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Commentary

Sinking Sand

There is not one part of the world today that is not in some kind of turmoil and upheaval. Europe has literally gone bankrupt and thus one EU country after the other has descended into financial chaos. More will follow!

America is drowning in debt and embroiled in two wars.

The Arab world is engulfed in riots and public protests as millions of people attempt to finally break free from the shackles of totalitarian dictatorships.

And Africa continues to struggle with poverty, war, famine and inept governments that cannot do what is right for their people.

Then there are the alarming images of London burning, as lawless youths rampage through its streets, breaking and burning everything in sight.

Even Israel has been beset by protesters who have decided that enough is enough in terms of the outrageously high costs of basic food and housing.

We could go on and on! Add to this picture the seemingly out of control natural elements that are ravaging almost every part of the globe at regular intervals. The picture is not a good one.

More sobering is the fact that much of the above is man-made! It did not have to be this way, but misguided socialist policies promising entitlements to all on an unprecedented scale have brought nations to their knees.

And this is just the beginning. The age old ideas of hard work, discipline and faithfulness have gone. Now everyone is a victim of his environment and deserves a ‘free ride’ in this world. Politicians, hungry for power, have recklessly promised these entitlements without ever thinking about the consequences and manner in which they can be paid for. Truly we are on sinking sand!

The chaos is everywhere and with it comes great risks! The nation of Germany taught us that out of such chaos a strong man arose in the 1930s, through a democratic process, who promised order, hope, prosperity and peace. He turned out to be a tyrant, without equal in human history, and in the end he destroyed 53 million lives. Could the global chaos facing the world today produce a similar “Mr. Fix It” who would become “Mr. Trouble”?

It is worth noting that we arrived on these treacherous sands because of inept leaders who are mere politicians and not real statesmen! In short, the world is crying out for a leader who will extract it from its ever growing woes.

Economic chaos and meltdown threaten everyone. Without a stable economic order, there can be no future for the average citizen. Thus economic stability is the major issue facing the world. In response, economists and politicians are beginning to call for a one world currency and a tighter form of global government. Just last year, the Russian president presented a global currency coin to the international community! This is serious business and we must not underestimate it. He was not playing.

On the other hand, the Bible warns that days of great shaking will beset the world, to remove the flimsy foundations upon which humanity has built its plans and systems. These shakings will also involve the natural elements, and all of this combined will produce such fears that men’s hearts will fail them! The Bible also warns that fierce times will come of unprecedented lawlessness. All of this comes because the world is burdened down with the weight of sin and rebellion against the God of Israel.

Of course, the whole notion of being accountable to God for our sins is scoffed at today. God is considered a myth, we are the masters of our own destiny, and we will prevail. I think not!

This same Bible also warns that out of world chaos a global leader will emerge who initially will achieve great success and thereby gain the allegiance of the fearful but unsuspecting masses. He will bring the world to ruin just as Hitler did. We would do well to place our feet upon the foundation of God’s Word and a personal relationship with Him. Anything short of this will leave us standing on sinking sand!

Rev. Hedding is vice chairman of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem; int.icej.org/

No ordinary fiefdom

As ancient Israel’s last Judge, there are some important lessons from the life and ministry of Samuel which are extremely relevant today as world leaders take their respective stands regarding the current heated battle over the restored nation of Israel.

The prophet Samuel is a remarkable biblical figure who oversaw Israel’s transition from a council of elders or “judges” to a kingdom ruled by a hereditary monarch. Until then, wise and anointed leaders were entrusted with overseeing the nation, which was set apart and “not reckoned among the nations,” according to Numbers 23:9. This was because God Himself was their King! Beginning with Moses, God had provided for the Israelites in the wilderness and led them into the Land of Canaan through Judges who could hear His voice.

This system of governance ‘peaked’ under Samuel, who presided over an era when Israel had almost possessed the land, were prevailing over the Philistines and other enemies, enjoyed harmony in the ranks, and recognized the prophetic voice to the nation. But as the prophet grew old and his sons lapsed into corruption, the people cried out for a king, like the surrounding nations. Primarily, they cried out for a commander to lead them into battle.

Surprisingly, God instructed Samuel to “heed the voice of the people, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:7)  Yet the prophet must also give the Israelites a stern warning of the abuses they will suffer under self-indulgent kings. And they are immediately given a merciless example in the very flawed character of King Saul.

