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Fifty Years Later

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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

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“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 Glory1 Comment

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 …

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Blessings Upon Blessings

In Articles by Israel My Glory1 Comment

Famous 20th-century preacher and theologian Harry Ironside long ago noted that the book of Isaiah evokes glad anticipation in the hearts of believers who cherish “the coming day when Immanuel, of whom this prophet speaks, will take His great power and reign.”1 Ironside was not speaking of the Messiah’s First Coming, though Isaiah prophesied of it notably in chapter 53. Rather, he was referring to a large portion of the book of Isaiah, written in the eighth-century BC, that points to what Christians believe is the future Second Coming of Jesus. Isaiah 60, in fact, is a critical chapter in the final section of the prophet’s vision of the end-times when the Messiah comes to set up His earthly Kingdom. To understand the context of Isaiah 60, we must begin with the end of the previous chapter: “The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob” (59:20). The language is literal. Zion is the physical city of Jerusalem, and the word Jacob refers to the nation of Israel. The Redeemer-Messiah is literally coming to the  nation to establish His covenant with Israel (v. 21). The covenant involves the Holy Spirit coming upon the Jewish …

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Thy Kingdom Come

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The prayer actually was Jesus’ instructions to His disciples, teaching them how to pray. It begins, “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Mt. 6:9–10, KJV). Unfortunately, most people have no idea what the Kingdom actually is. The Kingdom is the real and wonderful future God has planned for Earth when the Savior returns. No more political corruption, racial strife, poverty, sickness, crime, or any of the problems that plague humanity today. The Jewish prophet Isaiah unveiled a remarkable portrait of this future Kingdom. At its inception, a healing will take place that transforms the planet to the way it was before humanity rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden: “The former shall not be remembered or come to mind” (Isa. 65:17). After seven terrible years of tribulation that will wreak havoc on the landscape and destroy a vast amount of the world’s resources and population, the Lord will return physically to Earth. Those who repent and welcome Him will be redeemed and enter the Kingdom.The Kingdom is the real and wonderful future God has planned for Earth when the Savior returns. …

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Sweet Beulah Land

In Articles by Israel My Glory4 Comments

For centuries the Jewish people have waited for their Messiah to come and set up His Kingdom in Israel. At that time, Israel will receive the Land God promised them in perpetuity. That is when redeemed Israel will experience the fulfillment of all the promises in the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1–7) and become the center of worldwide worship and learning. Where in Scripture does God promise this wonderful existence for Israel? One place is in Isaiah 62, where Israel’s future glory is interwoven with the nation’s return from 70 years of captivity in Babylon in the sixth century BC. Like the preceding chapter, Isaiah 62 focuses on the restoration of Israel and the glory of Zion in the Millennial Kingdom. Verses 1–12 appeal to God to establish His Kingdom and to the Israelites to prepare for its arrival. PROMISED RESTORATION Verse 1 pulsates with emotion at the prediction of Israel’s restoration: “For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns.” Enthusiasm, excitement, and expectation reverberate at the good news that God will not “hold [His] peace” (keep …

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Isaiah’s Good News

In Articles by Israel My Glory1 Comment

You owe no taxes. You’ve fulfilled all your graduation requirements. Your biopsy was negative. Good news comes in all shapes and sizes, and when it arrives—particularly in the midst of trying times—it is usually like the soothing balm of Gilead. The words of Isaiah 61 may have affected the Israelites of the prophet Isaiah’s day the same way. After 39 chapters of condemnation and impending judgment, the remainder of the book of Isaiah presents good news, encouraging the Jewish people that their God will send them a Redeemer and exalt them, as He promised. A commentator has titled these chapters Redemption Promised: Israel’s Deliverance (40—48), Redemption Provided: Israel’s Deliverer (49—57), and Redemption Realized: Israel’s Glorious Future (58—66).1 In the middle of this final section, Israel receives the good news of its glorious future: the good news of personal release, national redemption, and divine righteousness. GOOD NEWS OF PERSONAL RELEASE Claiming the anointing of the Lord, the prophet2 (see “Identity Check,” page 25) announced good news for Israel’s people, who were poor, brokenhearted captives and prisoners: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent …