The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
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ISRAEL SHOULD SERIOUSLY CONSIDER STRIKING IRAN

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

ISRAEL SHOULD SERIOUSLY CONSIDER STRIKING IRAN by Benny Toker and Ari Soffer (Arutz Sheva News)

Israel should “seriously consider” a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in the aftermath of the “framework deal” announced between Tehran and western powers Thursday, a leader defense and security expert said.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva Friday, Professor Efraim Inbar, who heads the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, said the deal had realized Israel’s worst fears by leaving Iran’s nuclear program essentially intact.

The Islamic Republic’s nuclear program has been granted “legitimacy” by the agreement, which still allowed it to continue enriching uranium and to maintain a reactor capable of producing enriched plutonium, he said. “And that’s what worries Israel, that they (Iran) will be able within a short time frame to reach a nuclear bomb.”

“I hold the view that the only way to stop Iran in its journey to a nuclear bomb is through military means,” Inbar maintained, suggesting that “Israel needs to seriously consider striking a number of important nuclear facilities” to head off the threat.

Inbar went further, stating that Israel had made a serious mistake in not taking out Iran’s nuclear facilities until now. Now that the deal – however bad – was struck, a military strike would be far more difficult, he posited.

Nevertheless, practically-speaking Israel was left with little choice short of accepting a nuclear-armed Iran.

“As long as there was no deal it was easier for Israel to strike. They should have carried out a strike two years ago,” he said. “This is not an easy decision but it’s what needed to be done.”

Despite that fact, many countries – most notably Israel’s immediate neighbors – would be supportive of such a strike, and were waiting for Israel to neutralize the threat posed to them by a nuclear-capable Iranian regime.

“In practice no one wants to see a nuclear Iran; all of them are playing the game so that Israel can pulls the chestnuts out of the fire.

The deal, announced yesterday at a joint conference in Switzerland and widely celebrated as a “victory” in Iran, was quickly lauded by US President Barack Obama as an “historic” agreement.

“I am convinced that if this framework leads to a final comprehensive deal it will make our country, our allies and our world safer,” Obama asserted, insisting that despite criticisms the agreement would effectively cut off any options for Iran to build a nuclear bomb.

But despite Obama’s claim that there was “no daylight” between the US’s commitment to Israel’s security and the framework deal, Israeli officials heavily criticized it as an “historic mistake”.

“If an agreement is reached on the basis of this framework, it is an historic mistake which will make the world far more dangerous,” said the officials, briefing journalists on condition of anonymity.

“It is a bad framework which will lead to a bad and dangerous agreement. The framework gives international legitimacy to Iran’s nuclear program, the only aim of which is to produce a nuclear bomb,” they added.

In Congress as well – where legislators on both sides of the aisle have expressed serious concerns over the pending deal – House Speaker John Boehner branded the agreement “an alarming departure” from the President’s own declared goals. Nevertheless, legislators have given the White House a three-month reprieve on a bill to level harsher sanctions against Iran.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is due to address the deal directly at a press conference Friday, after holding top-level talks with security officials.

IRAN TALKS WRAP UP WITH NO END IN SIGHT

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

IRAN TALKS WRAP UP WITH NO END IN SIGHT
by Shlomo Pitrikovsky & Cynthia Blank (Arutz Sheva)

Two days past deadline, all night negotiations between Iran and world powers adjourn at six a.m. to begin again later on Thursday.

US negotiating team meets with Iranian counterparts for nuclear talks

After an all night round of extended talks between Iran and six world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program, negotiations have adjourned until later Thursday.

United States Department of State spokeswoman, Mary Sharp, wrote on Twitter Thursday morning that talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, which are already two days past their March 31 deadline, came to a close at 6 a.m. local time.

Despite ongoing debate, no agreements have been reached between Iran and the foreign ministers of the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

Negotiators are expected to resume talks in the coming hours, in yet another attempt to overcome differences and reach an understanding between Iran and the world powers.

Representatives of the world powers have already begun blaming the lack of progress in talks on Iran. Reportedly, the Iranians are refusing to be flexible or present an alternate position to advance a final deal.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who returned Wednesday night to Lausanne, despite having left for Paris the previous day, told reporters Wednesday that “we are a few meters from the finishing line, but the last meters are the most difficult.”

He also urged Iran to make an “extra effort” to reach an agreement.

For his part, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said that the nuclear talks will only succeed if the West drops its “excessive demands.”

“Iran has shown its readiness to engage with dignity and it’s time for our negotiating partners to seize the moment,” Zarif told reporters in Lausanne, according to AFP.

Iran had shown that it wants “an entente” with the world but it “will not accept submitting to force and excessive demands. Those we are negotiating with should accept this reality,” Zarif declared.

WHAT EVERY CHRISTIAN NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT PASSOVER

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

WHAT EVERY CHRISTIAN NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT PASSOVER by David Lazarus (Israel Today News)

This is the title of a new book (available on Amazon) by Reform Rabbi Evan Moffic, who demonstrates a deep appreciation for the central place of Jesus in the Jewish Passover. In his book, which came out in February just in time for the holiday, Moffic hopes to help Christians understand the intimate connection between Judaism and Christianity in the Passover, the principal festival for both Jews and Christians.

“Exploring the Passover helps us learn more about the context of Jesus’ own religious and spiritual life, and it sheds light on Easter, the resurrection of Jesus and the meaning of redemption,” he explains.

Written in a popular style for a wide audience, the rabbi’s book should appeal to Christians wanting an inside, intimate look at a traditional Jewish Passover. “Jesus experienced a traditional Passover Seder guided by the blessings and rituals Jews have practiced for three thousand years,” writes Moffic. “The stories and interpretations he heard are ones still taught at Jewish Passover Seders today. In this book you are invited to experience the real thing.”

In a chapter titled, “Celebrating the Passover Seder Yourself: A Haggadah for Home Use by Christians and Jews,” Moffic offers a Passover celebration with annotations for those wanting to commemorate Jesus as the Passover Lamb of God. By including ancient Hebrew prayers and even recommendations for traditional holiday recipes, he provides Christians interested in the Hebrew roots of their faith with an authentic Passover experience.

For example, the rabbi notes that “the shank bone symbolizes the lamb offered as a sacrifice at the Temple in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. The lamb symbolizes God’s mercy in redeeming the Israelites from slavery to Egypt. In Christian tradition, the lamb symbolizes Jesus, the Lamb of God, whose sacrifice frees believers from the sins of the world.”

Moffic makes it clear throughout the book that the Passover celebration should never be a boring religious tradition, but rather a life-giving experience setting us free from our painful past and giving us hope for a better future. “What meaning do we make out of tragedy and loss? God commanded them to observe a holiday in which they were to make some sort of sense, some sort of meaning, from their loss.

The Passover celebration is the medium through which Jews, over the centuries, have remembered and made meaning from the trauma of slavery. They do not define themselves as victim. They do not seek revenge. Rather they hold the first sacred Passover meal telling their story of God’s redemption.”

Moffic offers some unconventional interpretations of the Passover ceremony, many of which are already used in Messianic Seders that seek to join faith in Jesus with the Jewish festival. “In Christian tradition, the three pieces of matzos [unleavened bread] represent God’s presence as the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,” he writes. “Some Christians interpret the perforations of the matzo as symbolic of the piercings of Jesus on the cross. Jesus is the Bread of Life afflicted in sacrifice yet nourishing the world.”

In a moment of unrestrained candor, Moffic confesses that he has “found great inspiration in the description of love from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. My own prayer life has been transformed by what I learned from pastors and Christian writers. Quite often I learn more about my own faith.” Conversely, the rabbi reminds us of the ways in which “Jewish wisdom can bring Christians closer to their faith.”

This is not the first time Rabbi Moffic of the Solel Congregation in Chicago writes openly about Jesus. It was with great fascination that I reviewed his previous essay, 5 RABBIS EXPLAIN JESUS, which demonstrated that for the better part of the past century, and especially in more recent years, Judaism has been looking to reclaim Jesus.

ISRAEL BAFFLED BY US NUCLEAR OFFER TO IRAN

Monday, March 30th, 2015

ISRAEL BAFFLED BY US NUCLEAR OFFER TO IRAN
(Israel Today News)

Israeli officials this week were increasingly perplexed by the terms of an emerging nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers led by America. The self-imposed deadline to reach an agreement is tomorrow, March 31.

That talks are coming down to the wire likely suits Iran, which knows that the Obama Administration, at least, is desperate for a diplomatic achievement and might be willing to sign off even on what Israel would consider a “bad deal.”

“This agreement confirms all our fears and exceeds them,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday.

The currently known terms of the agreement would leave Iran with at least 6,000 centrifuges capable of producing enriched uranium, and would largely trust Iran to keep its word that the uranium would be shipped to Russia.

“You don’t need to be an intelligence officer to see Iran is lying barefacedly, and is today the greatest danger to the stability of the Middle East,” added Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.

Both Netanyahu and Ya’alon pointed out that even as America and the West are negotiating this misguided deal, Iran is busy extending its dangerous influence around the Middle East.

Last week, an Iranian-backed militia seized control of Yemen, much to the chagrin of neighboring states like Saudi Arabia, which has since launched a military offensive against the rebels.

“Iran’s proxies in Yemen are conquering large swaths of land in an effort to overtake the Bab al-Mandab straits, so that they can change the balance of power in shipping oil,” warned Netanyahu.

Should the Western powers sign the nuclear agreement in its current form, Israeli Interior Minister Gilad Erdan told Army Radio that the Jewish state would “need to reassess the whole resulting security situation.”

A senior Israeli security official who spoke to the Walla news portal said the deal would affirm that Israel cannot trust Washington when it comes to security and stability in the region. “We know that the United States will ignore the topic of Iran’s (nuclear) development proliferation and distribution of weapons, and its involvement in terrorism in the Middle East,” he said.

DAVID DOLAN FROM JERUSALEM

Friday, March 27th, 2015

DAVID DOLAN FROM JERUSALEM

Shalom From Israel!
Although this is a rather long letter from Israel, I believe it is the most important report that I have ever sent out. So I hope that you will take the time to read it through to the end and maybe send it to your friends.

I have been visiting this unique country that I called home for almost 33 years since the beginning of March, enjoying every day of it. Among many other things, I stopped by my former apartment in the center of Jerusalem with its magnificent view of the Temple Mount and the nearby Mount of Olives. There I happily learned that the young Israeli couple who bought it from me had triplets, two boys and a girl, just ten months after I returned to America in May 2013! I told their mother that I see this as a Divine blessing on my former home.

I’m planning to fly back to the United States just two days before Passover begins the first week of April. It’s been a wonderful time for me here in the Lord’s special land, visiting with many longtime friends including my now elderly “spiritual mentor” Lance Lambert, who is miraculously still alive and kicking at his home in Jerusalem after a serious illness nearly took his life late last year while visiting Greece. I spent my first week in Jerusalem, where I lived since 1984 after residing several years in the verdant northern Galilee region, and plan to spend my last few days of this trip in the Holy City as well, including sharing a Shabbat meal at Lance’s home.

