Category: Israel

Heavy fighting on the ground in Gaza, 5 IDF soldiers killed

The twelfth day of Operation Protective Edge was marked by increased attempts by terrorists groups to kill and or abduct Israeli soldiers. Four Israeli soldiers were killed and 23 were wounded on Saturday: three seriously, six in moderate condition and the rest were treated for minor wounds. One Israeli soldier was killed early Friday morning.

The Israel Defense Forces has uncovered 13 terror tunnels and 34 tunnel openings and has cited significant accomplishments after a day of fighting. The IDF expanded its ground operation Saturday night and the Golani Infantry Brigade entered the Gaza Strip. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz told soldiers: “You need to clean out the Gaza region [of tunnels], you need to find those tunnel openings. I always said that what the nation sees as an emergency, we see as war. That is how you need to enter this act. You have your enemies, and you have your mission.”

With the Red Cross serving as a mediator, Hamas issued a request for a short humanitarian truce on Sunday, as dozens of Palestinians were reportedly killed in the Sajiya neighborhood of Gaza. Hamas sought to use the lull to evacuate the bodies from the centers of heavy fighting.

The IDF said it would hold its fire in Sajiya from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Since the launch of the IDF ground operation in Gaza on Thursday, some 130 Palestinian terrorists have been killed, about 800 have been hurt and 36 underground tunnels have been discovered, among them 14 tunnels designed to facilitate cross-border terror attacks.

Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge on July 8, the IDF has hit 2,570 terror targets in Gaza.

Saturday saw numerous incidents of fighting inside and around Gaza. One of the most serious incidents was an infiltration by nine terrorists into Israel. They attacked a passing group of IDF troops, leaving two soldiers dead. The terrorists infiltrated using a terror tunnel from the Gaza Strip and emerged near Kibbutz Be;eri, hundreds of meters away from the security fence on the border. The terrorists realized that the two IDF posts in the area were not manned. They then encountered an IDF vehicle on patrol.

The terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at the vehicle and killed two soldiers — 45-year-old Maj. (res.) Amotz Greenberg from Hod Hasharon and 20-year-old Sgt. Adar Barsano from Nahariya. The two other soldiers in the vehicle were moderately wounded.

Israeli forces in the area engaged the terrorists and killed one, with the rest escaping back into Gaza. The IAF struck them from the air it is still unknown how many were hit in the strike. Later in the day, the IDF attacked the apartment which had served as the command post for the infiltration attack.

The IDF said the clash had prevented a much larger and more deadly terrorist attack in one of the communities in the Gaza border area. It is believed the initial objective of the attack was to abduct a soldier. “The terror squad infiltrated near one of the towns in the area and was surprised by an IDF patrol. The attack was aimed at one of the nearby towns and was thwarted near the [Gaza border] fence,” a senior IDF officer said on Saturday. “They realized their attack was foiled. They did not plan on finishing the incident with two killed, they wanted to catch us by surprise and kidnap at least one person.”

The IDF closed off the area after the incident, telling residents to stay in their homes. Large forces searched the surrounding area to make sure there were no more terrorists. Soldiers found weapons left behind by the terrorists during their escape, including vests, grenades, handcuffs, anesthetics and syringes, indicating to their intention to kidnap a soldier.

Other attempted attacks on Saturday included a donkey loaded with explosives and sent by terrorists toward IDF troops, as well as a suicide motorcycle.

An IDF captain from the Nahal Brigade was seriously wounded by sniper fire in the Gaza Strip.

At 3 p.m., terrorists came out of a tunnel and fired an anti-tank weapon and small arms at an army D9 bulldozer. Israeli soldiers returned fire and killed the two terrorists. One of the terrorists died when his suicide vest detonated. The terrorists also had handcuffs and anesthetics, once again underscoring their intention to abduct soldiers.

At 4:30 p.m., an anti-tank missile was fired at Israeli forces near Khan Yunis. A soldier from the Combat Engineering Corps was killed. Another soldier was seriously wounded in another anti-tank missile attack. A Nahal Brigade soldier was seriously wounded by shrapnel when fired a LAW rocket at a wall.

At 6:30 p.m., terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli tank. The Trophy tank defense system was activated. An Israeli soldier was seriously wounded.

At around 9 p.m., a terrorist emerged from a tunnel and fired at a soldiers from the 101st Paratrooper Brigade, killing one. The soldiers returned fire and killed the terrorist.

While special forces have been operating in Gaza for some time, the Golani Brigade entered Gaza on Saturday night, widening the scope of the ground operation.

“All the incidents that have taken place are part of the tunnel threat. It is a big deal for both sides. We are pushing forward to destroy them while they are trying to achieve as much as possible with that asset,” a senior IDF offcier said Saturday night. The officer said there have been numerous attempts to abduct soldiers using those tunnels.

As for identifying the tunnels, the officer said, “They are being taken care of. Hamas will be stripped of their ability to carry out attacks using the tunnels. It is a strategic asset for them. They feel we uncovered something significant and want to make the most of them. The ones that are ready — are ready. They are frustrated about the tunnels. They want to exact a price [on us] with them. You can see it throughout the battlefield,” he said.

On Saturday, 13 terrorists who were arrested were brought to questioning and the IDF said they provided viable intelligence. Since the beginning of the ground operation, the IDF has struck 500 targets from the air, sea and land.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6519

Erdogan calls Israel more barbaric than Hitler

By Raphael Ahren and APJuly 19, 2014, 10:32 pm 170

ANKARA — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of “barbarism that surpasses Hitler” during its ground invasion of Gaza.

