Category: Israel

The bombed Sudanese factory produced Iranian Shehab missiles

 

The Yarmouk Complex of military plants near Khartoum, whicht was bombed five minutes after midnight Wednesday, Oct.  24, by four fighter-bombers, recently went into manufacturing Iranian ballistic surface-to-surface Shehab missiles under license from Tehran, debkafile’s military and intelligence sources disclose. Western intelligence sources have not revealed what types of Shehab were being turned out in Sudan but they believe the Yarmouk’s output was intended to serve as Tehran’s strategic reserve stock in case Iran’s ballistic arsenal was hit by Israeli bombers.
The Israeli Air Force has a long record of pre-emptive attacks for destroying an enemy’s long-range missiles in the early stages of a conflict. In June 2006, for instance, the IAF destroyed 90 percent of Hizballah’s long-range missiles in the first hours of the Lebanon war.
Videos of the explosions caused in the air raid over Sudan showed large quantities of phosphorus flares in the sky suggesting that a large stockpile was demolished along with the manufacturing equipment.
Western sources did not divulge information about the comings and goings of Iranian missile specialists or whether the Bashir government had given Tehran permission to stage attacks from Sudan against Middle East targets, in return for the allotment of a number of missiles to the Sudanese army. All they would say is that the complex’s structures had been completely leveled by the aerial bombardment and subsequent fire.
Sudan accused Israel of the attack and stated it reserved the right to respond at a time and circumstances of its choosing. Israeli officials declined to comment in answer to questions.
If Indeed Israel was responsible for the bombing raid, it is possible to postulate the following objectives:
1.  Its air force flew 1,800-1,900 kilometers to reach the Sudanese arms factory, a distance longer than the 1,600 kilometers to the Iranian underground enrichment site of Fordo. This operation may have been intended to show Tehran that distance presents no obstacles to an Israeli strike on its nuclear program.
2.  The IAF has an efficient in-flight refueling capability.
3.  The raid would have degraded Iran’s ability to retaliate for a potential Israel or US attack.
If it was conducted by Israel, it would add a third item to the list of backdoor assaults in which Iran and Israel appear to be engaged in the past three months.
On August 17, the power lines to Fordo were sabotaged, interrupting the work of enrichment taking place there and causing some of the advanced centrifuges to catch fire.
On Oct. 6, an Iranian stealth drone was launched from Lebanon into Israeli air space and photographed its most sensitive military sites as well as the Dimona nuclear reactor before Israel brought it down.   

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4322

Is the new Cyprus-Greece-Israel energy triangle casting a net for Turkey?

Long-running speculation over massive natural gas reserves in the tumultuous Southeastern Mediterranean and Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) became a reality in December 2011 when official research and scope reports were released.

Today, the Republic of Cyprus finds itself grappling with this mixed blessing. These rich findings can provide long-term benefits for the country but Cyprus is more like a novice treading a very slippery floor in the major leagues of global diplomacy.

A new but familiar player, the state of Israel, has made a thunderous entry into the traditionally loud trio of Greece, Cyprus and Turkey, causing significant ruptures to the balance of the neighborhood. The event that sparked Israel’s newfound interest in Cyprus was the definitive signs of massive natural gas reserves in Cyprus’ Plot No. 12 (fittingly codenamed “Aphrodite”), right next to Israel’s own EEZ and massive reserves in its “Leviathan” plot.

It became apparent right from the start that Israel naturally considered every issue as highly imbued with its own national interest. Thus the decision to collaborate in treating the extracted natural gas and then transporting it to Europe (from both countries’ plots) came as a complete formula: pipelines would be part of a joint network, a vast specialized storage terminal, valued at 10 billion euros and funded almost completely by Israel. They would be built at the Vassilikos port near Limassol and the majority of the approximately 10,000 highly skilled personnel needed would be Israelis. Naturally, additional issues have come up in the logical process of things. The project will take about six or seven years to complete and inevitably the thousands of Israeli personnel engaged in it will need to have their families near them, so the total number of Israelis in Cyprus would become even greater, at least 15,000. These Israeli citizens will need to be housed in safe and secure conditions near the working site. Any analyst can easily run the math on the size and nature of this security force.

The U.S. took a particularly open stance regarding the recent natural gas reserve discovery and Turkey’s attempted involvement in this on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots resulting in a new row with the Republic of Cyprus (RoC), which allows exclusive rights to the RoC until the age-old “Cyprus Problem” is resolved.