Now I believe Israel was destined to transition to a kingship, when the time and personalities were right. The prophet Balaam has foretold that, “His [Israel’s] king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.” (Numbers 24:7)

Israel’s lack of a king is also presented as undesirable in the account of an internal war against the Benjamites for raping a woman to death. This sordid tale concludes with the words: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)

But more importantly, a kingly line was to prove necessary in order to pave the way for the promised Messiah – a coming Prophet, Priest and King all wrapped into one. The emergence of David as Saul’s successor was to provide a proto-type of this future Messiah. Indeed, King David’s reign remains the pinnacle of the ancient commonwealth of Israel, and the model to which many Jews still aspire today in their national life.

David was naturally gifted with skills and positive character traits which suited him well for this role. But he also was able to quickly learn vital lessons from the mistakes of Saul. There are too many to mention here, but one was that being king of Israel is not like being the king of any other nation. This was not his personal fiefdom, where the people would be subject to his every whim and fancy.

We see this at play in David’s decision to pour out the water from the well of Bethlehem which his most valiant men had risked their lives to collect just so he could satisfy an old craving from his youth (2 Samuel 23).

No, Israel was different from other nations! It was set apart! God’s “special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.” (Deuteronomy 7:6)

And the king of this people had to realize that, which we see David do when receiving the promise of the Messianic line: “who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people…” (2 Samuel 7:23)

Today, the restored nation of Israel is internally in great need of such leadership. David was also flawed and so we should not expect perfection. But, oh, to have leaders willing to pour themselves out of all personal ambition and pride for the sake of steering Israel towards its prophetic destiny in God.

Externally, the world is in great need of leadership that also recognizes Israel is different, set apart; that this is no ordinary fiefdom which the world can kick around according to its whims and fancies.

Parsons is media director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem; www.icej.org/

Making deals with God

Every passing day, more and more Christians around the world are discovering within themselves a growing love for Israel and a greater appreciation of God’s enduring election over the Jewish people.

Yet many in the growing Christian Zionist movement are no longer comfortable with all the popular ‘end-time’ charts which portray Israel as just another piece of the prophetic puzzle. Many charts have the Church escaping to heaven while Israel goes through hell. This just seems too impersonal, detached and contrary to their burning, heart-felt passion for Israel.

So rather than speculative charts about future events, many Christian Zionists are looking for a more solid biblical foundation which better expresses their zeal for the Israel of today. And they are finding it in the scriptural tenets of Covenant theology.

While some Christians take a very fatalistic approach to Bible prophecy and often focus too heavily on its dark side, Covenant theology is an uplifting view rooted in the very nature and character of God as eternally faithful to his sworn promises to Israel. It sees the great divine covenants with Abraham, Moses, David and the New Covenant as telling the story of God’s salvation plan for all humanity, with the Jewish people playing a central role – both in the past and the future. Indeed, the covenants “belong to” Israel, the Apostle Paul says in Romans 9:4.

Covenant theology holds that Israel’s journey down through time, until she reaches her ultimate destiny, is steered by the promises which God delivered by solemn oath to Abraham, Moses and David, culminating with the New Covenant (Hebrews 6:13-20). These covenants set out the terms and conditions for Israel’s relationship with God as His primary vehicle for world salvation – which pivoted around her eventual birthing of Jesus, the promised Messiah (Romans 9:5).

The Hebrew prophets then come along as “servants” of the covenants. They cannot go outside the covenant promises and provisions which God has already set out by sworn oath. But their prophetic utterances do tell us something about how God will keep His covenant promises to Israel. Thus interpreting Bible prophecy first requires that we understand the purposes, terms and conditions of the successive covenants with Israel. This is where many Dispensational interpretations go wrong.

Thus the modern-day restoration of Israel can and must be understood, first and foremost, as God being faithful to his covenant promise to Abraham to deliver the Land of Canaan as “an everlasting possession” to his natural descendants (Genesis 17:8). Furthermore, this restoration process will continue until God also fulfills the promises of the Davidic covenant that the Messiah will one day sit on the throne of David and rule the earth from a Jewish Jerusalem and a redeemed nation of Israel.

Such an approach is refreshingly focused on the positive side of Bible prophecy and it is built on solid theological grounds. No wonder Covenant theology is finding so many new Evangelical adherents.

