The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8

Archive for September, 2008


Monday, September 29th, 2008

Scripture: Leviticus 23:23-44

Yeshua said in Luke 24:44: “These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning ME!”

There are four major celebrations in the spring and three in the fall that speak of our Messiah and His work in bringing salvation and hope to both Jew and Gentile.

These celebrations according to Leviticus 23:2 are called “feasts of the LORD (Yahweh).” And He refers to them as “My feasts.” Without the Lord, these celebrations are stripped of their meaning and impact and become mere tradition without the power. Paul wrote in Romans 1:16: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Messiah, for it is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Hellenist).”

These celebrations are said to be “holy convocations” and are to be honored as the Shabat (Sabbath Day) in that no manual labor is to be done – they are to be set aside for the worship of the Lord, and the celebration of His Messiah!

These fall festivals occur in the 7th month of the Jewish calendar; the Shabat occurs on the 7th day of the week; The sabbatical year is the 7th year, and the Year of Jubilee is celebrated after seven sabbatical years; Shavuot (Pentecost) comes seven weeks after Firstfruits and Sukkot (Tabernacles) continues for seven days as does the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the Spring. Obviously, the number “seven” is highly significant, a religious number, emphasizing the celebration of God’s character and the worship of Him alone!


1A. HIS RETURN FROM HEAVEN – Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets) – the blowing of the Shofar, a carved ram’s horn, NOT a cow’s horn (avoids any connection with the worship of the golden calf); it must be carved, not painted (inappropriate when calling us to repentance, a major theme of this celebration). It must be bent or curved, a reminder of our need of brokenness, humility, and contrition of heart – Psalm 51:17

The ten days following Rosh Hashanah leading up to Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) are called “high holy days,” and it is customary for the Jewish people to dress in white as a sign of humility and the need for cleansing – Isaiah 1:18 is read.


1B. The REMINDER that judgment is coming! Jeremiah 6:1 – “Blow the trumpet (Shofar)….for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction” – Ezekiel 33:1ff – the “watchman” – “If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet (Shofar) and warn the people” – Amos 3:6 – “Shall a trumpet (Shofar) be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid?” Zephaniah 1:14-18 – “The great day of the LORD is near…a day of the trumpet (Shofar)”

2B. The REJOICING of God’s people –Psa. 81:1-4; 89:15-18; 98:1

3B. The RETURN of the Messiah – Zech. 9:14-17

4B. The RESTORATION of worship in Jerusalem – Isaiah 27:13

5B. The RESURRECTION of God’s people – I Cor. 15:51-52 – “at the last trump (Shofar); For the trumpet (Shofar) shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible”
I Thess. 4:16 – “For the Lord Himself shall descend…with the trump (Shofar) of God, and
the dead in Messiah will rise first.”

6B. The REIGN of the Messiah over the whole earth – Rev. 11:15 – “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He shall reign for ever and ever.”

2A. HIS REDEMPTION OF ISRAEL – Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) – celebrated on Tishri 10 – details in Lev. 16 – Luke calls it “the fast.”

1B. It PORTRAYS the need of repentance – Lev. 23:27 – “afflict your souls” – Isa. 58

2B. It PICTURES the removal of our sin – azazel (scapegoat) – Psa. 103:12; Jn 1:29

3B. It PROPITIATES the wrath of God against sin – mercy-seat – I John 2:2

4B. It POINTS to the need of a High Priest – Heb. 2:7; 3:1; 4:14; 7:23-28; 8:1; 9:7, 11-12; 10:11-14, 21

3A. HIS REIGN OVER ALL THE WHOLE EARTH – Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) – Tishri 15-22 – Also called “the feast of ingathering” or “the Season of our Rejoicing” – more sacrifices than any other feast, expressing our thanksgiving to God (70 bulls, 14 rams, 98 lambs = 182 animals)

1B. It is a time to REJOICE – Lev. 23:40; Neh. 8:10 – “the joy of the Lord is our strength” – There was “very great gladness” – Psa. 27:4-6

2B. It is a time to READ – Neh. 8:18

3B. It is a time to REMEMBER – Lev. 23:43; Deut. 8:18

4B. It is a time to RELY upon the presence and power of the Holy Spirit – John 7:2, 37-39 – “great day of the feast” – Hoshana Rabbah -the great Hosanna – they circled the altar
seven times, poured water out of the vessels of the temple, reminding them of the water that
came out of the rock in the wilderness – I Cor. 10:4 – “that Rock was Messiah” – the “living
water” represents the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.




