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H E Lafferty
For nearly an hundred years the desolate sands of Arabia and the Middle East have poured forth black gold – petroleum deposits by the millions of tons – and created a trove of wealth previously unknown in human history.
All this is on the verge of change.
The liquid petroleum deposits of the Arab oil cartel are rapidly being depleted. The older wells are much less likely to retain their output. And their heavier, more viscous product is much more costly to refine.
But there is a new development now building – one which was not clearly foreseen even as late as last century. It is the principle of “fracking” petroleum deposits which are not liquid in their natural form. It is a technique in which rock formations containing oil are fractured in some manner so as to remove the oil deposits. The process began in some ways to be developed when the vast tar sands of Canada began to be explored, although the processes of extraction are different. At first the tar sands presented an insoluble problem for engineers – how efficiently to separate the sand from its adherent oil and water.
As time progressed, however, systems were designed which made the process simpler and more workable.
Meanwhile, vast petroleum resources of another kind were being closely considered. These are shale oil deposits. It is now realized that the world-wide deposits of shale oil are far greater than the liquid deposits of oil. But they are more difficult to extract; therefore more costly.
It has been often said that Moses turned the wrong direction when bringing the Israelites out of Egypt – that he should have gone east rather than west; for it was in the east that the vast oceans of petroleum were later discovered. For years oil explorers drilled in Israeli lands and found almost no oil ... or gas.
The advances in fracking, however, opened a new door to Israel’s fortunes. And new techniques of deep well-drilling have even led to discovery of liquid petroleum and natural gas in great abundance mostly in the coastal waters of Israel, but also to some extent on the country’s land mass as well.
But the most spectacular find to date has been the far-reaching deposits of oil shale in Israel. The largest of these known geologic structures is the Shfela Basin, southwest of Jerusalem. It surrounds the Valley of Elah where David slew Goliath in a war with the Philistines (1Samuel 17:2, 19).
It alone is estimated to contain 250 billion barrels of oil, rivalling the entire estimated liquid oil resources of Saudi Arabia – about 260 billion barrels of crude oil! The difference is that Arabia’s wells are aging and their product deteriorating as to desirability and refinability.
brilliant scientist, Dr. Harold Vinegar, for many years chief of
physical science at Royal Dutch Shell Oil in Texas. Retiring a few years ago,
Dr. Vinegar and his family made aliyah to Israel – a long-held dream of
his family – and he began to work with Israeli scientists on a “fracking”
technique which he had developed during his research at Shell. It involved the
new technique of horizontal oil well-drilling and the insertion of heating rods
into the holes in order to heat the surrounding rocks to around 700 degrees, to
make them yield their absorbed oil. The resultant product is a high-quality
crude oil, easily refinable, and costing around $40 per barrel. This cost makes
oil from shale attractive as long as conventional crude prices hover above that
price – now around $100 a barrel, and likely to remain at that price or above
for a long time. This diagram shows how fracking is done ...
Time magazine featured an article in its April 30th issue (2013), “Tapping the Promised Land: Can Israel Be an Energy Giant?” Interviews with executives of Israel Energy Initiatives, Dr. Vinegar’s company, reveals some startling prospects. One opinion quoted in the article is this: “We think that within a decade we can get 50,000 to 100,000 barrels a day,” says Relik Shafir, IEI chief executive officer.
He is referring to “kerogen,” the name given to the crude oil extracted from rocks of any type. This is an effort to differentiate it from “shale oil,” which is entirely different. “Shale oil” is contained in rocks as well but in tiny amounts which must be loosened before being harvested; it is also known as “tight oil.”
Thus “kerogen” is a better term for Israel’s oil – the organic matter embedded in any sort of rock near the earth’s surface. The location is important, for were it buried much deeper the pressure would express the oil into pools as liquid petroleum.
Oil shales are usually shallow deposits, thus easily recovered by the method of horizontal drilling. In this process a well is sunk vertically to the depth of the oil-bearing shale, then the bit is turned horizontally, allowing drilling of hundreds of channels within even shallow strata, for hundreds of meters in any direction! Thusly, the above ground “footprint” of the operation may be contained in a small area of land.
When these holes are drilled, stainless steel cables are inserted into them, then heated to around 700 degrees. This process heats all the rock surrounding the shafts and the oil content begins to seep out and become pumpable. When brought to the surface the oil is “sweet (low sulphur), very light, super-high quality,” according to Vinegar.
And, incidentally, the product of this process yields other commodities as well; they are two other quite valuable resources: water ... and natural gas!
All This, and Why Now?
We wonder why this development has come about at this particular time. For years other companies have exerted their most diligent efforts to find oil in Israel. Up until 1986, 440 wells had been drilled in Israel, each one essentially a dry hole.
One feature of the Time article is that this dearth of oil reserves drove the Jewish State in other directions – impelling Israelis “to develop alternatives – from miraculous desert agriculture to the armaments industry that spawned the ‘start-up nation,’ including an electric-car enterprise, Better Place, marketed in part as a comeuppance to Arab oil.”
Israeli officials are absolutely ecstatic as they prepare to test the theories and techniques of fracking in the Shfela Basin.
The beginning of the brighter prospects for Israel came in the wake of the discovery of natural gas about 50 miles off Haifa in the Mediterranean Sea in 2009. Named the Tamar Gas Field, it came online in March of this year, causing great acclaim throughout Israel. This gas alone will raise Israel’s Gross Domestic Product by a full percentage point, according to the Bank of Israel. Add to Tamar a second gas find about 80 miles west from Haifa, called Leviathan, Israel can easily convert into an energy exporter without taking anything away from the kerogen discovery! This is a marvellously fortuitous find, says Harold Vinegar, because this newly discovered natural gas will provide the power to heat the subterranean kerogen fields ... until the gas that is released as a by-product of the kerogen harvest is re-purposed for the same task! Then the process will become self-sustaining! Talk about timing! (all Divine, of course!).
There are other significant implications in this discovery. Although environmental concerns are foremost in most minds, Israel’s high court has been informed that, although the Mountain Aquifer, which lies under the kerogen, and supplies most of Israel’s potable water, is protected by some 200 meters (nearly 500 feet) of impermeable rock above the aquifer. And a similar layer lies above the kerogen, most surely protecting the surface environment from any noxious emissions – which is the remaining concern! Therefore, the oil shale is locked in a tightly contained chamber up until it is harvested, and during the process of recovery.
And there is more good news! As the Time article relates, “The kerogen formation that geologist Bartov first confirmed in 2009 extends beyond Israel. It runs across the few miles east to the Palestinian West Bank – Vinegar flourished a sample from there, darker than the chalky Israeli sample – and into Jordan, where the known kerogen formation is as large as all of Israel itself. Shell is working with King Abdullah II to develop it, in a country that has almost no mineral resources. Egypt has potential as well.”
What is the implication for Israel in the prophetic vista of things?
It is this: the vast deposits of kerogen in Jordan and the “West Bank” are both destined to become the property of Israel in the near future. It will occur when the Messiah appears to clear the interlopers from His Land, and take their possessions for His kingdom! It is inconceivable and beyond visualization the riches that are to accrue to the Kingdom of Messiah! Truly shall the riches of the Gentiles flow unto the Lord in superabundance (Isaiah 60:16; 61: 6; Zechariah 14: 14).
One More Important Facet
One other important facet of all this is the sure establishment of the chief impetus of the Gogian host to try to conquer Israel, as depicted in Ezekiel 38 and 39. They are specifically tasked to gain “a spoil and a prey” in God’s land (Ezekiel 38: 12).
Up until 2009, Israel’s prosperity had achieved remarkable proportions. But its accomplishments were mostly military and intellectual – scientific methods of agriculture, new medical breakthroughs, economic progress. Now, in light of these new petroleum discoveries, there are hard assets which would be a prize for any conquering nation or people. Russia’s natural resources hold over Europe is being progressively broken by these new developments in Israel and the Levant. It is reasonable that her desire for this “spoil” would become heightened if she were approached by Persia (Iran) and the other, distal Islamic states (all those named in Ezekiel 38 are such except Gog himself) to fight alongside them against the (unrealized) Messiah of Israel – and especially if sanctioned by the nations of the earth (embodied in the United Nations Organization), as Gog doubtless shall be in that day!
<HEL MD/USA 5M> 1700 words.
The Bible has a lot to say about Assyria – a country which does not exist today. Its ancient territory is now occupied largely by Iraq and Syria – peoples of two entirely different Islamic identities. We have been acutely aware for decades that in some manner Iraq and Syria would come under the same umbrella of influence – that of Radical Islam – and develop into the final identity of the latter-day Assyrian. We have been willing to wait faithfully and patiently while this confederation looked to be almost impossible in human terms; however, we are not considering mere human eventualities!
When the Western Coalition led by the U. S. military forces invaded Iraq in 2002, its stated goal was to overthrow Saddam Hussein and convert Iraq into a Democratic system of government for the benefit of the Iraqi people. Nearly any astute observer of Islamic behavior and ideology could have predicted the failure of this aim. Islam has no perception of democracy. It is a tribal-oriented, male-dominated autocracy, bent toward Sha’aria (Islamic) Law, and slave to “Allah” and the “prophet” Mohammed of old. It exhibits no character of democracy in its treatment of women, for example, advocating that wives be summarily beaten by their husbands at will. It supports and practices slavery on a wide scale in many countries. Its judgments for perceived crimes are meted out hastily and harshly toward accused criminals resulting in amputated hands and feet, gouged-out eyes, body parts excised, and victims being stoned to death or beheaded. Not much democracy in that!
In Syria, by contrast, the government was under the control of the family dynasty of the Assads, who are Alawite in identity – a loose form of Islam derived from the Shiites. Its repressive minority government has been riding for a fall for decades, but has stayed on top by its cruel dictate over its citizens. Any resistance was met with harsh measures, such as the slaughter of thousands of Syrians in the northern city of Hama by the present ruler’s father, the razing of their homes to the ground, and the construction over them of a giant parking lot. Many of these rebels were slain by poison gas, including women and children, as toxic gas is no respecter of persons.
The configurations of both Iraq and Syria have changed drastically during the last several years – a trend which we believe militates toward the consolidation of these two states. Perhaps they will not be legally constituted one country, but their citizens will have the same overlords colored with the stripes of militant Islam – haters and oppressors of both their own people and of the Israeli “cancer” to their south.
It’s Happening Now
Even as we write, there is a movement of a common thread which is resident in these two countries, which appears poised to bring about this union of these two peoples under their oppressive power. Just last Tuesday, the Syrian extremist militia Jabhat al-Nusra admitted to being a branch force of al-Qaeda’s coalition in Iraq – and has been all along! This was acknowledged by the Islamic State (not the Democratic State) of Iraq early in April. No less a personage than the Emir of the Iraqi coalition group, Abu Bakr al-Hussayni al-Qurayshi al-Baghdadi, issued an audio message avowing this heretofore hidden fact: “It’s now time to declare in front of the people of the Levant and world that Jabhat al-Nusrah is but an extension of the Islamic State of Iraq and part of it.”
The story was broken by Shaun Waterman of the Washington Times of April 9th in his article, “Al-Nusra Was Front all Along.” The implication of this newly-admitted fact is huge.
It reveals a great leap forward to the expected Iraqi-Syrian coalition which is prophesied to go against Israel specifically in the End Time. The account is in Micah 5, beginning in verse 2: But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Mic 5:3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
Mic 5:4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.
Mic 5:5 And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.
Mic 5:6 And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.
This highly specific prophecy is integral to the anti-Israeli war which shall bring the Second Advent of the Lord from heaven! The text makes this self-evident even to a casual reader!
Just who or what is al-Nusra? It is swiftly emerging as the leading insurgency group among the rebel fighters of Syria against the Assad regime. Like all the other rebels, its goal is the overthrow of the Assad government and its replacement by Islamic rulers exactly like itself. As such it will become a far more dangerous opposer of Israel that Syria has ever been, and inheritor of the leadership of what is left of the Syrian nation! As a now-revealed companion of the Islamic State of Iraq, its principles are shown to be identical to that of Iraq, which although established by the elective process has never been truly “democratic.” In this sense it is quite similar to Egypt’s present oppressor, the Moslem Brotherhood.
A spokesman at the New America Foundation, Peter Bergen, said “This is major news.” Aaron Zelin, editor of Jihadology (an Internet blog) said: “It means al-Qaeda is confident enough about its position in Syria to go public …. Their perception is correct because their position is strong” in the ranks of Syria’s fractious and ill-disciplined rebels, he added. What is the specific importance of this development?
It reveals the underlying identity of the Syrian rebels as actually being the forces of al-Qaeda. And the admission relates its close affiliation with the rulers of Iraq of today, who are also admitting that they identify with al-Qaeda! It has a one to one relationship of common identity and purpose! The newly-merged organization will be named The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (the Levant). There seems no effective barrier to this coalition going forward according to observers.
On a militant website, photos show militants in a border region on the Iraqi side of the Syria-Iraq border called al-Jazeera. Last month, Islamic militants inside Iraq massacred 48 wounded Syrian government troops who had sought refuge from the war within Iraq. The militants’ ambush is now viewed by regional officials as growing evidence of a strong cross-border alliance between two powerful Sunni jihadi groups, namely al-Qaede in Iraq and the Nusra Front in Syria, now admittedly an al-Qaeda “front.”
Two Iraqi intelligence officers told reporters that the jihadi groups are “sharing three military training compounds, logistics, intelligence, and weapons as they grow in strength around the Syria-Iraq border, particularly in (the) sprawling region called al-Jazeera, which they are trying to turn into a border sanctuary (which) they both can exploit.”
Press reports revealed that, “In the audio statement, al-Baghdadi said the original members of Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the al-Nusra Front, were dispatched from Iraq by his group, the Islamic State of Iraq, a coalition of al Qaeda and other extremist groups and militias that came together during their bloody insurgency against the U.S. occupation. “We laid for them plans, and drew up for them the policy of work, and gave them what financial support we could every month, and supplied them with men who had known the battlefields of jihad, from the emigrants and the natives,” al-Baghdadi said.
Whereas Jabhat al-Nusra has up to now been mostly concerned with combating the Syrian forces, it has also involved itself in distributing food and water to the oppressed Syrian people. Observers have said that the group’s new admission of being actually al-Qaeda, probably means they will begin to conduct themselves more like al-Qaeda.
While resident within Iraq, the U. S. and Iraqi forces had mostly put down al-Qaeda’s presence in Iraq. But when American troops withdrew in late 2011, observers noted that Iraqi intelligence officials were soon warning that al-Qaeda was regrouping, taking advantage of regional instability and government security failures to regain its strength. By September, 2012, al-Qaeda’s fighters were crossing into Syria to battle the Assad regime. Since that time, those forces have strengthened the al-Jazeera area “into what they hope will be a haven to battle their foes …. For these guys,” said the regional security analyst, “the border between Iraq and Syria is not even a real thing.”
If this trend continues and grows, it can easily become the sinister entity known as “Assyria” of the End Time, bringing an equivalent identity to both Iraq and Syria – and giving rise to the group that boldly attempts to invade Israel, and to “tread within our (Israel’s) palaces.” We may be utterly assured of Assyria’s destruction by the forces of Messiah – the “seven shepherds and eight principal (princes of) men” of Micah’s prophecy. <HEL MD/USA April, 2013
On March 8th, Israel was celebrating Yom Hashoah – remembering the Holocaust victims and survivors of the 20th century. Ceremonies were held throughout Israel. Both President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the nation.
Mr. Netanyahu spoke at Yad Veshem, the Holocaust Memorial, telling his audience, “There will never again be another Holocaust.” His message was clearly intended for Iran as well as all other peoples. President Peres stated that “A threat against one nation is a threat against all …”
The gathering at Yad Veshem was a State occasion marking the start of Holocaust Remembrance Day. “The murderous hatred against the Jews that has accompanied the history of our people has not gone away, it has simply been replaced by murderous hatred against the Jewish state. What has changed since the Holocaust is our determination and our ability to defend ourselves, by ourselves,” he said.
He referred to the Jews as a people who “seeks peace” but noted that there are others “who seek to extinguish this light of ours.”
He was indicating Iran, certainly, which openly “declares its intention to destroy Israel and does all it can to achieve that goal.” Iran views Zionists as microbes and bacteria, and Jews as dirty people who spread disease to Iran, which considers Israel “a cancerous growth” that must be eradicated from the earth.
His speech was well summarized by the statement that “The murderous hatred against the Jews that has accompanied the history of our people has not gone away, it has simply been replaced by murderous hatred against the Jewish state. What has changed since the Holocaust is our determination and our ability to defend ourselves, by ourselves.”
The main direction of Netanyahu’s speech was clearly an affirmation that Israel is willing to engage in unilateral action against the Iranian nuclear program if it becomes necessary. He did add his appreciation of the efforts of the other nations to stop Iran’s nuclear thrust by negotiations, but clearly noted that “at no stage will we surrender our fate in(to) the hands of others, even the best of our friends.”
He was speaking to an audience which included foreign dignitaries, including MidEast Quartet envoy Tony Blair, former prime minister of Britain. Netanyahu reviewed the well-established fact that the gates of most countries (actually it was all countries) were closed to the Jews during the Holocaust – even including the “enlightened ones.”
Recalling the recent apology of an American to Tel Aviv’s Chief Rabbi Yishrael Meir Lau for arriving at Buchenwald “too late” to save many, Netanyahu stated clearly that “The deepest meaning of the State of Israel” is that it prevents the Jewish people from “returning to a situation where it is too late.”
The Jews of the death camps were helpless before their enemies, but “We will not stand helpless against our enemies again.” He declared, “In this place and on this day I promise: There will never be another Holocaust.”
Unknowingly, perhaps, he was mouthing the promises of God to the modern State of Israel and its people, for the prophet Jeremiah wrote, in 24:6 For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.7 And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart. The latter portion of that promise remains to be fulfilled, but know Him they SHALL … and He SHALL be their God, for they SHALL return to Him with their whole heart.
Apparently referring to the first resistance to the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto, he stated that Jewish revival in the Land of Israel is “inextricably tied to the willingness and ability of Jews to fight with all their might against those (who) want to destroy them.”
In his speech, President Peres noted that the Jewish people are growing out of the ashes of World War II “to build a new independence and … not tire from building a better world.” This is true, he said, in the face of the distress of the last century of crimes that damaged Europe, where there are still “local strains of anti-Semitism.”
Addressing the wider issue of Iran and others, he recalled that “To our shame, there remain some who learned nothing. There remain those who forget the Holocaust, those who deny it,” Peres said, referring to far-right nationalist parties in Europe that have begun growing in popularity, worrying European Jewish leaders.
“The civilized world must ask itself how in such a short space of time after the crematoria were extinguished, after the terrible death toll that the Allied Powers endured to put an end to the Nazi devil, it is still possible for the leadership, like that of Iran, to openly deny the Holocaust and threaten another Holocaust.”
These ceremonies re-affirm Israel’s stance against the nuclearization of Iran in particular. They also reflect the uncertainty of Israel that they shall have the sure support of other nations in any military action against Iran.
The world can readily see an accurate premonition of what a nuclear Iran would become, by viewing another modern rogue nation, North Korea.
Kim Young Un, the youthful and inexperienced “leader” of North Korea thinks in provincial, un-schooled terms of his nation’s capabilities. His rhetoric is irrational at best, and almost humorous – but still dangerous, because any misstep could bring much distress upon both himself and his neighbors.
It will be the same with Iran, if it becomes a nuclear power; for like North Korea, its leaders think in terms foreign to reality, in terms of their own claimed invincibility. The Persians of today (the Iranians) have absolutely no extended future, for the prophet has spoken their doom as well as that of their confederated powers (the Gogian host). In the finality, their destiny shall be executed by the Lord of Hosts upon them in the Valley of Hamon-gog.
But that time of confrontation is not yet. The Gogian confederation of Ezekiel 38 and 39 has not yet reached fruition, or any sure measure of cohesion, although certainly trending toward that state. Our re-stated view is that some event will come about to deter Iran from its accelerated march toward domination of the Middle East, which is its fairly well-known goal, and the eradication of Israel, which is its stated ambition.
Will that retarding event be a devastating attack by the Jewish state upon Iran’s nuclear facilities to slow its progress for a later time?
Might it be a joint Allied strike by several Western powers including the USA?
Or could it perhaps turn out to be a natural event of some kind – such as the fairly strong earthquake that rocked the areas near the Bushear nuclear plant yesterday, killing several Iranians and injuring hundreds?
We have the subliminal feeling that something is holding Israel back from taking overt military action toward Iran. Israel certainly knows more details of Iran’s progress than we know – or anyone else knows – and for perhaps that reason, the Israeli administration seems to be giving Iran more and more time to comply to the sanctions before wreaking havoc upon Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The prophets do not tell us any details; but we accept this view by faith in His word, which is faithful and sure. <HEL MD/USA April 10, 3013>
By Chuck Devore, Investor's Business Daily, April 13, 2011
Israel, a New Jersey-sized nation of 7.5 million people (1.7 million of whom are Arab) filed 7,082 international patents in the five years ending in 2007. By contrast, 28 majority-Muslim nations with almost 1.2 billion people — 155 times the population of Israel — were granted 2,071 patents in the same period.
Narrowing the comparison to the 17 Muslim nations of the Middle East from Morocco to Iran and down the Arabian Peninsula, the 409 million people in that region generated 680 patents in five years.
This means that the Arab and Iranian world produced about one patent per year for every 3 million people, compared with Israel's output of one annual patent for every 5,295 people, an Israeli rate some 568 times that of Israel's neighbors and sometime enemies.
