti-Semitic hate for the world to see.

Only days later, ISIS carried out a terrorist attack in Catalonia, Spain, using a van to kill more than a dozen innocent men, women, and children, and injure over 100 more. The Chief Rabbi of Barcelona responded by declaring that the Jewish community in that region is doomed. He cited the authorities’ reluctance to clamp down on radical Islam as the driving force behind growing anti-Semitism in Europe, leaving Jewish communities vulnerable across the continent.

Until now, Americans could draw some comfort from the fact that the growth of anti-Semitism in the United States has been significantly slower than in their European counterparts over the last two decades. Many are not surprised to see how increased immigration to Europe from Muslim nations has resulted in a troubling rise in anti-Semitism and now also jihadist attacks.

But, Americans should be surprised by what they see developing in the United States at present. On display in Charlottesville was more than just two sides battling over the future of Confederate statues. There is something more sinister at work here and, as in Europe, it is unfortunately the Jewish community that stands to suffer.

Two Opposing Ideologies

The neo-Nazis marching with their swastikas and Hitler salutes exhibit classic anti-Semitism. Based on race and white supremacy, this ideology is easy to recognize and has been fully rejected by the nations of the West. It incongruously casts Jews as sub-human while accusing them of some grand, evil scheme to control the world, especially through Communist ideology.

On the other side from the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville was the opposition group mostly made up of Antifa (which stands for anti-fascist action). Born out of the 1930s when the Nazis and Communists were struggling for power in Germany, the modern Antifa movement has its roots in opposing the brown shirts while also associating with more Marxist/anarchist ideologies. Closely linked to the Black Lives Matter movement today, these groups are also anti-Zionist. This means they reject the desire of Jewish people to return to their homeland, viewing Zionism as race-based colonialism that profits at the expense of the local, indigenous people, in this case the Palestinians.

Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitic

Detaching the Jewish people from the land God bequeathed to Abraham and his descendants some 4,000 years ago achieves two insidious goals. First, it removes the Jewish people’s historical connection to the land, turning them into invading foreigners that must be repelled, thus legitimizing all means to cleanse “Palestine” of their presence. Second, it denies the Jewish people their identity as a nation with a place to live in this world, relegating them to the status of permanent wanderers at the mercy of all the other nations who choose to host them.

This is at its core anti-Semitism. It is just cloaked in a veneer of modern political correctness. But there should be no tolerance for such discrimination. The last century should have taught us that dangerous ideologies such as Nazism or Communism can have disastrous outcomes, with Jews usually paying the higher price.

Their Alliance with Muslim Anti-Semitism

Just as disturbing should be any ideology that embraces both classic and new anti-Semitism, rejecting the legitimacy of both the Jewish people and the Jewish state. Despite the refusal of the Western media to acknowledge it, the recent spate of vehicle attacks in Europe originated as a tactic of Palestinian terrorists seeking to kill innocent Jewish civilians in Israel. Their goal is to destroy the Jewish state as it exists today. Their strategy follows the Algerian playbook, where a small Islamist insurgency was able to overthrow a much larger colonial power, France. And for the last 100 years, they have aligned with any ideology that will serve this end.

When the Nazis rose to power, the Jewish people were already taking steps to reconstitute their state in the land of Canaan. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini, opposed the Jews and so made his way to Hitler where he joined his cause with that of solving “the Jewish problem.” He swiftly became a popular voice in support of the Nazi Holocaust against European Jewry, even recruiting an SS company in Bosnia which slaughtered 90 percent of Bosnia’s Jews.

Given safe haven by Egypt after the war, Haj Amin el-Husseini became the mentor of Rahman Abdul Rauf el-Qudwa el-Husseini, the Egyptian-born leader of the PLO better known to the world as Yasser Arafat. Committed to the destruction of Israel, Arafat not only favored the use of attacks against “soft targets,” he literally innovated the tactic of using civilian airline hijacking as a terror weapon.

Nazi ideology has permeated Islamic thought since World War II with Hitler’s Mein Kampf remaining a staunch favorite in Middle-Eastern countries, while Holocaust denial has been given state-sanctioned prominence. The current leader of the Palestinian Authority, President Mahmoud Abbas, claimed in his 1982 dissertation that the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust was hugely exaggerated and Zionist collaboration with the Nazis was the real cause for the genocide. He received his PhD from Lumumba University in Moscow.

It’s no secret that Communist Russia worked closely with the Palestinian Liberation Organization in support of its conflict with the Jewish state, especially after Israel severely humiliated the Soviet Union’s Arab allies in the 1967 Six- Day War. A recent release of Cold War documents even seems to suggest that Abbas was himself a KGB spy.

In their over-arching quest to defeat Israel and the Jewish people, the Islamic world has proven itself willing to work with two opposing evils, Nazis and Communists, because the ideologies of both are committed to at least one common goal: the destruction of God’s chosen people.

