God is working powerfully among Israel’s Muslim neighbors

One For Israel Staff 

May 13, 2018

“A man came to me and his face looked like the sun was shining out of it. He said, “You belong to me, don’t be afraid!” I began to cry and shake and He put His hand on my head and wiped away my tears.”

This is just one testimony among many that we are being told, as people from Muslim backgrounds living in the areas surrounding Israel are encountering Jesus.

Here at ONE FOR ISRAEL, our focus is primarily reaching Israel with the gospel of the Messiah, and proclaiming Yeshua to Jewish Israelis who do not know Him yet. 80% of Israelis are Jewish and speak Hebrew, but one in five Israelis speak Arabic, and Yeshua loves them too!

The Word of God goes forth from Zion

One of our Arab staff members, Carlos Damianos, began making videos in Arabic to declare the gospel to Israeli Arabs, both those from a nominally Christian background, and also Muslims, and those videos have reached further than we could have imagined.

Several people have come to faith now through seeing the videos we have been publishing, including a well-known singer, an expert in Islamic literature, and most recently a seeker who went to the highest authorities trying to find a convincing response against what Carlos was saying. No one could provide him with a satisfactory answer.

The more he read about Jesus, the more he loved what he was reading. Several members of his family are Muslim leaders, and he understands the significant danger he is stepping into by choosing to follow Jesus, but he chose to make the courageous step of faith none-the-less.

As far afield as Iraq and Syria, we are hearing from people who have either accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, or who are on a spiritual journey of discovery. Carlos and his small team are engaged in many discussions over the internet, often started by outraged Muslims defending their religion against the assault of truth Carlos delivers in his videos. They may begin with hostility, but often these conversations turn into friendships, and some of these Muslims, a bit like Saul, eventually realize they are fighting against God.

Please pray for angelic protection!

Those who put their faith in Yeshua in strictly Muslim environments are in effect putting their lives on the line. It is not uncommon to be disowned, divorced, or even killed. One new believer we’re in touch with recently escaped the death penalty for apostasy by sheer miracles of God. Please pray for these brave new believers – the ones we know, and the thousands of others coming to faith all across the Muslim world – for protection, for courage, to be built up and grow strong in their new faith in Jesus so that they can also disciple others.

It should come as no surprise that multiple death-threats have also been made against Carlos and his family, so we would greatly value your prayers both for our neighbors who so desperately need to encounter the God who loves them, and also for Carlos and his team who are determined to keep preaching the gospel.

“I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes—to the Jew first and also to the gentile.” (Romans 1:16)

This article originally appeared on One For Israel and is reposted with permission.

https://kehilanews.com/2018/05/13/god-is-working-powerfully-among-israels-muslim-neighbors/

 

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Overraskende rolig tirsdag efter blodig mandag ved Gaza

Af Anders Hjorth Vindum 16. May 2018

Israel svarede igen uden tøven, da 40.000 truede med at invadere Israel. Det fik Hamas til at løfte foden fra speederen.

En blodig mandag blev afløst af en langt mindre dramatisk tirsdag ved Gazastriben. Antallet af demonstranter var faldet fra cirka 40.000 til 4.000, og mens dødstallet mandag var på hele 58 (nogle steder meldes der om 60 dræbte), var en 51-årig mand det eneste dødsoffer tirsdag. Derudover er knap 2800 personer kommet til skade i løbet af de sidste to dage – det melder det palæstinensiske udenrigsministerium, som er kontrolleret af terrorgruppen Hamas. »Tilskadekommen« betyder i mange tilfælde at være blevet ramt af tåregas.

