Wednesday, December 26, 2012


                At the beginning of the Lybia campaign, I told a friend of mine “Syria is next”.  He laughed.  The Arab Spring was spreading through North Africa and, to a lesser extent, popping up here and there in the Arabian Peninsula. But, Syria?  Really?  It was not like Bashar Assad did not have experience putting down dissent.  One could say that it was in his genes.  All I could do was to mention the prophecy of Isaiah 17:1, Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap.

Where do we stand today?  It is pretty much generally accepted that Assad’s days are numbered and that we are watching the closing scenes of this play.  Back in mid December, U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague and U.S. President Barack Obama  indicated that Syria would be crossing a line if it used chemical weapons and that foreign intervention in the civil war may follow.   Very soon after this statement, activists started posting videos purportedly showing that  Assad was indeed using chemical weapons on his own people.  On Christmas Eve, Al Jazeera reported that seven people had died in Homs, and scores of others had been affected,  after they inhaled an unidentified  "poisonous gas" used by government forces.  PM Netanyahu has stated that Israel is closely monitoring the developments in Syria.   And this morning, Israel National News has reported that  a MiG-21 aircraft, flown by  Syrian pilot col. Hassan Hamada who defected to Jordan in June, had been upgraded to carry chemical weapons and to fly without a pilot.  US experts believe that Russian engineers helped convert the plane and that additional Syrian aircraft have undergone the same transformation.

Syria has become the focus of interest for Moscow.    Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, announced a couple of days ago that Russia was helping Syria keep control of its chemical and biological weapons arsenals.  That statement was probably meant as a deterrent for Israeli  or NATO  military action to seize control of those wmd’s.   It was also a warning to the West not to intervene in the removal of Assad, either by direct action or by helping the rebels.   At the same time, Russian military advisers are manning some of Syria's more sophisticated air defenses.   Russia has delivered Buk-M2 and Pantsyr-S1 mobile missile launch and radar systems to Syria, while the delivery of modern long-range S-300 has not been confirmed.  And, while Syria’s air defense command comprises two divisions and an estimated 50,000 troops – twice the size Gaddafi's force –, sources familiar with the Moscow-Damascus defense relationship confirmed the presence of Russian air-defense crews inside Syria.  This may help explain why a US-led intervention – predicted as imminent for more than a year- has failed to materialize.

But Moscow is not the only one interested in the events unfolding in Syria.  Teheran is actively working to continue the Syrian war while maintaining its grip on the country.  Debkafiles has recently reported that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameinei has issued directives to the commander of Iran’s external intelligence and terrorist arm, for perpetuating the Syrian conflict by means of a terrorist network spread across the country, operating in conjunction with local militias.  That is the tactic that has been used in Afghanistan, where President Karzai resides in a fortified palace, and Iraq with PM Nouri hiding in Baghdad’s Green Zone. 

What is likely to happen in Syria?  Saudi intelligence worries that Bashar Assad will pretty soon give the order to launch chemical and biological weapons against the insurgency and some of Syria’s neighbors.  At this point all bets will be off.  Israel will act, and so will the US in spite of the present Commander-in Chief.   In this  context, it is easy to see the prophecy of Isaiah 17 being fulfilled and Damascus becoming a ruinous heap.  It is worth noticing that Damascus is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.  Though it has been attacked and conquered, it has never been completely destroyed.   It has never been left uninhabited, but there is one more prophecy regarding Damascus.  In the Judgment on Damascus, we read therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day,” says the Lord of hosts.  “I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Ben-Hadad”  (Jer. 49:26-27). 

Damascus, and all of Syria indeed, is in the cross hairs of prophecy!

Monday, December 17, 2012


Why not December?

            While we cannot be sure, it seems unlikely that Jesus was born in late December.  Shepherds are just not out with their flocks during the winter in the Judean hills.  The normal practice was to keep the flocks in the fields from spring to fall.  Also, it seems like winter would be a specially hard time for a very pregnant Mary to travel the about 70 mi from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  We are often told that we “don’t know what time of the year Jesus was born”.  Actually, a careful study of the information found in the gospel of Luke, plus the knowledge passed on to us by the Jewish historian Josephus, can shed light on the time of Jesus’ birth.