I arrived on the festival of Purim just one day before a Palestinian terrorist deliberately crashed his car into a group of Border Policewomen in the northern part of the city. Welcome to Jerusalem! Currently I’m staying in the coastal city of Ashkelon at the vacation home of American friends.

Among the highlights of my visit so far was hearing some of the courageous army experiences of the sons of two Israeli couples who’ve been friends for many years. One of the young men, still a ponytailed teenage boy when I last saw him, ended his three year mandatory service earlier this month. We celebrated his exit at a Shabbat meal in the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Naturally both soldiers were very involved in last summer’s intense rocket war with Hamas militia forces in the nearby Gaza Strip. Of course, like most Israeli former fulltime military servicemen (along with some servicewomen), they are liable to be drafted for reserve duty at virtually any time if the government deems such a call up necessary. As I write, a noisy Israeli military drill is taking place along the nearby Gaza Strip’s northern border and in the skies above the area. Earlier I wondered if an actual new conflict had broken out until I happily heard on Army Radio that it was just a planned large scale exercise! Not to worry, they said.

Last week, I spoke to a new Israeli immigrant from America who moved here with her young teenage daughter early last summer, initially living in the same Ashkelon home where I’m currently staying. She told me her husband will soon follow after completing a work project in Texas. She described how her daughter reacted to the frequent air raid sirens that were sounded whenever Hamas rockets were aimed at the area. She said the girl became weary of rushing down almost every night to the basement bomb shelter with her, to the point that she actually moved her mattress down to what became her new bedroom! Welcome to Israel!

Still, she told me they were both glad they had moved to the world’s only Jewish State, especially in light of escalating Muslim terrorist attacks upon Jews in Europe and other parts of the world, and increasing signs of growing animosity towards Israel from the current American government.

ISRAELI ELECTIONS

We spoke only one day after Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party did unexpectedly well in last week’s national elections. The new Israeli voter informed me that, like many others, she had decided at the last minute to cast her ballot for his party. She had earlier planned to vote for a more rightwing party (Jewish Home) out of concern that the veteran leader’s center-right party might need to be “kept from giving in” to international pressure—particularly from the Obama Administration—to agree to the creation of a Palestinian state in Judaism’s biblical heartland just miles from Israel’s main international airport and major coastal cities, with part of Jerusalem as its capital.

As all must know by now, Netanyahu replied to a reporter’s unsolicited question about such a state on the eve of the election, stating it would not arise under his watch. This prompted the new immigrant to change her mind and cast her ballot for his Likud party. Israeli political pundits agree his short, unplanned answer was the main reason why his party surged way past pre-election surveys that it would capture only 22 to 24 Knesset seats. In the end, the Likud garnered 30 seats, fully one fourth of the legislative body, passing the left-center Zionist Union (basically just a clever new name for the once dominant Labor party) which captured 24 seats. Nineteen of the newly elected legislators are women, a record number. Women can’t even vote in some neighboring Arab countries, and are barely staying alive (or not) with their families to the north in Syria and parts of Iraq.

Many Israeli analysts say when President Obama and his cronies rushed to condemn Netanyahu’s supposed “sudden abandonment” of the vaulted, if surely presently unworkable, “two state solution” to the nearly 70 year old Jewish-Arab regional conflict, they displayed their growing antagonism toward the Jewish State’s democratically elected leaders and contempt of their supporters. The media is reporting that Obama and company will now at least partially withdraw “vital” US government political support for Israel at the United Nations, where it earlier vetoed the Palestinian attempt to unilaterally establish such a state. This news sent many Israelis into an immediate tizzy. Still, most recognize that the Republican-controlled Congress is not about to abandon its strong support for Israel, including many members of Obama’s own Democratic party.

Prime Minister Netanyahu tried to counter the Jewish Israeli apprehensions by quickly telling NBC News that he was only stating what is completely obvious to most Israelis, according to various opinion polls: There is NO CHANCE AT ALL of forging a final peace accord in the coming months or years with the Palestinian Authority while extremist anti-Israeli Islamic violence and rhetoric is exploding in the tumultuous Middle East. It does not matter if annihilationist hatred of Israel emanates from the clerical leaders of Shiite Muslim Iran and their various allies (who are currently taking over Yemen, to the deep chagrin of Saudi Arabia’s oil rich leaders due north of Yemen), or the mushrooming Sunni Muslim “Islamic State” army and its various Muslim cohorts who are currently wreaking havoc from central Africa to the Persian Gulf. This includes Hamas, headquartered just five miles south of where I write.

Let’s not forget, as a majority of Israeli voters apparently did not, that the Hamas terrorist group, which lobbed thousands of rockets at Israeli civilian centers just a few months ago, is now an official part of the “moderate” Palestinian Authority government led by Mahmoud Abbas that Israel is supposed to make a final peace deal with. Speaking of democracy, Abbas has “postponed” presidential elections several times since 2009 due to his well deserved conviction that Hamas would probably emerge victorious in them, as it did in the only Palestinian leadership contest held so far in 2006. Why would Netanyahu possibly allow a state, ruled at least partially by Hamas, to rise up next to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv?

During my current visit, several Israelis have told me they are fully convinced that President Obama and his Secretary of State, John Kerry, are only pretending to be true friends of Israel (and not doing a very good job of it, then opined). They maintain their actions belie their words. They blame the Obama Administration’s untimely, if not inexplicable, efforts to finally “resolve” the long and bitter Israeli-Palestinian conflict at this time for sparking off last summer’s frightening war.