Yet there are some ‘prosperity preachers’ out there who are latching on to the concept of divine covenant and trying to twist it for carnal purposes. They speak of making “salt covenants” with their supporters, and promote three-way contracts between you, their ministry and God which guarantee financial blessings in return for donations. In short, they think it is possible to just make deals with God.

This ignores the fact that any divine covenant is first birthed in the very heart of God, and then He finds a suitable human partner to receive the promises. We see this reflected in the Lord’s covenant with Noah, which originated “in His heart” (Genesis 8:21). One does not just decide to enter a contract with God; He carefully chooses the vessel to be entrusted with His sure promises.

Each of the divine covenants with Israel also had a unique purpose in furthering the redemptive plan of God. Christians can be third-party beneficiaries of those covenants, but we cannot just make our own separate deals.

In addition, the divine covenants of the Bible are largely unilateral. That is, God usually makes promises that only He can and will perform. Some conditions of performance are placed on the human partner(s), but the core obligations He reserves unto Himself.

This does not mean one cannot make vows before God. But if we do, the Bible is clear we better pay those vows.

Parsons is Media Director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

Days of Testing

The so called “Arab Spring” has steadily turned into the “Arab Winter” as democratic movements in the Middle East stall and are “hi-jacked” by militant Islamic groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, the matrix of AL Qaida, Hezbollah, Hamas and other radical organizations dedicated to the destruction of Israel. All of this was of course foreseen by Christians Zionists with discernment but our Western politicians were again oblivious to the dangers inherent in this movement. This coupled with a resurgence in global anti-Semitism and the weak response of the United Nations and the European Union to militant Islam has left Israel isolated and now even President Obama has left Israel dangerously exposed by affirming a return to the pre-war 1967 borders! Accordingly, the Palestinians are emboldened and are moving toward a unilateral declaration of independence through the auspices of the United Nations General Assembly in September. Even if the USA vetoes this declaration the psychological victory of a majority UN vote to declare Palestinian Statehood will be immense.

Sadly, for many in the West the Arab/Israeli conflict has become a huge irritant as it constantly defies resolution and frequently outwits the best trained political minds. Tony Blair for instance has been “on the job” for many years, since leaving office in the United Kingdom, but his efforts have yielded little or no progress at all. The same could be said for George Bush, Sarkosy of France and many more. Then major international players like the European Union, the United States of America and the United Nations have equally failed after launching numerous initiatives in this regard. The story goes on and on and the question we have to ask is why? The answer is really quite simple; they all refuse to take into consideration the radical Islamic doctrine that renders any notion of a non-Islamic state existing on land that once belonged to Islam as totally and completely unacceptable. This is precisely why the Charter of Hamas and that of the PLO call for the complete and utter destruction of Israel. This is precisely why Arafat could never close a deal and this is why protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo call for democratic freedoms and the removal of Israel in the same breath and, this is why Ahmadinejad of Iran routinely calls for the removal of Israel from the face of the earth. Sadly the Western politicians don’t get it because they are by and large ignorant of Islamic theology and incapable of believing that people can be committed to the destruction of another people in this way.

All this has birthed two things: One, Israel fatigue and two, a heightened sense of need for resolution attainment without reference to truth, fact, history and justice. In the minds of many politicians Israel is small, insignificant, has little oil and should make compromises to once and for all finish this business! Thus we now hear calls from Western Leaders for Israel to sit down and talk with Hamas. New attempts are being made to “recast” Hezbollah as an enlightened movement that can be engaged with and leftist groups “in bed” with radical Muslims are launching new “Flotillas” in order to challenge Israel’s sovereignty. Once again the Jews are the problem and if they go away the world will be at peace!! I think that we have heard all this before in a book called “Mein Kamph”. The world is facing a huge moral test and this just sixty-eight years after the Holocaust.  Time is running out!

The Bible is therefore right when it says that great darkness will cover the earth but true light will arise over Israel. (Isaiah60:1-3) This darkness is not the loss of the light of the sun or the gathering of a real dark cloud. No, it is moral and spiritual darkness that arises in men’s hearts. Having a long time ago abandoned the Bible and having abandoned the Judeo/Christian value system they have no moral compass by which to pilot themselves through a broken and sinful world. Darkness is the consequence and decisions consistent with this darkness will prevail. Sadly a small nation, yet again, puts the world to the test and once again the language of compromise is selling out a people whose existence is supernatural but whose story is filled with great sorrows. God as ever is watching!