The awarding of Nobel Prizes in the quantitative areas of chemistry, economics and physics shows a similar disparity, with five Israeli winners compared with one French Algerian (a Jew who earned the prize for work done in France) and an Egyptian-American (for work done at Caltech in California).
This phenomenon is manifested in other nations as well, where bad government begets poverty. Free South Korea, with 48.8 million people, filed 24,200 international patents from 2003 to 2007. The 24.5 million people in the North Korean slave state managed to produce 14 patents in the same period.
But wealth isn't the sole explanation for this disparity in intellectual innovation. Saudi Arabia enjoyed a per capita income of $24,200 in 2010. Yet the Kingdom averages an anemic 37 patents per year compared with Israel's 1,416 per year — and there are 3 1/2 times more Saudis than Israelis, meaning that Israel's per capita output of intellectual property is 132 times greater than Saudi Arabia's.
My on-the-ground education in the Middle East began in 1984, when I attended school at American University in Cairo, Egypt. At the time, Israel was a socialist state, still very much mired in a planned economy focused on heavy industry and agriculture, replete with government subsidies and heavy regulation.
Israel's per capita output stood at $6,749 (in current U.S. dollars), 41% of America's — slightly less than the Soviet Union's per capita output at the time.
Egypt also featured a planned economy in the 1980s, with smoke-belching heavy industries making Cairo among the world's most polluted cities. Egypt's per capita production was $881, about 5% of U.S. per capita output. Israel produced about 7.7 times more goods and services per person than did Egypt.
In 2010, before unrest disrupted its economy, Egypt produced $2,759 per capita, a little less than 6% of U.S. per capita production. Israel, meanwhile, had improved its per capita wealth generation to $26,843, or 56% of America's per capita GDP.
Remarkably, the populations of Egypt and Israel grew at almost the same rate, Egypt's being driven by internal growth, Israel's largely by more than a million immigrants from the former Soviet Union. By 2010, Israel had improved its ratio of productivity over Egypt, producing about 9.7 times more goods and services per person than its neighbor to the south.
Why this growing disparity in wealth creation between Israel and Egypt?
The Egyptian Revolution of 1952 saw the overthrow of monarchy with the military running the nation's economy. This invariably led to stagnation and a growing external debt.
Egypt has launched two waves of economic liberalization since 1984, one under the auspices of an International Monetary Fund standby agreement in 1991 and another in 2004, when former President Mubarak appointed an economic-reform-minded Cabinet. The 1991 effort focused on the privatization of state-owned enterprises.
The 2004 program reduced import tariffs, cut taxes and allowed the Egyptian pound to float. The reforms of the 1990s took some time to take hold, with the Egyptian economy seeing year-over-year growth in per capita income (purchasing power parity) rising an impressive 5.7% per year from 1997 to 2000. Mubarak's 2004 free-market reforms bore even more fruit, with per capita growth averaging 6.9% from 2005 to 2008.
However, the demonstrators of Tahrir Square claim, with some justification, that the most recent round of reforms mostly benefited the nation's elite. This crony capitalism is said to have generated a massive amount of wealth for the two sons of the former Egyptian president. And, with that wealth concentrated at the top, resentment mounted in the masses who saw their cooking fuel subsidies cut while the cost of basic necessities soared.
Now the Egyptian economy has been hammered by unrest. Crime has tripled since Mubarak's ouster. A wave of child kidnapping has struck fear in wealthy and upper-class parents. Militant Islamists now operate in the open, brazenly attacking Egypt's large Christian minority and moderate Muslims alike. Tourism, accounting for 11.3% of the economy, has dried up. Unemployment is surging.
Adding to Egypt's travails, the Muslim Brotherhood is calling for "modesty police" — mirroring the actions taken by Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood branch in Gaza, after its 2006 electoral win and subsequent bloody purge of its more secular rival, Fatah.
These would-be mullahs of misery are also calling for the criminal prosecution of those who made money during the Mubarak era, coupling that call with a return to Egyptian socialism. This sure recipe for economic failure will inevitably cause Egypt's new leaders to blame Israel, the Jews and America for Egypt's problems. As the availability of bread declines, the index of hate will rise. This volatile equation is good for neither Egypt nor Israel.
After its founding in 1948, Israel was also burdened with a socialist economy. Israel's main right-wing party, Likud, won the 1977 elections, but that win was mainly a reaction to Israel's near-run victory in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. Likud did little to change Israel's socialist policies.
Israel's commitment to socialism wasn't challenged until former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appointed Benjamin Netanyahu as finance minister in 2003. Many thought Sharon made this move to bury rival Netanyahu's career. Netanyahu sought to remake Israel's economy, instituting reforms such as liberalization of the banking system.
Critics scoffed at these reforms as "Thatcherite," worrying that Israel's social safety net was being dismantled. But Netanyahu's free-market reforms worked, causing Israel to see its longest sustained period of high economic growth, with per capita income (purchasing power parity) rising an average of 6% per year from 2004 to 2008. Israel is now considered a high-tech market economy.
The telltale signs of Israel's economic rise can be seen in the Tel Aviv skyline and the new office complexes around Jerusalem. International giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. was founded in 1901 by three pharmacists in Jerusalem. Today it employs 40,000 around the world.
Teva has a market cap of $44.2 billion — the most highly valued company based in Israel and the ninth-largest firm traded on the Nasdaq. Seventy percent of its revenue comes from generics, a niche it pioneered, while 30% comes from newly developed drugs. Teva's history and forward-looking strategy is for revenue to double every four years, with 65% of that coming from internal growth.
Teva's success in the generic market is predicated on rapidly developing high-quality formulations and quickly getting approval for them within 180 days after filing — a quick turnaround that competitors find difficult to match.
A few miles from Teva's gleaming office campus west of the Old City sits the former national mint building for the British Mandate. Built in 1937, this renovated building, along with the old Ottoman Empire railway warehouses next to it, houses the JVP Media Quarter and 300 entrepreneurs.
The complex hosts Israel's leading venture capital firm, Jerusalem Venture Partners, as well as 35 startups and a performing arts center for good measure. JVP, which has helped launch 70 companies since 1993, has more than $820 million under management with seven active venture capital funds.
The Media Quarter concept was created in 2002 when JVP founder Erel Margalit wanted to create a media-focused incubator that combined technology, culture, art and business. JVP has shepherded 18 initial public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, including some of the largest Israel-based companies: Qlik Technologies, Netro Corp., Chromatis Networks, Precise Software, Cogent Communications.
The government of Israel created 28 incubators between 1990 and 1993 under the auspices of the Office of the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Reminiscent of Japan's state-guided capitalism through the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Israel's incubators were designed to engage the scientific and engineering skills of the large influx of immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
The government eventually viewed the effort as a burden, so it privatized its incubators. Today there are 24 incubators that can receive a government grant of $500,000 per company and up to $1.5 million in state seed capital.
Less than 300 miles separate the purposeful creative buzz in the JVP Media Quarter from the restive streets of Cairo, where the Muslim Brotherhood tells Egypt's unemployed that their plight is the fault of corrupt capitalists and Jews. It doesn't take a Nobel Prize-winning economist to figure out where these two economies are going.
February 8, 2013. Today's offering from *DebkaFile* reported that the
White House announcement on Tuesday, February 5, that President Barack
Obama will visit Israel in the spring - his first foreign trip since
beginning his second term - came as a surprise in more ways than one.
Both the US and Israeli administrations are making a new beginning. They
are presenting an opportunity to reassert the firm bonds between the United
States and Israel, and to begin a new initiative to discuss their joint
future actions on a wide-ranging set of issues of mutual concern.
Jay Carney, the White House press spokesman, emphasized their issues with
Iran and Syria.
Noticeably he did not mention any of the issues confronting Israel and the
Palestinians, thus stepping aside from the perennial disagreements between
the nations' two leaders.
The announcement portended an entirely new and positive approach by Mr.
Obama toward Israel and its prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu; it was a
refreshing change indeed for friends of Israel.
This new retro-directional approach emphasizes the wider, consensual
interest of both powers concerning the satisfactory resolution of the
problem of a nuclear Iran as well as the fate of the Assad regime in Syria.
This includes the Damascus-Hezbollah axis of Syria/Lebanon as well, for
this association is integral to the larger challenge.
A declaration of this sort was affirmed by a follow-up White House
statement made to the press on the next day: "“President Barack Obama does
not plan to use his coming trip to Israel to advance new proposals to break
open the deadlock in peace talks with the Palestinians.”
This is a remarkable turnaround by the American leader. How did it come
Just a few weeks ago, as President Obama was about to begin his second term
in office, his advisers and other spokesmen presented the media with the
president's then-decision to concentrate on the Pacific region and
relations with China and other Asian countries, as well as Africa. At the
time they said he was anxious to remain apart in his policies relative to
the Middle East and was pulling US forces out of the Middle East.
This, of course, would leave a relative vacuum which quickly would be
filled by Russia and Iran.
*Debka's observation is that this turnaround is the biggest surprise of
Obama's second term*. Its news release said, *"**The reversal registered
Tuesday was startling. Not only had the US President suddenly decided to
turn back to the Middle East; he was proposing to jump back in partnership
with the Israeli prime minister after years of a famously rocky
What is happening here? The upcoming visit of Mr. Obama to Israel is
scheduled to be localized to Israel, Jordan and a brief visit to Ramallah.
No stopovers in Riyad, Ankara, or Cairo. This seems singularly
are that three individuals in the Obama administration were responsible for
the president's about-face on these issues: outgoing Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton; Senator John Kerry, her newly appointed successor and now
secretary of state; and White House Chief of Staff Tom Donilon. We had no
inkling that Clinton or Kerry had such a world-view. Mr. Donilon's view was
not known to us either. The scenario played out like this: After Mr.
Obama's re-election in November, the named trio came together to present
their case for urgently attacking the issues of Iranian nuclear disarmament
before June, 2013 (the reason for this deadline is not clear but may have
to do with an Iranian decision to begin nuclear testing). This main issue
of Iran would be closely followed by (2) the removal of Bashar Al-Assad
from power in Syria, (3) significant weakening and isolation of Hezbollah
in Lebanon on Israel's northern border, and lastly (4) progress in the
Israeli-Palestinian issues, admitted to be almost a non-issue for now.
*So ... first on the president's list of new priorities will be stopping
Iran's consistent drive to become a nuclear power.* It has been reported
that Mr. Obama was so successfully won over by the named Trio's arguments
that he would not approve of Senator Chuck Hagel's nomination as secretary
of defense in mid-January until the former Republican senator accepted the
revised order of policy priorities in full!
It appears that the president is rather firmly committed to his stated
course of action.
We have often stated in the past that SOMETHING seemingly MUST happen to
retard Iran's aggressive military push in the short run - its initiative of
wiping Israel off the map, as has been the stated desire of President
Ahmadinejad on many prior occasions.
Our thought has been governed by our sure conviction from the inerrant,
inspired prophets of Israel, that Iran's involvement at arm's length (in
hot, close conflict) against Israel will be *mainly in the Gogian affair of
Ezekiel 38 and 39,* which is still doubtless some years into the future -
or at least many months away. Iran is not stated by the prophets to be
prominent in the conflict of Israel with its opposition Islamic forces
which reside within the Promised Land, *i.e., *that expanse of territory
between the Nile and the Euphrates.
We have only recently become conscious of this fact (the necessity of the
retardation of Iran's aggression) *as another correlation, or another
"proof," of Israel's initial limited initiative in conquering first those
Islamic states, and intruders such as the PLO, to which we refer as
Proximal Islam (the nations "round about" Israel). *
*A**LL* these nations lie prominently *within* the boundaries of the
Abrahamic Land Grant of *Genesis 12, et seq. When He appears for Israel's
salvation, it shall be these interlopers with which He shall deal first,
and consummately ... utterly destroying them and their nations and
organizations for all time, and erasing their continuous vile threats to
His people of Israel.*
*IRAN lies OUTSIDE this land of greatest interest and is set to become a
prominent intruder from OUTSIDE God's Promised Land of Eretz Israel, along
with the other named enemies of the Gogian host.*
The Israeli public was apprised of this new order of US concerns by US
Ambassador Dan Shapiro in an interview wiht Kol Israel national radio on
February 6th. It is reported that Israeli citizens were astonished to hear
the ambassador say that the working relationship between Obama and
Netanyahu were "excellent," after hearing for years that their relationship
was besmirched by discord and disharmony.
The logic of the Trio of advisers to the president that most strongly
persuaded him to change his direction and policy was that the president's
focus on the Far East would leave Iran without constraint to conduct its
first nuclear test (in mid-2013?) after which the Iranians would be
difficult to stop.
It would also leave the North Koreans free to push ahead freely in Iran's
shadow, killing all prospects of drawing an effective "red line" on global
It would not be acceptable, geopolitically, to abandon the Middle East to
the influence of Moscow and its friends in China and North Korea to their
avid hegemony in the area as supreme influence.
Mr. Obama is to be commended on his rapid decision to change his direction
of foreign policy (in our humble opinion). He quickly acceded to the Trio's
suggestions of a comprehensive strategic plan of military actions which
they recommended for the Middle East-Persian Gulf region at large. Its
central feature would be a tough ultimatum for cornering Tehran between two
options - and mandatory acceptance of a third one. They proposed these
action points, copied directly from DebkaFile ...
*"1. Iran must dismantle its nuclear program and send out of the country
its entire stock of enriched uranium and all the nuclear bomb components
completed and ready for assembling.*
*"2. By refusing this demand, Iran would incur direct US, Israeli or
combined military action to cripple its nuclear program.*
*"This would be a limited military engagement, which would no doubt
generate a military clash between Israel and the Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah
alliance. The clash would be kept within bounds and not allowed to
degenerate into all-out regional warfare requiring direct United States
*"Washington would accompany the hostilities with a three-month diplomatic
*"3. Syrian President Bashar Assad must be removed from power."*
Notice the third point: *Assad must be removed from power.* The Trio
appealed to Mr. Obama's cherished principle of removing Arab autocrats from
power - essentially the ideals of the "Arab Spring," to which he apparently
still adheres. [We believe we can deduct far more drastic consequences of
this Season, resulting in Arab despotism of unparalleled ferocity and
oppression, again as foretold by the prophets of Israel.]
Their dim view seems not to be of Assad's personal or political legacy, but
the issue of his critical leadership in the Tehran-Damascus-Beirut-Gaza
archway of aggression. If that structure should hold, it should be a
strengthening force against the United States' leadership.
If that arch stayed intact, the axes binding Moscow and Tehran, and Beijing
and Pyongyang would be strengthened as girders for holding up a world
edifice inimical to the United States.
The decision for Obama was not an easy one. For four years, he invested all
his personal, political, intelligence and military capital in holding
Israel back from a military strike to pre-empt a nuclear Iran, while at the
same time maneuvering tirelessly for a diplomatic deal to curtail Tehran’s
Now, he was being asked to abandon this path and take the opposite tack of
pushing Israel, its armed forces (IDF) and American military might out
front and center, and confronting Iran with a direct threat to its nuclear
program and strategic ties with Syria and Hizballah.
There are other aspects to this incredible reversal of US policy which we
intend to address in the near future, D.V., having to do with recent events
in Syria and in Turkey.
We intend to discuss these at a later time to be determined. *<HEL
MD/USA February 8, 2013> 1650 words*
*Shalom! Harold Edward Lafferty**
http://sites.google.com/site/theprophecyletters/home* *(eTPL site)**
* Isaiah 62:6: I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which
shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the
LORD, keep not silence, 7 And give him no rest, till he establish, and till
he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. *
by Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, January 3, 2013
The truth sometimes hurts; that is why the Palestinian Authority has been working hard to prevent the outside world from hearing about many occurrences that reflect negatively on its leaders or people.
In recent years, the Palestinian Authority leadership, often with the help of the mainstream media in the US and EU, has been successful in its effort to divert all attention only toward Israel.
Following are examples of some of the inconvenient truths that the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank do not want others to know about:
- Over 100 senior PLO and Fatah officials hold Israeli-issued VIP cards that grant them various privileges denied to most Palestinians. Among these privileges is the freedom to enter Israel and travel abroad at any time they wish. This privileging has existed since the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO in 1993.
- Out of the 600 Christians from the Gaza Strip who arrived in the West Bank in the past two weeks to celebrate Christmas, dozens have asked to move to Israel because they no longer feel comfortable living under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
- Dozens of Christian families from east Jerusalem have moved to Jewish neighborhoods in the the city because they too no longer feel comfortable living among Muslims.
- The Palestinian Authority government, which has been complaining about a severe financial crisis for the past few months, just cancelled outstanding electricity debts for Palestinians in the West Bank. Palestinians pay their bills to the Arab Jerusalem Electric Company, which buys electricity from the Israeli Electric Company; the Palestinians have not been paying their electricity bills and many have been stealing electricity from their Arab company.
- Tens of thousands of Palestinian Authority civil servants in the Gaza Strip receive salaries to stay at home and not work. The practice has been in effect since Hamas seized control over the Gaza Strip in 2007. According to Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf, the Palestinian Authority, which is funded mostly by American and European taxpayer money, spends around $120 million each month on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
- Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah faction has allocated more than one million dollars for celebrations marking the 48th anniversary of the "launching of the revolution" -- a reference to the first armed attack carried out by Fatah against Israel.
- Despite the calls for an economic boycott of Israel, more than 40,000 Palestinians have received permits to work in Israel. Moreover, another 15,000 Palestinians continue to work in Jewish settlements in spite of an official ban.
- Top PLO and Fatah officials continue to do their shopping in Israeli-owned businesses both in the West Bank and Israel. Last week, for example, a member of the PLO Executive Committee and his family were spotted shopping in Jerusalem's Malha mall. Of course, the PLO official did not forget to bring along his private driver and maid.
- The wife of a senior PLO official recently spent $20,000 for dental treatment in Tel Aviv at a time when there is no shortage of renowned Palestinian dentists in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Nablus.
These are only some of the inconvenient truths that the Palestinian Authority does not want the outside world to know. Palestinian journalists often avoid reporting about such issues out of concern for their safety or for "ideological" reasons. These journalists have been taught that it is forbidden to hang out the dirty laundry.
Western journalists, funders and decision-makers who deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict need to know that there are many truths being completely ignored or hidden from their eyes and ears.
The comprehensive body of information in these latter chapters of Exodus served to instruct the people of Israel in the ways He intended that they should fulfill the purpose of the Almighty when He should establish their nation in their own land - in Canaan.
The details begin earlier than the portion recorded below, but we wish in this essay to consider the entry of the People into their Land, their intended conduct in His service, and the extent of their intended inheritance ... all helpful considerations for us and them today.
That earlier attempt at colonization failed catastrophically when the People did not obey these commandments of Moses (dictated to him by the Father).
We review them in some detail below, and closely consider some aspects of Moses' instructions concerning their first conquest as being closely relevant to their second attempt at colonization of the Land in our day, which shall be unequivocally successful.
They were at that earlier time entering the Land of Canaan, then inhabited by numerous clans of pagan peoples who did not recognize the God of Israel. Today they have entered a land sparsely inhabited by their cousins, the Arabs of Edom, Moab, and Ammon - still a pagan people who do not recognize the God of Israel.
Exodus 23:23 For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.
There are six ungodly nations named here - the nations whose lands He was giving to Israel as an homeland, and eventually as an inheritance. He promised to destroy them (cut them off) contingent upon Israel's obedience to his wishes.
Notice carefully that God specifically tells His people that mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in ...
Their own efforts would be required, certainly, but their successful conquest of the Land and their establishment within it would not depend upon their own military prowess or their own resources. They were to be preceded by His Angel of certain conquest and deliverance.
One key question we may have is ... does this Angel have a name? What is his identity?
Curiously, his name is never recorded in these earlier references (as also in their deliverance from Egypt).
However, we believe a clue resides in a revelation given to Daniel in Daniel 12:1, in which it is surely revealed that Michael the Archangel is the angelic entity who is charged with the special care of God's people of the Endtime referred to in these writings.
If he is to stand up in our day for Israel, and it is he that standeth for the children of thy (Daniel's) people, is it not almost certain that he has done so on important prior occasions?
It would hardly be possible to think of a more important prior occasion than this first entry into and conquest of Canaan from the heathen elements who dwelt there.
Exo 23:24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.
Exo 23:25 And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.
Exo 23:26 There shall nothing cast their young (miscarry), nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil.
These detailed blessings of basket and store, of flock and herd, and by implication, of family and kin, are comprehensively protective. But only if the people obeyed God's laws and did not fall prey to the "gods" and evil practices of the Canaanites whose lands they were being given.
Exo 23:27 I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.
Exo 23:28 And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
God's promise was that He should send His fear among the heathen before His people, and cause them to flee ("turn their backs unto thee" - or run away). They would thus be destroyed from before Israel!
His Angel should be a force as powerful as swarming hornets among them, against which there is no defense or protection! Their conquest of the land was thus certified to them as a sure promise - but only if they would obey God and keep His commandments.
They did not.
Exo 23:29 I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.
Exo 23:30 By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.
Vital details are here given to His beloved people: we see the progressive establishment of Israel as a People in these lands - that they are brought under Israeli governance by a gradual conquest, His people were intended to replace the native populations in a steadily expanding fashion and in a balanced advance so that even the natural equilibrium of flora and fauna was to be maintained as Israel established itself in wider and wider circles in their new Land. Their advance upon the Land and their establishment within it would be little by little ... until thou be increased, and inherit the land.
We easily perceive that this has also been the case in their second entry into their Land as a People ... that their expansion within it has been gradual, and not all at one time. Their victories have been fitful from the start ... little by little. From the first, their colonization has been steadily progressive; God has clearly given them victories at every turn, even in their present state of unbelief - unbelief which was not a surprise to Him at all, but a gracious gift to them as an earnest (a deposit) against their future enlightenment which is imminent.