Many Israeli commentators say it was obvious from the dawn of the Obama-backed “Arab Spring” Islamic fundamentalist resurgence in 2010 that no far reaching final peace deal was possible under the current Palestinian and regional realities, even though PM Netanyahu expressed his willingness several years ago to agree to the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state next door to Israel. I found it more than ironic that just one day after Netanyahu’s latest electoral triumph, three Muslim terrorist shot dead around 20 foreign tourists in the heart of the government center in Tunis, where the “Arab Spring” began.

WOE TO AMERICA!

As an American now living back in my homeland, I sadly agree with the above Israeli assessments. More than that, I also sadly say WOE TO AMERICA if the Obama Administration continues to back away from the country’s traditional bipartisan, and I believe God-given, role of helping to protect the small Jewish State from its far more numerous regional and world enemies. The prophet Joel warned (3:1) that the nations will be judged in the last days for “dividing” up the land that God restored to the formally scattered Jewish people.

Many Israeli voters were incensed to learn that the State Department had been using American tax dollars to indirectly fund a campaign apparently aimed at ousting Netanyahu from power. I was incensed as well to learn that a portion of my taxes had earlier been channeled by John Kerry and his comrades to the One Voice NGO group, which states that its goal is to nonviolently “end the Israeli occupation” of Judea and Samaria. Let’s not forget that the “occupation” came about in the midst of a multi-country Arab war of annihilation launched against tiny Israel in 1967, leading instead to the fulfillment of various biblical prophecies that the Jewish people would return to all of Jerusalem and the hills and valleys of Judea and Samaria in the last days (Ezekiel 36 and Jeremiah 32, 33).

Putting flesh to its stated goal, the American One Voice group was in turn funding the local “V15” political organization tutored by Jeremy Bird, Obama’s former campaign director, who media reports say flew to Israel from Chicago for the Israeli election campaign. Talk about hutzpa!

“Bibi” Netanyahu complained in an afternoon Election Day tweet to his registered supporters that the American group was paying to bus Arab voters to the polls in droves in a transparent last minute attempt to bring a leftwing government to power. Arab votes would apparently be used to prop up a Zionist Union-led leftwing government in the Knesset, even if the new “Join Arab List” party would probably not be asked to formally join any government coalition led by Isaac Herzog (I noted the irony that his grandfather was the widely respected Chief Rabbi of Northern Ireland some decades ago, and that the election was held here on St Patrick’s Day…guess his grandson missed the luck of the Irish!). Indeed, with Obama’s indirect help, the Arab party emerged as the third largest in the new Knesset with 13 seats.

While condemned as a “racist” tweet by President Obama’s spokesman, many Israelis viewed Netanyahu’s short missive as a justified and understandable attempt by him to rally his own voters to head to the polls in light of the opposition’s gregarious American-aided efforts to do the same. By the way, the new Joint Arab List that most Arab Israeli voters choose on Election Day includes several politicians who openly call for an Islamic state to replace Israel, and others who demand that all Jews leave any Palestinian state created next to Israel—a racist demand if ever there was one.

DIVINE JUDGMENT

I wrote in my previous communication from Mexico late last month that I increasingly sense that the United States superpower giant that I once again call home may be facing imminent Divine Judgment. I am of course not alone in this ominous perception, with many pointing out that an obviously growing number of American and other world citizens have been idolatrously abandoning themselves over the past few decades to an inordinate love of money, commerce, gluttony, sexual immorality (leading in many cases to abortions and sexually transmitted diseases) and many other biblically proscribed things. Particularly in formerly majority “Christian” nations, these things have become their preferred “gods” instead of the God of Israel.

Divorce, for almost any reason or none at all, is rampant in America with nearly one out of two marriages now breaking up. Shockingly, numbers are almost as high among those who profess to be Christians (in Israel, one quarter of all marriages end in divorce). While the US Supreme Court gets ready to rule later this year on forcing all 50 states to allow same-sex marriage, straight couples are avoiding getting hitched in record numbers. Christian media outlets have been reporting that a national survey of American churches conducted over the past five years reveals that some 68% of church going men, including half of all pastors and priests, regularly view pornography, mostly via the internet (the actual numbers are probably higher since some would undoubtedly not admit this sin to a pollster). Does the One who created their eyes not know what they are watching?

Indeed, many citizens of contemporary Israel engage in similar unbiblical practices, and the small Jewish State would obviously suffer as well if its longtime main ally and benefactor goes down. America’s other friends and the entire world would also experience the effects. Still, if I was legally eligible to stay here in Israel, or to move back here, I would probably do so. I again urge all Jews living abroad who can do so to consider this option very prayerfully and urgently.

As I’ve stated many times before in my public speaking and writings, it would only take one or two relatively small “suitcase” or “backpack” nuclear bombs to quickly and severely alter life in America. Even if just lower Manhattan were obliterated—and it is after all just a small island abutting the Atlantic Ocean, and still undoubtedly Ground Zero to our enemies—all economic and political life in the wealthy United States and the world would be instantly altered, and obviously not for the good. The 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington were a Divine warning of further and more severe terrorist or military actions potentially ahead, I and many others believe. The American government and people would do well to heed the vows of self-declared enemy states like North Korea, Iran, and Sunni Muslim groups like Al Qaida and Islamic State, that the mighty United States will one day soon be attacked and destroyed.

Unlike some, I do not believe that my native country—which has often acted as a beacon of light, but also increasingly as an exporter of the fruits of a morally decaying culture—is going to completely disappear. I think any attacks or economic disasters allowed to take place by the Almighty God will mainly be designed for remedial purposes, to bring the people literally to their knees in search of Him. But I do suspect the United States of America may at least partially disintegrate as a unified functioning nation, with martial law, widespread violence and other negative things a likely outcome of any economic collapse, and/or massive terrorist or military attack, and/or a major natural disaster.

Let’s not forget that the former Soviet Union unexpectedly lost its superpower status and many of its component countries in an amazingly short period of time just over two decades ago, mainly due to economic implosion (there is after all no free lunch). I suspect the same thing could soon rock debt infested America, especially given the many negative things that have taken place in the country during previous “Shemitah” years. The US stock market is ridiculously high at present, I believe, with the recent drastic fall in world oil prices producing a temporary financial bubble for America’s consumer driven economy; unlike most of the rest of the world, which is either bordering on, or already in, recession. Many economists warn that American banks will probably never get back the huge sums they loaned to “start up” and existing oil companies as the price of oil soared over the past five years to record levels, which is eerily similar to what took place during the housing bubble that crashed during the last Shemitah year in 2008.

Only true national repentance could deflect pending Divine judgment upon America, I believe, with sadly little sign so far that this is on the horizon, although there is always reason to hope and pray.

LISTEN TO THE LORD

Believe it or not in this now overly connected world, I have not had access over the past two months to television while staying in a beachfront thatched roof cabana hut in eastern Mexico, and later at a Christian Guest House in Jerusalem, and then here in Ashkelon. Frankly I haven’t missed it much, although I do check out the latest news at least once a day via the internet or radio.

Instead, I have had lots of time to pray and meditate on God’s Word, and more importantly, to LISTEN to the gentle voice of the Lord. I believe I am issuing this warning of possible pending judgment via His commission, although I am not any less a flesh and blood sinner than anyone else, as the Apostle Paul frequently pointed out was true of himself. I do so with humbleness and hope that it might help to prepare everyone who reads my words, both spiritually and physically, for what seems to me to lie just up ahead, although of course only time will tell and prayer can and does change things.

As many Christians believe, the Lord may snatch ALL of His committed disciples away from this earth at any moment. Death could also take any one of us away with little or no notice. I would not complain if either was the case for me, a man now 60 years young (someone here wished me the traditional Hebrew blessing of “until 120” when they heard my 60th birthday was last month, which, given the realities of the contemporary human aging process, I frankly consider to be a curse!). I would personally not complain if my body were to perish, or better yet to be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, before the biblically prophesied end of this age turmoil engulfs the world (as I’ve mentioned before, I believe the Scriptures reveal that the Rapture will take place just before the Lord judges the coming Antichrist and his empire at the end of his rule, but would be glad to be proven wrong!).

BLOOD MOONS AHEAD

After completing the above report late yesterday afternoon, I went out to a balcony here in Ashkelon that overlooks the nearby Mediterranean Sea to watch the sunset. It had been a mostly cloudy and windy day, and the setting sun was partially shielded by a thin layer of cloud out over the water, producing a beautiful red face as the sun seemingly sank into the sea. Moments later, a cloud higher up in the sky moved away to reveal a thin sliver of light at the bottom of the mostly dark moon above the western horizon. I then recalled that this cycle of waxing moon would climax on Passover, April 3rd and 4th, with the third of four “Tetrad” moon eclipses, visible in many parts of the globe as a “blood red” moon. The fourth eclipse is due on September 28th at the start of the annual Feast of Succot, just two weeks after the Shemitah year comes to an end on Rosh Ha Shana. The last business day of this Jewish year will be Friday, September 11th.

An hour later, I settled down to read an article in the weekly Jerusalem Post magazine published last Friday. It was authored by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin of Efrat, a “settlement” located in the “occupied territories” south of Jerusalem. Titled “The Meaning of the Moon,” his article focused on the four blood moons of the current Tetrad cycle. He noted that the previous three occurred in the years 1492-93 (when the once flourishing Jews of Spain were expelled from that country), 1948-49 (when Israel’s first war took place and the State was created), and 1967, 68 (the Six Day War and capture of Jerusalem’s Old City, Judea, Samaria, the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights). In my report on this same topic written a couple years ago, I pointed out that many Israeli soldiers and civilians were killed, and many more wounded, during the previous two Tetrad cycles. Yet both also led to extremely positive outcomes overall for the Jewish people of Israel.

Was last summer’s intense conflict with Hamas a fulfillment of my written prediction that another war would probably take place during or around this current Tetrad cycle, leading to significant loss of Jewish lives but also an ultimate positive outcome? I don’t think so. I believe another, much greater, conflict is probably on the horizon. As Rabbi Riskin noted, the most obvious pending war is probably with Iran and its allies (Hamas and Hizbullah included). Prime Minister Netanyahu’s reelection makes this all the more likely, especially if current American-led negotiations with the Shiite clerical regime in Iran do not end later this month with an acceptable cessation of its nuclear development program, as the Prime Minister warned in his eloquent speech before Congress last month will sadly probably be the case.

By the way, the ONLY time I had access to a TV over the past two months was overnight near the airport in Cancun, where I watched his entire speech live just before my hotel shuttle departed for my flight to Newark and Israel. As I was driven to the airport, I recalled when I first met Bibi on election night at Likud party headquarters in Tel Aviv in October 1988, where I was reporting for CBS radio news. I thought at the time that the newly elected Knesset member would probably emerge as a great leader of Israel one day —I had no idea how great!