Erdogan made the comment during a campaign speech Saturday in the Black Sea port city of Ordu. He is running for the presidency in elections next month.

He has been speaking out strongly against Israel during its offensive against Hamas in Gaza, which has killed more than 300 Palestinians. Hamas has fired some 1,500 rockets at Israel and carried out a series of terrorist infiltrations via tunnels and from the sea in recent days.

Erdogan accuses Israel of using disproportionate force and has said the operation there has derailed efforts to normalize Turkish-Israeli ties. Those soured after Israel’s 2010 raid on a ship seeking to breach Israel’s security blockade on Hamas-run Gaza which killed eight Turks and a Turkish-American.

Hundreds have also staged protests in recent days outside Israeli diplomatic mission in Ankara and Istanbul.

Early Saturday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning to Israeli citizens against nonessential travel to Turkey. “Given the public atmosphere in Turkey in light of Operation Protective Edge, we are honing our recommendation to avoid visits to the state that aren’t essential,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Israel decided Friday to pull some of its diplomatic staff out of Turkey in the wake of violent protests targeting the buildings of its embassy and consulate in Ankara and Istanbul, an embassy spokesman said, as well as recent statements that accused Israel of attempting a “systematic genocide” on the Palestinian people.

After protests against Operation Protective Edge in front of Israel’s missions in Ankara and Istanbul turned violent Thursday night, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman instructed Israeli diplomats stationed in Turkey to return home.

“It was decided to reduce our diplomatic representation in the country to a possible minimum,” Liberman said in a statement.

The violent protests broke out after previous inciteful speeches by Erdoğan and because the country’s security forces did not properly fulfill their duty to prevent violence during such events, Liberman charged.

On Thursday, Erdoğan had fiercely attacked Israel’s operation against Hamas.

“Since [Israel’s creation] in 1948, we have been witnessing this attempt at systematic genocide every day and every month,” he said. “But above all, we are witnessing this attempt at systematic genocide every Ramadan.”

Erdogan said the Israeli operation was derailing Turkish and Israeli efforts to mend ties.

Turkey’s foreign minister also “vehemently” condemned Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza.

On Twitter, Ahmet Davutoglu said the ground operation is testing “the conscience of humanity.”

Davutoglu called for emergency meetings of the UN Security Council, the UN Human Rights Council and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Israel vehemently protested Turkish authorities’ blatant and rude violation of diplomatic rules, including the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, during the protests, Liberman added.

On Thursday night, hundreds of protesters attacked the Israeli consulate in Istanbul, while similar numbers sought to break into the residence of the ambassador in Ankara.

Riot police fired tear gas and water cannons to halt the protests in Istanbul in the early hours of the morning, but in Ankara they stood on the sidelines.

The crowds in Istanbul, waving Palestinian flags, hurled stones and smashed the windows of the consulate in the upscale Levent district to denounce the Israeli military operation.

Rioters in front of the consulate chanted, “Fight! Martyrdom!”

Police pushed the crowd back at times, and many of the ruling AK Party MPs were in the crowd.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6517

Extremely Rare, Torah-Significant Red Heifer Found in America

Tsvi Sadan : Jun 30, 2014 : Israel Today

Strict rules apply to the animal’s color. Two single hairs of a color other than red automatically disqualify it from becoming a Red Heifer. A Red Heifer candidate that was discovered in 2000 was disqualified after two black hairs were found on it.

(Israel)—Finding a red heifer is like finding a needle in a hay stack. But last week [someone] managed to do just that in the United States of America.

This finding is all the more intriguing considering that on the following Sabbath Jews read in the synagogues the Torah portion that begins with one of the mysterious commandment of the Red Heifer: “Tell the Israelites to procure for you a red heifer that is free from every blemish and defect and on which no yoke has ever been laid…” (Num. 19:off).

The Red Heifer is an extremely rare creature. According to Jewish tradition, during the two thousand years from the time this commandment was given until the destruction of the Second Temple in the first century AD, only nine red cows that met the Biblical criteria were ever found.
For a cow to be a Red Heifer it has to be without blemish, one that was never put to work and completely reddish. Jewish law requires keeping the young cow under strict care until it reaches three years old. During this time, leaning on the cow, riding it even once or even putting a piece of cloth on its back disqualifies it from becoming a Red Heifer.

Strict rules also apply to its color. Two single hairs of a color other than red automatically disqualify it from becoming a Red Heifer. A Red Heifer candidate that was discovered in 2000 was disqualified after two black hairs were found on it.
Likewise, a cow that meets all other criteria, but is older than four is disqualified. The present calf has a long way until, if at all, it will become a real Red Heifer.

In Biblical times, the Red Heifer was to be completely burnt by a priest outside the Temple. Interestingly enough, the Red Heifer was burnt on the Mount of Olives, where the Dominus Flevit [The Lord Cried] Church is located today. (Photo via Hawkebackpacking)

After being burnt, the Red Heifer’s ashes were mixed with water called the “water of remission,” which was used to purify people, especially those defiled by touching dead animals. This most serious form of defilement required Jews to undergo a ceremonial cleansing with the ash of a Red Heifer before they could again enter the Temple courtyards. In other words, without the Red Heifer, Jewish worship on the Temple Mount is not possible.

The discovery of a red calf that could potentially become a Red Heifer excites many Jews who believe that Moses prepared the first Red Heifer and Messiah will prepare the last one.

