One of the hallmarks of the last days (according to Isaiah 60:1-3) is an increase in spiritual darkness among the nations, as well as an increase of light upon Israel.
“Arise, shine for your light has come, and the glory of YHVH has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and heavy darkness the peoples, but YHVH will rise upon you, and His glory will be seen on you. And the Gentiles will come to your light, and kings to the dawning of your shining”.
There are many biblical watchmen who are sounding a trumpet regarding last days evil in areas such as the value of human life, personal purity, sexual wholeness and godliness. In all these areas a rise in wickedness is manifesting itself in increasing measure. We bless those brothers and sisters who are exposing evil deeds of darkness (Ephesians 5:11, 16) and who are offering biblical alternatives to a vision-impaired world.
The biblical focus that God has given us homes in on Israel as God’‘s priority people (Romans 1:16; 2:9-10; 3:1-2; 9:4) – and we call the body of Messiah to intercede and labor with fiery passion for Israel’s spiritual salvation, physical rescue and benefit. Isaiah 60 prophesies that though darkness will blind the nations at the end of days, God also promises that His shekinah light will blaze upon the face of Israel – and the nations will be drawn to the God of Israel through that divine radioactivity.
This e-letter throws a spotlight on two targets – the rise of a virulent mutation of mainstream political anti-Semitism, and some helpful intercessory encouragement from the prophecy of Isaiah 60.
As we peer into the swirling and approaching darkness, we can draw strength from the words of Winston Churchill: “These are not dark days; these are great days – the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.” (speech at Harrow School, Oct 29 1941). As this was true in England in WWII, so it is true for Israel and those who bless her right now.
Blessing Israel in a ‘post-Christian’ world
Every nation that has blessed the Jewish people has received divine favor. From Abimelech (Gen. 21:22) to Potiphar (Gen. 39:1-6), from the Queen of Sheba (2 Chron. 9:1-8) to Cyrus (Isaiah 45:1-4), from Na’aman (2 Kings 5:15-18) to the Roman centurions (Luke 7:4-5; Acts 10:2, 22) – the principle of Genesis 12:3 (“Those who bless you will be blessed”) is active, living and sharper than the two-edged tongue of any politician.
The converse is also true: the one who disparages, mocks, ignores or belittles the Jewish people and their calling (ed., this is the Hebrew sense of the verb meqalelecha – “He who curses you”) will be cursed by the direct hand of God Almighty (see Genesis 12:3b).
We live in what many call a ‘post-Christian world’. The Bible as a source of light, life, wisdom and truth is often mocked or brushed under the rug of political correctness. The wise men of today’s world – the sages of political science, military history and intelligence organizations – often sneer ever so slightly when reference is made to God’s hand in the affairs of men, and of His restoration of Israel to their promised land of Israel.
The ‘anti-Israel lobby’
A new attack has surfaced in the past few years, claiming that the Western world in general, and the USA in particular, are being controlled by an ‘Israel lobby.’ According to these spokesmen, the ‘Israel lobby’ has forced America into unhealthy choices which bring great damage to the USA. This concept of a supra-national Jewish cabal which secretly controls individual countries (or even the world) has historical origins in Greek and Latin paganism, in medieval Europe, as well as in the anti-Jewish Tsarist Russian forgery of the late 1800’s “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.”
One recent American book (The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy; John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007) has attempted to influence public opinion, in order to diminish US support for the Jewish state. Since its writers are respected professors at the University of Chicago and Harvard, we feel that it is important for you to be able to consult some cutting-edge analyses and critiques of their book:
- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/23/books/review/Gelb-t.html?_r=2&ref=books&oref=slogin (Leslie H. Gelb)
- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/04/AR2006040401282.html (Eliot A. Cohen)
- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/04/AR2007100402101.html (Samuel G. Freedman)
- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/20/AR2007092001959.html?hpid%3Dopinionsbox1&sub=AR (Michael Gerson)
- http://politics.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2007/09/09/the-israel-lobby-myth.html (George P. Schultz)
- http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=8&x_nameinnews=190&x_article=1446 (Alex Safian)
- http://jewishworldreview.com/0306/wisse_israel_loby.php3 (Ruth Wisse)
- http://www.americanthinker.com/2006/03/stephen_walts_war_with_israel.html (Richard Baer, Ed Lasky)
- http://www.comw.org/warreport/fulltext/0604dershowitz.pdf (Alan Dershowitz)
- http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DRIT=2&DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=376&PID=0&IID=1795&TTL=Understanding_the_U.S.-Israel_Alliance:_An_Israeli_Response_to_the_Walt-Mearsheimer_Claim (Dore Gold)
Professors Mearsheimer and Walt were interviewed on a Muslim website a few years ago, and Walt targeted Evangelicals in a disparaging way, stating that “the Israeli Lobby … has been strengthened by the Christian Evangelicals who believe, and I’m oversimplifying a lot here, but their view of Israel is shaped by their interpretation of Old Testament prophecy. They believe the re-establishment of a Jewish state in all of Palestine is foreordained in Biblical prophecy, and it is a key sign leading up to the Second Coming, the End of times” (http://www.altmuslim.com/a/a/n/2673 – Altmuslim website. February 14, 2008).