Rabbi Riskin noted in his article that his longtime “special friend,” Pastor John Hagee of Texas, expects that a conflict with Iran will indeed take place “with or without American support,” and end with Israel’s “crippling Iran’s nuclear capabilities.” I agree that such a conflict and outcome is also very likely to take place, and probably very soon. Riskin then wrote that Pastor Hagee expects this “will then provoke Russia to invade Israel,” fulfilling the “Gog and Magog” prophecy found in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Although “the situation will look hopeless,” God will “save Israel and our supporters” and then “Messiah will come.”

I believe that this scenario is missing some essential prophesied parts, although they may be included in Hagee’s fuller teachings. Following a likely showdown with Iran, whether right away or later on, will not be the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy in my estimation, but a coordinated attack by various regional Sunni Arab forces that are named in Psalm 83 (see my book Israel in Crisis for full details). I suspect this will follow the toppling of Jordan’s current pro-American regime, replaced by radical Muslim jihadists currently being battled by Jordan and other Sunni Arab countries as part of the international US-led alliance against further Islamic State expansion. Amman is listed as one of the Psalm 83 conspirators, along with Assyria, located where Islamic State is fighting today in parts of Syria and Iraq.

Sometime after that prophesied regional Arab onslaught against Israel takes place, or possibly preceding or coinciding with it, I expect the evil “Antichrist” ruler spoken of by the prophet Daniel and the Apostles Paul and John will arise (probably quite literally) and rule the entire planet for three and a half years. I think Scripture suggests that only at the end of this period will the prophesied Gog and Magog Russian-led invasion of Israel (involving a revenge seeking Iran) take place as part of the final Armageddon War. And then the Messiah will come (return I believe) and the rest of remaining world Jewry will move to Israel (Ezk. 39:27). Finally the surviving remnant of Israel and the world will rest in everlasting peace as Messiah’s Kingdom is fully established on earth! May He come speedily in our day!

Whatever may lie ahead for us personally or corporately this year and beyond, we will spend eternity in His wonderful presence if we have truly surrendered to His sovereign will. I sincerely pray it would be so for everyone reading these words!

“Do not fear oh land, rejoice and be glad, for the Lord has done great things” (Joel 2:21).

POST-ELECTION LETTER TO OUR AMERICAN BRTHREN!

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

A POST-ELECTION LETTER TO OUR AMERICAN BRETHREN!
by Douglas Altabet (Arutz Sheva News)

As a fairly recent oleh, I still have lots of family and friends in America, and I understand America and American Jewry in an implicit and intuitive way.

That knowledge has made the reaction of a large number of American Jews to our just completed elections all the more painful and frustrating.

What I have heard and read is a great deal of anger, shame, disappointment and even a sense of betrayal. What I have not encountered is a great deal of empathy, nor an attempt to understand or to contextualize provocative statements.

At the risk of sounding preachy, it must be pointed out that Israel is not the 51st state, not to mention the sixth borough. It is a sovereign country. This is Israel’s great glory and its daily challenge.

Sovereignty under the best of circumstances is messy. There is bottom-line accountability and the need to make things work. There are priorities to be adopted, and varying interests to be managed. Not unlike a successful mediation or contract negotiation, sovereignty entails disappointing the fewest number of people as rarely as possible in the least painful of ways.

Add to that maintaining one’s sovereignty in our particular neighborhood, and the challenges and the risks increase geometrically.

The issues confronted by Israeli Jews are greatly removed from the concerns of the American Jewish community. Rockets are not being fired into Newton, MA, no country is threatening to annihilate Brentwood, CA, and no one worries about missile attacks on La Guardia airport.

This morning I dropped off my daughter at our intercity bus stop for her to take her bus to school. Standing there with her were dozens of young men and women in uniform returning to their bases after a Shabbat leave at home.

Seeing this unremarkable, yet nevertheless poignant, scene drove home the reality of difference in a way that words can not describe. Our town has all of 3,000 residents, but there were likely more Jewish soldiers standing there than there are in many states of the Union.

Their service is a matter of course, not a career choice, nor an elective decision. They are part of the reality that we are accountable for ourselves in the face of the enmity of much that surrounds us (I live conveniently close to both Lebanon and Syria.), as well as the genocidal hatred of countries such as Iran.

I am not saying this to make any excuses, but rather to provide the critically needed context in which to assess our actions. The Israeli public has voted, unequivocally supporting those parties that prioritize the security of the country over other important issues. That is the sovereign right of Israelis to exercise.

In the course of this election, we saw a great deal of “involvement,” “meddling” is a better term, by foreign money, and many think by foreign governments as well, to influence the outcome of the election.

There was not only money contributed, but on the ground forces provided, to tip the election against Netanyahu. This involvement provoked much resentment and even fear.

So when Netanyahu said he was concerned about Arabs being bused to the polling places, he was clearly not concerned about Arabs voting, but about foreign forces bribing them to vote – not for Arabs but for Netanyahu’s opposition.

Anyone who knows anything about Israeli politics knows that Netanyahu would not be concerned about Arabs voting for Arabs, since they invariably sit in the opposition. But the idea of Arabs – or anyone else – being bribed to vote for the major opposing party is indeed a scary prospect, as it powerfully infringes on Israeli self-determination.

This statement has become tantamount to race baiting, which, with all due respect, is American Jews looking through the prism of America and not of Israel. The analogy does not hold water, because at the end of the day, the issues with Arabs are politically based and not racially based (Israeli Jews themselves come in all races and ethnicities, and true racial tensions are indeed prevalent among us within the Jewish tent.).