The possibility of finding a real Red Heifer prompted the Temple Institute to make the logistic preparations needed for bringing the American calf to Israel and to train priests that will perform this sacred and rare sacrificial ceremony.

At least in theory, this calf could help Jews sufficiently purify themselves to engage in real Temple activities. For now, however, Believers will have to chew their nails for at least two and a half years before it will be known whether or not this import is the Red Heifer.

red heifer

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6490

ISRAEL REDISCOVERS SHEMITAH IN TIME FOR BLOOD MOONS

WASHINGTON – Why are so many Christians in the U.S. and elsewhere standing up and taking notice of an Israeli government action to set aside $29 million to encourage local farmers to observe an ancient biblical commandment to let their fields lay fallow every seventh year?

To understand what’s grabbing the attention of Bible prophecy students around the world, the confluence of events taking place in 2014 and 2015 that many suspect show the hand of God at work.

In Exodus 23:10-11, you will find this commandment of God to Israel: “And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.”

Modern Israel hasn’t paid much attention to this ancient commandment – until recently.

More and more farmers and consumers are expressing concern about fruits and vegetable intentionally grown and harvested in the seventh year – also known as the Shemitah year, or Sabbath year.

Now the Israeli government and Jewish religious leaders are hoping to work together to reinstate the practice.

The next Shemitah year on the biblical calendar begins Sept. 25, 2014 – Rosh Hashanah, the civil new year.

The new Shemitah budget will go to the Religious Affairs Ministry, which intends to use a portion of the funds for promotional materials, and educational assistance for farmers wishing to honor the commandment. Another small portion of the budget will be used for the special ceremony that marks the end of the Shemitah year Sept. 13, 2015 or Elul 29 on the Hebrew calendar. That ceremony will take place at the Western Wall, in Jerusalem during Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles.

The bulk of the appropriated funds will be used to support farmers who will suffer loss of income, but who nevertheless, choose to keep the Shemitah, allowing their fields to lie fallow in obedience to God’s law.

Despite the government’s assistance, concerns surrounding the observance of the sabbatical year are complex, and involve Jewish legal issues and opinions on how best to adhere to the command without negatively affecting the income of farmers who follow the Sabbatical law and to protect the fragile agricultural economy. After all, the Shemitah has not been observed in Israel in any meaningful way since the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

Additionally, observant Jews in Israel will need guidance on how best to purchase foods that have not been grown on Israel’s soil during the yearlong observance.

In the period when kings ruled in Israel, disobedience to the Sabbatical laws brought Divine punishment. Israel’s 70 years in Babylonian captivity were, in part, due to the failure of the Jews to observe the Shemitah for 70 years, according to II Chronicles 36:20-23.

An additional feature of the law, waives all outstanding, personal debts between Jews (Deuteronomy 15:1-2) However, for Orthodox Jews, the Jewish Talmud disallows loan amnesty related to the Shemitah, except when the agricultural rules are also observed.

So what does all of this have to do with non-Jewish Christians around the world and Bible prophecy?

Many non-Jews first learned about the significance of the Shemitah year while reading the best-selling Christian book of recent years, “The Harbinger,” by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, or by watching the documentary version of the messianic rabbi’s teaching, “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment,” the best-selling Christian movie of 2012 and 2013.

“While the Shemitah was designed by God to be a blessing to the people, when it was not observed, and when the people walked away from God, it became a curse,” explains Cahn.

In his book and movie works, Cahn, reveals that the two greatest financial calamities in American history occurred on successive Shemitah years following the 9/11 Islamist terror attacks on the U.S.

September 17, 2001, six days after the 9/11 attacks, the stock market re-opened and suffered the greatest point loss in its history, to that date. The market dropped 700 points, or 7 percent in one day. In response, the Federal Reserve slashed the nation’s interest rates, ushering in a period of economic devastation for the U.S. Sept. 17, 2001, was the end of the Shemitah year – Elul 29.

Seven years later, September 29, 2008, would prove to be even worse! The days leading up to that date saw the government bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the two largest mortgage companies in the U.S., in a bid to prevent the collapse of the two. Shortly thereafter, Lehmann Brothers once considered the pinnacle of financial firms, reported losses of 45 percent and filed bankruptcy rather than accept a government bailout. The stock market dropped 777.7 points or 7 percent, wiping out all gains of the past seven years. Thus making it the largest ever one-day drop in the U.S. stock market history. Sept. 29, 2008, fell on Elul 20, marking the end of the Shemitah year in Israel.

What followed was an implosion of the U.S. and world economies.

Blood moon seen through church steeple

Many are wondering now what will happen at the end of the next Shemitah year – Sept. 13, 2015.

But it gets even more interesting when you factor in the astronomical occurrence in 2014 and 2015 of what has become known as the blood moon tetrad – a series of four lunar eclipses occurring on Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles. The end of the Shemitah year in 2015 will be celebrated Sept. 28 at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. On the same evening, the fourth and final blood moon will occur, as pointed out by author Mark Biltz, who wrote “Blood Moons” and was the inspiration behind the movie of the same name.

The first of the blood moons occurred on Passover, April 15, 2014.

Biltz, the discoverer of the blood moons phenomenon and pastor of El Shaddai Ministries in Tacoma, Washington, ties previous rare blood moons tetrads to significant developments in the history of the Jewish people – including the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, the rebirth of the state of Israel and the recapture of Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967.

temple

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6475

IRAQ INVADERS THREATEN NUKE ATTACK ON ISRAEL

WASHINGTON – The well-organized army of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, claims it has access to nuclear weapons and a will to use them to “liberate” Palestine from Israel as part of its “Islamic Spring,” according to a WND source in the region.