Man kan undre sig over, at der var så stor forskel på mandag og tirsdag, eftersom den 15. maj er den dag, hvor palæstinenserne plejer at markere Nakba – dagen efter staten Israels oprettelse, hvor flere hundredetusinde arabere måtte forlade Israel på grund af den krig, som Israels arabiske nabolande startede. Den simple forklaring på forskellen er, at mange deltog i begravelserne af mandagens dødsofre. Den lidt længere forklaring er, at Hamas, som har orkestreret optøjerne, mandag eftermiddag faktisk begyndte at opfordre de mange tusinde demonstranter ved hegnet til at tage hjem. Det gjorde de, fordi Israel begyndte at bombe Hamasmål fra luften. Israel truede også med at dræbe de øverste Hamasledere, blandt andet Yahya Sinwar. Det israelske medie Walla News meldte, at Hamas har tilbudt det israelske militær, IDF, at standse demonstrationerne ved hegnet, hvis de til gengæld vil standse luftangrebene.


Gaza. (Foto: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Ifølge Avi Issacharoff fra Times of Israel viser det, at Hamas har meget stor kontrol over palæstinenserne i Gaza, når de kan lægge en dæmper på så omfattende demonstrationer. Han mener også, at udviklingen var overraskende, da Hamas har sværget til militær modstand og direkte opfordrer palæstinenserne til at ofre deres liv som martyrer. En hændelse ved hegnet i den nordlige ende af Gaza kan også have medvirket til, at Hamas ønskede at lægge en foreløbig dæmper på. Her formåede otte bevæbnede Hamas-medlemmer at bryde igennem hegnet og komme ind på israelsk territorium. Her blev de mødt af en israelsk specialenhed. De otte palæstinenserne skød mod soldaterne, som skød igen og dræbte alle otte. Det israelske militær, IDF, sagde senere, at ikke kun de otte personer, men mindst 24 ud af de cirka 60 dræbte er kendte medlemmer af terrororganisationer, primært Hamas og Islamisk Jihad.

 

Kritiseres for overdreven brug af magt

Kritikken har haglet ned over Israel efter mandagens begivenheder. Det helt store kritikpunkt er, at IDF bruger overdreven magt ved at skyde med skarpt mod demonstranter, der forsøger at trænge ind i Israel. Spørgsmålet er, om disse personers forsøg på at vælte hegnet udsætter israelere for livsfare. I Israel er man ikke i tvivl, og man tager Hamasleder Yahya Sinwar ord meget alvorligt, når han siger, at palæstinenserne vil »rive grænsehegnet ned og derefter rive israelerne hjerter ud«.

I FN's Sikkerhedsråd indkaldte Qatar i går til et hastemøde om situationen, og her blev Israel kun forsvaret af USA. Landets FN-ambassadør, Nikki Haley, som er yderst vellidt i Israel, stillede det spørgsmål, som Israels kritikere må have svært at svare ærligt på, hvis de samtidig vil stå fast ved deres fordømmelse af Israel. Hun spurgte: »Hvem af jer ville acceptere den slags opførsel ved jeres grænser? Intet land i denne forsamling ville handle med større tilbageholdenhed end Israel har gjort.« USA blokerede også en resolution, der ville kræve en uafhængig undersøgelse af begivenhederne.

 
Yahya Sinwar er Hamas' leder i Gaza. For nylig opfordrede han palæstinenserne til at "rive grænsehegnet ned og derefter rive israelerne hjerte ud".

Afviser israelsk hjælp

En besynderlig begivenhed fandt sted i går ved Kerem Shalom-overgangen mellem Israel og Gaza. Det er den overgang, som Israel bruger til at fragte nødhjælp ind i Gaza. De seneste dage har palæstinenserne flere gange hærget stedet og sat ild til det. I går åbnede Israel så igen for gennemgang, så man kunne sende medicin og mad og andre forsyninger ind til de nødstedte i Gaza. Men ved grænsen afviste de palæstinensiske grænsevagter 14 lastbiler med mad og bleer. Kun bilerne med medicin måtte krydse grænsen.

De trængte palæstinensere i Gaza kunne ellers godt bruge den israelske hjælp. I de fleste medier får den israelske blokade skylden for, at der mangler basale resurser, og at palæstinenserne lever i en form for fængsel, hvor man ikke kan komme ud af det lille område. Mange glemmer desværre, at Hamas, som kontrollerer området, systematisk har brugt penge på terrortunneller og våbenoprustning i stedet for at opbygge et bæredygtigt civilsamfund.

