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Weekly Update: Anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea

8 January 2021

Jesus taught that one of the main signs of the end times preceding His coming will be the “tossing of the sea” (Luke 21). The “sea” is often interpreted as referring to peoples. The Apostle Paul says other signs of the times leading to the coming of Messiah include lawlessness, confusion, lies, anxiety, and lack of love (see eg. 2 Timothy 3 and 2 Thessalonians 2).

The political turmoil, civil unrest, violence and polarization we now see in the US and many nations is surely an indication of these signs. Spiritual lukewarmness in the church, the confusion and uncertainty created by the worldwide COVID-19 crisis, and the alarming concentration of global political and economic power in the hands of few also indicate we are living in the last days.

In this uncertain world, let us continue to “stand in the gap” for Israel and the Jewish people. The return of the Jewish people to the land is the greatest sign that the Lord’s coming is near. It is the sure sign God is faithful to His covenant purposes.

We should look to the Lord for our salvation. He alone has history in His hands. Jesus commands us: “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

We wish all our readers a blessed and fruitful 2021. “Watch and pray”!

The Editorial team
Israel & Christians Today



Israel and the Middle East 

Simon Henderson in The Hill: “It appears that the Gulf crisis is over. The schism between U.S. allies Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt, on the one hand, and Qatar, on the other, is ending today in a flurry of Arab robes and face-masked embraces at a desert air strip in northwest Saudi Arabia.” Read more

Dr. Mordechai Kedar at BESA explains the background to the rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar: ”A dispute over the role of religion in government constitutes the main rift in the world of Sunni Islam. This controversy also defines the two main camps in that world with regard to Western countries in general and Israel in particular.” Read more..

Burak Bekdil at Gatestone: “Erdoğan comes from the ranks of political Islam, which is “more Palestinian than the Palestinians,” and is ideologically pro-Hamas and pro-Muslim Brotherhood. He once said that Zionism was a crime against humanity. He has, countless times, called Israel a “state of terror.” It would be childish to believe that the man whose political formation was based on a militant expanse of anti-Zionism as raison d’être was not anti-Israeli, but had merely been under the influence of advisors who no longer hold sway. Erdoğan is anti-Israeli today as he was 40, 30, 20 and 10 years ago.” Read more..

Dr. Asaf Romirowsky: “’The struggle for Palestine’ has long been an axiomatic slogan in the Arab-Palestinian narrative and continues to be used to this day to galvanize the masses—but as the Middle East changes, the power of the phrase may be diminishing.” Read more..

Dr. Mordechai Kedar at BESA: “Moments before Donald Trump leaves the White House, Iran may try to avenge the killing of Qassem Soleimani and Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. The Gulf States are prepared, and they expect American protection.” Read more..

According to Dr. Alex Joffe at BESA, the Biden Administration will return to the critical attitude towards Israel and belief in multilateralism as the road to peace that characterized the Obama Administration: “With regard to Iran, Biden and the establishment clearly aim to reenter the JCPOA over the objections of Israel and the Gulf States and with the enthusiastic support of Europe.” Read more..


Yad Vashem and the Holocaust

Dr. Hanan Shai at BESA: “The public discourse on the issue of replacing the director of Yad Vashem indicates that the institution no longer presents the Holocaust as a unique phenomenon and the most horrible enactment of antisemitism to have ever occurred, but as a crime against humanity that could occur in any society whose values are not liberal, including Israel. Yad Vashem, which was designed to perpetuate the memory of the Holocaust and its victims, now trumpets the values of European liberalism—the very values that paved the way to a crime like no other in world history.” Read more..


Legal challenge to Israel’s Nation State Law 

In 2018, Israel passed its controversial Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People. This law is now being challenged in the Israeli High Court.

Dr. Or Bassok and Prof. Menachem Mautner in Haaretz: “The so-called nation-state law is a bad law, and it would have been better had the Knesset not passed it. However, the pending petitions that are demanding that Israel’s High Court of Justice strike down Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People present a grave danger to the future of Israeli democracy. In our opinion, the court should avoid ruling on this question.” Read more..

IDF Brigadier General (res.) Amal As’ad, an Israeli Druze, criticizes the Nation State law in Times of Israel: “Israel’s nation-state law is an affront to me as a citizen, an IDF general, a Druze, an Arab, and a believer in democracy and justice”. Read more..

Back in 2018, Prof Eugene Kontorovich defended the Nation State Basic Law in the Wall Street Journal: “Israel’s Basic Law would not be out of place among the liberal democratic constitutions of Europe—which include similar provisions that have not aroused controversy. The law does not infringe on the individual rights of any Israeli citizen, including Arabs; nor does it create individual privileges. The illiberalism here lies with the law’s critics, who would deny the Jewish state the freedom to legislate like a normal country.” Read more..

 

Lawlessness | “The Signs of the Times”
with Rev. Willem J.J. Glashouwer 
‘Ni Dieu, ni maître’ (no God and no divine laws) was the slogan of the French Revolution. It took until the mid-1960s before anarchism was reinvented again by a new generation that was born after World War II. There were groups of young people in Amsterdam who labelled themselves as ‘autonomous anarchists’, self-ruling, self-governing, making and following their own laws. No acknowledgement of any authority or laws, whether from God or from man.

 

Scripture for the week: Luke 21:5-36

Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”
“Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”
He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”
10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.
12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me.14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.
20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
29 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
32 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”