Franklin Lamb, an international lawyer based in Beirut and Damascus, said the move is part of the ISIS aim of creating a caliphate under strict Islamic law, stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to Iraq.

Lamb, who has access to ISIS fighters and sympathizers, said ISIS has been working with a “new specialized” unit organized at the beginning of 2013 to focus “exclusively on destroying the Zionist regime occupying Palestine.”

Lamb added that the ISIS “Al-Quds Unit” is working to broaden its influence in more than 60 Palestinian camps and gatherings from Gaza, across “Occupied Palestine,” or Israel, to Jordan and from Lebanon up to the north of Syria “seeking to enlist support as it prepares to liberate Palestine.”

ISIS is also know as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. “Sham,” or “Greater Syria,” refers to Cyprus, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and southern Turkey.

ISIS also is known as DAASH, the Arabic acronym for al-Dawlah al-Islamiyah fi al-Iraq wa-al Sham.

The Sunni militant group, which has taken over much of the Sunni region of Iraq, could leave the Shiite-dominated region of the country and head toward Jordan and Turkey.

Lamb said that in Iraq alone, some 6 million Iraqi Sunnis recently have become supportive of the ISIS lightning strikes in the Sunni portion of the country.

Some of the Sunni supporters are secular, such as the Naqshbandia Army of former top officials of executed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. As WND reported, the Sunni group may have given ISIS access to its ongoing sarin production facility in northwestern Iraq.

WND also reported ISIS already has captured towns bordering Iraq and Turkey.

The militant group also has steamrolled through the Iraqi desert in the west and taken over the major al-Walid crossing with Syria and the Turaibil crossing into Jordan.

Lamb said ISIS has established a capital for its caliphate in the Syrian city of Raqqa.

“The Islamist organization believes it currently has massive regional support for its rapidly expanding ‘revolution of the oppressed,’” Lamb said.

ISIS estimates it will take 72 months to “liberate” “Occupied Palestine,” or Israel, according to Lamb.

Lamb quoted an ISIS member as saying: “Zionists call us masked, sociopathic murderers, but we are much more complicated and representative of those seeking justice than they portray us.

“Are we more barbaric than the Zionist terrorists who massacred at Dier Yassin, Shatila, twice at Qana, and committed dozens of other massacres? History will judge us after we free Palestine.”

Lamb said ISIS can do what no other Arab, Muslim or Western backers of resistance have been able to accomplish.

He quoted the ISIS member as saying: “All countries in this region are playing the sectarian card just as they have long played the Palestinian card, but the difference with ISIS is that we are serious about Palestine and they are not. Tel Aviv will fall as fast as Mosul when the time is right.”

The WND source said ISIS appears “eager” to fight Israeli armed forces “in the near future despite expectation that the regime will use nuclear weapons.”

“Do you think that we do not have access to nuclear devices?” Lamb quoted the ISIS member as saying. “The Zionists know that we do, and if we ever believe they are about to use theirs, we will not hesitate. After the Zionists are gone, Palestine will have to be decontaminated and rebuilt just like areas where there has been radiation released.”

ISIS access to nuclear weapons could come from Sunni Pakistan, which is home to more than 30 terrorist groups. Pakistan possibly has transferred nuclear weapons to the chief bankroller of its nuclear development program, Sunni Saudi Arabia, as WND previously has reported.

The Saudis, who also have provided billions of dollars to ISIS, have threatened to acquire nuclear weapons if Iran were to develop its own.

The WND source said ISIS denies any interest in training and directing foreign fighters to attack Europe, claiming its goals are to establish the al-Sham caliphate and “liberate Palestine.”

The source said the West, and especially the Israelis, may already be aware of ISIS plans and tactics to take over “Palestine.” He said Western intelligence sources were in possession of an “encyclopedia of information” obtained by Iraqi intelligence less than 48 hours before Mosul fell two weeks ago.

He said an ISIS messenger who was captured and “under Iraqi torture” turned over more than 160 computer flash sticks with the detailed information.

“The U.S. intelligence community is still decrypting and analyzing the flash sticks,” Lamb said.

He indicated that the information already has been handed over to members of Congress, some of whom are sharing it with the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

“The current sense on Capitol Hill is reported to be that the Obama administration is not in the mood to share anything with Israel these days and certainly not with the Netanyahu regime which it loathes,” he said.

Lamb said only time will tell whether or not ISIS reaches both of its objectives. He added that if the “Zionist regime” can be ejected from Palestine, it will set in motion “historic currents” that will be “rather different from the Ehud Olmert-Condoleezza Rice fantasy of ‘a New Middle East.’

“In any event,” Lamb said, “it is unlikely that Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon among other countries in this region are going to look much like what George Bush and Dick Cheney and their still active neo-con advisers had in mind when they were beating the drums for a U.S. invasion of Iraq, Libya and now Syria and Iran.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6471

Perfect Red Heifer Discovered In US to Be Sent To Israel to Purify Coming Third Jewish Temple –

The time of Jacob’s trouble

 

“And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:” Numbers 19:1,2

 

There is a group in Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem called the Temple Institute. For the past 27 years they have worked tirelessly to fashion all the items that will be needed to for worship in the Third Jewish Temple.  It is a painstakingly-slow job but one that they have accomplished. One missing ingredient, however, was a perfect, unblemished red heifer as found in Numbers 19 whose ashes would be used in a purification cleansing ritual for the Temple. For the entire time that the Temple stood in Israel, a total of nine red heifers were used. Jews believe that the appearance of a perfect red heifer would usher in the appearance of the long-awaited Messiah. The 10th red heifer has been found in America, and preparations are now underway to bring the animal to Israel.