Are we perfect? Do politicians both here, in the US, and around the world, promise, pander and occasionally invoke fear to motivate voters? Only since the beginning of time

But again, the willingness to go nuclear on this subject was very troubling. So troubling and so out of proportion that I fear that American Jews are starting to envision a nightmare that they never wanted to contemplate: the specter of dual loyalty.

The issue is a canard, but it is implicitly being exacerbated by an American administration that has never been Israel’s friend, and has used any tools at its disposal to cast aspersions on Israeli policy and above all its leadership.

The day when support for Israel is somehow not tantamount to loyalty to the United States will be a black day indeed for America. I pray it will never come close to arising.

However, it is increasingly being left to politically conservative Jews and Evangelical Christian friends to stand unequivocally with Israel. This is a shame, since the support of Israel should rank high with all those focused on human rights and the dignity of man.

American brethren, we are indeed your brethren, and we are indeed pursuing a complementary, but different path from your own. We ask you to see us empathetically, to understand our challenges and our right and need to respond to those challenges.

You have no need to be embarrassed because of us; indeed, quite the opposite. Despite an irremediably hostile environment, we have brought great gifts to all of mankind, and with God’s help, will continue to do so.

All we ask of you is understanding, and the benefit of the doubt that comes with family.

WHAT NOW FOR ISRAEL’S GOVERNMENT?

Friday, March 20th, 2015

WHAT NOW FOR ISRAEL’S GOVERNMENT?
(Israel Today News)

A brief, but stormy election campaign has come to an end, and not only is Benjamin Netanyahu still Prime Minister, he appears poised to establish a far more stable government made up only of right-wing parties.

In the coming days, President Reuven Rivlin will select the candidate best positioned to form the next government. Given Likud’s crushing victory over the left-wing Zionist Union faction, that candidate will be Netanyahu.

Rivlin has expressed his hope for a national unity government, and is expected to ask Netanyahu to consider such an option.

But while a coalition consisting only of Likud, the Zionist Union and one or two other parties would be an interesting prospect, it is far more likely that Netanyahu will capitalize on the results of the elections by building a coalition made up of right-wing and religious parties.

Likud brings 30 seats to the table. It has natural partners in Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home (8 seats) and Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Beiteinu (6 seats). The new Kulanu faction (10 seats) of Moshe Kahlon, himself a former Likud heavyweight, is also expected to be an easy sell for Netanyahu.

That would already bring Netanyahu’s coalition to 54 out of 120 Knesset seats.

At that point, Netanyahu could again approach Yair Lapid and his centrist Yesh Atid party, but it is unlikely he will want that headache. It was Lapid who essentially brought down the last government over budget disputes.

Netanyahu’s other option is to woo the two ultra-Orthodox parties – Shas (7 seats) and United Torah Judaism (6 seats).

Getting Shas and United Torah Judaism into the government is easy, provided Netanyahu is prepared to offer the Interior Ministry, significant public funding for Orthodox yeshivas and to make compromises on legislation requiring ultra-Orthodox males to do military service like all other Israeli Jews.

If he’s willing to pay that price, Netanyahu can establish a coalition of 67 seats.

This coalition would still have some differences of opinion regarding economic and social issues, but would largely see eye-to-eye on security and diplomatic issues like Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

In other words, it would appear Netanyahu has the opportunity to form the coalition he wanted and one that might finally serve a full four-year term.

THE REAL ISRAEL STANDS WITH NETANYAHU

Friday, March 20th, 2015

THE REAL ISRAEL STANDS WITH NETANYAHU
Giulio Meotti (Arutz Sheva News)

One of the icons of Israeli leftist culture, Joshua Sobol, during the campaign against Benjamin Netanyahu, defined religious Jews as stupid “mezuzah kissers”. This anti-religious perfidy contains the secret of the defeat of the Zionist Camp and the impressive victory of Netanyahu’s Likud.

Israel’s élite was crushed by the “second Israel”, the title by which the people who crowned Bibi again are known. Netanyahu won despite the establishment: newspapers, televisions, former ambassadors, former heads of the Mossad, former retired generals, all the writers and artists.

You see it from the electoral map. The Likud won in the capital, Jerusalem, and in the north and south of the country. The left dominated Tel Aviv and other cities in the center, the bastions of cosmopolitan, sophisticated, hedonistic, urban and literary Israel. Netanyahu dominated in the remote cities threatened by missiles from Hamas and Hezbollah, such as Kiryat Shmona and Nahariya in the north, and Sderot, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beersheba in the south.

Even Arad, the southern desert city where the writer Amos Oz made his home, awarded vote to the Likud en masse. Ashdod, the third poorest city in Israel and one of the fastest demographically growing, continued to be a bastion of the right.

This is the paradox: the so called Labour Party is voted for by the rich sectors of Israel, while the Likud governs with the consent of the majority of the country living in the smaller towns, in what IIsraelis call the”peripheries” – far north and south – and in the “settlements”. Jerusalem is a poor city, where several shekels are a significant figure.

If Tel Aviv lives a life of power and acquisition, Jerusalem vibrates with Jewish identity. Many Likud voters are Sephardic, from Asian or African countries; enemies of Labor before they are fans of Likud. Many are devotees of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who spared no fierce attacks on feminists, the Supreme Court, and the left (“it does not take into account the human being, but only power”).

Netanyahu was not voted in by Kfar Shamaryahu, the richest town in Israel, where many millionaires and journalists live, such as Haaretz’s Ari Shavit. and the list of the richest Israelis, from Idan Ofer to Stef Wertheimer: they all vote for Herzog and Livni. Weren’t these the same billionaires who supported the Oslo Process in order to invest in the Arab territories?

The arch-enemy of Benjamin Netanyahu, Noni Mozes was also defeated in these elections. He is the mysterious publisher of the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth with vast properties in television. They are the scions of the Ashkenazi élite, the children and grandchildren of those Jews who came from north-eastern Europe, who built Israel with their messianic intelligence. Even today in Israel the taste of cosmopolitan culture, the great love for the theater and, above all, for music, are seen as typically Ashkenazi.

The others, the Sephardim and the Mizrahis, were segregated and pushed to the margins of the society, but today, in the army units and as a demographic, they constitute the core of Israel.

Like the Yemenite Jews, who, originally, with their large eyes, pointy beards and curly locks, looked like antique Assyrian medallions.

Many have come into their own in academia and the professions, but most Sephardic Jews still remain connected to tradition.

The doctor, the architect, the engineer with French, American or British passports – the same people who protested against Bibi’s economic policies – are able to leave Israel and reintegrate into the Western society.

But can a religious Sephardic Jew – or any Sephardic Jew, for that matter – go back to Syria, Iraq, Lebanon or Egypt? It is like after the Yom Kippur war, when part of the Left proposed the abandonment of Israel and the Sephardim said and repeat today: “We are staying”.

HOLY ALTAR CONSTRUCTED FOR JEWISH TEMPLE

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

HOLY ALTAR CONSTRUCTED FOR JEWISH TEMPLE

End-times prophecy watchers are marveling over a news report out of Jerusalem this week that the Altar of the Lord has been reconstructed by the Temple Institute.

The Institute, based in the Old City of Jerusalem, announced it has finished building an altar that is essentially “ready for use” in sacrificial services.

The altar is the most ambitious project to date toward the goal of rebuilding the Jewish Temple. The massive outdoor altar, which took several years to build, can be operational at little more than a moment’s notice, reported the Israeli magazine Matzav Haruach.

The altar is the last major component needed for the long-obstructed sacrifices to resume in a future Jewish temple.

Carl Gallups, a Baptist pastor in Florida, Bible prophecy expert and author of “Final Warning: Understanding the Trumpet Days of Revelation” details his views that show a startling correlation between Bible prophecy and contemporary reality.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews pray daily for its reconstruction atop the holy hill known as Mount Moriah or the Temple Mount.

Bible scholars say the rebuilding of the ancient temple is predicted throughout scripture, starting with Daniel’s vision in Daniel 9:27. Jesus echoed Daniel’s warning about an abomination standing in “the holy place” in the last days in Matthew 24:15, followed by the Apostle John’s vision of the Temple in Revelation 11:1-2. Paul mentioned it in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.

Most people don’t realize the temple had two altars — the altar of burnt offering and the altar of incense. The largest was the altar of burnt offering, placed in the outer court of the priests. Designing and building it to exact biblical specifications required quite an undertaking.

It was approximately 5 meters (16 feet) tall and 16 meters (52.5 feet) wide, with four “horns” or raised corners, and a ramp.

The altar is the central focus of the sacrificial services that were halted with the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 A.D.

The Temple Institute has prepared all the priestly garments and sacred vessels for the rebuilt temple, which can be viewed on its website. It even trains members of the priestly family to be ready to serve as soon as the Temple is constructed.

Carl Gallups, a Baptist pastor in Florida, Bible prophecy expert and author of “Final Warning: Understanding the Trumpet Days of Revelation,” told WND the announcement about the altar will be seen by many Christians as a huge step toward fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

“This announcement will surely excite prophecy watchers around the world,” he said. “Regardless of one’s eschatological leanings, every sincere student of the Word of God knows there are at least hints, if not clear declarations, of something happening just before the return of the Lord that involves altar sacrifices and the distinct possibility of a rebuilt temple on the Temple Mount.”

KERRY AND ABBAS TO MEET IN EGYPT

Friday, March 13th, 2015

KERRY AND ABBAS TO MEET IN EGYPT
(Arutz Sheva News)

Secretary of State to meet PA chairman and Jordan’s King to discuss the PA’s economic crisis.

United States Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II on the sidelines of economic talks in Egypt on Friday, American officials said on Thursday night.

The talks are likely to focus on the economic crisis facing the PA and could be a four-way meeting which would also include Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a State Department official was quoted by AFP as having said.

“We continue to be concerned about the PA,” the official told reporters travelling with Kerry on his plane to the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

“It’s really part of the continuous, ongoing conversation we’re having with the critical stakeholders here,” the official said, asking not to be named.

Kerry is due to arrive Friday at the resort to attend an international economic conference, set to burnish Sisi’s global credentials.

Last month, Kerry voiced fears that the PA may be teetering on the brink of collapse because of a lack of funding, as Israel withholds taxes and donor aid stalls.

In January, Israel suspended $127 million in tax revenues which should have been transferred to the Palestinian Authority in retaliation for its move to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The PA has repeatedly asked for foreign donations, claiming it is on the verge of collapse due to a worsening financial crisis.

While blaming Israel for the PA’s financial woes, its chairman Abbas continues to spend six percent of the PA’s annual budget to pay $4.5 million a month to jailed terrorists and another $6.5 million to their families.

The State Department official did not indicate whether the meeting between Kerry and Abbas would deal with the peace process. Kerry was able to force Israel and the PA into a six-month negotiation period in 2014, but the PA torpedoed those talks by requesting to join 15 international agencies in breach of the conditions of the negotiations.

A recent report indicated that President Barack Obama intends to restart peace talks between Israel and the PA after Knesset elections, which are to be held March 17.


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