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Prayer Update from Israel: Martin & Norma Sarvis

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The eight days of Hanukkah Extend through Sunday

1. RESOLUTION 2334.

On Friday afternoon, as the Sabbath drew near (already begun in Jerusalem, and with the Jewish festival of Hanukkah waiting to open at its close), the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution laying down as “international law” a number of severe pronouncements, pronouncements before which nations will henceforth be faced with grim choices so far as their views and dealings regarding Israel and Jerusalem are concerned.

Next year marks 50 years since June 1967, when, following expressed intentions of Egyptian President Nasser to drive the Jews into the sea, Israel responded by striking first. When the smoke cleared six days later, a miracle had occurred. The armies of Egypt had been driven out of Gaza and the Sinai, those of Jordan out of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the Syrian army had fled the Golan Heights. For the first time in well over 2000 years, Israel was in control of her ancient homeland, Judea and Samaria—the “Mountains of Israel”—granted by divine Covenant for all time to the seed of Jacob. And Jerusalem. including the Temple Mount and Western Wall; the Old City, with the Jewish Quarter (where Jews had lived for a thousand years before being expelled by the Jordanian Army in 1948), the Mount of Olives. Shortly after the war, Israel annexed all of the city—and it has remained undivided ever since. For fear of offending Muslim nations (with their oil), the international body never acknowledged this annexation, ruefully labeling Israel’s presence there “illegitimate.” The hundreds of Jewish communities established within the territories taken from Jordan, Egypt and Syria were labeled “settlements”—as were the Jewish suburbs established in south, east and north Jerusalem. As of this December 23rd, all of this is officially no longer merely “illegitimate—it is illegal. Below we present the substance of the first five points of Resolution 2334:

From the first five points of Resolution 2334

1. An assertion that the presence of any Israeli community “in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

2. A “demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem…”

3. The resolution “underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.” [e.g. This, despite the resolution referring repeatedly to Israeli settlements “in Palestinian territory” or “occupied Palestinian territory”. There was no “Palestinian territory” prior to 4 June 1967—the relevant lands were occupied by Jordan and Egypt. Nor has any since been finally determined “through negotiations”]

4. It “stresses that the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-State solution [This phrase “two-State solution” (one of which would be a sovereign Muslim Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria) is mentioned no less than seven times in the resolution.]

5. “Calls upon all States, bearing in mind paragraph 1 [above]…to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967 [A thinly veiled call for boycotting Israeli goods produced or manufactured within Judea, Samaria or so-called East Jerusalem. Thousands of Palestinians depend on these Israeli industries and agricultural areas for their work and welfare].
______________________________

Jerusalem is the issue.
It is notable how often in this resolution “occupied Palestinian territory” is followed by the phrase “including East Jerusalem.” “East” is a misnomer. Shortly after the war, Israel annexed the areas of northern, eastern and southern Jerusalem taken during the war. Although never recognized by the international community, she has since built up neighborhoods in these areas which are large and flourishing, connected by thoroughfares and train lines. After Friday’s vote, these are now termed “illegal.” Israel “the occupying Power,” is a perpetrator of “negative trends on the ground”, which must immediately be reversed. In a deeply insightful article “Crossing the Line,” issued shortly after Friday’s vote, Avner Boskey clarifies part of what is really at issue here regarding Jerusalem:

UN Security Council Resolution 2334 calls for the immediate “cessation of all Israeli settlement activities” and for “affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground.” In other words, the nations have issued a legal demand that Israel pack up its bags and leave the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, French Hill, Ramat Eshkol, Ramot, Gilo and Armon Hanatziv – all which lie in East Jerusalem.

A approximately 80% of Jerusalem is Jewish today, and approximately 80% of the population of East Jerusalem is Jewish as well. This Resolution is calling for the removal of Jews from over half of modern Jerusalem, which it defines as “a negative trend.”
(http://davidstent.com/words/)

Resolution 2334 was initially drafted by Egypt. But at the urging of Israel and Donald Trump (a highy-extraordinary step of intervention for a President-elect) President El-Sisi decided on Thursday evening to withdraw it. Mr. Trump had written,

The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed. As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations. This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position, and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.

Israel breathed a sigh of relief; Friday morning’s weekend Jerusalem Post headlined, “Egypt Pulls Anti-settlement Resolution at Last Minute.”

But then, on Friday morning, four nations New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal, chose to resurrect and re-submit the resolution. Friday afternoon, it passed into Law, with 14 nations voting “Yes”, and the United States, at the direction of President Obama, abstaining. Any of five nations, England, France, Soviet Union, China or the U.S. could have vetoed it. In fact, it was the first time that such a bill has come up in the Security Council in his eight years of Presidency that Mr. Obama has not called for a veto.

After the vote, Israel’s Ambassador Danny Danon addressed the chamber, calling it a “dark day for this council”, which, he said, exhibited the “peak of hypocrisy” in condemning Israel “for building homes in the historic homeland of the Jewish people” even as thousands were being massacred in neighboring Syria. He said the results would be to encourage Palestinian incitement, that it was a “victory for terror.” Holding up a Bible, he cited thousands of years of Jewish history in the Holy Land, and concluded, “We will overcome this evil decree, We have full confidence in the justice of our cause…We will continue to be a Jewish state proudly reclaiming the land of our forefathers…where King David ruled from Jerusalem.”

The response from Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu was immediate and sharp,

Israel categorically rejects the despicable anti-Israeli resolution at the UN, and will not adhere to it…While the Security Council does nothing to prevent the massacre of half a million people in Syria, it is shamefully singling out Israel—the only democracy in the Middle East…The Obama administration not only failed to defend Israel from this harassment at the UN, it cooperated with it behind the scenes.

In Israel it is widely suspected that the presentation and resurrection of the resolution, along with the US abstention were not without collusion all along of the outgoing Obama administration (the PM’s office in fact claims to have evidence to this effect). From his severe lecture to Israel in the speech in Cairo shortly after taking office, to the present, Israeli settlements have been ever been in the forefront of Mr. Obama’s antipathy towards Israel and our Prime Minister.

Shortly after the vote, Mr. Trump wrote, “As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20th .” But Israel is concerned about the coming three weeks before then. Sec. of State John Kerry has promised soon to deliver a speech setting out principles or parameters for a Palestinian state. The fear is that following Friday’s victory (or perhaps, as a continuing move of strategy), the Obama administration will, within these three weeks, place those “parameters” into yet another resolution, which could then be placed before the Security Council for adoption before he leaves office.

So what does all of this mean for us? How are we to pray?

There will likely be few differences “on the ground” for the time being. But a new level of groundwork has been laid, in which Israel will continue to be alienated by the nations. The BDS (Boycott, Divestment an Sanctions) movement will be given new encouragement. Since Israel is now “officially” outside the law, the door is open for more discrimination, more terror, more harassment, and perhaps eventual sanctions from the UN. On the other hand, regarding the settlements, the plan could backfire—Israel continues to have the most conservative government in her history. In reaction to the UN vote, there is no doubt that plans for building many new homes in East Jerusalem will accelerate; and there are already calls to go forward with annexing large blocks of settlements in the territories.

However, we see something far more sobering reflected in the vote last Friday.

The year 2018 will mark 70 years since Israelis re-establishment as a nation. These next two years will be a critical time. Nations are more and more being called into a position of “making choices”—choices related to their alignment with God’s people, nation and land. We are in a season of lines being drawn, of gauntlets being thrown down. Those nations which choose to align counter to God’s eternal Word regarding Zion will find themselves headed into a season of darkness. Not that there will not be places of light within those nations! God’s remnant will shine brightly and lead many to the light (Daniel 12:3). Nor do we believe that it is already too late for believers in any nation, whatever choices they may have made, to pray for mercy, for a reversal of direction in their nation. Nevertheless, we have entered a period when nations will be required to make choices which will determine direction—of moving into blessing or under a curse. And Jerusalem will be the dividing line.

PLEASE PRAY:

THE FOLLOWING PRAYER POINTS ARE BASED ON THOSE OFFERED BY AVNER BOSKEY IN THE ABOVE-MENTIONED PRAYER LETTER “CROSSING THE LINE”
(Which may be read in full at http://davidstent.com/words/.)

* For repentance and clear revelation for the leaders of all countries who have voted for this Resolution.

* For the United States of America, whose leadership refused to veto this Resolution.
[We would add: please pray that the current U.S. administration would not be permitted to introduce another resolution into the UN Security Council during its final three weeks of office!]

* For the believers around the world, that they might understand what is happening to Israel and what judgment is coming on the nations of the world as a result.

* For the leadership of Israel to receive divine wisdom and strategies on how to defend the Jewish state and respond pro-actively.

* For the protection, strengthening, revelation and salvation of the Jewish people, and that they may lean on Him who can keep them from all evil and all destruction.

THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION:

From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parashah) from the first five books of Moses (The Torah) and an ending (Haftarah) from the Prophets read on the Sabbath in synagogues around the world. This portion is given a Hebrew name drawn from the opening words of the Torah passage. An illustration of this practice appears to have been recorded in Luke 4:16 where Yeshua (Jesus) arrived in the synagogue in Nazareth and was asked to read the portion (Isaiah 61) from the Prophets. We have found that in perusing these weekly readings, not only are we provided opportunity to identify in the context of God’s Word with millions of Jewish people around the world, but very often the Holy Spirit will illumine specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel. All texts are those of English translations of the Scriptures.