To state their general point more succinctly – these professors feel that Americans who believe in the biblical restoration of Israel are promoting activities which are contrary to America’s best interests. In light of such voices gaining ground in the courtyard of public opinion, believers need to wake up and smell the coffee on this one.
Hubris versus Hutzpah
Former CIA officer and Head of the Bin Laden Unit ‘Alec’ from 1996-1999, Michael Scheuer has recently authored two books “Through our enemies’ eyes: Osama bin Laden, radical Islam and the future of America” (Potomac Books, Washington DC, 2006) and “Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror” (Brassey’s, Washington D.C., 2004 – ed., referred to as IH). Having studied Bin Laden for some time, Scheuer’s insights and even appreciation for the man are quite interesting. His comments on Israel, however, do reflect a strong anti-biblical current within the larger American intelligence community.
Scheuer refers to Bin Laden’s “clear, focused, limited goals” which include “the end of U.S. aid to Israel and the ultimate elimination of that state” (IH, xviii). He approvingly quotes a Gazan Muslim professor who stated that “Israel and the Zionist Christian movement have played a major role in steering U.S. policy … by misinterpreting Bible verses … (and recruiting) large numbers of Christian extremists who are more loyal to Israel and Judaism than they are to the United States and Christianity” (IH, p, 3).
According to Scheuer Israel is a “faraway theocracy-in-all-but-name”. Its “diplomats, politicians, intelligence services, U.S.-citizen spies, and the retired senior U.S. officials and wealthy Jewish-American organizations who lobby an always amenable Congress … (are) binding the American Gulliver to the tiny Jewish state and its policies”. Scheuer quotes from al Qaeda, stating that “al Qaeda does not seem too far off the mark when it describes the U.S.-Israel relationship as a detriment to America. ‘The close link between America and the Zionist entity is in itself a curse for America’ “ (IH, p, 227).
Scheuer wants all Americans to participate in “silencing” the ‘Israel lobby.’ In the meantime he wants all Americans to know that the USA’s foreign policies are being set by “elites with their guidance, lobbying, money, and machinations of oil companies, weapons makers, evangelical preachers, and Israel and its acolytes” (IH, p. 259).
Though Scheuer describes himself as an ardent Catholic, his understanding of St. Paul’s teachings in Romans 9-11 regarding the irrevocable calling and gifts of Israel are less than apostolically based. The CIA’s motto, incised into its main entrance in Langley, may offer Schneuer some help here: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32).
‘Bizarre Judeo-Christian support’
Robert Baer was a case officer in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations from 1976 to 1997. He spent much time in Beirut, northern Iraq and Dushanbe. The movie Syriana starring George Clooney is based on experience he gained as a spy. Baer has stated in various forums that he supports American dialogue with Iran and with its Lebanese proxies, including Hezbollah.
Baer shows a grudging respect for Israel in his books and interviews, though sometimes his conclusions regarding Christian support for Israel sound rather close to those of Scheuer, Mearsheimer and Walt. The following quote is from an e-interview (http://www.chronogram.com/issue/2006/02/news/index.php).
“RB (Robert Baer): I think it’s bizarre, in a very pragmatic sense, that America would be so strongly behind Israel. Simply in economic terms, it costs so much. I’m not just talking about direct aid, the billions we’ve given the military.
LT: So why are we supporting Israel so strongly?
RB: I just don’t know, I guess the Judeo-Christian idea. If it’s true that we have 60-90 million Evangelicals that believe that Israel has to exist at the end-times, that’s probably part of it. A part of it is guilt for the Holocaust.
LT: Jewish Israeli Zionists lobby in the US?
RB: Well, they play on courts that are already there”.