Russia has its own worries over the new order of things in the wider Middle East. The discovery of natural gas reserves in Cyprus, its closest ally in the EU and a traditionally friendly country since the Soviet era, presents Russia with the rare opportunity of hitting many birds with one stone.

The European Union is now fortunate enough to see a full member (including of the eurozone) with massive natural gas reserves (and possibly oil) sufficient to supply it for many years, thus removing the EU from the uncomfortable position of receiving gas from pipelines in Russia and Turkey.

If one considers the complex combinations of possibilities that could take place and the endless array of scenarios, most of them having to do with the behavioral traits of the actors in play, the formation of the Cyprus-Greece-Israel NET vis-à-vis Turkey and the tumultuous environment in which all this is taking place, one can understand what a huge and complex project management challenge this is.

Cyprus is in the process of being bailed out by the Troika with onerous commitment terms and also has to be realistic about how the advent of natural gas reserves can do more for it than just fix its finances. Natural gas and perhaps oil should be used intelligently in the search for a permanent and viable solution to the “Cyprus Problem” and not as a weapon to solidify the Greek Cypriots’ standing in a never-ending confrontation with Turkey. Obviously, economics can play a growing and positive role in the quest for a solution. Ironically, after a solution, Turkey could act as a trading partner to such an extent that Cyprus would not need to have substantive others.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4316

Islamic-Christian Alliance in Israel

Islamic-Christian Alliance in Israel

By Gary Stearman on September 30, 2012

The following news item was recently published in Israel: Arutz Sheva, Aug. 27th – “The Temple Mount, the place where Avraham [Abraham] came to sacrifice his son to God, the site of the first and second Jewish Temples, where the Jewish people worshiped for hundreds of years and the focal point of every practicing Jew’s prayers, is under increasing assault from the Islamic-Christian Committee.

“This relatively new Palestinian institution has been able to win the support not only of the entire regional Christian leadership, but also of leading Christian personalities from abroad.

“The Islamic-Christian Commission has just warned that the Israeli authorities are working to impose ‘a false Jewish history’ in Jerusalem, ‘the occupied city,’especially ‘on the area known to Jews as the Temple Mount.’ The Committee warned of a new ‘Judaization.’ Such fabricated lies help the Palestinians to conquer a seat in the international agencies like Unesco and to excite the Muslims against the Jews.”

In this report, we see the sad truth that not all Christians understand the prophetic truth that Israel is destined to return to the Holy Land in the last days. Instead, they view the institutional church – not Israel – as the central element in God’s plan to renew the Earth. Some even envision transferring their ecclesiastical headquarters to Jerusalem when the time is right, to greet the Lord upon His return in the Second Coming.

In their thinking, the church has superseded Israel, and is destined to create the spiritual platform that will pave the way for the Lord’s return, as He brings the Kingdom of God to its final fruition upon Earth.

In their world view, termed “replacement theology,” modern Israel is a temporary accident that will soon be swept aside into the dustbin of history. They see it as a strange offshoot of the Jewish Holocaust of World War II, whose presence in the Middle East is an irritant and obstacle to peace. Prophecy has been improperly taught for centuries; any attempt to correct long-held positions will certainly be met with dramatic resistance.

In this arena, we encounter a real contradiction in the interpretation of Bible prophecy. In sharp contrast with this view, Dispensationalism was developed in the 19th century under the leadership of John Nelson Darby and his immediate support group. They restored the long-extinct Apostolic doctrine of imminency and placed national Israel at the center of prophetic fulfillment.As dispensationalists, we do not see the Church – the body of Christ – as usurping Israel’s central place in the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

Part of the problem is that Christians who follow denominational creeds are only rarely (if at all) involved in the study of Bible prophecy. Eschatology has been sidelined, and is considered nearly irrelevant. Besides that, it is generally thought to be so divisive in nature that it is approached with caution. For this reason, most seminaries now admonish their young graduates to steer clear of prophetic teaching, except in the most simplistic terms. In other words, be content with, “Jesus will return to Earth some day.” Christians who believe in the latter-day return of Israel to the Holy Land are continually amazed at the widespread failure to understand this basic Bible prophecy.

In fact, there is a long tradition of power politics behind the precautionary stance of today’s theologians. Religious empires have been built and are vigorously protected.