The readings for this week 25-31 December 2016 are called MiKetz—“At the End Of”:

TORAH: Genesis 41:1—44:17
HAFTARAH (Hanukkah): Zechariah 2:10—4:7

(NOTE: Years in which Hanukkah does not fall within the week for this parasha, the haftarah reading for Miketz is: I Kings 3:15—4:1.)

*Genesis 41:1; 15-16. “Then it came to pass, at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh had a dream…And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.’ So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, ‘It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of shalom.’”

PLEASE PRAY: That the LORD release dreams into our secular leaders—which can only be interpreted by those godly ones whom He has prepared to be near to them. Pray that the Lord raise up young men and women who will be filled with His Spirit, and who will be able supernaturally (in this rationalistic age) to show the way for our Prime Minister and other leaders to “an answer of Shalom.”

*Genesis 44:5, 15: “Get up, follow the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? Is not this the one from which my lord drinks, and with which he indeed practices divination? You have done evil in so doing.’” “Did you not know that such a man as I can certainly practice divination?”

Joseph never actually tells the brothers that he “practices divination”—rather, he presents them with two questions, “Is this not the one…with which he indeed practices divination?” and “Didn’t you know that such a man as I can certainly practice divination?”. He is still allowing his brothers to assume him to be a native Egyptian ruler, who normally would be expected to do such things. Numbers 23:23 uses the same Hebrew word translated here “devination” (nakhash) in asserting that “there is no sorcery in Jacob”. As we have already seen (Genesis 40:8; 41:16), Joseph was always open in attributing his powers not to himself or his expertise, but to God.

*Zechariah 2:10-11. “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the LORD. “Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.”

There is nothing in the Hebrew of this passage to suggest that the One (i.e. the LORD—Yehovah) who in vs. 10 and again in vs. 11 says He is “coming to dwell in Zion’s midst” is not the same “One” who continues, “Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.” We see this “knowing” as the same “recognition” taking place in Zechariah 12:10, when “they will look on Me whom they pierced.”

PLEASE PRAY: For revelation in Israel to understand and believe that The LORD of Hosts (who promised to “dwell in Israel’s midst”) and the One sent to her (“whom she pierced”) are ONE (John 10:30).
*Zechariah 2:12-13. “And the LORD (Yehovah) will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem. Hush! all flesh, before the LORD, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!”

With the passage in late 2012 of UN Gen. Assy. resolution 67/19, granting “Palestine” official recognition as a “state”, whose borders would presumably encompass this adamat-hakodesh, (literally “holy earth”), within which the YHVH (Yehovah—“The LORD”) says He will “take possession” as His “inheritance”— things are coming into position for a clash of unprecedented proportions (We find it significant that the November 29 date of that vote fell in the Hebrew calendar on the 15th of Kislev, the same day as the setting up of the Abomination of Desolation mentioned in I Maccabees 1:54 and alluded to in Daniel 11:31). To survive and see our way—to see His way—in the coming storm, it will be of paramount importance that we “walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit,” that we “set our minds on the things of the Spirit” and “by the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body, that we may live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Romans 8:4,5, 13-14).

PLEASE PRAY: That the Body of Messiah in Israel move into a deep understanding and practice of what it means to “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25 NIV), to say “Hush!” to our flesh before our LORD, as He is aroused from His holy habitation!

*Zechariah 3:2. “And the LORD said to Satan, ‘The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?’”

Revelation 12:11 points to a time when the Accuser will be overcome “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” We infer from this Zechariah passage that part of that “word of testimony” may include a linking of the name of the LORD/YHVH with his choosing of Jerusalem. This will be the place of His throne! (Psalm 2). An acknowledgment and confession of the LORD’s covenant link with Jerusalem will release a power to silence the Accuser in the last days!

*Zechariah 3:8. “Behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH.”

Part of the Hanukkah celebration includes use of a special eight-branched menorah (hanukki’ah) upon which a new oil lamp or candle is lit each evening. Each light is ignited from the flame of a separate “branch” called shamash—“servant”. Remarkably, the Haftarah reading for this Saturday within Hanukkah, besides containing, as might be expected, a menorah (Zechariah 4:2-3), also includes these words, “Behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH.” Although a different Hebrew word for “servant” is used here, there is no doubt that it refers to the Servant-Messiah, sent by the Father—the Light Inextinguishable, who illumines all coming into the world (John 1:9)!

Zechariah 4:6. “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts.”
These words are emblazoned in Hebrew across the bottom of the outer branches of the menorah which stands before the Knesset in Jerusalem (below).

PLEASE PRAY: that the Holy Spirit of God invade the halls of government in Israel. That Spirit-filled believers rise into the higher echelons of government, displacing the powers of darkness there and influencing the leadership for righteousness!

Martin & Norma Sarvis
Jerusalem

[The readings for next week (1-7 January 2017) are called VaYiggash—“And He [Judah] Drew Near”. TORAH: Genesis 44:18—47:27; HAFTARAH: Ezekiel 37:15-28]

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