 

“For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” Jeremiah 30:5-7

 

The 9th chapter of the book of Daniel tells us that the Temple is indeed standing during the time of Jacob’s trouble as found in Jeremiah 30:7. Daniel learned much from the writings of the prophet Jeremiah. But Daniel goes on to say that when the Temple is rebuilt, it will be inhabited by the Antichrist – the false messiah. Daniel devotes multiple chapters to this man of sin that will arise and deceive the Jews by flatteries.

 

“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Daniel 9:27

 

The appearance of a perfect red heifer has sent shock waves amongst the Temple faithful in Israel, for they believe it will usher in the Messiah. But it will not. It will usher in a time of agony, bloodshed and woe the likes of which this world has never seen. It will start with a false messiah in a rebuilt Third Temple, and it will end with the time of Jacob’s trouble leading into the Day of the Lord from Joel chapters 2 and 3.

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Cruz: Israel Strike Against Iran ‘Could Happen In A Matter Of Months’

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told a small gathering of pro-Israel American leadersTuesday that an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities “could happen in a matter of months.”

“In my view, [Iranian Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei believes there is no credible deterrence from the United States, there’s not realistic risk of significant consequence for moving forward with their nuclear development,” the Republican told the Spring National Leadership Meeting of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) at the Willard Hotel. “That means, that if they keep going forward, I think if it comes down to it, I have real confidence that the nation of Israel will act to preserve her national security, even if this administration will not act first. And that could happen sooner rather than later — that could happen in a matter of months.”

Cruz, who met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a trip to the Jewish state in May, didn’t say how he came to believe an Israeli strike might happen within a matter of months. But Cruz told the assembled JINSA leaders that he believes the Obama administration, which is currently engaged in negotiations with the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, has shirked its responsibility in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program and is not taken seriously by Iranian leadership.

“In my view, here is what a responsible president would do,” Cruz, who is believed to be considering a 2016 presidential run, said. “A responsible president would stand up on the world stage and say, ‘Let me be clear: Under no circumstances will the nation of Iran be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons capability. We will impose crippling sanctions but they will either stop or we will stop them using all available means, including if necessary direct military force.’”

“In my view, a policy of weakness and appeasement only increases the chance of military conflict,” he said.

Cruz said he believes that preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear-weapons power should be a responsibility shouldered by the United States, but in the absence of U.S. leadership, he takes comfort that Israel will act to defend itself.

“I don’t think Israel should have to act to prevent Iranian nuclear-weapons capability because itis so profoundly in U.S. national security interests that we should act, rather than forcing Israel to act,” he said, “but I do take some comfort that if this administration will not defend our interests, at the very least Israel will defend her interests.”

Over the last several years, there have been many predictions by U.S. political and opinion leaders of an imminent Israeli air attack against Iranian nuclear facilities. So far, none of those predictions have proven accurate.

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Israel: Hezbollah is now stronger than any Arab army

Israel’s top military officer warned today that Hezbollah is more powerful than most of the world’s armies and that a confrontation between Israel and the Lebanese Shiite militant organization was a near certainty.

While the threat posed by conventional Arab armies has diminished in recent years, Israel now faces highly mobile enemies like Hezbollah, skilled in asymmetric warfare and equipped with advanced weapons systems, Gen. Benny Gantz said. However, the massive destruction Israel can inflict on Hezbollah’s assets and Lebanon’s infrastructure continues to deter Hezbollah from overt aggression against Israel. 

“Bring me four or five states that have more firepower than Hezbollah: Russia, China, Israel, France, and England,” he told Israel’s annual security-oriented Herzliya Conference. “What is this enormous power that they [Hezbollah] have that can cover every area of the state of Israel?”

Gantz’s comments reflect Israel’s longstanding concern about Hezbollah’s growing might, which has soared in terms of weaponry, technology, and personnel since the two enemies last fought each other in open war in 2006.

Last week, an anonymous Israeli intelligence officer wrote in Israel’s Maarachot military magazine that in the next war, Hezbollah would not merely defend against an Israeli invasion but could make a “ground offensive and multi-pronged attack on Israeli territory.”

In the past eight years, the Iran-backed group is believed to have acquired GPS-guided Syrian-manufactured missiles fitted with 1,100-pound warheads with ranges of at least 150 miles. That puts Tel Aviv within range of the Lebanese border. It also has drones that can carry dozens of pounds of explosive. In October 2012, a drone operated by Hezbollah penetrated Israeli airspace in the south before being detected and shot down by Israeli jets.

Hezbollah’s reconnaissance and communications capabilities have also improved. Fighters serving in Syria use thermal imaging cameras to monitor rebel movements and prepare ambushes, including one in February that killed 175 rebel fighters near Otaiba, east of Damascus. It has built a few dozen training camps across the Bekaa Valley in recent years to process the steady influx of new recruits.

But the most significant change may be the crucial combat experience Hezbollah’s cadres have gained from fighting in Syria’s war on behalf of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Hezbollah is credited with helping turn the tide against the rebel forces in the past year, granting Mr. Assad the confidence to hold a presidential election last week that saw him earn his third seven-year term in office in a poll widely derided by the Syrian opposition and the West.

“Iran is investing a lot in Hezbollah in Syria…. Hezbollah is involved up to their necks in it,” Gantz said.

It is fortunate for Israel that Hezbollah’s attention is divided between domestic politics, military preparations against Israel, and its intervention in Syria, Gantz said. Fear of a damaging war has served as a mutual deterrence.

“Hezbollah is like a state and they know exactly what is going to happen in Lebanon if they start a war with us, and that this would set Lebanon back decades,” he said.

Despite that, tensions rose in February and March after an Israeli airstrike on a Hezbollah facility in the Bekaa Valley. The target was a 2,450-sq.-ft. utility building, possibly a temporary arms storage facility, beside a track used by Hezbollah to smuggle weapons into Lebanon from neighboring Syria, according to comparisons of satellite imagery on Google Earth.

It was the first Israeli air attack against Hezbollah in Lebanon since 2006. In response, Hezbollah detonated a roadside bomb against Israeli troops on Lebanon’s southern border. It is also thought responsible for staging three other attacks against soldiers in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, wounding four.

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FRANKLIN GRAHAM: ‘I WORSHIP A JEW’

WASHINGTON – Franklin Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, offered a major reason why he unequivocally and unapologetically supports Israel, saying, “I worship a Jew.”

“I support Israel not only because I worship a Jew but because of what the Bible says about Israel and the future of Israel,” Graham said in an address to the 13th annual Israel Solidarity Event at the Israeli embassy.

The event was associated with the National Day of Prayer.

In his message, Graham cited God’s promise of the land of Canaan, His choice of Israel as His people, His instruction to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and His sending of His Son, Jesus – a Jew – to bring hope of eternal life to those who turn from their sin and put their faith in Jesus.

“In the past,” Franklin said, “there were many wicked, evil men who in the name of Jesus Christ used this story to persecute the Jews. To kill the Jews. They called them ‘Christ-killers.’”

Graham said, however, it wasn’t the Jews or even the Romans who killed Jesus Christ.

“It was each and every one of us,” he said. “Because the Bible says, ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’

“You see, God sent his Son on a rescue mission, and Jesus Christ voluntarily went to the cross to take your sins and my sins,” Graham said. “It was you, it was me, it was all of us that nailed Him to the cross. … And I thank God that He loved me enough to send His Son to take my sins and to die on the cross for me.”

Prior to Graham’s message of solidarity, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer addressed the evangelical leaders in attendance.

“To be Israel’s ambassador to America is to be the ambassador to the friendliest country on earth to Israel,” Dermer said. “And the anchor of support for that friendship in America is you.”

Graham finished with a personal message of support.

“Mr. Ambassador, we love Israel, and we love you, and we thank God for your country. And I can’t speak for evangelicals, but I can just say for me, I’m going to support Israel.”

franklin

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Pentecost: Festival of Mystery – Gary Stearman

This month the Jewish observance of Shavuot – Pentecost – falls on Wednesday, June 4th. In the Jewish calendar, this date corresponds to the 6th of Sivan of the year 5774, marking the first of two days of celebration. Since the Second Century A.D., this commemoration has been given two days, and accommodates the natural fluidity of the calendar which, when counted from the lunar cycle, has no fixed date. In fact, they refer to it as “the festival without a date,” giving it an aura of mystery.

 

About this time every year, we are reminded afresh of Pentecost’s enormous significance in the panorama of biblical prophecy. Almost three decades ago, we first brought you its amazing prophetic truths. Better than any other ancient

 

Jewish festival, it embodies the elements that we associate with the catching-away, or rapture, of the church. We repeat them here to refresh your memory concerning the joys of this season and to remind you that the Lord is near, even at the door.

 

As we move toward the halfway point of 2014, we find ourselves experiencing another wave of renewed excitement about the near possibility of the rapture of the church. With Russia on the move in Ukraine, and nuclear weapons being brandished by Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Middle-East war threat rises to the highest probability we’ve ever seen. As a result, interest in the prophesied culmination of the church age has risen to extreme anticipation.

 

We have demonstrated numerous remarkable connections between Pentecost and the prophetic conclusion of the church age. It is the fourth and central feast among the seven Feasts of Israel: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur and Tabernacles. The first three are spring festivals, representing the blood sacrifice and resurrection. The last three come in the fall, calling forth judgment and the establishment of the Kingdom. At the center – in the summer – is Pentecost. In the Bible, it is represented by two loaves of leavened bread, held aloft by the High Priest. Today’s Jews celebrate it in a ceremony called, “decorating the bride.” In a most remarkable way, it typifies the rapture of the church.

 

Pentecost is a harvest festival that marks the passage of seven weeks after Firstfruits:

 

“9 Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle into the corn. 10 And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the Lord thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the Lord thy God, according as the Lord thy God hath blessed thee” (Deuteronomy 16:9 – 10).

 

Over the years we have stressed the fact that Pentecost is the most mysterious of all the Jewish festivals. Called by the Jews, the “Feast of Weeks” [“weeks,” or in Hebrew “Shavuot”], it is the festival of the early summer harvest. But its associated symbols and metaphors invoke meanings far beyond the mere harvesting of grain.

 

Among the Jews, this is the festival that celebrates the giving of the Torah, or Law. Shavuot (Pentecost) was the time, they say, when the Twelve Tribes gathered at the foot of Mount Sinai. There, they heard the actual voice of God, as He spoke the commandments. The Bible does not seem, at first glance, to make a clear connection between Sinai and Pentecost. Nevertheless, the link is there, if we take the time to look.

 

Furthermore, this festival presents the ceremony of the marriage between God and Israel. In this context, Passover (which precedes Pentecost by seven weeks) becomes the period of God’s courtship of His wife.

 

The Harvest

 

From its earliest days, Pentecost was known as a festival of the harvest. Long ago, the Omer was offered by the high priest, who stood before the Tabernacle, or later, the Temple. It was the token of the Festival of Firstfruits. In Leviticus 23:11, it is called, “the sheaf.” In its most common sense, an omer was a dry measure that amounted to a little over two quarts. The offering of the Omer marked the first day of a fifty-day countdown to Pentecost:

 

“15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf [omer] of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: 16Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord. 17 Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord” (Leviticus 23:15-17).

 

The counting of fifty days from Firstfruits to Pentecost is typical of redemption in general. For the Jew, it has always represented the maturing relationship between God and Israel.

 

The Early Rain and the Latter Rain

 

Once the Holy Spirit was poured out in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, the prophecy of the “early rain” was fulfilled. Some day, the Holy Spirit will be poured out again in Jerusalem. It should fulfill the promise of a “latter rain.” Will it also occur on Pentecost? In Peter’s second sermon, he spoke of the ultimate outworking of the festival cycle. In Acts 3:19-21, he said:

 

“19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 19 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

 

The prophetic implications of the festival cycle lie in God’s promise to restore the earth to the state of glory that He originally intended. So that His people would always remember what He has in mind, He planted this prophetic scenario in their culture. At some future time known only to Him, the story will become a reality. The festival narrative is arranged around events in their calendar that foreshadow their future counterparts.

 

Judgment of the Fruit of Trees

 

Traditional Jewish belief holds that Pentecost is the day when the fruit of trees is judged in heaven. Christians throughout the Church Age have believed that the fruit of one’s life will be judged following the rapture. This, of course, is the picture given by the apostle Paul to the church at Corinth: “10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10).

 

The resurrection of Jesus as the Omer or offering of Firstfruits began a countdown to the completion of the body of Christ. The good fruit of the righteous will be reviewed, then will come the judgment of the depraved world.

 

But there is more to add to this picture. Jewish families observe Pentecost by wearing bright and festive clothing. Homes are decorated with green plants and traditional foods of celebration are prepared.

 

According to Hayyim Schauss, writing in The Jewish Festivals:

 

“The custom of decorating the homes and synagogues with green plants is variously explained. One theory is that the day is marked in heaven as the Day of Judgment for the fruit of the trees.”

 

Here is the theme of fruit-bearing, which points to the Judgment Seat of Christ following the rapture and resurrection. In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus likened true versus false teaching to the fruit of trees:

 

“15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

 

Pentecost, the Festival Without a Date

 

Pentecost is called Shavuot (or Weeks), in the Hebrew. It is so named to reflect the nature of its dating. It always falls seven weeks plus one day after the offering of the Omer.

 

Since it is based on counting the seven weeks following the Feast of Firstfruits, the date of Pentecost is fluid. Thus, when the Jewish calendar was still based upon visually marking the appearance of the new moon, Pentecost could fall on the fifth, sixth or seventh of Sivan. The final determination of the date would depend upon whether or not the months of Nisan and Iyar were full thirty- day months.

 

To this day, if one calculates the date of Pentecost as actually instructed in the Bible, its precise timing is always something of a mystery. Symbolically then, it becomes a perfect model for the rapture, since its date is also beyond reckoning.

 

According to Hayyim Schauss, the date for Pentecost cannot be fixed. He calls it the “only Jewish festival for which there is no fixed date.” The Books of Moses do not state on which day of the month Pentecost is to be observed. It says only that it is to be celebrated fifty days after the offering of the Omer [Firstfruits], the first sheaf of the grain harvest, which was to be offered on “the morrow after the Sabbath,” as we have already seen in Leviticus 23:15-17.

 

Following the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70, it became physically impossible to commemorate either the Festival of Firstfruits or the waving of the loaves at Pentecost. The calendar date for Pentecost then became fixed at the sixth of Sivan … the date upon which it is remembered to this day.

 

The Trumpet and the Bride

 

Around the same time, Jews adopted Pentecost as the time to commemorate the giving of the Law. The 19th chapter of Exodus relates that the giving of the Law at Sinai came in the third month on the third day of the month. This places the event at the time of Pentecost. They call it, “the revelation at Sinai.” This revelation and the symbols of harvest are intertwined to give full significance to the observance of Pentecost.

 

In the festival, they also commemorate the symbolism of the marriage between God, the Groom, and Israel, the bride. They view Mt. Sinai as an enormous ketubah, or wedding canopy. The two tablets of the Law that Moses brought down from the mountain represent the marriage contract.

 

As mentioned earlier, this image is developed at Passover, which becomes the time of God’s courtship with Israel, and Pentecost comes to represent the marriage itself. In its traditional aspects, Pentecost pictures the catching away of the bride more clearly than any other festival.

 

We have noted before that the blowing of the ram’s horn on Rosh Hashanah has been suggested as representing the final trumpet of resurrection. But does it really? Is it possible that the trumpet blast on Rosh Hashanah represents instead, a “memorial” of the heavenly Pentecost trumpet?

 

“24 In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation” (Leviticus 23:24).

 

Dispensational Change

 

Let us review the part Pentecost has played at the beginning of two dispensations – Law and Grace. The rabbis themselves say that the Dispensation of Law began on Pentecost. On that day, a heavenly trumpet was heard at Mount Sinai. The Jews remember this as a time when their national identity took a new direction.