Wake Up, American Church

As the Apostle Paul warns us in Ephesians 6:12, this battle is ultimately not against flesh and blood but against spiritual principalities and powers. We should not be surprised then to see the same spirits of deception and destruction manifesting themselves in Virginia as they do in the Middle East. Our challenge is to discern the spiritual meaning of these events and to take heed.

In a continent that has virtually outlawed any Nazi identification, the Jews of Europe still face an uncertain future. The leaders there are unable or unwilling to correctly identify and confront another anti-Semitic threat now hidden in the anti-Zionist rhetoric of Islamic extremists and their leftist collaborators.

The church in Europe failed the Jewish people during World War II, and it is failing them again today. This should be a lesson to the church in America. We still have time to discern what is happening and then take action to ensure we do not fall into the deceptive trap that is being laid.

What happened on the streets of Charlottesville is a wake-up call.

Anti-Semitism and its twin, anti-Zionism, must not be allowed to take root in America. Sadly, support for neo-Nazis and for Antifa is growing as people line up in defense of either side. The church, however, must stand up in defense of the Jewish people and the State of Israel at this time. May the Lord give us all the courage we need for the battle ahead.

- by Daryl Hedding, US Deputy Director

Israeli Technology

Throughout world history, the Jewish people – even though small in number – have contributed much to humanity. It is the moral values of the Torah, especially the Ten Commandments, which still represents the foundation of most Western societies.

It was the revelation of the God of Israel as the Creator of the heavens and the earth which transformed entire nations even in the most remote parts of the earth.

Through the centuries great Jewish thinkers, artists and scientists contributed much to mankind. While the Jews make up only 0.25% of the world population, 25% of all Nobel laureates in Medicine, Chemistry, Physics and Peace were given in the past 100 years to Jews.

This great tradition is continued in the modern State of Israel. Israel is probably the only country which already had a world class university, scientific, medical and agricultural research institutes, and an internationally acclaimed symphony orchestra, all before the State of Israel was founded in 1948.

The agricultural development of Eretz Israel is historic. Today in any country where there is a desert region, the desert is increasing. Israel is the only nation where the desert area is consistently receding – even until today. No wonder that Israel is the only nation in the world which has more trees on its territory than 100 years ago. Therefore Israel’s agricultural know-how is exported and is making a significant contribution to many African countries and even to China. The Israeli patented “drip irrigation system” is used all over the world.

The scientific and technical achievements of the young nation of Israel are incredible. Today Israel’s technological products and advanced systems has become an integral part of the global high tech revolution. If you are among the 100 million users of ICQ to chat on-line with your friends around the world, you might not know that the software code for this ground-breaking utility was written by three young Israelis. If your computer uses a Pentium, Centrino or Quad Core Processor, they have been designed and developed in Israel.

Do you like to send SMS or Multimedia messages on your cell phone? You can do so thanks to technology developed in Israel. If you are in China and use the telephone, then your call and that of every other Chinese person is being routed through the Telecom DCME system which was developed by an Israeli Telecom company. Today many civilian airliners - including those which flew you into Israel - are being protected from ground launched terrorist attacks through a ground-breaking Israeli-developed surveillance software.

Did you know that the very first anti-virus software package was developed in Israel? And if your computer is protected today from hackers trying to penetrate your system, then you are most likely protected through a software code developed by the Israeli company “Check Point.”

If you happen to drive an S-class Mercedes, the Microprocessors which control all the vehicles electronics, are developed by a Tel Aviv-based high-tech company. And if you look in Copenhagen for a free parking space for your car, a monitoring system developed in Israel will direct you to the nearest free parking spot.

It is therefore no wonder that all prominent high-tech companies -  be it Microsoft, Motorola, Cisco, Intel, IBM and many others – have major research facilities in Israel. Kurt Hellstrom, President and CEO of Ericsson, a world leader in mobile systems, recently stated: “We must be in Israel today! It is an innovative and competent country. We are here to stay!”  

Israel’s achievements are literally out of this world, as Israel is one of only eight nations which have successfully launched its own satellites into space. It is today a senior partner in American and European space programs. The pictures you saw on your TV from NASA’s “Spirit Rover” on Mars could only be transmitted due to Israeli technology.

Today, Israel’s medical research has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Approximately one medical drug out of 15 which is being sold in the USA comes from an Israeli pharmaceutical company. Israel’s medical research teams have become world leaders in non-intrusive check-ups and operations and in medical NMR scanning equipment.

The medical research laboratories of the Haifa-based Technion and the Weizmann Institute are on the forefront of combating Alzheimer’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis. Highly trained medical doctors from Israel saved countless lives in government-sponsored overseas missions in Haiti, Japan, Turkey and in many African nations. Israel truly has become a light to the nations!

As the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and on behalf of millions of Christians from around the world, we salute you! We consider it a privilege to stand at your side in love, support and in friendship! Chag Sameach and God bless Israel!