Thursday, September 25th, 2008

by Hillel Fendel

President Shimon Peres spoke in the United Nations General Assembly a day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad addressed the same body and called Israel “murderers,” “deceitful,” and in control of international financial centers.

Peres responded firmly, saying that the Iranian leader, whom he did not mention by name, “is a danger to his people, the region and the world. He is a disgrace to the ancient Iranian people. He is a disgrace to the values of Islam. He is a disgrace to this very house, the United Nations, its basic principles and values. His appearance here is already shame.”

Peres said that the Iranian people “are not our enemies,” but castigated their leadership for standing “at the center of this violence and fanaticism” and for having “built a danger to the entire world. Its quest for religious hegemony and regional dominance divides the Middle East and holds back chances for peace, while undermining human rights… Their despicable denial of the Holocaust is a mockery of indisputable evidence, a cynical offense to survivors of the horror [and is] contradictory to the resolutions adopted by this assembly.”

Accusing Iran of continuing “to develop enriched uranium and long range missiles,” Peres said that the leadership “introduce[s] a religion of fear” and is the problem of the Iranian people and a concern of the world.

The Voice of America report noted that US diplomats were not present for Ahmedinajad’s speech, adding acerbically that this was despite the Iranian presence during President Bush’s speech. Voice of America also barely noted the Iranian leader’s tirade against Israel in its 14-paragraph report, waiting until the 13th paragraph to say merely that the speech “included scathing references to Israel.”

Ahmedinajad said the Arabs of the Palestinian Authority have undergone “60 years of carnage and invasion… at the hands of some criminal and occupying Zionists [who] have forged a regime through collecting people from various parts of the world and bringing them to other people’s land, by displacing, detaining and killing the true owners of that land.”

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, “The fact that Ahmedinajad was allowed to speak so hatefully and venomously in the United Nations, and to draw applause, is a badge of shame for the international community.”

Peres also noted that Israel’s peace overtures have been met with Moslem terrorism: “In Lebanon, we implemented resolution 425. Yet Hezbollah paralyzed the country and cut the road to peace… From Gaza, we withdrew completely and dismantled our settlements. Hamas responded with a bloody takeover and turned the strip into a basis of rocket fire… They added kidnapping to bombings, bringing strife for innocent families. From this important stage, I call for the immediate release of Gilad Shalit, the son of Aviva and Noam, a peace-loving family.”

“Tehran combines long-range missiles and short-range minds,” Peres summed up.

The President concluded with a quote from an 18th-century religious leader whose popularity and influence has grown and intensified in recent years. “The Jewish people are celebrating a new year,” Peres said. “I would like to end with a quote from Rabbi Nachman of Breslav: ‘May it be thy will to remove war and bloodshed from the world and perpetuate the wonders and greatness of peace. All the inhabitants of the world shall recognize and know the truth: that we have not been placed on this earth to wage war and not for hatred or bloodshed.'”


Thursday, September 25th, 2008

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized the National Jewish Democratic Convention and the left-wing J Street lobby for pressuring anti-Iran organizers to disinvite Republican vice presidential candidate Governor Sarah Palin while not calling on Democrats to attend. The Democratic party claimed that it did not want Gov. Palin to attend because the rally should not be politically oriented. However, Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton previously announced she would not attend because she did not want to share the stage with Gov. Palin.

Morton A. Klein, president of ZOA, said, “The rally was not a partisan political rally. It was an anti-Ahmadinejad rally. It did not become ‘partisan’ when Democratic Senators Clinton, Biden and Congressman Wexler were invited. And it did not become ‘partisan’ when Republican Governor Palin was also invited. Quite the contrary, it became bipartisan, as it should have been. No, it became a ‘partisan’ event when Governor Palin was disinvited.”
The rally was not a partisan political rally. It became a ‘partisan’ event when Governor Palin was disinvited.