The Islamic-Christian Committee

The Committee mentioned earlier is comprised of theologians who represent the tip of the replacement theology iceberg. They are amillennialists, with an understanding of prophecy that goes back to Augustine, whose writings were a reaction to the allegorical biblical interpretations of earlier church fathers. He cut off their strange prophetic conjectures by denying that there would be a future Millennium.

Of course, national Israel found no place in his view. The Jews had been banished to the four corners of the world, and in his thinking, would never return.

And so, in the early 5th century, he envisioned a thousand-year Church Age. When that period passed, his timing was discredited. His followers in the Roman Church then spiritualized the remaining period, assigning it an indefinite duration. Once again, Israel found no place in this renewal of prophetic interpretation.

Though flawed, Augustine’s system of eschatology found practically universal acceptance in the medieval church. Centuries later, the Roman Church and the later Reformed churches continued to accept his theology as firm and correct tradition, which is still the case, today.

Today’s Islamic-Christian Committee is comprised of church leaders who follow Augustinian eschatology. Naturally, they see Jerusalem as he did: the City of God as capital of the Gentile world. The church institutions they represent are all steeped in this concept of Gentile authority.

One of them (left) is Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canturbury. He has been termed “Anglo-Catholic.” He recently said, “It is impossible to deny that Christians and Muslims have a common agenda here: both faiths have at their heart the living image of a community raised up by God’s call to reveal to the world what God’s purpose is for humanity.”

Fouad Twal, the new Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, serving in that capacity since 2008, recently took part in a meeting with Williams in London, England. There, he protested the fact that there are “more than 550,000 Israelis living in East Jerusalam and the West Bank.” He also spoke against “the demography of Jerusalem changing rapidly with the sacred space being threatened.” In other words, he detests the growing Jewish population there.

Another is the Vatican’s former archbishop in Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah. He has launched appeals in Europe and the United States, urging them to “stop the Hebraization of Jerusalem.”

The founder of the Committee, is Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, Atallah (Theodosius) Hanna. Since his appointment in 2001, quickly established himself as a vigorous political activist, publicly denouncing the “Israeli occupation” and the establishment of a “Palestinian identity.” Naturally, he is very popular among Arabs. Israeli authorities, however, have repeatedly arrested him on charges of “incitement.”

Hanna once said, “The suicide bombers who carry out their activities in the name of religion are national heroes and we’re proud of them.”

Supersessionism

There is a fundamental error in the theology that states it has replaced Israel, which it deems to be forever lost in sin.

Theologians sometimes refer to replacement theology as “supersessionism,” from the English word “supersede.” This church position states that the New Covenent replaces the Mosaic Covenant, which it refers to as the “Old Covenant.” On this basis, it believes that it has inherited the promises made to the biblical Israelites.

It is only natural, therefore, that modern church leaders would view Israel as a temporary obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

However, contemporary scholarship points out a fundamental error in their theology. They begin with the idea that Israel is forever lost in sin, never to be redeemed. However, the Apostle Paul speaks of national Israel as being at the center of God’s long-term plan for this world. Surely, anyone with the slightest experience in Scripture has read Paul’s explanation for the purpose of Israel’s rejection:

“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness” (Rom. 11:11,12).

Here, he plainly states that the collapse of Israel’s rule in Israel was only temporary. It brought salvation to the Gentiles (through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection at the feast of Firstfruits). Then, he says that they will rise again to fullness. In order to throw out this Scriptural truth, one must nullify Paul as an Apostolic authority. He adds that Israel, like Christ, will rise from the dead:

“For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Rom. 11:15).

But Paul’s pure and simple statement cannot be misinterpreted. It must be ignored. And so it has been, by those who believe that the church has superseded the promised Kingdom, composed of the twelve tribes of Israel.

According to those who follow it, supersessionism expresses itself in several ways. Augustine believed that the church superseded Israel in terms of a new form of management replacing the old. He saw this development as historical and practical.

Others say that supersessionism is structural. It is simply the natural development of God’s ages-long plan for the redemption of the Earth.

Still others see the church’s supersession as God’s punishment of the Jews, who continue to reject Jesus. In the second century, Justin Martyr wrote, “For the true spiritual Israel are we who have been led to God through this crucified Christ.”

In the third century, Hippolytus is quoted as having said, “The Jews … have been darkened in the eyes of your [the Lord’s] soul with a darkness utter and everlasting.”

Among many others, Hippolytus, Origen and Martin Luther held the belief that the Old Testament prophecies once intended for the Jews were now to be interpreted as pertaining to Christians.

And as stated above, most contemporary mainline churches continue to hold various forms of this view, opening the way for emphatic rejection of Israel as legitimately back in the Land.

What’s wrong with this view? First, it is erroneous to believe that the New Covenant is a replacement for the Mosaic Covenant. Christians have not received redemption through the Law of Moses, but through the finished work of Christ.

And the inescapable fact is that the covenant of His priesthood goes back to Abraham, centuries before Moses received the covenant of Law at Mount Horeb.

The Priesthood of Melchizedek

The writer of Hebrews makes this clear, by recalling that Abraham, after his military defeat of the four Gentile Kings, paid a tithe to the priest called Melchizedek.

“Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him” (Heb. 7:4-10).

Levi, the priest of the Mosaic law, is here shown to have an inferior priesthood to that of Melchizedek, by virtue of Abraham’s action toward Melchizedek. The author of Hebrews then goes on to point out that Christ’s spiritual heritage originates from him, rather than from Moses and Aaron:

“If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb. 7:11-17).

A Spiritual Priesthood

In his first epistle, Peter speaks of those who were not a people, but now through Christ and the mercy of God have become members of His family, having the ability to act as priests and co-regents:

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” (I Pet. 2:9,10).

Certainly, this does not imply that God must throw away one group (the Jews) in order to elevate the status of another (the Church).

Yet this is the motivation behind the theology of the Islamic-Christian Committee. It is driven by an ages-long vitriol, expressed in the language of loathing. The group also includes in its membership one Sheikh Tamimi, a high-ranking judge in the Palestinian Authority (PA). He once said, “Perhaps one day the world will awake and realize that these Zionist elements are the bloodletters who hang on the peoples, sucking their blood and consuming their resources.”

The leaders of this group have for a long time, worked hand-in-glove with the PLO, Yasser Arafat, and the PA’s current leader, Mahmoud Abbas.

The Arutz Sheva article concludes with this brief historical note: “23 December, 1995, is the date of the turning point for the Islamic-Christian alliance against the Jews in Jerusalem. The Greek Orthodox patriarch of the holy land, Deodorus I, handed over the custody of Churches in Jerusalem to PLO leader Arafat. This was done in the presence of the Catholic, Anglican and Greek orthodox archbishops.

“The patriarch declared, ‘I am the heir of Sophronius and I am handing the keys (to Christian holy sites in Jerusalem) to the heir of Omar Ibn al-Khattab.’

“Omar, the caliph who claimed Jerusalem from Byzantine rule in 638, gave then Patriarch Sophronius custody of Churches and a pledge to safeguard them. The move was meant to put Christian holy places under the custody of Arafat, a Muslim, and strengthening the Arab-Islamic claim to Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.”

The article ends with a question: “Will this new Islamic-Christian alliance be able to convince the European Union, the UN and the US to baptize Jerusalem, ‘Al Quds’”? This, the Islamic name for Jerusalem, means “the holy.” In context, it designates the Israeli capital as “the holy place.”

Certainly, it is that, with a history that dates back to Abraham, who paid tithes to the High Priest Melchizedek in this place, and later offered up Isaac here, on the holy mountain. It is the site of both Temples and the rule of King David. Its holiness was established before there ever was an Islam. And its prophetic destiny as God’s city is one of the most basic themes of the Bible. The Committee should know that changing the name of this eternal city will not change what has been written … and what will be fulfilled.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4230

Daystar, TBN ready for Messiah in Jerusalem

If the Messiah descends from the Mount of Olives as foretold in the Bible, America’s two biggest Christian broadcasters are well-positioned to cover it live thanks to recent acquisitions of adjacent Jerusalem studios on a hill overlooking the Old City.

Texas-based Daystar Television Network already beams a 24-hour-a-day live webcam from its terrace. Not to be outdone, Costa Mesa-based Trinity Broadcasting Network last month bought the building next door.

The dueling studios are part of an aggressive push by U.S. evangelical broadcasters seeking to gain a stronger foothold in the holy city. Their presence not only offers boasting rights with American viewers and contributors, but also — and more controversially — a platform for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to Jews in Israel.

In addition to its new multistory building, TBN is negotiating with Israel’s Yes satellite television provider to secure a full-time home for its evangelical Shalom TV channel.

