Watching Over Zion : October 12th 2017

The Word:  He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust." Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge... (Psalm 91:1-4) For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. (Psalm 61:3-4)  "... And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. .. (Zechariah 14:16-17) 

Pointers for prayer:  As we come before the throne of grace during this time of Succoth (Tabernacles), may we boldly approach the Lord for His blessing upon the nation of Israel.  The ongoing conflict in the Land of Israel by the Islamic terror groups has caused terrible damage to the relationships of Jew and Arab, especially amongst the younger generation. Pray that ordinary Jews and Arab people will have a desire for reconciliation and to live side by side in peace and harmony.     We can see God's blessing upon much of the Land of Israel today ~ we need only look at how the desert has blossomed this past 69 years and the way Israel has done amazing things throughout their short history of being back in the Land.  However, there are many areas within Israel that we know need prayer.  As the Jewish nation continues to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, may they know the Lord's everlasting arms around them. May He be Israel's covering. "He will hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle shall He hide me… (Psalm 27:5)   During the Feast of Tabernacles in Biblical times, a priest would pour out in the temple pitchers of water, taken from the pool of Siloam, to signify Israel's gratitude for the rain that had produced the harvest, and to pray for rain to return in the coming year.  Please pray that the LORD God would indeed open the heavens and pour down rain upon the land of Israel.    Please seek the LORD for a greater understanding of God’s prophetic word about the nation and people of Israel today. Pray earnestly for God to give many in the Church the burden to pray, leading to a greater understanding of the current situation within Israel and the Middle East. Please pray that your church may be blessed in blessing Israel, according to God’s promise (Genesis 12:3).   

In the shelter of Your arms    Many years ago, one of my favourite Neil Diamond songs was ‘In the shelter of your arms.’   In his rich tones he sang, “Nobody gives a hang for what I say or do, but You, and in the shelter of Your arms, I find peace and comfort and care, for I am wanted there.”  Oh that the nation of Israel, along with the true Church would find that depth of relationship with the God of Israel to know the truth of these words. 

We are now approaching the end of the Feast of Tabernacles (also referred to as the Feast of Booths, Feast of the Ingathering, and Succoth).  At its most basic level, the Feast of Tabernacles is a celebration of the abundance of God's blessings in connection with the ingathering of the Autumn Harvests.  It is a memorial to the Exodus, when the Israelis wandered in the wilderness, living in tabernacles or booths (i.e. temporary dwelling places) en-route to the Promised Land to become the nation of Israel.  But as they have done throughout their history, the people of Israel today often find life is tough.  And life indeed is often tough, but it makes one realise that we are only here, in our temporary dwelling, for a short while.  In the New Testament in 2 Corinthians 4:18-5:2 it states, “Fix your eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal home in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling…”  Tabernacles however is not a time to groan, for it is often called the "Season of Our Joy." One reason Sukkoth is said to be a time of joy in the Jewish faith, is that after the season of repentance and the redemption of Yom Kippur, comes the joy of knowing forgiveness and the joy of walking with God.   

Several years ago, some friends of ours from our fellowship – Marc and Julie - were married under the chuppah ~ being united under God’s covering.  Four years ago, Marc, being Israeli, returned back to Israel with Julie and they now live in the upper Galilee and lead a fellowship of Believers there.  Of course, the Jewish people have their own Tabernacle in the Prayer Shawl.  Used as a chuppah (Jewish bridal canopy), the tallit (prayer shawl) sanctifies the space under which the couple are married and symbolises their future home.  The prayer shawl is held up during the ceremony by four poles.  The corners with the fringe are also called the "wings" of the tallit. In Numbers 15:38 the word translated border (or corner) is a Hebrew word which can also be translated wings as it is some seventy-six times in the biblical text. For this reason, the corners of the prayer shawl are often called wings.  In Ezekiel 16:8, the Lord speaks to Jerusalem and likewise says, "And I spread my wing over thee, and covered thy nakedness." 

Psalm 91 above states: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust." Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.  He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge…”   Oftentimes I remember the days when our son, Matthew, was very young and when I used to have my “quiet times” I’d sit under my prayer shawl (I still do at times).  And if Matthew came in wanting me to play football and saw me in my ‘tabernacle’, he would say… “Dad’s in a meeting with God… he’ll play football when he comes out of his meeting…”  This is what it means to ‘tabernacle’ with the Father.  By entering into the Feast of Tabernacles we can be blessed by the many benefits we get from this.  However, the Feast of Tabernacles is only a foreshadow of the things to come ~ and ultimately, we need to ask, “How can we tabernacle with the LORD now?” And not just one week in the year ~ but every day?  