Klein added that the Jewish Democratic committee and J Street “were clearly less than thrilled about Gov. Palin attending because their concern for Israel was clearly subordinate to their domestic American political interests. Rather than welcome a call from Gov. Palin for tough measures to induce Iran to stop its nuclear program, these groups were terrified that her address might win over part of the Jewish vote in November.”

He continued, “It should be noted that organizations like J Street are not representative of the majority views of American Jewry or the Israeli electorate regarding Israel and the Arab war on Israel. J Street supports major territorial concessions, including dividing Jerusalem, to Mahmoud Abbas’ unreconstructed Palestinian Authority, the creation of a Palestinian state that would endanger Israel’s existence and negotiations with Hamas,

The ZOA, the National Council of Young Israel, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs complained that they were not consulted by the Conference of Major Jewish Organizations, which disinvited Gov. Palin.

“There was no emergency call set up to discuss the decision to disinvite Palin,” said Klein. Malcolm Hoenlein, president of the Conference, has not commented on the complaints, and he has been attacked in the past for decisions that critics said did not represent the common Jewish voice.

The Conference sent its members an “urgent notice” about a conference call disinviting the Republican vice presidential candidate.

CAMERA executive director Andrea Levine told the New York-based Jewish Forward that Hoenlein told her the governor was disinvited under the threat of other organizers that they would pull out of the anti-Iran rally.

The newspaper quoted “insiders” in reporting that the liberal “JCPA and the New York-based organizers had clashed with Hoenlein over his decision to reach out to the McCain campaign without telling Clinton, who had been invited weeks ago, or the Obama campaign. Hoenlein countered that he did so only after Republicans rebuffed his efforts to have a senator attend.”


Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

by Hana Levi Julian (Israel National News)

The man that Israeli leaders consider to be the Number One threat to the existence of the State of Israel told the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday that ‘Zionists” are the cause of the current financial disaster sweeping the world.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also told world leaders, “A few bullying powers have sought to put hurdles in the path of Iran’s peaceful development of nuclear power. These are the same countries that possess stockpiles of nuclear arms that no one is monitoring.” It is believed that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon of mass destruction despite Ahmadinejad’s denials.

The Iranian president accused European nations of “spending their dignities and resources on the occupations, crimes and threats of the Zionist network” and called for a referendum in Israel and the Palestinian Authority to create a government that would rule over a single state encompassing both Arabs and Jews.

“Today, the Zionist regime is on a definite slope to collapse, and there is no way for it to get out of the cesspool created by itself and its supporters,” he said. The Iranian president blamed “Zionists” for the financial woes in Europe and the US by controlling economic centers around the world in “a deceitful, complex and furtive manner.”

Nor did he spare the United States from his forecast of doom, declaring that it should mind its own business on the international scene. The “American empire in the world is reaching the end of its road, and its next rulers must limit their interference to their own borders,” he said.

Ahmadinejad reiterated that Iran would continue to develop its nuclear technology, regardless of any efforts by the international community to halt the process. “The great Iranian people… will resist the bullying and has defended and will defend its rights,” he said. “The Iranian nation is for dialogue. But it has not accepted and will not accept illegal demands.”

President Shimon Peres slammed Ahmadinejad’s rant against “Zionist murderers”, saying it constituted “the first time in the history of the United Nations that the head of a state is appearing openly and publicly with the ugly and dark accusations of the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion.'” The reference was to an infamous anti-Semitic diatribe published in the early 1900s that alleged a Jewish and Masonic conspiracy to seize control of the world. It is considered a hoax. Peres added that Ahmadinejad’s speech recalled “the darkest accusations in an air of hatred.”


Sunday, September 21st, 2008

by Rabbi Benjamin Blech

Even as we face divine judgment on the high holy days, it’s hard not to think about the worldwide monetary melt-down and the carnage of corporations that we thought were invincible. After all, it’s not just our lives that stand in the balance when God makes his decisions about our future. As the deeply moving prayer of Rabbi Amnon, Unetane Tokef, puts it, these are the days when both our fate and our fortune for the coming year are sealed: “Who will live and who will die, who will become impoverished and who will become wealthy.”