In all three cases mentioned above, it is strikingly clear that all of these men are not speaking from a deep belief in the Bible, or an understanding of the Biblical teaching regarding Israel. By and large, they see the Biblical perspective as being simply one small troublesome gear in a huge secular-political machine. Their perspective is ‘post-Christian’ and their sentiments or convictions are that America would be better off not standing with (or at least standing at a safe distance from) the Jewish state. Their perspectives range somewhere between “cool,” “cold-hearted” and “cruel.”
Sinking in a historian’s Quicksand
Another recent book, “Quicksand: America’s Pursuit of Power in the Middle East” by Geoffrey Wawro; Penguin Press, NY, 2010; hereafter QS) is the attempt by a military historian to advance three themes:
- America should not be supporting a corrupt regime in Saudi Arabia;
- America should dialogue and work with Shiite Iran;
- America should inhibit or severely impede the pro-Israel lobby, as their activities (says Wawro) harm US interests (http://www.tabletmag.com/news-and-politics/34612/not-so-fast-2/).
Wawro’s factual errors, selective and occasionally twisted quotes, and often incorrect generalizations are surprising in light of his training. Nevertheless, what follow are some quotes which clarify his perspectives and attitudes.
Wawro utilizes quotations from sources not only to illustrate a historical point, but also in many cases to convey his own strong feelings about a matter, it seems. One example is from a British General, who says of the Jewish people, “Their superior intellect and communicative abilities are feared by all alike” (QS, p. 54). In another example Wawro refers to a U.S. Secretary of State who “could barely keep his anger at the Jewish lobby in check” (QS, p.99). Such comments are editorial in nature, and reveal mountains about the emotional presuppositions of the author.
Wawro accuses Israel of vicious ethnic cleansing (QS, p.108, 118). He castigates “U.S. compliance with even the most outrageous behavior” of Israel (QS, p. 115), and refers to America as “the only nation that could really crush Israel” (QS, p. 123). At another juncture he seems to draw a historical parallel between Truman’s day and our own through the unsubtle use of a tendentious quote, saying, “The United States is jeopardizing the good will of 30,000,000 Arabs and 220,000,000 Muslims” because of support for Israel (QS, p. 109).
Wawro occasionally reveals his own attitudes regarding Scriptural perspectives on the restoration of Israel to their promised land. He presents a sarcastic quote from a British official (with whom Wawro seems to heartily agree) describing biblical references as “sickening jargon .. developed by Israelis to describe their country’s consolidation .. the overworked Biblical tags like ‘the desert shall blossom as the rose’ and ‘if I forget thee, O Jerusalem.’ It was noisome to the British embassy but music to Ben-Gurion’s ears” (QS, p. 120).
These comments reveal a certain cold-heartedness to the God of Israel, to His word and certainly to His Jewish people. The scorn and cruelty that these comments reflect is rapidly increasing in our day.
The spiritual dynamics behind such utterances need to be made a matter of prayer, for it is these thoughts and heart attitudes which predominate in the corridors of military, intelligence and political leaders of the great nation known as America (as well as in many other Western European nations)!
Pray for the leadership of your country on all these levels, that revelation and a spiritual impartation of God’s heart will be given to the men and women who lead and make decisions – that they would be led according to God’s word and heart.
Shine Your light on me
Isaiah’s last days vision of Gentile darkness simultaneous with future glory on Israel is actually a prophetic invitation to us personally – we are being challenged (like Daniel in Daniel 9:1-3) to pray over the prophetic promises given by God, and to help birth them into their physical manifestation. Hear the words of the Prophet:
“For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined. The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the pine, the fir and the cypress together, to adorn the place of My sanctuary; and I will glorify the place of My feet. The sons of your oppressors will come bowing before you; all who despise you will bow down at your feet and will call you the City of YHVH, Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Although you have been forsaken and hated, with no one traveling through, I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations” (Isaiah 60:12-15)
Bob Dylan refers to the judgment seat of Messiah in his song “Precious Angel.” The refrain keeps pleading, “Shine Your light, Shine Your light on me! You know, I just couldn’t make it by myself, I’m a little too blind to see…” (words & music Bob Dylan, © Special Rider Music, 1979).
In the same way, pray for God’s light to shine down on the Jewish people – whether in Israel or scattered across the face of the globe in the Exile, and that God would take away our spiritual blindness decisively.
Pray that we in Israel would turn our hearts toward home – that we would seek the Lord our God and Messiah Yeshua with all our hearts, and that He would reveal Himself to us as the Pierced One, as our Eternal Atonement, Redeemer and Restorer.
We appreciate you. Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the enablement of God to us in the work he has called us to do. Thanks again!
In Messiah Yeshua,
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