A narrow gorge near SdeBoker in the Negev south of Beer Sheva.
On Tuesday, Israel enters the 3nd week Bein haMetzarim—“Between the Straits.”
- MURDER, INCITEMENT, RIOT, MASSACRE—THE UNHOLY ZEAL FOR AL-AQSA.
“Do not deliver me to the soul of my adversary; for lying testimony has risen against me, those who breathe out violence. Oh, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of God in a living land. Hope in the LORD, BE STRONG, and He will infuse you with courage. Hope, I say, in the LORD. (Psalm 27:12-14)
“For on this mountain the hand of the LORD will rest…He will bring down their pride together with the trickery of their hands.” (Isaiah 25:10, 11b)
This week, the storm awakened in Jerusalem with the murder of two border policement on the Temple Mount ten days ago has intensified. Last week, crime analysts in Jerusalem released to the media footage taken by surveilance cameras of the three Israeli Arab terrorists who would execute the attacks entering the Old City through “Herod’s Gate.” They were followed afterwards by a fourth figure, an accomplice carrying a bag. Footage from another camera then shows all four passing through a gate used only by Muslims onto the Temple Mount, and then together entering their point of rendezvous, the Al Aqsa mosque located on its southern end. Later the three are seen departing from the mosque, one carrying the bag (in which are weapons and changes of clothes. They leave the mount and Old City briefly (again using Herod’s Gate) to change clothes and conceal their weapons; they are next seen vaulting through an alleyway just before attacking the policemen. After the terrorists had been killed, Israeli authorities closed the Mount for 48 hours to all visitors while they looked for weapons. This included the thousands of Muslims who would normally ascend for Friday prayers. On Sunday, the Mount was reopened to Muslim worshippers, after Israel had installed metal-detectors with guards at all the Muslim entrances.
Rather than helping to restore calm, the presence of the detectors has been used as a pretext for triggering fury and riots in Jerusalem, with anti-Jewish/anti-Israel riots extending to the Kingdom of Jordan and Turkey. Because of the Islamic holy sites (the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock—where Muslims teach that Mohammed ascended to heaven), tens of thousands of Muslims are allowed weekly on the Mountain to worship. The so-called “status-quo”, which does not allow Jews or other non-Muslims to pray at the site is protected by Israel’s treaty with Jordan, whose WAQF forces are deployed there as custodians of the holy sites alongside Israeli security forces. Until now this “status quo” has allowed the floods of Muslims entering through their gates to do so with little or no security measures.while requiring heavy security (including metal detectors) at the one entrance accessed by non-Muslims (mostly Jews and tourists from the nations).
After the attacks of July 14th, this has changed. Israel sees the detectors as necessary at the Muslim entrances to prevent weapons being smuggled onto the Mount. The Muslims view their presence as a provocation and a humiliation. Yesterday, Israel installed surveilance cameras, powerful enough to alert if someone were carrying a weapon, the implication being that they might take the place of the offending metal detectors, which would be eventually removed. But those stoking the incitement have already responded that these too are crossing a line unacceptable to Muslims in Jerusalem or around the world. Any security measures affecting Muslims at all are seen as an affront by Israel to the religion, calling into question its sovereignty over the Al Aqsa mosque (considered the 3rd holiest site in Islam). Another element fueling the unrest, has been wide release of the entirely unfounded rumour that the metal detectors are actually the first moves of an Israeli strategy to take over the Mosque, tear it down, and build a Temple there. As always, the incitement is being done under the banner of “Holy Al Aqsa is in danger!” The battle cry is finding resonance far outside Israel. On Sunday, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the 22-state Arab League warned that “Israel is playing with fire when it tries to change the status quo in the Holy City, especially the Al-Aqsa mosque.”