The Jewish Priesthood

            At the time when king David was on the throne, there were 24,000 priests.  He organized them into 24 divisions (1 Chro 28:11-13, 19), with each division serving for a week (1 Chro 9:25), from Sabbath to Sabbath, twice a year, non-consecutive weeks.  Also, all priests were required to serve 3 extra weeks during the year (Deu 16:16): Passover Unleavened Bread, Pentecost and Tabernacles.  That added up to 51 weeks, the number of weeks in the Hebrew calendar

John the Baptist

            According to Luke 1:5, Zacharias was a priest of the division of Abijah.  That means that he would have served during the week that ran from the 27th of the Jewish month of Iyar to the 4th of Sivan.  Following that week was the week-long celebration of Pentecost, so Zacharias would have stayed in the Temple and served that week also.  When his duties at the temple were finished, he returned home and Elizabeth conceived shortly after his return home.  This sets the date for John’s conception at about the third week of Sivan.

            Exactly 41 weeks from that date is the beginning of the Passover/Unleavened Bread Feast.  This very strongly suggests that John could have been born the first day of Passover and circumcised on the last day of the Holiday.  Jews have expected Elijah to come at Passover to announce the coming of Messiah, thus they set a chair and a cup of wine for Elijah at the Seder, and the door is left ajar for the prophet.  John’s birth during Passover would fulfill both the prophecy in Malachi 4:5 and the Jewish expectations.


            After announcing to her that she would give birth to Messiah, Gabriel told her about Elizabeth’s being 6 months pregnant already (Luke 1:36).  Mary left Nazareth immediately (with haste according to verse 39).  When Mary arrived to Elizabeth’s home she was already pregnant, since John still in the womb recognized the unborn Jesus (verse 44).  That sets the conception of Jesus at about the end of the month of Kislev, during the Feast of Lights, Hannukah.


            We need to let go of some of the traditions we associate with Christmas.  First, we think of Joseph and Mary rushing to Bethlehem to register as soon as the decree from Caesar Augustus was issued.  But, actually, they had a whole year during which to register.  There was no reason for people to flock to Bethlehem all at once, of for Joseph to bring Mary all the way from Nazareth when her pregnancy was so far along.

            There were 3 major Holy Days when Jews were expected to make every reasonable effort to come to Jerusalem (Ex 23:14): Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.  During these days Josephus claims that the population of the “greater: Jerusalem would swell from about 120,000 to over 2 million.  Every home in the area was open to guests, inns were full, and during the Feast of Tabernacles families would allow out-of-town visitors to spend the night in their sukkah (booth), even going to the effort of leaving some food on a “food shelf”  attached to the inside wall of the sukkah.  If Jesus was conceived during Hannukah, his due date would have fallen within the week of Tabernacles (late September to October, in the Gregorian calendar).  It is more likely that Joseph and Mary came to Jerusalem to fulfill their obligation and decided, while they were there, they would go over to Bethlehem to register for the census.  It is then very likely that they were offered someone’s sukkah to spend the night, and that it was there that Jesus was born.  And when the Baby was born, they would have laid Him on the “food shelf” to keep Him off the damp ground.

            Well, you may be asking, what happened to the stable, the manger, the animals…?  The translators of the King James Bible were Greek and Hebrew scholars, but Gentiles, unaware of ancient Hebrew customs.  It is a fact that the Hebrew word sukkah can be translated as temporary shelter, booth, barn…  Did I just say barn?  It is easy to see how the “food shelf” would become a food trough, and how cattle and sheep would be added to the “manger scene”.

            Since the first and last day of Tabernacles were High Sabbaths, and no travelling was allowed, it is easy to imagine Joseph making an effort to reach Bethlehem before sundown on the eve of the first day of Tabernacles.  That would have Jesus born that night, on the 15th of Tishrei.  And He would have been circumcised on the day after the last day of Tabernacles, the most joyous day of Simchat Torah when Jews rejoice in the Torah (the Word of God).

What about us, Christians?

            It seems to me like we ought to celebrate Hannukah, as the time when the Light of the World was incarnated.  It was also during Hannukah that Jesus said I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).  Actually, this year I have lit a menorah, although a virtual one, on my Face Book page.

            As far as His birth during Tabernacles, John 1:14 tells us that Jesus was made flesh and dwelt among us”.  One of the translations of the Greek word for dwell is to tabernacle. And somehow, the idea of the Bread of Life (John 6:33-51) being placed on the “food shelf” seems very appropriate.  So, should we celebrate Tabernacles?  Zechariah 14:16-17 tells us that one day all nations will be required to honor this day.  What greater reason could it be than because it is the birthday of the King of Kings?


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Reminiscing of Yom Kippur 1973

                The world watches the war of words between Israel and Iran.  President Ahmadinejad’s call for the annihilation of the Zionist regime has lost its edge because of overuse.  Prime Minister Netanyahu’s reply that Israel has the right to defend itself is as expected as the sun rising in the morning.  However, tensions rose to a new high last week with the comment by Iran’s Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi that “of course this confrontation has always continued; however, since we are in the era of The Coming, this war will be a significant war” (Mashregh news).  He was referring to Imam Mahdi, the Shi’ites’ 12th Imam who they believe will reappear to kill all infidels and establish a global Muslim caliphate .  This is the first official confirmation that the mullahs think we are living in the end-times, that the Mahdi’s return is imminent and that they can hasten it by bringing on destruction and mayhem in a scale never seen before.  Can you say “nuclear weapons”?

                Simultaneously, the Jewish people are celebrating their High Holy Days.  Rosh Hashanah was celebrated between sunset of September 16 and nightfall of September 18.  Yom Kippur will take place between sunset September 25 and nightfall of September 26.  This brings memories of 1973 and the Yom Kippur War, when the combined armies of Egypt and Syria attacked the Jewish State on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.  It was nothing short of a miracle that Israel survived the attack.  Later on the Israeli government appointed the Agranat Commission to examine the failures leading up to and during the early stages of the war.  It called for the resignation of four senior officers, including the commander of military intelligence Maj. Gen. Eli Zeira, while clearing Prime Minister Golda Meir from responsibility.

                According to the Times of Israel, newly released documents reveal that the Mossad knew a week in advance that Egypt was planning to launch a surprise attack on Yom Kippur but, in the Times’ words, “did not pass the information on in an orderly and explicit way to Prime Minister Golda Meir’s office”.  Yes, Israel won the war, but the failure to launch a pre-emptive strike almost led to the destruction of the Jewish State.

                Fast forward to 2012.  Yom Kippur will be next Wednesday.  And once again, Israel is being threatened with utter destruction.  What would you do, if you were the Prime Minister of Israel?  Pre-emptive strike on the Iranian nuclear facilities?  Wait?  I know that PM Netanyahu holds a Bible study in his office.  He is well aware of God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  He also knows that in the Old Testament the Lord has fought WITH Israel, not INSTEAD OF.  I am not privy to the intelligence available to PM Netanyahu, but I am convinced that he will strike Iran.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Blaming the Movie


     Our embassies are being attacked all over the Middle East: Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen… The US ambassador to Libya and 3 other Americans were killed during the attack to the US consulate in Benghazi.  US flags have been burned, torn and replaced with black flags sporting the Shahada: “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”.  Al Qaeda in Yemen is urging Muslims to kill American diplomats. 

     Never mind that the attacks took place on the 11th anniversary of September 11, or that the crowds in Cairo were shouting  Obama, Obama, there are still a billion Osamas! Or that the day before, Al Qaeda’s own al-Zawiri had called for attacks on the US in retribution to the killing of his second in command last June by a US drone in Pakistan.  Don’t let facts get in the way.  The official reason for the uprisings has been the screening of the anti-Islam movie “Innocence of the Muslims”, a trailer of which could still be found on You Tube as of this morning, on jihadist television.