 

“19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice” (Exodus 19:19).

 

Many Jews say that this, the first mention of a trumpet blast in Exodus was regarded by the spiritual leaders of Israel as having occurred on Pentecost. Exodus 19:1 tells us that this event came about in Sivan, the third month.

 

Furthermore, the trumpet was sounded, not by man, but by a heavenly being. It was God’s own voice! Moses and the Chosen People had gathered at Mt. Sinai, on the third day of preparation, wherein they washed themselves, cleaned their clothes, and were forbidden to touch the mountain. When God came down, a trumpet sounded long and loud, filling the people with awe and terror. On that occasion, the fire of God’s glory descended and God gave the Ten Commandments. Here, we find the only heavenly trumpet recorded in the Old Testament. The next such trumpet should sound on the day of rapture and resurrection, making the day of Pentecost an interesting possibility for that event:

 

“16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (I Thess. 4:16).

 

The Order of the Resurrections

 

For the Gentile, it represents the relationship between Christ, the Bridegroom and His bride, the church. As mentioned earlier, the resurrection of Jesus was a literal Firstfruits offering that looked forward to the resurrection of all the faithful:

 

“20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection from the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power” (I Corinthians 15:20-24).

 

The early church thought that His coming might be somehow timed with Pentecost. The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible offers the following comment:

 

“The Church Fathers highly regarded Pentecost. Easter was always on Sunday, so Pentecost was also. Between Easter and Pentecost, there was to be no fasting. Praying was done standing, rather than kneeling.

 

During this time, catechumens [new converts] were baptized. Many expected, because the Ascension had taken place near Pentecost, that Christ would return in the same season.”

 

Pentecost was a time of expectation for the early Church. They felt that Christ might come for His own during this period. Why did they believe this? Was it because of its closeness to the time of the Ascension, or was it because of something else they had been taught? Remember, Christ’s actual Ascension took place forty days after His resurrection. Ten days later, the Holy Spirit empowered the church for its future role in the harvest of souls … the fifty days till Pentecost.

 

Prophecies of Summer

 

Biblically, the harvest of early summer is often seen to typify the “harvest” or catching-away of the church. As we have seen, this is the season when grain and fruit crops come to maturity. Fruit is judged and stored. Wheat is now safe in the granaries of the land. At Pentecost, a small sample is taken, ground into flour and baked into two loaves. They are the leavened “test loaves” of the new harvest. Scripturally, they typify the two bodies of the redeemed at the end of the age: Israel and the church.

 

Bread and fruit are the perfect picture of redemption, blessing and bounty. But to Israel, at the time of Jacob’s trouble, the harvest will not bring satisfaction. Instead, there will be the realization that something drastic has happened. This, we see in the words of Micah:

 

“1 Woe is me! For I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grape gleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the first ripe fruit. 2 The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net” (Mic. 7:1, 2).

 

Here, the prophet Micah speaks as the voice of Israel in the latter days. The time is set at the end of fruit harvest – late April through early June – the season that begins with Passover and ends with Pentecost.

 

The summer fruits have been “gathered,” or harvested. The Hebrew term asaph, means “to remove, or take away.” But one of its major meanings is, “to be gathered to one’s fathers at death.” This translation easily fits in the context of these verses. The good fruit of the righteous has been harvested and taken for inspection and storage. From Micah’s point of view, the friends of Israel have gone away.

 

As we continue, Micah’s distress becomes more clear. He has a deep desire for the fruit that has been removed. And what is this fruit?

 

Verse 2, tells us that it is the “good man,” who has “perished” from the earth. This fits perfectly with the idea of the judgment of the fruit of trees.

 

“Perish” comes from the Hebrew verb avad, meaning, “to cause to vanish!” As the picture develops, it is easy to see that Micah’s vision perfectly describes the conditions that will prevail when righteous mankind is instantly transported from the earth at the catching-away of the church.

 

Jews Stay Up All Night

 

At this point, it is of great interest to note another element of this Jewish festival: The Jews stay up all night in their synagogue’s house of study, poring over “tikkun.” This consists of little sections from each book of the Torah and the Talmud, representing all of the most important texts of Judaism. But even this act of staying up all night sets forth the theme of resurrection. Michael Strassfeld writes of this custom:

 

“A kabbalistic custom emanating from the mystics in Safed (sixteenth century) is to stay up the whole (first) night of Shavuot studying Torah. The tikkun – a set order of study – was composed of selections from the Bible, rabbinic literature, and even mystical literature such as the Zohar. In this fashion the kabbalists prepared for the momentous revelation of the following morning.

 

“This practice of staying up all night is in stark contrast to that of the Israelites at Sinai, who according to tradition slept late that morning and had to be awakened by Moses. In atonement for this, Jews nowadays stay awake all night. The sense of preparation for Sinai is heightened by a mystical tradition holding that the skies open up during this night for a brief instant. At that very moment, we are told, God will favorably answer any prayer. The kabbalists also regard Pentecost as the wedding of God and Israel. Therefore, we stay up all night to “decorate the bride.”

 

What an incredible picture of the rapture! The opening of the heavens “for a brief instant” corresponds with the message in I Corinthians 15:51:

 

“51 Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye …”

 

Here is the perfect picture of Christ coming to catch away His bride! And where does He take her? – to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! This corresponds with Pentecost, when the Jews “stay up all night to decorate the bride,” then feast the next day. And all this, on the festival without a date!

 

No one know when the church will be caught up in the rapture. But it could be soon, so keep looking up! 

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