Exo 23:31 And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.
Their victory was assured by His word; and the boundaries of their inheritance are here stated in concrete terms - from the Red Sea even unto the Sea of the Philistines (the Mediterranean Sea), and from the desert unto the river (from the Sinai to the Euphrates, we believe).
This specification leaves the southeastern border obscure to us - completely undefined in this passage.
Exo 23:32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
Exo 23:33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.
Here is one of the most important injunctions upon His people: that they make NO COVENANT with them, nor with their gods.
Either agreement would violate His will for them, and would lead to serious compromise of their position before Him.
In their first possession of the Land, we readily understand that this specific failure was the cause of their downfall, and of their expulsion from their Land into Assyria (the Ten Tribes) and into Babylon (the Two Tribes). The Two Tribes were given a second chance at the end of 70 years, but failed again to observe the laws they had been given, and even slew their Messiah in complete denial of His mission and purpose because it did not fit their prejudicial concepts of His first coming.
Never again was Israel a commonwealth in its own right until its re-establishment in May, 1948.
They are thus NOW being given a second opportunity to glorify the Almighty, and to acknowledge His great blessing to them.
However, Israel has not yet learned to obey God in the fullness of His commandments.
They have offered - and still do offer - accommodation with the heathen peoples scattered among them instead of driving them out of their Land. Instead of cleansing their divinely given Land of heathen practices and heathen gods, and suppressing their active aggression against the God of Israel and the People of God they are reticent. They have repeatedly offered "land for peace" with those opposers, in direct contravention of God's earlier commandments.
Joel 3 clearly condemns this approach; it denies this "solution."
They do not yet believe God. They are wary of world opinion and of Arab wrath should they express their rights within their own land!
They do not yet have the faith required to follow His injunctions.
But they shall soon acquire it!
Numerous prophetic forecasts outline in quite fine detail Israel's Endtime future within its own Land, the Abrahamic Land Grant of Genesis 12 et seq, in which the Almighty's will is made crystal clear.
Their sure destiny is a perfect completion of their conquest of Canaan and its present pagan population of Islamic Arabs from the Nile to the Euphrates, and from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf (and the Indian Ocean? - these southwestern borders are not yet clear to us).
As to the heathen (the nations of Canaan today), like those of old, the ideal condition is that they shall not dwell in thy land. They have no inheritance within it at all, and shall possess no possessions there in perpetuity. It is abundantly clear that ... the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together (to the Lord, and to His people), gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance (Zechariah 14:14).
These fabulous riches include their oil and gas, their minerals and ores, and all the spoils of conquest which generally accrue to the conquerors of nations.
In what general context do we see these accomplishments?
How does this come about for Israel of today?
It comes about by direct intervention of Him on high, Who shall send His Son to intrude upon the nations on their behalf, enabling Him without hesitation to advance furiously, in bloody physical conflict, upon His enemies and those of His people. His abrupt, unexpected intervention illustrating clearly to them His invincibility, gaining their respect and trust in His unspeakable deliverance from their opposers, libelers and slanderers - those whose goals are above all and primarily to ... cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel be no more in remembrance (Psalm 83: 4).
The immediate result of this exquisitely clear intervention on their behalf shall bring their sincere, heartfelt acceptance of His leadership ... and their spontaneous, conclusive and unanimous cry, Blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the Lord!
How can we be sure of this outcome? We can be absolutely certain of it because of the Master's words to Jerusalem of His own day, in which He declared, Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!
Luk 13:35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate (neglected by Him for a long time to come): and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Their "seeing Him" in this case consists of their UNDERSTANDING Him as well as physically beholding Him - of their beholding with astonishment and admiration His vast power which He shall exert on their behalf even without their specific request, and the devastating result it shall have on their enemies round about.
Their recognition and its process is related in Zechariah 12 and 13.
Israelis today have come (of necessity) to respect might and power as much as any force. But His stupendous display of overwhelming power against their innumerable foes shall far exceed their understanding or comprehension - and illustrate to them precisely Who He is and what is His purpose with them!
Their unanimous cry to the Almighty is therefore precisely as prescribed: Blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the Lord! ... expressing their ready willingness to accept Him and His authority over them in every way.
Only then can their true redemption begin! Only then can His People fulfill their eternal destiny of being a glory to their God and a light unto the nations ... for salvation, for peace, and for eternal security before Him.
<HEL MD/USA December, 2012>
Pestilence Watch: Saudi Arabia, Nov. 27, 2012. If you have ever had pneumonia, you have experienced a desperate need for oxygen, and the dreadful, stultifying fear of suffocation ... of not being able to "get a deep breath." The accompanying high fever and profuse perspiration, fast pulse, uncontrolled coughing, and deep, general malaise give the disease a frightful, ominous aspect felt in few other disorders.
Those are the symptoms of one with SARS - Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome - which surfaced in China in 2002, killing about 800 of its 8,000 victims worldwide.
SARS is caused by a Coronavirus. Microscopic photographs of it show a bizarre circle of bulbous projections outward from its shell resembling a crown - thus the word-element, "corona," Latin for "crown."
We all remember seeing the photographs of Chinese citizens going about their daily duties wearing masks.
Now a new Coronavirus similar to SARS has appeared in Saudi Arabia; it has infected six people in Arabia and in Qatar. It has already resulted in two deaths, both in Saudi Arabia. One patient, a man, has been transported to the UK for treatment of the disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) described the disease in a release in September, noting that a Qatar citizen who had just returned from Saudi Arabia had become infected by a new, mysterious virus previously not detected in humans.
These types of viruses are normally resident in birds of many kinds, and often harmless to the birds, but recently are seen ominously migrating into the human population. Six similar viruses are now identified as human pathogens.
The new disease retains some of the symptoms of SARS: coughing, labored breathing and high fever. WHO warned that the virus is more than likely distributed in more than the two countries in which it has been observed - perhaps worldwide already, due to the high volume of international air traffic of today.
A test is already available for the new virus. WHO advises anyone with the shared symptoms of SARS, or with unexplained pneumonia, be tested for the new infection due to its high virulence, even if they have not travelled to either Saudi Arabia or Qatar.
Health Care Global reported that the World Health group assured the world medical community that it will continue to work with health officials in both Saudi Arabia and Qatar to gain a better understanding of the disease and how to treat it successfully, which would include isolating the patients immediately, and treating it as early and as aggressively as possible in the course of the disease.
Their work will include both epidemiological and scientific studies with the virus. This will include high definition photographs of the offending virus, and studies into how it may spread. Since it is mostly a shallow/deep respiratory illness, masks are helpful but not entirely protective as the simple face masks being used are inefficient.
If you would like to read some scientific information on these viruses and view a photograph of them, enter Coronaviruses in your Google search engine and look at the Wikipedia entry on the subject. Those uneducated in virology or medicine will find it daunting, but it will give one an overall indication of the complexity and danger of the disease.
Our considered view is that this is another beginning of pestilence among men such as that to which Habakkuk refers in 3:5 - a time when the judgments of the Lord are present and visible among his enemies: Before Him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at His feet. That entire chapter is a frightening study of the fragility and mortality of man!
Ezekiel 38: 22 illustrates that pestilence shall be a chief component of the punishment and destruction of Gog, along with several natural weapons of fire and brimstone: I will plead against (Gog) with pestilence and blood ...
Pestilence is one of the ideal weapons of the Almighty. Its agents can spring forth from anywhere and at any time. Often they are previously unknown. It can be extremely deadly as was the Bubonic Plague of Europe. Plague's origin (rat fleas) in past time was completely unknown and unsuspected. Folk prejudice accused the Jews of poisoning wells. Others thought it was miasma - "bad air."
In that vast pandemic, beginning in 1347AD, is is believed that a third of the human population was killed by the flea-borne bacterium, Yersinia pestis. Prior pandemics of the same disease were nearly as destructive to human society.
This newly-discovered Coronaviral infection is but one of many of a recent spate of newly emergent pestilential diseases which have no immediately effective treatment, often lead to death in a short while, and which present such a dilemma to medical scientists. <HEL MD/USA, November 27, 2012>
H E Lafferty
For some time Russia has been playing at cooperation with Syria in its resistance to the rebel forces which are besieging President Bashar al-Assad's government, establishing a naval facility at the Syrian port of Tartus, and moving several warships both into and near Syria in recent months.
It looked initially like a Russian move to support Assad against the rebels at all costs. now it appears to the Russians that hostilities are eminently about to begin upon Syria by Europe, the US and the Arabs. This is a source of concern for Moscow which has now ordered its warships at Tartus to steam home, and now has only one ship remaining in Tartus - it is a so-called "floating shipyard" (a naval repair vessel) which is said to be under orders to depart by mid-September.
This suddenly leaves Syria with none of the expected support from its benefactor, Russia.
There are Other Complications
Russian military and intelligence services seem to differ with American assessment of Israel's capability to shut down the Iranian nuclear program for several years, and want to distance themselves from any involvement in it.
However, this week several new turns of events show wavering on the part of Russia in that initial assessment.
On August 31, as already stated, the Russians ordered its warships to pull out of the Syrian port of Tartus with dispatch.
It was a move sparked probably by Russian intelligence services' conclusions that either Israel or the US (or both) are eminently concluding plans either to attack Iran OR to join a Western-Arab-Muslim intervention in Syria. Either might involve the Russian navy, air force and even its army in the imbroglio, which Mr. Putin is now striving to avoid.
A shipment of critical defense equipment from Russia to Syria which was nearing the shores of Syria has been turned back by Russia and ordered to head back to its home port.
Another factor is that Moscow expects Western-Arabic intervention in the Syrian civil war. They apparently believe that Turkey, the West, and the Arabs are almost certainly on the brink of military action in Syria, and that not only Lebanon but also Hezbollah (in south Lebanon) will be drawn into the maelstrom.
Another factor in the matrix is that Russia has its own views on US and Israeli projections of the length of operations against Iran once they begin.
The American experts expect ten days to two weeks.
Israelis predict up to one month of operations.
But the Russian analysts foresee operations lasting up to six months with lulls in the action at intervals - in other words, a brief but protracted siege of Iran by Israeli warplanes. Russian intelligence services are sure that the attacks on Iran will come in drawn-out, successive waves.
Russia is also wary of US and Israeli projections as to the events of "the day after" the first attacks on Iran or Syria. The Russians believe that neither of these two entities have any clear notion of the military or political follow-on effects of their actions in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf region or the Black Sea region. Mr. Putin has therefore taken Russian military assets out of the anticipated war areas except for intelligence personnel.
Russian fleet is staying put in its Black Sea
and northern Russian ports.
In addition, Russia has stopped its arms deliveries to Iran as of early August, 2012. Hence, only arms already contracted and paid for will be delivered to Iran from Russia. In this context, Iran has already paid for advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile batteries which Iran needs to shield its nuclear sites; Russia has never handed these over to the Iranian Republic and perhaps will not do so, even though it has been sued by Iran for non-delivery in the Geneva Court of Arbitration.
In line with this disappointment of Iran, it must conclude that Moscow will not deliver replacement parts and ordnance for the Russian weapons systems already in service in the Iranian armed forces and Revolutionary Guards Corps (RGC). Expert observers believe only a few military items remain to be delivered to Iran and by the year's end, its arms supplies will no longer be available to Iran, at least in the short run.
Russian support of Syria is likewise waning. In the same week it announced its embargo (in effect) upon Iran, it also said that no large Russian weapons shipments were planned in the near future for Syria's Assad government.
Further withdrawal of influence by Moscow is seen it its calling off the huge naval exercise Caucasus 2012 which had been scheduled for mid-August in the eastern Mediterranean near the Syrian coast. But Moscow has assured Assad that Russian intelligence assistance and logistical advice would continue.
One troubling aspect of all this to the West is that the Kremlin has assured Washington and Jerusalem that Moscow has military "red lines" (points not to be crossed) in Iran and Syria. Its implication is that if America or Israel crosses these lines, Russian intervention will be reconsidered strongly, whatever that means. In this context, an attack on the Russian sponsored and operated nuclear reactor in Bushehr, Iran, would probably be considered one of those lines.
Bearing on Israel
All these machinations bear upon Israeli planners and affect their decisions.
Some observers are fearful for Israel, and expect her to become "made thin" by the trouble with Syria (Isaiah 17:4; but this was fulfilled by the Assyrians in the 7th c. BC!); our opinion is that is not probable or even possible - not because of Israel's strength (which is undeniable) but because of God's protection. It shall be even as it was in the days of Jehoshaphat: 2 Chronicles 20:13: And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. 14 Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation; 15 And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.
This month (September) has been termed "Israel's Month of Decision on Iran" (Israel Defense Ministry). We can readily see that tension in Israel is terribly high and near the breaking point in this matter. Continuous meetings and planning sessions are under way in Israel at this moment; one can be sure that the information-feeds of Mossad , Shin Bet, and other Israeli intelligence services are stretched tightly to provide the most current information.
The drama is heightened by the continuing reports of Iran's strengthening stockpiles of nuclear materials. By September 23, Iran shall have produced 270 kilograms of 20% enriched uranium. This is 87% of the way to its goal of producing weapons-grade uranium, and enough to make one nuclear bomb.
But at the same time, Iran will have built its stock of 3.5% enriched uranium to seven tons! In an additional short process, this material can be concentrated to the 90% purity needed for weapons, which translates to four or five nuclear bombs nearing the ready point.
Other factors are so numerous and complex that they cannot be reported or even abstracted in a short article such as this.
One additional disturbing factor for Israel is the remark made by General Martin Dempsey in London on August 30th, that “I don’t want to be complicit if they (Israel) choose to do it,” i.e., attack Iran. This was later dubbed the “Dempsey Avalanche” because of its powerful impact on Jerusalem, as reported by the Defense Ministry. This remark by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon was troubling to Israelis, further supporting their previous suspicions that Israel is "on its own" if it attacks Iran before the US presidential election.
But it shall NOT be on its own!
These events are staggering in their implications for Israel's security and the stability of the entire Middle East. We hold no illusions as to the instability of the latter, but do maintain our faith (based on scriptural support) that Israel is being brought closer to its final status of threat and danger which we expect to be in place at the time of the Second Advent.
Their danger shall be intensely concentrated and extreme as it is already; their mettle is being tested even as we write. Isaiah 31:4 For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: So shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof. 5 As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.
The entire text of Isaiah 31 (and every parallel text) is consistent with this theme regarding the two major enemies of Israel - Egypt and Assyria (Syria and Iraq) as these embody the larger proportion of all those occupying the Covenant Land from the Nile to the Euphrates. All ends extremely well for His people as both enemies retreat in fear and are demolished. The enemy "princes" are pictured as terrified of the Ensign ... Whose fire is in Zion ... Whose furnace is in Jerusalem.
It cannot be clearer: their deliverance is certain and immutable!
Zechariah addresses this time in his words of Zechariah 8:13 And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong.
This boon comes at today's crucial time in Israel's history, as noted earlier by the prophet: Zechariah 8:7: Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; 8 And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.
This fact is so important that Jeremiah emphasizes essentially the same promise twice, in identical language: Jeremiah 23:6 In His days (referring to the King of Righteousness) Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Jeremiah 33:16 records the same promise.
The phrase in His days refers to the days of the King of the previous verse: Jeremiah 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
That King is Israel's Messiah/King Who shall have suddenly arisen for their salvation and their redemption in this critical, momentous, most significant crisis of the ages.
<HEL MD/USA, September, 2012>
of ICEJ Article, by Harold Lafferty
The Levy Report has re-energized the Israeli national debate over Israel's claim to The Territories (often referred to as The Occupied Territories).
David Parsons of International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ) released this definitive statement on August 22, 2012: A committee of legal experts commissioned by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to render advice on how to deal with the controversial issue of settlement outposts recently delivered a report which instantly reinvigorated Israel’s national debate over its presence in the West Bank, with the Right welcoming the study’s reassertion of Jewish historic rights in Judea and Samaria and the Left warning it could spell the end of the two-state solution.
The Land feud is back!
Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu had commissioned the study earlier. His aim was better to assess what Israel should do with the dozens of small outposts established outside the approved boundaries of "settlements" (we sh0uld rather use the term community developments) established by Jews outside the "approved" boundaries of settlements that existed when Israel entered the Oslo Agreements.
The "settlements" are a problem for the Israeli government which has repeatedly pledged to remove them in order to bring about the "peace process" with the "Palestinians."
The Levy Report has been hailed by those on the Right because it clearly states that not only were the outposts lawful, but that the government was shirking its duty in not authorizing the "settlements" retroactively, making them entirely legal.
The Report also concluded that Israel's presence in the "West Bank" is not in any way "occupation" of it under international law. In doing so, it affirmed the state's legal right to settle Jews there. The first settlements were a direct result of the urging of the government at that time for settlers to establish villages and kibbutzim as "facts on the ground" within the "Palestinian" enclaves.
Mr. Netanyahu and his ministerial committee, which he set up to decide the fate of the outposts, now have the responsibility to make critical decisions which will bear heavily upon the "peace process" and upon Israel's relationships with the international community. It will be a fine edge upon which they tread.
The US State Department's reaction to the Levy Report could have been predicted well in advance: "We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity and we oppose any effort to legalize outposts.”
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas instantly rejected the Report, reasserting that he considers all "settlements' illegal under international law."
We knew that would be the reactions of these two parties.
Even the New York Times, in an editorial piece, dismissed the report as "bad law, bad policy, bad politics" and declared it to be "a potentially disastrous blow" to Palestinian hopes for an independent state. (Well ... we should hope so! After all, does the NYT have any inkling as to God's plan?? Or does the State Department? Or more impossibly, does the PA? That answer is clearly, NO!)
The core determinations and recommendations of the Levy Report have a solid basis in law ... and are not as earth-shattering as some may contend. Yet many Jews worldwide have sent a letter to Mr. Netanyahu urging him to ignore the Levy Report because it will place the "two-state solution" and the "prestige of Israel" in grave peril.
In 1988 Ariel Sharon urged settlers to "grab hilltops" as the Oslo talks reached their conclusions. Thus it was by tacit government sanction that the Israeli zealots (for such they are) claimed and inhabited those lonely mountainous outposts among the Arabs of the PA.
Since 1993, Israeli governments have allowed "natural growth" to continue in the 130 or so existing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, but have generally not allowed the building of new communities to avoid "offending" the PA. Meanwhile, the question of what to do about the existing settlements has been feverishly festering for all these years.
Later, as Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon promised the Bush Administration to root out dozens of the outposts lying beyond the "approved" boundaries of existing settlements. But he and his successor Ehud Olmert were extremely slow to carry out the intention because of the evident entrenchment of the "Palestinians" against further progress toward "peace.
Because of the intransigence of the "Palestinians" and with the "settler" movement now rabidly determined to stop any further outpost evacuations (remembering the fiasco which occurred after Gaza was evacuated), Bibi Netanyahu has also been extremely slow to tear out any of the outposts, which would risk serious domestic unrest, and even more importantly in his mind, a mutiny within his coalition government.
The festering problem came to a head last year when court-ordered evacuations of Migron and Ulpana appeared certain. The PA insisted that the "settlers" had built on private Palestinian lands, but in each case the Jewish families claimed that they had lawfully purchased the tracts from Palestinians.
However, the court ruled that the Arab sellers did not have any proper legal title to convey!
The resultant brouhaha was to be settled by three eminent Jurists whom Netanyahu appointed to compile an advisory report. The jurists were (retired) Justice Edmond Levy, Alan Baker (a former Foreign Ministry senior legal adviser and Ambassador to Canada) as well as former deputy president of the Tel Aviv District Court, Tehiya Shapira. This trio delivered its final report in July, the conclusions of which are theoretically a watershed for Israel in the international sense.
Mr. Parsons' article sums up in two short paragraphs: "The Levy panel concluded that Israel's presence in the West Bank is not an “occupation” under international law and endorsed the state’s legal right to settle Jews there. It recommended that the state finally authorize many of the settlement outposts and also suggested that more new Israeli settlements be approved in Area C – the some 60% of the West Bank where Israel has retained both security and civilian control under the Oslo Accords.
"The report also proposed stripping the IDF military administration of its authority to force settlers off land claimed by Palestinians, urging instead that local planning and zoning boards be allowed to resume their work and that any land disputes be resolved by duly-constituted courts of law with competence in such legal matters."
As one may imagine, the Report has triggered an entire spectrum of opinion from leaders of every sort. Mr. Netanyahu opined that the report contains a "variety of facts and arguments that should be seriously considered."
Other leading politicians also offered balanced perspectives on the Levy findings: they recognized that "... its basic conclusions on the legal status of the territories have been Israel’s stated position for decades."
But on the Left and Right, some reactions have tended to the extremes.
Mark Zell, a high-profile attorney, resident of Tekoa, and an avowed nationalist, decried the criticism of Left wing thinkers as "a cheap shot, below the belt." He wrote that the report raises ... important issues which have been forgotten .... It's about time, he said, "to show the right of Jews to settle in these areas… It’s a positive development. I bless the report. The more it gets into the international debate the better it will be.”
At the same time, Members of Knesset such as Tzipi Hotovely, urged a rally in Hebron, immediately to annex the West Bank! "Friends, everybody here today knows that there is a solution — applying sovereignty [over Judea and Samaria]. One state for the Jewish people with an Arab minority.” She said that just annexing Area C would not be sufficient. "We need to demand sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria, and nothing less than that."
She added that just annexing Area C, as some settler leaders have called for, would not be enough. “We need to demand sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria, and nothing less than that,” she declared.
Coalition Chairman MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) also endorsed the notion of annexing all the territories. In a videotaped message, he said that “regardless of the world’s opposition, it’s time to do in Judea and Samaria what we did in [East] Jerusalem and the Golan.”
