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Weekly Update: “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart”

Andrew Tucker - 28 February 2020

As always, there are some positive and some less-than-positive developments to report this week concerning Israel, the Jewish people and the nations. Yet in all things, God is slowly working out His purposes.

The reading for this week is Exodus 7:1-13.

Here God reminds us that –

  • God fulfils all of His promises – always;
  • He does it in His time, and His way – always;
  • He works through people to achieve those purposes;
  • on some occasions, He hardens the hearts of people (such as Pharaoh);
  • this is often counter-intuitive, and may seem at the time to be contrary to His purposes;
  • He works through Israel, but His purposes are for the well-being of all people – even Israel’s enemies; and
  • He asks of us (like Moses and Aaron) simply that we trust in Him, and be obedient to what He asks us to do.

May you be blessed this week.


Israeli elections

David Horowitz at Times of Israel writes: Likud has risen slightly, but the balance between the blocs suggests continued deadlock on March 2 — unless one of the two rivals manages to inspire higher turnout from his camp. The last few days have seen the campaign turn increasingly personal and nasty, with Likud seeking to portray Gantz as incapable of running the country — including as an incoherent stutterer, even suffering from mental health problems, and a failed businessman. Netanyahu himself on Wednesday branded Gantz a coward for declining his challenge to a debate, said he “can barely get through a TV interview,” and declared that this showed he lacked the basic skills necessary to lead and protect Israel. He also claimed Iran had personal information on Gantz that rendered him vulnerable to “extortion.” Read more..

Bassam Tawil at Gatestone Institute: The Palestinians are doing their absolute utmost to ensure that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party do not win in Israel’s general election on Monday, March 2. The PA has launched a public relations campaign to explain to the Israeli public why they should not vote for Netanyahu. Read more..


Israel and the coronavirus

Israel has taken far-reaching steps to prevent an outbreak, banning entry to foreigners who were recently in China and a handful of East Asian countries and forcing all Israelis recently in these areas to self-quarantine for 14 days. On Wednesday, the ministry added Italy to the list. In a dramatic statement Wednesday, the Health Ministry urged Israelis to seriously consider refraining from travelling abroad. Read more..


Tension on the Israeli borders with Gaza and Syria

Over the course of last Sunday and Monday, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group fired roughly 100 rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel. In response, the Israel Defense Forces launched several waves of retaliatory strikes against the organization in Gaza and — in a highly irregular move — inside Syria. Read more..


Saudi-Israel-Jewish relations improving

Times of Israel reports: Several Jewish and Christian leaders have visited Saudi Arabia and met with Saudi leaders in recent months.  Jerusalem-based David Rosen, invited to Riyadh as part of interfaith meeting, met the Saudi king. Hailing this ‘revolutionary moment’, Rabbi Rosen says the Palestinian issue is still the ‘glass ceiling’ for Israel-Saudi relations. Read more..


Appalling Anti-Semitism at carnivals in Europe

This week’s carnival procession in the Belgian town of Aalst, which featured Nazi uniforms, costumes of Jews as vermin and several other anti-Semitic tropes, was widely condemned by Jewish groups, Israeli officials and even the government in Brussels. Read more..

On Monday, the people of Campo de Criptana in the central Spanish region of Castilla-La Mancha celebrated carnival. Among those taking part was El Chaparral Cultural Association, which staged the Holocaust-themed display. According to a sign on one of the floats, the association intended its act to be a commemoration of the “6 million Jewish men, women and children who perished in the Holocaust and all those who suffered persecution and extermination because of their race, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic origin or political ideas”. However, its tribute met with an angry response from the Israeli embassy in Madrid and from the Auschwitz memorial museum. “We condemn the Campo de Criptana carnival’s vile and repugnant trivialisation of the Holocaust, which mocks the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis,” the embassy said on Tuesday. Read more..


Bulgarian government prevents neo-Nazi march

Jewish organizations commended the Bulgarian government for preventing an annual neo-Nazi march in the country’s capital of Sofia from taking place last weekend. The annual torch-lit Lukov march is named after Bulgarian Gen. Hristo Lukov, founder of the pro-Nazi Union of Bulgarian National Legions movement, which supported the deportation to Treblinka of more than 11,000 Jews from territories controlled by Bulgaria in Macedonia, northern Greece and eastern Serbia. Read more..


Quartet condemns Israel’s settlement plans in Jerusalem

JPost reports: UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov warned on Wednesday that construction in the E1 section of Ma’ale Admumim would divide the West Bank in two and undermine the viability of a Palestinian state. “I am very concerned about Israel’s recent announcements regarding the advancement of settlement construction in Giv’at Hamatos and Har Homa, as well as the worrying plans for 3,500 units in the controversial E1 area of the occupied West Bank,” Mladenov said. Read more..

 


“Focus on the future”
– Video teachings by Rev. Willem J.J. Glashouwer

Rev. Willem Glashouwer helps us understand God’s prophetic word, and how prophecy is being fulfilled in our generation.

Volume 3 episode 5: When you focus on the future you may wonder about what future we are heading for. The Bible is very clear about it. Ultimately we are heading for the Kingdom of God. One day Jesus will come back in Glory. He will sit on the throne of his father David and that throne stood in Jerusalem. He will rule among Jacob, which means Israel. And of His Kingdom there shall be no end!

 

“Exactly this land”
– Video teaching by Johannes Gerloff

Episode 14 in the series of teachings by Israeli-based Bible teacher and journalist Johannes Gerloff:

Had Abram not obeyed God’s invitation, he would never have known which land the Lord had in mind. There are certain things which God is only able to reveal in the land of Israel.

 

Latest weekly teaching by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

What do we receive when we give?

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Tell the Israelites to take an offering for Me; take My offering from all whose heart moves them to give” (Exodus 25:1-2). Until that moment, the Israelites had received everything from God. Now God gave them something that had nothing to do with physical need and everything to do with psychological, moral and spiritual need. God gave them the opportunity to giveRead more..

 

Shabbat shalom,

Andrew Tucker
Editor-in-Chief – Israel & Christians Today

 


Scripture for the week: Exodus 7:1-13

Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites.And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.”

Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them. Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.”

10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11 Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: 12 Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.

 

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