By Shira Sorko-Ram
I am sure there is no question in your mind as to what the goals of the Islamic terrorist organizations are toward Israel. But do you know what is in the mind of the Palestinian man in the street? Or the typical reaction to Israel in all the Arab states? A much publicized poll conducted in May by the non-partisan Pew Research Center, discovered that a huge majority of citizens in all Muslim states sees no way for Israel to exist as a Jewish state along side a Palestinian state.
Let's start with the Palestinians who are demanding their own state: Eighty percent say Israel cannot and must not exist. In so-called "moderate" Arab states, incredibly the numbers are higher: 90% in Morocco, 85% in Jordan, 72% in "enlightened" Kuwait. Muslims simply have a problem with Jews. Israel has been unlucky, shall we say, to have picked such a bad neighborhood.
Where is this coming from?
In the days of the Bible, Israel's enemies attacked and terrorized Israel for one reason: because of her sins. The Book of Judges goes like this:
So the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord…therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hands of …[the] king of Mesopotamia…. Judges 3:7-8
The oppression would become so intolerable that the people of Israel would finally turn back to Him. And deliverance would come. Always.
When the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel, who delivered them. Judges 3:9
This process was repeated time and again all through Israel's history in the land - in the book of Judges, I & II Samuel, I & II Kings, I & II Chronicles. The task of the prophets was to call Israel back from her terrible backslidings so that God could deliver her (in righteousness) from her enemies.
When Israel did repent of her evil ways, every single time God came to the rescue.
And they fasted that day, and said there, "We have sinned against the Lord."…So the children of Israel said to Samuel, "Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that He may save us from the land of the Philistines."
[Then] the Lord thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel. I Samuel 7:6,8,10
The God of Israel is the same yesterday, today and forever. He does not change, He does not lie. The way he dealt with Israel yesterday is the way he deals with Israel today.
Because Israel is far from her Protector, steeped in the sins that afflict all humanity, Israel's enemies are prevailing.
This is a spiritual thing.
A hundred road maps designed by 1000 Einsteins will not bring peace to Israel until she invites the Prince of Peace to produce His own Road Map, replete with Biblical borders and the total destruction of those who insist on being her enemies.
Behold, I will bring a nation against you from afar, O house of Israel, says the Lord…Nevertheless in those days, says the Lord, I will not make a complete end of you. Jeremiah 5:15,18.
For I will make a complete end of all the nations to which I have driven you, [who have oppressed you] but I will not make a complete end of you… Jeremiah 46:28
As long as Israel is not serving God according to His way, His Word and His plan, there will always be an enemy determined to destroy her. Today it is the Islamics. Yesterday it was the Nazis. The day before it was the Russian Orthodox Church (pogroms) and the day before that it was the church in Spain (the Inquisition.)
SO WHAT IF ISRAEL WERE DESTROYED?
Actually, it doesn't really matter if Israel is destroyed or not if, as replacement theology has it, Israel is just like any other nation - just one among all the others.
Replacement theologians say God has rejected Israel as His chosen people, and replaced her with the church. I suppose they believe that the church throughout the ages has been so utterly faithful and true to God. In any case, they claim Israel no longer has a special place in God's strategic designs.
So what if Israel were destroyed and replaced by another Islamic dictatorship with Sharia law? Oh yes, it would be a humanitarian disaster. But haven't there been lots of humanitarian disasters over the ages? Where are Babylon, the Roman Empire, the Mongols, the Incas and all kinds of empires that rose and fell into anonymity? In the last 100 years 100,000,000 refugees have fled back and forth across borders and been killed or resettled. One more nation disappearing would be regrettable, but not significant - if Israel does not have a special purpose in God's plan of the ages.
GOD CAN'T HAVE A CREDIBILITY GAP
But there's a problem here. Some people talk about President Bush's credibility being at stake since he promised that he would produce a Palestinian Islamic state out of Israel's land (which would surely end up being a terrorist state with an unchanged goal of destroying Israel.) But the problem is even bigger than that. It is God Who has put His credibility on the line. First of all, He has promised that Israel will not disappear from being a nation - not by the Islamics, nor the Nazis or anyone else.
Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah…. Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun…the ordinances of the moon…sea….If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the Lord, then the descendants of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.
If heaven above can be measured…I will also cast off all the descendants of Israel for all that they have done, says the Lord. Jeremiah 31,35-37
Now what do we do?
The problem becomes more complicated - because not only did God promise that Israel as a people would not be exterminated, but he promised they would come back to the Holy Land, the land of Canaan, to possess it and live in it - the land that God said happens to be "My land." Ezekiel 36:5
That's the way the chips fall. It just so happens that He Himself allotted this particular slice of land to his chosen people Israel. And he gave excellent directions to just exactly where this land was located.