 

Israel ryster ikke på hånden

Israel kæmper ikke kun en kamp mod voldelige demonstranter. De kæmper også for at overbevise omverdenen om, at man handler i selvforsvar, og at der er grund til at tage hårde midler i brug. I går offentliggjorde IDF en forklaring af, hvad der skete, da de otte terrorister, som trængte gennem hegnet, blev skudt. Man offentliggjorde også en video, der viser, at de kastede med rørbomber.

I det hele taget får man det indtryk, at IDF ikke ryster på hånden i forsvaret af landets grænser. Den internationale kritik er forventet, og det vigtigste mål for øje er at forhindre en palæstinensisk invasion, som kan få uoverskuelige konsekvenser.

De danske medier dækker også begivenhederne. Her fokuseres der også mest på kritikken af Israel og på ofrene i Gaza – ikke så meget på Israels grund til at forsvare sig og Hamas’ ønske om at udslette Israel. DR har lavet en tidslinje, der viser de vigtigste begivenheder, siden demonstrationerne brød ud 30. marts. Her er desuden en række billeder, som viser situationens alvor.

https://www.ordetogisrael.dk/aktuelt-2-2-2/overraskende-rolig-tirsdag-efter-blodig-mandag-ved-gaza

 

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Biblical archaeological treasures: Signed, sealed and delivered!

One For Israel Staff 

May 7, 2018

A model of the 2nd Temple

“For the Freedom of Zion!” Declared the Hebrew inscription on the ancient bronze coins found in a cave that had been sealed for 2,000 years – ironically just in time for the Festival of Freedom.

Hebrew University archaeologist, Eilat Mazar, came across a cave full of treasures during excavations below the Temple Mount’s southern wall, and close by, seals from King Hezekiah and possibly Isaiah the Prophet have been found!

Treasure Cave

The cave, unearthed in the Ophel dig, contained coins with inscriptions that help us to precisely date them to the years 66-70 AD. But along with the optimistic message on the coins minted by the rebels who were fighting for freedom towards the end of the second temple era were later coins with a different message. At first the Jewish zealots were certain they’d win their country back from the Roman conquerors, but the coins dated 70 AD that were found in the same cave carried a different rallying cry: “For the Redemption of Zion!” By that last year of the rebellion, it had become obvious that their resistance was not going to survive for long, and that the best they could hope for was the eventual redemption of Zion.

Talking to Haaretz newspaper, Mazar reported that the coins were about 1.5 centimeters in diameter, with Jewish symbols such as the Four Species mentioned in the Bible: palm, myrtle, citron and willow, along with a goblet believed to have been used in Temple worship.

“The floor of the cave has a thick layer dating to the Hasmonean period, going by characteristic pottery and coins. That later lasted through the days of King Herod, but not later,” Mazar explained. It was quite large, being some seven meters by fourteen, but there was no evidence that people were living in it. “A likely scenario is that the rebels were stockpiling things in the cave for their future use, including ceramic cookware and other pottery, as well as the coins, but never did use it.”[1]

It was not long after those last coins were minted that Jerusalem was destroyed, just as Jesus said it would be:

Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.” (Matthew 24:1-2)

We are in the happy position to know that Zion has indeed finally been restored 2,000 years after its destruction, and the discovery of the cave’s contents on Israel’s 70th year, just 50 years since Jerusalem was reunited, is also pretty amazing! But we still yearn for the full spiritual redemption of Zion.