‘Our minarets are our lances’

This article was published in the November 2010 (US) edition of the ICEJ's flagship magazine, Word from Jerusalem. It is reposted here due to the decision by Turkey to sever ties with Israel following the release of the United Nation's official report into the Gaza flotilla incident in September 2011.

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The ramifications of the recent Gaza flotilla incident are still unfolding. Yet it is already clear that Turkey’s government, in backing the flotilla organizers and lashing out at Israel’s interception of the hostile fleet, is steering that nation away from its alignment with Europe and the West back into the Islamic fold.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AP)This historic shift was foreseen by some long before the Gaza aid flotilla set sail from Istanbul. Germans in particular have been sensitive to signs of change due to their country’s long and unique relationship with Turkey going back to the Ottoman era and Germany’s alliance with Turkey in World War One.

In 2002, the German political analyst and writer Peter Scholl-Latour projected in his book “Allah’s Shadow over Atatürk” that secular Turkey might soon become a relic of the past. Fervent Islamic faith, he observed, was no longer the religion of a small, backwards-looking fringe group, but represented a burgeoning political movement. Today, it indeed has become mainstream in Turkish society, and the turn Eastward has been especially evident since Recep Tayyip Erdogan rose to power five years ago in the AKP faction which has governed Turkey for eight years now.

A decade ago, Erdogan first became popular nationwide while serving as mayor of Istanbul. He was sentenced to a 10-month prison term by the Kemalist generals because he had quoted from a Turkish poet during a campaign speech: “Our minarets are our lances, our cupolas are our helmets, our mosques are our barracks, our faithful are our army.” Western journalists criticized the verdict as arbitrary despotism. But the generals saw the secular character of their country threatened.

When Kemal Atatürk founded modern Turkey in 1923, he established a secular state inspired by the Swiss constitution. Islamic clergymen were not allowed to advance in the army, which safeguarded the secular nature of the state. In some ways, Muslim Turks living in Germany could express their faith even more freely than their compatriots back home.

Given this commitment to secularism and democracy, Turkey was a solid member of NATO and a promising aspirant to membership in the European Union. It had tried earnestly to secure its place within the European Union, mainly by adopting strict new economic guidelines demanded by Brussels. Yet as its application for EU membership was prolonged, Turkey began heading in the opposite direction, back towards its Islamic past, which included a 400-year era of Ottoman Turk dominance over the Arab/Muslim heartland.

Eurocrats turned a blind eye to this development, hoping the fruits of growing prosperity would make the Islamic yearnings dissipate. But by the time of the IDF incursion into Gaza in January 2009, Erdogan was more outraged at Israel than most Arab leaders, accusing Israeli President Shimon Peres in person of knowing “how to kill.”

In 2008, Erdogan had also stunned the German government during a state visit to Berlin. Addressing a crowd of some 20,000 Turks living in Germany, France and Belgium, some of them for three generations, he insisted, “Assimilation is a crime against humanity.” He challenged his compatriots to adhere to their Turkish and Islamic heritage. His German host, Chancellor Angela Merkel, was not pleased.

Recently, Erdogan’s colleague and foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, declared that Turkey is no longer content with its role as a bridge-builder between the Christian West and the Islamic East. Turkey, he demanded, needs to become again the center of gravity of the region. This harkened back to the nearly five centuries when the “High Porte” in Istanbul controlled a territory reaching from the Balkans down through most of the Middle East and as far as Morocco. The Ottoman Empire was not only a political entity, but its Caliphate served as the highest spiritual authority for most of the Islamic world.

Is Turkey intent on returning to those glorious Ottoman days? After the Gaza flotilla clash, it is clear that Israel and the West are confronting not just Iran but a resurgent Turkey. This represents a unique challenge to Europe, due to Turkey’s proximity and its economic integration with the EU. A leading German commentator also recently suggested that the millions of Turks living in Germany and Holland may one day prove to be a “fifth column” of a very ambitious Turkey.

Dr. Juergen Buehler serves as ICEJ interim Executive Director in Jerusalem.

WFJ NOV 2010, 90x100November 2010- Minarets & Lances

No longer content as a bridge-builder between Christian West and Islamic East, Turkey is beginning to turns from Europe and towards its Ottoman past..
Read more (pdf) »


Sinking Sand

There is not one part of the world today that is not in some kind of turmoil and upheaval. Europe has literally gone bankrupt and thus one EU country after the other has descended into financial chaos. More will follow!

America is drowning in debt and embroiled in two wars.

The Arab world is engulfed in riots and public protests as millions of people attempt to finally break free from the shackles of totalitarian dictatorships.

And Africa continues to struggle with poverty, war, famine and inept governments that cannot do what is right for their people.

Then there are the alarming images of London burning, as lawless youths rampage through its streets, breaking and burning everything in sight.

Even Israel has been beset by protesters who have decided that enough is enough in terms of the outrageously high costs of basic food and housing.

We could go on and on! Add to this picture the seemingly out of control natural elements that are ravaging almost every part of the globe at regular intervals. The picture is not a good one.