We live in testing times in that the God of the Bible is indeed watching and though He knows that an ungodly world will go the way of rebellion against His purpose for Israel He expects His church to stand firm and support, bless and pray for Israel. Sadly, this is not a given today but there are many churches throughout the world and organizations like the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem which constitute a shining light of hope in this regard. May the Lord watch over us all and keep us near to His heart and may we pass the test before us in these dangerous times. He remains the guardian of Israel as He watches over her but He calls us into His purpose with Him. Who will hear the call?

The War Against the Jews

The war against the Jews has been waged from the dawn of history and is relentless to this very day. It is a saga of great significance though many fail to appreciate it. It has one goal in mind and that is the liquidation of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. Many in the world have wanted a new world order that is Judenrein (free of Jews).

The attempt to murder the Jews has taken many forms, including open hostility and wickedness as witnessed in the Second World War. Unable to achieve this end by conventional war, in recent years this assault against the Jews has been political and very often couched in the language of peace.

It is waged according to a false narrative, but one that is accepted in most circles as truth. Just the idea of “Israeli occupation” is totally untrue yet accepted everywhere. How can a people “occupy” their own homeland? Further, the Palestinians never had a state and the ground they claim was in fact occupied for centuries by the Ottoman Turks and then illegally by the Jordanians from 1948 to 1967. Of course, these facts mean nothing to those who seek the destruction of the Jewish state.

Today Hamas, Hizbullah, Fatah and all their fellow travelers are fully committed to the liquidation of Israel. This fact is not hearsay or rumor. No, it is enshrined in their charters and their repeated statements in Arabic. Their school books and TV programs for children constantly demonize the Jewish people and thereby incite impressionable minds to hatred of Israel. The Jews are likened to apes and pigs, while suicide attacks against them are glorified as the ultimate goal in life! Those who carry out such carnage are honored by having streets and squares named after them in Palestinian towns and cities.

 

 

 Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu at the annual Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony at Yad Vashem, May 2011 (GPO)  

 

This same radical Islamic menace collaborated with Hitler in the hope that his triumph would bring about the complete annihilation of the Jews. He came close but, thankfully, he was defeated. Yet today, the world community expects Israel to sit down and make peace with people who fully embrace Hitler’s vision.

Sadly, a world without a moral compass is unable to identify evil and is therefore pressurizing Israel to make what would be a suicide pact with a new version of Nazism! Many of the nations pushing for this would not do it themselves, but somehow it is good enough for the Jews! One has to wonder why all this is happening? Are these people stupid, just ignorant, or is there another agenda being followed? Or, maybe still there is a spiritual reality behind the War against the Jews!

Given that the very essence of sin is rebellion against God, it is not surprising that anything which reminds a rebellious world of God will also be assailed. This is the true nature of sin that lurks in the heart of every human being. If this God then calls into existence a people to take His name and reflect His character, one can expect them to be the target of that rebellion. From the very day God called and identified Himself with Israel, this war has never stopped. It is a desperate war and, if not for the faithfulness of God, the Jews would have vanished a long time ago. Psalm 83 gives voice to these truths in that it clearly states that humankind’s War against the Jews is in fact a war against God Himself! Note the first four verses:

“Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold your peace, and do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; And those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”

It is to be noted that the enemies of God strike out against Him by making war against the Jews!  This war will not stop until the evil in human hearts has been overcome by redeeming love or else destroyed by divine judgment! Needless to say, the honor and existence of the only true God is at stake in this war and thus Israel will never be destroyed because God has vouched for her survival!


Rev. Malcolm Hedding is the outgoing Executive Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. This article first appeared in the June 2011 issue of the Jerusalem Post Christian Edition, published in partnership with ICEJ.

The new Middle East steps backward

There is a new Middle East taking shape, but its character and contours are still emerging. The unprecedented political turmoil in Arab countries remains rudderless, with no clear direction yet. The prevailing military dictatorships of decades past will either survive in weakened versions, slowly yield to true democratic reforms, or regress towards Islamism.