The Battle for Land and Truth   With Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announcing “New Settlement Construction” this week, one doesn’t need much imagination to think of the International criticism that Israel will receive.  I’d heard the Palestinian Authority had kicked off over lots of tents being erected throughout Israel, only to learn that they were sukkahs being erected for Tabernacles!  However it is true that Benjamin Netanyahu has approved the construction of new housing units for Jewish “settlements” in the so-called “West Bank.”  Some 3,800 homes will soon be built in disputed areas like the Jewish sectors of Hebron. The approval was granted subject to consultation with the US government. 

An understanding between Netanyahu and President Trump whereby Israel seeks American approval for any new settlement construction is expected to bring an end to the routine condemnation that flowed from the Obama Administration.  Why Israel should need American approval for building in their own country is beyond me, but I do understand their need for ‘diplomacy’.  As part of the understanding, the Americans will no longer differentiate between large settlement blocs and smaller, more isolated Jewish communities. For instance, the small Jewish neighbourhood in the heart of Hebron is expected to gain approval for 30 new housing units, a major breakthrough for the Jewish residents of Judaism's second holiest city.  However, this will surely spark off more condemnation from the Palestinian Authority, and all the Islamic representatives at the United Nations – not to mentioned those who already declare Israel to be an Apartheid State, along with the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) groups who keep churning out their derogatory nonsense to any who don’t know the true facts.   
 
I’m well aware that Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, otherwise known as Boris Johnson, appears to cause mischief wherever he goes, but not so long ago I did smile at his comments on BDS.  The British politician, historian and journalist Boris Johnson caused great upset the last time he toured Israel.  Following the 350 British academics signing a letter (which was printed as a full-page advert in The Guardian no less), pledging to boycott Israeli academic institutions over what it claims are Israel’s “treatment of Palestinian people and its "illegal occupation" of their land,” Boris Johnson hit back condemning any talk of boycott of goods and services, as well as other measures such as sanctions or divestment of shares in Israeli companies, describing their proponents as “corduroy jacketed-academics... by and large lefty academics who have no real standing in the matter and are unlikely to be influential on Britain”.   He was also quoted as saying, “I cannot think of anything more foolish than to say you want to have any kind of sanctions or divestment or boycott against a country that, when all is said and done, is the only democracy in the region that is the only place, in my view, which has an open, pluralistic society. Why boycott Israel?"   

But what of the argument that Israel could be an Apartheid State?  Surely Israel need to fight back?  Well why… especially when those who have experienced Apartheid themselves can speak louder for Israel?  Take for example Olga Meshoe, herself a South African whose family experienced horrific apartheid.  On Olga Meshoe’s Twitter account @OllieMesh she labels herself as a “Lover of Jesus Christ, energetic, passionate, attorney, consultant, entrepreneur, speaker, youth leader, community worker, dancer & politician!  Wow!  Well she appears to settle the question once and for all.  Decades after an international boycott movement helped end South Africa's apartheid system, Arab Palestinians in the Middle East along with the BDS campaigners are gaining traction with a similar campaign against Israel – even calling Israel an apartheid state.  However these comparisons are outrageous say many South Africans like Olga Meshoe.  

Olga Meshoe is the daughter of a member of the South African Parliament, who grew up under the apartheid system.  She states, “When I hear that Israel is an apartheid state, when people make that accusation, depending on the mood I'm in I either break out laughing or I get really, really angry – because it's an absolute lie.”  However, she’s not content on just making the occasional comment on Social Media, for the past few years Olga has been on a mission to set the record straight about the Jewish state, and she takes to task those she claims are making a mockery of the struggle endured by those who lived under South Africa's apartheid system.  Olga Meshoe states, “If the media was actually trying to accomplish something that was going to give hope, that was going to give life, that was going to encourage, that was going to encourage peace, then let's maybe have a conversation on that.  But how dare you take that and use it to incite violence, use it to incite and encourage the destruction of a people just because you don't like them," she charged.  “The world needs to recognize that you are not only doing an injustice to the people that are in the Middle East; you're making what our parents went through, you're making the struggle a mockery,” she said. 