ONE PORTION TO ISRAEL; 672 PORTIONS TO ISHMAEL
To be sure, the rest of the immense area of the Middle East He gave to the Arab people. The God of Israel surely loves the Arab people as He gave them a landmass 672 times the size of Israel! It is twice the size of the U.S. (And who got the oil?) The Israeli Arab conflict is not about where the exact borders of a newly truncated Israel should be placed. The conflict exists because the Arabs want the 673rd portion as well.
Abraham's inheritance was first revealed to him when he happened to be living in a place God had providentially directed him to. That place today is called the West Bank. The world calls it the "occupied territories" because the enemies of Israel, once called the Philistines and now called the Palestinians (same root word for both names in Hebrew) claim that this piece of real estate belongs to them and their god Allah.
WHAT DOES "EVERLASTING COVENANT" REALLY MEAN?
But again we have a problem because God has put His reputation at stake. He told the Jewish people, the descendants of Israel, that in the last days He was going to bring back His chosen people to where? None other than the mountainous region of Israel. Now unfortunately for the followers of Allah, that land happens to be this same West Bank. It is the region that the New Testament calls Judea and Samaria. In fact, it is here (near modern-day Hebron) that Abraham heard from God:
And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.
Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." Genesis 17:7-8
God renewed this promise with Isaac and Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. And this promise of everlasting possession cannot be revoked. God's credibility is at stake. Look how all the passages send the same message.
He remembers His covenant forever, the word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac, and confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, "To you I will give the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance." Psalm 105:8-11
So, predictably, God promised Israel through the prophet Ezekiel that one day he would recreate the nation of Israel in the land He originally promised.
And you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God: Because the enemy has said of you, Aha! The ancient heights have become our possession,
Therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God to the mountains…which became plunder and mockery to the rest of the nations all around…therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains, the hills, the rivers, and the valleys, "Behold I have spoken in My jealousy and My fury, because you have borne the shame of the nations."
But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come. Ezekiel 36: 1,2,4,6,8
As we all know, it is at the time that Israel comes back to her land that God promises she will also come back to her God. (Ezekiel 36:24-28)
THE WORLD CAN'T HELP
Obviously, we do not expect the United Nations to understand or submit to this spiritual commitment, even though it is clearly spelled out in the Bible numbers of times. They as an organization do not believe in or practice the teachings of the Bible, and most are probably unaware that such scriptures exist.
Though God has promised Israel her inheritance, all can see she has not yet secured her land; she is being attacked all around by her enemies. Why? Without doubt, because she is far away from God. And she will continue to be attacked until she cries out to the Holy One of Israel.
Yet God cannot let Israel be wiped out. That would make Him out a liar. True, her enemies are at her gates and within her gates and Israel is so weary that she would give half her God-given kingdom if she thought peace were possible.
PEACE, PEACE, WHEN THERE IS NO PEACE
It is my opinion that no peace will be forthcoming, nor will there be a two-state agreement. Not because Israel won't hand over to her attackers the mountains of Israel just for a little quiet. Rather it is the Palestinians who will not allow Israel to give them just the mountains of Israel and the coastal area of Gaza. The followers of Islam are shouting their intentions from the housetops and the minarets. They are telling the world they will not tolerate an Israeli state, a homeland to the Jews, along side a Palestinian state. They will settle for nothing less than the destruction of Israel.
They want what they say is rightfully theirs and naturally theirs. The whole Middle East belongs to Allah, and Israel is a finger in the throat of Islam, a cancer in the body politic of the Muslim people.
The U.S. and the West haven't figured this out yet, but every single Islamic terrorist organization is preaching it night and day. (Step Two follows: conquering the West, and then the world.)
"By God, we will not leave one Jew in Palestine," Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi said the other day.
Did you notice? When Pre-sident Bush met with the Arab rulers in Aqaba, Jordan, he was not able to get a single Arab leader to utter the words, "Palestine will be for the Palestinian Arabs and Israel will be a Jewish state." Not one.
And why wouldn't they say it? Because their latest plan is destroy Israel through democratic means. Flood Israel with 3,000,000 so-called descendants of Palestinians who claim the "right of return." Not to bring them into a new Palestinian state created for Palestinians. Into Israel "proper." The plan if implemented would have a 100% success rate. The massive influx of new Palestinians citizens into Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa would create a block vote which could easily take over the democratic institutions of Israel and turn it into an Islamic governed state. (Already one sixth of Israel's 6,000,000 citizens are Arab.) That's it. Destroy Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Mission accomplished.