Daystar already airs its English-language programming in Israel with dedicated channels on both Yes and cable provider HOT Telecommunications Systems, claiming to be the first Christian evangelical broadcaster to transmit a gospel message to Israeli television sets 24 hours a day.

“The main thing we want to do is help sponsor what we call Messianic Jews, or Jews that have received Jesus Christ as their Messiah,” said TBN co-founder Paul Crouch, who recently wrapped up a tour of Israel with 1,800 TBN supporters, most of them from America. “We want to do some Hebrew language programs to reach out to Jews and entice them to read the word of God and become what we call a completed Jew.”

Such proselytizing angers Orthodox Jewish groups who say it threatens the character of a nation that was created as a home for Jewish refugees of the Holocaust. Christian proselytizing is legal in Israel, though the government has at times restricted and discouraged the practice; members of the Jewish faith do not seek to convert those of other faiths.

“One of the things I find offensive is that they are bragging about their missionary work,” said Ellen Horowitz, research director at Jewish Israel, a grass-roots group created in 2008 to track and counteract Christian missionaries in Israel. “They’re actually very in-your-face about it.”

Horowitz said proselytizing is a touchy subject in Israel. “Our people have been through the wringer already with either persecution or assimilation,” she said. “Now people finally get to a Jewish nation and someone pushes a copy of the New Testament in Hebrew at them. A sensitive line is being crossed.”

When Daystar debuted in Israel in 2006, it created such a public uproar that the channel was temporarily suspended from the HOT network. It was restored after a court challenge.

Since then, Christian evangelical groups have quietly and steadily expanded their footprint in Jerusalem.

Last spring, evangelist organizer Mike Evans began soliciting donations from U.S. supporters for his $10-million purchase of a prime commercial building in Jerusalem’s city center, where he plans to open a facility devoted to Christian evangelism.

In July, American missionary Rick Ridings, a nephew of Paul Crouch who operates a walk-in prayer center near Mt. Zion, hosted several hundred Israeli youths at a three-day gospel music and prayer festival in Tel Aviv.

Crouch said TBN, whose recently purchased building houses the Los Angeles Times Jerusalem bureau, is striving to promote Christianity in Israel, where the faith is sometimes overshadowed by the struggle between Judaism and Islam. Trinity Broadcasting already is one of the world’s largest religious broadcasters, with 18 networks in seven languages.

“Christianity is not represented in Israel as well as it could,” he said. “We hope to equalize that and give Christianity a better platform.”

The latest inroads by evangelical Christians have not triggered the backlash that occurred in 2006 when Daystar went on the air. In fact, Crouch said TBN’s biggest obstacle in Jerusalem so far is rival Daystar, which he said tried to block TBN’s Shalom Channel from airing on Yes satellite.

“They raised a stink,” Crouch said. “I guess some of our Christian brothers don’t want the competition.”

A Yes spokeswoman said negotiations with TBN are ongoing and a final deal has not been reached. Daystar officials declined to comment, but said in a statement that the company “loves and appreciates Israel.”

Some Israelis are welcoming members of the American evangelical community as strategic partners, both politically and economically.

In addition to becoming the fastest-growing segment of Israel’s tourism market, U.S. evangelicals tend to be staunchly pro-Israel, lobbying in Washington on the Israeli government’s behalf on such matters as the Palestinian conflict or West Bank settlement construction.

Christian broadcasters have donated tens of millions of dollars in recent years to build Israeli schools, community centers, hospital wards and even synagogues. Part of the support is based upon their belief that the return of the Jewish people to Israel will usher in the second coming of Jesus.

Christian groups have forged close ties with Russian-born lawmakers in the parliament, or Knesset, and recently helped push through a law that extended property tax exemptions once available only to Jewish religious institutions to those owned by Christian congregations.

“They are much more sophisticated and calculated than they were before,” Horowitz said. “With all the millions of dollars they are giving, it’s harder for the government to say no.”

Her group said the number of evangelical Christian congregations in Israel has grown to 150 with as many as 20,000 followers, up from an estimated 3,000 in 1987, based on estimates from the congregations.

Christian broadcasters boast to their viewers that they are seeing a record number of Jews convert to Christianity. “The harvest is coming in so fast,” Crouch said.

Much of the growth is coming from the 1 million Russian immigrants who arrived in Israel during the 1990s. Many of the immigrants were never considered Jewish by Orthodox rabbis or had practiced Christianity in Russia.