Meshoe and her father, Kenneth Meshoe, have founded an organization called DEISI, which stands for Defend, Embrace, Invest, Support Israel.  DEISI's goal is to create awareness for Israel, for educating South Africans and forging relationships to the benefit of Israel, Jews, South Africans and Christians.  In a very short but to the point video, you can watch Olga Meshoe speak the truth on this subject here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocNttZV4G_0    

To watch a longer programme of Olga being interviewed on "Eye On Israel" by Shahar Azani (Executive Director, StandWithUs Northeast Region), click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp7GKh6Kgl8
A people without a say   The first round in the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation talks started on October 10, 2017 in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, Azzam al-Ahmad, member of Fatah Central Committee and head of its delegation to the reconciliation talks, said on Tuesday.  The main point on the meeting’s agenda that will be discussed is ‘empowering the government to rule in the Gaza Strip.’  But the question should be asked, “Which government will be empowering… the Hamas Terrorist organisation, or the oppressive Fatah government that has never allowed a ruling power vote since 2005?  Mahmoud Abbas, otherwise known as 
 
 Abu Mazen, is the President of the State of Palestine and Palestinian National Authority. He has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) since November 11, 2004, and Palestinian “president” since January 15, 2005.  Abbas was elected on January 9, 2005 to serve as President of the Palestinian National Authority for four years, but Abbas extended his term until the next election in 2010, citing the PLO constitution, and on December 16, 2009 was voted into office indefinitely by the PLO – not the Palestinian people of whom he is supposed to represent.  As a result, Fatah's main rival, Hamas, announced that it would not recognize the extension or view Abbas as the rightful president.  Of course when Fatah won the election in Gaza following Israel’s withdrawal in 2005, Hamas quickly removed Fatah by throwing the Fatah members off rooftops – literally. 

Money is of course what fuels any organisation, whether its purpose is building homes (or settlements if it relates to anything Israeli), selling goods – or conducting horrific violent acts such as both Hamas and Fatah carry out. A terror organisation, just like any legitimate business, needs finance to survive. Quick cash is used to finance general activities, pay salaries for activists, develop training camps (in Fatah and Hamas’ case – using children), purchase weapons and destructive materials, and provide transportation and much more.  But unlike legitimate businesses, terror enterprises cannot rely on loans or issuing stocks or bonds to fund their activities. Instead, they shift their financial efforts to underground operations, above and around the financial laws of the economic world.  But who is the world’s wealthiest – and most dangerous – terrorist organisations?  Well according to Forbes Israel, the following information was based on interviews with security experts and counter-terror specialists, as well as reports and analysis from international NGOs, academic and government organisations. 

Apparently, ISIS is currently in number one position – but I doubt that will be for much longer.  According to sources, ISIS’ annual turnover was $2 billion.  Their main funding sources are oil trade, kidnapping and ransom, collection of protection and taxes, bank robberies and looting.  Their goal is, or rather was: the establishment of an Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine, the Muslim holy war against the infidels, i.e. Christians and the Jews.  Needless to say, they have lost a lot of support of late and literally lost a lot of ground, however they are ‘still out there’.  In second place is Hamas – with an annual turnover of $1 billion.   Since taking over Gaza in 2007, Hamas has made the big league.  Hamas relies mainly on NGO funds and foreign aid - into a multilevel organization which also governs, and taxes, Gaza.    
So if one thinks about it, Abbas’ Fatah group have not allowed elections for a new president for the past 12 years, and Hamas were never voted in – they merely used force to evict Fatah in 2007.  And that is why these current Fatah-Hamas reconciliation talks in Egypt are quite frankly, a bit of a joke.  And that is why former son of Hamas and Palestinian Mosab Hassan Yousef’s intervention in the United Nations was such an important statement.  If you missed it in my report last time, click on the link below and watch as U.N. heads turn in disbelief as PLO lies are exposed by the Palestinian Arab and former Hamas member.  The stunned silence and shocked faces say it all: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2NaiX-hvVQ   

And that is why Jerusalem’s Ramadan Dabbash says almost all of the city’s Arabs would prefer to live peacefully under Israeli administration. He claims that Palestinian Arabs would state that living under Israeli rule is preferable to living under the Palestinian Authority. Listen to what he says (subtitles) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRpDGA_ZAtM.  
 

David Soakell   (CFI Church Liaison Officer (UK) & WoZ News Report Correspondent) 

Sources: Unless stated, personal sources throughout Israel, The Jerusalem Post, i24news.tv/en/  

Author/Teacher: