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Rebels Without a Cause

In Articles by Israel My Glory1 Comment

Anyone who knows a little Yiddish probably knows the word kvetch. It means to complain and whine habitually. The children of Israel did a lot of kvetching during their sojourn in the desert (cf. Ex. 14:10–14; 15:22–27; 17:1–7). In fact Moses became so frustrated with the complaining that he asked the Lord to kill him (Num. 11:14–15). Numbers 16 records the rebellion of the Levite Korah, a classic kvetcher, who complained against Moses’ leadership and thus complained against God. Korah, whose name means “division” or “split,” conspired with two members of the tribe of Reuben and 250 respected members of Israel’s ruling council to rebel against Moses and Aaron (vv. 11–12). Feeling overlooked in priestly honors and leadership, he became jealous and whipped up discord among the Israelites. Proverbs 29:22 teaches, “An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression.” Korah did both. First-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus wrote, Corah, a Hebrew of principal account, both by his family and by his wealth, one that was also able to speak well, and one that could easily persuade the people by his speeches, saw that Moses was in an exceeding great dignity [authority], and was uneasy at it, …

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A Trail of Carcasses

In Articles by Israel My Glory2 Comments

Camped at Sinai for 12 months, the fledgling nation of Israel received God’s Law, constructed His Tabernacle, and established the Levitical priesthood. It had great dreams and high expectations of entering a land that flowed “with milk and honey” as it set out from Sinai to the triumphant sound of silver trumpets. Yet the Israelites of that generation experienced an average of 90 funerals a day (270 a month)—a far cry from what they had anticipated. The book of Numbers records their journey and the failure and demise of the Exodus generation as it wandered in the wilderness en route to the Promised Land. An 11-day journey turned into 40 years of wilderness camping and high death tolls. The inspiring story of God’s grace and power, displayed when He delivered the Jewish people from Egypt, became a story of disappointment and discouragement. What went wrong? Bible scholar Paul House explained, All these hopeful possibilities are obliterated due to the most fundamental sin of all, which is the human refusal to believe God’s word. In a crucial moment, faithlessness costs the Exodus generation their opportunity to possess the physical embodiment of Yahweh’s covenant with Abraham and with the nation as a …

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Six Days in June

In Articles by Israel My Glory8 Comments

When the 1967 Six-Day War erupted, the Jewish state had just celebrated 19 years of independence. Levi Eshkol, 71, was both prime minister and defense minister. Eshkol had replaced the legendary David Ben-Gurion in June 1963. Filling Ben-Gurion’s shoes had been anything but easy—particularly with the “Old Man” second-guessing him from the sidelines. At 7,993 square miles, Israel 50 years ago was smaller than Vermont. Its population was 2.5 million (including 261,000 Arab citizens); immigration was slowing, as was the economy; and unemployment stood at 10 percent. Many big companies were state-owned, and Eshkol had to sell some of these assets to balance the budget. But life wasn’t all bleak. Television had arrived in 1966, so middle-class Israelis now enjoyed both a local educational station and English-language broadcasts from neighboring Jordan. A general-interest Israeli channel was also in the works. Having fought its way to independence in 1948—and losing 1 percent of its population in the process—the Israel of 1967 had no permanent borders. For boundaries it had only the 1949 armistice lines. The country was surrounded by 14 hostile Arab nations whose combined population stood at 110 million. In America, President Lyndon B. Johnson was in the White House, …

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Apples of Gold—May/June 2017

In Articles by Israel My Glory1 Comment

Iam glad to inform you that I am alive and back home. There were times when it looked as if I would not come out alive. Many of my close buddies fell in battle. At one time, the Jordanian artillery pinned us down for 20 hours. Finally, the order came to attack. My task as a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces is to go before the troops and clear the minefields so others can follow. We went forward under the heavy fire of the Arab Legion—the best Arab fighters. The first three nights we could not sleep at all until we reached Nabi Samuel, a fortress built around the grave of the prophet Samuel. There we were allowed to sleep for four hours. We had not been permitted to take off our shoes for two weeks, so the skin on our feet was burned due to the heat and heavy boots. I used the water I was given to drink to wash my feet. Then I fell down and slept. The four hours passed as if they were four minutes. When I awoke, I saw several soldiers writing little prayer notes and sticking them into the cracks between the …

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Fifty Years Later

In Articles by Israel My Glory0 Comments

Israel hoped the 1967 war would be its last and that peace would prevail. But that has not been the case. Here is a look at the situation today. The topography of the West Bank is such that no Israeli government could allow a militant Palestinian-Arab entity to control this hilly terrain that overlooks Israel’s main population centers and its main airport, Ben Gurion. Many are unaware that there has never been a sovereign Arab state anywhere in Palestine. They are equally unaware that the West Bank happens to be the heartland of Jewish civilization, with many of the Bible’s familiar events playing out there. And yet there is no denying the 2.7 million Palestinian Arabs of the West Bank chafe under non-Muslim rule and the presence of nearly 400,000 Jewish civilians. Following the reunification, Jerusalem’s Arabs were granted blue Israeli identification cards, entitling them to vote in municipal elections (few do) and enroll in Israel’s vaunted healthcare system (all have). The Hebrew University of Jerusalem was also able to return to its original Mount Scopus campus, its home from 1925 to 1948. As soon as the war ended, foreign volunteers joined Israelis to clean up the derelict grounds. And …