     It didn’t take long for the name of the person responsible for making the movie to be made public: Sam Bacile.  Just as fast, the MSM declared him to be an Israeli Jew.  After all, who would dislike Muhammad more than an Israeli Jew?  As for Israel’s declaration that they did not have a record of a citizen with that name, well… what could you expect from the Zionist entity?  After all, the Qur’an calls Jews “sons of apes and pigs”, doesn’t it?

     It turned out that Sam Bacile’s real name is Morris Sadek and that he is not an Israeli Jew but an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian.  Oh, my!  It is not like the Egyptian Copts were not scared enough at the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Now they can expect some of the anger aimed at the US to spill over to them.  A number of them have been demonstrating in solidarity with their Muslim neighbors, hoping to appease them. 

     On July 12, I quoted Isaiah 27:13, saying “They will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria, and they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt”.  The current events only seal my conviction that, very soon, Christians will be outcasts in the land of Egypt.  And that’s good news, because at that time “the great trumpet will be blown”, Jesus is coming back!

     Just a final thought, at sunset Monday the Jewish holiday of Rosh HaShanah begins.  This holiday is best known by Christians as the Feast of Trumpets.   Are you ready?




Saturday, August 18, 2012

                                                                                                         And the Reason Is...

     Most people agree that in the battle of Gog and Magog a confederacy of Islamic nations will attack Israel.  There are some arguments about it, but again the majority of scholars seem to believe that this confederacy will be led by Russia.  My question was, why would Russia want to attack Israel?  Why would it ally itself with Islam?  It just didn’t make much sense to me.

     In 2009 the Tamar natural gas field was discovered some 50 miles off Haifa’s coast, well within Israeli waters.  With an estimated 250 billion cubic meters, it is large enough to meet all of Israel’s natural gas requirements for the next 20 to 30 years.  Which is especially significant when we consider how many times the Sinai natural gas pipeline to Israel and Jordan has been sabotaged since the fall of Mubarak, disrupting the delivery of natural gas to Israel in bold opposition to the 2005 agreement that was an outgrowth of the 1979 peace treaty.  The Tamar field is expected to be fully operational by 2013.

     The following year, another natural gas field was discovered 30 miles to the west of Tamar.  It was named Leviathan because of its size.  It is estimated to contain around 470 billion cubic meters of gas.  It is scheduled to be operational 4 years after Tamar does.  A smaller field, Tanin, with an estimated 33.9 billion cubic meters of natural gas, was discovered earlier this year.  And the exploration continues.

     Israel’s newly found riches will have a three-fold effect that could lead to the war described in Ezekiel 38.

     First, Lebanon which is still formally in a state of war with Israel, has declared a maritime border that would include a large part of the gas fields.  The lack of a stable land border between Israel and Lebanon is the reason given for the disputed maritime border.  In August 2010, Lebanon submitted to the UN its official view regarding the maritime border, indicating that it considered the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields to be outside Lebanese territory.  But Hezbollah hasn’t said the last word yet.

     Next, natural gas abundance will have multiple repercussions in the Israeli economy.  Not only will Israel able to reduce its dependence on coal to produce electricity, but natural gas could replace oil as a transportation fuel.  And, because it is a key feedstock in the petrochemical business, it will spur new industry.  Israel’s economy will boom, maybe to the levels predicted by Ezekiel.

     Finally, Israel will go from being an energy-scarce nation, to exporting natural gas.  There‘s already talk of establishing a pipeline to Greece to start selling natural gas to Europe.  Russia is currently one of the major suppliers of natural gas to Europe.  The original pipeline networks for exporting (then Soviet) natural gas to Europe date back to the 1970s.  In November of last year a759 mile-long pipeline from Karelia, a federal subject to Russia, to Germany was inaugurated.  A second pipeline is scheduled to be commissioned at the end of this year.  Both pipelines will be transporting 55 billion cubic meters of gas each year to Europe.

     What will Russia’s reaction be to Israel’s becoming a natural gas exporter to Europe?  Will the Hezbollah-infiltrated Lebanese government give up its claims to Tamar and Leviathan?  I think the stage is getting set for the premier of the Ezekiel 38 War.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Isaiah 27

So it shall be in that day:
The great trumpet will be blown;
They will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria,
And they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt,
And shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.

(Isaiah 27:13)

     A couple of days ago a friend mentioned to me Isa. 27:13 as one more piece of evidence that we are living in the End Times.  It caught me by surprise. “ Isaiah 27?  You mean Isaiah 17, don’t you?” “ No”, my friend answered, “go read Isaiah 27:13.”  I did, and it amazed me.  Who are those who are about to perish in Assyria, who are outcasts in Egypt.  Obviously they must be believers, since they are coming to worship the Lord.
     On May 30, a report from the Gatestone Institute showed then-presidential candidate Mohamed Morsi declaring that he will achieve the Islamic conquest of Egypt and make all Christians convert to Islam or pay the jizya.  When questioned about the Christian Copts, he reportedly answered that "they need to know that conquest is coming, and Egypt will be Islamic, and that they must pay jizya or emigrate."  So those are the choices, convert or leave the country.  Last Tuesday, Egypt Daily News reported that "lawyers who specialize in working with Coptic Egyptians... say that in the past few weekd they have received hundreds of calls from Copts wanting to leave Egypt."
     In early June, some mosques inthe Syrian city of Qusayr announced from the minarets that "Christians must leave Qusayr within six days."  A week later the Christian population of Qusayr, about 9,000 men women and children, had fled.  In the city of Homs, the third largest in Syria, almost the entire Christian population of 50,000 to 60,000 has also fled for safety.  And bombs have exploded in the Christian quarters of Damascus and Aleppo.
     Now, persecution of Christians is not a new trend.  The early church was persecuted and, like the Voice of the Martyrs likes to say, persecution did not end at the Roman Colosseum.  Persecution today is particularly strong in Muslim countries, especially for those Muslims who convert to Christianity.  But Christians in Egypt and Syria had enjoyed a modicum of peace.  Now suddenly the tables are turning and Christians are running for their lives.  Just like Isaiah foretold.  And he said it would happen at the time of the restoration of Israel. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

                                   I See Prophecies Fulfilled

     One of my favorite songs is “At the Midnight Cry”.  Oftentimes I find myself singing it under my breath.  I look around me, I see prophecies fulfilled.  And the signs of the times they’re appearing everywhere.  Yes, all I have to do is to turn on my computer, or open the pages of the paper.

     June 24, 2012.  The Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi is declared the winner of Egypt’s presidential elections.  This is the same fellow who  a few weeks earlier had declared in campaign speeches that “the Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal” and We can establish Sharia law because our nation will acquire well-being only with Islam and Sharia.”

     July 4, 2012.  After several days of test-firing of ballistic missiles, Iran threatens to destroy US military bases across the Middle East and target Israel within minutes of being attacked.  All the while, Iran is rushing to obtain nuclear weapons and everybody has lost count of how many times president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has promised to wipe off the Zionist regime from the face of the earth.

     And these are only the news that make headlines.  Less well known is the deal that Libya’s politicians have made with the Muslim Brotherhood that would see them lead the country as soon as the so-called free elections are over.  Or the role of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood in getting weapons to the anti-Assad rebels in that country.  Or the presence of Lebanese Muslim Brotherhood combatants in the Hezbollah ranks.

     Which begs the question, what exactly is the Muslim Brotherhood?  Their credo makes it crystal clear: Allah is our objective; the Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.  It is made up of people who believe in Islamic rule and the re-establishment of the Islamic Caliphate.  It is no coincidence that article 8 of the Hamas covenant is the Muslim Brotherhood credo! 

     None of this comes as a surprise to anybody who studies Old Testament prophecies.  I would go as far as saying that the above news are nothing more than the 21st century version of Psalm 83.  The countries mentioned in the Psalm are the same ones that are being taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood.  And what is the theme of Psalm 83?  Read verse 4: They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”  Now, where did I hear that before?  Oh, yes, it sounds just like the Iranian president!  There is indeed a coalition of Muslim countries that is being formed with the sole purpose of eliminating the nation of Israel.  Just like it was foretold.

