One of my most memorable experiences in Israel happened many years ago right outside the Old City of Jerusalem. I was living at a school on Mount Zion at the time, pursuing a master’s degree in Judeo-Christian Studies. As students often do, we came up with a bright idea that provided adventure while burning off pent-up energy from days spent in class. Our idea was to hike to the top of the Mount of Olives to watch the sunrise.
Days after UNSC Resolution 2334 condemned Israeli settlements in the “occupied Palestinian territory” of Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation under international law” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat issued a strong rebuke: The mayor and his planning-committee director announced the committee’s intent to approve building 618 previously planned housing units in East Jerusalem—a first step toward an additional 5,600 units in the city. “I’m not ever going to stop building. No construction will be stopped by me as mayor,” he said. While the Obama administration harmed its ally by strengthening its enemies, if President Trump holds to his promises perhaps things will change going forward but there is already talk of backpedaling.
The story of Hanukkah is often told with an emphasis on the evil ruler, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, King of the Hellenistic Seleucid empire, who was bent on the Hellenization of the Jewish people. Had he succeeded it would have meant the demise of the Jewish faith and thereby, the Jewish people. God’s plan to bring salvation to the world through their Messiah would have died with them.
Murfreesboro, TN – Today, Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, affirmed to Susan Michael, US Director of International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), his support for five principles guiding a strong US-Israel relationship. This came in response to a request made to Mr. Trump and Secretary Clinton to agree to the principles presented by the ICEJ and its network, American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI), which represents 60 million Evangelicals.
A petition addressed to the candidates signed by some 40,000 grassroots Americans, and the ACLI letter signed by 650 Christian leaders across America, emphasized locating the US Embassy to Jerusalem, supporting security aid to Israel, monitoring and acting on Iran’s terrorism and violations of the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement, rejecting third party solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict forced on Israel, and opposing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions efforts levied at Israel.
For centuries Christian churches had little appreciation for the biblical Feast of Tabernacles. They understood Passover was the foundation for Jesus’ atoning death on the cross, and they understood Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks, was a Jewish feast on which the Holy Spirit was poured out on the early church. But, there was no Christian fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles for them to celebrate.
In 2005 a team of Christians traveled to Israel to join the Jewish people at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount to pray for eight hours each day for that entire year asking G-d to make peace in Jerusalem and seeking His protection for the tiny Jewish state. Soon another Christian prayer team will arrive at the Western Wall again praying for eight hours each day for blessings to be upon Israel and her people; the people G-d Himself calls the “apple of His eye.”
Very few who live outside of Israel possess a clear understanding of Israel’s situation as it relates to Arab-Israelis and the Palestinians, yet we form opinions and attitudes and pass judgments based on news clips and reporters’ comments that are almost always overly sympathetic to the Arab-Israelis of East Jerusalem and their Palestinian kinsmen. Israel’s true situation is rarely articulated. For example, some wonder if Israel is right to destroy the homes of parents or relatives of those who perpetrate acts of terror against Israel. Those who contend it’s wrong must be reminded how the Palestinians openly celebrate every time one of their own harms or kills an Israeli and also the fact that the family of the terrorist(s) receives a monetary award. &n