It appears that Netanyahu is still officially in favor of a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside Israel, but it is apparent that many (most?) in his Likud faction have realized that the PA is not ready for any degree of cooperation with Israel. They appear ready for unilateral actions which would assume full Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank regardless of the demographic problems which it would encounter.
One of the Report's authors, Alan Baker, denounced State and the NYT, saying that both had obviously not read the report in detail (it was issued in Hebrew).
“Had they read the report they would have understood that most of what we were saying is nothing new, and secondly the main gist of the report is a series of 15 or so practical recommendations on how to deal with planning and zoning, land disputes, and things like that,” Baker explained.
“We criticized the government. We said the government has to act in a consistent manner and has to come out with a well-defined policy with respect to settlement activity. What we recommend is that the various bodies and committees set up to administer the territories should be allowed to continue their work, rather than ad hoc decisions by the Defense Ministry on land ownership questions they are not qualified to address.”
He also decried the warnings that the settler movement will use the Report to dig in its heels and resist the "two-state" solution. “Assuming the government agrees to enable the various planning and zoning committees to do their work, then there might well be situations where some of these settlements or outposts … will have to be relocated. So the settler movement should not be overly happy,” Baker cautioned. “There’s no carte blanche authorizing settlements that are inherently illegal. In our concluding paragraph we’re saying that it is high time everything was done in accordance with the law. Israel is a country that prides itself on the rule of law.”
“We traced Israel’s legal and historical claim to Palestine, from the Balfour Declaration of 1917 through the San Remo Conference in 1920 and the League of Nations Mandate in Palestine in 1922,” Baker explained. “Based on these documents, Israel considers that it has a legitimate and very strong claim to sovereignty over the entire West Bank.”
“However, Israel has committed itself to negotiate with the Palestinians,” he also insisted. “Israel’s underlying title has already been compromised.”
A Definitive Position:
The Land Belongs to Israel, Only
On another plane, after three decades of extensive research, no single critic has made a stronger legal case for Israel's claim to Judea and Samaria than Howard Grief. He was born in Montreal and took his law degree at McGill University. In 1982 he began investigating Israel's legal chain of title to the Land. In 2008 he published his findings as "The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law."
One of Greif's key points is extremely relevant: He says, "... politicians, diplomats and jurists have always set out a claim of sovereignty to the Land of Israel which is missing several key elements – and the recent Levy Report would be no exception." The main flaw, he contends, is that they have failed to grasp the full import of the San Remo (Italy) resolution of April 1920.
David Parsons reported in a recent issue of the Jerusalem Post:
Insisting he was the first to draw attention to the wider scope of the San Remo decision, Grief described its historic context. The Allied powers who won the First World War negotiated a treaty with Germany at the Paris conference in 1919 and then met with the Turks the following spring at the Italian resort of San Remo to divvy up the lands the Ottoman Empire had just lost in the Middle East.
“The Principal Allied Powers – Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan – did an unusual thing at San Remo,” Grief recounted. “Most victors annex territory conquered in war. But they decided to ‘subjugate’ the Ottoman lands and hold the sovereign title in trust for the benefit of the local inhabitants until they were ready to govern themselves. This is the origins of the mandate system.”
“In Palestine, the national beneficiaries were deemed to be the entire Jewish people worldwide,” he continued. “Palestine was a case of sui generis – one of a kind. This did not exist for all the other mandates. Few people remember that today” insisted Grief.
“The San Remo resolution specifically references the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the British commitment to establish a ‘national home’ for the Jews in Palestine,” added Grief. “That’s the reason why I submit that sovereignty was vested in the Jewish people at San Remo, and not in the League of Nations mandate two years later. The League’s mandate just obligated Britain to serve as a trustee until the Jews were ready to govern themselves.”
He further explains that all these decisions occurred as colonialism was dying and the Wilsonian concept of national self-determination was being birthed.
Greif credits the San Remo decision to Field Marshal Jan Smuts, a British statesman (later prime minister of South Africa). A year before the San Remo Conference, Smuts "had drafted a memorandum setting out the Mandate Concept which later became Article 22 of the League of Nations." Grief says the Smuts document specifically mentions Palestine as a mandated territory to be developed into a Jewish state in accordance with the Balfour Declaration.
Greif elaborates on other unique aspects of the Palestine Mandate which have been ignored:
· First, the mandate entrusted to Britain in 1922 specifically states in Article 5 that the land cannot be divided. “That means the UN Partition Plan of 1947 was an illegal act,” declared Grief. “Even the government of Israel cannot divide the land, so the Olso process was also unlawful. This is something that is really unbelievable! The state of Israel doesn’t assert its rights and doesn’t even know their rights,” Grief added. “I don't want to be too pompous to say that before my book was published, government leaders were not aware as to how strong the legal case of the Jewish people was to all of Palestine.”
· In addition, Grief found that the United States, both in a joint act of Congress in 1922 and in a treaty with Great Britain two years later, endorsed the Mandate in Palestine and pledged to be a guarantor of its provisions, which included the obligation to encourage “close settlement of Jews on the land. “This means the US is breaching its duty by opposing the settlements. By the doctrine of estoppel, the US is estopped [legally barred] from denying Jewish legal rights to the Land of Israel, in particular to Judea and Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem.”
What importance do these facts have to us as intrinsic believers in God's eternal Plan with Israel as the incipient first dominion of His kingdom on the earth (Micah 4:8)?
They validate and prove that the world powers have gone far afield from the original intention of the San Remo Conference, have illegally divided the Land of God, and have consistently denied the intrinsic right of Jews to inhabit their Land - ALL their lands - in this time of their Second Return - their FINAL return to their Homeland (Isaiah 11: 11).
The outworking of God's Plan is immutable. We are privileged to observe the incredibly intricate outworking of that Plan being played out in current history - contemporary history - and we have a mid-field seat! How exciting and faith-generating for us to be so situated, and fully aware of exactly what is happening as reported in the news media of the day!
Mic 4:3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
<HEL MD/USA September, 2012>
The great prophet Micah tells us of the magnificent future time:Mic 4:1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
Mic 4:2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Levi report establishes legality of Israeli West Bank settlements
By Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom, July 5, 2012
The biggest news story of the week, perhaps of the year, slipped under the media radar yesterday: [A] report drafted by the Committee to Examine the State of Construction in Judea and Samaria, headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levi. The report touches upon the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and makes sense of the matter. One can say that the government received permission to toss attorney Talia Sasson's report on settlement outposts into the dustbin of history. (Editor's note: The Sasson Report, commissioned by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and published in 2005, concluded that Israeli state bodies had been discreetly supporting West Bank settlements and outposts that were illegal under Israeli law.)
Levi's report concludes that Israel has the right to settle Jews in Judea and Samaria, and that it is incorrect to say that building settlements is illegal according to international law: "According to international law Israelis have the legal right to settle in all of Judea and Samaria, and at the very least in territories under Israeli control based on agreements with the Palestinian Authority; and therefore the creation of settlements in and of itself is not an illegal act."
The committee also concludes: "From the viewpoint of international law, statutes regarding the 'occupation' are inapplicable due to the special legal and historical circumstances regarding the decades-long Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria."
Since the 1970s, senior jurists in Israel and abroad have argued that Israel is completely within its rights to settle its citizens in Judea and Samaria. Among them are the President of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Judge Stephen Schwebel; Prof. Elihu Lauterpacht of Cambridge University; and Prof. Eugene Rostow, the former Deacon at Yale's school of law, all of whom, along with others, have voiced their clear opinions in regards to Israel's just claim over Judea and Samaria within the historical and legal circumstances.
Since the Six-Day War, however, Israel has refrained from declaring the permanent status of the territories it won, excluding Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
Into this vacuum Chief Justice Aharon Barak and others inserted the legal paradigm of "Belligerent Occupation," according to which military governance draws its authority from the rules of international law in territories that were won in war. The significance is that Israel is deemed, allegedly, to be a foreign occupier, and it doesn't have the right to apply its sovereignty over, or to move its civilian population into, those territories.
Some of the measures which hostile legal bodies have taken against the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria stemmed from this perception. These measures, which aimed at strangling the settlement enterprise, received justification from the State Prosecutor's Office due to its adoption of the Belligerent Occupation paradigm, despite the current government's many objections.
If the territories aren't occupied, the Left has argued over the years, they must be annexed, including the populations there. But the reality isn't a polar one, it is complex. The current report recognizes an intermediate reality: At hand is a disputed territory; two entities hold it; none of the sides is considered an "occupier." There is disagreement regarding ownership, which needs to be clarified through different means, but there is no definition of "occupation" in the international legal sense of the word.
A perception of Belligerent Occupation occurs when one country conquers the territories of another country. In our case, the last sovereign power was the British Mandate, which received its legitimacy from the League of Nations to create a national home for the Jews in the Land of Israel.
The Jordanian occupation was never recognized (aside from Britain and Pakistan), and Israel never conquered "Jordanian territory." Moreover, Jordan renounced its sovereignty over these territories toward the late 1980s.
Another dramatic point in the report is its stance on communities which were built without a government decision ("Unauthorized"). The report concludes that because their creation and development occurred with the knowledge, encouragement and agreement of the most senior government echelons, "this conduct must be considered to be 'authorization.'"
Therefore, "the act of eviction from these communities is impractical and a different solution must be found, such as compensation or alternative land offers. For this reason the committee has suggested to the state that it refrain from carrying out demolition orders in these communities, which it is in essence responsible for creating."
If the government adopts the report's conclusions, it means that the folks working with Mike Blass over at the State Prosecutor's Office will no longer be able to deny, in the state's name, the existence of these communities and won't be able to advance their destruction through dry legal claims.
The government has taken a great step in the right direction on this matter, much to the chagrin of the enemies of the settlement enterprise, and to the joy of its supporters, comprising most of the Jewish population in Israel.
Now a world war will ensue against the report and against Levi.
All the old arguments and slandering tactics will be dusted off and put to use; left-wing organizations will enlist the help of their friends from across the globe, and the alienated juridical elite will fight against the most natural thing to us as a people: the return to our homeland, the cradle of our nationhood.
There is no need to become over-excited; this is exactly what this government was elected for. It is the will of most of the people, and it is also a historical decree.
As of this date, Syria's present regime seems to be on the ropes as never before. The rebels fighting against President Bashar al-Assad are gaining ground steadily and media observers this week were expecting the imminent fall of the government. Their expectations may be a bit premature. Information obtained on Monday, July 23, revealed that Syria has just admitted having a considerable stockpile of chemical weapons. Further, spokesmen claimed that Syria will not use those weapons on its own people, but will use them on anyone who tries to interfere in its internal affairs – a blatant threat against any intervention.
This conflict’s importance extends beyond Syrian borders in nearly every direction. Most important, in our thinking, is its southern threat to Israel where Syria has built up and supported the forces of Hezbollah, standing starkly face to face with Israeli fighters in Northern Israel.
It may be helpful here to review the confusing political lay-of-the-land in the Levant: Syria is governed by the al-Assads who are Alawites. This means they follow Ali (thus Alawite). or Ali ibn Abi Talib, cousin and son-in-law of Mohammed. They are nominally Shiites, but are actually quite different according to observers at Stratfor, who say the Alawites are not really Moslems at all.
However, the Alawites and the Shiites are minorities in Syria, which is predominantly Sunni Moslem.
The Syrian REGIME of today is backed by Iran, which is also Shiite. Iran has successfully come into predominance in Iraq, and backs the government in Baghdad. Iran also supports Hezbollah in south Lebanon, and funnels supplies to that organization on a regular basis.
The REBELS in Syria are Sunni Islamicists, Salafist jihadists, and followers of al-Qaida, which has adherents in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran and other regions.The Salafists are generally Saudi Arabian Fundamentalists of the Shiite persuasion and exist mostly in the eastern regions of Saudi Arabia. Egypt contains many Salafists as part of its anti-Mubarak crowd. They are aligned with the Moslem Brotherhood and thus support Hamas in Gaza and have sizeable representation in Jordan, Lebanon and other places.
Rounding out the lot, TURKEY, the SAUDIS, and QATAR are predominantly Sunni Moslems who absolutely hate the Shiites!
This map, prepared by Brian Armour from existing graphics, helps explain these relationships.
As you may observe, the entire mix is about as complex as mixes can get. All these various loyalties and dogmatic pursuits contribute to the complexity of the entire situation in the Middle East.
We have addressed the Syrian Civil War (for such it now is) several times in the past, bringing forth the scriptural references to the demise of Damascus itself – an event which has never occurred in history. The prophecy is therefore still future, and correlates with many other divine forecasts for Syria along with Iraq, as “Assyria,” as these two countries answer closest to the domain of Assyria of old.
There are several factors in this conflict which add to its gross confusion. The Assad family, as already stated, are Alawites; they are an off-shoot of the Shia Moslems, both being small minority populations within the country. The largest population of Syrians adhere to the Sunni branch of Islam and are at swords' points with the Shia minority.
To further complicate things, Iran is sponsor of Hezbollah in South Lebanon – a constantly growing threat to Northern Israel. Iran trans-ships war materiel and supplies through Syria with the aid of Assad’s government. If Assad falls, this supply line will be interrupted, depending upon the identity of his successors, most likely anti-Iran.
Iran is striving to form an Islamic crescent from the northern shores of the Persian Gulf (Iran itself, as well as Western Afghanistan), connecting through Iraq to its northwest to Syria in the west and Lebanon in the south. That initiative is now being threatened by the fragility of the Assad regime.
The identity of the Syrian rebels is not really clear to Western observers (at least they say that), so only little assistance has been given the Syrian rebels to date aside from some personal arms and other light-weight supplies such as food and clothing.
Turkey is a former friend of Syria but now harbors many Syrian dissidents in the far northwestern portion of Syria in a Turkish protected enclave. Turkey has turned against Assad recently. Refugees from Syria enter that region every day. Others are fleeing south into Jordan and are compromising King Abdullah II’s ability to cope with them.
Russia and China continue to veto moves within the UN Security Council to have Assad’s government sanctioned and put under embargoes in order to quell his resistance to the rebels. Russia and China want to keep Assad in power for their own commercial interests.
The United States has been impotent in the affair to date. President Obama speaks now one way and later another – vacillating and hemming and hawing before the whole world; he is thus viewed as a non-leader in this affair. He has no clear plan for its resolution.
The only clear plan, aside from the rejected plans of the Arab League, has been that of Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations, now an envoy seeking peace in Syria for the UN. Annan's peace plan was produced as the United Nations' Plan for peace.
The first two points of his plan are: (1) commit to work with the Envoy in an inclusive Syrian-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people, and, to this end, commit to appoint an empowered interlocutor when invited to do so by the Envoy; (2) commit to stop the fighting and achieve urgently an effective United Nations supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians and stabilise the country.
The remainder of the plan would stabilize the country and allow free movement for relief forces, journalists, and others as well as establish a UN Oversight Force of 250 "Observers" to enforce the peace. Wow! What a plan! It has been proven many times in the past that UN Observers are useless in such war zones, and often come under attack.
It does not propose the replacement of the Assad regime, or seemingly a change in the government. At the moment, this entire UN plan seems to be going nowhere.
The only apparent leaders of the rebels seem to have adopted the ideals of the Moslem Brotherhood, which bodes ill for both Syria and Israel. The Brotherhood, of course, wants to bring Syria under Sharia Law (Islamic law) and take the country back several centuries in time to a more primitive, ascetic society where the Mullahs are absolute rulers and there is no liberty for the people.
This group would also militate against peace with Israel far more than even Hezbollah and the Assad regime already do. Their relationships with the Brotherhood forces now in power in Egypt would create a vise grip upon Israel from the north and the south.
Adding to this dilemma for Israel is the recent stirrings of the Brotherhood in Jordan on Israel’s eastern border. The strongly “Palestinian” fraction of his population [around 70%] and can exert great pressure upon the king if it decides to do so ... and it is recently deciding to do so!
To complicate affairs even further the Russians have established a naval base at Latakia, Syria. It is the only Russian naval base in warm waters – at least a temporary (we believe) fulfillment of an ancient dream of Peter the Great who originated the plan. Russia has recently moved several thousand marines in several vessels near the shores of Syria, tentatively planning to move them ashore to prop up Assad’s defense of Damascus and the several important military establishments in that vicinity, including the repositories of Syria’s weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons. Syria’s involvement in bacteriological weapons is not certainly known; if it has developed these, they are likely stored in the same warehouses.
Just last week, the Syrians were observed to be moving some of those chemical weapons out of storage and getting ready to ship them to some other location. Israel is considering whether to attack this operation with an air strike as Israel has declared that it will NOT allow these lethal weapons to fall into the hands of Hezbollah in the South of Lebanon. Israel said it could easily destroy those weapons on their journey toward the south if that were a probability.
We are certainly impressed with the swirling activity of almost all important nations around this upheaval in Syria, and are acutely aware of the dangers and uncertainties it poses for Israel.
As we have recently written ...
"We cannot determine the exact course of the ongoing Syrian Revolution, but we can certainly deduce one important fact: Syria is destined in future actively and aggressively to combine forces with Iraq as the ASSYRIAN entity of Micah 5, and to attack Israel probably simultaneously with all the other nearby Islamic States which have been aggressing Israel since before 1948 to no avail. In Micah 5, Assyria's fate is shown sealed by the MAN of Bethlehem Ephratah, the Lord Jesus Christ then returned to the earth, who shall be the peace (shall bring peace - by conquest) when Assyria comes within My borders and strives to trample within My Sanctuary.
"We feel that it will be at that time that Damascus will receive its just punishment for its unceasing aggression of Israel, God's people, and be destroyed out of hand, its dynasties of pagan Islam never again to see the light of day, its land being totally converted to the ways of God and made one with Egypt and Israel as the prophet promised (Isaiah 19: 25).
"So, if (when) the Assad Dynasty is overthrown, a regime more antagonistic to Israel will doubtless take its place – one more attuned to active aggression against Israel, especially in league with Iraq, in future time. This is a destiny which, although not presently transparent as to development, cannot be set aside; it is certain to be fulfilled. And Damascus is destined to be removed from its place, becoming “heaps,”as surely as the sun shall rise tomorrow."
["What of Syria?" in The Christadelphian Advocate, June, 2012] <HEL MD/USA July, 2012>
H E Lafferty
There has for many years existed among sincere believers the strong conclusion that every nation on earth in some form or another would be gathered literally and physically against Jerusalem to battle, and that this is the “battle of Armageddon.” We have adequately addressed the subject of Armageddon in other papers, so that consideration is not part of this present essay.
Is this a valid conclusion – that all the nations of the whole earth shall gather physically against Jerusalem – and by implication – against Israel?
What do the scriptures have to say about it?
We need to consider the facts as well as we can determine them. And we can do that!
Chief among biblical commentaries on the subject is the 12th chapter of Zechariah. It comprehensively addresses the historical time in which we live today. We quote it below and comment on its message. (This A. V. text is as downloaded from E Sword.)
Zec 12:1 The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.
Zec 12:2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling (Strong H7478, ra’al, a reeling (from intoxication, trembling) unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
This “cup” relates directly to intoxication with the subject of Jerusalem and its possession. If you have ever observed a drunken person closely – one severely affected by ethyl alcohol – you will have noted his intense difficulty with walking, his incoherent reasoning, his disturbed balance, his misplaced logic, his slurred speech.
It is a pitiful state of incompetence and failure of character.
A rudimentary test of intoxication by police officers is to have the subject try to walk a straight line – which he cannot do; he reels side to side, and falls forward or backward, uncoordinated, and often quivering or convulsing. He cannot with certainty even touch his nose with an outstretched finger – a simple task easily accomplished when in full charge of his faculties.
The Islamic idealism of possession of Jerusalem is extremely similar. They are intoxicated with the notion that Jerusalem is theirs to possess to the utter exclusion of the Jews whose capital city it is. They are obsessed with Jerusalem as surely as an alcoholic is addicted to drink; they are unable to withdraw from their intention to possess it at all costs (cf., Psalm 83: 12).
Another comment of Zechariah adds enlightenment here as to the siege of the City: Zech 14: 14 And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.
Are we aware of a siege against Jerusalem and Judah (the Jewish State) having occurred in our lifetime? YES! It has been an ongoing struggle officially since May, 1948, when Israel proclaimed itself a state; it was already occurring against the Jews who had made Aliyah before that date. They were being killed and ravaged in disturbing numbers leading up to the proclamation of the state. Our day occupies the space just after the semicolon in the 14th verse; Israel has not yet gathered together the wealth of all the nations (heathen) round about her. That certainty lies in her future!
Meanwhile, she is in the midst of a siege – a protracted WAR. But it is a war prosecuted ONLY by the “people round about,” and no others; not all nations of the earth.
The War of Independence was forced upon Judah and Jerusalem by seven hostile powers at its birth in one day – May 14, 1948. The infant State survived – but lost the Old City of Jerusalem to the hostiles while maintaining possession of half the City (Zechariah 14:2).
But the next conflict within the Land (19 years later) was the Six Day War. Israel warned Jordan (which then occupied Old Jerusalem and the eastern portion of the ancient kingdom of Israel down to the River Jordan) to remain neutral. King Hussein did not heed their warning and instantly lost all the territory he had occupied in 1948 to the lightning strike issued by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The siege was actual and in real time as foretold by Zechariah! It was televised almost as it happened.
However, this was but one of the early stages of a protracted series of conflicts which shall yet end as Zechariah 14: 14 predicts – with “the wealth of all the heathen round about” (those we refer to as the Proximal Islamic States) being taken by God’s people.
We have not seen this outcome as yet, but the day draws nearer for it to occur.