“They see Russians as a way to get a foothold in Israel and create a Christian revival here,” Horowitz said. “We don’t have anything against Christians. But the Jewish people have to watch their backside to make sure this evangelical embrace does not become a hold that we can’t get out of.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4227

Israel intensifies exercises for ground war following Iran strike

The Israel Army has intensified training for a war with the
Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah.

Military sources said the army is stepping up training for a war with
Hizbullah over the next few months. They said exercises have been conducted
in several locations, including the Golan Heights, Jordan Valley and Negev Desert.

 “The exercises were based on the need for a rapid ground offensive in
Lebanon,” a military source said.

The army preparations took place amid threats by Iran and its
proxies of a war with the Jewish state. Hizbullah was said to have amassed
an arsenal of 60,000 rockets, many of which were deployed in southern
Lebanon.

The sources said Teheran has assigned Hizbullah a leading role in
retaliation for any Israeli or U.S. strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

They said Hizbullah, trained by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,
also formed infantry units and mobile rocket squads to invade Israel from
Lebanon.

The Israeli exercises have consisted of Merkava-class main battle
tanks, Namer armored personnel carriers and other combat vehicles. The
sources said the aim was to achieve rapid mobility and capture Hizbullah
rocket and other targets.

In August 2012, the army conducted a night infantry exercise in the
Jordan River. During the maneuvers, the Golan Brigade’s Battalion 13,
accompanied by MBTs and APCs, crossed the Jordan River in what was meant to
represent Lebanon’s Litani River.

The exercises marked a revision of military strategy over the last five
years. In 2006, the Israel Air Force was used to attack Hizbullah bases and
particularly rocket launchers in what was regarded as an unsuccessful
effort.

Hizbullah has also been training. Over the last month, Hizbullah,
directed by IRGC, mobilized 10,000 fighters for an exercise around the
Litani River.

“The assessment is that Iran and its proxies were preparing for a
regional war over the next year,” the source said.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4218

ARK OF COVENANT RESTING BENEATH TEMPLE MOUNT?

It would almost inarguably be the greatest archaeological find in history.

Movies have been made about it.

Voluminous books have explored its whereabouts.

It’s an artifact that combines faith, science and history.

It’s the Ark of the Covenant – the gold-laden box made by Moses with the specific instructions of God to hold the Ten Commandments and serve as a meeting place between man and his Creator.

One of the persistent theories about the whereabouts of the Ark is that it lay buried in secret tunnels and passageways constructed by King Solomon for the specific purpose of keeping it from enemies who might one day capture and destroy the Temple.

Now there is compelling new evidence that’s just what happened – and that the Ark still rests beneath the chamber known as the Holy of Holies, moved there through an elaborate machine constructed under the direction of Solomon long before the invasion of the Babylonians and the sacking of the Temple.

Most of the evidence for this theory of the Ark’s location comes right out of the Bible But WND has confirmed at least some of the story with archaeological sources secretly working within the tunnel structure beneath the Temple Mount.

Even more astonishing is the theory propounded on the specific location of the Ark – a theory that, if true – would have more meaning to followers of Yeshua as Messiah and Savior than most Christians could ever imagine.

 

Without question, the Bible seems to detail the lengths to which Solomon went to protect the Ark, with a sand-hydraulic elevator in the Holy of Holies. An emergency escape route and the stone sarcophagus in which the Ark was hidden during the siege by King Nebuchadnezzar have already been discovered in the tunnel system that honeycombs Mount Moriah.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4169

Taking the pulse of Armageddon as Israel-Iran showdown looms

It is just an 18-mile journey from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s private residence in luxurious Caesarea on the shores of the Mediterranean, to Har Megiddo – Armageddon, the hilltop ancient ruins of one of King Solomon’s palaces from where the Bible suggests the final battle between good and evil will be viewed.

The road between the two points is populated by Israeli Jews and Arabs of widely differing religious beliefs and political opinions, and the No. 1 topic of conversation these days is whether Israel should bomb Iranian nuclear facilities. The people who live in the small, picturesque villages along the route recently talked to FoxNews.com about the looming showdown.

“Israel must not allow another Holocaust to happen. We must act first.”

– David, in the Israeli city of Har Megiddo, or ‘Armageddon’

A man who identified himself as Mordechai, who was giving away copies of a free newspaper outside local shops in Caesarea, said he fears the seemingly inevitable confrontation.