More sobering is the fact that much of the above is man-made! It did not have to be this way, but misguided socialist policies promising entitlements to all on an unprecedented scale have brought nations to their knees.

And this is just the beginning. The age old ideas of hard work, discipline and faithfulness have gone. Now everyone is a victim of his environment and deserves a ‘free ride’ in this world. Politicians, hungry for power, have recklessly promised these entitlements without ever thinking about the consequences and manner in which they can be paid for. Truly we are on sinking sand!

The chaos is everywhere and with it comes great risks! The nation of Germany taught us that out of such chaos a strong man arose in the 1930s, through a democratic process, who promised order, hope, prosperity and peace. He turned out to be a tyrant, without equal in human history, and in the end he destroyed 53 million lives. Could the global chaos facing the world today produce a similar “Mr. Fix It” who would become “Mr. Trouble”?

It is worth noting that we arrived on these treacherous sands because of inept leaders who are mere politicians and not real statesmen! In short, the world is crying out for a leader who will extract it from its ever growing woes.

Economic chaos and meltdown threaten everyone. Without a stable economic order, there can be no future for the average citizen. Thus economic stability is the major issue facing the world. In response, economists and politicians are beginning to call for a one world currency and a tighter form of global government. Just last year, the Russian president presented a global currency coin to the international community! This is serious business and we must not underestimate it. He was not playing.

On the other hand, the Bible warns that days of great shaking will beset the world, to remove the flimsy foundations upon which humanity has built its plans and systems. These shakings will also involve the natural elements, and all of this combined will produce such fears that men’s hearts will fail them! The Bible also warns that fierce times will come of unprecedented lawlessness. All of this comes because the world is burdened down with the weight of sin and rebellion against the God of Israel.

Of course, the whole notion of being accountable to God for our sins is scoffed at today. God is considered a myth, we are the masters of our own destiny, and we will prevail. I think not!

This same Bible also warns that out of world chaos a global leader will emerge who initially will achieve great success and thereby gain the allegiance of the fearful but unsuspecting masses. He will bring the world to ruin just as Hitler did. We would do well to place our feet upon the foundation of God’s Word and a personal relationship with Him. Anything short of this will leave us standing on sinking sand!

Rev. Hedding is vice chairman of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem;

No ordinary fiefdom

As ancient Israel’s last Judge, there are some important lessons from the life and ministry of Samuel which are extremely relevant today as world leaders take their respective stands regarding the current heated battle over the restored nation of Israel.

The prophet Samuel is a remarkable biblical figure who oversaw Israel’s transition from a council of elders or “judges” to a kingdom ruled by a hereditary monarch. Until then, wise and anointed leaders were entrusted with overseeing the nation, which was set apart and “not reckoned among the nations,” according to Numbers 23:9. This was because God Himself was their King! Beginning with Moses, God had provided for the Israelites in the wilderness and led them into the Land of Canaan through Judges who could hear His voice.

This system of governance ‘peaked’ under Samuel, who presided over an era when Israel had almost possessed the land, were prevailing over the Philistines and other enemies, enjoyed harmony in the ranks, and recognized the prophetic voice to the nation. But as the prophet grew old and his sons lapsed into corruption, the people cried out for a king, like the surrounding nations. Primarily, they cried out for a commander to lead them into battle.

Surprisingly, God instructed Samuel to “heed the voice of the people, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:7)  Yet the prophet must also give the Israelites a stern warning of the abuses they will suffer under self-indulgent kings. And they are immediately given a merciless example in the very flawed character of King Saul.

Now I believe Israel was destined to transition to a kingship, when the time and personalities were right. The prophet Balaam has foretold that, “His [Israel’s] king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.” (Numbers 24:7)

Israel’s lack of a king is also presented as undesirable in the account of an internal war against the Benjamites for raping a woman to death. This sordid tale concludes with the words: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)

But more importantly, a kingly line was to prove necessary in order to pave the way for the promised Messiah – a coming Prophet, Priest and King all wrapped into one. The emergence of David as Saul’s successor was to provide a proto-type of this future Messiah. Indeed, King David’s reign remains the pinnacle of the ancient commonwealth of Israel, and the model to which many Jews still aspire today in their national life.

David was naturally gifted with skills and positive character traits which suited him well for this role. But he also was able to quickly learn vital lessons from the mistakes of Saul. There are too many to mention here, but one was that being king of Israel is not like being the king of any other nation. This was not his personal fiefdom, where the people would be subject to his every whim and fancy.

We see this at play in David’s decision to pour out the water from the well of Bethlehem which his most valiant men had risked their lives to collect just so he could satisfy an old craving from his youth (2 Samuel 23).

No, Israel was different from other nations! It was set apart! God’s “special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.” (Deuteronomy 7:6)

And the king of this people had to realize that, which we see David do when receiving the promise of the Messianic line: “who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people…” (2 Samuel 7:23)

Today, the restored nation of Israel is internally in great need of such leadership. David was also flawed and so we should not expect perfection. But, oh, to have leaders willing to pour themselves out of all personal ambition and pride for the sake of steering Israel towards its prophetic destiny in God.

Externally, the world is in great need of leadership that also recognizes Israel is different, set apart; that this is no ordinary fiefdom which the world can kick around according to its whims and fancies.

Parsons is media director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem;

Making deals with God

Every passing day, more and more Christians around the world are discovering within themselves a growing love for Israel and a greater appreciation of God’s enduring election over the Jewish people.

Yet many in the growing Christian Zionist movement are no longer comfortable with all the popular ‘end-time’ charts which portray Israel as just another piece of the prophetic puzzle. Many charts have the Church escaping to heaven while Israel goes through hell. This just seems too impersonal, detached and contrary to their burning, heart-felt passion for Israel.

So rather than speculative charts about future events, many Christian Zionists are looking for a more solid biblical foundation which better expresses their zeal for the Israel of today. And they are finding it in the scriptural tenets of Covenant theology.

While some Christians take a very fatalistic approach to Bible prophecy and often focus too heavily on its dark side, Covenant theology is an uplifting view rooted in the very nature and character of God as eternally faithful to his sworn promises to Israel. It sees the great divine covenants with Abraham, Moses, David and the New Covenant as telling the story of God’s salvation plan for all humanity, with the Jewish people playing a central role – both in the past and the future. Indeed, the covenants “belong to” Israel, the Apostle Paul says in Romans 9:4.

Covenant theology holds that Israel’s journey down through time, until she reaches her ultimate destiny, is steered by the promises which God delivered by solemn oath to Abraham, Moses and David, culminating with the New Covenant (Hebrews 6:13-20). These covenants set out the terms and conditions for Israel’s relationship with God as His primary vehicle for world salvation – which pivoted around her eventual birthing of Jesus, the promised Messiah (Romans 9:5).

The Hebrew prophets then come along as “servants” of the covenants. They cannot go outside the covenant promises and provisions which God has already set out by sworn oath. But their prophetic utterances do tell us something about how God will keep His covenant promises to Israel. Thus interpreting Bible prophecy first requires that we understand the purposes, terms and conditions of the successive covenants with Israel. This is where many Dispensational interpretations go wrong.

Thus the modern-day restoration of Israel can and must be understood, first and foremost, as God being faithful to his covenant promise to Abraham to deliver the Land of Canaan as “an everlasting possession” to his natural descendants (Genesis 17:8). Furthermore, this restoration process will continue until God also fulfills the promises of the Davidic covenant that the Messiah will one day sit on the throne of David and rule the earth from a Jewish Jerusalem and a redeemed nation of Israel.

Such an approach is refreshingly focused on the positive side of Bible prophecy and it is built on solid theological grounds. No wonder Covenant theology is finding so many new Evangelical adherents.

Yet there are some ‘prosperity preachers’ out there who are latching on to the concept of divine covenant and trying to twist it for carnal purposes. They speak of making “salt covenants” with their supporters, and promote three-way contracts between you, their ministry and God which guarantee financial blessings in return for donations. In short, they think it is possible to just make deals with God.

This ignores the fact that any divine covenant is first birthed in the very heart of God, and then He finds a suitable human partner to receive the promises. We see this reflected in the Lord’s covenant with Noah, which originated “in His heart” (Genesis 8:21). One does not just decide to enter a contract with God; He carefully chooses the vessel to be entrusted with His sure promises.

Each of the divine covenants with Israel also had a unique purpose in furthering the redemptive plan of God. Christians can be third-party beneficiaries of those covenants, but we cannot just make our own separate deals.

In addition, the divine covenants of the Bible are largely unilateral. That is, God usually makes promises that only He can and will perform. Some conditions of performance are placed on the human partner(s), but the core obligations He reserves unto Himself.

This does not mean one cannot make vows before God. But if we do, the Bible is clear we better pay those vows.

Parsons is Media Director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

Days of Testing

The so called “Arab Spring” has steadily turned into the “Arab Winter” as democratic movements in the Middle East stall and are “hi-jacked” by militant Islamic groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, the matrix of AL Qaida, Hezbollah, Hamas and other radical organizations dedicated to the destruction of Israel. All of this was of course foreseen by Christians Zionists with discernment but our Western politicians were again oblivious to the dangers inherent in this movement. This coupled with a resurgence in global anti-Semitism and the weak response of the United Nations and the European Union to militant Islam has left Israel isolated and now even President Obama has left Israel dangerously exposed by affirming a return to the pre-war 1967 borders! Accordingly, the Palestinians are emboldened and are moving toward a unilateral declaration of independence through the auspices of the United Nations General Assembly in September. Even if the USA vetoes this declaration the psychological victory of a majority UN vote to declare Palestinian Statehood will be immense.