The old Middle East was notoriously unpredictable – even the uprisings of recent months took everyone by complete surprise. But there were certain truisms about the old order that gave the region some measure of consistency. One such maxim was: “If you do not come to the Middle East, the Middle East will come to you.” Indeed, its unresolved problems came to the West far too often in various haunting forms, from airplane hijackings and long gas lines in the 1970s to the mass terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Sadly, that is not likely to change.

Another proven adage of the old Middle East held that: “The Arabs cannot make peace with Israel without Syria, but cannot make war with Israel without Egypt.” Damascus always championed the rejectionist camp, blocking any comprehensive acceptance of Israel in the region, while Cairo’s peace treaty with Israel (albeit a cold peace) stymied any hope of pan-Arab defeat of the IDF in battle. This equation will undoubtedly be impacted by the current unrest.

Egypt is already showing worrisome signs of renewed hostility towards Israel. The Supreme Military Council now running the country is bowing to the will of the Tahrir Square crowds by announcing their intent to reconsider the natural gas deals made with Israel pursuant to the 1979 peace treaty. Deposed president Hosni Mubarak and his sons are being accused of corruption stemming, in part, from the natural gas contracts with Israel.

If those agreements can be legally assailed and undone, the Israel-Egypt peace treaty cannot be far behind. Indeed, all the major players jockeying for seats in the parliamentary elections this autumn have pledged to “review” the treaty with Israel, a position widely backed by public opinion polls. Leading presidential contender Amr Moussa, the Arab League chieftain who has built his popularity by shamelessly bashing Israel, insisted recently that the Camp David Accords had “expired” and that Israel has failed to prove it is a “friend” of Egypt.

Meantime, Egypt’s interim foreign minister has promised to reopen the Rafah crossing into Gaza, allowing Hamas to ferry in-and-out far more weapons and terrorists than through its cross-border smuggling tunnels. Cairo also just brokered the Fatah-Hamas unity pact, taking the Palestinians a major step away from peace with Israel.

Finally, Egypt has announced plans to “open a new page” with its long-time adversary Iran.

Meanwhile, the Assad dynasty in Syria has launched a brutal crackdown on opposition protests that have resulted in more than 800 civilian deaths so far, with another 10,000 imprisoned. The struggle pits the minority Alawite rulers against an 85% Sunni majority. But dictator Bashar Assad is the most heavily entrenched ruler in the Arab world, with layers of loyalists in command of the all-powerful security services, ensuring he will not go easily.

Yet even if the Syrian uprising succeeds in dislodging the Assad regime, there is little reason to think its Sunni replacement will be any less hostile towards Israel. The Sunni majority likely will not be as pro-Iran, which could have a huge impact on Tehran’s aspirations to build a Shi’ite crescent that reaches the Mediterranean shores and encircles Israel. But – like in Egypt – the Syrian masses have already been spoon-fed so much anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic invective, it will assuredly be reflected even in a democratically-elected government. Some analysts go so far as to suggest that the West’s tepid response to Syria’s harsh crackdown is out of fear that something worse could actually replace Assad.

So I am left very pessimistic that the regional upheaval will mean positive changes for Israel. At the least, Egypt and Syria will follow the Turkish model, where an Islamist party has played the Israel card to gain votes and then asserted an aggressively independent line against Israel and the US in matters of foreign policy.

And all the while, Iran is quietly exploiting the distractions caused by the “Arab Spring” to continue its relentless pursuit of nuclear capabilities.

Parsons is media director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem; www.icej.org/

The House that Fell

According to Islamic theology the world is divided into two spheres – the “House of Peace” (or Dar al-Salaam) and the “House of War” (the Dar al-Harb). Those living under Islamic shari’a law belong to the House of Peace, wherein they are told they enjoy the most advanced civilization anywhere and thus live in paradise on earth! Theirs is a superior religion and culture and those outside of it are inferior and infidels who have to be brought into submission to Islam and shari’a by jihad (holy war).

There is just one small problem – those living in the House of Peace are now everywhere in revolt. They are tired of its oppression and brutality and would prefer to live like those in the House of War, who are supposedly inferior in every way. Revolution is in the air because those living in this supposed paradise discovered that it meant the removal of their freedoms and human rights and their subjugation under the heel of hereditary despots, murderers and thugs who, in the name of Islam, have robbed them of their human dignity.