But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:13-14)

Seals of destiny – King Hezekiah and Isaiah

It was in this same Ophel excavation that the seal of King Hezekiah was recently discovered, close to Hezekiah’s tunnel in the City of David. And this February, yet another significant seal surfaced with what appeared to be the name of Isaiah the Prophet! However, the seal was missing a piece and it is not clear whether it in fact was Isaiah the Prophet or another Isaiah. Experts are still arguing about it, although we can say for sure that Isaiah was not only a contemporary of Hezekiah, but according to the Bible, the two men knew each other, met together, and Isaiah gave Hezekiah counsel. We can see this in Isaiah 38 and also in 2 Kings chapter 19:

Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah saying, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard you.’ (2 Kings 19:20)

According to Eilat Mazar, the fact that the two seals were found within ten feet of one another does “…seem to leave open the possibility that, despite the difficulties presented by the bulla’s damaged area, this may have been a seal impression of Isaiah the prophet, adviser to King Hezekiah.”[2] It’s true that the writing is indeed typical of eighth century BC Hebrew, and there is also strong evidence of the Biblical events of this era, according to Haaretz:

“During Hezekiah’s reign, the kingdom was invaded by King Sennacherib of Assyria, an event described in Isaiah 36-37 and corroborated by the extra-biblical account inscribed in the Annals of Sennacherib Prism, the Rassam Cylinder and also Histories, written by the 5th century B.C.E. Greek Herodotus”.

The article tells us that expert Alan Millard, professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages at Liverpool University, “sees no reason to doubt that Isaiah was a real person who lived in the reigns of Sargon II, then Sennacherib – that being the Assyrian king who marched through Judah, conquering 46 of King Hezekiah’s fortified cities, but who mysteriously withdrew after reaching Jerusalem just as victory over the cowed Judahite king seemed assured.” [3]

Rather amazingly, the Israeli broadsheet also comments on the content of Isaiah’s prophetic writings, reporting that,

“Isaiah foretold a number of details about the coming of the Messiah.”

The secular newspaper proceeds to give a rundown of Isaiah’s Messianic prophecy to its Israeli audience!

“It is a paragraph by Isaiah that has become one of the most controversial passages in the Old Testament. As the King James Version translates Isaiah 7:14:

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son.“…

“Isaiah also foretold that the Messiah would be a descendant of David (Isaiah 11:1-5). He predicted that the Messiah would not be accepted by the majority of Israel and instead be a “stone of stumbling” to them (Isaiah 8:14,15). In the book of Isaiah, the Messiah prophetically says:

My back I gave to the strikersmy face did not conceal from humiliating things and spit” (Isaiah 50:6).

“He even gave details of the Messiah’s death, foretelling:

He will make his burial place even with the wicked ones, and with the rich class in death” (Isaiah 53:9).

“Finally Isaiah spoke of the meaning of the Messiah’s death:

The righteous one, my servant, will bring a righteous standing to many people; and their errors he himself will bear” (Isaiah 53:8,11).

“Many Christians today identify the Messiah with Jesus Christ, and view Isaiah’s prophecies regarding the Messiah as fulfilled by the works and life of Jesus Christ.”[3]

Well amen to that. Whether or not that seal actually belonged to the prophet or not, the truth of the Scriptures is coming to light more and more all the time with every archaeological dig. Moreover, Isaiah’s words about the Messiah are still speaking to Israel today – even through the daily paper.

[1] HaAretz, Coins Showing Despair of Jewish Rebels During Great Revolt Found Near Jerusalem’s Temple MountRuth Schuster, March 27, 2018

[2] National Geographic, Has the ‘Signature’ of Biblical Prophet Isaiah Been Discovered?Kristin Romey, Feb 21, 2018
[3] HaAretz, Isaiah the Prophet, Man or Biblical Myth: The Archaeological EvidencePhilippe Bohstrom, Mar 19, 2018

This article originally appeared on One For Israel and is reposted with permission.

https://kehilanews.com/2018/05/07/biblical-archaeological-treasures-signed-sealed-and-delivered/

 

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***SHALOM***

Our Prime Minister has dropped more than one bombshell lately: we were shocked to see in the news that a Jewish believer has been appointed to Netanyahu's team as Deputy Social Media Advisor! Just as we have been taking stock of the progress of the Body of Messiah in Israel from such small beginnings, it is very encouraging to see a believer reach such a position of influence. 

As we grow in numbers and maturity, our prayer is that more and more Israeli believers will faithfully represent Yeshua in all aspects of society.