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Message in the Wall

In Articles by Israel My Glory0 Comments

“THE TEMPLE MOUNT IS IN OUR HANDS! I repeat, the Temple Mount is in our hands! All forces, stop firing! I repeat, all forces, stop firing! Over.” Sounds of gunfire, soldiers singing “Jerusalem of Gold,” and the faint sound of a shofar were heard over the army wireless. It was June 7, 1967, and the Israel Defense Forces paratroopers had just liberated the Temple Mount and Western Wall. Finally, for the first time in more than 2,500 years, a unified Jerusalem was back in Jewish hands. The day after the liberation, Israeli Defense Minister Gen. Moshe Dayan wrote a short prayer and tucked it into a crevice of the Wall. Curious newsmen immediately removed it. It read, “This was the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (Ps. 118:23). I remember a conversation I had in Jerusalem with a veteran rabbi of the Six-Day War. I mentioned that I had spoken with some Israelis who did not believe God had anything to do with Israel’s victory. He bristled and told me to tell those people to go to him and say that to his face. For him and many others, the liberation of Jerusalem was a great miracle—a special …

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It’s Not Over ‘Til It’s Over

In Articles by Israel My Glory2 Comments

Acity’s significance is often measured by its commercial importance, the height of its skyscrapers, or the grandeur of its architecture. But Jerusalem is not like any other city. Jerusalem’s significance comes from the One who chose to dwell there—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God has a unique relationship with the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem. The God of peace chose Jerusalem, which means “city of peace,” as the place where the Jewish people should worship Him and from which the Jewish Messiah will one day reign. Because of the city’s crucial role in the plan of God, God’s enemy—Satan—has launched a spiritual war against Jerusalem and the Jewish people. Satan invests his energy in attacking what God loves, and Jerusalem and God’s Chosen People are prime targets. Consequently, the Jewish people must constantly defend their historical connection to their beloved city. Jerusalem is embedded in the spiritual fabric of the Jewish community worldwide. Prayers like the Amidah, which have been recited three times a day for nearly two millennia, recall the link between God’s faithfulness and the hope of rebuilding Jerusalem. And the phrase Next year in Jerusalem, recited at the end of Passover and Yom …

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Rehearsal for Armageddon

In Articles by Israel My Glory2 Comments

In recent months the world was amazed to watch Israel’s swift victory over the Arab forces. For years Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and his allies boasted that they would drive the Jews into the sea. In less than 20 years, little David was forced to accept three times the challenge of Goliath and to bring him low. Not since the times of Pharaoh at the Red Sea has Egypt suffered such a devastating and humiliating defeat. The remarkable prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled: “And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself” (Isa. 19:17, KJV). On June 9, 1967, the chief chaplain of Israel’s armed forces, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, sounded the ritual ram’s horn at the Wailing [Western] Wall in Jerusalem. Clutching in his arms the scrolls of the Torah, Rabbi Goren cried, “We have taken the city of God. We are now entering the Messianic era for the Jewish people. I promise the Christian world that we will take good care and be responsible for all the holy places in Jerusalem.” A few days later, happy and excited multitudes of Jews from all over Israel …

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Apples of Gold—March/April 2017

In Articles by Israel My Glory1 Comment

The Lord said in 1 Kings 21:19, “Have you murdered and also taken possession?” People are still killing and trying to take Israel’s land. The Arabs constantly seek to destroy us and demand that we compensate them for war damages. This is the highest impudence against heaven! Since I speak Arabic, my Arab neighbors, who have known me for a long time, came over recently to complain about Israel. They said all of the land belongs to them and that peace will not come until Israel ceases to exist. So I opened my Bible and showed them what the Lord told Abraham: Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you (Gen. 13:14–15, 17). I then read to them what God said concerning Israel’s borders: “And I will set your bounds from the Red Sea to the sea, Philistia, and from the desert to the [Euphrates] River” (Ex. 23:31). They listened intently.“You fled from us like terrified rabbits because you put …

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Creation Calling

In Articles by Israel My Glory0 Comments

The people of Israel bequeathed to the world the revelation of God through the Bible. In this revelation, the creation account in Genesis takes center stage and is recorded as a matter of protohistory. It was an accepted fact until, in modern times, archaeological discoveries revealed that similar accounts of creation were recorded by other ancient Near Eastern civilizations.1 The Sumerian account, the Enuma Elish (c. 1800–1600 BC), says a creator-god made the world and appointed lesser gods to rule it. Its opening lines reflect the wording of the first verse of Genesis: “In those days, in the days when the heaven and earth were [created].”2 The Babylonian account, the Epic of Atrahasis (c. 1700 BC), explains mankind’s creation as a response to a revolt by lower gods who were forced to do heavy labor for higher gods and claims humanity was created by the blood of a slaughtered god, mixed with clay and divine spit. These nonbiblical accounts have similarities to the biblical account. Both view creation as a divine act and teach that mankind was created from the ground and given the work of tending to the land as a representative of the Creator (Gen. 1:27–28). There are …