Sadly, for many in the West the Arab/Israeli conflict has become a huge irritant as it constantly defies resolution and frequently outwits the best trained political minds. Tony Blair for instance has been “on the job” for many years, since leaving office in the United Kingdom, but his efforts have yielded little or no progress at all. The same could be said for George Bush, Sarkosy of France and many more. Then major international players like the European Union, the United States of America and the United Nations have equally failed after launching numerous initiatives in this regard. The story goes on and on and the question we have to ask is why? The answer is really quite simple; they all refuse to take into consideration the radical Islamic doctrine that renders any notion of a non-Islamic state existing on land that once belonged to Islam as totally and completely unacceptable. This is precisely why the Charter of Hamas and that of the PLO call for the complete and utter destruction of Israel. This is precisely why Arafat could never close a deal and this is why protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo call for democratic freedoms and the removal of Israel in the same breath and, this is why Ahmadinejad of Iran routinely calls for the removal of Israel from the face of the earth. Sadly the Western politicians don’t get it because they are by and large ignorant of Islamic theology and incapable of believing that people can be committed to the destruction of another people in this way.

All this has birthed two things: One, Israel fatigue and two, a heightened sense of need for resolution attainment without reference to truth, fact, history and justice. In the minds of many politicians Israel is small, insignificant, has little oil and should make compromises to once and for all finish this business! Thus we now hear calls from Western Leaders for Israel to sit down and talk with Hamas. New attempts are being made to “recast” Hezbollah as an enlightened movement that can be engaged with and leftist groups “in bed” with radical Muslims are launching new “Flotillas” in order to challenge Israel’s sovereignty. Once again the Jews are the problem and if they go away the world will be at peace!! I think that we have heard all this before in a book called “Mein Kamph”. The world is facing a huge moral test and this just sixty-eight years after the Holocaust.  Time is running out!

The Bible is therefore right when it says that great darkness will cover the earth but true light will arise over Israel. (Isaiah60:1-3) This darkness is not the loss of the light of the sun or the gathering of a real dark cloud. No, it is moral and spiritual darkness that arises in men’s hearts. Having a long time ago abandoned the Bible and having abandoned the Judeo/Christian value system they have no moral compass by which to pilot themselves through a broken and sinful world. Darkness is the consequence and decisions consistent with this darkness will prevail. Sadly a small nation, yet again, puts the world to the test and once again the language of compromise is selling out a people whose existence is supernatural but whose story is filled with great sorrows. God as ever is watching!

We live in testing times in that the God of the Bible is indeed watching and though He knows that an ungodly world will go the way of rebellion against His purpose for Israel He expects His church to stand firm and support, bless and pray for Israel. Sadly, this is not a given today but there are many churches throughout the world and organizations like the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem which constitute a shining light of hope in this regard. May the Lord watch over us all and keep us near to His heart and may we pass the test before us in these dangerous times. He remains the guardian of Israel as He watches over her but He calls us into His purpose with Him. Who will hear the call?

The War Against the Jews

The war against the Jews has been waged from the dawn of history and is relentless to this very day. It is a saga of great significance though many fail to appreciate it. It has one goal in mind and that is the liquidation of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. Many in the world have wanted a new world order that is Judenrein (free of Jews).

The attempt to murder the Jews has taken many forms, including open hostility and wickedness as witnessed in the Second World War. Unable to achieve this end by conventional war, in recent years this assault against the Jews has been political and very often couched in the language of peace.

It is waged according to a false narrative, but one that is accepted in most circles as truth. Just the idea of “Israeli occupation” is totally untrue yet accepted everywhere. How can a people “occupy” their own homeland? Further, the Palestinians never had a state and the ground they claim was in fact occupied for centuries by the Ottoman Turks and then illegally by the Jordanians from 1948 to 1967. Of course, these facts mean nothing to those who seek the destruction of the Jewish state.

Today Hamas, Hizbullah, Fatah and all their fellow travelers are fully committed to the liquidation of Israel. This fact is not hearsay or rumor. No, it is enshrined in their charters and their repeated statements in Arabic. Their school books and TV programs for children constantly demonize the Jewish people and thereby incite impressionable minds to hatred of Israel. The Jews are likened to apes and pigs, while suicide attacks against them are glorified as the ultimate goal in life! Those who carry out such carnage are honored by having streets and squares named after them in Palestinian towns and cities.



 Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu at the annual Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony at Yad Vashem, May 2011 (GPO)  


This same radical Islamic menace collaborated with Hitler in the hope that his triumph would bring about the complete annihilation of the Jews. He came close but, thankfully, he was defeated. Yet today, the world community expects Israel to sit down and make peace with people who fully embrace Hitler’s vision.

Sadly, a world without a moral compass is unable to identify evil and is therefore pressurizing Israel to make what would be a suicide pact with a new version of Nazism! Many of the nations pushing for this would not do it themselves, but somehow it is good enough for the Jews! One has to wonder why all this is happening? Are these people stupid, just ignorant, or is there another agenda being followed? Or, maybe still there is a spiritual reality behind the War against the Jews!

Given that the very essence of sin is rebellion against God, it is not surprising that anything which reminds a rebellious world of God will also be assailed. This is the true nature of sin that lurks in the heart of every human being. If this God then calls into existence a people to take His name and reflect His character, one can expect them to be the target of that rebellion. From the very day God called and identified Himself with Israel, this war has never stopped. It is a desperate war and, if not for the faithfulness of God, the Jews would have vanished a long time ago. Psalm 83 gives voice to these truths in that it clearly states that humankind’s War against the Jews is in fact a war against God Himself! Note the first four verses:

“Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold your peace, and do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; And those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”

It is to be noted that the enemies of God strike out against Him by making war against the Jews!  This war will not stop until the evil in human hearts has been overcome by redeeming love or else destroyed by divine judgment! Needless to say, the honor and existence of the only true God is at stake in this war and thus Israel will never be destroyed because God has vouched for her survival!

Rev. Malcolm Hedding is the outgoing Executive Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. This article first appeared in the June 2011 issue of the Jerusalem Post Christian Edition, published in partnership with ICEJ.

The new Middle East steps backward

There is a new Middle East taking shape, but its character and contours are still emerging. The unprecedented political turmoil in Arab countries remains rudderless, with no clear direction yet. The prevailing military dictatorships of decades past will either survive in weakened versions, slowly yield to true democratic reforms, or regress towards Islamism.

The old Middle East was notoriously unpredictable – even the uprisings of recent months took everyone by complete surprise. But there were certain truisms about the old order that gave the region some measure of consistency. One such maxim was: “If you do not come to the Middle East, the Middle East will come to you.” Indeed, its unresolved problems came to the West far too often in various haunting forms, from airplane hijackings and long gas lines in the 1970s to the mass terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Sadly, that is not likely to change.

Another proven adage of the old Middle East held that: “The Arabs cannot make peace with Israel without Syria, but cannot make war with Israel without Egypt.” Damascus always championed the rejectionist camp, blocking any comprehensive acceptance of Israel in the region, while Cairo’s peace treaty with Israel (albeit a cold peace) stymied any hope of pan-Arab defeat of the IDF in battle. This equation will undoubtedly be impacted by the current unrest.

Egypt is already showing worrisome signs of renewed hostility towards Israel. The Supreme Military Council now running the country is bowing to the will of the Tahrir Square crowds by announcing their intent to reconsider the natural gas deals made with Israel pursuant to the 1979 peace treaty. Deposed president Hosni Mubarak and his sons are being accused of corruption stemming, in part, from the natural gas contracts with Israel.

If those agreements can be legally assailed and undone, the Israel-Egypt peace treaty cannot be far behind. Indeed, all the major players jockeying for seats in the parliamentary elections this autumn have pledged to “review” the treaty with Israel, a position widely backed by public opinion polls. Leading presidential contender Amr Moussa, the Arab League chieftain who has built his popularity by shamelessly bashing Israel, insisted recently that the Camp David Accords had “expired” and that Israel has failed to prove it is a “friend” of Egypt.

Meantime, Egypt’s interim foreign minister has promised to reopen the Rafah crossing into Gaza, allowing Hamas to ferry in-and-out far more weapons and terrorists than through its cross-border smuggling tunnels. Cairo also just brokered the Fatah-Hamas unity pact, taking the Palestinians a major step away from peace with Israel.

Finally, Egypt has announced plans to “open a new page” with its long-time adversary Iran.

Meanwhile, the Assad dynasty in Syria has launched a brutal crackdown on opposition protests that have resulted in more than 800 civilian deaths so far, with another 10,000 imprisoned. The struggle pits the minority Alawite rulers against an 85% Sunni majority. But dictator Bashar Assad is the most heavily entrenched ruler in the Arab world, with layers of loyalists in command of the all-powerful security services, ensuring he will not go easily.

Yet even if the Syrian uprising succeeds in dislodging the Assad regime, there is little reason to think its Sunni replacement will be any less hostile towards Israel. The Sunni majority likely will not be as pro-Iran, which could have a huge impact on Tehran’s aspirations to build a Shi’ite crescent that reaches the Mediterranean shores and encircles Israel. But – like in Egypt – the Syrian masses have already been spoon-fed so much anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic invective, it will assuredly be reflected even in a democratically-elected government. Some analysts go so far as to suggest that the West’s tepid response to Syria’s harsh crackdown is out of fear that something worse could actually replace Assad.

So I am left very pessimistic that the regional upheaval will mean positive changes for Israel. At the least, Egypt and Syria will follow the Turkish model, where an Islamist party has played the Israel card to gain votes and then asserted an aggressively independent line against Israel and the US in matters of foreign policy.

And all the while, Iran is quietly exploiting the distractions caused by the “Arab Spring” to continue its relentless pursuit of nuclear capabilities.