That is why Arafat wouldn't agree to the peace plan negotiated by Barak and Clinton. That is why Arafat demanded Jerusalem (so Israel would not have her capital) and why he demanded the "right of return" to place 3,000,000 more Arabs in the tiny state of Israel - the size of New Jersey, and already one of the most densely populated nations in the world.
President Bush and the West haven't caught on to that one either - because when Israel asked that the phrase "Jewish state" be included in the road map, Bush announced that the peace plan would not be altered. Terrible mistake.
IF ONLY ISRAEL COULD GIVE LAND FOR PEACE
So what is going to happen? To tell you the truth, I, as a believer in the Bible, would still rather see Israel give up part of her inheritance if it would bring true political peace to our Jewish people. Understand what we are facing here. This week's papers described the latest bus bombing.
"I saw a woman going up in flames, as if she were a torch. Her clothes burned first and then her skin," said Eli Shmueli as he described the Jerusalem suicide bomb attack that killed 17 and wounded 100 others. "I saw a man, I thought he was alive, he was standing there, I thought he was shocked. But when they pulled him over he was dead." (Jerusalem Post, June 12, 03)
Thousands of Israelis are disfigured, in wheel chairs, in constant pain until the day they die. Children are without limbs, without eyes, cracked skulls, vegetables on life support, teenagers emotional scarred so terribly they have to be institutionalized.
The suffering is more than anyone outside this land can imagine. But it would appear that God is not going to permit an Islamic terrorist state to be planted on His land - even though, theoretically, there could be some temporary arrangement that would ultimately blow up in another war because of ongoing terrorism.
In fact the Lord says, "I will assuredly plant them [Israel] in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul." Jeremiah 32:41 But so sadly, so tragically, it will be the continuous spilling of Jewish blood on the streets of Israel's cities and countryside that will prevent the Palestinians from wren-ching a part of Israel's inheritance from her.
At least for now, the United States is not yet ready to allow the Muslims to destroy Israel. And even if she were, because of God's promises, help from another place would arise….
It does not appear to me that God is planning for a Palestinian state. I could be wrong. But I emphasize again - it's not because Israel isn't ready to give the Muslims such a state. But it appears to me that God is hardening these Muslims hearts - as He did Pharaoh's - so that they will, of their own doing, never possess Israel's ancient mountains.
So what is God waiting for? Surely He is waiting for His people Israel to return to Him and receive His Son's atonement for their sins, and cry out to them so He can save them.
WHY ALL THE FUSS, LORD?
God's plan far exceeds just saving Israel. He has mapped out her destiny since the foundations of the world. Israel is a chosen people - chosen to be a light to the nations - meaning a nation of witnesses and workers and preachers to the peoples of the world.
Israel's destiny is to proclaim the Gospel to the world. She's got to preach a risen Savior who came to rescue the human race, all of whom sit in the shadow of death. Paul said so himself: "For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." Romans 11:28 Check it out. He's specifically talking about Israel.
Knowing from the Bible of God's plan for Israel (the devil can read too) what would Satan's plan be to counteract God's plan? Well, when Yeshua was born, Satan tried to kill him through Herod's massacre. Now that a physical Israel has been reborn, Satan's plan is to kill this baby nation before she can return to her God and fulfill her destiny.
But she will not die. For God said, "I will punish her, but I will not make a complete end to her." Jeremiah 46:28
Most important, it is not God's will that any should perish. In His heart, He yearns to see revival in Israel and in every Arab city and village in the Middle East.
Is it in your heart to help bring peace to the Middle East? Help us preach the Bible's Gospel to the Israeli people. Help us evangelize. Help us train Israeli spiritual leaders. Help us strengthen the believers through economic help and educational courses and career courses that enable our Messianic believers to find jobs and become solid, useful servants of the Lord.
Helps us translate, publish and distribute books for evangelizing and discipling. Help us as we pastor a congregation whose majority are new believers. And help us as we partner together with our Arab fellow co-workers to bring the Gospel to Israel's Arab population. (See accompanying article.)
This will bring peace to the Middle East.
How many scriptures do we have room for here that substantiates God's plan? Here's a few for a start:
Now the Lord has said to Abram: "In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Genesis:12:1,3
And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed." Galatians 3:14
For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns. The nations shall see your righteousness…. Isaiah 62:1-2
Arise, shine: For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you and His glory will be seen upon you. The nations shall come to your light… Isaiah 60:1-3
But you shall be named the priests of the Lord, they shall call you the servants of our God. Isaiah 61:6
For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:3
Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles [i.e. the nations], how much more their fullness!