“I’m frightened” Mordechai said. “I don’t think we should attack Iran; it will start another world war. It’s also a big mistake to be talking about it here in the media.”

Haya, a well-dressed elderly lady, took a paper from him and offered a different view. “I’m happy with Bibi,” she said. “He won’t make the decision alone. He’ll listen to his advisors then he’ll do what he has to do.”

Route 65 is the “Road to Armageddon,” and a few miles east of Caesarea, it passes Kibbutz En Shemer, where Itti Moshiach, (his surname appropriately enough means Messiah), a former tank gunner who fought in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, offered his opinion.

“He (Netanyahu) should resign,” Moshiach said. “I know he doesn’t want peace; the price is too heavy for him. He doesn’t want to give back the West Bank. As for Iran, they won’t use the bomb against us because they know full well our retaliation would be 100 times worse. We hear the government complaining that there is too much talk about this, but most of the talk comes from the government.”

Yehuda Zarka knows this part of the country as well as anyone. He is the base commander for the Border Police and famously foiled a Palestinian bomb plot in 2002 when he intercepted a half-ton bomb being delivered to a target in a local Jewish town. He was commended for his bravery by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and by the current Israeli president, Shimon Peres.

“The people of the Middle East only understand strong leaders, and Bibi isn’t a strong leader,” Zarka said. “He talks too much and does nothing. (Menachem) Begin hit Saddam in 1981, and (Ehud) Olmert took out the Syrian facility in 2007 without any prior public discussion. If Bibi had shown years ago – the moment the first missiles hit Israel from Gaza and Lebanon – that he would respond with real force, the Iranians wouldn’t have dared risk putting Israel in this position.”

Just a short drive down the road, in the Arab village of Baqa-Al-Gharbieh, few people were prepared to speak their mind. ‘Eid’, a shopkeeper, gave an insight into local Arab opinion.

“If he (Netanyahu) attacks Iran it will be a very big mistake,” Eid said. “The Jewish people don’t want to face facts. If the Palestinian problem was solved, Iran would have no reason or support to threaten Israel. We (Arabs) want peace. In life it is give and take, not like the Israelis, who take and take.”

At a gas station in another Arab town of Umm El Fahm, Samir bemoaned what war could do the already high cost of a gallon of gas. “If Netanyahu starts a war, $8 will seem cheap!” he observes. “It would be an economic disaster.”

Finally, in Har Megiddo, the view unfolds of the Jezreel Valley, where the final battle is forecast to take place. On the left side of the valley is Nazareth, while on the right – on the other side of the separation fence – is the Palestinian city of Jenin, which proudly proclaims itself the “martyr’s capital.” The name reflects the city’s having dispatched more suicide bombers into Israel than any other Palestinian town.

In the souvenir shop ‘Maya’ and ‘David’ (not their real names), gave the perspective of 30-something Israeli Jews.

“I believe Iran is close to getting the bomb,” David said. “Israel must not allow another Holocaust to happen. We must act first.”

Maya agreed: “I do” she said. “We must be sure though to bomb Iranian military targets and not civilian areas. And we must do it soon; before it’s too late.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4068

Warning: The world is ending and the Messiah is coming!

On one of Israel’s largest websites Ynet a yellow banner with large letters appeared on Saturday proclaiming the coming of the Messiah. “The Messiah is in Israel. This will be the last government of Israel.” A click on the banner leads directly to the website 871. Here, the religious creators of the site warn about the end of the world. “The next leader will be the Messiah Ben David. The situation in the country is getting worse and the government will become more incapable. Only the Messiah can save Israel during the war of Gog and Magog. In the near future the world will witness terrible disasters, like earthquakes and tsunamis. Cities in Europe and the United States will disappear in the sea. The world’s financial system will collapse and God will destroy the Mammon (Yiddish slang for “money”). Anti-Semitism in the world will get worse, just like on the eve of World War II. For every inch of land that the government abandons the people of Israel will be punished for, because this is a rebellion against God. Solely because the two-state solution was discussed in Israel we must pay a high price. This land was promised to the people of Israel for eternity and who negotiates about the God-given land will not experience the redemption.” The ones behind the website, who regularly publish warning signals in the Israel network, are unknown. The majority of Israel’s society does not take such websites seriously, but still they appear on Israel’s largest Internet portals, such as Ynet.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3754

Israeli belief in God on the rise

Even as Israel becomes increasingly liberal (see recent report on Tel Aviv being rated top gay travel destination), it is also becoming increasingly religious, or, perhaps more accurately, increasingly God-fearing.