Parsons is media director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem;

The Second Coming of Jesus

Even a brief glance at the New Testament will reveal that the Second Coming of Jesus was never far from the mind and hearts of those earliest Christian believers. The question we have to ask some two thousand years later is, “Were they wrong?” Did they have an expectation of the soon return of Jesus that was misguided? For instance, even Paul, when writing to the Corinthian church about marriage, stated that in view of the “impending distress” it is better not to marry. He felt that time was short and that therefore the believers needed to fix their hope fully on the soon coming of Jesus.

Progressive prophetic fulfilment

From Jesus’ Olivet discourse, the disciples recognised that certain signs in the region and in the world would indicate the soon coming of Jesus. These are: a temple would be standing in Jerusalem; a global world power would invade the city of Jerusalem; the Holy of holies would be desecrated; great distress would befall the region; and believers would have to flee and find shelter. Then, Jesus would come!

They saw all of these signs flashing and growing with each passing day. The “Day of the Lord” was surely upon them! They were therefore both right and wrong, since it is clear from Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 that the events about which Jesus spoke entailed two fulfilments. One occurred in AD 70 and another was yet in the future. Paul is clear, as is John, that the Anti-Christ who desecrates the Temple is destroyed by the visible real coming of Jesus a second time. We are dealing here with what Bible scholars refer to as “progressive prophetic fulfilment.” That is, one vision having two fulfilments over time! These same circumstances have not come together again until our day!

The signs of the end

While there have always been wars, rumours of wars, conflicts and natural upheavals, it was not until 1948 that the crucial building block of a Jewish return to Jerusalem fell into place again. Jesus cited this as the validating sign of the His near coming (Luke 21:24). Now today, as it was in AD 70, there is once again a growing global campaign against a Jewish Jerusalem and indeed a campaign to delegitimize Israel and dismantle her. Conflict and wars are everywhere and great earthquakes and natural upheavals are a familiar occurrence. It is the first time in 2000 years that these “signs” are manifesting again. Like the disciples of Paul’s day, we should look up because our “redemption draws nigh” (Luke 21:28). Jesus is coming and about this we should not have any doubts at all!

The miracle of Israel’s restoration is the validating sign heralding the return of our dear Lord. It is also true that the Word of God portrays Israel’s restoration as taking place amidst great international resistance to it. The nations will eventually mobilize, as they did in AD 70, against Jerusalem and they will try to remove it from Jewish hands (Zechariah 12). They will be thwarted and Jesus will return in glory and splendour to set up His throne in Jerusalem and from which He will rule the nations with a “rod of iron” (Revelation 19:15).

The hope of the Church

This glorious hope of Jesus’ return (Titus 2:11-13) serves to keep the Church pure and clean. It is when we lose this hope that we sleep spiritually and begin to get entangled in the worldly affairs. Jesus warned about this in His parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13).

It is always fascinating to note that every time scripture refers to the Second Coming of Jesus, it invites us to embrace an appropriate spiritual response. So Jesus says, “watch and pray” (Mark 13:33-37).

John, in his first epistle, also tells us that if we hold the hope of Jesus’ return in our hearts, we should “purify ourselves” (1 John 3:1-3). That is, live clean and godly lives!

In his first epistle, Peter writes that because the “end of all things is at hand”, we should be loving, prayerful and engaged in the Lord’s business (1 Peter 4:7-10).

Finally, Paul not only greets his readers with the words Maranatha (“the Lord is coming” – 1 Corinthians 16:22), but he also exhorts believers, who have lost believing loved ones, to fix their hope on the Second Coming of Jesus when they will be resurrected to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

The Second Coming of Jesus thus keeps the Church spiritually healthy and when we ignore it we do the people of God a disservice. Now more than ever, Christians should be gazing into heaven and preparing their lives to welcome Jesus back.

“Behold He is coming and every eye will see Him.” These words greet us in the very first chapter of the book of Revelation. This passage goes on to say that “all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him” (Revelation 1:7). Why would they mourn over such a wonderful event? Because they never embraced Him or prepared their lives to welcome Him on the day of His return.

Jesus also warned in his Olivet discourse that the love of many would grow cold (Matthew 24:12). This can only be a reference to Christians who have taken their spiritual eyes off His soon return! May he not be talking about anyone of us!

The mode of His coming

Though many so-called theologians have tried to deny it in recent years, the Bible teaches that Jesus will come visibly and physically to the Mount of Olives. As He went, so He will come again and thus His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which is to the east of Jerusalem (Acts 1:9-11).

His visible coming will be with great glory and the whole world will see this glory as it flashes from the east to the west (Matthew 24:27). As He descends from Heaven in triumph to reign and rule over the nations, a great trumpet blast will take place and the dead in Christ and all believers then alive will rise to meet Him (Matthew 24:30-31; Revelation 2:27-28, 12:5). What a wonderful day this will be and so no wonder we are to get ready as we now see it approaching! (Hebrews 10:25)


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