     One may ask what will be the trigger that will start the Psalm 83 War?  Read the Psalm, it sounds like the tents of Edom are the excuse to attack Israel.  In other words, the Palestinians.  I’m not talking about another Intifada, but a large war that will involve most of the Middle East, so an appropriate trigger for such a large scale war must be found.  Just like one does not detonate a nuclear bomb with a fuse and a cigarette lighter, the trigger for this war must be more than the usual two-state vs. one- state, right of return… So, when I read that Arafat’s widow  wants his body exhumed to find out whether he was poisoned, it hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks.  Half of the Palestinians are already mad, they don’t want to disturb a “martyr’s” tomb.  The other half are looking forward to blaming the Mossad and the Shin Bet for Arafat’s death.  Exhuming the body could well be the trigger for the next Middle East war.

A common question when people start paying attention to prophecy is where does the US fit in?  Is it mentioned anywhere, symbolically or otherwise?  The answer is always no, there’s no mention of the US.  And many people take that to believe that the US either won’t exist any longer, or won’t be strong enough to be a factor.  It is understandable to feel that way, especially given the fact that our economy is in shambles.  If something is not done this November, I agree the US won’t be a significant factor in these End-Time days.   But there is another possibility that I have not heard mentioned.  Think of how the US pulled the rug from under  Hosni Mubarak and betrayed a long time ally.  And, what about the US’s role in the bombing of Libya and subsequent assassination of Khadafi?  Did you know that the CIA is helping the Muslim Brotherhood bring arms to the rebels in Syria?  I think this is going to be the role of the US in the last days, it will be the enabler that allows other nations to fulfill prophecy!  Not a very dignified role, if you ask me, but it is hard to argue against this possibility given the events in the last few months.

     So, I keep on singing to myself.  I can almost hear the Father as He says “Son, go get your children.” And at the midnight cry the Bride of Christ shall rise.

Maranatha,  "Come, O Lord"!

Friday, May 11, 2012

War is Coming

                War is coming to the Middle East soon! A casual observer would reply “What’s new?” In a way he would be correct.  War is the rule not the exception in that part of the world.  However, this is a completely different war, and we need to be ready for it.

                On the night of May 7-8, 2012, Prime Minister Netanyahu forged a national unity government when he managed to bring Kadima, the main opposition party, into his ruling coalition.  This was completely unexpected because hours before the Knesset had been discussing a bill calling for early elections that Netanyahu was sure to win.  Instead, he called off the elections and announced the new coalition that gave his administration an unprecedented 78% of the seats in the Knesset.  Including Kadima in the coalition meant that Netanyahu had compromised in some points such as the law that exempts ultra-orthodox Jews from military service.  Why did he do this, rather than wait until September and win by a comfortable margin?

                May 1967 was the only other time in the short history of the Jewish state when a national unity government was formed. Egypt had kicked the U.N. peacekeepers out of the Sinai, blockaded the Straits of Tiran, and signed a pact with Jordan.  Syria was aiming for the destruction of Israel.  Israel launched a preemptive strike on the Egyptian air force on June 5.  The war that followed, the Six Day War, was brief and ended with an Israeli victory.  Furthermore, Israel captured the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria.

                The formation of yet another national unity government very strongly suggests that Israel is seriously preparing for war.  Everybody expects an attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities, followed by either a direct attack from Iran or through its proxies, Syria and Hezbollah.  The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip will be glad to help.

                Can war be averted?  A quick look at some Old Testament prophecies suggest that this war has been appointed and cannot, or will not, be avoided.  I am talking about Isaiah 10, Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38. 

                Isaiah 10 is a prophecy about the Lord’s judgment of Assyria.   At its peak, Assyria included modern eastern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, western Iran, Kuwait and Egypt.  In other words, it is Israel versus Israel’s modern day foes. 