Zec 12:3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
What of this terminology “all the people of the earth” – does that mean literally all the nations of the earth? In an international context it might; for example the UN member states almost unanimously, but only rhetorically, fret and fume over the “problem” of Jerusalem daily. Two thirds of all the legal decisions of the UN Security Council have been concerned with Israel, specifically – a people which forms about 1/1000 of the entire population of the earth. In a real sense, ALL the people of the earth ARE NOW gathered against Jerusalem (as representative of the entire Israeli people and nation).
But who is actively engaged in the struggle? Only the nations round about are “gathered together against it” as a physical reality, and are intimately concerned with taking Jerusalem as the capital of a “Palestinian” state, and of ridding the land of all the Jews. Regardless of our personal convictions, this fact is extremely important to a basic understanding of this “problem.” These specific enemies are those who are designated “all the people of the earth” for the earth is the “earth” of God’s land; all these powers inhabit God’s land at the present time – which land is that designated by the Promises to Abraham in Genesis 12 and 15 et seq; and to his descendant David and his Son in II Samuel 7.
We feel that an understanding of this fact is fundamental to the understanding of this vital prophecy! Alien peoples are inhabiting God’s Land of Promise (to Abraham and his Seed) and they must be ousted!
The Hebrew for “earth” here is Strong’s H776, eretz, from an unused root, probably meaning to be firm, the earth (at large, or partivively, a land) which in this case is God’s Designated Land of Israel – for they are all the remaining “other” inhabiters at this time, later to be expelled and their wealth appropriated to the Lord’s kingdom and people.
Therefore it is the inhabitants of THAT specific “earth” that are gathered together against it in a most unified attack, as we see daily being constructed and mounted against God’s people.
We believe such details are supremely important to our deeper, more sensitive, more accurate understanding of God’s intent; it is in the intense study of the fine details of the prophets’ utterances that the finer points of transition and fulfillment are discerned. These CANNOT be overlooked or ignored because in them is the essence of His revelation to us! In this way the picture comes alive for our studied consideration and profit.
Zec 12:4 In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every (enemy) horse with astonishment, and his (enemy) rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the (enemy) people with blindness.
Zec 12:5 And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.
Zec 12:6 In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.
That phraseology indicates a safe, SURE habitation of her rightful place – ALL parts of the City (East and West, North and South) as eternal Capital of the entire Inheritance … purely and simply … and straightforwardly!
Have we not seen this described strength of Israel already manifested? What about the lightning manner in which Israel took the Old City in the Six Day War? – a conflict which lives in the military exploits of the world as not only one of the most rapid but also one of the most decisive victories ever won by a military force in all history! As a result, Jerusalem was “inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.” And note specifically that it was the forces of JUDAH which did this – the identity of Israel as constituted at present. The dispute rages on with the defeated enemies whining and complaining of their oppression at Israel’s hand!
But so far we have seen only the leading edge of Israel’s strength, enhanced without any doubt by the power of God being expressed through the Archangel Michael, the angel who “stands for the children of (Daniel’s) people” (the Jews) – Daniel 12: 1-2. We believe the nations of Israel’s enemies have not seen anything yet! Its divine strength shall be seen clearly when Israel shall DEVOUR all the people round about!
Zec 12:7 The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.
Zec 12:8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.
Here Judah is being led by “the Lord” Who is defending them, their being God’s battle axe and weapon of war …. But in a different case than the text in which similar phraseology is found: Jeremiah 51:20 Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms; here the text referred specifically to Babylon as target of his people. This entire chapter is concerned with the fate of Babylon at the hand of the Medes and Persians; but its meaning extends also to the nations as punished terminally by ISRAEL in the day of ITS strength and favour – actions which are graphically depicted in this 8th verse of Zechariah 12, the angel of the Lord being designated Michael, the Archangel of God for Israel.
Zec 12:9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
Herein lies one of the major reasons that we can be certain that not all the nations of the earth (from Iceland to Argentina to Mynamar) are destined to “come against Jerusalem” in any physical way.
Because our Father decidedly tells us that ALL THESE which DO come against Jerusalem shall be DESTROYED. If He thus destroys all the nations of the whole earth (instead of all the limited number of (designated) nations that come against Jerusalem) he would have no subjects for His future kingdom. There would be no nations left to convert to the way of life in that kingdom. He should have destroyed all future hope of the international conversion of peoples to the Gospel which He clearly intends.
Think about that!
It is critically important to the understanding of this prophecy! The ultimate solution to any prophecy and its ultimate meaning is determined by its fine detail.
One other critical consideration is this: The purpose of this war over Jerusalem is to rid THE LAND of the brute beasts which threaten Israel and its people – not to acquire all the nations of the earth and subject them to Christ in this early action. Christ’s kingdom is prophesied to expand and develop in a progressive, orderly, unrelenting fashion. His first goal is to clear the Land of Israel – its Abrahamic Inheritance for Israel – of all enemies and threats. This action shall achieve that end perfectly!
Zec 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
It is decisively AT THIS TIME that Messiah is to be revealed to the children of Judah – the house of David – as they look upon Jesus Whom they previously have denied, and recognize Him as their long-awaited Messiah. That recognition brings about the great mourning described in the next verses. It is equivalent to the mourning they observed when King Josiah was slain at Hadadrimmon.
After that time their blessing shall be greater by far than their oppression and punishment to date. He shall do better to them then than at their beginning (Ezekiel 36:11).
Zec 12:11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.
Zec 12:12 And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart;
Zec 12:13 The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart;
Zec 12:14 All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.
ANOTHER SERIOUS FACET TO ALL THESE ENDTIME AFFAIRS
There is another facet to the above discussion which is extremely relevant, and it is this:
Some readers of prophecy (I cannot use the term “students” – and certainly not “scholars”) stubbornly claim that Israel as we know it is destined for a great defeat at the hand of someone – some national power or coalition (Gogian, Islamic, or International?? – views differ) – And that there will be (another) 2/3 destruction of God’s people! That the remnant of these now in the Land shall be scattered to Egypt yet again, and be finally rescued by the returned Lord Jesus.
Yet, even a cursory overview of the above consideration absolutely denies that this can happen! [And besides, that scenario is not that which is prophesied to be expected; that scenario is a figment of someone’s imagination which has NO BASIS for credence!]
WHAT MAY WE REALLY EXPECT??
The Prophet is entirely clear:
· Zechariah 12: 3 concretely states that all Jerusalem’s enemies that burden themselves with it shall be CUT IN PIECES …
· Zechariah 12: 4 concretely states that every horse (instrument or war or terror) shall be smitten with BLINDNESS and his rider with MADNESS …
· Zechariah 12: 5 concretely states that the inhabitants (of Jerusalem) shall be my STRENGTH in the Lord …
· Zechariah 12: 6 concretely states that the governors of JUDAH shall be like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left … and further that Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.
· Zechariah 12: 7 concretely states that The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah.
· Zechariah 12: 8 concretely states that In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem not allow them to be conquered and destroyed! – stating that even the weakest among them shall exhibit the mastery of David over his enemies, and the stronger ones (the house of David) shall be AS GOD – as THE ANGEL OF THE LORD BEFORE THEM.
· Zechariah 12:9 concretely states that in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
· Zechariah 12: 10 surely puts the lie to the people’s being conquered and scattered, in the comprehensive statements, that I (GOD) will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
The intense and pervasive mourning that is depicted through verse 14, as well as all these preceding words of God, put the ETERNAL LIE to any notion that His people are EVER to be conquered and dispersed and murdered in ANY future time after being regathered the second time (Isaiah 11: 11)!
Those who claim that this is true give as an excuse for their prejudice (I do hesitate to use the phrase anti-Semitism against the people of modern Israel … but IS IT SUCH???) will offer their feeble objection that Israel is proud and arrogant – and depends upon itself and not God – for its defense; that it does not yet recognize Jesus as Messiah and Christ, so how could it justly expect such divine protection??
The claim that Israel depends upon itself is certainly true! This is a fact, at least in part – though not wholly applicable to everyone in Israel! After all, how can Israel REALLY depend upon others? It has proven to be a futile cause in the past, and only fragile promises are in front of them for allies in the present crisis. So they MUST depend upon themselves – even without the assurance that WE have as believers that they shall always have Eternal support.
HOWEVER … THIS CLAIM OF ISRAEL’S SELF-SUFFICIENCY (ENFORCED AS IT IS) IS A SERIOUS MISREADING OF GOD’S WORD. SUCH WOULD-BE EXPOSITORS ARE NOT WORTHY OF ANY CREDENCE. THEY HAVE SERIOUSLY GONE AGAINST THE CLEAR WORDS OF GOD. THEY HAVE NO GROUNDS FOR DEFENSE.
Are these critics (for such they are) completely unaware of the prophecy of Zechariah 12 and 13, in which the process of Israel’s recognition of its gross error is to be realized and all Israel brought to the humble repentance they require?
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE for Israel yet in (our) present time to know what they shall know and acknowledge in the near future – namely that Jesus of Nazareth IS their Messiah; that they DID erroneously crucify him (at least assented to that crime) in 29 AD; that all these things were CLEARLY foretold in the scriptures and that they IGNORED those words; that the Almighty has a plan for salvation for ALL the peoples of the earth; that Jesus of Nazareth IS THEIR Savior and on and on …
In short … it is unreasonable to claim that Israel was not destined to return to their land IN IGNORANCE of all these core principles! These critics have no excuse for their being unaware that the Jews of the world were commanded IN THEIR GROSS IGNORANCE to “return to the children of Israel” (i.e., to their Land) in the Endtime AFTER the Father’s period of having ABANDONED them for millennia came to its end – that is, more precisely that the Jews’ fortunes would drastically reverse WHEN SHE WHO WAS TO BRING FORTH BROUGHT FORTH – Micah chapter 5 is extremely relevant here – that is, when Israel was brought into existence (literally, birthed) by the Agency (the Jewish Agency of the World Zionist Organization) which actually “mothered” the State of Israel, bringing it forward to birth and delivering it 1948 under the DIRECT GUIDANCE AND HELP of the Archangel Michael – a factor which we are unmistakably taught by a faithful reading of Daniel 12: 1-2.
No critic of Israel can possibly have grounds for claiming that Israel cannot or could not return to its Land permanently without first accepting Christ as Messiah and all the implications involved in that realization – because that IS NOT what Zechariah was inspired to relate to faithful students of God’s word! It CANNOT have happened any other way – and especially not in the way implied in such severe critics’ minds when they make wild and unsubstantiated statements similar to those above.
Our understanding must be bent, shaped, and moulded to fit our Father’s stated intentions – not dictate to Him what must be done by His people at any given time!!
One final word: we do tend to become enthusiastic (exercised? dogmatic? – maybe – but at least, intelligently informed) when confronted with these insensitive and UNSUBSTANTIABLE claims of some unfeeling, hard-hearted, and false critics of Israel – but especially those who really have no excuse for not knowing otherwise – from among the Elect, the Chosen, the Redeemed.
We cannot resist defending God’s people Israel (for such they are!) in their present uninformed ignorance of God’s way, as yet unrealized by them.
Hath God cast away His people? inquired the Apostle (Romans 11: 1); God forbid!
They are to be commended greatly for resisting conversion and assimilation with blood and tear and treasure the centuries of apostasy and oppression of “Christian” opposition and the anti-Semitism which originated within Christendom and from its hired minions.
The Master’s final words to the Scribes and Pharisees of His day were those recorded in Luke 13: 34, 35 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! 35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
That specific “coming” is addressed in Zechariah 12 and 13, revealing exactly how Israel shall be brought forward not only to recognition (“seeing Him”) but also enthusiastic and sincere acceptance of Him by that somber recognition of His Strength and Benevolence on their behalf! Those elements of recognition and acceptance will lead to their national repentance and acceptance of Him as Messiah and King! They are “gonna be okay” folks!
<HEL MD/USA, PP#4, March 26, 2012>
An high profile commentator on scriptural prophecy (to be unnamed here) has written some thoughts on the “Peace and Safety” aspirations voiced in
I Thessalonians 5: 1 - But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
In this Position Paper, we are considering his comments as a question which requires discussion.
As part of our reply, we must admit that this saying, “Peace and Safety” has been the subject of much discussion in the past. We believe it is certainly a statement of the unbelievers who oppose Christ and His kingdom, for it is He Who shall bring such sudden destruction upon them – permanent destruction – not just victory in warfare but total dismantlement, dismemberment, and utter termination of their regimes. Paul specifically tells the Thessalonians that this destruction shall not fall upon them, or their later counterparts in The Faith.
“Peace” indicates a lack of caution by the world absorbed in the cares of this life – an entire population which shall have been lulled into a false sense of safety and security. Peace conveys the idea of lacking alarm or threat from any quarter – a laissez faire attitude of comfort and lassitude.
“Safety” conveys the idea of security from external threats from either God or other people – contentment, idleness, unguarded carelessness. The world shall have turned a deaf ear to warnings from such persons as ourselves and our God of coming Judgment, and as such will be vulnerable to the destruction of their ways and mores and institutions and dogmas – and their “religion.”
More comments along this line are at the end of the next section.
Here we now contribute the following small portion [of a 75-page exchange] with the above-indicated commentator some years back on this subject. His comments are in bold italics; our replies are in unbolded font. Here ‘tis …
When They Cry Peace and Safety
H E Lafferty
Your claim that Israel shall be again defeated in warfare is
without support. Modern Israel … defeated in war? The Scriptures attest
that it cannot happen! The overwhelming prophetic indication is
that Israel is never defeated after she begins to gather back
into her Land. God’s Purpose cannot be defeated. It has never been and
never shall be!
When Gog invades Israel, its vast force comes with the intent of covering the Land, but we can prove with certainty that she shall not do so.
Where is that force destroyed?
Surely it is where they are buried – east of the sea of Kinneret (Galilee) according to Young – in the valley of the passengers – in the Yarmuk River Gorge, at a place to be named Hamon-Gog. Armies are not transported many miles to be buried where they are not slain, witness the killing and burial fields of Chateau-Thierry, Flanders, and Normandy, those of Korea and South Vietnam where hundreds of thousands of men lie central to where they were slain.
Who is said to bury the Gogian host?
Ezekiel 39:9 answers that query directly: “And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years: 10 So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord GOD.”This arrogant throng never even comes within sight of Jerusalem and causes no harm whatever to the State of Israel.
The sudden destruction spoken of in 1 Thessalonians after they shall SAY peace and safety is also worthy of note is this context. This passage does not lead us to expect a literal time of peace and safety. It doesn't say ‘when there IS peace and safety’ but ‘when they shall SAY peace and safety (security)’. Ariel Sharon has campaigned on this very slogan "Peace and security.” (Commentator’s words)
Yes … and so has every OTHER Israeli Prime Minister and every leader of every other country in this age when over twenty wars are in progress at any time throughout the earth! They are CRYING for peace and safety – but they are certainly not PROCLAIMING it at this time. However, it appears they shall do so at sometime in the future.
This prophecy is in an entirely different context and is not referring to Israel or to Israelis, but to the world at large (i.e., all Israel’s enemies).
There shall be no ‘sudden destruction’ wrought upon Israel at any time in the future, for the Almighty has plainly declared that His people are favored in an unparalleled way. Jeremiah 24:6 states it plainly, that in the Endtime “I will set Mine eyes upon them for GOOD, and I will bring them AGAIN to this Land; and I will BUILD them, and NOT PULL THEM DOWN; AND I WILL PLANT THEM, AND NOT PLUCK THEM UP.”
And there shall certainly be no sudden destruction on the saints of God of this age, who are diligently watching and waiting for the Advent.
We believe that clear statement of Israel’s security is an immutable promise of God and that it cannot be broken! What shame and embarrassment such a defeat would bring on the Almighty’s name and purpose! His Arab enemies would quickly claim that Allah was more powerful than Israel’s God as He was unable to maintain His re-gathered people in their land!
However, instead, He has purposed that His people permanently return to His land in preparation for His kingdom and His infinite blessing (however, not for their sakes, but for His holy name’s sake – Ezekiel 36:22-32; Isaiah 43:25; 48:9, 11).
There is then a real possibility that the time of peace and safety is over and war is imminent. War, not peace, could be the trigger that brings down the northern hordes into Israel. It may be sooner than we think! (Commentator’s words) We surely cannot agree that it is war which brings the Gogian host down upon Israel. Ezekiel’s specific statement is that they behold a “land of unwalled villages” dwelling in peace and safety! Gog is gulled into the belief that Israel is becoming a pushover for their massive forces because of its peaceful demeanor!
We must have observed that the cry FOR peace and safety is even now a permanent mantra of all the nations; we hear of no greater goal of the nations and leaders of the world today. We shall have to wait and see exactly how this develops, but it would seem most logical to us that there will come a certain time in the future when SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE will come up with a plan for peace which seems workable – and we don’t mean a treaty with the “Palestinians” because they just are not capable of making such a treaty. They won’t even sit down with Israel to DISCUSS one.
Either a false SENSE of peace and safety, or a fervent cry FOR peace and safety seems in the offing (as in petitioning the Almighty for peace and safety).
It also could be that the Arabs in their burgeoning strength with scores of thousands of missiles and a greatly enhanced cadre of fighters, will just proclaim that they now CANNOT be defeated, and that the call is in their court for a change – that THEY control the peace and safety. (Indeed, they already have done so.)
It shall be at that height of confidence and pride that their hopes and dreams, their lives and families, their property and their territories, will be smashed and acquired by Christ and Israel!
The present geopolitical lay of the land almost perfectly fits that description already! Iran is constantly saying that Israel is but a gnat which they can swat to death at any time. Their boastfulness is incredibly obnoxious, teeming with pride and arrogance. However, Iran is likely instead to feel the hot wrath of Israel’s Air Force, Navy and Missile Defense Forces in a short time, if they persist in openly developing nuclear weapons – a goal which we cannot envision their giving up.
However, Israel’s decisive conflict with Iran probably will go little further than quenching for a time the ability of Iran to make nuclear weapons. We do not feel that it will bring significant hot conflict to Israel from Iran because it is seemingly much too early in the prophetic timetable for that to happen in our opinion.
Iran is Persia, and as such is an integral component of the GOGIAN host, not the forces of Proximal Islam, which Israel clearly is prophetically scheduled to destroy first. This great, overwhelming, decisive victory over the nearby Islamic States will enervate the Russians and their Islamic friends to begin preparing concrete plans to invade and conquer Israel – especially so after in His initial operations …
· Christ has manifested unheard of power against Israel’s enemies,
· Has quelled all their strength and silenced their incessant threats,
· Has conquered them all and appropriated all their lands and wealth,
· Has begun His kingdom’s administration,
· Has proclaimed Jerusalem Capital of His Kingdom Administration,
· Has established a firm theocracy,
· Has been accepted as King of the Jews by his people,
· Has restored the Throne of David and sits upon it,
· Is disarming Israel entirely,
· Is demolishing the Defense Walls being built on the borders,
· Is beginning to build the Temple of the Millennium,
· Has allocated the Tribal Cantons of Israel as outlined by Ezekiel, in their rightful order, from the northern River Euphrates to the south River Nile,
· Is moving and settling His people securely into their Tribal allotments,
· Has expelled ALL foreigners from His land, including all the Arabs and “Christians,”
· Is bringing the Ten Tribes and the remainder of Judah home to Israel,
· Has appropriated all the wealth of the nearby, conquered states to His treasury for the glory of the Lord as in the Exodus,
· Has officially claimed all their territories and annexed them to Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates, and from the Med to the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean (?),
· Has been proclaimed Messiah and King by His repentant and reconciled people, reversing the democratic constitution of the present,
· Has established and confirmed a new Covenant with Israel,
· And is accompanied by a vast throng of Assistants – the Redeemed Saints – Who manifest power far beyond any human ability.
This whole scenario will present to the alien forces a picture of great ambition and of apparent childlike confidence (as to disarmament, to dismantling of the Wall and other structures such as military strongholds, airfields, encampments and barriers).
This naïve young Jewish upstart is a fool in their eyes – far too confident!
They observe this newly disarmed land of unwalled villages which is at that time dwelling peacefully and entirely safely – without any immediate threats on their borders at all, dwelling in confidence – and they see a summer fruit which can almost be plucked from the ground.
Taking no chances, they form a vast amalgam of forces and equipment, and approach the Land with great confidence. Problem is, they haven’t read Ezekiel 38 and 39, in which NOTHING but destruction is concretely determined for them!
They plan to invade Christ’s Kingdom with great confidence and bravado; instead, their exit from the Land is via DEATH and BURIAL at Hamon-Gog in the Valley of the Yarmuk River – then said to be “in Israel” but at this moment the international border between Syria and Jordan east of the Sea of Galilee (Young).
Of course both these countries are intruders – interlopers – within God’s covenanted Land, and as such will be driven out or exterminated (more the latter than the former), along with the Lebanese, the Syrians, the Iraqis, the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the citizens of the Gulf Emirates, and even The Yemens and Oman (?) – some of these being not well delineated as to their fates – as well as all the “Palestinians” now inside Israel, in Jordan, in Lebanon, in Gaza, the Negev, the Sinai and in Samaria (the Edomites of Obadiah).
The monetary wealth of some of these nations is almost nil (such as Lebanon and Jordan) but their land masses are great; but just think of the oil resources of Iraq, Kuwait, Syria and Saudi Arabia along with their enormous land masses – the future territory of the Kingdom of God’s First Dominion!
When the Christ of the Second Advent allows the dust to settle from this Proximal conflict, He will be Master of over half the known reserves of oil in the entire world (for what that’s worth in the kingdom age!). But it will have ENORMOUS impact upon the Distal Islamic nations – those confederating with Gog – and shock them into drastic action at any cost. That COST will be great – and fatal to all those people who will not convert and accept Christ. The trouble is, will they be given enough time to learn much of Him before they are destroyed for their animosity and hatred of God’s people?
We don’t believe any other process than the above makes sense in totality, but is still only a general outline of what seems to be quite clear from the writings of the prophets, and is not contradicted by any other portion of scripture which we can locate.
It is the safety of the world powers that is at hazard, but in no sense the peace and safety of Israel under the Christ.
The older theory of John Thomas and several other expositors, that Israel is to be driven from its Land yet again, displaced from its Land by the Gogian host and driven into Egypt completely omits any consideration of the scores of passages which tell of Christ and the Saints (and Israel’s) conquest of the nations round about and the REAL establishment of PEACE and SAFETY PRIOR to the Gogian invasion, thus setting up the conditions for Gog’s evil thoughts as well as its certain destruction.
That theory also completely ignores the destructive language directed against Gog in those two chapters of Ezekiel, in which our Father makes certain to convey to us the abject failure of Gog's efforts and the destruction of ALL his forces. This is our Lord’s final and conclusive decision to dispel the forces of DARKNESS forever!
The opposite consideration comes into play with Christ’s faithful brethren, in the continuation of Paul’s words to Thessalonica:
1Th 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
1Th 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
1Th 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
1Th 5:7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
1Th 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Th 5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
1Th 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do
MARK 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved (From eternal death)
<HEL MD/USA May 27, 2012>
H. E. Lafferty
In the fourth chapter of Ezekiel there is a remarkable revelation for Jerusalem’s – and God’s People’s – future. The portion we shall first consider is verses 4 – 6. The word “also” indicates that important information came before the actions commanded by this verse, but we shall consider that preamble later.
This prophecy is both profound and beautiful in mathematical accuracy! We have personally been intrigued by it for decades, with only lately some better understanding deduced from several sources of information. This paper discusses this prophecy in some detail.
The Almighty commanded Ezekiel to lie on his left side for a long period of time, then on his right side for a much longer period of time.
There were reasons given for this somewhat odd arrangement – odd, and certainly unusual enough that they should have caused Israel to examine itself and consider its ways; it did not.
One needs to concentrate upon these actions … and upon
The times required for their performance … and upon
God’s given reasons for their performance. His words are …
Ezekiel 4:4 Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity.
Eze 4:5 For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.
Eze 4:6 And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.
Please note carefully that each day of Ezekiel’s reclining would be equivalent to one “year” of Israel’s suffering for its iniquities.
Now we summarize what the prophet was told:
1. The Action: First he was to lie on his LEFT side. God said that this designated the iniquity of the house of Israel (the Ten Tribes)
2. The Time Required: According to the number of the days (360 DAYS),
3. The Reason for the Action: Thou shalt bear (and illustrate to the witnessing people) the INIQUITY of the House of Israel.
These are the three parameters of his lying on his left side.
Now to the summary of his second task:
1. The Action: Now he was to lie on his RIGHT side. God again said that this designated the iniquity of the house of Israel (Judah – the Two Tribes).
2. The Time Required: According to the number of the days (40 DAYS)
3. The Reason for the Action: Thou shalt bear (and illustrate to the witnessing people) THE INIQUITY of the House of Judah.
These are the three parameters of his lying on his right side.
What does all this mean? Students have sought to understand the exact meaning of this prophecy for many years. We can determine internally (from the provisions of the acted parable) it has to do with the YEARS of Israel’s punishment for iniquity – each day indicating a “year” – a well-defined and accepted interpretive principle of certain Bible prophecies as proven many times.
In the final analysis it could not be understood until a certain TIME in Israel’s history. That time is the year of the ESTABLISHMENT of Israel as a re-established State among the nations! It could have been proposed; but not proven, as it now is.
As previously observed, the prophecy is both sophisticated and mathematically perfect, as we should by now expect from the utterances of the Almighty. Our task is to discover exactly HOW sophisticated and accurate it is!
We may summarize the prophecy so far, as
390 days: Punishment against the Ten Tribes of Israel (Northern Kingdom)
+ 40 days: Punishment against the Two Tribes of Judah (Southern Kingdom)
= 430 days (years): Punishment against the whole House of Israel
Now the punishment for Israel’s iniquities begins to play out in an incredibly powerful, precise course of events.
In 606 BC, Babylon came against Judah’s Commonwealth and placed it under servitude to Babylon. Judah was no longer master of its own destiny. The slavery to the kingdoms of men has begun for them.
Their captivity in Babylon lasted exactly 70 years.
These years thus diminish the entire term of punishment remaining, thusly:
430 = total years of judgment determined against the nation of Israel
- 70 = the years fulfilled during the captivity in Babylon
= 360 years now remaining in judgment against the nation of Israel.
The date lapse is the seventy years from 606 BC to 536 BC – the end of Judah’s captivity and restoration (temporarily) to its land BUT NOT AS A COMMONWEALTH – not with its own independence.
Now one encounters a stone wall! In the remaining history of the Jews there is no discernible fulfillment of the remaining days (years) of the prophecy as previously experienced by them. From 536 BC a lapse of a further 360 literal years brings one to the date of 176 BC – an era in which no end of Israel’s iniquity can be said to have occurred. Indeed, this date is within the “dark” period of God’s word about which we know (scripturally) nothing. So this method of determination cannot be utilized.
So how may we understand the MYSTERY of these 360 “days” (years, or “times”) of the prophecy? The conclusion that we must reach is the mystery is so deep and so highly unlikely that nobody could likely have solved this mystery until it was fulfilled! However, in viewing the prophecy from its possible (most likely) date of fulfillment, we can determine the sheer accuracy of it without any doubt whatever.
The Solution Determined
Here is the solution in our opinion: the answer lies in another reference in which the punishments of Israel are clearly stated. That reference is in Leviticus 26.
Lev 26:18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. There is more:
Lev 26:21 And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. There is more:
Lev 26:24 Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. There is more:
Lev 26:27 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; 28 Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And there is yet more – further defining their punishment:
Lev 26:33 And I will scatter you among the heathen (nations), and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
Note please that the final sentence is that they be scattered among THE NATIONS; this is not the earlier case of their being removed specifically to Babylon – one nation. It is that later scattering – in 70 AD.
This series of sentences has been called by some the Seven Times Factor, or the “Seven-X Factor.” Its definition and recognition is the key to the understanding of this prophecy. As we consistently observe in our studies of Bible prophecy our Father is an utterly truthful, straightforward, observant Revelator in these matters: He says exactly what He means to say – and He means exactly what He says! We do not have to syllogise, ponder, or theorize as to His intentions! We are not required to seek “types” and “shadows” as many do. And we are NOT PERMITTED to do so, either. We need to keep it as simple as He does in order to understand His faithful words.
The Prophecy is Fulfilled!
We “experimentally” apply the Seven-X Factor to the remaining 360 days (years) of the prophecy to determine just where it leads.
Now, let's apply the 7X factor to the remaining 360 years of judgment against nation Israel in this remarkable mathematical prophecy . . .
Remember, there were 360 years remaining for Israel’s judgments
x 7 which is the 7X factor of Leviticus 26
= 2,520 years of judgment which remained against the nation
of Israel – the Jews.
It is a familiar time span to us as students of prophecy, but in a slightly different application than that familiar to us, the beauty of which lends even greater weight and credibility to its fulfillment!
The Jewish calendar is the most sophisticated calendar on the planet, suiting perfectly its religious and civil obligations. It is both lunar and solar in character. It utilizes a 360 day Lunar year (the Prophetic year), but because this arrangement does not match the Solar year, mandates the addition of five months in each 19 year cycle in order to adjust for the seasons. These are “leap months” and are always designated Adar II (Adar Beit) as Adar is the last month of the Jewish calendar, and as such is simply repeated in those years. Well … not simply, but certainly repeated.
So we may understand this prophecy – and see its exquisite fulfillment – by first converting these times into Hebrew DAYS. We may do that in this way:
We start with 2,520 years, and multiply by Jewish days per year
x 360 days (of the basic Jewish calendar), which yields
907,200 which is the number of days of remaining judgment against Israel
after the Babylonian Captivity of 70 years.
Now … in the calendar which we must use to understand this time period (our Julian calendar of 365.25 days per year, including the adjustment (0.25) for Leap Years), we reach this figure in this way:
907,200 days times 365.25 days = 2,483.78 years of judgment which remained. These are now Julian years adjusted for Leap Years – in our current calendar years – and are easy to calculate as to their termination, as follows:
With this calculation done, we may ask how does it (or even DOES it) apply to the prophecy?
The entire integrated calculation looks like this:
606 BC – Judah (Israel) taken into Babylonian Captivity
- 70 years’ Captivity
= 536 BC – termination of first 70 years of judgment
+ 2,483 years of added (remaining) judgment according to the Julian calendar:
+ 1 year to adjust for the lack of a “O” year BC or AD
= 1,948 AD !!!!
This should mark the end of “Judgment” against Israel – and IT DID!
As surely everyone is aware, Israel was re-established in the year 1948 AD, exactly on God’s precise timetable according to this view of this prophecy!
In Summary of this entire prophecy we understand these corroborative facts of secular history – our means of cross-checking God’s perfect fulfillment …
The beginning of all this was the disaster known as the Babylonian Captivity of Judah (Israel) in 606 BC. Seventy years later, as Jeremiah had prophesied in Jeremiah 29: 10, the Jews returned to their land, but not as a sovereign people. At this point they entered upon the second phase of their judgments – the 907, 200 days of their remaining punishments!
The Persians permitted them, under Cyrus’ decree, to return to their land.
The Persians were overthrown by the Greeks, who retained hegemony over all the Persians’ territories including Judea with its Jews – still not a sovereign nation.
The Greeks were in turn overthrown by the Romans; the land remained
under the control of Rome. Judaea was merely a province of Rome – still
not a sovereign nation.
The Jews, however, were restive and rebellious. In 70 AD and again in 135 AD (the Bar Kochba Rebellion) they were expelled from the Land and forbidden to reenter it under penalty of death. Their Land was renamed Palestina (which is derived from Philistia – their antagonists of long standing) as a final insult to God’s people. Their long exile continued, having never actually ended since their exile to Babylon, for the Commonwealth was never again established.
The grinding history of the People inched slowly forward including many periods in which the awful punishments of Leviticus 26 were laid heavily upon their weary frames – the sky seeming to be brass and the earth iron under their feet – their oppression unequaled in the annals of humankind until the final insult came at the hands of Adolph Hitler in 1933 to 1945 – twelve years of the most inhuman persecution any nation had ever experienced; one year for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.
But in the convoluted events that followed, within three short years, the Commonwealth of Israel was created. This fulfilled not only the subject prophecy on May 14, 1948, but also satisfactorily ended the “abandonment” (the “giving up”) of God’s people predicted so poignantly by Micah 5:3 Therefore will he give them up (abandon them in many other versions), until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth (or given birth: their “mother” being the divinely established and guided World Zionist Organization and its Jewish Agency, which birthed the State of Israel): then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel (or to the Land of the Children of Israel, from which they were officially expelled for the entire term of this incredible prophecy given to Ezekiel).
Note the two almost casually inserted words “until” and “then” in the prophecy but realize in retrospect that these are finite and concrete TIME MARKERS of this prophecy, giving perfect substantiation to the prophecy of Ezekiel Four as well as scores of others!
Slowly but inexorably, the people of God suffered the follies of their iniquity. On May 14, 1948 that horrible term of persecution ended forever with the formation of their newly birthed state – a nation brought forth in one day as Isaiah 66:8 foretold in graphic terms. Since that day their return to the Land has been unstoppable!
Ezekiel, in a later vision, saw the essential endpoint of Israel’s destiny, revealing it in these succinct and comforting words:
Ezekiel 37:21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen (nations), whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: 22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:
Ezekiel, under the perfect will of the Almighty, then gave the vision in turn to us, for strength and confirmation of His purpose in the Endtime. It has only been in the ENDTIME that we could decipher and understand this remarkable and singular revelation. Before that time its meaning was essentially hidden from the eyes of all inquirers!
And now it comes to the forefront as one of the most complex, but mathematically perfect, long-term fulfillments that we could ever imagine – and as reconfirmation of God’s perfectly devised and executed Plan of the Ages, leading inerrantly to the re-establishment of all His people in the re-constituted Eden, the Garden of God, in the location where it originally existed but was made obsolescent by the lusts of Adam.
A Final Assessment
The establishment of Israel as a nation in 1948 became THE signal event of the Endtime. The Lord Jesus told us that WHEN YE SEE THESE THINGS BEGIN TO COME TO PASS, THEN LOOK UP, FOR YOUR REDEMPTION DRAWETH NIGH!
We cannot and MUST NOT relax our vigilant alertness. The singular events of 1948 and following that date are the unmistakable furthering of His Plan with Israel and with the earth – the non-bendable progression of His will and purpose.
Our Father has a COVENANT with Israel which He is faithfully executing on their behalf, because of His love for them, in spite of their yet continuing state of denial of His Son, and not for any righteousness of their own manufacture – but solely for His holy name’s sake as Ezekiel again confirms: Ezekiel 36:32 - Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.
Only a few sentences prior to this, the prophet had explained to them: Ezekiel 36:21 But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. 22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. 23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
The reason He intends to redeem them is clarified: God is jealous for His holy name and shall uphold it in the finality. He intends to redeem them in spite of their great faults; but He will do so only after these same people recognize Him and confess Him as “Blessed” – as in the phrase Blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the Lord (Luke 13: 35).
That grateful admission is REDEMPTIVE for them, and is indicated as coming as a result of His visible appearance and His active, aggressive military offensive against their neighbors round about as in Obadiah, Isaiah 63, and many other references. It shall be the beginning of his NEW covenant with them – the fulfillment of His eternal promises – including those promises wrapped within the blessed redemptive work of Jesus of Nazareth for Gentile believers as well.
Further credence for this explanation is adduced from consideration to the preamble to this revelation. The words are Ezekiel 4:1 - Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, even Jerusalem: 2 And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about. 3 Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.
This acted parable illustrated vividly that the prophecy is directly aimed at Jerusalem as capital and representative ensign of its people, Israel. This activity is integral to the People’s extensive, prolonged punishments – those exhaustive challenges with which we and they arefar too intimately acquainted. <HEL MD/USA May 8, 2012>
See www.jewfaq.org for further assistance and understanding of the Jewish calendar – a formidable challenge for most!
H E Lafferty
A correspondent sent this short article to us with his query: “Is this more than a coincidence?”
Deadly cattle disease threatens
Egyptian food supply
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) issued a dire warning on Thursday March 22, that an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease has broken out among cattle in Egypt. "Urgent action is required ... to prevent its spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, which could have serious implications for food security in the region," the UN agency declared. "This is an entirely new introduction of a virus strain known as SAT2, and livestock have no immune protection against it." Thousands of animals have already died from the outbreak, with estimates of at least 40,000 cases, with that number being expected to climb. #
Nearly everyone has at least heard of foot and mouth disease – or hoof and mouth disease (HMD) – but know little about it other than its name. We will discuss it briefly.
It is caused by the virus Aphtae epizooticae; it causes a high fever in infected cloven-hoofed animals including wild and domestic bovids. The fever lasts two or three days and is followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the feet. Rupture of these may cause lameness. It is highly infectious.
It is a serious threat to animal farming because of its virulence is highly contagious and can be spread through aerosols as well as contact with farm equipment, vehicles, and clothing and feed; also by domestic and wild predators. It demands extensive vaccination as well as trade restrictions, quarantines and often the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of animals.
Its economic impact is severe; humans are very rarely clinically infected.
The virus causing HMD is a picornavirus of the genus Aphthovirus. When this virus is contacted by a living host, like other viruses each one enters into an animal body cell and takes over the DNA of the cell, forcing the animal cell to duplicate the virus in the millions; the cell soon ruptures, releasing the new viral particles into the bloodstream where the process is repeated again and again. Since the virus is extremely variable it is difficult to tailor a vaccine to combat it. There is much more, but I won’t burden you with those gruesome facts.
Now, THIS IS SERIOUS, folks! And it is quite evident that the Egyptians will probably be quick to tell the world that the source of the virus is ISRAEL, surreptitiously introduced to the herds of Egypt as a means of starving the Egyptians! Or at least that will doubtless be the claim of the Moslem Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, the PA, Islamic Jihad, the Mufti of Saudi Arabia, the Turks ... ad infinitum!!
A slammer such as this spreading eastward could push the fragile Iranian economy over the edge in no time as the country’s food prices have soared while the currency is being devalued every day there. We guess THIS could halt nuclear production for a time, even severely disrupt an already damaged economy. The wide-spread implications of this epizootic – for that is what it is – can be widely devastating, decreasing the food supply in rapid order.
During Old Testament times pestilence was sent to punish people for disobedience to God – even into Israel for its transgressions with idolatry. Egyptian cattle were decimated by it before the Exodus. The Gogian host is destined to be harmed by pestilence (Ezekiel 38: 22) which shall have these same effects. Ezekiel 36: 30 promises that Israel shall be delivered from famine among the heathen (nations). Egypt today is a land of idolatry (devotion to Allah) so this plague on its cattle may be retribution for this sin among them. Hoof and mouth disease, killing their cattle, could result in widespread famine in Egypt. Bearing further upon this danger, Egypt’s monetary resources are rapidly dwindling, making it very difficult for them to purchase foods from abroad.
If this epizootic spreads to other North African and Middle Eastern countries, the effect will be devastating. The fact is that the general food supply of the world is decreasing – even in the face of a rapidly increasing population; this is a time bomb in any case which can wreak widespread death from famine.
<HEL MD/USA March, 2012>
Modiin Energy and Adira Energy Corporation announced Wednesday an oil and natural gas discovery at their offshore Gabriella and Yitzhak Licenses, which are 24 km northwest of Tel Aviv.
Modiin controlling shareholder Tzahi Sultan and IDB Holding Corp. Ltd. CEO Haim
Gavrieli made the announcement at IDB's headquarters in Tel Aviv.
According to Adira, Gabriella and Yitzhak have a best estimate of 232.2 million barrels of oil, including 110.1 million barrels of contingent oil. Together, the Gabriella and Yitzhak licenses have a best estimate of 1.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
The discoveries were made in Jurassic strata, located in shallow water 24 kilometers northwest of Tel Aviv. The estimates are based on a 3D seismic survey by Netherland Sewell & Associates Ltd. (NSAI).
In its notice to the TASE, Modiin said the best estimate for Gabriella is 128.4 million barrels of oil.
In the New Testament there are many references to demons, wrongly said by the A.V. to be devils, thereby prejudicing the mind towards believing they are a powerful army of evil spirits subject to a supernatural devil.
Some expositors state this to be the case. However in examining Greek lexicons we need to exercise caution. It is wise to distinguish between basic meanings established by ancient Greek literature, and theological applications of the terms used.
The three main
terms translated in association with demons in the New Testament are daimonion,
on and daimonizomai.
Definitions from Lexicons
The Abbott-Smith Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament defines daimonion as (a) the Divine power, deity (b) an inferior divinity deity or demon (as in magical p., Deiss., BS, 281; MM, Exp., x)
The rest of his space is devoted to the Old Testament (LXX) and New Testament usage.
But these usages are not definitions, rather the result of theological thinking, which may be correct, or may not be.
Thayer’s Lexicon supports these two meanings - 1. The divine Power, deity, divinity; 2. A spirit, a being inferior to God, superior to men…..in both a good sense and a bad;
The same definitions are used against the term daim
Green’s pocket lexicon, and also Davidson’s analytic Greek Lexicon both concur with the original meaning of the terms but like the other two, they also digress into theology when defining its N.T. usage.
The two meanings, (a) and (b) from Abbott-Smith and Thayer are the only real definitions given of the terms. Greek literature itself should supply the basic or source meanings of any word used in the New Testament. Other comments found in all four lexicons are in reality the theological applications of the terms in either the Old or New Testaments, and are therefore not basic meanings.
We therefore consider those theological applications to evil angels alleged to have rebelled against God, to be an assumed meaning. Any Greek term used in the New Testament should be considered in the light of its original usage first, and then its New Testament application should be thoroughly examined in relation to that usage.
This we propose to do.
In Greek literature the daim
on is the principal god
generally based on legendary events in the story of their race and deified
after death. The daimonion was seen to be the habitation of that alleged daim on
or departed human spirit, whether within an image representation, or within a
person. A daimonion therefore was an idol, the derangement itself, or the
person so deranged.
Any digression to evil angels is purely a theological application, which in our view is not sustained in Scripture. In fact there are no such things as evil angels, for God says that they are all ministering spirits, and that they do His, that is God’s bidding. (Hebrews 1:14 Psalm 103:20) In the Bible such intermediaries are only good, doing the will of God even if they fulfil His will in inflicting evil upon mankind.
This is very important for there is no God without Yahweh being the source of that power. In Isaiah 44:6 God says, “Beside me there is no god.” (KJV) The actual Hebrew expression is, “umibbal`aray e’yn elohim” This literally means “and without (or separate from) me there is no god.” In other words there must be a union with the super power of the universe in order to be called Gods. (elohim) In fact there are Gods (elohim) that exist by Him and work for Him. Psalm 8:5 and Hebrews 2:7 are clear that they are the angelic beings that do His will.
If then these good angels have acquired the rank of Gods, because they exist and work by the power of the supreme God, Yahweh; then it follows that there cannot be any alleged evil or good angels that exist outside of the power of the Almighty. Demonology is consequently a myth.
So the good angels are, with the exception now of Jesus, the only superhuman intermediaries between God and man. But Jesus is more than merely an intermediary like the angels. He is also our mediator and advocate.
New Testament Usage of daimonion
In reverting to the lexicon definitions, we do find the confirmation of this Greek usage in Acts 17:18 where Luke clearly uses the meaning of an inferior divinity in reporting Paul’s experience on Mars Hill in Athens, where he is suspected of setting forth strange gods. (daimonias pl of daimonion) It is evident from Paul’s usage here, the Athenians thought that he was preaching one who was a deified being between man and God. This accords exactly with definition (b) of the Abbott-Smith’s Manual Greek Lexicon.
The Greeks often applied the term daimonion to intermediary gods between the highest deity and mankind. To the Greek mind they could be either good or bad. Socrates for example credited his powers of examination to the good demon residing within him. However we know from Biblical examination that his demon did not exist apart from in his imagination, and that there are no bad demons either.
This is confirmed in 1 Corinthians 10 where Paul discusses the no-gods of Greek superstition in Corinth, and warns against practising idolatry and simultaneously partaking of the Lord’s supper, thereby adulterating their worship with demon (or no god) worship. (1Cor 10:14-21).
The context introducing this theme refers to twenty three thousand who escaped the destroyer in Egypt, (Exodus 12:23) and who were later destroyed in the wilderness because they prostituted to strange gods and murmured against God. (1Cor 10:8-10, Numbers 25:1-9)
Paul is here warning the Corinthian believers not to do likewise, and mix the purity of Christianity with the idolatry of gentilism. Consequently he says, “an idol is nothing in the world.” (1Cor 8:4) This is supported by Jeremiah 10:5,15 and Isaiah 65:3 where in the latter, the LXX says clearly, “This is the people that provokes me continually in my presence; they offer sacrifices in gardens, and burn incense on bricks to demons,(daimoniois) which exist not.”
Considering the LXX was translated in the second century B.C. the use of daimonion here is not surprising, being a Greek term used when Hellenism was rapidly rising in Israel.
Both the Isaiah
and Jeremiah passages are obviously the origin of Paul’s argument. The
worthlessness of the idol is also the impotence of the daim
on within it
to do either good or evil, because the daim on alleged to be in the idol
does not exist. Consequently neither the idol nor the daim on represented
is anything to be feared. “They cannot do
evil neither also is it in them to
do good.” (Jer 10:5) They are vanity,
the work of errors. (v15)
The image they worshipped was not seen by the ancients to have been devoid of power, for the god itself was said to have inhabited it. But the image (tselem or pesel) was purely a piece of inanimate material, which was unable to hear see or speak. (Leviticus 26:1, Isaiah 44:15-18) So when Jeremiah says that it was not in them to do either good or evil, (Jeremiah 10:5) he was renouncing the alleged inhabitant as non existent, and was seeing the engraved object for what it was in reality - just a work of mens’ hands.
In Greek mythology, the alleged power of the deified intermediaries, or any lesser beings between the greater deities and man, was not regarded as confined within the contours of the image. The image merely represented them in visual form, and the image was termed a daimonion as it allegedly housed the spirit of the deity within it.
So when Paul makes reference to the idol, he includes the whole imaginary concept of the god or goddess inhabiting the image, and these - according to Paul are nothing.
these no-gods of the nations, termed “xen
on daimoni on” in Acts
17:18 were alleged to be either good or bad, and most were said to be
intermediate between the chief god such as Zeus and mankind: but nevertheless
more powerful than men. One of them described as a spirit of divination (Greek
Python spirit) pestered Paul in his preaching, until he ordered the spirit to
come of her. (Acts 16:16) Did Paul or Luke believe in the snake of Delphi because that term was used?
Rather, he was rebuking the state of the damsel’s mind, addressing it just as Jesus rebuked the fever in Peter’s mother in law!
Old Testament reference to alleged demons.
The devils wrongly translated as such in Deuteronomy 32:17 were actually the shedim or false gods (no gods) of the local inhabitants to which Israel sacrificed. The notion of demon here is not defined by the term used in the Hebrew text. This term “shedim” is clumsily translated into the plural form of daimonion in the LXX. Professor Kaufmann says, "When the gods of the nations are called sh¢d£m it is not meant that they are evil spirits, but that they are insubstantial shades, 'no-gods,' with neither divine nor demonic functions." (The Religion of Israel by Y Kaufmann, University of Chicago (p. 65, fn. 1)
The question has now to be asked, “why then is the Old Testament silent regarding the existence of demons?
As we have already seen, in the O.T. only angels are God’s supernatural intermediaries, and perform His will. (Psalm 103:20) Anything else were non existent. The angels of God (good angels) brought both good and evil upon Israel.
Exodus 23:20-23 indicates that the angel of the LORD would both lead Israel and punish them when necessary in default of obedience. The destroying angels bereaved Egypt of all its firstborn, and are called angels of evil in Psalm 78:49: not evil angels as in the A.V. (Mal`akey is the plural construct of mal`ak meaning angel, and therefore evil is a substantive and not an adjective) They bring evil or punishment to other nations as well as to Israel in fulfilment of the will of God.
Therefore we can rightly conclude that God also used His angels to punish Israel in New Testament times, who had deflected to the misuse of Greek mythology in post-captivity Israel. These angels of evil are the only real intermediaries between God and man, and every intermediary daimonion of Greek thought is purely mythological. Worship or fear of these no-gods in Israel would always evoke the displeasure of God.
So when it is alleged that these demons are real, one is bowing to Greek superstition that is absolutely rejected by Paul as he educated the Christian community that the idol demon is nothing in the world.
The number of times that daimonion is used in the Book of Tobit for example, clearly reveals their post captivity deflection to Hellenistic mythology, in the worship of daimons. Yet demonology is entirely absent from the inspired writings of the Tanakh, and according to the dating of scholars, the book of Tobit originated well after the influence of Greek mythology began in Israel, and not in its alleged historical setting.
Subsequently, this strange culture of demonology grew widely in Israel until in N.T. times it was either still accepted, or had simply become a mode of expression to explain mysterious or unusual disorders.
Does their use then imply madness or mental derangement?
In many cases, the answer is yes. For example, John 10:20, “He hath a demon (daimonion) and is mad.”
The use of daimonion here corresponds to the alleged derangement of the mind, which we know to be far from the truth. They were the ones with the problem - not Jesus
John 8:52 also carries with it an insinuation of a deranged mind.
incident of the Gadarene demoniac/s of Matthew 8, Mark 5, and Luke 8 clearly
reveals the link of demons with mental derangement. In Matthew 8 daim
are said to be the possessors of these two men. Both Mark and Luke indicate
that the demonised wretch was clothed and in his right mind upon the exit of
the daimonia. There is here therefore a clear link with madness.
this case daim
ones used by Matthew was a colloquial name given to the
cause of the derangement, without committing himself to Greek mythology. The
term “daimonion” therefore refers to the possession itself – either to the mind
so possessed, or to the person so possessed by that terrible derangement.
Luke 11:14 also has clear overtones of a mental derangement. “He was casting out a demon and it (Gk neuter gender) was dumb. And it came to pass, when the demon was gone out the dumb spake.” Was this the demon or the man? It obviously was the man who was dumb, and who now spoke. The malady was in reality a possession of dumbness. So the Greek term “daimonion” used here refers both to the mental impediment and to the man himself.
Just as Jesus rebuked the fever in Peter’s mother in law, resulting in the fever leaving her, so the “dumb demon” was expelled. (Luke 4:39)
"DEMONS” EXPELLED EQUATED WITH ILLNESSES CURED
Matt. 4:23-24 reveals Jesus in Galilee healing all manner of diseases and sicknesses among the people. The report went into all Syria and they brought to him all those who held themselves in evil case, sorely pressed (with) differing diseases and torments; also those possessed of demons, epileptics, (seleneazomenous) and paralytics; and he healed them all.
No one there would have imagined that those tormented had been rubbed against the Lydian stone, or that the epileptics had been struck by the moon as its phase changed. But the original terms used literally mean just that. So why should it be insisted upon that those demonised were actually possessed by other beings inhabiting their bodies?
Blind and dumb – Matt 12:22 describes a demonised person being healed: yet there is no mention of casting out the demon. If our Lord healed the man then the man himself was the problem. There was obviously a psychological impediment to sight and dumbness, leaving us with the conclusion that like the previous case, being demonized was a colloquial expression for an unknown problem.
My Internet Provider sent me a message from Mailer – daemon@gizmo etc, because there was an unknown cause for not finding the addressee. There must have been gremlins in the line. Of course there are many viruses there as well. This language is understood by all those who participate in electronic mail, and yet no one gets tangled up in mystifications.
Demons are sometimes identified as sicknesses.
Isaiah 53:4 compared with Matt 8:16 - 17 suggests casting out the spirits of those demonized could be simply expressed as healing their sicknesses. The next verse indicates that what was involved in the cure was taking their infirmities and sicknesses upon himself, and that this operation became a heavy burden for him in their cure. Here the term daimonizomai is used, meaning to be demonized.
Here, being demonized is equated with the spirits that our Lord subsequently cast out. The use of the term spirits suggests mental pain or stress that is also inherent in the Hebrew source term “mak`obh. It is used to express this in Psalm 32:10, and Jeremiah 51:8. In all its uses in the Old Testament there is not the slightest hint of demon possesson, but mental distress, sometimes allied with physical pain. Accordingly a word from the Master was all that was necessary to relieve their distressed state of mind and restore them to health.
So Matthew summarised the healings with, “himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses.” Infirmities indicated the totality of their mental pain and distress that often affects one physically, while sicknesses covered all their diseases. (Gk nosos Heb Choliy)
So why use the term demonized at all unless it were common to describe most forms of mental distress by the use of that term? The use of it did not implicate our Lord in the belief of demonology: rather was it the recorder who here used the vernacular, leaving others to draw their own conclusions.
An epileptic boy – deaf & dumb – Matt 17:14-18, MK 9:14-19, Luke 9:38-43.
This cure is one of the three healings recorded in the three synoptic gospels. Each contributes something the others do not.
For example Matthew, in introducing the case to Jesus, records that the father used the word lunatic – literally meaning moonstruck. In Mark he attributes the problem to a dumb spirit, whilst Luke is more dramatic indicating that a spirit was taking hold of him. From the symptoms that follow the boy is actually an epileptic with the illness attributed to a spirit.
Spirit is a very elastic word. It is used in several places for the spirit of our minds, for doctrine, and any power that moves or inspires one into taking action. So it is appropriate to attribute an undefined or mysterious cause to a spirit, albeit an unclean one.
Both Mark and Luke are more descriptive of the throes the afflicted boy experienced. The spirit threw him to the ground, rent him; he foamed as a result, ground his teeth and became parched, and at times was thrown into either fire or water; so the father fears it will kill him. When it finally leaves him the boy lies shaking and trembling.
Why then should Matthew attribute this fit of epilipsy to a demon, (daimonion) unless daimonion is merely a common term like spirit used to name an unknown cause?
The simple answer is that the part of the mind so disturbed was relieved of the power holding it in its possession. With the pressure relieved, the possession disappeared and the boy was normal.
The healing procedure - Matthew says Jesus rebuked him, (the boy) and the demon (daimonion or possession) went out from him, and the boy was cured from that hour. The text does not say he rebuked the devil (demon) as in the A.V. Young’s Literal translation is correct that Jesus rebuked him (the epileptic).
However both Mark and Luke say that Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit. So in putting it all together, identification between the unclean spirit and the boy himself is being made. Mark concludes with the action of the Lord raising him after convulsing and appearing as dead: but Luke simply says that he healed the boy. So casting out the daimonion is really healing the boy of his epilepsy, and that the epilepsy was the possession.
From the rebukes directed both to the boy and the spirit, we understand that the unclean spirit and the boy himself, were integrated as one in the mind of our Lord, so that in rebuking the boy he was rebuking the spirit that departed never to return. This was not therefore a separate entity but the state of the boy’s mind which the Lord cured. (Gk iaomai)
This term simply applies to healing. Iason is the cognate of iaomai, and means healer. The Greek legend of Iason or as we would say, Jason – presents him as a pedler of healing therapies. According to Greek legend he brought back the golden-fleece prior to his being deified. Such is the nature of the term used to describe the healing of the epileptic boy. It merely signified to heal, and does not imply the casting out of demons.
John Baptist query and answers Luke 7:19-23
When John the Baptist sent his disciples to question whether or not Jesus was the Messiah or were they to look for another, the answer of Jesus is very instructive.
Luke 7:21-22 shows Jesus curing many of their infirmities and plagues and of evil spirits, and giving sight to the blind. Then he said to them go and tell John what you have seen and heard, for the blind see, the lepers are cleansed, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and to the poor the gospel is preached.
The use of the term daimonion and spirit has already been discussed in conjunction with the blind and the deaf to be a mental impediment to sight and hearing. Yet here there is not a word about casting out demons or spirits, but simply preaching, healing people and raising the dead. So in reality, the fact of curing people of evil spirits is restoring people to their right mind as a part of the healing process. The uncleanness of their mind (spirit) has been thereby exorcised.
The healing of many people
Matthew 8:16-17, Mark 1:29-34, Luke 4:38-41
Matthew simply states that they brought many demonised and he cast out the spirits with a word, and he healed all those evil afflicted. Summarising this, he says, “So that it may be fulfilled what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, ’himself took our weaknesses and bore the diseases’.” In that case being demonized with spirits is said by our Gospel writer, Matthew to be equated with human weakness and diseases.
This is the divine inspired explanation of the phenomenon.
So when it says in Mark that he cast out many demons (daimonia) and did not suffer the demons (daimonia) to speak, he was silencing the demoniacs in the process of healing them. Their uncomplicated simplistic mind was ready to receive the fact of Christ’s true sonship as the power of the healing.
We have already shown that the term “daimonion” can refer either to the man’s mind so possessed, or to the possessed person himself. So Luke’s record of the incident can also be understood as our Lord silencing the afflicted persons.
The healing of the Demoniac
Luke describes him as a man with (Gk “en” basically meaning “in”) an unclean spirit. So he was overwhelmed by an unclean spirit. We note the singular - an unclean spirit – not many unclean spirits. There is nothing supernatural about this statement. Scripture speaks of the spirit of our minds being renewed. (Ephesians 4:23 2Timothy 1:7) This man had a great need for his to be renewed from the superstition of darkness. “A man with an unclean spirit” is the divine description of the man’s real state of mind prior to his healing.
It was this man himself who introduced the alleged phenomenon of being possessed with many demons, and that his name was Legion. “Because we,” he said, “are many,” thus identifying himself with the legion. Consistently, we have seen that the dumb demon was identifiable with the dumb man himself in Luke 11:14. So the term “Legion” also describes a confused tormented person. Rid this mind of its multiple confused identity and the man would be restored to sanity.
Jesus not only did this, but left him with a witness of the reality of his healing. Just as the Israelites saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore, so the drowned pigs along the shore of the lake testified to Legion’s cured state of mind.
Being victim of his own thinking, he even identified himself with the demons he had been convinced were his problem. Correspondingly, the cures would need to have been addressed in such a way to convince him of their removal. No wonder James says, “even the demons (daimonia) believe and tremble.” (James 2:19) The Gadarene wretch had not merely confused himself with one, but with many. This would have left such an indelible impress on the mind of the disciples that James identified the daimonia as the poor wretches confessing Jesus, believing and trembling before him.
closer look at the meaning of daim
on and daimonion shows that there is a
subtle difference in meaning between the two words. This difference is often
confused in the contextual renderings of the narratives. The difference lies in
the significance of the endings of the two words. This difference is measured
by examining words with similar endings to those of daim on and
Demos the people - demosios that which belongs to the people.
Eidolon an idol - eidolion an idol’s temple
Daktulos a finger - daktulios a ring around the finger
Emporos a merchant - emporios a market place
on a demon - daimonion the abode of a demon
Consistency in Greek grammatical structures suggests that “daimonion” in cases of demon possession may often refer to the man possessed. We have already demonstrated that it is usually the mind that is said to be possessed. Jesus then, in casting out the daimonias was ridding the man of the possession by simply curing the person of his mental illness.
The daimon, the alleged deity regarded as the possessor, was in reality non-existent, so the mind so possessed was actually under the power of an undefined spirit or mental disorder.
James says that the daimonias believe and tremble, referring to the individuals possessed. With respect to the Gadarene miracle, the one/ones possessed actually believed and trembled in fear of the consequences of Christ’s visit.
The lexicon meanings have unfortunately omitted the real
significance of the difference between daim
and daimonion. Greek gods were all
based on legends of people who lusted and fought one with the other. The daim on was supposedly the
"departed human spirit" of a deified person. The daimonion was supposed to be possessed by the daim on, whether that possession was represented by a mere
graven image of the deified person, or was a real living person so possessed.
In either case the image or the person was identified as a daimonion, that is a
possession. The mind of the person so possessed was also the alleged residence of
the daim on.
Consistent with this, the Syriac translation of the New Testament, the Peschitta, has shown a remarkable absence of reference to demon possession. Because of Lamson’s familiarity with the local traditions and language, he saw the daimonia as the deranged persons themselves, and translated from the Aramaic to English accordingly.
Are Demons Reality or Phantasy
Matthew 4:24 groups those afflicted with demons (daimonizomenous) with those who were considered to be moonstruck. (seleniazomenous) Are we to take the one literally and not the other!
The Bible uses the vernacular of the period, its terminology still being understood by contemporary readers, without committing the writers themselves to the belief in these foreign no gods, or even to the demons of modern theology.
Thus far we have shown that the Scriptural record does not commit itself to the promotion or acceptance on the part of the inspired writers to subscribe to the doctrine of demonology though its terms have been used. However we cannot say the same for the Pharisees and other leaders of the Jews at the time of Christ.
In Matthew 12:24 the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting demons (daimonia) out by Beelzebub the Philistine god of the flies. (2Kings 1:2) Jesus replies in the terms of their own accusation without acknowledging the existence of this no god deity. So his use of the term demon is also no acknowledgement of his acceptance of their existence. To him they were also no god deities.
This practice was obviously widespread and accepted by the elders, for our Lord asked them, “if I by Beelzebub cast out demons by whom do your children cast out?” (Matthew 12:27)
Accordingly, God had given Israel’s leaders over to be victims of their own perversions. Then if some of the maladies attributed to demon possession were induced by dwelling on their own superstition, it was consistent to represent those psychologically induced afflictions in the very language they themselves used. It would also follow that the exorcism of so called demons by the sons of the Pharisees would also have been a psychological process. The non-committal question of Jesus in Luke 11:19, “by whom do your sons cast out,” did more than merely suggest that they were successful in that practice.
In being true to the Greek text, note the absence of the word “them” in this verse indicating our Lord did not subscribe to their vain imaginations.
The nation was evidently in the grip of demonic fever borrowed from Greek mythology, only to reap the rewards of their own foolishness.
This would not be the first time God had given them over to their own waywardness and imaginations. He gave them over to the vermilion coated conquerors with whom they were so mesmerised, and to the “Queen of Heaven” to whom they had lustily paid homage. (Ezekiel 23:14-17 Jeremiah 7:18) An evil spirit from the LORD came upon Saul – a lying spirit from the LORD was sent to Ahab – (1 Samuel 16:14-16, 1Kings 22:23)
“Shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?” (Amos 3:6) “which the Lord has not wrought?” (LXX) “If the LORD has not caused it.” (TANAKH)
But alas, Greek mythology overtook the nation. It soon became immersed in Hellenised thought. So transition back to the Old Testament principle of God’s superintendence was required. Simultaneously his message and his work needed to be understood by the simple uneducated folk. So the common vernacular needed to be used without committal to its vulgarity. For the Lord to have spent time in rebutting theories of demon possession would have been time wasted on his audience. His mission was to preach the Kingdom of God: not to debate the causes of disease and distress, but to heal them. (Isaiah 61:1-2 Matthew 8:1)
So the prevalent word used was daimonion, and that in the sense of possession, without committal to deified departed human spirits of mysticism, or any other ism that controverted the Scriptures.
Unclean Spirits in the Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles reveals an absence of any reference to daimonia apart from one application that rightly applies it to gods. Unclean spirits were referred to four times only, with one reference to the spirit of Python. Unclean spirits, as we have seen describe an unclean state of mind that became vocal in their distress. It is also interesting to note that Acts 19:12 indicates that their illnesses departed from them and the evil spirits went out of them. Where did the illnesses go? The answer must be where the evil spirits went. The people with the physical and mental illnesses were simply healed. Their afflictions were gone.
Also Acts 8:7 when translated verbally reads, “for many of those having unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out; and many who had been paralytic and lame were healed.” The subject of the verb translated “came out” is “many.” “Those having unclean spirits” identify which “many” is being referred to. It was the many who had unclean spirits who cried out. (middle voice) Their agitated state of mind with reduced control over their emotions, would have impelled them to cry out for help. So that eratic state of mind called an unclean spirit was at the root of their appeal.
If the sentence refers to the spirits crying out in being exorcised, why was the middle voice used? The middle voice in Greek requires the subject to act upon itself: yet the spirits would not have come out of their own accord if they were exorcised. Neither would they have come out because of any personal concern for their unwilling hosts, an alternative requirement of the middle voice. So there is a real problem with that approach.
is understandable though, that those afflicted with mental problems would want
to come out into the open places to be healed once they heard news that Philip
was there healing people, and that they would excitedly cry for help. Bo
the participial form of Boa o translated here as crying out, especially
denotes a cry for help. (Thayer)
Daimonion in the Epistles and The Revelation
There are two references in the Epistles, 1Timothy 4:1 and James 2:19.
The first refers to those who depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits (seductive doctrines) and doctrines of demons. The demons here being the plural of daimonion. That is, teachings about no god intermediaries. This has been fully identified in the Roman doctrine of canonised saints, who supposedly intercede between its seduced followers and Mary their alleged Queen of Heaven, who also intercedes on their behalf.
We have already applied the other in James 2:19 to the Gadarene demoniacs who recognised the Lord for who he was, and in meeting him expected that he would torment and shackle them like all others had done. They graphically demonstrate the anxiety with which those so afflicted manifest when coming to grips with the reality of the name of Jesus.
Why should one think that it refers to supernatural intermediaries when the only ones existing in the universe of God are His angels that do His will, and who rejoice at the name of Jesus?
Again, why should we think otherwise when it has been demonstrated that the term daimonia used here can merely apply to the person possessed, by being the victim of an aberration?
YLT Revelation 9:20 and the rest of men, who were not killed in these plagues, neither did reform from the works of their hands, that they may not bow before the demons, and idols, those of gold, and those of silver, and those of brass, and those of stone, and those of wood, that are neither able to see, nor to hear, nor to walk.
This is self explanatory, as these demons are the work of their hands.
The historical setting of this verse is the overthrow of the idolaters in the Eastern third of the Roman Empire by the conquering Islamic hordes.
The daimonia are identifiable as the no-god intermediaries that the Eastern third of the Roman Empire worshipped – namely idols – images of Mary the mother of God, and a host of canonised patron saints etc – all the work of their hands with no counterpart in reality.
The final overthrow of the papal power is noted in Revelation 18:2 when Babylon the Great (Rome) will fall. It already had been the home of pagan demon worship for many centuries, but then they will be entrapped in the prison house never again to be released for the worship of the masses. For upon her fall she became “a habitation of demons, even a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.” The pagan idolatry of Rome will never find a place in worship again. There will be no phoenix to rise from the ashes in the destiny of Rome.
When the unclean spirits like frogs go forth to all the earth they will be the co-product of Rome with the other nations of Europe, hence the apocalyptic symbology of the spirits of demons going forth to the kings of the earth to bring them together to the battle of the great of God Almighty. (Revelation 16:14) God has no rivals in the spirit world for He says in Joel 3:2 and in Zechariah 14:2 that I (Yahweh) will gather all nations.
It is God who rules in the Kingdoms of men (Daniel 4:25) and not the imagined spirit world of gentile mysticism. One is therefore obliged to understand the passages in a light that will be at perfect harmony with the rest of Scripture.
God uses men to fulfil His purpose, and He ensures that those with malicious thinking (daimonion) are in the portals of power at the right time. The doctrines of demons are predominant in the arraigning of the kings of the earth against the LORD and against His anointed. (Revelation 16:14 Psalm 2:1-3)
Iran's Ayatollah lays out legal and religious justification for attack Israel Could Be Wiped Out in Nine Minutes, Manifesto Claims By Reza Kahlili, WorldNetDaily.com, February 4, 2012
(See the end of this article for special comments)
The Iranian government, through a website proxy, has laid out the legal and religious justification for the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of its people. The doctrine includes wiping out Israeli assets and Jewish people worldwide.
Calling Israel a danger to Islam, the conservative website Alef, with ties to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the opportunity must not be lost to remove "this corrupting material. It is a "'jurisprudential justification" to kill all the Jews and annihilate Israel, and in that, the Islamic government of Iran must take the helm."
The article, written by Alireza Forghani, an analyst and a strategy specialist in Khamenei's camp, now is being run on most state-owned sites, including the Revolutionary Guards' Fars News Agency, showing that the regime endorses this doctrine.
Because Israel is going to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, Iran is justified in launching a pre-emptive, cataclysmic attack against the Jewish state, the doctrine argues.
On Friday, in a major speech at prayers, Khamenei announced that Iran will support any nation or group that attacks the "cancerous tumor" of Israel. Though his statement was seen by some in the West as fluff, there is substance behind it.
Iran's Defense Ministry announced this weekend that it test-fired an advanced two-stage, solid-fuel ballistic missile and boasted about successfully putting a new satellite into orbit, reminding the West that its engineers have mastered the technology for intercontinental ballistic missiles even as the Islamic state pushes its nuclear weapons program.
The commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Brig. Gen. Seyyed Mehdi Farahi, stated in August that the Safir missile, which is capable of transporting a satellite into space, can easily be launched parallel to the earth's orbit, which will transform it into an intercontinental ballistic missile. Western analysts didn't believe this would happen until 2015. Historically, orbiting a satellite is the criterion for crediting a nation with ICBM capability.
Forghani details the Islamic duty of jihad as laid out in the Quran for the sake of Allah and states that "primary jihad," according to some Shiite jurists, can only occur when the Hidden Imam, the Shiites' 12th Imam Mahdi, returns. Shiites believe Mahdi''s return will usher in Armageddon.
In the absence of the hidden Imam, Forghani says, "defensive jihad" could certainly take place when Islam is threatened, and Muslims must defend Islam and kill their enemies. To justify such action, Alef quotes the Shiites' first imam, Ali, who stated "Waging war against the enemies with whom war is inevitable and there is a strong possibility that in near future they will attack Muslims is a must and the duty of Muslims." In this regard, Ayatollah Khamenei has issued a fatwa in which he has even authorized carrying out primary jihad in the age of the absence of the Hidden im nam under the authorization of Vali Faghih.
The article then quotes the Quran (Albaghara 2:191-193): "And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers] … and fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah."
It is the duty for all Muslims to participate in this defensive jihad, Forghani says. A fatwa by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini made it clear that any political domination by infidels over Muslims authorizes Muslims to defend Islam by all means. Iran now has the ICBM means to deliver destruction on Israel and soon will have nuclear warheads for those missiles.
In order to attack Iran, the article says, Israel needs the approval and assistance of America, and under the current passive climate in the United States, the opportunity must not be lost to wipe out Israel before it attacks Iran.
Under this pre-emptive defensive doctrine, several Ground Zero points of Israel must be destroyed and its people annihilated. Forghani cites the last census by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics that shows Israel has a population of 7.5 million citizens of which a majority of 5.7 million are Jewish. Then it breaks down the districts with the highest concentration of Jewish people, indicating that three cities, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, contain over 60 percent of the Jewish population that Iran could target with its Shahab 3 ballistic missiles, killing all its inhabitants.
Forghani suggests that Iran's Sejil missile, which is a two-stage rocket with a trajectory and speed that make it impossible to intercept, should target such Israeli facilities as: the Rafael nuclear plant, which is the main nuclear engineering center of Israel; the Eilun nuclear plant; another Israeli reactor in Nebrin; and the Dimona reactor in the nuclear research center in Neqeb, the most critical nuclear reactor in Israel because it produces 90 percent enriched uranium for Israel's nuclear weapons.
Other targets, according to the article, include airports and air force bases such as the Sedot Mikha Air Base, which contains Jericho ballistic missiles and is located southwest of the Tel Nof Air Base, where aircraft equipped with nuclear weapons are based. Secondary targets include power plants, sewage treatment facilities, energy resources, and transportation and communication infrastructures.
Finally, Forghani says, Shahab 3 and Ghadr missiles can target urban settlements until the Israelis are wiped out.
Forghani claims that Israel could be destroyed in less than nine minutes and that Khamenei, as utmost authority, the Velayete Faghih (Islamic Jurist), also believes that Israel and America not only must be defeated but annihilated.
The radicals ruling Iran today not only possess
over 1,000 ballistic missiles but are on the verge of ICBM delivery and have sufficient enriched uranium for six nuclear bombs even as they continue to highly enrich uranium despite four sets of U.N. sanctions.
Whilst Iran’s leaders are free to rant and rave against Israel, they are aware that the first intercontinental missile launched against Israel could bring enormous nuclear destruction by Israel, upon Teheran.
But , what they are unaware of is that Israel’s Prophet Zechariah in Ch 14: 1-3 foretold that when the God of Israel gave the Land back to the Jews, He also promised to ‘come down’ and fight against the nations round about Israel. In v.12 of that chapter there is a picture of the destruction that the Father intends to visit upon nations which come against Israel, a destruction reminiscent of that of the results of the atomic bomb on Japan.
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NSW AUSTRALIA 2295
H E Lafferty
The world news today is featuring a prominent story claiming that Israel is getting ready to attack the nuclear production facilities of Iran – and that Israel’s military planners are at least one page ahead of US military people. Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak has informed US officials that the time to strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities is fast becoming too late. But the US seems willing to do absolutely nothing beyond sanctioning Iran until after the November elections.
In light of that, observers are now putting forward the belief that Israel will actually deliver some hard blows to Iran by March or April – some six to eight weeks away. Minister Barak revealed yesterday that Iran has been working on a missile which could fly 10,000 km (just over 6,000 miles) and would be able to hit the US. This fact correlates with the information that the explosion some weeks ago in an Iranian missile facility probably set that project back a long way; the explosion occurred in the plant in which this missile was being developed.
Israeli authorities today specified that any facility created by man can be destroyed by man – a reference to the current thought that the Iranian facilities are buried too deep for surface bombing or missiles short of atomic warheads.
However … think about this: every such buried facility is serviced by one or two entry portals – tunnels from the surface to the factory far below ground. This necessary feature is the weak point of any such facility. A few medium sized bombs in strategic, pin-pointed tunnels could collapse the tunnels and seal the facilities for months to come, creating a horrible death for all the workers on duty at the time, sealing them underground with high levels of radiation. Radiation sickness (poisoning) is an horrible process involving metabolic collapse, massive tissue breakdown, internal bleeding, fluid accumulation and death. And, of course, there is the matter of lack of oxygen in such a sealed underground space.
Eventually the tunnels might be opened at hazard of the workers’ becoming also exposed to high levels of nuclear radiation. Nuclear reactions in such facilities need human control in order to prevent their leaping out of control and melting down – depending on the processes being carried out. Once the human control is lost through staff members expiring – or critical damage to the control systems – almost anything could happen in those facilities, including the unthinkable.
But what can we determine scripturally about this dilemma? Ezekiel specifies quite clearly that “Persia” (modern day Iran) is numbered with the Gogian host which is set to attack Israel in the future – perhaps some years away at this time. From this fact we can be certain that Iran be only partially deterred from its aggressive stance against Israel; indeed, its main role lies in the indeterminate future. Its demise comes not from distant threats to Israel but from its physical encroachment upon the Land of Israel of the future with mortal combat on its mind.
Ezekiel 38 and 39 are entirely clear about the fate of Gog and his aggressive companions: they meet their abrupt end on the mountains of Israel in one day – destroyed by the Almighty’s fury rising in His face – by several specified “natural” weapons – every man’s sword against his brother (Chapter 38: 21), by pestilence, blood, an overflowing rain, great hailstones, fire and brimstone – all these amid an enormous “shaking” of an earthquake of unprecedented strength (verses 19, 20) which shall level mountains, shake down every wall and every steep place. It shall be terror such as no human agency could match. The end result is that ALL the host of Gog will be destroyed with not one remaining – as stated by an overwhelming preponderance of references from other ancient sources in opposition to the “sixth part” remaining as stated in the A. V.
So great shall be the slaughter that their rotting corpses will be eaten by the birds of the air and the beasts of the field (Ezekiel 39: 4) before they can be buried … buried at a place to be known as Hamon-gog in the Yarkon Valley east of Galilee’s Sea (per Young).
One worry of Israel is the huge number (now estimated at 200,000) missiles aimed at the Israeli heartland; might all these be unleashed upon Israel in case of an attack on Iran. We are wondering whether Israel is waiting as long as possible to attack Iran because of this threat.
A related article appeared this week entitled “Boeing Partners With Israeli Firm to Develop Arrow 3 Missile Interceptor,” sourced from the Department of Defense. The article is short and succinct; we quote it verbatim:
“U.S. defense firm Boeing has partnered with Israel Aerospace Industries to prepare a long-range system that would form the uppermost component of Israel's multilevel ballistic missile shield, Aviation Week reported on Thursday.
The Arrow 3 interceptor is intended to have the capability to hit incoming missiles outside the Earth's atmosphere and so would have a longer reach than Israel's Arrow 2 technology. Israel's tiered missile defense system is intended to give the military several opportunities to eliminate incoming threats.
Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing previously collaborated in establishing the Arrow 2 interceptor. ‘This new agreement is the next logical step in our relationship with Boeing and a strong opportunity for both companies to play a bigger role in the missile defense market’ Israel Aerospace Industries President Itzhak Nissan said in a press release.
The Arrow 3 would be used in conjunction with the advanced ‘Great Pine’ radar system that is thought capable of identifying threats as far away as 563 miles. Information on missile threats would also be provided by a U.S.-supplied X-band radar unit established in southern Israel.
Development of the Arrow 3 is financed by the Israeli military and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. The interceptor is anticipated to be ready for preliminary operations in 2014.
The system is being developed with an eye toward Iran's evolving missile and nuclear capabilities. Jerusalem believes Tehran is pursuing a nuclear-weapon capability, an allegation rejected by Iranian leaders.
’Israel is too small to absorb a nuclear strike. The Arrow 3 will minimize the chance of enemy missiles penetrating our defense shields,’ a well-placed defense source said." [End]
This new system will allow defenders to hit ICBMs just after lift-off from their home bases, and hopefully will destroy them while they are still in their climbout stage (while still over enemy territory) and thus drop their lethal payloads on the aggressor countries. That should be a fairly effective deterrent to the use of such missiles! Meanwhile, Israel’s problem with Iran has a seemingly much shorter “fuse” than 2014, when Arrow 3 is scheduled to be operational.
Although the Shepherds of Israel today do not realize the fact, nor have faith in this outcome, Isaiah addresses their present predicament in these words: Isaiah 31:5 As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.
It appears that whatever is launched against Israel will be deterred in some way by the Almighty. But we wonder in what more succinct words an ancient writer might have described the anti-missile missiles being developed by Israel and the US at the present time? The technology is little short of miraculous – a defensive missile is launched to collide with an already airborne missile from afar incoming at perhaps 5,000 miles per hour or more, in the stratosphere, and is effective knocked out of the sky by the defensive missile sent to meet it head on! That’s exactly like firing a pellet gun at a deer slug in its trajectory and expecting to hit it in midair. But that’s what actually happens. The offensive missile is disabled inertially – that is by physical blunt contact, and not by explosive power.
Israel already has several such weapons designed to thwart attacks by shorter range missiles and intermediate range missiles – named Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow 2, etc.
When Saddam Hussein fired 39 Scud missiles at Israel in 1990 they did hardly any damage; and only one person fell casualty to these – a person who was over-wrought with the danger and died of an heart attack. Perhaps until Israel’s anti-missile missiles are ready for deployment their Father will simply deflect any enemy missiles to open spaces where little damage will occur – it’s the same result as knocking them out of the sky.
<HEL MD/USA February 5, 2012>
H E Lafferty
We often ruminate on the terrible condemnation of Esau in Obadiah, considering Jacob’s twin brother’s overwhelming hatred of God’s people which has persisted for literally thousands of years. It began with the events of Genesis 27:41, where Esau swore to kill his brother.
Obadiah’s prophecy against Edom (Esau) absolutely and precisely defines Israel’s nearest and fiercest enemy of our modern day; that enemy is unmistakably the “Palestinians” of Gaza, the “West Bank,” of Lebanon, of Syria, of Jordan and of the Sinai Peninsula and even the Saudi Arabian peninsula. This small prophet in succinct words spells out the unmitigated doom of these peoples – these mingled peoples, these Arabs – calling themselves “Palestinians.”
Newt Gingrich recently stirred up controversy when he called the “Palestinians” an INVENTED people; but he was entirely correct in his language. There is not and NEVER HAS BEEN a people known as “Palestinians.” The term is taken from a Roman term “Philistia” which was the label Rome assigned to the people of the Land after the Bar Kochba Rebellion of 135 AD, hoping to erase the name of Judah (Judaea) from the lexicon forever. But the area was merely the southern provinces of Syria, not a national entity.
So the extremely few people of this area were known as Palestinians for that reason. But they had no central government and no identity as a nation. Indeed, until the time of the establishment of the State of Israel, it was the Jews of the Land who referred to themselves as Palestinians, but not the Arab residents – they were “Arabs,” thank you, and would not deign to label themselves as Palestinians! The name adopted by these Arabs is officially منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية;(approximately this sound) Munaẓẓamat at-Taḥrīr al-Filasṭīniyyah.
In fact, it really didn’t occur to the Arabs of the area to refer to themselves as “Palestinians” until the PLO’s formation in 1964; even then statehood was not mentioned by them! Its charter did not recognize Israel as a nation and put forth its clear intention to obliterate the foreign “occupiers” of “Arab land.”
So the Edomites of yesteryear are “Palestinians” of this era – clearly and simply. Their animosity and aggression toward the Jewish State is notorious and persistent, and their hatred well-known in the world. It is these people that Obadiah addresses.
And it is these people whom Ezekiel also addresses; the entire 35th chapter is dedicated to their condemnation – and apparently to the healing of the breach of a few of them in the end: this text is from the A.V. as presented by E-Sword. Comment upon the text is interspersed throughout …
Ezekiel 35:2 Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir (the people of Esau), and prophesy against it, 3 And say unto it, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O mount Seir, I am against thee, and I will stretch out mine hand against thee, and I will make thee most desolate.
This expression of His disapproval shall be executed by the hand of Christ, as in Isaiah 63, and is pictured as a bloody, terminal event for Esau’s house.
Eze 35:4 I will lay thy cities waste, and thou shalt be desolate, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.
This verse informs us that a remnant of Edom shall remain, for there must be some of the people remaining for this realization to take place in their hearts and minds. These shall be completely converted from Islam to people of Christ and His kingdom.
Eze 35:5 Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end:
Here is an unmistakable time marker in which these events reach fulfillment: the time that their iniquity had an end. The prophet is referring to the children of Israel – the Jewish people of today – the remnant of His people who have returned to the Land. It is they who are destined to be delivered from the aggression of Esau’s descendants; it is they who are offered salvation at the accomplishment of this event.
Eze 35:6 Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee. 35:7 Thus will I make mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it him that passeth out and him that returneth. 8 And I will fill his mountains with his slain men: in thy hills, and in thy valleys, and in all thy rivers, shall they fall that are slain with the sword. 9 I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Here the prophet refers to the impossibility of the return of Esau’s people and cities to their former condition after they have been dealt with by The Christ. Their current philosophy (militant Islamic fundamentalism) shall NOT return, for they shall then fully realize that they have anciently been following the wrong lord (Allah) but shall be taught in detail that it is the God of Jacob Who is really their God. The teachable ones of Esau shall survive; all the others shall not.
Eze 35:10 Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there:
These two nations are Israel (the ten tribes) and Judah (the two tribes), the territories of whom those of Mount Seir have coveted and legally claimed in the courts of men (the UNO).
Eze 35:11 Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will even do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy which thou hast used out of thy hatred against them; and I will make myself known among them, when I have judged thee.
This definitive statement indicates a landmark achievement for the people of Israel, who, remember, are nearing the end of their calamities and the beginning of the time when their iniquity shall have an end (verse 5); they are the chief beneficiaries of these decisive actions! It is ONLY at this time that God’s Son shall make known to His people His actual identity; He shall be “known” among them – appreciated, loved, obeyed – but only “when I have judged (Edom).”
Eze 35:12 And thou shalt know that I am the LORD, and that I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume. 13 Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me, and have multiplied your words against me: I have heard them. 14 Thus saith the Lord GOD; When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate.
Why shall the “whole earth rejoice?” because its Salvation has come in the personal return of Jesus Christ to the earth, in pursuit of His clearly stated intention of pacifying the earth and its people, and of offering salvation first to His people Israel, then to the nations of the earth. (Ezekiel 34:25, q.v.)
Eze 35:15 As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee: thou shalt be desolate, O mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Amos addresses these same faults in his scathing words of Amos 1:11 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever: 12 But I will send a fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah.
Thus comes to finality the career of the nearly eternal, evil nemesis of Jacob – the descendants of Esau, mingled with the seed of Ishmael, the brother of Isaac, whose ways and marriages displeased his father Abraham. Neither of these fathers (along with the sons of Lot, Moab and Ammon) of the “mingled peoples” called Arabs were sons of inheritance; and neither has an everlasting future unless they become adopted sons of Jacob, or Israelites indeed, through the name of Christ.
Seemingly only a troubled few will ever have that opportunity when the final showdown comes – although today, while it is now, the day of salvation is wide open to them. Their dreadful self-imposed deterrence to this advantage is their entrenched evil mindset toward Israel. We earnestly pray for the enlightenment of at least some of these folk – that they will come to realize the enormity of their hatred for Israel and her God and truly repent, turning abruptly aside to salvation in His name.
Instead we behold them and all Islam continuing to oppress everyone who is unlike themselves. Even the “Christian” community of Bethlehem has shrunken by tens of thousands since the PLO gained sway over that city. Their lives are unbearable as dhimmi (second class citizens) among the Arabs. The Christians of the Coptic order are fleeing Egypt in droves as their oppressors bear down and burn their churches and kill them in savage attacks. Perhaps nearly a million “Christian” people of South Sudan were killed in the extremely unsettled conditions imposed by the Sharia Law of the Muslims in the north of Sudan.
Conclusion: Although Esau is condemned to extinction as an enemy of Israel and of God (Psalm 83: 1, 2) and slated for total destruction as to ideology and identity, a precious few will come to know Yahweh and His mercy and salvation in the person of Jesus Christ. Isaiah and Obadiah (among several other prophets) clarify their fate, and indicate their lands as fair game for Israel’s Messiah as expansion territories for his germinal kingdom – even from the Nile to the Euphrates, and from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf (and the Indian Ocean?). <HEL MD/USA Dec. 31, 2011>