For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead [for the nations]? Romans 11:12,15
So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, 'In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."' Zechariah 8:22-23
THE BLESSING OF ABRAHAM FALLS
ON THE LEBANESE
By Yosef Haddad
Yosef Haddad is an Israeli Arab pastor and a fellow laborer. Maoz contributors have been helping to support Yosef and his wife Ibtissam, and are paying the rent for the congregational building housing his budding Lebanese congregation. There is an awakening among the Lebanese who now live in Israel and who are fertile ground for evangelism. Ed.
Last May we decided to hold an outdoor evangelism meeting among the Lebanese people who had fled with the Israeli troops when they evacuated southern Lebanon. We were expecting many people to come so we decided to hold the meeting in the backyard of our congregational building which is located on the main street of the city of Nahariya, in the north of Israel.
When the evangelist gave the altar call, more than 30 people came forward under strong conviction and received Yeshua as their personal Lord and Savior. We are very busy now teaching them the Bible and helping them to abide in the Master.
A few weeks ago, A Muslim Shiite Lebanese family received the Lord as a result of the healing that took place in their daughter's eyes, Their 23 years old daughter was gradually losing her eyesight. No doctor could help her. No medicine could cure her, but as we anointed her with oil and prayed over her in the name of Yeshua, healing took place instantly and her eyesight was totally recovered to the joy of her father, her mother, her older sister and younger brother all of whom immediately declared Yeshua as their Lord and Savior. We are right now in the process of teaching them the Bible at their home and we believe that the day is very near when they will boldly stand to declare their faith in Yeshua to their Muslim friends and neighbors and draw many of them to the Savior. Please lift this Muslim family up in your prayers.
Just 10 days before the evangelism meeting in the outdoors, twelve born-again Lebanese believers from our congregation in Nahariya decided to follow the Lord in water baptism and we baptized them in the Jordan river. They expressed their gratitude and thankfulness to God for opening for them the door to be in Israel and to obey Yeshua's command in the very river where our Lord was emersed too.
Just a little indication to let you understand what trials they are going through: Almost 80% of the men in our congregation are unemployed because of the economic deterioration in Israel. Most of them have to go fishing in the Mediterranean to provide food for their families. Some of the ladies are not ashamed to go to the fields to pick herbs to be able to cook for their children. In spite of all those trials these people are content. They are not complaining or blaming anyone since they have understood their destiny: God has brought them to Israel for a purpose - to have an encounter with the Savior, to be filled with His precious Holy Spirit and in due time to be sent back to Lebanon according to God's divine timing to spark revival in Lebanon up to Syria and Iraq and all the way to Iran and other Muslim countries!
Three years ago in May 23, 2000, Lebanese soldiers and their families totaling 6000 souls, pulled out together with the Israeli Defense Forces from southern Lebanon into Israel.
Who would imagine that this would be God's good plan and destiny for them! These Lebanese people had blessed Israel for 25 years by defending her northern borders from different terrorism organizations. They survived a tough war. Almost everyone of them have scars on their bodies as a result of that long term war. Most of them have lost a brother or a son or a father in the different battles. They were ready to lay down their lives for Israel and for their homeland as well and now the time has come for Israel to bless them.
The Bible says in Genesis 12:3 " I will bless all these who bless thee." We as the Body of the Messiah in Israel and in the West understand and believe this promise. Now, we have the opportunity to be the first people to bless these Lebanese who have lost their land, their homes, their close relatives, their incomes - almost everything - for the sake of defending Israel. We deeply believe that we should be the first people to bless them in all aspects: spiritually, physically, emotionally and financially.
If you desire to see God's destiny for those precious Lebanese being fulfilled to it's utmost, do not hesitate to send your financial support to "Maoz Israel" with a note - for the Lebanese ministry in Israel. God himself will reward you for blessing those who have blessed the land of Israel for many years, and who now need blessing. Ask your prayer groups to lift them up daily in prayer and intercession.
I would like to express my deep appreciation to two of the Messianic congregations in Israel which have shown a true burden and sincere love for these Lebanese since the first day they arrived in Israel:
To Kehilat HaCarmel and their pastor David and Karen Davis who were led by the Lord to initiate the ministry among the Lebanese and to partially support it.
To Kehilat Tiferet Yeshua [The Glory of Yeshua] and their pastor Ari and Shira Sorko-Ram and the contributors of Maoz for generously supporting the work with the Lebanese to this very day.
May the Lord bless and prosper these two congregation and Maoz, for without them standing with us, the work among the Lebanese would not be able to reach it's divine goal.
Pastor Joseph and Ibtissam Haddad
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