The Hebrew word “Damim,” the rabbis tell us, means not only blood, but also money. A strange combination at first sight, but one filled with profound insight. Judaism does not denigrate the importance of money. It is not the root of all evil; it is morally neutral. Just as it can be misused for improper purposes it can also serve to ennoble our lives and the lives of others. We are permitted to pray for wealth, just as our forefathers did. The Kohanim, the priests who are commanded to bless the Jewish people, are told to keep financial security in mind as they lift their hands for their benediction. Money is the fruit of our efforts, earned with the aid of our blood and our toil. And it is as much the concern of divine Providence as our lifespan.

So if God is involved with our portfolio, we have to wonder why He has allowed us to suffer so much this past year?

Neither Barron’s nor Fortune nor Forbes had any idea that these bastions of financial strength would soon collapse into bankruptcy or federal takeover.

If only we could have had a window into the future we would have been spared the incredible turnabouts of the stock market. Even the most wizened professionals say they have never seen anything like it. In January of this year Barron’s magazine advised its readers to concentrate purchases from its list of most secure and risk-free companies. At the very top of their suggestions for best performers for the coming year were Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae and AIG. But of course neither Barron’s nor Fortune nor Forbes had any idea that these pillars of capitalism, these bastions of financial strength, would soon collapse into bankruptcy or federal takeover. So today many of last year’s billionaires have to sadly confront the fact that they are now only millionaires — and the rest of us have to deal with the reality of rapidly sinking retirement funds, plunging real estate values and panicking margin calls.

Strangely enough we have very conflicting views about God’s role in all of this. The Austrian playwright Arthur Schnitzler pointedly observed, “We know of some very religious people who came to doubt God when a great misfortune befell them, even when they themselves were to blame for it; but we have never yet seen anyone who lost his faith because an undeserved fortune fell to his lot.” We attribute success to our own efforts. We call catastrophes acts of God. When we “make it,” we thank ourselves. When we lose it, we blame an unjust Heavenly Ruler.

People of faith, however, have to acknowledge that both good and bad fortune in the final analysis simply represent the will of God. Good times are blessings from a Higher Power. Tough times are divine decrees with a message and meaning all of their own. And that is what we should be thinking about as we contemplate our diminishing bank accounts.

Let’s take a cue from a remarkable observation by James Dale Davidson and Sir William Rees-Mogg, financial advisers and authors of Blood in the Streets, who were intrigued by an aspect of timing apparent in economic cycles:

“Even more mysterious is the strange tendency for major crashes to occur in the autumn, especially in October. For example, September 18, 1873; October 29, 1929; October 6, 1932; October 18, 1937; October 19, 1987; and October 13, 1989. Each of these dramatic results, among the largest drops ever recorded, occurred in the fall. The old view would be to argue that this is only coincidence, which of course is possible. Most likely some factor we do not now understand increases the vulnerability to selloffs in the fall.”

To which of course we might add the events of this September which are so reminiscent of another doomsday scenario.

Dare I perhaps suggest that this mysterious phenomenon is due in no small measure to the fact that this time period invariably coincides with the days when mankind is weighed on the scale of Heavenly Judgment? It is not coincidence that rules our fate but divine fiat, the result of a process finalized not “in the fall” but more accurately in the awesome days leading up to Rosh Hashana and the Day of Atonement.

It is during this time that God has to impress upon us the need to clearly define our values. In Jewish tradition there is a saying that during our lifetimes we have three main friends — and when we die they leave us in exactly the reverse order in which we treated them. No sooner does our soul leave our body than all of our wealth flees with it as well. Families are more faithful. They walk with us after our passing to the cemetery, our final resting place. Then, they too leave us to go on with their lives. It is only our name, the good deeds we performed for others, and the influence we may have had upon them, that outlive us and offer us a share of immortality. (EDITOR’S NOTE: We respect the wisdom of this article, but according to the Bible – all of our righteous deeds do NOT save us or give us any “share of immortality” – it is the work of the Messiah of Israel that saves us! To God be the glory!)

Strange then, isn’t it, that we spend most of our lives chasing after money, spending far less of our time than we should with our families, and spending so little of our efforts to accomplish those things by which will be remembered.

Maybe, after all, making a fortune isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Maybe we can even identify with the profound words of Emile Gauvreay: “I was part of that strange race of people aptly described as spending their lives doing things they detest to make money they don’t want to buy things they don’t need to impress people they dislike.”

It is an insight that needs to be constantly repeated. No wonder then that God incorporated it into the Bible by way of a fascinating law regulating the ancient agrarian economy. Six years farmers were permitted to work their fields, to gather in their crops, and to add to their wealth. Every seventh year however was known as the year of Shmittah. Land could not be tilled. Everyone could equally and freely share in its produce. The economic rat race was suspended and all people were urged to spend a year as a sabbatical — studying and pursuing their spiritual growth even as for six years they emphasized the material. And most important of all they were to acknowledge that no man could really own the land. As mortal residents on earth we are all only temporary managers of God’s gifts, recipients of His financial blessings and always aware of the true source of everything that we have been privileged to accumulate.

What a powerful and needed lesson the Torah meant every seventh year to be! Would it surprise you to learn that economists have noticed a symmetry between this biblical seven-year lesson and the almost perfect seven-year boom to bust cycles? In 1999, Warren Buffett, a financial genius widely considered to be America’s greatest investor, took the liberty of linking Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams with the movements of the Dow Jones at the close of the 20th century. Fat cow are swallowed up by lean cows, years of plenty invariably have famine follow in their wake. Bubbles of any kind are unsustainable and burst — be they prime rate mortgages, million-dollar condos or “risk free” investment house stocks.

Without these corrections we would never be forced to recognize the realities of our lives. Greed would transform us from servants of God to slaves of our possessions. We would perhaps never re-orient ourselves to the proper balance between the spiritual and the material in the conduct of our lives.

It shouldn’t surprise you then that the technology and Internet bubble burst in 2001 just happened to be a Shmittah year. And as we bid farewell to yet another tumultuous financial year, it’s important to remember that 5768-2007/8 was yet again a Shmittah year. That’s why we almost assuredly have to understand these trying times as God’s voice attempting to again teach us the lessons of the biblical sabbatical in contemporary terms.

And finally let us find comfort in knowing that God will surely heap His abundant blessings upon us if we only learn to use them with dignity, with morality and with spiritual sensitivity.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The above article is certainly worth our examination. We do not agree with all of its conclusions, but maybe what all true believers should do is to examine carefully the teachings of the Bible about finances. Are we really paying attention to what God said? May the LORD of all we have open our eyes to His will and truth in these difficult times!)


Sunday, September 21st, 2008

by Malkah Fleisher (Israel National News)

The president of the United Nations General Assembly, Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, will be attending a dinner in New York at which Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a featured guest, according to The Forward, a Jewish-American weekly newspaper published in New York City. Brockmann, a Catholic priest from Nicaragua who publicly criticizes the United States’s anti-terror war in Iraq and Afghanistan, will attend the dinner on September 25th, an event which was organized by five American Christian organizations and will be co-hosted by the Iranian mission to the U.N.

The dinner, which will take place at the Grand Hyatt hotel in midtown Manhattan, is billed as centering around issues pertaining to the role of religion in tackling global challenges and fostering peace, and is being sponsored by the Mennonite Central Committee, the Quaker United Nations Office, the World Council of Churches, Religions for Peace and the American Friends Service Committee.

Norway’s prime minister, Kjell Magne Bondevik, who also heads the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, will attend. The dinner will also serve as a fast-breaking evening meal for Ahmadinejad, who is observing the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Ahmadinejad has openly called for the destruction of the State of Israel, hosting a conference called “The World Without Zionism” in October of 2005. Iran’s president, who vocally denies the Nazi genocide against the Jews during the Holocaust, has referred to the Jewish State as “criminal,” “a disease,” and “a dead rat,” and issued a statement on Israel’s 60th anniversary of independence, saying, “Those who think they can revive the stinking corpse of the usurping and fake Israeli regime by throwing a birthday party are seriously mistaken. Today, the reason for the Zionist regime’s existence is questioned, and this regime is on its way to annihilation.”


Monday, September 15th, 2008

by Hana Levi Julian

The venerated securities firm of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. announced early Monday morning on its website it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, stunning Wall Street and rattling financial markets around the world. Not least among them was the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, which opened with sharp losses as it echoed the news.

Lehman was one of the first international investment banks to open its doors in the State of Israel, and businesses across the country are going to be affected by what is taking place on Wall Street.

Lehman has invested in numerous institutions in Israel, among them Bank Leumi, Psagot, the Clal group, Menorah and Harel Financial Services. All told, Lehman Brothers Inc. has invested more than NIS 850 million in Israeli institutions.

The company’s stock, which provides investment banking services to corporations, institutions, high-net worth individuals, municipalities and governments around the world, dropped by 93.88 percent since the beginning of this year, trading at $3.65 per share at the end of the day on Friday.

Although one of the smallest of Wall Street’s major players, with only 25,000 employees, Lehman Brothers has been a heavy hitter in the mortgage market.

The renowned investment bank began its most recent descent in the morass of the mortgage market crisis in the summer of 2007.

Lehman Brothers reported in June a second-quarter loss of $2.8 billion, far greater than had been expected by analysts and the harbinger of a general malaise in the market.

In September, the US government announced its takeover of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage finance companies, and two days later, Lehman Brothers announced its next expected loss of $3.9 billion,.It said it spinning off its commercial real estate holdings into a new public company.

Not far behind Monday’s morning’s blues was the gloom predicted by financial experts who eyed the next possible crash, that of major US insurance company, American International Group A.I.G.

The New York Times reported Monday that the insurance giant has asked for a $40 billion loan from the Federal Reserve to pull it through the current crisis; without that crucial support, the newspaper reports, the company might not survive.

A.I.G. provides insurance products – including general and life insurance as well as retirement services, financial services and asset management to individuals and businesses throughout the United States and abroad.

As with Lehman, the government has refused to provide a financial guarantee for purchases of subsidiaries of the firm by other companies, thus making the deal much less attractive to potential bidders. Ratings agencies have threatened to downgrade the insurance giant’s credit score on Monday if it does not raise the $40 billion by the end of the day.

A.I.G. maintains a large presence in the State of Israel, offering mutual funds, retirement services and a wide array of insurance products for individuals and businesses. The company’s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, as well as the stock exchanges in Ireland and Tokyo.

A.I.G. officials in Israel said its operations would not be directly affected because it operates relatively independent of the parent company. Nonetheless, the shakiness of the political situation has raised eyebrows at the Standard & Poor financial assessment firm, which is studying whether to downgrade Israel’s debt rating as fears of a recession continue to mount.

Another major New York securities firm, Merrill Lynch agreed Sunday to sell itself to the Bank of America for approximately $50 billion in a last-ditch attempt to save itself from the same kind of financial crisis that just sank its competitor.

Merrill Lynch, with 60,000 employees, is actually comprised of two companies, a wealth management company and a bond trading firm. It is one of the largest firms in the financial services industry, run by some 17,000 brokers who manage the portfolios of its hundreds of thousands of high-net clients.

As with Lehman Brothers, the crash of the housing market and the rise in foreclosures has taken its toll, eating away at the value in high-risk, high-return securities backed by subprime home mortgages.

However, unlike Lehman, Merrill Lynch is also a household name in smaller markets across America as well, making it a more likely candidate to be tossed a lifeline by the Bank of America. Most of Lehman’s clients were major institutions.

The new conglomerate formed by the marriage of Bank of America’s “wealth advisers” and Merrill Lynch’s brokers will be called Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. The deal brings the bank to the top of the brokerage houses and consumer banking franchises.

For Lehman Brothers, the end came when the government refused to absorb any of its losses on some of its trouble real estate assets, as it had in the past with other firms that went belly-up. The law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges has been retained to manage the bankruptcy proceedings and liquidation, an ignominious end for so prestigious a firm.


Saturday, September 13th, 2008

Our dear friend and co-laborer, Glenn Harmonson, went home to be with our Lord late Friday night, September 12,2008! Glenn has been David’s oldest living friend for over 65 years! Glenn worked with David as his Business Administrator in the churches where he pastored. Glenn has been the Chief Financial Officer of HOPE for TODAY Ministries and GRACE BIBLE MISSION, and has been the personal accountant and financial advisor, not only for David & Carole Hocking and his brother and his wife – Dr. Don & Betty Hocking, who have served as missionaries in central Africa for 53 years, but Glenn handled the finances and tax needs of many folks associated with HOPE for TODAY Ministries.

Glenn has been characterized as a loyal, faithful friend, a man upon whom you could depend, no matter how stressful the situation or how difficult the financial challenges involved. Glenn had a heart for worldwide missions, and even traveled with David to mission fields where David was ministering. Glenn’s friendship went beyond business matters; he was a godly man whose trust and confidence was in the Lord at all times. Glenn also managed to teach sessions on financial matters in many different churches. His teaching on finances was always Biblically based and Christ-centered!

Glenn was compassionate in so many ways – ministering to folks that others did not know or understand. Glenn’s wise counsel was so needed in many times of crisis and financial stress – he was the one who would talk with you as long as you needed it, and seemed to know when to stand aside and simply wait on the Lord. Glenn was a friend that will be greatly missed.

Glenn and David had a friendship that involved sports of all kinds. Though both of them put on some weight over the years, most folks would be surprised to know of Glenn’s athletic prowess. He was one of the best quarterbacks in football that a person could ever see! He was also an outstanding baseball pitcher, and in basketball – well, very few young men had his ability. In Junior High athletics, no one was his equal! As a freshman in high school (9th grade), he was a starting guard for the Varsity, famous for his long set shots and amazing accuracy. After receiving several athletic scholarships, Glenn chose Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.

But, the truth is, that out of many sports he enjoyed, his favorite was fishing. He could tell stories of fishing all day (it seemed like!). He had the temperment (great patience!) that a good fisherman needs. These enjoyable pasttimes also provided great illustrations for his commitment to the Lord and the work of the gospel around the world.

Please join us in prayer for his wife, Meridith, his children and grandchildren. Before Glenn married Meridith many years ago, David had the privilege of dating her for a few months. It brings back such pleasant memories – for Meridith is truly a godly woman who has been such a helpmate to Glenn for all these years. May the God of all comfort fill her heart and mind with the blessings of her years with Glenn, our dear friend and her faithful husband.

HOPE for TODAY staff, volunteers, and many supporters who knew Glenn well, will join us in saying – we miss you, Glenn, but our loss is heaven’s gain! It won’t be long, but we will all be with the Lord – rejoicing forever in God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, and life everlasting! Thank you, Glenn, for many wonderful years of ministering together! TO GOD BE ALL THE GLORY AND PRAISE!


Friday, September 12th, 2008

by Hillel Fendel

Iran’s President Ahmedinajad is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly in two weeks – and Jewish groups are planning to greet him with a massive “Stop Iran Now!” rally.

The protest will take place at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, outside the UN building, on Sept. 22.

Malcolm Hoenlein, long-time executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said, “We cannot remain silent when someone threatens to destroy the United States and Israel.”

Ahmedinajad visited New York last September as well, speaking both at the UN and at a Columbia University forum. Though a similar appearance at the University was canceled in 2006 because of public protests, the school resisted the pressures last year – partly, authorities said, because Ahmadinejad agreed to take questions in addition to his prepared talk. Asked if he seeks the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state, Ahmadinejad replied, “We love all nations. We are friends with the Jewish people… We must allow the Palestinian people to decide about its future for itself… We must allow Jewish Palestinians, Muslim Palestinians and Christian Palestinians to determine their own fate themselves through a free referendum.”

Jewish groups held protest rallies then, as well.

University President Lee Bollinger preceded the Iranian’s speech with his own remarks, calling his guest a “petty and cruel dictator” and reciting a litany of human rights abuses and repression in Iran. Bollinger said, “Twelve days ago you said that the state of Israel cannot continue its life. This echoed a number of inflammatory statements you have delivered in the past two years…”

This year, in addition to the UN protest, a large rally will also be held in Washington, D.C., highlighting the issue of genocide and Ahmedinajad’s threats against Israel.

Ahmedinajad has been quoted widely as threatening to wipe Israel off the map. Shortly after taking office three years ago, Ahmedinajad addressed an audience of about 4,000 students at a program called “The World Without Zionism,” and said that attacks by Palestinians would destroy Israel… As the imam [Ayatollah Khomeini] said, Israel must be wiped off the map.”

US Republican nominee for Vice President Sarah Palin weighed in with a strong swipe against Ahmadinejad on Thursday. Speaking on ABC, she said his calling Israel a “stinking corpse” that “should be wiped off the face of the earth” was “atrocious” and “unacceptable.”


Thursday, September 11th, 2008

by Ze’ev Ben-Yechiel

Israel may soon be left with no realistic option to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities and no time to find another solution.

The United States has turned down Israeli requests for military assistance in attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities. This will hamper the tiny Jewish state in facing off alone against the much larger Islamic Republic which is equipped with some of the latest military technology from Russia. As compensation, the U.S. has agreed to bolster Israel’s missile defense system.

Israel would not be allowed to refuel its military planes in Iraq, or even use Iraqi airspace for a flyover on the way to Iran. Even if Israeli jets were to reach Iran, they might not be able to carry powerful enough bombs to do the job. The U.S. has refused to supply Israel with equipment such as bunker-buster bombs critical in destroying heavily fortified nuclear installations.

Israeli officials have been in talks with their American counterparts for several months over specific requests for military assistance, and U.S.reticence over an Israeli strike has led American military and diplomatic officials to decide against supporting what they see as Israel’s growing commitment to an attack on Iran.

Among the requests most critical for a successful Israeli solo strike on Iran is the ability to use Iraqi air fields as a refueling point for Israel’s fighter-bomber fleet that would be used in the attack.

The dropping of guided bombs on targets as small and sensitive as a nuclear reactor requires the precision and agility that could be likely achieved only by a very low-altitude release.

The distance between Israel and Iran’s nuclear reactor at Bushehr is over 800 miles. A large bomber aircraft would have the fuel range for such a non-stop round-trip flight from Israel. However, the necessity of a low-altitude approach to the target, combined with the heavier aircraft’s low speed and maneuverability and lack of sufficient armaments such as rockets or cannon, would render it extremely vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire or attacking Iranian jets. Last December, Russia installed one of its latest anti-aircraft missile networks in the hostile Islamic Republic.

Such operations are therefore usually performed with supersonic fighter-bomber aircraft, such as the F-15s and F-16s used in the 1981 bombing of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor and last year’s bombing of the nascent Syrian reactors. However, these aircraft do not have the fuel range to safely make a trip to Iran and back without refueling. Unless the Israeli planes would be able to refuel somewhere along the way – American-occupied Iraq being the only viable choice – a bombing run on Iran would likely become a suicide mission.

Even if Israeli pilots volunteered for a kamikaze mission, the expense of the aircraft, in addition to the risk of Iran obtaining the Israeli-modified jets – some of the most advanced in the world – even in partially destroyed condition, would make it unlikely that Israel’s Defense Ministry would approve of such an attack.

Israeli aircraft would not need to actually land in Iraq to refuel, as it is common practice to refuel in the air using long-range air tankers. However, the tankers that the Israeli Air Force currently has are outdated, making it difficult to coordinate refueling for such a long-distance mission. To address this concern, Israel reportedly requested the more modern Boeing 767-based refueling tankers, but the U.S. has also rejected this request, as reported several weeks ago by Israel’s Channel 10 television.

Even if the Israeli jets were able to be refueled in the air by long-range air tankers, a mission to Iran would require an overflight of Iraq, the only country that would possibly be willing to allow Israeli aircraft in its airspace. A glance at El-Al passenger flight routes from an in-flight magazine illustrates this clearly: Flights en route to Asia and the Far East, normally represented by graceful curves for non-Israeli airlines, suddenly become sharp turns northward or southward in order avoid flying over Middle Eastern countries.

However, the United States has apparently refused to authorize Israel to fly over Iraq as well, and according to one report, American officials told their Israeli counterparts to ask permission from the Iraqi prime minister themselves. It is very unlikely that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki would volunteer to allow Israel to use his country’s airspace without pressure from the U.S., since such a move would antagonize many Arab countries in the region.

In an apparent attempt to compensate for its unwillingness to assist Israel’s needs for an Iran strike, the U.S. has offered to deliver an advanced radar warning system, to be installed in the Negev and manned by a permanent U.S. staff working alongside Israeli military personnel. The Pentagon has apparently placed the order already.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Russian state-owned company building Iran’s Bushehr reactor announced last week that the construction of the reactor will reach a state of “no return” by early 2009.

While a better radar system promises to greatly enhance Israel’s ability to detect a long-range aerial attack from Iran, Israel may soon be left with no realistic option to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities and no time to find another solution.

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