A survey conducted by the Guttman-Avi Chai Foundation in 2009, and whose results were finally published on Thursday after more than two years of analysis, revealed that over 80 percent of Israeli Jews believe in God. The Guttman-Avi Chai Foundation started conducing this survey over two decades ago. The 2009 poll registered by far the highest level of belief in God yet.

Furthermore, over 70 percent of Israeli Jews accept the biblical principle that the Jewish people have been “chosen” by God for a specific prophetic destiny. Seventy-one percent of respondents said they want increased biblical studies in Israeli schools.

But that doesn’t mean Jews in general are becoming more religious, at least not in an Orthodox Jewish way. Only 37 percent of Israeli Jews had a problem with fellow Jews not following the biblical commandments, and nearly 70 percent said they want more entertainment venues to be open on the Shabbat.

The numbers coincide with other recent findings and observations suggesting that Israelis are increasingly hungry for a deeper spiritual life. It also highlights the growing rift in the nation, as one portion of Israelis moves closer to God and the Bible, while the other clings ever more tightly to Western liberal humanism.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3751

AUTHOR: BIBLE PREDICTED DATE OF ISRAEL’S RETURN

 

The author of “Covenant: G-d’s Plan for Israel in the Last Days,” a book by Baruch Battlestein published in Italy, cites prophecies by Ezekiel and Moses that pinpoint with precision the date of Israel’s return to the land in May 1948.

“Was May 14, 1948, chosen by G-d as the exact day in time to resurrect the nation of Israel, or was it just some random date in human history?” Battlestein asks. “Could it be possible that this exact date was prophesied thousands of years before in Scripture?”

Battlestein cites three verses to reach his conclusion that the date of Israel’s return to the land after 1,900 years was indeed prophesied accurately.

The first is Ezekiel 37:21-22: “And say unto them, ‘Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.’”

This verse, Battlestein points out, shows “that it was the will of the Lord to bring them back to their own land and make them one nation in the land.”

The second citation of interest is Leviticus 26:23-24: “And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.”

“As a stand-alone verse this is very strange, and when applying it to the history of Israel it seems impossible to fully understand,” writes the author. “However, when we read the Book of Ezekiel we find another strange prophecy that leads us back to G-d’s prophecy in Leviticus. It is through these prophecies that we come to an understanding that May 14, 1948, was the exact date chosen by G-d for the resurrection of Israel thousands of years before it took place.”

That second Ezekiel citation is Ezekiel 4:4-6: “Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.”

“In this strange prophecy, Ezekiel is commanded to first lay on his left side for 390 days and then on his right side for 40 days, for a total of 430 days, as punishment for the iniquities of the house of Israel,” explains Battlestein. “We are told that this punishment represents one day for each year. Taken alone, the prophecies in Leviticus and Ezekiel do not take on any specific significance. However, when we combine them, the results are astonishing.”

He continues: “G-d decreed to Israel a total of 430 years of punishment for her sins against Him. That punishment consisted of physical removal from the land G-d had promised His people. Israel’s captivity in Babylon was exactly 70 years as prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10). Therefore, the first 70 years of Israel’s punishment was completed when the Babylonian captivity ended. By the decree of King Cyrus, conquerer or Babylon, the Jews were set free from their captivity in the year 538 B.C.E. The year 538 B.C.E, therefore becomes the base year with which we begin our calculations: 430 years minus 70 year captivity equals 360 years of remaining punishment to come.”

That’s where the Leviticus prophecy kicks in, says Battlestein. The 360 years needed to be multiplied by seven, for a total of 2,520 years.

Using the 360-day Hebrew calendar, that totals 907,200 days. When converted to the 365-day calendar, the 2,520 years or 907,200 days becomes 2,485 years and five months or 2,485.5 years and months. If you subtract 538 years B.C.E, you get 1,947 years and five months.

Battlestein reminds that there was no year zero.

“Therefore, the year 1,947.5 we call the year 1948.5,” he explains. “So exactly 1,947.5 years after 538 B.C.E., we come to the year 1948.5,” he writes. “May is the fifth month of the modern calendar, and on May 14, 1948, Israel arose from the ashes of extinction to become a nation!”

Battlestein is a messianic Jew who lived in Israel until moving to the U.S. He is the author of several books

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3699