To put in bluntly, there is no ‘bright shining city on a hill’ in the Islamic world giving credibility to their utopian claims. The house has fallen! It has split open and thereby laid bare the truth for all to see. No wonder the Islamic bloc has been desperately trying to get a resolution passed in the United Nations that will effectively make it against the law globally to criticize Islam. They knew all along how bad things were and wanted to cover it all up. Too bad that Twitter, Face Book and text messaging came along in the “nick of time” to reveal the truth!

Many had tried to blame the brewing troubles in paradise on Israel! There was the Mossad’s top secret shark menacing tourists at Red Sea resorts and its vulture flying high over the Arabian desert and sending back highly sensitive images to Jerusalem.

The real truth is that many peoples of the region are tired of the theocratic rule of Islam that has only kept them poor, enslaved, illiterate and subjugated even though the region enjoys fabulous oil wealth.

By the way, where has all this wealth gone? The answer is simple; into the pockets of the ruling elites and for buying up the West! Is it not incredible that Israel’s national economic output exceeds that of most nations in the region combined! Could this have something to do with democracy and freedom?

Another thing that has emerged from this spreading revolution in the region is that Israel is not the real Apartheid state of the Middle East – it is the Arab nations! In this House of Peace there has been no democracy, no freedom of religion, no equality under the law for minorities, no freedom of the press, no equal rights for women, no independent judiciary, and no freedom of speech.

I grew up in a country like this; it was called South Africa! Thank God this house also fell because a house built on oppression and human rights abuses must eventually implode. South Africa did just this, as the House of Islam is doing today. For sure, the only shining city on a hill in the region is Israel! Of course all this is definitely not politically correct to say!

Yet the truth is finally out, and not because of the West or the United Nations or the European Union. They were too busy kissing Moammar Gaddafi in his tent. Rather, it was because men and women, mostly the young, took to the streets of the Islamic world and insisted enough was enough. Their revolution has surprised everyone, especially those with sophisticated intelligence services. But it underlines the fact that, in the end truth will prevail and shine like a great light in the darkness. We only hope that, once the dust settles, the “house” that emerges will be a kind, compassionate and peaceful one where all are free and protected. Actually, much like Israel!

Viva the revolution!

 

Honouring the Memory of Johan Greeff

Dear Friends,

It was with great shock and sadness that I learned of the passing away of Johan Greeff on May 22nd, 2011. He will be greatly missed by everyone that knew him because he had a zeal and enthusiasm for the things of God that was infectious. He was always abounding in the work of the Lord and most certainly was a faithful defender of Zion and of the Jewish people.

Johan worked with and for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem for many, many years. In this regard he was an inspiration to all of us and, though we know that he has now gone to be with His Lord, our hearts are saddened and our thoughts and prayers go out to Gayle and the whole family.

Johan's life was guided by his personal relationship with God by Jesus Christ and it gave meaning and a clear example of what it means to bless Israel.

Well done good and faithful servant you have now entered into the joy of your Lord.

Rev. Malcolm Hedding

Malcolm Hedding
Executive Director ICEJ

Read ICEJ South Africa's official announcement

Sixty-three Years Since Israel Was Born

Dear Friends,

The modern state of Israel has reached 63 years of age. This is nothing short of a miracle, because she is actually an ancient nation which has been restored and achieved unbelievable successes in just a short a time and in the face of many wars aimed at her demise. Israel’s existence is clear evidence of God’s faithfulness to His promises given to Abraham some 4000 years ago. So we salute Israel today and rejoice with her, but we also weep with those who have fallen in her defence. Most of all we know her future is secure because God watches over her day and night! Thus the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem congratulates the people of Israel on this, their 63rd national Day of Independence.

On this momentous occasion, we are also proud to announce the launch of an updated version of our global ministry’s website, redesigned and greatly enhanced so that together we all can be better equipped to take our stand with Israel. The new site provides closer integration with our worldwide network of branches and informs you of more ways to get involved with Israel and the ICEJ.

Shalom from Jerusalem!

Malcolm Hedding
Executive Director
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem


Israel at 63: Some interesting facts

  • As Israel marks its 63rd Independence Day, the population has grown to approximately 7,746,000 residents. At the time of the establishment of the State, it numbered 806,000 residents.
  • This includes approximately 5,837,000 Jewish residents (75.3%); 1,587,000 Arab residents (20.5%); and 322,000 (4.2%) other non-Jewish residents.
  • Since last Independence Day, approximately 178,000 babies were born, and 24,500 immigrants arrived in Israel. Factoring in departures and deaths, the total population of Israel has grown by about 155,000 residents, up 2.0% from last year.
  • In 1948 there was only one city in Israel with more than 100,000 residents – Tel Aviv. Today, 14 cities number more than 100,000 residents, of which six number more than 200,000 residents: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Rishon LeZion, Ashdod, and Petah Tikva.

The Struggle Within the Dream

By David Parsons, ICEJ Media Director

As Israelis prepare to celebrate the 63rd Anniversary of the nation’s rebirth in May 1948, many will think back longingly to when the Jewish State marked fifty years of modern independence.  Those were heady days, when the Oslo process still filled many with hope that the long search for peace with their Arab neighbours was about to bear lasting fruit. In his keynote address at the official ceremonies for Israel’s 50th birthday, then-US Vice President Al Gore struck heart chords with his reference to the Patriarch Jacob who – like Israel today – had to endure the “struggle within the dream”....

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Understanding the Prophetic Word

The Apostle Peter urges us in 2 Peter 1:19-21 to give attention to the “prophetic word” because it constitutes a light shining in a dark place. In other words, it is our only reliable “GPS system”. Sadly, too often this prophetic word has been mishandled and abused by those who are only interested in speculation and sensational entertainment. In reality, the prophetic word is testimony to the unfolding purpose and plan of God in Israel, the Church and the nations. It tells what we should be doing!

The words of Jesus

In Matthew 24 and the other synoptic Gospels, Jesus pinpoints our times by giving us “signs” that have no relevance until the Jews have returned, by the hand of God, to the Land of Israel. This will include a return to Jerusalem (Luke 21:24) and it will arouse global hostility. The nations will be in uproar and will mobilise their resources against Zion. However, this means that we should see this return of the Jews as evidence of the plan and will of God and we should therefore rise up to bless what God Himself is doing. As Jesus put it, “the fig tree” is once again putting forth leaves and by this we know that the summer is near. That is, the day of His coming is at hand (Matthew 24:32-33).

Jesus also spoke about the gospel going to the ends of the earth and then the “end will come” (Matthew 24:14). Here again, this is a call to action and not to speculation. The Church must be involved in the Great Commission. A church that is outward looking will enjoy spiritual vitality and growth. Sadly, Jesus also warns that the last days’ church will be inward looking and “grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). The prophetic word should therefore warn us against procrastination.

The words of Paul

Paul mainly saw the end of days in terms of spiritual disease and failure. For instance, in 1Timothy 4:1 he says that in the last days elements of the church will give heed to “deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons”. This is incredible because he is speaking about the true church, not some false entity that we all know is wrong. No, true believers will be seduced and turned away from the faith. This implies a spiritual assault of great proportions against the people of God. We must be warned and armed!

Again in 2 Timothy 3:1-7 he warns that in the latter days “fierce times” will come because Christians will be obsessed with themselves. Their love of God will be a hobby and it will always play “second fiddle” to their own interests! These days are upon us. We need to wake up and ensure that we are seeking first the Kingdom of God!

The words of John

The Apostle John had much to say about the prophetic word as he was given the awesome vision that we have recorded in our Bibles as “The Revelation”. His message to the seven Churches of Asia is a warning against lawlessness, immorality, disobedience and lukewarmness. His visions of the world in upheaval remind us that God is in control of all things and that, through a process of judgment on the earth seen as natural catastrophes, he will bring about His triumph and thus “the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ” (Revelation 11:15).

John sees that this time of upheaval and uncertainty will require the patience of the saints (Revelation 14:12). Moreover, they will have to reject deception and keep their eyes on a heavenly city that will be their inheritance and eternal home. The struggles of their earthly sojourn will fade away as they hold dear the heavenly vision (Revelation 21:1-8). The prophetic word will not entertain or amuse them, but it will fortify and prepare them to face and walk through the “end of day’s struggles”. It will be their “road-map”, constantly guiding them and renewing their faith in Jesus. The prophetic word enlightens our way. But it should and must encourage us to ever make Jesus our Lord! (Revelation 19:10)


Rev. Hedding is Executive Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.