This past Friday evening, the violent, murderous nature of this Al-Aqsa zeal was manifest in a horific way in the West Bank. Elad Salomon and his wife Michal had gathered with their children and Elad’s sister Haya at their parent’s home in Halamish, a small Jewish community in Samaria northwest of Bethel. It was Erev Shabbat, and they had come to celebrate the birth of a new grandson to another daughter that morning. Others would be arriving to celebrate later in the evening. After the meal, Yosef the 70 year old grandfather, his wife Tovah, Elad and his sister Haya were in the kitchen. Micha was in the living room with three of her children when she suddenly realized a man had entered the house, and she heard someone speaking Arabic in the kitchen. Sensing danger, she took the children upstairs, baricaded the door and called police. From there he began to hear loud cries from the kitchen, eventually followed by gunshots. When she was finally able to venture downstairs, the kitchen and living room floor was covered with blood, her 70-year-old father in law, her husband Elad and his sister were dead with knife wounds; the 68-year old grandmother was severely wounded. An off-duty military neighbor had heard the noise, run to help, and, immediately taking in the situation, had shot and wounded the terrorist through a window. Yesterday, thousands attended funerals for the grandfather and his two grown children. The terrorist from a near-by Palestinian village was identified as 19 year old Omar Al-Abed. Shortly before commencing upon his massacre, he had placed a message on Facebook, part of which included, “All I have is a sharpened knife, and it responds to the call of Al-Aqsa…Allah will take revenge on you…you [Jews], sons of monkeys and pigs, if you do not open the gates of Al-Aqsa…”
This last is quoting the Quran, which three times (Suras 2:67; 5:60; 7:166) speaks of Allah as turning Jews into these creatures. Islam means “submission”. It is related to a verb meaning “to surrender, resign oneself”—the lives of all creatures are to be submitted to the dictates of Allah. Allah is Arabic for “diety”, but the “Allah” of Islam is not the God worshipped by Jews and Christians; rather one of many moon-gods (there is a crescent moon atop all of its mosques) traced back to the Arabian peninsula. The spiritual power behind Islam demands submission. Thus, the presence of a people who hallow another diety (the Jews) administering authority (Israeli government) over what Islam considers to be its “holy places” requires that it stir those under its dominion into a fiery zeal of rebellion. This is what is being manifest on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem this week—on that mountain to which God, fifty years ago, returned ultimate oversight to His people Israel, and upon which one day His Son, their Messiah, will judge the nations from His throne (Psalm 2).
* The mercies of the LORD, the God of all Comfort, to attend the Salomon family and their loved ones. Pray especially for Tovah the 68 year old mother who lost her husband and two of her grown children, and Michal, the brave wife of the slain Elad, and her children. Pray that the light of the Saviour, their Messiah, would penetrate into their hearts, and into the hearts of the “settlers” in Halamish and throughout Judea and Samaria.
* For the veil spread over the minds and souls of Muslims will be pulled away (Isaiah 25:7), that they may come out from under the curse of a false diety—that they will in Lord’s mercies be shown the true way to life, which comes through God’s covenant with Isaac, and is revealed to all Humankind in the death, burial and resurrection of the Son of God, Yasuah/Jesus/Yeshua.
* That in Yeshua’s name, the powers releasing incitement to ignite a major conflict outside of the timings and purposes of God would be bound from doing so.
* For armies of angels to be released to battle the spiritual powers at work over Jerusalem.
* For wisdom, guidance, integrity over Prime Minister Netanyahu, his Cabinet, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, the head of Shin Bet (Intelligence) and the Jerusalem Chief of Police and Mayor. Pray Psalm 33:101-11: “YHVH brings the counsel of the nations to nothing, He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of YHVH stands forever, the Thoughts of His heart to all generations.”
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. The Haftarah, unless otherwise noted, will be that read in Ashkenazy synagogues around the world. The references for all texts are those found in English translations of the Scriptures.
The Parashah for 23-29 July 2017 is called D’varim—“Words.”
TORAH: Deuteronomy 1:1—3:22
HAFTARAH: Isaiah 1:1-27 (Shabbat Hazon—“Sabbath of Vision”)
Shabbat Hazon—“Sabbath of Vision”, so-called because the Haftarah for the Sabbath coming before Tish’a B’Av (“The Ninth of Av”) is always taken from the first chapter of Isaiah, which begins, “The vision of Isaiah.” It is the third and final “Haftarah of Affliction/Admonition.”
This week we enter the Book of Deuteronomy (Hebrew: D’varim—“Words”), a great collection of addresses given by Moses to Israel shortly before his death. It includes reminiscences regarding where they have been, what God has done, final instructions, warnings and admonitions regarding what is ahead.
*Deuteronomy 1:2-3. “It is eleven days’ journey from Horev by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh Barnea. Now it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spoke to the children of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him as commandments to them…”
The implication is that the 40-year journey to Canaan from Mount Sinai (Horeb) might have lasted only eleven days, but for the peoples’ rebellion and unbelief (Hebrews 3:16-19).
*Deuteronomy 1:7-8. “Turn and take your journey, and go to…the mountains and in the lowland, in the South and on the seacoast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the River Euphrates. See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—to give to them and their descendants after them.”
After over 2000 years, Israel has miraculously regained her ancient tongue, and begun to be gathered and returned to a portion of the land described here; she is once again a great nation, one to be reckoned with in the world. Her circumstances ‘on the ground’ are, however, still very different from when she was first set marching into Canaan by her God.
*That God would establish Israel’s boundaries according to His timetable. That He will give her leaders revelation regarding those boundaries. Where are the boundaries to lie at present? (Obviously Israel does not at this time lay claim to all those areas lying within Lebanon, Syria and the present-day Kingdom of Jordan originally promised to her). How is Israel to relate to non-Jewish peoples who are presently dwelling in portions of these lands?
*That God’s “kingdom come” among Jewish people living in both internationally recognized Israel and the disputed territories—that Jacob’s children have supernatural revelation regarding both the Kingdom of Heaven and their place in it here on earth in the land of their Fathers.
*Deuteronomy 1:16-17. “Then I commanded your judges at that time, saying, ‘Hear the cases between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the stranger who is with him. You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s….” Isaiah: 1:26 (From this week’s Haftarah). “I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the ‘City of Righteousness’, ‘The Faithful City.’”
In Israel, there is no “trial by jury”—rather, the “judge” (or a group of judges) decides each case. We are grateful for the integrity and rightness evident in the decisions often made in the civilian courts—everyday ‘traffic’ courts, misdemeanor courts, etc. At the same time, we are aware of cases in which judges appear to have been strongly influenced in their rulings by Orthodox intimidation, or other factors related to “political correctness”. And the higher courts are often influenced by spiritual powers of which they are not aware. Our Supreme Court building itself was designed and laid out for construction under obviously strong Masonic influence; part of its outer décor includes a ‘pyramid’ structure atop the roof.
PLEASE PRAY: That righteousness be supernaturally restored to Israel’s courts. That God anoint and raise up righteous judges as of old—such as Othniel, Ehud, Jephthah, Deborah and Samuel—who will be protected in their youth, and in times of need and repentance rise into their places in wisdom, truth and favour. “Righteousness exalts a nation…” (Proverbs 14:34); “For the word of the LORD is right, and all His work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice…” (Psalm 33:4-5).
* Deuteronomy 2:10-12; 20; 22; 3:11. In these passages Moses carefully lists the Emim (2:10); Horites (2:12,22); Zuzim/Zamzumim (2:20), and Rephaim (2:11; 3:11) as peoples “great, numerous and tall” who had nevertheless been easily conquered by the time Israel came to enter the Promised Land. It was terror-rumours of these same peoples which had contributed to the evil report of the ten spies forty years before (Numbers 13). If only they could have considered (as perhaps did Joshua and Caleb) that Chedorlaomer, who had defeated all of these giant races (Genesis 14:5, 16), had himself been subdued by their father Abraham through faith in the power of his God, they might have brought back a different report.
Notably absent from the list of “giants” in Deuteronomy 2-3 is any mention of the Nephilim, mentioned, in their terror, by the ten spies in Numbers 13:33. As noted previously, the only place where “Nephilim” are mentioned after the Flood is in that evil report of those spies (including their theory that “the descendants of Anak came from the Nephilim.”). It is the opinion of the writers that, for all the recent interest in Nephilim, both in secular and some Christian circles, Biblical evidence points to their identification with the “angels who did not keep their proper domain…(whom) God has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6).
PLEASE PRAY there when faced by evil terrors and spiritual giants which still linger, we will remember the God who was the shield of Abraham (Genesis 15:1) and his victory over all such powers.
*Isaiah 1:16-18. “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.”
PLEASE PRAY: That these words will pierce Jewish hearts through the Holy Spirit when they are read in synagogues this weekend—that Jews will find the Way revealed and open for them to come into this cleansing!
*Isaiah 1:27. “Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and her penitents with righteousness.”
Praise God! for a redemption which is altogether just…and which brings all who repent (both Jew and Gentile) into a place of true righteousness before the Father—
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Corinthians 5:21).
Martin & Norma Sarvis
[The Parashah for next week 30 July—5 August 2017 is called V’Et’chanan—“And I Pleaded….”
TORAH: Deuteronomy 3:23—7:11; HAFTARAH (Shabbat Nachamu—“Sabbath of Comfort”): Isaiah 40:1-26.]