                Psalm 83 speaks of an upcoming war in which the nations that immediately surround Israel will form a confederacy with the intention of “cutting them off from being a nation that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” As a result, Israel will gain sovereignty over much of the Middle East and become one of the wealthiest nations of the world.

                Finally, the peace and prosperity that Israel will enjoy following the Psalm 83 war will lead to the war of Gog and Magog, as described in Ezekiel 38.  Most scholars believe that it will be an attempted invasion of Israel lead by Russia accompanied by a number of Muslim nations.  It will have an Apocalyptic ending with the Lord raining down great hailstones, fire and brimstone on the forces attacking Israel.

                It is obvious that Ezekiel 38 must follow Psalm 83, but it is not so clear which war will come first. Regardless, it is my belief that Israel’s preparations for war are just part of the events appointed in the prophetic calendar.  War will come, because to the best of my knowledge, the Lord says that it will!

                As a side comment, there are other signs that P.M. Netahyahu is in the center of God’s will.   Last November President of France Nicolas Sarkozy was heard over an open microphone saying about P.M. Netanyahu, "I can't stand to see him anymore, he's a liar." Where is Sarkozy today?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mr. Netanyahu Goes to Washington

       In the 1939 classic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, James Stewart played the role of Jefferson Smith, a naive and idealistic young man who was picked as the replacement for a recently deceased U.S. Senator.  Once he arrived in Washington, he got involved with a bill authorizing the Federal Government to buy land for a national boys camp.  In a similar fashion, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Washington to discuss some “land issues”, but he was neither naive nor idealistic.  His service as a team leader in the Sayeret Matkal special forces unit made sure that he was grounded in reality.

During his visit, Mr. Netanyahu gave President Obama “the whole megillah”.  Now, what is that?  Giving someone “the whole megillah” is the English translation of a Yiddish expression for telling a story with all details, nothing omitted, which Mr. Netanyahu did.  But he also gave the President an actual Megillah, an intricately ornated scroll holder containing the book of Esther.  He also referred to Esther in his speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).  Ostensibly, he did so because of the Jewish holiday of Purim that was going to be celebrated a couple of days later.  Purim is celebrated in remembrance of the attempt by the government of Persia (modern day Iran) to kill all the Jews living in that land.  There were obvious correlations between the Purim story and today’s intentions of Iran to develop a nuclear weapon to “erase Israel from the face of the earth”.  But there’s more to the present than this obvious correlation.

       First, P.M. Netanyahu indicated that he was well aware of his special position and the responsibilities that come with it.  Just like Queen Esther who was told that “who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14), it seems like Mr. Netanyahu was well aware that he just might be in his position for such a time as this present one.  He acknowledged that much when he declared that “I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation” and that “Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat”. These are non-negotiable issues and he stood up for his people.

   What really struck me was the symbolism of Queen Esther going to speak to King Ahasuerus.  Going in unsummoned was penalized with death.  She had a choice between a seemingly "suicidal" mission and the murder of all the Persian Jews.  So, what did she do?  After asking for prayers from the Jews, she agreed to go to the king saying "if I perish, I perish" (Esther 4:16).  Similarly, Mr. Netanyahu had a choice between attacking Iran, an action deemed "suicidal" by many experts, and the annihilation of the Jews in Israel.  He never said it in so many words, but his references to Queen Esther and his gift of the book of Esther to the U.S. President suggested to me that he was ready to attack and, if it comes down to it, perish for his people.  That was probably the message his mostly Jewish audience got.

       How realistic is an Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities?  Let me refer the reader to Jeremiah 49:35-36.  “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the foremost of their might,  Against Elam I will bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and scatter them toward all those winds; there shall be no nations where the outcasts of Elam will not go.”   It is interesting to notice that Elam was located in southwest modern day Iran and that several nuclear facilities are located in that region, for example the Bushehr reactor which the Russians loaded with fuel rods in the summer of 2010.  A sudden attack on Bushehr, and the subsequent nuclear fallout, could account for the “scattering” of the people of Elam.

       We are certainly living in interesting times!